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The morning after

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

In an effort to distract myself from the early polls, last night I watched “Believe,” a 2013 documentary about Justin Bieber. Before you deem this an unpatriotic use of my time on the evening of an unprecedented election, remember that based on Trump’s non-existent qualifications, Bieber has a shot at being president someday too.

Given the option, I’d choose Bieber.

At 3am, I was still awake, gutted and reeling from the outcome of the night. A few despairing texts with friends were exchanged – but ultimately, I was alone with the thoughts in my head, thoughts that amounted to a single line from Justin Bieber’s song “Baby,” over and over and over: Shake me ‘til you wake me from this bad dream.

I have never been overtly political, especially online, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t think deeply about the issues and have strong feelings about candidates – candidates on both sides of the aisle. I’m generally a left-leaning moderate, tempered by the fact that I’m a staunch capitalist. Whether on the presidential or the local scale, I have voted Republican, Democrat, and Third Party.

(Let it be known that I have never voted for anyone representing the Legal Marijuana Now party. Cool name, though – straight to the point.)

(I’ve also never smoked marijuana. Honestly, I can hardly believe it myself.)

In the case of the year 2016, I cast my vote for president based on the conviction that (and please read my tone here to be steady, not hysterical) Donald Trump has shown himself to be an arrogant, sexist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic demagogue who, given his attacks on [name any vulnerable community], being endorsed by the KKK, and his pending rape trial (okay just a tiny bit hysterical), is utterly unfit for the presidency of the United States of America. He represents hatred. He represents greed.

And now he represents our country.

Like many of you, I am astonished; I was naïve enough to believe that this would never actually happen. This morning I sat with my friend Stacey on the front porch while our dogs played in the yard, and we didn’t know what to say.

To my African-American nephew, all of my friends of color, my LGBTQ friends, my Muslim friends, my immigrant neighbors, my fellow women, and every child who is watching this burning wreckage, I am with you. My marching orders are to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, none of which are passive. But I have often been passive. I am so sorry.

Onward, arms linked. We are in this together, now more than ever.

Old enough

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

I only slept for five hours. When I woke, it was to a frigid house and a dull ache in my lower right abdomen.

Foxy was on the bed with me, curled up like a coyote, snout tucked beneath her tail. While she’s welcome on the bed, she usually doesn’t choose to be there. She’s independent and she needs her space. We’re a lot alike.

This morning, I was glad to find her on the bed. I wasn’t alone. I was freezing and weirdly in pain, but I wasn’t alone.

I picked up my phone and typed it in — abdominal pain lower right side — and it spit out the answer, the authoritative answer: Appendicitis. Go to the hospital immediately, it said. It will burst within 24 hours, it said. Once it bursts, it’s too late. You are dead, it said.

Appendectomy cost, I typed. I found a story about a Reddit post in which the bill for a 20-year old guy totaled $55,000. “I guess I’ll never afford that wallpaper,” I thought. Mentally subtracting my very high insurance deductible from my bank account, I decided that before driving myself to the hospital, I should try drinking some Metamucil, which I stock in my cupboard because at some point, I became old enough to stock Metamucil in my cupboard.

I got out of bed and put on a down jacket and wool socks. Why was the house so cold? I made my way down the stairs and into the kitchen. Two rounded teaspoons of orange powder in a tall glass of water, then down the hatch. Within 30 minutes, I felt fine.

Appendectomy averted.

But the furnace. The furnace wasn’t working. The thermostat read 50 degrees. I texted Dane next door and asked him if he knew anything about furnaces, and he said he didn’t, but came over to look anyway. We took the panels off the machine and looked inside with flashlights — for what, we didn’t know.

I found a big cricket dead beside the furnace, and then realized it wasn’t a big cricket but a tiny mouse. Not an insect. An actual mammal with bones. How long had it been there? Did whatever killed the mouse kill the furnace, too? I grabbed it in a dryer sheet and threw it in the dumpster.

I called an HVAC repairman, and he showed up in the afternoon. I left him in the basement. Later, he called me downstairs. “What I’m about to tell you will make you want to tell me to get the hell out of your house,” he said.

The furnace is shot. I need a new one. They recommend also replacing the AC unit at the same time, especially since my AC unit is already over 20 years old, on its last legs. I thought about telling him to get the hell out of my house. When he gave me the estimate, I stared at him, and then said, “I want to curl up in a ball on this basement floor.” He laughed. I didn’t. It’s more money than I’ve ever spent on anything, even a car, save this house itself.

But my house is so cold.

I almost did it. I almost signed on the dotted line, which would have guaranteed me a brand new HVAC system by Tuesday. But at the last minute, as the salesman was walking around my house counting and measuring the windows in order to file the permits, my defeated, slumped shoulders straightened up.

If I’m old enough to stock Metamucil in my cupboard, then God knows I’m old enough to have learned to seek a second opinion, and probably a third. I’m also old enough to know that money is just money, so even if it’s worst case scenario, well, oh well. I’m old enough not to panic at a financial gut punch. I’m old enough to look a man in the face and let him know that I will not be pressured into anything.

And if I’m that old, then I’m definitely old enough to sit at my dining room table at 8pm on a Saturday night just typing out the events of the day.

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My favorite words, via Emily McDowell

The stuff of horror films

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

This time last year, I was seeing ants in my kitchen. I eventually discovered that they had raided my sugar bag, so I threw it out, and from that point on, I’ve kept my sugar in the freezer – and thus, an ant-free kitchen.

But a few weeks ago, I saw an ant.

And you know what they say: where there’s one ant, there are lots of more ants. (I don’t know if that’s what they actually say.)

For weeks, I have seen ants in my kitchen – but I was never able to figure out their point of genesis. I cleaned the kitchen cabinets, Cloroxed the counters, sealed every food item, and cleared every crumb after every meal.

Still, the ants came marching one by one.

The other night, I was setting my coffee for the next morning. I poured the water into the machine, and as I did, I caught sight of an ant camouflaged on the side of the black coffee maker.

I killed it.

And then, I saw another ant come crawling out of the machine.

So I killed it, too.

And all of a sudden, there was a flood, a deluge, a gushing of ants coming out of my coffee maker.

My coffee maker.

The hotbed was IN MY COFFEE MAKER.

Shockingly, I didn’t scream, but I made a pathetic, drawn out, traumatized noise of some sort – somewhere between a moan and a cry and a “Die, scum” sob. I aimed the bottle of Clorox at the teeming swarm, and just started spraying – spraying like a stream of Charlie Sheen nonsense. Finally, I slammed the lid shut, took the entire coffee machine, dumped it in a Hefty bag, and marched it to the dumpster.

You do realize what this means, right?

For weeks, I have been drinking coffee that has been STRAINED THROUGH ANTS.

I will never, ever recover from this.

The saddest day

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

I know.  You have been nervously refreshing the page every moment since last Friday, awaiting an update as to the Honda’s fate.

Well, people, I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that I’m alive.

The bad news is that if oil were blood, my engine would be the beaches of Normandy.

The burning rubber smell of last week was due to an oil leak on par with the BP debacle of 2010 – but I had that under control, and it wasn’t the Honda’s demise.  The unrelated, unexpected, and ultimate downfall came when the timing belt snapped, and there was internal damage to the engine.

The good news is that this happened Sunday morning 8 miles outside of Kansas City, and I’ve been able to stay with my brother and sister-in-law and nephews.

The bad news is that I will never drive the Honda again.

I will never drive the Honda again.

This isn’t how I imagined it would happen.  After all I’ve been through with and in this small-but-mighty car, I envisioned the end to be the engine catching on fire, or hitting a bighorn sheep or something.  I kind of hoped for a more spectacular blaze of glory.  Instead, death came quickly and silently, rolling the Honda to a quiet stop on the shoulder of I-70.

The nail in the coffin was the price quote for a full repair.  Dude, if I had that much money, I would buy Christian Bale to CARRY ME AROUND.

So just after it’s 21st birthday, I am selling my beloved Honda for salvage.  The money I’ll get isn’t enough to cover what I’ve spent in the last 24 hours.  I know, it’s just money.  But still – lame, right?

As for me, I am stranded in Kansas City.

And I haven’t been home for 6 weeks.

I’ll let you figure out how I’m doing.

Rest in peace, old Honda friend.  Here’s to the good times.

Have I mentioned my state of physical woe?

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Last Thursday morning, I was in a car accident.  Don’t worry – the Honda’s fine – or, at least she will be after the other guy’s insurance pays for a new $750 bumper.  Do you know what this means?  I am losing my bumper stickers.  All of them.  No more “FRESH BEER.”  No more “VIVA NASHVEGAS: EAT MORE RHINESTONES.”

This is probably for the best.

While my car will be spiffed up in no time, I am suffering the effects of whiplash.  My lash was whipped.  I am stiff and sore, and can barely turn to the left to check my blind spot when I drive.  I don’t even want to think about what further calamity this could lead to for the Honda.

But you can’t keep a badass down, and on Sunday, I walked a grand total of 17 miles – a 9 mile hike south of the city, and then an 8 mile walk back in Denver.  When I finally got home, with the force attainable only by a girl who had just walked 17 miles, I stubbed my toe on the couch.  I stubbed it so hard, so mightily, that I thought I was going to pass out from the pain.

It didn’t take long to figure out that my toe – the same one that I broke back in January – is blasted to smithereens.  I won’t go into the dirty details, but let’s just say that it’s swollen beyond recognition (I’m sorry, are you a toe?), and black, and the bruising wraps around to the bottom of my foot, spidering its way up the ball.

Sorry.  Maybe those were the dirty details.

So that brings us up to the present moment: ice on my foot, heat on my neck, wishing for whiskey.

Good morning.

In other news, look what happened to my sister.  She’s always getting picked up by guys.

I AM ONE GIANT STRESS BALL.

Monday, June 14th, 2010

I am flying to Nashville tonight, and am the world’s worst packer.  No, really.  War is to mankind as Annie is to packing.  I ruin everything.  I pack too little, or too much, or all the wrong shoes.

Speaking of shoes, I bought a yellow dress to wear to Brook & Cara’s wedding this weekend, and I don’t have the right shoes for it.  I’m panicking.  I don’t have time to go buy new shoes – and even if I did, what WOULD be the right shoes to wear with this yellow dress?

Also, I know: I bought a YELLOW dress, something I really thought should never happen.  But I was feeling ballsy, so I bought it.  When I told my mom, she said, “Yellow?  YELLOW?  Are you sure?”  So now my confidence is shaken.  I’m worried that I will look ugly in yellow.  It really isn’t my color, I know.  I should have known better.

Last night, I dreamed that the Honda was broken into, and my big red leather bag was stolen, along with my laptop, my wallet, and my calendar.  I was most upset about my calendar.

It’s 55 degrees in Denver, and my fingers and toes are frozen.  But I’m heading to Nashville where I am going to melt like jelly in a frying pan – and not in the good, fluttery, crush-worthy way.  In the “this must be what it feels like to die” kind of way.

All I want to do is tell you how I made homemade cantaloupe bruschetta yesterday, and how amazing it was.  But I can’t.  I can’t, because EVERYTHING FEELS WRONG RIGHT NOW.

!!!!!!! !! !! !! !! ! ! !!!!!!!! ! !!!!

If you can’t bear your ugly heart on the internet, well then.  I just don’t want to live in that kind of world.

Annie Parsons: Ex-Con

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Although I watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics last week, I have yet to watch an actual Olympic.  However, I must say that I’m liking Shaun White these days.  I don’t know why – I never paid him any attention before.  But isn’t he so likable?  His big smile and happy heart?

Don’t you think Shaun White has a happy heart?  He seems like it.

You know who DOESN’T have a happy heart today?  Yours truly.  The DMV is officially the thorn in my side, the hitch in my get-up.  After basically being accused of being a criminal and driving a stolen vehicle, they refused to issue me Colorado license plates.  I now have no choice but to make an appointment with a little organization called the COLORADO STATE PATROL to clear my name.

It’s practically the Salem Witch Trials.

Except, come to think of it, not really the same at all.

Musicless

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

I am spoiled, and I am the first to admit it.  Why, you ask?  Well, among many other reasons, I have two identical black Macbooks – one personal, and one for work.  Let’s be real: that is just ridiculous.  More than anyone could ever ask for.

But last week, my personal Macbook went kaput.  It’s broken – broken like… searching for a simile… broken like… my toe?  Except my toe has a fighting chance at mending – and I really don’t think that the computer will be resurrected.  I turn it on, and it pulls up a white screen.  That’s all.  It’s like the moment after Juliette hits the bomb with the rock, except it never skips to the credits.  Eternal nuclear uncertainty.

Get over it, Annie – right?  I mean, I have a WHOLE OTHER COMPUTER.  But my personal laptop held all of my iTunes, all of my pictures, all of my super secret documents that no one is ever allowed to see.  Most of it is backed up on an external hard drive, but I don’t want to put it on my work computer.  So there it will remain – locked up forever.

Mostly this is bad because I want to sync my iPod to my iTunes to get my new music and podcasts.  And not only can I not put them on my iPod, I can’t even access my iTunes at all.  I am SOOOOOOO BORED with my current selection of songs (I only have ninety million or something).  And Ira Glass is saying things that I might never get to hear – which makes me panic.

IRA!!!!  I NEED YOU!!!!!!!!

I had recently downloaded Sara Groves’ latest, “Fireflies and Songs,” but have no way of hearing it again.  Lady Antebellum has a new album released today.  The Handy Graham recommended Sarah Jarosz – and since he was the first one to tell me about eastmountainsouth, I trust him – not that it matters, since I can’t get my grubby paws on these songs.

Today, I have India Arie and Phil Collins on YouTube.  It’s all I have left.