Friday, September 28, 2012

So You're Selling Your House? A Guide to Not Actually Living in It

Congratulations on making the first step down a long road of insanity.  After all, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a “for sale” sign in your front yard.  If you’re reading this, then you have obviously made the absolutely crazy decision to sell your house.  Yay!  Allow me to let you in on a few secrets that will ease this transition from a fairly sane, functional human being into a screaming, crazy shell of humanity.

  1. Firstly, you’ll want to stage your house.  Staging is a Latin term that means “your taste sucks.”  A good stager will begin by telling you that all of your stuff is ugly.  You will then be encouraged to relocate said stuff into a facility where no one, ever, will be exposed to it (storage facility or large dumpster.  Take your pick.)  After this step is complete, you will be forced to hang art from Ikea over your fireplace and have a fake bowl of fruit on your kitchen table at all times.  Apparently fake pears are a necessary evil in the quest to sell your house. 
  2. You will also be forced to make your bed.  Every. Single. Morning.  And not only will you need to make your bed, but you’ll need to hide the pillows that are actually used for sleeping and replace them with large, uncomfortable “pretty” pillows.  Random props will also be placed on your bed that will give your bedroom the feeling of living in a Pottery Barn showroom.  These, of course, need to be taken off at night and replaced in the morning because normal people don’t live like this.  But normal people don’t sell houses.
  3. You’re going to want to utilize the idea of a “morning checklist” when your house is on the market.  This will help you to know that your house will look perfect in the off chance that you will get an impromptu showing during the day.  An example of mine:
    1. Throw any dirty towels, socks, or ascots into the washing machine before walking out the door.  You wouldn’t want people to be grossed out by your ascot.  And heaven forbid they think you wear socks.
    2. I also throw in any dirty dishes that I haven’t washed yet.  I do this because my dishwasher is still full of clean clothes that I haven’t had time to unload due to the fact that I recently ran my nonstick sautĂ© pan through the delicate cycle and broke my washing machine. 
    3. Take a look around.  If anything is out that would look out of place at a Williams & Sonoma photo shoot, hide it.  I’ve utilized my refrigerator as a place to hide tennis shoes, remote controls, and the occasional feather boa.  I try to keep electronics in the low humidity crisper and I’ve found I’ve actually gotten better reception to the TV because of it. 
  4. A fun game to play to take your mind off of the fact that you’re living in a catalog is the “Where Did I Hurriedly Stuff (Whatever Item You’re Searching For) This Morning?”  Get the kids involved as you scramble to figure out where you threw your sunglasses, cell phone charger, or yard rake before a showing.  Popular hiding places in our house include the fireplace, under the couch, and the trunk of my car.  You would be surprised how many yard implements can be stuffed in the trunk of a Honda Civic.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Salad Bar Stupidity and Other Stuff I Don't Like

So my posts about things that make me happy netted us a couple of showings on the house o’pain, although no offers.  I’ll wait while you pick up your jaw that’s understandably hit the ground as you fathom why our house hasn’t sold yet.
I ask myself the same question almost every morning in the shower while I shave my legs with increasing agitation until I resemble an extra from the “Edward Scissorhands:  Leg Shaver” movie that unfortunately never got made.
Anyway, since the positivity didn’t really do anything THAT great, I’m going back to being my hate-filled, cynical self.  Because if we’re not going to sell our house with the power of positive thinking, I’m gonna stop being an annoying optimist and write some more about stuff that annoys me.  It is my comfort zone, after all…

1.  The stupid guy in front of me at the salad bar in Harris Teeter.  Let me preface this by saying that this douche bag’s actions were already probably going to annoy me, mainly because this entire day has annoyed the tee-total shit out of me.  However, with a queue of folks forming behind this guy that would rival a Depression-era bread line, this guy decides to go through the chicken, piece by piece, until he hand-selects the very pieces that would grace his salad.  A note about this chicken:  it’s all crap.  It’s pressed together chicken innards that somewhat resemble a part of our favorite edible fowl, but it’s essentially crap.  And the fact that you’re picking through the crap, to the detriment of my personal time-table and growling stomach, is not only inconsiderate but completely moronic to boot.  And then let’s talk about how the guy answered his cell phone while picking through the chicken (Yeah, I’m still standing here, but please.  I really want your salad to reach its peak of perfection through perfectly picked chicken parts as you ramble about what I’m assuming has something to do with an obscure band and how much PBR you drank at their showcase Friday night.  What’s that?  You’re having trouble finding your phone in the pocket of your skinny jeans?  Let me help you – it's the only bulge visible in your skinny jeans.  Ahem.)  At this point I was ready to grab him by his stupid sunglasses and shove his phone down his gullet, but he finally moved and I didn’t want to get any more bloodstains out of this dress. 

2.  Unsolicited opinions.  Here’s the thing – I don’t give a flying rat’s dirty parts who you worship, who you vote for, who you marry, or who you seriously maim in a salad bar line.  You know why I don’t care?  BECAUSE IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE TO ME.  And you know something else?  I’m not going to force my beliefs on you because it makes no difference to you.  So please, for the love of whatever you think is holy, stop trying to change my thinking because odds are, you have no idea what I think about these subjects anyway because I often refuse to talk about them.  I would much rather have a riveting discussion about the merits of fresh v/s canned tomatoes, my hatred of Taylor Swift, various meanings  of the f-word, or the advantages to backing into a parking spot.
In closing:  They’re personal decisions and involve no one but me…and possibly that stupid guy I just gut-punched in Harris Teeter…so please.  Just.Stop. 

3.  There’s a Farmville TWO???  What happened to the first one – did it get burned down during Sherman’s ride through Facebook?  I thought I was safe from inane app requests, but now am I going to have to block the “Two” version of everything?  Bejeweled Two:  Shenanigans in Jewelry Heists?  Mystical Mountains Two:  Escape from the Billy Goat’s Grasp?  CafĂ© City Two:  A Server’s Revenge through Body Fluids?

4.  The Tennessee Titans.  "But Jamie!" you might be thinking.  "I thought you were a Titans fan.  What's this blasphemy spewing forth from your foul mouth ?"  Let me explain.  I was unable to watch or listen to this weekend's game due to prior obligations.  Now, I’ve watched the Titans get pummeled by Tom Brady.  I’ve watched running backs prance through our line like it got burned up in Sherman’s charge on Farmville.  I’ve watched through injuries, through unfortunate hand gestures to TV cameras from our stoic owner, and through a hissy fit by a thumb-addled quarterback.  And what do I get for sitting through these monstrosities?  I miss what everyone is calling, “One of the best Titans games EVER!”  It’s bad enough that I missed our first win of the regular season, but that pile of the salt in the wound?  Brought to you by the Titans game everyone will be talking about forever. So thanks, Titans.  You wait until I'm not in front of the TV for once to play a great game of football.  I'm hoping this isn't a trend, because I'll be watching whenever I can.  Ya might wanna buckle in for a bumpy ride.   

So I know I said I was going to be totally pessimistic, but there was one bright spot in this crap parade of a weekend…
While driving down Briley Parkway on Saturday, I noticed a loaf of bread in the right-hand lane.  Thinking it odd, and feeling an overwhelming urge to run over it to see what would happen, I continued driving my 55-mph in a quest to get home.  A few more miles up the old BP brought yet another loaf of bread.  And then two more.  THAT’S when we started wondering who was Breading the Opryland side of Briley Parkway.  A truck pulled over in front of Opry Mills brought our answer – the bread was coming from a couple in a pickup truck with a bed full of bread.
Like, an entire truck filled with loaves of bread. 
I couldn’t make it up if I tried.  And I don’t want to.  I just want a sandwich.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Unique Upbringing

I’m a little weird, a fact I’ll gladly announce to anyone who isn’t listening (people don’t listen to weird people who will subsequently talk about them not listening in a blog they won’t read) but as I talk to other folks I realize my upbringing wasn’t exactly normal.  Or sane.  Or anything that would allude to me becoming a non-dorky, semi-functional adult.  The reasons I’m weird…as recounted from childhood…

I grew up on a farm.  Not THAT unusual, especially in Tennessee, but a growing rarity in the days of genetically engineered cow-type things and turkeys that can’t fly.  Our farm was unique in that it was organic.  In the early ‘80s, that word was usually reserved for a very intense moment in the bedroom and not a way of farming.  One might say, at the risk of sounding like a hipster, that we were organic before organic was cool.  Farming sans chemicals requires unorthodox methods of agriculture that involve things like me dragging around a bucket of water and cutting down thistle heads in the middle of a Tennessee July (for those of you unaccustomed to Tennessee weather it’s hot in July.  Like, hot enough to stick your head in a bucket of thistle water to get some sort of relief when you’re in the middle of a half-cut thistle field.)  Thistles are vile, evil weeds that have thorns and quite possibly a hive of bees inhabiting them at any given moment.  Organic farmery also required me to take a little miniature flame-thrower torch thing and burn weeds in the strawberry field with a magic wand of fire.  I would pretend I was a roaring giant torching poor cities that dared to revolt against me and my regime, therefore justifying my actions in burning their entire existence.  (Living on a farm also puts a LOT of space between you and anyone your age you may be able to play with…hence the rampantly violent imagination and thoughts of village domination.)  

Another fun part of living in the middle of nowhere?  Your mom has to drive you around to go trick-or-treating.  The first time I went to a “real” neighborhood on Halloween I was absolutely amazed (and only slightly chagrined I wasn’t getting the official chauffeur treatment anymore.)  Kids were walking door-to-door…up to doors behind which stood people they didn’t know.  And they got candy.  Like, a LOT of candy.  Even more than the year my sister was forced to drive me around (she just took me to her friends’ houses and gave me candy so I would shut up about going somewhere else.)  The Halloween traditions to which I was accustomed first involved putting together your own costume – usually consisting of a pair of my dad’s pants, his ever-present hard hat, and a pair of his boots and being, wait for it, my father.  Since I was only going to see about 3 people that night, the quality of the costume didn’t exactly matter, and the neighbors knew my father and thought it was cute that I was parading around like a shrunken, curly-haired version of him.  Secondly, we would drive to approximately 4 houses, walk in, sit down, chat for a moment, and possibly leave with some Cracker Jacks (or caramel apples if you hit Miss Katy May’s house.  And we ALWAYS hit Miss Katy May’s house.)  Finally, we would drive home to wait for possible trick-or-treaters at OUR house, which absolutely, positively, NEVER HAPPENED.  So, my Halloween haul would usually include Cracker Jacks and whatever candy we hadn’t eaten before Halloween night that my mother bought every year “just in case.”  

On a positive note, one advantage of living in the country is that everyone learns to drive at a very young age.  Like, really young.  I mean, it’s not like there’s a whole lotta traffic whizzing by, so my dad didn’t really think twice before he tossed me the keys to the tractor with instructions of driving it through town to its next destination.  I was 11.  After I’d graduated from farm machinery, I got to experiment with the farm truck in the back field with instructions to “not get above 3rd gear, because with the ruts back there, you’re liable to hit your head on the ceiling.”  I didn’t get above 3rd that day, but I did come dangerously close to getting the truck stuck in a pile of chicken manure and only after frantically spinning tires for several breathless minutes (both from fear and the stench my predicament caused) did I finally break free of the poop’s grasp into the safety of the aforementioned thistle field.  And while you may think you’d have plenty of room to drive around without hitting anything on a farm, you’d be wrong, as I took out a couple of mailboxes, part of a fence row, and a tractor manifold in my early driving career (a note to my insurance agent:  Please disregard the previous sentence.  I tend to embellish when I write.)  (A note to everyone else:  Please disregard the previous note to my insurance agent.  It’s all unfortunately true.)  I subsequently had quite the colorful driving history in high school, but could proudly boast about only getting 1 ticket from the 9 times I got pulled over (another embellishment, I promise, dear insurance agent.)  (A note to everyone else: what do you expect from a girl who learned to drive in a field completely devoid of a speed limit?)

And there you have it.  A plethora of other stories exist and they all point to the fact that there’s a reason I’m this crazy, but my mother’s calling me and I’m sure the conversation will involve an update on the chickens, the progress of her latest canning adventures, and possibly an anecdote centered around the fact that my mother’s somehow taught herself to yodel.  I can’t fix the crazy, so I might as well enrich it.  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Some Happies...For Once

While I know the name of this blog is “The Angry Curl,” I had a wine-fueled epiphany the other night.  This “cabern-iphany” was brought about while sitting on my couch and looking around at my now-hated condo and thinking, “Just what the HELL do I have to do to get out of this place?”  Then I thought, “Maybe the fact that you hate it so much is the very thing holding you back.  Hic.”  I’ve blamed the housing market, I’ve blamed shitty neighbors, I’ve blamed the obviously faulty St. Joseph we buried in the front yard many, many moons ago.  But I’ve never stopped to blame myself for injecting those freshly-touched-up, yet cursed, walls with enough negativity to bring down Richard Simmons.  So, in an effort to somehow sell our abode of burden with the power of positivity (hopefully without puking before the end of this…I’ve already discussed my hatred for eternal optimism.  *Shudder.*) I’m foregoing my normal, “I hate everything because everything annoys me” and going with a “Crap that makes me happy blog.”  Here goes…

1.  I somehow got added to a “Juggalos and ‘Lettes of America” group on Facebook.  “Why on EARTH does this make you happy?” may be the thought crossing your mind right now, but I assure you, this is comedic GOLD.  Pictures of Juggalos are amazing and a quick listen to the melodies of this Insane Clown Posse prove to be enlightening (and by “enlightening” I mean, “I’m so glad their fan base is limited to some face-painting, Faygo-drinking family members and not the general population.”)  Far beyond the glories contained in lyrics such as “like magnets, how do those work?” I am really starting to realize the depth of this band and, more importantly, its followers.  With posts in the Facebook group citing such wisdom as “Whoop, whoop, mother*#&ers” and “Family!  Whoop, whoop!” these folks are obviously on to something.  They’re totally not racists, either, because the banner at the top of the page clearly states, “We’re not racists.  We’re Southern Juggalos.”  Props, Juggalos and Juggalettes.  Mad, hatchet-carrying props.  You brighten my day.  One awful post at a time. 

2.  While filming a movie a couple of weeks ago, I got a gigantic bruise on my left leg (I blame Brandy Cantrell and her dedication to the art of acting for this travesty.  I did bust her lip, however, so the afternoon wasn’t a total wash.)  Anyway, again, you may be pontificating to yourself as to why this would be a source of happiness in my life.  The reason it makes me giggle?  The bruise…well, the bruise looked like a, how do I put this?  A part of the male genitalia.  The picture is below and I’ll let you decide what YOU think it looks like, but just know that I’ve a lot of fun “flexing” my leg in the past couple of weeks and I’m almost sad that my lovely piece of leg porn is close to fully healed. 

3.  My parents’ chickens and their eggs.  I know, I know.  I write a LOT about farm life and the craziness it brings, but these eggs…oh, these eggs.  First off, the color (inside AND out.)  Opening a carton of these eggs is like experiencing Easter for the first time because they’re all different colors – brown, dark brown, blue, and GREEN!!  Then, upon cracking them open into a skillet, you discover that the yolks are this goldenrod yellow that screams, “Bedazzle me with onions, tomatoes, and spinach, woman!”  I, of course, am more than happy to oblige to the bossy eggs.  I often find myself screaming, “Hallelujah!” when I eat these eggs, because they taste like they fell straight out of heaven’s butt.  And who doesn’t want a ham and butt omelet on a Saturday morning?

4.  Running on Thursday mornings.  Why do I only like Thursdays?  Well, on the Thursdays I can drag myself out of bed and going running through the decidedly more affluent neighborhood down the street, I can rummage through their stuff because it’s TRASH DAY!  These folks throw out all kinds of goodies and since it’s the ass crack of dawn, I get first pick of that “sweet, sweet trash” a la some Always Sunny in Philadelphia action.  My favorite snag thus far has been a steam cleaner, which is still sitting in the closet, waiting to be tested, but it does turn on, so I’m fairly hopeful I’ll have clean carpets soon.  And even if I don’t actually go back and get the items by the curb, it gives me a sometimes startling insight into my neighbors’ lives.  This makes the running go by much quicker, as now I’m trying to decide if that one guy is just really into carpentry or if he’s building a sex dungeon in his basement (judging by his gardening skills, I’m going with dungeon.  Dungeon builders are excellent at growing hydrangeas.  Or so I’ve heard.)

5.  My final piece of happy today comes from one glorious word:  FOOTBALL.  It’s back.  While our cats are probably way less excited about being awoken from a day-long nap with yells of, “TOUCHDOWN!!!” from us, I could care less.  They can go back to sleep, but football’s like the McRib – it will induce long periods of sitting on the couch and it’s only here for a limited time.