The Tekcub List

If you know me – if we have spoken for even five minutes – you know that worrying is one of my greatest skills. In fact, there are few things I do not worry about. So when my guru Mama Kat posed the idea of creating a reverse bucket list – a list of things you hope you NEVER do before you die – I could barely contain the creative juices (which could be laced, I’m just sayin’). In order to avoid jinxing myself and boring you, I decided to set aside my chronic day-to-day worries (car accidents, aneurysms, cancer, public pukage, genetic diseases, dying alone, poverty, Rick Santorum, etc.) and focus instead on some of the more obscure (but real!) concerns I have. As such, below are some highlights of my “Tekcub List.” I never want to …

Be without the fabulous prompts provided by Mama Kat and her Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop

Suffer the kind of brain damage that leads to “Locked In Syndrome
I officially appoint my sister and my friends Kiki and Loren to ensure that if this does happen, and if for some odd reason the plug is not pulled IMMEDIATELY upon diagnosis, a private waxer is brought in at least once a month to maintain my dignity.

Live in Michigan again
Despite my new-found appreciation for Detroit thanks to Jeffrey Eugenides, and despite my love of Pizza House chapatis, I very much hope I am never again forced to live in bad-accented Midwestern hell (no disrespect to any indigenous peoples, some of whom I consider close friends).

Find myself in a desolate Utah canyon with no cell service, trapped between two boulders and forced to choose between dying a horrible death or cutting off my own arm with a pocket knife
I think we know how that would turn out.

Appear as a contestant on “Fear Factor”
Worms send me into convulsions, in general and as an entrée.

Be photographed by paparazzi/run into John Taylor, Simon Le Bon, Scott Porter, Kyle Chandler, Jon Hamm or Jean Dujardin while not wearing make-up
Believe me, it would hurt the public as much as it would hurt me.

Be framed for a heinous crime, wrongly convicted and sent to maximum security prison

Observe a heinous crime and have to enter Witness Protection

Attempt, fail, and die trying to climb Mt. Everest
Just seems unnecessary and not a particularly enjoyable way to expire.

Get stuck in the Sierra Nevadas during a blizzard and have to resort to cannibalism to survive

A Donner Party is no party at all.

Sky dive
More like sky die.

Contract cholera, Ebola, Fatal Familial Insomnia, dysentery, typhus, kuru or the plague, among many, many others
These are just a few of my greatest hits.

Wear Mom Jeans

Choke to death on a cheese doodle

Have someone sneak into my bedroom whilst I slumber and cut my hair into a 70s-era bi-level

Become allergic to Cadbury Crème Eggs

Seek treatment at a fertility clinic where, unbeknownst to us, the evil doctors replace their patients’ manly “samples” with their own, resulting in 8,000 artificial insemination babies who all have the same genetic lazy eye
Please see the terrifying 1994 made-for-TV movie “The Babymaker: The Dr. Cecil B. Jacobson Story” starring Melissa Gilbert for details.

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The Tekcub List

Tales From the Tundra: Another Nail In the Coffin

In my pre-tundra New York days, visiting one of the city’s bazillion manicure and pedicure providers was a long-standing weekend tradition for my friends and me.  First, we’d meet at the diner on Saturday or Sunday. Then, we’d head to Zen or Pinky or Cindy’s or Trevi or Lincoln Nails, choose from a rainbow array of sheer pink nail polishes with asinine names, make snide comments about the other girls there, and enjoy some hand grooming.  

Please note: regular ‘curing may sound extravagant to those in more remote parts, but in New York, there are nail salons on every corner, and the average manicure costs less than $10.  As it happens, I have extremely dry skin and cuticles, so I view manicuring as a health-related expense. But mostly, it’s a nice way to spend time with my friends and engage in some catty commentary.  

In Michigan, there were no diners and my only friends were Sloth (ex-husband) and Ollie (dognapped Wheaten terrier — see “Meet Ollie” page), neither of whom could be counted on for manicure companionship.  Furthermore, nail care providers in Michigan were much fewer and farther between, more expensive, not as clean, poorer quality, and overall just sucky.  I had to take matters into my own unmanicured hands. 

Unfortunately, the aforementioned unmanicured hands are less than steady, and eventually I had to give up on polished fingernails.  Toes were do-able providing no one looked too closely, but the colors I had with me on the tundra weren’t really foot-appropriate.  There happened to be a respectable-looking beauty supply store in the Colonnade, the “ultra-posh” strip mall across the street from our apartment in the equally “ultra-posh” Briar Cove complex.  Desperate for something to do, I made nail polish selection my official Wednesday errand and looked forward to this important task.

When I hit the beauty supply store, I spent half an hour poring over various shades and brands of wine-colored nail polish before settling on a delightful, deep burgundy hue called “Berry Hard.”

Eagerly, I headed to the cashier and waited for at least 10 minutes while a mohawked hairdresser paid, in pennies, for approximately 40 bottles of shampoo. Just as the transaction seemed to be wrapping up, the hairdresser noticed a mysterious ingredient in the shampoo he was purchasing: placenta. This fascinated him.  He launched into a series of questions about the origins, purpose and effect of “play-say-nta,” as if his upscale clientele in YPSILANTI really gave a shit.

At last it was my turn to pay, and I placed the bottle of “Berry Hard” on the counter with the pride and anticipation of a child who had saved all her life for one toy. 

“Cane I see your lay-cense?,” asked the stylish cashier who had obviously bought her outfit at Forever 21 but told herself she was clad in Prada.
 
“My license? You need my driver’s license for a $3-bottle of nail polish?”
 
“No,” replied the cashier. “Don’t you hay-ve your byew-uh-tician lay-cense?”
 
It was hard to refrain from uttering my Michigan mantra — ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? — but I have to admit, I also felt like a dejected moron. I felt like the whole state had broken me.

 “No ma’am, no I do not. I am not a licensed beautician.” I could barely speak above a whisper. My shame was evident.

“Well then Aim sorry, you cane not shapp in this store. It’s just for the industry.”

Miserable, I walked home and went online to see if there were any other places I might be able to purchase one little bottle of nail polish.  (Keep in mind that while I did have access to a decent CVS, said store did not carry products by Essie, the company that made “Berry Hard.”) It turned out there was another beauty supply store just a short drive away, and they sold “Berry Hard.” Again I found the bottle, caressed it longingly and waited on line to pay. Again I received the news that only lay-censed byew-uh-ticians could dispense cash there. To make matters worse, a lard-ass manicurist at the register next to me was buying several bottles of THE VERY SAME SHADE. It was a cruel trick of the pedicure gods.

There was one more option: a place on the other side of town. 

This time, I didn’t get my hopes up.  Before heading down Nail Polish Row and checking to see if “Berry Hard” was an option, I asked if one had to be a licensed beautician to shop there. It was a question I never in a million years imagined I’d have to utter.

A kindly salesperson replied that the store was open to shoppers of all professions.

“Even out-of-work publicity writers?!”

“Even out-of-work publicity writers.”

 She was like Glynda the Good Witch.  I wanted to hug her. 

At last, “Berry Hard” would be mine.  If only that store SOLD “Berry Hard.”

That night, I relayed the story to Sloth. I hoped he’d be so upset about my trauma that he’d offer to quit his job the next day and move back to civilization pronto.  But he found it rioutously funny.

He was still chuckling a few hours later when I came out of the bathroom sporting two coats of “God Save the Queen’s Nails.”

Tales From the Tundra: Another Nail In the Coffin

Tales From the Tundra: Can’t Get There From Here

saladpita.jpg

 

You may or may not have picked up on the fact that the six months I spent in Michigan with my ex-husband were not exactly the happiest chunk of my life.  Allow me to put it this way: one year for a human is seven years for a dog.  Similarly, one month in Michigan was an eternity for me.  So as far as I’m concerned, I spent six eternities in that craphole.

There were, of course, a few good things that came from my midwestern experience.  One was Ollie, the ginormous-headed Wheaten terrier we got from a breeder at the cutely named Raisin Tree Farms. Two was the availability of chipatis (pictured above) from Pizza House (conveniently located in both Ann Arbor and East Lansing).  Chipatis are really just shredded salad ingredients in giant pitas, but the accompanying condiment — a mysterious elixir of what I suspect to be salsa and ranch dressing — is dee-licious.  Three was the scrawny and kindly college student at Bed, Bath & Beyond on Washtenaw who suggested I watch a new show called “Family Guy.” But honestly, that’s about all I can say without cursing.

My geographic frustration began right away. I arrived in Michigan from New York at the end of July, and it was already cold.  I felt like a member of the Donner party, realizing too late I wasn’t going to make it — the elements, circumstance and a series of poor decisions would triumph over my will.  On the second day of my creepy new life, I took the Jeep — which, by the way, isn’t the easiest car to drive when you’re five feet, no inches — and decided to seek solace in the extra-wide aisles of the local Meijer (pronounced like “Myer”) superstore. 

I had no idea where anything was, of course, so very logically, I called Meijer to ask for directions.  The conversation went like this.

Hi, I’m coming from the depressing apartment complex on Eisenhower Boulevard.  Can you tell me how to get to your store?

Five-second pause.

WHOO! WHOOOOO BOY. I sher doon’t think I cane. I am so say-ree hon.  I just doon’t noo what to tale you.

Five-second pause on my end due to horrible realization that I now live in Michigan.

Oh. Okay. Well, how did you get to work today? Maybe that will help.

Five-second pause.

WHOO.  Ache-tually, may husbay-nd draped me off on his way to work.

Five-second pause as I see if there’s anything in the car I can use to hang myself at the next light.

Maybe there’s someone else there I could ask for directions?

Five-second pause, then significant volume increase.

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAANK! HANK! HANK! Theers a young lady on the phoon who needs day-rections. Cane you peak up?

Audible clip-clopping.

OOHkay hon. Thay-ts Hank, may husbay-nd. Hay-ng on.

 

Five-second pause as I process the fact that “Hank” didn’t merely deposit his wife at Meijer and continue on in his American car to another place of employment, but actually works there as well.

 

Whoo boy! I sher hope Hank cane tell me where the fuck May-er is, or I’m giving up and going to Tear-get.

Tales From the Tundra: Can’t Get There From Here

Escape From 313

I mean no disrespect to those of you from the Great Lakes State, but I really do not care for the Motor City or its outlying areas. I have my reasons. You’ll probably read about some of them here! You’d have your reasons too if ever you’d spent more than a week there when you weren’t cheering for the Wolverines.

As such, I wanted to highlight a line I just heard Jay Leno utter during a monologue reference to the city’s fallen mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick:

Any chance you have to get out of Detroit, TAKE IT.

Escape From 313