Monday, December 29, 2014

I'm going, going back, back to...the store

I have a shopping problem. No, it's not that I shop too much. It's that I can't regulate it. I'm like a shopping bulimic. I will go for weeks without getting anything, and then I get hungry for STUFF. So I go out, swipe my debit card at every store in the mall, and temporarily feel very satisfied with myself. It's not until later that I look at all my new stuff and think "Ugh. I did NOT need to buy that."

So, that's where my incessant returning comes into play. Geo has estimated that I return 75 percent of what I buy. Call it shopper's remorse, or hindsight or what have you, but I can't help buying things knowing FULL WELL that I will return them...unused, unworn. I've returned things literally hours after buying them. I don't know why I shop this way, because there is nothing more terrifying to me than the process of returning something.

Now, I worked in retail for a couple years. I KNOW that the "Why are you returning this?" question is complete bull and meaningless. Unless an item is defective, no one cares. But as a consumer, I always feel massive guilt and fear when returning something, and the sudden need to defend myself.

"Why are you returning this?" immediately prompts me to start an elaborate web of lies. I can't just say "Well, I bought it 'cause I liked it, but then I got home and decided I'd rather not have it because it's not all that important to me." And you can't say "Well, it doesn't fit" because the logical solution would be to exchange it for a better size. So instead, I respond with these random, terrible answers like "Well, I accidentally bought two," or "It's so cute, but it doesn't go with anything I have," or (my personal favorite) "I bought it for a gift and then realized I didn't need a gift and I already have it so I don't need it, so I figured I have no choice but to return it." See, that last one covers all my bases.

Usually returning something isn't bad; I have the receipt, the tags, whatever. But I feel incredibly shady when I return several things to the same store. This includes Target, Victoria's Secret, Macy's and Francesca's. These are the places I limit my shopping to in Rochester, because there aren't infinite options of shopping here. So, these are the stores I find myself going back to over and over with my "Buy with the intent of Returning" motive. I can't help it. I want it all and I love shopping and buying at these stores, but when I get home and have 12 cocktail skirts, 16 statement necklaces and 3 different travel mugs, the Return is inevitable.

But I can't help buy feel like I'm always trying to "pull one over" on stores. They don't know my shopping style; all they know is that I am returning $150 worth of white shirts and that is weird. Victoria's Secret is especially suspicious. They make you answer like a billion questions about why you are returning something, which I suppose is good, considering their product. But I ended up keeping one enormous pair of red underwear because I couldn't bring myself to return them after I realized that the salesperson failed to include them in the previous 2 returns I had done at the store. I was scared that they would think I was stealing...or worse; crazy.

So, now I have 3 bags of things I need to return that I purchased in a holiday-shopping-haze. And my palms sweat every time I even think about heading out to the stores. I don't like having to justify myself to some 23-year-old stranger who would rather be Snapchatting her way through a coffee or something. I don't like the fact that I willingly put myself through this gross process at least once a month.

Unfortunately, my frugal ways always win out. I'd rather be sweaty and overly story-telling to some unknown person than let $25 waste away in my closet. I'd rather stress about a return for an hour than keep a third black pair of pants that don't even look good on me. But that doesn't mean I like it.

The easy answer would be to only buy things I love. But I LOVE everything I buy...I just don't love it for very long. It's like if you bought everything you pinned on Pinterest. You'd love it for that minute it took you to look at it, drool and then pin it; but a day or a week later, you're like "meh...I'm actually kind of over it."

Does anyone else shop like this??? Am I alone in my Buying Bulimia??

Thursday, December 18, 2014

TARGET

I had to go to Target today. It should have been pretty norma; I go to Target almost every day. So my trip should have been same ol same ol, but it wasn't. It wasn't because one woman became the object of my insatiable obsession.

Our fateful relationship began in the parking lot. I cleanly navigated my way around the lot like any red-blooded American should know how to do, when this lady comes blazing through the parking lot right through the middle of 12 aisles and narrowly avoiding 3 or 4 cart corrals.

I was mesmerized immediately. Who was this mysterious she-beast who nearly killed 8 people without even entertaining the thought of slowing down? I knew I had to meet her.

She "parked" next to me, coincidentally. (By "parked" I mean "casually left her minivan in a spot 3 inches away from me.") When she popped out of her car in an adorable outfit and cellphone glued to her ear, I was not surprised. When she pulled her twins out of the backseat, I was very surprised.

I walked into the store with she-beast right on my heels. I pulled out my list and grabbed a cart. She pulled out her lip balm and grabbed one of her children by the hood of her jacket.

I had to get exactly four things: pork chops, toothpaste, eggs and bread. But I spent approx. an hour and a half slyly following she-beast around the store. It was like I was attached to a firecracker doped up on Vicodin. She-beast blazed around Target like no one I've ever seen before. I noted that she bought dog food, eggs, a candle, 3 boxes of corn flakes, diapers and one of those weak a$$ bloody Mary mixes that Minnesota will never figure out how to make.

The entire time she was shopping, lady was on her phone with someone who I can only guess is a glutton for punishment. Her twins wriggled and cried and screamed and grabbed at everything within reach while girlfriend blathered on FOR 20 MINUTES about why she chose brown boots over black boots. She didn't even flinch when boy twin kicked a thing of milk out of their cart. She just kept moving and kept being worried about what she will wear with her new blue dress.

After I caught she-beast's eye for the third time, I was like "Crap, visiting hours at the zoo are over." I was made and so I decided to abandon my spy mission and head to the check out.

What luck! Super mom was right in front of me! She had finally put her phone away and now had ample time to yell non-stop at her kids. "Maddie! Stop looking at Ethan!" "Ethan, stop trying to grab my phone!" "If I wanted you to have sugar, I would have gotten you sugar! Gimme those fruit snacks!"

I locked eyes with the little girl sitting next to her brother and gave her this look like "You poor thing; I see you. I know you are probably awesome and going to grow up some day to write a college essay about how you managed to survive despite being raised by a she-beast."

The little girl reached her chubby arm out to me and I swear to God, she flicked me off.

Well, okay then. Eff you, tiny baby.

When I got to my car, I saw she-beast SCREAMING at her kids for ruining her shopping trip. I was devastated. She was literally scolding toddlers for not "respecting her time." She was also still cradling a phone between ear and shoulder.

That's when I realized that I LOVE judging parents. I am not one, so I have that blissful ignorance that allows me to really stick my judgey meter in and set it to "HA!"

Yeah, that's probably mean, but whatever.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Is it just me or...?

Does it bother anyone else that people always stop and then TURN OFF their cars in movies and TV shows? Like, they'll be dropping someone off at home or stopping to talk to a neighbor or I don't know, trying to get a hooker (I've been watching A LOT OF "Law and Order SVU" these days) and they ALWAYS turn their car All. The. Way. Off.

A character will have no intention of getting out of the car or spending any meaningful amount of time stopped on the side of the road, but yet....there is always the detail that they have to turn the ignition and restart the car whenever they end up leaving. Just leave the car on, ya stupid idiots!

You may not think this is a big deal or all that annoying, but trust me. Now you will start noticing that people on TV and in movies are completely incapable of just putting the car in park and leaving it at that. And it will probably drive you insane like it has for me.

That's all for today.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Playing dirty

Personal hygiene is a dirty, dirty game people. I came to this Earth-shattering realization, like so many geniuses before me, in the shower. I was on step 1 of the grueling 12-step process that many women trudge through during every shower when something caught my eye.

Geo has ONE bottle of soap in the shower. One bottle. And on this bottle is a promise that the soap will do two things:

  1. Get off the dirt
  2. Leave hair manageable
That's it. One bottle, for his entire being. And it just cleans without also burning the hair off your body. Oh, and it smells pretty good, too. 

It was at this point that I looked at the tower of products I use. Shampoo, conditioner, face wash, shaving cream, several different body washes that attempt to manage whatever manic state my skin is in, products to treat pimples, products to prevent wrinkles, weekly deep conditioning treatment, not to mention all the tools that are required to apply said products.

And every product I have makes these incredibly amazing promises to do miraculous and necessary things. My shampoo ALONE claims to fix 10 - TEN! - things that are evidently wrong with my hair. Then everything else is supposed to smooth, lengthen, strengthen, soften, firm, volumize, minimize, color, protect, refreshen, reverse, enhance, nourish, and replenish every pore and hair on me.

No wonder women have so many hang-ups. 

Now, I realize everyone buys different products. I know this. But for the sake of my argument, I'm assuming that all men are exactly like my husband and all women are exactly like me. It makes it easier for me to prove my point.

So are women really that disgusting and haggard? Are we really in need of so much...help? 

In the interest of looking on the bright side, I tried to rationalize the gender war being waged in my shower. I said to Geo "Maybe this is why I expect so much from people and have trouble managing expectations. Why I'm not okay with the bare minimum. Maybe you can blame the personal hygiene industry for my neverending search for the perfect pair of boots or my confusion about why you can't take the Christmas tree out on the way to the gym. Hell, my shampoo can multi-task, why can't you?"

He didn't like that argument. Probably because it made complete sense.

At any rate, I have decided that men can't give women crap about being "high maintenance" or taking too long to get ready anymore. It's inevitable. It's literally required by the instructions on every product we own: "Do this, and then do it again, but gently and in small circles. Leave in for 64 days before rinsing and then following up with this OTHER product that has 18 additional steps. Finally, send us the receipts for the child you raised during this process for a chance to win a sample of a clarifying mask!!"

Anyway, for all the promises made on these products, I'm still not even sure anything is getting the dirt off of me. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Slap some dirt on it

Bad news, everyone. Turns out I've probably been slowly but surely breeding super bugs in my own home. I came to this realization last weekend over a loverly Mexican dinner with Geo and two of our friends, and I haven't gotten over it yet.

Before I proceed, let me assure you all that I DON'T DO research. I listen to things people tell me and if I like that person and think they are smart, I'll just go ahead and believe whatever they tell me. I'm fun like that. Now, if I DON'T like you and think you have dumb hair or something, I will probably not believe a word you say and decide to forever contradict you at every opportunity. That's how I get my facts; and that's how I like it. (Case in point: I've never ever liked Jenny McCarthy, and look how that whole anti-vacc thing turned out.)

Okay, moving on. So since getting married, I have suddenly decided to care about my home. This means that I like to clean certain things. Bathrooms and kitchens, in particular. There is nothing I like more than a clean counter, sanitized toilets and sparkling clean bathtub. It makes me feel like a grownup.

The problem I learned this weekend is that just about every cleaning product I own contains antibacterial. And the problem with THIS is that apparently, now I'm OVERCLEANING.

My friend Chad told me about this at dinner, and I completely believe him because he has nice hair and I like him. Also, he's a doctor. So, he's pretty legit. He was like "If you keep using antibacterial, you could just force some bacteria to mutate in order to become immune to antibacterial. And the things that do survive could turn into super bugs." Now, this is all a VERY messy conclusion of what he actually said, because he used some big science-y words, so I just went along with it and picked out things I could grasp. But the gist seems to be that too much clean equals I may have to live in a bubble someday.

This was devastating to me. When I was growing up, my parents were firm supporters of the "sewer rat" theory. This theory basically boils down to the fact that sewer rats are not exposed to sterile environments, and have therefore built up an impressive immune system. So, my parents weren't overly concerned about us (me) standing on the kitchen counters with bare feet or playing outside and then eating a PB&M(ayonnaise) sandwich without washing our hands. And we're pretty much okay now. Also? I'm not allergic to ANYthing. (For 2 years I thought I was allergic to bananas, but turns out I just didn't like them and they made me gag.)

So, their theory pans out, as far as I'm concerned.

And now I feel like a total failure. I've been drowning the very things that kept me healthy and strong as a kid in an absurd amount of chemicals. Have I ruined everything?! Is it too late to jump on that weird organic/chemical-free product bandwagon that I completely wrote off because of that uppity chick I knew in college who would wipe down the bar stools with a homemade organic sani-wipe?

I also am annoyed that I have unknowingly contributed to this super-bug-breeding movement. But I swear, I don't SET OUT to get antibacterial products, I just buy the things that smell good and are easy to use. Screw you, Lysol wipes.

I've never been a germophobe or clean freak or anything. I just thought that grownups clean and so I should clean. I'm not scared of dirt or cooties. I'm okay with tap water. I will faithfully adhere to the 10-second rule. Public restrooms don't scare me. My favorite T-shirt in the world is one of Geo's that I picked out of the garbage. I assume that the hands of my nieces and nephews are, you know, clean ENOUGH to dig around in my mouth for the gumball I put in there.

Well, the only conclusion I can draw from all this is that cleaning is for chumps. And when I do clean, I can just smear a damp paper towel around and call it a day. So, who's coming over for dinner!?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Princess and the P(haron)

Being married has shed some light on some personal traits of mine that I failed to recognize when I was all being an independent warrior. Some are delightful to learn (I love cleaning bathrooms and kitchen counters, and can take incredibly good care of my husband when he is sick). Others? Not so much.

Apparently, sometimes I snore.

It shouldn't be a big deal. I know this. But it has become a very real and very dramatic development in my marriage. See, not to brag or anything, but I'm very good at sleeping. I grew up in a house with six other people and often shared a room. I've had roommates for 99% percent of my adult life, including the three years I lived with nothing but men. I can sleep through darn near everything.

Geo? Not so much. Geo doesn't fall into the drooling mess of sleep that I do. He sleeps soundly but is always alert. Like a cat ninja or something.

I apparently turn into body lump that conjures up dragons with my breathing.

There is nothing more un-ladylike than snoring. Nothing. And quite frankly, it's EXTREMELY embarrassing. Every time Geo nudges me at night or gently whispers "OMG, please stop snoring for the love of all that is good and holy," I fall into this weird spiral of humiliation and stress. I hate it when I wake him up. I hate knowing that I can't control what I do in my sleep.

But mostly, I hate that he can't just be better at sleeping.

I downloaded an app that records sleep patterns and sounds. Every time noise is made, it records until the sound dies down. I have recorded multiple nights of my sleeping and only twice have heard myself snoring. And while it wasn't some adorable, girlish, giggly type of snoring, it only lasted for like 6 or 7 "KHUUUUUUUGH!"s. Hardly something that would ever drum me out of a blissful REM cycle.

And also? Nine nights out of 10, I don't snore. It's usually only when I'm EXTREMELY tired or after a night of drinking. But the anxiety that I MIGHT snore and wake up my beloved is enough to make me incredibly restless and nervous on all the other nights.

It's really been upsetting me lately. Maybe I'm sleep deprived. But I don't like waking Geo up; on the other hand, he should probably just learn to sleep harder. Is that possible to do?

Really the worst part is being annoying or disruptive when I can't even do anything about it. It's an incredibly helpless feeling. Also? It just makes me feel so, I don't know, so NOT like a girl.

Part of me feels bad for Geo. He's tried nudging me, whispering to me, shoving me, and just straight up yelling at me when I'm snoring. Everything he has tried is met by my tears, apologies, or outright rages, depending on how sleepy I am.

But the other part of me is so wildly offended. I have literally recorded myself sleeping and found that the impression I get from Geo's nocturnal notifications, which is that my body is an angry volcano of relentless sound, is not as bad as I have imagined.

It really has become a point of contention. He keeps having the nerve to be awoken by my nasally alarm and I keep insisting that he's overreacting. Will either of us win?I highly doubt it. All I know is that I'll probably sleep just fine tonight.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In Defense of the Nag

So many wives are portrayed as naggy, bossy women. Have you ever noticed that? I have. And for a long time, I counted myself as the diamond in the rough. The "cool girl" (what up, Gone Girl fans!!) who didn't nag; who gave my husband the benefit of the doubt; who didn't worry about telling Geo what to do because he clearly has made it this far without me.

But it's October. And this is still a thing:


That, my friends, is our Christmas tree from LAST YEAR. And that is our garage. THIS MORNING.

I asked Geo once in January to get rid of the tree because he is a very strong man and has a very nice SUV with a back end that is the same size as a Christmas tree. He carried it as far as the garage before saying "I'll bring it to the disposal place after work." Maybe it's my fault for not asking him WHICH work day he was planning on doing that.

I then reminded him in March that the place stops accepting trees in April, so it'd probably be a good idea to get that tree outta here. I maybe should have told him April of THIS YEAR. Because yes, it's still a thing sitting in our garage.

To be fair, I truly don't care about it. It's not in my way, and despite probably being a fire hazard, it simply doesn't concern me. That's just the way I am, though. If I really cared about getting something done, I'd just do it myself probably. I'm quite self-sufficient and would rather do things my way, anyway. But times are a'changin'. Now I have someone to split duties with, and I need to take better advantage of that.

Maybe the problem is that I only ask Geo to do really annoying jobs that I don't want to do. But then again, sometimes I'll say something like "Hey, you're going to get water? Can you get my bread carrot sticks too?" and he'll come back with water and one empty hand.

Now, it is very important to note here that I don't take this as a slight. I don't think he's just ignoring me or being insensitive. I think there are certain things men -- sorry, men but I can guarantee this is universally true for every single man on the planet -- HEAR, but don't actually PROCESS. Probably the result of spending so much time listening to people like me complain about an upsetting experience with the salesperson at DSW.

But, Geo says he wants me to remind him to do stuff. He'll say, "Pharon, I'm more than happy to pick up these three things at Target later, but just remind me!" and I'll say "No! Can't you just remember?" He doesn't know that "reminding" him is the same, to me at least, as nagging. So I keep not saying anything and he keeps forgetting. And yes, the other night he came home with nothing but frozen pizza, ice cream and the list of things I needed from Target, but none of the items ON the list.

I can't MAKE someone remember things. I can't FORCE people to stop in the middle of a thing they are doing and think "Wait, did Pharon need something?" even though I, a woman, am completely capable of doing this.

So, basically, I'm trying to convince myself  that I, Pharon Square -- a staunch anti-nagger and person with nothing but 100% confidence in my husband -- will have to start nagging. Except, I'm not going to call it nagging, since Geo doesn't call it nagging, either. I don't like it, but all I need to do is walk out to our garage and see what happens when I don't na-- I mean, REMIND someone to do something.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Knock, Knock

As a work-from-home person, I spend roughly 99% of my days inside my home. I know that probably reads more pathetic and sad than it should, but that's just the truth.

Being alone inside your home a lot makes you into a certain kind of person: a suspicious person. For instance, I've started to get very suspicious about this weird kid who goes out and swings at the playground across from my driveway EVERY SINGLE DAY, multiple TIMES a day for like an HOUR. I have concluded that he is 1) a weirdo 2) the child of a prostitute or drug dealer or something who ALSO "works from home" and is sent outside to play whenever Mom or Dad is doing business or 3) trying to spy on me.

See? I am suspicious of something as legit as a kid playing on a playground.

But what really gets my suspicion up is a random visitor. (See, I live at least 75 miles away from just about every person I know; therefore I'm never prepared to have someone I know show up at my door without warning.) Today, for example, I heard a knock on my door. Instead of just getting up and answering the door, I muted the TV and hid in the kitchen. I thought "I'm not expecting anyone! Stranger Danger! Also: What person in their right mind would KNOCK on a door when there is CLEARLY a doorbell?" I assumed it was a murderer or a robber and hid my wedding rings inside my towel drawer.

After a few mins, the visitor rang the bell. I finally decided that whoever was at the door really needs to see me and is dumb enough not to ring the bell right away, so how dangerous could he/she/they even be?

I cautiously opened the door and saw two very well-dressed ladies with nice lipstick on. Phew! I smiled and opened the storm door. They smiled back and asked how I was. Before I could say "Well, pretty good considering the fact that I thought you were murderers," the first lady said "We want to talk to you about Bible studies."

That's the thing with scary people: They never look like how you'd expect.

Now, I'm not saying that people talking about the Bible is scary. I'm a good ol' Midwestern Christian, after all. But I DO find something very unnerving about people who find it necessary to bombard someone in the comfort of their own home in the middle of the day. The Jehovah's Witnesses have been making the rounds here lately, too. They send a couple pre-teen boys who should be MUCH more scared about knocking on strangers' doors than they appeared to be when they knocked on mine.

At the end of the day, I think it all comes down to one fact: I might be a borderline paranoid shut-in.

Okay, that might be a titch melodramatic. But who knocks on someone's door unannounced anymore? It's, like, downright RUDE. The normal thing to do is text or email with some sort of warning and ask for permission. Even the antiquated Post Office emails me to tell me that someone will come by today and leave a package at my door. They don't knock/ring the bell and insist I put on pants to make an in-person appearance.

Coming to my house without warning is a surefire way to ruin my day. Chances are I haven't brushed my teeth, may or may not have pants on, am busy watching Saved By the Bell on Netflix and don't want anyone to know that, or I'm simply sitting in the middle of an incredibly messy house and would rather give up carbs than let anyone inside.

I guess when you really break it down, the reason I don't like someone showing up at my door is the same reason I don't answer phone calls from strange or blocked numbers. If you don't know me well enough to identify yourself before I have to talk to you, I will immediately assume you are trying to murder me and/or sell me something. Both are super mean and both are perfectly good reasons to not answer.

In closing, times are a-changin'. It's no longer quaint or friendly to stop by someone's house unannounced. Unless, like, a person is not answering their phone and never showed up to work. Then by all means go on over. But otherwise? Consider me: Hiding in the kitchen ready to call the cops.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pharon Square for Mayor of Rochester!

Fellow Americans! God Bless the U.S.A. and the foolproof, rock solid political system! I, Pharon Square, would like to throw my hat into the Rochester, MN mayoral race. I thought I had to be a resident of this fine city for one year before running. And today is officially Day 365.

However, I -- like so many promising young politicians -- failed to do a quick Google search before jumping to my conclusion. In fact, I only needed to be here for 30 DAYS before meeting eligibility requirements. Lucky for you, my fair residents of Mayoville, U.S.A., I will not be deterred!

And now, in this timeless and super official medium of a blog, I would like to present my platform.

As Mayor of Rochester, I think it's time for change! Change, I say! No more should we be bound by the ways of yesteryear. No more should we cower in the face of innovation. I say that today...Today we are Ready for Tomorrow (orrow, orrow)!

Previous thinkers have decided it was perfectly fine to build a fancy hospital in a non-fancy city. A city of chain restaurants and multiple yarn stores. A city where, if you block out the hospital and the various high-end luxury vehicles, you would feel as though you were living in the bustling age of the 1980s.

I, my dear Rochesterians, feel that we deserve more! We deserve a place to eat where the salads are as delicious (and plentiful) as the cheese curds; where there is more than one radio station to listen to; where the lakes and natural habitats are not surrounded by violent geese or rabid owls.

And it's time to prove ourselves! Newt's keeps saying they have the best burgers in the city....wonderful, right? Well, there is no competition! Not one Nook, Blue Door, Matt's, 5-8 or Red Cow for miles! (Outsiders, those are all INCREDIBLY good places for burgers in Minneapolis.) And where will I buy your birthday present? Francesca's, because there are zero other cute, fun stores with clever and affordable gifts in sight.

After my one long year in this city, I know that there is much to be saved here. Sure, there are still people picketing at the Planned Parenthood and refusing to use blinkers when driving. But! There is a very real and earnest desire to be better!

Now, there are, by my count, 100 schools and 10 zillion playgrounds around. I'm sure some people think those things are important, but I don't. And also, a new restaurant WAS just built near my house, but it was another McDonald's.  There are now 3 McDonald's within 3 miles of me. What does that say to the children of these fancy Mayo doctors who are randomly obsessed with kale and chia seeds?

In my bid for Mayor, I plan to force everyone to try and be better...cooler...more like the awesome folks in Minneapolis. Open up new restaurants with fresh ingredients and exciting menus. Try out some hair salons that are not named with puns and offer a glass of wine with a post-work cut. Try and build a venue that attracts better acts than Coolio. Make public parking downtown NOT be a nightmare and allow non-Mayo peeps to park in parking lots whenever they want. While we're at it, let's stop making Mayo employees' spouses drive them to and from work by building better ramps! (Really, people, let's just try and bring the parking situation into the 21st century.)

This is the time, people! The time to rise up and demand more from a city built on a history of being the best and attracting the brightest! Let's not just pool all our resources into Mayo! Let's build a city that we can ALL enjoy!!

We have a lot of potential, Rochesterians. And while I really have zero desire to be here for another full year, I know that I could really turn this town into a place I wouldn't mind getting stranded in when I'm driving between Minnesota and Iowa. A vote cast for Pharon Square is a vote cast for a quick and dirty fix! Who doesn't want that?!

So, what say you, fellow voters? Are you with me?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

How to Be a Grown-up: Event Edition

This has been a very exciting year...for my friends. I've been to, oh, 65 weddings, 329 baby showers and 997 bridal showers. Don't check my math, jerks.

I was thinking about this today as I stood in my Spanx and latest bridesmaids dress at the tailor (getting 4 feet chopped from the bottom of my third long chiffon dress of the year) and mentally reminded myself to pick up a gift bag for a baby shower I'm going to this weekend.

So, at this point, I'm 100% sure I should be the final word on what TO do and what NOT to do at these events. To save you the trouble of Googling "manners at grown-up events," I’ll give you some pointers of how to be the best guest at these events.

Bridal Showers:
Do: Bring a gift. That's what it's all about, folks.
Do: Wear a dress. It’s probably a hassle or uncomfortable, but any event with “shower” in the name implies you should look nice (and have taken a shower.)
Do: Mingle. You probs won't know tons of people there, so chat up the person closest to the finger sandwiches, and then you can get fat while you chat.
Don't: Get drunk. Well, okay, maybe you can…sometimes it’s tricky to know what kind of shower it is. But you should be able to tell if it’s okay based on how many bottles of bubbly and/or tequila are on hand.
Don’t: Be a buzzkill. Play the games, lady. There are almost ALWAYS prizes.
Don’t: Be rude. Thank the hostess, say nice things about the Guest of Honor and try to not burp or make poop jokes. (Note: See exception in Baby Shower section.)

Baby Showers:
Do: Bring a gift. That’s what it’s all about, folks.
Do: Wear a dress. (Sorry, ANY event involving a bunch of ladies on a weekend morning requires semi-formalwear.)
Do: Compliment everyone. Pregnant women, non-pregnant women, potentially-pregnant women and already-been-pregnant women all together in one room talking about babies means one thing: carazy hormones. Tread lightly and speak sweetly. TO EVERYONE.
Don’t: Say ANYthing scary about labor.
Don’t: Make the Guest of Honor feel bad about truly believing that she will love having a baby wipe warmer.
Don’t: Hold back on baby poop jokes. For Pete’s sake, the Guest of Honor is getting diapers, wipes and (inexplicably) a heated wipe dispenser. Everyone knows what’s up.

Weddings:
Do: Bring a gift. That’s what it’s all about, folks.
Do: Wear a dress. Ugh. I know. So many dresses…
Do: Listen to speeches, sign the guest book, enjoy the beautiful centerpieces, take a favor and get out on the dance floor. (These are just basic fundamentals of being a good wedding guest, so it all goes together.)
Don’t: Spill ANYTHING on the bride.
Don’t: Feel bad about getting drunk. Weddings are the only time some people CAN get drunk. Just don’t get sloppy and puke. Especially on the bride.
Don’t: Take your shoes off on the dance floor. It goes against nature, I know: I used to do this. But it only took one time of dancing to “Shout!” barefoot and a broken toe to change my tune.

These are really only the basics. (Oh, and really they are more directed at women because dudes often get to skip out on at least 2/3 of these events.) You’re gonna have to pay me to hear the rest, because my insight is THAT VALUABLE, and I have a TON more etiquette guidelines.

Also, I simply don’t have any more time to help you. I have baby showers, a bridal shower AND a wedding all in the next month that I need to start buying dresses for.

Do you have any foolproof pointers of your own for these events? Feel free to slap ‘em down there in the comments. Trust me, people need all the help they can get.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I'll Be Hair For You

I've been waiting my entire life for this, you guys. A lifetime of bowl cuts, ill-advised bangs, ineffective curling irons, split ends, fantastic shampoos, generic shampoos...I've spent years and probably hundreds of thousands of dollars on trying to do something with my hair. I've grown it out, chopped it off, colored it, stripped it...all in an effort to make my hair look even remotely fabulous.

It never worked. Nothing ever worked, because I have approx 10 strands of hair.

Until today. Today my life has been forever changed and I am officially a better person than you are now.

Because today, a package came. Probably from heaven. And inside the package was this life-changing miracle:


Ahhhh! SECRET EXTENSIONS!

I got obsessed with this product after yet another evening of watching too many infomercials. In this one, Daisy Fuentes and her pretty pals all have this fantastic hair and then they whip half of it out and voila! You see it's all thanks to Secret Extensions.

See, Secret Extensions involve, basically, a hair headband. The top half has no hair on it, but the bottom has all this real (looking) hair that pumps up any 'do. It's easy to put on, easy to take off, and guaranteed to make your hair look better than ever. I figured "Hey, Hip Hop Abs was surprisingly fun....why not go for broke?" So I did it. I ordered fake hair through the mail and just received it. I couldn't WAIT to try out my new life.

Here's the disgusting and entirely unimpressive Before:

Look at that heinously limp and sad hair!!!! PUKE! Now, let's slip on my Secret Extensions!


Oh, sorry, hold on. Garnier Fructis is calling me asking me how EVER did I get my hair to be so full and fabulous.

I don't care if you don't see the difference (which is what Geo has tried to argue). There is roughly 50% more hair tumbling down my shoulders. Here's the proof:

video


I love it. I love everything about having some strange hair from God-knows-where making my ponytail fatter and BETTER. I seriously LOVE Secret Extensions.

But...it didn't take more than 4 minutes of admiration before the true potential of this product hit me. Then these happened:





And then came some hilarious practical jokes:

 Shhh! I'm sleeping!!! PSYCH! I'm taking the picture!!

Waiter? There's a hair in my salad...

All in all, I had more fun with my fake hair in one night than I've probably ever had with all my hair products I've ever owned rolled together. And I've barely used it for it's intended purposes yet.

The only thing I have a little bit of issue with is that these extensions were made for adults. I have a toddler-sized head, so they're a tiny bit ill-fitting. But I figure that's a small price to pay for having the gift of thick, luxurious and fabulous hair. Oh, also, the hair DOES kind of fall out if you do stuff like make disguises with it.

I highly recommend this product. I plan on ordering another one that is a totally different color, actually, so I can change my hair to fit my look of the day. All told, these cost about $40-50, but if that's the price I pay to avoid knotting real extensions into my scalp, I'm  good with that.

Anyway, I'm pretty psyched that I actually bought something that delivered not only what it promised, but what I had been desperately hoping for. It's simple, it's effective. It's the Spanx of hair!

Now, when someone makes Secret 6-Pack Abs and Tiny Thighs, I'll be SUPER impressed.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Video Lames

I don't know the last time I woke up at 4 a.m. I remember the last time I went to BED at 4, but never has it been an hour at which I rise from slumber. It's stupid; it's insane; it's exactly what Geo did this morning. See, apparently a video game came out at midnight, called Destiny, and Geo got up before work to download it and play with his four XBox One-having friends. It's pathetic, right?

I was thinking about how dedicated these guys are to these video games. I mean, sure, I woke up and Skyped with my mom and sister to watch the Royal Wedding before dawn, but that was an HISTORIC event. Waking up early to play a video game is pretty much nonsense.

But he did it, and I did have a few brief moments before I raged against the machine that is Morning to think about my relationship with video games. It's been a tawdry affair, filled with weeks-long infatuation followed immediately by casual dismissal. 

It started with Nintendo. I played LOTS of Nintendo. Duck Hunt? Check. Super Mario Bros? Check. Other games I can't remember? Probably check.

But my true love was with Sega. I spent hours playing the Olympics and Sonic the Hedgehog with my brother Perek. We'd even make up lyrics to the instrumental songs on each level of Sonic. (That's right, LYRICS. A sample includes: "Must have been some magic in that old black haaaaat they found..." Shut up. It was musical genius.) I had as much fun WATCHING someone play as I did I playing. 

Then I never played video games because I was very cool and popular. (Also: No one invited me.) When Dance Central came out on the XBox, I thought life finally made sense because my worlds collided; dancing and scoring points hit all the right proverbial buttons for me. But no one wanted to play with me because, and I don't mean to brag but it must be said, I spent hours practicing the dance moves and got super good. (Oh, maybe I shouldn't brag about that?) Then I was just a grown-a$$ white woman dancing along to songs from the 70s in my living room while everyone else was being adults.

I had a brief and violent affair with Grand Theft Auto last year, and I remember Geo saying "Wow, so this is what it's like to have a video game compulsion...." I stopped because he moved the XBox downstairs and I can't be bothered to use stairs. 

So when I saw Geo playing his new game seconds after he took his tie and work pants off when he got home tonight, I sort of understood, but I also sort of thought that he is a loser. 

Here's the thing that no man/gamer will ever admit: Every single game that they love these days is exactly the same. Halo is the same as Battlefield, which is the same as Destiny (even though Destiny DOES have dance moves). It's all just shooting guns and then humping some stranger's head after you kill them. Snooze. At least I had VARIETY in my gaming obsessions. Perfecting diving techniques in the Olympics game was completely different from Sonic, and SUPER different from the sick moves in Dance Central.

Anyway, my point is that people are far too obsessed with video games, and as much as I have tried, I can't seem to muster enough interest in the hobby. What good is it to get so invested in some crazy fantasy world? Now, leave me alone because the rest of my night is dedicated to the Sons of Anarchy season premiere. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pharon Square to nude photo leakers: Not Cool

You know what I love? Celebrity gossip. You know what I DON'T love? Gross invasions of privacy. To me, the line between the two is quite well-defined. Do/say something in public when there are photographers around? Fair game. Having your private, behind-closed-doors stuff taken and posted online? Uncool, bro. Super uncool. And? Also? Worthy of pressing criminal charges.

And then I read about the people who dumped a bunch of personal, private photos of celebs online and I felt super disappointed in humankind.

Now, I like celebrity news as much as the next guy; in fact, I LOVE it. But I’m a fickle fan. See, I hate obvious fame-whores (read: any and everything Kardashian); and I have absolutely no interest in rumors spread by "unnamed sources" that put the marriages, parenting skills, dating life and private fertility issues in the spotlight, usually without any merit whatsoever. NO THANKS. That’s REAL LIFE, people, and you just don’t mess with that.

Now, I WILL read interviews and stories about who stepped out with whom at Ivy and think, "Hmmm, they are probs dating." Am I making the problem worse? I really, super hope not.

I feel like kids, private information, personal photos, weddings (where paparazzi are NOT invited), births, medical issues and other similar areas are NOT MY BUSINESS. I think that celebs should try and prepare for their picture to be taken in public, but I don't think their safety and privacy are any less important than mine. 

I think the fact that I can make that distinction is why I can tell myself that I am not part of the problem that created this insatiable appetite for celebrity pics at any cost. 

I read this comment on Reddit today in response to the leaked photos, and one regular human said something like "Somewhere, there is a 24-year-old woman crying because the entire world has seen her naked," and it really struck a nerve. 

I imagined what would happen if I were the one seeing private pictures of myself online that were put there without my permission. I thought about the time I took a picture of a bruise on my thigh because it was so gross...the bruise AND the thigh. I thought about the time I took a silly picture of me with my blankie wrapped around my face and sent it to Geo in Alabama and wrote "Blankie monster."

I’m guessing the reason that I can grasp on to the ridiculous notion that my personal communication devices are in any way private stems from the fact that no one on the planet cares about my bruised thigh. But when we encourage or ignore the fact that hacking/public release of private photos totally happens to people ALL THE TIME if they are famous is really not making the situation any better for any of us.

I realize this isn't my typical post; I know it’s not funny or sarcastic or anything I usually write about. But because I am a consumer of entertainment and fawn over famous people, I feel like it’s necessary for me to draw my line in the sand and say that stealing from or violating the basic expectations of privacy from people is definitely wrong and not something I will ever support. I hope you’ll all agree.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hip Hop Flabs

Hey guys, who wants to pretend to work out with me? Yeah! Great! Now, go get those pajamas back on and let's go down to the basement with a cocktail!

That's basically how my first workout with Hip Hop Abs went. See, I have not been kind to my body since marriage and moving. I have, quite literally, let it all hang out. Call it boredom, call it loneliness at the gym; call it fear of the geese walking and $hitting all over the path I would go for a run on or call it "I love bread more than I love sweating." Whatever. The point is, I recently realized I was one pair of sweatpants away from The Biggest Loser and it was getting ridic.

I had a flash of motivation one day. I was like "Today is the day! I will do some activity!"

But, well, I didn't want to do TOO much activity. It's not like I'm training for a marathon. I just wanted to have fun working out again. And then, as if the fates were smiling on me as I laid on the couch, I saw a commercial for Hip Hop Abs.

Hip hop? Dance? Promises of never doing a crunch? I'M IN.

For the uninformed, Hip Hop Abs is a set of workout DVDs that promises you can dance your way to a 6-pack. I've never been a fan of DVD workouts, but on that night, at that moment, between those bites of old wedding cake, I was inspired. I ordered the DVDs and napped my way through the next few days until the mailman delivered the life change I had been waiting for.

The DVDs came with some elaborate swag. There's a billion brochures for diet plans, vitamins, etc etc etc, and a very detailed form on how to take your "before" picture (which I definitely didn't do) and a handy measuring tape to take "before" measurements. This was nice, considering I had previously been using the aluminum tape measure in my tool kit. I went downstairs to hide from the prying, judging eyes of my husband and popped in the first DVD.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but Miley Cyrus I had fun. For 30-55 minutes, I got to dance around, twerk, strut and shake what my mother gave me, and apparently that counts as a workout. (It was troubling, though, because I distinctly remember the instructor dude -- Shaun T y'all!! -- urging me to tighten my abs and all I could do was make an awkward "Have to go to the bathroom" move. I'm guessing here, but I probably wasn't doing it right.)

I finished the first of, like, 1,000 workouts on the DVDs and was actually sweating. A lot. Maybe it was all that vodka. Who's to say?

Anywhatzit, I've been trying (and failing) to do one of these "workouts" every day, and I gotta say: I like it. I like a lot. It's silly and fun and active and I probably look about as "hip hop" as your grandmother, but I don't care. I'm also 112% sure it's not actually DOING anything, but I love Shaun T and I love club dancing, so it's all good.

Sure, it's not the ideal workout plan. Sure, I should be spending hours in the gym and not eating weeks-old cake for dinner. But you know what? I'm NEVER going to be that person. I'm never going to be the person who wakes up early or stays up late or misses a Friends rerun to go lift tractor tires or run on a machine. I hate those things and I'm stubborn. It's a brutal combination. So, in the absence of the one thing I actually LOVE (a butt-kicking kickboxing class), I will settle for my second-favorite love for something I'm not great at: club dancing.

So here's my review: I'm pretty sure Hip Hop Abs is not going to transform my body into that of a professional backup dancer. I'm almost certain it won't be effective enough for me to swear off Spanx. But, all in all, I've done worse things with 55 minutes in my day.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Season 1 Finale

Well, we made it. Geo and I have officially been married for one full year. We celebrated the milestone with an awesome weekend getaway in beautiful Bayfield, WI. But it still feels like only yesterday I was stressing out about favors, flowers and photo booth pricing. I remember thinking "Man, if I can just make it through Aug. 10, 2013, life will be a breeze.

I neglected to consider that after the wedding is a Marriage.

A lot of my friends have gotten married this year, and one of my BFF's nuptials are just around the corner in October. Plus, you know, the ultimate Waste of Space Kim Kardashian got married recently, too. With that in mind, I feel it's my duty to enlighten the newlywed masses about what the first year of marriage is like.

Here's what happens in Year One:
  • Suddenly your spouse's bill-paying habits reflect on you, and vice versa. That can be a great or a terrible thing. Either way, FICO scores become more important than Kate Spade surprise sales. Well, almost...
  • You have to do things you don't want to. Non-marrieds get to la la la their way through their days without any concern for anyone else. Marrieds have to move to Rochester and hang out with the in-laws instead of playing Ultimate Frisbee on a Saturday afternoon.
  • You can (and will) totally stop wearing makeup
  • But your spouse can start clipping his toenails in the kitchen
  • Making dinner becomes an exercise in futility. You can serve up a plate of kale salad and grilled chicken, but the other person doesn't have to eat it. And they're allowed to say the meal...could be better and less burned. 
  • You may not go on many dates anymore, but you don't really want to because you'd rather save up for a house
  • You will say something like "I'm just saying that I wish I had known you were completely unwilling to ever unload a dishwasher before we got married."
  • Your spouse will have to get rid of that gross thing on your back.
  • People will ask about your plans for kids. A lot. It'll be annoying and rude.
  • You will use approx 15% of the gifts you registered for. The rest will be tucked in a closet because no one in their right mind wants to pull out the china for burned lasagna. Also, I guarantee that you registered for too many glasses. Who needs 12 liqueur glasses? Also, what is liqueur?
  • You have to start saying "my husband" or "my wife," which will make you feel 10 years older than you really are
  • Ladies? If you decide to change your name, it will be an inconvenient process and you will still sign your old name for the next 6-12 months anyway.
  • You WILL get mad when he/she fails to tell you about going out for Happy Hour after work because dammit, dinner's on the table and you wanted to go to Costco to get 6 billion rolls of paper towels together!
  • Anniversaries have themes, and no man will every really want anything made out of paper (unless it's money, or tickets to a Vikings game that he can bring his brother to).
  • It's simultaneously better and harder than you ever expected
Well, that's the gist of what I have learned in the past 365 days. Are there any things I missed, fellow n00byweds?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Angry Birds

This week, on the Nature Channel, we explore the delicate - and painful - relationship between girl and bird. Watch now, as these winged creatures flap their way into a nest of terror and intimidation. These beasts truly know how to mark - and then poop on - a territory.

Guys? I am LIVING IN THE NATURE CHANNEL. Apparently, the bird-like creatures of the animal kingdom had a meeting this winter and were like "Birds, when the time comes, we will reign down a feathery terror on thy enemy, and thine enemy is PHARON! SOAR!!!!"

See, my birdmare all started back in Vegas. I had gotten through a terrible flight (not ironically) and was ready to calm down with some ladies. On our first morning there, we all spread our towels out on the lounges at the Paris pool and before I had smoothed the creases out in my rented towel, I felt a slippery wet blop on my back. I reached back and felt the strap of my ill-fitting bikini and pulled my fingers away to see a brownish GUCK.

"OMG. A BIRD $HIT ON ME!!! I'M IN VEGAS AND A BIRD POOPED ON MY BACK ON THE FIRST DAY!"

That was only the beginning. Then the birds started targeting my car.

A couple weeks after I recovered from the back poop saga, I was driving back to the Cities on one fine Tues. morning. It was like 6:15 a.m. when I raced out of Rochester. Ahead of me, I saw a bird. A bird on a mission. It swooped and rose before me, but when it should have ducked out of the way of my (barely) speeding vehicle, it instead locked eyes with me. And then it bird-dove RIGHT INTO MY WINDSHIELD.

Bird kamikaze.

I was being sent a message. A message that I would not soon forget.

It was but days later when I had recovered enough to venture out into the world in my car again. I cautiously drove down the streets of this city, calmly navigating obstacle after obstacle. And then I saw two birds bobbing and weaving together in the air.

"Love," I breathlessly thought. How adorable!

And as I tried to dodge the airy lovemakers in my car, I heard a faint "POOF." I looked in my rear view mirror in horror as two birds lay smack in the middle of the road. I was inconsolable.

I tried to calm my nerves (and stop getting fat) by walk/running around this one lake in Rochester. I was elated to learn that there was a lake with watery goodness and tasty trails upon which I could tread. But the bird word about me had gotten out to other feathery fiends. On my first trek, I met this gentleman:

Apparently, this jerkwad then alerted his buddies and about 100 yards later, this blocked my path:

Yeah, a bazillion hissing geese just waiting to peck my eyes out. Needless to say, my foray back into fitness was short-lived.

I really thought that I was overreacting; overly sensitive to the wily ways of the airborne terrors. But then it happened to poor Geo. Geo, who is unflappable, was stung by the bitter beak of airborne bullies.

We were sitting on our patio, enjoying a glass of wine and probably a conversation about why I can't wear two different shoes if both are equally cute. I noticed a tiny pile of comically miniature poop on our patio table. I tried googling from what creature the poop might have come, when Geo announced "I'm going to open the umbrella to keep the sun out. Is that cool?"

I replied "Ha! Yeah, as long as a bat or something doesn't swoop out."

And then, as if I had conjured up the beast myself, a bat SWOOPED out of the umbrella. Geo ran for the hills. I ran, much slower, and hid behind him; swatting at the unholy beast that I figured was trying to nest inside my unwashed hair.

I know a bat is not a bird. I know a bat is like, I don't know, a vampire or a rat or something. But whatever. It had wings and it was OUT FOR BLOOD.

What I've learned from this summer is that birds are not our friends. They don't make cute chirping noises to talk to each other about fun new worm spots or to spread juicy gossip about that one blue jay who we ALL know is just out to get some tail. They are, in fact, talking about how they will destroy the human race.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Move it, Ladies!

Listen, I don't want to sound like a traitor to my own gender, but ladies...for the love of God...we have GOT to get it together behind the wheel.

In a very unscientific research project lasting approx 3 weeks, I have been mentally tracking the number of moron drivers who turn out to be female. Results? 99%. Every time I'm behind a driver who slams on the brakes for no discernible reason or fails to Go on Green, it's a woman. Every person who drifts over into my lane on the highway? It's a woman. Every 50-mph driver in the left lane is a woman; and the driver pulling out in front of me nearly clipping 6 or 7 cars in the process? Driver with a vagina.

It's so very depressing. I get this tight knot in my stomach every time I have to slam on my brakes, honk my horn or swerve to avoid crashing into a person who has inexplicably stopped in the middle of the road, and I think - nay, I PRAY - "Don't be a woman, don't be a woman." But it ALWAYS IS.

I've tried to reason my way through this by supporting my sex. I'll think "Clearly, women are bad drivers because we are SO busy defying gender norms, smashing our way through the glass ceiling and maintaining the delicate balance of being a caretaker and go-getter." But that argument simply cannot hold up every single time.

Of the SIX drivers I yelled at and/or made less-than-ladylike-gestures to today, all were women and none of them seemed to be on the brink of excellence. In fact, they seemed to be all but unaware of the fact that they were in control of a massive vehicle.

Now, I'm not perfect. I'm a very aggressive driver. I tailgate, speed and have zero patience for other drivers in general. But I am very conscious of the drivers around me. I know if there's someone in my blind spot; I get out of the way if a driver is coming up behind me in the left lane and I can move over; I give a very adorable shrug/smile and "Sorry!!!" gesture if and when I make a mistake. I command my vehicle, I don't just let it float around doing whatever it wants on the road.

So what gives, ladies? What's the defect here?I know we are equal to or superior to men in a multitude of other environments (classrooms, board rooms, bathrooms, hospital rooms - what with the whole havin' babies thing - and any room in which we are engaged in a battle of passive aggressiveness), so why not on the road? Why can we just seriously not get it together while driving?

I can't be the only person who has noticed this, can I? Am I just hyper-sensitive to the issue or something? Is it possible that I am the problem?

No. No, I'm NOT the problem.

I don't yak on my phone; I set cruise control when appropriate; I don't spend 45 minutes waiting to turn right from the left lane; there is just no way these bad drivers have anything to do with me.

I hate to say it ladies, but it's you; not me.

Listen, if we're ever going to be taken seriously, the first step is to learn how to drive with authority and awareness. If we keep la-di-da'ing our way through the roads, we are going to do nothing but reinforce the stereotypes against us. So, let's put down the phone, pay attention, remind ourselves about spacial awareness, stop yelling at the kids and just really pay attention. If we don't, we are destined to be categorized as "lesser" for forever.

Maybe men are just dumber better at, like, focusing on only one task at a time. Maybe (for sure) they are better at just kind of zoning out and doing things that make them feel powerful. Or, to be honest, maybe they are just better at driving confidently. Whatever it is, men are not inherently bad drivers.

But sadly, I am inclined to keep it real. And there are too many women who are terrible drivers. Are we too powerful and busy to worry about getting from Point A to Point B or something? Well, reality check: We can't change the world if we are too busy pissing everyone off on our ride to revolution. So listen...it's not going to do us any good to be super amazing, powerful people if we kill or anger 73 motorists on the way to rule the world. So, let's go ahead and just get it together, shall we?

Monday, July 14, 2014

I got robbed!

To the gentleman or lady who broke into my car this weekend -

I couldn't help but notice that you made a decision to rob me on Friday night. Silly me: I thought that my car was safe in a Sioux Falls, SD driveway for 12 hours while I attended a wedding at which I danced without a care. But you knew better. Did you see the wedding invitation on my front seat? Were you smart enough to read that and SEE that I would be gone for a couple hours? I really doubt it. I doubt it because, based on your efforts, you are an idiot.

A part of me - a big part - is mad at you. How DARE you sneak around Geo's parent's house in the dark, trying to unlock doors to cars that are tucked way back away from the street?! How DARE you dig through MY stuff and pick and choose your way thought my belongings? How DARE you think my Kate Spade travel mug wasn't worth stealing? What kind of monster are you!?

I'll admit it: I may have been so distracted by the wedding and the 7 hours of driving I would do in less than 24 hours. Did I forget to lock my car? I can't say. After a decade of living in Minneapolis and parking on the street, locking my doors is something I do as a habit so it's not really a conscious effort anymore. But lucky you! You found a way in.

I'm sure you are concerned, stranger, about how I reacted upon realizing I had been robbed. You must be worried sick about how my feelings and sense of security has been affected. See, Geo and I were driving back to Rochester on Saturday morning when I asked Geo to get my bluetooth speaker dealy that lets me listen to podcasts through my radio during my long drives. He couldn't find it.

Then I noticed something. An empty Altoids tin was in my cup holder. My Altoids tins - even the empty ones - are usually hoarded in my center console armrest thing, so I wondered how it got into the holder. And then I noticed that a cosmetic bag of change I have, which I use for absolutely nothing because there are no quarters left in it and pretty much no one accepts pennies, pesos, Chuck E Cheese tokens and nickels anymore. I just tossed the bag on the floor under the seat. But that too was gone.

Fun fact, kind robber: That money is disgusting. Before I put it all into a cosmetic bag while wearing a Ziploc baggie on my hand, it once sat in that same cup holder frozen by diet Coke I spilled in it back in October. It was in there for MONTHS, rotting away and probably growing syphilis and tetanus. SCORE, buddy. Enjoy the $8.23 that was probably in there. You should probably save it to take care of the medical bills and testing you now require. And remember: I had already taken all the quarters out for gas station vacuum cleaners.

Once I realized my poisonous change and my ride-saving speaker thing were both gone, I lost it. Someone had definitely robbed me. Someone was in my car without my permission, digging through stuff. I was irate. And then I was laughing hysterically.

How BUMMED were you, robber? My car is a deep, dark trench of useless crap. Old mix CDs melted by the sun; empty Altoids tins (hahaha! I bet you thought I KEPT stuff in there! What, like diamonds and wads of cash?!), a wallet insert with pictures of my nieces and nephews from 8 YEARS AGO; stinky gym shoes; 12 hoodies that I keep in there for mornings when I drive Geo to work and forget to put on a real shirt; six toys from Happy Meals that do random stupid things that I can't bring myself to toss. Hahaha! You idiot! You broke into a hoarder's car! 

Well, to be fair, you did steal my speaker thing, and I really freakin' loved that thing. I used it all the time and will send bad karma your way every time I turn on the pricey replacement I had to get later that day. And I'm really scared about what I CAN'T remember was in my car. I don't know what I kept in that center console. I didn't itemize the belongings I tossed behind me on my way home from work. I can't remember if you stole more than you did, and that is almost as unnerving as realizing that some a$$hole was in my car looking though everything.

So I guess you win. I'll be thinking about you for a long time. Every time I get in my car, I'll know someone was in there, but I won't know who or for how long or what you'll use all MY stuff for. You've probably never given me a second thought: just a chick with a thing for sweatshirts, garbage and apparently sweet taste in technology.

Then again, maybe I did win. You didn't think to pop the trunk where Geo's golf clubs, a cordless drill and some pretty dope rollerblades from 1996 were hiding.

Anyway, I hope it was worth it. I hope you went and bought whatever you couldn't afford with the stuff I had sitting in my car. And I hope that whatever it is breaks, is stolen or laced with something. But, you know, lesson learned. I will now be vigilant about locking my doors and keep all my change in a tube sock in my purse so I can hit you with it if I ever figure out who you are.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hey, Ho! You're Fo!!

OMG!!! It's Pharonsquare's 4th birthday!!! Can you even believe it? I've been spilling this drivel online for an absurd FOUR YEARS now and somehow keep tricking you guys into coming back. I feel like I should have grown and have some important life lessons to share with you now.

But I don't. Instead, I have evidence that I threw a surprise party...for my blog. That's the same as totally being a grown-up, right?!

Here comes my blog. She has a blindfold on and has NO idea what's about to happen...shhh!


Hehehe...SURPRISE!!!!!!!!

Hooray!!! Pharonsquare, it's your birthday!!! Now, let's get you something to wear:

BALLLLLLER!!! Now, onto the treats!!
Oh, Pharonsquare, thanks, but I can't eat that giant Costco cupcake because I ate 6 1/2 pounds of delicious bread today. But you! Go ahead and enjoy, lady!!

So....yeah. That's kind of all I had planned. What should we do now?
Great idea! I'll drink some wine while you browse Reddit. And then we'll do something SUPER FUN!

Shoot, hold on, blog. Let me quick watch this ep of Pretty Little Liars. Can you entertain yourself?
Whoa, nice scarf you've knitted, Pharonsquare! Gimme like 15 more minutes of just watching TV and then we'll party. Do you have a book or something you can read?

Okay, just lemme....hold on....I was going to plan something big here, but. Wait. Yes, no, wait 'til commercial break. Sorry, just one more second....

Oh hey! Look at you! You've gone and won a trophy!!! And a BLOGGY, nonetheless! What's that say? "Pharonsquare: Boringest Blog"? Oh, well, okay. That's cool, right?! Congrats!!

Well lady, it's been a priiiiiiiiiitty important day full of super fun Fun and surprises. I gotta say: I'm exhausted from all the crazy fun Fun we've had and all the awesome surprises. Mind if I just nod off here on the couch? Cool...


Well, Happy Birthday, Pharonsquare. Four years is a long ass time to do anything, but thanks to all my crazy readers who keep checking in and motivating me to keep writing. You guys are the real heroes...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Eye Sore

My sister Prinna Gchatted me last week with this helpful reminder: "Don't sleep in your contacts, Pharon. I just got back from the eye doctor and turns out, that's super bad."

Most people probably wouldn't need this reminder. But I spent approx 10 months straight, sleeping in my contacts and having a piece of plastic inadvertently glued to my eyeballs during college because I thought "Hey, college girls have enough trouble navigating their dark apartments at 4 a.m. for a glug of water from the bathroom sink with a bloodstream full of Kamikaze shots. Why add near-sightedness to the equation?"

But I have since stopped doing that and diligently take my plastic miracles out every night. However, I'm not so good with the "then throw the plastic away when they are covered with calcium deposits and your eyes start burning with every blink," part of the contact maintenance plan.

So it was not surprising that my last pair of contacts was littered with calcium deposits. Every blink was equivalent to walking in the summer while wearing a dress and having your inner thighs grab on to each other for dear life. It was unpleasant.

I spent a few weeks wearing my glasses to avoid the painful chore of seeing. It was fine. People thought I was smart. I felt like I could do math. But I was getting blinded by sunlight and hangovers were tough to hide when, instead of my baggy eyes being covered by stunna shades, they were magnified by 4-inch thick lenses.

I knew I had to go to the eye doctor. But I kept putting it off because I didn't know where to go. Geo insisted "Just go to Mayo!" which is where our insurance apparently lives. However, I am boycotting Mayo because...well, just because. So I googled "eyeball fixers" and found a place nearby. I called on Friday, had an appointment on Monday.

I hate eye appointments. I do. They make me feel like the last stop of the Survival of the Fittest test. At my appointment, the lady was all "Okay, take off your glasses. Now look ahead of you and tell me if you can read what's on the screen." I saw some sort of shape with some black spots inside it, which I could only assume were letters." I lied and said "I can almost make out the bottom line" because I didn't want to be excused to the extinction line.

Then she very quietly laughs and says, "Okay, you can put your glasses back on." So I do and I see that the shape in front of me is actually a picture of one giant E. That's it. There are no top lines, bottom lines, or anything even resembling anything besides one stupid letter. I had failed. It's been nice knowing you, evolution.

Whatever...the appointment continues and the results are in: I have terrible eyesight and will forever be a stain on the dreams of a perfect civilization. But to make matters worse, a man then reminds me that, as is the case in every other nightmare eye appointment, I'll have to have my eyes dilated.

For those of you who don't know what that means, it basically means that they drop some horrific drops into my eyes, my mascara smears down my face and suddenly my pupils are the size of Mars. I'm like an anime character. Oh, and with all that light pouring into those engorged pupils, I also can't see anything between my nose and whatever is like 2 feet in front of me. "Will I be okay to drive home?" I ask. The doctor says "Sure. You don't live far, right?" Yeah. Because you only need sight when you are driving across the country.

Anyway, I have myself a brand spankin' new pair of contacts and (literally) a better outlook on everything. And I made myself the same promises I make myself after every eye appointment: I WILL take care of these eyeballs of mine. I WILL avoid the calcium deposit debacle. I WILL look into Lasik.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Nobors

Okay, so I've been off the blog scene for a minute. SO MUCH has happened. Oh wait, no. Almost nothing has happened. But, I DID make it through the toast at Madeline's wedding with zero drama. It was short, sweet, and only sort of awkward. It was...a non event. Score.

So back to real life. Geo and I actually drove into the Cities tonight to have dinner with some pals and I had a lobster roll that did NOT taste like it came from the ocean then loaded onto a boat, into a truck, into a freezer, into a restaurant warmer and then into my mouth hole a week later. It was DELICIOUS.

We drove back to Rochester afterward and I was a bit (super) bummed and missing Minneapolis. As we pulled into our little complex, I saw the lights on at our neighbors' house. I was intrigued. Thurs. night at 11 p.m. and they were still up. I wish we were friends.

See, there are a couple guys who live two doors down from us. The only things I know about them are that they have a giant TV (the box is in their garage), grill, drink a lot of beer, watch football in the fall and one of them has devil sticks that he likes to play with after work on his balcony. I've wanted to be friends with these guys for MONTHS.

Geo thinks they are on weird and on serious drugs. He cites, primarily, the devil sticks. He tells me they are bad news and we don't need to mess with them. That only makes me want to be friends with them EVEN MORE.

I've always loved knowing my neighbors. I mean, my first friend in life was Claire, who lived right next door to me growing up. From there, I went to the dorms where no one ever closed their doors and everyone was always welcoming guests. Then I moved back to Minneapolis in an apartment building where I knew my neighbor was a hoarder and caused the major mouse infestation in the building. When I moved in with three guys, we knew our neighbor was CRAY and would start fights with her boyfriend only to chase him out into the street and fight in public for our amusement.

I love knowing who my neighbors are.

But here, I am left to make my own assumptions because no one wants to talk to me wants to socialize.. The 50-year-old guy to the right of me has a baby who cries all day long and the dude tears out of the parking lot listening to very loud hip hop. I assume he is the most terrible parent of all time...or the deafest person who can't hear his child screaming bloody murder at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and then at 4 p.m. because his World's Worst Rap album is set on 11. The people immediately to the left can't figure out their garage door and always leave it 25 percent open. That's all I know about them. I assume they are in some sort of cult because I've never seen them and they seem pretty stupid.

Then there's the two-doors-down guys. They are young and have a bunch of friends who come over and watch sports and barbecue all in the comfort of their front patio overlooking everything. They are out there for the world to see. Hiding nothing. Are THESE the kind of guys that are on drugs? I think not.

And yet, Geo frowns on the idea of me strolling over some afternoon and asking them to hang out. Maybe it's their tie-dyed "curtains" that hang askew in the front of their house or maybe it's the strong "LSD-y" vibe he gets from them, but I don't care. They seem like the best time I've seen in Rochester ever and I need to make it happen.

So tell me: How does a gal approach a house of dudes with whom she'd like to hang out without her husband getting mad or coming off as a creep? I'll admit, I'm a tiny bit afraid of the devil sticks, but I'm 100 percent sure I could get used to it. And I'm 200 percent sure I wouldn't regret getting to know them. What do you think? Should I head over there?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Public speaking/Nuclear Meltdown

I'm nervous. I'm stupid-nervous. In five days, I have to give a speech, and I HATE giving speeches and I'm BAD at it. See, it really only occurred to me on Saturday that, as my friend Madeline's Maid of Honor, I'm supposed to give a toast at her wedding this weekend. Is there ANYTHING WORSE than listening to a bad wedding speech? I argue that there is not.

At my wedding, my sister Padrin gave the most epic MOH speech that has ever been delivered. It had all the elements of a good speech: the story about Geo and me, some tips for the future and a couple funny jabs...ALL SET TO A SONG. It was delicious and one of my favorite moments from the wedding. It was Padrin's speech that made me realize that a MOH toast can make or break the mood.

The only other time I've given a wedding toast was when I was 21 and my sister Prinna's MOH. I was half-drunk and fully nervous. I remember a blur of activity, then standing up, then sitting down. I don't remember anything that happened while I was publicly speaking. It was only when I sat down that Padrin nudged me and said "You didn't say a toast! You just told a story!" So I had to stand back up and hold my empty champagne glass in the air and say "OH YEAH! Toast! I mean, cheers!" or something to that effect.

So the panic is really setting in for Madeline's wedding. I KNOW I'm not a good public speaker. I could WRITE a great speech and then have someone else deliver it and probably come home a hero. But even reading a word-for-word dictation of something I've written is too much for me to handle. If you are not a nervous public speaker, allow me to explain what happens:

First, there is massive anxiety about the logistics of even getting up in front of an audience. Will the microphone be handed to me, or do I need to find one? Will it squeal when I talk into it? How will people know to look at me? Should I wave my hands? Will waving my hands make me look like a lunatic? Note to self: Probably do NOT wave hands.

Then the first words come out: They are shaky and uneven and either too loud or too soft. In a split second, I'm looking into eyeballs of people who I'm SURE are judging me. They feel bad for me or think I'm boring or expecting something much better than I have to offer. Wait, what was I even saying into the microphone?

OMG, is that really MY voice? It sounds so nasal and obnoxious. Stop listening to your voice and focus on the words that I am, undoubtedly, delivering with monotony. Is that person asleep back there?

Okay, focus on the words. Try to lighten up. It's just a speech to a bunch of people. What's the worst that could happen? Holy crap, did I just swear? I can't even tell. I'm not longer in my body. I'm somewhere very far away where I'm wearing sweatpants and laying on a couch. No! Did I just say that out loud?

Yes, alright, we're in the homestretch. It's my last note card. Try to smile...it's almost over. Ah! Is there something in my teeth? What's that random pain in my left pinky toe? Am I having a stroke? Can everyone see how much I'm sweating? They can. They can all see it. I'm dripping onto the note card. Is that "love" or "liver"? Black. I can't see anything and I can't help but wonder what will happen if I faint. Will someone catch me? Will everyone think I'm a drama queen? Will I get a concussion that will turn me into a serial killer?

Wait, what was I saying?

Oh yeah, don't forget the TOAST part. When it's all done, remember to say "cheers" or something. Don't just sit down. Don't just sit down.

Great, now I'm standing up like a dummy while everyone expects me to say more. Quick, make a very uncomfortable joke, maybe it's a little offensive, and sit down. The worst is over. Until the wedding video comes out.

So, basically, I've got my work cut out for me. I've got everything else ready (the dress, the jewelry, the shoes, the confidence to showcase my gigantor arms in public) but this speech is going to take some more work. I better get to it.

If you have any ACTUAL tips for how to not be a nightmare while public speaking, please share in the comments! I need all the help I can get!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Vegas, Babies?

Well, I made it, you guys. It took me over a week to recover, but I made it back from Las Vegas in one piece. It was FUN. I wish I had some crazy stories about craziness, but I don't. And even if I did, I think I'm contractually obligated to not share. You have no idea how rigid that "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" statement is.

So now that my feet are back on firm, non-disgustingly-Vegas-y ground, I've had a chance to get back to real life. Oh, and did I mention that my sister-in-law had a baby while I was working on my second nerve-wrecked cocktail in the Denver airport during a layover to Vegas? Yup, I've got another baby to spoil stupid. If there was a giant shoe, I'd live in it with all my nieces and nephews. It's a brood y'all.

Which brings me to tonight's blog topic. Babies. There are a million of them growing in the bellies of my friends these days. Just about every girl I know is no fun anymore and can't slug back wine with me for the next however-many months.

It really makes a girl think.

I always thought that whole "All my friends are pregnant," phenomenon only happened in movies that star Kate Hudson or something. But no, it's a very real thing, and it's SUUUUPER STUPID because just about all my friends are now pregnant.

Listen, I know. I'm no spring chicken. I'm 100 years old, and by all medical accounts, I'm probably nothing more than a vessel for dying eggs and dashed dreams. And to be honest, I've always been quiet on this subject. I don't like to talk about reproduction plans. Primarily, it's Gross. Ew. Secondly, it's no one else's business. But if there's one thing I like, it's forcing people to take part in my business.

See, this whole baby thing has not been on my list of To Do's yet. I still feel like I'm 22 years old and having kids has always been a distant priority behind finishing this glass of wine, getting a haircut and learning how to talk to grownups without using the phrase "Baller!!!"

Then, what? I move to Rochester and people are like, "Well, Pharon's in transition. Let's rub it in her face and make the Ultimate Settling Down move!" Rude, you guys! RUDE! I like JUST got married. Geo still has Thank You cards to write, for crying out loud.

Yeah, it's a big deal. But part of me feels like I'm being bullied into even THINKING about this because I don't want to be late to this weird baby party people seem to be so crazy about. And if there's one thing I know, it's that being late to a party is almost (ALMOST) worse than being the first to show up. So of course, my social butterfly instinct kicks in and I'm halfway to shoving a pillow up my shirt and proclaiming "I'm here, you guys!! I'm also at this party!! Where's the bar?!" But that would probably give me away...

Anyway, it's been on my mind lately, and not by choice. I can't help but resent my friends for making such a big move without even TALKING to me about it. It's like if all your friends went out and got a face tattoo of a robot without telling you. It's not like you want to run out and GET a robot face tattoo, but you can't help but wonder why everyone else has one and what it means that you are not booking an appointment with a tattoo artist.

However, if there's one thing that Vegas has taught me, it's that essentially, no one has to do anything they don't want to do. In fact, everyone can to do whatever they want, whenever they want; they just have to find the right place. Which means I just need to get a whole new group of friends.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Vegas

Hi. I'm in Las Vegas. It's fun. I'm scared that it's TOO fun. I'll keep you all posted. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sun and smoke: Evil elements

So, next week I'm heading out to Vegas for a bachelorette party for my dear, dear friend, Madeline. I'm physically in no condition to be in Vegas. Let's face it...Minnesotans take a little more time than the average person to adjust to exposing any sort of pasty white skin after being tucked behind sweatpants and sweaters all winter. So yesterday was super nice and sunny. I sat on our deck (which I LOVE)  to try and rejuvenate myself and remind myself what air feels like on skin. Unfortunately, I ended up with a majorly uneven, raging sunburn on my shoulders. If you're following me on Instagram, you've seen the proof.

But yeah...I had forgotten that sun can COLOR skin whilst warming it. I had on a black tank top, but forgot to shift when the sun shifted, hence the VERY unbalanced and burny color I got. The point is, I have no idea what will happen to my skin and body in Vegas. So, I decided tonight to focus on my money-maker. My face.

See, I've learned to anticipate its clever surprises and hilarious balance of wrinkles and acne. I like to keep it protected from the sun (and makeup), so I'd like to think my face is the one factor that won't ruin everyone's pictures. I took the opportunity tonight to try and perfect a classic makeup technique that I figure I will just really rely on during my Vegas trip.

The smokey eye.

It's allegedly "easy." It's allegedly "chic and sophisticated." So I checked out this easy tutorial on YouTube. The girl is gorgeous, and I'd like to look just like her. All it takes is some eye makeup, right? Anyway, the vid is 10 minutes long, so you don't need to watch it, but this is supposed to be the end result:



I started with this hot piece of ace:
 Twenty five minutes later? NAILED IT.
Oh yeah...check out the way that the black eyeshadow darts out of the corner of my eyes like a dirty exhaust pipe. I used 6 different eyeshadows to achieve this very advanced look of "OMG, are you okay!?" I'm particularly proud of the clever way I've applied my fake eyelashes in a U shape. It really accentuates that extreme V line I made with the black eyeshadow to make my eyes go UP instead of being all "not up" and sad. I know...miraculous illusion.

Well, looks like I'm all set for Vegas! I've got the unfortunate sunburn, the killer eye makeup routine...what more could a girl need?!

P.S. Geo just got home from some extracurricular activity he does and said "I can't take you seriously. You like the worst Black Swan ever." Score!