When You Give a Mouse Napalm

There is a mouse in my house. I found the evidence, evidence that came in the form of extreme mouse dietary issues. I could immediately smell a dank mustiness that I associate with mice, and I immediately imagined a little gray mouse behind our microwave waiting to dash out and murder me with its tiny diseased hands. I waited for DSS to knock on the door and take the children into foster care. This was not the cute little mouse of Christmas ornament lore, no tiny Santa hat with a small block of cheese, this mouse was all fangs and Black Death. I could smell its ill intent.

I found the evidence next to one of the 12 unopened jars of barbeque sauce on the counter closest to the refrigerator. You may ask why I have 12 jars of barbeque sauce and my answer would simply be:  husband. For Trey every day is a barbeque and now that is how I picture the mouse. What if the mouse is a husband, cooking ribs for his friends on a Saturday? What if the mouse poop by the unopened sauce was a sure sign that there is a tiny gross mouse world where tiny gross mice husbands wear cargo shorts and Nike shoes, drink beer and smoke meats? I truly don’t care about this progenitor, I needed that mouse dead.

I cleaned my counters with every product in the house: Pine Sol, bathroom cleaner, Mean Green, Lysol, and vinegar spray. I have used them all until a nice cloud of chemicals rose from the counters like fog from a Stephen King novel. I was satisfied with my cleaning until I reached into a cabinet and knocked a PAM cooking spray lid over and from that lid it rained mouse poop upon my clean counters. It was at this point I developed a rage that could only be controlled by pharmaceuticals. No natural and friendly means of removing this mouse would do, only powerful poison. No catch and release traps for this murderous rage. I needed the kind of poison that made Dolly and her friends believe that Dabney Coleman had died in his office chair. We needed a poison so strong that I would be afraid for my children and animals.

I started with your basic d-Con, three wedge-shaped containers containing tiny blue pellets. According to the overly informative Wal-Mart employee, “You don’t look the type to rip down drywall (he was correct), but sometimes you find dried out mice. These poisons dry them out and make them mummies.” Well, that is exactly what I need! I don’t want to see the mouse or smell the mouse. I want it to die and wither away while I watch reruns of Veronica Mars. PETA is not an organization I will soon be joining. Sure, wanting this animal to dehydrate like mouse jerky is an asshole move, but know what is also an asshole move? This mouse plotting against me in its sleep, total asshole move.

Three mouse poison wedges didn’t seem enough. I needed something more. That more was a box of poison covered with skulls and crossbones. In fact, there are so many skulls and crossbones on the package it may have been designed by Hot Topic and sold to me by a girl with kohl eyeliner and a Dandy Warhols shirt. I picked up the new solid blue sections of poison with a paper towel and threw them behind furniture. I was like a morbid flower girl spreading cubes of death. I was Kilgore in “Apocalypse Now.”

Kilgore: Smell that? You smell that?

Lance: What?

Kilgore: Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that.

Kilgore: I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours.

We are a week out from my finding the mouse evidence. After two days I stopped finding the droppings which had become the same blue as the poison. I assume the mouse is dead, but that hasn’t stopped my paranoia. I glimpse something moving and I jump out of my skin. If my hair touches my face I know that I have been transported to the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie finds a mouse in her bed and calls Aleksandr Petrovsky to come and save her. Aleksandr, really? He was never a good fit for Carrie even if he did help with the mouse. A shoestring is now a tail and I become Augusten Burroughs murdering a mouse in his bathroom in Magical Thinking.

I cannot deal with rodents on top of the stress of everyday life. I am ill equipped for such thing. I once had someone drive 15 miles to remove what I thought was a dead mouse from my room. It was actually just dog hair reflecting from a Playboy magazine, but I was 100% sure it was a mouse playing dead and planning an attack. Again, I am ill equipped for such things.

Tonight when I clean the kitchen I will hear “Ride of the Valkyries” playing faintly and I won’t believe that I am over reacting at all. As much as I hate that little asshole mouse he also helped me write almost 900 words. So, shout out to that hopefully dead dehydrated mouse in his tiny cargo shorts and Nikes.

My Words Need Viagra

I am a NaNoWriMo failure. This month I was going to sit down and write a novel; the goal of the program is 50,000 words. I signed up and created an account. I choose a genre and created a short idea of what my book would be about. I was ready to go. The world, or at least close friends, would be forced to read my 50,000 words about anxiety and bad decisions. The book would be a somewhat autobiographical account of a woman nearing her 40th birthday.

I never wrote a single word. As of the writing of this blog post it is November 10. I suppose I could try to catch up, but I am really discouraged at this point. I have been playing a little blame game trying to make excuses for why I haven’t been writing, not just not writing the novel, but not writing in general. What if I have already run out of things to say? Maybe we have a limited number of words in us and I have used most of mine up.

Depression probably plays a part in my lack of writing. The holidays are coming in fast: Thanksgiving, Mom’s birthday, and Christmas lead to a general sense of “bah humbugness” in our house. Work has been busy lately and at the end of the day I feel like I have no more words to give. Saidee has been sick. School has been consuming with an online class I’m taking. All of these are excuses for why I haven’t been writing, but they aren’t good excuses I know that.

If I am not capable of writing 50,000 words in one month, I could surely keep the blog updated with a once a week post. But to be honest I am having a problem with that as well. On my phone I have a list of blogs I have started and not finished.

  1. NoblePark and the magnificent haunted house.
  2. That time a boyfriend accidently caught my pubic hair on fire.
  3. The illegal purse trade or that time Kara and I were pretty sure we had entered an underground sex trade organization.
  4. Am I a bad feminist because I tell my children to not drink at parties?
  5. That time I pierced my vulva.
  6. That time I think my dead Grandpa talked to me.

I have ideas; I am just currently lacking the ability to get them on the page. What if I am word impotent? What if I can’t get the words up anymore? What if my words are sitting in matching bathtubs and holding hands while looking at a scenic view? Do other people feel like this and worry?

This is a blog I write for me as an outlet and for my friends for their entertainment. How much pressure must it be to actually write for a living? In a perfect world one of the pitches I send to xojane.com (first person and real life experiences, hell yes, please) would be picked up and I would start writing freelance and be a beloved commentator. However, this is not a perfect world and I am attempting to write 750 words on how I have nothing to write about. This is a sure sign that I am trapped in a strange Seinfeld-like world where nothing is really something.

So to recap: I failed at NaNoWriMo. I haven’t had a good blog post in a while. I am in a slump. I let my clothes sour in the dryer (that was not part of the blog post, but they smell of sour hell and you should know). I will now put on my Lane Bryant big girl panties and attempt to get over myself.

Thank you for listening to this pity party.

Love, Heather

PS: I didn’t hit 750 words, better luck next time.

me eating something

Until I am able to give you a better post please enjoy this photo of me eating.

Why I Believe Dolly Parton to Be the Most Universally Beloved Person in the World

In the 6th grade we had to pick a song to sing in front of our music class. There I stood in my awkward adolescence. My stomach was round and my breasts were insubstantial. My hair was a dirty blonde Prince Valiant. My stomach was in knots and there is a high likelihood that I had a fever blister. In my Sears “Pretty Plus” outfit, I opened my mouth and started to sing.

“Islands in the stream
That is what we are
No one in between
How can we be wrong
Sail away with me
To another world
And we rely on each other, ah-ha
From one lover to another, ah-ha”

This song was at that time the most beautiful and heartfelt thing I had ever heard. Kenny and Dolly were in love. You could tell by the emotion in their voices. These two people couldn’t stand to be apart. I assumed they were married and lived in a big Nashville mansion with mirrored furniture. Because, how could I have assumed otherwise?

Every time I saw Dolly with her tall blonde wigs, huge breasts, and tiny waist on the big screen I felt sure she was in a relationship with her leading man. She was too beautiful, too sweet, and too sexual for each of those men to not fall in love with her. Her impish giggle and business sense make for a powerful aphrodisiac. Now, I know that she is married and has been since the beginning of recorded time and it seems like Carl knows she is both powerful and beautiful too as Dolly once said, “He (Carl) says he’d think less of any man who didn’t fall in love with me. But he really respects what I do and would hate to stand in the way of that. He always makes me feel pretty, even when I’m not.” So, what I am seeing is a smart, powerful, talented, beautiful, sexual, and loving woman.

While Islands in the Stream is what introduced me to Dolly, what sealed my love is hearing Jolene for the first time. Jolene is for me a Nick Hornby moment. When I sing Jolene I absolutely must close my eyes; I must be fully engaged in the moment when I hear this song. If it comes on while I’m driving I have to pull over. Jolene is just that strong.

“Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I’m begging of you please don’t take my man
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Please don’t take him just because you can
Your beauty is beyond compare
With flaming locks of auburn hair
With ivory skin and eyes of emerald green
Your smile is like a breath of spring
Your voice is soft like summer rain
And I cannot compete with you, Jolene

He talks about you in his sleep
There’s nothing I can do to keep
From crying when he calls your name, Jolene

And I can easily understand
How you could easily take my man
But you don’t know what he means to me, Jolene”

That is some painful shit right there. Who hasn’t felt that about a relationship they were in? I know I have. That terrible ache of feeling that you aren’t enough compared to someone else. For some reason I do not fully understand (deep seeded emotional shenanigans, maybe?), I was under the impression that Jolene was a sister of Dolly’s. Think about that. Knowing you are losing your man to your beautiful sister ups the pain level to an eleven.

I have yet to meet someone who does not have a guttural reaction to hearing Jolene, and it doesn’t matter who is singing it either:

Olivia Newton John = heartbreaking

The White Stripes = heartbreaking + haunting

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes = heartbreaking + fast

Miley Cyrus = heartbreaking

Fiona Apple = heartbreaking

The list could go on forever, because everyone knows that this song is as beautiful and heartfelt as it comes. To put the power of Dolly’s writing in perspective I Will Always Love You has been a number one hit not once but three times. Twice with Dolly and once with Whitney Houston who helped it to be an earworm for the entire year of 1993. But, back to her business tactics for a second, Dolly was so savvy that she owns the publishing and copyrights on all of her songs. When Whitney Houston did that song for The Bodyguard soundtrack Dolly received all the writing and publishing royalties. She said, “When Whitney did it, I got all the money for the publishing and for the writing, and I bought a lot of cheap wigs.” I enjoy the quip, but with a booming theme park, a water park, The Dollywood Foundation, The Dolly Parton Imagination Library, and various other business ventures, I am pretty sure the money didn’t just fund her wig collection.

Dolly is at heart a writer, business woman, and a philanthropist. She takes her perceived stereotypes and breaks them up. You can’t help but love her.

So, out of curiosity, what are your favorite Dolly Parton stories?

Lord, don’t even get me started on my love of 9 to 5 and Straight Talk.

The Commute

She wore her anxiety like a name badge: Hello, my name is self doubt with occasional loathing and sadness. But really, deep down, Rachel wasn’t sad, morose, or languishing; she was just anxious. Sometimes she thought her blood felt like driver ants consuming her insides like they would cattle in an African village. When she thought of that comparison she smiled a guileful smile knowing that she was a pretender. The only reason she knew of driver ants was from an Oprah Book Club book she had read in her twenties. In the car on her morning commute Rachel would think back to the moments that she felt defined her; moments that if she had made a different decision would have possibly altered her life. It was her own personal butterfly effect and she knew that it was senseless.

On this morning drive Rachel flicked at her wedding band. A steady rhythm of nerves: flick, flick, flick, her thumb against the white gold band. A physical manifestation of her inner agitation. The radio played; the morning radio show did their ridiculous voices and callers called to discuss the topic on hand. The air conditioner was on three of four and blew her hair. For a split second Rachel stopped the flicking to pretend her hair was being blown by fans at an InStyle photo shoot. In the fantasy would be her smiling face, her hair shoulder length and artfully wind blown. On her thin wrists would be Jennifer Myer bracelets, each bracelet as dainty as the women in the picture. In this fantasy she was thin, dainty, and graceful, with the kind of beauty that was accepted by other women. She had originally found popularity as a twitter personality and eventually became a regular on Jimmy Fallon, who had offered her a cameo in an upcoming movie.  Another caller to the radio show breaks the fantasy and she moves on to thinking about her decisions. How many had been hers to make and in how many had she been just a silent participant?

The first time she had sex had been a misunderstanding; an ill attempt at talking dirty had led to the quickest sex ever on record. Sure, she could see how it happened. They had been making out for what seemed like hours, mostly naked and pressed against each other on a comforter that was beige with small pink roses.

“I love you,” he whispered.

“I love you too,” she whispered back.

Rachel was sure that more needed to be said.

“I wish you could be inside me,” she decided to add.

And with that her virginity was gone, him on top and pumping. Her body was scootched off the side of the bed. With the last pump she could see the digital clock; it read 3:48. Her virginity was gone in under a minute. Like any good control freak, the next logical step was to make him sit with her and read a pamphlet on teen sex and pregnancy. Which, of course, he did with no complaint, mostly because he was in love and a little sticky. Her accidental deflowering aside, sex was something that Rachel thought about often on her commute.

Now that she had recounted the accidental deflowering, the flick, flick, flick of her ring once again started and Rachel marked that experience into the her-mistake-to-make category. She had said the words that led to the act. This one was a clear mark in her column. The recalling made her smile; virginity was there to be lost and really there was no regret here.

The radio was pulling a phone prank and it made her skin crawl. The idea of intentionally making someone uncomfortable and angry made little sense. It seemed mean, but the intended victim always laughed in the end with an added, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Flick, flick, flick went the thumb against the wedding band as the pre-recorded laugh track played behind the gag. The insistent laughter saying, “don’t be uncomfortable; it is all in good fun.”

Every morning Rachel commutes and every morning she dissects her life events. In fourth grade she cried when her paper wasn’t perfect and the teacher mentioned it to the class. In the sixth grade she gave a boy her bracelet so he would like her. Each individual act probed for a better solution. This was her commute.

The idea behind this post is that I am interested in the small amounts of time that this character spends rethinking her decisions and fantasizing about what could have been. How many small, thirty minute periods, are lost to rehashing our old life events? 

Elvis and Quinton have a Conversation

Elvis Costello said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture, because of course Elvis Costello would say such a thing. I feel pretty sure that he was wearing a black hat and suspenders when he said it. I have made an executive life decision that I would like to listen to a conversation between Quinton Tarantino and Elvis Costello. Due to the unlikelihood this will ever happen to me I have decided to take actual quotes from the two men and create what I believe would be a likely conversation.

Here we go.

Q: To me, movies and music go hand in hand. When I’m writing a script, one of the first things I do is find the music I’m going to play for the opening sequence.

E: I believe that music is connected by human passions and curiosities rather than by marketing strategies.

Q: I’ve always thought my soundtracks do pretty good, because they’re basically professional equivalents of a mix tape I’d make for you at home.

E: Obviously I got known for some other songs early on, and some of those were rock’n’roll songs. Some of them were melodic pop songs. And I’ve done lots of different things, as you know, but every so often I get drawn back.

Q: I’m a big collector of vinyl – I have a record room in my house – and I’ve always had a huge soundtrack album collection. So what I do, as I’m writing a movie, is go through all those songs, trying to find good songs for fights, or good pieces of music to layer into the film.

Q: Movies are my religion and God is my patron. I’m lucky enough to be in the position where I don’t make movies to pay for my pool. When I make a movie, I want it to be everything to me; like I would die for it.

Q: My mom took me to see Carnal Knowledge and The Wild Bunch and all these kind of movies when I was a kid.

Q: My parents said, Oh, he’s going to be a director someday. I wanted to be an actor.

It is at this point of the conversation that I imagine Elvis being highly annoyed with Quentin. If you have ever watched Tarantino in an interview the energy is kinetic. He never stops moving and thinking, his hands wave wildly, and each gesture is like a small lightening strike. Watching the man makes me a damn nervous wreck. I generally enjoy his movies, but he makes me feel like I am on ecstasy while riding a roller coaster that is bound for a hell dimension. Does everyone feel that way when watching his interviews?

Now, back to the conversation:

E: And I don’t feel any form of music is beyond me in the sense of that I don’t understand it or I don’t have some love for some part of it. And over the last ten years, after my work with the Brodsky Quartet, I had the opportunity to write arrangements for chamber group, chamber orchestra, jazz orchestra, symphony orchestra even.

Q: To me, America is just another market.

Elvis would now cock his head to the left and look at Quentin with vague annoyance.

E: I believe that music is connected by human passions and curiosities rather than by marketing strategies.

Elvis has now repeated himself. I cannot help but think that this perceived conversation is making Elvis as nervous as it would me.

Q: I have loved movies as the number one thing in my life so long that I can’t ever remember a time when I didn’t.

E: I used to be disgusted; now I try to be amused.

I have been watching Elvis Costello videos on YouTube for 30 minutes now, and I can see he has integrity and wit. My goal is that by age 40 I will be a Costello fan. Two years, this gives me two years to complete this goal. This week’s blog was actually supposed to be about why people hate Kim Kardashian and how I once had sex against the wall of a gas station bathroom, but it lost focus. I have written 49 blog posts so far, and I worry that I am running out of things to say. So, this week I decided to let two men who have interesting things to say speak for me. All quotes are in italic and came from www.brainyquote.com.

Frustrated: A List

 Here is a list of things that currently frustrate me.

  1. The timing that some people have is questionable at best.
  2. Rape – the world is too damn rapey
  3. My house will never be clean again.
  4. I need at least three clones of myself, and science has not caught up with my needs.
  5. Laundry
  6. I don’t like the show Girls and I feel like I should
  7. Work
  8. An article I read where wealthy people are hiring disabled people to get through lines quicker at Disney World.
  9. OJ Simpson
  10. That giant rubber duck in Hong Kong.

What Happens the Moment You Are Freshly Pressed: A Word Press Dream

Word Press has a feature called Freshly Pressed. It is where they pick some of the best blogs of the day and post them on a separate page. I want to be “Freshly Pressed” more than I want just about anything, because I require a great deal of validation. After I post a blog I start texting friends and family for feedback. “What did you think?” “Did you laugh?” “What was your favorite sentence?” I bother them with questions until I feel the proper amount of acceptance. It is at that point I start watching my stats and shares in a mildly obsessive manner. I have an illness of questionable self-worth.

The following is what I believe happens once this blogging honor is bestowed upon you.

One.  You are immediately asked to co-host the Today show. I would of course be a smash hit and people would call my time as co-host a breakthrough in journalism as I would be the first plus-sized announcer on the Today show. My notoriety would become even greater when I would refuse to report a story on Lindsey Lohan because “that bitch is crazy and this isn’t news.” I would be fined $100,000 for the outburst but the fine would be paid by a TV producer who offers me my own talk show on AMC.

Two.  Someone comes to your home to wash and fold your laundry. My new laundry friend and I would become best friends. Together we would tackle the 1,000 socks that sit at the bottom of the laundry basket that seem to have no match. While my laundry buddy and I fold we will discover that we have almost everything in common and we will create a laundry room system so organized that it will eliminate any back log of slacks and underwear that I have. Also, my laundry buddy is Adele and she loves my throw pillows. We discuss the beauty of my couch pillows for hours and she tells me she understands how important they are to me. After the laundry is finished she smokes and says bollocks. I ask if she is an Elvis Costello fan.

Three. Lena Dunham the creator of Girls would publically apologize to me for stealing my gimmick. The world can only have so many awkward girls with massive self-esteem issues and tattoos. She gets to live in NYC, have a television show, and publishing deal, so I want to take cardigans and questionable self-worth back.  After her apology we agree that if we work together there can be world enough for the two of us. She says that I have unique perspective and asks if I would like to be a consultant for her show. I tell her that I would love that but will need to put a stop to my co-host of the Today show duties. The Today show is of course devastated.

Four. Somehow Word Press makes me photograph well. I have no idea how they do it. I just accept it as a Freshly Pressed perk.

Five. (Spoiler Alert) Author Gillian Flynn calls me so we can discuss a plan for Nick. She tells me that she understands that I have unfinished business with the characters in her book.  She agrees to write a second book that gives me closure and takes care of that crazy bitch Amy once and for all. The publisher of Gone Girl also agrees to give a copy of the book to everyone who likes my blog just in case they haven’t read it yet.

Six. Word Press sends a representative to my Dad’s house and convinces him that it would be fine for me to tattoo the lower halves of both of my arms. Of course Dad is at first reluctant, but the Word Press rep makes such a good case that Dad agrees my arms would look better covered in tattoos. The tattoos are done and immediately I am able to sleep a night’s worth of uninterrupted sleep, because in the “Freshly Pressed” world anxiety, sleep, and tattoos are interconnected.

Seven. The Chinese and Thai restaurants in town start delivering like self-respecting restaurants should.

Eight. Old Navy starts carrying XXLT shirts in their stores.

And to think all of this happens the minute you are chosen to be Freshly Pressed, who knew? I need to spend more time thinking about what I am writing and less on who is reading it, but I think we all know that I am not that self-aware…yet. For a few real ideas about being “Freshly Pressed” check out this link listed below.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/freshly-pressed-fiction/