Have you ever felt the weight of the world beating down on you? That moment when your struggles are omnipresent and you brace for the impact of impending doom? That you gasp for air, reaching desperately for a glass of water that’s half empty instead of half full?
We’ve all at one time or another had an encounter with Murphy’s Law. If it can go wrong, it will and it will happen thrice as bad as we can ever prepare for. This is my story of trials and tribulations – and the reason why I truly believe the worlds ills can sometimes be solved with a jar of Jiff and a few “likes”:
Why I Wear Combat Boots
January 2012: I was working as an Account Executive for a media company in my debut as a grown up, lugging around a 400-pound briefcase in a pencil skirt and high heels – truly believing that hard work was important, but image was everything. Much to my dismay, those pretty little patent-leather platform-pumps caused the tragic and premature demise of my beloved Camry. To be fair, I had put her through a lot. She lovingly persevered through countless hit-and-runs, a few tows, and the irresponsible behavior that defined college. She and her seatbelt also saved my life that night as I flipped across the highway, landing right side up without a scratch. I threw those heels away the next day.
February 2012: There comes a moment in time in one’s life where you realize you have become a hamster spinning on a wheel. I was tired of being tired, giving my all and feeling constant defeat. I like to believe we all possess a sense of intuition, some stronger than others. My gut was screaming at me to make a change – and not my diet – my life. I was so busy that I paid no attention to what sounded like scratching noises coming from my cabinets. That, and the fact that my dog’s food was magically disappearing even though he was gone for a week…
Why Family Comes First
March 6th, 2012: I had become such a drone that it had been months since I made a trip in to see my family – something I have always done regularly and often. I was so self absorbed that I barely noticed my Grandfather reaching for the gas tank lever instead of the door handle. I immediately dismissed it; afraid of causing unnecessary stress and anxiety in our family and myself.
It wasn’t too long after I had started looking for other employment that instead of driving to see them, my family came to me. Except, it wasn’t a house call – I was asked to meet them at the hospital. My grandfather was lying there, tubes strewn about, face full of a mixture of sadness and pure fear. I’ll never forget that look on his face. It pierced through my eyes and shot straight into my soul. I felt it in my bones that our lives were all about to change forever. Lung cancer had metastasized to his brain. He had two months to live.
March 7th, 2012: I received an official job offer for a start-up company
March 8th, 2012: I resigned. [I can say with confidence that it will always be important to do so with class, but if you ever want to know the way I kept my class but left a lasting impression, feel free to inquire privately. Let’s just say it involved a vanilla-scented garbage bag, a lot of fluorescent sharpies, my take on the homemade graphic design of smiley faces, and the all-important corporate training materials.]
Why Cars Are Replaceable And You Aren’t
April 2012: I went about life for a while; celebrating the last moments I would have with my grandfather. When I wasn’t by his side, I was adjusting to a new job and trying to not hate the beat up, old Toyota Solara my father picked out with my insurance money. Rotten of me, I know, but if smells were songs, this poor baby was singing a bacon-grease-and-mothball duet. Besides, absolutely nothing worked on the thing. I had the “big girl” job, the responsibilities…the DUES PAID – trust me – of driving the car held together by duct tape. As unfortunate as this may sound, it could have been easily foreshadowed that if Christie doesn’t like a car, she’ll pull a simultaneous Kevorkian and Kenevil and [not so gracefully] put the battle-ax down.
Why There’s Truth In The Saying, “The Only Things Certain In Life Are Death And Taxes
TAX DAY, April 17th, 2012: I received word that Paw had started the process of passing away and that he may only have a few days at most. I cancelled my meetings and began the drive on the very road that totaled the Camry (the road did it, the heels did it – anything but me). I looked in my rearview mirror and all of a sudden, “WHAM!” – my head hit the steering wheel and everything went black. When I came to, there was shattered glass everywhere. My car was an accordion. I had won the first place finish in a four-car pileup, hit by the teenage son of an accountant, driving Daddy’s precious sports car.
Solara: Demolished. I immediately burst into tears.
I barely made it in to see my grandfather and although I had glass in my hair and a nose twice its normal size, I brushed past it [for lack of a better words all while embracing my Southern roots]. I laid down beside him, held his hand, wet his lips with ice chips, and told him I loved him. He passed away the next day.
Why Some Of God’s Creatures Don’t Make Good Roommates
After driving the rental to his funeral and laying him to rest, I was tasked with finding a new car (again) and getting back to my new job. I got home from a week’s worth of mental and physical exhaustion, turn on the TV, slump over on the couch and lay my head sideways on the armrest. I was thoroughly enjoying the animal segment on Kimmel…there was some kind of neat looking fox on there just before my eyes started getting heavy. I was drifting slowly to rest and all of a sudden, I spied something in my peripheral…….
It may have been exhaustion, but I swear to this day, that little varmint bounced blissfully into my dog’s food bowl, grabbed the biggest morsel he could fit between his scrawny little claws, looked straight up at me, WINKED, and whisked away happily into the distance.
A million thoughts scurried through my head as quickly as he scurried under my dishwasher.
“He did that on purpose!”
“He was ARROGANT, that little JERK!”
“Wait, was that a MOUSE?!”
“Are we okay with this?”
“NO! Why are we acting like we are?!”
“I bet he has friends……”
“Probably LOTS of friends….”
“I wonder how many friends he has……..”
Why Social Media and Peanut Butter Saved My Sanity
At first, I thought they were kind of cute. I don’t know why or what I was thinking, but I just couldn’t kill the little dudes. I begged the attention of my typically non-existent, head-in-the-clouds, tie-dye wearing, tree-hugging, incense-burning, creature-loving, flower-child-of-a maintenance man.
He gave me live traps. Which were awesome.
I almost feel like that needs a #hashtag.
So, as the proud member of Generation Y that I am, I ignored my privacy and my pride and took to the social Inter-webs of Facebook, thus, spinning my own web of “tails”. Little did I know, my battle of wits with the Mickey Mouse Club would morph into an epic saga that is the stuff of social media legends.
The only way to truly tell the tail now is to revive the Ghosts of Posts Past.
April 27th, 2012
So…it’s animal show and tell night on Jimmy Kimmel. They had some awesome fox that eats rodents…I need one NOW. First time I saw a rat scamper across my floor was tonight. I’m sleeping in the car.
April 29th, 2012
These mice are getting pretty bold. One little terrorist scampered out of the nooks and crannies, jumped into the dog bowl, grabbed a morsel…and I swear it looked up and winked at me. You’re on borrowed time you nasty little creature – I’m coming for you…
April 30th, 2012
Alright, y’all. WHOLE apartment cleaned top to bottom – bleached and varmint poop gone. Peanut butter in humane mouse traps…now I’m just excited to catch the little suckers! Is it weird I find this fun? Lemons – Lemonade.
May 2nd, 2012
NOT EXCITED ANYMORE! I caught one and didn’t realize it and opened the stupid door and SET IT FREE! An inch from my face! UGH!!!!! New strategy immediately!!!!
Mice update: Too scared to open the closed trap. Feels empty but as we know, I was NOT pleasantly surprised last night. They’ve got one more day to draw the white flag…then – no more peanut butter. It’s war.
NEVERMIND. IT’S WAR. No more of my cheese and peanut butter. No white flag. You crawled across my foot – past the trap – and poop everywhere. YOU ARE DONE.
May 4th, 2012
Losing this much sleep is literally making me delirious, because I swear I just saw one mouse free it’s stupid friend from my stupid live traps. I didn’t have time to get the snappers, but after getting guts enough to open the closed traps with no peanut butter in them, I understand why there’s truth to the saying “sneaky rat”. I swear this crap is making me stronger in ways I never thought!
May 5th, 2012
AHHHH ONE JUST GOT SNAPPED!!! YUUUUUCK! TWO DOWN!!!
THREE DOWN!! One underneath the sink! I can’t bring myself to pick them up…I’m calling on the strength of the Gods…this is disgusting!
May 6th, 2012
Grew some balls, put on some gloves, and threw out three dead mice. I hope they were blind – because that would just be poetic.
May 9th, 2012
HA! FOUR DOWN! And, Lauren is notarizing my paperwork to get my insurance check for my car, started car shopping, I have an apartment to look at that is still close to my office, got my rental extended through the end of the week, and I’m sending out a LOVELY envelope of paperwork to some important decision makers that is SURE to stun a few people.
Posted by Adam Dehaven:
Take no prisoners…. she sees you ‘Darlene’… “Oh Yes, there will be blood!”
May 14th, 2012
I think Mickey and Minnie and their friends are taking me seriously…they can take their “club” somewhere else – or get GOT!
May 18th, 2012
AHHHHH After FOUR days of no mice, and new traps set, we thought we were in the clear, people. THEY didn’t count on me staying in and watching their nasty little claws crumple after digesting my omega-rich peanut butter. You who just scurried – I give you six hours, my friend. If my traps don’t get you – I’m bored on a Friday night.
May 21st, 2012
HAHA!! FIVE DOWN!!!
May 25th, 2012:
So, I know now by getting out of my varmint-infested quarters that even though you don’t “like” or respond, you are still cheering me on. So, the count is at SIX! My goal is 10 before I move out, and that goal is two weeks. You may ask: what do you do with them? Well, I let them air out for a bit so their friends will get the hint. Then, I WAS putting them in my garbage, until I realized it doesn’t get taken out and flies and death smell invaded my parking lot. SO, my mom is a genius. Said, “Throw them in the sun and let them dry out and give back to the planet.” Tomorrow is a great day to give two gifts to the ecosystem. Pool, and Home Depot for more traps. I won’t live here, but I can spend a little more time helping Mother Earth, and the next innocent tenant.
July 31st, 2012
Posted by Larissa Strobl:
MICE UPDATE: Okay, so I started talking about this in April. As of July 31st, I have eliminated 7 mice. Apparently I have eliminated only the stupid ones, and made the smart ones even smarter. They will no longer eat my expensive peanut butter; instead, they eat the dog food. Not just ANY dog food either – they are picky. They eat every type of morsel except for one, and leave those in the bowl. I have tried to stay up late to catch them in action, but my very presence will alert them of attack, so they wait until I go to bed. I set more traps with peanut butter and their favorite dog food morsels stuck to it – they avoid them like the plague – and they aren’t pooping anywhere that I can see a trail! So I’m getting ready to move out and I am stepping up my game! I set a goal of 10 mice, and I WILL BE VICTORIOUS. I am working with a tech company here in town (a good friend) to set up a web cam to catch those little varmints in action. Any evidence will give insight to a new plan of action, and will result in Mickey and Minney’s cousins’ demise. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA IT’S ON!!!!!!!
October 1st, 2012
FINAL MICE UPDATE: Here we go….
At last count, Mickey, Minnie, Three Blind Mice, and three more of their cousins met their maker. I set a goal of 10, and got eight. However displeased I am about my 80% success rate is made up for with perfect contentment: First, braving LIVE traps – deemed completely unsuccessful after accidently opening one and allowing the little villain to eat my peanut butter, wink at me while being an inch from my face, crawl over my feet and escape. Second, snapping the Buh-Jesus out of my thumbs trying to set the snap traps. Third, making my first kill after having one scamper across the stove I so very much loved to cook on. So, dear friends, I may have started out by losing the battle, but I WON THE WAR. How, you ask? I persevered. Although there may have been a few tears shed at the beginning of this adventure, I wiped my eyes, blew my nose, and planned a counter-attack that is the stuff of legends. I put rubber gloves on and saran wrap up to my elbows, picked their nasty little carcasses up, and threw them away in a dumpster (that I’m pretty sure my landlord uses…shhh). Judge me if you will, but I found a tiny bit of satisfaction the time that I heard the trap snap and watched the little dude squirm to his demise. I ate a Goodfellas Lexington Pizza as a celebratory dinner after my first victory. I gained back my sanctity and my sanity – one snap at a time. AND NOW………
I HAVE A BEAUTIFUL NEW APARTMENT!!!!! Hardwood floors, a garbage disposal, CENTRAL HEATING AND AIR, a carport to park under, all utilities included, GREAT central location, AMAZING neighbors, ALL new furniture and applicances, TONS of space to enjoy and entertain with, and guess what?? NO MICE!!! That’s right, beautiful people!! NO MICE!!! Bon voyage Crapartment with rodents, roaches, fly infestation, leaky faucets, broken doors and closets, AC units that die in 100-degree weather, a washer and dryer that never work at the same time, and neighbors that don’t speak English!!!
And when I get it all set up and cute, I will be cordially inviting all that have supported me through this journey to attend one HECK of a house-warming party! Thank you, everyone. It’s been fun. 🙂
Why There’s More To Life Than Defeat, Destruction, and Disappointment
When we feel that overwhelming looming sense of doom, when we gasp for air that isn’t always there, and when we are drinking from a half-empty glass, we need to stop. Just stop. And breathe. And smile.
Life isn’t always pretty. There are roadblocks and heartaches. There will always be bullies whose only priority in life is to push you into the dirt and kick you while you’re down. You will have accidents and sometimes be responsible for cleaning up others’ messes.
You will make wardrobe decisions that you will later regret. You will not always have the time you thought you would to spend with those you love. When you feel like you have had enough, you will always be surprised with something gnarly and unimaginable. No matter how much you attempt to will it away, death and taxes are in fact, certain.
My adverse journey has involved an unhealthy workload and toxic environment, two totaled cars, the death of my grandfather, and bouts with some very unwelcome visitors. Yet, this is how I like to remember things:
I. Survived. It. All.
I was wise enough to realize how unhappy I was and found the courage to make a change. I was involved in car wrecks that left two Toyotas unrecognizable, yet left me unscathed. I was able to say goodbye to a man that helped raise me and mold me into the person I am today. I didn’t let pride or embarrassment get in the way when I faced a problem created regardless of ownership or responsibility. I handled what I could alone, but when I reached out for help and support, people everywhere held out their hands and gave me the encouragement I needed to make it to the next day. I wiped my tears, clenched my fists, and fought when I needed to fight.
Most importantly, I found new uses for household items that I hope I never have to adopt ever, ever, again.
Maybe your journey is a little different than mine – for God’s sake I hope it is – but always remember: You are the maker of your own destiny, you are loved, and YOU WILL SURVIVE. How you do it? Well, that’s is up to you.
So far, I’ve used peanut butter and Facebook.
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