Where There’s Smoke. Or Not.  

Last week my smoke alarm went off while I was doing laundry, and there was no smoke so I figured it was broken and took the battery out. Then the next day while cleaning, I went to put the battery back in the alarm and it continued beeping…I then realized it wasn’t just a smoke alarm, it was a carbon monoxide alarm too, and that it had begun beeping while I was running the clothes dryer (which could produce CO). And oh crap, I’d felt sick to my stomach that morning so maybe it wasn’t the 12 new supplements I’d started taking, maybe I had CO poisoning! So I called the fire department. Two enormous fire trucks running the sirens, an ambulance, and a CO tech in a suburban show up on my narrow little street blocking multiple driveways and giving my nosy neighbors, who happily stood on their lawns enjoying the show, the highlight of their weekend. Roughly 15-20 men piled out in big fire gear…you would have thought my house was burning down and 437 children were trapped inside. And there I was, dressed in a baggy sweatshirt with paint stains on it I wear to clean, no make up, hair disgusting and plastered to my head, smelling like an alluring combo of Windex, Pledge, and sweaty person. And I’m talking to this HOT paramedic who tells me how cute he thinks Rosie is (who at that moment is running all over my lawn trying to coerce the men into playing with her while Chili barks her head off), and that he lost his dog in a BREAK UP (read: he’s single). As if I wasn’t already wanting to die of embarrassment, the hordes of firemen come out and tell me it can’t be the dryer because my dryer is electric (I told them I thought it was gas.). Oh, and it wasn’t the CO alarm, it was the fire alarm (which they nicely showed me I would have known if I’d bothered to read the back of the alarm). Obviously, since there was no smoke or fire anywhere, the alarm was malfunctioning, and they came for no reason (deduced that one by myself!). One guy asked me as they went to leave, “You live alone, right?” I nodded, and he smiled knowingly. They were SO nice, but they may as well have patted me on the head and told me what a poor, helpless and clueless woman I am. I felt like saying, “No wait! I bought this house by myself! I pay the bills! I mulched all these planters without help! I can hang shelves! I’m not an idiot!” But, all I did was wave sheepishly as they drove away. So tonight, Ladies and Gentleman, I clearly impressed the brave men of my local fire department and paramedics team with my obvious intelligence and my extreme beauty. As soon as they left, the friggin’ alarm went off again. I almost smashed it with a hammer.

Why Right Now my House is Covered in Feathers, Dog Hair, and Skunk Grossness and I’m Wearing 2 Contacts in my Right Eye: an FML Memoir in Pictures

So, as usual, my alarm went off this morning.  But, unlike most people, my alarm is furry and it comes in the form of two large dogs forcefully throwing their bodies against my bedroom door repeatedly with loud clunking noises at 5am until I begrudgingly peel my eyelids off my face and emerge from the bedroom to feed them.  But, this morning the dog alarm went off at 4:30am.  I was a bit miffed, but since I was leaving for a business trip the following day and I had a lot to get done, I figured I would comply.

So the dogs ate and I let them out to do their thang (They’re about as regular as friggin Jamie Lee Curtis in those Activia commercials.  We get it Jamie, you’re super happy because yogurt is the one thing you found to make you poop. God, I am not looking forward to menopause.).

And, unfortunately for me, the real reason why they chose to wake me at such an ungodly hour (my dogs, not the Activia people) was revealed when the barking became so loud that I had to go out in the yard to try to shut them up so my white trash neighbor dude didn’t decide to go all NRA target practice on them.  And there was Rosie, rolling around in the yard, trying desperately to remove the skunk spray from her eyes.  And I had no idea what was happening.  Have you ever smelled skunk close up before?  It actually didn’t smell like skunk at all at first.  It’s so potent, it actually smells like tires.  I shit you not.  I’m standing in my yard at 4:30am all foggy-brained, wondering why the hell my dog is rolling in the grass with such desperation and trying to figure out where the Firestone people decided to set up shop.

Me: “And where is that cute Firestone heir from The Bachelor anyway?  Is he still single?”

Finally part of the dumb ass cloud passed over me and I realized what had happened and I screamed like someone was bludgeoning me with a hammer.  So I grabbed the dogs and yanked them into the house so basically they could drag their skunk-smelling asses all over everything we own.  Outstanding idea, Lisa!  (I did warn you that only part of the dumb ass cloud had passed.)

Much to my half-awake chagrin, I had no choice but to begin the bathing proceedings immediately.  I normally bring my dogs to the groomer because when you’re 5’2″ and a generally small-framed person (boobs don’t count), bathing a 75 pound dog and a 65 pound dog who fight you every step of the way is utter insanity.  Like, if you sought expert counsel on this, they would tell you it’s a more advisable option to punch yourself in the face as hard as you can with an anvil for an hour and a half, then lift a 15 ton rock and throw yourself off a 500 foot cliff, and you’d probably fare a lot better.  But I really didn’t have much of a choice here.  And of course, I didn’t have any of the things on hand to bathe a dog that had been skunked (dish soap, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda mixture) so I just used dish soap and hoped for the best.

So, I tossed Rosie into the tub first.  Rosie’s whole strategy is to make herself as horribly sad-looking as possible, even though she is a Labrador retriever who loves to swim in any damn body of water she gets near.  Like, even to the point of once in Florida when she was five months old she got off the leash and went swimming in an alligator-infested reservoir and my Dad and I were contemplating going in after her (This whole story is 100% not a joke or remotely exaggerated).  Bottom line: I’m not buying the sad tub act and your ass owes me after all the gray hairs I got from that alligator stunt.  So yeah.  Nice try.  Suck it up.

“Hi Mom.  I’m really pathetic.  That means you should let me out of this tub so I could continue to track skunk and now wet dog smell all over the house.”

After doing some fancy footwork to block Rosie from jumping out of the tub, drying her off, getting her out, draining the tub, unclogging the drain of wads of black lab hair, I started the real insanity: CHILI.  (Dun, dun, Dunnnnnnnn!!!!!!)

I find her all curled up, on my down comforter.  Oh, fucking fantastic.  The dog who refuses to go on my bed because jumping up scares her, has now chosen to go on my bed to soothe herself (oh, the irony) and gotten skunk all over the one thing I absolutely loathe washing because taking it out of the dryer resembles what I imagine a duck would look like if it spontaneously imploded.  So I stick the comforter in the washer, because once again, I don’t really have a lot of choices here, and begin the process of wrangling the dog who hates bathing so much that she behaves like a bucking bronco if I get her anywhere near the tub.

This is how it went.

“Aw, HELL NO.  I see Rosie’s wet paw prints on the floor, I’m no dummy.  This Mom Bitch lost her damn MIND.  I am NOT going in there.”

I leashed her and pulled her and that didn’t work.  I had to pick her up about six times, because she kept wriggling out of my arms.  So you have about 130 pounds of woman with little upper body strength holding 65 pounds of dog fighting for her life, which is like an equation to confound most physicists, and all this is happening before coffee consumption on little sleep.  And then as soon as I would pick her up and get a good grip on her to get her into the bathroom, she would lodge her paws outside the door jam in the manner of Bugs Bunny attempting to be pulled by Wile E. Coyote through a door where instead Bugs proceeds to stretch his body inward instead of remove his feet from the door jam, and therefore successfully prevent going in.  Chili had become a cartoon for your amusement, People.  It was like an I Love Lucy episode, except with a lot more screaming, cursing, and dog hair, and less Cuban-accented punch lines.

By that point, with all the dog wrestling, I had had such a strenuous workout so early in the morning that was beginning to feel very proud and fancy myself one of these ultra-motivated 4:30am gym rats with abs you could grate cheese on, who teaches cross fit, boot camp, and cardio kick boxing before most of us have even, like, had our first morning pee-pee.  You know, someone who has a name like “Kielyahnah” (and she really drags out the “ahh”), that gets cutely perturbed when no one can spell it right. “Like, OMG, why is this so hard guyssssss?!?”  And everyone kind of looks at her and shakes their head because she’s so someone named “Kielyahnah”.  But, with a name like that, no one would take her seriously even if she had a real job; but it doesn’t really matter because she will never have a real job because she’s kind of a moron and her entire skill set involves making people want to do her or be her.   So you want to punch her, but you also want to be her (or do her).  Bitch.

“Hi, I’m Kiely-ahh-nah.  Working out is like, totally, my life.  And so is spray tanning, and this thong underwear I wear to the gym.”

So um, yeah. Chili.  Finally got her in the bath.  She wasn’t loving it.  But it wasn’t nearly as bad once she was in as when I was trying to get her in.  (I know there’s a sexual innuendo in there somewhere, dammit.).

“Hmm.  I was going to try to jump out, but the toilet’s right there.  Probably should have planned this better, come to think of it.”

When I finally finished with both dogs, and my back felt like someone drove a Mack Truck through it, this is what the tub looked like (I’d already semi cleaned it after Rosie):

Mmmm.  Delicious.

The bathroom floor was on another level entirely.  This is what my floor looks like on a normal day, for the purposes of comparison.  This is a pattern, not hair:

And this grossness, worthy of some kind of Guinness Book of World Record acknowledgement–or at least many Guinness BEERS I could consume after the kind of morning this had been, was the post dog fiasco version.  This is hair:

Even more delicious. 

So, I busied my little now 6am coffee and sleep-deprived, mumbling curse words like Yosemite Sam self to cleaning the bathroom.

Then I moved on to trying to Febreeze the shit out of every open space in my home that the dogs may have touched the air in or near.  You know that commercial where the people are blindfolded and they are in, like, a pile of horse shit and and covered in frat party puke and someone sprays Febreeze and they always guess they’re in Heaven sitting next to Jesus in spring time or something?  Yeah, no.  Because Febreeze sprayed on top of skunk equals Fe-skunk.  Like how you went in the bathroom right after Jamie Lee Curtis had her Activia and she sprayed Glade thinking it would take care of the odor and now it just smells a different kind of disgusting?  Yup, that.

So I went downstairs into the laundry room to get the down comforter and clean up the feathers from what I can only assume was the imploded duck (sorry buddy).  And it was so bad that even after I cleaned up the whole damn thing, feathers still showed up like those annoying relatives who came late to the reunion just to get Aunt Sue’s cookies (Mmm, that’s not a joke, my Aunt Sue’s cookies are amazing.).  But these feathers showed up in the oddest places.  

Like here, next to my treadmill.  I can only assume the feather perverts were looking for Kielyahnah.  I bet they were trying to find their way into her thong.  Sorry boys, she doesn’t work out here; only brains, cellulite and sarcasm are allowed in this house.  

So, I come back upstairs covered in feathers and self-loathing, and I see my darling dogs, sitting by the door asking to go out.  All unassumingly, like this:

“Hi Mom.  We are wet.  We want to go back outside and chase more things with severe consequences and roll in more disgustingness, for we are dogs, and we are here to annoy the shit out of you!!!!!! Mwahahahahhaha!!!!!”

And I just about broke.  Words came out of my mouth that I didn’t even know existed.  I don’t think anyone has even invented them yet.  I was thankful I wasn’t Drew Barrymore in the Firestarter.  Or someone with Tourette’s in church.  (Who am I kidding, I may as well be that on a normal day.)

Anyway, let’s recap here.  I’d been up since 4:30am.  I had to leave for a business trip the following day and I had roughly 956 things to do.  I’d been wrestling dogs for hours, cleaning up wads of wet dog hair and feathers in inexplicable places that just wouldn’t go away, the skunk smell permeated everything with a nasty odor of hatred (not unlike terrorism really), and I’d had no coffee or sleep.  I was so tired that I had, quite literally, just attempted to put both my contact lenses into the same damn eye, and even worse, didn’t figure it out until I realized I couldn’t see out of either eye properly.  Ain’t nothing like a little dose of my own stupidity to get me to a point of extreme WTF-ness.  Oh, and did I mention I looked like this?

I am actually covered in water here but I only took a head shot because this shirt is not only wet but incredibly threadbare and, well, this isn’t THAT kind of website.  But yeah, check me out.  Sweaty, angry, drenched.  I am one sexy ass bitch.  I mean, it really amazes me that my brief foray into the world of modeling a decade past didn’t take off like wild fire.  I mean, clearly, the modeling world is crazy.  

So how did the story wind up, you ask?  Well, I fell back to sleep for a little while and when I woke up to go to work, the dogs were dry, and still smelled like fucking skunk.  So my groomer is a better person than the Dalai Lama as far as I’m concerned and she fit me in at the last minute and got me out just in time to make a meeting with a client.  My house still smells like skunk and I’ve accomplished about 1/3rd of the things I needed to do today, but my dogs smell fine now thanks to Her Holiness Sally, owner of Purrfect Pooch, and I bought all the skunk-smell removal supplies I need to clean the grossness in the morning before my flight out.

That is, if I make it until then.  It is very likely you’ll find me huddled in the corner in the fetal position rocking back and forth muttering, “Damn skunk, dogs, fucking Jamie Lee Curtis and her public pooping problems, Luuuuucy, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do!”  If that happens, just escort me into my room and put me to bed.  Call my boss and tell him I’m too sick to make the training.  And do me a big favor and entertain my dogs for me for a while.  In some way that doesn’t involve skunks.  

The Reciprocal Loop of Insanity Between my Old School Mother and I 

I went to Greece in August for my cousin’s wedding, and my parents didn’t  go. Instead, they came up to my house from D.C. (where they live) to watch my dogs for me. This is the conversation I had prior to the wedding with my rather old-school mother as I tried to explain that while the rest of the family, who my mother thought would be there to “take care of me”, jetted off to Santorini after the wedding in Athens, I was going to use that as an excuse to see Prague instead since the flight wasn’t terribly expensive.

This is how the loop of insanity goes when she gets nervous because I do something out of her extremely narrow comfort zone, and I first try to soothe her and then realize nothing short of living in a drawer in her bedroom will work, so I get annoyed and begin the process of trying to shock her into realizing she better get used to it.  So far it seems after about 30 years, neither of our methods are working here.  At least we are consistent.

Mom: Wait. You’re going to go BY YOURSELF!?!!!

Me: Mom, I’m 38.

Mom: Where is Prague, Germany?

Me: No, it’s in the Czech Republic.

Mom: (*Dead air*)

Me: For the love of God, everyone in this family is or was an educator of some sort, including Dad and me! Go get the Atlas.

Mom: Okay, I got it. What is it near?

Me: It’s in Eastern Europe.

Mom: Oh my God. ISIS has cells all over the place there! I am going to be worried sick the whole time. How can you do this to me?

Me: Do what to you exactly, live my life?Mom, ISIS has cells all over the place HERE. I live right outside Manhattan and terrorists blew up the World Trade Center, remember? If I’m going to die, it can happen here too.

Mom: But this is America.

Me: Okay, I’m not even sure what kind of logic that is. Do you know there is something called the Global Peace Index that is done every year? It is basically an assessment on every country in the world ranked by safest to least safest. The Czech Republic is ranked the 6th safest country in the world in 2016, whereas the U.S. is ranked 103rd. So, I’m actually exponentially more likely to have something awful happen to me staying home than going to Prague.

Mom: But you’re going ALONE.

Me: Mom, let’s assess here. I live alone. I have lived alone for five years. I haven’t lived in the same house with you and Dad for 17 years and I haven’t even lived in the same STATE for 13 years.

Mom: What are you trying to prove, that you can do all this without a man?

Me: 😫. Mom, you’re far too young to be this OLD! Gloria Steinem is OLDER THAN YOU!!! Your own mother lived alone half her life and traveled alone! If Dad got abducted by aliens tomorrow and they kept him for testing, which they totally would because Dad’s a bad ass and they’d want to know how he got that way and how he’s STILL that way at 70, you’d starve because you wouldn’t know how to access the bank accounts! It’s sad, Mom. Seriously. I shouldn’t NOT see the world because you’re too scared for me to.

Mom: Oh, you with your feminist crap! I’m going to worry you’re dead the whole time! Dateline AND 20/20 show stories all the time about young girls getting abducted overseas. Lisa, they are taking young women now. This is REAL.

Me: I really don’t have time to explain to you all things wrong with the fact that you think 20/20 and Dateline are real News stations.  I love you, but I have to get off the phone before I beat myself senseless with the nearest blunt object, and then you won’t even have to worry about a terrorist getting me overseas, I will do the job myself.

Mom:  That’s not funny.

Me:  Oh, and by the way, I am also going to Kenya over Christmas.  Bye!

(*Hangs up*)

I’m never going to hear the end of this.  But, the bright side is, she has no idea where Kenya is either.  According to the state department website, there are actually some terrorist issues there.  But there are elephants!  🐘.  So it’s all worth it.

1979, Long Island, NY.  See?  I hadn’t even left the chair, let alone the country, and already she was nervous.  And clearly even at a year old and not having any language abilities yet, my sarcastic eye-rolling face says it all.  That, and I think I was probably pooping.  Ahh, some things never change.  (The sarcasm, I mean. I’ve since learned not to shit in my pants. I mastered that skill about six months ago. Go, me!)


My Online Dating Profile.  Because if I Didn’t Make this Funny, I’d Kill Someone.  

The most common stupid question I get from this profile is, “You speak Ancient Greek?”  Why yes, and Aramaic!  I’m a whiz with dead languages!  And the part about me speaking only some English I wrote directly after that is obviously meant to be ignored entirely.

**P.S.  Don’t be jealous of Ryan Gosling proposing to me.





Dear Hipsters, or Try Not to Puke on the Kale

Dear Hipsters,
While I appreciate that you live in areas with fine eateries and close proximity to major cities, I have to inform you of a few things that have been bothering me lately about your culture. You see, most of the time I think I’m a pretty cool and moderately cultured and intelligent individual. But, apparently, hipsters feel otherwise about this matter. And, the sheer smugness of it all irritates the crap out of me. Because you, hipsters, live in a bubble whereupon if you ever left, you’d be the laughing stock of the free world. And, that in and of itself, makes you UN-cultured, due to your sheer inability to understand that most people who visit your oddly placed microcosms find you silly, smelly, and pretentious. Let me explain.

1. Paying someone upwards of $80 to have a hair cut that makes you look like your neighbor’s five year old took scissors to your head while you were sleeping is nothing short (ha) of heinous. I really hate that saying this makes me sound like my grandfather, but I hate even more that your haircuts are utterly blasphemous to my OCD tendencies and I feel the need to run up and fix you. Let’s face it, this entire paragraph produces a level of self-loathing I am unwilling to face at this time.

2. You are not an artist if you play in a band where nobody knows how to play instruments.  I could pick up a guitar and claim the random string plucking is “music,” but it might result in people outside of say, Brooklyn, throwing tomatoes at me. The only people who’d appreciate it are the people who are as stoned as you are, but probably only if I also had a funny hair cut. This one I’m not saying because I’m old, this one I’m saying because you legitimately suck on a level having nothing to do with appreciating genres, it has to do with appreciating actual TALENT.

3. Wearing clothes from American Apparel that hug your package in such a way that makes it look like you are propositioning midgets and small children is disturbing, to say the least. Paying that much for spandex points to the larger fact that you probably need to retake those college economics classes your daddy paid so much for.  And while you’re all hoity toity about being focused on ethical issues, please understand that kids in sweatshops in China made those things you call pants that show way too much of your anatomy for me to understand why cops don’t arrest you for indecent exposure.

4. You are not enlightened because you haven’t showered in weeks. That does not tell people that you are focused on bigger issues, it tells people that you see no problem contributing to the subway odor problem. People will forget all about your quest for world peace when they smell your armpits from two blocks away.

5. Just because you meditate, refuse to eat meat, and occasionally wander into New Age bookstores, it doesn’t make you a Buddhist.

6. The thrift store is there to help people who need everyday items and can’t afford them in regular stores. It is insulting that you pay $2000 a month for a one bedroom apartment and then buy clothes at the Salvation Army when some single mother with four mouths to feed needs that “cool” jacket you just bought for $3.50.

7. In your quest to be original, you have become just like everyone else in your bubble. You are not misunderstood. You are not enlightened. You do not understand more in the mere twenty-two years you’ve lived on this earth than people outside of your once downtrodden yet now trendily gentrified area. Walking around Williamsburg pontificating about things you haven’t lived long enough to have even a modest level of experience with, holding a coffee in your hand, doesn’t make you Nietzsche. It makes you pretentious and someone who needs a job.

8. If you want to be a vegan for health reasons, more power to you. But, maybe you should also consider the health effects of consuming 15 alcoholic beverages a night with your friends while you’re on that health kick. And yes, the beer is gluten free. You’re still going to have a crazy hangover for your shift at the food co-op.  Try not to puke on the kale.

…Though, come to think of it, that might actually improve the taste of kale.

A Writer’s Version of Dog Shaming

A tad more verbose than the normal dog-shamer. But it was the dead of winter
when this was taken, plus I was bored and also a bit intrigued by Chili’s apparent love of shitsicles. Good thing she’s cute.