The Things We Do For Fame

Hey guys!
Today’s post is short and to the point–pretty much an unprecedented thing on this blog haha.
When I made my Single Lady’s Calendar a couple months ago with the help of the incomparable Cindy Benton, I thought for sure I had found my ticket to fame. Things started out great, with lots of my wonderful, amazing friends and followers sharing it on Facebook and setting a new record number of views my blog has received in one day. But things didn’t go quite as I hoped from there. It got repinned quite a few times on Pinterest, but never managed to really catch on, and after a few days views were back to their normal level.
But, modest as they were, I had higher hopes for our hard work.

SUPER modest.

And so, in an effort to get famous, I have turned my Single Lady’s Calendar into a Buzzfeed post–because we all know you’re not really famous until you’ve made it onto Buzzfeed. Go big or go home right?
Unfortunately, it’s sort of difficult to just make yourself famous– but that’s where you guys come in. I have some of the kindest, most encouraging, just all around wonderful followers imaginable on this blog, and I am now throwing myself on your mercy.
I am BEGGING you all to help me out– please check out my post, and just share the heck out of it. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, WordPress itself–the more shares the post gets, the higher up on Buzzfeed it goes and the more people see it.
As you all might have gathered, my dream is to make a career out of this writing thing, whatever form that might take. The exposure that gettin’ famous on Buzzfeed could give me would enormously increase my chances for more opportunities.
So there you have it– you all hold my fragile, trembling dreams in your very hands, and you have the power to send them flying into the stars… or crush them into tiny bits of dust and cat hairs.
But no big deal, guys.

Here is the link to the Buzzfeed post:  //www.buzzfeed.com/saraashleighr/the-single-ladys-calendar-bhoz
It has the option to share via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Email.
For even more options, you can use the buttons at the bottom of this post to share this post and at least spread the word.
I’ll also be putting an updated note in the original Single Lady’s post on this blog with links to the Buzzfeed post, and you can feel free to share that as well.

But whether you choose to share this on every social media site known to man or you just shake your head at the pushy girl desperately promoting her blog, I still want to sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking even the brief moment to read this in the first place.
YOU ARE THE BEST.

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Snapchats for the Snap Jar

Hello, Readers!
Today’s post is something silly and fun.
This past summer, one of my dear friends introduced me to the phenomenon that is Snapchat. I’d heard of it repeatedly, but never understood what all the fuss was about. Snapchat also had always just sounded a little… dodgy to me, because of what people were reputedly using it for.
But finally, my friend Stephanie talked me into getting it, and naturally I was hooked. I don’t know if you are like me and are obsessed with Snapchat, or if you were like me pre-Snapchat and knew nothing about it. But if you don’t, let me briefly explain. It’s basically just an app that allows you to take pictures or short videos, generally of yourself, and to send them to your friends with pictures or captions. Those pictures then disappear forever after viewed once, unless you take a screenshot. Or, if you want, you can save the pictures you take and download them to your phone’s gallery.
Snapchat sounds simple, and it might make you wonder what all the fuss is about. But I assure you, it’s addictive and often hilarious. Recently, I decided to go through my saved Snapchats and see what I had thought was worth keeping. Today, I will share with you my favorites. I hope you will enjoy some of the finest moments of my life ever captured on film.

Sara’s Favorite Snapchats

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You’re welcome, world.

A Stroke of Miraculous Luck

(Warning: slight bad language ahead, as well as a serious topic)

Oh, Readers.
Why does it always seem that just when I think I’ve got things figured out, life throws something completely unexpected my way?
I apologize that it’s been so long since I posted, but I’ve had a lot going on. I recently finished my first novel, did some subbing, and then went out of town for spring break. I was working on two different blog posts, one over the experience of finishing my first book, and one that was just a humorous experience that I went through with running a blog.
But, like I said, life made a mess of all my plans.

Last Saturday I had an indoor soccer game at 6:20. My dad and I headed off, and at some point while I was playing I got a phone call from an unknown number (which I didn’t hear). After the game, my dad and I sat around chatting for awhile with some of my teammates, before we finally got in the car to head out. A couple minutes later, my dad noticed that he had a missed call from my uncle Mike, my mom’s brother. This was very unusual, because my uncle very rarely calls us. Curious, I checked the missed call I’d gotten during the game–and I realized that it was also from my uncle. It was an unknown number because I forgot to put him in my contacts when I last got a new phone.
My uncle lives with my nana. She’s in pretty great health for 76, but she’s had strokes in the past that resulted in her having a lot of short term memory loss. She gets around wonderfully on her own power, but living alone for her is a little dangerous, because she might put something on the stove to cook and forget about it, or things like that.
As soon as I realized we both had missed calls from my uncle, I got a bad feeling in my stomach. Immediately I called him back, only to have my fears confirmed– my uncle suspected that my nana was having a stroke, and he was getting her ready to take to the hospital with my mom, who had stayed home from my game. Thankfully we live next door to my nana, so my mom–who deals with all of her insurance and medical history–was able to get right over to her and figure out the best place to take her.
Meanwhile, my dad and I had the long, thirty minute drive home from the indoor arena. We had no real idea what was going on, or what state she would be in. It was one of the most endless car rides of my life. My mind was blank and I felt numb, except for the sick panic in my stomach.
When we finally got home, they had gotten everything together and were getting my nana into the car. As I found out, we were incredibly lucky because my uncle and nana were having dinner when her stroke started. They were sitting at the table, and my uncle noticed my nana had begun to garble her words, and wasn’t making sense. He was able to recognize what was happening immediately and to give her an aspirin right away. We got her in the back seat of our car, and I slid in next to her so I could sit with her on the ride to the hospital.
When I got there, we think she was still in the process of having her stroke. I cannot explain to you how terrifying it is to see one of the people you love more than anything in that state. That being said, I was at least somewhat reassured by the fact that none of her motor skills seemed to be impaired. She could walk relatively well, and she wasn’t having any paralysis on either sides of her body. The only real symptoms she was having was the slurring of her words and the inability to make sense when she was talking.
I got a firsthand view of this on the way over. I sat hugging her to me the twenty minute drive over there. She kept trying to ask me why she was so confused and not making sense, but she was mixing up letters and words and not being able to get out her thoughts.
It was so upsetting to watch, because I could tell she knew that she wasn’t making sense, but she couldn’t figure out why and kept forgetting what we were telling her.
My nana has always been one of the most important people in my life. She has been a source of unconditional love to me since I was born, and if there is one thing I have never doubted in my life, it’s that my sister and I meant everything to her. We are her only grandkids, and she has enough love to spoil thirty grandkids–but she just lavished it all on us.  Rachel and I were the prettiest, funniest, smartest, nicest, most talented and wonderful kids in the world, and nothing anyone said or did would ever change her mind.
I tell you this for two reasons, so you can get some sense of just how important she is to me and so you’ll see just how much of her character is made up of the loving nana, which was obvious during this entire ordeal.
If you have ever been around someone experiencing a stroke, you’ll know what I mean when I say their words just don’t make sense. Here and there they’ll be able to speak a few clear words, or maybe get out a mostly understandable sentence, but a lot of what they try and say is just a mix of garbled sounds or words that don’t have anything to do with the words around them. I cannot stress how terrifying this is, and how helpless it makes you. My nana was getting more and more frustrated, and I was getting more upset in direct proportion.
But my nana has always been one of the most amazing women I have ever met, and do you know what she did? She actually managed to make us all laugh. That’s right. In the midst of experiencing a stroke, while rushing her to the hospital, my nana still found her sense of humor and helped ease a little of the tension. In the midst of one the most tortured attempts I’d yet seen of her trying to talk, my nana just threw up her hands and goes, “Oh, shit,”–her favorite curse word. Then she grinned at us so big, that there was just nothing for it. We had to laugh.
Like I said, she wasn’t making sense when she tried to talk, and she could occasionally get a few clear words here and there out, but she couldn’t manage even short sentences–except for one thing. The one sentence that my nana could say, clearly and without trouble, over and over was, “I love you.” She must have told me that twenty times on the ride over there. She would be agonizing over her words, and I would squeeze her hand or try to reassure her in some way, and she would say, perfectly intelligible, “I love you, I love you, I love you!”
A curse word and her love. Those are the things she could get out with no trouble. That’s my nana for you.
As I mentioned, my nana has had strokes in the past, and it resulted in her having memory problems. She forgets things very easily, and will ask you the same questions over and over again. She also tells the same stories over again, often within the same conversation. This has never really bothered me, because many of the stories she likes to tell repeatedly are stories about things we did in our childhood. I think that says something about my nana, that the things her brain always holds on to revolve around her love for us. How could I be frustrated or impatient with my nana when the things she remembers and that makes her happy to tell us about are about how precious my presence in her life has been?
When we arrived at the hospital, things happened very quickly. They immediately got my nana back into the emergency room and began running tests on her. The good news was that she wasn’t having paralysis or any of the other common side effects of a stroke, other than the impaired speech and confusion. I stood next to her in her hospital bed, answering her questions as she kept asking them over again. The doctors were talking to my family, but I wasn’t really listening. A nurse kept doing tests with her to try and see if her speech began improving, but it didn’t seem like it was. They have a stroke test that they do where they have you read sentences and describe pictures and identify objects. She couldn’t do them.
After we’d been there for about thirty minutes, my dad finally caught my attention and asked me what I thought we should do. Wait, what? Do about what? I had no idea what he was talking about. Shortly I discovered just what I had been missing when I was focused on my nana. When someone has a stroke, you have the option of giving them a drug that can possibly reverse the effects of the stroke, whatever they are. Strokes are often the result of a blood clot in the brain that cuts off the oxygen flow to certain areas, and that is what can result in permanent damage–like my nana’s short term memory loss. So they can give you a type of blood thinner that hopefully dissolves the clot and allows blood flow to resume before the damage is permanent.
But there is a catch, of course. This drug has to be administered within three hours of the stroke to work. There is also no guarantee that it will work–it might or it might not. And, worst of all, it carries with it a minor risk of death. You see, they inject the blood thinner into your veins, and so it doesn’t just dissolve clots in your brain–it can dissolve any clots anywhere in your body.  This can result in internal bleeding and, in some cases, your brain hemorrhaging, which generally results in death. There’s also the chance that if you don’t give her the medicine, she’ll get better on her own.
So when someone you love has a stroke, you are suddenly thrust into this extremely agonizing decision with only a very limited amount of time to make it. By the time we got to the hospital, got checked in, had initial tests run, and had everything explained to us, we estimated that about an hour and a half of our three hour window was already gone.
I’m sure you can imagine what kind of thoughts might run through your head when faced with this decision. What if we don’t give her the medicine and she can never speak properly again? What if we do give it to her and she has a brain hemorrhage? If we don’t take that risk, she might even get better on her own. If we give it to her, it might not even work. You just have no way to know–a stroke is an incredibly individualized event, and there’s a million variables that might affect each case. You’re just taking a shot in the dark on the risks, and the life of someone you love is the stake.
The doctors gave us our space and our time to try and make a decision. I went back to standing by my nana and just trying to talk to her as much as possible, to see if she was possibly beginning to improve on her own. When I first thought that she might be starting to speak a little more clearly, I was afraid that I was just wanting to believe that she was so we wouldn’t have to take the risk.
You might be wondering just how much of a risk there was, and it was admittedly pretty low– the doctors estimated about 6% for the worst case scenario of brain hemorrhage. That might not seem like very much, but let me assure you that when you don’t know anything for sure, and you realize the medicine might not even help, that a six percent chance seems like an enormous risk to take with your grandmother’s life.
We were especially scared because we know all too well that even with something that has minimal risks, the worst can happen. In 2012, my papa, my nana’s husband of 50+ years and my mother’s dad, went into the hospital to complete a simple, outpatient procedure to look at his heart. There was supposed to be minuscule risk, and not a single one of us thought that anything serious might happen. During the procedure, however, my papa suffered a massive heart attack, went into a coma, and died two days later. After something like that, it’s hard to take even a six percent risk with your nana’s life.
So as time is ticking down, no one is making a decision. I am desperately listening to every word my nana says to try and see if she is improving. At first, maybe one sentence in fifteen was making sense. It wasn’t looking good at that point. But after a little while, she would be saying maybe a couple sentences in a row, before things would get muddled again. Then, as our window began to draw to a close, I started counting how many sentences in a row she was getting out clearly. It was four, then five, then nine out of ten sentences she was saying were making sense. Finally, we were within the last ten minutes of our window, and still no one had made a decision.  I said I didn’t think we should give her the medicine. I felt that she was beginning to get better on her own, and I was truthfully just terrified of the risk.
You might wonder what my nana thought of all this, and why we didn’t let her make the decision. But I promise we tried to discuss it with her, but even though her sentences were making sense her brain was still confused. Her short term memory was also worsened, and she couldn’t seem to remember what we had told her every five minutes. All she could tell us was that she wanted to go home–my nana has always been a very terrible patient. She hates people fussing over her.
In the midst of our last minute attempt to make a decision, the neurologist came in and told us that our window had passed and the time factor had made the decision for us. That was almost as scary to hear as thinking about trying to take the risk. What if we were just being selfish and we’d forced our nana into being frustrated for the rest of her life every time she couldn’t get her words out?

But, as you’ll notice, this post is called “A Stroke of Miraculous Luck” and it’s for a reason. We didn’t have too much time to worry that we’d made the wrong decision. After my nana’s initial test results came back and all of them looked actually really good, she was admitted into the hospital and moved into her own room.I knew she was going to be okay when, after the doctor told her she had to be admitted, she pulled her covers up in front of her face, leaned over to me, and whispered, “This is bullshit.” By that point, she was already pretty much back to normal. When we were getting her settled into her own hospital room, the nurse gave her the stroke test again. She did them all without fail, only forgetting a word one time out of three tests. My mom and I were tearing up. Only a couple of hours before she couldn’t have read a single thing on them.
Somehow, by some miracle, the stroke did not seem to have had any permanent effect on her. Maybe it’s because my uncle reacted so quickly and gave her the aspirin immediately, maybe it’s because my nana just has an unusually resilient brain. Whatever the reason, she was speaking normally and already throwing a fit about having to be admitted into the hospital barely five hours after the stroke. The doctors told us that she would have to stay to be monitored because sometimes a minor stroke proceeds a massive one, but if that didn’t happen and  if all her test results came back clear she would probably be able to go home on Monday morning. Nana was NOT pleased by this news. She was even more displeased when she failed the gag test they gave her. This is when they test you by sticking a tongue depressor really far back on your tongue, which makes most people gag. My nana didn’t, and they were afraid that the stroke could have possibly affected the muscles in her throat, which meant that if she tried to eat or drink they might not function right, and she could suffocate. That meant that she couldn’t eat or drink until a speech therapist could check her out–and one wouldn’t be there until Monday. So only an IV for an entire day for her.
The next day and a half was a struggle to keep her from breaking out of the hospital. She was in as fine a form as I had seen her in ages, sassing us left and right and making us and the nurses and her doctors laugh. She complained about everything and asked if she could go home every ten minutes, insisting she felt just fine now and they’d kept her long enough. Sunday was a looong day, I can tell you. She kept trying to make us lay down on the bed with her or calling for another chair for my dad.

The Queen of Ornery.

The Queen of Ornery.

But Monday was even longer. Luckily, someone came in early to do her gag assessment, and they decided that she just had a really high gag tolerance, so she was able to eat. But as often happens in a hospital, things take a lot longer than they often are predicted to. Instead of leaving early on Monday morning, we didn’t leave until really late that afternoon. Of course, my sister and mom had gone to the cafeteria not five minutes before the doctor came in to tell us that all her test results looked great, she was being released, and he was starting the paperwork, and I thought I was going to have to sit on her to keep her from running out the door. She kept trying to make me let her put her clothes on, even though she was covered in wires and still had an IV in. She kept bustling around the room trying to get all our things together, and to be honest, I was exhausted just watching her. The hospital apparently really agreed with Nana.
Finally the doctor had signed the papers, and eventually our nurse was able to make his way back to us and get her all unhooked. He brought a wheelchair to take her down to the car, and she looked at him like he was crazy. “Is that for me?” she asked him. No, Nana, it’s for Rachel. Definitely not for you, the lady who just had a stroke. Then she told him, “I can walk out of here– I can RUN out of here!”
Thankfully we were able to convince her that was not the best idea, and we talked her into taking the wheelchair, albeit reluctantly. It just so happens that months in advance of this, my mom had scheduled my nana a dermatologist appointment for that Monday to check some worrying spots on her cheeks that we were afraid might be skin cancer. And as it turns out, she was feeling so well that we ended up able to make the dermatologist appointment–though she was less than pleased about going to another doctor instead of getting to go home. I just had this horrible fear that she was going to somehow avoid disaster with the stroke only to find out she had skin cancer. And yet, wonder of wonders, both spots turned out not to be anything. She really was fine.
The whole thing seemed to happen so quickly, and we went from such a low to such a high so fast, with an enormous barrage of emotions in between. Only two days before she had her stroke, we had taken her with us for the day out to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, and drove her all through it and up on Mt. Scott and taken her to lunch at a little restaurant we love down there. In those first terrifying moments when I didn’t know what might happen, all I could think was how grateful I was that we’d been able to do that before this happened.

On Mount Scott

On Mount Scott

And so yet again, I was reminded of this lesson– you never know what life will bring you, so you have to make the most of every day. It’s one of the most cliche sayings there is, I know, but in the course of my life it has been reinforced to me time and time again. So I just want to encourage you to take a minute to really appreciate the things you love in your life, whatever they are. Hug a family member, go to dinner with a friend, cuddle your favorite pet– because those are the really precious things in life that make it worthwhile. And if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that just when you think you’ve got a handle on life, you can almost bet it’s going to throw something crazy your way.
Miraculously for me, things worked out pretty dang well this time.

The License Plate Prophecy: A Farce

Well, Readers.
I am finally feeling recovered from my rather unfortunate first experience with subbing, so as promised I am bringing the story of my first and only interview–also a disaster.
As I have mentioned, I graduated from college in April of 2013. I applied for my first job in May, and to date I have had one single interview. To say that my job hunt is going poorly is something of an understatement.

Am I laughing or am I crying?

I have been very vocal about my struggles with the job hunt, both here and on Facebook, and so a lot of my friends are well aware of my problems. And since I have great friends, they look to help me out. About a month ago, my friend Amanda, whom I met at college, let me know about a job opening that she thought I should apply for at the place where she worked. It was a clerical position at the Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation department.
Wait, wait, a job at the Parks and Rec department? So what you’re saying is I might get this job and start making money again? Because you know what that would mean….

Another great thing about this job is that it was part-time, which meant I would be able to be off by 2 every day– which was perfect because I had accepted a position as a coach for an under six girls soccer team. We had practices early in the afternoon during the week, and so I would be able to get off work in plenty of time to make it to their practices. So I jumped online and applied, feeling like things were finally looking up for me.
I met with the contact parent for the team I was supposed to coach, things went great, and we had everything arranged. A week later, I checked with Amanda to see when they would begin reviewing applications, and she told me that their building had actually flooded and so they would have to deal with that before they started looking into hiring anybody.
I was somewhat disappointed, but not discouraged. Then, shortly after that I got a message from the contact parent on my team– one of the dads had decided he wanted to coach, and so they didn’t need me after all.

I’ll admit, I was pretty crushed.
And then, even more time passed and I never heard anything back on the Parks and Rec job, and I grew slowly more depressed. When my bank account went below $100 for the first time since I opened it, I knew I had to do something. My sister, who recently graduated with her second college degree in Early Childhood Education, suggested that I  attend sub training and start subbing. It seemed the only option at that point. And so I went to sub training, requested a replacement social security card , a paid for a sixty dollar background check so I could start subbing (you can read about that in my last post)

Two days later, I got a call from my friend Amanda’s boss asking me if I could do an interview.

Come ONNNN

But I didn’t want to turn down a job opportunity, so I scheduled an interview.
A little while later, Amanda gave me a heads up that I wouldn’t even be interviewing for the job I had originally applied for. Instead, I would be interviewing for a front desk job dealing with people’s calls and anyone who came into the office. Wait, wait, wait… people? You want me to deal with people?!
I felt my stomach sink. I can’t deal with people, guys. I am shy, and non-confrontational, and easily overwhelmed in unfamiliar social situations, as I am sure you all are well aware if you read my blog regularly. A front desk job was exactly the opposite of what I wanted to be doing.
I started talking it over with my family, and the more we discussed it, the more we realized that it would probably be better for me if I just went ahead with subbing. I was going to be making the same amount, the commute was nonexistent, I wouldn’t have to ask off right after getting the job for when we went on vacation during Spring Break, and I had already agreed to sub for my mom. I realized that I had agreed to an interview for a job I didn’t want to take.
I immediately got in touch with Amanda to talk it over with her. She had gone to a great deal of trouble to get me the interview and to recommend me to her boss, and I felt terrible her hard work was going to waste. But Amanda is very kind, and she was completely understanding. She suggested that I go ahead and come in just to talk things over with them and to get the experience of interviewing.
Ah, if only I had known what kind of experience it was going to be.

My interview was scheduled for nine in the morning in downtown Oklahoma City. According to my GPS, the drive should take 26 minutes, so I woke up at 7:20 to make sure I would have plenty of time to get ready and still make it down there in case traffic was bad. I left at 8:20, a little later than I wanted but still with plenty of time to make it–or I should’ve. But of course the drive was worse than I thought, with lots of traffic, and I didn’t make it to downtown until about 8:50. But ten minutes was surely going to be plenty of time to park and find my way to the Parks and Rec building.
Ah, the naivete of youth.
I was excited because whenever you came in for an interview, you could park in a specific parking garage downtown and the department would pay for it. Now, as you all may recall from when I missed my friend’s wedding because my GPS stopped working, I am very bad with directions and navigating. So when it finally occurred to me that the parking garage they had told me to park at was on the corner of two streets that were not the same as the street the Parks and Rec building was on, I got a little nervous. I just started turning down streets, and luckily for me, it only took me a couple extra minutes to find the parking garage. I breathed a sigh of relief and pulled in.
Not so luckily, however, this was one of the most confusing parking garages I had ever been in, and I could not seem to figure out what way to go. It was also packed, because it was a Monday morning in downtown, and there was no sign of a spot anywhere. I came around a corner, and was almost hit by another car. I shot her a dirty look, confused as to why she was driving right down the middle of the aisle, and kept going. I came around another corner, and was almost hit by another car.
It was at this point that I realized I was going the wrong way down the one way section of the parking garage.

Did I take stupid pills this morning??

Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

You know what one of the worst things about doing something really stupid is? It’s when you know you’re doing something stupid, but you can’t fix it. Somehow, I had managed to get into an area that was only supposed to be an exit.
parking garage

 

I was driving as carefully as I could, ashamed and confused, trying to desperately to find a parking spot I could pull into and turn around in. But, as I mentioned, the parking garage was packed, and there was nothing. I was on the fourth level and had almost been hit by two or three cars when I realized that I was just going to have to try and pull into a corner, as close to a car as I could, and then pull an Austin Powers and try to slowly pull forward and back until I could turn around.

I have been reduced to Austin Powers.

I got as far over in the one way aisle as I could, and tried to wait until no cars were coming, fervently hoping that no one was going to come around the corner and hit me first. Finally, after three cars came around the corner, almost hit me, and honked vociferously, the coast was finally clear. I made my move, and pulled up as close to the car on one side of the aisle as I could.

If nothing else, I learned that a job I would not be suited for is construction or architecture.

If nothing else, I learned that I would not be suited for a job in construction, architecture, or design.

I got right up close to the car, and then I noticed that their license plate said “HITNRUN” on it. I laughed a little and thought to myself, Haha better not hit them! After I had pulled up as close as I could, I started backing slowly up, hoping no one would come around the corner. I had almost enough room to cut the wheel, when suddenly I felt a bump. I froze, and slowly turned around.
And that was when I realized I had backed into the van behind me.

I managed to turn around and get facing the right way, but I made sure to back up and pull really close to the van I had just hit. Luckily, it was very large, very sturdy, and I had hit it going very, very slowly. There was not even a mark on it that I could see.
Please don’t call the cops on me, but I was the perpetrator of a hit and run.
That’s right. Hit and run. Does that sound familiar? Remember how I told you that the car in front of me said “HITNRUN” on the license plate? Yeah. I pulled up to a car that said hit and run on in, and then I hit the car behind me and ran.

And yet, it was happening. I swear this to you…  you can’t make that kind of stuff up. You just can’t.

Finally I managed to get going the right way, expecting at any moment that a policeman was going to show up behind me and arrest me. Again, as I mentioned, the parking lot was full, and I simply kept driving and driving and driving to find a spot. Finally, on the 8th floor out of 9, I found a place and pulled in. It was nine o’ clock by this point, and I was late. I rushed to the elevators, got in, and then realized I had no idea where I was going.
Somehow, it had never occurred to me to ask how I got from the parking garage to the Parks and Rec office. Vaguely in the back of my mind I was apparently just thinking that the two would be connected. But again, they weren’t on the same streets. Confused, terrified, and anxious, I took the elevator to the ground floor and started wandering along the street. I walked a block up to Main Street, but then had no idea which way to go. I picked left and started walking, but after awhile I realized the numbers were going the wrong way. I tried to look as far as I could down the other way, but saw no signs relating to the Parks and Rec department.
At this point I was utterly bewildered. I was freezing cold because I hadn’t brought a heavy jacket or gloves, not having connected that I was going to have to walk. I was late, and had no idea where to go.
Finally I messaged Amanda, who THANKFULLY responded very quickly, asking me to call her. I did so, and followed her directions, crossing a street and walking down the other way until I finally stumbled upon the entrance. I made my way to the elevator, arrived at the second floor, and went into the first office I saw. I had thought my friend Amanda would be at the front desk, but there was no sign of her. I was ten minutes late by this point.
The lady at the desk was on the phone, and I had to wait almost five minutes before she was done. She was very apologetic, and I told her I was there for an interview. Then she asked me who I was there to see.
My mind went completely blank.

Ohhh… uhhhh…. ummmm…..

“Karen?” I asked hesitantly.
“Great, I will let her know!” the friendly receptionist said.
Oh thank God, I guessed right.
At that moment, however, Karen came walking by, and the receptionist told her I was there for an interview. She looked slightly panicked, and told me to just have a seat for a few minutes because she had to meet with her boss. I collapsed onto a nearby bench, drained.
After a few minutes, I was relieved when Amanda finally appeared. She told me that she was afraid Karen had forgotten she had the interview with me. At that point, I had no desire to go near the parking garage anytime soon, so I wasn’t too worried that I was going to have to wait. After ten or fifteen minutes, Karen finally came for me and called me back. I had thought that Amanda might have mentioned that I wasn’t going to take the job, so I went in thinking that they might just talk to me in case I ever did apply for a job with them again.
I was slightly startled when Karen brought another lady in to help with the interview process, and when we sat down and she started to ask me questions, I realized that she was really going to interview me.
“So what do you want to tell us about yourself?” she asked me.

Uhhhh…. weeeeeeell, actually….

I then haltingly began to explain how I hadn’t heard from them in such a long time after applying that I had gone through process of sub training and getting my background, and how I really felt that it would be a better fit since I wouldn’t have to drive thirty minutes every day, etc. etc. As I spoke, I could see their faces getting more and more confused. Finally I wrapped up my stumbling explanation, and told them that I felt terrible and I was so sorry and I just wanted to come and explain everything to them in person.They were incredibly kind and understanding, just like Amanda had been, but I felt like they were just wondering what on earth I was doing there. I felt like the biggest idiot alive. I thanked them, said goodbye to Amanda, and got out of there as fast as I could.  I had still been considering the idea of maybe, possibly taking the job when I left my house that morning, but after everything that I had experienced I don’t think anything could have induced me to do so.

NOOOOOO I AM NEVER SHOWING MY FACE IN OKC AGAIN YOU CAN’T MAKE ME

I made my way back into the infamous parking garage, and naturally got off the elevator on the wrong floor, wandering about for a few minutes before realizing my mistake. In a daze I got back on the elevator, went up to the right floor, and got in my car. I think I drove the carefullest I ever have in my life going out of that parking garage. The whole incident seemed so absurd at this point that I slowed to a crawl as I went by the spot of my ill-fated attempt to turn around. I looked over the van I had bumped into as carefully as possible, still seeing no evidence of my car’s assault upon it. Then, because I was doubting my own eyes, I looked on the other side of the aisle just to confirm that there really had been a car with the license plate “HITNRUN” that also just happened to be the one car out of the hundreds in the nine floor parking garage that I chose to turn around by before fulfilling its unknowing prophecy. I started to take a picture of it, because it seemed impossible anyone could credit the story I was telling without proof, but naturally at this point a car came up behind me, and I had to drive on.
It was a one way garage, after all.
I pulled up to the exit area, thinking there would be a person there to take the ticket I had been given to pay for my parking. But after pulling up, I realized there was no person, and that I had stopped too far away from the ticket machine to put my ticket in. I rolled down the window, hoping against hope that I would be able to reach it but knowing it was impossible. I was going to have to get out of the car and put in two different tickets with three cars waiting behind me.
Out of nowhere, a man appeared, offering to take my tickets and put them in the machine for me. “You’re lucky I was here to do that for you,” he told me scoldingly. I only nodded and thanked him, because of course some random man would happen by just at that moment to put my tickets in for me. Clearly my life was a bad play, and he was just playing his part.
I pulled into the street, and all I could see in my mind was that license plate, emblazoned in big letters “HITNRUN.”
I started laughing, and didn’t stop until I was almost home.

 

And then I died. The end.

The Curse of the Sub

Oh, Readers.
The purpose of this blog has always been to take the often silly and ridiculous things I experience in my life, and to share them with you. Occasionally life throws something your way, and it’s either laugh or cry, and I have always tried to be the type that laughs at the stupid or embarrassing things that happen to me (or that I do, more like it).
Well let me just say, my life has been CHOCK FULL of the absurd lately. As you all may know, my post-graduate job hunt has been going… poorly, to say the least. I finally decided to try subbing, because I live right by a lot of the schools in the district, and THEY CAN’T TURN ME DOWN. It’s also a great part time gig that doesn’t require you to have a set schedule. After I went through the steps to become a sub, though, naturally I finally got a call back from a job I applied to.
However, I hadn’t even been able to write up the post about what a disastrous experience my one and only job interview was (don’t worry, it’s coming though! UPDATE: Here it is!) before I got approved to be a sub yesterday and decided to take a position today in a desperate attempt to get at least one day of work on the upcoming pay cycle– because subs only get paid once a month, and it’s for the month before.
poor gif

For me, getting approved to sub took way longer than it should have. You have to have copies of your Social Security card, and I discovered when I went to sub training that my parents apparently lost mine years ago and never replaced it, because that’s DEFINITELY not something you’ll ever need.

Thanks Mom and Dad!

I therefore had to go to the Social Security office (an adventure in and of itself) and request a new one, which didn’t come until Monday. Then I had to take my papers to the administration office, wait for my $59 (!!!!) background check to come through (which my parents had to pay for because I literally did not have enough money in my account), AND to be put into the system officially before I was able to sub.
Last night I finally got an automated call that told me I was in, and so I decided to take a look at the available jobs to see if there were any I wanted. The way subbing works is that teachers throughout the district put in a request for a sub on a website, and available subs can look through and decide if they want to take them. The nice thing about subbing is that you never have to accept anything; you can have a day off any time you need it without having to request off or anything like that.
I looked through all the available jobs, and saw one that was to sub in Spanish at the high school–the same high school I attended, mind you. I minored in Spanish, and so I thought, hey, why not!

I love this joke so much, thanks college education.

This morning I arrived bright and early at my former high school, because you need to be there at least twenty minutes before the first bell rings. I also needed to get there extra early because they have rebuilt the majority of my high school since I attended it. It is now giant, fancy, and terrifying. The new cafeteria looks like it should have been in High School Musical, I swear to god.
Eventually I wandered my way to something called the freshmen office, which did not exist when I was in high school. In fact, when I was in ninth grade, we were in our own separate building, which has now been turned into a fifth and sixth grade center (I don’t even know guys, it’s bizarre).
I checked in without too much problem, got my little sub sheet, and then a kindly teacher led me to my room since I had no idea where to find it. In a disorienting twist of fate, I was actually subbing in an old part of the building that had existed (and where I had Spanish) when I was in school, but was now connected to buildings that did not exist when I was in school. Along the way I saw my 8th grade math teacher in the hall and said hi, which was pretty strange.
Luckily, my teacher I was subbing for was super prepared, and had written everything the kids would need to do on the board, as well as leaving detailed instructions for me of what I needed to do. Mostly I would be taking attendance and giving kids extra packets if they had forgotten their workbooks, and just ensuring no mayhem ensued. I wrote my name on the board, which was absolutely surreal, since my mother has been a teacher my entire life, and she is the undisputed Mrs. Rowe in my mind.

You cannot understand how wrong this felt.

You cannot understand how wrong this felt.

My first period class came in, and naturally it was a huge class that really liked to talk. Trying to be a good sub, I took attendance right away and then sent a student to the office with it. I got them started on their assignments and told them that it was my first time subbing so they had to take it easy on me (that was a mistake). They took this to mean that they could chat as much as they want, and I got tired of getting onto them after a while so I just let them. So I got everything sorted, aaaaand… then I did nothing.
Seriously. There was like nothing for me to do. As I would come to realize throughout the day, subbing is both simultaneously incredibly stressful and incredibly boring. This boredom led me to messing about endlessly with things on my desk, and I ended up taking a minute to actually read my sub info– and what did I see but a note about how you are NOT supposed to send kids to the office with attendance because someone will come from it.
Oh, fantastic.
Not even an hour in, and I’ve already messed something up.

Just swell.

Just swell.

Even better, a student that I had turned in as absent ended up coming late, so I just had to hope he had checked into the office. A girl came in to pick up my attendance, and I had to tell her I’d already sent it. She looked at me like I was an idiot, a very lowering feeling. Yeah, okay, girl who is eight years younger than me, I get it. I messed up. Whatevs.
So I was off to a rocky start, but I was resolved to do better second period. Practice makes perfect right? So my second group came in, and, blessedly, they were perfect. Sat down, got right to work, and were very quiet. I made sure I took attendance, and did NOT send it with anyone. I also wrote a note on the back apologizing for sending first hour’s attendance with a student, and making sure they knew the student I had marked absent actually had showed up. I had no problems with these kids, which made me even more bored. I had already looked at every poster in the room and messed with every available thing on my desk, and I felt like a creep just staring at the kids.

“hey kids don’t do drugs, also don’t get an English degree or you’ll end up subbing in your old high school”

Finally I gave in and looked at my phone. It was my turn on a game of Words with Friends, so I played that–and of course, a video ad came on after, blaring loudly into the quiet room. My class just looked at me like I was such a loser–again, a very lowering feeling. Whatever, kids. I make 60 bucks for doing this, and you chumps are doing it for FREE. Suckas.
After second period, I had lunch time. That means I was supposed to eat lunch at ten thirty. TEN THIRTY. For almost every day of the past ten months, I haven’t even been awake by ten thirty, how am I supposed to eat my lunch now?! During sub training they told us we weren’t supposed to really go off campus during our lunch, but I didn’t know what the procedure was if we were eating at the school and I was too scared to brave the High School Musical cafeteria by myself.
So I found my way back to the freshmen office to ask what to do. The moment I walked in, the student office aide took one look at me and goes, “Ohhh, don’t you look adorable?!”

That’s better, eight years younger than me kid. I have hope for your generation yet. I spoke with secretary, who informed me that I was actually more than welcome to go off campus to grab lunch, as long as I was back in time. I hurried over to the nearest Subway, thinking I would just get myself a sandwich and save it to eat later. Luckily there was no line, and I made it back with about five or ten minutes to spare.
My third period class appeared soon after, and I took roll. They started out very talkative, and one kid asked out loud what “cansado” meant. Oh yesss, here was my chance to show off my skills. “TIRED!” I almost shouted, excited because I knew the answer. Also, because I was feeling it very strongly.
The kids were impressed, naturally, and somebody goes, “Whoa, she speaks Spanish!”
“Oh I have a minor in Spanish, actually,” I told them impressively. “So you can totally ask me if you have questions, and I might be able to help you.”

There’s a 30-40% chance I can actually assist you!

They settled down pretty quickly, and did their work quietly, so I thought it was going to be another nice, easy class. Unfortunately, that was not to be, and I ended up having to threaten to send a kid to the office. It felt very strange, I just kept thinking in my head I don’t really have the authority to send someone to the office though, surely? Luckily I didn’t actually have to resort to such drastic measures. I guess my intimidating face was pretty impressive.
The hour after that was my planning hour, so I went and visited my 8th grade Spanish teacher since her room was right by mine, and along the way I found my sophomore math teacher’s room as well, so I chatted with them. It was quite the blast from the past, especially since my former middle school Spanish teacher was now at the high school in the old room where I had Spanish in high school. I finally was feeling hungry, so I ate my Subway sandwich. It tasted slightly strange after sitting out for awhile, but I had little other choice.
Fifth period showed up, and kids started filtering in. One student came in and goes, “Wait, you can’t be our sub. How old are you? You’re not old enough to be a sub!” I assured her that I was 22, and, in fact, more than old enough to be the sub. “Oh you look like a teenager!” she said disbelievingly. WELL YEAH YOU KNOW WHAT, SO DO YOU OKAY.  If I’m being entirely truthful, however, I was surprised it took that long for a student to say it.
After the bell rang, I started taking roll. Halfway through, however, they came over the intercom to announce the winners of a week long fundraising contest between the different grades. My class was made up of freshmen, and they let out a deafening cheer when it was announced that they had won, and were to report to the auditorium for a reward assembly. I had to yell them down in order to finish taking roll. I was almost as equally excited as they were, because it meant that I had an unexpected free hour.

I’M FREEEEEE

Now, you may be saying to yourself, okay, that stuff you’ve told us so far is kind of embarrassing, Sara, but that’s nothing SERIOUS. I mean, after the cheesecake pizza story or getting lost and missing your friend’s wedding, a mix up in attendance is negligible. And beginning of fifth period Sara would have agreed with you– I was actually mildly surprised at how relatively normal things were going. But as fifth period wore on, I began to feel slightly unwell. My stomach started getting wonkier by the minute, and finally I felt the urge to go to the restroom in fear I was going to lose my lunch.
I didn’t throw up, so I washed my face and neck with cool water to try and help. I went back to my room for the start of sixth period, and sat for awhile before I realized that the assembly must last two hours, and I would have another free period.
I wanted to be excited, but I was not feeling so hot.

It felt a little like this, except instead of the stocks I fell into tummy upset.

I was feeling progressively worse and worse, and when I finally ran for the bathroom, this time my lunch made its unwelcome reappearance.  I started shivering soon after and felt hot and cold, and I realized that I was more than likely not going to be able to cover my final seventh period class. I wasn’t sure what to do so I tried to call my sister (she’s going to be a teacher and has subbed before) so I could ask her what to do. She didn’t answer, however, and I remembered she was taking our dog to the vet. So finally, unsure but feeling even worse, I made the long trip back to the freshmen office yet again.
Of course, the secretary was speaking with a parent, so she told me to just sit down and wait. And so, trying not to throw up again, I sat down and waited for five or ten minutes while she finished with the parent. She then called me forward, looked at me, and then goes, “Ohh, you’re the sub! I’m sorry, I thought you were a student!”
Sigh.
After embarrassingly explaining the situation, the secretary attempted to call a few people to see if they could cover the class. Finally she told me, “Just go on home, hon. You can’t sub if you’re throwing up.” In a fluster of shame and nausea, I rushed back to the classroom, collected my things, and drove my way home, where I fell into bed and slept about four hours.

So there you have it, Dear Readers. My first attempt at substituting ended in an episode of suspected food poisoning. I’m guessing that things went south when I let my sandwich sit out for a couple hours before eating it. So… in a ridiculous joke of the universe, my first day of subbing was ruined by none other than Subway. Because, you know, my life is one big cosmic joke.

I’m just going to take this as a sign that I was absolutely right when I decided I was not meant to be a teacher.

The Single Lady’s Calendar

(UPDATED NOTE: I’ve turned this post into a Buzzfeed post, which I would be so unspeakably grateful if you would check out and share any way you can. You can also read a little bit more about it on my other post explaining why I did so!)
Happy Valentine’s Day, Dear Readers!
As you all probably know, I am perpetually single, and I haven’t had a date on Valentine’s in nearly a decade. But contrary to what you might expect after hearing that, I love Valentine’s Day. I really do; it makes me happy because it is a holiday dedicated to celebrating my favorite emotion–love. Last year, in fact, I wrote a whole blog post about just how much I love Valentine’s and why. You can check it out, it’s one of the most popular posts I have ever written for the blog (so you know it’s, like, totes good).
All this being said, I know that there are probably just as many of you who plainly loathe Valentine’s Day–and hey, I’m not going to pretend like that’s not completely understandable. I love chocolates and gifts as much as the next girl.
A few months ago, I began kicking around an idea in my mind. I had seen those hilarious someecards on Pinterest that divided the months up into months for single people, and I thought they were pretty darn funny.

Like this.

Just trying to be funny (as I strive so hard to do), I started thinking up titles for all the months. And then, like a bolt of lightning, it hit me– why not make an actual calendar for single ladies?!
The more I thought about it, the more I loved the idea. But one thing I knew right from the beginning was that I would not be able to accomplish this feat on my own–my skills, such as they are, rest in writing, not photography or Photoshop or anything like that.
Enter my lifelong friend, Cindy Benton. Luckily for me, Cindy is extremely talented, crazy creative, and amazing with a camera–and she both had and knew how to use Photoshop. Together we cooked up ideas, ironed out details, and over two days in January, with the help of Cindy’s equally creative sister Erin, we shot The Single Lady’s Calendar.
Initially I planned to post this post on January 18th, the one year anniversary of the blog (YIPPIEEEEE!!!). But I was young, and naive, and I did not understand the rigors and treachery of trying to navigate Photoshop that Cindy would have to face down. It took much longer than I expected, but thankfully Cindy never threw up her hands and said she quit.
So we reassessed, and then I realized, when would be a more perfect time to post the calendar than Valentine’s Day?
After all, I wrote last year for all the people who loved Valentine’s Day. Why not create something for those who don’t feel quite so positively?
And so, in solidarity for all you single gals (and heck, even guys!) out there who consider February 14th to be Singles Awareness Day, I feel you. This one is for you.

The Single Lady’s Calendar

Jealous of Couples January

Fictional Boyfriend February

Movie Marathon March

All By Myself April

Marry My Cats May

Just Friends June

Join A Nunnery July

Always Alone August

Single September

Online Dating October

No Ring November

Don't Date December

There you have it, my friends! I hope you have as much fun with this as we did making it– and to all of my wonderful Readers, single or not, I hope you have an absolutely lovely Valentine’s Day! :)

PS Again, I cannot stress enough how much help I had in doing this. It literally would have never happened without Cindy, and she deserves just as much (if not more) credit for this than I do. I cannot say thank you enough to her, because she made it possible!!
And of course, special thanks to our assistant Erin ;)

Thoughts From A Chronic Groupon Massage Purchaser

Hello, Dear Readers.
I want to start off today’s post by asking you something. When you hear words like “luxury” or “relaxation,” do certain images come to your mind? Perhaps something like kicking back with a drink in your hand, or reading by the pool, maybe even a hammock in the quiet of the great outdoors. For many people, pampering is the name of the game when trying to relax, often along the lines of some sort of spa day. And once your mind drifts that way, perhaps you, like many people, also find yourself picturing that stereotypical image of a massage on the beach at sunset.

Something like this.

I must admit, I have always bought into that glamorous idea of a massage, where someone soothes away all your tension in a lovely place that smells good, while soft, magical music plays in the background. As I grew older, the appeal only increased. After a hard soccer game, when my body was tired and aching, what could sound more heavenly than someone to rub my feet? Or when I was studying for an important test, and my head and shoulders hurt from hours spent hunched over my notes, what could be better than someone to rub those knots away? To me, a massage sounded like the very height of luxury, the kind of thing rich or famous people did every day to deal with the stress of their glamorous lives. But this always seemed an unreachable goal for my poor, middle class self– an effervescent dream that danced in the sunset on the horizon, never attainable.
Then I got a job. And a bank account. Of course, I did not realize it at the time, but this was the first step on a long and colorful road I would come to embark on. Today, I’d like to share with you some of the more memorable impressions I have received in the world of massage.

The first massage I ever received was not exactly your typical experience. My family and I went on vacation to Hot Springs, Arkansas which, if you have never been, is a town that was essentially made up of spas and resorts when it was founded. Today, there are still a number of these old spas that are still functional and you can visit them– for a price. But it just so happened that at the particular time we were going to be there, my mother discovered that one of the spas was having a very special deal– you could go through, not just a massage, but an entire spa routine in their historic spa. And, best of all, it was SUPER. CHEAP. Like, I had enough money in my bank account to afford it, and there would still be money left over afterwards.

IS THIS REAL LIFE MY DREAMS ARE COMING TRUE

The only thing that made us hesitate was a slight catch– it was customary to go through this entire spa treatment… naked. Now, this was not like a you go into a dimly lit room and take off your clothes and get under some covers naked, this was like you take a special mineral bath, then you go and get hot towels put on you, and then you sit in a old-timey steam machine, and then you get a massage naked. This required you to move from place to place. Neither my mom nor my sister nor I were especially keen on this idea.

But after some researching, we found something that said you could wear your bathing suit if you were more comfortable that way– perfect!!! After scouring the process, we realized that we would have to take our tops off for the massage part, naturally, but just wear a two piece and that’s not even a big deal, just pop it off and lay down on the table under the sheet. Solid. I’m sold! So we booked our spa treatments, and gleefully headed off to immerse ourselves into the luxurious world that until now had only been the realm of the rich and famous. Not any more, movie stars.
Let me ask you another question, Readers. Whenever you were younger and in school (or perhaps you even now are at that age) did you ever go to gym class and have to do something called stations? You know, where the teacher sets up like six or seven activities and you spend five minutes at each before they blow a whistle and you have to hurry off to the next one?

CURSE YOU STATIONS

CURSE YOU STATIONS

Well, picture something similar to that, but in an even hotter and sweatier environment than a school gymnasium, and all your fellow classmates seem to be at least sixty years of age and up, and also completely naked. Now, I am an enormous advocate for loving your body and being comfortable in your skin, and maybe by the time I’m sixty I will be as confident (or perhaps just utterly indifferent) as those ladies seemed to be in their nudity. I had not (and still have not) attained that level.
We were hustled from “luxury” to “luxury”– first a bath in a tiny curtained cubicle, and then into one of the steam machines, and then to a table set up next to a ton of other tables where the lady inquired what my “troubled areas” were that I wanted the hot towels on. I felt very unprepared and overwhelmed, like lady, I have never done this before, you tell me (“Uhhh… my right knee kind of hurts?”)
During this time I kind of became separated from my mom and sister because you just had to go to wherever a “station” came available, and in some places you just had to wait. (Oh hi, don’t mind me here, just chilling in my wet bathing suit freezing my butt off and trying desperately not to stare at the naked lady who is so wrinkly and sagging that somehow things are drooping in just such a way that her modesty is remaining intact.)

Let me give you a tip, do not ever, under any circumstances, google “wrinkly saggy old ladies” because the internet is why we can’t have nice things

Finally all that was left was the massage, and feeling much like cattle being herded, I was directed back to another area of the spa to wait my turn. But first, I was required to rinse off in a special shower, to make sure I did not have any minerals on my skin. I say this shower was special because it was in the open– and a lady was just sitting by it, like a secretary at a desk. I started to get in when I was informed that I needed to take my bathing suit completely off.
Completely off.
My bathing suit.
.

I found myself mumbling some sort of protest, something about how that couldn’t be right because it had said I could wear my bathing suit. The shower secretary simply stared me down with steely eyes, informing me that I needed to wash off the minerals so my skin would be prepared for the massage. Slowly, in a daze of horror, I found myself taking off my bathing suit, three feet from a complete stranger, who carelessly turned on the shower thing, indifferent to the fact that my soul was slowing withering as my body attempted to shrink in upon itself.

Pretty sure this was my expression the whole time.

After this shameful procedure was finished, I was allowed to wrap myself in a towel, which I then had to huddle in for a period of ten-ish minutes (that felt like an eternity) as I found myself just sitting in a chair against a wall as I waited my turn to see a masseuse, like someone in the waiting room at a dentist’s office. Except, you know, I was completely naked except for a small towel with strange people about my person.
Finally it was my turn, and I rushed into the room, ready for the entire procedure to be finished with. But the best was yet to come, my Dear Readers. For my masseuse then instructed me to take off my towel, get onto the massage table, and then cover myself with the sheet.
I stress the “then” part, because the order this was supposed to occur in was very important. If you’ll recall, I was naked under my towel. And then I had to get myself onto the massage table. I am a very short person, if you didn’t know, so it was more going to be a climb onto the massage table–this would not have been a graceful procedure if I was decked out in mountain scaling gear.
But alas, I was naked.
You’re a human being, you have a body (unless of course you’re an alien or a ghost or something, in which case, that’s freaking cool, and thanks for reading my blog!)– I’ll just let you ponder why this might be uncomfortable.
Ah, if only my masseuse would have stepped out for this event, it might have remained just awkward instead of one of the most humiliating tasks I have ever been instructed to perform in my life. But she did not. She simply bustled about the room preparing things as this occurred.

Here’s an adorable puppy awkwardly climbing to take the sting out of some of the things I have asked you to imagine already.

To this day, it still occasionally strikes me that there are two strange women floating about Hot Springs, Arkansas who have seen me in my altogether.

But let’s take a minute to pause here. That story indicates to you that I found my first massage experience pretty traumatic, right? So why, you may be asking, does my post title seem to indicate that I have purchased massages numerous times?
Well my friends, never let it be said that I have shied away from or been held back by awkwardness in my life. (Seriously, though, I would never be able to do anything if I let a previous awkward experience with it ruin stuff for me.) Eventually, I discovered websites like Groupon, and LivingSocial, and CrowdSavings, all simply swimming in deals for massages at different places. And somehow or another, I found myself succumbing to the siren lure of that mystical, magical image of the massage on the beach at sunset– not that I have ever had a massage on a beach at sunset. But still, the image tempted me.

SO TEMPTING

Luckily, the majority of my subsequent attempts actually went very pleasantly. Massages became an indulgence I could occasionally afford with help of a discount website, and when I was stressing over a midterm, I could simply schedule one of the massage deals I had purchased to help me relax.
But as with all things in life, from time to time stuff doesn’t go quite as expected. This happened when I bought a groupon to a massage academy, that I came to find out was in a… less affluent part of town. This particular groupon was incredibly cheap, and I realized it was because it was going to be given by a student studying to be a masseuse, not an actual certified one.
Now, if you have followed my blog for any length of time, you have probably received the very accurate impression that I do not have a great deal of experience with boys. But what you might be surprised to hear is that I have actually been talked out of my bra by a man.
His name was Jesus, and he was a man in his (I’m estimating) mid-40’s. He also happened to be the student masseuse that I was scheduled to receive my massage from. Now, as I mentioned, this whole situation ended up feeling very dodgy. Typically when you get a massage, you undress down to your underwear only. But in this case, when Jesus instructed me to undress to my comfort level, I was feeling distinctly uncomfortable. I was in a bad part of town, at a somewhat rundown massage academy, facing a massage by a man for the first time. To make matters worse, my sister was not getting a massage at the same time like she had every other time before, so I was all alone. I opted to leave not only my bra on, but also my shorts.

Okay, I’m ready!

What proceeded was one of the strangest experiences of my life. Jesus started asked me lots of questions about myself and life, and he began making predictions about what kind of person I was based on where I had tension in my body and what kinds of chronic aches I had. At one point he was asking me why I let people push me into doing things I didn’t want to do and encouraging me to stand up for myself. He continued to give me life advice, all while periodically “pushing out the bad auras” and “throwing them away” (always followed by a literal shaking of his hands after hovering them over my body a few inches). It was almost like receiving a massage from a fortune teller– he talked really fast and sometimes with an accent I couldn’t understand so I just nodded sometimes even though I didn’t know what I was agreeing to and I think this led him to make some inaccurate predictions because I provided him with false information and now sometimes I’m secretly afraid he laid a curse on me and that’s the real reason I’ll never find a boyfriend (probably).

He actually kind of looked like Zoltar, maybe I should have listened to some of those predictions…

Suffice it to say, I left that place confused, oily, and a different person.
My most recent massage was this past week, and luckily it was at a place called Petra’s, where my sister and I had been before and really liked. Because neither of us have any semblance of a love life (the excitement with Jesus was a couple of years ago, sadly) we tend to end up doing everything together instead, and we had what was essentially a couple’s massage (or the single sisters’ massage as I like to think of it)…. aka we were in the same room.
My first tip about getting a massage is make sure you go to the bathroom before you start. I didn’t need to, but I still pretended I did because I wanted to check in to the massage place on Facebook because I had thought up the oh so clever caption “I live for the massage, massage, massage, live for the massage-sage, live for the massage-sage” to put with it. Yes, I know I am a product of my terrible generation and I’m obsessed with social media and blah blah blah. But really, I just love terrible puns, and I was not passing up my chance to parody Lady Gaga.

This post took me a really long time to write because I got lost looking and laughing at the Google search results for puns

Another tip when getting a massage (especially if you are a lady) is to make sure you shave really well. It’s a slightly disconcerting feeling to have someone massaging your legs and you suddenly start thinking Oh god oh god oh god oh god did I remember to shave above the knees last night (nope!). My masseuse was really nice, and it just seemed like I owed that much to her, but it was too late at that point.
The biggest problem I have noticed in my chronic massage experiences is that I have trouble just being. Like, the point of a massage is that you’re supposed to just lay there while someone else pampers you. But the problem with massages is that you’re supposed to just lay there while someone else pampers you. Without fail, every two to four minutes I feel like I should say thank you, but what kind of body oil slick slope does that lead to? Where do you stop? How many times is too many times to say it? Is she silently judging me because I’m not saying it and she thinks I’m an ungrateful jerk? Or if I started saying thank you periodically, is she going to think I’m a freak and it will get really annoying?
I usually spend the first ten to fifteen minutes occupied with thoughts like this, and just trying to keep my eyes closed (Third tip– If you’ve never had a massage before, I’ve realized that it is definitely best to keep your eyes closed so you’re not just uncomfortably staring at your masseuse). Finally I’ll come to a point where my brain will think, well, it’s too late now, I’ve gone too far as it is and she’s going to think of me what she’ll think of me.

Gratuitous Doug gif, because it’s guaranteed to be Funny (DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE)

Like me, you may have noticed in life that things you really build up an image of in your head rarely end up being like you think they will. I was finally relaxing, beginning to enjoy my massage, and I was at last able to keep my eyes closed without having to scrunch them. I’m settling in, and I perk up my ears to allow myself to be soothed by whatever dulcet sounds were drifting through the room. Now, if you’re talking about soothing background music, I definitely prefer things that have to do with water– rain, rushing rivers, babbling brooks, thunderstorms, etc.

Something about this is soothing to me on a visceral level.

Unfortunately, a rainy day soundtrack had not been selected for our massage time. Instead, something that sounded like electric guitars in space was playing. Not terrible, just… strange. We came to the point in the massage when it was time to roll over and put your face into that little face rest thing that has a hole in the middle. Not necessarily the most comfortable thing to put my face on, but not a big deal, of course. Unfortunately, around the point when my masseuse began working on my arms and shoulders, it came to my attention that my eye itched. Ferociously.
In case you didn’t know, it is very hard to make subtle, stealthy movements when someone literally has their hands on you. I began trying to rub my face on the thing, but the itch was just so located that I couldn’t get it to the face thing to rub on without essentially just turning my head and rubbing my face up against it like Baloo in the Jungle Book does with that tree.
http---makeagif.com--media-8-12-2013-Va35v6

My arms also happened to be otherwise occupied, so there could be no quick, casual scratch and run either. I suffered through for the next five minutes before the itch finally faded. Around that point, my masseuse moved up and started rubbing my neck… and then my head. She was massaging my scalp, guys. You know those people who, if you play with their hair, they will actually literally melt into a puddle? Yep, that’s me.

So accurate it hurts.

So accurate it hurts.

Another fun fact about me– when I get really relaxed, I have an unfortunate tendency to drool. So for example, when I’m really, really tired at night and I sleep really heavily, I’m much more likely to drool. Makes perfect sense, right, I mean my muscles relax so my mouth gets very slack and so slobber is much more likely to come out (It’s science). Well, when this lady began massaging my scalp, I fell into utter relaxation mode.  I wasn’t concerned any longer about the fact that I might have forgotten to shave or that my hair might have somehow suddenly started producing dandruff the very day I got a massage or even that my bare chest was currently smooshed into a table.  I don’t think I even knew what my name was.
Regrettably, however, this led to an unfortunate circumstance– as my lady finally quit rubbing my scalp and went back to rubbing my shoulders, I emerged from my stupor to find myself with my mouth wide open, drool hanging precariously from my lip. My eyes had barely had time to process the fact that I was staring down at my masseuse’s tennis shoes when I felt the drool lose its tenuous battle with gravity. In slow motion, I watched it plummet towards the ground, and the desperate refrain running through my mind was please don’t land on her shoe please don’t land on her shoe pleasedon’tlandonhershoooooooooe

The last thing my spit ever saw

With my track record, Readers, it’s really a miracle that I didn’t end up drooling on my masseuse’s shoe. But maybe fate owed me one– I did fall asleep once on my then-boyfriend and I literally covered his arm in my sleeping spit.
The rest of the massage passed without too much incident, and I found myself enjoying the experience immensely as a whole. Another, very pertinent tip to know about massages is that you should expect to feel like you just finished wrestling a greased pig in a vat of Crisco when you finish. I generally go straight home and take a shower after. That aside, I certainly felt relaxed after I was done, and that, of course is the point.

So what I’m trying to say, Dear Readers, is that if you’ve been eyeing those Groupons lately and dreaming, like I did, of that massage on the sunny beach, I encourage you to go for it. It more than likely won’t be exactly what you were expecting, but isn’t that the best part of life? Sometimes you don’t get what you thought you would, and yet you end up loving it.
As for my final tip about getting a massage– don’t try to write a blog about it, because no matter how you try and phrase it, writing about someone putting their hands all over your oiled, lotiony half-naked body just comes out sounding so awkward.

But hey– never let it be said that I allow awkwardness to stop me.

Oh schwelllll!