Stunted Adults

Welcome to Our So-Called Adulty Life


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And A Snake Brings It All Full Circle

Last week, one of my co-workers told me, with eyes filled with terror and trauma, that she had seen a snake in her backyard.  She spun wild tales of snakes slithering amok all over our city and wanted to rally all of the exterminators to decimate these reptilian invaders.

I politely shook my head at the nerve of those pesky snakes and gently told her not to worry because, of course, they were just harmless little garter snakes.

Then I went all Jon Snow on her, telling her not to kill the obviously dangerous beasts in our midst because I am so noble, brave, and kindhearted.

There is no way this ends with anyone getting hurt….

But, much like Jon Snow, I know nothing.

NOTHING.

When I got home later that day,  I threw on some old cut-off jean shorts because I had to do some gardening and then, once I was done in the yard, I went inside and started cooking dinner.  Country Boy stayed out in the front yard to continue planting those bulk plants that I told you about back in March.  Yes, we are STILL planting them.  Country Boy and I have never met a project that we didn’t want to start and not finish.

A while later, Country Boy popped his head through the front door and asked for a glass of water.  I began preparing a glass of cold refrigerator water with ice to positively reinforce his decision to finish up the garden, but, before I could finish that artisan water cocktail, he stopped me and told me that warm sink water would be just fine.

I looked at him.

I knew I was about to ask a question to which I did not want to know the answer, but I just couldn’t stop myself.  I’ve never met a bad decision that I didn’t like.

So, I asked “What do you need the water for?”

He sighed, recognizing my error, and responded “To clean up all of the snake blood off of the driveway.”

I whispered, with eyes filled with terror and trauma, “Excuse me?”

And, he, with a barely suppressed eye roll, said “There was a snake, so I killed it with my shovel.  It got blood everywhere.  I just need to wash it off before it stains.  Relax.  It was just a harmless little garter snake.”

I said “Right.  That’s totally normal.  Here’s your snake-blood-cleaning water.”

After Country Boy went back outside, I took a few deep breaths and talked myself down off the ledge.  I reminded myself that snakes are living creatures that people keep as pets.  People also keep puppies as pets.  Ergo, snakes are totally the puppies of the reptile world.  And puppies are awesome.  So, snakes are awesome?  Logically, this was no big deal.

If a snake is good enough to be friends with Britney, then it’s certainly good enough for me.

All was well until I realized that I had BBQ chicken cooking on the grill.

The grill that was outside.

WHERE THE SNAKES LIVE.

And then I became like this guy, because snakes are not friends. SNAKES ARE NOT FRIENDS!

It was all terror and trauma up in my kitchen.  I did not want to go out in the backyard.

But, I also did not want to starve.

So, I took a deep breath and evaluated my options.

I quickly realized that there was only one option.  I had to go to the grill.

Apparently, my love of BBQ chicken trumps my fear of poisonous snakes.  It’s good to know that I have my priorities in order.

Maple-Mustard BBQ Chicken

There ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no snake scary enough, to keep me from getting to you.

But, I’m not dumb.

So,  I armed myself with a rake just in case Mr. Dead Front Yard Snake was friends with Mr. Alive Back Yard Snake and his crew.  I also cracked a Coors Light because liquid courage is never a bad idea.

And that’s how I found myself wearing grass-stained jorts, swigging a cheap American beer, and grilling meats while fighting off vermin with a homemade weapon on a Tuesday night.

I am totally one small step away from having fox in a box in my freezer and from serving raccoon to my holiday guests


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Nancy Reagan Was Totally Talking About Bulk Plants

When ErinGoBrawl and I were in college, we used to make weekly pilgrimages to the promised land.  And, by the promised land I mean Wegman’s, obviously.

Wegman's

Oh greatest of grocery stores, I pray every day for you to return to my life.

During those delightful visits, we learned many important life lessons, including that a few fresh vegetables can turn a packet of ramen into a gourmet dining experience and that wearing excessive eye make-up does not make it more likely that the cashier will sell you beer without an ID.

But, the most important lesson that we learned, which we repeatedly had to yell at each other when tempted by the bright lights of the dairy section, was this:

DO NOT BUY BULK CHEESE.

JUST SAY NO.  This is what Nancy Reagan should have been about.

JUST SAY NO. Maybe this is what Nancy Reagan was talking about?

It never tastes as good as you think it will, you will never eat it all, and it always ends in digestive distress.  Always.  Just ask ErinGoBrawl.  She knows.

I have fastidiously applied the Just Say No Bulk Cheese rule ever since, extrapolating the hypothesis to reach all bulk items.

I have never succumbed to the Sirens that are CostCo, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s (who named that company?  I mean, really?! How did that make it out of market research?), refusing to be seduced by their sweet discount songs into shipwrecking my already too small home on giant jars of pretzels, mountains of toilet paper, and industrial sized vats of vile mayonnaise.

I know better.

I know that buying in bulk always ends badly.

But, recently, that magic life-saving mantra escaped me just when I needed it most.

As you know, Country Boy and I have been remodeling our house for approximately 4.5 eons.  We are FINALLY on the last phase of the outside overhaul, which is the landscaping.  Because Country Boy is a landscape architect, our yard revamp is not going to just be a quick sod, shrub, and mulch job.  Oh no.  He has a much greater plan that I am absolutely in love with.

But, with great plans comes great time commitments.

As Country Boy began lining up nurseries from which to obtain his plethora of plants to transform our yard into the world’s smallest botanical garden, he began casually dropping little gems like “We’ll need to rent a UHaul to pick-up all of the plants,” “Most of these nurseries are over an hour’s drive away,” and “This could take months.”

Things that I do not want to spend one, let alone many Saturdays doing?  Riding in a UHaul for hours on end while shopping for plants.

JUST SAY NO.  Perhaps this is what Nancy Reagan was really talking about?

JUST SAY NO. Maybe this is what Nancy Reagan was talking about?

But, I really wanted my amazing yard to be finished.

And then, one of the nurseries told Country Boy that if he bought all 250 plants at once, they would give him a substantial discount and deliver those plants directly to our door.

No UHaul?!  No epic journeys to nurseries?! No belabored plant shopping with a picky professional?!  A discount?!

I am weary and they sound so inviting as they sing to me about days where I don't have to engage in absurd feats of home owner manual labor.

I was weary and they sounded so inviting as they sang to me about days when I wouldn’t have to engage in absurd feats of home owner manual labor.

SIGN ME UP.

I immediately and effusively praised this as the greatest idea ever, and I insisted that Country Boy take the nursery up on its offer.

I was so overjoyed at saving hours of shopping and getting a discount that I overlooked one glaring detail of this plan that became painfully obvious on delivery morning.

We had just bought bulk plants.

BULK PLANTS!

And this was only part of the delivery.  My house was overrun by a veritable army of foliage.

And this was only part of the delivery. My house was overrun by a veritable army of foliage.

NOOOO!!!

WHAT HAD I DONE??  I KNOW BETTER!

As with everything that is purchased in bulk, operation landscaping has ended badly.

Because you know what happens when 250 plants arrive on your doorstep? You have to plant them. You have to plant them ASAP to avoid them being stolen and to avoid having to hand-water each individual pot to prevent a bulk-plant dust bowl.

fruit trees

In the ground you must go my little friends.

But, it is physically impossible for two people to get 250 plants perfectly aligned and in the ground in one day, which means that we had to start doing things like this at 10:00 pm on a Monday night after a 10-hour work day:

Headlight

Though its cold and lonely in the deep dark night, I can see plants by the Prius headlight.

It’s been well over a week of midnight gardening sessions, and we still have not managed to get our foliage army safely packed in the soil.  As soon as I arrive home every night, I reluctantly trudge myself out to the yard to commence planting and watering the never-ending battalions of plants.  I’m like Khaleesi, except for that my soldiers don’t respond to my commands.

I clearly need some dragons to finish this project.

I clearly need some dragons.

By the time we (hopefully) finish planting this weekend, we will have spent countless long weeknights and several 12+ hour weekend days furiously and frantically flinging dirt around our yard all while coddling our over-stressed and unhappy little green friends.

 You can do it little gardenia!  Keep on growing! PLEASE! DON'T LEAVE ME!

Don’t you know you’re supposed to be my loyal follower now that I have freed you from your enslaved pot?

And, in the course of this insanity, Country Boy and I are both exhausted and so sore that we can barely walk normally, requiring bulk-plant-discount-negating financial and emotional investments in Aleve, massages, and general disgruntledness.

So, to recap, buying in bulk has resulted in no euphoria, yet has produced a host of physically, emotionally, and socially destructive side effects.

She was TOTALLY talking about bulk plants.

She was TOTALLY talking about bulk plants.

Remember kids, Just Say No to Bulk.


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My Very Own Kato Kaelin

Despite the fact that I have spent the past decade living a champagne and croissant fueled life in the heart of a major city, I seem to have all too regular run-ins with feral vermin, particularly those of the raccoon persuasion.

And this year is no exception.

A few months ago, Country Boy and his hapless but hilarious assistant (me) finally finished revamping our tiny backyard.  We managed to squeeze in a deck, an in-ground hot tub, and a covered porch that is the home to a gorgeous white outdoor couch.

photo (2)

This joint is straight up Shangri-La.

But, Shangri-La ain’t cheap, which means I have to drag my ass to work every day to pay for my little slice of paradise.

I came home from work earlier this week and wandered outside to get my zen on.  Sliding into that hot tub would make every argumentative telephone call and curt email melt away.

But, I immediately felt that something was amiss.

And then I saw it.

There were muddy prints all around the hot tub.  Around MY hot tub.

pawprints_by_pool

No.  NO.  NO!

I knew those paw prints.

I had seen them before.

They come with beady little eyes, a mask, and paws.

Ready for the catch

WHAT ARE YOU DOING BACK IN MY LIFE?!

WHAT?!

How in the hell was there a raccoon in my hot tub?

I live smack in the middle of a city, a tropical city no less.  While I do have a one-story house, it’s an urban house.  On every side of my house, there is another house within spitting distance.  There are high-rise buildings within walking distance.  There is no nearby forest filled with wildlife.  Hell, this place is barely hospitable to pigeons.

Yet, there were those unmistakable paw prints.

This raccoon had clearly packed a suitcase, took her last $200 and her record collection, and hopped a bus to make her way in the big city.

sherrie christian

Looks like someone watched Rock of Ages a few too many times.

But, then I turned around.

It was immediately apparent that I was not dealing with some sweet, misguided raccoon who was fresh off the bus from Kansas.

Oh no.

I was dealing with an entirely different sort of beast.

There were also paw prints all over my new white couch, eventually ending in a circle in the corner where the raccoon had decided to stretch out and assume her lounging position.

photo (3)

Apparently, this is a raccoon only VIP area.

You know what else was on my pristine, white couch?

A half-eaten avocado.

WHAT?!

Not only had this raccoon taken a dip in my hot tub and sprawled out on my couch, she had also managed to procure some local, organic produce for her afternoon snack.  Apparently, everyone knows that nothing pairs better with a day of leisure than some guacamole.

Raccoon eating avocado

Can someone pass me the cilantro?

And my little ‘buddy” did all of this while I was trapped in an office working hard to finance the entire operation.

I was clearly dealing with a professional.

The raccoon version of Kato Kaelin had moved into my backyard

The raccoon version of Kato Kaelin had moved into my backyard

How did this happen to me?!  How did I become both the sugar mama and the maid to a freeloading vermin of leisure?

I sat down on my violated couch to ponder how my life had taken such a turn.  After a few moments, a shocked gasp escaped my mouth.

I had a realization.

You know what a hot-tub lounging, guacamole-eating urban raccoon probably has?  An iPhone.

And, you know what an iPhone has? The Internet.

And, you know what the Internet has? My blog post from last Christmas about how I risked family scorn and exile, because I wasn’t willing to eat raccoon.

Kato the Raccoon apparently misinterpreted that as an open invitation to take up residence in my pool house.

Sorry, Kato the Raccoon, but you will not be the Ryan Atwood to my Seth Cohen.  You have got to go back to Chino right now!

Sorry, Kato the Raccoon, but you will not be the Ryan Atwood to my Seth Cohen. You have got to go back to Chino right now!

I always knew the Internet would ruin my life, but I just never expected its weapon of choice to be a feral woodland creature with a penchant for Mexican food.


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How to Make Home Depot Your B*tch

Almost five years ago, my husband and I bought a house.  Calling our house a fixer-upper would be generous, and, because our grasp on both reality and good decision-making is loose, we decided to fix it up all on our own.  It’s been a long road fraught with peril.

This perilous road often led me straight to Home Depot in search of very specific items that were absolutely necessary to complete the day’s renovation project.

I would arrive at Home Depot full of hope and armed with a detailed product description and a picture of the item on my phone.

I would then spend the subsequent hour caught in a maelstrom of frustration and anxiety.

Despite having a picture of exactly what I needed, I could never find it among the unending rows of shelves that towered far above my head.

Home depot aisle

How does anyone ever find anything here?

I could never find anyone to help me.  And the place was always so crowded that I was constantly being shoved by old ladies and assaulted with runaway hand carts.  Eventually, after finding myself bruised and covered in anxiety-driven sweat, I would find the item.  But the quest was not over yet.  I still had to survive the never-ending check out lines.

Learning From History

These guys were training to endure the lines at Home Depot.

By the time I returned home, I looked as if I had just spent the past hour in a street fight.  I was dusty, bruised, and utterly defeated.

Home Depot was actually killing me.

But, I had to keep going back there because it’s the only hardware store anywhere near my house that is open after 7 pm.  And, inevitably, all of my home repair emergencies occur well past 7 pm.

But then, one fateful night, I uncovered the secret to surviving Home Depot.

It was 10:30 pm.  My husband was installing the trim onto the bar that he had just built between our kitchen and the living room when he ran out of white caulk, which was required to finish the job.  This was an emergency requiring immediate attention because, in approximately 12 hours, 50 people would be at our house for a baby shower that I was hosting for a dear friend with very exacting tastes.  The house needed to look perfect before all of these people arrived.

On top of that, all of the construction in the kitchen needed to be finished because I had to rip up the tarps, clean up the place, and start cooking.  Yes, cooking.  In another example of my loose grasp on reality and good decision-making, I had volunteered to prepare all of the food for this 50-person party.  And, because the kitchen had been under construction and covered in tarps and sawdust for the past 3 months, I hadn’t been able to start prepping anything for the impending arrival of this horde of hungry people.

In other words, the kitchen remodel needed to be finished yesterday and I was completely panicked about how I was possibly going to pull off this party.

In this crazed frenzy, I sped over to Home Depot with a picture of the exact kind of white caulk that I had to get.

caulk

This was all that could save me from utter disaster.

I could not find it.  I found 50 other varieties of caulk, but not the one I needed.  I searched high and low.  I scoured the aisle three times.  I unsuccessfully hunted for a salesperson to help me.

And then, over the loudspeaker, a voice of doom blared: “The store is closing.  Please proceed to the check out aisle.  It is closing time!”

Closing Time?!

NO!  I had to stay here longer.  I knew who I wanted to take me home.  It was a tube of white caulk.  But I couldn’t find it.  I couldn’t move it to the exits, yet.

What was I supposed to do?  The kitchen had to get finished!  We were out of time!  There was no margin for error!

Before I knew what was happening, I had slumped to the floor in a heap of complete exhaustion and sheer frustration.  I couldn’t pull myself together.  I was teetering on the brink of a total and complete toddler-style meltdown.

Just when I was about to lose it, a salesperson arrived like an angel.  I looked up at him, full of hope, and began to ask “where can I find…”

My angel, however, was no angel.  He cut me off and barked: “You have to leave the store now!  It’s closing time!  No more shopping!”

And, with that, I went careening over the brink and dove head-first into a meltdown.  I burst into tears.  Between gulping sobs, I asked the salesperson “Why is it so hard to find the right white caulk?”  I more loudly asked him “Where do you hide the white caulk around here?”  I didn’t follow either of those statements with a “that’s what she said.”*  That’s how badly I just wanted to find my caulk and take it home.

After about 45 seconds of this display, I was suddenly surrounded by 5 Home Depot employees.

They could not have been more lovely,

One of them helped me up off of the ground.  The other four fervently searched the entire adhesives aisle until they found what I needed.  After I began loudly thanking them for “giving me the good caulk,” one of them whisked me to the front of the store, opened up a new check out line just for me even though there were 15 people waiting in the other line, and escorted me out of the store to make sure that I “got to my car in the dark parking lot” safely.**

Yes, you read that right.  I got personal service, my own express check-out, and an escort to my car who even carried my bag for me.  Home Depot could not do enough to assist and pamper me.

Apparently, all you need to do to become the queen of Home Depot is to burst into tears and shout things that might sound a little sexually explicit.

It’s worked like a charm ever since.

** I refuse to believe that this was for any reason other than the gallantry of the employee.