diva demandsI recently read an article in a very distinguished periodical that said some celebrities are quite demanding when it comes to what they want in their dressing rooms before a performance.   And by “very distinguished periodical” I think we all know I mean Us Weekly.

Don’t be shocked…I read…it just so happens to be when I’m in the restroom.  Don’t judge.

So that got me thinking about if I were a celebrity, and I’m practically one already, what would be some of my diva demands?  I came up with a list of a few.  Here they are, in no particular order.

1.  Food

Okay, so they are in order of preference.  Whatever.  You knew my first demand would be food…and lots of it.  I have an image to uphold and I can’t do it while munching on celery and trail mix.

And seriously, what’s with the trail mix?  I’ve been on several trails in my day, and never once did I find a smattering of peanuts, raisins and M&Ms on my trail.  Instead, I found rabbit sh$t, mud, and beer cans on my trail.  What trail are people on where they find this scrumptious trail mix?

Where is it?  And can I just drive there?  But seriously, I want good food in my room.  Nothing good for me or organic.  In fact, I would demand nothing but processed food and powdered cheese.

I would probably also have to have a cardiologist on staff, but if I was famous, I could totally swing that.

2.  Pants with an elastic waistband

Who am I trying to impress?  If I’m in my dressing room, I want to relax and let it all hang out.  Literally…I want to let my fat rolls actually hang out.

No Spanx for this girl in my dressing room.  Come to think of it, I won’t wear a bra either.  Or make up.  Or pants.

3. Neil Diamond’s Greatest Hits

Duh.  Do I really need to say more?  “Forever in Blue Jeans” will need to be pumping loudly from my room, which will be ironic considering I won’t be wearing jeans at all…or any sort of pants.

4. No mirrors

Considering I will be pant less, eating processed food and rocking out to Neil Diamond, I’m thinking mirrors aren’t something I want in my room.  I would ban them from my dressing room entirely.  I definitely don’t need to watch myself eat.

I don’t know how my husband does it every night (or really every 2 hours).  And since I would be famous, I would have a team of professionals to make me look 100 pounds thinner and 100 times happier.

From make up to hair to wardrobe, I would have a team of people transforming me into something amazing.  I know they would be successful too.  If they could do it with Kate Gosselin, transforming me would be a piece of cake.  (Oh, and cake.  I would want cake too).

5.  Puppies

puppiesEverything is better with puppies, right?  Those smushy little faces are adorable and they love to snuggle and cuddle.  I realize they can be gassy and are usually poop machines, but those smell will mask my various odors, so it’s a win-win for me.

So there you have it; my list of diva demands.  I don’t think they’re that difficult.  Actually, come to think of it, these are exactly the things one would find in a retirement home.

Hmm…maybe getting old isn’t going to be so bad.  I can be a diva without wearing pants (or my teeth).


I recently went to Austin for a large film festival (and for lots and lots of Tex-Mex).  Seriously, who am I kidding?  I went there for food with the secondary goal of seeing a film or two.

While I was there (and in between meals), I saw several documentaries.  I know, I know, Nerd Alert!!!  I can’t help it, but I seriously love documentaries.  Maybe it’s because they make me feel smart, or maybe it’s because they usually follow someone with a more disastrous life than mine.

Whatever the reason, I saw several while in Austin.  One of the films that caught my eye was a documentary called Code of the West.  It was about Montana and their fight in Congress over whether medicinal marijuana should be legal.

film reelIt sounded interesting and had a legal aspect I knew I would enjoy.  I also secretly hoped they would serve “special brownies” during the viewing, which was another reason I decided to see the film.

I got there early and waited in line for the doors to open.  I looked around and noticed I was a bit out of place.  The others waiting in line to see the film appeared as if they’d already had a sneak preview of the material, if you know what I mean.  (And you stoners definitely know what I mean.)

Most of the other patrons seemed content standing in line staring at the back of their hands, talking about how rad the weather was.  I had a hard time differentiating between which ones were hipsters and which ones were homeless.

I assumed most of them were hipsters, as I didn’t think the homeless would waste their limited funds on a ticket to a film festival, even if it was about pot.

When the doors opened for the film, I went inside and grabbed a seat next to a professorial looking guy.  He looked somewhat normal and I was only 50% sure he wasn’t going to whip out a bong during the film.

I must admit that was part of the reason I chose to sit next to him.   I really wanted to see a man in a blazer with leather elbow pads take a hit off a Snoopy bong.

Yes, I figured he would be the type to have a Snoopy bong.


The film started and it was actually fairly interesting.  It was well done and fairly portrayed both sides’ position on legalizing marijuana.

However, I was a bit distracted by the tiny, itty bitty glaring problem with the film….the fact that the federal government specifically prohibits the drug.  That small tiny detail wasn’t fully addressed in the film and it left me wondering why.

See what I mean about these documentaries making me feel smart?

So I decided to ask the director at the Q and A after the film.

For those of you not in the know, a Q and A is a question and answer session, not “Quiznos appetizers” which is what I originally thought it meant, and why I stayed.

For some reason, during the Q and A session, the director actually chose me as one of the people to ask a question.

My guess is because I was the only person not wearing a Phish t-shirt and my eyes weren’t squinted and bloodshot (although I was munching loudly on a bag of chips).

When she called on me I asked her if there was a movement on the federal level to legalize marijuana, and if so, what that movement was.

She glared at me and gave me a snotty response that was quite defensive.  She was clearly not happy with my question, although I thought it was a good one, and one an educated person might want to know the answer to.

Apparently I was the only one interested in the answer.

photo credit: mloberg via photopin cc

photo credit: mloberg via photopin cc

It was obvious the director wasn’t prepared to answer questions any more serious than “Does mixing Mt. Dew and M&Ms destroy your buzz?” or “Which Ziploc baggie is the most durable?”  (Although I must admit, these were fair questions.)

I sunk into my seat, embarrassed by her harsh answer. Fortunately I found solace in the bag of chips I had, as did the professor sitting next to me.

When the Q and A was over, we all filed out of the theater.  I was so embarrassed that the director took offense to my question and I wanted to make it right.

In hindsight, I have no idea why I cared what a woman I would never see again thought of me, but I was caught up in the moment.  Perhaps the professor’s “pipe” smoke was getting to me.

I saw the director with a few others selling t-shirts promoting the film.  Perfect.  I decided to buy a t-shirt to show her I supported her film.  I’m not sure why I cared, but I did.  I went up to the stand and asked for a shirt.

I didn’t bother to look at it, as I didn’t care what it said.  I mostly wanted to demonstrate to this stranger that I was hip and cool, even if I had a 401k and was a registered voter.

When I got back to the condo, I pulled out my newest purchase and opened it up.  I expected to see a shirt advertising a documentary about law making.  What I saw was something completely different.  Here is the shirt:


Yes, that’s correct.  It’s a shirt with a huge marijuana leaf on it that says “Code of the West.”  Nowhere to be found is anything indicating this shirt references a documentary.  Nowhere to be found is any reference to lawmaking or government regulation.  Nope.

Instead, it’s a shirt suggesting the wearer believes that the code of the West is lots and lots of pot.  Great.

And if the front of the shirt didn’t scream “I’m a pothead” the back sealed the deal.  Please note the quote on the back says “Not all outlaws are criminals.”  Um, actually, that’s exactly what they are.  The definition of an outlaw is a criminal and vice versa.  Frickety frick.

I obviously can’t ever wear this shirt in public unless I want my car searched periodically and a cavity search done at the airport.

This is strictly a shirt to be worn in the comfort of my own home…with my Pajama Jeans of course.

utensilsNormally I like to cook.  (Yeah, like that was hard for you to figure out…a chubby girl who knows her way around the kitchen.  Shocking!)  Most of the time, I enjoy getting my hands dirty in the kitchen and concocting something amazing for dinner.

Interestingly, I also get my shirt dirty…and the counters…and the cabinets…and the baseboards.  I’m not a tidy chef.  So perhaps it was my husband’s irritation at the messy kitchen that made him accept an invitation to No Menu Monday.

Whatever the reason, last night my kitchen stayed fairly clean (except for the dog hair on the floor and random pieces of dog food scattered about, compliments of Shady Jack).

My friend, The Funniest Man Alive (not his real name…but seriously, he’s hilarious), found a local restaurant that does “No Menu Mondays.”  The concept is simple.  You make a reservation, go in and fill out a questionnaire, and then the chef prepares a 3 course meal just for you.

We were on board with the idea, especially since the restaurant served liquor.  Matt, The Funniest Man, Pajama Jeans and I made reservations for No Menu Monday and started salivating immediately.

waiter.jpgWe arrived and were greeted by our server, who was one holey cardigan away from a child molester.  He smelled like moth balls and I’m pretty sure he had something creepy stashed in a rental locker somewhere.

You could tell he was a hipster but “management” wanted him to be more mainstream for the restaurant, so he wore a black button down shirt, but I could practically hear his inner monologue scolding us for binding ourselves together in marriage.

He detested us immediately.  The feeling was mutual, as I noticed he was sporting crumbs from yesterday’s whole grain sandwich in his beard.

We looked at the questionnaire that was delicately placed in front of us.  There were only a few questions on it, and I wasn’t sure how these few inquiries were going to tell the chef enough about me to make a full meal.  Didn’t she need to know my sign?  My political stance?  Whether I’m Team Aniston or Team Jolie? (Team Aniston all the way.)

I decided to give her this information anyway, as I’m sure she was dying to know.  And I know the chef was female because creepy waiter guy kept referring to “her” although he could have been saying that to be ironic.  Fricking hipster.

The first question on the questionnaire was “Are you allergic to anything or have any dietary restraints?”

Naturally, I immediately advised I was allergic to cats…and grass…and trees…and anything outside.  I figured she wouldn’t make me a concoction of cats and hay weed, but this place was ultra hip so I wanted to cover all my bases.

The next question said “If the chef were a magic genie, what would you wish her to make?”

Okay, first of all, if the chef was so magic, she probably would already know what to make me and wouldn’t have to ask.  Strike one.  And if the chef were a magic genie, would I get only one wish and that wish was for one meal?

That seems like a lame genie to me.  I’d rather take a genie that has three wishes that aren’t limited to food.  Of course, I’d make my wishes about food, but I wouldn’t want that restriction.  Strike two.

Why am I giving strikes?

And seriously, this genie can’t be that magic if she actually has to make the food.  Isn’t the point of magic to create something without having to do any work?

Strike three.

I refused to answer the question and simply responded with “goat cheese.”

dislike foodThe next question said “What makes you say yuck?” to which I answered “Anal.”  It’s true, and I wanted the chef to know I was a classy gal (like she couldn’t already tell from the vodka stain on the paper and the wad of gum folded up in the corner of the page).

I realized she may have been wondering what kind of food made me say yuck, so I also wrote down “Duck” (mostly because it rhymed with yuck…and the vodka was really starting to kick in).  I also jotted down “Grown men dressed as babies” because that shit is just creepy.

The next question said “When you cook at home, what do you make? (Is it any good?)

Seriously?! This questionnaire is asking about my cooking skills?  How is this relevant to what the chef will prepare?  I suspected this was her elitist way of trying to make me feel bad for making mac and cheese from a box, coupled with hot dogs and applesauce.

Judge on sister.  And for the record, it is delicious.

The last question was a real stumper.  It said “When I say ‘belly’ you think: (a) the area below my chest and above my hips (b) no way! (c) yes, please

Multiple choice?  Really?  This chef was just getting lazy with the questions.  And was this a pot shot at my flabby belly?  Not cool. I figured this question was a way for the chef to get rid of the extra belly fat she took off the meat, so I circled “No way” and then, just to make my point, I wrote “Don’t even think about it.”  I considered following that up with “Beotch” but thought that might be a little harsh.


The rest of the table also answered the questions, although they were a bit more thorough than I was.  We gave our cards to the creepy waiter, who took them to the chef in the back (and probably took a hit off a bong on the way).

Despite my random answers to the even more random questions, the three courses I got were delicious, although I suspected my dessert came from a pudding cup.  Whatever.  It was fantastic and I practically licked the plate.

The rest of my table enjoyed their meals as well, although Pajama Jeans was a bit annoyed that the chef paired all of her food with red wine.  PJ doesn’t like red wine because she says all of it tastes like wood, but she sucked it up, risked the splinters, and downed every drop.  Even she admitted the wine was great.

Overall, No Menu Monday was a success.  It was fun and exciting and a little adventurous.  My only complaint was that the portions weren’t as big as I would have liked, but that’s probably for the best.  I initially asked creepy waiter if I could super size my items but he didn’t seem amused.  We left the restaurant and walked to our cars, talking about how we will have to come back and do this again.

Matt and I drove away and headed home, but first we made a stop at White Castle.  Hey, a girl’s gotta eat.

moved in

Notice anything different about this blog?  I’ve gone “dot com” and I love it!  My new address (for my blog, not my home) is http://lisanewlin.com.  I am officially a legit website.  (Okay, I’m not totally legit, as I’m still a complete disaster.  I’m now just a disaster with an official website.)

Fortunately, I have a friend from high school who is super talented and agreed to do the work on my blog to make it professional.  She graciously agreed to do the work in exchange for a promise of dinner, a thank you note, and some expired Hardee’s coupons.

Don’t tell her they’re expired.  I didn’t reveal that piece of information when we bartered.

Prior to her takeover, my blog looked like something my 8 year old cousin made (which is really just a slap in the face to him more than to my blog).  At least now its got some pizzaz and it’s totally my style.

Peppa (not her real name), knows me quite well, and knew exactly how to make this new site encapsulate me perfectly.  (I took care of the fart smell and poor reading choices all on my own.)

So what does this mean for you, the reader?  Well, it means you will have a more pleasurable viewing experience when perusing my blog.  You’re welcome.  That’s really the only change.

If you continue to go to my blogspot or previous www.rantingseriously.com address, you will automatically be rerouted to the new address.  You can then spend your energy reading my blog, judging me for my ridiculousness, and laughing at how insane I really am.  Really, my blog is just a way for you to feel better about your life.

Once again, you’re welcome.

So enjoy the new site and please send my friend Peppa some love by visiting her site as well as http://www.driedonmilk.com/.  She’s a working mom of two who is hilarious and always has a funny story to share.

I also got help from Julie at http://www.fabulousblogging.com/  Show her some love too, as she had to deal with me during this process.  She totally deserves hazard pay.

Happy reading.  Now go share my blog with everyone you know.  Seriously.  Now.  Do it.

old man on vacation with inner tube

I’m back!  I know it’s been more than a week since my last post and you are all anxiously awaiting a new post.  You’re probably wondering things like “What was she doing?” and “Where has she been?”  (these are to be whispered in Gossip Girl voice.)

The answer is that I’ve been on vacation in Austin, Texas, attending South by Southwest (or SXSW for those of us cool people in the know).  It’s a yearly festival in Austin where movies are released, bands are discovered, and hipsters unite for ironic discussions and thrift store sales.  It’s huge.

This was definitely my husband’s trip.  He loves movies and all things cinema, and I love TV and all things Kardashian.  I don’t want to love the Kardashians, but that family is a trainwreck and I can’t look away.  Seriously.  Bruce Jenner’s face literally looks like a train wreck.

So I decided to go to SXSW with my husband because I’m an amazingly awesome wife, and because I knew Channing Tatum would be there.  Don’t judge.  Like you would pass up an opportunity to see those abs?  Yeah right.

Since I don’t enjoy long movies (or anything with Matthew McConaughey), I decided to attend various documentaries instead of mainstream films.  They are shorter than feature films, the lines are shorter, and the people attending them are usually older, so I knew I would feel youthful surrounded by all those AARP cards.

After attending a documentary or two, I remembered how much I love documentaries.  I decided to see as many as I could, so I attended several documentaries, or “docs” as us cool people call them.  Okay, not so much cool people as just me.

I went from theater to theater, realizing there were many things about the world I had yet to learn; like how many different birds can be found in Central Park, or how Jennifer Love Hewitt still has an acting career.

I also realized my “fashionable orthopedic shoes” were the same shoes worn by a 270 pound woman with a mustache and a cat sweater.

After seeing several docs on Saturday, I decided to catch one more before heading back to the condo for an evening of Doritos, M&Ms and Law and Order reruns.  The film I decided to watch was a documentary about the journey of an American school bus to Guatamala, why it went there, and the people whose lives it affected.

school busRiveting, right?  I felt so empowered and knowldgable as I walked to the theater where the film was showing.  I knew I was becoming so well cultured, and even felt a little bit like a hipster.  Before long I would be playing Atari games and calling everything “rad.”

I got to the theater before the movie started, so I stood in line contemplating my near hipster status and wondering if I would look good in skinny jeans.

Just as I realized I couldn’t be a hipster because my wardrobe lacks t=shirts with superheros from the 80s on them, two men approached the line and stood behind me.

They appeared to be intellectuals, and not overly douchey.  I knew we would be standing in line a while, so I struck up a conversation with them.

I also knew I would need to use the restroom soon and didn’t want to lose my place in line.  If I had any hope of regaining my coveted spot, I knew I would have to make nice with the people behind me.

The men were both named John and they were fabulous.  They lived in New York City in what I can only assume was a fabulous neighborhood where people have brunch that doesn’t consist solely of different flavors of Cocoa Pebbles.

Although why would you want something other than that chocolatey goodness on a Sunday morning?

We chatted about various issues, and I realized we were getting along great.  I was totally pulling off the cool hipster vibe, although I was missing the required components of a bandana and an attitude problem.

Either way, I still sounded smart, which made up for the fact that I failed to appreciate just how much deodorant was needed on a hot Texas day. (A lot…you need a lot.)

Once the doors opened, we headed inside to find our seats.  Since I was getting along so well with the Johns (and since I couldn’t wait to sit down), I took the nearest seat next to the John duo and continued gabbing with my new friends.

The theater we were in had regular theater seats, but there was a long table that ran the length of the row.

waitressA waitress serves food and drinks during the movie, all of which are placed on the table.  This amazing theater and their fried goat cheese may have played a role in which documentaries I viewed.

We ordered our food and drinks and waited for the film to start.  Our drinks arrived in what appeared to be 2 Liter glasses filled to the brim.  The film began and our food followed shortly thereafter, also in large quantity.

Naturally, I was happy with the big portions, as I was thirsty from chatting, and hungry from being so charming.

After each film at SXSW, there is a Q and A with the director, producer, etc.  I wasn’t totally feeling the school bus film (it wasn’t as riveting as it sounded), so as soon as the credits came on, I grabbed my stuff and headed toward the door.

The lights weren’t up yet, and the credits continued to roll.  I looked over at my friends the Johns and apologized, but said I needed to go, as I had a very important meeting I needed to get to.

I think they suspected my meeting included a Snuggie and a new episode of 48 Hour Mystery, but they didn’t let on like they knew.

Instead of standing up to let me pass through the area between the seats and the table, they simply pulled their feet back to let me through.  That left me about a foot of space to walk through, which would normally be challenging, but in the dark it was near impossible (for this girl at least).

I tried to scoot out of the row, with my butt facing the Johns and my front and purse facing the table.  And then it happened.  Without warning.  My purse knocked over the 2 Liters of water on the table next to John #1.  It tipped over and spilled everywhere.  The table, the floor, the seat…and worst of all, my pajama jeans.

I looked up, paused, and said the first thing that came to my mind, which was “Yeah, so I totally just did that.”

angry army dudeThe Johns were not amused.  For people who pretended to be so accepting of others, they were pretty judgmental about the blonde in the pajama jeans and orthopedic shoes who knocked over their water with the purse she got free with a purchase at Dressbarn.  Some people are just so snobby.

I didn’t know what to do, so I did the only thing that would make it more awkward than it already was; I left the cup where it was, where it continued to pump out water like a fire hose, mouthed “I’m sorry” and bolted out of the row and out of the theater.

Once outside, I looked down at my wet pants only to discover the water landed in a not-so-desirable spot on my jeans.  Fantastic.  Fortunately, I knew how well my pajama jeans launder, so I knew a little water wouldn’t hurt the fabric.  My pride, yes?  But the fabric?  No.

I walked the several blocks to my rental car and headed back to the condo, continuing to replay the incident in my head.  I had so many questions.  How did I manage to knock the water over?  Why didn’t I stay and try to clean it up?

And perhaps most pressing of all…How was I going to find the Johns and get their numbers?


suitcaseWith my ever so glamorous job, I am required to travel from time to time.  Unfortunately, my travel isn’t to tropical places like Belize or The Bahamas (or any location where The Bachelor goes to find true love).

My trips take me to lovely places in the Midwest, where the corn is plentiful and everything smells like manure, including my hotel room.  How does that happen?

Since I demand only the best when it comes to my hotel stay, and because the woman with my company who books the hotels is a little afraid of me, I always like to stay at nice places that have the finest of amenities…and by amenities, I mean room service.

I’m currently out of town for work, and when I arrived at the hotel, I was greeted by the clerk with a generous hello and a piping hot cookie.  I’m not sure if the cookie was complimentary to all guests.  My guess is that it wasn’t because the clerk was holding it in her hand when I arrived, so I suspect it may have been her lunch.  It was delicious!

I headed up to my room, inhaling the cookie as I went.  I didn’t want to be rude and not eat the entire thing.

When I arrived at my room I opened the door and discovered the room was large and spacious…and handicap accessible.  Um, seriously?  Now I wouldn’t be so concerned with the handicapped room if I hadn’t just stayed in one.


Less than 2 weeks ago I was out of town and that hotel room was also handicapped. Well, I guess it was handicap accessible.  The room itself wasn’t handicapped, although it didn’t have a minibar, so I consider that a handicap.

Was the woman at my company who booked my rooms trying to tell me something?

She’d met me before, so she knew I was capable of getting around without too much difficulty, assuming I wore my orthopedic shoes.  So why the handicapped room?

And then I saw the bathroom, and didn’t care why.  There was a huge walk in shower! Perhaps others would be offended by regularly being assigned the handicapped room, but I like to consider it an elite status that few can attain.

It’s like getting the penthouse suite, assuming the penthouse has an entrance ramp, double wide doorways and safety mats in the shower.

And let’s face it, for those of you that know me, you know having a cord in the shower that I can pull when I slip on the soap may be a good idea after all.

Of course, the maintenance man who has to answer that call and find my naked body sprawled on the floor would probably strongly disagree.

handicappedI got settled into my spacious room and then I did something strange…I went to the hotel gym and worked out.  I know!  Crazy, right?

Perhaps the handicapped room was having an effect on me, and it made me grateful for the things I have, even if they are thighs covered in layers of bacon grease and onion rings.

Not literally, although that would be awesome.

After my short workout, I returned to my room, sweaty and worn out.  I had a meeting with a client so I needed to get in the shower and get ready to go.

I removed my sweaty clothes and walked into the bathroom wearing nothing but the sweat from the workout and my disdain for the elliptical machine.

I reached over and turned on the shower, and nothing happened.  The shower didn’t turn on.  It remained a steady stream of water from the faucet, with no water coming out of the shower head.

Seriously?!  Did the hotel think people in the handicapped room didn’t need to shower?

I was immediately irritated and questioned why I bothered to work out in the first place.  That’s what I get for trying to be healthy.  Had I laid in bed and watched TV, this wouldn’t have been such a catastrophe.

However, the fact that I worked out on the elliptical machine and was dripping with sweat, and the faint odor of garlic, I knew a shower was a must…at least if I wanted to keep working with this specific client

I walked to the phone, mentally drafting my lawsuit against the hotel for violation of the ADA.  How dare they discriminate against me?

I called the front desk and told them my shower was broken.  The woman at the front desk (who was probably still bitter about the cookie incident), advised she would send someone right up.  Frickety frick.  That meant I needed to get dressed.  This hotel was really getting on my nerves.

puppy in bucket of soap

I threw on some clothes and a disgruntled maintenance man, who I promptly named Donald, arrived at my door.

He was a bit shocked when my able body opened the door, as I suspected he expected to see a handicapped person utilizing the room.  He then gave me a judging stare and entered my palatial room.

The maintenance guy went straight to the bathroom and got to work.  I returned to the other room and continued to stew in my own filth and sweat.

As I sat there waiting for him to fix the faucet, I heard heavy breathing coming from the bathroom.

What was that guy doing in there? Was he okay?  Did he need CPR? I hoped not, as my only experience with that was the plastic doll I used during my CPR certification class.

I named him Eddie. (The CPR doll…not the maintenance man.  I named the maintenance man Donald, despite his nametag that said his name was Ron.)

Was Donald okay in there?  I thought about asking, but figured he might start a conversation with me about his various ailments (as most strangers tend to do), so I decided to Google “CPR on the maintenance man” and keep quiet.

That way I would be prepared.  I was also a bit disturbed, as my search came up with some interesting results.

As I waited for Donald to finish his work, or breathe his last breath, I decided to call my client and tell her I’d be late.  Fortunately, she is cool, and knows me well enough to know that some sort of disaster would inevitably occur to make me late.

This time it was due to a combination of my own body odor and the maintenance man’s impending heart attack.  Surely she would think one of the conditions caused the other, but which one caused which was still up for debate.

band aidFortunately, Donald finished his handy work shortly thereafter.  Judging by the increase in his rapid breathing, I’d say he finished just in the nick of time.

After he left my room, I disrobed and once again turned on the shower.  This time, it worked, and I silently thanked Donald for his hard work (and mentally made a note to recommend he see a pulmonologist).

The shower never felt so good, and I got ready without any further difficulties.

Although the broken shower was less than ideal, I’m still cool with the handicapped room.

That could have happened in any room, and I’m not going to judge all handicap rooms by this one room.  After all, if history is any indicator, I will be staying in another one next week for yet another business trip.


I hate working out.  Yes, I realize that’s shocking considering my svelte body and my biceps made of steel (really, they’re composed of a combination of rice from Chipotle and anything fried and dipped in ranch dressing).

Even though I hate going to the gym, if I have any hope of continuing to occupy only one seat on an airplane, I know I must work out.  Since I’m not “that girl” at the gym, and I’m also not a masochist, I hate going to the gym.

So if I have to go sweat it out, I prefer to go with one of my best friends.  Enter Downtown Christy Brown.  (Not her real name).

DTCB and I joined a gym together and go there in an effort to lose weight.  We hoped that just going to the gym would allow us to lose weight without actually engaging in physical activity, but we discovered that wasn’t the case.

The gym doesn’t make you lose weight just by stepping inside its doors.

If it did, I would take up residency there with a jar of Nutella and an endless supply of carbs.

However, a workout is required at the gym if you want to lose weight, and although we get our heart rates pumping at the gym, we have some concerns that each visit  may be our last.  We’re pretty sure we’re on borrowed time at the gym, and sometime soon we are going to be permanently kicked out.

Here’s a list of a few reasons why.

1.  We talk about ridiculous things while working out

dog in glassesFrom body odor to the genital herpes we’re sure the skinny girl on the treadmill has, our discussions at the gym have no restrictions (and no filter).

For some reason, with the noise of the elliptical machines pounding in our ears (and the feel of oxygen escaping our lungs at a rapid rate of speed), we figure we can talk about whatever we want while we’re at the gym.

No subject matter is off limits, regardless of who is on the machine next to us.

If the 55 year old male doesn’t want to hear about the annual trip to the lady doctor, he should either switch machines or turn up the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond he’s pretending to watch, because we will be discussing every last detail, from the snotty receptionist to the overly chilly medical equipment.

And who watches that show anyway?  Here’s the synopsis of every single episode:  Raymond does something stupid, Debra forgives him, and Lisa Newlin bangs her head against the wall at the lack of creative writing.

2.  DTCB yells ridiculous things when she thinks no one can hear

yellingNews flash to DTCB:  Just because you can’t hear anything because the blood is rushing to your head and you’re feeling faint, doesn’t mean others can’t either.  They can hear everything just fine.

So yelling “running really loosens up my bowels” at the top of your lungs while running on the treadmill isn’t the smartest decision to make…although it gives me an excuse to fart freely, as everyone will assume you’re the culprit with your loose bowels and noxious gas.

So I guess I should say thank you for that.  But other than that, please remember that although I enjoy your random announcements about the status of your bowels, other gym-goers might not be that interested.

3.  We provide encouragement to people who probably don’t want it

I like to think we are being helpful, but I’m pretty sure the elderly Asian man we encourage to “punch it” on the treadmill disagrees. Seriously though, that guy is a machine!

Since DTCB and I find we need motivation to work out, we assume others do too, and take it upon ourselves to provide that service to other gym-goers free of charge.  (We’re so charitable.)

We seem to believe our motivational shouts will encourage others to work that much harder.  What would probably work better as a motivational tool, would be if I stood in front of each patron’s workout machine wearing nothing but a tankini and board shorts.

The sight of my chunky thighs and “fluffy” gut would encourage them to run that extra mile on the treadmill, and to remember to pick up cottage cheese on the way home.

4.  DTCB runs on the treadmill with jazz hands

Hamster Getting a Workout on Spinning Wheel --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisI wish this one wasn’t true, but it is.  The worst part is that she truly doesn’t realize she does it.  As if yelling about the status of her bowels isn’t enough, she finds it necessary to run with her hands flexed and open, as if she’s ready to karate chop anyone who comes near her machine.

Sometimes she looks like she’s in the middle of a show choir routine, and I find her shaking her jazz hands and doing the ever-so-popular sweep of the open hand across the body.

At times, she looks like she’s having a seizure.

I then have to decide if I’m going to push her off the machine to hold her down and keep her from swallowing her tongue, or if I will leave her alone and let her finish her rendition of Don’t Stop Believin‘.

Since I’m a Journey fan, I usually let her finish.  Either way, she looks ridiculous.

and the final reason we will probably get kicked out of the gym…

5.  I fart into the fan

fanIt’s true…like you’re shocked.  I prefer to pick the machine closest to the fan so I can sweat as little as possible while pumping my legs.

And since I’m one gassy chick, part of exercising (for this girl), includes being gassy.

To me, working out and farting go together like chocolate milk and Oreos…chips and salsa…Kathy Lee Gifford and copious amounts of prescription drugs and alcohol.

The two go hand in hand. And passing gas in front of a large fan does nothing but disperse the odor throughout the room at a high rate of speed.

It’s not ideal.  But since I don’t look good when I sweat, I figure I’d rather look cute and workout by the fan, than worry if my bodily functions cause a few people to flee the gym for fresh air.

It usually results in the availability of a machine I want, so I’m willing to make the sacrifice.

So until we get the proverbial running shoe from the gym, we will continue to do our workouts, most likely annoying everyone in the vicinity.

So if you go to our gym, bring your headphones, stay away from the treadmills, and stay at least 20 feet away from the fan.

woman with caulk gunI’m not handy.  Handsy?  Yes.  Handy with things around the house?  No.  So whenever I purchase something that says “assembly is required” that translates in my mind to “liquor and cursing is in your future.”  Actually, almost everything translates to that prediction.  Don’t judge.

I have a friend who just got a new place and needed help setting it up and getting settled in.  Can you believe he shot down my suggestion to do the entire apartment in a dog theme?  Some people just don’t have good taste.

So in getting him set up, a group of friends got together and bought him a new vacuum.  Not only did he need the vacuum for standard upkeep in his apartment, he also needed it to clean up the crumbs I regularly leave behind at his place.

I’m like the Hansel and Gretel of South City, only the crumbs I leave behind don’t serve as a road map to find my way back, but rather, a road map to warn people of where I’ve been.

presentRecently, The Nanny (not her real name), picked me up and we headed to our friend’s place to give him the gift of suction.

We arrived and he was excited about the gift, although he was not so excited to see I was in Pajama Jeans…again.

We headed inside and figured it wouldn’t take us long to put the vacuum together.  After all, we were 3 somewhat intelligent people and a brain trust like that wouldn’t take long to decipher some instructions.

We got out the pieces, and The Nanny started reading the instruction manual. Nerd alert!

I looked for the pictures in the manual, noticed they weren’t colored in, and immediately began coloring in the drawings with a pen.  What’s a world without color?

The Nanny worked diligently putting the machine together, while I looked diligently for different colored pens to complete my masterpiece.  My friend really needed to spice up his life with more than just black pens.

I colored away, unaware that my friends were doing all the assembly work.  I looked up and realized I wasn’t being overly helpful, aside from adding some pizazz to an otherwise boring manual.

I decided to do my part to assist in the construction.  I grabbed one of the hoses and found another hose that looked like it fit with the other hose.  I pushed them together and heard a nice “click.”

success failureSuccess!  I was helpful! The two hoses connected perfectly and were connected by a plastic piece that was about 6 inches wide, and had a delightfully colorful sticker wrapped around it.

Finally, the manufacturer realized color is the spice of life…yeah, it’s not variety.

We turned on the vacuum and clapped with joy, as we realized we successfully put together the machine without any problems.

I was also happy the manual was now appropriately colored, with a few inappropriate drawings that my friend would find later when he had a question about the machine.

I’m such a good friend like that.

We discovered the attachment worked well, thanks to the wonderful connection of the hoses.  However, we wanted to see how it worked as a vacuum, so we decided to disconnect the hoses and see how that baby performed on the floor.

I had high expectations of floor performance, as just a few days prior to that, I witnessed some serious strippers working the floor.  Strangely enough, those same strippers probably would have benefited from a vacuum such as this one…and a strong round of antibiotics.

I offered to take apart the hoses, as I was the genius who figured out they went together.  I grabbed them and tried to pull them apart.  They didn’t budge…at all.

Not even a little.  I used all my strength, which was a lot, as I have a personal trainer and have been working out.  Occasionally I work out, when I can’t think of an excuse not to go to the gym.  Despite my massive arm strength, I was unable to get the hoses apart.

My friend said he would try, and I didn’t want to disappoint him, but I knew if my mammoth biceps couldn’t get the hoses apart, there was no hope for him.  I didn’t want to burst his bubble, so I let him try.

He too was unsuccessful in getting the hoses apart.  Duh.  Had he bothered to look at my upper arms?  Obviously not.

The Nanny said she would give it a try.  Cha.  As if she was such a miracle worker.  But since I’m such an amazingly supportive friend, I told her to give it a try.  Big surprise:  she couldn’t get them apart either.

vacuumBecause I’m super resourceful (and I didn’t want to leave the comfy chair I was sitting in), I decided to call a friend of ours who recently purchased this vacuum.

I got her on the phone and asked if she had any problem getting the hoses apart. She said she hadn’t tried the attachment pieces yet, so she wasn’t sure.  Obviously she didn’t take as much pride in cleaning her furniture as we did.

After hanging up with her, and making a mental note not to sit on her couch the next time I went over there, I decided to grab the (now) colorful instruction manual, and call the help hot line.  I wanted to get to the bottom of this immediately, and I was ready to give the agent a piece of my mind.

If I couldn’t get the hoses apart, what hope was there for the regular population?

instructionsShe answered and I cut to the chase immediately.  I explained that we couldn’t get the hoses apart, but we knew they were supposed to go together.

By now, we read the manual and reaffirmed my genius idea to connect the pieces was correct.

“Is there a sticker over the connecting piece of the hose?” the woman asked, in a cheerful voice.

Of course there was.  It was the only component of the vacuum that was colorful and bright.  It really made the machine pop.  I replied and told her the sticker was present, and that we didn’t remove any instruction stickers during the assembly.

After all, we followed the rule book.

She then told me to remove the sticker on the connector part.  I wasn’t sure why this chick was so consumed with that stupid sticker, but I did what she suggested.

As I pulled the sticker away, I noticed something…something important.

There was a button hidden under the sticker.  Interesting.

I asked the woman for further direction, and she instructed me to push the button.  When I did, the hoses disconnected immediately.  Well, who knew?! Apparently she did. I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry, so I did the first thing that came to my mind; cussed.

After dropping a few f-bombs, I thanked the woman for her suggestion.  Before hanging up, I asked her how many times a day she received a call with this same issue.

She laughed and said that I really didn’t want to know the answer to that question. I  couldn’t figure out if she was suggesting it was a large number or a small one.  I decided the former was the case.

press hereWe put the rest of the vacuum together and took it for a test drive around the room.  It worked beautifully, and my friend was happy with his gift.  I stood back and admired my handiwork.  I was happy, not just because I did a nice thing for a friend, or because the vacuum seemed to be a great product.

I was happy because I knew my upper arm strength was no longer in question.