Tuesday, September 20, 2016

popular menstrual products: ranked.

i have been bleeding since april. HOW AM I EVEN STILL ALIVE. i don't ovulate normally and my periods have always been fairly irregular, so when she showed up at my door with a couple of suitcases instead of her typical weekend bag i didn't think too much of it. she'd paid me extensive visits before. "staying awhile?" i asked as she painfully dragged her heavy samsonite luggage over my endometrium. she kicked my left ovary in response, grunting as she shrugged out of her dark red coat. 

i went to LA in may and saw jon hamm eating toast on the sidewalk on my period. i got married on a lovely afternoon in the middle of june in a black dress, because i had my period. i packed my entire apartment and moved with my period, i fought that snake who lunged at me from under the garbage can on my period, I AM WRITING THIS BLOG RIGHT NOW ON MY FUCKING PERIOD.

i looked up my symptoms on the internet and decided that i definitely had endometrial cancer, and i made an appointment to have my gp do a pap smear before i left chicago and had to take my chances with a michigan farm veterinarian slash ladyparts doctor who would schedule my hysterectomy between a bovine c-section and an afternoon tractor pull. the pap came back normal and she suggested i get a bladder and transvaginal ultrasound, which consisted of a pleasant young woman making awkward small talk in a darkened room while sawing in and out of my uterus with what felt like a smooth, slim baseball bat. the verdict? basically normal. but the storm raged on, so i went to see a specialist. she took a bunch of biopsies that came back as an unspecified terminal illness that is in no way a result of improper care of this rotting meat carcass LOL JK THE BIOPSIES WERE NORMAL, TOO. wtf, uterus!?

the thing about never wanting to have a baby is that when my period was weird i was just like "meh" and didn't spend a whole lot of time thinking about it. i could have unprotected sex with dudes and never have to worry about fighting over the exorbitant cost of infant yoga class or the appropriate age at which the child was allowed to cook his own breakfast because mommy was "sleeping." (duh the answer is three, maybe two and a half if he was gifted.) 

i tried to get spayed before i left my old job but jim was adamant that my employee benefits didn't cover routine human health maintenance, so after i moved i found a doctor here with a brightly-lit office in a hospital and sterilized medical equipment. i had 1 a urine test whose official results were: VODKA, MOSTLY; 2 a vaginal culture, which didn't feel like much and was pretty useless but i got good pain meds afterward so fine; 3 yet another pelvic exam which consisted of much rearranging of my internal organs by a small gloved hand inserted deep inside my birth canal; and 4 yesterday, another incredibly thorough transvaginal ultrasound! and the bleeding continues. i'm currently doing a chemical d&c, which is exactly as horrifying as it sounds.

the diva cup $39.99, for one. listen dude, i have a subscription to bust. i own a lot of faded grey t-shirts with trees on them; a drawer full of threadbare cardigans that i bought new that intentionally look old and smell like the essential oils i insist upon moisturizing with; and a tiny collection of random, pointless vinyl records by twee singer-songwriter dudes like hayden: THE DIVA CUP WORKS WITH MY AESTHETIC, OKAY. mavis uses one and probably fertilizes the lawn with its contents every night while howling at the moon, so during the first couple weeks of my torrential internal downpour i thought, "yo, why not me?" HERE'S WHY NOT: after struggling for seven real minutes to make sure it was safely in, i spent the next hour and a half baby-stepping through my errands gripped with fear that it was going to shake loose and embarrass me in the middle of the goddamned grocery store. when i finally got home to check on it it was lodged sort of sideways and leaking into the backup pad i was smart enough to know i'd need. i'm using mine as a shot glass now.

seventh generation free and clear maxi pads with purefit flexible protection, $5.01 for 24. i'm trying to fit in here, i really am. i rinse all of the chemicals out of my diet coke cans before putting them in the recycling bin with the empty containers of chia seeds, i walk around smelling like an ox because everyone here makes their own food grade deodorant that smells like medicine and doesn't actually work, and the other night i tiptoed past the snakes and shit in the yard out to the garden behind our actual house and yanked some actual basil out of the actual dirt and used it in a homemade sauce that i was too exhausted to even eat after all that tromping around and digging. so i got some whole foods pads mostly to convince the woman at the checkout that i care about the planet despite not having brought a reusable cloth bag, and i learned the hard way that you should never give a shit about the environment if later that day you're going to be a passenger in a car with a beige interior.

always maxi overnight pads with 10 hour leakguard protection without wings, $5.47 for 28. ten hours is a long time, man. and i know that to be an accurate judge i should've tried to ride out a full season of house of cards with only a half-inch thick strip of weaponized cotton balls or whatever scientific shit they stuff these pads with between me and the couch, but that's gross. also i could practically wring one out after an hour, which is why my doctor wrote me an rx for ferralet and recommended i kill a cow on the way home from the ER and eat it raw because i was so anemic. come to think of it i might actually be dying.

poise ultimate absorbency overnight pads with odor neutralizer, $18.99 for 45. have you ever gone to costco and bought the, like, 700 pack of toilet paper? like, the biggest, unwieldiest package they sell? the size you have to use carabiners to tie to the roof of your car!? THAT IS WHAT THESE PADS ARE LIKE. the package is so large you have to bear hug it up to the register at the pharmacy. as if this nightmare life isn't terrible enough, you have to both deal with incontinence and have no discretion about it!? they make those cute little black boxes of tiny tampons for bitches with adorable menstrual cycles, but no such luck when blood is literally raining from your vagina. i'm the asshole that had to get a cart in the kind of store where people glare at you for having a cart because i needed to buy more than this one thing. i didn't even have a place to put them, i was up half the night googling "small space storage solutions" trying to figure out where to put my wee wee pads other than putting a lamp and all the books i'm pretending to read on it and tossing out my nightstand. i don't want to make you throw up (yes i do), so i'ma just say that these really are just meant for you to tinkle a little bit on. NOT GIVE BIRTH.

bounty duratowel cloth-like paper towels, $12.49 for 8 and a single calvin klein hand towel that i got at marshalls a few years ago, surprisingly cheap because the stitching is all messed up. prostrate atop a crimson tide and having left a damp circle of rust on every absorbent surface between chicago and detroit over the past few months, i found myself alone in the house with no car and not a single sanitary napkin. not even the emergency ones i stuffed in my backpack after i was sure the radiologist had dislodged my fallopian tube with her ultrasound probe. i first grabbed approximately 42 sheets of bounty, the quicker picker-upper, but because i didn't want to walk the store with my ass looking like a crime scene i decided to donate one of the hand towels that i've never used because i don't ever invite anyone over and folded it in the crotch of my underpants, then i used the paper towels to pad both the front and the rear in case there was any leakage from that garbage towel. i put on my sunglasses and bravely walked in that walgreens with my head held high, my sumo-sized midsection crunching and rustling with every step. it worked like a charm! i stood in the pantiliner aisle inconspicuously dabbing at my backside (on camera, in full view of all of the mirrors) and my hand came away clean every time! unfortunately, i've lived in a "we could just dry that out and use it again" house too long, and i would feel incredibly guilty wasting this much paper on something as small as my dignity. so i bought as many of the always as they had in stock and dragged them home in a wagon, stopping every few minutes to stuff some leaves down the back of my pants so i wouldn't ruin my shirt.

the bleeding has let up, thanks to some new drugs. plus i've stopped eating sugar and carbohydrates in an effort to fix my hormones, and you know what? i feel like i would rather just be dead! anyway, i can still have one ounce of steak a week. and dogs have finally stopped following me around the park when i go outside to "exercise."

Saturday, September 3, 2016

bitches gotta read: georgia peaches and other forbidden fruit.

i've read a lot of books this summer. although you wouldn't know it from the infrequency of my book club selections, because i am either 1 reading trash i don't want anyone to know about or 2 see previous answer. kids are going back to school so i figure this is as good a time as any to get back into reading the books frustrated teachers are going to take away from them in class when they should be focused on learning the constitution. (do they even still teach that!?)

the rules
1 we are never going to meet in person. that would require a bra and zippered pants and probably an expensive uber and no one is doing that that. you don't have to worry about monica's dairy allergy or that gladys doesn't like malbec. no cleaning the cat box or vacuuming the drapes or hiding the dirty laundry in the oven so your company doesn't realize what a huge slob you are. just you in your house glasses and gravy pants sobbing into your six pack of beer, the way john green intended. getting together with people you don't live next door to is hella stressful. plus, a bunch of old bitches sitting around talking about fictional teenage romance is lame. OR IS IT THO.
2 we are never going to discuss this, ever. i mean seriously. i'm going to derive pleasure from knowing that people i might possibly enjoy spending time with if i ever could bring myself to meet new people and i are falling asleep and drooling on the same book we'll probably never finish. maybe we'll talk about it on twitter or something. but even thinking about organizing that is a daunting task and i'm already exhausted. mariyam suggested making a facebook group, but is that dumb? the internet is so hard sometimes. (ETA: there is a group! it's called bitches gotta read! and it is full of rad people who aren't irritating! come find us!)
3 we are never going to shame each other about not reading the fucking book. this is the beauty of never having to meet or talk about it: i ain't gotta come up with "thoughtful questions" and you ain't gotta pretend to remember what happened at the end of chapter seven while a bunch of wine-drunk bitches you don't even like that much wait expectantly for your answer. i'll read the books for sure, but that's only in case i run into one of you at the bagel shop and you decide to ask how much the ending moved me.


brief internet synopsis:
Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees. Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?


i'm supposed to be finishing some essays for my new book and working on a thing for tv (!!!) but all these IF YOU DON'T READ THESE NEW FALL BOOKS YOU WILL DIE lists are coming out and there are so many i'm looking forward to (brit bennett! zadie smith!) that my procrastination and i can hardly contain ourselves. i just read dark matter by blake crouch and it was a jam, even though i don't know shit about physics and don't usually read sci fi. full disclosure: i subscribe to book of the month and i never remember to select which book i want from the monthly list and i usually end up with something i never would have picked. so far being a forgetful jackass has been a 10/10 strategy and i've read some really good shit, maybe it will start to work magic in other parts of my life. like catching up on my book pile by accidentally not remembering to do some other important thing. 
on deck:
problems by jade sharma.
homegoing by yaa gyasi.
mr. splitfoot by samantha hunt.
you will know me by megan abbott.
underground railroad by colson whitehead.
against the country by ben metcalf.
heroes of the frontier by dave eggers.
the nix by nathan hill.
behold the dreamers by imbolo mbue.
my armpits are sweaty just thinking about getting through all these before other good stuff starts rolling out at the end of the month, especially since my boyfriend, television, asked if we could get back together after the summer break we took to "discover ourselves." and i know it's wrong, i know he's done me dirty before, but how can i resist him? especially since our eight-week fling during the night of was so hot!? i know he's garbage but he promised to be better to me this time, he's even giving me donald glover in atlanta to prove it. brb deleting all the wesley crusher-centric episodes of star trek: tng off my dvr to make room.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

helen died.

she's been gone for a whole week and i still listen for her. grumbling while hauling her bulk up the stairs, panting in the dark next to the bed in an attempt to get me up and into the kitchen to put seven diet kibbles in her bowl, mocking me under her breath as i attempt to make vegan posole ("what is the point of living if that's what you're eating to stay alive"), the sawing of the nail file as she shapes her claws into tiny razors.

when i sent helen to test out michigan prior to my arrival i didn't miss her even a little bit. finally, i could luxuriate in informercial jeans with an elastic waistband without fear of judgment from the fetid hellspawn grooming her privates atop my pillow! i wouldn't have to lock myself in the bathroom to enjoy a six packs of beers and slab of ribs that i'd otherwise have to guard with my life as she plotted a way to take them from me! WHAT BLISS. i got a picture every few days of her in her new home doing something awful (glaring at a bird, hissing at some actor on television, breathing) and smile thinking about how i no longer risked waking up to her tiny paws desperately gripping my throat.

ken's neighbor found her when she was only a few weeks old, a slimy and disgusting ball of hair and worms that was barely clinging to life, and i hated her guts from the minute i laid eyes on her. she hissed at me when she was still too young to open her eyes, sank her little needle fangs into my jugular (in a vain attempt to kill me) before she even had the motor skills to walk across the cage. i only took her home because i never thought she'd make it a week, let alone last long enough to have a significant impact on my finances and serenity, and i'm pretty confident she only grudgingly packed her suitcase and came with me because she overheard me talking about how often i order chinese food. neither of us planned for this to be much more than a one night stand. she had a chronic, incurable upper respiratory infection and the personality of old shoes, but she was funny and refused to die and i respected her tenacity. plus i couldn't euthanize her without all the bitches at my job judging me. that jerk ended up puking and sneezing all over my shit for almost nine years.

it feels weird writing about my little dead homie after sitting at the emergency vet in the wee hours of last wednesday morning, alone and rolling my crying eyes at the unqualified mansplainer in the waiting room yelling at a helpless receptionist about phenobarbital, trying to decide whether or not having the techs make a paw print would humiliate her in the afterlife. so instead of confronting my vulnerable feelings about grief and loss head on and unpacking them in an unhealthy way without a therapist, i instead found a template for a eulogy on the internet and madlibbed our info into it in the hopes it conveys how deeply sad i am. about an awful cat who mostly hated me.

we are gathered today to remember the life of the worst cat on the planet. my beloved companion animal friend, helen keller, was a marginally sufficient substitute for romantic human love for many years. she was mostly loved by me, her owner + daily tormentor; many strangers on the internet; and approximately 137 homeless feline siblings born near o'hare airport before her mother was eventually caught and spayed and rendered unable to continue filling the streets with her demonic progeny.

although she came from simple beginnings, helen worked her way through my nerves and had a long, successful career stealing chicken wings off my plate and trying to escape my apartment with various maintenance men and food delivery drivers. hard work and determination characterized this dreadful and hate-filled piece of actual garbage.

she was born to a flea-ridden stray gray tabby and [father unknown] in an abandoned garage in chicago. it was a shitty, overcast day (probably?) in september 2009. a neighborhood girl recorded in her diary that all of their relatives and neighbors from the surrounding sensible bungalows and single family ranch-style homes had gathered to greet the baby hellion. perhaps as her father and mother looked over the first sproutlings and blossoms of springtime, they were reminded of the life and growth awaiting their new nightmare with teeth.

her childhood is best described as both humble and wondrous: while her adopted mother got by on what meager money i made from being continuously belittled in a grueling customer service job every day, young helen ripped holes in the bed linens and vomited in my shoes. an avid malcontent, i helped the young albatross i'd been saddled with learn the hard work and dedication it takes to be an unrelenting asshole. the time we spent in mutual dislike for one another cultivated a love for mindless emotional eating and antisocial indoor activities that would stay with helen for her entire life.

at the time of the tragic neurological episode that took her life, helen was a sickly, angry 56 in cat years old. unlike many cats her age, who are sweet and smart or cuddly and adorable, helen was awful and judgmental and not worth the expensive-ass pine litter i had to buy for her. throughout her life she cherished two major things: her filtered water pitcher and the burn book in which we documented the various transgressions mounted against us by our enemies.

i loved helen as much as is healthy for a 36 year old woman with no children and will miss her kind of a lot but hopefully not so much that it creeps anyone out. helen's lifetime of excessive flatulence and pointed disdain for decency and manners serve as a monument to the exemplary cat she was. her lack of humility, integrity, and hard work continue to inspire those who knew her.

i worked with animals long enough to know what a relief it can be when a sick pet dies. shuffle off this mortal coil and take the antibiotics you bit me 137 times while administering them to your ungrateful ass with you. everyone's being really nice to me and trust me, i am definitely trying to milk as much goodwill as i possibly can out of my friends, but i also found a pair of tom ford frames that old girl had dragged to the crawlspace she liked to plot crimes in and had obviously been chewing on prior to her demise, and you're cool and everything helen but not designer eyewear cool. and now i can finally cop some new furniture without having to seriously contemplate what color couch will hide dagger marks and best coordinate with "blood-tinged cat mucus." but who even cares about any of that if helen isn't around to physically attack me for deigning to sit on it. or to growl menacingly at shadows. or to eat the carcass of a spoiled honeybaked ham that I WAS PLANNING ON EATING, YOU SAVAGE. man, i'm gonna miss her. pour some gravy out for the hardest bitch to ever do it.

Friday, August 12, 2016

yep, i still hate weather.

i moved last weekend. out of my dangerous neighborhood, out of my slightly below average quality crib, out of the state of my birth. i am a central time zone girl to my core: i like my potatoes with meat, my winters ominous and tundra-like, and my late local news promptly at 10pm. other than a brief and unsuccessful attempt at college in the late 90s, i have never lived anywhere other than the city of chicago and the bracketed suburbs to its north. not only that, but until last saturday i lived in the same apartment since 2005. TWO THOUSAND FIVE, MY DUDE. george w. bush was still smirking uncomfortably through his second term, michael jackson was still alive and moonwalking, and i was still making actual phone calls on a knockoff razr homeboy at radio shack swore looked just like the real thing. i was 25 years old the day i wheeled that granny cart filled with books over the freshly-installed threshold. i knew it was home depot fresh because when she showed the place to me the landlord let it slip that the previous tenant had died in there surrounded by half a dozen cats. as we stepped over window fixtures and ripped up teal kitchen tiles circa 1973, she told me to "use my imagination" but i was like "i don't give a shit what the backsplash is made of or who got murdered in here, the rent is five hundred eighty-what now!?"

i'd had lots of apartments prior to it but this was my first real live grownup crib. no terrifying craigslist roommate, no ill-advised spare closet with a bed shoved in it in some shady boarding house, no living out of a backpack while sleeping in my high school friends' old bedrooms: HAND ME MY CHECKBOOK, I AM PURCHASING WINDOW TREATMENTS. i got all the shit an adult-type person needs to have in their crib so they never have to leave it: a toaster that can hold four (four!!!) slices of bread, lightning-speed internet and cable television with premium channels, toilet paper that won't leave microscopic cuts all over your asshole every time you use it. i loved my place. and it didn't matter that i rarely invited anyone in to see all of the things i wasted money on at cb2, it was still dope. and i never had to worry about things like "grout" or "energy efficient appliances."


i was thinking that mavis and i could maybe pioneer a new type of marriage situation some relationship expert would eventually dissect in the new yorker, the kind of marriage where she could continue to hang laundry on a line and churn her own butter in rural michigan while i spent the days counting down to my early death in my dark, refrigerated apartment in chicago scowling out of my peep hole at my neighbors who made too much noise getting their groceries off the elevator. she could keep withering under the blazing sun while picking her own blueberries to make jam and knitting socks to sell at the christmas bazaar while i ordered $17 cocktails at rooftop bars waited four hour for a table at fat rice, and we'd meet up occasionally to talk about married stuff (uh, property taxes? which big box retailer has the best deal on economy-sized containers of soup!?) and pretend we're still interested in having sex. sounds like a dream, right. but oh no fam, apparently marriage involves a little thing called compromise, a concept of which i'd been previously unaware, which for her meant having to wake up to a framed photo of ice cube on her bedroom wall but for me meant GIVING UP EVERYTHING I EVER LOVED.

i've spent such a long time living my old life that instead of being excited at the prospect of this new one i'm almost paralyzed with fear. i've lived in the same hood for twenty years and worked at the same job for fifteen. WHO AM I EVEN WITHOUT THESE HALLMARKS. i have a very limited set of life skills:
-working in one specific dog hospital.
-navigating the best side streets to get home from work in under 7 minutes.
-somehow always having clean underwear in a building that has 60 units and only 3 washing machines.

-maximizing the free drink wristband.
-ignoring panhandlers on the train without getting murdered.
-spotting a com ed disconnect notice with one eye closed from the back of the envelope.

-knowing when to go to big star if i actually want a seat.
-stretching the last of the dish soap because i keep forgetting to buy more.
-tricking racist cab drivers into picking my black ass up.
-turning a box of triscuits and some margarine into "dinner."

how is any of that going to translate to living in a place that has: roving deer who will just walk right into your yard but doesn't have: streetlights!? i get nervous being places that are too dark. remember last time i let this hoe coax me out into the wilderness for her amusement? the time i drove a rented minivan with new mexico plates into the woods on unpaved roads and my gps was like LOL YEAH RIGHT BITCH and i almost hit a cow!? this is kind of like that, except i live here now. gas is 37 cents a gallon. you can buy shoes at the grocery store. the farmers market is full of actual farmers instead of bearded hipsters in distressed flannel bloviating at you about peak asparagus season. i am living in a literal nightmare.

a week ago i was on the front lawn trying to estimate whether or not i would survive the fall (i hope not) if i jumped off the roof and a man walking his dog actually stopped to talk to me. i was flabbergasted. i just stood there, mute, staring at his mouth and wondering what the fuck was going on. he encouraged me to touch the dog (LOL SORRY CHLOE BUT NAH) and attempted some pleasant conversation about the weather (hot, muggy, unremarkable) before extending his hand and welcoming me to the neighborhood. WHAT. WHY. how did he know i was new? could he smell the lingering stench of unreliable public transportation on me? could he see in my eyes that i couldn't really tell the difference between a cucumber and a zucchini without cutting it open? did he register my smooth, uncalloused hands and instinctively know i had never driven a tractor!? what kind of sorcery is this? HOW DID THIS RETIRED MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL KNOW MY SECRETS.


you know what i miss most about chicago!? overpriced appetizers? yes. the african scented oil dude at the morse train station? double yes. being able to get practically anything delivered on any day at any time by someone muscular and attractive!? yes yes a thousand times yes! but what i miss most is the anonymity. sure the barista at starbucks knew to get my black iced tea started the minute i hit the line, but he never got weird about it. we didn't have to, like, talk about it. i was at the doctor and this woman asked me to remove my headphones to ask what i was listening to (why not inquire about the state of my bloodwork since we're being sociable), so i told her. which prompted a follow up question about who beach house is and what kind of music they make and how many albums they have and how did i hear about them and yo i really want to blow your mind ma'am but i'm just here trying to get a pap smear and brood to some moody jams.

i hate nature. birds are terrifying flying rats and the sun will fry you and give you cancer and large bodies of water are made up of mostly garbage and human excrement. THIS IS WHY I AM AN INSIDE PERSON. everything here is dangerous and/or irritating: mosquitos the size of a fist biting me through my sweater (i will never change) and leaving itchy egg-sized welts in their wake; loud-ass frogs in our backyard pond with their deafening croaks all goddamned night; bats hysterically flapping their leathery wings while trapped in the woodstove; the maniacal squirrels aloft in the branches over the deck hurling walnuts at our heads as we mind our human business grilling farmstand corn for lunch. sick raccoons falling out of our trees, fat groundhogs busting through the fence to eat the okra and tomatoes i refuse to help harvest, field mice in the basement that the young cats disembowel in the middle of the dining room at dawn. americana horror story.

yesterday i was trying to be a contributing member of this household so, after watching the garbagemen wave to children on the street while hoisting bags of trash that belonged neither in the recycling (kill me) nor in the compost (kill me harder), i put on my sunglasses and went outside to drag the garbage can up the driveway to its proper place beside the house. i checked to make sure no one was close enough to ask "aren't you hot?" while nodding at my full pants and long sleeves, and started up the driveway, when all of a sudden a snake shot out from under the can and flicked its forked tongue at me. we stood in a standoff for several seconds as i decided what to do. should i:
1 scream, thus inviting intervention from some neighbor whose name i don't wanna know,
2 throw the garbage can to the ground in an effort to distract it and try to beat it to the house, whose door i left sitting wide open, or
3 JUST LET IT KILL ME.

"are you poisonous?" i asked voldemort, pushing up my sleeve and offering my supple city wrists to his waiting fangs. "because i cannot live like this and if you kill me i can sail guilt-free right into heaven." helen appeared on the steps, eating from a bag of organic popping corn she'd made on the stove because that's how we do things here (sobs) and he spotted her then quickly slid up the driveway along the side of the house, the same place i needed to go. ordinarily i would be like FUCK THIS TRASH CAN and lock myself in the house but i know there's some old lady across the street peeking through her curtains just waiting to call andy griffith to report that the uppity new colored girl on the block who likes to go to restaurants that take ~reservations~ left her trash can in the middle of the sidewalk, so i screamed a few expletives in my mind and tiptoed up the drive lugging that mobile snake shelter behind me. i spotted him slithering toward the hose and sighed in relief that i'd remembered to include the "i will never water plants" clause in our prenup. he stared at me, i stared back at him, then the mailman clomped up on his horse and buggy, scaring the daylights out of us both.

i don't know how i'm going to survive here. i mean, i'm a nice person and everything but talking to friendly people is excruciating. especially when they don't hate the same things you hate, like talking to people. and living in a place where people just roll up uninvited and knock on your door even though you aren't fully awake and don't yet have on a bra is straight up terrorism, especially when they can look through the front window and see that yes, you are home. this happened a couple days ago and i just shrugged at dude like "yeah i know but i can't" until he got frustrated and left, and now i have to die without knowing about whatever gun lobby legislation or anti-abortion group he was shilling for. i thought my old place was cursed because the ceiling fell in twice and one time my neighbor's water started bubbling up from my sink, but here i gotta worry about snakes coming up out of the toilet and biting my tongue and smiling while chloe shits all over my front lawn. i have to worry about having a goddamned lawn! i'm sure that in time i will get accustomed to it, or maybe i'll just renew my lease so i have a place to stay when i need to go to a bar that doesn't play hair metal all night. or when i miss the ghosts of all those dead cats.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

bitches gotta read: dear fang, with love.

hello summer, you miserable bastard. i just had a full blood workup at the doctor last week because i had to be outside at dusk for more than twenty seconds and accumulated 137 mosquito bites in the process, and all my labs are basically perfect except i am deficient in both vitamin b and vitamin d. vitamin d, as you probably guessed, is because of a lack of dick. and possibly sunshine. ugh so now my plan to spend the summer locked in a dark room with the air conditioner blowing directly on me while reading all these books i downloaded and listening to ludacris seems like an especially irresponsible idea. but that's what supplements are for, right? don't mind me, just over here living on the edge.

the rules
1 we are never going to meet in person. that would require a bra and zippered pants and probably an expensive uber and no one is doing that that. you don't have to worry about robin's dairy allergy or that elena doesn't like malbec. no cleaning the cat box or vacuuming the drapes or hiding the dirty laundry in the oven so your company doesn't realize what a huge slob you are. just you in your house glasses and gravy pants sobbing into your six pack of beer, the way john green intended. getting together with people you don't live next door to is hella stressful. plus, a bunch of old bitches sitting around talking about fictional teenage romance is lame. OR IS IT THO.
2 we are never going to discuss this, ever. i mean seriously. i'm going to derive pleasure from knowing that people i might possibly enjoy spending time with if i ever could bring myself to meet new people and i are falling asleep and drooling on the same book we'll probably never finish. maybe we'll talk about it on twitter or something. but even thinking about organizing that is a daunting task and i'm already exhausted. mariyam suggested making a facebook group, but is that dumb? the internet is so hard sometimes. (ETA: there is a group! it's called bitches gotta read! and it is full of rad people who aren't irritating! come find us!)
3 we are never going to shame each other about not reading the fucking book. this is the beauty of never having to meet or talk about it: i ain't gotta come up with "thoughtful questions" and you ain't gotta pretend to remember what happened at the end of chapter seven while a bunch of wine-drunk bitches you don't even like that much wait expectantly for your answer. i'll read the books for sure, but that's only in case i run into one of you at the bagel shop and you decide to ask how much the ending moved me.

brief internet synopsis:
Lucas and Katya were boarding school seniors when, blindingly in love, they decided to have a baby. Seventeen years later, after a decade of absence, Lucas is a weekend dad, newly involved in his daughter Vera's life. But after Vera suffers a terrifying psychotic break at a high school party, Lucas takes her to Lithuania, his grandmother's homeland, for the summer. Here, in the city of Vilnius, Lucas hopes to save Vera from the sorrow of her diagnosis. As he uncovers a secret about his grandmother, a Home Army rebel who escaped Stutthof, Vera searches for answers of her own. Why did Lucas abandon her as a baby? What really happened the night of her breakdown? And who can she trust with the truth? Skillfully weaving family mythology and Lithuanian history with a story of mental illness, inheritance, young love, and adventure, Rufi Thorpe has written a breathtakingly intelligent, emotionally enthralling book.

sounds like a jam, right!? i have a giant stack of "books to read this summer" packed in a box to take with me to michigan in a couple weeks and this is now at the top of that stack. i also have a note taped to my calendar of "movies i should probably rent" and another called "new lipsticks i want to try" and sure that maybe sounds dumb in comparison to your summer schedule filled with healthy outdoor activity but i see your kayaking in a hot, smelly lake teeming with garbage and raise you a spending an hour in the a/c at ulta testing those new urban decay vice lipsticks on the back of my hand while letting some vitamin b12 supplements dissolve under my tongue. SOME OF US DO SUMMER DIFFERENTLY, OKAY. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

the trouble with getting married when you are already old.

this looks nice, right. those cucumbers look fresh and delicious, the slices v healthy and organic-looking. and that kitchen looks delightfully and adorably cluttered! not so messy that you'd confuse it for a hoarder's home, and clearly not belonging to the type of person whose homemade preserves would send you to your grave with a nasty case of botulism, rather gently and lovingly disheveled. you can really tell that a person who loves herself enough to wipe down the food processor after every use lives in that sunshiny kitchen. that's the kind of kitchen you want to sit in and gossip about what mallory was wearing at the pta meeting last night while sneaking bourbon into your pour-over coffee. so a thing about me is that i am basically forty, and you know what i have been doing for many of the horrifying years i have spent waiting to die on this planet? acquiring items that make me look and feel like a functioning adult, even if i do not put them to regular use. i already have:

a grownup blender. while my toaster probably definitely came from the dollar store, i have the kind of blender that is heavy and expensive and never gets shoved in a cabinet because it is 1 heavy and 2 expensive. if i spent a third of a paycheck on a vitamix then you are going to look at it. every time you wash your hands or refill your bourbon that gleaming master work is gonna be looking at you like "hi." that is not a tool for grinding up frozen berries, bruh. THAT IS A SHOWPIECE.

flatware. a full set, heavyweight, essential for making takeout food feel like an actual meal, especially if you put it on an actual plate. i hate those flimsy sporks that come with your lo mein, so i invested in some quality silverware ages ago. i do not need any more goddamned forks.

plates and glasses. sets of dishes are ridiculous to me, as i have only ever been one person inhabiting one small space who rarely, if ever, invited the kind of company over for whom matching soup plates and salad mugs from sur la table were a prerequisite. but then the thought of living with one plate and one glass felt too dickensian to me so i gradually accumulated a full set of intentionally mismatched plates and bowls from anthropologie, and i am telling you that because i am more proud of my yellow patterned cereal bowl than i am of every single paper i wrote in college.

the good kind of knives. you know the kind, the ones with the tang that goes all the way to the butt. the sturdy kind that won't bend when you're trying to cut up a carrot (lol what is that). i spent more years than i am proud to admit using sizzler-style steak knives to do my actual cutting and chopping in the kitchen. dudes, i was trying to make ~complicated meals~ with what was essentially a box cutter from the grocery store. IT TOOK THIRTY-SEVEN MINUTES TO CUT UP AN ONION. *cringes to death at the thought of all of the disproportionate stew chunks in my past*

bath towels. remember in your first apartment when you used a faded old beach towel after getting out of the shower and all your dishrags were cut-up t-shirts you wore in high school? YEAH ME NEITHER. i drove my beat up '88 escort to marshalls and got some calvin klein towels with weird stitching or whatever makes an otherwise decent-looking washcloth unfit for sale in a department store and a pack of kitchen towels the day i signed my first lease. i grew up very, very poor, and one of the things that nagged at me the most was never having absorbent towels. i decided that the minute i got a real paycheck i would get all luxuries i couldn't have as a kid, starting with 1 boxes and boxes of name brand cereal and 2 towels that would actually dry you well enough after a bath so it's not a struggle to get into your jeans.

if i want to do something, i just do it. i don't have to clear it with anyone or worry about making anybody look bad, once i decide a thing is happening? then i just make it happen. being an orphan is 9/10 amazing!
cons: no one to constantly borrow zero-interest loans from.
pros: LITERALLY EVERYTHING ELSE.
so when i was like, "let's just spend an intimate afternoon at the courthouse, bride," mavis, at first, was cool with it. why waste money on white dresses and an open bar when we could just hit the drive-thru and maybe go to a movie after? i hate smiling and pretending i can tell a whole bunch of cousins and uncles apart. at every wedding i've ever been to the happy couple can't even pause for a bite of rubbery $75/plate chicken because they have to run laps around the room shaking hands and thanking people whose envelope on the money tree might only have twenty bucks in it, which they won't find out until the next week. i am not doing that. all i wanted to do was swear my fidelity in front of an officer of the court before driving over to the nearest blue cross blue shield office so i can upgrade my insurance and start planning a bunch of dental cleanings and surgeries.

but then this hoe started telling people, and their collective response was "GREAT CAN'T WAIT TO JOIN YOU." three weeks ago i'm in chicago, blissfully unaware, daydreaming about how cheap my ativan is gonna be, and she's in michigan arranging a processional to the tiny municipal building. i was just going to bribe a dude hanging out at the bus station with a pizza to come bear witness to this unholy matrimony, meanwhile she's on the phone with the one judge in town asking if he might be able to set up folding chairs and a concession stand before we get there. MAVIS WYD.

so we switched gears and decided to have a party at the house because it was too late to book the kind of venue i'd actually want to host a wedding in and here is another thing about me: i understand that no one, not anyone, ever really wants to be in another person's home. let's talk about why:
1 it's a home, but it's not your home, so you can't really relax. i mean undo your belt and spend twenty minutes in the bathroom relax, which makes you feel cheated.
2 it is unreasonable to expect a normal person with a regular budget to have all of the things you might want to eat or drink or dance to. and i say this as an irritating sometimes-vegan whose favorite cocktail is campari with soda. i am perfectly happy to eat those cocktail weenies wrapped in flaky biscuit dough and drink a can of coors light on the porch but you know and i know we'd both rather be in some air conditioning eating little sandwiches being carried around the room on silver trays.
3 no waitstaff.

at this very moment homegirl is loudly vacuuming the stairs nobody is even supposed to be inside to use while i hide my pills in drawers nobody is supposed to open and then i should probably dust the chandelier nobody will probably look at but can't i just call mcdonald's to see if anyone has booked the playplace for this afternoon instead!? i mean, who doesn't like nuggets. this evening there are 70+ women, men, and children coming to listen to me recite some vows (i haven't even written yet) while visibly sweating under the summer sun (and worrying about whether or not my feet look ashy) before warning everyone in attendance that helen is to be seen and not touched, and every single one of them (well, maybe not the kids) texted/emailed/called asking HEY WHAT CAN WE GET YOU when we sent out invitations. because that's the sweet thing about getting hitched, right? the presents!? but between the two of our rapidly decomposing asses we already have a lot of the kind of grownup home stuff people typically ask for:
kitchenaid stand mixer check
cuisinart check
immersion blender check
quality non-ikea couch check
le creuset cookware check
not to mention hampers and rugs and stemware and sheets and SUPER ABSORBENT LUXURY TOWELS check check check check check. but everyone i know was all, "who cares! make a registry!" you know what i really wish i could put on a bed bath and beyond list is my fucking cable bill. i got cinemax, showtime, HBO, and starz, hoe. the level of entertainment i require is hella expensive. so i went on amazon and made one, but i am a child, so i basically filled it with garbage. things i fear are gauche but i put on the registry anyway: flonase, chuckles jelly candy, a badminton set for the back yard, a bluetooth speaker, the new nick jonas cd, five unscented sticks of dove deodorant, some iphone chargers, and a jar of first aid beauty repair cream. mavis got embarrassed about people from her job seeing that she was marrying a dumbass so we made a crate & barrel one full of adult stuff like shower curtains and a mandoline, but i just got an email that someone just got that see's peanut brittle i wanted so i am already a winner.

it is not lost on me that we are having a big gay wedding days after a hundred of our brothers and sisters were gunned down in a nightclub while just trying to celebrate and love each other. i will never not proudly be who i am, in the face of whatever opposition may present itself. hug your people close today and every day. maybe wrap them up in a luxurious towel first.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

bitches gotta read: shrill.

look at the four shining stars +1 absolute dummy lindy west got blurbs from for her incredible new book. when she asked me if i'd be willing to do it i screamed bitch are you nuts of course i will and read the entire pdf she sent me in a matter of hours, then immediately emailed my editor like "LOL I QUIT MY BOOK GOODBYE." seriously, i put my ipad down after i finished the first essay and thought long and hard about whether or not breaching my contract was something i could afford to do because how can i put out this trash i'm writing with a book like hers coming out this year. luvvie ajayi, kiese laymon, and roxane gay all have new books coming out in 2016, too. and i love these dudes: they are all magical, they are all extremely talented, and they are all very dear friends. wow o wow that's intimidating company.

so i read the collection but then had no idea what to say about it because really, who cares what i think about anything. especially when it comes to smart things. and if you do care, i'm much more of an expert on hot dog varietals and squeezy cheez than i am classic works of literature. any question other than "who has the hottest butt?" posed to me gets answered with a blank, unblinking stare. whenever i am asked to contribute words to a thing my auto-reply is "LOL DID YOU FORGET I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING" and then refuse to open the subsequent emails. i sent my blurb to lindy (hey girl, can i really write "jealous-ass feelings" in an actual book more than fourteen people are going to see?) and waited for a polite response telling me thanks but no thanks. when i heard nothing back from the publisher i poured out a little vodka soda in honor of our brief friendship and cursed myself for not paying more attention in that literary criticism course i dropped out of in 1998. months later when my advanced copy showed up in the mail i flipped it over and died on the spot. MY GHOST IS WRITING THIS.

the rules

1 we are never going to meet in person. that would require a bra and zippered pants and probably an expensive uber and no one is doing that that. you don't have to worry about robin's dairy allergy or that elena doesn't like malbec. no cleaning the cat box or vacuuming the drapes or hiding the dirty laundry in the oven so your company doesn't realize what a huge slob you are. just you in your house glasses and gravy pants sobbing into your six pack of beer, the way john green intended. getting together with people you don't live next door to is hella stressful. plus, a bunch of old bitches sitting around talking about fictional teenage romance is lame. OR IS IT THO.
2 we are never going to discuss this, ever. i mean seriously. i'm going to derive pleasure from knowing that people i might possibly enjoy spending time with if i ever could bring myself to meet new people and i are falling asleep and drooling on the same book we'll probably never finish. maybe we'll talk about it on twitter or something. but even thinking about organizing that is a daunting task and i'm already exhausted. mariyam suggested making a facebook group, but is that dumb? the internet is so hard sometimes. (ETA: there is a group! it's called bitches gotta read! and it is full of rad people who aren't irritating! come find us!)
3 we are never going to shame each other about not reading the fucking book. this is the beauty of never having to meet or talk about it: i ain't gotta come up with "thoughtful questions" and you ain't gotta pretend to remember what happened at the end of chapter seven while a bunch of wine-drunk bitches you don't even like that much wait expectantly for your answer. i'll read the books for sure, but that's only in case i run into one of you at the bagel shop and you decide to ask how much the ending moved me.

brief internet synopsis:

West has rocked readers in work published everywhere from The Guardian to GQ to This American Life. She is a catalyst for a national conversation in a world where not all stories are created equal and not every body is treated with equal respect. SHRILL is comprised of a series of essays that bravely shares her life, including her transition from quiet to feminist-out-loud, coming of age in a popular culture that is hostile to women (especially fat, funny women) and how keeping quiet is not an option for any of us.

ugh dude i was so jealous reading this book. i'm never too proud to admit that reading someone else's brilliant writing makes me push my laptop aside like "not today, satan" before hurling myself out of the window face-first into the shattered glass in the alley below. and shrill is a collection of essays, not young adult fiction, but listen: we are mature and open enough to handle a little variety. also how can i get you to buy a book with my stupid name on the back if i'm not allowed to assign it to the group. i only have 37 people in my phone, man. it's not like i can text you dudes to get the word out. anyway, lindy gets a lot of unnecessary heat for having the audacity to be loud and honest and push back at her critics but goddamn is she smart and so hilarious. we talked a lot while working on our books, so i got some rare insight into her creative process, and we hung out a couple times IRL and she is as dope as you think she is. needless to say, I LOVE SHRILL SO MUCH. and my dumb book is pushed back to spring 2017 because i'm not a total idiot.