It was Friday afternoon and I had just returned home from work to find my husband settled in the arm chair watching reruns of Star Trek on TV. I’ve seen a few of the movies, but had never watched the television series before.
“Scoot over,” I said, and snuggled in, ready to start my weekend and find out what all of the fuss was about.
I think maybe I watched the wrong first episode?
The title of the show was ‘The Empath’. Our trio of explorers, Captain Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are zapped onto an unknown planet with alien men whose heads, to me, looked like giant ears.
Along for the ride, was a humanoid empath, who cannot speak but can heal the injuries of others. She can also rock a neon blue leotard covered in cloth made of butterfly tears.
Throughout the episode, Kirk and McCoy are tortured by the f(ear)less aliens using rainbow beams that shoot from gadgets similar to the good ol’ Viewmaster.
They are always returned to the holding cell on the brink of death, forcing the empath to heal them.
And this is where I got a little irritated.
Running her acrylic nailed hands over their faces, soothing their furrowed brows, and rubbing their shoulders and chests, the empath healed our heroes. And she did all of it with this look on her face. “Wait a minute. You’re telling me these guys are teamed up with a woman who CAN’T TALK and MASSAGES them all day?!! Well you can tell a man wrote this episode.”
My husband looked at me, annoyed. Probably wishing he’d married one of those humanoid empath wives. You know, the ones who can’t talk and massage their men with manicured hands.
“When you’re ready to get off your high horse,” he said, “I’ll be down here drinking my coffee.”
“Look at her face. How does one even make that face?” I asked.
I tilted my head and tried looking wounded, sexy, and cosmic all at the same time.
“That’s creepy,” he replied.
“Well, I don’t see what the fuss is about this show. There’s certainly nothing of interest for the women watching it. And I mean really, that last action scene? Was he creating his own slow motion? Who runs like that?”
My husband set his coffee mug down and turned toward me again. “Is this what it’s like?” he asked.
“What what’s like?”
“When I make fun of your shows?”
I cocked my head again.
“Thank you, honey, for showing me what that feels like. Now can you please not talk anymore?”
That was the start of my weekend! How was yours?
Massage any men lately or take a vow of silence?
When the doctor on call drew back the hospital curtain, he looked my way and said, “Injury to the face, huh? Nice.”
“Thanks,” I said. I would’ve rolled my eyes but it hurt too much. “Will I need stitches?”
“Not unless you want me to reopen the wound,” he said, reopening my wound as he poked my face. “I would recommend a tetanus shot.”
The real question is why was I in the hospital? That’s a good story. It all started the day I smashed my face at Circus World.
Around this time four years ago, I had just finished reading Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants. I loved this book. Loved it.
While researching the author, I learned she did quite a bit of research on traveling circus shows in none other than Baraboo, WI at the Circus World Museum. Winter resting grounds of the legendary Ringling Brothers, Baraboo was just a two hour drive away.
I called up my bestie and invited her on a road trip.
Armed with licorice and mix cds, we headed for a place I was ecstatic to go.
The Circus World Museum contains the largest collection of vintage circus wagons, a room full of circus organs, and costumes, photographs and advertisement posters of the greatest trapeze artists, sideshow freaks, clowns, and their animal counterparts around.
I was engrossed. I needed to explore every inch.
And I wanted photographic evidence I had been there.
I was enamored with the magic of the circus. I took pictures with every cutout image I could stick my face in. I took shots of circus miniatures and mannequin sideshow freaks. The only thing I didn’t photograph was the cheeseburger I ate for lunch at the picnic table, and that’s because Instagram wasn’t a thing yet so I didn’t know the world would WANT to see my cheeseburger from the circus.
I got to feed an elephant, you guys. She was beautiful and her name was Tiny. The owner had an animal rescue plantation down in Florida. Tiny’s parents were killed by poachers and he took her in. As she grew up, she wandered in and out of their house – when she could fit – and when she was bigger, stuck her long trunk in through the windows to greet the family.
Tiny was just like Rosie in Water for Elephants. And I was pretending I was Reese Witherspoon, forming an unbreakable connection with this exotic beast.
I was in a bibliophile’s wet dream!
I was seriously having one of the best times of my life because I felt like I was walking through the world of this book that made me fall in love with the circus.
You could say I got a little carried away.
I was off snapping pictures again. Running both to and from my friend in a harried frenzy. Along the cement sidewalk was one of the old animal cages they used to hitch to a horse or truck for parades. It was open. We could go inside.
“Take my picture,” I told my friend, handing her the camera.
With the reckless abandon of an animal that’s been freed, I headed toward the cage, running at full force up the metal stairs and through the doorway.
Almost through the doorway…
In my blind enthusiasm, I failed to notice that the doorway was shorter than I was, and therefore ran smack into the metal frame which clanged in revolt and propelled my head backwards.
Down the path I heard someone’s father say, “OHMYGOD, are you ok?”
Not even a concussion could stop me from enjoying the circus. Without a single second’s delay, I ducked into the circus cage, grabbed a hold of the bars and feigned normality by bearing my teeth and shouting once more to my friend, “Take my picture!”
“No,” was all she said.
“Am I bleeding?”
I put my hand to my face, which yes, throbbed from its introduction to the doorframe moments ago, but I assumed I was fine.
When I pulled my hand back down it was full of blood.
My friend stood in the grass a few yards away. Speechless.
She ran to me in the cage, threw our stuff down on the floor and said she was going to get some paper towel.
Which left me, for the record, bleeding from the face – in no less than 3 places – from the inside of an animal cage in the middle of Circus World.
Children were running up with their parents to go inside and stopping midway up the stairs. They didn’t expect to see a demon inside.
After what seemed like hours, my friend returned with two handfuls of paper towel.
“I’m sorry! The first person I found, it was like her first day, so she didn’t know where the bathrooms were, and I had to run all the way to the front entrance to get these,” she explained out of breath. “But look at you! Not a drop of blood on your white shirt!”
Both my arms were covered in blood however because I’d used them to plug up all the holes on my face.
“Do I look like Carrie?” I asked, embarrassment settling in.
“Let’s get you to the ladies’ room.” And that’s the sign of true friend.
So the emergency room. I awoke the next morning with two black eyes, a baseball size lump on my forehead, and a chunk – one might say a divot – of skin missing from the bridge of my nose.
Oh, and because I’m not athletic in the slightest, I didn’t know I should’ve iced. *sigh*
You know what? I still enjoyed the circus. After cleaning myself up, frightening more families in the process, I put on some sunglasses and headed into the hippodrome with my bestie.
Damn that was a good time!
Tell me about a time you faced disasters
and still managed to come out smiling.
Or, I’m still in the market for a good scar minimizer.
Got any suggestions?
We’re three months in on the To Be Read Pile Challenge. How’s everybody doing?
The TBR Pile Challenge is hosted by Adam at Roof Beam Reader as a way to join all bibliophiles together! You select 12 books that have been gathering dust on your bookshelf for one year or longer and vow to read those books in 12 months time!
I love this challenge and how it focuses me on reading some of the books I already own. (We won’t discuss the rate at which I buy and/or borrow new ones, especially when returning from a writers conference where there’s a book fair.)
I’ve actually been ahead of the game with this year’s challenge, finishing book #5! However, I’ve been very poor in writing reviews. So to catch up for the third check-in of the year, here’s what I’ve been reading and what I thought of the books.
TBR Pile Challenge Book Reviews
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Truman Capote’s creative nonfiction book about a mass murder in Kansas has long been on my ‘to read’ list. The book has a very eerie nature, and is exceptionally well written, bouncing back and forth between the investigation of the Clutter family murders and what the killers who doing leading up to the crime night.
Truman Capote spent much time with the killers while they were imprisoned and in limbo with court appeal processes. It’s very likely they thought he was a friend considering how much trust he gained and how he helped with their case. That makes the title of this book all the creepier to me.
For fans of suspense novels, true crime, and creative nonfiction, I highly recommend this book. I was on edge as the gory details unfolded and we learned more and more about the killers’ early lives, odd jobs, and how they befriended one another. The writing is so good, you almost root for them. And that’s what I found so interesting. When all we know in a murder case is who did it, it’s easy to write off the killer as a menace. But when you know more about their life and the troubles they overcame, does it make you understand more, even if you still accuse?
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
After In Cold Blood, I needed something a bit lighter, so I dove into book 3 of the Harry Potter series.
Don’t shun me, I haven’t read the series yet. I’ve been slowly savoring it, reading one a year or so. But this title may make me speed up a bit. It has by far been my favorite and I enjoyed the first two.
In Harry’s third year at Hogwarts School, his life is in danger not just from “He Who Shall Not Be Named” but also from the most notorious prisoner in Azkaban, Sirius Black. And when you’re a teenager, it’s equally annoying that the biggest snob in school, Draco Malfoy, is picking on you and your friends.
Exceptional colorful characters and an action packed plot, I really enjoyed this one. There were so many characters coming into play throughout the book, but I loved every minute. Plus they’re distinct enough that it’s easy to distinguish who’s who. Made me really want to read book 4 right away.
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
The Jungle was always a title on the classics list we could choose from in school, so I was well familiar with the nature of its subject – the horrendous working conditions of early factories. It’s known for launching the creation and reform of many labor laws and unions. It rivals Uncle Tom’s Cabin for how much political influence it had!
I wanted to enjoy this book. And I did, parts of it. The book follows an immigrant family as they adapt to American ways and try to find work in the worst of conditions. The first half of the book I liked, and learned a lot about the life expectancy and injuries that happened in our workplace before labor rights acts. So many men and women died of blood disease from infections that began at work.
And this book will really make you want to be a vegetarian. It’s pretty disturbing. Sure, you’d expect that from a slaughterhouse, but it’s really the rats crawling over the meat that did me in. *shudder*
I would recommend this book for historical purposes or for those who like to read a classic now and again. But be forewarned, it gets very long, and I wouldn’t say the book has a happy ending. After awhile, it was difficult to read about so much trauma in one family, though I’m absolutely sure it was common for immigrant workers and even in families today.
Have you read any of these?
Are you doing the TBR Pile Challenge? If so, how’s it going?
It can never hurt to add more titles. What are you reading right now?
I’m at the Madison Writers’ Institute this weekend filling my head with all kinds of wordy knowledge. Wish me luck!
I’ve got my road trip priorities (audio books, coffee and cake pops) all set!
To entertain you while I’m away, I’ve compiled some of my favorite reading spots to keep you company. And if you really, really miss me (Aww, aren’t you the sweetest?!), you can find me hanging out with The Indie Chicks. I’d love if you stopped by!
For the Writerly
Editing tips from The Secrets of Midwives author, Sally Hepworth, in What the Editing Process Really Looks Like.
Rachel Funk Heller guest blogs at Writers in the Storm with 8 Tips on Writing Faster – And Why You Should Try It!
Hopefully you haven’t missed Bayard & Holmes Writing Spies series. It’s pretty cool. The latest is How the Pros Bug a Room.
More thriller fun came in Kristen Lamb’s latest, Series and Psychopaths – The Author Sadist & Why Audiences LOVE the Pain.
It’s part of the job for writers, right? Social media is a must. Jane Friedman offers tips for managing it, My 5 Philosophies of Social Media.
For fans of Top Ten Tuesday and book lists, check out Maren’s post at The Worn Bookmark – Top Ten Books I’d Love to Revisit From My Childhood.
Looking for your next great book to read? Waste no time! Grab a FREE (for a limited time) copy of Tameri Etherton’s book, The Stones of Kaldaar. Already own it? Book 2 is out now!
For Those Who Love to Learn
I love the notion of “arousing your life” in August McLaughlin’s 3 Powerful Ways to Spice Up Your Bedroom Life. A must read.
“Life requires brave. And you’ve got it.” That’s the message of Erin’s #52Dares Challenge. I recently discovered this inspirational blog that gives you a new challenge each week to grow your own self confidence, boost your outlook on life, and be brave!
One of the founders of The Indie Chicks, Chiara Mazzucco, tells it in her signature straight style Accept Yourself – You’re All You Got.
Who doesn’t need a little nudge now and again to turn off social media and start tackling those to-do’s – 5 Ways To Manage Your Time So It Doesn’t Manage You.
For Your Funny Bone
Displaying micro-blogging at its best, The Bloggess, gifts us with There Should Be a Yelp For Places You Visit in Your Sleep.
Queen of Comedy, Her Royal Thighness, admits her kids don’t think she’s funny in What? You Don’t Like My Knockers?
Think you have skills? Let Steve from The Brown Road Chronicles tell you all about Slicing Bananas Like a Fucking Ninja.
What would you do if you discovered you didn’t have fingerprints? Aussa Lorens plans 5 Absolutely Justified Crimes I Might Actually Commit.
What books are on your to read list right now?
The recent signs of spring have me extra energized to tackle my To Be Read Pile. I’m a pretty avid reader, and I recently discovered the blog, The Broke and the Bookish, who hosts a Top Ten list every Tuesday focused on various book themes. Today we’re talking about the Top Ten Books On Our Spring To Be Read List. I don’t know about you, but I have the hardest time whittling down what book to read next because I want to read All. The. Books!!^$?!
Hmm, maybe not.
But here are the Top Ten Books on my Spring To Be Read List:
1. Persuasion by Jane Austen
The last of Jane Austen’s six novels I have yet to read. Once I finish the story of Anne Eliot I will have completed her most well known works and can move on to some of her novellas like Sandition and Lady Susan. Judging from the film versions I’ve seen (many times), Captain Wentworth is indeed worth waiting for.
2. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Claimed as the new Eleanor & Park meets The Fault in our Stars, I’ve been hungry to read this book for awhile but busy finishing up some other titles. I even bought this one in hardcover. I don’t even really like hardcover. I’m a paperback girl. I just wanted to read this one that badly. It’s the story of two teens – one a total loner who contemplates death and looks to the future with a strict eye, the other a free spirit who lives in the moment and sees life as an adventure. Their worlds are about to collide. I want to find out what happens!
3. Cress by Marissa Meyer
The third book in The Lunar Chronicles; I’m committed now. I absolutely loved the first book, Cinder. I thought the second book, Scarlet, was ok. But friends assure me that Cress is worth the read. A futuristic spinoff of classic fairytales, this is the continuing adventure of a cyborg named Cinder who is on the run after the evil Lunar Queen, Levana, has a call out for her head and plans to marry the good-intentioned Emperor Kai. With the help of some fellow misfits, will Cinder overtake Levana before the Queen takes over their world?
4. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
It’s been too long since I’ve read any Neil Gaiman and I must remedy that. What’s more intriguing than a pond that becomes an ocean? As a middle-aged man returns home for a funeral, he is reminded of the people he grew up with and the stories they each told.
5. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Bestseller in the early 2000’s, all my friends read this one, but I didn’t. I was afraid I couldn’t handle the subject matter. But this winter I happened upon the book in a Little Free Library near my house and decided it was time I checked it out. Despite its serious subject matter, I’m really looking forward to reading this one.
6. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Long before there was Christian Grey, the leading man with the wealth and power was Dorian Gray. A favorite old film of mine, the black and white version of course, I’m excited to read the novel for the first time. This title was selected by my book club as our classic this year and I’m really looking forward to our discussion.
7. The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless
Another book I had to get in hardcover because I couldn’t wait. I’m a huge fan of author Jon Krakauer, who wrote Into the Wild, the story of Chris McCandless. Now, Chris’s sister, Carine, has written her own telling of her family’s history and the days leading up to her brother’s nomadic life.
8. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
A few years ago I had a year of comedy, where half of the books I read were humorous memoirs. I think this year may be my year of YA. I’ve got so many young adult books on my list. And one of them is Eleanor & Park. Even the colored pencil sketch cover looks like spring to me. How could I possibly say no to a love story between two misfit teens when the leading lady has red hair?
9. Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova
I’m not shy about admitting the fact that I disliked Jane Eyre. I know, I know, such sacrilege from an English major! What can I say? I’m more of a Heathcliffe/Wuthering Heights kinda girl. However, I really enjoyed This House is Haunted which is an adaptation of Jane Eyre, and Wildalone has some notes of Eyre as well. I do enjoy a good paranormal read and this one seems intriguing!
10. The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry
I’m embarrassed to admit how long this beautiful book has sat on my TBR shelf. It’s been an alternate in the TBR Challenge for 2 years and since I never had to use my alternates I didn’t get to it. This year I made it part of my challenge, determined to finally read it. I love the idea that the lead character can see ghosts by cooking up recipes from them. And this is what sets her off on a journey of family secrets.
That’s my Top 10 books to read this spring.
What titles are on your spring list?
Some of you may know that I work in a reproductive health clinic. A large part of my job involves volunteer coordination, some marketing and outreach, working closely with our board of directors, and managing our social media. (I post cool stuff, you guys, check us out on Facebook and Twitter!) Additionally, I can be found handing out condoms on campuses and in area bars, hosting the occasional evening of Sex Trivia, and shouting things like “No Karolee, I DON’T know where your balls are!”
(Relax, it was just the fake set of testicles we have for educational purposes.)
Sometimes when I’m searching for interesting things to post online, my coworkers send me ideas. One such idea happened upon my email, and while it wasn’t quite right to share on our clinic page, I knew two ladies who HAD to see it.
August McLaughlin is an author, blogger, and founder of GirlBoner radio and a huge proponent of women’s sexual health and empowerment. Jenny Hansen works as a freelance writer, technical trainer, and blogger with a reoccurring little series called The Undie Chronicles. These were clearly the women who would appreciate the following tweet I sent.https://twitter.com/jesswitkins/status/560971120502120452
What I sent them was the link to this product…
Turns out, I was right. August and Jenny did appreciate my tweet.
The product includes a pillow and zip compartment for storing the actual sleeping bag, which can be rolled up just like a condom.
August and Jenny and I were making plans for our virtual sleepover that included birth control themed brownies and trivia.
Do you know it? I stumped these gals, though their guesses were admirable.
The correct answer is Little Richard’s “Tutti Fruiti.” The original lyrics read “Tutti fruiti, get booty.”
What do you think? Do you find the condom sleeping bag as amusing as we do?
Will you be joining us at the sleepover? It’s BYOS, bring your own snacks. ;)
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for spring. Really ready. Like I’m willing to try anything to MAKE it spring.
So conquer the unending winter blues with me!
Things To Do While It’s Still -22
1. Sleep in. Hibernate if possible.
2. Get cracking on your To Be Read Pile. Seriously, start reading!
3. Catch up on your Oscar Noms.
4. Make the most amazing Grilled Cheese ever (shared by Myndi Shafer).
5. Got some time to spare? Find out your Klout score (Jenny Hansen has the details).
6. Attend a local VDay event.
February – April is when countries around the world host VDay events to end violence against women and girls. Want to learn more or get involved? I guest blogged at The Indie Chicks with 5 Ways You Can End Violence Against Women and Girls. Please stop by and join the movement!
8. Start an Instagram account – see what people around the world are up to.
9. Make a mix cd. Use only songs with the word ‘sun’ in the lyrics.
10. Check out my pal Victoria’s new book, Dancing in the Fire, and her play by play reaction in gifs to being a published author – it’s priceless. :)
11. Build a blanket fort.
12. Write a letter to a loved one via snail mail.
13. Wear fleece pajamas; they will change your life.
14. Follow Women Writers Ink on Facebook for writing prompts and inspiration.
16. Go out to eat. But mind your manners.
17. Rent a TV series and watch every season. (It’s cold out, what else is there to do? I just picked up The Mindy Project.)
18. Take a day trip and explore a new town.
Joe and I spent this past Saturday exploring Winona, MN’s bookstores, music shops, and eateries.
19. Catch some winter sports on TV or hit the slopes yourself. Wear a muff. ;)
20. Freeze colored water in different shaped containers and build an ice sculpture.
21. Redecorate a room in your house. You have to be indoors anyway.
22. Wanna be naughty? Crank the heat up and watch a surf movie while wearing short sleeves. *gasp*
What other ideas do you have for surviving the Winter-pocalypse?
It’s the fourth annual Beauty of a Woman BlogFest hosted by the talented and illustrious, August McLaughlin!
Inspired by the outpouring of stories shared by readers after her revealing post, Does Dirt Have Calories? – (in which August exposed her early battle with an eating disorder) – she kicked off the blog hopping happiness that is the Beauty of a Woman BlogFest. She has a made a space for women and men to safely gather and share their stories of female beauty: what it is, how they found it, what they hope to find for their future.
In 2014, August expanded her blogfesting empire to include stories of female sexuality and empowerment under her latest trademark, GirlBoner. Today, bloggers from around the globe gather to celebrate the beauty of a woman, her sensuality and sexuality. I am so pleased to be joining August and my fellow writers for the third year.
Heavy Petting is a No-No
I was raised Catholic. I went to Catholic Church, I went to Catholic Sunday School, then I entered Catholic Kindergarten and stayed through Catholic Eighth Grade. I spent my Sundays genuflecting, kneeling, and singing loudly lest our Catholic priest halt Mass altogether (as he was known to do) if he couldn’t hear his parishioners praising God loud enough.
I was a smart, happy-go-lucky girl who grew up in Small Town, North America with nothing very big to complain about. I loved my classmates and my teachers, but there seemed to be something missing.
In all my nine years at Catholic school, we didn’t talk about sex. Except in the “Don’t have it until you’re married or you will go straight to Hell,” kind of way. I vaguely recall that message coming through.
Every story in the Bible seemed to portray women as either unachievably good or a complete harlot. Or worse, just there. In the background. And I have always, always felt the need to be the lead in my own story.
Sometime around seventh or eighth grade, my school boasted of purchasing advanced reader religion books for the middle school to use. These books were said to be collegiate level and we should revere them with holy esteem. And I was proud of these textbooks, until I read the heading “Heavy Petting is a No-No.”
Yes, our textbook felt the need to include that little logline. And that’s when I stopped listening. Yah, I literally stopped listening because my teacher was trying to convey the beauty of “marital relations” and the “joy of childbirth.” Her eyes were all getting all glinty and I had to swallow the bile rising in my throat. Hello, I was 13! Ew.
What was more sickening than my teacher’s impromptu testimonial though was the language. Heavy Petting is a No-No? It was offensive and infuriating. Offensive, because we were teenagers and didn’t need the language dumbed down to tell us something’s a “no-no.” That’s a phrase for toddlers. And infuriating because what we did need dumbed down were the words “heavy petting.” I went to Catholic school, remember, this wasn’t covered in the priest’s homily last Sunday.
It was clear our teacher kept talking because she was uncomfortable. She was not a trained health education teacher, she taught music originally. I hardly see the connection between teaching kids how to play the guiro and sharing the story of your wedding night. That can’t be a prerequisite on one’s resume.
I honestly don’t think I knew there was a difference between sex and sexuality until college – where, in fact, no textbooks of mine defined anything as a “no-no.” I may have had a small inkling about these terms one semester in High School when I took an independent study in psychology. I was supposed to be using my scheduled time to edit my final paper from the previous semester’s work, and send it off to psychology journals for potential publication. But since I spent 80% of that semester actually surfing the internet for tattoo ideas, I sadly would not get my research published at that time. What I did learn during that hour break each day was about a French bohemian author named Anais Nin, who is best known for her tell-all series of diaries chronicling her torrid love affairs with both men and women. I spent my class time reading short stories by the author, most of which fell in the erotica genre.
She stuck with me, Anais Nin. Her works contained empowered women and men, who’s verbal tete-a-tete was as strong as their physical one. In her time, Nin’s work was so risque that police often tore down posters advertising her readings on the grounds of obscenity and indecency. To get around this, Nin’s posters placed symbols rather than her name to alert the public where she would be reading.
It was two years later, I walked into a tattoo parlor and inked one of those symbols on my hip.
If the lack of sex education has taught me anything about sexuality, it’s that the education piece never ends. And how sad it would be if it did. The beauty – of a woman, a man, a trans individual, someone who is still questioning – is that there is an infinite amount to learn. We can learn about ourselves, we can learn about others, we can learn what we like and don’t like. And, we can change our minds. We are forever learning, that is…as long as you don’t think sexuality is a no-no. ;)
If you enjoyed this post, please check out the many other BOAW2015 participants.
There are so many stories being shared. And drop me a line! I may be searching for my next tattoo, but I promise to reply.
This blog was originally published as The Devil Made Me Do It in June 2013 as a guest post for Renee Schuls-Jacobson‘s So Wrong blog series. It’s an embarrassing and true tale from my past that I think really portrays the finer details of true love and underpants. Some edits have been made to update the post.
I am a picture-perfect citizen.
I pay my bills on time. I vote. I use hand signals while driving if one of my lights has burned out. One would assume I have control over my bowels.
Let me backup. My husband and I take a vacation together each summer. We’ve traveled to Portland, Oregon and eaten Voodoo Donuts; we’ve visited Toronto, Ontario and viewed the skyline from the CN Tower. Two summers ago, we decided to take a road trip out west. Starting in the Badlands, we made our way to Yellowstone National Park. It was a fabulous trip.
Except for the day we toured Devil’s Tower.
That August day, the temperatures climbed into the 90’s. Being a mature adult, I was prepared. I packed and wore sunscreen. I drank water all morning. I used the bathroom before we left!
It didn’t matter.
We started our hike around the base of the tower. We weren’t too far in when I felt a rumbling in my gut. I asked to sit on a bench for a minute, pretending to enjoy the view. There was a fleeting moment when I thought to myself, “I should turn back… I COULD turn back… The smart thing to do would be to turn back.”
But alas, that’s not the way this story goes.
It became crystal clear, halfway around the tower, that my mind and body were not at peace. In fact, they were in deep negotiation. And things were getting heated.
When the cramping got so bad that I had to sit down again, I started weighing my options.
1.) I could try to skulk off somewhere. I had every intention of doing just that if it wasn’t for the unsuspecting family giving their children piggy back rides nearby. There was nowhere far enough out of eyesight for me to go.
2.) I could stay on the bench and breathe. This wasn’t really working all that well so far, but a girl can pray. “Hail Mary, full of grace, the cramping is with me…”
3.) I could jump off the cliff’s edge and end my misery once and for all.
In retrospect, I wish I’d chosen the cliff.
Because that’s when I shit my pants.
“Sweet Virgin Mother, what the hell just happened?!”
The worst part was telling my husband (who was my boyfriend at that time) what had occurred. How would he ever look at me with any sense of romance or mystery again? I considered myself a dignified person. But I had just shit my pants! In public! And we were only halfway around Devil’s Tower!
Nothing – and I mean nothing – will ever compare to the cold, wet, mall-walker sprint that I made during my descent from Devil’s Tower. And my husband-then-boyfriend, wonderful man that he is, tried to cheer me up on our journey.
“You’re almost there! You got this! On the bright side, I don’t smell anything!” he shouted from a few yards behind me.
Making my way to the crowded public bathroom, I took note of the collateral damage. The underwear was a goner. I was just lucky I wore full coverage undies that day and not a thong.
I shimmied out of my underwear, wrapped my soiled mess in TP, and dumped everything in the plastic bin where women leave their feminine hygiene products. Then I said a little prayer for the park custodian, cleaned myself up, and walked back to the car no longer feeling feminine or hygienic.
So the moral of the story is sometimes even the best of adults crap their pants. But if you’re lucky, you’ll have someone by your side cheering you on with an upbeat, “You got this!” and “I don’t smell anything!” And when you find that special someone…
Ask them to buy you new underwear.
There you have it, my dirty little secret. Has this ever happened to you?
Sweet Mother Mary, tell me I’m not alone!
Post Script… I thought it’d be a fun fact to share with you all that the desktop image on my laptop is a picture of Devil’s Tower. It reminds me to have a sense of humor about life…and to pack extra undies when traveling.
A guy I met once on a wine tour/bus trip shared this fact about marriage with me:
Marriage. It’s not all pixie sticks and butterflies. ~ Mitch
I thought that was rather prolific and true. Sure it came from one newlywed to another, so neither of us really had that much experience in this whole married life thing, but I agreed with him.
Not more than one hour later, Mitch also asked about my husband’s and my plans for having children, a natural step after marriage, but I felt it was a little soon to be discussing plans for my uterus given we’d: 1) just met, 2) had been drinking copious amounts of wine, and 3) it’s my uterus and none of his business. Thank you very much. (My mama raised me with manners.)
Still, this Mitch guy had a point. Marriage is not all pixie sticks and butterflies. Sometimes the person we love, the very individual we picked out of all other individuals – like ones who know how to clean up their beard hair trimmings or put the toilet seat down *swoon*– sometimes they morph into something else. Their alter ego.
Getting to Know Your Spouse’s Alter Ego
My husband has an alter ego. He denies it because I can’t remember the name we gave him, and if I can’t remember his name, then he doesn’t exist. But we wives all know that’s bogus. It’s BOGUS I tell you, Joseph Judgey McBelchins!
My alter ego has long been named. She goes by Grumpy Pumpkin. Which sounds adorable and cute and quirky, but that’s what makes it so annoying. It’s all very Anne-of-Green-Gables-“He-called-me-CARROTS!!”-esque.
Grumpy Pumpkin rears her horned head when:
- she hasn’t eaten in awhile
- she’s woken from her beauty sleep because friends of Acoustic Van Man-Coozie are strumming the guitar and bellowing song lyrics at 3 in the morning
- she asks a question and gets answered by Deadpan McBlank Stare
- she hasn’t eaten in awhile
- and/or she doesn’t like what she’s eating
I maintain I am not the only party in my household with an alias. But until He Who Shall Not Be Nicknamed gets an identity, I can’t call him out on it.
This is where you come in.
Help me name my spouse’s alter ego.
Here are some helpful examples of things that lure his bad boy out:
- Timeliness – my hubby is exceptionally prompt, but I say it’s called an itinerary not the Iditarod
- Timeliness – the man has scheduled poops – WTF?
- Cleanliness – supposedly, the house is not clean until I remove my piles of gloves, magazines, car keys, DVDs, postage stamps, notebook paper, AA batteries, my external hard drive, a bag of Dove chocolate, and a pair of earrings from the kitchen table
- Repeating Himself – I may, or may not, have the worst short term mem- OHMYGOSH! WHAT BRINGS YOU ALL OVER HERE? … You’re reading my blog? … I have a blog?
- Inconsistent Shaker Skills – At our local wedding ceremony, we performed a musical number in which I desired to play the tambourine and was downgraded to an egg shaker and forced to practice under Nazi-regime (which isn’t an exaggeration because food was withheld from me) because apparently I have “inconsistent shaker skills.”
So, I’ve created a poll with some potential names for my honey’s alter ego.
Vote for your favorite! Or better yet, write in your own!
Does your partner have a cranky alias? Do tell!