Where the hampster wheel always turns

About Me

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Middle aged underweight high school graduate
"It is not advisable James to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener." - Francisco d'Anconia, Atlas Shrugged
"The soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut taxes now." - John F. Kennedy

Don't Encourage Me

Monday, November 23, 2009

If you've been a follower of my blog, or happen to know me personally, you know I have trouble "staying inside the lines" of life. Usually my little escapades get me in less than ideal situations. Scenarios like, getting called into the office by the principal and told to walk my flock of sheep back home. Having to dive in the bushes to hide from a boss. Flashing the hospital gardeners in my hospital gown. I've had some high points.

Usually I just have to suck it up and move on, trying to block out the overwhelming shame a normal person would feel. I've gotten pretty good at it.

Then, I steal the lemon bar. A rather innocuous crime that caused me great distress, embarrassment and a large clean-up detail. When something involves a clean-up crew, it's harder to 'shake it off.' (If you're new to the blog, scroll down a few posts and read Thou Shall Not Steal.)

Most of my days are spent isolated from humanity. I drop my children off at school and return home wearing some form of work out clothes. Then I run, I study until my brain has seized up and I run again. You will note there is not mention of personal hygeine, social time and as many of you have noted - rarely blogging time.

Imagine my delight last week after six hours of study, two runs and a little housework my doorbell rings. During the day it's one of two people: someone wanting to cut my palm trees or my postman. The postman and I have become friends - although you wouldn't know it by the frequency he gives my mail to another family.

Making my way to the door, I hope it's no one I know since I look like I've never used a hairbrush, am drenched in sweat and have an aroma that's the cross between bad cheese and copier toner. While I've been attracting neighborhood dogs it has a more repellent effect on humans. Stuffing my hair under a hat I crack the door and yikes, it's a neighbor, all dressed up and perfumed. She's smiling, and holding a paper bag. Not good signs.

"I was out and saw these, and thought of you."

Uh oh. The bag could contain an innumerable number of things. Deodorant, "How to Win Friends and Influence People," my mis-delivered mail. I wasn't quite sure what to say. I had a friend relay a prank they had played where they filled a paper bag with dog poo and lit it on fire on a classmate's porch. I suppose I should be relieved that the bag is not on fire... but I'm still a little nervous.

Accepting the offering I peek in as she giggles..."They're lemon bars."

SCORE!!! Never before have I committed a social faux pas and had it reward me. This was awesome. Hugging the paper bag I waved as she drove away. It brought a tear to my eye. "Wind Beneath My Wings" ran through my mind.

Now my challenge is, how to I continue to write with integrity and not throw in subliminal suggestions to the rest of you. Hey, have I written about the time I wrestled a girl scout for a pastrami sandwich?

Is it Better to be Alone?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I had a recent conversation with a friend that went something like this:

"Aselin, the problem with you is you would rather be alone than be with an idiot."

Yeah? So?

"Friend, the problem with you is you would rather be with an idiot than be alone."

My husband points out that I don't 'suffer fools lightly,' which may be true, but seeing as how the fools have overtaken the rest of us in numbers; I must suffer.

I'm finishing up a university degree right now. It is consuming my life. I've been taking one to two tests a week. Because much of my coursework is online, I need to take these tests at the local community college testing center. People who give tests, all day, every weekday, for a living.

This week I was taking a large final exam in a law course. The exam required that I write multiple, long essays. My writing hand is still cramped up from the experience.

I check in at the testing center, where I have now taken about fifteen tests, administered by the same person. On my first visit I found out that she is the same religion as me, attended the same university I am now attending and grew up in the same area I did.

We have our standard check in conversation:

"Hello, what are you here for?"
"I am here to take a test."
"OK, what's your name?"

Now, I am used to people having trouble with my name. My name is weird, I get it, but EVERY time I check in for a test I have this exact conversation with the SAME person.

"Wow, I've never heard 'Aselin' before (Except for two days ago when I was in here taking another test) ((Oh, and the fourteen times before that)).

I take a deep breath. It's OK, I'm a very forgettable person.

We then proceed to the guidelines of the test, which the administrator reads in detail, out loud, to me. I wait patiently until the ritual is completed and I have been fully informed of testing procedures. She then hands me the test, which consists of one sheet of paper and says "Good Luck."

Grabbing my stack of college-ruled paper and handful of freshly sharpened pencils, I start to enter the testing room when the proctor stops me.

"Wait!" she yells. "You're not allowed to take paper in to the test."

Taking a deep breath I attempt to explain that the test consists of a series of essays and these would require paper.

"Well, the instructions don't say you're allowed to use paper."

Really? Rats! I left my papyri at home.

My proctor is completely flustered as she frantically rereads the instructions. Finding no guidance on the subject she decides she better 'ask her boss.'

Deep breath.

The boss has no idea how to handle this bizarre turn of events. Paper? In an essay test? How rogue! The boss suggests that my proctor call the university.

This is no joke. I am not exaggerating. I stood there for fifteen minutes while she got someone from the university on the phone to ask if I could take paper into my essay exam.

We finally got approval for my bizarre request and I set my mind to conquer the academic behemoth before me. Clutching my paper and a handful of newly-sharpened number two pencils, I prepare to enter the testing chamber. As my hand rests on the knob of the testing room door she yells out again "WAIT!"

What? Another testing emergency? you ask. Well, as a matter of fact yes.

"You can't write essays in pencil! You need a black pen!"

Gritting my teeth I try to explain that I have about 24 pages to write ahead of me. There will be a lot of editing, a lot of erasing, the test will not be photocopied, or preserved for posterity so the pencil really won't be a problem.

She again gets out the instructions. Reads them in their entirety. Consults her boss, who tells her she better call the university.

I've had it at this point and say, I'm taking my chances. If they deny my exam because it's in pencil then so be it! I am a carbon renegade!!

As I exit the testing room three hours later, completely spent, I present myself at the counter. Addressing the proctor by name I tell her I'm finished.

"Finished with what?" she asks
"My test."
"OK, um, what was your name?"


Thou Shalt Not Steal

Monday, November 9, 2009

As I've shared before, I have a really hard time turning down food. You can trust me in most other areas, but if you have a plate of cookies lying around, a crudite platter nearby or an unattended cheeseburger - well, you've been warned.

Last week, as I was finishing up my teaching duties at the local elementary school, I'm winding my way out of the building through the office. I have my own classroom, so to return the key I must go into a makeshift copy room where the key vault is situated. This copy room has all the modern necessities, copy machine, coffee maker, microwave, tanning bed. OK, not a tanning bed, but there are a lot of appliances that have nothing to do with copying packed into this little room.

There's no one in the office so I let myself in, hang up my key, and as I'm turning to leave something catches my eye... LEMON BARS!!! I poke my head out into the office and there's still no one there. My heart begins to beat a little faster as I behold their lemony goodness. Anyone with good taste knows that lemon is the best flavor of a dessert, and The Bar holds a particular place on my dessert pedestal.

A flood of thoughts go into my mind. There is already one bar gone, so another wouldn't be missed. These are set out in the public domain, and have no requisite "Hands Off" sign to keep miscreants away. I have spent a number of hours doing good and probably in all my goodness, actually deserve a lemon bar.

The first time I checked the office I was looking for someone who might give me permission to sample a bar. The second time I checked I was making sure the coast was clear. Swiping a bar I turn to make my escape when the door swings open perfectly timed with the insertion of the bar into my salivating mouth. Panicked, I stuff the whole thing in take a quick chew and smile at the attendance officer who I don't know by name, as I make my way into the parking lot.

OH MY HECK!!! This thing is not a lemon bar. In fact, I don't think it was food at all. Stuffed to the molars with some bizarre unidentifiable slime I look for somewhere to spit it out when the smiling principal rounds the corner. Wide eyed, I wave and pretend I'm in a rush to get somewhere. Actually I was trying not to vomit at the front door of the school. People frown on that sort of behavior.

The glob in my mouth has the consistency of tapioca pudding mixed with raw egg. It has kernels of corn in it. Maybe green chilies - but that could have been a backwash of bile induced by the noxious slop I was trying to hold without being caught by the herd of PTA ladies headed my way. They're waving at me, calling to me, I'm dry heaving and waving back.


I jump in my car and scramble around with no success for a napkin to deposit the putrid wad. I decide I'll pull a block away from the school and spit the glop out the window. Waving to the PTA I peel out, kernels of corn and raw egg slime start seeping out of the corner of my mouth.

I'm not sure there is an "appropriate" place to spit, but I find an area less likely to be encountered by a jogger and move to discharge what has now broken down into a sort of mushy blob. I realize I don't have the skill or power to launch sufficient distance, I have no napkin, so I spit the ooze into my palm, intending to throw the thing away from my moving vehicle. Just as my arm swings wide, the orb looses form and breaks up into slimy chunks. Some of which do not make it out of my freshly washed van.

Using my finger I try and pick sticky chunks of corn from the open window bay. I'm pretty sure I got most of them, and use my sleeve to finish polishing off the evidence of my crime.

What had promised to be a beautiful, lemony moment had turned into some sort of Candid Camera skit. I'm sure I'm caught on surveillance and the staff is laughing hysterically at the trap they set for me. Fortunately, my offense is limited to a sphere where the rest of my family will not find out.

Driving my daughter home from school later that day, I roll up my window. A long, smelly, corny ooze smears a long stripe up the glass.

My consequences have been long, and painful.

Please Trust the Sign

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I can not turn down food. An invitation to lunch would make me drop everything and leave in the middle of surgery, if I were a surgeon of course.

So imagine my delight when I get a spontaneous text from a friend inviting me to lunch. With glee, I eschew the glamor that is my daily life and peel out in the driveway to eat, I mean meet my friend.

Lunch was delicious, as food is wont to be, and the conversation was delightful. Having the usual pressing items on my list, I ignore them and suggest a pedicure. (This is why I have no productive friends).

I have a particular salon I have come to favor. Their polish lasts an unusually long time making the amortization of the investment more prudent. The sign above the salon is a catchy slogan like "Nails Only." We enter the establishment and are immediately intoxicated from the fumes of productivity. I settle in to the massage chair and start to flip through People magazine. My sister in sloth settles in for a manicure. Half way through my treatment she heads to the back room where they wax eyebrows. Every nail salon waxes eyebrows. Apparently it's not something that requires a lot of skill, but I certainly can't do it myself, so it's worth the investment.

Behind the curtain she disappears. I'm engrossed in Jon and Kate's divorce proceedings when I hear a muffled "Aaouw" from the waxing stall, I mean room. I look at the patron next to me and smile and awkward toothy grin. She nods trying to reassure me it was a one-time odd noise. Moments later we hear it again. It sounds distinctly like someone is being poked with a safety pin while being smothered with a pillow. My reassuring buddy now looks a little afraid.

I'm not sure what to do. My feet are submerged, the massage chair is mid-cycle, but that is my friend in there. "I-i-iiiii" comes from behind the curtain. As I am wrestling with what to do, (don't take me to an emergency) the curtain from the stall parts and my pedicurist emerges.

Without a word, she sits down and with a flourish, finishes my feet. I ask her if everything is OK, to which she nods yes and runs back to the stall. I shrug, and resume reading the upcoming roster for "Dancing with the Stars." "Eeeee-oof" What the heck is going on in there?

I have now been sitting a good fifteen minutes, unattended. No further noises have emerged from the stall so either my friend has expired or everything is going better. A few minutes later she emerges, looking just fine. We pay, chat as we return to my car and slide in to the plush minivan seats. The second her door shuts she yells "WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT?"

Shocked, I have no idea. My pedicure was fantastic. In fact this episode was three weeks ago and it still looks wonderful.

She then reveals that she asked for a bikini wax. The bikini wax is a tricky endeavor. Those parts are delicate, and quite frankly, I wouldn't trust mine to just anyone. My deeply wounded friend reveals that the first rips didn't go so well, and the few hairs that were removed didn't satisfy the technician who decided to tweeze the remaining ones. P-u-l-eeze. Even if you've never had a bikini wax you can figure out that you don't tweeze down there.

As I sit stunned, listening to her tale of beauty torture, I can't figure out who I blame: my pedicurist who had no business attempting a bikini wax having only mastered the eyebrow level at beauty school. Or my friend. The sign is VERY clear, this is a NAIL salon. Just like I'm not going to my podiatrist for a root canal, I'm pretty sure even my limited intelligence would have done a little wax reconnaissance before I stripped down and acquiesced to this scheme.

She clearly holds me partially accountable for her mishap. I did suggest the salon. Well, yes, I did for NAILS. I read the signs. I believe the signs, and I have avoided any scars to prove otherwise.