The Purple Straw That Saved the Camel’s Back

I can only hope other people occasionally have those weeks where you feel like even the smallest, simplest task feels like it is ten times more difficult than it needs to be. I have these weeks roughly four times a year. It is a seasonal thing, I guess. Summer is ending, so let’s see how you deal with apartment issues, bank issues, life issues, work issues, and a prescription snafu that will make your head spin.

Throw in the fact I am currently on a rather long cross country airplane ride alongside the most openly affectionate couple I have ever seen, and you can probably understand why I was in one of those moods where even the slightest provocation was probably going to lead to one of those mental breakdowns that get people in trouble with the FAA.

There are few places better designed for you to fester in your own negative thoughts than an airplane, so I splurged for wifi in an attempt to take my mind off things. While surfing the web did not exactly turn my mood around, an email from Klout did get me hopeful.

I have been a Klout fan for a while, as it is the closest I have seen to an organization that accurately assesses the worth of someone’s social networking presence. It isn’t perfect, but nothing ever will be when it comes to social media.

The Klout algorithm is great, but what is even better is that the site comes with presents. Klout perks are like my adult version of Christmas. I geek out over the smallest things, like a $5 gift card to McDonalds or a small order of business cards. Problem is, the more popular the site becomes, the faster these perks get snapped right up.

Today’s perk seemed too good to be true, that I thought for sure it would be gone by the time I opened a new window to log in and check it out. I had mentally prepared for another disappointment to add to this already frustrating day.

The perk was $25 in coffee from The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Most of you familiar with me know I have a rather pathetic chemical reliance on caffeine. My reputation as coffee addict is so profound, I hear about the proximity of Starbucks of locations I am visiting days before I arrive. Thing is, while Starbucks is great, my first coffee love has and always will be Coffee Bean. When I was working a somewhat hellish Hollywod job, I would trek to the Bean and seek solace in a caramel blended. When I moved back East, I lamented leaving Coffee Bean behind.

Now that I am in Vegas, I am back in Bean territory, but now that I have learned the caloric impact of these frozen blended coffee treats, I try to drink them sparingly. My Caramel Blended days, much like my Klout Perks, are rare treats I don’t indulge in often, but when I do, I suck every last morsel of sugary coffee goodness through that signature purple straw, relishing every drop.

I know this sounds like sad advertorial, but I had to jot a few notes of thanks down that this Klout perk was indeed not a joke. I have picked out two delicious bags of ground coffee that should be getting to me shortly after I return home from my trip. And it may be marketing and big business and a ploy to get me to buy more, but I don’t care.

Today I desperately needed something, anything to come through and go my way. And The Coffee Bean was there, almost as if on cue. So, the least I can do is just write a quick note and acknowledge that I am grateful. This post isn’t just for the Bean. It is for me too–a reminder that good things do happen and you need to appreciate them. If you are going to let the small stuff get you down, you better let the small stuff perk you back up again too.

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Eponine, Fredo, and a Whole Lot of Suffering

I’ve always been a big fan of musicals, so it is often surprising to people when they hear some of the shows I’ve never seen live.  Over the years, I’ve crossed a lot off the list, especially since the Broadway tours started coming through the Smith Center.

The third season of Smith Center musicals got underway this week and kicked off with one I have longed to see: Les Miserables.  So, I was excited when my friend Morgan and I made a day of seeing the matinee yesterday.  She had never seen the show either, but I did have the upper hand being somewhat familiar with the music and having seen the (terrible) movie version last year.

I’ve always had the ability to be relatively familiar with something even though I haven’t seen it.  Friends have marveled at my ability to identify movies I haven’t seen based on just a few seconds of footage and knowledge of the cast and story (ask AlCantHang about My Blue Heaven if you don’t believe me).  Les Mis is one of those musicals I’ve been adjacent to for so many years, I had a pretty decent knowledge of the plot before I even saw the movie. And I, of course, knew “On My Own.”

I’m gonna be straightforward here: you’re hard-pressed to present me with a silently suffering woman who perhaps also has an unrequited love that I am not going to be fully enamored with. This is why I’ve seen “Mildred Pierce” a dozen times. Some of my female friends are not as fond of this particular female archetype, as they often come across as doormats. 

Eponine from Les Miserables is a doormat, let’s be honest. This girl is a glutton for punishment who pines away for her friend Marius, who seems to reciprocate a little, but not enough. Then, when this girl he saw for literally two seconds strolls by in her fancy high class clothes, he decides he is smitten with her. So what does Eponine do? She helps him get the damn girl, no questions asked.

Eponine’s nadir of doormat-dom comes at the top of Act II. In the middle of a brewing revolution, Eponine volunteers to wade her way through the streets filled with violent uprisers and angry soldiers to deliver a letter to Marius’ dream girl, Cosette. On the way back, she sings a ballad embraced by 12 year old girls worldwide for the past two decades: On My Own.

The song is basically about a girl fantasizing what it would be like to be with the boy she pines for.  The lyrics include things like, “On my own, pretending he’s beside me” and “I know it’s only in my mind, that I’m talking to myself and not to him.” Yeah, it is pretty literal, hence the appeal to the younger set. Again, I can’t lie, I love it. Been one of my favorite Broadway ballads for years.

Most of the time when I have seen it performed, the girl sings it in a manner that is sometimes sad and pensive, but ultimately hopeful and happy. Like Joey Potter. Come on kids, we all remember Joey singing this on Dawson’s Creek:

Some, like Samantha Barks, who played Eponine in the movie version, opts for a more melancholy “On My Own”, a girl sad she is stuck in this spot she can’t get herself out of—she feels the way she feels. Bookened with Act I’s even more downtrodden Fantine belting “I Dreamed a Dream” and you have the most depressing pair of long-suffering gals in musical history.

The Eponine in this show took a different tact with On My Own. She belted the crap out o the song and you could tell she was pissed. And it was awesome.

I love a long-suffering girl, but the trope typically features a female who doesn’t speak of her anger. You hear about her sadness, like Fantine, her disappointment, like Joey Potter, but you rarely see them get all that mad.

Eponine would be mad though. This is a chick that gets by on her own, as the song says. She continually puts herself out there, sacrifices for this dude, and the thanks she gets is that this guy honest to God asks her to go deliver a love letter in the middle of the war, risking life and limb in the process. It makes sense she would be angry that this kid has not had the epiphanous moment where he recognizes her sacrifice and realizes what he is missing out on.  

Perhaps the movies and the musicals don’t let these long-suffering girls get too angry because it breaks the illusion that there is hope this moment is coming. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t in Les Mis and it doesn’t most of the time in real life either. The long-suffering woman usually just ends up still suffering. Or they die, as is the case in this play. These are fun options to choose from, right?

So I loved angry Eponine. You get angry, girl. You’re hungry, your dude doesn’t realize you’re alive, and your parents seem to have no regard whatsoever for you once you age past six years old. I’d be angry too. Sure, there is some solace in dreaming about what might be or could have been. The other interpretations of this song certainly have merit, but this one was a surprising, refreshing change.

After the show, I was talking with Morgan, who seemed to be a little more invested in the Cosette and Marius relationship than I ever was.  I started to mull over it and grew a little concerned. Am I so jaded and obsessed with the long-suffering girl that I have been rooting for the wrong person this whole time?

It wouldn’t be the first time.

In college, I was driving with my friend Jamie and somehow we got to talking about The Godfather movies. Over the course of the conversation, I said, “Oh come on, everybody loves Fredo.”

Jamie’s jaw fell to the floor. “No, she loudly asserted. “Nobody loves Fredo.”

Our friends later sided with Jamie. Apparently I was the only one who saw The Godfather movies and took away from them the message “Poor Fredo.”  He may not be a long-suffering woman, but for those unfamiliar with the movie, it chronicles the Corleone family and their organized crime activities. Fredo is the second oldest of four brothers, but has the least responsibility because, you see, Fredo is kind of an idiot.  He means well, he just isn’t very bright.  So, while he doesn’t exactly suffer, he does have to sit back and watch as his brothers get responsibilities and rewards while he gets nothing.  To add insult to injury, they give Fredo meaningless tasks to pass the time, kind of like when you let your small child break the egg and put it in the bowl so they can say they “helped make dinner.”

(I hate to even deign to spoiler alert freaks, but um, spoiler alerts on the 40 year old movie dead ahead)

Fredo decides he needs to make a stand. He does so by betraying the family. For that, Fredo has to die. 

Now I get it, family is family, especially in The Godfather, but I watched Godfather II and cried when poor Fredo had to go. Sonny Corleone, the oldest brother who gets gunned down in the first film? Couldn’t care less that he died. Good riddance. You were violent and yelled a lot, I never liked you Sonny. Fredo though…I understood Fredo. I don’t condone the betrayal, but Fredo is the Corleone I get behind.  Even Tom Hagen, an adopted son that is second in my Corleone Power Rankings, can’t beat John Cazale.

But apparently I am the only one.  Even though I believe Jamie, I still don’t understand why people hate Fredo. I know they do, but come on kids, give him a chance.

After the show, I worried Les Mis was the latest text where I massively misinterpreted the message because I sided with the wrong character. I tweeted to see where I stood.

Well, it turns out Eponine is no Fredo. If anyone is the Fredo, it Is Cosette.  Turns out there are a lot of people who hate long-suffering men, but when it comes to long suffering women, I am far from on my own:

Untitled: Perception…

Sometimes, the people you rely on most provide you with exactly what you need. Thanks, Sissy, for one of the nicest things you have ever done.

dwarren79:

So I’ve started a blog…I figure this will be one of the many things I get really excited about and have big plans for that ends up lasting all of about 4 days. Like the numerous gym memberships I have signed up for throughout my life (I currently have two). Or the piano music I recently bought so…

Untitled: Perception…

To Squirtle as You Embark Upon the 6th Grade

So Squirtle….you’re starting middle school.

I guess this means I should stop calling you Squirtle. Let’s table the nickname issue for a minute though. We have more important things to discuss. Namely, that the next three years are kinda gonna suck.

I don’t want to be Aunt Jessica the downer, but I do want to be straight with you: middle school is probably going to rank as one of the crappier experiences of your life.  This sounds horrifying, but before you become a sixth grade dropout, hear me out.

You’re 11. Everything feels bigger than it is. When I was 11, the smallest things sent me over the edge. You want me to switch dance partners? This is an injustice the likes of which Dr. King would not stand for.  I didn’t get the part I wanted in the school play? Nothing crying for a week can’t solve.

I’m not trying to say you don’t have real problems.  Things happen to you that hurt or make you smile and they do so for very good reason. What I want you to understand is this: the older you get, the more you realize that this stuff does hurt, but that you are strong enough to bounce back and move on.

You’re a strong kid. Remind yourself of that every day before school starts or whenever you feel like you just don’t want to deal with it anymore. It may not make you feel any happier about pushing through, but let me tell you, life only gets tougher and it is the people who can push their way through their problems that succeed.

Now, on to some more practical advice.

As someone who incessantly photographs you, this first bit of advice might surprise you. Avoid photographs. Take the school picture, pose for some Christmas shots, but don’t get in any more photographs than you have to be in.  Middle schoolers are a universally awkward bunch. I was reminded of this last week when a friend posted some photos from Aunt Jessica’s middle school days. Try not to judge the hair too harshly.  As Grandma will attest, this was a transitional phase, which is a girly hair concept you probably won’t ever understand.

The one relieving thing about these photos was a realization I want to impart on to you: when I was your age, I thought many of my peers looked like tall, gorgeous models. I thought I couldn’t compare. Looking at this photo, I can tell you without hesitation that we all looked incredibly awkward. There is no avoiding it. Just embrace that you are all going through it together, wear your braces with pride, and thank the heavens that the health and beauty industries are advancing at lightning speed.

Next tip Squirtle: play the friend field. These are the folks you’re going to spend the next seven years with, so don’t get tied down to the first kid who asks you to eat lunch with them. Get to know as many people as you can.  Meet the athletes, the artists, the band geeks, and the science kids.  If you want, stay friends with all of them. In your teens, there is no such thing as too many friends. You never know when your interests might change or someone you wouldn’t have given a chance opens your eyes to something really cool.

You, kiddo, need to make it your mission to open people’s eyes to things that are really cool. Don’t look to others to tell you what you like and what is cool. Keep reading, keep testing out new video games, and always be on the lookout for the cool new thing.  You know how you don’t spend your middle school days trying to keep up with what is cool? Be the kid determining what cool is.

You’re like Aunt Jessica—dripping with sarcasm. I’m gonna warn you that some of the kids aren’t gonna get you. Don’t let it get you down, but here are two other important lessons. 1. Never, ever dumb yourself down for anybody. 2. Never, ever lord it over someone when they aren’t in the know on something.

The second rule is going to be tough, because this is a three year period in which kids learn that putting other people down can make them feel better about themselves.  I’ll be honest, I did this. I can almost guarantee your mom did this too, because everyone that age inevitably does. If you mess up and say something mean, rest assured that (hopefully) no one will remember in 15 years. At the very least, most won’t hold it against you. Then tell yourself that you absolutely have to grow out of this bad habit if it is the last thing you do.

I know I said I would be practical and this stuff still sounds pretty emotional and heavy. So, if this stuff isn’t quite sinking in to your 11 year old brain, set it aside for a year and focus on these ten concrete rules:

1. Ask girls to dance at your middle school socials. You’re in Tennessee, as a dude it is your job to do the asking and girls will love you for it.

2. Learn from my mistakes, do not become a procrastinator when it comes to homework. This is a bad habit you CANNOT outgrow. And let me tell you buddy, writing 25 page papers for a Masters program 48 hours before it is due is not something I ever wish you go through.

3. If homework does get overwhelming, don’t ever copy someone else’s work. You are still young enough where you get one get out of jail free card, but by eighth grade, that crap ain’t gonna fly and the consequences will be dire.

4. Find some sort of activity. I know you hate them, but these extracurricular activities are going to be more useful to you as an adult than a lot of stuff you’re going to learn in the classroom.

5. Don’t be Grandma. Learn how to use the computer. Type everything. Surf the internet, but don’t ever cite Wikipedia as a source. If you want the full lecture on why you can’t, we can talk at Christmas.

6. You’ll probably start thinking about getting on Facebook now. Before you put anything and I mean ANYTHING on your Facebook page, ask yourself this: How do I feel about Grandma seeing this? You’re not allowed to sign up for FourSquare. It is dangerous to constantly report where you are to strangers on the internet. You are allowed to post something emo on your Facebook status once a month. That is it. I will be policing this from Las Vegas.

7. Be nice to your teachers. I know you sometimes think you’re smarter than them. Sorry kiddo, most of the time you aren’t. They aren’t out to get you. They’re here to help. Let them help, ok?

8. Being a nerd is cool these days. Embrace it. Let your nerd side work for you. Don’t try to be something you aren’t.

9. I say embrace your nerd side, but a quick exception to that rule: You’re going to still like some of the kid stuff you liked in elementary school. In theory, you’re supposed to grow out of this by sixth grade, but it is okay if you still like it. Just keep it on the DL. I hid that I still watched the Care Bears movies well into my teens and only pretended to rediscover it when I claimed it was “ironic admiration” at the start of my baby hipster phase (we’ll talk about hipsters when you start high school).

10. Relax. I know I’ve thrown a lot of rules at you and I bet your first day of school felt like a day-long list of dos and don’ts. There is no right or wrong way to make it through middle school. Do what you can, have as much fun as possible, and remember that this, like everything, is only temporary.

If You’ve Run Out of New Orange Is the New Black, I’m Here to Help:

Like pretty much everyone else I know, I have quickly fallen deeply in love with “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix. The women’s prison dramedy features a female ensemble with at least a dozen characters I can invest in, relate to, and care about.  

This doesn’t sound all that impressive, I realize. Things have gotten pretty dire for me and some of my friends, who also happen to be girls rounding the bend into their 30s. To be honest, I just don’t see myself on TV much anymore. I see a lot of truly obnoxious hapless 23-year-old girls that I am supposed to find endearing because they literally cannot solve a single one of their own problems.  I have the occasional beacon of hope, like Mindy Lahiri on the hit and miss “The Mindy Project” or some of the excellent ensemble of women on “Parenthood”, but I had been desperate for a consistently compelling show in which my favorite characters weren’t competing for airtime or bogged down by mediocre material.

Then I found the answer in a fictional prison. I should pause for concern that the women of Orange is the New Black, who play convicted criminals, is where I finally raised my hands in relief and proclaimed, “Thank God, women I can relate to!”, but I am just so enamored with this damned show, I can’t be bothered to care. Be it Claudette, the reserved old woman who won’t tolerate cellmates who don’t tow the line, Poussey, the class clown, Crazy Eyes, the best adopted character of the year, I love and understand all of them.

Others are not as keen on the leading lady, Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling). They find her to be a little less interesting than the array of women around her, but for someone who is on the verge of 30 and oscillates between feeling like I have it together and feeling like I am completely lost.  Piper is new to prison and she makes mistakes and gets into trouble. She gets in over her head and, hey, sometimes, she has to rely on others to get her out. But, she also figures some shit out herself and, for that, I adore her.

Problem is, OITNB is but 13 episodes long, so I am already finding myself hankering for more female ensembles. Thankfully, I found some solutions this weekend and figured I would pass them along:

1. The Women If you think OITNB has an overwhelmingly female cast, this 1939 flick has it beat. The film features over 130 women and nary a single dude. Sure, the women talk about dudes a lot. Let’s be honest, that is what a lot of us do. However, the crux of this movie is how these women relate to each other, not how they relate to guys.

The heart of the story is a bit dated and disheartening. A married, loving mother learns through the gossip grapevine that her husband is having an affair with a perfume salesgirl played by Joan Crawford. Her mother tells her to bite her tongue and keep her man, but the woman (Norma Shearer) doesn’t listen and handles things her own way.

I know most of you are frightened at the idea of a 2 hour+ dramedy featuring only chicks who datedly want to stand by their man, but this thing is pretty fascinating both historically and on its own merits. A few tips though: First, fast forward through the weird ten minute fashion show in the middle. Second, don’t bother trying to learn all the characters. This is like classic movie Game of Thrones, just learn the faces and what they do. Finally, stick with it to the end for a delightfully epic catfight that I wish I saw more of in pop culture these days.

Check Joan Crawford as the other woman, being awesome:

2. Pitch Perfect If you are frightened of 75 year old movies and have been living under a rock, as I have, I have a more current option for you. I truly have not a clue on Earth how it took me so long to see this movie. It is basically hand-crafted to entertain me. You have the awesome Broadway import Anna Kendrick singing (if you haven’t seen her in Camp, it is a must-watch for any theater nerd). It has yet another Spring Awakening star moving on to bigger and better things, Skylar Astin. Oh, and it has a group of hilarious and talented women singing a cappela. And yes, we do have the requisite love story, but aside from Kendrick’s love interest, this movie is completely about the women, how they work together, how they bond, and they grow.   I mean, come on:

3. French and Saunders I have a hard time picking an IMDB to link to, as these two women, best known for their work on AbFab, have been putting together sketches for years.  My friend Scott demanded I watch the women’s movie spoofs, which date back to the early 90s, and I have to give him a big hug when I go into work Monday morning. These are two chicks unconcerned about coming across unfeminine or even at playing dudes, complete with chst hair, if it means they’ll get a laugh. Plus, the intense detail of these movie spoofs is commendable whether you’re a girl or a guy.

This Star Wars one isn’t my favorite, but here is an example of what you are in for:

These female ensemble pieces are out there, which is a relief. The sad part is, you just have to do a lot of digging for them sometimes, as they are the exception, not the rule. While I wish there were more Pitch Perfects and OITNBs out there in the current landscape of culture, this is why I am the old codger who goes back in time to find my entertainment. Why settle for a limited range when there is a 75 year old movie that fits the bill of exactly what you’re looking for?

Death, Teeth, and Employee Dining

There was a rumor floating around work today that woman died in our employee cafeteria. The story goes that she laid her head down to nap and never woke up. After a few hours, someone tried to rouse her to no avail.  Allegedly, she was only 32 years old.

While I was, by and large, horrified by this story, I was relieved for two reasons.

1. She did not appear to die from causes related to the food in the employee cafeteria.

2. There are sadder ways to die than alone in your home.

That’s right, I think about this kind of stuff. As both someone who has lived alone for several years and someone who perpetually worries about everything, I have thought about what might happen should I meet my demise home alone.

I think about how long it might take someone to find me and, more importantly, I think about what state they might find me in.  There is room for the scene of my death to be horribly embarrassing. Just imagine:

“Well sir, we found the victim on the floor here in the living room.  She was wearing socks, boxer shorts, and what appears to be a shirt with the children’s book character Madeline on it. She might have been snacking. As you see, there is this log of goat cheese near the victim’s right hand.  Best we figure is she slipped mid-bite, fell, and choked to death on some chevre.

Looking around at the victim’s home, we found the TV cued up to musical station Spotify. It appears she was listening to a playlist entitled "The Showiest Show Tunes That Could Ever Be Show Tunes.”  The last songs played appear to be the second act of “Mamma Mia.”

Our best guess sir is that the fall came from a dance move gone awry. The neighbors tell us they regularly felt a commotion that sounded like dancing coming from the apartment along with a combination of show tunes, country music, and, on occasion, Kelly Clarkson. So, cause of death is accidental; a toxic combination of Meryl Streep, cheese, and exuberance.“

This, ladies and gentleman, is why dancing like nobody’s watching has some drawbacks.

I am a clumsy sort. Moreover, I am awfully forgetful and, more than once, I have burned my carpet with an unattended curling iron. I have a tendency to let the life things slide too. For example, the light in my garage is currently burnt out. I need to call maintenance, but haven’t found time this week, so if I get home after dark, I simply paw my way through the darkness to do the door, hoping not to stumble or come across a bug along the way.

I try not to take these risks though, because when things do go awry, it is scary sometimes to have no one to rely on. I’ll be honest. The other day, I had a full on meltdown as a result of a piece of gum.

I was peacefully sitting on the couch, piddling around on the laptop, chewing on a piece of gum.  The piece was wedged on the right side of my mouth and I only occasionally chomped down on it.  As I slowly chewed, I jolted upright as I bit down on something incredibly hard.

I immediately spit out my gum into my hand to figure out what was going on. As I looked closely, I realized what I was looking at were two largish shards of tooth.

I repeat, tooth.

I frantically ran my tongue over every tooth until I found the broken one.  I was shocked and a little confused to discover the tooth didn’t hurt to the touch.  The calm, rational Jess concluded this was probably a filling that popped out. Panicked, afraid to be found alone dead in her apartment Jess concluded her teeth might be so far gone that the root is dead and this is just the beginning. All the teeth could go at any moment.  

As someone who has been obsessed with good dental hygiene since childhood to the point she had a crush on Hermey, I can assure you there is nothing more frightening to me than the thought of losing teeth. Whenever I even have a simple cavity, I am incredibly disappointed and frustrated. I brush. I floss. I rinse with fluoride. In other words, I don’t want to lose my chompers.

So, it is around this time that blind panic sets in. What do you do when you chip a tooth? It was after 11pm and I didn’t think any of my friends would know the answer. I assumed my mom was asleep in Memphis, where it was nearing 2am. So I Googled. The internet told me I needed dental cement and that it could be found at any pharmacy.

I grabbed my keys and headed for the door. "Keep it together,” I whispered to myself as I started the car. This calm didn’t last long.

If you live in Henderson, Nevada, you perhaps know that, while many things in Las Vegas are open 24 hours, pharmacies in this neck of the woods are not one of those things. After three closed pharmacies, an increasingly panicked me headed for the nearest grocery store. The Vons was open, however, the pharmacy was closed for cleaning.

I had held it together through all of this. But staring at the dental aisle with a cone and a flimsy rope holding me back, I had reached my breaking point. My lip began to quiver and I reached for my mom. I cast my mom’s needs aside and called her in the middle of the night like a pathetic child.

“MotheriwaschewinggumandthenmyfuckingtoothjustfelloutandilookedontheinternetforhelpandIneeddentalcementbuteverywhereisclosedandthegrocerystorehatesmeandohmyGodallofmyteetharegoingtofallout. Do. You. Hear. Me? FALL! OUT!”

My mom, who is both a saint and a night owl, was thankfully still awake. She had no suggestions, but she did talk me off the ledge as I proceeded to Wal Mart.

“Jessica, I bet you will be okay until the morning without this dental cement. Just don’t eat or drink anything.”

“The internet says cement, Mom. I’m finding the damn cement.”

Then, Dolores pointed out something very salient.

“Well, be sure you aren’t allergic to this stuff before you buy it.”

Even though I am obsessed with dental hygiene, part of the reason I tend to get cavities more often than I like is because I have an allergy that makes it pretty difficult to keep my teeth clean. I’m allergic to mint. Seriously allergic. Not puff up and die need an epi-pen, but searing burning pain that will last for a couple of days kind of allergic. I can’t even put mint on my skin. I’ll get what looks like a second degree sunburn.

Take a look around your bathroom. Tell me which of your dental supplies isn’t minty. Throw in the fact that cinnamon flavored stuff burns my mouth too and you are left with a gal who stockpiles Tom’s Natural toothpaste by the cabinet and buys children’s bubble gum flavored fluoride.

Dolores was right too. After 45 minutes of searching, I found the dental cement at Wal Mart. I also found out every version of it contained mint. I returned home despondent and exhausted.

This is the downside of living alone. These moments of panic where you think your teeth might all be falling out (for those concerned, it was just a filling the dentist replaced the next morning).  When something goes wrong, you are confronted head on that you are the only one who can solve your problems.

But there are good things about being by yourself. You dance around your living room. The DVR is your domain. And no one is there to pass judgment on you when you trip and choke on a piece of cheese or become convinced you will wake up a toothless hag or want to rock out to Kelly Clarkson in your pajamas. It has it’s dangers, yes, but it is a safe place, it is your place. And, even if it is face-down in a pile of cheese, I can say with certainty I would rather be found dead here than anywhere else.