Let’s Do That.

Not to brag, as I know your Thanksgivings are all as exciting as mine has been, but I bet yours didn’t include the following conversation:

Sister: Have you ever taken those online tests that tell you how fast you can type?

Me: Yes.

Sister: Let’s do that tonight.

We’re pretty excited for it.

So here is to you this Thanksgiving, whether your living room is strewn with passed out family members, or you’re in line at Best Buy waiting to brawl Black-Friday-Style, or you Googled “chicago thanksgiving dinner restaurants 2012” and ended up at Ann Sather meeting some pretty sweet strangers (by the way, our sweet strangers – Jerry and Julia – are pictured below).

Be thankful. Be Giving. Be well!

p.s. Yeah, I did wear that sweater again!



In Which I Covertly Donate Porn (ACCIDENTALLY!)

You should probably read this if only for the WTH-you’re-KIDDING-me surprise super-twist at the end. Yes, this is for real. Yes, it was my porn. But I didn’t even have the chance to watch it, you see. A bachelorette party gift from a friend who shall not be named, I totally forgot I even had this in my possession. It sat in its original packaging (NIB!) in a bright pink and black bag adorned with bachelorette-y things I had received at my bachelorette party over two years ago.

I’ve never been a good porn-handler. That’s what you can take from all of this, but I should back up a bit. As you may know, Andy and I are in the process of moving. Chicago to Denver, specifically, but that’s a whole other post. For now you’re wondering if I’ll get to the porn part already, and to you I say “keep your pants on.” I fancy myself a storyteller, and all good tales have character development and compelling plotlines building up to the crux of it all. Porn especially. I’m just trying to make this worth your while.

Where was I? Oh, right. We’re moving.

I have been left alone in Chicago to pack up our apartment while A is already in Denver at the new job (don’t worry, he’ll make up for it). Me left alone with mountains of organizational work feed into my somewhat OCD personality like the sun on pale flesh. This time I am trying my darndest to be extremely liberal with the “donate” pile. It’s a mountain of boxes, bags, furniture; the sheer will it has taken to place certain loved-but-unused items into it has really taken it out of me. It leaves me thinking what every good human thinks when being truly charitable with their time and effort: I hope I get something out of this. I got more than I bargained for, you’ll see.

I scheduled a pick-up with the Salvation Army. Pick-up? Yup. Already winning. So Monday comes and the truck arrives and I am so excited to finally be rid of this mountain that’s been growing in our landing for days and days. I tell the guys, I say, I’ll be right back, I have to toss the cats in a separate room. I come back and the following conversation takes place:

SA man: Ma’am? You say you have pets?

Ma’am: Yes, but I just put them in a closed-off room, so you don’t have to worry about them.

SA man: Ma’am?

Ma’am: Yes?

SA man: We aren’t allowed to accept anything from households with pets.

Whoa. Whoa, now. WHAT?!

They could have mentioned something on the website, or when I called to schedule the pick-up and they have you itemize the number and sizes of boxes, bags, and pieces you plan to donate, or when they offer a generous pick-up window of “between 8am and 4pm” on the day of your scheduled pickup.

But these guys, kind as they were (and apologetic – I’m sure they get this all the time), couldn’t do anything about it. When I asked them how I would have known something like this, they gave me a slip of paper they hand to people with checkboxes for why they couldn’t take the pick-up. Here’s the one he said covers households with pets: “The items offered are not environmentally safe.”

Okay so that side-story was completely irrelevant to the main plot, because ALSO a part of any good story are side-plots. See how I’m super good at telling stories and you’re not at all annoyed at what this has become? WHAT ABOUT THE PORN, you’re asking. I can feel it. To wrap up this chapter, Salvation Army sucks. Not really, I’m sure they’re good people, but come ON.

I called my bff Macky to whine about the pile of shiz that remained in my keeping. She suggested I try the Craigslist free section. I whined some more. I didn’t want people coming to my house at night when I’m alone. A friend of mine was tragically lost to a monster who used Craigslist as a trap, and I am extremely cautious about using it in general, especially alone.

So I came up with a plan to put everything on the walkway on the side of the house, post it on Craigslist, and leave the front gate unlocked for just a couple of hours. Here’s what happened:
1. I post the ad.
2. I hauled my ass up and down stairs with boxes and bags and a gigantic double-storage ottoman for 15 minutes straight. It was easily a Shred workout’s worth.
3. I wrote “FREE” on a couple pieces of paper and taped them up, then I opened the gate.
It was dark. It was creepy.

How dark and creepy? This:

So I went inside and waited and spied. This worked out well because I got the added benefit of seeing the excitement on the faces of the Craigslist scavengers. Less than 1.5 hours from when I posted the ad, everything was gone. All of it.

Two groups of people came to pick up all of it (spying is fun). First was a family, kids and all, and man, they filled that minivan. Next was another minivan, this time full of three 20-something girls. THEY are the ones that ended up with the bachelorette kit a la porno. Mind you, I still hadn’t realized it was even in there until after they were long gone. It is my hope that this “The Office”-inspired porno goes on to become something of a tradition, passed on to bachelorettes for years to come, perhaps never once leaving its jacket of plastic as a sort of ode to how much girls couldn’t give a crap about porn.

Oh! Also in that pink and black bag: Candy nipple tassels. I won’t name names, but that little treat came from one of my three sisters. Why didn’t I use those babies? Oh, I will tell you; This episode of 1,000 Ways to Die is why. (Warning: This clip, or anything on Spike TV, really, is neither appropriate for children nor safe for work … as if your work hasn’t already blocked this page.) So now I steer clear of sexual encounters involving candy of any kind.

(NOTE: You are about to read the final side-story before I get to the twist-ending. I swear!) Like I said, I am not good at handling porn or inappropriate things in any manner. I cannot be trusted to be discreet about it. Case in point: High school, Junior Year, my 17th birthday. I had this big party and a couple friends gave me a Playgirl. I tucked it between the folded clothes in my laundry basket during the party, and the next morning I stealthily snuck it up to my bedroom and tossed it in a desk drawer. A day or two later, my dear mother hauled my folded laundry up two flights of stairs and knocked on my door.

Mom: I have your laundry.

Me: Oh, thanks! Please just drop it off. I’m kind of busy with boys and make-up and boys and talking on the phone and boys.

Mom: Sure thing! But I did want to check something with you real quick. [pulls out slip of paper from between folded clothes] … Did you want to renew, or …?

I may have taken some liberties paraphrasing there, as I was only sometimes so rudely dismissive of my parents, but that last line is exactly what she said, with just the level of smirk you’d expect from a devout Catholic woman raising her fourth teenager.

Now for that twist. Because all good storytellers tell you exactly how and when to expect a surprise ending, especially right before. Is that how it works? This is also great because any of you who know me on the FB and have seen a recent post of mine already knows what the twist is. So that’s the real surprise: IT’S NOT A SURPRISE! For some of you, anyhow. I should also be clear that if you DON’T already know the surprise, I don’t know how this ending is going to go over. It might be awkward and uncomfortable for all of us, because I’m not sure I can find a clever way to segue after that. I’m just gonna drop it and I’m out, okay? Consider yourself warned.

This morning I went to meet a co-worker for coffee. When I stepped outside I saw a box on our front stoop that wasn’t one of my donated items. I could tell by the graphic photo of a naked woman and man on the box. What the … ? So I walk up to it. Right there in one of my empty boxes still labeled with a giant sign reading “FREE” in my handwriting, was now a “Door Jam Sex Sling” in its original packaging.

Of note for all you Holiday shoppers: This is “perfect for travel”! My God, what do the neighbors think of me now?

Is this someone one-upping my free nipple tassels and adult DVD or WHAT? Just when I thought I couldn’t miss this city any more, here comes another thing to add to my upcoming “Chicago Will Steal Your Heart” goodbye post.

From the Depths of My Weird Heart

Going through years of hoarded memories during this move has been an enthralling and enriching experience. Did I mention we’re moving? That Andy’s already gone? That I get to pack up the two-bedroom apartment we’ve lived in four years and it’s scary how many receipts I’ve managed to save over that period of time and yet whenever I need a receipt to return something it is NOWHERE TO BE FOUND? Hey, self. Why didn’t you check behind the stove? There’s TONS of room for receipts back there!

Something I did find: An album of senior photos of my high school friends, each with a written message on the back. Direct quote from one of my biggest-ever crushes in the history of Debbie’s millions of pretty big crushes:

“You’re definitely one of the weirdest people I’ve met.”

From the depths of my weird, weird heart, that made me laugh hard and feel so proud of that girl for letting her weirdness be what it was, even around the boys she tried to impress. You know who you are (no you don’t).

Message to the little ladies and gents: Be who you are. It will always be your best bet.

p.s. The guy who wrote that? Totally wanted to do me. Just sayin’.

Cat Hoarding 101

Along the journey to retrieve a much beloved magnetic measuring spoon I knocked behind the stove, I unveiled this most shocking discovery:

Besides the general SIIIIIIICK that dwells in this place … Hooraaaaay! It’s Barley’s hoarding spot! Only since he’s a cat, he is too adorably stupid to realize the possessions he “hides” here can never be retrieved.

After cleaning up the nastiness, I reintroduced B to his favorite toy and most menacing enemy fo life: The Dollar Tree Fish Toy. Nothing, I repeat, nothing gets him going as much as this thing. He goes wild for it and immediately starts breathing heavily when he sees this obviously intimidating chunk of cotton-stuffed burlap. Le Kitteh is le happeh once again.

Halloween cat says “Hi!”

The other one just puked inside my shoe. What’s with that, other one? He’s not much of a puker, but when he does, he really makes it count.

Happy Halloween, everyone!