Friday, April 10, 2020

The TP Chronicles - Part Deux

Wow - I'm more than halfway done with the book!

Crap. I'm only a little more than halfway done with the book.

These are my two conflicting thoughts as I tally my word count each week, trying to get to my goal of 57,000 words for the new book. I vacillate back and forth between, Wow! Crap. Wow! Crap. Wow! Crap. every time I count. But, as the Husband always says, "You're a glass-half-empty kind of gal."And he's right - I'm a perpetual pessimist. So Crap always wins.

Speaking of crap, below is a chapter from the book. I'm breaking my rule of never publishing a full chapter of new material before the book release. But (butt) these are desperate times, and maybe my little story can make someone laugh. Or at least chuckle warmly.

Stay healthy everyone.

(Post copyright 2020, Dawn Weber)

I could wipe with that.

Such are the obsessions one has during the time of plague. I do, anyway. Not handwashing, not mask-wearing, no. My thoughts turn repeatedly and compulsively to . . . 

Wiping. Not my nose.

My butt.  

Apologies for the graphic visual. But we're several weeks into the coronavirus pandemic and I’m a little worried. Aside from working from couch without pants, about the only good things to come of COVID-19 is that A) I’m still here - so far, and B) I can now reliably spell the word “apocalypse.” So needless to say, I’m a little edgy. 

Things are so weird and awful right now that state governments have issued stay-at-home orders and shut down schools, restaurants and worst of all, bars. Stores have cut their hours, limited the number of shoppers inside, and completely sold out of toilet paper. 

Ugh. No bars and no toilet paper. Whatever will we do? However will we WIPE?

When I’m brave enough to don a mask and gloves and go to the store, I see the TP shortage firsthand. Shelves - hell, entire toilet paper aisles - are completely bare of Charmin, Cottonelle, even that terrible White Cloud. In fact, the entire paper goods aisle is empty and taped with caution tape, exactly like a murder scene. You can see straight through the shelving to the snacks aisle and onward, into the very bowels of hell.

Toilet paper isn’t the only thing missing; meat is hard to find, and vegetables have completely disappeared. Normally you can’t give veggies away, but finding a bag of romaine lettuce right now is impossible. It’s like the world is ending and everybody decided to sit down for a nice Caesar salad.

Still, it’s the lack of TP that keeps me up at night, and for that, I blame the Husband. When the COVID-19 epidemic started a month or so ago, I foresaw the impending Shortage of Doom and asked him to pick up three extra packages of toilet paper for us on his weekly Sunday grocery trip. Did he do that?

Of course he didn’t. Spending money on something we already have at home causes his tightwad head to explode. He bought exactly one pack of toilet paper. And guess what? As of last Wednesday, we didn’t have much left. 

The thing is, I don’t even like toilet paper. In fact, I hate it. I prefer bidets, and we will get to that soon enough. But suffice it to say that I am no fan of toilet paper because, like so many women who’ve had babies, my undercarriage has been through the wringer. The Hobo’s birth was especially traumatic on account of his giant head, causing one maternity nurse to tell me that in 30 years of medicine, she’d never seen a bottom as terrorized as mine. “It’s like a bomb went off!” she said.

 I will try to spare you the rest of the gory details but suffice it to say my southern hemisphere has seen it all: constipation, hemorrhoids - all the things women complain about after having a baby. In my case, the baby is 17, and I’m still a mess - such was (and still is) the size of his head. Sometimes it’s so painful I don’t know what the hell is going on back there. It’s like an army of knife-wielding elves, cheerfully taking turns stabbing me. When you’re that sore even the softest Charmin feels like 60-grit.

What can I say, though? A girl’s gotta clean herself, and like the old song goes, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone. Or almost gone, anyway, and since this TP shortage started a few weeks ago, I’ve been looking at toilet paper as gold. Better than gold, actually. I’d happily trade one of my good necklaces for a value pack of Cottonelle. 

I’ve been forced to plan ahead. To really look around. For things with which to potentially wipe. Nothing has been safe from my gaze. And really, the possibilities are endless if you’re imaginative. Leaves? I could wipe with that. Old napkins from the glove compartment? I could wipe with that. Ears of corn? I could wipe with that. A passing dog? Don’t tempt me, because if I have to, I will absolutely wipe with that. 

In the very beginning of the pandemic, my saving grace was the local Dollar General. Surrounded by cornfields and cows, it sits alone with no other nearby businesses. The parking lot is always packed, though, precisely because there’s nothing else around and we don’t have a choice. It’s about a mile down the road from our house in Beautiful Downtown Brownsville near another small village called Gratiot, which we pronounce improperly as “Gray-shot” because we are rednecks. We love our Dollar General because it sells all kinds of necessities. Cigarettes, Mountain Dew, plastic wading pools. Really, what more does a hillbilly need? 

Since regular big-box grocery stores became coronavirus-infested cesspools devoid of veggies, meat and toilet paper, I’d been staying away from them as much as possible and hitting up the Dollar General whenever we needed something. But eventually, DG didn’t have TP either so I gave up and went back to thinking creatively. We never completely ran out of toilet paper, but I was planning ahead in case we did. An old towel? I could wipe with that. A Post-It note? I could wipe with that. One of the Husband’s clean socks? I could wipe with that, then maybe put it back in his drawer. It would certainly serve him right for not buying extra toilet paper when I told him to.

Thinking of things with which to wipe has become my favorite hobby, and I was deep in I could wipe with that mode while driving back from the Gratiot (Gray-shot) post office the day before yesterday. Because of their disappointing lack of wiping items, I’d recently started ignoring good ol’ DG. They’d disappointed me. They’d let me down. They’d completely run out of toilet paper. 

I was just getting ready to turn and drive past the store again when a little voice whispered to me. Never doubt the Dollar General, it said, so I turned my head and surveyed the store’s parking lot. 

And what to my wondering eyes did appear? A great big semi, pulled up to the cement pad of the side dock. Hmm, I thought. Semis meant boxes. Boxes meant items. Items meant stocked shelves.

I pulled into the lot and parked. I grabbed my purse, jumped out and almost ran to the paper goods aisle where I found . . .

. . . absolutely nothing at all.  Of course not. Why did I even bother?

Head down, I turned and began walking back toward the doors when I saw something out of the corner of my eye.

One employee, dressed in yellow and black. Opening a big box of motherfuckin’ toilet paper.

My heart leapt. I snuck up on her slowly, carefully, the way one would approach a rabbit. I didn’t want to spook her, lest she dash away with the loot. I waited until she disappeared behind a shelf. Then, I made my move, lunging at the box and thrusting my arms inside.

Which is, of course, precisely when she came back around the corner. There I was, caught. Guilty. Red-handed. 

Eyes as wide as Charmin rolls, I tried to plead my case.

“Please, miss,” I said. “May I have some?”

She glared at me. “Yeah, but you can only take two. If you absolutely need them.”

“Oh I do, I do! Thank you so much!” I grabbed two packages before she changed her mind, avoiding the urge to hug her.

I turned around and nearly skipped to the register. While waiting in line, I smiled triumphantly at everyone around me. A woman behind me whispered softly, “Where did you get it?”

“It’s in the back,” I hissed. “Not on the shelves, still in the box. The other employee is unpacking it. She’ll let you have two!”

She spun on her heel and sprinted away, intent on her own mission.

Still smiling like an idiot, I paid for my purchase, walked out the door and drove home with my “DG” brand TP. 

DG was the cheapo store brand. It would feel like steel wool, I knew. I didn’t care. As I said, my rear is a war zone anyway. At least I had something with which to wipe it.

And so with this, my lowly TP adventure, I hope I have helped you during your time of need. Remember, if you’re ever running low on toilet paper, just get creative, stay alert and take a page from my book. 

Because you know - you could totally wipe with that.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Big Dog, Bad Idea and a Book Announcement

Crackhead dogs. Farting husbands. Dollar General filet mignon.

If you know how those three things go together, well, I’m sorry, because it means you read my book, I Love You. Now Go Away. Absolute tens of people bought ILYNGA, and I’m ever so grateful. I had a blast writing it and even more fun getting comments, texts and emails from people who read my sordid tales. I enjoyed the whole process so much, in fact, that I’ve decided to do it again.

So if you like reading about balls, bad beer and boobs getting in the way of golf . . . well then, again - that was my last book. But I’ll have something similar for you soon! I’m thinking in about a year.

That’s the good news. 

The bad news is I won’t be around here, on my blog, as much as I’d like to because there’s only so much “funny” in me. I'm very limited on the funny! You're already aware of this if you’ve met me. I am very disappointing in person.

I know, I know - I already took a two-year break from blogging. I miss it because I love reading the comments and, hopefully, making my friends laugh a little. 

But if I’m blogging my material, then there’s nothing left in me for a book. And I’d really like to leave behind some tangible things when my time on earth is up someday. I don’t want to leave behind a bunch of web pages for Google to delete eventually! I’d much rather leave behind books - for somebody to throw away eventually.

Oh well. You get my point.

Anyway, please stick with me! I’ll have something for you - relatively soon.

___________________________________________________

As with my last book, my plan is to post snippets here from
time to time from the upcoming book. Here is a bit from the
chapter tentatively titled “Big Dog/Bad Idea.”

I do not want another dog,” I told her.

Missy tilted her head to the left.

“I mean it,” I said. “The Meth Lab is enough.”

Missy tilted her head to the right.

“Plus, you’re way too big!”

Missy licked my face.

And so we have another dog.

Again, this isn’t just any dog. She is a dog who has her own zip code. A dog who has her own ecosystem. A dog who has her own weather . . .


Stay Tuned!




Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Men in Tights

(post copyright 2019, Dawn Weber)

He was happy on our wedding day.

He was elated when the kids were born.

He was overjoyed when the Princess graduated from high school.

But nothing -- I repeat, nothing -- thrills my brave, strong husband like a nice long night of . . .

Dinner theater.

I suppose I should clarify here. The dinner theater to which I refer is an equine, sword and testosterone-ridden affair known as Medieval Times in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It offers stunning visuals! It's filled with beautiful horses! It features amazingly talented performers!

It is not my thing at all!

Part of the reason is the horses, because horses and I don't mix. I've ridden exactly five times in my life, and of those five, I've been thrown three.

The first time, at age 12, a green-broke horse gleefully launched me onto a jagged tree stump, whereupon I received a four-inch gash on my back. I should have had it stitched up, but I neglected to tell anyone because I wasn't supposed to be riding in the first place. So, in all my 12-year-old wisdom, I bled and suffered for months in silence rather than risk telling my mother.

As you can see, I was brilliant.

As you can imagine, I still have a huge scar.

The other two horses that threw me were similar  assholes, one of whom broke my nose. So yes, I avoid horses except to gaze upon them.

From a very far distance.

Which leads us back to Medieval Times.

During our recent vacation, the Husband wanted -- nay (neigh) demanded -- to go. We've been there twice before, and though it makes him so happy, I wasn't looking forward to attending again because I remembered it as a loud, crowded, horse-intensive affair with, worst of all, absolutely no alcohol.

I know, I know -- some of you might say You don't need alcohol to have a good time!

To which I would reply, Of course you do! Especially when there are horses around!

Luckily, I remembered wrong about the hooch, because one of the first things we saw upon arriving at Medieval Times was a very large, very overpriced bar. I put a second mortgage on the house real quick so I could buy a beer, then the Husband, the Hobo and I settled in our seats for the show.

Oh, he could barely contain himself. This is a man who will randomly shout "MEDIEVALLL TIMESSS!" while getting dressed for work in the morning. The Hobo also enjoys it, which makes sense given his love of swords, dirt and all things violent.

Out came the performers and the damn horses. Jousting! Dust! Way more testosterone than necessary!

As we watched, I brought up the fact that it surprises me the Husband enjoys le theatre so. I mean, there were grown men in tights and what appeared to be miniskirts.

"I can't believe you like this stuff," I told him. "It seems a little too Renaissance
 fair--y for you."

Smiling, never removing his eyes from the arena, he shook his head. "Well the Guys At Work say Renaissance fairs are cool!"

Ah, the TGAWs. That explains it.

You remember the TGAWs, yes? It's been years since I've written about them, but as you'll recall, Jesus had his disciples, the president has his advisers, and my husband has The Guys At Work. Aristotle? Ha. Socrates? Scoff. Who needs them when we have the astute counsel of Mark, Biff, Bob and Other Bob.

They. Know. Everything. And as a wife, I. Know. Nothing.

The show continued, and I feigned enthusiasm as best I could. But since I couldn't match the boys' unrestrained happiness, I decided to take a quick restroom break and avoid horses. I arose, climbed the stairs, stepped into the colorful, castle-themed lobby, and it was there I beheld something wonderful:

Another bar. And another bar only meant one thing:

Another beer.

That's right. I could stay at this second bar, take out a third mortgage on the house, and slowly sip a beer in the quiet, nearly deserted lobby with no dust, no swords and absolutely no horses whatsoever.

Anticipating peace, free time and maybe a nice summer shandy, I walked slowly toward the second bar. I reached back, unzipped my purse and grabbed some cash. And that's when I saw it.

A Medieval Times t-shirt. In the Husband's size.

Here, I had a dilemma. Should I buy a beer and sit and enjoy it in peace? Or should I be an awesome wife and buy him a t-shirt?  Beer? T-shirt? Beer? T-shirt? Beer? T-shirt?

Most of you know me pretty well, so you will probably guess at what I chose.

And you would probably be wrong because I bought the damn t-shirt. Plus a mug to go with it.

No peace, no quiet, no more beer for me. I paid for the items and ambled back into the theater where the horses raced, the swords clashed and the boys sat waiting, watching . . .

. . . and grinning like complete idiots.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Snoop Dogg and the Collapsing Cubicle

(post copyright 2019, Dawn Weber)

My Buddy Al has dreams.

You remember Al, my Youngstown pal, he of the Day of Three Burritos. My co-worker, my friend, and the man who advises us all to never, ever - under any circumstances - wait in line with the dummies.

Yes, Al has dreams. But he doesn't dream of a new car or house or job. He doesn't dream of curing cancer, solving world peace or winning the lottery. He doesn't dream big, he doesn't dream small. Nope.

Al dreams of Snoop Dogg.

In his cubicle.

Eating pie and tearing things up.

Al didn't tell me about his dream right away - I heard it on a lunch break one day from our co-worker, Shereen.

"Tell her about Snoop Dogg!" she said.

Intrigued, I turned to Al. "What does she mean 'Snoop Dogg?'"

He regarded me briefly from his fun-size bag of potato chips. "Snoop Dogg was here."

"What do you mean, 'Snoop Dogg was here'?"

He grabbed a napkin, wiped his face and placed the chip bag on the table.

Things are serious when Al puts down his chips.

He leaned forward. "So, I dreamed I was in my cubicle, right?"

"Okay . . ." I said.

"I was sitting here working," he said, "and Snoop Dogg came flying around the corner!"

"Wow," I said. "Snoop Dogg. How cool!''

"No," Al shook his head. "He started yelling at me and tearing down my pod walls."

"Are you sure it was Snoop Dogg?" I asked. "That doesn't sound like him. All that weed - he seems like such an amiable guy."

"Oh, it was him. And he was eating pie - my pie, mind you - and yelling 'Ra-ZIZZO! Ra-ZIZZO!' Over and over."

"Well, what did you do?" I asked Al, who is 6'4" and built like a linebacker. "Did you fight back?"

"No way," he said. "He was acting all crazy, so I hid under my desk. He just kept eating pie, yelling 'Ra-ZIZZO! Ra-ZIZZO !' and tearing down my cubicle."

I nodded, speechless.

"Then the walls fell on me," he said, "I was trapped between them and my desk. And he's over there eating pie and yelling."

"What happened next?"

"That was it. I woke up. I was all . . . agitated."

"Huh," I said. "What do you think that was about?"

He shrugged, leaned back and picked up his chips, clearly done with the matter. "Who knows?"

Break over, I walked back to my cubicle where there were, sadly, no chips, rappers or bakery products whatsoever, and pondered Al's dream. What could it mean, the collapsing cubicle, the famous celebrity, the random pastry?  Did Al envy Snoop's lavish lifestyle? Did he feel trapped at his desk sometimes?

Holy Hostess cupcakes - was he lacking in sugary snacks?

I haven't seen many episodes, but I'm sure Snoop Dogg has made desserts on VH1's "Martha and Snoop's Dinner Party." And I'm sure he did it in his usual laid-back, sleepy-stoner way. I just can't imagine Snoop being aggressive about anything these days - especially pie - which makes it even more odd that he antagonized Al in this fashion. I mean, not only did he tear down his cubicle, he yelled at him.

And then went on to eat the man's snack.

In the end, the whole thing probably meant nothing. Just a bunch of chemicals coursing through a man's brain overnight, reminding him of things he might have seen that day. Cubicles. Snoop Dogg. Pie. I guess there's really no point in worrying about it.

After all, I don't want to ruin Al's dreams.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Zen in the Slow Lane

(post copyright 2017, Dawn Weber)

I tried something new today. I drove the speed limit. Almost.

I can't believe it myself, but it's true: I went 71 miles an hour in a 70 mph zone on the interstate, and I am thoroughly impressed with myself, even though I might be a senior citizen now.

Not only did I go the speed limit, I stayed on the far right for most of my trip. Yep. I tooled along in the slow lane like I had no place to go. Like I didn't have a job. Like I was 80.

It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, this idea of driving slow. Along with millions of other American hot-heads, I've been a fast-lane driver most of my life, cheerfully going five to ten miles over the speed limit in the left lane and passing everyone in the right lane. My habits have only grown worse as I've aged--I've been the blur on your left, the headlights in your rearview mirror and the thorn in your side, kind of wishing you'd get out of my way.

As I've said before, instant asshole: just add freeway. Nowhere is this more apparent than the interstate, where nice, tax-paying, law-abiding people become Satan's spawn. It's especially true of the left lane, where the asshole quota is much higher.

I'll admit it: without even meaning to, I have occasionally been obnoxious in the fast lane. Maybe more "jerk" than asshole, but still--I'm tired of it. I'm tired of watching for brake lights. I'm tired of white knuckles. I'm tired of stress headaches, a pounding heart and a racing pulse. I'm tired of Rusty McLeftLane, cruising 50 mph in the fast lane. I'm tired of Sneaky McRightLane, trying to pass  on the right. I'm tired of tail-gaters, riding my rear like a frat boy on a Saturday night.

Mostly, I'm just tired.

And in today's commute, I discovered something important, and it is that in the slow lane, there are no worries. I can drive at a reasonable pace, merrily oblivious to any kind of stress, and if the people behind me don't like it, well, they can pull out and pass. I'm doing what a right-lane driver should: putting along at the posted speed limit, while the folks in the left lane continue in their quest to kill each other.

Oldster level: complete.

But most of all, in the slow lane, I can ignore the assholes, and if I've learned anything in my 48 years, it's that one of the keys to a long and happy life is ignoring assholes. Before I move from "jerk" status to "asshole" status myself, I'm going to slow my roll a bit, because the senior citizens really have something here. Although I'll admit that it's much easier to do when I'm going somewhere I have no desire to go -- such as work -- driving the speed limit in the right lane is freeing and downright relaxing, and I have much more energy to think, to chill--to just stop and smell the roadkill. 

You know, I just might obey the law more often.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Let Sleeping Bums Lie

(post copyright 2017, Dawn Weber)

The Hobo is missing.

I've looked for him everywhere, and checked all the usual spots: the couch, the computer, the refrigerator. He's usually in one of these places engaged in his hobbies of video-gaming, Snap-chatting or eating his weight in chicken wings. But I just can't find the boy.

So I ask the husband, "Where's your son?"

And that's when it happens: the unthinkable. The unfathomable. The unbelievable.

"He's taking a nap."

My heart stops, my stomach thumps. Surely there's been some kind of mistake.

"Yeah, right," I tell him. "That kid doesn't nap. He's never napped."

The Husband glances up from his iPhone, where he's playing his 341st daily round of Panda Pop. "See for yourself."

I'm going to have to do that, because there's no way I believe him. Our son hasn't napped since the early 2000s, and he hasn't willingly taken a nap ever.

I creep slowly, slowly up the stairs to his room.Pausing outside the door, I listen for movement or the telltale Pew-pew-pew! of video games, but hear nothing. My hand rises to the doorknob then stops. I am, after all, the mother of a teenage boy. I better knock first.

Knock-knock

No answer.

Knock-knock again, louder.

Nothing.

This is alarming.

"Are you sure he's in here?" I hiss down to the Husband in the living room.

He's annoyed, but he doesn't look up from Panda Pop. "I'm tellin' ya, he's napping."

Still doubting, I turn the knob and ease open the door. And that's where I find the Hobo, fast asleep, sweating, drooling and indeed, napping.

My jaw drops. This is a kid who hasn't taken a nap since he was a newborn, and then, he never went down without a fight. Even before birth, his tiny fists and feet pummeled the insides of my belly all night long. The baby knew no bedtime.

I tip-toe over to the bed. Still not believing my eyes, I bend over his body. I have to make sure he's ok. "Hey," I whisper, shaking his shoulder. "Are you sick or something?"

He wrinkles his brow. "Hmmff?"

"I said, are you sick? Are you ok?"

He rolls over, eyes still shut, face perturbed. "I'm fine. I'm just tired, that's all."

Who is this kid, and where is my son, who hasn't slept since the Bush administration? I had to beg, plead, cajole and bribe him with Doritos to nap. I had to lay beside his crib on the hardwood floor, holding his hand through the slats to try and get him to sleep. Forty-five minutes later I'd be there, hips throbbing, still clutching his hand through the crib, his eyes as wide as saucers.

I'm not sure where such a non-napping baby came from. The husband is a nap-master, elevating it to a high art form. He can sleep anywhere -- outside, during a conversation, behind the wheel of a moving automobile. Anywhere.

Somewhat worried about the sleeping Hobo, I pull my phone from my pocket and Google "Teenage son sleepy." Thousands of posts pop up, all of which come down to "rapid physical growth."

Well. That makes sense. The boy has shot up at least six inches in the past couple years, towering over me now, his arms easily reaching the ceiling. It's almost scary how much he's grown, and sometimes it frightens me that the tall hairy guy raiding the refrigerator once resided in my abdomen. How did that gangly giant come from me? The physics alone are frightening.

I put my phone away and look back down at him. So now he naps. Great. Must be nice. One of my lifelong goals is a nap. As I've said before, I've been engaged in a futile attempt to sleep since the kids were born. The Hobo in particular thwarted most of my potential naps, insistent as he was on remaining awake until the second coming of Christ. That boy beat the sleep right out of me, and over time -- and the countless hours on the cold floor -- I learned to let go of the idea of ever napping again.

Hey -- I'm a parent. I gave up my dreams a long time ago.

I feel a wave of nostalgia, looking at his rumpled bed-head. It would be kind of nice, I think, to lie down, strike the old pose and watch him sleep. But 14-year-old boys don't take well to hand-holding.

And 48-year-old hips don't take well to the floor.

Standing there, I also toy briefly with the idea of waking him up, partly for revenge, sure, but mostly to stop the growth spurt that's pushing him ever taller, ever out the door, ever away from us.

Instead I ease my way from his room, shut the door and leave him be, just another drooling hobo, tangled in a blanket.