Thursday, January 19, 2017

2 Heroes and a Ziplock Bag

As I reflect on my life, I've found any interesting stories I have to tell are either:
A.  Run-ins with celebrities.
B.  Disgusting experiences that strip me of any class or dignity.
C.  Self humiliation.
We are going with category B tonight.  As full disclosure; men, this deals with womanly issues so be smart and stop now.  It's not nearly as bad as the Coachella story, but it still took my dignity nonetheless.  If you missed the Coachella fiasco, read it here.
Last weekend while traveling back to Arizona from California, nature began to call.  I had passed Indio and was about 50 miles from Blythe.  There was one rugged gas station I had the opportunity to stop at, but figured I could easily hold it for another 40 minutes. 
Then, the horrible sight of traffic build up appeared ahead.  Ugh!  Always construction!! But it wasn't construction.  We came to a dead stop.  After 20 minutes of idling, I finally turned off my car.  As I watched other drivers get out of their cars to mix and mingle and solve whatever problems were ahead, I decided to take the break and try to enjoy the most of it. 
 Sadly, I was bored after 10 minutes.  I started putting out the text to friends:  "Get on a computer and find me an access road out of here."  
Seriously, super impressed with my friends as they carried themselves like Houston Space Center, as well as the Find Friends app as they located my exact location and proceeded from there.  Unfortunately it didn't get me far.  The consensus was in, I was in the worst location possible. I was literally stuck.  
1 hour in.  My bladder is beginning to knock to get my attention. 
Plan A:  What is it we say to those who have to 'go?'  "Think of a dry, hot desert."  Duh, Jen, open your eyes and look around.  Concentrate!   I had desert, sand, sun, death all around me.  I'm here to tell you, that theory sucks and doesn't work.  
Plan B:  Use a bush.  Have any of you been in the desert?  This is the biggest and best bush you're going to find on that route:

I might as well just squat in the middle of the road.

Now, what I didn't post on social media was that urinating was only half of my issue.  The other issue was it was the second day of my period.  Women, you know what that equates to, right?  I was on the verge of needing a blood transfusion.  Again, using a glorified tumbleweed wasn't discreet enough for the events that needed to transpire.  

Plan C:  Use my 4 door car as a shield as I squat between the front and back door.  Good call. Unfortunately, I was in the left lane.  Cars going west bound still had access to the eye candy and  again, I would've left what looked like road kill on the road.  Plan C, out.

Plan D:  Relying on human kindness.  This would consist of me begging someone to use their RV or motor home bathroom.   As I looked around at my options, I wasn't too optimistic.  Either the RV's were shady and/or their owners appeared to be.

Plan E:  My friend offered me some Red Vines for my drive back.  I denied her twice, yet she insisted and threw them in a Ziplock bag.  That Ziplock was the only thing I could possibly use as a makeshift toilet.  Problem, I had a very curious semi truck driver in the right lane next to me that had been endlessly looking in at me and making creepy eye contact.  Not gonna happen, buddy.  

2 hours in.  I don't know anything else in my body exists besides my bladder.  3 cars ahead of me, a  man has opened his trunk and is serving hard liquor from the bottle.  4 cars decide to go rogue and attempt to drive off the road in search of the side access road (that thanks to my friends I knew only lead to a dead end reservoir); one of the cars gets stuck in sand.  2 cars behind me a woman is arguing with her husband, kids crying in the backseat.  Because of them, I decide to check my rear view mirror more closely.  A few hundred yards back, it's as if the heaven's opened:

She was like an angel, sent just for me. All I needed to do was meet her owners, become BFF's with them in a 5 minute time frame, and plead for their kindness as I reassure them this experience will bond us forever.  I stuck some money in my pocket just in case they already had best friends and I could offer a wad of cash instead. 
 I abandoned my car and made the journey while reciting in my head the many different ways the conversation could go and what my approach would be.
My luck, 2 men in their late 50's early 60's.  Typically the best age I relate with.  They tend to think I'm funny and cute and feel pity for me and I look to them as a father figure so I'm naturally comfortable and needy. 
"Hey guys, you selling tickets for the use of your bathroom yet?"
"Sorry, hon, wish we could. We aren't the owners, we are just paid to transport the thing.  With it being a $400,000 vehicle WE can't even use the bathroom."
UGH!!! None of my scenarios went like this. Back to Plan A.  
Dang it!  Still not working!!
"We've seen some ladies go out to the desert."
"Yeah, where??? There's absolutely no discretion."
"One will usually hold a blanket up for the other."
"Hmm, I have a sunscreen in my car."  (Sounding pathetic, intentionally).
"We have a blanket in here you could use, just have one of your friends hold it for you."
(Not only sounding pathetic, but also trying to lay on the pathetic look).  "Yeah, I could probably find someone to hold it for me."
"Wait, are you all by yourself??"
Quivering lip, and nod of the head.
(Now the conversation turns between the two of them).
"We could probably let her use it, right?"
"I won't tell if you don't."
"We have no power, and it's not hooked up."
"If we had some water, we could dilute it and manually flush it."
"GUYS!! I have a water bottle in my car I could go get!!!"
"OK, she can use it, but she can't tell a soul."
I make the gesture of a zipped lip as I walk back to the car to grab my water. 
While I'm celebrating the fact I'll be relieved, I'm also freaking out about the tampon situation.  I can't leave that in there if they are going to have to get in there and do something manually.  They are going above and beyond to help me out, the last thing I want to do is leave them parts of my uterus to dispose of.  
As I grab my water bottle, I see Red Vine's poking their heads out of my purse as if to say, "Hey, remember us?!?"  I've hit full delusion at this point. The licorice was talking to me. I dump them out in my purse, grab the Ziplock and shove it down my pants.
The guys (my heroes) also managed to dig up some fast food napkins for me to use as toilet paper.
 It was probably one of the best and stressful pees I've ever had.  You have to have the speed of a pit crew to pee quickly without letting a drop of blood land in the water. 
After a successful transaction, I was left with a Ziplock bag full of a murder scene.  Now what?  Where am I going to put this?  Before you go thinking I stashed it in the motor home, come on, people!  Give me more credit.  These men were my heroes, the last thing I was going to do was something that could jeopardize their employment.  I just needed to get the bag to my car where I could throw it in the trunk until a proper place to dispose of it.  So, I shoved it in the waist of my pants, in all it's warmth and glory.  Before I leave, I take a good look around the nicest bathroom I've ever been in on the 10 Freeway, look at myself in the mirror, and pat myself on the back that I lived to survive another day.
2 and a half hours in.  I still haven't made it back to my car.  The men are STILL talking to me.  One is a retired cop and at least knows the details of why we're stopped...police chase turned police shootout just a mile up the road.  I can't concentrate on a conversation. I'm trying to strategically hold the bag with my body so it doesn't slide down or out.  
3 hours in.  Police helicopters overhead announce traffic will be moving again.
I proceed to give the men a hug before I rush back to my car.  Meanwhile,  unaware that my shirt had been caught up in a portion of my pants,  exposing the Ziplock bag all along. 
Morale of the story:  Just stop in Indio and use the restroom, use problem solving skills--preferably before going on a trip by yourself, stranger danger doesn't exist in these situations, Ziplock bags save lives, and always and forever, human kindness exists.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Finally, Color!

When we moved in the house years ago, the thought of painting the entire thing exhausted me before I even packed one box.  I admit, I got lazy and did the unimaginable for me--I paid someone else to come in and paint every square inch...walls, baseboards, doors, closets.  I wanted it fresh and neutral because I wasn't sure how I was planning to design my home.  As you can tell, I didn't do anything real exciting for color with my furniture either.  Hence, the pictures below: drab, boring, and total snoozers.  

I did reupholster those floral dining room chairs though...those bad boys were my first reupholster job and took me an entire summer. Alas, the dining room is my next project.
Now, I'm normally not one to paint my walls a dark color, but I really wanted some contrast and pop.  And for whatever reason, my iPhone picture quality stinks and everything is super grainy, buy you get the idea of the 'after':

I wanted a tufted couch, and I knew I wanted another brown (don't ask me why) but one with a gold/copper tint to contrast with a royal color.  The problem with most tufted couches, other than the cost, is the low back, I had yet to find an actual comfortable one, and the feeling that you're a giant sitting on dollhouse furniture. Your head ends up resting against a wall, your butt nearly goes to the edge and looks and feels like the most uncomfortable thing.  I had been looking for the perfect set for over a year and had almost given up.  Then, one day, I walked into Pruitts into their last showcase floor room.  Rays of light shone and I swear I heard a choir singing.  Almost as if in my head, I found exactly what I'd been imagining.  The only drawback are these things are HUGE. (Said in my Donald Trump voice).  Jason looks like he climbed the beanstalk and appears to be an 8 year old while sitting in them.  

I went with smaller modern style tables from Ross and geometric pieces from Hobby Lobby; had I gone with anything bigger no one would be able to walk in the room.  I had decided to go with a royal blue due to the copper and golds.  At first I was looking at big area rugs, but once those couches were in the room, it felt like everything needed to be smaller.  Again, the picture doesn't do it justice, but this is a glittered shag I bought from the At Home store.  Background story:  The only one left was one they just opened to display- which the manager was using to set up a Christmas display.  I told her I wanted it and that I hoped it wouldn't be too much of a problem.  Her response:  "Yes, it's a problem."  Me: "Sooo, this means I can't purchase it?"  Her:  "Well, yes, you can purchase it, but it's still a problem and hassle for me."  Who does that?!  I'm not sure if I ruined her grand plan for the display of the year award, but if someone is willing to pump money into your store, you just deal with it.  I only mention this because this has been a frequent occurrence for me here.  Great, low prices, but you pay in having crappy customer service.

Also got the gold sun mirror at At Home, but am still debating putting a piece of art there or possibly trying to find a bigger mirror.  Notice my Valentine holiday tree in the background?? :)

My mom and I love going to antique stores.  The quality is sound and we find some really amazing pieces.  One of which was these pair of seriously outdated wall sconces.  I loved how big they were (to compete with the King Kong couches), and the fact that I don't have any wall sconces instantly made me covet them.  Problem, since it was an antique mall, the Brass Armadillo, hence no refunds.  I had to make sure I could do something with these hideous retros before I spent Jason's hard earned cash.  I went back 3 times within a couple months stalking them.  I took Jason to get his opinion and the look on his face made me second guess myself, or possibly be more determined.  The copper night lights and brass fixtures were perfect, but those shades and wood handles were the issue.

I refinished the wood and painted them gold, and got these fabulous lamp shades at Lamps Plus.

I'm still on the hunt for some bigger sized pillows to go with the blue and gold pillows and will remove the animal print if you have any ideas, let me know!