This started out as a simple status update on Facebook, but I got so carried away with it that I felt it deserved the actual blog. So you know this is gonna be good, right?
For years, family and friends have kindly, graciously, and tirelessly offered to teach me how to cook. Yanaj and I even worked out a deal that she'd teach me how to make one meal a week, and in exchange, I'd teach her everything she needs to know about football. I think we got through one chocolate mousse and a frustrated whiteboard session before we both gave up.
My sister, who makes amazing and "so easy" (her words, not mine) meals that she swears any dummy can learn how to make them. We started making one of her soooooooooo easy recipes and my first (and eventually only task) was to boil the pasta. First of all, this pasta didn't look like any pasta I'd ever seen. It was squishy little balls of pasta that confused me. Secondly, the pasta was going to be part of a dessert, which confused me even more, because what kind of dessert has pasta in it?
Back to the boiling. My excuse for not knowing how to boil pasta is that clearly my mind was swimming with unending questions like the ones above. I filled the pot with water, dumped the pasta in the pot, set the pot on the burner, and was met by a bewildered facial expression on my sister. She was doing that face where you're not sure if someone is kidding or being serious, and you can't commit your face to either one; because if they're kidding then you're already kind of smiling, at least enough to lead into a full on smile. But if they're being serious, you cannot have a smile on your face because then you will just make that person feel dumb because she thought it was a perfectly reasonable process she'd followed to boil pasta, even though you know that that's not how you do it at all, and you've committed to the raised-eyebrows, half-smile, slightly tilted head of confusion face; because you don't want to make her feel dumb, but you kind of can't believe that a thirty-year-old woman doesn't know how to boil pasta.
But as a graceful, kind woman does, you repeatedly assure your sister that she is very special (so special that she can't boil pasta correctly) and tell her that this way of doing it is cutting edge, and practically no one knows how to do it this way anyway, so it's really not a big deal. And she'll tell everyone at dinner how YOU cooked the dessert pasta, and she'll praise the perfect tenderness of the pasta, and how helpful it was to have you in the kitchen to help. And I kept asking questions like why are we having pasta balls in our dessert. Because, unlike my sister, I am not a woman of grace and kindness.
Did you know that you have to boil the water first, then add the pasta? Probably, because that seems like the very rudimentary things you learn early on in your life as a chef. Or as a normal person who makes food, ever.
And we all remember the debauchery that was Tiff's birthday dinner two years ago, when I was banished to the rice cooker.
Then a good friend gave me a cute little one-quart crock pot, because there's nothing easier than making crock pot recipes. Just dump it all in and go, right? Wrong. I learned that I didn't have most of the ingredients on hand to make the recipes that looked good, so I just kind of winged it a couple times by That was about two years ago.
Last Christmas, my best friend in PA sent me a gorgeous slow roaster, complete with a fail-proof book of recipes. Not just recipes, ya'll, but pictures of the ingredients (so I could recognize them easier in the grocery store), locations of where within the store each item could be found (otherwise I'd end up wandering around aimlessly for hours and get bored and give up), pictures of each cooking tool or utensil I'd need, where to buy those, on and on. This was the complete idiot's absolutely fail proof handbook to slow roasting. She could not possibly have made it any easier for me to successfully prepare a delicious meal from start to finish. And it is an amazing slow roaster - at least the pictures on the box it's still stored in look amazing.
My point being, friends are constantly offering to help teach me how to cook. telling me how once I start doing it, I'll love it, I'll come up with amazingly tasty and creative recipes all on my on, and one day I'll impress a handsome man with my cooking skillz and he'll immediately want to have lots of sex and babies with me. And I always respond with the same eye-rolling, whiny responses: "But it's so hard to prepare and cook all this food for just one single person. It's so much easier to just make a sandwich or have a bowl of cereal. Leftovers go bad before they go rotten, and frankly I just do not enjoy having to put anything more than barely minimal effort into what I eat. I always thanked them for their offers to bestow culinary pearls of wisdom upon me and thus change my life forever, but politely declined. Probably not even politely; probably just stubbornly.
Because I do not like cooking, and you cannot make me do it!
And then something weird happened this morning. I saw my cute little crock pot sitting in the cupboard, and I thought of the huge pork pieces I had in the fridge. I say "pork pieces" because I honestly have no idea what kind of pork parts they are. I know they're not pork chops, because there don't have bones. But beyond that, ya got me. They're just big lumps of port.
I looked at the pork lumps, then back to the crock pot. Then I thought about how much I love pork, and how nice it would be to eat something tonight that I really like, and that I actually made. So I just went for it.
And here's where it really gets fun and interesting folks, because we don't know how this all turns out for another 6-8 hours. I'd try to walk you through my thought process as I grabbed different ingredients, but I had no thought process other than, "That could taste good."
I put the pork lump in the crock pot. I remembered hearing or reading somewhere that you need to have some kind of base liquid, so I found some plain chicken broth and poured some of that in. Then I found half an apple I had cut up, some coconut flakes, and brown sugar. That all sounded pretty good, so into the pot they went. It looked like it needed more liquid, so I added some maple syrup. A quick taste sample proved this method to be much too sweet, and I needed to find something to bring that down a bit. I was trying to think of the words they use on Food Network that describes the counter part to a sweet element (not salty just because it's the opposite of sweet;) I knew there was a fancy word to describe what I was looking for, and what I found was Dijon mustard. So I squirted some of that into the pot and stirred it up.
Are you squeamish yet? I know I'm more than a little nervous about how this Pork Lump and Stuff (that's what I'm calling my recipe) will turn out. But I'm starting to catch whiffs from the kitchen, and I might be more on the right track than I thought.
Or this could be a completely awesome disaster that I will be forced to eat and blog about, especially if I get horrendous poos as a result. So stay tuned!
Six hours later, the apartment smelled delicious and I was ready to unveil my Pork Lumps and Stuff. And I hate to disappoint you, but it was actually....really, really good. Part of me was hoping that it would be unpalatable, and I'd have a hilarious story to tell about my latest culinary failure. But it was good. It was really saucy, which kept the pork moist and juicy and now I even have lunch ready for tomorrow.
Sunday, September 09, 2012
This started out as a simple status update on Facebook, but I got so carried away with it that I felt it deserved the actual blog. So you know this is gonna be good, right?
at 8:05 AM
Thursday, August 09, 2012
RollerCon 2012: Where All My Wildest Dreams Came True; or At Least My Wildest Dreams About Male Strippers
Ah, RollerCon. The annual five-day roller derby convention in Las Vegas; chock full of everything you could ever imagine that has to do with derby. Everyone who didn't go is sick of reading Facebook posts about it, and everyone who did go is sick of talking about it. Maybe that's just me.
But, I've never given birth, and I don't really think that newborn babies are beautiful - in all honesty, they really gross me out; and also I didn't come home from RollerCon with a baby, beautiful or not, so perhaps that's not the best analogy.
In any case, please to enjoy my recap of RollerCon 2012.
(Also, I've taken the liberty of stealing lots of these pictures from other people's Facebook albums, so thank you to everyone who let me use a photo without them even knowing.)
- Watching bouts. This might seem boring to some people, but I really loved being in the main track room and just watching bout after bout. Some of them were competitive teams, and some were challenge bouts like Pads vs Tampons. They were all fun to watch, and seeing how differently everyone plays and skates was really valuable.
One of my absolute favorite challenge bouts featured two of my idols, Wanton Rebellion and Collin da Shotz, who are both big time officials. I love Wanton because she was my fresh meat mama, and I love/hate Collin because he's an absolute riot, but he ALWAYS catches me when I commit penalties and sends me to the box. That's just his job though.
-Everything to do with learning more about roller derby. There was always something to do - classes on skates, classes off skates, classes in the pool, seminars, open scrimmages - you name it, you could probably find it there. One morning, just about all the Rockettes there joined a scrimmage together, and it was so fun to get to skate together with people you know, against people you don't know. And also to have the opportunity to play with people of all different experience levels. There's always something new to learn.
- I got married. Not for real (I don't want my sister to have a heart attack) but I left RollerCon with two new derby wives, Liz Tailher and Bruiser Ego. What can I say, I'm kind of a stud like that.
You might be saying, "What's a derby wife?" or, like my sister responded when I first mentioned having a derby wife, "I don't know what that is." My favorite definition of a derby wife is this: The girl who reminds you of all the things you ever liked in anyone else.Your derby wife is the girl who will always talk to you about anything both on and off the track. Your derby wife is your competitor, but she still appreciates your talents and skills.A derby wife is your roller derby soul mate. She may not even be your best friend in the league or the sport, but she’d be the one you know will be the first one to back you up, even if you’re dead wrong.
Yep, that about sums up my feelings for these two amazing women, and somehow I was able to trick them BOTH in being my derby wives. Hands off, ladies, they're mine...and their husbands.
- The Black and Blue Ball. This event was held on the last night of RollerCon, and its a big dance party, with the dress code described as this: "WHATEVER, as long as you’re wearing all black and/or blue." That's all the direction we had, and I didn't have a clue about what I was going to wear until the week before, when I was browsing Amazon and struck gold. I convinced Kid Seditious to dress up with me, and we kept our costumes a secret from everyone until we made our debut. And this happened:
And yes, the suits were really really hot, and I was really really sweaty. But totally worth it.
- And most definitely, this:
The Thunder From Down Under. Possibly the best night of my entire life, and absolutely the high point of the week for me. It was everything I wanted and so, so much more. It was Magic Mike come to life, right in my face, and I loved every minute of it. I screamed so much that I lost my voice for a week (which means I spent most of RollerCon sounding like Peter Brady), I played the bongo drums on one guy's bare butt cheeks, I mimed grating cheese on another guy's abs, and when the guy next to me in the picture asked where I was from, I just screamed, "I DON'T EVEN KNOW!!!" Once again, I don't think I really need to talk much more about it, because my face just says it all.
Many, many heartfelt thanks to the people who helped make it awesome - most especially those with me in the picture above: Liz Tailher, Bruiser Ego, Kid Seditious, and Italy. These girls spent more time with me that week then they probably would've liked, and I definitely saw more of Italy's naked bum than I ever expected (I swear, if that girl wasn't so freaking lovable, I'd hate her for being so hot; but it is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE not to love her.) (Even when she gets numbers from guys everywhere you go)(And even when she makes out with one of the Thunder From Down Under guys)(Oops maybe I wasn't supposed to say that)(But it's totally true)(Sorry, Italy!) But they put up with me through MY highs and lows all week, and they made the hard stuff worth it.
And they're all definitely better looking than a newborn baby.
at 3:48 PM
Monday, July 23, 2012
We interrupt this three month blogging hiatus to bring you an important message: Bone Junior is still alive; albeit really sucking at blogging. And I apologize in advance that this post will be brief and probably not funny at all.
I haven't been able to stop thinking about something that happened a few weeks ago. It was something so small and insignificant, but it really made me stop and think about how lucky and blessed I really am.
I was stopped in construction, sitting in my car with the windows down and my hair blowing in the breeze, when I got that feeling that someone was watching me. I looked over and saw a construction worker lady. She was probably forty-something going on sixty-five, with sun bleached orangy hair, brown leathery skin, holding a stop sign with one hand and smoking a Virginia Slim 100 with the other hand. She was standing right outside my passenger window, and I immediately tried not to make eye contact.
I was concentrating very hard on staring straight ahead, when she bent down and put her face right in my window. I momentarily considered rolling the window up, because who puts their head into a complete strangers car... But then she smiled and said in a raspy voice, "Go ahead, girl! Every day must be a great day for you because of this car! Go ahead with your bad self!"
And then I couldn't help but smile and laugh with her, because she was right - here I was, negative, pessimistic, critical, often feeling sorry for myself; and this lady took one look at me and saw what a great life I have. She was a construction flagger, standing outside every day in the heat, who knows what kind of car she drives, what her situation is - and there she was, reminding me that every day SHOULD be a great day for me.
Sure a car is just a material thing - most people don't care what kind they drive, how it looks, or whatever. I love my car, but there are times when I complain about it; I complain about almost everything in my life at one time or another. But this one lady's comment brought me to a harsh realization: I am not nearly grateful enough for the simple things in my life.
Because of her, I have had a huge change of perspective on my life. When I'm in a bad mood, it's so easy to list off a million reasons why my life stinks. Now I'm trying a different approach. When I'm in a bad mood, I get into my car, roll down the windows and say, "Go ahead, girl!" and it reminds me that even when I feel like everything is falling apart, I ALWAYS have at least one thing to be grateful for. Thinking of one thing leads to another, and another, and soon I'm listing off all the reasons why I'm so lucky.
And that makes me feel pretty darn good - even if it all starts with something as insignificant as a Mustang.
at 4:49 PM
Sunday, April 08, 2012
Way back in January, the Red Rockettes coaches announced that there would be a real, live, put-on-your-big-girl-no-pants bout against the Black Diamond Divas. The BDDs are one of the Wasatch Roller Derby home teams. They're the real deal. Until now, we've only scrimmaged against each other, and twice against the Happy Valley Derby Darlins. The thought of playing against a Wasatch team scared most of us, and it really really scared me.
It's been a long, stressful road to this bout. For the last three months, this bout has been a source of motivation, pressure, competition, stress, intensity, and terror. For starters, our mamas had to create a roster of only fourteen players out of a pool of fifty. Fifty girls competing for fourteen spots creates a lot of pressure. But it also creates a lot of motivation to make attendance, work hard, and get picked for the final roster.
We went through three rounds of cuts over these months before the final roster was announced. Fifty was scaled back to about twenty-five; twenty-five went down to seventeen, then the final fourteen bout players were officially announced a few weeks ago. We knew three of those spots belonged to the mamas, so we were really competing for only eleven spots. After each round of cuts, an updated list was emailed to the group. When I made it through the first round, I breathed a sigh of relief and the lump of anxiety in my stomach started to grow.
When I made it through the second round, I fist pumped and told myself, "This is enough. Making it this far is good enough for me." There was much rejoicing in Bone land. Then...
What has two thumbs and made it on the final roster? This gal.
And what has two thumbs, made the roster, and has been self-imploding ever since?
Also this gal.
It's not that I'm ungrateful or not flattered to have been picked; I am incredibly humbled and appreciative that I made it this far. It blows me away that the mamas have enough faith in my abilities to put me on the track alongside them, and against really tough components. But along with the flattery came feelings of guilt, because there are so many girls who deserve this more than me. There are girls who never miss a practice, they work their butts off, they go to the extra practices, and their positive attitudes are contagious.
Then there's me. I've been beating myself up this entire session, for a million different reasons. My skills aren't improving, I keep gaining weight, I'm tired all the time, I'm slow on the track, I let negative people get to me, on and on. I feel like I've lost my drive to get better, which makes me feel even worse because I know that's my choice, that's in my control, and I haven't done anything to change it. I have only myself to blame. I haven't even wanted to blog in over a month, I haven't followed up on my three-part series for the Rockettes, nothing. That's how I really know it's gotten bad - I've had zero motivation.
Plus my anxiety over turning thirty hasn't helped at all. I remember Manna telling me months ago, "Once your body hits thirty, it's all downhill from there." I didn't think my body could go downhill any faster, but apparently it's only going to get worse. (Note: actually turning thirty wasn't bad at all, thanks to all the people who made it amazing, but that's for another post.) It was just the idea of being thirty that was depressing me.
The roster skaters (we're in the process of coming up with an official name for the bout. I think it's something along the lines of Bloody Sphincters or something like that) have been scrimmaging against everyone else. "Everyone Else" means all the other Rockettes, along with any Wasatch or Salt City derby girls who come to scrimmage.
Last week, there were lots of Wasatch girls who came to play. And when I say they came to play, they came to play. Many of the Wasatch girls came from the all-star team, Midnight Terror. Midnight Terror skaters are the best of the best; they're like celebrities to me - just hearing their names makes me pee a little. Girls like Skull Candy, Skatey Gaga, and Harry Slaughter. They're terrifying, and I was out on the track with them.
So how did I handle it? Well, the first time I went out, I stuck my pointer finger up Skull Candy's butt. Literally, I think I poked her butthole. I wish I could tell you how exactly this happened, bit all I know is that it did. And she wasn't even phased! She gave me kind of a weird look, and then proceeded to leave me in her dust as she sped off.
This is so typical Bone. I go out there, determined to make a good impression on my derby idols, and instead I violated the butt of one of the most amazing jammers you'll ever see. I desperately wanted them to think I was cool, and then I spent the rest of the night telling everyone to smell my finger.
It was a hard scrimmage. Our bench manager (who also happens to be my derby wife) did an amazing job of putting our lineups together, and trying to figure out what works best. I tried to listen, I tried to do what I was told, but nothing was working. Every jam, I felt like I spent all my time falling behind and trying to catch up. I was slow, out of breath, weak, and taking up space on the track. I felt like I was fresh meat all over again, and I was mentally beating myself up.
But I kept a brave face and didn't fall apart. I was actually doing pretty well until Bruiser Ego came over to me at the end.
You know how there are certain people that you never ever want to let down? You don't want them to see you when you're weak or vulnerable; you never want to disappoint them. That's how Bruiser is for me. She came over and hugged me, and I just lost it. I was sobbing on her shoulder, hoping that no one would notice.
I whispered through my tears, "I don't belong here. They made a huge mistake putting me on this roster, I shouldn't even be out there. I don't belong here."
Of course Bruiser was sweet and comforting, and she gave me words of encouragement. She said, "You absolutely do belong here."
She didn't blow smoke up my ass by trying to build me up with false compliments, she wasn't just being nice; I really believed her when she said that I belonged there. Maybe I just needed to have a moment, and it just happened to be on Bruiser's shoulder. But she said exactly what I needed to hear.
I do belong with the Rockettes, even if it's only to make people laugh because I stuck my finger up Skull Candy's butt.
at 1:15 PM
Monday, March 05, 2012
The following is a word for word instant message conversation between myself and a good friend from derby. I promised her I wouldn't reveal her true name, so to protect her innocence, I'll just tell you that her skate name starts with a K and rhymes with shmid. She and her husband, Shmory, have been discussing purchasing a hedgehog, and she asked for my opinion. Which was her first mistake. And apparently she trusts me impeccably.
Shmid: Shmory and I were just talking about getting a baby hedgehog. I was looking at pics and they are so so cute!
Bone: They’re not so cute when they poop all over the place and stab you with their spines. Plus they smell really really bad.
Shmid: They do? Have you had one before? You know a lot about this. We have been doing some research
Bone: Yes I do know a lot about this because I used to own one. Her name was Dolly, after Dolly Parton. She wore little tennis shoes, and ran everywhere really fast all the time. But she smelled really bad and shredded everything up.
Shmid: Bummer, I have always wanted one. I love animals and I thought it would be a great addition to the family. We have been researching it for a month or so. We are concerned it may not get along with our dog though.
Bone: It will probably kill your dog. It killed my mouse, Whitney.
Shmid: What?!?!?! How does it kill?
Bone: With its claws and teeth.
Shmid: And you think it could kill my dog? Why?
Bone: You have a tiny dog. And the hedgehog goes for soft parts, like the throat and belly. They are SUPER territorial.
Shmid: OMG I haven't read/heard that. I read that they love to cuddle, need lots of attention, are very fragile and very friendly. Okay well you just made my mind up.
Bone: And, it not only killed Whitney, but then it ATE HER. And started to go after my other mouse, Eleanor.
Shmid: I'm not getting one if it's going to hurt or kill my dog
Bone: Dolly ripped one of Eleanor’s legs off.
Shmid: What?!?!?! Holy shit, that sounds evil!
Bone: Yeah, they're mean. I really think it would kill your dog.
Shmid: OMG, we haven't read that at all. My dog is my LIFE, so never mind. I'm glad I said something to you.
Bone: When I found them, Dolly had already killed and partially eaten Whitney, and she was CHEWING on Eleanor’s detached leg. And when I tried to get close to get the leg back, she totally snarled and growled at me. And hissed too.
Shmid: All we have read is that they are super friendly and cuddly! Your poor mice!
Bone: Where are you reading all this?? Because it all sounds INSANE and clearly these people don’t know what they’re talking about!
Shmid: On several different sites. And Shmory works with a guy that had one. He said his was super friendly! Did Eleanor live?
Bone: No, she bled to death after her leg got chewed off. It was horribly tragic.
Shmid: That’s so sad. Did you get rid of Dolly after that?
Bone: We were going to have her put down, but she got out and our neighbor whacked her with a broom and flattened her.
Bone: We didn't even know what had happened to her until like a month later when our neighbor was talking about this rodent that came up on her porch. She freaked out because it had a BIRD in its mouth, like it had killed a bird and was eating it on her porch.
Shmid: Didn't you keep her in a cage?
Bone: Yeah but we let her walk around the house, which is how she got into the mouse cage in the first place. She climbed up there and massacred them.
Shmid: Damn it I wanted one so bad. You totally scared me out of it. I'm super glad I talked to you about it.
Bone: Hedgehogs are assholes, that's all I’m saying.
Shmid: Good to know. I will pre-approve all my pet purchases with you first. I just told Shmory we are NOT getting one cause it will kill our toy poodle and rip open her stomach and eat her. I just had no idea they were so mean!
Bone: You also didn’t know they hunted birds and killed things with their claws.
Bone: Also, none of what I just told you is true.
Bone: Except that I did have white mice named Eleanor and Whitney.
Shmid: YOU’RE such an ASSHOLE!!!!
Bone: I know, right? But I really did have mice, I promise.
at 3:41 PM
Monday, January 30, 2012
Last fall there was a deal on Groupon that I couldn't resist: $39 for one colon hydrotherapy session. I'd been interested in having a colon cleanse for a long time - I love reading the testimonials from people who get it done, talking about all the crazy stuff that comes out of their butt.
I tried to do a home cleanse once, called The Royal Flush (thank you, Andi) and every time I pooed it smelled like burned tire rubber, so I at least got a little gratification that it was working. But that cleanse was several days, and I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything except apple cider vinegar and capsules of fiber and psyllium or something. I couldn't last the full seven days; I had to eat something solid. Like Burger King and cake.
When this deal came across, I jumped at the chance because it's normally much more expensive. And I was morbidly curious about what kind of crazy stuff would come out of my butt. If you need an explanation of what colon hydrotherapy is, I suggest you Google it, but be prepared for some gnarly pictures that might come up.
Basically, a tube goes up your butt, fills your intestines with water, and then you push it back out. I was not aware of that last bit; I thought it all would just drain out on its own. But I was sorely mistaken about that, and about a lot of things. After a few days have passed, I've been able to look back at the things that should have clued me in that this whole thing was one big mistake.
Clue #1: The "Wellness Clinic" was actually just her house.
Maybe I should've just turned around right then, because there wasn't even a business license on display anywhere, just lots of water features and bamboo plants. And a sign that told me to take my shoes off.
Clue #2: She was mad at me and scolded me repeatedly for arriving fifteen minutes early, even though she had no other clients there at the time.
Her "clinic" was in another town, I didn't know how long it would take me to get there, I expected that I'd have to fill out paperwork, etc, so I planned some extra time. I was only there fifteen minutes early, and she kept saying, "You're not even supposed to BE here yet..." Seriously? There was no one else there! She had more than one room to accommodate clients! But she made comments about how she'd have to put "Mike" in the other room because I wasn't even supposed to BE there. She was saying really snarky things, but she had some kind of accent, either Australian or South African, so everything sounded deceptively nice and sing-songy, but really she was being snippy.
Clue #3: There was no paperwork to fill out, no client history questionnaire, no nothing.
She didn't ask me about what I ate, how sedentary I was, if I consumed more than one jar of peanut butter a week...nothing. No discussion at all. I think she was too pissed at me for arriving early (the horror!) to care at all about my nutritional state.
Clue #4: She insisted on calling me Tara.
Even after I corrected her at least three times. "No, it's Sarah. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssarah." She'd respond with, "Okay, Tara." I mean geeze lady, you're sticking a tube up my butt, the least you can do is get my name right.
Clue #5: She had absolutely no sense of humor.
What a waste, considering her line of work. Since it was clear that she was making no effort to make me feel less awkward, I took it upon myself to try and cut the tension by making jokes. They were not appreciated, because apparently tubes in the butt is "very serious business" and "is not to be mocked at all."
Those things should have clued me in, but I was committed to the experience and I pushed through. Literally. Like when she stood next to me as I was laying there, being filled with water, and she asked me if I felt like I had to go.
Me: Um, yes? But I always feel like I have to go...
Her: Okay, I want you to PUSH IT OUT! PUSH! PUSH! GO GO GO!
Me: You want me to...go? Like, GO go? Right here in front of you?
Her: Yes! GO GO GO! PUSH PUSH PUSH!
Me: I don't know if I can do that...
I turned my head to the side as if I was being shamed, and tried to push. I felt like I was pushing, but when you have a tube up your butt, everything just feels wrong. I obviously wasn't doing it right because she huffed impatiently and ROLLED HER EYES. Then she pushed down on my stomach, and I'm really shocked that I didn't have a massive explosion.
Her: Well, you're very full, and you're belly is so distended even when you're not full, so I know you have to go. So, GO!
I glared at her because thanks lady, I KNOW I have a distended belly, that's why I'm here. Then I closed my eyes in shame, and pushed...and I heard a little trickle somewhere off in the distance. It was very faint, and there was an echo; like a garden hose slowly dripping into a big empty rain barrel. And I giggled, which apparently is not acceptable, because she glared at me, and said, "We're just getting a little spurt, and we want it to flow. We want it to flooooooooooow. So, when you feel like you need to go, I want you to GO!"
Again, nothing but a trickle. At which point she sighed again and literally threw her hands up. "Maybe you have a problem going with me in the room, so I'm going to step out."
Yes, lady, I have a very serious "problem" with pushing out my bowels while you stand next to me, yelling at me like a pissed-off cheerleader. Who WOULDN'T have a problem in that situation?
So she left me there in peace, watching a vegan propaganda video about how we should never ever consume any animal products whatsoever. I'll be honest, I didn't put much stock into it because it looked like it was produced in the '70s and all the "doctors" weren't really doctors.
She popped her head in every few minutes to ask, "How's it going, Tara?" and would pop back out without even waiting for me to respond. So that made me feel really special.
I knew exactly when her next client arrived, because they were right outside the door and I could hear every word of their conversation. Which means they could hear everything going on in my room. I had finally gotten into a groove of feeling full, pushing it out, and hearing a satisfying flow go into the mysterious bin (I still have no idea where it was, or what it really was, because everything was behind a curtain. And yes, I tried to look behind the curtain but there was only a sealed tank. It's all a mystery to me.)
I was told that I'd get an hour long session, but after thirty minutes, she came in and announced that I was ready to go off.
Me: Are you sure? Because I still feel pretty full. I think there's still some stuff up there.
Her: No, no, you're done. Just spray yourself off with that nozzle and you can go.
I kind of felt violated and confused about what had just happened. What had just happened? I didn't feel any different, and I didn't even get to see anything that came out, which I was really curious about. It was a total let down.
She ushered me out so quickly that I didn't have a chance to ask her any questions about aftercare (What should I expect over the next few hours? Should I have wrapped my seat in plastic before I drive away?) She said absolutely nothing except "Goodbye", making it very clear that she had no time for questions.
I walked out to her driveway and saw that there was a shiny new Mercedes parked behind me now. I immediately became paranoid about hitting it, and I was so focused on using my side mirrors to back out perfectly straight, that I backed straight into the huge tree that was directly behind me. Right into the huge tree that I would've seen if I'd bothered to even glance in my rear view mirror, instead of depending solely on my side mirrors.
Adding insult to injury, when I hit the tree, my body jolted forward and hit the horn. So I had made it impossible to just quietly hit the tree and sneak off. I cussed loudly, jumped out to check the bumper (scratched but not dented), did a fifty-point turn to get out of the driveway, and burned rubber getting out of there. Humiliating, because I'm sure she just watched the whole thing unfold from her window.
I thought maybe I should've gone in and told her that I backed into her tree, but then I realized, what's she going to do? I can just drive away and she can spend the rest of her life trying to track down Tara.
Good luck with that.
at 11:22 AM
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
A lot of people have asked me how I always seem to get my way when there's something I want. I don't say that in an I'm-a-spoiled-brat kind of way; I say that in an I-fight-for-what-I-want-and-I-usually-win kind of way. Which probably sounds just as bad as being a spoiled brat (or worse) but the facts don't lie: more often than not, I get my way.
I'm here to tell you that you don't have to be a raging bitch to get what you want. You don't even have to fight for what you want, but there are a few tricks I've learned over the years about how to do this, especially when it comes to businesses. I'll use my recent experience with Big-O Tires as an example. Judge me all you want, but this is just how I roll.
1. Boobs have nothing to do with it; neither does being female. In fact, these things usually work against you.
Let's just get this out of the way up front, because it's always the first reaction I get when I recount my latest victory. "Oh it's just because you have boobs." "Oh it's just because you're a girl." No, it's not, because these are the things that people instantly use as an opportunity to take advantage of you. Guys, think what you want, but my experience has been that as soon as I walk into a car dealership, mechanic, or any other predominantly-male environment, I'm viewed as an easy target - until I open my mouth. I do not rely on my chest or gender to get me what I want. Which brings me to point number two.
2. Go in prepared, or at least act like you are.
Knowledge and confidence are the most important things that will work in your favor, especially when dealing with places like mechanics. They are banking on the fact that they know more than you, and that they are the expert. You need to be the expert. Knowing as much as you can about the matter will always give you the upper hand. Wait, scratch that, you don't even need to really know that much, but if you act like you do, it's almost as good. This is where the confidence comes in, because if you act like you know what you're talking about, and if you assert yourself and speak with confidence, it goes a long way.
But it definitely helps to be prepared. Know thy enemy, right? Like when Big-O told me my alignment was off, I jumped on my phone to brush up on the differences between the caster, camber, and toe; because when they threw these big words at me, they were counting on me to be clueless. I quickly became an expert on all things alignment, and I was ready when they came at me.
Let me preface this by saying the only reason I went to a chain like Big-O is because I got a good hook-up when I bought new wheels and tires, and at the time I was told that everything was covered under a full warranty. And they gave me four free snow tires, but that's a whole different story. I don't like to deal with chains - the only reason I go to the Ford dealership is because everything is still under warranty. Otherwise, I avoid the big name shops and prefer to stick to the one-man-bands.
So when I noticed that my right front tire was low, I reluctantly took it to the nearest Big-O, figuring they'd do a standard patch job and I'd be on my way. Boy was I wrong. I'll try my best to make a long story short, so here are the facts as they were presented to me by the manager:
Him: "There's a screw in your tire, but the whole tire needs to be replaced because the tire has separated from the wheel in this one spot, and that's because there's something wrong with your alignment that's causing the tire to wear unevenly. See how your tire is completely bald just on the inside edge just in this four inch strip? So we can order you a new tire, but it's not covered under warranty, and you'll have to pay a prorated amount for the wear you've already put on the tire."
Me: "These tires are supposed to have a full warranty for the life of the tire."
Him: "Yeeeeeeeeeeah, I don't know who told you that, but they were misinformed."
Me, pointing at my warranty documentation: "Well, see, it says right here, there's a full manufacturer's warranty for the life of the tire."
Him: "Yeeeeeeeeeeeeah, but that's only if there's a defect in the tire itself, not if there's a defect with your car."
Me, fighting the urge to respond to the 'your car has a defect' comment: "Well, based on what you're telling me, the tire is wearing only in that one spot because my alignment is off, right? I haven't noticed any pulling in the steering..."
Him: "Yeeeeeeeeeeeeah, um, if the alignment isn't noticeably off, the tire has probably worn down so much because significant mileage has been put on it in while it's been in that position, and you haven't rotated it enough."
Me: "So any tire in that position (the right front) would wear the same way, right?"
Me: "Well that's interesting, because none of my other tires have worn like that, and I just had them rotated 2,000 miles ago, so if the alignment was off by that much, wouldn't the other tires have worn the same way when they were in that position? And based on what you said, the alignment would have to be significantly off for the tire to have become BALD in one FOUR INCH SECTION after less than 2,000 miles right? If the alignment was the problem, wouldn't you have noticed when you rotated my tires? Wouldn't you have noticed if another tire was wearing like that?"
Which brings me to my next tactic:
3. Question, question, question until you fully understand.
I was trying to get him to explain it to me like I'm a four-year-old, and so I could then throw it back in his face.
4. Throw it back in their face.
Me: "It sounds to me like this is a defect in the actual tire, not the car, so it should be covered under the manufacturer's warranty."
Him: "Um, you'll have to pay for the wear you've already put on it."
Me: "Yeeeeeeeeah, I'm not going to pay for anything, because it clearly says here that there is a full manufacturer's warranty for the life of the tire."
5. Rinse, restate, rephrase and repeat as long as necessary.
This is when most people give up because they're just tired of dealing with the problem or the person. You have to be willing to either go the distance, or be okay with not getting what you want. Honestly, this is the principle at the heart of Boning someone - I'm never willing to give up and be okay with getting less than what I feel I deserve (or paid for). I will question, debate, repeat and rephrase until I'm blue in the face. This is how I got my car for thousands below MSRP, along with a custom paint job, two custom grilles, an extended warranty, and free oil changes for a year. Not because I yelled and kicked and screamed (that didn't come until later, when they tried to back out of their promises) but because I was willing to sit there and go fifteen rounds with them. And up until this point, I don't even have to raise my voice, bob my head, or jab my finger. However...
#6. When all else fails, don't be afraid to cause a scene.
It doesn't usually come to this, but I have no shame. Because here's the thing: I am fiercely loyal when I'm treated well. I've followed the same one guy from shop to shop for the last ten years because I like the way he deals with me. Wherever he goes, they get my business because he treats me right. But I'm also fiercely vindictive, because if you cross me, I won't just quietly take my business elsewhere. I'll obnoxiously badmouth you as I make a production of taking my business elsewhere.
No place of business, especially a crowded place of business, wants negative attention drawn to them. And Big-O, on a Saturday afternoon with a sitting area full of people is the perfect place to throw a fit if steps #1-#5 didn't get the job done. And no, I'm not above raising my voice, bobbing my head, slamming my hand on the counter, drawing attention to myself - whatever it takes if reason and logic didn't get through the manager's thick skull.
This is how I ended up getting what I wanted, which is two brand new tires (because it's kind of pointless to replace only one). This after I demanded that they test the alignment on my car, which proved to be absolutely fine, which led to him admitting that it was a defect in the tire, and would thus be covered under the manufacturer's warranty. This in turn led me to "suggest" that they adjust my alignment from the preferred manufacturer's settings (normal) to a performance alignment, which will give me better tire tread life as the 'Stang corners like it's on rails. The look on his face was priceless when I explained that I wanted maximum negative camber, maximum positive caster, and preferred toe settings, and that I wanted it for free because of the hour-long hassle they'd put me through. Because then he really knew that I knew what I was talking about, and I meant business.
So, the best advice I can give you when fighting for your cause is to remember G.I. Joe: Knowing is half the battle. The rest is not giving up, and not being afraid to draw a little attention to the situation.
And that's how Bone does it.
at 2:57 PM
Thursday, January 05, 2012
Today marks exactly one year since I strapped on my gear and skated with the Rockettes for the very first time. I can't believe it's been an entire year, and I can't believe how much my life has changed because of joining the Rockettes.
A year ago, I could barely stand up on skates, let alone take a hit, and forget hitting someone. I couldn't fall properly, which I learned the hard way by falling all. The. Time. I was scared of everything, and was terrified of being a failure.
A year ago, I had a handful of close friends and I'm pretty sure they were all growing weary of my constant neediness. I'd been working three jobs and had no balance in my life - pretty much all I did was work, eat Burger King, and have emotional meltdowns. My poor sister - between trying to make me stop crying, and trying to make her two-year-old daughter stop crying; she had her hands full.
Then all at once, things started to change, and now I know why. I was offered a position at work that allowed me to finally cut back to one job for the first time in years. My previous schedule had me going from a full-time day job straight to a part-time night job Monday - Thursday, and then a different job on the weekends. Suddenly I had all of my nights free and I had no idea what I would do with myself. Then Gina brought up the idea of roller derby, the stars aligned to get me my first pair of incredibly sucky Big-5 skates, and the rest is history.
But it's more than just history. The Rockettes have become such a big part of my life that it's impossible to imagine my life now without them. Learning how to skate and play derby has been one of the most challenging things I've ever done. It has been both the most inflating and the most deflating thing to my ego. There were times when I cried the whole way home after practice, and times when I've wanted to cry out of sheer elation. I wanted to quit more often then I'd like to admit, but every time I go back, I can't imagine ever leaving.
Now I find myself surrounded by friends, and not a day goes by without a chat, text or phone call from at least one derby girl. I found an entire community of people who support, love, and encourage each other. Sure there's drama - good luck getting fifty girls together without there being some kind of drama - but none if it matters in the long run. It's impossible for me to express my thanks to everyone.
To keep this short and sweet, I'll end on this note: there's a popular phrase that says, "Roller derby saved my soul." As nice as that sounds, I don't agree with it; because with all the ups and downs, confidence highs and lows, blood, sweat and tears, it isn't roller derby that saved me - it's the Red Rockettes.
at 10:44 AM