Thursday, July 23, 2015

Product Junkie Review: The Honest Company (1 Year Review)

Almost a year ago, I checked out The Honest Company at the recommendation of one of my readers.  I went to the site and got the Free Trial which included 5 trial size products and all I had to pay was $5.95 shipping.  Click here to read my first review of The Honest Company Products including Lemongrass Handsoap, Face + Body Lotion, Healing Balm, Shampoo + Body Wash, Laundry Detergent, Multi-Surface Cleanser, Fruit & Veggie Wash, and Toothpaste.

I've received a few more bundles from them with different products since then and enjoyed more of them.  The following products were received and used at some point during the last year.

Honest Deodorant (4 fl. oz/$8.95) I've heard so many people concerned about deodorants and the chemicals in them being linked to Cancer.  I honestly don't know what I think about that, but it isn't the main reason I chose to try Honest Company Deodorant.  I have found that most popular deodorants cause me to develop painful lumps in my underarms. These lumps eventually go away, but I've used the same clinical strength formula deodorant for nearly a decade because it doesn't cause that painful reaction.  I've tried salt crystals and sprays in the past with little or no success, but because I've been so thrilled with Honest Company products I decided to try one of the three scents Honest offers.  It is a clear spray in a pump bottle made with aloe, and an essential oil blend that includes oils commonly known for being antibacterial to neutralize odors with the zinc salts and aluminum.  So far, I'm in love.  While it doesn't provide 14-18 hours of odor protection with a single application like the deodorant I'm used to, application is fast and I have not experienced a reaction.  I also enjoy not worrying about white marks or stains on my clothes or stickiness.  I purchased the Bergamot Sage and I'm loving the scent as well.

Organic Shave Oil (2.25 fl. oz/$15.95) Touted as a shave oil allowing you to get super close while helping to protect skin against nicks and cuts, the Organic Shave Oil also claims to soothe irritation and calm sensitive skin.  The oil itself is thick and I loved the scent from all of the different oils which include sesame, argan, calendula, rosehip, lavender, bergamot, clary sage, tea tree, tamanu, jojoba and rosemary.  The ingredients also include menthol crystals, which some find pleasant but I find incredibly irritating especially in more sensitive areas.  I was worried that it would be slippery or oily and I didn't noticed much of a problem from that.  I wish I could say whether or not it made a difference in how often I have to clean my tub (as oils often do) but I simply could not bring myself to use it more than a few times.  While my legs felt great and were incredibly soft and moisturized after using, I found myself incredibly displeased.  The oil gunked up my razor pretty bad and rinsing was a bit of a struggle especially when you're in the shower dealing with a hairy, oily mess on the back of a sharp razor.  It did seem to work well with skin scalding water but makes in unusable in the bath (which is also not an option for me personally due to the menthol).  I'm still on the fence because it leaves my legs feeling amazing after, but the price, gunk and the menthol make me think twice. I'm going to see if someone will review it for their face because I bet it would be an amazing shave for that.

Organic Belly Balm (3.65 oz/$15.95)  If you're a regular reader, you know that my sister recently had twins!  After she found out she was having twins, I bought her this because I knew her belly was going to be pushed to it's limits.   Reading the ingredients and reviews, I hoped this would help.  The belly balm contains calendula, which is known as a skin lightener and I recently used in a underarm lightening product I'd used successfully and I hoped it would help with stretch marks.  My sister seemed pretty thrilled with it overall, she said it worked and was surprised her stretch marks weren't worse.  Her only real complaint was that she felt like it smell like licorice.  After hearing how much she liked it, I bought some for myself.  Not because I'm pregnant, but because I'm just overweight.  When using large amounts (full body application) it does kind of smell like licorice sometimes, but it does fade.  Very pleasant.  I'm going to continue to use this in the hopes that it lightens already present stretch marks, but even if it doesn't I might use this as an alternative moisturizer to the healing balm.

Dish Soap (26.5 fl. oz/$3.95) I'm in love with the White Grapefruit scented products.  While I wasn't in desperate need of dish soap, I use dish soap for a variety of things in my home and the natural alternative was very pleasing to me.  I use dish soap to clean my C-Pap supplies and this might not be for everyone because the scent of grapefruit is supposed to be stimulating but I much prefer it over the scent of Dawn. It seems to clean well, though it seems I've used it on everything from greasy stuff on my hands to pacifiers dropped on the floor.  They've recently change the formula, and I haven't tried the latest but I'm sure it is just as good.

4-in-1 Laundry Detergent Packs (50 packs/$15.95) They're quick.  They're easy.  They have no scent.  They don't look like candy unlike some popular brands.  They don't leave blue marks on my laundry from the dye in the detergent.  How well do they clean?  Well, most of my stuff goes in with something dribbled on the front and it comes out without it, and we all know I'm too lazy to pretreat so I'm going to have to say I'm pretty pleased with this.  I wish they were lightly scented, but if you're not into that kind of thing then I guess they're great.

Bathroom Cleaner (26 fl. oz/$5.95)  I don't think anything from the Honest Company is as good as the Multipurpose spray.  While I like that it smells like eucalyptus, mint and tea tree oil.... I'm not sure how effective I think it is on the kinds of messes you can find in my bathroom.  I know the oils in it are anti-microbial/bacterial but I just don't see it cutting through soap scum and yuck the way I wish it would.  Overall, I think it is just a so-so product.

Floor Cleaner (26 fl. oz/$5.95)  It's great for quickly wiping up a mess on the floor or a fast spot mop, but I just can't bring myself to do the whole floor with it yet.  I tried once at work with this product and while it did a number on the stains, the time I spent hunched over was just weird.  I'm definitely going to use the rest of this bottle, I just wish there was an alternative for those of us who don't mind actually mopping... you know, with a bucket.  The smell is really great too.

Glass + Window Cleaner (26 fl. oz/$5.95)  This is awesome.  It smells vinegary, but it cleans my windows and glass to an absolutely sparkling shine with fast dry time and little to no effort.  I was so glad to kick the Windex to the curb. This stuff is amazing, even on window crayons.  It just cuts right through everything that gets on bathroom mirrors.  I'm in love.

Toilet Cleaner (27 fl. oz/$5.95)  The scent makes cleaning the bowl much more pleasant than those other, chemical laden products on the market.  One interesting thing that I noticed is that I still get some moldy type stuff (I've always gotten it) but there seems to be less staining since I started using this product. 

Dishwasher Packs (32 packs/$10.95)  I wanted them to work well, but sadly these were set to the side as a product I just could not love.  They left all of my dishes filmy.  I tried adding vinegar as a rinse aid.  I tried cleaning the dishwasher.  They just didn't cut it.  What is worse is that after trying to use these for about a month, I started finding standing water in my dishwasher.  This has never happened in the nearly 10 years I've had it.  I know that things do break down, however after scrubbing the dishwasher and returning to my normal Finish tabs, everything has been fine and my dishes look clean again.  I will not be buying these again.

Dish Towels (2 towels/$7.95)  I am ashamed to say that I bought the dishtowels and ended up using them as burp rags.  When you have twins in the house, sometimes you just have to grab what's available and sadly these got caught in the crossfire.  I am happy to say that they absorb incredibly well, and despite being white, wash really well too.  I have yet to have a towel be stained beyond what the washer can get out, which is a challenge especially with formula in the house.  These are strong, super absorbent and work amazingly well.  My next bundle already has a pack of towels on the list.

Organic Baby Powder (4 oz/$11.95)  Now that we have baby girls in the house, we have to be worried about harmful talc.  So when I saw this, I knew I had to get some for my sister.  I wasn't expecting to love it myself, but I really, really do.  I was so confused as to how a powder could be infused with natural probiotics, but then I noticed that it has Lactobacillus Bulgaricus Lysate Extract derived from Yogurt!  While I bought some that ended up in my sister's diaper bag, this is also a product I will be ordering more of just for me.  I love the way it takes care of excess moisture without leaving my skin feeling dry like traditional baby powder.  The scent is awesome, and I will totally admit to powdering the babies a little just because of the smell. 

Kids Toothpaste (6 oz. (170 g)/$5.95)  I had to try it before giving it to my nephew to use.  I love the packaging, it tastes great and does the job without the fluoride (it's in our water anyway, but at least I know I'm limiting some of it from ending up in our bodies).  It doesn't make my nephew any more eager to brush his teeth, but I'm glad that when he finally stops fighting me over it he is doing it with a great product.

Bug Spray (4 fl. oz/$12.95)  I am a magnet for bugs.  There is just something about me that attracts them, and I have very nasty reactions to the bites when all is said and done.  I don't use bug spray because I would have to apply it all the time to really get any relief for myself and while I'm not concerned about the use of DEET were it limited to once or twice a year, that just isn't the case with me.  So I decided to give it a try for those nights where I stay late at the Farmer's Market listening to music.  The upside is that the can is lightweight, study and can be carried easily.  It was in my purse for a week before I tried it and it's been in my Farmer's Market bag since then.  It seems fairly effective, but I haven't tried it in the dark yet.  My only dislike is the citronella oil, because I feel like I smell like an OFF! Brand candle.

One year later and I'm still a huge fan of The Honest Company.  The products come straight to my door in attractive packaging.  I have yet to need to contact Customer Service for any issues (my favorite Customer Service is the kind I never have to contact).  While there are some products that I just don't love, overall I've been very, very pleased with the scent and quality of the products.  I will admit, I know there are other natural products out there that I could purchase.  I know that The Honest Company falls on the "so-so" lists of people who do the research into the ingredients in their products.  However, I've been very happy with the company and their products and I love that the scented products all seem to compliment each other.  I think I am definitely going to stay an Honest Company Customer for awhile.

*All photos courtesy of The Honest Company

**I did not receive any monetary compensation to review these products; All products were purchased and tested by me (with the exception of the Free Trial which is available to everyone).  The Honest Company offers a $20 bonus credit to your account for each friend who signs up and makes a shop or a subscription order using your link; I DO earn a $20 credit towards my next purchase if any of the links posted above are used, just like anyone else would.  I pick and choose what products appear on based on products I use or would consider using in my own home.  Receiving product samples does not influence the final review.  Period.  All opinions and experiences are my own and there is no guarantee with my review and I will not be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and you are dissatisfied with it.  My opinion is just that... my opinion.**

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My Craptacular Crafts

I'm a terrible adult.

If you would have asked me what kind of adult I was going to be when I was 8, I'm almost positive I wouldn't have told you that I'd be the kind of adult who wears Christmas socks at random times throughout the year because she wont do laundry until she's worn all of her clothes.  I also probably wasn't anticipating that I would forget to register the plates on my car almost every year or that I'd be eating cereal out of the mixing bowls instead of doing the dishes (you can judge me, but we all know they're bigger anyway).  In spite of these things, I'm still independent and functioning - though some days it depends on your definition of "functioning" especially on days when I really don't want to wear pants

When I was growing up, my mom did fun, craft activities with us all the time and as an "adult" I  still find a certain level of enjoyment from expressing my creativity through what I call "Martha Stewart Craft Shit" (because I like to drink while I do it, just like Martha).  As a single introvert, I also find that doing crafts is a great way to spend my time instead of bemoaning my dislike for meeting new people while pity partying at not having a boyfriend to binge-watch Netflix with. Unfortunately it seems that while I'm independent and "functioning" in other areas of my life, I've never outgrown the need for adult supervision when I engage in arts and crafts.

This is why I avoid Pinterest.

As someone who comes from a family history of hoarding, it's also just not a good idea for me to be active on a website that promotes crafts that involve stockpiling crap like toilet paper rolls so I can repurpose them by creating wall art in the shape of flowers.

But I digress.

Recently, after noticing the large pile of perfectly good pallets we've managed to collect at work while feeling particularly bored and single, I found myself perusing Pinterest for a pallet project; I'm still not sure how long I sat at my desk while visions of Pallet Gardens danced in my head.

Just as I was starting to make a list of the things I would need to pick up at the Home and Garden store, I had a flashback of the last time I started a project that involved making a list: a coworker had some really cute polymer clay coated pens, and when I complimented them she boasted about how easy they were to make before rattling off some directions.

I left work that day and went to the craft store for clay where I managed to find some on clearance; The little blocks felt a little hard, but I lied to told myself they wouldn't still be trying to sell them if they weren't any good.  My coworker had mentioned that I needed a specific kind of pen, and I made another stop to pick up two packages. 

Once home, I attempted to make a flower pattern which ended up looking more like mutated pink marijuana leaves.  I ended up rolling out the clay until it resembled pink camo (because I liked pink camo before it was an overpriced fad). The clay was so rough I only had enough energy to make three pens, which I then put in the pre-heated oven as directed.

I'm still not sure what went wrong.

Before I knew it, I was asking myself the dreaded question, "What is that smell?"

While the clay had baked exactly as it was supposed to (if not a over baked), the pens had melted and then burned to the bottom of the pan.  To this day, I wonder what the consequences will be for breathing in the more-than-likely toxic fumes released from the burning plastic pens. I also occasionally miss the cake pan I ended up throwing away because I was convinced anything I ever made would be tainted by the taste of burning plastic and polymer clay.

As the memory of the acrid smoke cleared, I returned to my "pinning" and removed every single pallet project that could end with me nailing myself to something, accidentally removing a body part, or asphyxiating on fumes.  While some might see this as quitting before I start, I choose to believe it is an act of self-preservation.  Either way, I think I'm going to just stick with things I know for now and the next time I find myself hankering for

Then again, I can totally see the value in a situation where I have to call a fireman.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Confessions: Embarrass

Izabel Laxamana.

You might now know her name, but there is a chance you know her story. On Friday, June 5th the 13 year old jumped from a vehicle she was riding in, off a bridge and onto an interstate.  In the weeks previous, a video of her father cutting off her hair had been leaked online and has the Internet up in arms about public shaming of children as discipline.

I don't understand this new trend where parents feel they need to make a YouTube video of themselves disciplining their children.  I don't understand why dealing with your child's behavior needs to go viral, and it makes me wonder what is more important to the parent: social media kudos (because some parents agree with their actions) or discipline.

While my memory of the situation might be different than what actually happened, I distinctly remember being grabbed by the arm and forcefully removed from the room for a growled admonishment behind closed doors after telling another child to "shut up" at my birthday party and then being forced to apologize.  I was embarrassed because I was threatened and forced to cry before being sent back to apologize.  I'm 29 years old and this event that happened on my 6th birthday still makes my stomach churn with the humiliation.  I should not have been made to cry and feel threatened for telling another child to shut up, though I wholeheartedly agree that I should have been made to apologize.

The thing is... I'm not wholly against kids feeling ashamed of their behavior in public.  I'm not saying that I agree with the guy who videos himself running over his daughter's cell phone with the lawn mower.  I'm also not agreeing with the guy who made his kid wear a sandwich board declaring him a liar and a thief. What Izabel Laxamana's father did was not discipline.  Cutting off a girl's hair for partying or inappropriate social media interactions is abuse, plain and simple.

I support public "shaming" when it fits the crime, and by that I mean things like the kid who goes around on social media bullying and degrading others should have to post a public apology before having their electronics taken away or their accounts cancelled until they can behave appropriately.  A kid who disturbs an entire classroom with their behavior should have to apologize to the entire class.  If you should your ass, you should have to show your face to apologize...and if you've ever had to do that, you know how embarrassing that is in and of itself and I believe it is fair.

But this thing where parents do things to humiliate a kid that are completely unrelated to the offense?  Dragging out dirty laundry completely unrelated to the situation?  What the fuck is that?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Confessions: FOR

Sometimes, it is when we have so many decisions to make that we find answers to feelings or problems we struggle with.

Of course, that doesn't necessarily make the decisions themselves any easier.

I'm struggled lately. I have felt burnt out. I have felt exhausted.  I've struggled to make decisions. I haven't wanted to blog.

I'd love to be able to blame my depression or my back pain for why I haven't wanted to do anything or take joy in things that brought me so much happiness before, why I've struggled to find purpose in the things that I do.

Over the last few months I've lost somebody very dear to me.  Sometimes, I think the death of a relationship hurts more than the actual death of a person because somehow their presence, the mere thought that they're still on this Earth, gives a kind of strange hope that things could be the same, or better, or different somehow in a way that would work.  Sometimes, when you've been forced into accepting the circumstances your heart struggles for awhile.

I'm the kind of person whose head always let's go first.  When it is time to do those things we do for the people we care about, my heart screams "Do it!", it's throbbing cries echoing inside my ribcage while my head looks at the situation, crosses it's arms, raises an eyebrow and says "what for?"

Normally, I let my heart lead.  I do this until my heart begins to notice that it spends more time championing from inside a ribbed cage than it does feeling grateful to be held inside lest it fly away.  Then, eventually, it stops raging and yearning and when the time comes it doesn't bother getting excited anymore because it doesn't seem to matter. 

Eventually, I just couldn't try anymore because I felt like it didn't matter what I did... I wasn't going to be given anything in return.

It seems I've grown to feel the same way about much of my own life.  I had a discussion with a friend the other day about something I've been thinking about doing for awhile and eventually I realized that I've struggled to commit because I can't see what for.

Then I realized, this is how I've been operating for awhile. Except, the reason hasn't been me. 
The answer to "what for?"  hasn't been "because I want to" or "because I like it" or "because it makes me feel good" or "because it makes me happy" in entirely too long. 

I've been discouraged and dissuaded from doing things because I've struggled to see the point. I've struggled because I've felt like what I do only provides good for others.  My "what for?" has been "meh, why not?" for too long.
I need to get back to making the answer to "what for?" be "FOR ME!".

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday Confessions: Anonymous


I love the idea.

It was the original idea behind More Than Cheese and Beer.  To be anonymous and say all the things I really wanted to say about whoever and whatever I wanted to say it about.

It is the reason I love leaving my hometown, being in a place where no one knows me and I don't care what they see me do because I'll probably never see them again.

Sometimes, I wish there were more places I could just be anonymous.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Confessions: Situation

June 5th, 2016

Dear Diary,  Day 1:

"Dear Diary"?  Geez, how very adult of me.  Even when I have a nice, fresh start I always manage to fudge it up with something.  I know it isn't safe to talk to anyone about my situation and so I intend on writing my story here.  It might be nice if I felt like I was writing a letter to a friend, but at the end of the day...maybe I just need to focus on myself and not feel like I owe any explanation to a person, fictional or otherwise. After all, feeling that way was what was wrong with my old life. 

Today is Day 1 of my new life, of working towards being the person I actually want to be.  Day 1 is always a tough place to start.  Do I tell you about the past?  Do I tell you about what is behind me or do I focus on today and what I want for tomorrow?  I never know where to begin... 

My name is Paige and today is my birthday.  My real, birth-given name isn't Paige.  Today also isn't really my birthday so much as it is my Rebirth Day, the day I chose as my birthday on the Florida Driver's License in the bag sitting on the chair next to me.  I am not from Florida.  In fact, I've never even been to Florida.  Florida is where I'm headed.  

At the moment, I am in a little coffee shop filled with hipsters wearing stupid hats.  I'm sure I stick out like a sore thumb, but no one seems to really take notice of me and for the moment I'm comfortable with the most amazing chai tea and a blueberry scone.  It's the first time I've eaten anything since I left where I was raised, and this is the most relaxed I've been since I don't know when.

Honestly, any place would be more comfortable than the damn car I've been driving for the last 10 hours.  It isn't pretty and it isn't as luxurious as my old car, but it's gotten me nearly 600 miles away from the hell that used to be home so I can't really complain.  The price was right, the guy took cash and didn't ask too many questions and judging from the cannabis I saw peeking through the wood fence that surrounded his place I doubt he'll do much talking to the police if they come around.  I'm maybe a day's drive away from the beach yet, but I'm too exhausted to go on right now.

I am now sporting a very hot pink, angled bob.  I always wanted hair like this, and a new life means new hair.  I hit the road sometime after dark last night when the neighbors wouldn't see me leave, or would at least be too drunk to notice.  I threw the plastic bag of my hair and the boxes of dye in the trash bin of the apartment complex on the other end of the block.  Anyone looking for the girl with long brown hair and the conservative sweater won't look twice at me. 

I figure I have a week, maybe even two, before anyone notices I'm gone.  The longest mom has ever gone without calling is thirteen days, but I'm willing to bet after this last argument it will be longer.  My brother and sister never call.  I gave two weeks notice at my job and I've spent the last few days packing things up.  I paid my rent for the month and gave my landlord notice that I would be vacating in thirty days.  My loose ends are tied up and no one has any reason to suspect anything might be wrong.

Yesterday, I did all of the things I've wanted to do for so long after I slept in late in my bed for the last time.  I closed my bank accounts.  I cancelled my credit cards and cut them into tiny pieces.  I cleaned out the last remaining food in the house, Chinese take-out from the night before.  I cut my hair and bleached it, then dyed it bright pink. I deactivated my Facebook account, and scheduled my cell phone to cancel at the end of the month.  All of the things I couldn't bear to part with or sell were already packed in clearly labeled boxes in the living room, when the landlord goes in to clean the apartment for the next tenants he will find my note explaining that I've left and to call my mom to come get my remaining things.

I've never traveled so light in my life and it is kind of liberating.  I took nothing with me except some clothes, my cats, and the money I got from selling my things and saving over the past year and a half.  All of my identification, all of my photos, everything that was me and my life before today is in a box waiting for my mom.  I sold everything from my TV to the tennis bracelet my high school sweetheart bought me for my 18th birthday.  I wonder what he would think if he knew I'd sold it.  Not that it matters what he thinks anymore.  Hell, it doesn't matter what anyone back there thinks anymore. 

It doesn't matter.  If it did, maybe I wouldn't be running away from a life that never served me.  Isn't that what they say?  "Get rid of everything that doesn't make you happy and focus on what does" or something like that.  Well, that's what I'm doing.  The situation "back home" is one that never really served me.  I spent so much time asking myself "Is this really my life?".  I know my family loves me by genetic default, but the truth of the matter is that my own mother doesn't even like me as a person.  My sister has her pseudo family of friends she prefers to her real family; It doesn't matter I guess, she's happy and there's no place for me anymore.  My brother is just humiliated by us all, and I don't really blame him for feeling that way...after all, I'm the one running away so who the hell am I to judge?  I didn't have many friends to lose.  All I really left behind was a town full of history, too familiar places, some people who think they know me, and this idea of a person I was supposed to be but could never quite live up to. 

I experienced a moment of doubt when I hit the state line.  I actually pulled over, cried and thought long and hard about turning around.  I left a key under the flower pot next to the door.  I could walk back into my house, pick up my phone and cancel the cancellation, unpack and find a new job.  But I pushed on, and here I am nearly 600 miles away.  The prison that held me is still there if I want to return to it, I don't know if that thought is bothersome or comforting. 

I suppose there is a kind of safety in the familiar.  I could have stayed there in the same mundane routine, in the same place, with the same people who would always think and feel the same thing about me.  I would have been safe.  It seems like the entire town was exactly like my dysfunctional family: they can abuse you and tear you apart, but everyone else had better treat you with respect or else.  I would have been safe so long as I let them tear me down, treat me the same way they always have, and do all the things they think I should be doing. I would have been safe if I would have been compliant and the person they wanted me to be.

Which is why I had to run.  As sick and sad as it sounds, I had to run away from the person I was and  the life I was born into.  If I didn't leave, I would constantly be at war with the people who are supposed to love me over the person they think I ought to be - someone I have no intention of being.  If I didn't leave, there's a chance I might have ended up going back to the relationship that ruined my life and my reputation.  I don't know how I could stay in that town where I lived in fear every time he drove past my house and was forced to hold my head high as the biddies in the beauty shop held their magazines up next to their faces to talk to each other in hushed tones about what they'd heard about me.  Our relationship was unhealthy.  I'd given in and done things he'd wanted me to do because I thought if I pleased him, it would make things better.  In the end, he used the things he'd asked me to do for him as means to shame me even though his behavior was what was shameful.  If I didn't leave, my choice was to return to the man who abused me, or live with the family who shaped me into a woman who would take the abuse.

But this... what am I doing?  I bought a new identity.  I changed what I could about my physical person.  I've changed almost everything I could change about myself to pursue what?  I don't even know who I am because I left behind the person I've always been.  I don't know if Paige is the person I've always wanted to be. What if I try and chase this dream down and it is nothing like what I imagined? What if the decision to run for another life leads me to a life that is even worse?

I'm headed for the beach.  I've never seen the ocean and I figure seeing something you've never seen before and going someplace you've never been is the right place to start a new life.  So that is what I'm doing.  Maybe changing my name was a drastic move.  I don't actually expect anyone to come looking for me, but if they do they wont find me.  I wasn't physically in danger, I just need to feel like I'm far enough away from what was that I am safe from not being that person ever again.  I just can't take the chance that I can't escape a past and a town that never really fit me anyway.  I need to try and make a go of my life the way I want it.   I don't know if the cage I was held in was of my own creation or the creation of the community that surrounded me, but I need to try to do it my way now.  And the first step is getting to the ocean.... 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sex and Ding Dongs

When I was 19 years old, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I came home for summer vacation after my first year of college no less confused than I was when I had left for the small University of Wisconsin campus with the assurances from family and revered high school teachers that it might take some time but I would figure it out.

Over the summer, however, I decided to take a "process of elimination" approach to my future.  I was going to take some time off from my studies to experience full time employment and learn what I didn't want to do career-wise.  This plan also included moving out of my childhood home and into my first apartment with my high school sweetheart.

I don't recommend this approach to anyone.  Once you get your own place and start working to support yourself, it's really hard to stop working to support yourself.  As far as that boyfriend, we were barely halfway into our lease when I lost my job and three days later I found myself sitting at the dinner table by myself after he didn't come home from work.  There was no argument, no "Dear John" letter, and no phone call; He just didn't come back to the apartment for two weeks until one day when he snuck back to our apartment and took clean clothes.

I was devastated.  I couldn't understand how someone I'd known since we were 5 and had been one of my best friends for years could do such a thing to me.  The break up I could have handled, the heartbreaking and cowardly way he did it was what hurt. 

During this time, I grew more and more disenchanted with apartment living.  What seemed like a magical two bedroom apartment with a huge closet and a patio turned into a place where all I found was annoyance.  The walk to my apartment was always a scent based guessing game of "What the hell are they cooking?"  I would come home every night and find garbage in my patio from the three apartments above mine, including someone's used q-tips once.  My upstairs neighbor had a toddler by day, and a screeching, stomping little demon by night.

Needless to say, I struggled to sleep at night.  Many nights I sat on the back patio chain-smoking surrounded by other people's discarded cigarette butts while I wrote all my hurt feelings into a journal, always hoping to see his taillights headed for the back parking lot. When I would finally crawl into bed at night, I would lay there for hours with the windows open, imagining I heard his car on the road or the door unlocking.

I've come a long way since then.   I reached a point where I was able to wish him well in my own way.  I was taken back to that time the other night, however, when he sent me a Facebook Friend Request (DENIED!) and my dear friend Jenniy from Climaxed shared a cute little message she received on an online dating site:

Poor Jerimiah needs a clue in so many ways.  Apparently, I also needed a clue because I had no idea what "skeet skeet skeet" meant.  It was while I was making fun of poor Jerimiah that I suffered a mental flashback and suddenly I was back in my huge new bed by myself, in the dark, listening for my ex to come home.  It was a warm, quiet October night and I had left the bedroom window open.  I was again struggling to sleep, and just as I was closing my eyes and slowly drifting off to sleep I heard my loud neighbor from upstairs:

"Oh yeah. Suck it baby."

Yes, the guy upstairs actually uttered those words like every cliche Dom, Dick and Hairy that ever graced the x-rated screen.  I was too irked at having to hear the subtle details of coupling activities when I was struggling to get adequate rest, not to mention struggling with a broken heart, and I got up and slammed the window shut before going to bed.  I didn't see or hear from the upstairs neighbor again until they dropped an open (and full) can of beer off their balcony onto my stuff as I was moving out.

I'd almost completely forgotten about that moment and that night until Jenniy shared the message from Jerimiah, who at the age of 33 still refers to his genitalia as a "badass weiner" and "a fucking awesome ding dong".  It was as I was asking myself what kind of grown man refers to his man meat as a ding dong when I heard a voice in my head say:

"Oh yeah. Suck that fucking awesome ding dong, baby".

Unfortunately, the fit of giggles I found myself in did nothing for intense craving for Hostess Snack Cakes that followed. That being said, if you find me laughing hysterically in the snack cake aisle it's probably because I'm standing in front of the ding dongs.