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The baby squirrel, and all that followed

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

My sister Becca has this story. And I’ve asked her to tell it to me, like, three times because it’s so good. Now I want to share it with you.

Awhile back, Becca found a baby squirrel alone in her driveway. Here it was:

babysquirrel

Her dogs were barking, and she knew she couldn’t leave it – so she did what any animal lover would do: she wrapped it in a towel, brought it inside, and put it in a puppy kennel.

She called Animal Control, but got a voicemail message. “If this is an emergency, call State Patrol,” it said. So she called State Patrol.

A gruff man answered: “State Patrol.”

“Um, is this where I should call if I found a baby squirrel?” Becca asked.

Silence.

State Patrol was obviously no help, so she did an internet search and got the contact information for a wildlife sanctuary called Squirrel Creek. She got in touch with the nicest man, who told her to yeah, sure, bring the squirrel on down!

So she and her husband Mike drove down to Littleton after work, and pulled up at a huge lodge. They were confused because it looked like a business – a restaurant, even – but when they knocked on the door, a lone man answered. “Come on in!” he said.

They walked into a huge, empty banquet room, complete with a full bar and everything. “So, what is this place?” Mike asked.

“Oh, it’s a wildlife refuge. Also, a restaurant and a bar and a swing club and an events center.” With visions of swing dancing happening on the dance floor, Becca and Mike left the squirrel and headed home.

Becca posted an update on Facebook, telling her friends that the baby squirrel had been taken care of, and gave a shout-out to Squirrel Creek for being so great. They told all of their friends about this cool place down in Littleton – and maybe they should all go sometime?

Until one of their friends googled it. And they found this:

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 9.42.48 PM

They’d invited all of their friends to a 50,000 MEMBER SWINGERS CLUB. (Also a wildlife sanctuary. Of course.)

Hide-a-man

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

If you want to feel like a paranoid detective, vacillating between despair, outrage, and downright morbid terror, watch Broadchurch. Despite my glowing summation, I promise you it is the best show I’ve watched in ages. Season 1 is only eight episodes, and you will devour them like a half-starved bloodhound. (But seriously, a horrifying plot – a murder mystery surrounding the death of an 11-year old boy – that might make it hard to sleep at night. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

Broadchurch murder on back burner

All that to say, I’ve had morbidity on the brain.

So today when I was speaking to a Minneapolitan realtor about the neighborhood in which I’m buying a house (the lovely Bryn Mawr) and he told me it was a “hide-a-man area,” I froze.

“What do you mean, ‘hide-a-man’?” I asked. “Have they seriously found bodies here?”

He blinked. And then,

“I said ‘high demand.’”

Winning people over right and left!

Best Cousin Ever

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

I met my friend Nicole several years ago at the wedding of mutual friends. We bonded over gin & tonics, and stuck close together since we didn’t know many other people there. In the four busy years since we met, we’ve managed to get together a few times a year for drinks and gossip – and for being someone I see so infrequently, she’s still one of my favorite people.

A few weeks ago, we were texting back and forth, just catching up on life. Nicole mentioned that she’s dating someone, that she’s had a recent career change, and that since I’m single and fabulous (obviously), she wanted to set me up with her cousin. I trust her judgment of men, so I gave her the green light. She said she’d make the introduction.

Fast forward to this weekend. Nicole and I had made plans to meet for brunch, and as we texted about the time and place, she mentioned, “I know Chris wants to meet you too. Can we work him into the plan?” So on Saturday morning, I walked to Sassafras to meet Nicole and her cousin.

Nicole is the kind of person who sets everyone at ease, and Chris immediately struck me as the same. Conversation between the three of us was easy and pleasant, and I had the thought, “Everyone in their family must be so nice.” Nicole told me that Chris had moved into her house, which sounded kind of fun – because as a woman, what better roommate to have than your male cousin? He could reach the top shelf in the closet and lift the heavy things. They even bought new couches together – a true sign of a combined life, probably because Nicole is sweet and generous and wants him to feel at home, I thought. Chris told me that ever since moving in with Nicole, he’s become a runner; Nicole and all of her friends are marathoners, and if he wanted to join that group, it made a lot of sense to me that he would take up the same hobby.

Admittedly, I had never known cousins this close. It sounded like they do everything together, which felt a little odd. But just because I’m not as tight with MY cousins doesn’t mean that others couldn’t be – so I just accepted the fact that they’re best friends and ate my eggs.

Chris was good looking and interesting and quick to smile and so, so nice. But I wasn’t really feeling any kind of vibe between us, which was fine since we were all just having a casual brunch anyway. I was happy to have found a new friend, if nothing else.

About an hour into conversation, I realized I hadn’t heard about Nicole’s boyfriend yet. So I turned to her and asked, “Hey, aren’t you dating someone?”

She looked at me blankly. “Dating?”

Pause. Wrinkled forehead.

And then, with a quick shake of her head, like she was trying to rattle her thoughts into place, she gestured to Chris and said, “I’m dating Chris. This is CHRIS.”

And in that moment, all of the air sucked out of the room.

I looked down at my plate. When I lifted my eyes, Chris and Nicole were staring at me completely flummoxed. There was no getting out of this one, no way to gracefully play it off. Time to face the music.

“I’m sorry, I’m so confused,” I awkwardly blubbered, the red creeping up my cheeks. “I… I…”

“Oh my…” Nicole broke in, eyes wide, the realization suddenly all over her face. “Did you think this was my cousin?”

And we all died. Right there in our chairs, every one of us died a thousand deaths. I don’t know that I’ve ever laughed so hard – while simultaneously wanting to, you know, crawl underneath the table. While Nicole had been introducing me to her boyfriend, now she knew I had been SCOPING HIM OUT FOR MYSELF. No wonder I wasn’t feeling a vibe – the only vibe at that table was between Chris and Nicole. Who are not cousins. I wanted the chef to hit me over the head with a frying pan; please put me out of my misery.

Revisiting Nicole’s text, I realized that she had never said her cousin was coming to brunch – she said Chris was coming to brunch. And isn’t it just like a girl to make that mean whatever she wants it to mean? We then relived every twist and turn of the conversation up to that point, all of which added up to a weirdly intertwined cousin relationship, including a trip to Mexico – which I assumed was a family vacation? We laughed so hard we cried. And maybe I just cried.

Chris and Nicole say they’re going to get T-shirts that say “Best Cousin Ever.” As for me? I’ll go with “Moron.”
best_cousin_ever

Trollhaugen

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Fear not, loyal readers – despite last week’s ridiculous debacle, Foxy and I have not been nabbed by the Canine Gestapo. It probably helped that I was out of town for the second half of last week, far from the arm of Colorado law in a mystical land called Wisconsin.

Actually, I was only in Wisconsin for one night. The bulk of my trip was spent in Minneapolis, a city I pop in and out of for work – but rather than holing up in a hotel room to order room service and catch up on “The Mindy Project” (not that I would have complained), I opted to spend Friday evening doing as the locals do. In this case, I was swept away to a truly bizarre place: Trollhaugen.

They call Trollhaugen a “ski resort,” but it’s really just a hill in Dresser, Wisconsin. Maybe they piled up some dirt with bulldozers? Who knows. What’s important is that the slopes are open until 3am, which, judging by the festivities I witnessed in the lodge, I can only assume leads to many a drunken concussion. But if there’s anything I’m learning about the folks up north (or as the ‘Sconcies* say, nort’), it’s that they are hearty stock.

Drinks were $3.50 (read: three dollars and fifty cents). I ordered the cheese curds, because when in Wisconsin – although upon delivery, I found them to be nothing more than string cheese nuggets that were battered and fried. Again – NOT COMPLAINING. Just giving you an accurate vision. College-aged kids swept in and out of the lodge all night, en route to another kamikaze run down the snowy hill. I kept my parka on the entire time.

And so the evening passed.

The only people I knew were the band that was playing, so during their set, I did something that I’m finding I quite like: I talked to strangers. For being an introvert, I really love people – and given the three significant moves to different cities in my adult life, as well as my propensity to go places by myself, I’m getting pretty good at talking to the ones I don’t know. The trick is to swallow your pride and get nice and comfortable with the awkward, because of course it will be awkward – at least for the first sentence or two, if not the entire interaction. Oh well, get over it. There are worse things in life than awkwardness (see: tapeworms, the DMV, velour sweatsuits, hangnails, loud talkers on airplanes, paper cuts, grenades, running out of hot water when you still have conditioner in your hair, litter, wet socks, people saying “irregardless,” slow internet, the way your hands feel after peeling an orange, cold sores, SeaWorld, stepping on a thumbtack, dental work, passive aggression, Styrofoam, perhaps the way this blog is ending?).

:::::

*I have zero idea if people from Wisconsin are known as ‘Sconcies, but if it’s not already a thing, please. Let’s make it a thing.

Things that have made me laugh as of late

Monday, August 29th, 2011

A few nights ago, I dreamed that I had a bangin’ strapless red dress, and I was so excited to wear it.  I pulled it on, looked in the mirror, and… was reminded that I had recently been tattooed.  Emblazoned across my chest were the words, “Where the stars and stripes and the eagle fly.”

Fail.

– – – – – – – –

One of my favorite parts of my job is when I am called upon to check people’s emails for “references to porn.”  The emails are never actually pornographic, but certain words can flag them as such in our system.  All we have to do is start thinking like a 15-year old boy, and usually, the problematic words and phrases jump off the screen.

Like a dirty treasure hunt!

So on Friday, a bike shop created an email, and then asked me why their email was being flagged.

The very most awesomely awkward conversation is to break the what-should-be-obvious news to someone that their email contains the following words:
purring
rubber
damp
ride
mount
stretch

The kicker?  When making mention of cystic fibrosis, the writer said that the disease is “ravishing children and young adults”

I do believe they meant “ravaging.”

– – – – – – – –

Me: “Take the word folks.  Do you pronounce it FOLKS or FOKES?”
Her: “I say FOLKS.  It has an L in it, after all.”
Me: “But that makes no sense.  There are other words with Ls that no one pronounces.  Like on a bike – no one says SPOLKS.”
Her: “That’s because the word is spokes.”

And my inflated vocabul-ego was flattened like a pancake.

Update: home

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

All of last year, I lived in the apartment above the most silent man of all time.  The only time I ever saw him was when he would stand outside his front door smoking cigarettes with his headphones in, avoiding my eye contact as I would pass him on my way to the third floor.  The bearded mute would never speak – nay, make any noise at all.  For any awkwardness, he was quite possibly the best neighbor I’ve ever had.

I came back after New Years to find that the noiseless hermit had moved out, and been replaced by a frat house.

In the past month, I have occasionally woken up at 4am, wondering why I’m awake.  Oh.  Because there is BELLOWING beneath me.

On Saturday night around 7pm, the hollers had reached a crescendo worthy of an admittedly passive-aggressive stomping on my floor.  Everything fell silent for a moment – until they responded with a broomstick to the ceiling.

Oh hell no.

I left home for a bit, but later that night when I returned, I listened to the crowd of hooligans belt out “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.”  I resolved that if the noise continued past 11pm, I would don brass knuckles and storm apartment #201.

I spent the next 20 minutes pumping myself up for an all-out brawl – but right as I was ready to rumble, I listened to the battalion of delinquents file out of the apartment and down the stairs, heading up the block to the bars on Colfax.  Little do they know that they just narrowly escaped the wrath of a girl with two cocktails in her – just loose enough to not be held responsible for any words or actions.

But last night at 2am – a weeknight, mind you – I was stirred from a dead sleep by yells and laughs and “wooooo!“s.  It was on.  I pulled on my parka over my pajamas, stood in the living room for a minute wishing I had someone to fight my battles for me, and then marched downstairs.

My firm knock on the door was answered by a girl who hid behind it.  She hid behind it.  I never saw her face, but I heard her whimpers of embarrassment to the three men on the couch.  Oh honey, yes, you should be embarrassed.  You should be mortified.  You are sharing a one-bedroom apartment with these goons (do you have bunk-beds? Family bed? I’m genuinely curious), and obviously none of you have jobs, or you wouldn’t be so lively in the middle of the night.

“Hey, y’all,” I crooned.  I often find my alter-ego has a Southern accent.  “My name is Annie, and I’m your neighbor, and I’m so sorry this is the first time that we’re meeting.  But it’s 2am, and -6° outside, and yet I’m standing at your door in my pajamas.  This is how loud you are.  Can you please keep it down?”

Never in my life have I felt so much like an annoying parent-chaperone on a high school band trip.  It was a dark moment for my “cool” factor.

But for my sanity?  VICTORY.

I am switching apartments in a few months, and will no longer have to deal with these ruffians.  Until then, God help them, because these days, my tolerance is wearing thinner than the walls.

Yet another Southwest thriller

Monday, December 20th, 2010

On Saturday, I flew back to Colorado.  I’ll be with my family through Christmas, and then fly back to Nashville for another week – because apparently, I enjoy being a geographical ping-pong ball.

I flew Southwest (like I always do), fell asleep the minute I boarded (like I always do), and slept for the first 60 minutes of the flight (like I always do).  When I woke up in my aisle seat, I noticed the middle aged couple sitting to my right.

They were well-dressed, albeit in a gaudy sort of way – he in fancy cowboy boots, she in a leopard-print shirt and a lot of gold jewelry.  Her hair was meticulously highlighted, which I noticed because she tossed it a lot.  They were loud and spirited and obnoxiously physically affectionate, drinking airline cocktails from plastic cups as they canoodled.  It didn’t take long before I couldn’t take it any more, so I pulled out my laptop, put on my headphones, and started watching a movie with scenes that I secretly hoped would make them uncomfortable: “Alive.”

When all else fails, subject your neighbors to true stories of flesh-eating survival.

Suddenly, the woman made a grand sweeping motion with her hand, and her open bottle of Finlandia cartwheeled off the seat tray and into her lap.

What happened next was immediate.

Her feet remained firmly planted on the floor, and her shoulders pressed to the back of her seat, but her hips?  It was as if some invisible cosmic god reached down, grabbed her by the belt loops, and yanked: the woman’s pelvis thrust straight into the air.

“I am soaking!  It’s everywhere!  It’s all over my seat!” she shrieked.  And then some choice expletives.

And because compassion for the crazy can be a challenge, I stared straight ahead, willing the corners of my mouth to stay still, stifling laughter.

From the corner of my eye, I watched the man use the little Southwest napkins to clean up the vodka from her seat.  This was easy because her pelvis remained skyward – one of the more gauche things I’ve ever witnessed.

But just when I thought things could not get more awkward, the man began to use the napkins to dab up the front of her jeans.

And as soon as I thought up the phrase “crotch blotter,” I knew I had to write this one down.

Oh, for the LUV

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

I’ll just cut to the chase: Southwest Airlines lost my luggage this weekend.

[insert me telling you how this sent me for a minor emotional tailspin, and how I was sick as a dog, and almost broke down and gave up, but soldiered on – for the children, really, and for America]

Flying from Nashville to Austin on Friday night, I was exhausted.  I was getting sick – and I had no Kleenex.  So on the plane, to my horror and shame, I had no choice but to use my sleeve to wipe my insanely runny nose.  Multiple times.

Southwest offered to reimburse me for $50 worth of necessities until they found my bags – which, when you are in town for a wedding, and all you have is the mucus-crusted cardigan on your back, won’t get you very far.  But I appreciated the gesture, and went to Target to max out on the necessary toiletries, medications, and two pairs of underwear.

Why two pairs?  Because I wasn’t sure what kind of a dress I would wind up wearing, and any woman can tell you that different dresses call for different undergarments.  Just… I just needed both pairs, okay?  Always be prepared.

I found a dress and shoes at TJ Maxx, took a hot shower, my meds kicked in, and a great time was had by all at Joey and Sam’s fabulous wedding.  All’s well that ends well, right?

Not so fast, sparky.

Southwest decided to itemize my Target receipt, saying that they weren’t sure that all of these things were truly “necessary” to my survival without my luggage.  Things that made the cut, no questions asked?  Cosmetics.  Medicine.  Eyedrops.  Tampons.  Thanks, guys, for deeming tampons “necessary.”  You are too kind.

The complication?  The underwear.

Apparently, because the luggage was returned within 24 hours, only one of the pairs was considered “necessary.”  And so there at the Southwest counter, I was asked to indicate which pair I wore that day – bikini or thong.  Multiple times, I was asked out loud, “Which pair did you need today?  The bikini or the thong?”

You will never know.

But Southwest does.

I’ll never work(out) in this town again

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

My parents recently enrolled in a gym called Fitness 19 – named such because it’s open 19 hours a day.  Oh, Coloradans – you are so clever with your words!

Due to her recent surgeries, Mom hasn’t been to Fitness 19 in awhile – leaving her membership card available to yours truly.  My workouts on Saturday and Sunday were awesome – convincing me that I might actually acclimate to Mile High altitude, finally get the runner’s booty, and basically win the Nashville half-marathon that I’m registered for in April.  So last night, I went again.

I handed my (mom’s) card to the man behind the counter, and he scanned it.  “Thanks, Susan,” he said.  I smiled at him, and went to the magazine rack to choose some smut to read while on the treadmill.

“Wait – Susan?”

I froze.

“Susan, I think there’s a problem.”

I slowly turned around and faced him.

“Susan, when is your birthday?”

My mind raced.  “June 21.”

“What year?”

My mind raced even faster.  “Nineteen fifty-fii… SHOOT.”  I said it out loud.  “SHOOT.”

“You were not born in the fifties.”

And then, some bizarre calm overtook me.  Like a sociopath, I cooly stated, “You are right.”

He was serious.  “This is not your card.”

Again, conscienceless, “No.  It’s my mom’s.”

He was adamant.  “You cannot work out using another person’s membership.”

“Okay.”  Pregnant pause.  “But can I work out right now?”

He let me run for 40 very awkward minutes on the treadmill.  I ran like I have never run before.  It will be the last that Fitness 19 ever sees of me.

It’s good to be a Parsons

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

For the past several years, Thanksgiving has been the occasion of the Parsons’ Family Christmas Picture.  We usually get some great outtakes – but never so amazing as this.

theshamingofannie

Does anyone know what’s happening here?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Because I have no recollection of this moment.

But clearly, Swayze was wrong: SOMEBODY puts Baby in a corner – and that somebody is Mom.

– – – – – – – –

Mom’s cancer treatment starts today – major surgery in Denver at 4pm.  Thanks for keeping her in your prayers.