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.

Hand-Wash Only: A Failure in Urban Domesticity

I have a confession to make. I’ve lived outside my parents home for a decade this month, and I have yet to obey a single “hand wash only in cold water” garment instruction. This avoidance isn’t based in fear. It is pure, unadulterated urban inconvenience.

Now before you go wondering how I’ve made it this far in my adult life, let me make a few excuses clarifications. My hand-wash only garments have been washed. They just haven’t been washed by HAND. Typically, the clothes needing to be dry-cleaned or hand-washed get tossed into a basket or otherwise set aside for months on end, until one day I say “I’m ready!” and off to the dry cleaners they go, together as family. Oh, “dry cleaning isn’t the same thing as hand-washing” whaaaaaat?! Yeah, I know. I know it’s not and I am probably inviting the formation of some sort of cloth-laundering chemical mutant by allowing hand-wash only fabrics to come into contact with that powdery crap or whatever it is that dry cleans clothes (scratching with your fingernails? That usually works okay, too).

Let me also clarify that I pretty much know how to wash something by hand IF I have the right set-up, which is pretty simple:

Requirements for successful hand-washing of garments:

  1. Giant basin for washing, set at not-back-breaking height.
  2. Giant basin for rinsing, set at not-back-breaking height.
  3. Washboard.
  4. The giantest basin to hold the other two giant basins and catch any splash due to overly zestful washboarding and/or rinse-sloshing. Set at not-back-breaking height.
  5. Retractable outdoor clothesline.
  6. Sunshine, mid-80s, low humidity, and a light breeze scented with the fragrance of nearby lilacs.

See? I know what I’m doing here. Allow me to further clarify that I have washed many a garment by hand. My parents essentially have the above set-up, so it was never a big deal at their house. I also hand-washed some in India, where it was not uncommon for a flock of young men to stand idly by your machine and watch everything going in or coming out of it. If you leave to go do something and happen to come back two minutes after your dryer times out? Forget about it, your clothes have just been hauled out, dry or not, by somebody else. Sometimes that would happen while the dryer was still running if you weren’t nearby watching it like a hawk. Sometimes a pair of underwear would go missing. Fun times. So, when I didn’t want to deal with that, I washed certain articles of clothing by hand in my room. Hated it.

I’ve also hand-washed out of necessity while traveling. I even found a BAR of laundry detergent at a 7-11 in Shanghai that was molded with a washboard-shape BUILT IN. Now that was a little gem I should have held onto.

But when it comes to my own city, my own apartment, I just can’t ever get up the energy for a good ‘ol scrub-a-dub of delicates. Until the other night, that is, when I finally gave it a go. My set-up was decidedly make-shift:

Requirements for unsuccessful hand-washing of garments in small city apartment:

  1. Five-gallon pail for washing, preferably in the form of an old shitsand cat litter container. Set on floor of bathtub so it’s impossibly awkward to reach into.
  2. Five-gallon pail for rinsing, also a repurposed shitsand container. Also set on floor of bathtub so it’s impossibly awkward to reach into.
  3. No washboard. Use gloved hand to swish unemphatically.
  4. Shower rod for hanging “rinsed” clothes, ideally placed slightly outside the tub area so all drips fall directly onto the bathroom floor.
  5. Cram yourself into tub with washing and rinsing pails. Dim lighting is ideal to appropriately match the angry, foul energy you are emitting.

I got through two dresses, and after the second one dyed the wash water purple, I called it quits. URBAN DOMESTICITY FAIL.

Just earlier in the day, I had picked up an antique glass washboard at a garage sale, observing how wonderful it is to not have need for such tennis elbow-inducing items anymore. We have Wii for that now. And tennis, for weirdos. Next time I’m out garage-saleing I am picking up every antique gadget I find. Surely if I don’t it will come back to bite me in the ass as it did this time. If it turns out we have NO use for an 18th century lead-lined produce pickler, not to worry! I will hang it on the wall and call it “country cute,” and whimsically ironic hipsters and middle-aged women will swell with competitive angst and hope (respectively).

Join me next time when I take on cleaning second story windows FROM THE OUTSIDE!

Juicing Day 15: Halfway Done. Going Nuts!

Today marks the halfway point! It’s all downhill from here! (She says, listening to The Civil Wars and sippin’ on peas and carrots. It’s the new gin ‘n’ juice, trust me on this one.)

To commemorate, I went to Whole Foods and bought a donkey-load of raw nuts for mass nut milk production.

Side note: I just spelled “bought” b-o-t and then corrected it to b-a-u-g-h-t. Clearly there is something in this peas and carrots juice that isn’t vegetable. Shhhhh.

The first batch will be hazelnuts, already taking a pre-gametime soak, a la the ludicrously fratty Ryan Lochte canyoubelievethisguy?

Other nuts pictured here: almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, pistachios

We’ll try them all individually to get to know the flavor of each, and then will come some fun with mixing and matching. This newfound obsession has come at a price, however. And that would be … uh, the actual price. Nuts aren’t cheap! Does anyone know where to go for inexpensive raw organic nuts? Whole Foods has the bulk section, which is great, but it’s still not cheap. We will be sticking to only 1 or 1.5 cups each of nut milk a day, too, since they don’t offer quite the punch of nutrients that our other juices do, and can be high in fat and carbs.

Last night we played a very challenging two matches (four games, 25 pts each) of beach volleyball in our last set of the season (SO SAD!). We came home exhausted, covered in sweat and sand and beaming from ear to ear. Sometimes Chicago gives us gunshots (okay, that’s more than “sometimes” on our block), and sometimes it’s just the best place you could ever ask for.

Feelings and Things

  • I feel wonderful. Nothing special to report!