Adventure in Windshield Wipers

A nearly two-hour commute through the desert, in August no less, is usually a harrowing ordeal filled with bumper-to-bumper traffic, blowing dust, heat lines, mirages and Saguaros as far as the eye can see.  From the moment your office-cool hands reach for the steering wheel, knowing damn well that you’re going to burn off your fingerprints quicker than J in “Men in Black”, to that crucial belly-sucking trepidation of clicking a molten metal buckle around your already sweaty middle, the minutes turn to hours as you progress down the broiling asphalt that paves the way through hell.  Or at least, that’s what happens on the sunny days.

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On the days where whispers of “Haboob” – those giant harbingers of dust, wind and sand –  are filled with nervous giggles, and your co-workers are taking bets on how high the plague-inducing, Pharaoh frightening wall of dust will be, the only thing on my mind is this:  will my windshield wipers stand up to the test?  Will I be left with the horrendous squeal and squeak of metal on glass while I fight for my life amongst those brave enough to confront the eleventh plague.

haboob

For those of us in the know, windshield wipers last in the Sonoran Desert about as long as spilled ice cream on a summer sidewalk. That long. From the minute you disinter their soft, pliable, rubbery little bodies from the dense Plasticote® casings of yesteryear, they have already begun to die.  Without rain, unlike their cactile-like counterparts living in the sand, these soft squeegees of despair have only weeks, maybe months in which to live.  Like all of God’s pliable creatures, they need water to survive, and there just isn’t enough to go around.

So on this day of bilious thunderclouds and portents of dusty disaster, I was asking myself the same thing that you would if you’d ever been caught with rotting windshield wipers in the middle of an epic Arizona Monsoon – will I survive?  Deriding myself with a nervous chuckle and a foreboding sense of things to come, I surmise that, in all of my years as a Mad Max-like barren wasteland dweller, I must make one life-saving stop before heading out on my suicidal commute – Auto Zone.

Cumulous clouds forming in a bizarre pattern of cottony-billow-meets-ritualistic-doom, the sunlight is blocked out nearly completely as I reach my destination.  It is still broiling outside under these tumultuous skies, and my hair is whipping my face like “50 Shades of Medusa”.  I enter the store with the confidence that can only come from Someone Who Is Solving a Problem.  I know my auto parts, oh yes indeedy I do.

Being a self-taught pseudo-mechanic and a connoisseur of crappy automobiles, I am confident that my friends behind the counter, disarmed by my knowledge, grace and charm will subsequently stumble over themselves in an attempt to the be the first in their charming blue shirts with the catchy stitched-on nametags to install these wipers for me.  Wrong is such an ugly word that I hate to even use it here.  Maybe mistaken, naïve, foolish or perhaps freaking kidding myself – but never wrong.  I purchase the wipers from “Carlos”, a swarthy ne’er do well in his khaki pants and stitched on nametag, with hints and cute little twirls of my hair, and even resort to asking if these will be “like, too hard to install?”. Twirl. Giggle.  Flip.  “No ma’am.  You can do it. Next?”  Ugh.  “Ma’am”.  That hateful word that we all know is retail lingo for “bitch”. Wow.  I snatch the bag off of the counter with an “I’ll show you!” flip of the wrist, neatly flinging one of the wipers out of the bag and onto the floor.  Of course.

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Bending down past the cardboard pine tree forest, pausing to inhale a quick whiff of wild cherry and knock-off “Drakkar Noir”, I reach for the wiper to realize with embarrassment and dread that the dress I have chosen to wear has wedged itself quite neatly in the warm and sweaty well between my cheeks, and there is nowhere to go but down.  I’m kicking myself for thinking that a thong was ever a good idea.  I rise quickly and give a quick tug as I stand, casting a glance over my shoulder.  No one has even looked in my direction.  For a hot lady in a roomful of testosterone, this is certainly not panning out as it does in my daydreams.

I’m sure by now that “Carlos” has moved on to his riveting task of counting brake pads, or polishing wheel nuts, or whatever it is he’s doing while NOT assisting desert damsels in distress in the installation of their wiper blades.  I am tempted to point out the small sign in the window that extolls the great customer service I can expect here – “YES!  We install windshield wipers and batteries FOR FREE!” –  but I carry on. After all, I am capable of this.  I am a Grown Ass Woman with the strength of a lion, the courage of a gladiator and an affinity for Doing It Myself.  Today will be no different.

As I approach my car, now with visible heat waves rising up off of the trunk despite the cloud cover, I notice that the packages encasing my little harbingers of sluice have no perforations.  No problem, I’ll just rend them open with my mighty woman muscles.  Fifteen minutes go by.  My hair, which was formerly a mass of feminine waves and billowy softness has now plastered itself Trump-like to my head – only pausing to flap in one gigantic salt-licked piece when a particularly strong gust hits. I have broken three nails – one to the quick – cut my lip and sprained my elbow trying to wrestle this package open.  My dress – in defiance of all natural law – is subsequently flapping up and away from my butt, while still managing to stick between my cheeks.  That’s it.  I’ve completely had it and I’m going to go in there and insist that someone help me get this open.

Marching back into the cool anti-freeze-slicked air, which is an incredible feat – have you ever tried to march in sweaty flip-flops? –  I slap my wipers onto the counter with an exasperated sigh, and try to look angry instead of pathetic.  Epic fail.   Carlos looks up with a mixture of boredom and amusement that can only be found on a person with years of customer service experience.  “Can I help you?”

“Yes.  I need to open these wipers.  Do you have scissors I can borrow?”

“Nope.  You need a knife or something.  We don’t sell scissors.”  You have got to be kidding me.  I’m sure I saw him grin, or wink or something.

“Fine.  I’ll take the pocket knife.”  I lay out the cash – the equivalent of another set of wipers – on the counter and turn to go back outside and then it hits me.  I spin around with the packaged knife in my hand – its contents wrapped tighter than Fort Knox after the Gold Rush.  “How do I get this open?”  I can hear the near hysteria in my voice and I’m trying every mantra I’ve ever read from Eat, Pray, Love to help me through this moment.

“You need a screwdriver for that.”  Wunderbar. I’m going to assault a stranger.  Surprisingly, in all of my fantasies, going to jail for windshield wiper induced rage never even occurred to me.  Interesting.

“Can I borrow a screwdriver?”

“I’m sorry ma’am but we…”

“ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?”

What happens next isn’t entirely clear.  I remember dialing my husband in some sort of Lizzie Borden-Meets-Lorraine Bobbit kind of frenzy – my whole world turned to crimson with black spots swirling behind my eyes.  I vaguely remember my bewildered spouse saying to me “aren’t they supposed to install those for you?”  I may have blacked out.  The next thing I remember is being in the car with the cool life-giving air-conditioning vents blowing on my face while Carlos is outside of my car installing the wiper blades.  I cackle out loud – despite my desperate need not to do so – when he has to go inside not once, but twice in order to get the right tools just to open the packages.  “Flirty-Girl 2.0” reinstalled in my brain, I flit fingers in a wiggly-wave in his direction upon successful wiper installation and I aim for home – the desert awaits.

best-sunset-arizona

Heading off into the sunset, with the dark clouds looming overhead and a hint of gold, crimson and magenta all streaking the sky, I nearly swerve off of the road with this final realization.  It never even rained.  Not. One. Drop.

 

 

 

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Hey, About that Snickers Bar….

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I’m fat.weirdalfat

That is the only time I’m going to say it because I’m done with beating myself up over it. The real issue now is, what magic formula can I come up with to permanently beat this thing so that I can be hot while I’m still relatively young? I know, I know, I’m supposed to do this for my health. Yeah, okay.  I still want to be hot.  samantha-fox-fonds-cran-images-photos-cartes-54607

That, and ONLY that, is the secret dream of the fat person.  I don’t care who says what about “quality of life” and “health” and “being able to climb the stairs without sweating” or “fitting in a bus/airplane seat”…but I digress.  Is it so much to ask to look like Samantha Fox for a brief moment before I turn into the Crypt Keeper?crypt  (yes, these are both 80’s references, so I’m guessing that the quick answer is no) (AND, this is more “Crypt Keeper meets Weekend at Bernie’s”)

But wait, before I digress again, let it be said here and now that this is not going to be some kind of spiritual weight-loss journey-type blog about my road to redemption or any such nonsense. I just felt like writing about this today so here goes.

My very best friend, Lady E,xena

as she will be forever known in this blogdom, lost about one hundred pounds, give or take, many years ago.  She is tall and fabulous and I’ve always been jealous…BUT…that aside, she started out her successful journey by going to O.A. (that’s Overeaters Anonymous for you skinny people).  I am just not that guy.  The very thought of going to a public place with strangers has often been intimidating, but having to sit and share my stories of food addiction is more than I care to share.  I eat in secret.  Hell, I eat in public, too, but the REALLLLY good stuff I eat alone.  OR with my husband.  Maybe when I’m out.  Look, I love food.  And really, besides those annies or bullies, who doesn’t love food? Again, digression.  I have absolutely no desire to sit in a room – anonymously – with a bunch of fatty strangers who want to do nothing but talk about their inability to put down the ice cream while crying.news_richard_simmons_testify_03_wenn5168356-600x802

And yes, they are either crying at the meeting, or crying in the ice cream – either way, I’m not down for this.  Also, you have to get a “sponsor” and spend every day communicating with them about what you intend to eat and what you actually end up eating.  In my world I find that these two concepts are usually very far away from each other.  Want a salad – have a milkshake.

Let’s get down to the meat – oh, God, meat! – of this issue – I don’t know how to apologize.  “But Jade”, you are saying to me, “that’s the easy part!”.  Is it really, my friends?  I have trouble apologizing for things that are TRULY my fault, like being a bitch for no reason, being wrong in an argument, or yelling at someone who doesn’t deserve it.

The last thing I want to do, in my “twelve steps that will never make you thin” journey is to confront anyone I may have “harmed” with my fatness and apologize to them.  What would I say?  Don’t try to pretend that you are unaware of this pathetically lame step of the “BIG TWELVE”  because you’re neither a child nor are you that socially defective.  If you managed to find this blog, you know the basis for twelve-step programs.  So barring the notion that I may not be able to pull of this weight-loss thing, I would like to take a few minutes to apologize to anyone I may have affected with my porcine ways.

sorry hungry

1.  Really sorry about stretching out your sweater.  I’m sure those breast-marks will snap right back in the wash.

2.  Aw, man…about that Snickers bar you were saving….

3.  I really thought the weight limit on the bouncy house was an estimate.  Frankly, I didn’t envision your kid sailing quite that high.  Sorry.

4.  You had to see me in a bathing suit.  In my defense, it was a public pool and about a thousand degrees.  I’m sorry, but please get over it.  I’m sure the Facebook “likes” you got was worth your discomfort.

5.  I’m sorry that you always roll toward me in bed.  However, it does make us closer.

6.  Sorry about hogging the armrest.

7. Duuuuuude, was that your burrito? (apology from way back in my stoner days)

8.  I’m sorry you were sunbathing right where I decided to cannonball.

9.  Sorry for being super “easy” so that your potential date came home with me.  It’s a fat girl’s curse.  We put out, what can I say?  Everybody knows that.

10.  Sorry for punching you in the face when you started a sentence with “you have such a pretty face…”. (oh, wait – that’s just a fantasy)

Im-Sorry

I may revisit this topic from time to time, as I see fit, or as I get fit, or, screw it, as I become even more UNfit.  I haven’t decided.  Mind your business.  I just wanted to let it all hang out, as it were.  After all, fat-bottomed girls make the rockin’ world go ’round.  Thank you, Freddy Mercury.Freddie-Mercury-9406228-2-402  I would have been your fag-hag.

Wakka-wakka

~jtw

A Rush to Stillness

Just because…I think this is important to read. I can say with sappy sincerity that this man is an inspiration to me, and he is my friend. Anyone who can make me read “all the way through” without skimming is worth the time.

Androids, Dreams, and Electric Sheep

And so she woke up
Woke up from where she was
Lying still
Said I gotta do something
About where we’re going

She’s running to stand . . . Still.

-U2 “Running to Stand Still

the_art_of_prayer__s_hands_by_otaru23-d4lpcg2I wrote a story two years ago about yoga and cancer and anger. A lot of people read it. Manduka, a company that manufactures yoga mats, tweeted an excerpt and link to thousands of people under the caption “The Angry Yoga Guy Catches a Blessing.” The Blog saw a few days of  traffic, and then it was just me again, working on drafts I couldn’t finish. That story came out of my rage -and my wife’s rage- and the serenity and peace I found practicing yoga.

I have had nothing to say since.

I am not as angry now as I was when I wrote that story, which was originally titled, “The Angry…

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Foot in Mouth Disease

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Sometimes I forget myself and blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.  It’s difficult for me not to go for the quick, cheap laugh, and even as I age, my quickness of tongue is often followed by the “doh!” of my brain catching up just a split second too late. Image This happens with my social networking as well, as a cousin pointed out to me today.  However, I had a chance to edit my posting, and I chose not to edit, but to keep it as it had originally crossed my mind.  Part of my online life is making it as close to “me” as possible.  I have enjoyed times where I could be anonymous and someone else, but I prefer to react and be myself.  This works out well most of the time, but at other times I fail.  That being said, I choose not to edit at these times, because it is when I am faulty that I am most truly me.

(I intended this blog to be side-splitting – I’m not there yet!)

So, here are the worst things (to me, anyhow) that I have ever said to people.  These are moments that I truly regret and have tried to learn from.  No worries, I’m POSITIVE that I have said or done things to offend everyone, but these are my highlights – my “best of the best” reel.

When I was 12 or 13 years old, my family was on our way to a day at the lake.  The radio was playing the “oldies” station and I was in an especially jovial mood because my parents had let me invite a friend along.  I wish I could remember who that was.  Anyhow, my dad, proud as dads get when they are telling nostalgic stories, said to us “Did I ever tell you that I was “the twist” champion in high school?”. Image This was a very cool moment.  I have never won a dance contest, and high school is just a blurry haze.  Now, my flapping tongue in all of its splendor, and without a moment to let my brain and better judgement catch up said “well, go cat go!”.  I thought it was hysterical and my friend and I had a good laugh about it.  Or maybe not.  I think I may have laughed, expecting everyone else to join in, but they didn’t.  All I truly remember was that I knew, the very second that the last bile-filled word dripped out of my mouth that I had deflated someone else’s happy memory.  I didn’t apologize, but I’ve thought of it often and I really should tell my dad that I’m sorry.

Moving on – this happened later, but not too much later in life.  I was around the same age, but I had moved to California and was now living with my mother.  No, this had nothing to do with the “twist” incident.  I had my first boyfriend – holy mother of stomach knots every time that we would accidentally brush fingers! – but I digress.  We were at the Old Town Mall and I was trying to point out a store to him.  His name was Chris Tackman and he died in a jet ski accident the summer following this incident.  Not related, I just thought someone should remember him.   Anyhoo, there we were, walking and sometimes smooching – even though he had a GIANT jawbreaker in his cheek – and I was trying to point out a store I was talking about.  I pointed, then I pointed it out…then I said “right next to ——–(blank) (I don’t remember)”…but I do remember this:  I said “gawd can’t you read?” in my lovely sarcastic tone.  Well, turns out that he couldn’t.  (DOH!)  I didn’t know this and even though he forgave me I never stopped feeling like a jackass for that one as well. Image

I’ll admit that I go for the cheap laugh more often than I should.  It’s my way of doing lots of things, but mostly it’s my way of showing off regardless of the consequences.  You will probably see more of that than you wish to if you keep reading my blog.  I swear, it will get funnier.

I am the person that everyone groans at.  I am the one who answers “hell no!” to the question “too soon”?

I do regret incidences such as these, but I still think I’m funny.

wakka wakka

Why I Attract Free Things – Or – I Am A Vortex of Need

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From my very earliest memories, I have been the kind of person who expresses their needs. Okay, let’s try that again. I have always and often been selfish and greedy. Wait, one more revision should do it. I like stuff, and if you give stuff to me, I’m sure that you love me.

I will, however, share my stuff if it makes you happy. Therefore, I am removing the “selfish” label from myself. If I could get something new and shiny for myself and make you sad, I would not do it. If I could get nothing and make you laugh, I would do it. If I could get something shiny, make you laugh and then go get a pedicure, we would have a Jade-approved hat trick.

I can only fathom where I got the notion that presents equate love, but there you go. This would explain why I always say “oh nothing for me” and “I’m fine thanks” when asked what I want, while secretly harboring this intense and insane need for STUFF. Mama wants swag.

I remember crying my eyes out until my Grandmother Louise bought me a blow-up Easter rabbit that squeaked when you squeeze it.blow up rabbit I bawled and kicked and threw myself around on her guest bed (that all of my cousin’s know quite well) until she gave in.  I knew enough to be embarrassed about my behavior even then, and I was probably only four or five years old. She eventually gave in and bought it for me, and I was the most lovable person from the second it was in my needybabygreedybaby hands, until I wanted a cheese crisp from Con’s Cafe.  Ah, but my love/need/addiction of/for food is another blog altogether.

I still have this affliction. While I do no bawl nor do I throw myself down kicking and screaming, I can be an outright bitch when I don’t get what I want. The only difference is that now I don’t know how to say what I want (“I want the bunny!!”), but I will pout, growl and snarl until I get my way. My communication skills are lacking. Unfortunately, I also see this trait in my Number One Son.number one son Holy shit, it’s genetic.

Now, all of that aside, THEY say that you get what you put out into The Universe.  The Universe must think that I’m broke-ass but deserving, for it provides an unusually large amount of life-giving and happiness-inducing things at precisely the right moments.  I honestly hope that I am deserving of all of this and not just a karmic sponge, sopping up all the extras from the meek.( And truth be told, the meek kind of piss me off.  They let people in front of them in traffic and they let the world decide how they should live.)  Sorry, meek.  While you’re waiting to inherit the Earth, I’m wearing Alfred Sung perfume.  No one is perfect, but you can still smell your best.

So, this blog entry should have been called “Thank you”. This is absolute truth, because that is what I promised in my first blog entry. I feel, simultaneously deserving (because I’m pretty darned spectacular and entertaining) and completely undeserving of all of life’s gifts.  I have so many of them that I cannot begin to count.  I have been given money, furniture, cars, jewelry, expensive hair cuts/colors, food, hugs, support, encouragement, love, shopping trips to fancy stores, lunches out, movie tickets, art, antiques and large wall decorations.  If my first hypothesis was true, and gifts equate love, then I am loved beyond all words.  If that is so, then I’d better get off of my ass and start loving myself, or the effort put in by so many friends and family to show me just how loved I am will have been wasted.

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My First Blog Ever

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Oh, the pressure! What shall I write? Will it be a funny account of my day, some historical fact, or just a quick little blurb about who I am and how I’m going to single-handedly change the world with my spectacular and almost savant-like expertise? Maybe I’ll just introduce myself. My name is Jade and I don’t know much about social media that doesn’t involve Facebook®. (okay, I know how to make the cool “registered” sign, but that’s an old trick and I’m not a new dog) I have spent a lot of my time at the keyboard, but, sadly, it has been for work, more recently for school, and an on again/off again lurid affair with online addiction. It’s kind of like switching from hard liquor to beer: I’m now on beer. Is that any better? I hate writings that ask so many questions, so I’ll stop doing that.

So, for my first blog post, I’ll tell you some things about me, and I’ll tell you some things that are on my desk. My main goal of this blog is to learn how to consistently blog, and how to be consistently honest. I frankly don’t know which one of these things will be harder.

First and foremost, I’ve already lied. I forgot that I once wrote a diatribe about windshield wipers and put it on my Facebook page.

Secondly, I am a woman, 42 years old, a mother and a wife and just me. I am also a sister and a daughter if you must know all. I have returned to school because, for the present time, I am a felon. [GASP!] Wait! What? You?!?

bookwormYes, me. I may or may not decide to share the sordid details with you. That may cut into my wanting to be honest thing, so let’s just say that I’m paying penance for bad decisions. No living things were harmed.

I am a returning student, which means that I’m too old to be a student, but I have no other recourse until I am done with probation and can return to the normal, working/living world of which I am accustomed.

I enjoy my own company and have a lot of things in common with myself. I enjoy my taste in art and music, as well as my sense of humor. I would make a tasty hermit.

My desk is a wreck. This is a testament to my laziness and the fact that everything gets piled up on it. Right now it contains, among other things, a pencil cup that holds, besides pencils, an origami rose and a jumbo crayon. I have assorted mail – good and junk – and various receipts. I have a Care Bear themed puzzle-in-a-bucket. There are two bottles of Elmer’s glue, and CD’s by artists ranging from Diana Krall to Jim Croce. Okay, musically, that’s not a super-far stretch. I also have the soundtrack(s) to Fame and Grease. There are birthday cards, a homemade snow-globe, origami earrings, “The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes” and an old candle. This is only about half of the things on my desk. I’m going to save some for next blog to keep the suspense taut.

I have a total of six children. They range from 20 to 2 years old. The two year old has the flu and is now starting to wake up from her nap, so this is how I shall conclude.

I apologize if there wasn’t the amount of side-splitting humor nor humbling wisdom that you may have been expecting from my first blog post, but I will work hard to remedy that in the future.

Wakka-wakka

~jtw