Block Vegas: If They Build It…(Part 3)

When I left off last, I was dead on the bed in hotel room 928 trying to reconcile my desire for other BHs to have fun at the After Party with my own seething jealousy for having missed out. And then I fell asleep.

One of my favorite shots of the night. So close!

One of my favorite shots of the night. So close!

Saturday was my day. It was the first full day I’d get to spend in Block Vegas and the night of my 3rd row seat for the show. We got up nice and early since the three of us were still on East Coast time and decided to venture out for some breakfast and a little sightseeing on the strip. The outside adventure lasted all of forty minutes and had us whining for the sweet release of manufactured air within seconds. Did you know that there are no breakfast places on the strip? Neither did we. We ended up looping around and heading back to Planet Hollywood in search of a sign we’d seen earlier boasting a “$3.99 breakfast special”. But not before having all of the moisture evicted from our bodies, eyeballs included. We were a mess by the time we fell gasping through the glass doors of the Miracle Mile Shops. The only thing that could save us was some after-breakfast poolside lounging.

Except…

There were only about 12 lounge chairs around either “Pleasure Pool” and even through the early afternoon bass thumping from one of two DJ booths, I could hear a din of confused BHs, wandering hopelessly through the concrete wasteland in search of somewhere to rest our weary bums. Or, “big asses” if Jon has anything to do with it. Which of course he does. And of course we have. Collectively. We weren’t about to spend our hard-earned cash on a cabana or a day-bed, so we trudged back onto the concrete slab between the pools for a quick bake. And then a quick dip. Followed by an even quicker bake, and yet another longer dip. And then back to baking, accompanied by a round of pool-adjacent drinks (the cost of which nearly knocked me over onto my big ass) and another dip in the bathwater-warm pool. Then I had to call it a day. My lily-white skin frowns at glaring sunlight and my belly button frowns in general. So I peaced out and watched some Food Network (napped) in the room.

Since we had a Groupon, we were pretty much obligated to trek down to Fat Bar to redeem our obnoxiously large 50 oz. frozen drinks. In case you’re considering joining the “souvenir cup club” in Vegas, don’t. Save your stomach. No human should ever consume that much sugared beverage. Wilford Brimley and I have one very big thing in common now, I’m guessing. And it might rhyme with shmyabetes.

Novelty drinks bring novelty shmyabetes

Novelty drinks bring novelty shmyabetes

After an impressively short “getting ready” period we were hot-to-trot and heading back downstairs for my second show of the weekend. I said goodbye to my roomies and excitedly scurried to my floor seat. I was in awe of how close even the third row was to the stage. I was in for a crotch-filled view and I was not mad about it. Bring on the “ten times”! I ended up sitting by yet another solo BH named Brandy. Or Branson, as I chose to call her. We had an empty seat between us but they were awfully close together so I was silently hoping nobody ended up coming in hot with another big booty. Luckily, we were graced with the presence of a tiny little West Virginian who took up almost no space between us. WV had gotten her makeup professionally done for the occasion and she looked adorable. We were all just very excited to be in such close proximity to the performance. And the “ten times”. Obviously. Having survived four or eleven confetti-bombs, I was delighted to be right in front of the action when Joe sang the wrong verse in “Summertime”, yet again. And when Donnie followed suit, yet again. But the hilarity really took off during the splicing of “Hot in Herre” when the crowd requested that Joe take off his clothes. And he answered by saying that he doesn’t believe in man-scaping. Which actually endeared him even more to me since I find hairless men pretty off-putting. Even if he was joking. (The absence of hair on Donnie’s delicious bod is a big conflict for me). The giggling guys went on to discuss how it would be all over Youtube that Joe Mac knocked out the first five rows with his bush. Donnie commented that at least we’d be happy and well-flossed. And after more giggles, they moved on to “Tonight” and ran into the crowd yet again.

So handsome. I can't even.

So handsome. I can’t even.

Usually when you’re that close at an NKOTB show you can get a sense that one of them looked right at you or even sent an electric wave your way. I bore witness to a few girls next to me and their special moments but alas, mine never came. I was left with my up-close pictures and the video I took of Joe’s dramatic pelvic thrusts. What. A. Performance. The only thing I missed was the overt shirtlessness and general “Magic Mike-ness” of the Package Tour. Where was our “risque” show, gentlemen? I flew all the way to Vegas and sweat my tatas off just to sate my curiosity about what the guys could possibly mean about a “more risque show”. If anything, it was family friendly save for a few F-bombs. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it. Because of course I did. But my inner perversions and the ever-mulling beginnings of fan-fiction in my head will remain just that. In my head. And now on the internet. So there’s that.

Jordan being his usual sexy and androgynous self.

Jordan being his usual sexy and androgynous self.

 

There had been rumors swirling that Donnie was letting those who had Friday night After-Party passes into that night’s party. I of course didn’t have a pass, but Alyson had one that she didn’t need so devised a plan for me to join them at the final After-Party of the weekend. I was hoping to finally get my NK moment. The moment every BH lusts for at an event. Facetime. I was corralled into a room reserved for “Friday night girls” and sat down in my sequined skirt. Even though it was too short for sitting on the floor. I couldn’t see a thing, since my contacts had turned to sandpaper in the desert air. But for a moment I was determined to get into my first ever After Party. And then I wasn’t. Something about the listless women and the uncertainty of our fate just drained me. I was in pain and bored, so I made an executive decision and rolled over awkwardly to get up without flashing the room. And I sealed my fate by walking back to the room and falling asleep immediately. Completely ditching poor Branson in the process. Who I had promised to hang out with after the show.

My defeated and crumpled self in line for the "maybe pile" at the After Party

My defeated and crumpled self in line for the “maybe pile” at the After Party

Of course Saturday’s After Party was the one to attend. And of course I died a little inside after hearing about my roomies and their experience. Again. But it was my fault and I’ll eat it. Probably forever.

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Block Vegas: If They Build It…(Part 2)

Since getting a ticket to the evening’s show unexpectedly, and since I was a little on the tipsy side from throwing back welcome shots with the walking billboard and Cali-boobs, I decided to take another New Kids ride and head up to the room to say hello to the roomies. The roomies who had just returned from snuggling up to Joe, Jon, Jordan, Danny and Donnie at their VIP sesh…might I add. Bitterness (but not inebriation) aside, I tentatively entered the room and joined the Boston girls for some story time. And boy did they have stories. They didn’t have tickets to the pool party that took place before I arrived (I know, wipe your tears) so they strategically placed themselves in the elevator bay after overhearing some security personnel walkie-talkie arrival instructions. So smooth, ladies. They stood there, loudly discussing how I had asked them to wait for me there so as not to alert any roaming Blockheads to their plan. And before long, the guys and entourage flooded out of the elevator. Donnie looked at the ladies and since he’s a smart man, asked if they were coming with him. And of course they did. They managed to follow the entourage right through security and into the roped off area to enjoy a VIP poolside Block Party. For about half an hour. Which is when security caught wind and asked them to leave. But what a half hour! I’m sure you’d like details but I blocked them all out for my own sake. You understand.

Showtime!

Showtime!

I sat perched on the edge of the bed to listen and choke back hot tears of jealousy until it was time to head back downstairs (and go down on Jon, ironically) and get seated for the show. The lobby was littered with women, mostly in their thirties and a lot of whom were wearing vintage bedsheets and/or pillowcases they had converted into toga-like NKOTB-wear. It was a look. It was definitely a choice.  I decided to be classy and stay in my sweaty, probably smelly traveling clothes. Not because I wanted to stink up section 102, but because I had brought a finite amount of outfits and hadn’t expected to get New Kids-ified on the first night. My row-mates were another adorable family from right in Las Vegas. A mom, sister and the coolest 12-year old girl I’ve ever met. And not just coolest at age 12…she’s likely cooler than anyone reading this right now. This pre-pubescent Blockhead plays in two rock bands. She dabbles in drums, bass and sings if the mood strikes. And she knows all the words to not only the old, novelty-ridden NK songs, but to the entire 10 album as well. I was impressed. And she was super pumped to be there. But more so that her dad hadn’t joined them since the impending crotch-grabs would have embarrassed her in his presence. I was on the fence, since there was a high probability that her dad was hot. But hey, I can respect the pre-teen predisposition to mortification.

The resident "Joan Rivers" impersonator, of course.

The resident “Joan Rivers” impersonator, of course.

 

After rushing back two rows for a photo-op with a local celebrity (google Frank Marino) I settled once again into my seat only to hop back up as the lights dimmed and the screams lifted.The adrenaline rush that comes right before your favorite band hits the stage is unmatched by anything I’ve experienced. Even if you know the set-list by heart and can mirror the ad libs that come with the performance. It’s a rush of shared experience and common interest. The show began by illuminating the guys at the back of the stage, in all their dapper glory. I joined the other thousands of women (and handful of dutiful husbands and gorgeous gays) in bouncing up and down uncontrollably as the guys slid, sang and sauntered all over the stage. Finally the time came for the lights to crash off and for us to guess where the five of them might pop up. As the lights returned, we noticed them spread out just between the upper and lower sections. The girls in the cheap seats were getting just as good of a view as the VIPers in the first few rows. I was not, however. I was somewhere in between and was pouting rather visibly until I noticed Joey balancing on the ledge and coming my way. I mean, directly toward me. I looked at the girls around me and we all screamed in giddy (and nostalgic) anticipation as we watched him teeter, grabbing girls’ hands for support. When he finally appeared in front of me, I joined the others in reaching up my hand in assistance, watched him grab that of my neighbor to the left, and then my neighbor to the right. Skipping right over my out-stretched and practically pleading fingers. Ouch, Mr. McIntyre. Ouch.

I managed to recover from that blow and continue bopping to the delightful set list. I laughed out loud at Joe singing the wrong verse in “Summertime” (maybe a little out of spite) and even harder at Donnie singing the wrong verse as a result. They laughed it off, knowing that we don’t expect them to be perfect and Lorde knows I hope they don’t expect us to be. As a group, we Blockheads are kind of a hot mess. But would we have it any other way? I was looking around during a ballad and noticed a familiar face a couple of rows back. I did a double take and realized that yes, it was Andrea Barber. Better known as Kimmy Gibbler from Full House. You heard me. I saw Kimmy Gibbler at a NKOTB concert. That is literally the most 90s thing that has ever happened to me. Until I tweeted the interaction to Rider Strong, that is. And Andrea replied with a “Hell Yeah!” So I guess you could say that things with me and the 90s are getting pretty serious.

Kimmy Gibbler, in all her Blockhead glory.

Kimmy Gibbler, in all her Blockhead glory.

After trying (unsuccessfully) to remove all of the confetti from my bra, I headed out of the venue and up to the room to charge my poor, dying phone. I was jet-lagged but not quite ready for bed so I responded to a tweet from another solo BH and met her downstairs to wander the strip, making her the third new friend in Vegas. See how quickly that happens? And people say it’s hard to make friends as an adult. All you need to do is throw an aging boyband in the mix. Simple.

The strip was bright, loud and hot. And my jet-lag caught up to me quickly. My new friend and I trekked back into Planet Hollywood and I managed to lose her in the bathroom before going to bed. Like I said. Jet lag. The roommates were busy being fabulous at the official After Party, no doubt booty-shaking with Donnie or a Knight brother. And I drifted into ear-ringing dreamland.

Dead.

Dead.

Block Vegas: If They Build It, We Will F*cking come (Part 1)

As anyone who has been anywhere near social media for the past month knows, I spent the weekend in Las Vegas for New Kids on the Block: After Dark. It was originally touted as a 30th Anniversary celebration and went on to promise surprises, parties and a risque four-off performance. I ran the proverbial gauntlet to get there, hurdling over scheduling conflicts, cash-flow stoppage (and subsequent crowd-funding), polite eviction from my home and even disgruntled airline employees. But I made it. And here’s the story:

I flew out of Grand Rapids on Friday afternoon and arrived in Las Vegas at exactly the same time. The three-hour time difference is only fun on the way there. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into but I did manage to explain the entire 30-year history of the New Kids to a curious Lansing Disc Jockey who was on his way to celebrate the dawn of his 40s. In retrospect, I’m pretty sure he was more curious about what was in my pants than what the “five bad brothers from the Beantown land” have been up to. But I digress.

He looks stern. I can dig it.

He looks stern. I can dig it.

Much like the beer I’m (not) enjoying as I type, I was traveling cheap and light. I zoomed out of the airport and right onto a shuttle bus without ever having to step into the incendiary desert atmosphere. And thank gos. The strip was 111 degrees on the hottest day and not even Body Glide could stop my thighs from chub-rubbing together with a ferocity that was sure to spark and set the air ablaze. Once the air-conditioned shuttle bus pulled into what can only be called the Planet Hollywood “compound” I started to feel the excitement bubble up. That, or I had forgotten to take my Prevacid again. The other Blockheads on the shuttle helped get my boyband blood boiling as we excitedly discussed plans for the coming weekend extravaganza and compared seats for the show. This particular group of Blockheads was so cute, it almost hurts me to talk about them. They were two sisters from the east side of Michigan and their elderly father. He had taken them to their first show in the late 80s and wanted to keep that tradition alive and join them in Vegas. He was going to the show and was looking forward to “watching all the ladies now that they were adults”…it sounded cuter when he said it. But that could have been the Superfan-euphoria clouding my creep-o-meter.

Going down?

Going down?

Walking into the heavily decorated doors of Planet Hollywood and really beginning my first-timer’s journey in Vegas was surreal. It was like a Blockhead convention and I didn’t hate it. There were posters advertising the weekend’s shows and each of the elevators had been transformed with pictures of the guys so that each time we used them, it was required to say something like, “I just went down on Donnie Wahlberg” or “I’m riding all of the guys tonight.” You know…standard fare for when your favorite adult boyband is plastered on elevator doors. After taking a few selfies in front of Donnie and Joe (the elevator versions, unfortunately) I made my way into the casino and then what appeared to be a mall to find my roommates for the weekend. They were in line for their VIP experience, those lucky betches. I had met Alyson in Boston when I went solo to the Album Release event at the Orpheum. Since BH friends are for life (which is something I just decided), we reconnected in Vegas and she introduced me to another Boston Blockie, Andrea. There’s something about a common lifelong fandom that makes it totally fine to share a bed with someone you met only briefly a year and a half prior. It’s hard to come by people in real life who want to spend time and money on this obsession, so we have to make friends in Block Nation and converge accordingly. It’s a thing. If you say “real life” to any BH, she’ll know what you mean.

Pure. Genius.

Pure. Genius.

After riding Jordan Knight up to the room (Can’t stop, won’t stop) I dropped my things, puckered up to some signature red lipstick and set out to find some trouble. My night was open. I had only planned to attend the Saturday night show and since my roomies were lucky enough to have tickets to all four nights, I was looking at a lot of alone time to kill. I decided to choose wisely and sidled up to the Halo Bar right outside the concert venue. There was a man with an enormous (and rentable) mohawk there and it seemed like an interesting place to start. He had airbrushed “NKOTB AFTER DARK” on one side, and the famous “Welcome to Vegas” insignia on the other. It was pure genius. He told me that he rakes in somewhere around $200 a day just sitting at the bar and accepting tips for photos. Pure. Genius. And it would only work in Vegas. His job is to literally sit and drink and have a mohawk. I wasn’t the only one who was drawn to his side. A California BH with the quintessential California chesticles and some disturbingly bedazzled jeans was sitting directly to my right. I silently judged her life choices but then realized that we had one important life choice in common. So we started talking and I’m man enough to admit that she was very cool. I cast my judgment aside and made my first Vegas friend. I mean…I reserved a little judgment. How could I not? But Cali-Boobs was legit.  After doing some bonding-shots and watching Mohawk-for-hire take about a thousand photos with fans, both he and Cali-Boobs helped me look for a ticket to that night’s show. It was decided that I shouldn’t miss it. Two minutes, $45 and one Craigslist Ad later, I had an amazing seat and plans for the evening. Just like that.

Me and Cali-Boobs, mid-concert selfies.

Me and Cali-Boobs, mid-concert selfies.

That’s how Vegas works, it seems. One minute you’re trying to prevent falling into a chest-chasm of cleavage and the next you’re meeting a random dude at Coffee Bean to procure your evening’s entertainment.

Around the Way Girl

When searching for new housing, one becomes very familiar with neighborhoods. After about 3 years of living in or searching desperately in the greater downtown GR area, I’m pretty well-versed in the block-to-block nature of our city. And it’s a hot mess.

Heritage Hill is becoming so expensive, that unless I’m ready to sleep directly on top of someone else’s face in a “charming studio” for the low price of $900 a month, then I’m just plain excommunicated. The outer lying neighborhoods aren’t too sketchy. I checked CrimeMap and the only burglaries and/or robberies were at least a block out in any direction. Eastown isn’t quite as high-priced as the Hill (any hill) but the houses all have somewhere around 17 bedrooms and I’m just not emotionally equipped to live in a three-story commune. I literally can’t. Even.

My two new roommates and I looked at quite a few places over the past month, hoping to stay in our price range and out of the CrimeMapped area, but it seems we’ll have to pick one or the other. A place situated between Fuller and Eastern, south of Wealthy, for instance. Oh yeah. Sketch-a-rific. But the price is right and I’m willing to chance my way through a bullet-ridden summer. How far does a stray bullet go, anyway? We’ll be ok. I’ll just never go outside. Which isn’t that big of a life change for me and my pale expanse of skin. And what exactly are the immediate retaliations for gentrification? Because that is a concern.

An ideal place in Midtown was priced right until you ask about pets. Which would cost me an extra $1500 for the year. Evidently this property management group is under the impression that cats come equipped with Ninja throwing stars and a very serious vendetta against faux-wood flooring. I have it on good authority that they do not have access to asian weaponry, but I’m not so confident on their stance on floors. They’re pretty rude. But not $1500 rude.

This pet-phobic house is in walkable vicinity to one of my new favorite dives on Cherry, The Pickwick. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it. It was established in 1934 and is literally a hole in the wall among the upper-crust of Maru, Vivant, Grove, Green Well, and others. But it was first and it might be last. The bar is cash only, but they do offer the convenience of an ATM machine against the inner wall. The regulars are delightful in the way that toothless old people are when they drunkenly ramble about Vietnam and comedians from the 50s while playing Cribbage at a nearby table. In fact, the whole place reminds me of my childhood.

Alas, even Pascual and the drinks he insisted on buying us after winning a sizable sum on the Costa Rican soccer game couldn’t seal the deal for the Midtown house. We’ll be back to the Pickwick though, on that you can bet. And apparently also on Costa Rica.

Gimme Your, Gimme Your, Gimme Your Attention. Baby.

Amid white pants, struggling crop-tops and a downright unruly amount of sequins, something began to stir deep inside me. A combination of years of boyband adoration and two semesters of Feminist Theory and Gender Studies created a perfect bubble of lusty, confused bliss at the Bruno Mars “Moonshine Jungle” show.

Old School Cool

Old School Cool

Bruno. Before the obnoxious exploits of Sacha Baron Cohen, this name evoked pure testosterone (and the possibility of low reading comprehension). Perhaps the name alone is enough to mask a dainty, size-related androgyny and show me instead a pint-sized pop star who oozes non-threatening masculine sexuality. Or maybe I’m grasping at straws because I’m an admitted “heightist” and have never been sexually attracted to small men. I’m a large girl, after all, and I want to feel like a 19th Century lady. I want the potential danger that comes with being the (physically) weaker partner.

Or maybe I’ve just always been taught that boys are big and girls are small.

So when a minuscule man-muffin like Bruno Mars starts bopping around on stage it confuses my carefully cultivated ideas of gender roles and heteronormativity. His persona is easy. There’s a…I don’t want to say “swagger” because it calls up douchey images of Justin Bieber…but a confident gait. A certain something that, when combined with an effortless cool and a body awareness that can only be described as ballerina-graceful, reaches into my being and pulls out the same belly flutters I get when I see a really convincing Drag King performance.

Do we have any evidence that he isn't, in fact, a drag king?

Do we have any evidence that he isn’t, in fact, a drag king?

Soft Masculinity. In all the right ways. Casually confined hip thrusts, so quick you’re not even sure they happened. Certain Drag Kings and Bruno Mars have managed to dig through the social constructs of gender and masculinity and pick out all the attributes that make me squeal like a hormone-wracked teen and leave out those that might be really into driving trucks through mud. But why am I attracted to it so strongly? I know that underneath the smirking pelvic thrusts of Drag Kings there are only lady parts. I know that my urge to have Bruno Mars perch atop my shoulder like a smolderingly sexy parrot isn’t exactly mainstream fantasy fodder.

It comes down to smoothness. There are no clunky motions in Bruno’s repertoire and that sets him apart from many other male drool-mongers. The cast of Magic Mike, though rippled with muscles and presumably human-sized, were awkward. If you can tear your eyes away from Channing Tatum and watch the guys in the background, do it. It’ll ruin everything for you. The gliding-on-air existence of Bruno (and the aforementioned kings) suggest no room for awkward. They’re just utterly cool. And sexy. And that’s ok.

I literally can't even.

I literally can’t even.

We can make it work. I can carry around a step ladder or tote him around on my hip like a well-worn single mother. I can get really smarmy and tell him that “we’re all the same height laying down”. Which I’ve heard from some shorter men in my life. And which isn’t even true. If you think about it. I feel better about my desire to have Bruno’s tiny, tiny children. My biological clock won’t stop ticking and maybe it just wants to produce a 5-pound baby that won’t render my own lady parts inoperable. I’ll take it. I’ll take a comically small kaleidoscope baby. Swirled with Filipino, Black, and whatever nonsense I’ve got going on in my blood.

Mostly, I just want Bruno to jump into my pocket and live there forever. And yes, pocket is a metaphor.

Prostitution

Sorry I’ve been gone for so long, everyone. I’ve been busy wallowing in self pity and expecting miracles. You understand. 

I had plans to make another pilgrimage to boyband Mecca and join thousands of other Blockheads in Las Vegas next month. New Kids on the Block are planning a 30th anniversary party in Sin City, complete with pool parties, intimate concerts and other manband debauchery that has yet to be described. I was lucky enough to get a 3rd row seat at one of the shows and I was delirious with excitement. All I needed was a flight and I was good to go. I watched flights almost every day for a few months, hoping they would go down. Then they did and I didn’t have any money. As the old proverb goes…

So now I’m stuck. With a car payment, a task to find a new place to live before the end of next month and without a flight to my boyband bliss in the desert. What is a superfan to do? 

Word Prostitution. That’s what. 

As you may realize by now, I blog what I know. The goal has always been to blog about weird little adventures that I go on, but with no cash flow it’s hard to have adventures. So I took the super-annoying plunge into social media pimping. I started a “GoFundMe” campaign to raise money for blog adventures. Sure, it looks desperate. Because it is. I am. I can’t keep existing as I am or I will have a mental breakdown and it’ll be really tedious to be around. I’m already pretty boring. Can you imagine that with complete social stagnation on top like the wilted and over-dyed stem of a maraschino cherry? It’ll be terrible. 

First on my list of adventures is Vegas, of course. The concert ticket I bought is non-exchangeable and non-refundable. So there’s that. And my deep, deep need to see what NKOTB means by “risque”. I have it on good authority that Joe Mac hates wearing clothing and dammit if I won’t be there to witness the fruits of that loom. 

So if you have some extra dollars and feel bad for me even just a little bit even though I’m not terminally ill and I have all my limbs and junk…or even if you just enjoy reading my blog and wish I would post more updates, then by all means, click the link and donate. If you don’t have extra dollars but know people who do and who like to laugh at my sarcastic and sometimes awkward ramblings, then share the link. I’ll be loving you forever. And yes, those were New Kids lyrics. Wanna fight? 

http://www.gofundme.com/a7ni3k

 

Big Girl Pants

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I’m assuming most of us are still reaching for whatever it was we decided all those years ago. I know I haven’t gotten there. If I had, I’d be a high-powered lawyer, dressed head to toe in my own couture during the week and dancing backup for NSYNC on the weekends. Now that I’m somewhat grown, I realize I definitely do not want to be a lawyer. I couldn’t even make my way through an English-Literature degree, let alone Law School. But if I thought my rotund body could manage it, and if they were still a thing, I’d definitely hang on to that whole backup dancer thing.

This could have been me.

This could have been me.

But of course I’m not donning spandex and gyrating dangerously close to Justin Timberlake. I’m sitting on my front porch having just jumped back in fear of a giant raccoon that sidled past on the sidewalk. He seemed pretty sure of his life. No deep existential questions burning in his post-post-post-adolescent raccoon head. Just a confident swagger and top notes of locally sourced, organic garbage in the air. He’s not worried about falling short of expectations for a raccoon his age. Will he ever get married? His child-bearing years are coming to a close. He should get serious about that baby-mama hunt before it’s too late. Should he settle for a she-raccoon he only sort of doesn’t hate spending time with? Or is “the one” out there somewhere? Is he too lazy to find her? He has his own stuff going on. He’s on the garbage trail, after all. Maybe it’s her who should find him. What if she already has baby raccoons? Is he ready to be a step-raccoon? Will that be enough to fulfill his animal-urges to procreate? What if he can’t find enough nutritious garbage to feed an entire raccoon family? What if he wakes up one day and hates them all? What if NSYNC finally reunites and calls him up to be a backup dancer?

He has his shit together. Like a sir.

He has his shit together. Like a sir.

Up until recently, I thought I was on the right path. Even though I’ve basically sat down in the middle of that path, I still have a hard time coming to terms with my failure to reach the end. But then again, maybe I’m at the end. Maybe the end of the path is just terrible. Nobody warns us that being an adult is going to be the worst. Sure, we can set our own bedtimes but if we’re not careful we’ll end up being more of a zombie when we go into the job that we hate where we make too little money.

Oh, money? Sure, you make your own money. But you have to spend that money on dumb stuff like rent, groceries, crappy cars (and subsequently, new parts for those crappy cars), gas, medicine, etc. I’m so old, I’m now spending money on vitamins. VITAMINS. I should stick within my means and buy cheap beer to save money, but my old lady stomach hates cheap alcohol. I get a poor people headache if I drink well vodka. But I have to go out, right? How will I ever meet anyone and “settle down” if I don’t go out and spend the money I barely make? I won’t. I’ll have to hop on Tinder and swipe left all day just to get to the one bearded man who doesn’t look like he just lumbered out of a dense forest. Or even worse, I’ll have to get a lame, non-destructive hobby like – gasp – running. Gross.

Time to put 'em on.

Time to put ’em on.

This entire rambling piece is a result of having to just clean my house. I hate having to do things. I just want to not do things. Unless it’s my idea, in which case I’ll procrastinate for a few weeks and then sort of do that thing. My landlord is feeling the same. She doesn’t want to do the landlord thing anymore so she’s putting the house on the market. Evidently, someone is coming by to look at it tomorrow morning. I found out about an hour ago and whined like a little biatch to my neighbor before dragging myself inside to sweep, vacuum and dust. Because I don’t want to. And I especially don’t want to have to. Anything, really. I don’t want to have to go to work. I don’t want to have to set an alarm clock every day. I don’t want to have to investigate the “Check Engine” light in my new car.

I don’t want to.

But, I’m a big kid. And I guess that means I have to. Which is the opposite of what I thought it would be when I was a small kid. I’m a little mad about it.

So what was my original question? What do I want to be when I grow up? A writer. But also…

Independently Wealthy.

 

Picking Up Balls

I owed a favor to a friend and she came collecting last night. She teaches at an elementary school in the area and needed help keeping her sanity while running a game at their annual school carnival. My first instinct was to pretend I couldn’t hear her and maybe inch away slowly while humming, but I did owe her. So I agreed. Begrudgingly.

I love kids. Mostly. For small periods of time if they’re on their best behavior and don’t have food items or sticky nose leakage on their faces/hands/clothes. I figured at the very least I could throw my ever-prepared uterus a bone and entertain the thought of bearing children someday while handing out rubber bracelets and temporary tattoos. I’m at a certain age now. An age that no longer allows me to deny the existence of a condescendingly named “biological clock”. Especially since my lady parts do cartwheels every time I see a chunky-monkey baby. I have to physically restrain myself from asking the parents if I can squeeze their baby. Because that would be weird, right? I thought so. I mean…I only considered it for a minute. Usually, after I get my hands on a tiny human for a few minutes it will inevitably cry or poop and I’m sated for another year. Problem solved. Without a lifetime commitment.

This is why I have such great respect for teachers. Just…how do they do it every single day without the authority to actually deal out discipline and somewhere south of zero or north of too much cooperation from the parents? They drink. That’s how. Not on the clock, of course. But on their own time. For hours. And it helps that most of the kids are cute. I was only at the school for 3 hours and I went through a rollercoaster of emotions and sometimes downright mean thoughts about the children.

Type "Diversity Children" into google. It's weird.

Type “Diversity Children” into google. It’s weird.

If you weren’t sure, I’m pretty middle class. I’m also white (though I throw around that small percentage of Cherokee like the ethnic street cred card that it is). So when I land in the middle of a low-income school with a beautiful amount of diversity, I’m out of my element. I’m watching it all from my white, middle class glass box. I’m not mentioning this to segue into a caste system lecture, I’m telling you because everything I heard and saw was delightful and hilarious. I actually took notes. I don’t spend a lot of time with children in general, let alone a Reading Rainbow of diversity like I encountered last night. There were little munchkins of every flavor imaginable. I loved it. My friend happens to teach the ELL students, those who are learning English as a second language, so she has a special bond with a lot of the more foreign flavors.

Our job at the loosely named carnival was to man the “Tic Tac Toe” station. It was set up in the classroom of the school’s eccentric teacher. Their resident “Miss Frizzle”. It smelled like 20 pairs of dirty feet and was stiflingly hot. The object of our game was to of course get a tic tac toe. But in order to do that, the kids had to toss hollow plastic balls into the game board from approximately 3 feet away. It was impossible. We found ourselves making up rules on the fly to help these kids have a chance in hell at walking away with a coveted rubber bracelet or temporary tattoo. Our contestants ranged from the overly cocky older children to the overly enthusiastic children of indiscriminate age. Hardly an in between.

The game invented to kill the spirits of all the children.

The game invented to kill the spirits of all the children.

There was one very large kid who wanted very badly to be our helper. I was glad for the help since bending to pick up plastic balls every five seconds nearly killed me before we ever had a winner. The glad gave way to hilarity once I realized that his form of helping was to basically “bounce” the kids if they tried to take a longer turn or cut in line. He started singing for us. High, long notes that I identified as his best attempt at opera. I said to him, “Jumping right to opera is a bold move”, and he replied, “Why? I love Oprah!” I had to leave the room. This same kid started to challenge the authority of my friend, who he knows only as a teacher, and he said, “Whatever, I’m taller than you.” (He is not) My friend just looked at him and he continued, “Well, I’m ‘Bout to be tall!” I died.

Oprah Opera. Get it?

Oprah Opera. Get it?

Between the precocious bouncer, the hyper-active transport from the Balkans, the droves of well-dressed tiny Asian children and the surprisingly competitive toddlers of every creed, we had our hands full. Our hearts were breaking for loser after loser but we had to remain strong. The prizes were so had to come by, in fact, that I witnessed a hush-hush deal in the doorway. A kid of about 10 years old was offering some stolen prize contraband to the bidder with the most tickets to offer. I almost threw my hat in the ring. I did have a whole bucket of game tickets, after all.

The night wasn’t all sweating and picking up balls.  I was able to catch up on some new slang, which was nice. But I’m fairly confident that between my friend and myself, we ruined the word “Beast” for every child at the school. When grownups do it, it becomes instantly uncool and for that, I apologize. But I was beastin’ it.  Even if I’m not ’bout to be tall.

 

 

 

 

Saboteur

I wrote the other day about a newfound resolve to lose weight. It’s been just shy of two weeks and I’m still going strong. Sure, I’ve had a few slip-ups here and there but they’re not my fault. They’re the evil-doings of Eunice.

Eunice is both my uterus and my monthly visitor. I use the name for each interchangeably, but typically she refers to my womanhood and the ways it screws with my life. Pimple popped up? Eunice. Dove headfirst into a pile of french fries? Eunice again. Accidentally stabbed your annoying coworker in the face? That pesky Eunice. Did you sleep for 18 hours straight and wake up with chocolate smeared across your forehead? It’s fine. It’s Eunice.

She's a beast.

She’s a beast.

While she is basically a scapegoat for anything going wrong during that one week a month (and also the weeks immediately preceding and following), she’s also a legitimate saboteur of this weight loss journey on which I’ve embarked. She’s not even here yet, only threatening with a menacing scowl on the other side of Mother Nature’s door, but she’s already wreaking havoc. Take Tuesday, for example. I did well at work because I can only eat what I’ve brought with me. I stayed low on calories and high on irritation but I survived. I had intentions of walking another three miles, doing laundry and having a sensible salad for dinner but those plans were quickly thwarted.

Instead of opening the refrigerator to grab the last of the Romaine, beastly forces took over my arm and I opened the freezer. I went on to remove a frozen pizza and preheat the oven. By the time I regained control of my hormone-wracked body I had eaten the whole thing. All 900 calories. That’s almost an ENTIRE day’s worth of food. I felt guilty. For a minute. Then I watched two episodes of Glee and cried salty, garlicky tears into the bottom rim of my glasses. Then I ate some Girl Scout cookies before posting a well-crafted Facebook status about the pizza, in hopes of receiving some global sympathy. Then I went to bed and felt sorry for myself.

Yesterday was an uphill battle rife with muttered curses and cravings stomped down to nothing. I felt in control of my body and my mouth and with the help of several strong mints was able to eat well all day. Since my willpower is being held hostage for the rest of the week, I thought it best to invest in something that would make other food taste bad. So I’m eating mints every hour on the hour. We all have our coping mechanisms.

Shed your calories and GET IN MY MOUTH!

Shed your calories and GET IN MY MOUTH!

Even though yesterday went well and today isn’t a disaster so far, I’m feeling weak. Here are some thoughts that have crossed my mind over the past hour:

-I would sell my soul to North Korea if someone would bring me an olive burger and onion rings from Mr. Burger. I’d do it. I’ll draw up the contract right now. Don’t forget the ranch dressing.

-I’m seconds away from pouring salt directly onto my tongue.

-Is butter a carb?

-Frozen yogurt totally cancels out cookie dough pieces and chocolate sauce.

-The word “hangry” has just taken on a very personal meaning to me.

Wish me luck in the coming week. Eunice is a real bitch.

Let’s Get Physical, Physical

I’m at it again. Every so often I get tired of being chunky and vow earnestly to do something about it. I dive into calorie-counting and get militant about portion sizes for a few weeks and then I inevitably come crawling back to carbs and fried things like the whimpering sloth I am.

I’m hoping this time is different. It may be, if only because I’m trying my best to throw exercise in the mix even though everything in my being begs me to remain sedentary. There’s something exciting about logging in your calories, then remembering that half hour speed-walk and watching your remaining “allotments” jump up, allowing for a few of those Girl Scout Cookies that have been staring at you lasciviously from atop the microwave. It’s a novel idea, really. If I move around a little throughout the day I can eat something that I crave. Sounds easy, right? Wrong.

My chosen exercise at the moment is brisk walking. If this sounds like something your grandma does on the reg, you’re right. I’m literally going from zero physical activity to trying to lose pounds, so it’s all I can muster. I have an internal struggle to get myself to put on athletic shoes (the ones I only just purchased, because why would I have them already?) and leave the house once I’ve already sat down. There are so many times throughout the half hour and 2.2 miles that I want to throw in the sweaty, sweaty towel and just lay down in the middle of the street. But I haven’t. Either time. Yes, it’s only been twice so far. But it’s my first week! Give me a break.

I just did a more leisurely stroll with one of my best gal pals, and my face is beet-red and blotchy. My chest burns and my legs may not allow me to get up the stairs and into the shower in a few minutes. We walked only three miles and it took us an hour, but dammit if Heritage Hill and downtown aren’t at least half up-hill battles. My bum hurts. And I have a personal vendetta against Cherry Street heading back toward HH from downtown. And also Fulton, for that matter. How dare you? Can’t you see I’m dying?

The good news, is that with a little imagination and some slight exaggeration we were able to log in enough cardio to put us ahead in our allotted calories for the day. And that’s good news because we’re heading to a wedding this evening and “cocktail hour” has the potential to send me into hors d’oeuvres hell.

Wish me luck, blogosphere. It’s a warzone out there.