When The Cat’s Away

Things that will happen to you – but only when your husband is out of town for an extended period of time:

  • Your home internet will die an explosive death and require many text messages to your teeny tiny internet company that really should invest in a 1-800 number because I bet that poor sap was sick is sick of texts. Also: you will cry & curse your husband’s absence as this is no less than 3rd time the home internet has gone kaput while he is gone.
  • Your ceiling will open up and begin gushing water on a Friday night, necessitating a quick search for the only bucket in the house. This is when you will discover your sole bucket is the home to car wash solution, a random dog harness, stray pieces of kibble, two dog toothbrushes and an assortment of car cleaning cloths. These items will now reside on your guest room floor.
  • Ceiling explosion, point B: you will not know where the emergency number is for things like water rushing in. This will lead to wild flailing and Skyping, none of which will be helpful. (Pro tip: the number is by the elevator bay. OF COURSE.)
  • You will forget to put gas in your car until the last possible moment. This isn’t really the fault of an absent husband, but it looks good on the list.
  • You will stop “for real” grocery shopping and just buy what you need. See also: coffee, almond milk, fruit, bagels and applesauce. Oh and ice cream. Don’t forget the ice cream.
  • The dog will eat a chicken bone off the sidewalk. Again. This will necessitate much hovering and tsk-ing.
  • Your dog will not however eat any kibble, save a small portion here and there, as though he is protesting the absence of family members.
  • You will find yourself slipping extra lotions & potions into your cart when you go shopping. With no one home to complain about the rapidly growing shower clutter, who is the wiser?
  • Did I mention the internet breaking? And the water rushing in?


Salty Caboose

Sunday mornings find me on group training rides, sweating, swearing and gritting my teeth through the last five miles, the last brutal 30 minutes that make me want to get off and walk. I’d consider it if it were not for my stupid clip in pedals that make me walk like a duck on ice skates.

The last few weeks have been tough rides, the total distance is growing and for whatever reason my group, the slow group, has been minus a coach. This means the slow group has to navigate and fix mechanical issues for themselves, and when the rest of the slow group doesn’t come, it is just me. Holding a sweaty piece of paper in my hand, squinting at street signs and doubling back more than once, adding more miles onto the ride with each mistake.

This Sunday found me as the sole “slow” rider (the slow group averages 12 to 16 mph, the fastest group is pushing 20 mph). It wouldn’t have been that big of a deal except our ride started 5 miles past my office, in the hilliest part of Chicagoland for hill training. Within 2 miles I’d been dropped off the back even though I pushed, as hard as I could. The hills started immediately and at mile 7 I started to feel like I couldn’t go any further. The heat was overwhelming, the humidity was coating me and the hill I was on wasn’t ending.

Suddenly I found myself at a stop sign, unsure of which way to go and the tears started to flow, salty tears mixing with salty sweat. I wiped my nose, rubbed my eyes (getting sunscreen in them) and got ready to go back to my car in defeat before someone from the group circled back, asking if I was ok. I shook my head and said I was going back, but she told me to at least push to the water station at the 12 mile mark. The next 5 miles were excruciating as we continued to climb. I lamented the week I’d had, the project I have launching this week and everything else negative swirling around in my head.

I was an exhausted basket case, but I made it to the water stop. As I slid across the coffee shop floor to buy water, two other group members approached, they wanted “in” to my slow group. Turns out I wasn’t the only one who was getting their butt kicked by the hills.

The rest of the miles ground out slowly, painfully. There were no more tears but there was a lot of yells of frustration, typically directed at the hill I was trying to climb without a shred of dignity or grace. I only walked up one hill (sliding in my stupid shoes, seriously WHO INVENTED THOSE THINGS) but I admit to shaking my fist in frustration more than once. One by one I made it to 40 hilly miles.

But I made it. Salty, in more ways than one, with tears and sweat. I made it to the end. Just like I have to do every Sunday after, the salty caboose bringing up the rear.

Chip On My Shoulder

There are many things I find annoying, even angering. When the pizza parlor puts olives on my pizza. When it rains after I’ve straightened my hair. When people don’t pick up after their dogs. These are all things that annoy the ever living beeswax out of me. But you want to know the one thing that really, truly, to the point of no return makes me enraged? The kind of enraged that makes me turn purple and yell bad words while wildly shaking my fist at the sky?

I mean really now, did you think I wasn’t going to tell you?

People who drive on the shoulders during heavy traffic periods.

Not only is it rude, self-centered, narcissistic, obnoxious and so incredibly against the law but it just really pisses me off. The shoulder is for stalled cars, emergency workers, construction crews, pigeon chasers and single flattened shoes, missing their counterpart for forever and always. (Seriously why are there always shoes on the side of the road?) (For that matter I still have no idea what that pigeon chaser was all about.)

When someone drives down the shoulder of the expressway, while I’m crawling along in traffic contemplating using my iPhone charger to gouge my eyes out I want to run them off the road. Or in an alternate scenario, one that I consider many times a week during my commute, involves my car growing a Go-Go-Gadget arm and reaching out just in time to clothesline the car trying to skipsies ahead in traffic, causing him to flip over and be stuck upside down until the emergency crews arrive, except they can’t because in a karmic twist of fate, some jackass is blocking the shoulder. Insert evil diabolical laugh here.

The reason for my growing rage towards these scofflaws starts with the fact that it is ILLEGAL and DANGEROUS and ends with the fact that it just isn’t fair. Yeah, after the danger and blocking of work crews I’m busy pouting because I feel like if I have to sit in traffic SO DO YOU. Sometimes I consider calling 911 to turn these jerks in but I have a feeling how that call would go:

Hi, um, I’m on the Kennedy Expressway going about 3 miles an hour and a pigeon just dive bombed my car and now some jerk is driving up the shoulder in a red minivan with a stick figure family of six on the back windshield going about 45. 

Excuse me?

Red minivan. Driving on the shoulder. ILLEGAL AND ALSO SKIPPING HIS TURN. 

Right. I’ll file a complaint and put it between the old lady feeding moldy bread to the ducks on the Chicago River and the Segway tour that supposedly knocked a tourist down in Grant Park. In the mean time, the police are going to go investigate a murder or some corruption.

Well thanks for your help! I’ll go back to traffic now. Also I had a suggestion for city revenue, you should *tax* those stick figure family stickers. You’d make a killing. Enough to plow all the snow next winter……….

I told you that idea sucked.

All I’m saying is, driving on the shoulder is rude. And illegal. And I’m busy working on my Go-Go-Gadget arm invention so watch out. I have a chip…on my shoulder. (I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it.)


If This Annoys You, Pretend You Didn’t Read It

Next week I’m flying out to California to attend the BlogHer 2011 conference. I went last year, when it was in New York City and I had an amazing time. I saw no reason why I shouldn’t go again, to reconnect with old friends and perhaps learn a thing or two along the way. However I’m annoyed that I even find myself writing this post (ahhh fingers, stop typing, stop typing) becuase BlogHer conference posts & discussions tend to fall into the following (mostly negative) categories:

  • Pre-BlogHer tips, tricks and warnings that you’ll have a great time, you’ll have an awful time, people will be awesome, people will be standoff-ish, people will be people and do people like things that you might or might not agree with.
  • BlogHer whining, moaning and stick-poking about how annoying all the BlogHer posts, tweets and status updates are. These typically come from people not going to BlogHer, and while they should be taken with a grain of salt they legitimately highlight how un-fun it is when half of your Twitter feed is filled with something you are not involved in. See also: Real Housewives of Fill In The Blank, Various Awards Shows I’m Not Watching and other things on television that I deem Not My Thing.
  • Posts about swag, either complaining the swag wasn’t good enough or plentiful enough, posts complaining about people complaining about swag, posts complaining that the swag was too big, too liquid-y, too silly or too branded.
  • Post-BlogHer rundowns that include 1000 links, sparkly words about how great it was, posts about being snubbed and everything in between.
  • BlogHer posts, tweets or other publicly shared inneundo about being invited to 1,000,000 private parties – however will you choose ?- immediately followed by a collective eye roll because, come on. Everyone knows there are only 845,023 private parties and two of them are for the five men that come every year, so please honey, quit exaggerating. Also: buy a day-planner & look up the definition to the word humble brag.

I don’t really want to play into the stereotypes & cliches, but I am going and I’m looking forward to it. Many of the women who write for the Curvy Girl Guide will be there and I can’t wait to connect face to face instead of screen to screen. I have three awesome roommates, all of whom I’ve traveled with before and who I can’t wait to stay up late chatting and giggling and playing truth or dare with. At the end of the day I’m going to a huge conference, with 3,000 other blogging women (and a few men too) and I can’t wait to hug the necks of people who entertain me daily with their thoughtful insight, wisdom and jokes. Please, say hi. Even if I am dressed like this:


Trust me, everyone’s doing it.

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