Today I Almost Choked to Death on A Mini Tootsie Roll

The last two days I’ve fluctuated between being kind of sad and then having little mini rage strokes over something that really isn’t that big of a deal. It’s the kind of thing that my parents used to deal with by shrugging and saying “oh well, good luck”, while I, on the other hand, just run the problem over and over in my mind making it sound more like the end of days each time it comes out of the rinse cycle of my grey matter.

To add a little levity to the situation I decided to take a drive to my local market to see the new displays of Halloween candy. I was especially enamored of the large pack of Tootsie Roll “Midgees” and thought about how good it would make me feel to inhale a pack of these in less than 24 hours.

TAKE THAT PROBLEM! I have a rich brown bag of gooey chocolate-like treats that I’m going to enjoy now while I block you out and pretend you don’t exist!

And so I began the ritual of unrolling each candy and gingerly popping it in my mouth to savor it’s chewy legacy. Each time I’d finish one, I’d toss a new one in – conveniently forgetting about how it’s predecessor had stuck to my teeth and almost pulled out two fillings while attempting to chew.

The problem with candy in bulk is that you feel obligated to eat the entire thing or it was a waste of money. And here is where my guilt over uneaten food, my desire to drown my first world problem in sugar and my choice of only my two dogs for company, all joined together to almost become my undoing.

Two Tootsie rolls made one by excessive saliva, cemented my jaws nearly shut and caused a tsunami of tangy tootsie roll flavored spit to drip down the wrong pipe. This triggered a coughing fit, and in my haste to draw in a breath the sludge like substance that had once been the candy slid down the back of my throat and blocked my breathing. During this life or death episode my smaller dog just looked at me cautiously and my larger one snored in the warm sun of an beautiful October day.

My flailing and sputtering around confused and frightened them, and they moved as far away from me as possible.

After about ten seconds, that seemed like twenty minutes in the exaggeration storytelling portion of my head, I dislodged the blockage and gouged out what remained of the Tootsie sludge from my mouth. I wanted to talk to my dogs about how close they had come to just sitting there and watching me die, but became fascinated with the cement like quality of the substance I’d just picked out of my jowls and wisdom teeth. Tootsie Rolls are the superglue of the candy world, and don’t you forget it or you too could be the corpse they find face down surrounded by sad dogs….

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Filed under dogs that don't help you when you choke, dying alone and covered in candy, tootsie rolls, your first world problems are really pathetic

Woof.

Sigh.

One of the most underrated aspects of owning a dog is being able to do simple things for them that inexplicably give them the joyous euphoria they so clearly experience from these small nuggets.

Leave the house for five minutes, and come home to the most rapturous welcome back party you’ve ever seen.

Hand them a treat and they will sit obediently for six hours, frozen in the right position in the hope that there is another one hidden in your pocket that will materialize if they do everything just right.

Now imagine if you have a doggie who is suffering some sort of pain and you are in charge of the meds that will reduce the discomfort. You have just become the Pablo Escobar of the canine world.

I know that outdated drug lord reference is a result of watching Johnny Depp’s “Blow” one too many times and that anyone not born before 1980 might have to google it, but trust me, in his day the guy was really at the top of his game.

Anyway, my expensive, but needy lap dog developed some sort of “degenerative neck disorder” common for her breed and now I have inherited the task of medicating her every 6-8 hours. I’m in a constant state of pain panic, worrying that every time I can’t be there with the pills there will be a horrific scene of sadness and pity. And of course my fears are pretty much right on the money- each time I’ve screwed it up, I’ve returned to a crippled looking ball of wailing dog agony. It’s fair to say that it’s pretty sad.

Therefore, I now come armed with a cabinet full of painkillers and muscle relaxers that would impress even the most serious Drugstore Cowboys (see that? See how I used that?) and my goofy looking puppy floats around here high as a kite and loose as a goose…..

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The Department of Motor Vehicles Horror Story

There are nights when I’m sure most of us sit around and ruminate over things that happened and how we could have gotten a different result in any given situation. What happens, though, if you and a large group of captive citizens are essentially locked in a hot windowless concrete room, forced to sit in order of arrival moving steadily from chair to chair as you inch your way closer to the first stage of beginning your drivers license renewal – and there is a real and very terrible body horror issue?
I bet you thought to yourself, -” gee, here comes another waiting in line all day story about how rude and unhelpful DMV employees are, blah, blah, blah..”

No. This is not that story.

This is more like a “how far would you go *not* to sit in a puddle of someones crotch sweat pooled in the indentation of the next chair up?” type of case scenario.

As you may have deduced, I recently had to renew my drivers license and while I was there I noticed a new and very efficient system where they moved the applicants into small rooms by groups thereby eliminating the long winding lines we are normally forced to stand in eternally.
The older folks didn’t tucker out and give up because their oxygen tanks had run out and no one was complaining about sore backs or hurting feet but I started noticing that more than one DMV dweller was beginning to sweat profusely.

Someone remarked at the two hour point that it was getting unbearably hot and that we hadn’t moved an inch- to which four intense looking DMV employees just sneered and rolled their eyes before summoning another put upon guy to go fetch a fan.

They needn’t have bothered.

The dinging bell and robotic voice that called out our numbers began to roll, and we were off. One by one we played a perverse game of musical chairs until I heard a woman in the back yelp in protest. “oh no you don’t. I’m not sitting in that.”

Because we were all jammed in together, human curiosity trumped any sort of privacy or decency protocols that would’ve normally been in place and the entire room pivoted around to stare at the nightmare.

A chair soaked in ass sweat.

I thought for a moment that perhaps made to sit too long, someone had lost control of their bladder and terrified they’d lost their coveted place on line chose to try and hide the evidence. Except the very clear culprit- the woman who had obviously just moved from seat 8c to 8b wasn’t having any of it.

She just up and moved like she had no part in leaving a small lake in her previous home.

“I said, I’m not sitting in that.”

Crotch tsunami continued to ignore her, and read her Yoga magazine.

Finally, a DMV maintenance guy swept in to see if he could remedy the situation by providing a rag and some disinfectant but it didn’t satisfy the woman who would now forever be in the wake of the water maker.

What the hell do you do?

We moved again.

Another less impressive, but still wet seat awaited the woman who was only armed with a rag and the emotional scars of having to clean the juice off the last seat she was forced to sit in.
Finally, having had to look into the face of something horrible, then having had to clean it up and sit in its wiped down aftermath- she cracked.

Handing the crumpled dirty rag to sweaty yoga crotch she told her to mop up her own mess- because she was going home. It was empowering watching her march from our dank concrete prison while we remained stuck there still with the threat of a profusely perspiring ass looming to destroy the next set of people in line.

It was like this person was made of embarrassment Teflon. No matter how many disgusted remarks flew her way they just hit her and gently slid to the floor, much like the water she was leaving behind every where she went.

I could see people starting to worry that their *own* asses might start to sweat putting them in the very unenviable position of being “just like her” and more than one eternal DMV waiter put a leg underneath their rear end to prevent contact with the chair below them.

After what seemed like an eternity, my number glowed red and a frowny DMV employee summoned me to her lair, but not before I glanced down in a panic worried I might have left a little something behind.

Thankfully, I was out of the room before a full out revolt began with an elderly woman insisting that a new chair be brought in due to Yoga lady befouling yet another seat with a particularly generous amount of liquid.

In stunned awe I left to have my photo taken and wondered if there was a hidden camera nearby. No one can listen to that many complaints about a pool of their own vile crotch sweat and keep reading and listening to music. I’d like to think she didn’t hear any of the shrieks of horror, but how could she have not?

Her willful indifference was a sort of liberating lesson about the power of not giving a shit- and a helpful reminder to never sweat on the seat.

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Shhh.

I hate silence.

I’m not talking about the lack of activity and noise that happens in the evenings when I’m just winding down or the replenishing solitude of a day alone at the beach.

No, I hate the kind that invades the room where two people are faced with having to deal with each other.

That is where I feel the overwhelming obligation to stamp out the lack of banter with meaningless chatter and insincere curiosity about your life. There is a certain part of me that scribbles a notch in the “personal failure”  column every time I get the feeling that we didn’t have an interaction that kept you happy, entertained and generally having left with warm, fond emotions about the time we were together.

Silence represents failure to communicate and even worse, it means you might be thinking harsh, unkind things about me that I won’t have a chance to remedy.

I’d rather stab myself with a dinner fork than endure the pregnant and uncomfortable lull in conversation caused by two boring tired people who can’t be bothered, therefore I try far too hard to make it memorable.

I mean, do I really care that much about what you must be thinking that I’d pull out all my most charming attributes and virtually exhaust myself so that we won’t suffer the sound of crickets chirping and so that I won’t hear the agonized hum of seemingly vibrating  silence that screams out ” you have lost the opportunity to make a decent impression and caused enormous discomfort for the other person”.? Why, yes….yes I do care that much..

 

That is one of the reasons I enjoy the familiar company of long time friends and family- the pressure to be “on” is wiped from the map of my day and I can stop the active and stern voices in my head that buzz constantly with worry.

Those of us still plagued with old-school ideas about how and why we feel the need to comfort others  in our presence before worrying about ourselves are probably a dying breed- but somewhere along the line I took this vague 50s housewife mentality and revved it up to the level of needing a nap and a vacation after giving my all to near strangers while I tell those closest to me that I’ll be with them in a minute..

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Local Contractor Uses Jedi Mind Trick, Convinces Homeowner That She Doesn’t Park in Her Own Garage

There are days I lie on my couch and wonder why I’m so easily swayed by the most subtle suggestions. Then, there are other times I rise up in a fury, angered by a mind that can take anything said by a stranger turn it over and over in contemplation and drop it in the “Well, that could very well be true” bin.

When someone orders you to find them attractive and have sex with them, your common sense alarm bells ring at full tilt and their insistence doesn’t work. Your internal oppositional defiance disorder kicks in, and you make them go away immediately, by either punching them in the throat or using any number of Krav Maga moves you’ve picked up from Splinter Cell over the years. But when a person just walks up to me out of the blue with an off hand “these are not the droids you are looking for” shot, I actually take it into consideration? What the fuck is even wrong with me?

The last time this happened, I had been Svengalied into joining a very inefficient and wildly unbalanced school carpool by a neighborhood dad. On numerous occasions I had laid out the many, varied and compelling reasons why I needed extreme flexibility in at least one of the school drop off schedules and that I could not be counted on because of sports, high school admissions and a hundred other potential factors that could flare up for me during the year. Not only did I drive that carpool route every single day but Monday, I also ended up being the only person participating four days out of the week- with me hauling their kids and no one hauling mine.

Now, it would seem that with my lesson learned and having been around for forty something years I’d have been able to take this and apply it when, after driving up the alleyway, I found that a contractor working on a local home had parked in my garage.

This type of thing is usually easy enough to remedy. I sit parked behind his car and honk my horn a few times to alert him that he’s committed a breach of etiquette almost inexcusable in a city teeming with humanity, where too many vehicles and not enough unmetered parking cause heartbreak and aggravation for its citizens on a daily basis.

But my plan b was much easier, involving nothing more than a quiet wait and the use of my observational skills. From where I sat, I could see that two homes were under major construction and that several contractors were parked in and around the area and because he’d left his vehicle open to load and unload materials he would be right back.

I was feeling very satisfied with myself and the way I was choosing to handle some guy parked in my garage when suddenly he appeared.

“Oh, is this your garage?”

“Why, yes. Yes it is.”

“Hmm. Yes, I’m sorry but it’s just that every time I’m here it’s just sitting there empty, so I’m using it.”

“okay, well I’m home now and I need to park.”

“Well no one is ever here, you don’t usually have a car in there.”

At that point I got in my car to reverse down the alley, allowing him the room to park his truck where ever the fuck he needed to that wasn’t my garage, but I began to think.

Am I never here?

Do I think I spend more time here than I really do?

Yes, it certainly true that I’m out and about quite a bit, but what is the ratio of time spent parked here vs. time spent away?

And on and on, to the point where I actually had a guilt moment about making him park further away from his destination to unload his parcels. At such times you sort of have to wonder how things have gotten to this point in your life that even considering this guy’s statement as a potential valid fact is a very real possibility. You’d think there would be rock solid, concrete certainty about life. Things are, or they are not. There is no grey area or different interpretation of-

Man parks in garage that is not his. He feels no remorse and cleverly shifts dynamic making homeowner question reality.

So here I sit- sipping coffee that is two hours cold and spying out my back windows- silently smiling and talking to myself about how I fell pray to the mind melding expertise of a very persuasive home improvement master and his Jedi technique. I suppose that means he actually wins.

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Filed under am I here or not?, contractor outwits homeowner, dirty jedi mind tricks, this is not your garage, you don't deserve to park here

Big Things For Small People

Most of the these past few months were just inexplicably grandiose with a few shots of simply awesome thrown in there for good measure.

Things were happening, people.

Despite the fact that you would probably be hard pressed to come up with some proof within these corridors of me actually having and  properly caring for kids, that’s actually what I spend a majority of my time doing.

Yes, I write about how they nearly lost their private parts in a late summer mesh incident or how the Subway Sandwich lady (she’s still dishing it out) helps me parent in a more decisive and thoughtful manner, but there are a thousand tiny flag waving victories that I never bother to mention.

Like the fact that one is graduating eighth grade and moving on to a vulgarly priced but very wonderful high school, or the way that my sons have knocked it out of the park on a variety of fronts that make me proud.

Or how about that fifth trip to Disney we took? Now THAT was one for the history books. Not only did we have the pleasure of ten days within the magical walls of Walt Disney World but we also managed to make local news when my mother and son sat on a loaded pistol during our visit to Animal Kingdom and laughed uproariously that what we thought was a very realistic bb gun turned out to be real. This, after handing it over to a very befuddled and hard-working ride attendant on Dinosaur.  Bang bang muthafuckah. That cap in my ass my kids have threatened to leave there  for years after long runs of playing Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row, almost became a reality.

This year was hard. Granted,  it was *good* hard, but I made it through the schedules and the school functions, the sports, endless field trips, school application and acceptance stress, and one record time 95 South trip to the happiest place on earth- seriously I clocked myself coming in hot at the Disney World gates in under 14 hours!

Plus a dude playing another dude pretending to be yet another dude, who’s a friend of mine wrote a book! And other people moved, or had kids, got a divorce, raised a posse of monkeys and one even became a legit pimp. Not that last one, but everything else, yes.

So I’m back on the map after a crazy few months.

Viva Duffy!

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Filed under 2013 has been crazy busy, disney world, grandma fears nothing, guns and magic fairy dust

They Flew South For The Winter

When I was five years old, the world was a simple and gentle place.

There were warm summer afternoons spent hanging from trees, running through garden hose sprinklers and digging in a custom-made sandbox while wearing a delightful red sun hat .

I also, chopped firewood, fetched kerosene and knew how to fire up a chainsaw – but that was another facet to my personality that doesn’t fit the tone of this story so we’ll drop it in the bin for future use in a grittier post where I’m sporting a flannel shirt and smelling of fossil fuels.

During this idyllic youth, there were also long arduous sessions where I relentlessly badgered my parents for a puppy or a kitten to love.

I’d grown up with our “community dog” Rheingold , a beast of a German Shepard who would be tamed by no man (or child) who spent his days wandering the property lines around my aunt’s house and mine. He refused to be trained, loved or cleaned ,as was evidenced by the toxic cloud of stench that followed him everywhere he went and the clumps of matted hair that hung off what was once his majestic coat.

Instead of seeing this as a horrific sign of neglect and poor judgement on the part of my parents and my aunt and uncle, my cousins and I took to running around after him with a garden hose and an industrial sized bottle of discount Prell shampoo in an effort to make him presentable to the public.

Formerly the prized show dog champion of my two younger uncles and my Grandmother, before they moved away, this beautiful but menacing  creature, who had been named after a cheap beer, was now reduced to chasing squirrels and causing the UPS man to defecate in his own pants every time he stepped on our lawn.

We’d also managed to live through the horror of “Flappy”, the Siberian Husky puppy who’d torn his own dog house to shreds with his teeth and the powerful combination tool of wanderlust and misbehavior. The stress of several all day and night search parties had found him the first few times he’d escaped, but finally his born free vibe got the better of him and on the seventh or eighth escape attempt he’d run for the hills.

Sigh

So much heartbreak, so few warm, furry, cuddly moments.

Finally, I decided I’d had enough of things that could run from you and reject your love. I wanted something captive and completely reliant on me for survival. Something that would have no chance in the outside world. An animal that was nice to look at and  held no hope for escape, unless a malicious idiot left the cage open.

I wanted a bird.

Looking back, this was a terrible experiment in pet compatibility, but at the time it seemed like the answer to all my prayers.

I mean seriously, birds are all delicate bones, sharp edges, and pointy anger.

After a long and serious period of contemplation I decided to lobby both parents for a yellow parakeet.

I named him Georgie.

Georgie weathered many storms but eventually went the way of all birds and bit the dust in the most untimely of fashions. When I stepped off the school bus I spotted the tell-tale  clue.

A poorly camouflaged empty cage in our garbage bins.

Had I known then what I know now from all that Law and Order, I would have understood it as clearly as a dead body rolled in a carpet,  duct taped and stuffed in industrial black garbage bags.

I became a tiny detective scouring my home for clues and questioning all suspects.

My mother, who had become a person of real interest due to her avoidance techniques, high sing songy voice and inability to meet my eyes -was my number one suspect.

Finally when my endless inquires and refusal to stop my investigation wore her down, I got my answer.

He’d Flown south for the winter”.

She’d fucking stymied me with an endless riddle that my five-year old mind had no hope of unraveling. How far down WAS south? Could we go there and get him back? By presenting me with an answer that couldn’t be proven or disproven, I was forever doomed to run the cyclical track of “did he or didn’t he?” There was no way of knowing.

Deep in my heart of hearts I knew she’d killed him.

The mystery of Georgie’s murder was left in the cold case files of my heart but then an alarming pattern began to emerge in our lives.

Every time someone of moderate importance in my life would suddenly cease to come around any more they were “on a trip” or “gone someplace I couldn’t see them”.

Effectively, everyone who was old , infirm and mysteriously vanishing in a puff of smoke, had “gone south”- the mysterious part of the country you ended up in when you flew your coop, ate your doghouse out of despair or died of a terrible disease your Granddaughter needed to be shielded from.

Finally, in a fit of terminal curiosity, I demanded to know what the hell was going on because I damn site remember having two grandfathers who conveniently disappeared a few years apart.

One let me drink beer. I especially missed that one.

“Come sit down sweetie”, was the start of my lesson about goin’ south in life and I got an eye-opening lecture about just how many people and animals had died off while I was skipping down the lane and building a tree house.

Right afterward, we took a trip to the Samsondale pet store where I picked out my very own angry, squealing BLUE parakeet who defied the odds and stayed alive well into my middle school years, biting friends and family members who tried desperately to form some kind of bond with him.  I christened him Georgie II and  despite my festering dislike of this hateful creature, I kept up my end of the bargain while risking the tender skin on my fingers and forearm every time I reached into his hellacious cage of pent-up bird rage.

My husband has these heartwarming tales of how he owned a bird who he taught to sing and do tricks, while they went on fulfilling adventures together -like an avian themed Huck Finn. For the record, I think he’s lying because I’ve never met a bird that was wasn’t secretly wishing it’s owner dead in a fiery car wreck.

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Filed under birds, biting animals, catching a murderer, flying south for the winter, my mother is a pet killer, parakeets, puppies and birds, why you don't name your dog after beer