Stunted Adults

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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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Aristotle Was Talking About Blair and Serena

It’s an age-old question: Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?

No one illustrates the Aristoltelian mimesis debate better than Blake “Serena van der Woodsen” Lively and Leighton “Blair Waldorf” Meester.

Yes, I am using Gossip Girl characters to discuss ancient Greek philosophy.  Did you expect anything else from me?

Yes, I am using Gossip Girl characters to discuss ancient Greek philosophy. Did you expect anything else from me?

Blair and Serena are the best frenemies television has ever seen.  They love hard and they fight even harder.  Blair undisputedly has the market cornered on brains, ambition, leadership, and fashion sense.  But, yet, every time, Serena always comes out on top with everyone looking at her lovingly.

Granted Blair did some serious scheming and took down more than one socialite, but, when it came to dastardly deeds, Serena was the ultimate.  A drunk Serena took the virginity of her best friend Blair’s long-term boyfriend Nate.  Knowing that Yale was Blair’s lifelong dream school, Serena sabotaged Blair’s application, was accepted into Yale while Blair was not, and then didn’t even go to Yale.  Serena gave Blair her blessing to date Dan, but then, despite that, Serena destroyed that budding relationship and Blair’s life by publishing Blair’s diary to the entire world.  And, as if that wasn’t enough, then Serena slept with Dan.

Oh, B and S, so much of your drama is such BS.

Oh, B and S, so much of your drama is such BS.

In addition to her crimes against Blair, Serena KILLED someone.  Serena had an innocent teacher locked away in prison as a sex offender for years.  And, Serena got high and passed out on Metro North.  All of those, individually, are unforgivable offenses.  Yet, somehow, because she’s Serena, everyone just rolled with it.

Everyone, especially Blair, always forgave Serena.  She was always up on a pedastol while Blair always played her lady-in-waiting even though, for a brief moment, Blair was actually royalty.  In the end, Serena married Dan in Blair’s apartment in a room full of her closest friends and family, all of whom she had done unspeakable things to on multiple occasions.  And, yet, there they were gazing at her adoringly as she glided down the stairs above them.

WHAT?!

Has there ever been such an untouchable golden girl?

Things out in the real world aren’t much different.  Blake Lively, who played Serena van der Woodsen, and Leighton Meester, who played Blair Waldorf, are stuck in the same paradigm as their characters.  Both women are stunningly beautiful.  Both women are talented actresses.  Yet, even though she hustles her ass off, Leighton just can’t catch a break while Blake is one adorable bungle away from accidentally wandering into a room and having an Oscar with her name on it fall into her lap.

Before being cast in Gossip Girl, both Blake and Leighton were working actresses.  Blake was one of the four leads in the adorable movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, while Leighton was working the guest role circuit and had been on a pile of shows, including Crossing Jordan, 8 Simple Rules, 7th Heaven, Veronica Mars, 24, House, and Entourage.  They were on fairly equivalent footing coming into the show.

But then everything changed.

As a highly promoted lead CW actress on a teen drama, Blake Lively’s career trajectory should have involved a reality show on Oxygen, a downward drug-fueled spiral, or, at best, another role on a Josh Schwartz show.

But, no, Blake landed a prominent role in Ben Affleck’s critically acclaimed movie The Town, a co-starring role in the Green Lantern alongside Ryan Reynolds, and a role in Oliver Stone’s The Savages.  I know she’s got an outstanding rack and great hair, but really?!  How do you go from a CW teen drama to working with multiple oscar winners and a summer action blockbuster?

As if that’s not enough, in 2011 Blake was featured in Time magazine’s 100 influential people issue with a write up by Baz Luhrman.  Again, really?!

And, in what may be her ultimate coup de grace to every other woman on the planet, Blake married Ryan Reynolds after meeting him on the set of The Green Lantern while he was still married to Scarlett Johansson.  Yes, think about that.  Blake and Ryan meet on set in early 2010.  By the end of 2010, Ryan and ScarJo are divorced.  By 2012, Blake and ScarJo are married, holed up in a multimillion dollar “cottage” in upstate New York, and living a life of domestic bliss.

Does this sound familiar?

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED WITH ANGELINA JOLIE, BRAD PITT, AND JENNIFER ANISTON!  You know, that huge scandal that made millions around the world hate Angelina Jolie and created a bazillion tabloid covers.  But, yet, even though Scarlett Johansson is a much bigger celebrity than Jennifer Aniston, no one noticed.

Blake Lively got absolutely no shit for that.  NONE.  She just tossed her blond hair, flashed her charismatic smile, and all was forgiven.

With a smile like that, apparently a starlet is beyond the reach of wild speculation and nasty rumors.

With a smile like that, apparently a starlet is beyond the reach of wild speculation and nasty rumors.

And, in the other corner, we have Leighton Meester.

Once on Gossip Girl, Leighton went full-throttle with her career.  She landed a role in Country Strong alongside Oscar winner Gwenyth Paltrow, but, despite good reviews for Leighton, the movie was a flop.  Since then, she’s been relegated to critically denigrated horror films starring other former CW stars and Selena Gomez flicks for tweens.  Oh, and That’s My Boy.  I get why she did that movie since it starred both Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg, but, as is evidenced by its 8 Golden Raspberry Award nominations and the fact that I could not sit through it despite my undying love of Blair Waldorf and The Lonely Island, it was one of the worst comedies ever written.

How did Dorota let this happen to you?

How did Dorota let this happen to you?

And then there’s Leighton’s personal life.  While Blake was skipping around potentially seducing her married co-stars without nary a tabloid witch hunt, Leighton was all over the tabloids because she was embroiled in a nasty legal battle driven by her mother’s attempt to extort millions of dollars from her.  And, while Blake is filming spots for Vogue from her country mansion with her movie-star husband, Blair’s been quietly dating The O.C. star Adam Brody while making coffee runs in Encino in cut-offs.

Stars.  They are just like us.

Stars. They’re just like us.

Now, none of this is to downgrade everything that Leighton has accomplished.  She has managed to parlay her teen drama fame into a movie career and a happy relationship with a cool indie movie star LA boyfriend.  That is way above and beyond anything that nearly all of the other young CW stars have been able to pull off.  What are Chace Crawford and Ed Westwick doing these days?

But, its unbelievable that there is such a chasm between Leighton and Blake.  They came from the same place.  They were doing the same thing.  And, in a lot of ways, Leighton was working harder and doing it better, especially on Gossip Girl where her delivery of cutting one-liners was impeccable.  She carried that show.  But, yet, somehow Blake/Serena always manages to come out on top.

Did being cast as the untouchable golden girl Serena van der Woodson cause Blake Lively’s life to become just as golden?  Or was Blake Lively cast as Serena van der Woodsen because she was actually an untouchable golden girl?  Now that’s a conundrum for Aristotle to ponder for the next several thousand years.

But, whether its life imitating art or art imitating life, one thing is for sure.  Any way you slice it, everything in Blake “Serena van der Woodsen” Lively’s life will always be coming up Milhouse.