Friday, March 17, 2017

The Case for a Temporary Bubble

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

order ~ cloistered ~ chairs ~ zip ~ great

They were submitted by: http://shannonbutler.org

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Self care can look extremely different for different folks, and that’s fine. We all need to focus on ourselves every now and then, but there’s really no “right” way to do that as long as you feel better about yourself and your station in life after you have done it. There’s nothing wrong with sharing what self care looks like for you as long as you don’t insist it will definitely be of use to someone else, so with that in mind, here are my instructions for creating a blanket fort for escaping adulthood and being lazy for awhile. There really is no specific order to do this, but I’ve managed to get this into steps for added convenience.

Step 1: get rid of your children. No, seriously. Children love forts because, obviously, forts are great, and despite the fact that you love your children, this fort is not for farts and hotdogs. This is *your* effing fort, and you do not need a bag of elbows in your guts the entire time you are trying to enjoy your Netflix binge nor do you need the entire mood to be pleasecouldyounottalkfor30secondsofyourlifewhendoesitend. If you don’t have kids, will you please take mine for a couple months? I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason people ever really scoff at a woman who says she doesn’t want kids—we simply want to force her to share in our collective stress and inability to shower without interruption. My kid is 11, and he still *needs* to tell me something the cat just did while I’m taking a piss.

Step 2: Buy 3 bottles of wine or get whatever you like to drink in an amount that is probably way more than you actually need because fuck it. And also buy snacks. If you’re going to drink, you need snacks. It goes hand in hand. And this is a blanket fort so fuck your diet. No dieting or calorie counting is allowed. That means YES GET THOSE SEA SALT CARAMEL CHOCOLATES AT WALGREENS THAT YOU LOVE AND KNOW WILL GO STRAIGHT TO YOUR ALREADY THICK THIGHS. Thick thighs save lives. Never forget.

Step 3: Unplug. Social media is a suckfest most days. It is drama on top of passive aggressive drama, and right now it is also full of news you probably don’t really want to read. If you aren’t going to let your children ruin your fort time, then, by god, do not let Tabitha from elementary school with the I-need-to-speak-to-the-manager haircut and #MAGA tshirt and her sharing false news that any idiot could see is a lie with a quick look on Snopes ruin your blanket fort either. That bitch is not worth it, trust me. Tabitha is living in her own personal hell as it is. Let it go. Fuck you, Tabitha. You’re terrible and you know it.

Step 4: Gather every single blanket and pillow in your house. You might want to plan ahead and wash some of these things beforehand because you do not want to be stuck in a fort with a blanket full of your child’s chili farts or anything sticky. I’m an adult. You’re an adult. And we can probably admit that we should wash our bed linens more than we do, and we both know that if you aren’t messing up the sheets with sex, you’re smuggling your children’s candy in bed at night. Sour tropical gummy worms in bed is life.

Step 5: I’m going to suggest 5 table chairs, but you can probably get by with less if you want to half ass this. The more chairs, the more creative you can get with this thing, and there’s really no reason to make a blanket fort unless you’re going to put your fucking blood, sweat, and tears into it. If you post pictures of your blanket fort on social media and you half assed it, just know that I will congratulate you with a hefty amount of side eye. Yes, I will judge you. We’ll all judge you. No one ruins a good blanket fort without consequences. If you never do anything else right in this world, let it be this blanket fort. As a wise man named Ron Swanson once said, “never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.” This is your thing to whole-ass.

Step 6: get in your comfiest clothes whatever that means for you. I like to sit around the house dressed to the nines for no reason other than I feel more like a human being and less like a reptile wearing human skin while I binge Netflix. So whatever floats your boat, do it. Put on a full face, have a messy bun, wear your godawful sweats that make you look like you’re wearing a diaper and have never gotten laid…whatever it is, just do it. Just be warm and cozy even if it means zipping yourself into your favorite hoodie in the middle of summer and cranking the A/C down as low as it will go. This is the one thing in life you are not doing for the Instagram likes and Facebook comments. Let’s face it—if you are to the point of needing a blanket fort to relax, you’re probably already a hot mess anyway. I know from experience. So it really isn’t going to matter if you dress well to do it. The point is to *feel* good.

Step 7: Use your largest sheets or blankets to make the outside of your fort. Weigh them down with books, that load of paperwork on your counter that you look at every single night and have sworn 5000 times you will go through the next morning, or your crushing self doubt and social anxiety. Spread it out far enough to give you plenty of room inside but still feeling like you have cloistered yourself inside a bubble. Remember, the ultimate goal is to forget the rest of humanity ever existed. Once you have the outer shell of your bubble situated, grab whatever blankets and pillows are left over and make a fluffy bed your cat would happily pee on.

Step 8: Grab your booze and snacks and whatever streaming device you need and proceed to relax. Please, though, remember step 3 and don’t drunk post on Facebook between episodes of your 4th actual run of Parks and Rec.

Also, if you have a snuggly puppy in your house like I do, be sure to bring him/her in with you. Here’s the snuggly pup that I would be bringing with me. Our new addition, Rost:









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Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/03/hello-from-land-of-orange-use-your-words.html

Spatulas on Parade http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/2017/03/honey-mustard-chicken-uyw-march.html

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

On the Border http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/2017/03/library-crimes.html

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy http://dinoheromommy.com/

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Confessions of a part time working mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2017/03/use-your-words-leprechauns-mischief.html

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

The Angrivated Mom http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

Not That Sarah Michelle http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dinner Date

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Describe your perfect meal? Who cooks? Where is it? With whom do you eat?

It was submitted by: http://thelieberfamily.com

I took a little freedom with this prompt and wrote a little fiction. I did include my perfect meal (the eggplant, btw), but I don't think I would call any of these other circumstances perfect by any means. Anyway, I just wanted to stretch my fiction wings and see what I could do with this prompt. Thanks for reading. 

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I met him on Tindr.

As much as I want to say that should have been the first red flag, I guess a lot of people must have success with that app, right? I mean, too many people use it still for it to all be bad. Maybe the right phrase here is that I should have been less na├»ve about how wrongly this could go. I should have packed some mace or had a plan to let my friends know where I would be and what time I would be home. Am I victim-blaming myself? Ugh. A little, but that’s so ingrained in who we are as people, isn’t it? If we admit the victim is never at fault in things like this, then we also have to admit we have no control over whether we will ever be a victim, and who the hell wants that? Apparently not the majority of the world.

Anyway, like I said, we met on Tindr, Adam and I. That’s probably not his real name now that I think about it, but either way, that’s all I know, so it’s what I’ll go with. He messaged me first, and I thought his pictures were great. He had a few of him and his dog that, of course, melted my heart. I was more excited about that dog than anything at first if you want to know the truth. Too many dates in my life have gone wrong, but I’ve never met a doggo that wasn’t love at first sight.

We matched or whatever, but I didn’t send a message at first. I didn’t want to seem too eager, and his profile didn’t give me enough to really construct something I could feel good about. Maybe that’s the beauty of Tindr, though. There’s not a whole lot of information to go on when you are looking at profiles. It’s not like some of these other sites where a person has already constructed this quirky outline of who they are that’s almost always a couple thousand words of bullshit that never turn out to be true in any shape or form. It might be who they wish they were, but it’s never who they really are. Not in my experience.

I can’t remember what exactly he said in his first message, but he was pretty chill, and that first day he did let me know that he wasn’t looking for an easy hook-up. He did want to be able to actually meet someone in person which so rarely happened on actual dating site, so his desire ranged somewhere between nameless one-night-stand and committed relationship. We talked for a few days, flirted shamelessly, and swapped numbers. I wanted to go out for drinks right after that (roughly a week or so after we first connected), but after asking twice and getting shot down (he was tired, he was busy, etc etc), I figured he either wasn’t really interested or wanted to ask himself, so I backed off a bit to see how it would go.

He didn’t take it well. When do they ever?

I woke up to a string of messages after I didn’t return his missed call the night before. He called me rude and asked me why I had wasted his time when he specifically told me he wanted someone who would actually meet him, blah blah blah. If at any time there was a red flag, that was truly it, so why was I so stupid? I fell right for it. I felt horribly that I had ignored him on purpose because I knew I was trying to manipulate the situation to my favor or at least manipulate it to preserve my own feelings while trying to sniff out the truth, and it had backfired on me so fucking spectacularly that I didn’t really stop to think in the moment that this reaction was so far out of proportion over just a missed phone call.

I messaged him a long apology by text. I lied. Obviously. But, I still apologized telling him I hadn’t felt well but that I should have just text and let him know that. I didn’t get an apology in return of course, but I was relieved at the time that he seemed to take my excuse as truth and calmed down enough to continue our conversations. We didn’t talk on the phone that night, and he was a little standoffish, but the next day it was like it never happened. He asked me, finally, if I wanted to have dinner with him. I accepted thinking we could meet at one of the little cafes downtown for something light that night, but no. No, he had other plans. He wanted to cook for me, he said. At his house. Way outside of town. Because of course. Of course he did. And of course I agreed like an idiot.

We had already discussed our favorite foods—mine being eggplant parmesan and his being steak (of course it was! Of course!). So he wanted to cook both. Apparently, I have just never had a steak cooked the right way regardless of the fact that I don’t really eat much meat especially beef and pork. You know, that kind of guy. I started getting a little more hesitant then, but I figured I would go through with it. I mean, maybe he was just really proud of his steak skills? That’s what I thought at the time anyway.

That’s not what I think now.

Have you ever seen that subreddit called Let’s Not Meet? Or read one of those craigslist horror stories? This is kinda like that. I got to his house a little early. I knocked, but no one answered. I could smell the grill, though, so I walked around back and found him carving up some kind of animal that was definitely not a cow and throwing pieces on the grill. He was wearing a poncho, had the entire back porch covered in a plastic tarp. He had a lot of tools out there…things I have never even seen before. I screamed. Loudly. He jumped and dropped whatever he was working on yelling at me, “what the fuck are you doing here so early?!”

I froze mid-scream in a panic and watched in horror as he grinned broadly and picked up the cleaver he had been using on the not-cow, “you have been a bad, bad girl. Come over here and get your punishment.”

I ran. I ran faster than I think I have ever run in my life. I heard him jump over the railing of his porch, but thank fucking god, I have a keyless entry car these days because I was in the car with the doors locked and had it cranked before he caught up to me. I threw the car in reverse while he banged on the window with the butt of the cleaver. The window cracked just a little and splintered, but it never actually broke before I could pull off down the street. I called 911 as soon as I got to the end of his street and gave them the address and told them what I saw. The woman dispatcher seemed horrified, but maybe that’s just because I was so horrified. Maybe I read into it? Maybe I was so panicked she couldn’t help but pick up on some of my feelings about it. Either way, she said she would send someone to his house while I drove to the station to make a statement. I did what was asked of me. I gave my statement, showed the texts, and our Tindr messages. I answered all the questions I could and ended up knowing the two officers who were talking to me thought I was being absolutely hysterical and had completely misread the situation….until the officers who responded to the scene called back in.

The house wasn’t Adam’s or whoever he was. It was empty or appeared to be and didn’t have a current lease according to the owner who hadn’t rented it out or even had a question about it in over 6 months. There wasn’t anything at all in the house except a duffle bag with some more tools, another poncho, another tarp, and a handful of driver’s licenses from other women. He was nowhere to be found. No car, no trace, nothing except the bloody tarp in the back, the tools, and the meat which has yet to be identified.

The police have the picture I saved as his contact photo, but his Tindr profile was deleted. I’m guessing all the licenses will come back to missing women and maybe being early for once saved my life… I haven’t been sleeping well—I keep having nightmares that he comes looking for me which I guess might actually not be that far from the realm of possibilities. But at least I didn’t eat anyone. 

Silver linings, y’all.

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Here's the rest of the submissions this week!

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/03/ill-take-half-secret-subject-swap.html

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy http://dinoheromommy.com/

Spatulas on Parade http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

The Lieber Family Blog http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Never Ever Give Up Hope http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org

Confessions of a part time working mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2017/03/march-secret-subject-swap-pay-it-forward.html