BlogU15: The Good, The Awkward, and The Bloody

For those of you not obsessively stalking me on social media (First, PSA – what are you thinking? You can savor little bits of me in small doses, and each social media outlet is like an adorable and ridiculous puzzle piece that fits into the grander scheme of me, people. Go forth and use those shiny social media buttons at the top of my page and love the shit out of me…), you may not know that I was waking a roommate up each morning to “Good Morning, Baltimore” from Hairspray as we relished a weekend of blogging camaraderie at the BlogU conference. I’m going to tell you now that my roommate, Vicky, loved me and wouldn’t trade me and my Breath Right nose strips for a toffee and sea salt chocolate bar any day. I think.

How to Prepare for a Blog Conference - get your wardrobe, feet, nails, beer and eats on.

The only picture I have of my middle school outfit was from Thursday night packing. My rainbow pants were a recognizable conversation starter so I could ensure people spoke to me (and I didn’t retreat into the introvert side of my brain).

I survived three glorious days on almost 14 hours of sleep total, pretending I was in college again. I had the time of my life with a beautiful mish-mosh of (mostly) women (plus like 4-ish dudes) bloggers as we learned, partied, played and learned some more. On Friday, at the crack of dawn, Brian loaded my suitcases into the trunk of my car as I prepared to embark on my first solo trip in more than five years. I realized I was terrified as we made our way to Midway Airport, and told him as much. I explained I thought I was going to throw up, and asked what would happen if it wasn’t as amazing as everyone said it was? And what if no one liked me? What if I got nervous and shy and said nothing?

You may not believe me, but it’s true.

Bloody Mary

I’d only met ONE other person attending BlogU – Aussa Lorens (who, after hanging out with a couple times at two blog conferences, I think I can safely say that we’re BFFs). So I planned to start my afternoon with Joules, who wasn’t attending the conference but lives…sort of nearby. We had a killer delicious brunch and were joined by a hundred other bloggers. (Or like 15. Whatever.) I had the most beautiful bloody Mary ever to grace the planet, one which I will never be able to replicate (until my imminent return next year).

The most beautiful bloody Mary ever

Miss Shirley’s Bloody Mary – tomato, shrimp, Andouille sausage, cheese, okra, meat thing, pepadew pepper, jalapeno bacon.

So the weekend began with a bloody…which turned out to be my theme for the weekend. In many more ways than one.  The drink was loaded with deliciousness and just a hint of spice. Someone told me to look at it like it was the biggest dick I’d ever seen…this is the result:

I split breakfast apps with my new friends, McCall and Anne. I had to sweet talk the server into splitting up our check a little more than the original plan (ONE check per table and max FOUR credit cards. I promised we’d tip well, and I’m pretty sure we did), but it worked and we were all golden. Then I bid farewell to Joules and piled into a car with four other bloggers and their luggage (me carrying the most, of course).

Bloody Shaving

At dinner on the first night (a lot of these stories are going to revolve around eating and drinking. Deal with it, yo), I was drooling over the dessert table, when Jen Simon started swooning over some magic half brownie thing. I already had 27 desserts on my plate, so she was like, “go try mine. There’s my table. Don’t tell them you know me.”

Not one to miss out on a golden opportunity of awkward moments, I strolled over with a fork, sat down, and dug in. Everyone laughed and I made a new table of friends, including the super sparkly Mary. So then, Jen walked up and stood behind me, chatting. And I felt something warm and wet on my lower back…because there was some hot chocolate drizzle rollin’ down my back. She felt bad, but I didn’t. I had planned to wear my rainbow pants and tee shirt to the pep rally and Term Paper of the Year (and was beginning to feel a bit on the self-conscious side) but now I had an excuse to change. I brought enough clothes, and decided I wanted to look adorable with all the other people (seriously, everyone I met was adorable).

I decided that if I was changing, I should probably shower. And if I was showering, I should probably shave. Well. If you may recall from my shit that’s hard for chubby girls post, I’m not exactly great at shaving my legs. And I almost always regret this beauty regimen. But I braved the fucking shower yoga so I didn’t feel completely self-conscious in front of so much amazing talent…and cut the fucking shit out of my legs.

The Many Faces of Selfie Queen Quirky Chrissy

At the end of the conference, I was dubbed Queen of the Selfies…This is probably why. There were more selfies of my narcissistic self than me with other people on my camera. Thanks Sarah for being the only photo bomber.

Bloody Towel

After taking a miniature battle axe to my legs, I toweled off with the tiniest towel ever to grace my body. Poor Vicky almost caught a glimpse of everything but my left tit, because that’s all this terrycloth bitch could cover. I set it on the towel bar in our shared suite to dry, where the sight of it broke the amazing Chris Dean’s heart. As one of the few people lovely enough to believe that my hair really is THIS RED…she was disappointed to discover the bloody towel hanging on the rack. As a faux ginger herself, she knows the site of a hair-dyed towel when she sees one. But…did I mention Vicky and I got to share a quad with Chris and Anne (from breakfast)? Because that was definitely a highlight.

Bloody Period

Well…thank GOD Jen Simon spilled hot chocolate on my ass (literally), because if she hadn’t…I wouldn’t have showered. Or changed. Because I was pretty thankful when I was cut off mid-sentence telling Vicky that I was glad I didn’t have to worry about getting up and speaking during the Term Paper of the Year…as they announced my motherfucking name…

I looked at Vicky and Sasha, shell shocked. “Umm…I think that’s my name.”

“Woohoo!”

I stood up. I looked around like a deer in headlights. “What do I do?”

“I think you go up there.”

“Oh. Fuck.”

I didn’t even know what I was reading. I couldn’t remember for the life of me what I submitted. And then I stood in front of 200 people I hadn’t introduced myself to yet, and read the story of my first period. Thank GOD they laughed when they were supposed to laugh. Because speaking about bleeding from my lady bits (and not fucking knowing it) in front of brilliant writers was the most terrifying thing ever. I gripped the podium like I was hanging onto the edge of a building and prayed that I didn’t fall down. And when I was done, I was shaking. Thank you, Vicky for capturing this on video:

Bloody Shoulder

The rest of the weekend seemed to go pretty well and remained relatively accident-free. Until I was sitting in Jen Mann’s session about writing books (because books). I was listening, learning, and laughing (I love it when people are funny in real life…especially when they make the universal tongue-in-cheek sign for blow job), when I looked down and noticed a significant amount of blood welling up on my left shoulder. Of course, I reached to touch it and ended up with blood on my fingers as well.

The girl sitting next to me (who my mind is COMPLETELY blanking on and for that I’m so sorry. If that was you, please let me know so I can credit you for your sympathy) searched her purse for a tissue, but came up empty, apologizing profusely. So I improvised. The thing about having a former life as a catering manager is that you learn to improvise quickly. I ripped out a piece of notebook paper, wiped my bloody fingers, folded the paper up, and used it to apply pressure/soak up the blood.

Bloody Shoulder wiped up with paper

And took a picture. Obviously. ( I haven’t mastered my new camera phone yet, which is why my head looks gigantic)

Bloody Dance Floor

First, you should probably be listening to this song as you read this next part. It’s one of my favorite jams. And this section is all about jams.

 

Okay. So. At the AMAZING middle school awkward party hosted by Nickelodeon, I would love to tell you I was the belle of the ball, and since there were about 200 belles, so I guess I’ll say I was just one of them. Dancing my freaking ass off like I was 22. I seriously believed I would lose like 10 pounds after an epic dance floor experience, but alas, not one pound. Anyway, I was really hoping to hear, The Bad Touch, because I know all the words and was SO ready to dirty rap for all my new friends. After an appletini or two, I walked up to the DJ and explained he NEEDED to play The Bad Touch because it was a quintessential song from my existence, and I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if he didn’t play it.

An hour later, I was jumping around to Madonna, singing Like a Prayer, and pretending I was 22. I’m a firm believer in dancing the lyrics, so when Madonna sings, “down on myyyyyy knees…” I got down on my knees like a motherfucking boss.

I popped up and continued dancing, feeling a little twinge of pain in my knee, but it wasn’t unbearable. As the song was ending, The Bad Touch came on and I was READY for this shit. Until I accidentally looked down and saw that there was mass quantities of blood gushing from my knee to my ankle. I stared in horror…deer in headlights AGAIN…and I was ushered off the dance floor. Evacuated, if you will. I kept trying to go back because they were playing my JAM and I was missing every glorious second of it.

Thanks to Jana, this moment was not completely lost. I only wish I had waited to wipe the blood that was dripping down to my ankle...

Thanks to Jana, this moment was not completely lost. I only wish I had waited to wipe the blood that was dripping down to my ankle… And let’s talk about that awesome friendship bracelet handmade by the beautiful Jessica D’Pirate who woke up early and practiced yoga with me and Jessica.

Jana brought me paper towels and took a picture. Others offered to bring me alcohol. Estelle searched her purse for a Band Aid (I had them…in my dorm room) which she couldn’t find. I stood there crying about missing my song. Then, I took Estelle up on her offer of Purell because I wanted to emotionally snack on mass quantities of gummy candy and I couldn’t do that with bloody hands. So I cleaned up my act and finished the evening in style.

I also spent the rest of the evening yelling at people to be careful because I thought I knelt on glass, because there’s no way I was just…bleeding from the dance floor, right?

Bloody Squirrel

The next morning, walking to breakfast, my new friend Amy commented on the insanity of the local squirrel population as they swirled and swung from the tree tops. I just chalked it up to college campus squirrels, as the Bradley squirrels were a little…well…squirrely too.

But as we were walking BACK from breakfast, we happened upon the saddest scene in the world. A squished squirrel, posthumously named Skippy by Tracy, lay bloody in  the middle of the campus road, as his little buddy gingerly walked up to him and nuzzled his battered body. I cried a little bit watching this happen. Can we just pause for a brief moment to recognize Skippy?

Thanks.

I did actually engage with other people...I promise.

A few other highlights to prove that I did actually engage with other people…I promise…including Estelle, Jen Mann, Sasha, Jen Simon, Aussa, Andra, Audrey, Ashley, Jenn Rian and Vicky

Bloody Delayed Flight

After my flight was delayed an hour, and I woke up from a power nap on the floor of the boarding aisle, I made my way to the back of my aircraft and passed the fuck out. For about an hour. I woke up, gave myself a good scratch and…wait for it…started bleeding on my right shoulder. I cursed silently and decided that my bloody weekend needed to be over, and so I went back to sleep and woke up in Chicago (or something like that).

I made so many more friends and wish I could tag every damn one of you, but this post is already at an unreadable length. But you were all fucking magical. I learned a LOT. I laughed constantly. I found my people. Every single person that was there was my people. And I adore you all. My nerves were quickly replaced by friendships that will last forever.

A big fat thank you and shout out to Nehemiah (Boogie Wipes, Kandoo, Dreft Home, Downy Wrinkle Releaser and Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator) for reimbursing my ticket as part of a random drawing for members of their blogger team)!

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!

And This is How Many Times I Injured Myself This Weekend…

This is how many times I injured myself this weeknd

On Saturday morning, I attempted to finish clearing the dead crap from my heavily landscaped yard, a task I had begun upon arriving home the night before (while wearing a damn dress, no less). Dirt, mud and pollen threatened to swallow my hands whole. The purple paint on my freshly manicured, middle fingernail chipped. A light scratch here, a plant-burn there. Is plant burn a thing? Because it should be. Similar to rug burn, only from pulling dead grasses, plants and other things from your garden/lawn. I had zero desire to rip up the rest of my hands.

Illinois prairie grass is a bitch. And look how cute that shit starts out.

Illinois prairie grass is a bitch. And look how cute that shit starts out.

At the hardware store, after eating a bag of free popcorn and grabbing a pair of gloves to protect my accident-prone hands, I found a single package with three cutting tools nestled under a plastic cover, attached to a cardboard back with staples. What a convenient little set for cutting. I have plans to cut more things today. THIS. Is what I need.

I stood patiently, waiting for my turn at the register, and as I dug through my purse hunting for my debit card (yeah, I’m the annoying bitch with the purse full of receipts and other shit I don’t need, while my debit card lies somewhere near the bottom…), I remembered throwing that fucker in my shopping bag at the farmer’s market earlier that morning. Panic set in as the cashier began ringing my stuff up. Balls! I don’t have any money to pay for this shit.

Like an asshole, I mumbled apologies, asking the cashier to PLEASE hold my purchase for 20 minutes as I went home to find my card. I retraced my steps, and tried to remember what I had done with my card, and if it was, in fact, still in my grocery bag. Once inside my car, I realized that the card was actually in the pocket of my sweatshirt, and returned to the store less than a minute later, with red cheeks and a sheepish grin. I feared they thought I was lying.

When I left the store, my arms were full of items I needed and didn’t need all at the same time. I stacked them in the car, and continued on my original mission. I walked with purpose to the backyard of my parents’ house, where a pair of green Adirondacks and matching footstools awaited my rescue. They were battered from several cold winters and bright summers spent outdoors, and so I wiped them down before trying to maneuver them into my car.

After they were cleaned (and I use the term “cleaned” loosely as the abandoned spider egg sacs were removed and the thick coat of dirt and leaves became a thin layer of dusty grime that was going to take more than a quick wipe down to eradicate), I awkwardly carried the first chair to my car. The uneven weight distributed uncomfortably in my arms as I knocked into each bush and tree branch along the path.

My first attempt was to slide the chair into the backseat of my Yaris, but the width of the chair in any direction was too much for my tiny back door. After unsuccessfully trying to push the Adirondack into the trunk, I only had one other option. I opened the passenger door and began bargaining with the car and the chair, promising car washes and a new home respectively.

After a few minutes, I was able to ease the chair into the front, with the back of the seat leaning as far down as possible and the Adirondack appeared massive in my subcompact sedan. And then it was time to repeat the process. I pushed and tugged and arranged the two chairs so that I could just barely make my way home in the car. Each time I shifted gears, I had to lift the chairs to move the handle. I was forced to sit on the left side of my own seat with the chairs digging into my right arm, as I held the seatbelt across my body with my right hand. Thank God my parents only live a few minutes from my house. I prayed every second of those several minutes that a cop didn’t pull me over.

bushes in the front of our house

As I pulled into the driveway, I admired the blooming bushes and flowers that spotted our front yard and made me wish I had inherited my mother’s green thumb instead of a clumsy, fall-over-everything, try-desperately-to-keep-plants-alive disposition. I removed the chairs with little effort, carting them to the backyard, one at a time.

Don't they look adorable on our deck?

Don’t they look adorable on our deck? Even with the dusty grime…

I prepared to resume my original mission to clean up last season’s dried stems and grasses to make way for the budding greenery in our yard. As I pulled out the gloves, I noticed they were attached to their packaging with a staple. I tried, unsuccessfully to remove it with my thumbnail, puncturing a small corner of the once-perfectly polished digit.

In an effort to preserve the rest of my fingers, I looked around for something to remove the fucking staple. The package of clippers and sheers seemed the logical (and laziest) way to solve my problem. As I attempted to delicately – wait for it – pry the staples off the plastic and cardboard packaging, I felt the sharp sting of my finger receiving yet another gash from a single staple. That motherfucker bit me.

Fuck that shit. I ripped the packaging to shreds with Hulk force, feeling the quick whip of a rogue staple whiz past my left ear on its way to the other side of the garage. At that point, all I could think was Welp. That could have been worse.

Once unlocked from the 27 staples, the small clippers acted as a pair of pliers to remove the remaining fucking staples that were causing so much agony. Who the fuck thought it would be fun and/or intelligent to staple plastic gloves together?

Once the seemingly harmless task of unpackaging my new garden toys was finished, I made my way to the bathroom in search of Disney BandAids and Neosporin. I dressed my wound, and gloved my hand so I could finally work on the beautification of our yard.

Several hours after clipping and shearing and pulling and tugging, I was just about finished. I heard the rustle of someone behind me, and I knew that Brian was actually awake.

“I was going to help.”

“I know.”


 

I wish I could end there with a few finger scratches and chipped nails…

Later that night, I felt intense bolts of pain shooting from my wrist when I rotated or pressed on it in certain ways. The pulling and tugging and throwing of the fucking dead grasses and shit was apparently a little rough on my arthritic wrists (which have actually built up a lot of strength thanks to yoga – alas, I’m not invincible). So I couldn’t hold my phone to fuck around on Facebook during the hour drive home from the North Side.

So by Sunday, my fingers were cut up, my nails were broken, my wrist was strained or something…and I’m not done yet.

WARNING: PAINFUL IMAGE DEPICTED BELOW.

A friend stopped by to donate a futon to our guest bedroom, and I went outside to help carry the pieces in. As we walked, three of us carrying the large mattress not unlike my awkward carting of Adirondack chairs the day before…when I tripped over my own bare toe. Why I thought carrying shit barefoot was a good idea ever at all…I’ll never know. But the image of the dirt-covered, bleeding, very large gash of lifted skin from the top of my toe with a giant flap where my toenail met the toe was nothing compared to the searing pain I’ve been in since it happened. My nail is pretty much digging into the raw cut, and I’m terrified of going near it with clippers, as the entire fucking toe is throbbing with pain. I figure I’ll be walking with a limp until June. So much for that spring pedi I was planning on getting myself.

Toe jam

This is my Flinstoe. Wrapped up in a lot of gauze and tape.

 

Blog Friends, what gardening/landscaping woes have you encountered this spring? Any recent injuries or mishaps? Got any tips for me so I don’t kill everything in our yard before we’ve been in our house a year? Am I the only one who finds staples to be among the most dangerous of packing materials?

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!