Please Pass the Toilet Paper and Other Love Stories

Warning: This one has bathroom humor in it. It might be slightly disgusting to some. Just like many of my other post. I am growing slightly surprised and ashamed that this is actually becoming a trend in my blog.

“What’s so funny?” I came out of the bathroom just in time to see my parents cracking up over a story I definitely had missed somewhere in between peeing and brushing my teeth. Dad wipes a tear from his eye. “Oh it’s a great story about Mom. But I need to give you some historical context first.” Right, cause all of the best stories start off with that sentence right there. But before I begin writing, I’m going to be very honest/ I did not do too much research on this subject to check up after my Dad so I’m not sure how accurate this all is… but I think I got it generally right. At least for the purposes of this story. So apparently: Back in the day, in Korea where my parents both grew up, newspapers and book pages doubled as toilet paper for them. Literally, taking the reading material into the toilet with you and when you were done reading, you wipe yourself.  My dad actually makes references to ripping pages of a book to uses as toilet paper and it doubled as a bookmark. (I must take this time to confess how that broke my little bookworm heart if we are going to be frank but that was the very least of Dad’s concerns or cares so I chose to not bring it up just protruded my bottom lip in protest). Then around the 1980s, or at least this is around the time my parents remembered this happening, toilet paper started to get introduced to the country and it was revolutionary. This paper was specifically for the bathroom and was going to be less tough on the tushy. The problem was that compared to what they were previously using as toilet paper, the current version of toilet paper we consider ordinary was the softest, most luxurious paper that should not be wasted on bum holes. So apparently, it was not uncommon for around that time for Korean households to use toilet paper as napkins or tissues instead of in the bathroom. It doesn’t not seem that strange when you first read that but let it sink in first.

Dad had moved to American many years before Mom came (actually to get the story straight Mom moved after they got married). Because of this, Dad had figured out some of the more obvious culture differences while Mom was still getting used to everything. Soon after Mom moved, they were hosting a dinner party so she could meet a bunch of Dad’s friends. It was going to be one of those fancy dinner parties to impress. She made the most lovely spread of their favorite Korean foods. My dear mother is hands down the best cook in the whole entire world and I will fight anyone who dares to question me on that. Additionally, the thing about Mom that you wouldn’t really expect is that she is actually kind of a perfectionist. Her dishes actually have the appearance of top restaurant quality because in her head, presentation is just as important as taste. So here is the wonderful spread that she prepared that I can only imagine without a doubt looks insanely beautiful. My dad was marveling at it all when Mom suddenly runs out of the room saying something along the lines of “Oh my goodness, I almost forgot something important.” And when she returned, right in the middle of the glorious dinner she had taken hours to make look so fabulous, she plopped a roll of toilet paper. (At this point in the story, Mom interjects by saying that it was in a pretty toilet paper holder but Dad still adamantly makes the point that it was still a roll of toilet paper in the middle of the dinner table) Mom sighed, taking in all her hard work while Dad froze. How was he supposed to explain this to her? His new bride, who had worked so hard and was unbelievably proud of herself, just put a strictly bathroom only prop on the same table they were going to be eating on and also serving friends on. He was ready to drop the hammer when he looked into her eyes and felt unbelievable swells of love at this beautiful young lady who was doing everything she could to make him the happiest man in the world. So in the end, he didn’t tell her. Apparently he didn’t tell her until much later (like years).

Some may think of this as my Dad either chickening out or making my Mom look like a fool in front of his friends. And while that might be at least partially true to some extent if we play devils advocate, the real thing is that when he tells that story, you can still hear the pride in his voice over the hard work my mom put in that day after all these years. Sure they crack up over it all and we all poked fun at Mom, who takes it with grace and humility, but you can tell Dad knew exactly what he was doing. Dad didn’t tell her at that moment because he loved her too much. Because he appreciated her and her dedication. Because she was so happy not knowing. Because to hell with his friends if they made a silly comments or facial expression. Because in that moment all that mattered was that everything Mom did that night was absolutely perfect to him, including the toilet paper, and he wouldn’t change a thing about it. You see, to me at least, that is true love. My parents have been together for 27 years now as I write this. They never let anything like this get in the way of their relationship and I still hear them talk about how they love each other more and more every day. I was once borrowing my Mom’s laptop just a few years ago and accidently saw an email Dad had just sent her counting all the ways he loved her. P.S. if Mom or Dad ever reads this, I promise it wasn’t an invasion of privacy. It was a pure accident. (….are they gone? Do you think they bought it?). The point is that Mom and Dad set the bar pretty darn high and someday I can only hope to find love like that myself. One where I can put toilet paper in front of my spouse before we eat dinner with such pride and importance that he only complements me on a job well done because he knows that is only thing in the whole world that matters in that moment. Screw Cinderella. That’s my version of perfect fairy tale ending.

Putting the Fuse in Not-Confused,

~C

Risk is a Family Game

My Family is very close. That is an important preface to this story. My parents work together in a flower shop so they literally see each other 24/7 and have done so for more than two decades. My brother and I weren’t always close (especially during high school when actually WWIII was happening sometimes) but have forced our sibling relationship over the past few years, especially when we discovered that we actually have a lot more in common as adults (funny how that works out, huh?). Mom and I text mainly in GIFS, Memes, and BitMojis to the point that we simultaneously understand and don’t understand each other. My brother has more than once followed my dad to the bathroom if he’s not finished tell him about his day and my dad takes it and continues to listen. And on that note, my parents have an open-door bathroom policy and always have for as  long as I could remember. When anything happens to me, be it good or bad, they are always 100% the first people I tell. In the shower, when hold my shampoo bottles and pretend to be winning a Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical, they are always the longest and most emotional part of my fake acceptance speech. We are a close family. We tell each other everything. At least most of the time.

There are rare times where just one of us will leave on a trip for a long period of time. The two biggest ones are both when my mom went back to Korea to visit her family. She was gone for a few weeks at a time, leaving Dad, my brother and me to fend for ourselves for a little. This should not have been a problem. However, the first time mom left up to go to Korea, I was in 6 grade. 3 major things happened while she was gone. One, I discovered a new pass time where I would pick at my freckles until they bled, because I wanted to see how deep the pigment went. Two, my brother broke his collarbone playing football with some of the other neighborhood kids. Three, dad bought a boat. Apparently, we completely fell apart without Mom.

So when she needed to leave the three of us alone again to go to Korea just a few years ago, it’s fair to say that she was pretty terrified even though this was more than a 11 years later and now everyone was legally an adult. The worry was real however and it was almost to the point where she didn’t actually want to leave. When we finally convinced her to go, she made sure to track each of all individually and give us a specific request. To me she said, “Please do make any changes to your body”, to my brother “please don’t hurt yourself”, and to my dad “please don’t be in possession of a motorcycle when I get back.” After a little vacation adventure a few months previous where we rode scooters down Red Rock, Dad rediscovered his love for riding choppers. Something he used to do all the time, until he met my mother and was lightly suggested that he doesn’t actually like them. He gladly gave it up for the love of his life, but 26 years into marriage, he figures that she’s probably stuck with him by this point so why not test those waters again. Mom gave him a pretty firm no and made sure to put her foot down again before she left the country for a few day. The night before her departure, we all made our individual promises with smiles and sincere nods. My poor mother.

She is on that plane for less than half an hour before I have to pick my brother up from work because he accidently used hydrogen peroxide instead of contact solution and got chemical burns on his eyes. We stop by the flower shop to tell dad and wait out the time before going to the eye doctor when he says the horrible words I wasn’t even surprised to hear. “Don’t tell mom yet… but I got the motorcycle.” Before we can really react ,Dad is going on and on about how his friend gave it to him his old one for free so she at least wouldn’t be mad about the money, yada yada yada…while I on the other hand was secretly distracted by a little secret of my own and it only forced it’s way up to the surface after Dad’s little confession. And now I finally saw my opportunity to get away with it. He looked at me almost expectantly because I’m the loud smart mouth of the family that likes to rub it in people’s faces when they get things wrong or when they mess up. I’m also the  naturally the class tattletale, when it comes to my mother. What he was not expecting was for me to blurt out a confession I had been holding in for almost a week. I had done the one thing in my life that my parents had explicitly forbidden me to do multiple times but I had taken the risk anyway. “I got a tattoo.” The word came out one of my mouth before I could stop them. Everything gets silent. Dad looks angry at first but then stops. “Well…I’m really in no position to start judging or be mad.” My brother just looks at the three of us at a whole and asks then question we are all thinking: “When do we tell Mom?”

We had a 3/4 family meeting and decided to take the cowards way out and call her while she was still in Korea so that at least he was on the other side of the country and also so there were a few weeks for her to cool off before we actually were face-to-face with her again. That phone call….was not the best phone call to say the least. But in the end, it did not matter. Mom gave us the silent treatment for a little bit (which was impressive since she was more than 7,000 miles away and we could still feel it in our house) but we are still family. We bicker and squabble and silently judge each other. But we are still the family that is super close, that does everything together and apparently, that tends to really screw things up together too.

Putting the Fuse in Confused

~C

Doggie Blues

My roommate’s dog made a run for it one day I was alone with him, and I’m pretty sure that day I experienced my first true panic attack. It’s a strange feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you see your roommate’s brand new dog sprinting down the neighborhood as fast as he can. I dropped my purse and started to sprint after him as fast as I could…in cowboy boots at least. According to Google Maps, I ran for 0.6 miles after this dog. Along the way I passed a group of kids playing soccer and got them to help me chase him for a little bit but eventually even they gave up. I lost him a few times, but then I saw a little kid sitting on the sidewalk breathing heavily every few feet or so. It was like a really messed up version of  Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs. After a while, I caught him in my line of vision and focused on him completely. Every once in a while, he would turn his head and look back at me, see me chasing after him and then run faster. I tried to slow down or stop when he did it again and he would stop for a second or two but that dog was having the time of his life right now. Holy crap was he was living life for those 10 minutes. I wish you could have seen just how happy he was during the worst moments of my life. Don’t worry, this story doesn’t end with him being lost forever or being hit by anything but it doesn’t end that great, for me at least.  

What finally made him stop was a high-schooler on a bike. “Is this your dog?” He yells to me. He has to yell because I’m pretty far back. “Stop him! For the love of god stop that dog!” I scream-cry at him, because I am beyond sobbing by this point. He causally get off his bike, starts to walk up the sidewalk and this dog…he decided to slow down, trot up to the boy and calming starts to use his paw to toy with the kid’s jeans. The boy picks him up and hands him over once I finally catch up. I’m still crying, and this dog is not having it. He does not want to be carried after all the freedom he just had but I was not letting go for anything. I thank the boy through my tears and then start to head home. I look around and have a terrible realization: I don’t know where I am. All I could do was run after this dog, I didn’t know what turns he made or what streets he cut across. I reach for my phone… and then realize that it was in my purse which I had dropped in front of the house when I started the chase. So I start to walk when a voice says “I know a short cut to get back”. One of the kids playing soccer had caught up to me. I find out later that he was in 7th grade. I think he knew I was lost, but didn’t want to make me feel any worse. But, not intentionally, he managed to do that anyway on our way back. He started by apologizing for not being able to keep up to which I profusely told him that I was grateful that he tried. “Yeah,” he said “I have asthma so it’s hard for me to run so much”. Mr. Salt, meet Mr. Wound. Why don’t you get to know each other better. Then he asked “Are you a student?” To which I wasn’t too sure what to respond. I was a graduate student who worked full time… but I think he was asking if I was a high school student. I thought about just going with it but I gave in and told him the truth. I think he responded with something along the lines of “Oh that’s cool” but his face said it all. “You’re an adult?!”

While I was trying to find my way home, holding a squirmy dog and being led my an asthmatic kid in middle school….meanwhile…. my roommate was panicking because when I didn’t go out to the parking lot to meet her, she ventured to the house to find a wide open door, a purse toss in the grass and a roommate and dog missing. She apparently walking up and down the neighborhood shouting my name (which of course I couldn’t hear because I was loooooong gone). It got to a point where someone asked her if she had lost her dog, to which she responded “No! I lost my roommate!”

 The boy successfully shows me the way home and we passed his friends on the way back (along with their parents who quietly judged the crying woman, carrying the wriggling dog who had sprinted past about 20 minutes ago). To try and save face I make a public announcement. “Dogs are a lot harder to take care of than you think.” It was a great statement, I don’t even think it was a grammatically correct statement. As I went up the hill, I hear screeching tires. And then more screeching tires from a different car. My roommates runs into view shouting “What happened?!” Ignoring the angry people in the car behind her. I actually didn’t know what to say. And I was still crying. So we got in her car, we got back to the house. My other roommate (the one that the dog actually belong to) was unnaturally calm and very sweet about the situation. She comforted me more than I comforted her. (I actually got suspicious and thought of all the silent ways someone could commit murder). But in the end, everything was settled. The dog and I both learned a lesson. Until it happened again a few nights later on Halloween. But a Power Ranger caught him that time. And that’s not a sentence you get to say every day.

Putting the Fuse in Confused

~C

The Most Shameful Thing I did in Atlantic City

I went to my first bachelorette party a few weekends ago and I did something that I feel like I will regret very much so in the future. So to start at the beginning, we went to Atlantic City as one does and I guess I was blindsided by all the fun colors and pretty cocktail waitresses walking by but all I can really say for sure was that I was just not in the right state of mind that entire weekend. I was of course happy for my friend who is getting married which is why we were celebrating…which is also why I had to drink all that tequila. I’ll paint a quick picture for you: pre-gaming a little too hard because we started too late, somehow ending up at a strip club, getting fries at one in the morning and stumbling back to our hotel room somewhere between 3am and sunrise. We found our hallway and we were gradually making our way back I saw something silver catch my eye. It was the top of a serving platter, you know the ones that they have when you get room service. There was this tray sitting outside the room two doors down from us, and I stared at it because, 1) not gonna lie the food looks delicious even half eaten and 2) there were two uneaten dinner rolls and one practically uneaten chocolate cake. Me and my roommate stared at the tray as if it was the freaking Mona Lisa (if the Mona Lisa were made out of carbs, which would make it approximately a million times better). And we both were thinking the same thing, we wanted someone else’s discarded leftovers… and we wanted them bad. We silently contemplated this for a little bit before finally deciding to walking back to our room, not taking someone else’s food that they did not want and again silently agreeing that it was all probably touched and sneezed on.

But then out of nowhere at the last second, my friend whipped around, ran back, grab the dinner rolls and was sprinting back to our room. And in that moment of panic and also slightly impressed by her courage, I grab the plate of partially eaten chocolate cake, ran back only to stop halfway to go put the actual plate back down and grab the chocolate cake with my bare hands running into the door as she try to close it Indiana Jones style. After enjoying our rolls and half a piece of cake each, we were pleasantly happy with ourselves and not regretful at all. Until that terrible moment that I remembered this vital fact that somehow slipped my mind (I blame Mr. Tequila) about how hotel rooms tend video  everything going on in their rooms for me legal reasons because Americans sue for everything nowadays. But they also record to catch weird shit like this. Our wonderful bride to be was walking down the hallway just in time to see me crawling on my hands and knees looking up lamp posts and into the carpet trying to find hidden cameras everywhere. She took a second to digest what she was seeing before commenting “You look like the Grudge.” To which I responded “No I don’t! Now stop being crazy and help me find the secret cameras!” In her defense…I saw the footage of myself crawling all over the place that she lovingly took to time to Snapchat, and I must admit I did look pretty demented. She actually showed the video to my roommate who was lying down on the bed and it scared her so much that she jumped up and hit her head really hard on the headboard and ended up with a hug headache. It was that bad When I finally came back to my room not finding any cameras I realize my second mistake now not only does this hotel have video footage of me stealing chocolate cake with my bare hands or, I should specify, already eaten chocolate cake with my bare hands, they also have a decent amount of footage of me crawling on my hands and knees she looking under a little bit of wallpaper in the carpets and anywhere else poking for the cameras which I obviously did not find. So I am watching the news religiously nowadays being wary of the fact that I might appear in one of those weird segment that will eventually become a viral video. So when I went to Atlantic City I did not gamble at all but I left the city feeling that I loss something very valuable at the hotel. My dignity.

Putting the Fuse in Confused,

~C

Shit Happens, A Ramble:

Warning: I write the work Shit a lot in this post. A lot.

 

Here is the thing. Shit Happens. Forest Gump said it first but I’m here to say it second. Shit Happens. When life gives you lemons, it also finds a way to crap all over you in one way or another. Now, I don’t want to be a pessimist, because life is generally really nice. And good. And fun. But more often than you would like, life takes a turn for the worst. And sometimes really bad things happen to really good people for no reason. I would like to believe in karma, but it doesn’t always work out in my favor. So I have settled on a new theory. Shit Happens. One time, Shit Happened to me. Literally. Like, I sat in someone else’s shit while waiting at the airport. I typically try my hardest to never go to public restrooms (and for really good reason too), but when your bladder is about to explode and you are at that age where is it considered “socially unacceptable” to pee yourself in public, there are very little options. Another thing I try really hard not to do is fully sit down on the toilet seat in a public restroom. That is a no brainier. I’m not judgy if anyone else does it, I just prefer not to. So tell me, how in this combination of behaviors, I manage to sit in crap? Because apparently number 1, there are kids who lie to their parents about being potty trained or number 2, adults manage to still miss the toilet seat when going number 2 and refuse to clean up after themselves. Also recall that I do not fully sit down, so you can image just how high this particular pile was. And then the public restroom toilet seat was almost the exact same color of the shit. It was a perfect storm. You are probably asking yourself, how did this girl not see the shit? Well, when you try to hold in your pee as long as possible so you don’t have to go in a public restroom, you tend to not notice your surroundings when you are in a rush to relieve yourself. Also, in this situation how am I anything but the victim (how dare you?!).

So what do you do when you sit in someone else’s shit? Well, first you have a moment of confusion, then a moment of denial, a moment of panic, a moment of horror, a moment of disgust and then finally a moment where you realize the irony of literal shit happening to you. You run to the sink and scrub furious at the back of your leg with soap and water, ignoring the stares you get for other women who did not sit in shit and are silent judging you. You rub your skin until it is beyond red and raw. Then you run to the first gift store you see and buy an absurd amount of hand sanitizer and rub it all over your body. Not just your contaminated leg but your other leg and your arms too. You slather that stuff on like its lotion. Again, people who did not sit in someone else’s feces will stare at you. But it’s okay because you barely notice them. When you finally board the plane, the attendant who takes your ticket will causally sniff the air and give you a weird look that seems to say “Why do you smell like Ethanol?” And you smile back and board the plane while your die a little on the inside because you re-lived the experience. You tell yourself, one day you will laugh about this. One day, this will be one of those insane stories you will tell at parties. One day, this moment will just be a blip in your experiences in life. You will gradually find it comical, you will eventually go even hours without it bubbling back into your head and you might even tell a friend or two that it actually happened without terribly cringing. But here is the thing, you will never completely forget the experience, even months later. No matter how hard you try. Because the real hard cold truth is, that shit will stay with you forever.

Putting the Fuse in Confused,

C

The Confidence of Scars

Recently, I was walking a German Sheppard that my roommates and I were babysitting when it saw a squirrel and decided to put all of its strength into chasing it. Unfortunately, I was attached to the other end. Double unfortunately, the squirrel was at the bottom of a set a stairs. So the dog happily chased the little fluff ball down, dragging me along with it. I wasn’t hurt too bad beyond my ego but I did manage to mentally scar a bunch of elementary school kids who were passing by on their way home from school. Especially after I stood up and the blood actually started to drip off of me. I’m pretty sure half of them ran home crying to their parents that they don’t actually want the dog anymore that they have been begging for every birthday and Christmas. I did look like quite the mess. My knees and one of my shoulders were pretty scrapped up but the crowning glory was the bruising and scraps encompassing my left eye. It wasn’t technically a black eye but from a distance, it definitely looked like someone had really got me really good. Then for some reason, it looked even worse after I cleaned it up. Maybe because the red parts looked brighter…. and redder. Either way, I am ashamed to say it made me really self conscious. I’d like to think of myself as a body confident person who don’t care too much about what other people say but apparently was all made up because I desperately did not want to leave the house until I looked normal again. But I forced myself to leave the next day and tried my best to ignore all of the stares I got running my errands. One was to CVS to get more Band-Aids and antibacterial creams and I wasn’t even fully out the door when one of the cashers turned to the other exclaiming “Did you see her face?!” That one really felt great, let me tell you. But it wasn’t until I got to the grocery store that I really felt the weight of it all. But in a way I wasn’t expecting. I was being rung up for my food when I noticed that the cashier had charged me for the wrong apples. Mine were on sale and the ones he had put on my bill were 25 cents more per pound. It wasn’t going to made that big of a difference but I decided to say something anyways. “Excuse me, you charged me for the wrong apples.” I said as nicely as humanly possible. The cashier shrugged and mumbled “I don’t think so.” Rude. I tried again. “Actually, the ones I got were on sale.” Cashier shrugs again, trying to ignore me. On any other day, I might have just let it go, I only got a pound and a half, maybe two pounds of apples so it would have be 50 cents max that I was saving. I am also very very non-confrontational in general but after all of the stares and finger pointing I had gotten today, I was a bit more aggressive that I would have typically. “Excuse me sir.” I said with an air of confidence in my voice that even I didn’t fully recognize. “These were on sale.” The cashier finally looked up at me for the first time and did a double take. I made my face look hard, made my eyes really wide and then cocked it to the side ever so slightly (in the “you don’t want to mess with me, I’m crazy. Kind of way.” The casher’s fingers moved at lightning speed as he corrected the price. As I left I put on a smile, took my bags and said “Have a nice day.” and this guy just silently stared at me as I walked away. Sure, I felt a little guilty for being a jerk. Actually, that’s a lie. I felt awesome for being a jerk. Not that I’m condoning this kind of behavior at all. But it’s nice to have a confidence boost every once in a while. Cause when you are at the bottom of a set of concrete stair with broken sunglasses and a mouthful of dirt, you can only hope that some sort of good has to come from it. Even in it require a little bit crazy.

Putting the Fuse in Confused,

C

The Ref is Out of Line

I am not a sports person. I tried to be. I have an older brother who entire life is sports. He has gone over rules, stats, players, even team mascots but I am utterly useless. No matter what I tried, I could not retain any of it. Probably because I am unfortunately one of those terrible people… who just doesn’t like sports. I did have a thing for hockey for a very short time in my life after I watched the Mighty Ducks movie. But that ended quickly after the third movie ruin the franchise. In short, I never got into sports and thus didn’t know any of the rule for anything ever. Which is what make the story of the brief time in my life when I got a part time job as a intramural sports referee all the more interesting. I have mentioned before that I had almost every typical job that every person had while they were at college. One of those jobs came from an ad in the school paper looking for student referees. The orientation made it all look so easy. We had a choice between softball and flag football. Remember how I said that I know nothing about sports? I ended up picking flag football because I thought that would be easier (seriously, I DO NOT get sports). Ignorance is not always bliss. One that first day, they gave us all a rundown of the rules and to this day, I still do not fully understand them.  So on the one and only day I was a referee, I mixed up the two teams, made two really wrong calls, got yelled at repeatedly by both side and then by the end, I’m pretty sure I was just making stuff up (“You strike out!” stuff like that). It got so bad, they ended up switching me over to the ultimate Frisbee side, a spot usually reserved for the older kids who have earned an easy night. You see, while the whole flag football thing was happening, on the other side of the field, there was a series of ultimate Frisbee games going on and only one ref was needed to monitor them because it was “super easy”. This is how it was explained to me: whoever got the Frisbee to the other side gets the point. Simple enough. But the person who explained this to me forgot to mention that the teams switch sides after every play (or was it every quarter… seriously, I don’t know anything). In her defense, every college student really should know the rules to ultimate Frisbee. It’s basically mandatory and will eventually be part of the SATs. But in my defense, I just got taken off refereeing flag football because I tried to tell a person not to block the goalie. And it wasn’t like anyone was wearing uniforms, so I didn’t know who was on whose team. At least the Frisbee guys were nicer. There was more “Excuse me Miss Ref. I think you gave the other team our point” instead of “What the Hell Ref?! Are you blind?!” that I got from the flag footballer (I almost responded “Yes, I am actually partially blind” just to get them off my back but I knew karma would really get be for that one). So at the end of the day I wasn’t just done, I was finished. Completely wiped out physically and mentally. I left that job the next day (probably to cheers from my co-workers) and never looked back, decided that something just weren’t worth the money. But I do wish sometimes I would have stuck by it. Then I could actually know things. It’s not too late for me though, I can still learn. Just this time… I’ll learn from off of the field.

Putting the Fuse in Confused,

C

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