Today at Plasma: Toaster Oven

Today at plasma, everything went as normal. I spent my twenty minutes waiting in the waiting room, bored out of my mind.  I updated all the games on my phone.  Read my book till I got bored of it.  Then I watched the movie playing for a while.  My name was finally called and I went in for the screening.  Granted the screening is somewhat boring.  They ask the same questions every time.  They are questions that seem to rub my state of finances in my face.

“Have you gotten a tattoo or piercing in the past six months?”

“No I can’t afford one.”

“Have you been under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the past twenty four hours?”

“No I can’t afford that either.”

“Have you had acupuncture in the past six months?”

“No, I’m not going to waste my time and money getting needles poked into me when I can’t afford my damn wine.”

“Have you been or traveled to Europe?”

“Are you fucking kidding me?  How am I going to afford to travel to Europe if I’m here donating plasma for a whopping total of twenty bucks.”

Then to add insult to injury;

“Would you please step on the scale?”  I step on the scale. “Hmm…one eighty.”

I don’t say anything.  Why would I?  I can’t change my weight in a split second.

“Wow, you didn’t say anything.”

“About what?”

“You’re weight.”

“Should I?”

“No, it’s fine.  Just most girls have something to say about their weight.”

“Well, I’m not thrilled about it, but it doesn’t matter what weight I am.  No matter what most girls want to be thinner.”

Granted some of the questions are legitimate and not a bit offensive.  They ask you if you’ve been sick, or are taking medications, or have had any vaccinations. They take blood to make sure you’re healthy, have enough plasma, and protein.  As soon as you are cleared from the financially insulting questions, you are released to the second waiting area.  This next waiting area is where I encountered a glorious new donor.

I could hear a female voice coming from around the corner and giving insturctions to someone over the phone.

“Now honey pie, I don’t wanna see no mess when I get there.  You here me?”

I’m trying to focus on my book as usual, but she’s so damn loud I cannot concentrate.

“You put those…. Now what did I tell you! No! No! No! I don’t want none of that in my house! You hear me!  You aren’t listenin’ to a damn word I’m saying!”  She paused for a second.  Apparently the person on the other line was getting sassy.

Usually I don’t have to sit in the second waiting area very long.  Today was different.  Almost every seat was filled, which gave me plenty of time to listen to this conversation.  The woman kept on giving instructions and practically yelling at the other person on the line.  Even when her name was called to collect her money for the donation, she remained on the phone and kept fussing with hardly a breath taken in between.  After giving her name and social at the pay out window, she returned to her seat around the corner and scooped something up.  She blew past me carrying two large, well worn, beach bags and a beat up toaster oven.

The entire row of people in the second waiting area stopped and stared at her.   I’m not sure why they were staring, maybe it was her loud conversation, but I want to know about that toaster oven.  She was carrying it like she was trying to hide it.  The appliance itself seemed odd and out of place.  In fact it took me a minute to realize that she was carrying a toaster oven.  Then I started to wonder if she stole it from the plasma workers’ break room, or maybe from work.  Where would you get a beat up old toaster oven, and more importantly, why did she bring it to donate plasma?

My name was called shortly after the toaster oven lady left.  For one reason or another my ADD kicked in and I forgot to ask the workers about her.  If she had stolen the toaster oven from the plasma center, maybe I could have helped them recover it.  Unfortunately, my attention span gets shorter every day.  I’m sure I could be witness to some sort of heinous crime and forget it a minute later because I was thinking about cookies.

Today At Plasma: Gummi Worms

Today at plasma, I sat in the back row of the waiting area.  A large fellow sat down in front of me.  As usual I focused on reading my book.  As much as I try to focus on my book, I still cannot resist the urge to people watch.  This man in front of me pulled out a huge bag of gummi worms and started chowing down.  I am a devoted fan of all things gummi.  As soon as the bag came out I had to concentrate on not asking him for one.  I started to think of all the reasons I shouldn’t ask for one.  The main reason being that I’m in a plasma center, with a bunch of questionable individuals, and it would be in my best interest not to eat after them.  Not that they are bad people.  Plasma centers tend to attract somewhat questionable people of lower incomes.  I too happen to be in that bracket at the moment.  Which is most likely why I found myself coveting this gentleman’s gummi worms.

I carry on my inner dialogue for quite a while.  I argue the pros and cons of asking for one of these candies when I realize that he has eaten the entire bag!  It hadn’t been more than ten minutes and he had inhaled every last juicy worm.  Luckily this put my debate at an end.  If he ate them all, I could not possible have one.  He sat in front of me fiddling with the bad for a while.  He took great care of flattening the plastic, folding it four times, and then shoving it in the side of his shoe.

At this point I’d entirely forgotten about reading my book.  I was more focused on the part of green plastic I could still see poking out of the top of his shoe.  This started up a whole new set of dialogue in my head.  There was a trash can in front of him.  It was literally three feet away.  Why didn’t he use the trash can?  I studied him further and realized that he had cargo pants on.  These pants had no less than four pockets.  Why didn’t he stick it in his pocket?  A pocket seems like a much better place for an empty bag of gummi worms than a shoe.

The lady at the desk yelled a name, and he stood up.  He turned to face me and mumbled something and walked off.  In that moment I caught a glimpse of his jacket.  He had two more pockets!  He has a total of, at the very least, six pockets and he still chose to put the bag in his shoe.  I never got up the nerve to ask him why he did that.  He even sat across from me while we donated.  We both went on our merry way, and I may never know

Mystery Hair


, , , ,


            Last night Josh was showing me an SNL skit.  I curled up on the couch next to him.  As I’m getting settled something pokes my leg.  Without looking, I pull what feels like a very thin piece of plastic out of the couch.   I glance down at it.  It’s about three inches long and looks like a long plastic hair.  I keep fiddling with it while we watch the skit.  My A.D.D. brain keeps taking me right back to the new found plastic hair.  I wonder where this came from.  Is it really a hair?  It feels like plastic.  Maybe it’s a very short bristle from the broom.  Wait, I don’t sweep the couch, that’s stupid.  But what if it got blown up here? It could be a very short piece of broom.  Then again, it looks like it has a root on it.  So weird.  I bet one the dogs is shedding freak hairs.  It’s Max.  I know it’s Max.  I cut my eyes at him to see if he looks guilty or hairless.  His hair is wiry, and I bet he’s shedding freak dog hair in my couch. 

            We finish watching the videos and I’m still twirling the hair around between my fingers.  I need to get a closer look at this.  The dim lights of my living room aren’t cutting it.  I take it into the laundry room. 

            Upon closer examination, it does look like a really weird plastic hair.  It even looks like it has a follicle and a split end.  It’s just beyond strange. I start to think that maybe it fell out of a doll or some toy.  The only problem with that idea is that we don’t have children frequently visiting our house.  I need Josh’s opinion. 

            “Hey sweetie, come here and look at this.”

            “Are you still looking at that hair?”        

            “Yeah.  I think it’s plastic or some freak Max hair.”  Josh takes the hair from me to look. 

            “Lauren, really?”  I give him a blank stare.  “It’s a whisker!”


Critters Gone Wild


, , , , , , , , ,


April 11, 2013  3:37am

     “Holy. Shit! Lauren, where are the rubber gloves and the poison?” 

     “What?” My heart is beating too fast from being woken up.  I squint my eyes to see the clock.  It’s almost 4am and Josh is yelling about rubber gloves and poison. What the hell?

     “Something just attacked my foot! Something big! The dogs have been stalking it since you went to bed.”

     “Stalking? What… gloves are on the sink.  The poison should be under the sink.”  I’m about to chalk this one up to Josh’s midnight nonsense when my five year old fears came back to slap me in the face.  One man, two dogs, a house, and a violent mystery creature… oh my gosh… it’s Tailypo! Okay, that’s stupid.  You are an adult Lauren. Get it together! There is no such thing as Tailypo.  Quit being a pussy.  I can’t help myself; I tuck the sheet in around my feet.  My heart is racing.  I can hear Josh banging around in the kitchen.  I know I want to get up but I don’t want my feet anywhere near any strange creatures.    

     “Where did your foot get attacked? Are you okay? What happened?” I’m yelling from the bed because I don’t want to get up.  Josh is too distracted to answer.  It leaves me no choice.  I have to get up. 

     “What’s going on?” I find josh using some old pieces of drywall to barricade a closet. 

     “Well I think the animal is in there.  I heard it screaming…”

     “Screaming?”  I am going to pee myself.

     “…or something like that.  I saw something run from the kitchen into the laundry room.  When I went to check it out something jumped out of the closet and attacked my foot.”

     “uhhh….” I’m speechless. I’m already planning a way to get myself safely back to bed, or maybe the car.  Yes, the car would be better.  The house is contaminated and I need to get out.  Josh seems mostly unfazed by the whole thing.  He’s more excited than anything, and I’m pretty sure we’re about to be eaten alive.    

     “The poison is out, and I think that barrier will keep them in that closet.”

(Just as a little side note: that closet was unfinished when we moved in.  I’m kind of a procrastinator, and we have not finished it.  Plus, I wasn’t expecting to be joined by any wild animals.  We sort of suspect that it leads down to the basement, but that had not been confirmed till now.)

     “How bad did it attack your foot?”

     “Oh, I’m fine, I was wearing my beaver skin slippers and I think the creature may have thought it was another animal.  I may have scared it.” 

     I wasn’t buying it.  I know Josh didn’t get hurt, but I don’t think he completely scared off some vicious wild animal that may or may not be Tailypo.  Josh did his best to sooth my nerves.  He even changed the story to “an animal just ran across my foot.”  I don’t believe it.  I think he was just trying to make me feel better.  I know danger when I see it or hear about it second hand. 

     The next few days were spent looking up animal noises on You Tube.  We came to the conclusion that it must be a squirrel.  We had seen some squirrels up in the rafters of our attic.  Then wrote it off as just a squirrel and went about living our lives like normal. 


April 16, 2013  7:00 AM

      I drag myself out of bed and fumble towards the kitchen to start the coffee.  Something furry caught my eye by the fridge.  Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! There is a dead opossum in front of our fridge!

     “JOSH!” He mumbles something from the bed room.  “JOSH!  Get in here!”   I cannot leave to go wake him up.  I can’t look away from the little opossum carcass.  I know it is dead, but there is the off chance that it’s playing opossum.  The dogs are prancing around and sniffing at it, and looking pretty pleased with themselves.  Obviously, they had something to do with it.  Josh comes stumbling in.

     “Oh, holy shit, it’s a opossum.”

     “yeah. I think it’s a baby. It’s not full grown.”

     “Good boys!”  He gives them both a pat.  “Do you think they brought it in the dog door?”

     “No, because I haven’t opened it yet.” 


     “Yeah…it came from inside.”  We share a look of horror.

     “Well, the dogs were just doing their job.  Good boys!” Harley and Max are just thrilled with themselves.

     “That means that there is a mamma opossum somewhere.”  Josh goes into the bedroom and grabs his phone.  I know he’s documenting this for Instagram.  I take a picture too because I have to send this to my dad.  He is going to love this!

      “Honey, do you mind cleaning it up? I have to get ready for work.”

      “Ugh, fine.  Will you go get me a box to put it in?”

       First of all, I don’t know why Josh requests a box every time we do dead animal cleanup.  I was taught to get a grocery bag, maybe two, turn it inside out, grab the yucky item, and then turn it right side out again.  Josh on the other hand, gets rubber gloves, paper towels, a box, and an object to hit the yucky item with.  Then he proceeds to hit at the item until it is in the box.  Usually there is some flopping around with the item until it ends up in the box.  However, I am totally okay with going to get him a box so I don’t have to deal with random dead animals and/or foul items. 

     I keep a bunch of boxes in our front room for ebaying.  I turn the corner into the foyer and I’m face to face with dead opossum number two.  “JOSH! I FOUND ANOTHER ONE!”

     “Are you shitting me?”

     “Nope.  Get in here!”

     “Holy crap, they killed two. Now that’s teamwork!” Josh is already taking pictures of the second one.  This one is an adolescent too.   

     “Okay we have to clean up.  If you get the bodies I’ll get the blood.”




Josh’s opossum pic on Instagram…so gross. 

April 16, 2013  2:15ish

      Josh calls my work.

     “Hey sweetie, what’s up?”

     “Okay I’ve been thinking about the opossums.”


     “The boys got two of them.  They had to be working together.”

     “That’s obvious.  They were both super proud.”

     “What if, the opossums were friends?”


     “What if one dog got the first opossum and then second one heard it screaming.  Then it came out of hiding to help is friend, only to find a huge beast staring it in the face.”    

     “Why on earth would you tell me that? That’s awful!”

     “I thought it was interesting.”

     “Oh well, you want to know something interesting: Opossums can have up to thirteen babies.  That means we have potentially eleven more to go, and that’s if you are not counting the mama. 


April 20, 2013 9:15 am 

     “Harley, go away.  Down!” Harley is pawing at my face. I feel like shit.  Last night was Heather’s bachelorette party and I got a little drunker than planned.  My head hurts.  My body aches.  I’m too old for this shit. Harley comes back for more, and his paw goes right in my eye.  “Harley!  Down!” He ignores me and keeps trying to pat me with his paw.  Max is crying somewhere in the room. Oh crap, they need to go out. 

     I drag myself out of bed and stumble through the kitchen and into the laundry room.  The dogs run ahead of me excited to go out.  I let them out the dog door and turn around.  Right there in the door jam is another dead opossum.

     “JOSH!”  Oh my gosh, I walked right over it!  What if my shoe touched it? Worse still, what if my foot touched it? Flip flops do not provide adequate protection from dead animals.   “JOSH!”   I don’t get an answer and I have to go physically wake him up.  “Honey, the dogs killed another one.”

     “Uh, what?  Another opossum?”

     “yeah, it’s in the kitchen.  That makes three.”

     “I’m getting up.”   He grabs his phone.  We cant let this Instagram moment pass. 

     “Sweetie, I’ll clean up the floor if you get the body again.”

     “Fine, go get me a box.”

     I find a small box and I’m greatly relieved to not find any other dead animals.  I come back to find Josh rewarding the dogs with black jelly beans.  I hand over the box and I’m starting to realize how hung over I am.  I need food and coffee asap! Josh instagrams the third Chapman family wild animal in the house death.  I’m just as bad, I tweet, “And one more dead opossum makes three.  The dogs are so proud.” 

      We are planning on going out of town in less than a week, and by my count there could be as many as ten opossums left in the house.  There is a good chance that more bodies may show up while we are gone.  I just cant have a carcass rotting in my house for nine days.  I pull Lisa, our roommate, aside and ask her to do a opossum check when she feeds the dogs, because seriously what kind of family ends up with multiple dead animals in their house in less than a week?  


A picture of the third opossum on Josh’s Instagram.


May 3, 2013


     Lisa picks us up from the airport.  She fills us in on the gossip from the past week, and we entertain her with various stories of our adventures abroad.  We didn’t get to the house before I ask if she found any more opossums.  Much to our relief she has not.  However, this makes me a little worried.  These opossums were popping up at an alarming rate and now it’s just stopped.  I’d love to think that the dogs ran them off, but I’m probably wrong. I am relieved that Lisa wasn’t subjected to cleaning up random opossum bodies.


 May 4, 2013


     I’m trying to readjust to the horrid Nashville weather after the beautiful 90 degree temperatures in Grand Cayman.  The high is supposed to be 45.  I’m not amused.  I don’t do well in cold.  We have to get out in the cold today, so  I take a long hot steamy shower to get warm again.  I bask in there for quite awhile.  I only get out when I decided that it’s getting too steamy. 


     I go to get dressed and I have to search through several piles of clothes, our suit cases exploded when we got home.  I find my only pair of non torn jeans buried behind the laundry basket in my closet.  I pick them up and smell them.  I mean I put the jeans in my face and breathe in deeply.  They smell odd but not bad.  I think I could wear them, but I need a second opinion.


     “Josh smell this.” I throw him the pants.  He puts them in his face just like I did and takes a whiff. 


     “Well, it doesn’t smell bad.” He takes another whiff.  “It kind of smells like copper.  So weird.  He throws the pants back.


     “It just so strong.”


     “Well, if you don’t like it wear a different pants.”


     “Yeah, I think will.” I go back to my pile to keep digging and that’s when I notice the squirrel.  There curled up like he was sleeping sweetly is a very dead squirrel. 


      “AAAHHHHHH!!!  OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH!” It hits me that I’ve just been burying my face in dead squirrel pants.  I drop them and start retching. 


      “What?” Josh jumps off the bed and runs in.  I’m already washing my face. 


      “Squirrel!  Dead squirrel!”   I point in the general direction.  Josh sees it. 


      “Oh. My. God. We just had those uggghhhh… pants in our faces!” He starts to dry heave with me.  A scuffle for sink space ensues. 


      It takes us a while to get regain our composure.   Then loose it again when we realize that it was probably there last night, and we’ve spent the night and showered with a dead squirrel in our bathroom.  The more I think about it the grosser it gets.  I was basking in there! I was breathing dead squirrel steam in.  Now I know that I will never be clean again. 


     Josh and I have our usual deal, he cleans the body up and I clean up any fluids.  Luckily, I don’t have to do blood clean up, but I do have a hell of a lot of laundry to do now.  Again, he gets a plastic bag, a box, gloves, and a little piece of cardboard.  The body flops all over my other clothes. Everything is tainted.  The dogs are way interested in our activities and dance around Josh to get a glimpse of our “prize.”  Josh is yelling at the squirrel, “Get in the damn box!”  It’s chaos.   I take a peak at the unfortunate squirrel.  He has teeth marks in his side.  This is definitely the work of the dogs. 


     “Josh do you think that the dogs killed the squirrel because they were mad we left?”


     “Ha! Maybe, but what I’m more worried about is how long it’s been there.”


     “Oh gross.”


     “It couldn’t have been too long otherwise it would have smelled worse.”


     “Oh right, just long enough to stink up my jeans.”  Josh carries the box outside.  When he gets to the kitchen Harley rushes past and sits down in front of our pantry door. 


     “Yes, you were a good boy.  I’ll get you beans…” he stops abruptly and looks at me.  Right at that moment we have the exact same thought. 


     “They are killing for jelly beans.”


     “Yes, murder for beans.”


     “That’s awful.  Maybe we should tone it down?”


Josh’s third picture on Instagram of dead animals.  




May 20, 2013


     Harley didn’t get any jelly beans that day, but neither did Max.  We thanked them calmly for our gifts and tried not to make too big a deal out of it.  As of today we have been dead critter free for 16 days and counting.  However, I haven’t been home yet, and there have been rumors of a giant opossum living in my neighbors’ yard.  I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s Mama Opossum.  I guess there is still opportunity for the dogs. 





, , , , ,

             I used to give money to homeless people all the time.  My family donated to the shelters.  My mother carried around a little homeless kits in the car with here.  It contained some simple items of food and a bible.  I was raised to take care of the homeless.  Josh was raised the same way and used to give his change quite frequently.   I carried on this tradition until I got completely fed up.

             Josh and I were walking into Café Coco in Nashville one night when a bum approached us.  We saw him all the time.  He kind of sounded like Michael Jackson and would say, “Hey! Hey! You gotta dime?”  Why in the hell he was asking for a dime I don’t know.  Maybe he was really trying to get a dime bag, or he felt like it wasn’t as little as a nickel, but not as greedy as a quarter. Who knows? He approached us and did his little, “Hey! Hey! You gotta dime?”   I shake my head because I didn’t have any cash on me.  Josh reaches into his pockets and pulls out some change.   He gives him maybe a dollar in various coins.  Our homeless MJ takes one look at the pile of change in his hand and says, “Hey! You got any more?” I guess that set Josh off because he got pissed. 

            “No! You take what I give you!  If you don’t like it, you can give it back.”  The bum didn’t give Josh his money back.  Josh grabbed my hand and drug me off towards Coco. 

            That was the last time I can recall Josh giving any money to a homeless guy.  Sure, he will buy the homeless newspaper from time to time, but he’s not trying to part with any change. 

            As the years have gone by, the homeless situation has gotten worse and worse.  These people who may or may not be homeless are becoming more and more frequent, demanding, and even threatening.  It got to the point where I can no longer go buy groceries or gas without being asked for money.  Josh and I work hard for our money and we have massive loads of student debt.  It was just getting annoying.  Only so many people in one parking lot could have “run out of gas on their way to pick up their baby from blah, blah, blah.” 

            I think Josh’s boss put it best to a homeless man.  The guy asked for change and he went off on the guy.   He said something along the lines of “ I have a mortgage, three kids, and bills out the wazoo.  I’m in debt, so actually I’m in the negative.  You don’t have any of that! You are worth more monetarily that I am.  Hell, I should be asking you for change!” I suppose the man wasn’t expecting that and walked off kinda quickly.

            Josh and I had multiple conversations about how all this begging is getting out of control.  Without telling Josh I began to form a couple of plans in my head in regards to the situation.  The first one being that I should ask them for money before they have the chance to ask me.  I always feel like the one who does the approaching has an advantage over the approached.   If I’m the one to contact them first and ask for money then obviously I don’t have any to be asked for.  Then there is the second option: out crazy them. 

            It was about this time that Josh and I got fed up with the salesmen at the mall kiosks.  The ones that are always trying to push a product on you.  They want to straighten your hair, give you a massage or squirt some horrible lotion on you.  it’s just plain annoying.  When Josh and I go shopping we are perfectly content to shop in peace and quiet.  If we need help we will ask for it.  Not the other way around.  We came up with this plan to get around salesmen.  Whenever we see that salesman gleem in their eyes as we approach we immediately start fighting with eachother.  I’m not talking cute adorable bickering.  It’s more the kind of fight that should be never be had in public.  The more cussing added the better the chances we have of not being approached.  The moment we are in ear shot of the salesman I’ll start in on him, “Goddamit Josh, how many times to I have to fuckin’ tell you…”  and Josh will inerrupt me with something equally as horrible.  The stuff we’ve come up with is just foul.  The moment we are out of the salesman’s area we immediately start laughing.  I’m sure we look like a bunch of bipolar freaks, but so be it.  I’m not interested in any hair extensions, beads or knock off sunglasses.  I think it was these antics that really helped me fine tune my homeless antics.

            Several months go by and I still don’t have the courage to act on one of my homeless plans. Then one summer evening Josh and I stopped at the Shell down the road to get gas.  I was out starting to pump the gas.  I saw a familiar face start to walk towards our car.  This guys was always at this station, and he always asked me for money.  The funny thing is that he is wearing all name brand shit.  He doesn’t necessarily look homeless, but he’s always in the same place asking me for money. 

            The switch in my head flipped.  The fuck you are going to ask me for money!  I left the pump and started walking quickly toward him, waving my arms and screaming,

            “I LIKE WAFFLES! I LIKE WAFFLES!  I LIKE WAFFLES!  I LIKE WAFFLES!  I LIKE WAFFLES!  I LIKE WAFFLES!”  The man’s eyes widen and he starts backing away from me.  He completely drops his homeless demeanor and starts to nervously laugh.  I continue screaming as loud as I can.  “I LIKE WAFFLES! I LIKE WAFFLES! I LIKE WAFFLES! I LIKE WAFFLES!”

            Josh jumps out of the car and starts after me looking somewhat panicked.  At this point I crack and start laughing.  The homeless dude is kind of laughing and looking terrified out of his mind.

            “I’m sorry, I can’t keep it up.  I just wanted to know what would happen if I did that.”

            “Oh, well…that cool.  You got any change?”

            “Uhh…really? No,  I don’t have any change, sorry.”  The man walks off shaken off a bit.  Josh is giving me his “What the hell!” look.  I finish pumping the gas. 

            “What the hell were you thinking? A little warning would have been nice!”

            “I’ve just always wanted to try that.”

            “Umm, that’s nice and all, but if you’d let me in on what’s going on in that head so I know to be on my guard.”

            “I didn’t have time to tell you!  He was already about to ask us for money.”

             “What if he’d been crazier than you are and had a knife?”
             “I might have gotten stabbed?”

             “Ugh! Just let me know next time you decide to act bat shit crazy and at least I’ll know to protect you if you get in over your head.”

            “Okay I will, but you gotta admit that was funny.  It worked really well!”

“Yeah, I guess it did.  You should have given him a dollar just for harassing the shit of out him.”



Heather and Michael’s Wedding Day; or Interruptions


, , , , , , , ,

This past week my best friend from high school, Heather, married my husband’s best friend from high school, Michael.  Josh and I were the best man and maid of honor.  The wedding just so happened to be in Grand Cayman.  Oh darn.  We suffered so much attending the wedding.  The horrors of warm weather, clear water, endless adult beverages, and superb snorkelling were almost too much to take.

The wedding day was perfect.  It was a beautiful day.  We spent the first part of the day basking on the beach.  Then the rest of the day was taken over by the wedding activities.  I was in charge of the bride’s hair.  No pressure there.  I can’t even get my own hair together.  The only stylist on the island refused to do an up-do.  She said she would only braid her hair in corn rows. That was not exactly the wedding hair Heather had pictured.  The responsibility of the bridal hair fell on me.  For not being a stylist, I feel like I did a pretty good job. 

The wedding itself was lovely.  It was on the beach with the clearest water you’ve ever seen in the back ground. The setting was perfect, the only thing off was the reverend.  They were married by Reverend one eyed McGoo.  He literally only had one good eye.  He started out the ceremony by loudly proclaiming the word “marriage” in a thick accent.  My mind went right to the movie The Princess Bride, “Mawage is what bwings us together today.”  Josh can tell where my mind is going, makes eye contact with me and mouths, “no.” I stifled my laugh and tried to focus on wiggling my toes in the sand.  That is, until the reverend got stuck talking about there’s a time for work and play.  He used the analogy of taking your shoes off to relax, then putting your shoes on to work.  He just kept saying, “shoes off, shoes on, shoes off.”  Again, I’m trying not to laugh, but I’m also wondering if I should be the person to loudly clear my throat and get him out of the loop.  Is anyone else hearing this?  No one does anything.  He just continues on till he fizzles out.  The wedding wraps up with hugs and kisses and pictures galore. 


 L to R: Me, Michael, Heather, and Josh



Had a little too much time on my hands during the photo shoot. 


 The resort had a little champagne toast area set up for us after the wedding.  Josh gives a very elegant toast about how they’ve been friends for so long and how they bonded.  I had all this sappy stuff prepared.  I just knew that my toast would be a hit and even bring a few tears.  The moment of my toast came and Heather has to say, “Don’t make me cry!” That’s when I choked; anything and everything in the past sixteen years flew right out of my mind.  I floundered, choked, blabbered a bunch of bull shit, and yelled, “To Heather and Michael!” Everyone cheered and I hope that they immediately forgot my toast


The happy but height challenged couple. 


There were more pictures to be taken, so I took the opportunity to finish off any and all extra champagne.  This was not the best champagne I’d ever had, but damn it was strong.  Next thing I knew I came across a stray cat in the parking lot.  He had a little Hitler stash and I thought that was golden.

“Heil Hitler Kitty!” I saluted him with all my drunken gusto.  Josh yanks my arm down. 

“What the hell is wrong with you?”

“It’s Hitler Kitty!”

“We are in a country that is a member of a commonwealth that was bombed by him.  Not a good idea.”

“But he had a stash.  Did you sees the stash?”

“I saw the stash.  Still not appropriate.”

“Prince Harry did it.”

“And he got in trouble, and you aren’t a prince.”

He had me there, and I could feel myself sobering up.  Both were super annoying. 

We attended the reception, which was almost as perfect as the wedding. Everything went well, except Heather’s father talked me into trying grappa.  It’s nasty stuff. If ever offered grappa, run away.  It’s similar to what I’d imagine paint thinner tastes like.  The rest of the evening was great.  We were all joking around and making the usually lewd comments about their first night as a married couple.  We even joked that we were all going to come by at various times and “check” on the newlyweds during the night just to see what they were doing.   It was all fun, drinks, dessert, and pictures. 


Cake/ Marilyn Monroe time. 



We took a few last pictures and the restaurant’s van whisked us off to the resort.  I remember getting out of the van at the resort and thinking, “I feel like something is missing.” I double checked and I had my purse, sweater (yes, I take a sweater with me even in tropical climates.), and my leftovers.  I’m good.  Goodbyes are short and sweet.

Back at the room I go to plug in my phone, and I can’t find it.  I thought it was in my purse but apparently not.   I start digging through everything and making mental notes of where I was and what I did.  Okay, I left it on the table during the cake cutting but I picked it up.  Oh gosh, what if I’ve lost my phone and I have six days of trip left!  Well, at least I could get the iPhone 5 when I get home.  Not so bad. Oh no, I’ve got my Starbucks card loaded on that phone, and all my pictures!  I have to find it. 

“Um, honey, I think I left my phone at the restaurant.”



“Well, I guess call Heather’s parents and find out the restaurant’s phone number.”

I call them and no answer. “I’m going to walk down to their room.”  I’m throwing clothes back on as fast as I can.  I have to find my phone. Seriously, that stupid phone is like everything I’ve ever dreamed of as a kid.  It has my pictures, music, games, a calculator and phone.  As a kid I remember saying I’m going to have a box with all my things on it and all I will have to do is touch the screen and it will magically work.  Oh, how I love my iPhone.

I run to her parents room and bang on the door.  Her dad answers.

“Do you have the restaurant’s number? I think I lost my phone.”

“Michael just called and said that the restaurant called him.  They found a phone and they are bringing it back to the resort right now.”

“Oh thank God!”  I run to the lobby to meet the van when they pull up.  Josh is right behind me.  I can tell Josh is thinking, “what a mess.”

We round the corner and I see Michael up ahead carrying my phone.  I’m so relieved.  Then I notice that he’s wearing his undershirt and his hair looks tussled. Oh my gosh, I interrupted the wedding night activities!

“Thank you SO much!”

“The called and asked if it was ours, and I knew it had to be someone’s in the group.”  Michael is making an exasperated face, but he looks like he’s in a good mood.

“We interrupted?”

“Ehh, maybe a little.”

“Oh.  My.  Gosh.  I’m so sorry!   Well, I told you we were going to contact you all through the night.  This was just our turn.”

“Ha! Thanks, Heather will be thrilled.”

“Just kidding! Just kidding! Thank you so much!”

We part ways.  Josh puts his arm around my shoulders as we walk back.  I’m clutching my phone tightly. 

“Feel better?”

“Well, I’m a little sad that I wont be getting the iPhone 5 now.”

“What? You should be stoked.  You didn’t loose your pictures or music or anything!”

“I mean I am, but I had already made plans to get a new phone if this one got lost.”

“What am I going to do with you?”

“Get me an iPhone 5?”






The Title Of The Lighter Story


, , , ,

            Someone smarter than I am once told me that your memory is like the ocean.  If it came in all at once you would be overwhelmed.  That’s why it comes in in waves.  Tonight I had a memory come back all of a sudden.  The absolute nonsense of it all made me laugh out loud.

            Josh is at work till late tonight.  This gives me ample time to root around in my things, a process which I call “cleaning.” In reality I’m really just stacking stuff from one spot to another.  I had to put something in my night side table when I noticed one of my old lighters.  I have not smoked for years, so there is no telling how long it has been in there. That’s when a wave of nostalgia came over me.  I remembered a scare tactic my mother used on me.

            At some point in my preteen years my mother gave me the following advice:

            “Lauren, there are more dangers to smoking than just lung cancer.  Everything about smoking is dangerous.  There’s the obvious like cancer, second hand smoke, and coughing.  There are also dangers lurking like burning holes in your clothes, bad breath, and lighters exploding.  Lighters have been known to spontaneously combust.  That’s the cause of many a house fire.”

            This bit of advice didn’t seem so crazy to me at the time.  I mean, she is my mother.  What she says is law.  I remember thinking that smokers must be crazy people ruining their lives, breath, and burning down their houses with random combusting lighters.

            All this brings me to my first lighter.  Years pass and I forget my mother’s warnings about exploding lighters.  A friend three years my senior gifts me with my first lighter.  I believe it was yellow.  It was pure power!  It fit so elegantly in my hand.  It made me feel grown up.  With a lighter I was an adult.  It gave me an edge.  If another person were to ask me for a light I could take care of business.  I made sure to keep it well out of sight of my mother.  That evening I stashed it in my night side drawer.  You never know when you are going to need a fire.  I kept it hidden there for days.

            Two weeks pass, and the wise words of my mother start haunting my thoughts.  Lighters have been known to spontaneously combust… the cause of many a house fire.  Oh my gosh, what if it blows up? What if my family dies in a house fire all because of my lighter? More importantly, what if I die because of a house fire? After all, it would start in my room!

            It doesn’t take long before I’m overwhelmed by guilt.  I cant event think of a good way of disposing of it.  If I give it back to my friend she will think I’m a loser.  If I throw it away in some random trashcan it could explode killing thousands.  In my mind, I only have one option: Give it to my mom.  She will know how to dispose of it properly.

            “Mom… Ugh…”

            “Yes, dear.”

            “I… ugh… need to talk to you about something in my… ummm… room.”

            “Okay” She quits making dinner to come talk to me.

            “Well, I have something to give you becuase you will know what to do with it, but you have to swear not to get mad.”

             “Okay. I swear.”

            “I got this from a friend.”  I hold the lighter out to her.  “And I don’t know how to get rid of it.  I’m afraid it could explode.”

            “Oh honey, you did the right thing.  I’ll dispose it safely for you, and don’t worry you aren’t in trouble.” A wave of relief washes over me.  I’ve saved our family.  She gives me a hug and leaves.

             Here I am years later and I look back on that, and I still cant help but wonder what made her make up that crap.  Does she really believe lighters explode or was that just some cruel ploy to get me to tell on myself? If it was some cruel ploy, it worked.  Now I’m laughing at the absurdity of it all.  I cant believe I told on myself.  Why in the hell did I believe that?  What on earth was she thinking to tell me that lighters spontaneously combust?  If you are wondering, I’ve been a lighter owner for more than fifteen years and I haven’t ever had one blow up…yet. 

A Brief History of My Sexual Education: Part 3


, , , , , ,

      My mother thought it would be just grand to give me a special present right before I started high school. She planned a special night out just for the two of us.  We went to Chaffin’s Barn, a local barn dinner theater. Let me note that Chaffin’s is very similar to Branson, MO.  It’s dinner and a show and old people love it!  I used to love it too, when I was younger.  The salad bar was superb, and I could order as many drinks as I liked.  Now, it’s not so good.  Last time I went to Chaffin’s I bit into a rotten cherry tomato and almost puked.  It’s taken me a long time to trust cherry tomatoes thanks to them. 

     That particular night dinner was delicious.  I pigged out on all sorts of stuff.  I ordered three drinks and had two desserts.  We had a bit of time between dinner and the play, and my mother started into a spiel about how special this night is.

     “You know honey, God loves you, your Father and I love you very much.”

     “Yes…” I can feel that something uncomfortable is about to happen, and I’d very much like to run. 

     “You are about to enter into a time in your life when you will face many difficult trials and tribulations.” I nod so she will keep going. I know she is trying to talk about sex. “You have grown into a beautiful young lady before our eyes, and I want to talk to you about the sanctity of marriage between a woman and a man…”

      I kind of zoned out. It was all the same stuff I’d heard before, no sex before marriage; your body is a temple, save yourself for your husband, blah, blah, blah.   I didn’t tune back into the conversation until she brought out a tiny jewelry box, and then I was super interested.

     “Your heavenly father, your father, and I want you to have this.” She opened up the box to display a thick banded gold ring. It had a cross and a bible carved into the outside of the band. “This ring symbolizes your promise to stay faithful to Jesus until your wedding day.” I took it out of the box and put it on. For a gold ring it was really pretty. I mean, I’m more of a silver girl, but this wasn’t too bad.

     “We want you to wear this as a symbol of your marriage to Christ.  It is a symbol to let the world know that you will remain a virgin until your wedding night with your husband.  On your wedding day it will be replaced by your wedding band from your husband.”

     I hold my hand out in front of myself to admire my new ring, and that’s when the vision hit me.   I’m flat on my back with some random guy riding me hard, and I’m holding my hand out in the same way looking at my ring thinking, “Oh well.”  I focus back in on Mom.  She’s still talking about God and all I can think about is sex.   Will I be looking at it when I’m doing it doggie style?  Will I take it off when I’m having sex to rid myself of guilt? How will it feel? Mind blowing, I’m sure.  How on earth will I ever wait till marriage? I have to get married at eighteen.  That’s the only solution.  Wait eighteen is still five years away.  I have to get married at sixteen.  I’m sure my parents will let me.   Shit, who am I fooling?  I’ll never be able to wait.  Visions of wild sexual intercourse float in and out of my thoughts.

    Various X rated visions played out in my head all night.  I am a dirty, dirty thirteen year old girl.  I don’t even remember the play we saw.  I just remember all those naughty little thoughts floating through my head.    

     Typical of my life, I didn’t have that ring long.  Don’t worry, it wasn’t anything as exciting as losing my virginity.  One morning my freshman year of high school my current boyfriend met me at my locker and wanted to wear my ring to class.  I’m all ‘Okay, sure, whatever you want.’  He waltzes off to class wearing my ring.  We meet after the next period and he’s all like, “What ring? I never borrowed your ring.”  What a douche.  Even now, more than fifteen years later, after he married my little sister (that’s another story), he still swears he has no memory of it.  I reiterate, what a douche.  Now, looking back on it years later, losing that ring lifted a lot of guilt off me.    



A Brief History of My Sex Education: Part 2


, , , ,

          Fast forward another few years to middle school.  I’m not exactly what I’d call popular.  I’m eleven, still haven’t been kissed, much less asked out! Middle school is like peeking into that hormonal world we call puberty.  All the other girls are making jokes and talking about their periods.  Of course, I’m a late bloomer.  No period for me.  I can’t join in all the menstruation revelry much to my annoyance, because I have no reference point.  Oh sure, if they say it looks like ketchup, I just have to take their word for it.  I’m beyond envious of them.  They all have their periods, or so I thought.  They all have boyfriends.  Therefore, in order to get a boyfriend, I need to get my period.  Then puberty will hit and I’ll get a boyfriend, get married, and have sex. My world will be complete.

          I wished harder for my period than any girl ever in existence.  I added it to my nightly and daily prayers.   I wanted it so badly because I knew it was the next step to womanhood and my ultimate goal: sex.  My prayers for aunt flow weren’t answered for another two years.   Boy, I was sorry when it was.  My period showed up one day after church, and I was stoked! I ran and told my mother in utter excitement.  Then, much to my disgust, she introduced me into the living hell that is called “sanitary napkins.”  I remember thinking, “Oh my gosh, I feel like I have a duck tail!  How am I ever supposed to walk? ”

          Throughout seventh and eighth grade my mother made me wear sanitary napkins.  She told me that I wasn’t allowed to call them “pads.” She even went so far as to make me write it on the grocery list.  I had to write out “sanitary napkins” or she wouldn’t buy them for me.  It was the late 90’s, no one in their right mind, except my mother, so no one in their right mind still called them sanitary napkins.   No matter what anyone says to me, they were and always will be pads.

         In seventh grade, my class took a field trip to Opryland.  It was still a theme park at that point in time.  I still didn’t have a boyfriend, and Opryland was going to be my golden opportunity to get one!  I could wear short shorts, maybe even a tank top, and padded bra?  Oh yeah, boobs, did I mention I didn’t have any?  Well, I didn’t.  It was all padded bras for me.  But the possibilities of this trip were endless.  I had to flaunt what little I had and get myself a man.   Then tragedy struck, my period started the day before we left. Of fucking course, I had to be on my period this one day!  It didn’t help that I’d been telling everyone for weeks that my favorite ride was The Old Mill Scream; a water ride.  For those of you who don’t know, pads and water do not go well together.  After all that talk, I had to ride the ride.  There was no way out of this!  If I didn’t ride it, I would have to fess up and tell the guys we were hanging out with that I was on my period, or claim to be chicken.   To middle school guys, periods are the equivalent of cooties on steroids.  I got on the ride and hoped I didn’t get too wet.  As expected, I got soaked and so did my pants.  Throughout the rest of the day I had to walk around with a wet pad in my pants.  At this point in time, I didn’t have enough foresight to plan on bringing an extra.  It was a very hot spring day in Nashville, and the pad started to chaff.  It got so bad that my legs started bleeding from being chaffed so badly.  By the time the trip ended, I was exhausted and in so much pain I could hardly walk.  I confided in my friend Heather what had happened.  She asked me, “Why didn’t you just wear a tampon?”  I hadn’t thought of that, and frankly, I was at a loss as to how to use one.

         Later that week, I pulled my mother aside and inquired about changing from “sanitary napkins” to tampons.  I don’t remember the exact response but it was along the lines of, “Only whores and sluts use tampons.  Do you really want to lose your virginity to a tampon?”   The honest answer was, “Hell yes, I’ll do anything to get rid of those damn sanitary napkins!”  I didn’t have the guts to say that, so I just agreed

Eighth grade rolled around, I was still trying to be cool and get myself a boyfriend.  It was October and I’d spent the entire month planning a Halloween party for my friends.  Mother told me it was “Satan’s Holiday” and we shouldn’t celebrate it ever!  After much talking, and begging I finally convinced my parents to let me throw the party.  I was stupid excited.  My mom even helped me make a great vampire costume.  (Looking back it was just a sheet with pointy sleeves.  I think she tried to sabotage me.  Vampires don’t even wear white!)  The day of the party came and I started my period at school.  This was also the first day I’d ever experienced real cramping.  I thought I was dying.  I hobbled out of class to the office.  This apparently was the super opportune moment that one of my guy friends decided to hand me a note.  He was asking me out.  I should have been excited; I had waited to be asked out for years!  I would have been excited, if I hadn’t felt so bad.  When I got to the office I demanded that my mother come get me.  I swear it felt like someone was ripping my legs apart like a wishbone.  As I’m lying there I realize that he is supposed to be at my party.  That’s when I started to panic.  I can’t have the party!  What if he shows up?  Well of course he’s going to show up, stupid.  But I can’t walk.  What if I bleed through my outfit!  I feel like shit.  This can’t be how I get my first boyfriend.   My mother showed up after an excruciating thirty minutes. I keep my calm till we reach the car.

          “Mom, we have to call off the party.”

          “No way!  You’ve worked so hard on it.”

          “You don’t understand. I can’t have people over.  I think I should go to the doctor.” I am totally aware that I have to do anything to prevent this party.

          “Oh honey, you are just cramping. You’ll be fine”

          “It’s never felt like this before.”

          “Your body is just getting all revved up for the rest of your life.”  This is the point where I completely forget that I’m having a party that I need to cancel.  I’m more worried about the fact I just found out that I’m going to be miserable for twenty five percent of my entire life!

          “I have to have a period once a month… wait, not even once a month every twenty eight days, forever!”  I’m practically wailing at this point.

          “Not forever, just till menopause sets in.”

          “How long will that be?”

          “Your fifties or sixties.”


          “Calm down, it’s not that bad.”

          “It’s not that bad?  I feel like I’m being ripped apart and you say ‘it’s not that bad.”

          “Every woman has to go through this.”

          “I can’t believe there aren’t more female suicides.”

          “Lauren! That is not joking matter.”

          “I’m not joking.  If this is what life is going to be like seven out of every twenty eight days then I don’t want to live like this.”

          That conversation ended with a lecture about how suicide isn’t funny, or something to take lightly, and something about if I really meant it then she was going to take me to the mental hospital right now.

Long story short,  I ended up having the party.  It was super lame.  I think I told my mom if I bleed through my stupid costume at least they will all think it is costume blood.  She wasn’t pleased with that comment either.  As it turned out, the guy did show up to the party.  It was awkward.  We spent the majority of the night avoiding each other.  The most exciting part about the night was my friend Veronica showed up dressed like a mouse and the dog kept trying to say hello by sniffing under her butt.  Despite all the pain and suffering I went to bed happy.  I had been asked out for the first time in my life!  Maybe, just maybe, I would get to have sex before I die.

A Brief History of My Sexual Education


, , , ,

            I can’t remember the first time I asked my mother about sex, but my mother sure as hell remembers.  As she tells the story, we were shopping in Kroger when I shouted out, “Mommy what’s sex!” I was five.  She got down in my face, grabbed me by my shoulders and said, “There is a time and a place for everything, and this is neither the time nor the place.” A short time after that she let me watch the PBS version of “The Miracle of Life.” Needless to say, a five year old armed with this information was quick to share it with everyone. 

            Fast forward a year.  My mother arranges for me to go home with another parent and her son, so I don’t have to go to after school care. I wouldn’t really call us friends, but clearly the boy was comfortable with me.  One day during play time he pulled his pants down to show me his penis.  Then he tried to pull off my pink corduroys to see mine.  In response to this, I did the most logical thing I could think of.  I waited till my mother picked me up and told her I had been raped.  Needless to say, I didn’t get to go back to his house.   

            About this same time I became aware of my mortality.  Another little girl by the name of Lauren M. was hit and killed by a bus right down the street.  My family heard it on the news and everyone thought it was me.  All the fuss over her death got me thinking.  I will die.  I’m not going to live forever.  I never know when death is coming. It could happen before I grow up.  I can’t have sex till I’m a grown up.  Oh my gosh, what if I die before I have sex? This is when I changed my night time prayers.  They went something like, “Now I lay me down to sleep.  I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  Please bless Mommy and Daddy and all our many animals.  And PLEASE don’t let me die before I have sex.”