Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Bad hair (and body and nails) day

It took roughly 3 months, but I finally made a hair appointment to add some aubergine tones (that's a thing) to my hair. I know what you're thinking: "But Pharon, is that enough time to think through such a DRASTIC decision?!" and I know you're being sarcastic, but trust me: It still felt like I made the decision on a whim. Especially because my normal hair girl was unavailable so I had to go with a sub. So yeah, I'm scared.

But guys? Salons are not my friends. They aren't. Some of my worst decisions have been made in a salon.

I suppose it started, as all bad appearance-based decisions do, in high school. I was a fresh-faced Sophomore attending my first formal dance. My parents had allowed me to go get the much-coveted "up do" at a fancy Edina salon. I told the 80-year-old stylist I wanted to look "classy. Mature, even." I walked out of there with this:

That right there is a giant French twist with some suuuuper classy face-framing spiral curls. I looked like an adolescent Giada Di Laurentiis. I'm surprised I didn't fall over more, considering the massive size of my head and my pre-beer 90-pound body. I don't know math, but I know that physics and gravity were working against me.

After that came several other no nos: the misguided blonde phase, the time I cried and kicked a pedicurist who had the gall to touch my feet, the regrettable hair-stripping incident when I sat under a hot dryer with green goo slipping down my face as it got rid of my gothic-black dye.

OH! And there was the time when, as a full-fledged adult, I went to a spa for a body polish. That's where they lay you down in a dimly-light room while a lady in a white coat turns on calming music, slips some lavender oil between her hands and then roughly sloughs off all the dead skin from your body. I was such a nerd that I got in the salon's shower with my underwear on because I was paranoid someone would walk in on me rinsing the top 3 layers of my skin off and be like "HAVE SOME DECENCY, WOMAN!"

I'm just not cool when it comes to pampering. I am too antsy; too talkative; too nervous; too self-conscious. I don't say, "No, Ethel, that French twist is insane," or "So how do I shower?" I'm like a middle-aged fedora-wearing gamer. No social skills or awareness.

Also? Can we talk about salon politics?! I never feel worse than when I make an appointment with someone other than my main stylist; it's like being caught at a speed-dating event by the person you're married to. Then, like, you SEE your stylist and she smiles at you and is super cool, but deep down, you're thinking, "I'm a traitor and the next time I see her, she has every right to 'accidentally' chop off all my hair." That on top of the pressure of doing tipping math in my head is enough to keep me away from the salon for 9-12 months.

Oh, and is there ANYTHING worse than chatting during a hair-drying phase? You have to literally YELL over the sound (lest you be rude and just stay silent) and then they turn the dryer off and it becomes crystal clear that you have been screaming about your weird rash thing for 10 minutes.

So anyway, here I am, heading into the firing squad with a dream of aubergine hair and no actual knowledge about how to tell a perfect stranger what I want. You can't just be like "here's a picture" because then they'll be like, "Okay, well this is Selena Gomez. And you...do not have Selena Gomez's hair. Or complexion. Or any other feature even SORT of resembling Selena Gomez. Also, you're old."

Then there's the risk that your version of aubergine is someone else's version of cherry, or that "subtle-yet-noticeable" to you is not the same as it is to someone who isn't paying $200 for hair paint. Really it's all just a big coin flip at this point, and that makes me scared. Which is weird because I can't even DO my hair...or my makeup...or put an outfit together, so you'd think I just don't really care. But I DO care. And it's not like I'm going to speak up...I'll walk out of there gushing about my Bozo hair done up in a French twist like a Kardashian gushing about lip injections.

I guess we'll see what happens. Chances are, the change will only be noticeable to me; on the other hand, I could also wind up looking like someone who works at Hot Topic. Oh well, at least I'll know what to do with my underwear this time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

If you give a mouse a paper towel...

My fear of mice is well documented. There are few things -- and zero creatures -- that frighten me more than mice. People tell me I'm silly. But to those people, I say: SHUT UP. People I know are afraid of snakes or getting fat or the dark and I don't make fun of THEM (to their faces).

Anyway, here we are. Right at prime mice-decide-to-invade-everyones-homes-because-they-are-dicks season. It's getting colder, and these disgusting vermin are all "Well, time to enjoy a nice cozy home without paying ANY RENT." They spill in through holes the size of dimes and then have a zillion disgusting babies and it's the WORST.

So okay. It's that time of year which means I am on CONSTANT alert. I've all but stopped doing laundry in our basement; I've spent more time cleaning than I have Netflixing (nah, that's impossible). I've sent Geo to the hardware store multiple times to buy more and more mousetraps. I've had our landlord move this pile of wood away from our house because that is a known haven for the heinous creatures. I wake up every day with one mission: watch out for mice.

So far, I've been successful.

Then last week, I realized how foolish I had been. I have a punching bag in our garage and I go out there to work out in between rounds of carb- and wine-loading. I had been so busy congratulating myself for taking 45 minutes out of my laying around time to work out that I never considered what a hellish environment I was in.

Picture this: a cold, detached garage full of "stuff" that's warmer than outside: blankets, cars, cardboard boxes, garbage I can't be bothered to put in the bin and instead throw on the the ground.

So okay, one day last week, I was out there working out. I have wireless earbuds so I can have vulgar, violent music drive me through my workout without destroying the precious childhoods of my neighbor's kids, but on this day, an earbud fell out and it was immediately clear to me that I was in a very quiet room. Then the lights shut off after like 15 minutes and I realized how dark it was in there. I went to turn the light back on and I saw it: not a mouse, but EVIDENCE OF A MOUSE.

It was a paper towel roll sitting on a shelf, chewed through and surrounded in mouse poop. I immediately called off the rest of my workout, ran inside and tearfully crafted a text to Geo that said "I'm sorry, I know I'm a baby, but there are mice in the garage and I need you to buy all the poison that exists in the world."

I avoided the garage for like a week...only going in when it was absolutely necessary to get my car. I would open the garage, wait outside and remote-start my car to give the disgusting creatures the time to run out of the garage and/or interior of my car. Most times, I just parked on the street.

However, I have a wedding and a trip to Cali coming up, and the Rochester weight I put on won't seem to go away on its own, no matter HOW many times I eat salad BEFORE a plate of ranch noodles, so I had to get back out to the garage.

I went in there today, averted my eyes from every nook and cranny to avoid seeing anything I wasn't prepared to handle, punched louder, breathed louder, and basically scream-sang along to all my music. I was panicking the whole time. At one point, the light shut off and I just kept going in the semi-dark because I couldn't handle seeing that paper towel roll again. It was the worst workout of my life; but considering how much I sweat and panicked, it probably was the best one as well.

Anyway, while I have yet to see an actual MOUSE, the fact that they are DEFINITELY interested in living in our space has been enough to make me crazy. And now they have a taste for our sweet, sweet paper towels...

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Why your Christmas lights (might) suck

I LOVE the holidays, you guys. Mostly, I love looking at decorations that go up everywhere. And even though I'm not a HUGE seasonal decorator inside my home, I do have have a few Christmas-y knick knacks I display around my empty wine bottles, dirty socks and Lean Cuisine boxes.

But one of my favorite things to do this time of year is to put up Christmas lights. Holiday lights. Hanukkah lights. Whatever. LIGHTS! I love them. They are THE accessory of the season. The problem is that way too many people are ruining everything by putting up the worst lights ever. Listen, if you're going to do something to draw attention to your house, those of us who have to look at it get to judge. Here are some of the worst offenders.

Mismatched lights: When you get ready to go out for dinner, you don't put on delicate pearl earrings, an enormous turquoise bedazzled bracelet on one hand and some plastic green cuff on the other, then pile on 16 different-colored friendship necklaces. But that's exactly what it looks like when people put up stupid mismatched lights. A multicolored bush with a single blue tree and white icicle lights on your windows? If those houses could talk, they'd be screaming "the people the people the people!" (what up, Sally Field in that movie where she's skitzophrenic!) Pick a color, a theme, ANYTHING and go with it.

Haphazard lights: No one is MAKING you put up lights. You're not a teenager doing dishes, which means you don't have to $hit all over the job you're doing to try and prove a point. If you are going to go through the effort of putting lights up, put them up right. Don't just throw a string in a tree and call it a day. Putting lights on your actual house? Do it symmetrically and securely. Take an extra 30 minutes and have some pride in yourself and your home, for God's sake!

Nonsense lights: I have a neighbor who put up the most random lights I've ever seen. There's a strand of white hanging down on one side, then they curl over the other side, outlining a window. From the center of the house, a giant green strand juts out in front of the house and (in white lights) winds around a tree trunk in the middle of their yard. What. The. Eff. Do better, neighbors.

Partially-working/partially-flashing lights: Test your lights, people! If they aren't all working, don't put them up. If a strand burns out, put your big kid pants on, buy some new (matching) lights, and switch them out. And if you insist on having seizure-inducing flashing lights, have some respect and make sure the flash for a reason. If one chunk is flashing but none of the others are flashing, you could be inviting aliens to come invade us via morse code. Do you WANT to be responsible for an alien apocalypse?!

So that wraps it up. Don't do any of those things or I'll come over and cut the power to your whole house. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ew de Toilet

Being married is, for the most part, very very fun. I get to hang out with one of my favorite people on the planet pretty much every day. I love it.

But guys? It's also kind of hard sometimes. For a few months now, Geo and I have been locked in a battle that we cannot see eye-to-eye on, and recently I had the same debate with three men who all agreed with my beloved. I feel close enough to you guys that I want to share our marital dispute in the hopes that you'll take MY side: It's the toilet seat. He suddenly decided that it's cool to leave it up; I have tearfully pleaded with him that it is in fact, NOT COOL.

Quick note: I am limiting my argument to #1 because that's what people do most often. Also because otherwise: gross.

Here's his argument, which I'm sure many men will agree with. He states, and I quote, "If we have to put the seat down, it's more work for men. We have to pull the seat up and then put it back down again. Women just have to put it down if we leave it up."

Yeah. His argument is that it's more work.

Here is my two-pronged counter argument: 1) Girls have to do more work to pee anyway and 2) There are only repercussions for GIRLS when the toilet seat is in the wrong position.

1) Men, as far as I understand it, have to lift a seat, pee, lower the seat, flush and then go back to earning 15% more than women. Women, on the other hand, have to nearly disrobe, turn around, sit down, get some toilet paper, perform the proper wiping procedure or risk some medical consequences, stand up, pull pants up, turn around, flush and then stand in front of the mirror dissecting the imperfections of our faces while washing out hands.

Do we REALLY need to add another step to that process? No.

Also, I should note that although most couples I know have a very equal relationship regarding men and women doing housework, women, I have found, are more likely to CLEAN the toilet. I certainly get that honor in our house. Though, it should also be noted that after 2 years of cleaning toilets twice a day in the toddler room of a day care where I used to work, I really don't mind it. In fact, I prefer to do it myself so I KNOW it's clean. But at the end of the day? It's work.

Point: me.

2) There are zero consequences if a seat is down for men. They don't accidentally pee all over the bathroom or something if the seat is down. If a seat is UP, women run the risk of FALLING IN THE TOILET. It's happened to my friends and I fear it's only a matter of time before it happens to me.

The simple answer, which I have unsuccessfully proposed, is for everyone to put the seat and the cover down all the time. Also, this protects particles from inside the toilet from being released into the air. (It's not scientific, but it's the idea of it...) It's a very progressive and feministic approach: equal work for men and women.

What do you guys think? Do I win? I win, don't I?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

One Broke Show

I'm going to teach a math class today. Or, at least, math as I understand it. And that is in relation to TV.

Tonight I stumbled on the worst show in the history of TV and to prove how bad it is, I'm actually going to use a calculator and try to access that lonely, forgotten part of my brain that once knew basic addition. That's how much I need you to understand how bad this show is.

That show is 2 Broke Girls and it made me want to pull my teeth out one-by-one.  (Look at me, using numbers in casual conversation!) I happened to catch the last 5 or 10 minutes of the show and was so completely disgusted I watched the next episode to prove my point. The things I do for you guys...

The premise is, not surprisingly, very simple. Two girls, one formerly rich and the other formerly a drug-addicted prostitute or something, work at a disgusting diner that appears to serve Russian food and cheesecake. The drug girl can bake cupcakes so they, being super broke, borrow money and open a cupcake shop.

Whatever. Not the worst premise for a show.

But let's check the numbers.

That is a tally of how many lines were said in the episode I cringe-ingly watched. It's 242 lines. The tallies on the left are lines that were followed by a laugh track; the tallies on the right are lines without laugh track. And let it be known that I was VERY generous with the data in the latter category: I counted "Yeah," as a full line more than a couple times.

SO! Here's what I discovered. The Max character (drug girl) had 76 laugh-track lines, 23 non-laugh-track lines. The other girl (I never caught her name) had a more appropriate ratio of 37 to 54. The random other characters enjoyed more punchlines than straight lines with a ratio of 32 to 20. In all, there were 145 laugh-track lines and 97 non-laugh track lines.

These numbers tell a few stories, the first of which is that I need to get a life. But additionally, it tells us that by my math, which is almost assuredly wrong but still illustrative of my point, the show uses a laugh track on 149.48 percent of the lines spoken in the show. (Wait, yup that's definitely wrong, I've been thoroughly informed. Whatever. I don't care. The point is that's a LOT more laugh-track lines than normal lines.) 

It also tell us that the non-comedic plot-moving lines make up just 40 percent of the entire show. Even I can see that that is ridiculously low. If this math was a plot line in 2 Broke Girls, there'd be a laugh track kicking in, punctuated by one of the 76 one-liners from the Max character about her mother being an abusive crackhead or performing undesirable sexual acts in exchange for a half-eaten Kit Kat or something.

Further, I should note, not once did I laugh or get surprised by a joke. It was like the sitcom version of the joke "Why did the chicken cross the road?" Every weak pun, casual reference to needle-injected drugs and generic connection between food and sex wasn't just obvious, it was....tedious. The dialogue was so bad it'd almost be funny if it weren't just so depressing.

So, class, what have we learned? We have learned that 2 Broke Girls shouldn't have had more than 2 shows on the air and that the writers on that show are getting paid 149.98 percent too much money. (They should be asked to pay back their salary plus another 50 percent to get their shoddy work on network TV.)

Listen, clearly I'm no mathematician. I'm fine with that. I'm not going to go around asking people to pay me money to write out equations and then force them to applaud my work because that would be ridiculous. If only the writers of 2 Broke Girls had the same scruples.

Pharon Square Rating: 242 Punches to My Face

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How to: Be a low-maintenance chick

In  my never-ending pursuit to make everyone better (a.k.a. more like me), it's time to address high-maintenance chicks.

See, there are lots of women (and men, I know! But I can't help men, they are impossible) who take themselves a little too seriously. They take forever to get ready or need constant attention and flattery or they dominate social media with rants about why their lives are hard. These people are HIGH-MAINTENANCE.

I do not consider myself high-maintenance. At least, not to other people. I take on most of the responsibility of making myself crazy. That's not high-maintenance, that's neurotic. These are two very different things.

Anyway, back to high-maintenance people. See, we all know someone like this. They're the people we are always waiting for because they need way more time to get their physical or psychological selves in order. So go ahead and share this post with them. They may hate you at first, but I'll take the bullet for you because I'll get over it. See? That's low-maintenance, people.

So here are some tips for being low-maintenance:
  • Never take more than 45 minutes to get ready. Any more time than that and you better come out of that bathroom looking like Olivia Pope. To cut back on your routine, I recommend the following:
    • Get back to basics makeup-wise. This is very easy for me because I just don't know how to put on makeup. Tinted moisturizer, bronzer (not ORANGEZER....try to look like the sun kissed your face, not like it took you under the bleachers and made you a woman), some blush and mascara. Maybe some eyeliner if you are feeling bloated and want to keep the attention above your shoulders. The whole process should take you roughly 2 1/2 minutes.
    • Forget about hair styling equipment. A fast drive with your windows down is nature's hair dryer/volumizer.
    • Stick with 3 or 4 standard outfits so you don't have to go through the pesky process of thinking about what to wear or what looks good on your body. Failure to do this can lead to way too much scrutiny and crying fits on your bed with one leg stuck in a too-tight-pair-of-jeans and your hands clutching an empty ice cream container.
  • Stop obsessing about yourself. Accept that what you see is what you get. You can't change anything in a day, so just build a bridge and get over the fact that your hands look old or you don't have as much money as someone else or that you are just kind of a bad person. Deal with it later.
  • I give you permission to leave your house without making sure it's spotless. You really don't have to OCD your way through the house while I'm waiting for you outside in my car, which inevitably has the gas light on.
  • No one cares about your unpopular opinion. Ha! Yeah, I'm sure I've lost a few of you there. But here's my rationale: Generally speaking, the opinions we have on a day-to-day basis are unimportant. Where do you want to hang this picture? Where should we go for happy hour? Don't you LOVE CrossFit? If your opinion on these things is wildly out of touch with normal people (or at least the other people in the conversation), you don't need to start a war over it. If no one likes your opinion, don't freak out: either keep quiet or have better opinions in the future to make things easier on yourself and everyone else. 
  • Stop telling yourself you "can't" do something. I thought I couldn't mow a lawn and was going to wait for Geo to do it. But instead, I figured it out myself...a very low-maintenance person thing to do. If you keep saying "I can't kill spiders," or "I can't drink anything but Kettle One," or "I can't parallel park," then you won't ever step outside your comfort zone. You are setting yourself up to be maintained at a high level (a.k.a. being high-maintenance).
  • When we have free time, Geo always says "We don't HAVE to do ANYthing," meaning that it's definitely okay to sometimes just chill and do nothing. You don't have to fill your every minute with activities. You don't have to stress about meeting imaginary deadlines. You are allowed to just have free time, you know. 
  • Remember: Perfection is EXTREMELY boring. You'll never be perfect, and you really shouldn't try to be. Trust me: you've got flaws. Probably tons of them. But rather than spend 5 hours trying to cover them up every day or obsess over them, just remember that everyone else has 'em too, and you can just make fun of those flaws behind their backs to make yourself feel better. 
No one is necessarily low-maintenance all the time, but no one should EVER be high-maintenance all the time. These people make it exhausting to do anything. Getting rid of some high-maintenance habits can make you -- and your friends/family -- feel so much better. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


It's no secret that since moving back to Mpls, I get to spend tons of time with actual, real-life  people and that's just tops. But I've noticed something...a trend that I didn't ever notice before. At least once per hang out, with just about anyone, the subject of TV is discussed. What are you watching? What's good? What's bad? What's new?

It all inevitably comes up (fine, maybe I'm the one to bring it up most times, but SEMANTICS). And it occurred to me recently that, much like any conversation about any celebrity in the past 20 years, I seem to know a whole lot.

And you know, it's not surprising when people say "Wow, you sure watch a lot of TV." I mean, I do. But the hard part is that I can see how jealous everyone else gets when I go on and on about how I binge-watched Scrotal Recall without regret, and I can read between the lines.

I know that what they actually mean to say is "Pharon, it seems like there's nothing you can't do. You've got a job you love, a social life to be envied by erryone, a rockin' body that you evidently are keeping tucked away underneath that 15-20 pounds of wine and bread (What Would Jesus Eat?), really long hair, better-than-average hygiene, the funniest blog probably on Earth AND a clean house. How do you ALSO manage to watch so much TV?"

Don't feel bad, you guys. I know I lead the kind of life that is simply unattainable by others, and I simply don't expect anyone else to keep up with me. But I also am a natural Helper. I want to help people achieve what comes so naturally to me. So, if you think you are ready to really commit to the rigorous TV-watching lifestyle enjoyed by premier watchers like me, here are some tips to get you started.

  • Have a TV in every room in your house. This way, you can watch something in bed, while cooking, while waiting for your Uber in your foyer. Don't want to put a TV in your bathroom, laundry room or back porch? It's called a PHONE, people, invest in one.
  • Have a work schedule that ends 2 hours earlier than all your friends. That leaves 120 solid minutes to watch Friends reruns and Bloodline without compromising on anything.
  • Make sure all your friends have babies. This ensures any social plans you have with them will end by 8 p.m. Then you can go home, stay up for 4 more hours and never miss a beat.
  • While you're picking your friends and work schedule, also pick a mate that is obsessed with video games. Without the constant need to provide entertainment to someone else, you can focus on TV.
  • Prioritize! I won't lie: Watching a lot of TV does not happen without sacrifices. You may have to put away books you are reading and opt for a boring Wed. workout class instead of a fun Thurs. night one so you don't miss Scandal. But nothing worth doing comes without sacrifice.
  • Clear out the clutter. This means don't waste valuable TV watching time doing meaningless stuff like cooking, having another hobby, putting on pants or mowing the lawn. Save your non-TV time for only social/fun activities.
  • Change your way of thinking. Too many people think TV is just mindless entertainment. But guess what: it's not. There's TONS to be learned on TV, from cooking to home repair to documentaries about Burt's Bees.
  • Expand your horizons. A year ago, I would have never considered myself a wordly person. But I've seen like EVERY British show on Netflix, and now I can exchange pleasantries with the Britishiest of Brits.
  • Pray for rain. No one expects anyone to do anything when it's raining out. Check the forecast and look for clouds. Plan accordingly. 
  • Don't be married to the idea of noticing every. little. detail. Much of my TV time happens in conjunction with another task. Crafting? Paying bills? Writing blogs? Putting on makeup? I can't do these things in silence! Yeah, it's called multi-tasking. Try it.

But the most important thing is that you don't take on too much too fast. It's like a marathon (I imagine). You can't start off running for 100 miles or whatever. You have to start with a little sprint and then a nap or two. But if you stick to it, I know you can succeed in watching as much TV as you want. I believe in you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

8 signs you brush your teeth like Britney Spears (You won't believe #4!!!!)

I'll admit it: I'm the biggest sucker for clickbait. I love anything that promises to tell me what character in Game of Thrones I am based on my salad preference, or why people my age love Tetris, or why I've been eating cereal wrong my entire life. It seems so simple and it makes me feel so...informed and understood at the most superficial and mass-appeal level. And what blogger doesn't LIVE for tons of clicks and low bounce rates?! I want in on that mojo, mofos.

So I bring you:

8 signs you brush your teeth like Britney Spears (You won't believe #4!!!!)

  1. Halfway through, you shave your head, go nuts and finish the job with an umbrella
  2. You feel like recordings of your bathroom renditions of "Hit Me Baby [One more Time]" should go platinum...and then they do
  3. Brushing requires low-slung jeans and a boa constrictor
  4. You use a Sonicare, but then it fell in the toilet. After a few years, you fished it out, however, and found it works better than ever
  5. While brushing, you decide to make a movie about it that is critically panned by everyone but absolutely loved by PharonSquare
  6. All your teeth are 24 karat because everything you touch turns to gold
  7. Kevin Federline is a horrible, horrible memory that you sometimes think about when you look at yourself in the bathroom mirror
  8. You spend at least a few minutes a day thinking about the 80s, when everything was so much easier and more innocent; when Justin Timberlake was just another kid on Mickey Mouse Club and ALF could have been real

Shout out to Quinn Kitchen Miller as the lucky winner of Blog Mad Libs!!! Well done, girl!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A plea for honesty

I'm a flake. I have turned into the very thing that has kept me up in tight fists and angry thoughts all night. Since moving to Minneapolis, I have neglected my most coveted relationships, including this blog. I'm sorry.

But the reason I even know this is because one of my favorite Life People (the people I consider the most important in my life) brought it to my attention. She told me that I have been...not myself. She was kind, concerned, but most of all, honest. She was all "You're kind of being rude, and you kind of need to get your act together."

And thus, the Enlightenment of Truth was bestowed upon me. I thought I was skating by on half-promises and non-committals, thinking I was the only one affected by my weird, new-found behavior of never giving an answer to people. But you know what? That's rude. And irresponsible. But mostly? It's effing rude.

The worst part was that I made myself think that no one else would notice that I never gave a firm answer or made a hard-and-fast decision. I assumed, in my cloudy haze of self-centeredness, that no one else could possibly be more affected by my decisions (or non-decisions, as it were) as me. I somehow mish-mashed this system in my head that if I understood my decisions (or, again, non-decisions), everyone else would understand them as well.

Enter: "Get Over Yourself, Pharon" territory.

I always thought I had this grand self-awareness and clear understanding of social cues. I thought "People who are chronically late think my time is less important than theirs," or "If you say you're going to do something, do it." Then I got all mixed up. I admit it. I got too big for my britches. I started feeling very important and popular and busy, and somehow I decided that I was the only one who really needed to know what was going on. Classic Rude Girl mistake.

Perhaps the most important lesson in all this is that I needed someone (or, fine, three people ) to be honest with me. I needed someone to tell me, calmly and earnestly, that my behavior as of late has been the pits. As in, the armpits of human behaviors. The worst, stinkiest, lackluster-iest of of all behaviors.

I'll admit it: At first I felt mad. I felt attacked. But then I felt ashamed. I was ashamed for being so oblivious to the fact that my actions (or, ugh, AGAIN, non-actions) had consequences. But THEN, I felt empowered. I knew what was wrong, I knew I was being an a$$, and I KNEW I could fix it by just being considerate and trying to get back to the good ol' fashioned Midwestern girl who knew right from wrong. Or rather, right from rude.

I think people are afraid of hearing the truth about themselves, and perhaps we all should be. We can all be monstrous, selfish people (because people are the WORST). But I truly think that if someone is doing something that legitimately negatively affects other people (and can be changed), that person should know about it. And not in a rude, aggressive way, but in the "Listen, I love you, but you need to brush your teeth/stop being a flake/start returning phone calls/stop hoarding shoe boxes," kind of way.

I guess I worry, though, that not everyone will be as receptive and amazing as I was at hearing some hard truths. (Yup, I complimented myself in the midst of this post about me being a flake. I guess I can still muster up some self-righteousness.) People get angry and defensive when they learn that they are not perfect. I think that's human nature, though.

Honesty is a tough row to hoe. It's really not easy, and it takes a lot of thought and care if it's done right. And people don't always want to (or aren't prepared to) hear the truth. Sometimes, they don't really NEED to be told, either. But if, when it really matters, we can learn to be honest -- and not just, like, RUDE honest for the sake of being a d!ck and projecting our own insecurities -- I think we could all feel a little better.

Meanwhile, now I'm terrified that this post will make people feel like it's super okay to have Open Season on Pharon and how I'm just the worst. But keep in mind, people, that honesty is like bread. It can be delicious and nourishing and fill your dinner table with meaningful conversation, but it can also make you ugly and fat if you eat too much.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cutting the cord and other tragedies

Dudes, it's been a rough couple of weeks. Moving, car accident, an absent husband (out of town on a work trip) AND a grownup conversation with my dad about life insurance...it's all just really kind of making me a crazy person with 100 empty bottles of wine in our recycling.

But perhaps the biggest travesty through which I have suffered is the fact that we did it. We cut the cord. We don't have cable anymore.

I'm onboard with it. I really am. I find it absolute highway robbery that we paid $100 a month for TV. I can't stand that. We are a content-consuming population who places value on our entertainment that we would be willing to pay for it if we weren't forced to also buy 600 things we didn't want. We are being controlled by cable companies looking to make money, and it's super dumb. Especially because I spend most of my viewing time watching rerun episodes of Law and Order: SVU, Friends and Chopped. Anyway, for our purposes, cable was ridiculously expensive.

I feel like I was bred to be ready for this. I never had cable growing up. My parents told us that we couldn't have cable because we lived on a creek, and they couldn't dig underneath the creek to get the appropriate connections. It made sense.

But it was all a lie. My neighbors, the Fosters, got cable like the DAY they moved in and I was painfully jealous that they knew what was going on on Hey Dude and I didn't. But the point is, I never really NEEDED cable. I got along just fine without it. I learned all the swear words I needed to learn in high school. Plus, I was too busy being a neurotic teen to even care about what was on TV.

Unfortunately, now it's different. I really kind of depend on cable more than I expected. I have TV on a LOT and playing recordings of shows is just not the same. Also? I just like to have noise happening. Especially when I'm bouncing around unpacking. But when I have to stop every 40 or 120 minutes or whatever to click "Yes, I'm still watching," I feel both annoyed and judged.

Plus, I don't ALWAYS want to have to choose what I watch and just really commit to that. It makes me nervous. There's some theory that Geo has tried to teach me about having too many options: the paradox of choice. It basically says that having too many options is not a benefit to anyone. It creates anxiety and the fear of missing out on something. Both of these things are just the worst in my eyes.

So yes, I'm infinitely glad I can watch Archer and Friends and, like, only 4 seasons of SVU at a moment's notice. But I miss the spontaneity and immediacy of regular TV. Also, I miss things like Rehab Addict and Impractical Jokers and the Daily Show that I just can't get on Netflix.

I don't know what other people do. I'm sure you guys, who are way smarter than me, have found some sort of sweet spot where you aren't selling your blood for cable but you also aren't living in a time 15 months ago. Care to share your secrets with me???

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A fine "howdya do"

Well, it's been, let's see....4 nights since we moved our stuff into our new place in Minneapolis. It's kind of been a whirlwind. So much unpacking, adjusting and generally trying to figure things out. There was some strangeness, to be sure. I've been putting on pants, like, EVERY DAY, you guys. I've seen friends and family without having to then ask to crash at their houses. I BRUSHED MY HAIR this morning! Whaaaa?

But I learned a hard truth today, y'all. A hard truth indeed. No city is without flaw. And this came in the form of a fairly upsetting message.

I got into a car accident this morning.

It was minor. I'm fine, the other dude is fine. The only casualty is the beautiful front bumper of my car, and part of the Americano I had just purchased and snuggled into my cup holder. But a lot happens in the split seconds of a collision. A lot of things run through your mind after even the most minor fender bender that might surprise you. In my case, I had three thoughts. In this order.

1) OMG, I'm an idiot...but also? HE'S an idiot! The city planners are idiots! Everyone's an idiot!!!
2) My parents are going to be sooooo mad!
3) I'm really scared and I literally have no idea what I'm supposed to do.

Obvs, the first thing I did was to call Geo. I got his voicemail. Darn you, important husband who has a job! (He did call me back less than 3 minutes later to make sure I was okay and was not hysterical, which was entirely possible). But then I did what any normal grown woman who owns her own vehicle and is a very mature person does when she is met with a difficult traffic situation. I called my mommy.

I was scared and annoyed at myself and mostly just needed some reassuring words. I was not disappointed. My mom first made sure I was okay, and then with this levity, which in hindsight was just so perfectly appropriate, she said brightly "Welcome back!"

Luckily, my parents weren't mad, and I had a boatload of help figuring out what to do. But the most reassuring thing that I've heard lately came toward the end of my call to my mom. She asked "Do you want me to come over there?"

See, she could have, if I had asked her to. I'm only like 15 mins away. But I'm a grown woman. I can cry after an accident all by my grown-up self. I laughed/sighed and said "No, it's all good," and it really was. I came home, figured out insurance stuff, got back to work and just generally got myself together.

This shockingly upsetting, but almost-non-incident taught me a few things. One? Never try to turn left on Cedar Ave. Ever. Even when you and everyone else on the road thinks it's okay to do so, don't. Two? This is why we change out of pajamas in the morning, people! But most importantly, it taught me that I'm incredibly co-dependent on my friends and family. Is that a bad thing? I don't think so. It helps me keep things in perspective and get my bearings. I don't feel so lost or floopy (which is a word. Check your Friends history, people) when I know I have people around me.

So, anyway, my front bumper is now nestled in my car, a reminder that I am neither perfect nor alone. A reminder that, as my friend Rachel said, this crazy town is not for the weak. A reminder that sometimes your day starts like a big steamy pile of poop and ends up fine and even enjoyable when you know some good peeps.

All this I learned, and we don't even have cable hooked up. Big city livin'! I hope to chalk this up, in the grand scheme of things, as a win.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Moving Experience

Moving. I'm moving. In case you live in Siberia and just got Wifi, I should tell you that this weekend, I'm moving back to Minneapolis from Rochester.

It's been a rough 18 months, to be sure. I've learned a lot about being a wife, being alone, and being a person without ready access to beautiful lakes and nomnom restaurants. However, if I'm being honest, moving has been a little more emotional than I thought it would be. I love our house. I love the fact that I have 4 awesome people in this town who are regularly amazing and sometimes similarly bored and let me hang out with them from time to time. I love that nothing in this town is more than 5 minutes away.

Still, I'm SUPER ready to get back to Minneapolis. If I ever saw those movies about that troll who wants that ring that all the hairy-toed little people have, I'd compare my feelings to that joy the troll has when he gets that ring. (I've literally NEVER watched Lord of the Rings, because that troll and the little hairy-toed people freak me out, but I feel like I kind of get the gist.)

Regardless of where I'm moving to or from, the fact is that moving is definitely the stinky pits.

Turns out, I'm PERFECTLY happy eating nachos off a paper plate with a side of bread buttered with a wooden spoon, in spite of the fact that I have 12 different nacho-specific dishes on which they should be served and at least 8 different kinds of spreaders courtesy of Crate and Barrel. Oh, and spoiler alert: Wine tastes the same out of a plastic cup as it does out of any one of the 8 different types of wine glasses I have. And as much as I love all the clothes in my 4 enormous IKEA bags, turns out I'm totally fine just wearing the few items I've packed into a single suitcase. Also, all my Kate Spade boxes (which I have embarrassingly saved and kept in yet ANOTHER IKEA bag) seem less beautiful when I have to figure out how to fit them into a Subaru Impreza.

So yeah, I have way too much crap everywhere, but it's pretty so I love it! :)

However, it does not escape me that moving with a man is THE. WORST. Granted, I haven't done this before. I've always been extraordinarily immature and individual about moving. I move MY stuff only and ONLY when my mom and sister come over to pack for me.

No more! I'm a wife and grown up now, so I've gotta step up. It kind of sucks because when you move with a spouse, you can't throw away a box of "probably useless documents." You have to pretend it's important to you. You have to look at a Tupperware that has 2 sweaters in it and be like "Is this something you want to save even thought it's incredibly inconvenient?" instead of being like "DOESN'T FIT, THROWING AWAY!" In my moving life, I just throw away stuff that doesn't fit in whatever box I happen to have at the time. Bummer when Geo's like "Yeah, those are my fall golf sweaters. Don't touch that."

Also, he doesn't obsessively wrap every piece of glassware in 23 pounds of paper, so I regularly have to ask him to buy more and more paper and boxes.

Part of me -- actually, an increasingly enormous part of me -- wishes that I would have left all our packing to Geo. He would probably have gotten it done WAY faster and in WAY fewer boxes than me. But I would like to think there would be way more broken vases and mis-categorized tidbit plates. Then again, there probably wouldn't. It's not like we are moving live organs across the Atlantic Ocean before the dawn of modern shipping.

I don't know. I guess in closing, I'll say this: I've been hard on Rochester. But it's been hard on me. It's been 18 months of goose-poop-filled lakes and hanging out alone a lot. And the pervasive amount of chain restaurants has just kind of kicked me in my already-dirt-covered face.

HOWEVER! I have found some amazing friends here, and have learned a lot about myself and my marriage. And for those reasons, I will feel sad tomorrow when we load our crap into a truck to take it back to Minneapolis. I will look out on our patio and think "I won't see these deep dark skies and bright stars at night anymore," and I will dance around in our 2nd bathroom because who knows WHEN we'll have a place with two bathrooms again?

But more than anything, I will remember that I don't need 90% of the Crate and Barrel $hit I registered for.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Potty Humor

Ever since I was a tiny, adorable, bowl-cut-wearin' tyke, I've thought the words "toilet paper" were like the funniest, grossest words ever. I could be in mid-chase of one of my siblings and all he or she would have to do is yell back "TOILET PAPER!" and I'd trip all over my bony body, doubled over in fits of laughter.

I've always had a very visceral relationship with toilet paper. There's something forbidden about it. And, because I was raised in a home where swear words -- and even the phrase "that sucks" -- warranted a major time out/grounding, "toilet paper" was pretty much the naughtiest thing I could ever think of. It thrilled me. It scared me.

Anyway, now that we're moving, "toilet paper" has taken on a whole new importance. It's almost like it's not funny anymore. See, the house we are moving into is your typical amazing home in Minneapolis. Read: Gorgeous, with old plumbing. We were told that the plumbing is as sensitive and volatile as my feet during a pedicure. Ever since I learned of our house's handicapped pipes, I've been very preoccupied with toilet paper. In fact, I've been downright scared. All I can think of is: clogs. They aren't just a fashion no-no anymore.

There is a very big disconnect between modern TP and modern plumbing. They don't work together anymore. Toilets angrily oppose TP and TP insists on getting "stronger" and "thicker" and sorry, but who needs "heavy duty" (doody!) TP? It's like the TP industry and toilet industry were about to get married, but TP got cheated on by the toilet industry and decided to dedicate its entire life to making life miserable for its ex.

Although, I'm pretty sure it's a cultural thing. I mean, in some parts of the world, there is no plumbing. And in that one restaurant I went to once in Mexico, you were prohibido from flushing paper. In Europe, according to Reddit, there are, eh hem, ways around using TP...aka: get an inside bath. In America, people are like "MORE OF EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME!" despite the obvious restrictions. How very patriotic. So, we end up (ha!) with buttloads  (ha!) of either Uber Toilet Paper or extremely environmentally-friendly TP that is little more than a whisper in your hand -- Thanks, hippies.

(Also? BTW? If my choices in TP were between the clever British girl selling baby wipes for grown ups and those commercials featuring the DISGUSTINGLY open animated bears talking WAY too much about their TP usage, I choose clever British girl. Every time. Super disturbing TP company using stupid bears? Hire a better ad agency. For the love of all that is good and holy. You are absolutely $hitting on TV...and it's not even funny.)

Okay, so anyway, I live in Rochester, where we buy TP in bulk from Costco. There is literally nothing more American. We could sell this stuff on the black market and make a killing. But when the time finally came -- after, oh, 12 billion years -- to buy some more TP, I opted against the Costco run. We are too close to the move to make an investment in "bulk buying" TP. I felt like I would be buying the TP version of "2 Broke Girls" -- well-intentioned but ultimately heavy-handed, unnecessary and not the least bit funny.

So, that brings us back to how hysterical TP is. I'm actually kind of bummed. It used to be so silly and prohibido when I was a kid. Now it's like "This is an actual decision you have to make as a grown up." I hate it. I liked it much better when it was a phrase my sisters could mumble to me in church and make me laugh hard enough to get the stank eye from my parents.

Now? Now it just has the potential to cause real, non-funny stank. I hate being an adult.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

City city bang bang

Well, just checking in to make sure my blog is still here. It's been awhile since I've written, I know. Unfortunately, the life of a wife in Rochester in the buttcrack of winter is just not nearly as exciting as you might think.

You know what IS exciting?

The life of a wife living in Minneapolis in the Spring.

That's right, dum dums! We are moving back to the Cities next month! Can you even STAND it!? I can't! But yes, we will be renting the cutest house that has ever been built, and will almost be able to spit on the houses of like 6 people I know and love because we will be THATCLOSE to people who are pants-putting-on-worthy.

The house we are renting is just the best, too. Sure there's no central air, walk-in closets, 2nd bathroom or updated plumbing. But it's super pretty and it's IN THE CITY and there is no sign of a port-a-potty factory anywhere nearby (we have a great view of that from our house in Roch). In fact, it's smelling distance from a bakery. Talk about moving up in the world...

I'm really excited, and Geo is too. He's already trying to plan a guys' night on one of the first nights we will be there, and I'm just trying to schedule all the happy hours and babysitting and shopping and food-making/eating with friends and family that I've been dreaming about for the past year and a half.

Now, here's the thing: I'm really expecting big things from my friends and family at home, so get ready, Loved Ones. I've blamed my complete lack of blogging during my Rochester life on my lack of material, so you guys better pull through. Like, please start having really strong opinions on topics like "Ugh, teens today...", saffron (whatever that is), and whether I was wrong in whatever fight I just picked with Geo. (Hint: I'm probably not.) You know, the BIG stuff.

But, if I'm being honest? I'm also a little scared of re-entering civilization. Like, right now, my biggest concern is the satanic birds who $hit all over my car when I go to the gym at night. (Seriously, what kind of devil bird hasn't flown south for the winter? And then has the audacity to poop giant, chunky poops ALL OVER my windshield to such an extent that I have to pull over and WASH MY CAR before driving home?!)

Also, I only have to buy gas on the days I drive back to the Cities, and that's pretty much the only time I put on matching shoes, too. Where does the Big City stand on two similar-but-different Uggs? And do these standards change in Summer?

I feel like over the course of 18 months, I've completely forgotten things I knew for years about city livin'. I'm nervous. What do I do with my hands? Can I talk to strangers? How do people fill the hours after work without making plans to 'vacuum and maybe try out baking soda carpet cleaner'? Can I take public transportation without having to swing by the Walmart?  How do chopsticks work again!? Is it finally okay to eat bread in public? What's going on with Block E, and do we love it or hate it?

See, I have a lot of concerns. But I'm super-insanely-nutjob-someonecommitme-excited about living so much closer to my parents, most of my fam, and so many of my friends, and I'm pretty sure they'll help me cope with the transition.

Anyway, before I move, I plan to try and write more about life outside the city. So, stay tuned. :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Purge

Recently, I went through a clothing purge. I went through my closets and tried to throw away all the items that meant nothing to me. But it was super hard. And even though I threw away 5 bags of clothes, I feel like I still didn't do much damage.  It was incredibly frustrating.

I don't know a single person who LOVES throwing old clothes away. There isn't any person in the history of existence who is like "Oh, I haven't worn this shirt in like a year, therefore I will throw it away, no questions asked."

Every person ever has some pile of unexplainably important clothes. No one is NOT a clothes hoarder. Sorry dudes, it's a definite FACT. We all do it. We all have secret boxes of secret clothes that we keep because we just LIKE them. We hide them under beds, in boxes or at our parents' house. But make no mistake: We all keep terrible clothes just BECAUSE.

I recently thought I had beat this crazy Clothes Demon. I collected five bags of clothes, hauled them into a donation bin (methinks it's more of a dumpster) and declared myself CLEAN.

But then I came home to see that I really hadn't made a difference. Even without all the clutter of Old Navy throw-aways, I could see clearly the things I had consciously decided to KEEP. It was not pretty. 

First up was the full box of "nostalgia shirts. I LOVE my shirt collection. I love them all. But my fave is from my sophomore year of college when my friend Kim and I were inseparable to the to point where someone made a T-shirt that I would reluctantly treasure:

Then there was a store that opened at the Mall of America that made hilarious and witty shirts I just HAD TO HAVE as a teen. They were kind of sassy and naughty and my parents would never have let me wear them in house, which is why they were so awesome. They were my first "I'm a college independent person" shirts that cost like $85 and I've decided that they will ALWAYS be relevant if I can just get skinny enough to wear them:

I'll never be able to throw these guys away.

Then there's my ridiculous pants collection. I threw away 6 pairs of leggings and 8 pairs of jeans, And yet somehow, I'm still left with: 

Yeah that's 1 billion pairs of jeans and 6 pairs of leggings (plus the pair I was wearing while taking the picture.) That's too many pants, y'all.

So now I have a closet full of too many pants and several old shirts that I cannot wear.

How did this happen? How do I accumulate so many clothes without them being, like, clothes I WEAR? But more importantly, how am I supposed to get RID of all these clothes? Can I keep all my old college bar crawl tees, or do I have to throw them away? Can I hold on to those 4 dresses that fit me like a glove when I am 20 pounds lighter, or do I have to blast them out of my closet? 

How do you guys keep your closets under control??

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Grudge Match

Confucius says that "To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.” I say, "What does Confucius know?"

I was talking to my sister Prinna this weekend, and I was on one of my epic rants about being mad at someone for something. I don't even remember what or who I was talking about, but I remember being very annoyed and very grudgy. (That's all a lie. I know exactly what I was ranting about, but for reasons I will discuss later, I will not divulge.) I explained to Prinna that I didn't want to DO anything about my feelings of being wronged, I just wanted to be MAD. She laughed and said "Well, that's normal. For people who love ulcers."

I LOVE a good grudge. I've had many in my life. Current grudges include:

* This girl I was friends with in college who kissed a boy I liked freshman year. I still look her up from time to time to see if she has caught on fire yet.
* A driver in Rochester with the license plate UMPA-C who cut me off approx 10 months ago
* People who cancel on me last-second
* Geo, who tonight said that I "am missing the point of math."
* This barista at Caribou who talks CONSTANTLY about her workout and eating habits. She once said "I just don't get why anyone would want to poison their bodies with high fructose corn syrup." Eat a bucket of nails, lady. I love me some HFCS.
* Kim Kardashian for being the worst
* The show "Archer" for not having season 5 on Netflix yet, even though season 6 is in full-swing on real TV

That's just a darling little sample of the people who are currently on my $hit list. There are more. Oh trust, people....there are more.

I know that holding grudges is not healthy. I know that we are supposed to be all "La di da, who cares?" because holding grudges hurts no one but the person holding one. But I love grudges because I love being right and refuse to be wrong. However, that means there is a heavy, emotionally expensive rock somewhere in my body for every friend and stranger who I feel has wronged me.

Adding to the problem is the fact that I am also Minnesotan, which means there's nothing I like less than confrontation. So, it's not like I'm going to actually confront the person who is currently serving as the bane of my existence. I'd be a TERRIBLE reality show character, because I will never say "If you have something to say, say it to my face!" I'd rather be like "You know what? Let's just vent about this separately in the confessional room and act normal elsewhere so no one is uncomfortable!"

I don't want to look someone in the face and be like "You and your [insert terrible action here] have kept me up at night and you are the only one who can fix it." I really just expect everyone to KNOW that they have wronged me, and then move heaven and Earth to change or apologize to me. Is that so wrong?

Now, unfortunately, there is a very big downside to my awesome ability at grudge-holding. It literally keeps me awake at night. I'll lay in bed and think about my private enemies, and I'll try and think of the most powerfully mean things I could say to make that person to make them understand how awful they are, but it's super nonsense because I could/would never actually SAY something. And then I realize, at some point, that it's literally all empty energy. The girl with whom I am having this imaginary fight is clueless, and that's when I realize I'm losing my mind.

So! That's why this year, I have resolved to make my grudges COUNT! If you are the reason I'm up at night thinking of why you are ruining my life, I will tell you!! Also, I encourage you all to say the same to me...unless it's mean. In that case, say what you want but bring me some bagels to cushion the blow. And then get ready for a deep-seeded grudge. :)