The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Yearly Archives for 2013

Bluelights. They’re Classy.

Dear Mom,

I have something important to tell you. Before I do, however, I want you to remember it doesn’t change who I am as a person. I’m still your daughter with the same heart and mind. Also, please know I didn’t do it to spite you; we just have different opinions on aesthetics. Which is good! People are different and beautiful! Snowflakes! Etc.

OK, here goes:

I got a boob job and a face tattoo.

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Just kidding!! I only dyed my hair blue! And only parts of it! (See? It could be so much worse.)

This was before (and right after I texted Jason, This is your last chance to tell me not to do it because you only love me with brown hair. He learned a lesson from the “Should I get a boob job?” incident, so he replied, I DO love your brown hair… but I think Blue will be AWESOME!).

Getting bleached (how the hell do you people who get highlights regularly have the time for this shit? It takes FOREVER).

After the first bleach… feeling super creeped out by my own reflection.

After (this is why I try to always smile when taking selfies. If I don’t I look angry/constipated/like I’m in a romance novel and my lover has cheated on me).

The back.

The underneath part.

I’ve been wanting to do this forever, so I’m glad I did and I’m happy with the results. Plus, several random teenagers and fast food service professionals have complimented me on it, which I think says a lot. Teenagers and fast food service professionals hardly ever like anything, right? So if they are into it, it’s clearly because I’m winning at awesome (and not because I’m working a look I’ve aged out of).

Cons:

  • My fingers and nails are constantly blue.
  • When I shower it looks like the murder scene from Psycho except with a smurf.
  • I have to add more dye to the blue sections every few weeks because it will fade. 
  • I feel concerned about clashing. I’m not totally sure this is an issue, but I’m worried I should stay away from certain blue color families in my outfits so I don’t create that noise like when you have just one of the car windows cracked, but for your eyes. 
  • When meeting parents of my kids’ friends for the first time they get that look in their eye that says: I feel nervous about leaving my kid with you. 

Pros:

  • It’s blue!! And awesome!!!
  • I was inspired to dress up like Marge Simpson for Halloween at the last minute because she has blue hair and I have blue hair.

  • If I have to put the time and effort into dying my hair on a regular basis because it’s rapidly turning more grey than brown (thanks, Jonas), it’s so much more fun and rewarding to do it with fun colors. Eff you, blondes, with your ‘highlights’ and your ‘lowlights’… why can’t I have bluelights? 

So there you have it. I did the blue and I like it. My mom will get over it (although she told me last night, It’s ok, it will grow out, and I didn’t have the heart to say, Not if I keep dying it, it won’t…).

Girls Trips vs. Guys Trips

I was thinking about writing a post comparing and contrasting Girls Weekend Trips and Guys Weekend Trips. You know, like:

Men go to strip clubs to see boobs.

Women watch the Unrated Blurred Lines video on YouTube five times in a row and then discuss how the brunette in the video should have 19 kids instead of Michelle Duggar, so she can work on repopulating the Earth with magical perfect boob genes. They wonder, briefly, if Robin Thicke actually has a big dick, or is just over compensating. Then they all take off their bras and compare the ravages of breast-feeding on their bodies.

Right?

But the problem is, I don’t think I really have enough information on the man-side to write a sufficient comparison. Really, what do men do on trips away with their friends? I get that there’s usually a lot of beer drinking… and the strip club aspect, plus there’s often some kind of sporting event, gambling or hunting portion. But other than that, what do they do?

I feel like they probably don’t go on group hikes, right? Or make friendship bracelets like they used to in 7th grade? Do they play Cards Against Humanity for hours on end, and eventually determine the answer card, ‘My Vagina’ is like a free win card because it’s always the best answer to anything?*

Do they get a little drunk and bitch about their spouses and kids and then get even more drunk and talk about how much they loooovvveee their spouses and kids until they get sort of teary?

Do they tell stories that go like this:

I had a lesbian experience once.

You did??

Yeah. It was just after college. I was leaving a gay club and this woman locked eyes with me, reached out and ran her hand through my hair…

… AND?

Well, that was it. But it was really sensual.

or:

I went a sex club one time, just to watch. But we got there too early and no one was having sex or even naked, so we got bored and left to go dancing. 

Do they discuss the pros and cons of each type of birth control, how they feel, in-depth about their current career path (or lack thereof) and how their relationship with their in-laws relates to the one they have with their own parents and what it will mean for the one they have with the future spouses of their children?

Do they consider going streaking, but get sidetracked deliberating the fundamental basis of streaking and pondering the ancient philosophical question: If you get naked and run around in the woods in the dark, and no one is there to see you, is it really streaking? 

Do they listen to music from when they were in high school, eat obscene amounts of junk food, practice twerking and laugh until they have sore abs the next day?

And, so, if men don’t do any of these things on Guys Trips, what on Earth do they do? What could possibly be the point? I think someone needs to tell them they’re doing it wrong.

*For example, here are three question cards I just randomly drew, in the order I drew them:

1. What’s a girl’s best friend?

Duh, My Vagina.

2. A romantic, candlelit dinner would be incomplete without __________.

My Vagina, obviously!

3. What’s my anti-drug?

MY VAGINA.

It seriously can’t lose. Try it, you’ll see.

***

Side note (or post-note, I guess): My sister or brother-in-law (I’m not sure which) found this site that’s hosting a contest for 100 best blogs of 2013. They’re looking for blogs that fly under the radar. I feel super awkward about promoting myself for shit like this, but more readers is not a thing that would suck, so I’m just going to throw out a little pitch. If you’re amused or entertained (or even just embarrassed for me) regularly by this blog, consider heading over and nominating it in the Humor + Entertainment and Parenting sections. I’ll give you a super awkward hug where neither of us know what to do with our arms or which way to turn our heads the next time I see you.

Boobs, Rules and Ballerinas

I have nothing but partially gestated thoughts and meaningless ramblings today, but if I don’t post right now, it’s not happening until next week, so this is what you’re getting:

Last night I was telling Jason about a conversation I had earlier in the day with a friend about her boob job.

Me: … so the point is, maybe if I had bigger boobs I wouldn’t worry so much about my muffin top, you know?

Jason: um?

Me: Do you think I should get a boob job?

Jason: … I mean… I guess we could discuss it…

Me: WHAT?! You’re unhappy with my boobs? I thought you liked my boobs! And I always thought you were more of a leg man. You’re saying you’re into fake boobs?!

Jason: None of those were words that just came out of my mouth.

***

I’m going on a weekend girls trip up North to a cabin Pinetop. We’re leaving tomorrow morning.

The Rules of Pinetop Girls Weekend

First Rule: You do not talk about Pinetop Girls Weekend.

Second Rule: You DO NOT talk about Pinetop Girls Weekend.

Third Rule: No men or children allowed.

Fourth Rule: Do not drink so much Night 1 that you are unable to enjoy Day 2-3.

Fifth Rule: Calories don’t count.

Sixth Rule: Permanent body art application is inadvisable, but not out of the question.

Seventh Rule: Do not bring shame upon your family with your behavior.

Eighth Rule: Just kidding about the seventh rule; there’s no judgement at Pinetop Girls Weekend.

***

I took an Intro to Pointe informational class this week at the Ballet studio I go to. The teacher went over the basics of the parts of the shoe and how to be an old lady when buying pointe shoes at the ballet store. (The key is not giving a shit that people will look at you funny and ask you if they’re for your daughter.)

She also examined the anatomy of each of our feet and talked to us about things we would have to do to accommodate our individual needs. Like people with long toes need a shoe with a longer vamp (front portion), dancers with high arches don’t need to break in the shank (inner part) as much, and people with a longer second toe than first are more awesome than everyone else (or maybe she said we need to tape it so it doesn’t buckle).

It made me think of an article I read a few days earlier that was about how ‘pretty’ is a skill set. The article discussed the fact that no one over the age of 19 looks fresh and beautiful with no makeup. Even skin tones, big eyes, long lashes, accented cheek bones, smooth hair, small waists, propped up chests, are all things society deems aesthetically appealing and we work towards achieving them with products and the right fit of our clothes. It’s something you can be good at, rather than merely something you’re born with or not. We’re all born with different palettes to start from, but it’s really about what we do with what we’ve got.

This is apparently true of ballerinas, too. I’ve always sort of believed amazing dancers are born flawless. Like they spring from the loins of Terpsichore* fully grown with 0.3% body fat and the ability to levitate. I found it comforting to learn there were tricks to dealing with individual body types in ballet. Some ballerinas even have wide feet!

The point is, I think most of us, to some degree, lament our unworthiness because we weren’t born stunningly beautiful and talented. It’s nice to remember that ‘pretty’ (even in the dancer sense) is just something people work at being good at.

So I guess I’m gonna try harder not to hate myself so much for looking shitty without makeup… is what I’m saying. And you should too. Because even if you’re really good at being pretty, is it something to be more proud of than being good at painting, or writing, or swimming, or quilting or teaching? I kind of think it’s not. So I should probably put more time and effort into things I’d be super proud to be good at. Right? Right.

*She’s the greek goddess of music and dance. Because this website is about learning. You’re welcome.

How to Tell It’s Winter in Arizona

I woke up today, to this text from a friend who lives in Illinois: I see snowflakes!

Yep: SNOWFLAKES. The high today in Mesa, Arizona, is supposed to be 90 degrees. I can’t decided if I’m more depressed for her or us.

That said, even though we aren’t experiencing the changing color of leaves or the first frost here in AZ, there are ways to tell winter is coming. They may not be quite as ominous as the ones on Game of Thrones, but if you’re paying attention, you can tell we, too, are entering the cold(ish) dark(ish) time of year.

Signs of impending winter if you live in Arizona:

1. The swimsuits at Target all go on clearance. – Sure, there are only mismatched bikinis left, but for $4 a piece, it’s hard to go wrong. And hey, the neighborhood pool is heated from November to February, so you don’t even have to wait to try them out.

2. The scent of dairy farm wafts in from Gilbert first thing in the morning. – Cow shit apparently dries out and becomes less pungent in the dry heat of the summer. In the winter your nose tells you you’ve entered the city of Gilbert even before you see the sign. 

3. You don’t have to get up in the 3s to go hiking. – It’s a glorious thing when you can sleep until 6AM before setting off on a long hike and not worry about dying of dehydration. If you’re not sleeping, 3AM should really be reserved for the tail end of drinking binges.

4. Traffic begins to clog with slow drivers that have Canadian plates. – The snowbirds have arrived, and they’re making it hard to get to work without rage-ramming incidents.

5. You realize you haven’t dusted your ceiling fans in 6 months. – I’m calling bullshit on the proverb about how ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’. If that’s true, then why when I turn off my ceiling fan for the first time since March, do clouds of dust rain down on my bed (and don’t say “Because you’re a terrible housekeeper.”)?

6. Corn gets pricey. – Once you’re back to paying $2 an ear, you know it’s been flown in from Hawaii and winter is on it’s way.

7. Boot season begins. – In Arizona, boot season officially begins the day we have a high lower than 85 degrees. Once we’ve crossed this threshold, boots are appropriate until March or April, when the highs are back up above 97*. We may not need jackets, but don’t you dare try to take our boots away, goddamnit. We have just as much of a right to work a sexy, tall boot as you Minnesota ladies.

8. Water comes out of the tap cool. – I had a client, who was originally from Canada, tell me when she and her husband first moved to Arizona and bought a new-build home, the hot and cold were reversed in their master shower and it took them until fall to figure it out. They just thought their water heater wasn’t set high enough.

9. Scorpion sightings plummet. – The vicious little monsters hibernate as soon as the temperatures drop, so there comes a beautiful time of year where you can actually put on your shoes before shining a black-light into them.

10. Socks, scarves and soup start to be a thing. – Because who wants to eat a bowl of potato soup, with cloth covering their neck and socks on, when it’s 118 degrees? Only the clinically insane.

11. The Midwest and East coast transplants stop bitching and start patting themselves on the back. – What’s that you say? It’s so hot? You’re dying? Your flesh is burning off? This is a miserable forsaken hellhole of a state no one would choose to live in? Mmmhmm, sure. Oh, what’s that, now? It’s gorgeous and you’re eating dinner outside and hiking and Arizona is an amazing, wonderful place? I know, sweetie. How about you fuck off until you toughen up, mkay? If you can’t learn to love the pain of an Arizona summer, you don’t deserve the pleasure of an Arizona winter.

See? We have seasons. Just not snowflakes… in October. And I think I’m OK with that.

 

*Cowboy boots can (and will) be worn year-round and with almost anything.

How to be Sufferable on Facebook

Did you read that viral blog post yesterday that was making the rounds? The one about 7 Ways to be Insufferable on Faceback?

I did. And I’m pretty sure I went through the same set of reactions everyone else did:

Reaction 1: Ahahahaha! This is so true! I hate people like that. I know at least 10 people who are each one of these and I just really want to unfriend them like every day. I hope they all read this and knock it off. *Snerk* Hilar.

Reaction 2: Actually… Hrm… I maybe do some of this. Like the other day when all I posted was a picture of the dinner I was making and the caption, “I am awesome.”? It’s possible that could be construed as slightly braggy. Oh geez, and the public-private messages? Yikes, that’s like my favorite thing ever. I posted on my sister’s wall that I peeled a used bandaid off the floor in my kids’ bathroom just because I know she’s a bandaid phobic and it would gross her out. I probably could have just texted it to her. And all of my runs and workouts that I autopost and check-in at probably fall in the blue circle portion of the martini with the giant cocktail olive. 

I need to go through all of my status updates and try to figure out which ones are insufferable and which are ok so I can be more sufferable in the future. Or maybe I’ll just delete my Facebook account altogether because this is all so stressful and upsetting. 

But I love Facebook, so I didn’t delete my account.

I did, however, reread that post and decide that dude has his panties in a twist and needs to take a deep breath. It’s also possible he needs a cocktail, or to get laid (I’ve found both of these sincerely help to unclench a clenching problem).

Yes, there are certain types of posts on social media that make my eyeballs rolly. And there are certain people who seem to consistently post in this way. The thing is, though, there’s an incredibly simple solution to annoying posts: Scroll past them. That’s all you have to do. Scroll past those babies and don’t give them a second thought. There’s not actually any reason to berate people or make them feel self-conscious for posting unhilarious, uninteresting, unengaging things. All you have to do is not engage with them.

The problem with blog posts like this one is they intimidate people. They get in our heads and make us afraid to interact with each other. I’m pretty sure it’s this fear-mongering, not insufferablity, that’s ruining social media. If everyone is constantly stressed about hitting the ‘Interesting/Informative’ or ‘Funny/Amusing/Entertaining’ sweet spot, then we’ll end up with a ghost town of a social network. Not everyone can be these things all the time. Sometimes we need boring stuff in there and between as filler so we can appreciate the really good posts.

Beyond all of this, I actually like quite a bit of the mundane posts. I’m happy to hear someone I went to college with got a promotion. I like to read about moms bragging about how awesome their kids are. I’m sporadically inspired by an inspirational quote. I’m even cool with an occasional, ‘My hubby, who’s sitting next to me on the couch right here, is the sexiest, hardworkingest, best-at-everything spouse who ever lived.’-type brag. If you really can’t deal with any of this, then maybe you need to remind yourself: other people being obviously happy does not detract from your own happiness.

That said, in my opinion, there are a few tips to being likable on social media:

1. Feel free to post your brags, but also post your fails. A good mixture of both ensures your social network knows you’re a real person who has days she rocks and days she accidentally wears her pants inside out.

2. On the flipside, don’t only post your ups and downs. If everything you post swings dramatically in one direction or the other, you’ll lose internet credibility.

3. Be authentic. Use your true voice. If you’re not sarcastic and obnoxious, don’t feel like you have to force it. State your opinions (in a non-dickish way). Share your feelings. Be yourself (unless you’re just really an asshole, or Miley Cyrus, then be someone else).

4. Respect other peoples’ opinions. Because: Duh.

5. Engage. This one is the key to winning at The Internet. You can post almost any boring, rude, uninteresting, braggy thing on a regular basis, and if you Like the photo-montage I post of my 13 year old on his birthday, I’m going to forgive you, at least a little bit. There’s really no downside to being heavy handed with the Like button. You don’t need to Like the stuff you really don’t like (scroll past the stuff that makes your eyebrows angry), but if you think ‘Aw, good for him!’, there’s no reason not to Like it. And if you have a comment, for godsake, COMMENT, man! No one who posts something on a public forum like a social network (or has you as a friend in a semi-private one) is going to think, ‘Dude, why are you butting in?’ if you comment. That’s why they posted in the first place! Interaction unfailingly is a positive (even if it’s not merely positive interaction).

So don’t let cranky-pants blog posts intimidate you into over-thinking everything you want to post on Facebook. We want to read about how you had a really great date with a super cute guy you met on at Game of Thrones fanfiction forum but you’re afraid he won’t text you again because you had cilantro stuck in between your two front teeth at least the last half of the date and you’re super humiliated. We do! Anyone who doesn’t is probably too hipster for Facebook anyway. They’re all over on Vine.

The Life Cycle of a Mother’s Praise

I walked in the door after circus class yesterday and the kids were in the living room watching TV and playing video games and crap like that.

“Hey, Mom. How was circus class?” they sort of collectively asked.

“It was pretty good,” I replied. “My instructor took a video of the level 1 routine on the trapeze that I’m working on, so I can see what I’m doing wrong and also remember the order of the tricks. Do you want to see it?”

“Sure,” they agreed and clustered around my chair while I played the video on my phone.

About a minute and 10 seconds into the three minute video, my oldest said, “Well, that’s cool, Mom,” and turned around to walk back to his computer.

“But… it’s not over,” I said, confused, pausing it. “Don’t you want to see the rest?”

“Does anything really exciting happen soon?” he asked, sincerely, although he could tell some kind of a misstep had been made, even if he didn’t know exactly what it was.

“It’s not that much longer… I guess nothing too exciting happens. I just thought you’d be interested enough to watch the whole thing,” I said, defensively.

“I’m bored, too,” said my youngest, also walking away.

“I said it was cool, Mom. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings,” said my oldest, with a tone of voice that sounded vaguely familiar, but one that I’m used to hearing somewhere else. Oh, right. It’s that one we use with my mom when she’s being overly sensitive.

My middle son, the intuitive one, stayed by my side and looked at me sweetly, ready for me to push play again. I’d confiscated his iPod for bad behavior the day before and he’d been working a suck-up angle all morning.

“You ungrateful little shits,” I wanted to say, “I’ve been staring with rapt attention at your every mundane movement since the day you were born! You know you’re not the first people to ever put one foot in front of the other, right? Do you really think learning to walk merited the kind of celebration I gave you? And eating your fucking vegetables? I practically throw a party when you do nothing but ingest food! Congratulations, it’s a biological necessity. And speaking of biological necessities, just FYI, I wasn’t really that proud of you when you started pooping on the toilet. I was just thrilled I wouldn’t have to handle your fecal matter any longer.

The soccer games where your shoe flew off and you ran away from the ball! The band concerts that could accurately be compared to the death rattle of an elderly elephant! All of these I not only endured, but was enthusiastic about!

And yet, when tasked with tolerating under three minutes of an activity I’m involved in, one that’s actually intended to have some intrinsic entertainment value and that I have been working my ass off to be halfway decent at, you are unable to muster even the slightest iota of interest? You. Are. Out. Of. The. Will.”

But I didn’t.

Instead, I emailed the video to my mother. She quickly replied back that I’m better than the instructor, I just don’t remember the order of the tricks as quickly.

I should have been nicer to her when I was a kid.

***

Here’s the video. You don’t want to watch it either, do you?

Shooting Myself in the Foot the Circusy Way

I’m in like a really good mood this week. Here’s why:

I went to Circus Class Sunday morning. It’s a mixed aerials class, so we do work on static trapeze, hoop, rope, sling and silks. This week my beginning group started on the silks (the long pieces of fabric that hang from the ceiling).

Whenever we do the silks, the instructor has us start with a climb to the ceiling to work on strength. I’d never made it all the way to the top before, because the instructor can always tell I’m exhausted and struggling and has me descend before I get so tired my arms just crack off and I go plummeting to the ground.

This week, there were a couple of super newbie girls in class who were being closely monitored so I was allowed to do my best alone on the initial climb. And because I’m never more competitive with anyone than myself, I took a deep breath, sucked it up and slogged my way to the very top. It wasn’t a beautiful or artistic climb. It didn’t appear effortless or ethereal. But goddamnit, I got to the fucking top without passing out or losing a limb.

Once I’d reached the top, I crossed my top leg over the silks and slid down, hand under hand, like I’ve been taught, and then collapsed on the ground, gasping and sweating, the muscles in my forearms pulsing and my fingers screaming.

I know what you’re thinking: Um… congratulations? I totally used to climb the rope in gym class. I always beat everyone to the top and didn’t even break a sweat.

And you’re right, your 8 year old, 75 pound self could probably kick my ass at this shit. But I’m working with a 35 year old body weighing [noneofyourbusiness/morethanthat] and I was pretty goddamn proud of myself.

Of course, while I was still trying to recover, my instructor came over and said, OK, Elizabeth, let’s see you climb! She was not particularly impressed when I told her I’d already done it and had made it all the way to the top.

Instructor: Did you ring the bell at the top?

Me: No! There’s a bell???

Instructor: Hahahaha, no.

She made me try it again with her watching. Of course this time I only made it 2/3rds of the way up before I just couldn’t convince my arms to work any more.

But I persevered and made it through the rest of class, even bungling my way through a trick called a half monte:

I left class more exhausted than I’ve maybe ever been, but determined to get better and stronger and to suck less next week.

Monday morning I woke up sore from head to toe, with fingers so achy I had trouble unplugging my iPhone from the charger, and had this conversation with myself:

Me: I should take a day or two off to recover.

Also Me: Yes, totally… if you want to be a pussy for the rest of your life.

Me: Dude, I’m like really in a lot of pain.

Also Me: No pain, no gain! Other platitudes! If you wait for all of your wounds to heal you’ll never get stronger! Get up and run and then later you need to do pull-ups!

Me: Settle down. I can’t even do pull-ups.

Also Me: OK, resist-downs. You can at least do some resist-downs every day this week to work on some of that forearm strength so you’re not so embarrassing next Sunday in class.

Me: Alright, alright. I’ll take some Aleve and we’ll try it your way this time.

And then, (in case you can’t guess where this is going) Monday night I did 5 resist-downs (where you jump up to the pull-up bar and try to lower yourself as slowly as you can) and completely jacked up my shoulder/back/neck. I’ve spent the last 36 hours utterly miserable and unable to do much but sit in one position without turning my head or using my right arm. Jason had to lift me off the ground two nights ago. I can’t roll over in bed at night without using my left hand to manually turn my head first.

So, yeah. Fuck you, Also Me. You’re super dumb.

Dream of Joining The Circus: pushed out one more week.

The kids are home for October break this week. I bought pumpkins to carve as a project, but Jonas says he’d rather color eggs.

Also? The jeans I’m wearing do not smell good. It’s possible the cat peed on them.

That’s where I’m at right this minute. Although I think the pain killers are starting to kick in. So there’s that.

Would a Rose Named ‘Pink Taco’ Smell as Sweet?

The branding agency where they came up with the names of my eyeshadows:

*Three men in shirts and ties are seated around a small table with nine shades of eye shadow scattered between them. The oldest of the three begins speaking.*

Charlie Benson, Creative Director: Ok, gentlemen, today we’ve got a palette of eye shadows to name. Amanda was supposed to head this project, but she’s out with strep throat and we’re up against a deadline, so I’m stepping in and we’re just going to knock it out. Davis, bring us up to speed on the demographic and directive of this product.

Jason Davis, Senior Ad Guy: The demographic is women, age 14-45. The product as a whole is a “Natural Eye Kit”. The client research team reports that women want to feel sexy when they’re putting on makeup, so they want us to sex the eye shadow names up. The first shade is a creamy off-white and the client suggested the name ‘Heaven’ for it.

Charlie: Hmm. Heaven. I guess that could be sort of sexy. We can do better than that, though. Let’s move on to this next shade. It looks kind of taupe-ish. Sexy images that come to mind when you think of taupe, go.

Andre Porter, Eager New Guy: Camel, skin, dirt, sand…

Davis: You’re just saying things that are brown, Andre. What about the texture… it looks kind of velvet-y. Velvet is a sexy word, right?

Charlie: Velvet is ok… but it’s been done. It needs to be sexy and edgy, don’t you think? Let’s take it to the next level. How about ‘Velvet Revolver’? Because it’s soft, but also violent. It’s pretty, but powerful. That’s like female sex appeal right there, in a box with a bow… no pun intended. *Elbows Andre and winks*

Davis: It’s also an all-male hard rock band, though…

Andre: I like it! What woman wouldn’t feel sexy brushing her eyelids with a shade named after the combination of GNR and STP? It’s genius.

Charlie: Thank you, Andre. I agree. OK, moving on.

Davis: The next color is a matte dark brown. It looks like chocolate. Or coffee. Espresso is kind of sensual with all of those Ss.

Charlie: Davis, I just fell asleep while you were talking. I think you need an espresso to wake up and give us some new ideas! How many times can we name a women’s beauty product color after a caffeinated beverage before they throw us out of the business for being completely unoriginal?

Davis: Sorry, I was just brainstorming. I didn’t get much sleep last night with the new baby-

Andre: I KNOW, ‘Sexpresso’!! Like espresso, but WITH sex. We’ll just put the word ‘sex’ on the front of espresso! Get it? Sexpresso.

Charlie: That…

Davis: *Quietly* is the dumbest-

Charlie: … is brilliant, Andre! It’s so simple and perfect. I don’t know how I didn’t think of it myself!

Andre: Well you probably would have, eventually. It just came to me faster.

Davis: You know ‘espresso’ isn’t spelled with an X, right? Just to be clear?

Charlie: Sexpresso. It might be my new favorite word. I’m going to text my assistant right now and tell her to run out and get me a sexpresso with whipped cream.

Davis: I think that could be considered sexual harassment.

Charlie: We are on a roll, boys. What do we think for this shimmery pink color?

Andre: Nipples?

Davis: You seriously did not just say that.

Charlie: Too far, Andre. Too far. We want to leave something to the imagination. What about something with lingerie? Women like garters and nightgowns and stuff like that. It makes them feel sexy.

Davis: How about ‘Silk Teddy’? Do they still call it a ‘teddy’? I just wrote that word down and it looks wrong. Is a teddy a sexy thing? My wife only wears this really old pair of yoga pants and an XL tie-dye shirt I wore for Halloween one year to bed.

*Charlie and Andre pause for a second and stare at Davis with a mixture of pity and disgust.*

Charlie: Silk Teddy is good. I’m not sure how you got there with what you’re working with, but I think we should go with it.

Davis: The next one is a darker shimmery pink.

Andre: So… going along with the theme of sexy undergarments, what about ‘Push-Up’?

Charlie: Like the popsicles?

Andre: No, like the bra. I met this girl last weekend out at a bar and she had this amazing… *gestures with both hands near his chest* figure. But when I got her home and out of her clothes, there wasn’t nearly as much going on up top as I thought. She apparently had on one of those push-up bras. Women are really into them.

Davis: I’m not sure we want to evoke the image of an artifice women have constructed in an attempt to compensate for society’s male-driven unnatural expectations. Do women really feel sexy in a push-up bra?

Andre: Maybe you’re thinking about it the wrong way. Studies show women find other women’s bodies attractive and sexy, even if they’re not gay. The push-up bra makes them think of sexy cleavage.

Davis: What ‘studies’ are you citing here?

Andre: It’s a thing. I’m telling you. I go out a lot. Women are always getting handsy with each other.

Charlie: I feel like I might need more details on this situation from you, Andre. We should discuss it further over lunch. But I’m agreeing with you on the name. Push-up works. It’s hot.

Davis: *Sighs* The next one is dark brown with a gold sparkly undertone. ‘Erotica’?

Charlie and Andre: Yes!

Charlie: You nailed it. My wife just finished 50 Shades of Grey and let me tell you, I think my laptop might be starting to feel a little slighted because it’s not getting nearly as much attention late at night.

*Davis and Andre almost imperceptibly shudder.*

Davis: Let’s just get this done. This next one is also shimmery pink, but the sparkly grains are larger. It’s like a pink, glittery beach.

Charlie: How about ‘Nude Beach’? For our 25th anniversary, Janet and I went to Italy and I talked her into going to a nude beach with me-

Andre: *Desperately interrupting to make the story stop* But do women really find them sexy? I’ve heard nude beaches can be impractical, what with sand and crevices and things. Is that sexy?

Davis: *Exhausted, dejected and regretting life choices* I’m pretty sure, at this point you’re over-thinking it. It’s not the worst thing we could call it.

Charlie: I like it. Ok, so this gold one here. It’s a pretty sexy shade in and of itself. It needs a really good name.

Andre: It’s like a gold coin. Or a sunset over water. Or shiny honey.

Davis: “Shiny honey”? Where did you go to school again?

Charlie: ‘Honey Pot’. We’ll call it Honey Pot. That’s fantastic.

Davis: I just Urban Dictionaried that and it literally means ‘vagina’. Or ‘vulva’. You want to name the color of this eye shadow marketed to women after their own genitals; that’s what you’re saying here.

Charlie: Now who has a dirty mind? I just think it looks like honey, it’s in a little container, and another word for ‘container’ is ‘pot’. I think it’s inspired.

 Davis: As long as it’s clear you get credit for that one directly, whatever you say, boss. Last, but not least, another dark brown. In a warmer tone.

Charlie: *Looking at his watch* It’s pretty close to lunch. Let’s wrap this up.

Andre: ‘Cocoa Puff’?

Davis: How is that sexy in any way? Isn’t it a cereal?

Andre: Charlie said lunch and I got hungry. I don’t know.

Charlie: It’s OK, not great, but let’s put a pin in it and rehash it later. Good work, boys. Home run on that ‘Sexpresso’, Andre. I see a bright future for you in this business. Let’s go get lunch and you can tell me more about this research you’ve been doing with the women and how they feel about other women’s bodies…

 

Escape (I’m sure it’s a theme we’re bound to revisit with Jonas)

I already posted this on Facebook, but if I don’t blog it how will I remember the whole story so I can tell it at his wedding… or his Presidential Inauguration (they let your mom speak at that, right?)… or his parole hearing one day?

Jonas: Mom! MOM! Come outside! You have to come look at these orange Xs in the green belt. MOM!

Me: Dude, I’m like right in the middle of a work email. And I need to get dinner in before your dad and brother get home from soccer. I do not have time to go look at orange Xs in the greenbelt.

Jonas: Come on, Mom, please? Just come really quick. Really quick, come on, please. Now, now, really, please, quick, now, Mom, come, mommmmmmmmm!!!!

Me: OHMYGODFINE.

Jonas runs out ahead of me. I take another 30 seconds to finish up my email.

Jonas: Look! Down there, orange Xs!

Me: OK, I see the Xs, but how did you get up on the fence?!

Jonas: I used your stool (points below him to my portable gardening stool).

Me: You’re a nut. Please be careful up there. I think the Xs are just marks the landscapers are using to do work on the irrigation system.

Jonas: Oh. Can I go into the greenbelt and look at them for a minute?

Me: That’s fine. Come right back, though. Do you want me to help you down?

Jonas: No, I’ll just climb over. It’s too far to go around.

Me: Ok… I mean, I guess. But you’ll have to go around to get back anyway.

Jonas: No, you can just hand me the stool over so I can get back.

Me: But then the stool will stay over there. You’ll have to go around to get it and bring it home.

Jonas (thinks about it for a second, then climbs back down on my side): I need a hook.

Me: Whatever. I’m going back inside to start dinner.

Ten minutes later, in the kitchen. Jonas has been pacing around, muttering to himself.

Jonas: I HAVE THE BEST IDEA EVER. Mom, look what I found!! (He holds up a hanger.)

Me: That is definitely hook-like… but it’s not long enough.

Jonas: What if I took this wire right here and tied it to it?

Me: YOU CANNOT tie my iPhone charger cable to a hanger and use it to hook a stool to help you climb the fence. Everyone has a line and that is mine. No, no, no.

Jonas: I’ll find something else… I bet Ben has something.

Ten minutes after that there is more yelling from the backyard. I head out to see the culmination of his efforts.

So that’s why we had dinner late last night. Because Jonas and I are both easily distracted.

Back-up Plans

This real estate gig has been working out pretty well for me lately. The year started out slow, but has accelerated to a pace I sometimes worry will spin out of control and I’ll drive myself right off a cliff. Yesterday, for example, I Facebooked bodily threats (involving Sriracha, natch) to an agent I was waiting on to send me a verbally-agreed-to signed contract. I realize that means I was more emotionally invested in the sale of the house than I probably should be. Real estate can get a little stressful.

The point is, deals are closing and pay checks are coming in right now, but I’m under no illusion this will last consistently, longterm. I’ve been around long enough to see the mighty fall, time and time again. The sad fact is, 75% of the agents raking in the big bucks in 2005 had their Hummers repossessed in 2009*.

I’ve been brainstorming new careers to go into for when I either go too far on this blog and people start to think I’m legitimately insane and stop referring me, or have a nervous breakdown over-thinking the delicate line between charming an appraiser so he’ll lean our way and showing up at the door naked, carrying a cake with the price we need for the house written on it.

I’ve come up with four good, solid candidates for my next career:

1. Shrink – I really like to hear people’s life stories, and it’s definitely a bonus when they confess sordid secrets. That’s mostly what counselors do, right? Listen to juicy gossip? I would be so good at that. Plus, I regularly have to talk home buyers and sellers off a ledge when things have gone wrong, so I have loads of practical experience. Sure, I often do this by promising them cocktails if they calm down, but seeing as how it works, maybe it just means I’m really naturally talented.

2. Fixer – Jason’s been watching that show Ray Donovan about the guy who basically handles things when they get FUBARed for rich people. I only got through the first episode (it was a little heavy-handed for me), but I totally think I could do that. The job’s about brainstorming a positive and creative solution, right? It’s also about not being afraid to get your hands dirty. This is like exactly what I do! Sure, right now it’s more like figuring out why a spa won’t turn on the day before close of escrow or how to have a washer and dryer disposed of in the next 4 hours, but I bet these skills could be applied to cleaning up murders and managing reputations.

One time I made my husband drive to Sun Lakes, put four huge bags of rotting trash in my minivan and drive it across town to a friend’s dumpster in Tempe just to keep a buyer happy. I get credit for facilitating that, right?

3. Stalker – I know Stalkers don’t technically get paid, but I’m convinced there’s money in it. People could contract me to find email addresses and cell phone numbers for old girlfriends, relatives or anyone avoiding them. (Although that does sound potentially close to actually illegal, legitimate stalking. Whatevs.) I’m really talented at tracking people down, is all I’m saying. It’s about more than just The Google. It’s an art- nay, a passion.

Yesterday a lady called me off the sign on one of my listings looking for information on the house. Ten minutes later I discovered she’s a 22 year old British motocross racer currently living in Gilbert. Not because I needed to know that, just because I’m nosy and she had an email address that sounded maybe like she might be a dominatrix. I had to talk myself out of friending her on Facebook. She seems fun.

4. Nightclub Aerialist – This one also isn’t really a thing anywhere but in my own head, but don’t you think some fancy Scottsdale nightclubs and restaurants should have aerialists performing on silks instead of gogo dancers? It would be super cool, don’t you think?

I’ve been taking mixed media circus classes for the last month at a gym in North Scottsdale and I feel like I have found my true calling in life. I’m still working on developing the upper body strength to not suck, but I think it’s my dream job. While Googling ‘how to get a job as an aerialist’ I found this Oprah article that was obviously written specifically to inspire me. I may have an armpit burn from sliding down the silks and bruises behind my knees from hanging upside down in the hoop, but mark my words, I’m one class closer to quitting real estate to do this for the rest of my life:

You’re thinking I shouldn’t quit my day job, aren’t you? Possibly, but at least I have options.

 

*I just made that statistic up, but it’s probably true.