Archives for June 2012

To Teach or Not to Teach?

When I was in kindergarten, I wanted to teach kindergarten.

When I was in grade school, I wanted to teach grade school.

When I was in middle school–and I hated middle school…I wanted to teach middle school.

When I was in high school, I wanted to teach high school.

And then I didn’t. I wanted to write. I wanted to be a journalist. I was going to study journalism at Bradley.

And then I was about to start college…and I wanted to teach high school, again. I started at Bradley with a major in English and a minor in Education.

Then, to everyone’s shock and amusement, when I was in college, I wanted to teach at a college. And after a few observations…and waking up at 5:30 in the morning to drive to “fucking Brimfield,” I realized that teaching may not be for me.

So I dropped my Education minor (second semester of junior year), and pursued a solo degree in English. I wrote my undergraduate senior project paper (“What else can you do with an English degree?”) on becoming a liquor sales woman. Yeah, I got an A. I’d like to thank a certain teacher who ROCKED…and loved my “oh-so-hard-work”. Side note: Prescott, please tell me that you knew it was all a bunch of BS…sort of.

So after graduation in 2005 (with the words “Need a job” boldly masking taped on the top of my cap), I tried to get into liquor sales. Or event planning. Or marketing. Or management. Or editing. Or non-profit organizations. Or anything that looked remotely interesting and didn’t require a heck of a lot of job experience.

Finally, I was offered a position as a home decorator for JC Penney… but I had to turn it down due to an overwhelming number of moving violations

In October of 2005, I got a second job (in addition to bar-tending for my parents) working retail at New York & Company. A year later, I landed a gig as a catering manager at a Christian college.

After almost three years of working for the college, I realized that I was never going to stop spraining my ankle. The physical demands were becoming too much and I needed to reconsider my career options. Teaching had always been a dream of mine, and I finally felt that I had the patience and maturity to teach high school English.

Or so I thought.

Straight A’s in grad school. High marks on all of my observations pre-student teaching.

But then came student teaching. A post all its own, student teaching was nothing like I expected. By far, the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life, I realized that I did not truly want to teach high school English. I loved reading and writing, and wanted to share my knowledge and passion… but I wanted to share it with people who cared. Not teenagers who barely endured my ranting and raving about how great Mark Twain was.

So I started looking at other options. In the meantime, I needed something to pay the bills. I found a job working for a learning center, where I was working with students in a very different environment than I was used to. It was a little crazy and a little fun. Through this position, I was able to stumble into a copywriter position with a small marketing company. Dream. Job. Until they laid everyone off, of course.

After six months of unemployment, I’m back at the learning center. I love the kids, but I still don’t know if this is the right path for me. Do I want to teach forever? It’s June; I’m sniffling, sneezing, and coughing my lungs up from something that I caught from one of my many nose-pickers. *sigh*

Dear corporate world, please hire me.

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Believe What You Want

When I worked as a catering manager for a Christian college, I would occasionally be responsible for managing in the dining hall for Sunday brunch. 1300 students walk through the line on a Sunday. A variety of unique individuals would pass through the register each week.

Typically, during my cashier moments, I would be lucky to get more than a “Hello Chrissy,” a “Good morning,” or a “Thank you.” But one particular Sunday brunch stands out more than any of the others. That morning, a young student interrupted my slow-rolling day to ask me about my relationship with Jesus Christ. He asked me, “Do you know Jesus personally?” Maybe it was an off day, but I was slightly offended. For several reasons.

Mostly, it offended me because it was none of his business.

I was offended by the fact that this young punk, trapped in his sheltered cage, where a student learned very little about the harsh realities of this world–as evident by the two then-recent suicides of alumni of that prestigious college–thought himself better than me…enough to start imposing his views on me, as if I’m more ignorant than a 7-year old child.

He had the nerve to continue by asking me, “Do you even know the story of Jesus Christ?”

Seriously? I think any mildly intelligent English speaking white girl in the suburbs has at the very least HEARD of Jesus.

I felt belittled and caught in a net by some stupid fisherman who was looking for shrimp and caught a shark.

Because I was on duty, and because the fate of my company sort of rested in the hands of its employees, I chose to smile and nod and keep my mouth shut. But just to be a pain in the ass, I wanted to tell him no. I wanted to tell him I’m an agnostic. Or atheist. Or Buddhist. Or…anything else. I wanted to argue my ass off.  Regardless of its truth.

When he told me,  “When people go to Jesus, and they say ‘look at all the good Ive done for you’ he replies ‘but I did not know you and you did not know me,’ ” I wanted to tell him that if JC were on Earth right then, the LAST place he’d be would be that particular college. He would be at the bars with the drunks. He would be on the streets with the homeless and the prostitutes. He would be in Afghanistan with the wounded and homeless civilians. He would be in Africa with the AIDS sufferers. He would most certainly not have surrounded himself with overly-righteous self-absorbed teenagers who thought their shit didn’t stink because they were close personal friends with him.

Working at a college with such a lack of diversity offered me plenty of material to write about. So many things that are wrong with people who thought that they were so much better because they were Evangelical Christians. Like the girl who sued her high school because they were pissed off that she changed her valedictorian speech at the last minute to discuss Jesus. Or the dean of said college that wrote a book about the sexual orientation changes brought on by religious camps.

Of course, not all of the students were preachy or judgy. Some were a lot of fun. Some, I miss.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Bradley University and Me

I almost didn’t make it to Bradley. As the one school that had almost everything I wanted from the time we started looking at colleges sophomore year in high school, Bradley was definitely on my list of future schools. My junior year, I discovered that my high school boyfriend, Sam, also aspired to go to Bradley University… so when we broke up right before senior year, Bradley was the last place I wanted to apply.

With the help of a guidance counselor that I adored and spent a lot of time with senior year–thanks to the undecided nature of what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I narrowed down my search. The lazy procrastinator in me didn’t want to spend all of my weekends touring colleges, researching schools, and applying to a wide range. My counselor recommended 3 schools–my goal, my reach, and my fall back. My goal was a small school, but I still wasn’t sure which. My reach was Notre Dame, and if I had gotten in, my dad would have sold his soul to pay for it. I’m pretty glad he got to keep his soul. 🙂 My fall back was ISU, though I feared the lack of success that would come with such a large school.

After many conversations with my pal Joe, who was a freshman at Bradley and loving it, I decided that Bradley was definitely the place for me. Joe, a comm major, assured me that my future in journalism would rest in the capable hands of the Global Communications Center at Bradley.

While the comm major in me never made it past freshman orientation, I survived four of the most amazing years at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Home of the Bradley…Squirrels? Crazy Bicycling Asian Men? Rivermen? My school spirit was minimal, but my personal spirit thrived at BU.

Spring of my senior year, Dad and I drove down to Peoria for a school visit. Driving through the quaint but large downtown area, over the river, and onto the beautiful campus, I fell in love. On the tour, we found that Bradley had everything I wanted except for a football team. We ate lunch at Geisert Cafeteria, which we thought provided a pretty decent meal (little did we know that “visitation days” were Bradley’s best kept meal secrets.) I was done. Sold. This is the school for me.

So I had a plan. And I got accepted.

That summer, I was to attend the freshman orientation: Two and a half days of the college experience. When Mom and I started the trip down, I was terrified. I cried. I didn’t know what to expect or what I was going to do. I wouldn’t know anyone. I kept thinking, What if it’s horrible?

They separated the parents and the students pretty quickly, so I was forced to fend for myself in the collegiate jungle…amidst 80-some-odd other scared freshman. I met another kid from Glen Ellyn, who we referred to as Glen Ellyn Steve until he later gained the name, Speech Class Steve. I also ran into another Glenbard East alum, who I had never spoken to. Throughout the rest of college, Danny and I maintained an excellent passerby-acquaintanceship based solely on our mutual high schooling. Funnier still, he ended up living with my best bud Cletus senior year. Additionally, I made a gaggle of girlfriends during the orientation activities.

On the first night, we stayed up until 3:00 AM, playing Truth or Dare Jenga, eating grilled cheese sandwiches made on one of the best inventions, ever–the grilled cheese sandwich press, and talking up a storm in a Geisert common room.

On the second night, I met my best friend in the whole world. After a rockin’ dance party, in which I became the ringleader of a small group of suburbanites–promising that we would all get together over the summer for nights of dancing and hanging out and awesomeness, we made our way over to the East Peoria Steak & Shake.

Katie and I started chatting. She seemed like a pretty cool chick with her sassy punk rock princess tee-shirt, brightly colored Chuck Taylor’s, and wide leg jeans. I remember making her giggle when I ordered cheese fries and a kid-sized strawberry milk shake. This girl was going to be my pal. I just knew it.

While I left for orientation crying because I didn’t want to go, I left orientation crying because I wanted college to start right away. No one to tell you what to do? No one worrying what time you’re going to bed? All the time in the world, and living in a mini hotel with all of your friends? That was the place for me. Bring it on college. Bring. It. On.

Mom and I left for my uncle’s house–we had our family reunion the day after orientation. On the way home, she began telling me her orientation stories. She hated it. After meeting Glen Ellyn Steve’s parents on Day 1, she ditched out on half of the activities, and hung out at the casino most of the time. Here’s why:

The conversation between the Glen Ellyn-ites parents went as follows:

Mr. Glen Ellyn said, “Oh! Hey, you’re from Glen Ellyn, too!”

Mom replied with a smile, “Yep.”

Mrs. Glen Ellyn asked, “So, where in Glen Ellyn are you?”

“Right off Roosevelt, east of the tollway.”

Mrs. Glen Ellyn looked at her confused, “Oh, where in Glen Ellyn is that?”

Mr. Glen Ellyn looked at his wife, patted her on the shoulder and said, “You know, honey…the projects.”

My mom-disgusted-walked away. She was done. I don’t blame her.

I, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to return. The first few days of college were a blur, and I spent them with a new friend, Jessa, who I had met in my building. Every morning, Mom would call and ask me if I had gotten drunk yet. I hadn’t. During my wandering and exploring with Jessa, I kept passing this girl I knew from orientation. I couldn’t remember her name until day 3, when we were passing each other in U-Hall. I looked at her and said, “Katie?” She smiled back at me in recognition. We started chatting and got into a conversation about drinking. She told me that her roommate, who she had met at orientation, wasn’t a drinker and that she needed a drinking buddy. I told her that I was in. We’ve been best friends ever since.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Pride and Prejudice – Love, Heart, Love

I’ve always been an avid reader. I read my first classic novel (Little Women) in the fourth grade and haven’t stopped since. Having just finished the worst book that I have ever read in my entire life (hello there, Fifty Shades of Grey), I felt the need to write about a book that wasn’t started as Twilight fan fiction… my favorite novel of all time – Pride and Prejudice.

The Movie Before the Book?!

My sophomore year in high school I took choir. By far one of my favorite classes, with one of the best teachers, choir proved to be more beneficial than just musical knowledge. Mrs. Kartwright was a sassy ginger who danced around the choir room cracking jokes and inspiring us to learn, love, and live.

During midterm testing, we would be stuck for several days without a proper teacher (as she was in a small room for the voice testing). Mrs. Kartwright gave us the time to watch a movie. Oftentimes, the movie would be musically related–Second semester we watched Oklahoma, because one of our performance songs came from the musical.  The first semester midterms, Mrs. K introduced us to Pride and Prejudice… you could say she was a little obsessed with the movie. I couldn’t help it; I agreed. I fell in love with Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy as fast as Jane fell in love with Bingley.

The famous white shirt scene. Mrs. K bragged about it. Bridget Jones swooned over it. I love it.

But the Book was Good too!

After more than a week of watching the greatest love story of all time unfold (the 1995 BBC version), this wonderfully long movie-six 55 minute episodes-led me to want to read the book. Best. Book. Ever. I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time that spring, and it was everything I wanted it to be. Quickly, it became my all time favorite book. I read it again the summer before junior year during the week I was at cheer-leading camp, and once again the summer before college. I’ve read it at least 2 other times, and will likely read it again one day.

Elizabeth Bennet Reincarnated

During the spring of junior year, my best friend, Kat and I went to go see this random movie that she was talking about. I didn’t really know what it would be about or whether I would like it, but I thought I would go see it anyway. While watching it, I started to see striking similarities to Pride and Prejudice. The name of the publishing house was Pemberley Press. Mark Darcy was played by Mr. Darcy, himself, Colin Firth. The plot modeled that of P & P, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Bridget Jones’ Diary turned out to become one of my favorite movies.

Wait, This is was a Book Too?!

Yep, as it turns out, Helen Fielding, with her respect for Pride and Prejudice, wrote a fun novel using a similar story arc. This is what I call high quality fan fiction. Loving the movie, I knew that I had to read the book, where I found even more similarities between Bridget Jones’ Diary and Pride and Prejudice and quickly realized that it literally was a remake of my favorite novel.

Bridget was a character that I heavily identified with–no pun intended. She was not-quite-thin, clumsy, and always spoke before she thought. My hero. And she still got the guy. My best friend Penny and I would spend hungover Saturday afternoons watching Bridge and Mark fall in love. We even named our schefflera plants after Bridget and Shazzer.

Back to Pride & Prejudice

I purchased the BBC movie on DVD for myself so that I could watch the love affair of Elizabeth Bennet and Mister Darcy as often as I wanted to with shorter versions of my own making. My personal favorite version was the Darcy version in which I skipped past any scenes that did not include my beloved Colin Firth.

If you have not read Pride and Prejudice, I highly recommend that you do so. Of course, you can always start easy by reading Bridget Jones’ Diary, but it won’t be nearly as awesome if you haven’t started the journey with the original.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

In Love with Jon Bon Jovi

When I was a kid, I lived across the street from Bon Jovi. Okay, maybe it wasn’t THE Jon Bon Jovi, but he sure looked like him! Our teenage neighbor had the same beautiful long hair and similar facial features to the 80’s rock icon. We adored him. When I say we, I mean my older sister, Deven and I. She was 10 years my senior and introduced me to the finer things in my young life. Hair metal music being a huge part of those “finer” things.

Dev used to tell Brian and I stories about Princess Chrissy and Prince Brian, who would always marry Jon Bon Jovi and Cindy Crawford, respectively before bringing them back to the kingdom of Flaherty’s to meet King Daddy and Queen Mommy.  Childhood obsession? Maybe. Totally awesome? Definitely.

We had a hamster named Jon Bon Jovi (after Axel Rose, the gerbil, died), and would watch MTV–back when MTV really was MUSIC television–to catch glimpses of my love. I looked up to my big sister as a role model, and what she liked…I liked.

So when we (she) discovered that the neighbor boy looked like JBJ, we planned a stake out.

Owning a motor home had its perks, one of which meant an easy driveway camp-out for a couple of teenage girls and a five year old tag-along. We brought our sleeping bags, pillows, and snacks out to the camper, and set up shop.

With a radio to listen to some of Jon’s newest hits, we sat in the camper waiting…and waiting…and waiting. Dev and her friend Melissa were content just to stare out the back window for “Jon,” but I wanted to play. Of course, I had dragged out quite a few toys and games to play with, but as per the usual, no one really wanted to play with me.

I remember that as soon as “Jon” entered or left the house, the girls would giggle and squeal, totally excited to get just the smallest glimpse of him. I would race to the back of the camper, jump up on the bed, and beg to see out the window with them. They’d barely let me squeeze in, but I made it through to see the hottie across the street.

I always wondered why they never wanted to talk to him, but I was five, so their logic was beyond me. I guess it made sense.

I can remember when my mom and aunt took Dev to see Bon Jovi on the Slippery When Wet tour. I was super jealous that I couldn’t go.

Bon Jovi Loves Chicago.

A decade later, Bon Jovi returned. And I was finally old enough to see him. I made my way to the Chicago stop on the It’s My Life Tour at Allstate Arena with one of my best buds. I had purchased tickets the morning they went on sale, and we were on the floor in the 18th row. It was the best show I had ever been to. The One Wild Night Tour, a year later, was a reboot of the same show, and it too was stellar.

Another decade went by, and Bon Jovi went country. This saddened me a little, but when the opportunity to see him in March of 2011 for the Bon Jovi Live Tour, I couldn’t pass it up. Especially when it included a backstage tour before the show. Rock. The. F. On. Thanks to some friends who had an “in,” we got to check out all of the cool Bon Jovi behind the scenes action.

 

The view from down low. This is where Jon enters the stage!

 

20 some odd years later, and I still heart Jon.

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Knock Down Drag Out What?

One of the few times I saw the sun come up before going to sleep, happened about a year after I graduated college. We decided that once Flaherty’s closed, it would be a good idea to go to Galways, the nearest 4am bar, which closely resembles a frat party. One 30 dollar cab ride later, the cabby was trying to screw us out of another 10 dollars, because we were 3 drunk girls. Unfortunately for him, I was smart enough to catch that shit. So I handled it and we proceeded inside. We went in, and found it was exactly like a frat party complete with the typical Talky McOld Guy who would always manage to find me and not leave me alone at these places. Finally, we were hiding pretty decently. Beth was getting her mack on with some very nice guy, Elizabeth disappeared and I was chatting up some random cute guy.

Fast forward to my showing off to the cutie and hanging out in the DJ booth, talking to the DJ, who somehow remembered me from the night before when I was at a random bar singing karaoke like a rockstar.

Out of the blue, I saw this security guard slam some dude against the wall, grab him by his neck, put him in a head lock, drag him out of the bar, and I swear to God I thought he was trying to break the guy’s neck. Elizabeth was right there in the line of fire when this craziness ensued and she managed to get slammed equally as hard by the security guard, who cared about nothing but his pride, apparently. Elizabeth was standing between the miscreant and the wall, hence being slammed into.

So Elizabeth walked over to me in the DJ booth, and started speaking strangely and acting really weird. For the soberest one in our group, she looked and sounded pretty hammered… The next thing I knew, she had dropped down to the floor like a noodle. My brother was there in seconds to help me out; thankfully he was there, too. He picked Elizabeth up and said in his most dominant don’t-argue-with-me voice, “We’re leaving now.”

I thanked the DJ and waved goodbye to the cute guy as Elizabeth was trying to stumble out, hanging on to my brother. Before we even left the dance floor, she passed out again. I grabbed Beth and told her that we were leaving immediately, as my brother and some other guy carried a limp Elizabeth out to the parking lot. I was yelling at the security guards trying not to cry, basically freaking out because my best friend since forever had come to visit me and this shit happened under my watch, so to speak. I was PISSED.

So we made it out into the parking lot, and the paramedics came to look at her. They were yelling at her, Talky McOld Guy refused to shut up and kept saying that she was fine and didn’t need anything, and  I was sitting there watching her unable to focus because 10 minutes earlier she was FINE. There was no way that she was drunk. Either she was drugged or she had a concussion.

The paramedics were all over the place saying she needed to go to the hospital, threatening Ella’s impending death. I asked them very nicely if I could ride with her so she wasn’t alone and would have someone with her at the ER.

“NO,” they tell me, “Don’t you have a car?”

Um HELLO?

I told them, “I’ve been drinking, and I can’t drive.” What? Do they want me to get a DUI on the way to the hospital because my friend got knocked out by a security guard?

I may have started to make a scene, arguing with the paramedics and police…The police officer yelled at me, “No, you don’t have to get a DUI. Take a cab.”

I had two dollars in my pocket and I wasn’t really sure how I would get home from the hospital even if I could get there.

So finally, my brother came around and said “Get in the car, I’ll drive you but then I gotta go home, you’ll have to find your own way home.” In the hopes that someone would come pick us up and for fear that I may have gotten arrested, I got into the car.

We beat Elizabeth to the hospital, snuck our way into the ER, and finally (after her arrival) ended up in her little curtained corner of the ER world. The super bitchy registration lady and the evil/awful nurses shot us dirty looks every time they passed. I really wanted to say to them, I’m sorry, do you SEE my friend laying there shaking like a freakin’ Mexican jumping bean? She’s alone and scared and this wasn’t her fault. I’ll show you bitch ass nurses what you can do with your dirty looks.

So finally, this adorably hot doctor (Doctor Rob) came to the rescue. He checked out all of the important stuff, got Ella’s CT scan taken care of, and spent a little time chatting with us.. He told us that Ella had a concussion, and he said we could go home. The bitchy nurses took their sweet time getting things unplugged, but Dr. Rob talked to us for a while like we were actual people. We told him our story, including the nasty paramedics who yelled at drunk Chrissy and told her to drive herself to the hospital. And he sympathized and joked with us.

Finally, we got to go home. Joe, this guy that we all met at the bar (the one with Beth) who’s a friend of my brothers had graciously stayed at the hospital with us, and kindly offered us a ride back to Flaherty’s for our cars. Thank God for small favors.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Drunken Laundry at the Laundromat

In the spring of 2008, my parents’ washing machine was on the fritz…and being a grown woman still living at her parents’ house…I needed to do my own laundry. Of course, I waited until I had practically nothing left…(yes, I would occasionally buy underwear and socks, and even go without one or both because I didn’t want to do laundry…) and my wardrobe options were getting pretty scarce.

drunk laundry escapades

So, one night, after a huge Easter feast, a surprise homecoming from my best friend, Mark, and a lazy evening watching Enchanted for the second of three times in a week, I packed up my car and drove to the nearest laundromat (Actually I packed it up twice–once to move out of Mark’s apartment, where I was living/apartment-sitting while he was on a long-ass business trip, and once with laundry).

I cannot claim whether this was truly nearest my house…But it was nearest my 2nd home–Flaherty’s AKA The Bar. I found out that the laundromat was open on Easter (Woot!)…until 9:30 (which I discovered at 8:40-another resounding Woot Woot!). As I was loading up my arms with Tide and Bounce and laundry and money and keys, I banged my head, not once but, twice on the car door. Keep in mind this was in addition to the neck and shoulder bangs from unloading my stuff from Mark’s apartment. The evening was not necessarily going the way I had hoped.

I walked into the laundromat and there was one guy doing his laundry. Keep in mind, this was a big production for me, since I’ve never used a laundromat. The closest experience was in the college dorms, and that was designed to be easy (and more often then not, I took my clothes home to wash them). So I put soap in three of the nearest washers, which weren’t going to fit ANYTHING. Apparently these were commercial washers. Although I’m still not entirely sure what their purpose was…I knew I messed up and wasted money. So I tried stuffing clothes in anyways, and I soon realized…maybe not. I looked around and realized that there were normal-people washers in the back of the ‘mat. Ahhh… that makes sense-put the real stuff in the backRight? Fits more clothes. Less money. Bingo! I finally got everything sorted, in, and spinning.

At this point, I decided I wasn’t going to sit around and watch laundry spin…so I left. Ok, I went to  the bar and ordered a very necessary drink. And a pizza. Mmmm…pizza was one of my lenten offerings that year, and I was thrilled the sacrifice was over. I started chatting with my pal Liz and telling her about my most recent adventures in Chrissy-land, and we were laughing up a storm.

About 20 minutes later, I ran back to the laundromat with Liz to check on my clothes. And it was locked.

Shit. The guy came out of the office and let us in. He told us that he was leaving and we could prop the door open if we need to leave for anything. Oh dear.

I was about to transfer my clothes, and again, I wasn’t quite sure how this worked because there were also two different dryer types–a bigger one and a smaller one. The guy put money into the big one for me(score!) and said it was the better one. So I stuffed all of my clothes in there–all three loads of laundry–and vowed to return in a bit. (That vodka soda and frozen pizza was calling my name).

Liz and I propped the door open with my Bounce box and walked back to our drinks and the pizza. We hung out for a bit and when it was time to grab my clothes, we invited another girl to join us for round three of laundry-mania. We got over to the laundromat and my clothes were still not dry, so I put more money in and planned to come back after another drinky…you can see where this is going.

After our final return, the clothes were dry, folded (poorly) and put into my basket. As we were walking out, we double checked: Money, keys, clothes, Tide, Bounce. Closed the door.

And oh FUCK! Immediately, I knew that I had left some stuff hanging to dry inside!

3 hours of laundry: $6.75

Tip at Bar: $5.00

Juke Box Money: $5.00

Calling your dad the next morning to retrieve your bras from the laundromat:

Priceless.

Never Again.

Blog Friends, have you ever had to ask one of your parents to remedy your flakiness? Tell me one of your embarrassing stories so I don’t feel quite so bad!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

The Bad Dog

After losing all of our animals in a freak winter of animal deaths, we knew that it was time to get a new dog. Our plan was to get a new German Shepherd (a German Shepherd/Husky mutt to be exact) on our return from Spring Break at Disney.

While we vacationed in Florida, we spent many of our afternoons trying to come up with a good name for our future dog. After testing out several potential names, I suggested Buck (as my father lovingly referred to my mother, brother, and I as Peg, Bud, and Kelly respectively). Everyone liked it. Buck Bundy sounded like the perfect full name for our new dog.

A week later we went to pick up our new pup.

Buck was unbelievably adorable, a sassy little puppy with pointy ears and enough energy to power a car. We loved him instantly.

During the first storm, we realized that Buck was going to have issues, when he freaked out. Cowering under things, curling up behind furniture, and making huge messes wherever he was hiding were just the start.

Later that summer, we found out that Buck, like Bismark, was definitely a running dog. He would jet out of the house and race for this hills. Or at least race away. Unlike Bismark, he didn’t know where home was or that he should make his way home. Terrified he would get hit by a car, we chased after him time and time again. For hours, we would run after him through our small neighborhood–sometimes making it to Route 53 (a busier road). He did eventually get hit by a car, though it was not a fast moving car, and he made it out of there without a scratch.

In the spring of my sophomore year of high school, two of my girlfriends and I were working on a huge class project. We were going to be shooting a video at Flaherty’s for our English class, and my whole family was at the bar getting the back room set up.

While the plan was to meet at Flaherty’s, miscommunication led Ellie and Elizabeth to make their way over to my house. As was the standard for the open house that was my home, they walked right in. And Buck ran right out. Of course, these were the days before cell phones populated the world, and it wasn’t super easy to get in touch me. The girls didn’t know the phone number to Flaherty’s, and I didn’t know they were at my house.

They chased Buck around for at least a half hour, maybe forty-five minutes. My mom ran home to check on something, and discovered the girls panicking thanks to our idiot dog. Luckily, Mom was able to get Buck back into the house, and the girls were able to get to the bar in time to shoot our video.

Buck Bundy the Dog

The first of many Buck stories, this was far from the worst. Our little devil dog, however much we loved him, would spend the next 14 years wreaking havoc in our world.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

The Good Dog(s)

We got Bismark when I was 5 (Our first German Shepherd, Joey, died on my fifth birthday) and we had him until I was a sophomore in high school. I loved him so much. He  could always manage to make me smile, even when I was crying. I would be sitting on our front landing, and Biz would come over and lay his head in my lap when I was sad. He was a good dog. An ornament that bears his name still hangs on my parents Christmas tree in his honor.

When I was a little girl, I loved playing games, and I wanted to play them all the time. Sorry, Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, Boggle, and more, but my favorite game was Life. Constantly, I would ask my big sister, my mom, and my dad to play any one of these games with me, but mostly it was The Game of Life. No one ever wanted to play with me. So, more often than not, I found myself playing Life with my dog.

Bismark (our second German Shepherd mutt) was the best dog ever; he would snuggle with me for hours and he would play Life with me whenever I wanted to play. Of course, I had to do all of the work, but he would sit there patiently holding the spot of the blue car player. Life was one of those games that I couldn’t actually cheat in my favor, but I’m pretty confident that I won every game. (Side note: Now I try to play Life with my godson Little A whenever he asks me. I remember what it’s like.)

Bizzy could be a pain too. If you accidentally said anything that sounded like the word “pew,” Biz would go running out of the room. Somehow he knew that it meant something smelled, and he always thought it was him. A fun party trick at times, it got old pretty fast. A little bit of a runner, Bismark was also always escaping. He would find his way out of the backyard, and we’d hear him barking around the block or down the street. We never had to worry too much because he always came home. Often, we’d find him standing outside the front door or at the backyard gate (on the outside!)

Chester, our old gray house cat, was indifferent to Bismark. Chester loved Joey too much, and Bismark was just another dog. Chester and Joey used to sleep snuggled together like brothers. They even cleaned each other.

When we were in grade school/middle school, my brother got Rex, the trouble making Dalmatian puppy. He brought out the puppy in Biz and made him seem years younger. The two would scamper around the backyard together, with Old Biz humoring the nipping, jumping, racing pup. When Biz would escape, Rex was right along with him, and good ole Bismark taught him to always come home. The sight of the two of them standing outside the back gate was  infuriating, hilarious, and adorable all at once.

Chester, of course, hated Rex.

In the summer of 1996, a growth started forming on Rex’s stomach. As it grew bigger and bigger, we became more concerned. We took him to our then-regular vet in Lombard, and they told us that Rex was fine, it was a benign fatty tumor. They gave us some cream to put on it, and told us he was fine. A year later, Rex’s health started dwindling, and we brought him back to the vet. The tumor was, as it turned out, cancerous. My parents put Rex down in November of 1997. The following January, Chester’s and Bizmark’s health were also failing (an old cat and dog, respectively), and we were saddened to imagine a near future without any of our family pets. Chester, who loved the Christmas tree over all other places in our home, curled up under the tree one night after mom went to bed, and never came out.

German Shepherds are known for their hip problems later in life. This was definitely the case for my board-game-playing dog. In February, after months of dragging his legs behind him, and loss of his bowels, my parents took Bismark to the vet for the last time. I was at a sleepover, and never got to say goodbye. I didn’t even know that it was happening. As my distraught dad pulled the motor home (his daily driver) out of the vet parking lot, he accidentally knocked over the vet’s sign in the front of the property. The vet was PISSED, but after my mother -sassy pants that she is- kindly reminded him that he basically killed our 5 year old Dalmatian, the vet told them not to worry about it.

We never went back to that vet, again.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

The One that Nobody Knew About

Four moving violations in almost as many months…

Two speeding tickets.

Two accidents.

One attorney.

One court date scheduled for January.

And a partridge in a pear tree?

You’d think I would have learned my lesson. You’d think I would have slowed down. Alas, the rules of the road seem more like a guideline than a rule book, and police officers seem to pick and choose who they pull over for which reasons.

It was mid December. I was in Peoria after being offered a job with JC Penney, selling window treatments, and I had just signed the lease on an apartment. As I was driving back to my hotel from my soon-to-be-new-home, I was jammin’ out to the radio and following the car in front of me. (Not that I knew him or anything, just that my car was behind his) I was a little surprised at how fast he was going, but I was almost keeping pace with him. I figured no big thing. If he’s speeding, I should be alright.

WRONG!

I’m not entirely sure how fast I was going, but it was fast enough to draw the attention of those dreaded blue and red lights. Oh God, Oh God, Oh God.

I started crying. Just bawling my eyes out and thinking.

What do I do? I might lose my license after this. I can’t lose my license. Maybe the officer will have pity on me if I’m crying. I can’t lose my license. I need it for this job. Oh God, I just signed a lease. I wrote a big fancy check for a deposit. Oh God.

The police officer interrupted my thoughts by knocking on the window.

“Ma’am, do you know why I pulled you over?”

Through sobs, I managed to verbalize, “I sniff was speeding sniff

“Yes, can I see your license and proof of insurance?”

I handed him the ticket I was driving on and proof of insurance, and let out a wailing sob.

“Stop crying! What is wrong with you?” No joke, he actually said this to me.

I said through my obnoxious crying, “I’m already on supervision, officer. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I just accepted a job down here.”

He looked at me, angrily, and said, “And yet you continue to speed…”

All I could think about was how mean he seemed.

“I didn’t even realize that I was speeding, sir. I was keeping pace with the car in front of me.”

“Do you have a speedometer?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Does it work?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, then learn to read it.”

With that I let out another wail. The officer walked away to look up my info and write me my fifth ticket in 5 months.

He returned and said to me, “I’m giving you a ticket. Stop crying. You had a speeding violation AND an accident in the last few months. You need to slow down. When you see the speed limit sign, you drive 10 miles under whatever it says, do you understand me?”

“Yes, sniff officer.”

“Have a good day, ma’am.”

The bastard walked away and drove off. I sat in my car for almost an hour. In that time, I saw the evil police man pull over two other people. Jerk.

As I was sitting in my car, I needed to make a few phone calls. First, I called the woman who I had just signed the lease with. I told her not to cash my check and to hold my lease.

Then, I called my attorney and asked for her opinion on the likelihood of me losing my license. After some expected exasperation, she said it was a definite possibility, but she would try to help me as best she could.

I made the decision to call the job that I had accepted and tell them that a family emergency had come up, and I would not be able to take the position. I called my once-future landlord to tell her I would not be moving in, and cried a little bit more.

When I got home, I told my family, friends, bar patrons, and anyone else who asked that the job had fallen through. The woman who I was to be replacing had passed away (this was true), and I told the world that they needed someone to start immediately, which I could not do (obviously, not true). The world believed me. The world felt sorry for me. Not a damn soul (sans my attorney and the evil police officer) knew about this fifth ticket.

As it turns out, I had a really good attorney. She moved my court dates so that the two accidents would be on the same day at the same place. She handled everything. I had to take a hit for the final speeding ticket in Peoria (no supervision, nada), but it was the only hit I took on my record. I managed to keep my license, because the first accident ticket was “not guilty” and I was allowed to receive supervision a third time for the second accident (the guy in car number one showed up to vouch for my guilt–apparently he was claiming medical injury).

In short,

Five moving violations.

Two accidents on record.

Two tickets on record.

One license still in tact.

And I never did move to Peoria. Which turned out to be the best blessing in disguise.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!