Lauren Wellbank

One mom and her struggle to survive until bedtime


Month: April 2016

Confession Time…

Sooooo, I have a little confession to make.  It’s embarrassing so we’ll keep it between us, okay?  I recently discovered Luluroe clothing.  If you don’t know what it is, stop reading this right now.  Do not proceed any further because you do not want to know what I’m about to tell you.  Don’t Google it out of curiosity.  You know what that did to the cat.

If you do know what Luluroe is then that means you may be in the same boat as I am (and that boat is probably sinking because it’s packed from bow to stern with leggings, yeah boat talk).  Or maybe you are a much stronger (read: more reasonable) person than I am and you didn’t lose your dang mind over how fun and easy it is to shop via Facebook.  Yeah that’s right, I just said shop over Facebook.  Your mind is blown, right?

If you know that curiosity killed the cat then you may also know that satisfaction brought him back.  So I’ll go ahead and try my best to explain everything to you.  Luluroe is an online clothing company.  Their shtick is that they produce limited quantities of each pattern in every style of clothing.  So for example say they make a dress, a skirt, and leggings out of a fabric that has pictures of rolls of toilet paper on them.  They will only produce 1,000 items made out of this fabric.  This means 333.33333333 dresses, 333.33333333 skirts, and 333.33333333 leggings (I really should have picked an easier number to divide by).  It creates artificial demand.  Because in the real world not many people are going to buy a dress covered in rolls of toilet paper (that is not a real pattern that I know, but it could be).  A Facebook “pop up” is a different story.   I’ll explain that term in a minute.

You can only buy these clothes from a consultant and most of them do all of their sales online.  They will take a picture of each item of clothing and then post them all at one time.  Then we, the shoppers, will have to quickly go through all the pictures and see if there is something that we want.  If there is we have to be the first person to comment on the photo (“sold”).  Since there are A.) No catalogues, so all inventory depends on your consultant B.) Hardly much duplication due to the limited runs of prints and C.) the overwhelming excitement of having to race other people to the print that you want it becomes a bit, addicting.

Now, to explain the “pop up”.  It’s a temporary group on Facebook where the sales take place.  See, that was easy.  A consultant will schedule a pop up for (as an example) Monday night at 8PM.  She may have thousands of people in her group.  As her pictures of the products start coming up all of these people are trying to go through to photos as quickly as they can so that they can be sure to get their top choices.  Especially if they are looking for something specific, which most people are.  If there is a print that is especially hard to find, it’s called a unicorn.  Which is especially frustrating when the one print that you want the most but are having the hardest time finding is one that contains unicorns, but, whatever. 

So, a few months ago I was introduced into this weird world of shopping.  I didn’t really get into it at first.  Even after I got my first pair of leggings.  And oh my god were they the most comfortable leggings that I had ever worn.  They were soft.  They were a really cute print.  And they seemed to be hand crafted for me by magicians, they fit me perfectly.  I knew that I wanted more but I didn’t really see any styles that I couldn’t live without (I’m still in the process of Konmaring my life so, I don’t really like to bring anything into our house anymore unless I positively can’t live without it).  After a while I came across another pair that I liked.  They were green, which is kind of my signature color, and they were obnoxious as could be, which is kind of my signature style.  Sold.

green

Then I found a pair of black leggings with rainbow of octopi all over them.  SOLD!

Octopi

By then I was hooked.  I had to see what other exciting colors and patterns there were.  This is where the embarrassment starts.  I have bees, clouds with suns peeking out, obnoxious patterns, arrows, big foot, giant flowers, cats, even a few solids, just to name some.  I also have a dress (which I got for free for hosting a party, along with another pair of leggings, you know, I’m not totally out of control).  I’m probably a few hundred dollars into this hole.  Which is insane, because they are LEGGINGINS.  I belong to about thirty groups online where they hold sales.  I check them every time there is a pop up.  Sometimes refreshing the screen until my fingers hurt.  I’m on the hunt for my unicorns (literally).

I justify it all by saying that I don’t really spend money on anything for myself anymore.  I also don’t have any clothes that really work for my new lifestyle (you know, the stay-at-somebody-else’s-home-mom thing that I have going on).  Or anything that really works for my new body either.  I weigh less than I did before I got pregnant so all my bottoms were literally falling off of me (I know, I know, the struggle is real).

My husband is cool with it because it makes me happy and because I think he doesn’t really know how much I purchased over the past few months (HUSBAND, STOP READING NOW).  I used to get so mad at him when I would see him get a package in the mail that would have a new comic book or action figure or movie.  Now I am the one getting little parcels in the mail.  I know some day I’m going to have to come clean to him (that day is tomorrow when he reads this, by the way).  I just hope that he can forgive me, and remember that I really needed some new clothes.  Also, please friends, if I die, don’t let him sell my Lularoe for what I told him I paid for it.  Please put it on eBay for him and sell it to the highest bidders.  Although I may not have found my literal unicorns, I do have a lot of other people’s figurative unicorns.  People are paying three and four times what they cost for these things.

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Those little ones on the side are matching pairs for my daughter.  Yes, I’m that mom.

Actually, hold the phone (HUSBAND, YOU CAN COME BACK!!!), I have an idea.  This isn’t an embarrassing addiction, this is a cleaver use of capitol.  Imagine what my return on investment is going to be.  I have all of these in demand leggings that people are paying four times what I paid for them.  I haven’t gone down the rabbit hole, I’ve begun our daughter’s college fund.

Oh thank god.  I was beginning to think I had a problem.

My New Nemesis

I have a new sworn enemy.  It’s been a while since I’ve made that declaration.  Probably since I left the workforce.  I had a pretty solid nemesis at my last job.  And the job before that.  And the job before that.  Both my husband and my mother will tell you that it’s because I can hold a grudge like nobody’s business.  That’s because I believe in consequences and if you’ve done something to wrong me, well then I brand you with the Scarlet N and declare you dead to me.  Sometimes there is a burning of an effigy.  It take this all very seriously.

There was the girl who, upon my first few weeks in the office, openly talked shit about my spinach dip that I had brought for a work party.  She sat two feet away from me and told everyone within ear shot how horrible it was and how she couldn’t believe that somebody would bring something like that to share with other people.  She then went on to tout the deliciousness of the spinach dip that guy that was sitting directly in front of me brought.  This went on for a good ten minutes while I sat staring at my computer, too flustered to even say anything.  The only bright side of this exchange was that at the end of the ten minutes it turned out that the terrible-awful-abomination dip actually belonged to the guy sitting in front of me, while my dip was the one that she sang the praises of.  I’d like to say that I just sat there quietly and enjoyed the turn of events, but what actually happened was that I screamed out “HA!” triumphantly and then immediately pretended that I hadn’t heard a thing.  I don’t think I’ve ever claimed to be mature.  Obviously she was immediately on my shit list.

There was a man once that I began on good terms with.  We would even take breaks and lunch together.  One day his feelings about our friendship changed, and mine did not.  In response to this he requested that his seat be moved away from mine.  Then he requested to be switched to an entirely different team.  When I would pass him in the halls he would literally act like I didn’t exist and look up in the air as if the ceiling had suddenly opened up and was showing him the meaning of life (and in all honestly it could have been, how would I ever know because he never spoke to me again, even though we worked together at THREE DIFFERENT COMPANIES).  I suppose he wasn’t so much my nemesis as I was his.  I mean, I at least had to have cost him a pretty penny in chiropractic visits for the crick in his neck.  And I am sure there was an upcharge for the removal of the stick from his ass.

My all-time favorite one had to be a woman that I worked with years ago.  We were friendly enough in the rare instances at work that our paths crossed.  She was an administrative assistant to our operations manager and our job functions had little to no overlap.  The only real reason we ever even had to speak was when I, ever the warm and kind person, would say good morning to her when I passed her desk.  At the time we were all working about 70 hours a week in the office (can you believe I left such a fun field?!) and the company had taken to providing dinner to keep us in the office later.  Since I was basically living there at this point I had a lot of supplies stored there, including dining utensils (because I literally ate all three meals there Monday through Friday and on occasion a weekend meal or two).  There must have been a shortage of paper plates in the conference room so this woman, we’ll call her Tammy, walked up to where all my supplies were and took the entire pack of paper plates.  We’re talking about 300 plates.  I said, “Hey, Tammy, don’t you want to ask me if you can use those first?”  Tammy did not.  Instead, Tammy scowled at me and threw them on the floor and walked away.  I absolutely would have let her use the plates if she had asked.  I didn’t think I was out of line, and to this day I still don’t.  It doesn’t matter that they were only paper plates.  They cost seven dollars.  I wouldn’t expect her to take seven dollars out of my desk without asking.  From that day on she scowled at me every time she saw me.  If she was with someone else she would lean over and, much like in a TV show about teenagers, hold her hand up in front of her mouth and whisper into their ear while looking at me and laughing.  I, for obvious reasons, stopped saying hello in the morning.

That brings us to my brand spanking new nemesis.

I was getting ready to leave my house and head over to hang out with my grandmother as per usual.  Our daily departure procedure is that I carry the diaper bag and let the toddler walk herself to the car.  Almost every single day she runs to the flower bed next to the driveway and smells the flowers while I put the diaper bag in the car, and then she runs over to the wrong side of the car and makes me chase her around, well, because she’s a toddler and it’s what they do.

I’m in the middle of this little dance when I hear my neighbor across the street talking to someone.  In the instant before someone becomes your sworn enemy they usually just look like a regular person, which is how this guy looked.  I had never laid eyes on him before but my husband assures me that he is over their house all the time and that he is, in fact, a dickhead.  So this regular looking guy looks over at me chasing my daughter around the car and then proclaims loudly to my neighbor that he better move his truck from where it’s parked (directly behind my driveway, as it is every other day) or else “that girl over there is going to hit it”.

Boobs

Boom, Nemesis.

First of all, girl?  Come on, I’m closer to being fifty than I am to being a girl.

Second of all, I am amazed that the stereotype that women can’t drive is still a thing.  Although, it may only be alive and well in this guy’s life.  I’m sure he also has some AIDS jokes that he finds hilarious.

Thirdly, and probably the thing that I’m most pissed off about is that I didn’t say anything to him.  Part of it was because I was a little caught off guard.  Part of it was that it took a little while to get under my skin.  I don’t know if it was being called girl or if it was the implied inability to back out of my driveway because I lacked a penis.  I mean, is there some top secret rule to driving that I don’t understand where you need a dangling appendage to correctly back down a driveway?  Is that how you are supposed to shift into reverse?  Is that how he thinks you are supposed to shift into reverse?

If you are a rational human being you may be thinking, jeeze, he was probably thinking that his friend was parked in a really crappy spot and maybe wanted to help you both out by letting him know that he should move his car before he caused you both a lot of griefYou’re kind of a bitch.  To that I say, keep any thoughts that a reasonable person may have to yourself.  They have no place here!!!

I’m kidding.

Kind of.

I could be over reacting but we’ll never know.  All I do know is that I can add being called “girl” by strange men to my list of things that irk me (along with shit talking my spinach dip, being a jerk because I didn’t want to go out on a date with you, and trying to steal my dang paper plates).  The list may not be long, but I obviously take it super seriously.

The Lighted Tunnel – a short story

For the first time since I had built it, I found myself outside relaxing on my new deck.  It had taken two months of weekends and late nights after work to get it built, and I was finally about to get a chance to enjoy it.  I was only about ten minutes into full on relaxation, head back, feet up, when I noticed something on the wood towards the edge of the deck.  With an exasperated, and maybe a little melodramatic, sigh I threw my legs back down off the ottoman and got up to investigate.  The closer I got the clearer it became that it wasn’t an object sitting on the wood like I had originally assumed, but what appeared to be a hole in the actual timber.  “Damn.”  I whispered.

Getting down on my hands and knees, I leaned over the gouge that was ruining the beauty of my lounge space.  Suddenly, from the dark below I saw something move.  I leaned in closer and saw the briefest flash of light.  My interest piqued and my frustration almost forgotten, I leaned even closer so that my eye was almost up against the opening.  “What the…” I did not get to finish my thought as there was another flash of light.  I began gently picking at the sides of the hole.  My desire to see more of what was going on under the deck momentarily outweighing reason.  The hole appeared mildly rotted around the edges and came apart easily as I touched it.

Without warning the light came back and shone brightly into my face.  I fell backwards, startled.  Spots clouded my vision from where the too bright light had seared my eyes.  Slowly I pushed up from my elbows to a sitting position.  Light had begun to glow up through all the slats in the deck’s boards now.  Reality came back to me at once.  This was weird.  The time for curiosity had turned into the time for fear.  The glowing light had intensified as it came from the ground.  At first it was just warm, but it had become hot, and then scorching as it lit up my bare feet and short clad legs.  Screaming in pain I fell down, my whole body now feeling like it was burning up.  Then blessedly, there was nothing.  The light was gone.  The burning was gone.

Time had passed.  It was no longer a beautiful fall day, but now a chilly winter night.  The sky felt low and menacingly dark.  My eyes darted around the porch and out into what I could see of the yard.  All the grass was dead and the trees had completely lost their leaves.  It looked as if months had passed in those few moments of pain and blindness.  Rising, I cautiously looked back to the hole.  It was now dark below.  I looked around the yard again.  It was actually dark above too.  The sky was void of stars and even the streetlights remained unlit.  For the first time I turned to look at my house.  From the end of the deck, in the darkness, the place didn’t just seem empty, it seemed abandoned.  Shakily, I walked towards my rear door, but stopped just short of it.

There was another gouge in the deck.  For a moment I just stared, afraid that the painful light was going to return and blind me once more.  My breath was caught in my throat as I waited for something to happen.  When the light didn’t shine after a minute or two I took another step forward.  I walked cautiously around the new hole, looking into it the entire time, afraid to look away.  The light still didn’t come, so I continued to the door.  My hand was only on the knob long enough to feel the cool copper register on my burnt skin before I heard the noise.  It interrupted the all too still night air.  Looking around, I tried to locate the direction from which it came.  As the noise grew I realized that it had actually been there all along, just at a much lower volume.

My heart began to race.  Fear once again lifting the fog that was settled over my brain.  This was not right.  Nothing was right.  The porch began to vibrate.  It was slight at first but then it picked up.  I was reminded of that summer during my childhood when I would walk the train tracks alone behind our trailer park.  It felt like a train was coming.  I was still facing the door when the light returned.  I practically fell into the house trying to save myself from being burned alive.  The light was now pouring into the house through the windows.  It filled up the entire room like a liquid would.  Just as the noise reached its crescendo the frame of the house began to shake.  Pictures fell off the walls and furniture vibrated across the floor.  I lay there with my hands covering my head, trying to protect my face from the shattering glass.   The house and I cried out as one, and then, there was silence.

Tentatively I uncovered my face.  When nothing terrifying happened, I sat up.  Everything was in shambles.  My kitchen table was overturned, the couch was on the other side of the room, and the walls were barren save for a few nails that once held photos.  Shaking the glass shards off my shoulders and out of my hair, careful not to cut myself, I walked back to the door.  Everything was quiet, even the dull rumble was silenced.  My ears were still ringing from the noise of it all and I looked backed out of what was once a window, onto the deck, and into the yard.

It was no longer a cold winter’s night, it now appeared to be a dreary spring morning.  It was raining and chilly.  The wind blew the smell of fresh flowers into my now dilapidated home.  Out on the deck I saw that there were now even more holes, and to my horror, they were bigger.  I opened the door and stepped gingerly onto the porch, mindful of the glass in my socks.  I stepped further out, still ready to run back in at the first sign of the light.   I took a deep breath and took another step outside.  The rain blew into my face with every strong gust of wind.  It felt good on my seared flesh.

With great trepidation I made my way over to the first hole.  I looked into it with squinted eyes.  Afraid that the light might come back, hungry for more skin, more destruction, more time.  Whatever the light was coming for, whatever it was that the light was eating, I just wanted it to stop.  I just wanted back to my warm fall day, lounging peacefully with my feet up on the ottoman.  Back to the reality I had known only minutes before (or had it been days… or months).  Gradually, a new sound began to rise from below.

I turned to run too late.  Instead of getting away from the hole I fell into it.  I hit the ground with a thud, jolted all the way down to my bones with the impact.  I laid there for a second in the complete darkness, utterly still.  I couldn’t move at first.  Either fear or pain was keeping me incapacitated.  I didn’t care, I no longer wanted to move.

I don’t know how long I laid there on the cold ground with my eyes squeezed shut, wishing myself back into reality.  Wishing myself anywhere but here.  Before long there came another noise.  Not a rumbling, but a moaning.  It took me a moment to realize that it was a person and, to my complete astonishment, that it wasn’t me.

“Hello?”  I croaked.  “Hello, is someone down here with me?”  I waited for a reply but none came.  “Hello?”  Pause.  “Is anyone down here?”  I sounded so pathetic that I couldn’t call out again.  It hurt my pride just to hear myself sound that way; the pain, the fear, the confusion.  From further away I heard the moaning again.  I stood up carefully but my head began to spin anyway.  I took a tentative step forward, then two, and pretty soon I was slowly walking towards the new location of the noise.  It took about a dozen steps before I heard the noise again.  It was much closer this time.  Close enough that I felt more comfortable with a whisper, “Hello?”  Nothing, “Hello?”  I strained my ears as much as I could and I held my breath, waiting.

There was a rustling, almost like fabric on fabric, then there was a click and a blinding light.  I cried out automatically, flashbacks of the other light immediately coming to mind.  A moment passed and I was still cowered, covering my face, and groaning.  The light was still shining but it was a different kind of light.  This light was shaky, and it wasn’t burning my skin.  Removing my hands from my face I looked directly into it.  I felt anger for the first time in, well, I didn’t know how long it had been since I’d fallen through the deck.  It had only felt like a few moments but I could tell even in the dark that my nails were longer.  My once clean shaven face no longer felt hairless.

The light ahead actually appeared to be from a flashlight that someone was holding.  I cleared my throat and with more strength than I thought I still had I spoke hello again.

“What?”  A young man answered.  “What are you on about?”  The man’s voice sounded so young that I should actually have been thinking of him as a boy.  He had the light in one hand and the other hand was poised impatiently on his hip.  ImpatientHimWith me?

“What is going on here?”  I demanded.  He took a step back, dropped his hand from his hip, and made a disgusted noise.  Then he turned on his feet and took off, the light bobbing away with him as he ran.  I tried to run after him but I was already so weak and disoriented that I quickly lost sight of him.  “Where are you going?”  I cried out “Come back here! Please don’t go!”  But the light slowly faded completely from view.  I sat back down and put my head in my hands and sobbed openly.

More time passed.  Eventually I got back up and began walking.  Everything was silent.  Not even the sound of my footsteps was audible.  I walked with my head down and my shoulders slumped in the dark.  I cried softly off and on until I didn’t have any more tears left inside me.  Who knew how long had gone by since that warm fall day.  My once tightly shorn hair was now down to my shoulders and my nails were long and claw like.  I stumbled through the dark, my clothes still surprisingly intact, but socks threadbare across the bottom.

More time passed.  I slept.  I dreamt.  I opened my eyes and it took a moment for my pupils to dilate.  At first I thought I had been dreaming again.  I looked around, this time my eyes fully adjusted thanks to a bit of murky light.  Finally I was able to see the walls of the place that I was in.  It appeared that I was in a tunnel.  People were walking on either side of me.  “Oh my God.” I breathed, “Oh my God.” There were hundreds upon hundreds of people with me in the tunnel.  They were all walking straight ahead just as I had been.  I spun around looking for help.  “Hey?”  I said urgently, “Hey!”  The man next to me continued to walk with his head down, looking at his feet.  Reaching out I gave him a bit of a shove to roust him from his daze.  He grunted and looked up at me.  His long overgrown hair flapped up and caught the woman next to him in the face.  She was staring at me as well.

I looked around and now everyone was looking directly at me.  Every face in the crowd had turned towards mine in the few moments since I had called out.  Together we all slowed and eventually came to a stop.  I took a deep breath and once again tried to engage someone, anyone, in conversation.  They all continued to look blankly at me.  Then all together they closed their eyes.  I stood there, anxiously awaiting whatever was going to come next when they all spoke in union.

Be quiet.  Can you tell we’re thinking?”  I jumped at the sound of thousands of voices speaking at once.  They all slightly twitched with me.  I look a step back and so did everyone else.  I turned my head to look behind me and once more they moved in unison.  I took a few steps backwards and was mirrored yet again.  The back of my neck tightened with the wrongness of it all.  Trying to run away, I tripped, and the horde crashed down on top of me.  Drowning in the sea of people I screamed.  My only answer was the scream of the thousands of people that surrounded me.  With every attempt to push people off of me they pushed me down further, “Help me!”  I gasped with my last breath.

“Honey, you’re going to burn.”  I felt someone’s hands on my shoulder.  I sat up with a scream caught in my throat.  My heart was racing so fast that my hands were shaking.  “Baby, are you okay?”  My wife was looking down at me, silhouetted by the high fall sun.  Throwing my hand up to shade my eyes I nodded, and tried to catch my breath.

“Bad dream.”  I managed.  She nodded knowingly and smiled down at me.

“You’ve been out here a little while and you’re not wearing sun screen.  I don’t want you to burn.”  She looked around the deck then back down at me and smiled warmly.  “I’m running out to the store.  I’ll be back in a little bit.  I just wanted to let you know.”  She leaned down and gave me a kiss and then walked back into the house.  I could hear her pick her keys up off the kitchen table as she did so.  A few minutes later I heard the front door open and close and then in another few moments, the car started.

My heart rate was finally beginning to slow and I leaned head back.  This time I didn’t close my eyes.  The dream was still too fresh in my mind and I was too afraid to fall back asleep and end up in the dark again.  I looked around, taking in the beauty of the day with new more appreciative eyes, and signed deeply full of relief.  It was just a dream.

I was about to get up when I noticed something.  There was an object over on the far side of the porch.  Slowly I swung my feet off of the ottoman and walked towards it.  The closer I got the clearer it became that it wasn’t an object at all but a hole in the wood of the deck.  Somewhere, from down below, came a rumble…

Drink Beer and Eat Cookies

My husband is cranky, which means that I am cranky (I’m not cranky at him, it’s more like I’m cranky with him, or I guess more accurately I am cranky near him).  Today was a perfectly fine day for me with the all the normal ups and downs.  Nothing out of the usual here (except that now our daughter can get up onto the couch all by herself which means that when I got back into the living room after flipping a load of laundry from the washer to the drier she was sitting on the couch holding the Xbox controller and watching TV like a mini version of her father and it was… surprising).  He came home in a bad mood and it kind of changed the mood of the entire house.  Whatever, I totally understand.  He works for a soulless corporation that is slowly sucking out his will to live.  Hey, trust me, I get it.  Remember me, of the career in the mortgage industry?  I get the soul-sucking-deadening-inside.  And we are a team and I agreed to love him for better and for worse and all that jazz.  So, in the spirit of being on the same team, I am cranky with him (nay, near him).  Go Team Cranky!

Right now I think we are both trying to go to our happy places.  His is on the couch playing video games and watching what sounds a lot like professional wrestling (did I mention my husband is secretly a thirteen year old boy) and mine is typing away on the computer with some cookies, some pretzels, and a beer (did I mention that I’m secretly Cathy, from the comic strip Cathy).  Our couch climbing daughter is blissfully asleep, having worn herself out hiking up Mt. Sofa for most of the evening.  I feel like the tension that was hovering over us during dinner is rising up and floating away.  TV, beer, and cookies for the win.

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Now, I’m going to reiterate just in case I wasn’t clear, I’m not upset with my husband but upset alongside of him.  I love him and care about how he feels.  His woes are my woes.  When he is feeling downtrodden and put upon then so do I (sometimes… when he’s upset because he feels like I’m nagging him about leaving his socks next to the hamper instead of two inches over and inside the hamper, well that’s his burden to bear… put your damn socks in the hamper and I won’t have to nag you about it, duh).  We are a team, cranky or otherwise, and I have his back.  Just like if he came home happy because he was just offered his dream job of… I don’t know, reading video game comic books while wearing a wrestling mask and eating chicken wings… well I would be happy too.  As long as that job came with some solid insurance that included dental and a vision plan, obviously.

Until that time I’m going to have to find another way to keep the morale in this house elevated.  And, although a steady diet of cookies, pretzels, and beer consumed by the sweet lullaby of wrestling and… maybe Fallout Four?  I’m not entirely sure what he’s playing, sounds good in theory, I don’t think it would be that great in practice.  First of all, I would have diabetes within a month, for sure.  I’m certain my husband would get some sort of video game related thumb injury.  Plus, think of the child.  She’ll grown into some wild half Gremlin half Mowgli creature that thinks nothing of diving off the couch and onto the coffee table with a stuffed animal in a head lock.  That is not a good look for this family.  Although, if some other family wants to try out this parenting method and report back to me, I would be very interested to hear the outcome.

I’m also going to have to find a better way to communicate to my husband that I’m on his team, no matter what.  And not just because we are stuck together for the next 16 and a half years.  I may not have done such a good job of it tonight and I feel like maybe we both retired to our separate corners to regroup.

I think that’s more of a boxing reference than a wrestling one, but I don’t know enough about wrestling to be certain.  And since everything I know about boxing comes from the Rocky franchise… I don’t know, maybe something else entirely happens in those corners.  We’ll never know.  Or at least I won’t, because I’m too lazy to look it up and the idea of boxers hanging out in their own separate corners collecting their thoughts and maybe wondering if they need to diversify their retirement portfolios kind of appeals to me.

In the future I think I’ll do a better job of telling him all of this when we are in the moment.  Not like tonight where we ate a mostly silent dinner together.  I’ll remind him that we’re on Team Cranky together.  Maybe I’ll make shirts or a handy little flag to waive at him when he is feeling down.  Next time, I’ll a better job.

As for now, I think the only answer is to finish typing this up, post it on my blog, and go to sleep.  He’ll read it tomorrow and know that I care.

I kid, I kid. 

I’m going to make him read it tonight.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

You never know how much capacity your heart has for love until it is fit to burst with it.  I have experienced that sensation many times before (because my life is pretty freaking rad) and it’s a different feeling each and every time.  This time my heart is swelling with love for my family.  That’s right, my family gave my heart a chubby.  Before I explain that… maybe alarming… statement, I want to talk about me because… well, it’s what I do.

My hair is having a very exciting month.  Or maybe, just an exciting two weeks.  As you may remember I was recently a bit blue.  This week, I’m a bit bald.  A few days ago I shaved my head (more accurately my sister shaved it for me.  If the whole teaching thing doesn’t work out for her she has a future as a very specific type of hair stylist).  I did it for so many reasons and at the same time, just one, love.  Love for an aunt that is bravely fighting, love for my family that all came out in such a major show of support, and a love of beauty, because bald is beautiful too.

There were some fundraising goals set for money we were collecting for said aunt.  There were different stages of goals; outrageous hair coloring for one, men shaving their legs for another, and the big money ticket for if we totally met our goal, was for some of the ladies to shave our heads.

Let’s start with the bald of it all.  When we originally said we were going to shave our heads if we met our goal there were some comments made.  Some people thought we were crazy, some people thought we would regret it, and some thought we wouldn’t go through with it.  Now that I’m on the other side and sporting my new low maintenance look, I have a few things to say to anyone that may be considering making the cut, for whatever reasons you may have, that I couldn’t say pre-Ripley from Alien 3.

Bald is brave.  Girl, I know that you don’t know what shape your head is under there.  What if you have a patch of hair that is actually more like boar hair but you never noticed before because it was hidden under all that other hair?  Or there’s some crazy bump at the top that you never really think about because your hair covers it.  Face your fears.  Chances are that you have a delightful shape to your noggin (you know, the standard head shaped noggin).  I am sure you are as close to perfect as you can be.  And if you’re not, well chances are that nobody will notice.  They have too much going on in their own life to worry about your hair style choices.

Bald is ballsy.  Some people might think that you teach women’s studies at a local college.  Some people may think you are quietly showing your allegiance with camp Donald Trump.  Some people may think that you lost a really long and drawn out battle with a lice infestation.  Anyone that gives it a second thought (and most will not, because again, most people don’t care why you have the hair style you have) will try and figure out your story.  They may speculate some really crazy things about why you rock the Sinead O’Connor but they will probably all share a common thought.  There goes one bad ass lady.

Bald is baller.  Guess who wakes up ready to go?  This girl.  No more bed head here!  Guess who isn’t spending $20 a bottle on fancy shampoo* made out of unicorn tears for her magical snowflake hair?  Again, this girl.  Want to jazz your dome up for a special occasion?  Boom, headband!

*In this case Unicorn Tear shampoo is more commonly known as no poo shampoo for curly hair and it was so worth every twenty of those dollars, thank you very much!

It just so happens that fancy shampoo just happens to be a terrific segue into the super colorful bathwater that so many ladies I know are experiencing this weekend.  Some of them have pink, some of them have blue, and some have a purplish hue (tell me that doesn’t just roll off the tongue).  I have never before seen so many beautiful jewel toned heads in my life.  I love it.  Every single one of them completely radiated beauty, but it wasn’t just in the colors of their hair.  It was in their acts of love and support.  Even though I think everyone is really rocking their new hair styles I really think they are all even lovelier on their insides, you know, where our heart boners live.

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(I did not have pictures of everyone to post.  If you want your pictures added, let me know and send them on over!)

And that leads us to the men.  Of course I can’t forget the men!  NONE OF THEM SHAVED THEIR LEGS.  Why you ask?  Because men are sissies**.  And it takes balls to go pink, balls to go blue, and balls to go bald.  Even if it is just your legs.

And although I can’t say enough how amazing we are all looking, how we look isn’t actually the point.  We are more than all of that.  I’m not my hair, you’re not your hair, none of us are our hair.  Or our weight.  Or our height for that matter (shout out to the shorty).  Or any other superficial thing.

Instead we should all judge our self-worth based on things that actually matter.  Like stepping up in whatever way you can to support someone that needs to see they are not alone.  On being a good person on the inside that tries to say more kind things than hurtful.  For being someone that is kind to animals and the elderly.  Oh, and let’s not forget the people that use the correct form of their, they’re, and there.  Also people who say Lauren and I when it should be me and Lauren (and vice versa).

Small aside: I know that all of this is easy for me to say because I made the choice to shave my head.  I got to choose.  I could have just as easily let it grow or cut it into whatever style I damn well pleased.  I get that it’s not the same and I am not trying to say that it is.  I am trying to say that it’s just hair.  It doesn’t make you, it doesn’t break you, and it serves no other purpose than to keep your scalp from getting a sun burn (note to self, get more sun screen). 

**And yeah, okay, the men all had valid reasons for not shaving their legs but I still reserve the right to mock them.

The Day I Learned Too Much About Turkey Vultures

This morning I had a really cool experience as I watched two turkey vultures in flight.  I have never seen them fly before, I’ve only ever seen them on the side of the road eating dead things (dead things, Mikey, dead things).  I was driving down my street when one caught my eye.  Fortunately there were no other cars on the road so I wasn’t in anyone’s way.  I watched them circle around gracefully and land in a tree in a yard not too far from where I was stopped.  Naturally, being the weirdo that I am, I followed them.  It was only two quick turns before I was sitting in front of a stranger’s house with my four ways on.  I tried to take a picture of them through the car window (you know, super casually) but they were too high up so I had to get out of the car to take the picture.  As I stood there in the middle of the road, in front of some random house, pointing my camera up at the top of their tree, I thought about what a weird sight I might be (you know, other than my blue hair, bright green leggings, and red coat).

I was in a hurry to get the picture before someone came running out of the house and yelled at me so they aren’t that good.

I quickly jumped back into my car and sped off, hoping that I didn’t freak out the people whose house I was standing in front of.  Assuming that they were still alive, that is.  My wildly over active imagination was painting quite the macabre picture of a slain family inside the quiet house on the quiet street (there may or not be a turkey vulture short story coming very soon to a blog near you… consider yourself forewarned).

All of this was in the back of my mind as I drove to my parent’s house.  I was very excited to show my grandmother the pictures that I had taken, tell her about what I saw, and share my nefarious theory about why they were there (she reacted with a very concerned, “Whaaaaaaaat?!” when I proposed that the house may be full of dead people, murdered quietly in the night.  She may or may not be terrified of me now).  As usual my thought process went in a million different directions and by the time I got to my parents I was dying to get in some quality time with Mr. Google and learn everything I could about turkey vultures.

I learned some really interesting things, and some really disgusting things.  I now consider myself a turkey vulture expert.  Here are some of the highlights.

  1. Unlike most birds they lack the ability to vocalize. So instead of chirping or singing or any of that super charming stuff that birds do, they grunt and hiss.  This is probably why Walt Disney did not include them in Cinderella.  Nobody wants to see a turkey vulture spitting all over Cinderella’s hair while she’s getting ready for the ball.
  2. The can see gas. That’s how they detect food.  Their eyes are crazy good and they just fly around scanning the atmosphere.  Knowing this I have a new theory as to why they were so close to our house this morning.  We had chili last night for dinner and there was quite a bit of gas coming from our house.  You know, because of farts.
  3. They nasty. They pee and poop on their legs.  As it evaporates it cools their body down.
  4. Often times they can be seen with their wings outspread, just chilling out. What they are actually doing is trying to bake off bacteria.    Bacteria, fresh from the oven.

Now, we BOTH know more about turkey vultures than we ever wanted to know.  Also, I hope you read that in the voice of the guy who does the honey badger video, because that’s how it sounded in my head.  Oh, and even though they are super heinous looking, they are strictly scavengers and almost never kill other animals for food (but, nothing I read mentioned killing for the sheer joy of it, which I have my suspicions about).

The Turkey Vulture.

Feeling Blue…

I’m feeling pretty blue today.  I don’t know if it’s the blue hair dye that is currently all over my tub.  Or the blotches of blue that are all over my hands.  Maybe it’s the fact that every time I look in the mirror I am assaulted by my bright blue hair.  In certain light it looks a little green.  Just enough to make me feel like the Joker (we have the same hair cut)… but before we get into all that, I want to tell you all a little story.  Gather around friends.  I want to tell you about my mortal enemy, and longtime nemesis, the color blue…

It all began one sweltering summer night in July 2012.  It was the eve of my brother’s wedding.  It was hotter than balls (which translates into roughly 97 degrees Fahrenheit) and we were standing on the scorching sand of the beach where they were to be wed the following day.  Sweat dripped down our faces as we practiced walking up and down the sandy aisle.  All of the women were in dresses and flip flops and as we walked we kicked up sand that immediately adhered to our sticky legs.  I don’t know if I am making myself clear enough, but it was hot and sandy.

Yes, yes, it was also beautiful and lovely and a magical day for the couple and our families and blah blah blah.

I was also in a dress.  I had to go out and buy something new because I didn’t have anything that was quite right for the occasion.  I felt like most of what I had was too formal for a beach rehearsal followed by a backyard BBQ dinner, or way too casual for being for a rehearsal dinner.  I had a good idea of what I needed and after a short shopping trip I had purchased the perfect dress for the occasion, a short blue floral sundress.

Now, the events that unfolded next are mostly my fault.  I should have washed the dress first.  In my excitement, and also my desire to not have to do any more work than I was already doing, I did not wash my dress.  Instead I threw it into the suitcase while still in the bag that I had brought it home in.  Once it was time to get ready for the rehearsal I threw on the dress and headed out into the unbelievable heat.  We had a lot of fun fooling around on the beach and then at the BBQ.  The night wound down and we headed back to our hotel room.  Since it was such a long tiring day (and we may have had a beer or two at the BBQ) we literally walked into our room and collapsed onto the bed. We fall into sweet blissful (COOL, let’s not forget the air conditioner, doing the lord’s work that weekend) sleep.  I don’t think either of us moved until that next morning when it was time for me to get up and get ready to head out for hours of primping (as is the wedding custom).

When the morning arrived I got up, went into the bathroom to get into the shower, and took off my dress.  At which point I made the discovery that sometime during the night I had turned into a Smurf.  I was blue.  As in, maybe I actually died sometime in the night and I was now a pallid ghost wandering around, doomed to haunt the Long Branch Days Inn for all eternity, blue.  There was some mild freaking out on my part.  After all, I didn’t want to be the blue lunatic in the pale yellow dress in all the pictures.  My sister’s then boyfriend (now husband) and my boyfriend (also now husband, way to level up boys) had to run out and buy nail polish remover and then spend the better part of the morning trying to rub the dye off of me.  Obviously we’re all super close now.

We did the best we could and you can hardly even tell what had happened in the pictures.  The only real lasting effects were that the entire inside of my yellow dress was turned blue and where my sweaty hands were rubbing along the sides of it all day was also blue.  Because, well the day of the wedding also reached Hotter Than Balls on the thermometer.

Sometimes we would still joke about it and how ridiculous it was that I turned blue for a day.  I often tell people the story and then blame the store I purchased the dress from (obviously I don’t mention that I didn’t wash it first, I don’t want to sound like it was my fault) or the ever loving heat just melting the dress right off of me.  It was funny mostly because it was in the past (trust me, that morning it was not funny).

That brings us to today.  In honor of my aunt’s courageous battle against two types of cancer (one of them being colon which is represented by a blue ribbon) I dyed my hair blue this morning. I began the process by stripping my hair last night so that the blue would be really, well, blue.  I discovered that there is a reason that I was not born a blonde.  I am entirely too fair skinned to pull it off.  Also, I know that everyone always says that blondes have more fun but I didn’t have any more fun than I normally do last night.  I did, however, enjoy my daughter’s constant need to reach out and touch my hair though.  So I guess that could be what they are talking about.

Blue hair

Early this morning I got up and applied the blue color to the stripped hair.  I wore gloves and took all the extra precautions that you are supposed to.  I made sure to wipe off any excess dye that got onto my skin while the color set.  I even used astringent to clean up the one blue streak I had on my chin from scratching an itch.  Everything was perfect and I happily sat on the toilet hiding from my daughter’s hands while I waited for it to be time to rinse.  This is where everything fell apart.  First, my hands were instantly blue.  I didn’t wear my gloves into the shower because, well that’s weird, and also because I thought having running water would prevent them from getting colored.  Nay nay.  So, I saw the blue hands first.  Then my blue stomach.  Then I noticed my blue feet that were standing in my blue tub!  My entire tub turned blue.  This all happened in a matter of minutes.  All that careful prep work down the drain, literally. I got carefully out of the tub to get cleaning supplies and spent almost an hour in there cleaning up.  Since my tub was a lovely golden yellow beforehand I had cleaned it down to a faint green color.  I’m sure that it will continue to fade over time.

My body is a different story.  I look a little sickly.  Like maybe I never really survived that wedding and have just been following my husband around, haunting his life ever since then (which he may think isn’t too far off the mark).  For some unknown reason the dye that stuck to my face hasn’t yet come off my nose.  So I have that going for me.  I came out of the bathroom and showed off my new look to said husband.  He suggested that maybe I have some weird thing in my body that just reacts to blue dyes.  I guess it’s possible.  I’m going to be really pissed though if my mutant ability is being able to very slowly absorb very specific shades of blue into my body.  Like some super lame and terribly precise chameleon.

The most frustrating part of the whole day though, was that my husband got to use the perfect one liner.  As I sat on the couch texting everyone pictures of my new hair my husband looked over at me and said, “Oh honey, what’s wrong?  You’re looking a little blue.”

That bastard.

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