NOT OKCupid and PlentyOfFish (ButNoneYouWant)

Hi guysss.
As is very evident if you read my blog, I am the definition of perpetually single. When I was younger, especially in college, this was something that was really tough for me, because I felt like there was something WRONG with me. But thankfully, college was an enormous character building experience and coming out of it I really kind of figured myself out and became comfortable in my own skin.
This recently led me to the decision that since I was finally happy with myself, it might finally be a good time to start looking for someone else to be happy with. And that was how I stumbled innocently, naively, into the world of online dating apps.
I documented my rather interesting experiences with Tinder, the first app I tried last summer. But things just never quite clicked for me and eventually I gave up on it.
I had essentially quit my pursuit of dating, but this fall, as something of a lark, a couple of my coworkers signed me up for OKCupid. And so I was sucked back into the wild world of electronic courting.
I started out, as I mentioned, with OKCupid. I liked it a million times better than Tinder, because you actually answer tons of questions about yourself and you can see what people you’re potentially interested in have answered to those questions. So, I can see if guys smoke or are against gay marriage or are virulently conservative or if they’re into threesomes, and I can harshly, harshly judge and reject them. It’s really quite fabulous.
And, shock of all shocks, I actually went on dates with TWO different guys I met on OKCupid (and naturally, because my life stubbornly remains a cosmic joke at all times, they both had the same name. Like, the same first name. And like, one guy’s middle name was THE SAME as the other guy’s last name. God). It didn’t work out with either, but the experience really wasn’t that unpleasant. I was slightly reassured that maybe, just maybe, online dating could work.
But after the first two guys, things seemed to go downhill. As always seems to be the inevitable rule, if I was interested in a guy and liked them, they never were interested back. If I looked at a guy and had no interest, naturally that guy would send me a message. It was all very disheartening and reminded me of my tragic youth where the guys I liked never liked me back (SOB).
I was starting to give up on the whole thing–eventually scrolling through endless profiles of guys just made me tired. What were the odds I’d find the guy who was right for me here? It seemed essentially impossible. I started to think that I was honestly just too used to being single, and deep down I didn’t even want to date.
I basically quit looking at the website, as the whole thing just started to get kind of stupid and I felt like I’d seen EVERY. GUY. and none of them were right.

So, naturally, I signed up for another dating app called Plenty of Fish.

At first, it was actually pretty exciting. There were tons of cute new guys who sounded appealing, and my irrepressibly optimistic, hopelessly romantic heart thought, “HE’S GOT TO BE HERE!”
Sigh.
Readers, let me tell you something. I just don’t think he is there.
Come along with me as I lead you down the magical and always delightful (HEAVY SARCASM) paths of online dating.
First, I will include a selection of my very favorite messages I’ve received. Enjoy.

“You into black guys??”
I’m just into guys??

“Hey, kind of off the wall question lol but would you be into having a threesome with two guys?”
LOL THREESOMES, A LITTLE OFF THE WALL AMIRITE?! Though you do get some points for giving me details, it’s nice to know just what kind of threesome I’m being propositioned for.

“Let me unsingle you girl ;) lol”
;)

“Hello Sarah, okcupid sent me in your direction and I’m glad they did.”
Too bad OKCupid couldn’t send you in the direction of spelling my name correctly, even though it’s right there on my profile.

“Would you dat a black guy just asking no disrespect”
Okay, 1. What is “dat”? 2. Why would this be disrespectful to me?!

“Hey I’m looking for a sugar baby. I own my own business and would love to take care of a good looking girl like yourself. If this interests you let me know.”
My personal favorite. I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t consider this. The older I get, the better a sugar daddy sounds.

“Pics”
Of what? My cats? Because that’s about all I’ve got pics of.

“Hey sweetheart how are you”
Hey sweetheart, good thing I’m like three years older than you, you patronizing little twit.

“heyyy are you single?”
Oh, dear lord.

And, the BEST of all:
“sorry you’re still single. i cant help with that with my current situation but if you’re crazy enough to come to okc and get some head then im your dude haha”
So. Many. Questions. Like, what is wrong with you?

One of my favorite things about online dating, aside from the completely inappropriate propositioning of my person and lack of any recognizable grammar, is looking at the profile pictures guys select and wondering just what in the hell they were thinking when they did so. I suppose at heart I’m a horrible, awful person but I take so much joy in looking through a guy’s pictures and judging them cruelly. I’m sure there are guys who think the same about my pictures, but thankfully I remain blissfully ignorant of them.
I was deeply tempted to post all the screenshots of the really, really SPECIAL ones I’ve seen, but that seems just a touch too personal and mean-spirited. So instead, I’ve created a compilation of some of the most common types of profile pictures I see, performed by yours truly.
They are as follows:

The WAAAY Too Close-Up
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I’m not sure where any human being could get the idea that the closer to your face one gets, the hotter it is. Someone needs to show these guys a few Monet paintings. I’ve seriously seen so many pictures where the camera was so close to the taker’s face that I couldn’t even tell what his hair looked like. Literally the ONLY excuse for that is if you have T-Rex arms.

The Bathroom Selfie with Tons of Crap in the Background

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Not only do I get to see your best selfie pose, I also get to see every product you use in your shower routine as well as every single thing on your bathroom counter. This particular type is also at times taken in front of a closet, complete with random hangers and piles of clothes. The two are interchangeable, though the bathroom is by far the most prevalent.

The Shirtless, Pensive Romantic in Bed 

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This is a particular favorite of mine and one of the most common. These seem to be some kind of attempt to show a softer, more intimate side of the guy, because everyone knows that’s only accomplishable in bed. Most often it is accompanied by a dreamy look, sometimes with the subject gazing at a point just out of focus beyond the camera. Bonus points if a hand is put to the face with the eyes peeking up at you as though overcome with shyness.

The I Don’t Realize I’m Supposed to Look at the Mirror and Not My Phone Screen Selfie

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Though this type isn’t always taken in a bathroom, that is a frequent setting. Other acceptable locales include the gym, dressing rooms, or other public bathrooms. This particular guy seems unable to overcome the challenges of technology and optics in order to realize that, while it is a good idea to check your selfie on your phone screen, you need to actually look up in order to take a picture of your own face.

The I Kill Animals So I’m a REAL Man

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Maybe this is just a Southern thing, but the number of times my eyes have been assaulted by a grinning, self-satisfied fellow posing jauntily next to a dead or a large number of dead animals is really depressing. Nothing screams romance like the sight of blood and gore and death! Am I supposed to be impressed because you went into the woods and shot a defenseless animal with your high powered rifle? Sadly, I seem to be in the minority in Oklahoma, but I am so sick of dead deer and ducks popping up in my face with blood leaking from their mouths. There’s even a guy on there posing next to a dead zebra. A DAMN ZEBRA. I guess this is supposed to show me that you, the big he-man, can provide for me, the little female. Talk about caveman mentality… I’m by no means claiming that I’m a saint and that I don’t eat meat, because I do, but I don’t go sneaking up on animals and blowing a hole in them before posing triumphantly with my grisly trophy. Even if you are hunting simply to feed yourself, doesn’t it seem just a trifle disrespectful and hateful to paparazzi the poor, dead animal like you’ve done something SO AMAZING? Ugh. Thanks, but NO thanks.

The I’ve Got A Little Free Time In My Giant Truck

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I’m not really sure what the deal with this is, but I’ve noticed a strange but overwhelming phenomenon where guys take selfies in their vehicle, which is almost invariably a truck. Like, what’s going on? You’re just on your lunchbreak and you’ve finished eating and you think, Well shoot, I’ve got a little more time before I have to clock back in, might as well take some photos of my face?
Sometimes, I can’t tell if they’re actually parked or not, and then I have terrifying images of single guys swerving between lanes as they snap pics of themselves for their dating profile.

The I HAVE ABS NOTHING ELSE IN THE WORD MATTERS LOOK AT THEM

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I AM NOT EVEN A NORMAL HUMAN, I CONSIST OF NOTHING BUT PERFECT, BREATHTAKING, SIXTEEN PACK ABS. THAT IS LITERALLY ALL I AM, CHOOSE ME AND YOU ENTER INTO A RELATIONSHIP WITH A DISEMBODIED, FLOATING WASHBOARD OF MUSCLE.

There are, of course, variations and there are even some nice guys who don’t seem to have any of these in the repertoire. But unfortunately, those guys seem to be the minority. Perhaps you’ve now gained some idea of why online dating is so very treacherous. For now, I’ll keep giving it a chance, and hopefully I’ll come away with some more good stuff for you guys, if nothing else. Stay tuned as I continue my search to find someone who could possibly live up to my true love, Steven Adams.

So, for my final thought– I used to think there was something wrong with me because I was single. Now I’m starting to think that maybe I’m doing something very, very right by staying single.

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.

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.

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!

 

Dashing For the Tow

Or, Five Pointless Calls, Four Hours Waiting, Three Women Panicking, Two Tow Trucks Fighting, and a Bribe of Twentyyyy! (Rae and I couldn’t decide which to go with, but I liked hers better so that’s the title post).
Hello, friends.
I’ve got a bit of a tale for you this holiday season.
As you may or may not have guessed from the time stamps on most of my blog posts, I’m something of a night owl. I prefer to do my writing– and especially my reading– during the night. I’ve been that way as long as I can remember, and it has oft gotten me into trouble.

Sorry not sorry. Except you, Professor Karjala, since I slept pretty much every single morning in your 9am government class no matter how hard I tried, and you were the best and never called me on it…even when I snored.

Also as you may or may not know, I am unemployed. Since graduating in April, I have applied to six different jobs, and so far have not received a single call back. This fact, while extremely hard on my pocketbook (and Christmas shopping, sorry if your gift sucks this year–if you even get one), has led to the most self-indulgent reading period of my life. I can stay up however late I like with essentially no repercussions, unless there’s one of those very rare occasions where I need to do something somewhat early the next day. But those days have been very few and far between. Mostly I’ve been wallowing in reading all night and sleeping late the next day.
So, on the morning of Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 9:16am when I heard the angelic voice of Mariah Carey seemingly screaming from my mom’s purse those immortal words “I DON’T WANT A LOT FOR CHRISTMAS, THERE IS JUST ONE THING I NEEEEEEED!!!!!!!!” two, perhaps unsurprising, things were true:
A) I had only been asleep for about two hours, and;
B) The only thing I needed for Christmas at that point was for Mariah to shut her damn mouth and let me sleep

Preach it, Grumpy.

Mere seconds after Mariah finally made my wish come true, unfortunately my phone began vibrating angrily, and I hazily staggered to answer it. Bewildered, I saw that my sister was calling. If she is calling me to make me walk into her room, I thought to myself, I will go in there and bludgeon her unto death with this very phone. And before I answered I stumbled into her bedroom, where I had previously believed her to be tucked up in her bed all fast asleep. But what to my wondering eye should appear but an empty bed, with no sign of Rachel near.
Utterly mystified, and still essentially asleep, I answered my phone, which was now buzzing threateningly. All I got out was a confused hello before my sister informed me that she had wrecked her car and needed us to come pick her up from her meeting at work and we were going to have to find a way to tow said car.
I’ll be honest, Readers. I actually pulled my phone away from ear and stared at it for a few seconds, like it would disappear before my very eyes and this would all suddenly dissolve into a nightmare. My sister was telling me, not only would I have to wake up to answer this call, but I would have to stay awake, dress myself, and then drive to pick her up.

It’s not, is it? This is a joke. A terrible, not funny joke, but it’s a joke, right.

You may not know this about me, but I kind of love sleep. Like… I consider myself to be in a committed relationship with sleep. No, it may not be during the regular hours people usually expect me to sleep, but true love does not concern itself with conventions. Sleep and I are blissfully happy together, spending hours and hours with each other on our own terms.

Yes, I am that girl who never wants to do anything because I’m too dedicated to my significant other… sleeping.

Guys, do you get how meta this is?! Because, like, by giving itself to me, sleep is fulfilling its love for me… my sister clearly didn’t get this memo.

Now, perhaps I should have mentioned a little background here. Just in case you were living under a rock (a tropical rock) or, you know, in Florida, much of the US was in the grip of an enormous winter storm for a couple of weeks, Oklahoma included.

Touche, Florida. Touche. You might almost say they were too hot to PANhandle. Get it? GET IT?! HAHAHAHAHA (please send help)

My sister, who my tired brain finally processed had gone to a meeting at the restaurant where she works, had apparently hit a patch of ice while trying to go around one of those little curve roads that go under the interstate and put you around on the access road on the opposite side, and ramped her car up onto the concrete divider area and almost ran into the cross street. Luckily, the car got stuck on the concrete and stopped before that happened, or this post could have been not very funny at all. Most important of all, my sister was not hurt in any way– but her poor car was. Some nice people had stopped to try and help her push the car off the concrete, but before they got it very far they told her that it looked like it was too damaged to drive anywhere, and so they just gave her a ride to her work, which was perhaps two minutes away. The back end of her car was still already hanging out into the road, and Rae was terrified someone would do the same thing as her and crash into it.
Amongst this beleaguering onslaught of information, I also came to understand that someone was going to have to drive up and retrieve my sister, and wait with her while a tow truck came for her car. After informing me that we needed to be there to pick her up from her meeting by 10:15, my sister hung up on my stunned person.
There was only one solution– Mom. Normally anything relating to cars in our family is handled by our father, but my poor daddy had been called in this particular Saturday to work overtime (he’s a mailman) and there was not the slightest possibility that he could deal with this particular mess. But there was another adult in this house, and she could totally drive– I was saved.
So with this shining exit strategy of promise burning brightly in my mind, I blundered into my mom’s room and told her what happened (probably rather incoherently). But what I did manage to say very clearly was that she needed to go get Rachel, leaving me ready to stumble back to bed, my problems solved. Unfortunately for my state of mind, my mother soon made it clear that she had only had a few hours of sleep, and that I was most certainly coming with her, if only to ensure she didn’t fall asleep on the way up there and wreck herself.
I tried, Readers. I tried so very hard to find a way around this. I utilized every ounce of mental acumen that was available to my fuzzy, sleep-deprived mind–but it was not enough, and my struggles were in vain. This was really happening, and I was really going to have to get ready, get dressed, and go with my mom.

So you’re saying it’s not a joke then.

Somehow, somehow, I managed to make myself presentable to the world (I think–details are a little hazy), though I dozed off brushing my teeth and when I laid back on the bed to put my pants on I fell asleep for a minute and didn’t think I was going to be physically capable of getting up. Finally my mother and I managed to cobble ourselves into something resembling functioning members of humanity. But you’re fooling yourself if you think I got into that car without my blanket and pillow. We were on our way–and it was 10:15. The time we were supposed to be picking Rae up. I thought about mentioning this to my mom, but were twenty minutes away and nothing was going to change that. Plus, I literally could not bring myself to care.
Luckily Rachel’s meeting went long, and we picked her up on time. Then we pulled into a gas station next to where Rachel’s poor car sat, like a beached whale upon concrete sands. Let me go ahead and give you this expertly prepared, very accurate, official map of what this all looked like, so you can really get a sense of the story:

Because I am an artist and a professional (Seriously, this took me like thirty minutes).

Because I am an artist and a professional (Seriously, this took me like thirty minutes to freaking make).

Luckily we have AAA, and we were close enough to our house that they would tow Rae’s car for free. So we called the number on our card and were then informed that it would be four hours until one of their drivers could get to us. FOUR HOURS. FOOOOUR HOOOOOOURS.
My sister explained how her car was in a very dangerous place and we feared there would be another accident if we waited that long, and so eventually the AAA person told us that we could contact another towing company to do the job and they would reimburse us. With that settled we googled towing services near our location and found five or six names that would work. Five calls later, and not a single one of the nearby towing place could send a truck any sooner than an hour, most of them closer to two. We called my uncle, who told us about a tower in our  actual town, which might not be as busy and which would make it much more convenient for him to tow back to. So we called the guy, who was very kind and told us he could be there in 45 minutes. Perfect!
This settled, we decided to drive to the Starbucks in the shopping center across the street, but abandoned this plan halfway to it when we realized that no one had actually wanted coffee, we just thought that the other person had. We turn around and start driving back towards the gas station, when we realize a cop has stopped at my sister’s car. We panic suddenly, but cannot get over to the gas station in order to flag him down, because we need to cross four lanes of traffic to get to it. Frantically we try to find a gap in the extremely busy intersection, but are unable to. We aren’t sure what the cop is doing, and by the time we finally get over to the gas station and Rachel gets out of the car to walk across the street to the area where her car is at, the cop drives away.  We’re now afraid that the cop has written down her license number to possibly call someone to impound her car or who knows what. Shortly after this, the guy from our town calls to tell us that he’s having problems with his truck and he actually can’t come at all.
……………………………………………………………..

The guy apologizes profusely, and recommends that we contact the local highway patrol (Fun fact: the number to call them is *55, did you know that? Because we did not know that). Rachel calls back the towing service that had the least amount of time, and for once during this developing debacle luck is on our side, and they tell us that they had a truck just come back and they would send them out immediately, and it would probably be no more than twenty to thirty minutes.
Next, we call the highway patrol and explain the situation, and shortly after a nice policeman arrives and parks his car behind Rachel’s with his lights on, so no one will hit her. Then we settle in for a long winter’s wait, which is interspersed with employees from the gas station coming out and shooting us suspicious looks since we’ve essentially been camping in their parking lot.

Sigh.

It’s the po-po!!!

Now, if you follow college football in America, you might be familiar with two of the major teams in Oklahoma, the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State University Cowboys. As you might guess (or know), there is something of a rivalry between these two teams, and when they play it’s known as Bedlam because things can get just a tad bit crazy. Well, it just so happens that December 7, 2013, was the date of Bedlam. And in all the madness, we had forgotten the game was even on–not that we could have watched. But we were able to occupy ourselves during this time at least by listening to the radio broadcast (BOOMER SOONER SUCKAS).
Suddenly, Rachel’s phone rings again; AAA was calling. And do you know what they had to tell us? One of their drivers would be arriving to tow our car in about three minutes.
Wait….
what?
What?
WHAT?!?!
As Rachel is on the phone receiving this news, into our sight drives the tow truck driver from the other place we called. He drives through the parking lot we’re sitting in, in fact, headed straight for our car. In a sudden frenzy of confusion, my sister starts asking what we’re supposed to do, and my mom–who was trying to call the non-AAA tow truck to cancel– hangs up. The AAA lady tells my sister that if we use this tow truck now, they probably won’t be able to reimburse us and we need to wait for their tow truck. Just as my sister is relaying this to us, the non-AAA tow truck pulls up to the exit to cross the street and begin to hook my sister’s car up.
Suddenly my mother, in an Olympian feat of athleticism, springs out of the car and begins sprint-hopping her way across the icy, slushy parking lot in furry snow boots, waving her arms and shouting, in an attempt to flag him down. Simultaneously my sister and I feel our jaws drop as she races over to it and begins banging on the sides of the back of the truck to try and stop him. He is immune to her cries, however, and pulls over behind the police officer, who proceeds to back his car up and block off the curve ramp. My mom, in a continuing stunning display, goes darting through traffic like a figure skater in the winter Olympics, and begins gesturing and talking to both the police officer and the tow truck.
And suddenly into this bizarre, incredible scene, the AAA approved tow truck comes bursting in like an avenging angel, cutting off the other tow truck and backing up to my sister’s car with complete disregard to the one-way nature of the road,  and then proceeds to load it onto his tow truck without speaking a word to anyone.

 

Throughout this entire exchange, I am trying harder than I have ever tried to sink into my chair and let it swallow me whole in order to deliver myself from this embarrassment. I am now grateful that I brought my pillow, because I am able to use it to bury my face in. My sister is in the back seat just murmuring expressions of disbelief. We are actually witnessing a tow truck standoff.

Us: "Is this happening? This can't be happening."

Us: “Is this happening? This can’t be happening.”

Let me give you a hint– this was, in fact, happening. In less than five minutes, Rachel’s car was loaded onto the second tow truck, and my mom directs him to pull in over by where Rachel and I were slowly, agonizingly dying of embarrassment.
She then goes over to explain the situation to the policeman (yep, he was still there) and the first tow truck driver, before hurrying back over to the car. We, of course, don’t actually have any idea what is going on at the time, and my mom opens the door but only briefly to pull a twenty out of her purse and mumble something about paying the other driver for his time. It’s then that I realize…. “Rachel… is she… is she bribing him?!”
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. My mother bribed a tow truck driver.
Finally she comes back after the policeman and the first tow truck driver drive away, and goes to speak with the AAA driver. After extensive conversation, she gets back in the car, but before we can say anything she starts telling us how the AAA driver was freaking out and in such a huge hurry because, quote “I’m not even supposed to be over here, this is another towing company’s territory! I have to hurry because I’m not supposed to be in this area!”
……….
…………….
……………………

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. My mother bribing someone was not even the strangest part of the day. Oh no. Instead, it was the revelation that apparently towing truck companies are gangs.

“THIS IS OUR TOWING TURF!!!!!!!”

We didn’t witness the equivalent of a tow truck standoff, folks, oh no. Instead, we witnessed a RUMBLE.
Really, the bribe was perfectly in character considering.
So we make our way home, and the tow truck that won the rumble deposits Rachel’s poor car in our driveway. Finally, we stumble into our house at about half past noon, I’m not sure if I was more dazed when I left or when I came back, and all I can think is……

You know, some people talk about how sometimes their lives feel like a movie. Well, guys, mine isn’t like a movie– my life is a farce.
So be careful out there this holiday season, Readers. You never know what kind of shady situation you might find yourself accidentally mixed up in.

22 Things Crazy Cat Ladies Do on Their 22nd Birthdays

As you may or may not know, Thursday, August 22 was a very important day in the world– it was my star birthday. That means I turned 22 on the 22nd. It was a mixed day, with both highs and lows, as most days are, but it was still special and still lovely, and in honor, I am going to share with you an outline of what crazy cat ladies might do on their big day. I’m sure you’re just perishing with anticipation.
Now, I know what you’re thinking– a crazy cat lady on her birthday?! I bet she really gets caaaa-razy!

image

Cat hair is lonely people glitter, you know.

Ah, but Readers, read on. The birthday of a crazy cat lady is more glamourous than you would ever guess.

Boots and Cats officially presentsTHINGS CRAZY CAT LADIES DO ON THEIR BIRTHDAYS
Warning: Gratuitous photos of cats ahead.

1. Wake up voluntarily at 8am since you got sick the night before and fell asleep just barely after midnight, voluntarily stay awake, nearly die of shock, and then have a bowl of Lucky Charms.

Literally me as I get up at 8am on my birthday.

2. CAT TIME.

Petting headless cats.

Petting headless cats.

And then resurrecting said headless cat with crazy cat lady magic.

And then resurrecting said headless cat with crazy cat lady magic.

3. Take a cat break to check your phone and brood over the fact that nothing interesting ever happened on your birthday.

What even is a botnet??

What even is a zombie computer? Why is this relevant?

4. Notice your cat sleeping next to you, and decide it’s time for some CAT SELFIEZZZ.

20130822_103837

SO

SO

INCREDIBLY

INCREDIBLY

GLAMOROUSSSS

GLAMOROUSSSS

I don’t know what this means but it’s in a song called Glamorous and she’s holding champagne so I’m going with it.

5. CRY WITH GRATITUDE BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE BEST FRIENDS EVER.

Day = made.

Day = made. (Note the cat lady reference… she knows me so well.)

6. Fall asleep and cat nap until your dad calls you to say he’s on the way home from work and you panickedly jump up and frantically start getting ready.

“MUST PUT MAKEUP ON”

7. Send some Snapchats after you get ready so everyone can see how good you look on your birthday.

Snapchat-5478

8. Have some delicious Thai food for lunch with your dad, and finally order a coconut ice cream with sticky rice WHOLLY FOR YOURSELF.
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YOU DON'T EVEN UNDERSTAND HOW DELICIOUS THIS IS.

YOU DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND HOW DELICIOUS THIS IS…

BUT I DID.

BUT I DID.

9. Head to Best Buy to look at Kindles since the screen on your old, basic one broke; realize they don’t sell basic Kindles anymore and you don’t want a new, fancy one so you make your dad go into Petsmart next door so you can look at the KITTIEZZZ.

SO SWEEEEPY

SO SWEEEEPY

THIS KITTEN WAS NAMED MEOWLEXANDER, THIS IS THE BEST CAT NAME EVER.

THIS KITTEN WAS NAMED MEOWLEXANDER, THIS IS THE BEST CAT NAME EVER.

10. Head to Academy so you can get a new soccer ball; get a bonus Blake Griffin OU jersey for $10, and THEN you see a lady in Academy with a live monkey on her shoulder, complete with a little leash and diaper.

Here is a picture of Blake Griffin at OU, because I couldn’t be bothered to take a picture of my soccer ball, my new shirt, or the lady with the monkey. What do you want from me, it’s not like I’m getting paid to do this.

11. Head home and open your present from your sister.
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Just a note, my sister found this card months ago while I was with her, and I told her to buy it anyway.

Immediately after I opened this, my sister told me she needed to use the shaving cream and the soap.

Immediately after I opened this, my sister told me she needed to use the shaving cream and the soap.

12. Hang out with your cat a little more, ensuring that you are properly covered in cat hair.
20130822_174006

13. Take pictures for your bargain fashion blog (feel free to go check out the post).

14. Spend some more quality time with your cat.

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How do other people deal with the fact that they don't have the cutest cat in the world?

How do other people deal with the fact that they don’t have the cutest cat in the world?

HE REALLY IS THE LOVE OF MY LIFE GUYS

HE REALLY IS THE LOVE OF MY LIFE GUYS

15. Decide to change and then head to Red Lobster for dinner with your fam.

16. Stuff your gullet while pausing occasionally for pictures.

My sissyyy

My sissyyy :)

Nana!!

Nana!!

17. Begin getting very, very ill and desperate to go home.

Can you see it? Can you see that I already am looking a little green and miserable?

Can you see it? Can you see that I already am looking a little green and miserable?

18. Rush home and into the bathroom.

19. End up crying in the shower because you got sick on your birthday.

“IT’S NOT FAAAIR… AND WHERE DID MY HAIR GO???”

20. Collapse pitifully on the couch and be comforted by your cat.

Just a sidenote, my cat is seriously like half my length.

21. Open your present from your mom.

"I'm so siiick, life is so cruuuel, I-- IS THAT AN OWL PURSE?!"

“I’m so siiick, life is so cruuuel, I– IS THAT AN OWL PURSE?!”

22. Count the day a success.

The Brief and Tragic Life Of Chef Rowe

So.
It’s been a hot minute since I last blogged. But, as always, I have a hastily concocted excuse that really doesn’t stand up to the reality of the fact that I don’t have a job, or school, and should technically be able to post every single day.
But I wouldn’t want to overwhelm you guys with how absolutely hilarious I am and possibly give you a heart attack from laughing too hard every single day, so really, I’m doing you a favor.

You guys if I posted every day.

I’ll still throw my excuse out there anyway– I’ve started a new book and I’ve been writing feverishly and blah blah blah blah okay you get it. So moving on. I’ve got some exciting news before I get to the theme of this particular post– I ate at CiCi’s Pizza today… and NOTHING HAPPENED. NOTHING.
No mistaken gender, no chance encounters with acquaintances that dredged up humiliating memories from my past. I only ate four (cough five cough) pieces of Alfredo Cheese Pizza. It was completely, totally commonplace.

EVERYTHING WAS PERFECTLY NORMAL. AND PERFECTLY DELICIOUS.

So perhaps the CiCi’s curse has been broken! But don’t worry. I’m still going to expose my humiliation for your amusement.
Now to start my story.
There are two facts you may or may not know about me.
The first fact is that I am a fanatic pinner who is unashamedly and wholeheartedly addicted to Pinterest. Like, it’s bad. I think Pinterest is 64% of what I use my phone for. And I don’t want to brag, but my wedding board is kind of the best. Like, if you’re getting married and need a planner, then feel free to check it out. Because I’m becoming more and more sure that my calling in life is to plan weddings, like Jennifer Lopez in the 2001 classic, The Wedding Planner. And one day I’ll be planning this nice but spoiled lady’s wedding and then meet the perfect guy when he saves me from getting squashed by a runaway dumpster only to discover he is the fiance but then he and his fiancee will realize they don’t love each other and he loves me and I’ll end up with a hot, perfect husband. Except it will be actually a great love story because the guy won’t be Matthew McConaughey.

“I in no way use my physical appearance to distract from a lack of talent.”

Sorry, MM fans. But anyway– my wedding board is pretty much amazing, just saying.

Now, the second fact you need to know for today’s post is that I am a very bad cook. I mean, I can handle the occasional brownie or cake mix, and I love to whip up some pre-packaged cinnamon rolls every now and again. But truthfully, I’m just too scatterbrained to be successful in the kitchen. This has never been a great source of concern for me though, truthfully. I’ve never really been too interested in anything to do with cooking.
But then, something happened.
That something is called my sister started watching Chopped, and forced me to watch it with her.

IF ONLY I HAD KNOWN WHAT I WAS GETTING MYSELF INTO

Let’s just say, things spiralled out of control from there.

So this week I read an article on Buzzfeed called 18 Signs You Are Obsessed with Chopped. I laughed uproariously, gleefully reveling in the knowledge that I was, indeed, obsessed with Chopped (Sign Number 19- YOU WANT TO SCREAM AT EVERY CONTESTANT TO NOT MAKE A BREAD PUDDING FOR DESSERT ROUND SRSLY GUISE THAT’S WHAT EVERYONE DOES). So not surprisingly, a couple days later, I was watching Chopped.  I was also casually surfing through Pinterest during commercials. Perhaps you see where this is going.
Chopped + Pinterest= “Hey…. I think I’m going to bake something!”

Amanda… why are you rolling your eyes???

Eagerly I began searching through the pages of Pinterest, my eagle eyes peeled for some sort of unique, delicious, life-changing dessert. A dessert that my family would beg me to make for years to come. I had bright, glittering visions in my head of people asking me to parties just so I could make this dessert– of my friends wheedling me shamelessly to get the recipe and then passing it down among their families for generations to come.
I’m an adult, I thought emphatically to myself. It won’t be like when I was younger and didn’t know what I was doing. I watch the Food Network now. I know what I’m doing.
I continued to pump myself up as I scrolled through recipe after recipe, never quite finding what I was looking for, but just KNOWING it was waiting there for me. Suddenly, something caught my eye. Something… intriguing. Something with berries.

I’M A LITTLE LASS WHO LOVES BERRIES

(Side note: if you’ve never seen this commercial then I pity you. Go watch it right now. I’ll wait.)
Not only did it have berries, but, even better, it was French— I couldn’t even pronounce the name and I had certainly never heard of it.
PERFECT.

BERRIES

BERRIES

Eagerly I clicked on the link, and found I even already had the necessary ingredients! IT’S FATE, I thought to myself. This recipe just had that certain je ne sais quoi that told me it was meant to be. With bubbling enthusiasm, I rushed into my kitchen, ready to unlock the Chef Rowe that I just knew was there inside of me.

JE T’AIME, KITCHEN!!!!!

I began feverishly heating ovens and cracking eggs and beating mixtures and boiling milk and mixing mixtures and buttering pie pans. Finally, it was berry time. Now, technically the recipe calls for fresh raspberries, but it said you could just use berries. We didn’t have any actual fresh berries, but scrounging in the freezer did reveal that we had both frozen raspberries and frozen cranberries. Really feeling my culinary creativity at this point, I daringly decided I would mix the two together for my magical French dessert. I skillfully de-iced the frozen sliced raspberries (slightly mushy, but I was baking them, everything was going to get mushy anyway!). Then I washed off the very cold, whole cranberries. Briefly I wondered if I should slice the cranberries up but the recipe said nothing about slicing cranberries (to be fair, the recipe said nothing at all about cranberries specifically, which leads me to believe that the originator of said recipe never dreamed someone would try to use cranberries for it). So I thought, why bother?

Naaaah!

Cheerfully I spread the whole cranberries and the mushy remains of the sliced raspberries in my carefully prepared pie dish, and readied myself to finish the prep for my delectable dessert by pouring the mixture I had so slavishly whipped up. I tipped the bowl over, and started pouring.
As I did so, however, I noticed two things.
1. The cranberries were not remaining docilely on the bottom of the pie dish like they were supposed to– instead, they floated to the top like so many taunting little apples to a very inept participant in a game of bobbing for apples.
2. I had too much mixture and not enough pie dish.
Frowningly I regarded these unexpected problems that had cropped up, my complete lack of experience in matters of cooking leaving me with no idea of how to address the situation.
But I was obsessed with Chopped, damnit, with an actual Buzzfeed article as evidence! I had a creative, talented, generational-recipe-creating chef inside of me! I could do this! I could!
So gingerly I began picking out floating cranberries, taking about half of them out and depositing them into a cup. Then I proceeded to try and pour more mixture/batter/stuff into the dish. I managed to get most of it in, but there was still a troubling amount left.
So now I was stuck both with not enough berries AND not enough mixture. Even to my nonexistent cooking instincts, this seemed to be a problem. So again, I applied my brilliant brain to the problem.
Why would the cranberries be floating? I asked myself. And then suddenly, it dawned on me.

The cranberries were floating because they were still whole which meant they still had air inside them. All I had to do was let the air out, and everything would be fine!
Oh, Readers.
I honestly don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to just take the cranberries out and slice them up. That would be the logical thought, wouldn’t it? That’s probably what you thought I was going to do. It’s probably what you would have done yourself. Oh, but Readers, never, never forget– I am not normal.
My solution to the floating cranberries?
Stab them with an ice pick.

Now, you might think that was a joke, one where I thought up the stupidest, most ridiculous method of getting air out of cranberries and then threw it out there for a laugh.
But.
I’m.
Not.
Joking.

Even what I’m pretty sure is Mr. Bean in an Elizabethan ruff makes more sense than what I’m telling you.

I won’t attempt to explain to you the difficulty of trying to stab tiny individual floating fruits, bathed in a slippery mixture of eggs and milk and other things, with an ice pick. Because it just makes it so much worse. Because why, at any point, did my brain not kick in and say, Sara, this is one of the most foolish things you have ever done. Stop immediately. 
Instead, I stabbed about fifteen cranberries before deciding that would be enough, and pouring the rest of the mixture in, which now fit! And in blatant disregard of the utter, unacceptable absurdity of the entire situation, my brain instead decided that since the mixture now all fit in the pie crust, I was doing something right! So I then proceeded to shove all the extra cranberries I had taken out back into the pie dish.
And hey!! They fit, too!!! Chef Rowe was back on top, triumphantly overcoming the baking tomfoolery that had so briefly stymied her.
I cheerfully shoved the whole thing into the oven, blithely ignoring the fact that the liquid hovered precariously close to the edge of the pie dish and that floating cranberries had erupted like zits all along the top of the dish. Then I skipped off to watch some more Chopped while I waited.
I won’t describe what emerged from the oven, because I think this picture says it all:

I’ll just leave that picture there for you all, without commenting.
But what I will share with you is that while I was trying to take this out of the oven, I burned my arm quite badly.
That’s right.
I LITERALLY BRANDED MYSELF WITH MY OWN STUPIDITY.

Sigh.

Sigh.

At this point, Readers, I’m just going to take advantage of the convenient fact that I never have to see your faces while you read this post. And I will especially enjoy this fact when I tell you that even after stabbing cranberries with an icepick and scarring myself– I WAS NOT DETERRED.
I convinced myself that the problem was simply that the pie dish hadn’t been big enough, and I hadn’t used fresh fruit. Somewhere in the back of my mind I was like, yeah, probably should’ve cut up the cranberries. But hey, c’est la vie, you live and you learn! And there were endless amounts of recipes on Pinterest just waiting for me to try.
So the next day, I determinedly began searching for another recipe, and finally find one I thought was perfect. My burn still smarting, I was especially excited by the fact that you didn’t have to bake anything. No sirree. Because I was going to make a mousse.

Blackberry Cheesecake Mousse, to be exact.

Berries and cheesecake? SIGN ME UP.
But this time, I was determined to be smart. This dessert was going to go RIGHT, by god. So I forced my sister to go to Walmart with me to make sure I had fresh ingredients, including fresh fruit. I scampered around, collecting my things, only to realize to my utter frustration that Walmart was simply out of blackberries. Just completely out.
Scowlingly I stomped to the car, with my sister soothingly suggesting we just go to the grocery store Homeland, which was sure to have them. Somewhat mollified, I agreed, and I hurried into Homeland to get my prize, already intent on making my delicious, SUCCESSFUL dessert.
Quickly I scanned the entire fresh produce area, and then did a double take. Not only were there no blackberries in sight, there wasn’t any other kind of berries. Instead, Homeland had about six types of grapes AND NOTHING ELSE.
In a building anger, I rushed over to an employee and asked them if they had any fresh blackberries. When they told me all they had was what was on the produce wall, I huffily snatched up a bag of frozen blackberries, paid, and grandly exited the store.
When I got home, I grudgingly began to prepare everything, acknowledging that the frozen blackberries would do fine, because they obviously had not been frozen in the freezer for who knows how long like yesterday’s fruits had been in our freezer. Finally, it seemed that things were going right. I began tossing and stirring and scraping things into the mixing bowl of our mixer, gradually feeling my good humor and completely unjustified optimism return. I added the last ingredient, and triumphantly turned off the beaters. It was going to be perfect, I just knew it.
Except when I went to scoop a bite out to taste, I realized that my mousse was not, in fact, the least bit moussey. Instead, it was a bit runny and already the ingredients seemed to be separating. Again, Chef Rowe was facing a potentially devastating setback. My mind began feverishly running through ideas to salvage the situation, when suddenly, it hit me.

You’ll be proud, at least, that my solution did not involve icepicks in any shape or form. Instead, I decided to quickly whip up a white cake mix, and then use the blackberry quasi-mousse to top it with, a la my favorite dessert at Olive Garden:

Strawberry dolcini ;akjd’gja’ej j[iejaiwgnan;wgnh HEAVEN

It’s white cake with like strawberry sauce and then like some kind of magical fluffy white chocolate mousse and honestly I could just drown in a pool of this and I would die completely, blissfully happy.
So, just make a white cake and put my concoction on top of it, and voila– instant classic.
Since this was Sunday night, that meant we were having dinner at my Nana’s house, which just happens to be next door to mine. So I grabbed a cake mix and my mousse stuff, and trotted over to my Nana’s to finish dessert. I mixed everything up easily and quickly, because, after all, even I can make a cake mix without messing it up. I wisely remembered to turn the oven on before I did this so that way it would preheat as I made the mix. I went about my way with restored spirits and a spring in my step. When the mix was ready, I went to pop it in the oven only to discover to my surprise that it still wasn’t done preheating. I frowned, but fatalistically accepted that there had to be SOME delay– obviously true genius only grows out of struggle. But after a few more minutes, I began to grow concerned about why the oven wasn’t done preheating. Finally, I opened the oven to peek inside, only to be reminded abruptly that my Nana stores all her extra pots and pans that don’t fit in her cabinet inside her oven when she’s not using it.
In utter shame I began removing piping hot cooking ware and shoving it anyplace I could find where it wouldn’t melt something. Very quickly after I removed everything out of the oven, it reached optimal baking temperature, and I shoved my cake pan in with a great breath of relief. Twenty-seven minutes later, I popped out a completely acceptable white cake out of the oven, and I began cutting it up and putting it into little bowls so I would be able to top it with my mousse, which had been put into the refrigerator where it had surely been firming up and taking on proper mousse-like qualities.
With a burning desire to just be done with the whole endeavor, I pulled my mousse out of the fridge– and discovered that not only had it not firmed up, but the ingredients all seemed to be trying to disassociate from each other, much like I now decided I wanted to do with baking in general.
I had no choice but to plunge ahead and serve it up.

Bon appetit...(it's okay, I think it looks like someone threw up blackberries too)

Bon appetit…(it’s okay, I think it looks like someone threw up blackberries too)

The taste at least was acceptable, though by no means a recipe to pass down the family. I’m trying it again now and it just seems kind of…off. But at least it didn’t taste like berry flavored eggs, as my first dessert attempt had.

And that, my friends, is how I quit my brief, inglorious stint as Chef Rowe.

PS I know this one was a really long post, but thanks for sticking with me and I hope you enjoyed it! I certainly would prefer that SOMEONE got some enjoyment out of those two days.
And just in case you are interested, here are the links to the two recipes I so defiled. If you attempt them, I wish you much better luck than I had!
Dessert 1: Clafoutis
Dessert 2: Blackberry Cheesecake Mousse