Category Archives: Brinkley + Sheldon

Time to move on from coffee.

First, thank you everyone so much for your comments on my last post. Usually by now, I’d have taken some time to go through and respond, but every time I sit down to do it, I’m just not prepared to do it. I read all the comments and really appreciate the support for us and for Brinkley. I especially appreciate people who took the time to document their own experiences, and those who talked about what had/hadn’t worked with their own children and what to expect in that area.

No extended preamble. I’ve talked about this before, I know I have, because of course I remember every single one of the 1600+ posts on this site, verbatim, and so do you.

Let me tell you something I think is adorable. I’ve written before about my love of Marc Summers and that show, Unwrapped. In every single episode of Unwrapped, someone from the company featured will tell you proudly how many of their item has been purchased or consumed, and how many times that item, if laid end to end, would circle the Earth. Every show. Sometimes they shake it up a bit by telling you how far into space they’d reach if stacked up. That is adorable and I never want it to stop, even though I don’t have cable anymore and haven’t seen an episode of Unwrapped in years. That is a thing that every episode does and I would never, ever be tired of it. However, there are also other types of cliches that are used without fail in certain types of things and I need them to stop. Unwrapped, you continue. Other people, stop.

For a long time now – a really long time – money saving articles, the type that give you several “simple” steps to cutting your budget and finding some extra dollars here and there to put away, have included the “cut out your daily Starbucks habit, you’ll be surprised at how fast it adds up!” It’s always been in there, since the dawn of time. The dawn of Starbucks. Whatever. It is a key point in saving money. It is the way to save money. Stop spending that $4 a day on coffee and watch the riches pour in, right? You will have a ton of money if you stop buying coffee shop coffee every day. It’s well known money science. Also, some articles helpfully point out how much cheaper it is to drink your coffee at home, rather than buy it at Starbucks. Cents a day, y’all! Compared to $4!

So that’s been going on forever. A really long time. Long enough for every single one of us to know that spending money at a place like Starbucks is a luxury, because the coffee at Starbucks is an expensive thing. You may not notice it’s an expensive thing, but just stop buying it, and then you’ll be well on your way to rich.

And now that “buying coffee at Starbucks is an expensive thing we assume you all do and need to stop if you ever want to have any money ever” is ingrained into our collective consciousness, it’s generally understood that Starbucks is an “expensive” thing to do, whether it’s occasionally or daily. Is it really expensive? Don’t know, that depends on how much money you have and how much of it you allocate to coffee-drinking, all of which is entirely personal and no one should ever give a shit about how many times a day someone else goes to Starbucks. But we all know we’re making the choice to never, ever be rich if we don’t give up the habit, because every single financial article ever has said so.

Now, though, there’s this other new trend, with Internet subscription services trying to appeal to you with how cheap they are. “Listen,” they say, “just the cost of a cup of coffee a day. That’s all. Not bad, eh?” And they’re trying to tell you that subscribing is a good idea, because, come on, a cup of coffee a day? That’s nothing! I drink a cup of coffee a day without even thinking about it! Of course this service is valuable and worth the money. EXCEPT this tactic is coming behind years and years of “LISTEN COFFEE IS WHAT IS MAKING YOU POOR. IF YOU STOP DRINKING THE COFFEE, YOU WON’T BE POOR.” So what is it, Internet service trying to get me to sign up? Am I supposed to give up that coffee for your Internet service and break even? Then what about the coffee? And really, Internet service, have you not been on the Internet for the last 15 years? We’ve already been informed repeatedly that coffee is too expensive to ever be enjoyed without guilt, and now you want me to add a second identical expense and tell me it’s NOT going to make me poor?

You can’t both use coffee. Coffee is done now. We’ve all been slightly shamed too many times about how that “daily Starbucks habit” – which, come on, how much of the population in reality ACTUALLY has a daily Starbucks habit? Enough of the population to make “cut out Starbucks” a universal money saving tip? I don’t think so. I just really don’t. Anyway. We’ve all been slightly shamed too many times about how that SUPPOSED “daily Starbucks habit” is keeping us down, and now a whole other half of the Internet wants to appeal to our sense of frugality by telling us we can have something for just the price of our “daily Starbucks habit?” We either need some communication between the halves of the Internet, or everyone has to stop using the coffee thing.

Actually, no choice. Everyone stop using the coffee thing. Just don’t. Stop with the coffee thing. Come up with something new for me to save money. Something realistic. And novel. Something someone trying to save money hasn’t already done. When we are broke, we do not go to Starbucks. Starbucks is not keeping me from achieving my financial dreams. How about something like, “Stop paying your dental insurance. You’ll be amazed by how quickly that adds up!” Or maybe if you want me to subscribe to your service, you can say, “For the price of just one month of electricity.” That’s a good one, I think. I pay for electricity without even thinking about it. You’d definitely have me there. Point is, you can’t use the Starbucks thing any more. I’ve just banned it. That’s done.

I don’t usually like to do that weird “semi-related question to inflate comment counts” at the end of my posts because I think it’s strange and painfully awkward, but I’m sitting here obsessed with trying to think of other examples along these lines, where every single article or whatever on a given topic uses the same illustration to the point that it’s now become nonsense. If you can think of any, hit me.

Oh and listen, I don’t even drink coffee, really.

 

Let me get your opinion on some things.

Today, or for the last few days, more accurately, I wanted to post about some stuff – okay, it’s been a week or so since I wanted to post about some stuff, I’m just having trouble getting back into the swing of this, or actually, it’s not that I’m having trouble getting back into the habit of blogging, but more having trouble getting back into the habit of finding time to write a couple of thousand words, and apparently zero interest in developing the habit of writing less. So stuff has been building up for a bit and it’s finally enough for a post, not that I can’t turn a 12 second interaction with a stranger into a 2000 word screed barely related to whatever my original point was going to be.

I’ve been thinking about a whole bunch of different unrelated stuff and just wanted to know what other people thought of them, or your personal experiences with them, because I… just want to know. So I’ll put them out there and you can chime in if you’ve got experience with what I’m talking about, or you heard some stuff from someone who does, or even if you have no experience and just want to say something. What the hell, go wild.

First thing. A week or so ago? Maybe more? I don’t know. What happened was, Cheesefiend on Instagram (Elephantitas Alegres on… blog) posted a picture of some turkish towels. I’ve seen turkish towels before and not been moved one way or the other, because I have towels. But right at this exact moment, my towels are kind of crappy and always falling out of the cabinet and they’re all mismatched, as if purchased one single set or even single towel at a time based on what was on sale at whatever store I was closest to at the moment I needed a towel instead of on any kind of aesthetic or quality preferences. I mean, almost like that, because I definitely want you to view me as the type of person who puts some thought into her towels. And I guess that picture was posted at just the right time, because those towels suddenly struck me as totally appealing. Thin enough to pack easily. Take up less space in that stupid hall closet I hate. Nice to look at. They’ll dry faster so they won’t be as gross as towels tend to get. 

But… they are really thin. Can they effectively dry off an entire person? And I mean a person who is a standard level of shower-wet. Just totally covered in water, which I assume most people are after a shower. And they’re expensive. Do they hold up really well? Are they a standard size, like bath sheet size, or more bath towel size? There are some people who will insist that bath sheets and bath towels are the same thing, did you know that? They are NOT. Anyway, do you have or have you used turkish towels? Do you just have one and prefer it for certain things, or are all your towels turkish towels? Where did you get them? How long have you had them? Do you love them or kind of wish they’d go to hell?

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Okay, next thing. If you follow me on Twitter or read my TinyLetter, you’ve probably heard me talk a little bit about this, but I’m going to talk some more about it: Brinkley isn’t doing well. If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you know that Brinkley is Phil’s dog who I immediately claimed as my own when we moved in together. Brinkley is my first dog, and I met him when he was four. He’s 10 now, almost 11, and earlier this week I took him to the vet because he’s been breathing kind of quickly. When we moved to this base, we were dealing with the side effects of Brinkley’s Valley Fever infection, and I was concerned that the disease was making a comeback in his body, since we’ve had him only on a maintenance level of his medication for a while now. It was about time to get that blood work checked again, so in we went. Unfortunately, it quickly turned into one of those “can you leave him for tests and come back later?” appointments. You know, the kind that cost almost a thousand dollars hold me.

They took some blood and some x-rays. Like always, the vet was pleasantly surprised by how great his blood work came back. Everything was perfectly within the normal range except for very, VERY slightly elevated liver levels. The valley fever results had to be sent out, so they will take a while to get back. The x-rays also had to be sent out for a consult, but our vet was able to tell us what he saw. Nothing too bad in the lungs, nothing that would indicate the valley fever was out of control. Brinkley’s hips looked awful – flatted where the ball and socket joint should be nice and round, and very jaggedy. His left leg also has little muscle mass, due to that giant abscess last year that ate away at all the muscle. So, increased pain could lead to the faster breathing, for sure. And a bit of a shadow around his liver that was worrisome.

The next day, I didn’t put my phone down for a second while I waited for a call back, and finally called back myself. When I got in touch with the doctor, he went over what the radiologists had said. Lungs are consistent with previous valley fever and just old dog-ness, nothing to be too concerned about there. Hips look bad, but we know that and took an additional pain medication prescription to try to make him more comfortable. The shadow around the liver, though, is a large mass. He’ll need an ultrasound and possible liver aspirations to determine what it is – a benign mass or malignancy, but they were very concerned. We live in a very small town with no access to pet ultrasounds, so our local vet made very quick work of getting us scheduled in the next town over for Monday morning. Before I hung up, I asked our vet to level with me and tell me what he thought. To his credit, he didn’t hedge or skirt the issue at all – he thinks it’s cancer and he thinks it’s not good.

We know Brinkley’s old, and I kind of knew he wouldn’t last forever. I mean, I knew it, but I don’t think I really knew it. A long time ago, Phil told me goldens have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, and I kind of only heard “12” and have just assumed since that was the minimum we’d get. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen now, and I feel absolutely incapable of dealing with any of the aspects of this situation. Over the last year and a half, our dogs have cost over $5,000 – money I can’t say we were happy to spend, but money we didn’t hesitate to spend. Before we even get a diagnosis, we’ll be in $1,000+ on this round of Brinkley problems. What if the vet says he’ll be fine… with a $3,000 surgery? We don’t have it. We just don’t. We’ve spent everything on Brinkley. Everything we have. Actually, technically, more than we have. And he’s old. And he’s uncomfortable. What if they need to do surgery to find out if it’s benign or malignant? With hemangiosarcoma, if it did turn out to be cancer, that surgery would only add a few more months at the outside.

I told Phil he needs to make a living will immediately, with every possibility considered, because I am not a person who is equipped to make these kinds of decisions, but thinking about it, who is? I mean, there’s not a course you take or anything to prepare yourself for this kind of thing, and part of responsible pet ownership is knowing how far to go and for how long. And making that call, whether it’s one you’ve made before or for your first pet, is probably going to vary wildly by situation. It just seems like such an impossibly big decision. I know Brinkley doesn’t know anything about this kind of stuff, but I know and making that choice for another living being is nuts. It’s insane to me.

Obviously we’re not at that point yet – Phil is taking the day off on Monday so he can stay with Penny while I take Brinkley the hour away to the vet for his ultrasound. We didn’t think it would be a good idea for Penelope to be present in case we do receive bad news, but rather tell her ourselves when we’re composed. But then, when? I assume even if Brinkley does have cancer, we caught it quickly, because I am an obsessive and anxious pet owner. Do we tell her right away, tell her he has a few months left, and that we’re going to be extra nice to him, and no, that’s Brinkley’s steak, your peanut butter and jelly is on the table? Or do we tell her at the end? Do we tell her exactly what will happen at the end, or go with something a little more euphemistic?

This is all premature and I know that, but you can probably understand that I’m incredibly anxious about how the next few days to few months are going to play out.  Just tell me anything. Tell me about how this went for you and what you did or didn’t do or what you’d do differently. Or what you think you’ll do in the same situation. Just tell me anything at all.

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Lastly. Let’s assume we’re all my age, because that’s what I usually do. Remember starting some new job or maybe with your parents or grandparents, whichever works for you, where you had to learn a new software or use a computer in a new way, or some process changed suddenly and you had to do things differently, and you just did it, while some older people (NOT ALL) had a really hard time in the most frustrating ways? Like making you (me) have uncharitable thoughts like, why is this so hard? Why are you trying to do it that way? Why would you think it would work that way? It’s intuitive, why are you making it so difficult for yourself?

I don’t know about you, but I always just kind of assumed it was a factor of growing up with computers, like from the very start, while a lot of older people learned on the job. I’m specifically thinking of the first company I worked for out of college that used a specific and clunky order processing software. I worked at a branch office, and I was sent to the main office in Boston to learn the program for the sales coordinators who worked up there. The trip was for a week. An hour after arrival at the main office, I emailed my boss to ask if my plane tickets could be changed. Done. Got it. I do not need to stay here in frigid Boston (SO MUCH SNOW that winter) for an entire week to learn one process in one piece of software. But the women who trained me said that was how long it took, so I had to stay the week, and I just had my branch office send all the orders to me at the main office and worked as normal. I guess I just thought that because I’m familiar with computers in general, as are others my age, I picked it up quickly.

And I continue to be familiar with computers and I don’t really have too much trouble picking up new things and I thought that’s how it would continue for my whole life – a factor of when I was born, not a factor of age itself. BUT I WAS WRONG. There are things that are coming out now – things that young people pick up and run with without issue – that I just cannot grasp. And it’s not one of those, “oh, kids these days doing weird things, why would I want to?” type things where I don’t get why someone would want to do it, but more that I actually cannot figure out how to do it effectively or as intended, despite my best intentions. Like, say, tumblr. I like to go there and look at stuff about my favorite (Korean) shows and favorite (Korean) bands and all of that. But to actually use it? Like make posts and reply to other people and interact with others? Can’t. Cannot figure it out. OR SNAPCHAT. I don’t think I have anything of particular interest to post on Snapchat, but I want to follow some makeup people, because that is my jam, and the whole interface is just boggling to me. Why can’t I do this? I’m basically technically savvy. I use a jillion apps with no problem. I think it’s that I’m old.

Again, I don’t mean something I can’t understand because it’s not of interest to me. Like say Justin Beiber. He exists, sure, but I don’t grasp the appeal in any real way because I’m just not interested. I’m talking about things I am totally interested in, but cannot work to save my life. Yet young people pick these things up the same way that I learned work software in an hour and couldn’t figure out why it would take anyone any longer. That’s a punch right in past me’s ego. It’s happened to you, too, though, right? You assume you’re knowledgeable in some way about some topic, and other people aren’t because they were born in a different time, but then NO. Something new is totally boggling and suddenly YOU are the person born in the different time, EVEN THOUGH YOU (I) FEEL VERY CURRENT TIME. Am I explaining that well? Let me know.

Anyway, I think that’s it for today. Tell me what’s going on with you.

Temerity Jane, slightly to the right.

Here are seven things from one timezone and 450 miles to the right.

1. We are settled here in New Mexico, or mostly settled, or kind of settled, or we have a house and we are in it with our stuff. We are in the house and our stuff is in the house, and the doors of the house are closed around us and our stuff. That is a more accurate description than settled, I think. I am, as I am typing to you, literally surrounded by boxes, and you know that I don’t fuck around with the word literally, and also, I’ve moved to New Mexico now, and I’m done pretending like I’m going to make a solid effort to clean up my language because, you guys, I was not prepared for this situation, and we’re all doing our best here and I’m not saying anyone is going to be miserable here and I truly don’t think we are going to be miserable here, but shit. Shit. Shit.

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There’s a splash pad two houses down.
Someone weawwy wuvs this house.

2. One of the first steps of “settling in,” which we agree to mean “closing the doors around the boxes,” was finding a vet for Brinkley immediately. You guys. Brinkley. Do you follow me on Twitter? You should be following me on Twitter. I mean, you don’t have to, but I’ve been somewhat more active on Twitter lately than here, though I’ve been more active everywhere than here. I’ve been more active in local politics than I have been here. Anyway, you might remember than Brinkley hurt his leg on Christmas. That was the start. THE START. Then a few months later we noticed that his ear was swollen up like a giant balloon. A skin balloon. A hot, hairy skin balloon. That turned out to be an aural hematoma which you can just look up. It was caused by a massive ear infection that made him shake his head around so much that he busted up his ear. There are a couple of different treatments for that, but for reasons named Sheldon, the best one for Brinkley was $$$urgery. That was in, I don’t know, February, maybe? I feel like the last time my American Express card didn’t have flames shooting out of it was probably February.

When we took him to get his stitches out for his ear, I mentioned to the vet that Phil had noticed something stuck in his eye, and could they please take a look at it while they were removing all his ear stitches (something like 20 or 30, if I had the patience to do some “click this harmless image to be taken to a more graphic one” business, I’d put some here, because it was QUILTED and it looked pretty… interesting). The door had not swung all the way shut before the vet was coming back through to say it was a growth, and they’re common in Goldens, and they just get bigger, and you know, it was up to us, but since his blood work was so good from his recent surgery and he did so well in his recent surgery… anyway, Brinkley had more surgery just a few weeks after the ear one.

That surgery went just as well and he only ended up with a single stitch, and like the vet had said, he was in really good health for his age and size – he’s almost 10 and even though Goldens are considered a large breed, we actually have an extra large guy on our hands, and generally, the bigger the dog, the shorter the life expectancy (THAT’S NOT THE LAW, SO YOU DON’T NEED TO TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DOG WHO LIVED TO BE A THOUSAND AND GIVE ME FALSE HOPES BECAUSE I WILL FIND YOU AND YOUR THOUSAND YEAR OLD DOG IF MINE DOESN’T LIVE TO BE AT LEAST NINE HUNDRED NINETY NINE AND FIFTY ONE WEEKS), so despite the cost, we felt good about going ahead with the surgery right then, rather than waiting to see if the growth, you know, grew, because with a 10 year old dog, there’s just no guarantee that good health is everlasting. I mean, Brinkley’s is. I don’t know about your dog.

So we’re waiting on his one stitch to heal and Brinkley started to cough. I mean this hideous, gagging, choking cough. He would actually get up and find one of us wherever we were in the house, even coming to stand next to the side of the bed, because the cough scared him. We let it go for maybe a day or so, but he was due to have his stitch out, so back to the vet we went. Turns out his stitch had already come out on its own, but the cough was pretty concerning, and we had to do some tests. Some. While we are very responsible dog owners and we will do almost anything for our dogs, I okayed blood work and took home a prescription to get started in case it was a respiratory infection, which seemed most likely. If it didn’t start working pretty quickly, then we could go back and do the skrillion dollar x-rays, right? I wasn’t a terrible person for hedging my bets in favor of finances at this point, just a little bit, right? I WASN’T.

It actually turned out to be the right choice, though, because while it wasn’t the expected respiratory infection, (useless prescription down the toilet), it also wasn’t something that could be seen on an x-ray. Turns out Brinkley has Valley Fever, something local to the area that both dogs and people can catch. It’s an inhaled fungus. So we had to order him anti-fungals from a compounding pharmacy. The plan was that he’d take them for three months and then re-test. Some dogs are cured completely, some need to be on the medication forever, and unfortunately, as we’ve since learned, some die.

Brinkley took to his new medication really well and the cough cleared up pretty quickly. We proceeded with our moving plans, including sending both dogs to Camp Bow Wow to play and sleep for the Monday/Tuesday that the packers and loaders were at the house. We picked them up on Tuesday afternoon, and as we went to get Brinkley out of the car, I noticed a deep cut on his ankle. I was debating with Phil whether or not it would need to be looked at/possibly stitched when we realized his foot was THREE TIMES THE SIZE of the other one. Phil took Sheldon in the house and I immediately called our vet and turned right around without even unloading Brinkley. When we arrived, he collapsed in the parking lot. I almost couldn’t even get him inside. The vets found that his temperature was a frighteningly high 107° and quickly brought in wet towels and fans for him. Now, obviously, a lot of stuff has happened to Brinkley recently, but this was by far the worst.

After shaving his foot and getting a good look at everything, the vet found that there was an abscess under the callus on his ankle and infection had, by then, travelled all the way down into his foot. It was full of fluid and general nastiness. And he was obviously very ill. He’d been boarded at a play/stay camp since Monday morning, but since he’s so furry and these things can actually develop very fast, there’s no way to know when it started. At that point (June 17), even, because of the swelling, they couldn’t tell if there was something in it, like a cactus spine or something that could have caused the initial irritation. It was really bad, though. I don’t even know how I can describe this to you except to say that seeing how concerned the vets were… well, you’ll just have to imagine.

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He came home that night with tons of antibiotics and still running a lot of fever. We kept fans and towels on him for two more days. We squeezed in another vet visit (BETWEEN AN AWFUL RENTAL CAR NIGHTMARE, WHICH, YOU GUYS, I WILL TELL YOU) the day before we left and they took off his bandage and left his wound open – and open wound is the only way to describe what was going on. I have pictures again, but they’re the stuff of the kind of Discovery Health programs you only watch with your eyes squeezed half shut. We got Brinkley in to see a vet here within just a few days of our arrival and his opinion was… not good. NOT GOOD. He was actually a substitute vet since the actual vet was on vacation the week of our arrival, and he was of the farm vet, super gruff, super blunt kind of variety. He didn’t seem optimistic that Brinkley was going to recover at all, and to be honest, looking at what he was seeing, I could agree with him at that point. He even reached over at one point and — YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO READ THIS NEXT PART — pulled a huge piece of dead skin right off. Just enormous. I almost cried. OKAY YOU CAN READ AGAIN NOW. I think that, seeing the state of the wound, he didn’t think too highly of us as owners, either, but once we just laid out there that we were doing what we were told, we were going to continue to do what we were told, we were willing to do whatever was necessary, and that the dog’s comfort was TOP priority, he loosened up. And he also eventually saw that both we and our other vets were just dealing with a really rough situation.

This doctor had some suspicions about the origin of the injury and also didn’t agree with our AZ vets’ method of letting it heal in the open air. They decided to run more bloodwork and on top of that, the doctor said that what he really needed to do was take Brinkley in the back, sedate him, and debride the wound completely and have us pick him up later. Listen. Anytime someone tells you that they’re going to need you to come back and pick your dog up later, just pull out your credit card and don’t look. So we went and ate and Phil took Penny and I home and went back for Brinkley. They asked us to return in a week. When we came back, the tech told us that the super gruff doctor had been excited all day wondering when Brinkley was coming, just dying to get a look at how the wound was doing. I had to admit, so was I. And it was looking much better! Still classified as an entirely open wound, though, just… a healthy looking one. So they rebandaged it, and asked us to come back in a week.

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The next week, we met with the actual doctor of the practice, who finally got a look at the wound he’d been hearing about. After some discussion, it was agreed what the cause is – VALLEY FEVER. If you live in the Southwest, especially the Phoenix valley area, LOOK IT UP. DO NOT MESS AROUND. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms and if you suspect your dog is showing them, ASK FOR THE TEST. If you get a positive test and start antiviral treatment and then the vet says that he thinks your dog can stop treatment, ASK FOR A RETEST. Many dogs need to be treated forever, but that’s FINE, because you MUST stay ahead of this infection in order to remain successful in keeping your pet healthy. A lot of healthy pets have inhaled the spores and are fine. You can’t predict which animals will react and get sick, and once they do get sick, unless a test shows that they’re COMPLETELY CLEAR you CAN’T know if they’ll ever relapse. The cost of the treatment has gotten REALLY expensive since awareness of the disease has gone up, which is ridiculous and unfair, but like I said, VALLEY FEVER IS NO JOKE.

We’ve been back to the vet yet again for a bandage change and have yet another coming up. It looks like Brinkley is going to heal up fine – but slowly. And we’ll continue his Valley Fever treatment indefinitely. We were going to retest 3 months after the initial infection and see if we were going to continue, but at this point, we’re just keeping him on the medication. Poor Brinkley has been walking around with an open wound since June 17th. And he’s not done yet.

Valley Fever! LOOK IT UP! I could link you but I want you to actually, physically LOOK IT UP if you have pets that have spent time in the southwestern states.

3. Like I said above, I’m trying to be more active on Twitter and also on Instagram. Maybe it will prevent screeds like those above. Maybe not, since I also said all of that on Twitter. But anyway, both of them are just TemerityJane, and you can follow them, especially if you like makeup, because it turns out that that’s all I want to talk about.

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There are lots of dust storms here, so I ordered protection.

4. Age three. Hm. I don’t have a lot to say, other than shit. Shit. Sometimes Penelope is mostly fine for a long period of time, then out of nowhere, she’ll burst into this absolutely crazed laughter and start running from thing to thing, faster than I can grab her, just fucking shit up. Like she’ll grab the mail off the counter and just try to rip it for no discernible reason, and as I’m saying, what the hell, no, and taking it from her and placing it back on the counter, she’s bounding away, arms waving in the air like Furious George, THAT LAUGH coming out of her, I can’t even describe it, it’s all gravelly and sounds like it’s coming from the Penelope on the other side of the mirror in a darkened bathroom, and she rushes over to SHAKE THE TELEVISION, so of course I run over there, because yelling from near the counter is all well and good, but that’s not going to save the television from hitting the ground, and I’m halfway across the room by the time she’s at the laundry basket, laugh-gurgling away as she just Carrot Top-prop trunk flings underpants all the shit all over the place, by which time Sheldon is bounding around like some kind of coked up deer just looking for a windshield ripe for flinging himself through and IF I CAN EVEN CATCH HER, she’ll kick and slap me the whole way up the stairs to her room, LAUGHING HER DEMON-LAUGH THE WHOLE SIXTEEN MILE TREK.

AND TODAY SHE THREW A LITTLE TIKES BUS AT ME WHAT EVEN.

HELTER SKELTER

5. I had a makeup bathroom to myself in the old house (I miss my old house for 600 reasons, and this accounts for probably 150 of them), and even though there are 3 bathrooms in this house, it’s just not going to work out here. We’ve decided that the third bedroom is going to be the office-slash-Phil’s area, meaning he can keep his retro gaming collection in here, which is pretty nice since he wasn’t able to display it in the last couple of places we’ve lived and it’s been in boxes and bins for too long. This way, also, I’ll take the master bedroom as “my” room, decorating it how I want and putting a makeup vanity in there, since Phil doesn’t care too much what I do with it (though he did balk at the bright pink sheets for some reason), and there’s good light. The vanity was missing a piece, though, so it’s taking some time to get set up, meaning that the whole creation of my room as I’d like it to be is entirely held up, and also that no one is able to use the master bathroom at all.

I NEED THIS SPACE

6. You know what’s great about moving and also spending a lot of money on your dog? When you also get an opportunity to buy a new washing machine.

7. Information about PJs at TJ’s 2015 is coming soon!

8. I have therapied some really awesome stuff lately like the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, along with some of the other powders in Mood, Diffused, and Ethereal. I also really added to my Sigma brush collection once I focused in on what kinds of brushes I tend to prefer, AND I recently managed to snag a limited edition Sigma eyeshadow palette that I’m absolutely doing-the-running-man-in-ill-advised-leggings excited about. There were some unbelievably tense moments on Twitter when my offer wasn’t accepted 45 seconds after I made it and I almost chewed through my own wrist waiting. As you can see in my bathtub of storage, I’ve also got the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit still in the box, waiting for my makeup vanity to be finished and my mirror and Happiness Hippo to be unearthed (I ALSO HAVE SOME WORDS TO SAY ABOUT SOME INCIDENTS THAT WENT ON WITH PACKING UP OUR HOUSE).  OH AND I have some Inglot Freedom system eyeshadow palettes on the way. And the LORAC Pro 2 is here. IT’S HEEEEEERE. I mean it this time, guys. I’m totally making this bonus item into more posts. Here. (Okay, and Instagram and Twitter.) I mean it. I have to tell you about how bad Hertz sucks and Item in Box. At least.

The extra D is for Dog.

We drink a lot of soda, and it’s mostly me but it’s also both of us, and I don’t feel like I need to define “a lot” for you, but it is a lot, and I know it’s a lot because whenever I hear someone defensively talk about their soda consumption in an “I know it’s a lot, but I don’t even care,” tone of text (I only hear it in text because I won’t even listen to you talk in that tone of voice about your soda consumption or your calorie consumption or your exercise frequency or your children’s television watchery or body-mass-chicken-nugget-index because I will not even go down that road with you and if you insist on going down it in my presence, you will find you are walking alone because I have veered off down a side path that looks less wooded and maybe it’s paved and hey, look, there’s a soda machine and a bench, I’ll be over here, sitting, when you’re done judging yourself because I am not listening anymore, I am over here now, on the bench, probably with a soda), I think, well, that isn’t a lot. So I know that we (I) probably drink more than a lot, or maybe it’s an average amount but everyone is in a weird self-down-rounding internal competition, where you drink X amount, which you know is a lot, but YOU think that WE (the general we) think that Y amount is a lot, so you claim to drink Y+2, and not even care, and everyone is just doing complicated math based on what they think everyone else is thinking.

This isn’t the point of the post at all, but as a side note, I’m trying to imagine “And do you believe how much soda she drinks?” coming out of the mouth of anyone but an asshole, and I’m having a really hard time. In no world is that a concern to anyone else. “No, but it makes my insurance costs go up!” So do people with allergies and asthma who insist on owning cats, and people who play sports that put them at risk for injuries, and runners, because that shit is hard on your legs. Also, that’s just as bad as guys who think that women shouldn’t wear makeup because it’s like lying and they need to be able to see what women actually look like because, you have to understand, men are seeking out the best genetic match, and makeup clouds that issue.

No, people are concerned about the food/soda consumption of others because they’re kind of jerks, even if they really want to say “blah blah my insurance.” Same way some men really want to claim a right to seek out the best genetic match when they’re really just confused and intimidated by makeup and have no legitimate leg to stand on when it comes to demanding some kind of right to see any and every woman’s bare face at all times in order to evaluate her as a potential sexual mate, haaaa, you’re an idiot. No. That’s some weirdass form of concern trolling, where you cover up your dickish behavior by claiming some kind of deep reasoning for it that actually justifies and explains it. Except no, you’re just a total dick. So if you find yourself concerned about whether or not other people might be concerned about how much soda you are drinking, remind yourself that if they are concerned about it, they probably have bigger struggles ahead and you should try to feel some compassion for how badly it might hurt when they pull their heads out of their asses. Someday. Maybe.

“NO, BUT PEOPLE WHO DRINK A LOT OF SODA REALLY DO RAISE MY — ”

No.

All of that was unnecessary, really, and I might delete it in the morning and anyone who read it on East Coast time will be like, “I SWEAR there were 600 more words here,” because sometimes some things aren’t worth it, because this really doesn’t have as much do to with the amount of soda consumed PER DAY as it does with the number of 12 packs we like to buy at a time. Which is a bunch. Because we wait for sales. BECAUSE WE DRINK A LOT OF SODA.

Sometimes I’m the one who goes to the store and buys all the soda, because Phil works all day and once in a great while, it works out that I can take the car and shop around naptime and Phil drop off and pickup times, but when that’s the case, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I will just be throwing the cold things into the fridge, moving everything else out of dog eating range – WHICH IS MUCH HIGHER THAN YOU’D THINK – and running back out the door. So the 12 packs of soda often get left right inside the door.

Actually, when Phil was away, I tried leaving some inside the car for a while, but I discovered how bad of an idea THAT was one evening when I decided to take Sheldon to the dog park, loaded him in the back of the SUV, buckled Penelope in to her seat, backed out of the driveway, and STARTED HEARING EXPLOSIONS. What? WHAT? I thought, did I hit something? Did something fly up and hit the car? Sheldon was flipping out in the back, so I started rounding the block to go back home… and the car started to REEK of hot Diet Pepsi. And they kept BLOWING UP AROUND HIM. I think he has PTSDD.

A lot of times, even now that Phil is home, we have so much soda and we are so aggravated with dragging Penelope through the store that we still set the 12 packs down right inside the door. Sometime within the last couple of months, though, she decided to be helpful, and while we were unloading the groceries in the kitchen, she bent over and started pushing a 12 pack along the carpet, across the playroom, and down the hall to the closet where we keep the sodas. That side of the closet was locked, though, so she opened the other side and emptied all the shoes into the hall, then slid the case of soda in. She went back to the entry and got another, and shoved it down the hall and into the closet. She did this until the side of the closet was full, and then she found a way to shove the rest into the locked side of the closet.

Ever since then, she’s taken her job very seriously. When we come home with a new stock up of soda, she chugs down the hall, case by case, putting them away. If there are already boxes in there, she takes them out. If they have sodas in them, she takes the sodas out of them, and puts them… someplace. It varies. Sometimes we’re expected to drink them on the spot. She moves the empty boxes to the door to the garage. She still throws all the shoes out of the closet every time, because NOTHING can get in the way of replenishing the soda closet. She even experiments at times, lifting the 12 packs and trying to walk them down the hall. She can make it quite far. I don’t like to challenge her to any feats of strength.

We’ve never asked her to do this, it’s just something she does all on her own. She takes it seriously. She’s even made herself a soda steward of sorts, bringing me fresh cans throughout the day. Sometimes one, sometimes forty. It depends on what she thinks will best accompany my meal of hummus and stale pita chips right from the box that was just going to hang around in the pantry forever like no one saw it there even though they went and bought a new box and opened it like finishing the old box before you open a new box isn’t even a thing, Phillip.

So tonight, I have some work I have to do that I’ve known about for days, so of course it’s 11pm and I’ve done none of it. We ran out of soda this morning, and it was really convenient and easy to tell that we had, because the soda steward, a couple of days ago, had taken every single can of soda in the house and lined them up along this half wall thing we have, so it was like a neat little countdown to when we absolutely needed to go to the store before caffeine headaches and anger set in. Phil and Penelope made a Target run while I went to Ulta to return a couple of things that I’ll tell you about another day, so I knew we were all set. I went over to the closet to grab one, and they WEREN’T THERE. They were still sitting by the front door. From HOURS AGO.

And I actually turned my head and looked at Penelope’s bedroom door, where she has been sleeping since 7pm, and I went, “Ugh, SERIOUSLY?”

I said, “UGH, SERIOUSLY?” to the bedroom door of my sleeping TWO YEAR OLD because she hadn’t completed the chore that she VOLUNTARILY TOOK ON, that up until THAT VERY MOMENT, I just thought was ridiculously cute.

Don’t worry, I quickly realized I was being ridiculous, laughed at myself, and went and got a soda from by the door. And left them there for her to get tomorrow. It’s not like we ask a lot of her or anything.

pennyontheclock

Look at her fat little baby legs!
Look at her fat little baby face!
Look at her fat little baby glee!

 

I can’t do what I was going to do, so let’s wait for one of the dogs to lactate.

I was at Ross tonight – do you have those? We didn’t have them where I lived before, but it’s like Marshalls or TJMaxx or whatever, and you can order those however you want in your mind. They are not exactly equal, but similar. Anyway, I was there, because I did not have it in me to go all the way out to TJMaxx, because even though it was only 6pm, it was already dark and I felt like I was not supposed to be out, and there was a woman who kept insisting that she needed more, more of the 18 month, she needed more selection, and she needed the poor guy tidying the shelves to go “look in the back” for her.

That’s all there is to that story, but it was enough of a story that I called my sister on my way home to tell her about it, even though I had limited phone battery left, and was potentially using up my one “I’m in a ditch on the side of this oddly desolate suburban road, probably going to die here alone!” phone call.

I also set off the car alarm from inside the car. I have no idea how I did that, or how I stopped it.

I was on the phone with my sister and somehow we got on the topic of what I was going to write about tonight, and I mentioned something about the relationship between blog posters and blog commenters, and my intent to post about that, and she said, “ha-ha, people are going to be angry at you.” So you know what, let’s save that one for tomorrow.

Instead, guess which one of these dogs ate a box of breastfeeding tea bags today:

Fat dog on a little couch.

THIS IS HIM. THIS IS THE ONE THAT ATE THE TEA.

I reject your notion of cleanliness and replace it with my own oily stink.

Time will tell, dogs. Time will tell. Three to five days of time, judging by how many tea bags were eaten by the dog in question who I am not saying is Brinkley, but I am definitely saying is probably not Sheldon. My house smells like fenugreek maple salmon dog food farts. Brinkley has settled into his old man years with gusto. He’s not even trying to hold them in anymore.

I realized last night that I miss Christopher Eccleston, which means that it’s about time to start Doctor Who all over. Who else is ready to go around again? Can we start together? I’m leaving on Friday, I’ll have the time.

I’ll do better tomorrow.

Plots, schemes, bun-biting and more.

So, I’ve launched a plot, and I’ve been hatching schemes and other Scooby Doo-esque terms for making plans. I have to keep reminding myself, though, that this is something I can do. Not in the sense that it’s something I’m capable of doing, but more like something I’m allowed to do. Okay, and also a little bit reminding myself – or pep talking myself – that I’m capable.

You know the first time you realize you can do something that previously seemed like it was reserved for other people? Older people, or more adulty people, or just some other kind of people. Like when I bought a car on my own for the first time. It kind of blew my mind that I could walk into a dealership, pick a car, arrange the insurance and the financing and all of that, and drive away in a car. I knew that PLENTY of people bought cars, all the time. But it seemed like something other people did, not something I could do. Both in the sense of something I was ABLE to do and something I was ALLOWED to do. Some people let me walk into their place and drive away in a car. BLEW MY MIND.

So I’ve hatched this plot, because there was something I wanted and out of nowhere, it dawned on me that rather than wait around for one of the specifically ALLOWED people to arrange for this thing I wanted, I could just do it myself. And while I’m [pretty] sure I can pull it off, the fact that I can just DO IT is blowing my mind.

You know that feeling? Am I making sense? It’s like an assumption you have subconsciously, that you don’t really think about, that doing certain things is for OTHER PEOPLE.

OH, like taking a vacation. I’ve never taken a vacation that wasn’t with my parents OR wasn’t specifically to visit family. But Phil and I, someday, could decide to pack up our baby and go some place. ANY place. With no other family there, if we wanted. A non-family, non-visiting vacation. We could just DO that. Go to ANY PLACE. That’s ALLOWED.

But you have to know this feeling, right? I think it’s mostly attached to doing things that we probably consider to be “adult” things to do, for whatever reason, and I’m sure everyone has different things that they consider to be “adult” things. But my plot, it’s not even a specifically adulty thing to do. It’s just a thing that, for some reason, I kind of deep-in-my-mindly assumed was for specific, somehow designated people to handle. And I just suddenly realized that those people had the same, “Hey, I want this, I’m DOING IT” moment that I had a couple of days ago.

Aside from the big stuff – buying a house, bringing home a baby from the hospital, getting married – what kinds of things do you kind of subconsciously put in the “other people, not me” category?

*****

So, this happens now, FINALLY:

Honestly, I told Noemi a while ago that while the first weeks of babyhood seriously blow, blow to the point that you eventually start to insist that it absolutely CANNOT BE DONE and a MISTAKE HAS BEEN MADE, everything starts to slowly chug uphill, rollercoaster-style, once you see the first smile. Truly, it’s just steady improvement from that moment on.

So I have to say, I’m expecting NAPS and I’m expecting less VOMIT and I’m expecting less PUNCHING ME AWAKE now that we’ve got laughing on the regular.

*****

Me: So this cat lives at our house.

Phil: No, he’s not our cat.

Me: Yeah, he doesn’t live IN our house – he lives AT our house.

Phil: He doesn’t live here. He lives under your car.

Me: And you feed him.

Phil: Well, yeah. Not expensive food, though. I buy him the cheap stuff.

Me: And you make sure he has water.

Phil: It’s hot out there.

Me: I saw him sitting on the table out there, on the blankets, yesterday.

Phil: Yeah, I put them there for him.

Me: That cat lives at our house.

*****

If ever a moment of my life should have been video taped, it was just a couple of minutes ago. The dogs were all riled up, horsing around with each other, and the more they wrestle, the more wound up they get. Calming them is a huge pain in the butt. Sheldon leaps around like a deer, bounding around the house, and has NEVER had ANY concept of where any part of his body is in space at any given moment.

So a lot of times, I just pull Penny up onto the couch in my arms and let them wrestle around. I have to hold onto her tightly, because our couch is terrible and even with me and Penny on it, their insane self-flinging bumps the couch and sends it scooting across the living room.

Right when I thought they had settled down – they were somewhere behind me, at least, I don’t know where – I put Penny in a seat and leaned back to stretch, because this baby is turning into a LOAD.

I leaned back over the arm of the couch, kind of into a corner between the couch and the love seat where we have a small end table, arms up above my head, arching my back and getting WAY out there – you know, the kind of stretch where if you don’t stop, you KNOW you’re going to cramp up your entire back, but you don’t stop anyway because it’s too good of a stretch?

Anyway, yeah, I was doing that.

WHEN OUT OF NOWHERE – okay, not accurate – WHEN OUT OF FROM BEHIND THE COUCH, Sheldon, who was not as calmed as I assumed, BIT MY BUN.

Not my BUNS. They were and remain to this moment planted on the couch.

My BUN. In my HAIR.

And my NEVER NAPPING BABY had fallen asleep.

So I am trapped in a stretch, arched over the arm of my couch, and SHELDON HAS ME BY THE HAIR.

I started SCREAM-hissing, “Sheldon! Drop! Sheldon! Drop! SHEEE-HEEEELLL-DON! LET ME GO!”

Anyway, spoiler alert, he let me go.

Forced assholery, goose problems, threes, an area where I fail to consider the feelings of my baby.

You know what I hate? (“Everything!”) (That’s not true, Internet.) I hate when someone puts me in a position where I have to be confrontational, and not only that, a position where I am automatically the bad guy for saying anything. So my choice is either to sit and silently deal with something that is bothering me OR be the asshole, and neither of those is a good option FOR ME.

This usually happens when someone decides, of their own accord, that they’re going to do something nice for you. Except, you never asked them to do this nice thing for you. See, you already think I’m the asshole, but it’s not like it hasn’t happened to you.

Once is no big deal, but sometimes someone gets it in their head that they’re going to do an ongoing nice thing for you. Or they’ve set up some kind of… system or whatever… that will repeat the nice thing for you. I’m saying, maybe they do a nice thing one time, but maybe they do this nice thing OFTEN, either with effort or through some kind of set up that repeats the event without any maintenance, effort or money or anything on their side. I’m trying to give you a wide description here so that you can think of a situation in your own life that fits, so that I get a little sympathy over here on the asshole side of things. So take a second, and work yourself into this mindset.

Anyway, person is doing something nice for you – or something that they think is nice, if that makes sense. Something they have assumed you will appreciate or enjoy. And you didn’t ask for it – not because you didn’t want to impose, but because it’s not something you really appreciate or enjoy. It’s a basically harmless something, though, so maybe you can ignore it for a while, but eventually, it just GETS UNDER YOUR SKIN.

OKAY, MY SKIN. IT IS UNDER MY SKIN.

Why should I have to ignore it? Maybe I would like for it to stop, you know? But you basically HAVE TO IGNORE IT, because the person is being nice. If someone does something with the intention of being nice, you have absolutely no choice but to just accept it FOREVER, unless you want to be the asshole.

“I was just trying to be nice” is basically an inarguable defense. You hear that and you’re the asshole. No matter what.

So it can’t just be a simple matter of asking the person to stop, because they were trying to be nice. To indicate that their unrequested niceness is not 100% appreciated makes you the asshole, no matter what. And who wants to be the asshole? Either because you don’t want other people to think you’re an asshole, or because you don’t want to be perceived as an asshole by the person who was just trying to be nice to you, you know? I mean, you don’t want to HURT FEELINGS. You just want the thing to STOP.

And you know what ends up happening? Resentment gets all built up. Against the person who is just TRYING to be NICE. Because by being nice, they are forcing you to accept their niceness or be a total ASS PANDA, when you’re probably not an ass panda at ALL. By being nice, this person is forcing you to submit to something you DON’T WANT, or to be something that you don’t really think you are.

But you see, no matter what I say here, half the people reading are thinking, “You sound really ungrateful. Someone was just trying to do something nice for you.”

“Hey, do you mind not doing that anymore?”
“Well, I was just TRYING to be NICE.”

“You know, I’d really rather do that myself.”
“Well, I WAS JUST TRYING TO BE NICE.”

“Can you stop stabbing me in the eye?”
“BEING NICE.”

YOU CANNOT WIN when someone is “JUST TRYING TO BE NICE.”

*****

Sometimes I feel like my entire day is one of those problems where you’ve got a goose, and a goose eater, and a pile of whatever geese eat, and for some reason, you can only fit one at a time in your boat, and you want to take them across the river instead of just leaving the whole damn lot to fend for themselves because, come on, they don’t have geese or goose food on the other side of the river?

What I have, though, is not goose-related. I have Penny, I have two dogs, and I have laundry, and sometimes I also need to use the bathroom.

I have to wait until Penny is asleep or at least content someplace secure before I go hang the laundry, because I can’t hang the laundry and carry her, and I’m not strapping her into her wrap for a two minute trip. And I need both dogs to come with me while I hang the laundry, because while I have NO CONCERNS about my dogs and the baby, I don’t leave them alone together, ever, because that is just how it’s done here.

The trouble is, the clothesline is around the corner of the yard, and Sheldon jumps the fence when he feels like no one is looking. We have not yet purchased an electric fence, but it is on our list, so slow your scroll, there, comment jumper. I take the diapers to hang on the line, and I need to wait for Sheldon to do his business, and then somehow convince him to stand next to me while I hang diapers, without knocking me over or stealing any diapers or think that me hanging them out of reach on the line is a FUN CHALLENGE.

And I have to be fast, because as soon as Penny realizes that my eyeballs are not fixated on her, as they should be even as she slumbers, she will LOSE HER GODDAMNED MIND.

I’ve got using the bathroom down to a 36 second science, saving anything elaborate for when Phil comes home, because alone time in the bathroom is a luxury I do not want to squander by sharing it. If Penny is awake and feeling needy (often), I tuck her in the Bumbo and set her on the bathroom floor. If she’s asleep, I leave her where she is, which leaves me with the dogs. Sheldon can usually be convinced to stand in the bathtub, because he’s an idiot, while Brinkley will do anything for a scratch on the head. We need a bigger bathroom.

Construction of Pennysylvania begins next week, and will be a completely baby-proofed safe zone, gated off from the rest of the house, that will keep her and the dogs separate without me having to put her in a cabinet for safe keeping while I just try to go without an audience.

*****

You know what else I hate? (“Everything?”) (Let it rest, Internet.) I hate when something breaks, or doesn’t work the way it should, or is unnecessarily complicated, and you SAY as much, and someone tells you a workaround, as if you hadn’t thought of it. I mean, maybe sometime you HADN’T thought of it, but most times, you’re just saying, “Hey, it should work this way.”

It’s like if you walked into your office and said, “It’s so annoying that Big Main Road that leads to the office is still closed! It’s been forever, this is really an unreasonable amount of time for a road to be closed, especially a large highway such as that!”

And someone says, “Well, you can go the back way. It’s only 10 minutes more.”

And you’re like, “… I’m here. I got here, to the office, where you are speaking to me. I know there’s another way. I used it. TO GET HERE. I’m just saying, I shouldn’t HAVE to.”

Or an example on Twitter. If you don’t use Twitter, let me quickly explain that your timeline can be public, for all to see, or locked, so that only those you allow can see your timeline.

If you come across a locked account and you would like access to follow that person, you send a request for that person to approve or deny.

When someone follows me, I check out their timeline to see if they’re a real person and someone who looks enjoyable to me. If they are, I follow back. Well, that’s how I used to do things, and my new way presents even more problems, but ANYWAY.

When someone who has a private account follows me, I can’t check out their timeline without requesting to be allowed to follow them. You’re forced to follow someone to find out if you even want to follow them.

I understand why some people want to have locked accounts and I’m not going to argue with them. But I think that if YOU, with a locked account, follow ME, it SHOULD COUNT as approval for me to see your Tweets. I shouldn’t have to go through the approval process. You wanted to follow me, so it should be assumed that you’d like me to follow you back so we can talk.

If you mention this issue on Twitter, three things will happen:

1. Some people will agree, because THIS MAKE SENSE.
2. A bunch of people will get all huffy because they don’t read well and assume you’re campaigning against locked accounts in general.
3. Someone will say, “Well, you can just request to follow and then unfollow right away if you don’t like them.”

I KNOW I CAN DO THAT, THREES. I just SHOULDN’T HAVE TO.

I get tons of spam Twitter followers, just like everyone else, and some days are worse than others and my inbox is just flooded with “new follower” messages from Twitter. I’ve started to ignore them. When someone talks to me, I check to see if I’m following them, and if I’m not, I follow back. If I’m not following you back on Twitter, it’s probably because you followed me and then never spoke to me. Your perogative, but I’m just explaining.

Anyway, if you follow me from a locked account and then you talk to me, I can’t see it. Even if you @ me. Because your account is locked. That is why I think that if your account is locked and you follow me, your account should become visible to me. It just makes sense.

Shut up, threes!

“We were just trying to be helpful.”

I fucking hate you, threes.

*****

NOW HIRING: STYLIST
Must demonstrate concern for dignity of baby.

“What… what is going ON here?”

“Is she KIDDING me with this?”

“What the shit IS THIS? I don’t remember buying ANY of this.”