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.



Filed under ass sweat, dmv horror stories


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..


Filed under Uncategorized

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.


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!


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.


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.


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

The Subway Sandwich Lady Dispenses Some Valuable Advice

One of my favorite pastimes is to sit around dreaming up original excuses for all the things I’m doing wrong.
If I’ve forgotten to buy enough food to pack you a lunch you should get on the meal plan because my time is precious and stopping at the Starbucks on the way into school is really problematic for making good time on my way there and back.

The reason your cleats are too small and mismatched is due in large part to the poor planning and lack of foresight the executives at Modell’s showcased by building their superstore on a stretch of suburban highway a thousand miles away from my city home.

I’m driving with an expired license because the DMV closed the only decent branch in Georgetown and relocated all it’s services to the C Street location which takes an hour to get to, has NO parking and cannot guarantee me a turnaround time of forty minutes.

So it’s no surprise that when I decided to stop in the shopping center close to my youngest sons school to pick up everyone’s dinner at the local Subway, I heard the most eye-opening earful I’ve ever digested from the Subway Svengali.

I call her that because she absolutely floored and captivated me with her definitive statements about parenthood, nutrition, discipline, child labor and the dangers of soda.

1. Single parenthood is hard. The Svengali explained to me exactly HOW hard. She gets up at 4:30 every morning to lovingly hand craft a nutritious organic lunch for her son and then sends him off to catch his bus up the street. She readies herself for a full day at Subway and begins her journey. After school, her son catches a bus to the place of her employment and does his homework behind the counter. Then he is sent off to work with the wonky eyed man in the center kiosk handing out flyers for mall discounts.
For his full day of work he receives two dollars in tips.
If there is something that her son wants (i.e. LEGOS) he must pay his mother his earnings to show her he means business and to learn the lesson that NOTHING in this life is free. While she was telling me about this part of her philosophy, her son was working what I assumed to be the second part of his  shift, dragging a bucket of foul looking water around behind the food court janitor.  The look in his eyes screamed “make it stop” but his mom just beamed at him and kept on dispensing nuggets of wisdom.

2.  The Subway Svengali gave me the stink eye and wanted to know why I was always stopping in to grab a turkey sub instead of cooking at home. After a few complicated mathematical equations and some home truths I came away with the understanding that I could save myself exactly four thousand dollars a year in food costs and an estimated ten thousand in medical bills in the distant future if I’d just get my lazy ass to the grocery store and cook three damn meals a day for my children instead of burning all that gas and filling them with processed poison. It was at this point that I wondered if my sandwich maker had some sort of hidden agenda to undermine her employer because of a past grievance I had no way of knowing about. Was I simply a pawn in the saga of the Yoda Sandwich Lady and the giant Subway conglomerate, or was this genuine concern?

3. Soda. Soft drink executives of the world, you have a new and very formidable enemy in Subway Sandwich woman. She spent fifteen minutes decimating you and your product with chilling effects. “Kids”, my children snapped to attention when she addressed them ” Do you know that if you put a metal screw in a cup of soda, it will dissolve it in less than a week? Can you imagine what it must do to your soft growing organs when you put it inside of your body?” Three terrified heads bobbed in unison and they ordered sweet tea instead. This woman has mad skills and the benefit of what appears to be some sort of Jedi Mind Trick solution to every problem (” now you WON’T be ordering those soft drinks no more, will you?!?”).

4. Discipline. Having spent the better part of forty-five minutes trying to break the spell she’d cast over us , with the futile hope that a line would form  and force her to assemble sandwiches for other families fading, we started checking our watches and trying to tear away towards the food court entrance –  but not before we got a proper dressing down about how to discipline your kids. When each child was handed their meal, they responded with the niceties of thank you’s  but made the mistake of asking me if we could stop at the Dairy Queen for shakes on the way home.  Sandwich lady didn’t like the idea that they weren’t satisfied with what they’d already gotten and made them repent for their mistake by explaining the entire sacrificial dynamic that permeates most adult/child relationships. By the end of this lecture they wished that they’d never asked me for anything.

We said our goodbyes and promised to come back soon (or maybe not? ) , gave one last parting look of concern to her small son, who was getting a lesson in “mop wringing” and ran for our car.  But instead of laughing or mocking Subway sandwich lady  we sat quietly letting her Confucius – like teachings sink in during the ride.


Filed under five dollar foot long and sobering truths, food, good advice from unexpected source, jedi mind tricks, reasons to eat at subway, reasons to eat out, soda will rot you from the inside out, subway, subway sandwich Svengali

The Bathing Suit Mesh Disaster of Norwalk Connecticut

The grace period has ended.

I was told by my youngest that “we may not speak of *it*,  but before the pure visceral power of the moment escapes me forever ,I feel I must document what happened on a warm September afternoon  during a late summer pool party in a picturesque, leafy New England town…….

Try to picture the scene.

I am on my knees in the  luxurious guest bedroom of the Norwalk Connecticut home of one of my best friends with kitchen scissors, a tube of vaseline and my partially nude seven-year old son.

You see, over the course of a long day of jumping with great vigor into and out of her pool he’d had a most unfortunate situation occur where the delicate skin on the underside of his “private area” had been pulled through a tiny mesh hole in his swim trunks and ballooned out the other side.  Much like what would happen if you took a partially deflated balloon, wrapped a rubber band tightly around an area three-fourths of the way towards the end and then inflated that part.  Except, of course, it’s someones penis and it’s slowly being strangled by a malevolent patch of fabric which seemingly defies all laws of reality. Like a Chinese finger trap, the more you pull, the worse off you are.

Seriously,  now let’s return to the action..

After numerous attempts at just “pulling it off  fast” like a band-aid, the imagery was becoming increasingly gruesome as each try elicited ear shattering guttural screams and the area was beginning to look raw. In an effort to do something to seem in the smallest bit productive, I  used my kitchen scissors with surgical precision to cut his entire bathing suit off his body, leaving only a small modest patch of mesh to cover the “problem area”. Telling him that our most promising idea and best chance for penile freedom, was for him to utilize that tube of vaseline gave him hope and was the only thing providing brief respite from the impassioned wailing that punctuated his conversation every few seconds. I’d be just about to cut the mesh square a little smaller when I’d be jolted by his yelping and begging “PLEASE DON’T CUT OFF MY NUTS”.

I violently cursed the person who had invented mesh and silently put a pox on the group who voted to install it inside swim trunks.  Here I was, with a working area covered in shredded shorts, gauze, sharp objects and a screeching child. Like the interior of a medieval pediatric hospital but surrounded by party going New Englanders gaily frolicking poolside with  drinks and finger sandwiches .

Needless to say,  an hour of failed ideas later and after having slid into the desperation zone, we were able to wrangle what remained of his privates away from the strangulation clutches of a fabric I will never again underestimate. Several long drawn out monologues about how he’d never have kids and perhaps live on a eunuch farm later  – it was over.

We emerged from the bedroom to thunderous applause, and I dutifully disposed of the white mesh devil that had dragged us into the third circle for what seemed like an eternity.

Years from now, Il Duce will look back on this episode without fondness and remember how close he came to being childless and I of course will be apologizing for making it public record.


Filed under don't get your penis cut off, how not to behave at a pool party, how the hell did this happen, I do amateur surgery, mesh, swimming, your kids will thank me