The Wheelbarrow

I was housesitting along the Puget Sound when it happened. I’d just gotten to the home from a particularly grueling and bizarre day of work and looked outside toward the water. There was a festival happening all weekend long in the area, and quite a few people were enjoying the events in a park nearby. A few youths appeared to have wandered onto the beach right next to the park.

Two of the four girls, fifteen years old or so, were strolling along the beach, but the other two were huddled against the wall connecting the park from the beach, presumably hiding from family members. Or perhaps just people in general. I get it.

I was only glancing outside for a second—I had groceries to put away—but then both of the girls stood up and one walked up to a plastic wheelbarrow a couple feet away, and I just watched and waited, knowing exactly what was about to occur.

There girl quickly maneuvered herself into the wheelbarrow. Her legs hung over the front of it, away from the wall. The glee on her face dissipated as the wheelbarrow, slowly because of the sand, tipped backward, pinning her between it and the wall. All I could see were her legs. Her oh-so-good friend immediately took photos. (Yeah, same.)

I laughed to myself. Ah, kids.

*

An hour or two passed before I really looked outside again. The tide was starting to come in.

And the (again, plastic) wheelbarrow was floating in the water where the girls had been messing with it. Which brought up a lot of questions for me personally.

  1. Whose wheelbarrow was it? Was it the park’s? Someone in particular’s?
  2. Had the girls brought it to that location initially then left it?
  3. If not, who left it there? Did they not think about the tide?
  4. Why in the world was a wheelbarrow on the beach anyway? I didn’t get it. I still don’t. What am I missing?
  5. Was the wheelbarrow tethered to the wall, like a boat or something? It didn’t appear to be moving anywhere. Yet.

*

A short while passed when I glanced out along the water. The wheelbarrow had made a break for it and was floating out into the Sound. I heaved a heavy, “Hhhhhhhhhhh.”

*

I checked outside early the next morning. The wheelbarrow was nowhere in sight. I can only hope that someday, somewhere, someone will spot the floating wheelbarrow and ponder the events that led up to this. And one day, when it finally finds rest on a distant shore, perhaps it will find a new home, someone to truly love it enough to tether it. Until then, move freely, wheelbarrow. Enjoy your journey.

 

-Crystal

 

Supernatural Cheese Hunt

Somewhere in the woods in the Pacific Northwest. It’s dusk. A woman is slowly creeping through the bushes and trees. She’s looking for something. All of this is captured by the cameraman following. The woman keeps a running commentary. Suddenly she falls silent. Then her and the cameraman tear through the woods. The camera moves wildly and suddenly the cameraman screams.

Cut to somewhere in the Arizona desert. A man and his cameraman are disguised as a bush and a cactus. They’ve been quietly waiting for hours. The sun is setting, and everything is cast in an orange tint. The cameraman begins to complain. They’ve been there too long. This was a false lead. Nothing’s going to happen. But the other man demands they stay at least a few more hours. They’ve had this conversation a good few times already, but the cameraman sighs defeat, and they fall silent. A minute later, there’s suddenly movement in the distance. A shadowy figure is on the horizon. A cowboy on a horse? “What the…” the cameraman whispers. The shadow disappears only to reappear next to the cameraman, his face clearly visible in the shot. The cameraman and the other man run as fast as they can, screaming, but they don’t have a chance. There’s a piercing scream and suddenly the camera hits the ground hard. The other man, silent now, can be seen running out of the shot. Hoofbeats are heard, then stop suddenly. The camera continues rolling until its battery dies.

A dozen other, similar documentaries are seen from all over the world. Always a pair of people, the cameraman and the commentator. Searching, watching, waiting. A uniquely eerie quality overpowers all of them. Something that could only be supernatural.

Then everything is black.

The audience applauds the documentaries that were just played. Some people in the audience were the teams in the films. The general audience is shocked at the contents, although a few who have seen these things before can only be mundanely impressed. Everyone, including the teams, are astonished footage from the teams who died in the field was recovered, and horrified some were publicly played at this, the closing ceremony.

Then the host calls the teams to the stage, introduces them, and praises them. These fifteen or so teams were the only teams to successfully find what they were looking for and live to tell the tale. Thankfully most of the 100+ teams lived but followed leads that proved to be false.

Then the teams were asked to present what they found: what can only be described as the best cheeses in the world.

I note that I’m the only woman on a team. The only woman at the event, actually, aside from wives, girlfriends, and family members of those competing or invested in the competition. The supernatural hunt for the best cheeses in the world was a male-dominated competition. I know this isn’t considered much of a thing women participate in, but I’m interested and invested, and I’m hoping to change supernatural cheese hunting stereotypes.

I notice that a distant part of the sky is beginning to swell. What? I start to warn everyone, but I’m immediately shushed. I start to leave, but since I’m on stage, I’m told we’re not done and I should sit. So I start to point and yell that something weird is happening, and it doesn’t look good. Then the swelling of the universe is clearly noticeable and much closer than before. Mass chaos ensues. Screaming, running, but I know we can’t escape this.

I stare at the cheese my partner and I found in the Pacific Northwest. This was a mistake. This whole thing. I know we weren’t meant to find the best cheese in the world. The supernatural part of searching for the world’s best cheese wasn’t supposed to be a part of the experience. It just happened. Supernatural forces were trying to stop us. And this year, more teams than ever before found their cheese. They were hidden for a reason, spread out around the world to keep them apart from each other, and now we’d brought them all together. I stared at the sky, and knew that this had to happen. The universe was making room for the many cheeses that should never have existed. And now they were together on a single stage. It was too much power.

Our part of the universe exploded, and all was suddenly quiet.

 

-Crystal

 

P.S. I can’t believe my search for supernatural cheese blew up some of the universe. I’ll have to be more careful in the future.

P.P.S. I’m not sure I’ll ever have a better dream than this.

Spilled Dirt and Smoke: A Very Bad Day

Note: Two years ago, in a huge miscommunication, I thought my sister didn’t actually want me to use her real name on here, so I had her choose one. She thought I wanted her to use a fake name. Anyway, her real name’s Jessica, not April.

 

Yesterday I had a bad day.

Pretty early on, actually. Around 12:05am. My period starts.

And then 2am comes.

Meaghann’s kitten, Opphie, is bunking with me for the night. And she keeps me very much awake. Around 2am, I’m tired, and Opphie appears like she might be about to settle down. So I look for my phone. I even call it from the house phone. But it must be in my car. Which is outside. And it’s 2am.

Luckily, I don’t have anything planned for the day until 1:30pm. I’ll wake up in time for that.

Then I don’t fall asleep until 3:30am, maybe later.

I reluctantly get out of bed in the morning and check the time.

11:45am.

Wait, what?!

So I start to rush. I have to pot a couple plants and get ready for the day and eat and drink coffee, and oh crap, I also have to clean the bathroom. Right. And leave by 1:15pm. Okay, I got this. Maybe.

I put the kettle on for my coffee then run to the bathroom to start getting ready. Where is my toothbrush? Oh, right, I threw it away after I almost threw up from finding hair entwined in its bristles. Well, good thing I had a backup. That I can’t find. Sigh. Must have lost it when I deep-cleaned my room last week.

A few minutes later, I remember I’m making coffee and rush to the kitchen expecting the water to be boiling.

It’s not. But the burner in front of it is a fiery red. And the covered pan on it is smoking. Oh, gosh, there’s smoke.

I lift the lid, desperately hoping I haven’t scorched someone’s food.

Thankfully the pan’s empty aside from some leftover grease and food bits. That I barely see before a plume of smoke from under that lid soars up and nails my right eye.

Okay, ow. Ow, ow, ow. I turn on the oven fan to clear the smoke. Time to get my eyedrops.

After rushing around getting eyedrops and making coffee, I realized the fan hasn’t done its full job, and all the smoke detectors should really be going off. Huh. Weird.

So I shove Opphie into my room (she’s an indoor cat) then open the front and back doors.

I’m probably going to be late, huh?

This is the point I get an unknown object in my eye (fur? Eyelash? Ash from the smoke?) and spend twenty minutes in eye-watering pain searching for that invisible evil.

As I get ready for the day, I hear a couple unknown neighbors shouting. One I’ve never seen before (or maybe a stranger/burglar, who knows) walks up and down the street a few times, and then once more with some other random dude. As I pot the plants, the neighbors with kids are especially loud and enthusiastic about something. I dunno. And the next-door neighbor comes onto his porch and doesn’t even care I’m right there because he hocks and hocks and hocks, and finally, there’s a loogie. Surprisingly, the neighbors across from us I notice most days doing something or other are entirely nonexistent for all this.

As I finish up with the plants, I realize I’ve forgotten to buy their bases. You know, so soil and water doesn’t get everywhere. And these plants are getting transported to their new home today. Oh, gosh, I have to go to my workplace and buy the pots’ matching bases. It’s in the wrong direction. Gah. Oh, well.

Josh messages me he won’t be able to join me today in my errands. So it’s just my sister and I. So I call Jessica and let her know I’m running late, and also Josh won’t be with us. She’s also running late. How fortunate…?

I zip through cleaning the bathroom. A deep clean would have to wait, but this would do for now.

The smoke has cleared out (mostly) so Opphie was let free. Oh, looks like she has worms. Great. So I give her the proper medication and Snapchat her mother about this new situation.

I grabbed a huge bowl of potato salad from the fridge I made the night before. I’ll have Jess drive my car and eat then. Because currently all I’d had was coffee. Probably not the best.

Everything was shoved in the car, and I left.

Oh, not a bright day, but a white, cloudy day. Where are my sunglasses? I can only find my cat frames. Guess I’ll be a cat today.

As I drive, there’s a small patch of highway that has rain. Just a few drops. Enough to turn on my windshield wipers exactly one time.

Of course, this doesn’t happen, though.

I turn it on, but a third of the way up, my windshield, the wipers freeze then shake back and forth. Oh, crap, they’re glitching out.

I frantically turn them off and then on, then to a higher and higher speed, then off and on, and it all only makes them glitch worse. After I moved the switch every which way, I finally get them working (why had they frozen in the first place?) and shut them off. I mean, it’s not raining anymore. Not a bit.

The wipers keep going. And going. I switch them on and off again. And they continue to shriek as they wipe my dry windshield. I discover they move between mildly fast, fast, and ultra fast. But they won’t stop. They just keep going, and I look like an idiot who doesn’t care she’s wearing out her wipers.

I call Jess and explain the weirdness occurring. She has the same car. Maybe she’s had this problem? Nope.

I drive to my place of work, and a fellow employee in the parking lot sees me and stares in confusion. It’s actually sunny now.

I park and restart my car. This doesn’t make the wipers stop. Gah, the one time I think to actually turn something off and on again, and it doesn’t work?

I rush into work and I quickly explain to Meaghann (who also works there and had no customers at the moment and who also used to own the same car), and she gets all confused, and we ask another coworker who tells me what it might be, but man, that is not something I can fix on my own.

I look for the bases for my pots, but there’s only a neon green and a deep purple. Neither matches the pots, but purple will have to do. It won’t look terrible.

I get to my car and realize the freshly potted plants have fallen over. And dirt is everywhere.

I ignore this and call my dad’s work. Maybe he’ll have advice about my car. Oh, he left work early, did he? And his cell’s not turned on yet? Great.

I start laughing. What a terrible day this is.

You know how annoying it is when someone’s tapping their fingers repeatedly? Things like that? Yeah, those never-stopping wipers make me feel insane. I think I might cry, and I nearly scream but sigh instead. And then start laughing maniacally. Oh, right, period. That’s why I nearly cried. Nice.

I get to my sister’s house, and realize the partial cup of open coffee I’ve brought with me spilled and stained my passenger seat. And my sister’s not ready. Not nearly. So I eat potato salad and try really hard to repot the plants. The dirt’s shorter now. A lot’s imbedded in the carpet. I’ll deal with that mess later.

Jess’ chinchilla been in a sleepy, happy mood all morning. I go to say hi to her, and within ten seconds, she attempts to bite me. When I shut the cage door, she charges it, hoping to strike me no doubt. Oh, man, it’s me. It’s me, this whole day is me.

My dad get home and offers to work on my car while Jess and I are out. Yes. A good thing is happening. Finally.

Oh, but then I had terrible cramps and a bit of nausea from some food intolerance poisoning. Fun times.

Jess and I end up leaving so ridiculously late that not only is Josh able to join, but we also have to cut out a few errands. We arrive to his house in Jessica’s car and stand on his front porch for a whole ten minutes waiting (he’s likely in the shower) before we remember the secret key.

Once inside, I take pictures of Jess and I in the house and message them to Josh. He’s not even phased, messages, “lol,” and he’s upstairs a minute later.

And we’re off! We only have just enough time to get the basic errands done before we’re nearly late for trivia night with a couple other friends. The place is so crowded that it takes twice as long as normal to get through questions, and we have to slowly get all five chairs (we start with two, and I’m on a window ledge for the first half of the night). It’s so hot inside and crowded that it actually sparks my anxiety, which has been pretty good about as of late, so this is unexpected. We end up leaving early (although later than we do on a normal night because really, it was taking forever). Not like we’re exactly winning anyway.

Jess and another friend leave in one car, and Meaghann drives Josh and I to this nearby restaurant. Everything’s half-priced! And it’s 9pm, so we’re hungry.

Then I get a phone call: Dad. The situation with my car’s not great. He’ll need another day, and thankfully I don’t work the next day.

Oh, and also he found basically a miniature tarantula with bright green eyes on the outside of the door jam, and my sister sent me videos. That thing could probably kill. And they’re not supposed to be in the area, whatever it is. I demanded he kill it before I come for my house key later that night. I don’t need/want to see it.

The meal’s surprisingly great, and nothing I’m intolerant to appears on my plate. Whew.

We drive Josh home. To find a large, wild rabbit on his front porch. Dead. And the murderer, a cat named Sunny, waiting to show it off a few feed away.

Josh and Meaghann are in a weird mood. The kind of mood where they decide to hold a bunny funeral in the woods. I watch from the front porch with Josh’s sister. It should be noted that I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up in jail for an absurd reason. Like being too involved with a musical tree outside the restaurant (Meaghann and Josh). Or for loudly joking we rob an Edible Arrangements van (Josh). Or not understanding the we were joking about using my blood in her birthday present (Meaghann in a misheard bundle of words). So yes, I stay on the porch.

We eventually get home, and Meaghann tells me the hand soap I bought us is the one she’s actually allergic to. Cool.

I’m unable to fall asleep, and just as I drift off, Opphie wakes from her slumber and start knocking things from my dresser.

Oh, crap, is my day about to repeat?

-Crystal

P.S. The next day I get my finger stuck in a lemon. Yep. At the store with my sister. So I start panicking and saying, “Jess, my finger’s stuck. I’m stuck. Get it out, get it out. Jess. No, don’t pull like that. No, it’s stuck. Aaaaah.” I keel over a bit. Because the thorn in the lemon vine (?) that is for some reason still attached to the fruit, which I’ve never seen before, went right into my finger at such a weird angle. Jessica’s so confused, wondering how in the world my finger has gone through the peel and into the lemon, and why can’t she just pluck it from my hand? Yeah, it’s a long minute of me rambling. Jess finally realizes what I mean and somehow gets it out. There’s blood. “Only you, Crystal.”

P.P.S. So the spider, after some research by Jess, is a bold jumping spider. Its green eyes were actually fangs. It’s harmless to humans outside of a painful bite (those fangs are huge), and it was super aggressive and actually reared at my dad. They can jump 1-50 times its own size because they can just increase the blood pressure in their third or fourth legs. What a superpower. Also it’s from Eastern and Central North America. So yes, of course it was in my car in Washington. Makes sense.

Stuff Meaghann Says

I’ve recently become Meaghann’s roommate, and it’s been… interesting.

*

Me at Meaghann’s house before moving in: “Is that a dog bone over there?”

Meaghann: “Yep.”

Me: “Do you- You don’t have a dog.”

Meaghann: “Nope. …This is my house.”

*

Meaghann, after I tried making a point about something or other: “On the other hand, I have five fingers.”

Me, not getting the “other hand” part of her joke:“Wouldn’t you have ten?”

Meaghann: “Yeah, on my other hand.”

*

Meaghann about my joke-telling abilities: “You’re not even good enough for dad jokes. You’re more like cousin Todd jokes.” …She’s right.

*

Meaghann: “Corndog me up, son!”

*

Meaghann: “If you were a dog, I think you’d be a shiba inu.”

Me, actually very flattered: “…Thank you!”

Meaghann: “Not you. Ophie.” (Ophie is her 8-ish month old kitten.)

*

Meaghann: “I can’t be wrong! I’m from Washington!”

*

Max on Catfish (TV show): “Alright, let’s fly.”

Meaghann: “Max, you’re not a bird!”

*

Meaghann: “I had, like, a classy mullet.”

Josh: “A locally owned business in the front and a dinner party in the back.”

*

Meaghann to me while she was bleaching my hair: “You have such a dainty neck.”

Me, knowing where this was going: “Oh, don’t say that!”

“…I could just snap it if I wanted to.”

I groan.

*

Me: “We must have a different sense of humor or concept of reality or something.”

Meaghann: “I think that’s true, because you don’t really have a concept of reality.” …True…

-Crystal

That Time I Almost Failed a Drug Test

Note 1: This post is all about pee. Like, pretty much entirely. Just a whole lot of pee. Yeah.

Note 2: Part One was written the day it happened.

Part One

I’ve never taken a drug test before. I didn’t even expect to go to the hospital today, but when you get that “You’ve been hired” phone call, plans change.

Plans that already included other people. So Meaghann and I picked up Josh, as per plan. Then detoured to the hospital.

I didn’t plan on providing a pee sample. That wasn’t something I’d prepared for. Meaning I didn’t really have to use the bathroom when we arrived.

After getting spectacularly lost, even signing into one lab before the woman behind the counter realized we were in the wrong place, we found the right lab. It had a really strange layout. I had to press a doorbell of sorts just to get inside. Their waiting room was in the hallway. Then there was an actual room just inside before the lab, and adjoining that room was also a patient room with a bathroom, which I would soon be well acquainted with.

Once I was signed in, I didn’t catch what the woman told me, “Stay right there,” instead trying to follow her into the lab before she emphatically repeated herself. Ah, if only that had been the peak of my embarrassment.

Then came the time for the sample-giving. I, being new to this whole situation, diligently tried to follow the directions written on the wall. But there were no freaking towelettes to be found. I checked everywhere. Also, I only had four minutes and had already used up at least one on reading the directions and searching for nonexistent towelettes, so instead of going out of the room and asking the woman, I took a risk and skipped that step. Being timed made me nervous and stupid, it would appear.

So I did my thing. Except… Although I’m a person who pees all the time, my body wouldn’t cooperate. All the coffee from this morning must have been very attached to my insides. So I left, giving her a sample below the minimum line. I never thought I’d apologize for not peeing enough, but this day seemed destined to give me new experiences.

Then there was hope! The lab was overly cautious with the minimum line given to patients, and there was actually a second, smaller minimum. As she measured it out, I thought I might actually make it. At that point, I remembered the towelettes and and apologized that I hadn’t been able to find and use them. That’s when I was informed those directions were used for something else. And I instantly felt regret about my rule-following ways. My sample fell slightly short of the minimum because, as per directions in the bathroom, I’d not peed the first little bit into the cup.

Then she told me I had three hours to provide a second sample, left me with a cup of water, telling me to only sip it occasionally, and left.

I waited in that in-between room for about five minutes because she’d left abruptly, like she was going to grab something else for me or give me more directions.

Except she didn’t come back. Was I done? Was she just taking a long time? I finally hesitantly pressed the buzzer to call for someone. Then I found out how wrong my assumptions had been.

I wasn’t allowed to leave. Those three hours I had to spend in the hospital. I was also informed I only had two more attempts left, or else I would fail the test. And not only could I not leave the hospital, but when I asked to wait with my friends in the hallway, I was told I couldn’t leave the room I was in. Drug testers take no chances, y’all.

So I requested she tell my friends, because I couldn’t even do that. My friends whom I’d driven. Who then demanded my car keys because they sure weren’t about to be stranded there for three hours, and because my car was ridiculously low on gas, they also asked for my credit card.

They left me. Alone. In the part of the hospital without either cell phone service or wifi.  And there weren’t even any of those terrible waiting room magazines. And about thirty seconds after they left, I remembered the books in the trunk of my car, but even though they were just down the hallway, I had absolutely no way of contacting them. So I was left with nothing to do but delete photos from my phone and write this story out. Hopefully sample two works out….

Part 2

Let me tell you, I sipped that water. All I’d had that fateful day was coffee, which is dehydrating, and my normal routine generally includes a lot of water. But I sipped it. Occasionally. I was almost two and a half hours in before I finished that cup. And I was thirsty.

I had to use the bathroom at that point. But I’d been told to hold it, just to make sure there’s enough for a sample. So I sipped on cup two, waiting for an emergency level bladder situation to arise.

And it did, only about ten minutes later. Except she was helping a different patient. And as soon as that patient left a few minutes later, in was wheeled this old woman. Now I could hear their conversation as she took this woman’s blood. I knew when, after five minutes, she was getting a sample. Except they continued to talk like old friends, laughing constantly.

I sure wasn’t laughing. No. I rocked. I crossed my legs. I tapped my fingers. I sipped more water. I thought about what twist this could add to my blog post. And an agonizing five minutes later, the woman was finally wheeled away, and I stood up, declaring, “I’m ready!”

We zipped through the process. And man, did I pee. Let’s just say my sample hit that minimum and more.

With a strange amount of pride, I presented the sample to her and left to find my friends had literally only just gotten back to the hospital. Pretty great timing. After Meaghann ignored Josh’s directions and got us lost, we found my car and left my temporary prison.

The next morning, I woke up to a call from my employer. “You’re sample was too diluted.” Excuse me? I sipped that water so slowly, and it turns out that I was too hydrated?

I never thought I’d have an employer give me advice about peeing, but there it was anyway. “Don’t drink anything for about two hours before you provide a sample.”

So I went about my morning routine. I didn’t have any coffee, though. Which was pretty rough. Possibly the worst part about all of this.

I then slowly tapered off drinking water. And waited

Once I had to pee, I, diligent as I am, waited about half an hour before driving to the hospital. And then, like a creep, waited in my car in the parking lot. And the book I’d thought to bring with me was mind-numbing. At one point, this one woman, an employee on her lunch, got into the car next to me to eat her salad. But still I waited.

After another half an hour, I went inside. And the same woman from the day before greeted me inside with, “You’re back again?!? Not that I’m upset to see you, but…” Ah, I, too, never thought I’d see you again, either. But the fate of my pee seemed to draw us together again and again.

The process was routine now. And I mournfully welcomed it. The removal of my coat, the washing of the hands, the choosing of the cup. I was nearly a pro at something that I’d never even given much thought until the previous morning.

This time took all of five minutes, and I left.

I often wonder what would have happened if that sample had been diluted or too small. Would I automatically fail and not get the job? Would my employer have had to awkwardly give me new drug sample papers with even more specific instructions on how to not mess up something so simple? I wouldn’t ever know, though, because honestly that’s just not something I would ask.

But I never had to. Because I passed!

For now, the woman in the lab and I live our days apart. Our jobs so different. Our ages. Really, we never should have met at all. Yet we did. And one fateful day in the future, pee may draw us together again. But for now, life goes on, no drug testing on my horizon for what I can only assume will be a hopefully long time.

 

-Crystal

The Great Dessert Disagreement (Or, Someone Gets Their Just Desserts)

The following isn’t exact, but pretty darn close, to what actually happened.

 

It had been a long day filled with strange conversations. Which ultimately ended in this:

For some reason, as Meaghann and I ate our own respective muffins in the kitchen, I mentioned that I preferred them cold.

“You like them cold?” she asked me.

“Yeah. I mean, I guess I like most deserts cold,” I said, shrugging.

“Cake?” she challenged.

“Definitely cake.”

“Pie?”

“Well,” I hesitated, “it depends on the pie. But yeah, some pies. Most, probably.”

Hot chocolate?”

“Uh, wouldn’t that just be chocolate milk?” I asked.

“I dunno, would it?” she said in that sassy tone of hers that made me try to step up my game.

“Yeah, and besides, hot chocolate’s not even a dessert,” I said.

“Yeah, it is.”

“No, it’s really not. It’s a drink.”

“It’s a dessert, Crystal.”

“Not really.”

“Yes, it is. When do you drink it?”

“In the summer,” I said.

“What?”

“Yeah, I don’t ever really want it in the winter, but in the summer, I dunno, that’s when I really want hot chocolate. Like when we worked at camp together, remember?”

“You’re supposed to drink it when it’s cold!” she told me.

(Insert some concerned looks directed at me from her, and a brief conversation I don’t really remember about this strange issue of mine, before we got back on track with the cold desserts conversation.)

“Cookies?” she asked, hoping I preferred them warm.

“Yeah, they’re good cold.”

“Brownies?”

“Generally, yes.”

Suddenly she turned to face me, a glint in her eye; she knew she’d found a way to win this war. “Ice cream!” she said.

I stared at her for a splint second before saying, “Of course!” and then burst into such strong laughter that I was doubled over and then slipping to lay on the floor. I laughed myself to tears.

And that is how I won the Great Dessert Disagreement.

 

-Crystal

 

P.S. Meaghann made me promise I’d add that in the heat of the moment of trying so desperately to win, she’d made the grievous error of forgetting whether she was on the side of cold or hot desserts. She just wanted to see me lose. Ah, what a sweet victory she provided me. (Get it? Sweet? Dessert? HA.)

I Met Jenny Lawson, and Something About Tangibility

Last week, on Friday the 13th, I got to meet one of my most favorite authors, and certainly the one whose writing has helped me grow creatively.

I discovered Jenny Lawson’s blog, The Bloggess, almost two years ago, and what I’ve read and written has never been the same since. Without her, I would never have written a blog like this. Yes, I would have written a blog, but not this one. No one would have read about the squirrel incident, the many stairs incidents, or really any incidents. It would have been a boring blog with basic updates of the DTS, and only ran for the eight months I was in Montreal.

Not only that, but I wouldn’t have currently found myself in the process of writing a memoir.

Jenny Lawson taught me how to write openly and freely. I was nearly graduated with my English degree (with a specialization in writing) before I learned this. And for that, I am so very thankful.

Jenny recently released her second memoir, Furiously Happy, an honest book about mental illness that is hilarious in a beautiful way, and it’s definitely one I’d recommend. I’m not quite nearly done with it, but just like everything else, I’ve loved it thus far. And this book brought her on tour to Seattle, where I found myself last weekend listening to her reading her book, and eventually, meeting her.

12278141_10206895079848497_121688328_nMe probably making Jenny Lawson uncomfortable as I thank her.

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Me talking about being swarmed by squirrels and her actually smiling. (Success!)

12273001_10206895077888448_1919805770_nSo many patterns. And so many thanks to my friend Meaghann who stuck it out with me through the night! (We may have been like the fourth from last in line for the night.)

There’s something about experiences that makes the world more tangible. The last year, I’ve had a lot of experiences. I think this particular one made the world tangible in a new level.

Meeting an author I look up to, one who’s impacted me so much, it almost felt normal. In one night she became entirely real to me, but it really didn’t feel strange. I, a person, met Jenny, anther person. We spoke briefly, she signed my book, and one for a friend, and that was it. I met Jenny Lawson.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember, even in our own lives, that other people also have their own lives. And that celebrities also live their own lives. And it makes people seem less real. Until I flew in an airplane, it was, well, this experience my brain understood but I didn’t really comprehend what it could be like. I’ve never been skydiving, so I can only imagine, but it’s an experience that alludes me. I haven’t done anything even remotely similar, so it seems real but distant to me.

This is also how the world is to me. The eastern half of Washington seemed a bit unreal until I lived there for a couple years. Living in Montreal, and heck, even visiting New York, Toronto, and other cities made them more tangible, not just some city you see on a sitcom.

Somehow meeting Jenny made not really people, but the world more tangible. It was the tipping point, I guess. See, I’m at this weird place where I have no clue what I’ll be doing, or even literally where in the world I’ll be living in six months. All nearby cities that I’d previously prayed about living in don’t give me that vibe I keep hoping for. So I expanded my search, and suddenly actually living in not just nearby Seattle, but also New York, or, yes, even London, don’t seem like almost a dream. I’ve never been to London, but all my experiences accumulated so that it feels tangible suddenly. I could soon be living in London. Or maybe Portland. I’m not sure. But these places and their possibilities seem real suddenly.

Also, so does actually finishing this memoir.

Meeting Jenny was not what I expected. It was actually much better.

-Crystal

The Case of the Missing Slug

I was in line at the store when I saw it: a small slug. A small slug in my new succulent. A small, dead slug in my succulent. My poor plant.
After I paid, I looked at the plant again: there was another slug. A baby slug. And this one was very much alive.
I got home and naturally grabbed one of those plastic flossing things –because it was all I could find–to scoop out the slugs and drop them in their natural environment (although only one would be able to enjoy it.) I scooped out the dead one first.
And then searched. And searched. (It’s an intricate maze of a succulent, okay?)
I’m missing a slug. It’s not in the plant. It’s not even in the bag I brought the plant home in.
There is a slug in this world that is highly adventurous. And missing. And it really can’t be but it is.
I’m going to raise my succulent as an indoor plant, gosh darnit, and it’s currently sitting outside on the porch in the dark, in the cold!
If someone could tell me the ways of the slug and possibly how to lure it out of a succulent, should it be there, that would be great.

UPDATE: Someone brought my plant inside, still in the bag, but when I checked, the slug was still missing. So the plant is now in my windowsill. And I can only hope a very adventurous slug slunk out of the succulents sack into the starry night.

 

-Crystal

Life Updates

I’ve been in the US for one month and two weeks. When I first tried to write this post, I’d been in the US for about thirteen days.

I originally wanted to write the end post about Montreal. Some sort of finale. Something big and grand and meaningful.

This isn’t that.

While I procrastinated writing, I visited New York City for a week, as well as my friend, Josh (and a post about this will probably happen within a week).

Then I traveled home. I’ve been trying to catch up with friends and family, reorder my belongings, and virtually hug Netflix, which I was without in Canada. (I was too cheap to get a Canadian account.) That last one’s been tricky as our TV has lost the color red and all other colors that require the use of red. Cooking shows end up looking like a poltergeist belongs in them.

Oh, and living with cats has caused many a smile.

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When I’m brave enough to leave the house, generally someone I don’t know or barely know asks if I’m in school, and when I say I’ve already graduated, they congratulate me. I nod and smile awkwardly, not bothering to say I was done a year ago, because then I’d be in the tricky situation of explaining what in the world I’ve been doing the last year. Also, I’m never sure if they think I’m in high school or college….

In my time at home, I’ve found I’ll be living in my hometown slightly longer than anticipated, so I’ve begun the job search. Turns out my major (English), while good for what I aspire toward (editing and publishing) is less impressive when applying for minimum wage jobs. Charming high schoolers are probably more likely to get hired.

I will give a small update about the transition from the Montreal DTS to real life: It’s been difficult. I predicted it would be tough, I tried to imagine every little thing that might go wrong. I just never thought I’d lose my motivation.

I wanted (and still want) so desperately to keep moving forward. That’s how I do things. I just keep going so there’s no time to transition. I just did. And now… I have too much time. I’m in the adult world for the first time (albeit living at home and just setting out to find a job) and don’t have the DTS or college or childhood as my crutch. This is it.

And it’s terrifying.

And that’s why I haven’t written anything. I tried. But it made me sad and anxious and a wee bit scared.

I’m excited for what’s to come, don’t get me wrong. This whole “in the meantime” thing just messed with my head a bit.

I’ve got to admit that there’s another reason for the lack of a final YWAM update: I’m terrible at summarization. Which hasn’t stopped me from writing about the DTS in the past, but trying to explain what the DTS meant to me, how it affected, changed me, all that? Well, I’m sort of in the middle of writing a book entirely about that. I actually joined Camp NaNoWriMo this July so I try to finish the rough draft. (NaNoWriMo is this thing where you write 50,000 words/150 pages/a small novel’s worth of a book in a month. It takes place in November, but they now offer it in the summer, too.) Basically, summarizing that is exactly the opposite of what I’m in the middle of trying to do.

Anyway… My life’s back to normal. Assuming it was normal to begin with. And that’s it. That’s my exceedingly late life update.

 

-Crystal

Here We Are at the End

This is mostly a PSA.

My DTS has had an unusual week.

We’ve been finishing up reports, making our final updates about our internships and personal projects, debriefing every weekday morning about our eight months here.

On Thursday night, we had our graduation! Although some of us were still working on reports and we still had class the next morning.

Friday, we brunched for class and finished everything up. That was it. We were done that morning. Aside from those pesky reports, at least.

On Saturday, us students held our last hurrah. We celebrated with homemade poutine so I could finally have some and not be poisoned, as well as some ice wine. I got to experience two truly Canadian things in one night. And there was some impromtu karaoke, mainly from Orianne sung through a fan. And a wee bit of dancing. Orianne’s great at leading, it turns out.

Today, Sunday. The last day of the month. In all technicality, the very last day of the school. It marks my eight month stay in the city. I’ve turned in my reports. I’m about to send Alyce the draft for half a memoir. And things are truly ending.

Tomorrow, I’ll see Alyce for the last time, and then just after, my dear roommate Clemence flies out.

Tuesday is an iffy day. I’m not sure what’s happening that day, except that it will be my last full day in Montreal. And I’m a bit sad about that.

Wednesday, I’ll leave for New York City via train. And that will be my last day not only in Montreal, but Canada. At least until some friends and I cartrip out to BC hopefully soon-ish. And it won’t all be sad; my friend Josh will receive me in New York, and we’ll have a splediferous week together.

And a week from this Wednesday, I will finally be back in the Pacific Northwest.

Oh, I still have many, many stories to tell. Apparently enough to fill the pages of a book. And I have so many quotes and pictures and shenanigans from these past couple weeks to share. I just won’t have time to actually write them up until, oh, two weeks from now, probably.

So this is a PSA.

My DTS is now over.

Everything is coming to a close in this chapter of my life–or book, rather.

And I don’t know what’s ahead, but thank you for joining me for this little adventure I’ve had the joy to share with these people in the school.

So goodbye Montreal. Maybe see you some other time.

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-Crystal

Stories just over two decades in the making.