Purple bodysuit by Mamas & Papas, 2013 collection, imported from Kuwait. Pajamas by Carter's.
Sunday mornings are special at our house. With the weekdays so busy with working and chores, weekends are a great opportunity for all of us to relax and reconnect. We try to take it easy on Sundays and enjoy a perfect morning together as a family of four.
The magic starts at 5:30, when little, sweet Groucho tiptoes into our bed and cuddles under my arm. "I love you, Groucho," I whisper sleepily into her soft curls. "I want breakfast," she whispers back--for the first of 87 times. Mini muffins to the rescue! Make two dozen the night before and store them in a plastic container on the edge of the kitchen counter. Paired with a juice box (strategically placed on a low shelf in the fridge), Groucho can stuff her face unsupervised for twenty minutes while hubby and I cling to each other in bed and rue the third bomber of beer we had at midnight.
Soon, dear Harpo sings himself awake. I fetch him from his crib and nurse him tenderly on our chrysanthymum-embroidered coverlet from Target. It's reversible, which is great because we can mix up our bedroom/living room's color scheme from medium green to slightly less medium green. Also, we can just flip it over should Harpo barf on it. You can only do this so many times, but with two kids, we're always doing laundry!!!! I wouldn't call it a suicidal amount of laundry, but I do enough loads a week to inspire existential crisis. Why am I washing this? It will just be dirty tomorrow. Does anything I do matter? Am I even living or just waiting to die?
Tide Free totally helps.
With Harpo fed, it's time to make coffee! Coffee is the centerpiece of any perfect Sunday. Recently, I've been enjoying the Godiva brand coffee my mom found in a Marshall's two years ago. It's been aging in my freezer ever since, and I think time has really enhanced the flavor. I store it in another coffee can to confuse myself.
Of course I have to have my coffee in my favorite Contigo Autoseal Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mug! Seriously, no human should have fewer than three of these in their kitchen at any time. In the future, Contigo Autoseal Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mugs will be used as currency: they are that vital to everyday life! They keep hot drinks hot for hours, and they have a push-button spout, which means you can knock it over without spillage--a must for anyone with children or hang over-induced clumsiness, or both! I have one in black and one in medium green, which will one day store my cremains. That's how much I fucking love Contigo Autoseal Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mugs!
Crock Pot by Crock Pot
Hubby and I fill our travel mugs with coffee, and then we cradle them in bed and try unsuccessfully to go back to sleep as our beautiful children enjoy screen time. Even after seven Daniel Tiger episodes' worth of unsatisfying rest punctuated by crying, whining, hair pulling, and other assorted batshittery, our coffee is still as fresh and hot as the hell that awaits us until nap time.
What do you do to make your Sundays more special than anyone else's? Enjoy your weekend, friends!
Here is my advice when signing up for Pinterest: never admit to being a woman. Even if you are one, when they ask you for your gender at the signup, lie. Otherwise you're going to get a whole lot of this:
I'm trying to give Pinterest the benefit of the doubt here in assuming that these recommended subjects aren't painting all women with the same vapid brush. Perhaps the fact that there are boards for both "Fitness" and "Ab Workouts" speaks to the complexity of womanhood. What young, tender girl hasn't found herself at the crossroads of "Hair and Beauty," "Hairstyles," AND "Braids"? Truly, Pinterest is catering to the true female experience, one that enjoys both "Home Decor" and "DIY Home Decor." The message here is that a woman must always be renovating something.
As someone content to squat in the derelict crack den that is my own body, I don't know what I should be looking for on Pinterest. When you're not willing to change yourself, Pinterest is just a visual representation of a bookmarks bar. I turned to my social media experts to solicit use cases. "I find recipes I'll never cook," was one answer. "I like to discover projects I'll never do," was another. While some had found practical applications (finding classroom writing prompts, managing lists of baby supplies), most of my friends who used Pinterest admitted it was a place they go to get "inspired" and then not do anything they were inspired to do.
This seems like a waste of time, or at the very least a missed opportunity. If there's anything I'm learning in my journey to become online famous, it's that to inspire people you must connect with instead of just pander to them. So how can Pinterest challenge and engage its main demographic: cisgender, heterosexual women in a constant state of insecure self-improvement? As a member of this target audience, what would I enjoy curating photos of and then admiring them for more than ten seconds at a time?
And then the answer came to me: Penis.
Wait, wait, wait! Don't leave yet! I promise this post will not contain any real dicks. Why? Because Pinterest won't allow them. Here's proof:
Of course, there's no penis on Pinterest. There's no penis anywhere. I bet you've seen more live tigers this year than you've seen dicks on TV ever.
There are probably reasons for this, some involving decency laws. But I saw more of Lena Headey's vagina in Game of Thrones than I've seen of my own, so I'm not sure we can really rely on the strictness of these rules. The message in this discrepancy between acceptable levels of nudity is that a woman can be displayed like a cooked goose in a Chinatown window, but the penis is so special, so secretive, so revered that we must avert our eyes lest they be burned by its majesty.
When I say I am demanding a Penis Pinterest board, I'm not saying that I actually want to look at wang en masse... for more than thirty minutes. I do believe any red-blooded cisgender heterosexual female might enjoy a titillating lineup of trouser snake more than she'd appreciate photos of braids. But what women might enjoy more is leveling the playing field between the genders when it comes to feeling self-conscious.
Even when signing up for a free social media cork board, we females are inundated with body parts we should be improving. Shouldn't we encourage our male counterparts to have the same initiative? Let there be an online repository of dick picks men can reference in order to worry about how they measure up. Let there be Pinterest boards available for them to learn how to give their dicks extra volume, what moisturizers to use, what exfoliants to avoid. Let the ass-backwardness of the double standard men and women are held to in the media be unpantsed! Maybe then I might get something I really want to look at--or, at the very least, some non-phallic content that isn't completely, offensively bland.
Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned ham ban, I couldn't make a penis Pinterest board. The closest thing I could get is a board of things that look like penis, which is funny, but I wouldn't say it'll knock your socks off.
In closing, there is not a single thing to write home about on Pinterest. Don't sign up for it. Don't even look at it unless you enjoy feeling shitty about your hair.
If you want something that will really take your breath away, you should (WARNING: THE LINK YOU ARE ABOUT TO CLICK WILL INUNDATE YOU WITH FAMOUS MOVIE PEENS) check this out.
Are you as pissed as I am that you've never seen below the belly on the telly? Tell me about it in the comments below. If I have enough backing, I will take my case to Pinterest.
Maybe it's because I'm a narcissist, but I sincerely believe my journey toward viral can and should inspire the masses. This is why I'm starting an online motivational movement to empower people to follow their dreams without fear of judgment. I call it: Carpe Dopeness.
(GOOP was already taken.)
For a successful launch on this #MotivationMonday, I've created a Pinterest board (more on that later) full of amazing motivational memes to share around the Internet. I'll also be posting them on Facebook all week. Feel free to share with your friends who need a little more dopeness in their lives.
Now, I bet your asking yourself, "Is she serious?" To which I reply, "It depends. Are you?"
On the surface, Carpe Dopeness is just another of my social media gimmicks, an ironic twist on YOLO, something to make people chuckle and then forget as they scroll through their Facebook feeds. But friends, believe me when I testify that I have been changed by my quest for online fame. A week ago I was a trembling milquetoast biting my nails before my laptop, wondering, "Should I ask people for help in following my stupid, shameful dreams?" Then I drank a bunch of bourbon, and the answer was, "More Cheetos!" And then (apparently), "YES!" I posted a CALL TO ACTION(TM) on Facebook, which was answered and shared by dozens of loved ones (and even a few strangers). My posts last week garnered over 1,000 impressions when the week before they were only seen 70 times, and I'm pretty sure that was just my brother refreshing his browser to make me feel better.
I used to think dreams were for dopes: idiots, innocents, the irresponsible--navel-gazing losers who not-so-secretly hope they're special. But now, thanks to the blind support of people who haven't spoken to me since grade school, I see now that dreams are important not because they are achievable, but because they are fun. Dreams make the workday tolerable, amuse us on our commutes, tickle us while we do dishes. They distract and entertain and give us hope of being more than we currently are. That's what Carpe Dopeness means to me: It's the courage to scheme even though your wishes don't really matter to a cold world with real problems, but hey, it's something to do until Game of Thrones comes back on. I'm not sure I'll ever get this book published, but I promise you I'll have a blast trying.
So this is my mission: to be my dopest self in full view of the world and inspire others to do the same--to say to a faceless crowd of people blithely scrolling through their Facebook feeds over their morning coffee, "I am chasing my dreams because I am just as bored as you are! Regard me, and join!"
So how serious am I about Carpe Dopeness? Serious AF.
I am documenting my attempts to become online famous--one social media scheme at a time.
In my quest to become Internet famous, I decided to tackle Instagram, a platform that lets you post photos online that are visible both to your friends and to masturbators skulking about the Internet. Instagramming is probably easier for people who have visually stunning lives, but considering I drive a Honda, work in a warehouse, and have worn the same four T-shirts on repeat for the past six months, my days aren't exactly a feast for the senses. I made Crock Pot lamb last night, but I wouldn't say it looked good enough to pleasure yourself to. Still, I thought I'd give posting photos of my boring existence a crack.
I learned from opening a Facebook account in 2012 and then not telling anyone about it for four years that it is not enough to "build it" on the Internet with the expectation that "they will come." You have to drag people there, kicking and screaming. With these learnings, I decided I would promote my Instagram by debuting it on Baublebar, a website (and frequent target of my tantric shopping) that sells on-trend jewelry I like to buy and then feel embarrassed trying to pull off due to the aforementioned four-shirts thing. Instead of leaving product reviews, customers are encouraged to submit Instagrams that look like this:
How hard could this be to replicate?
So I took a picture of some earrings I bought recently, which looked like this:
Ew. This did not look like other Instagrams. For starters, there was way more neck hair, but also I was stupidly trying to take a picture of a thing, which isn't the point of Instagram at all. According to Jenn Herman, a social media manager, Instagram photos can be used to "convey emotions, ideas, sentiments, thoughts, and reality," which "are things that you lose through text." Herman also says Instagram is a great way to show off your personality, presumably because words fail in that regard as well. As a person who trades in words (the best words!), this is hardly good news.
If this first photo said things about my personality, it was that I have amazing taste in wallpaper but not much imagination when it comes to art direction. I decided I needed a locale more exciting, so I took my kids, Groucho and Harpo, to the zoo for my Exotic Background photo shoot.
Even though it's still a little beardy, I enjoy how this photo conveys so much about my personality, like how I'm a person who wears earrings to the zoo. Wild, right? Who knows what I'll do next?
Ultimately, I wasn't sure this was the right submission for Baublebar since the rhino is hero instead of the product. I also did not want The Photo that Conveys Me to the Internet to suggest I had neglected my children while I was taking it--even though I totally had. "Why are you doing this, mommy?" Groucho asked, climbing on the fence surrounding the giraffe enclosure while I was mid-selfie. (This is how Harambe got killed.)
So I came home, put the kids to bed, and went out for coffee wearing lipstick to what I considered to be my Basic Bitch photo shoot. In honor of fall (even though it was 85 degrees out), I wore a poncho and got my coffee in a to-go cup so I could pass it off as a pumpkin spice latte.
I don't usually approve of narcissistic photo shoots involving people doing nothing--and let me tell you, the dozens of pedestrians walking past me while I sweated in a blanket and pretended to look bored for my own camera didn't either. But one thing I can appreciate about a well-timed selfie is that it manifests the universal hope that we are good looking despite evidence to the contrary. How many of us have blamed our double chins on bad angles instead of bad life choices? One thing my Instagram journey has taught me is that my face has always been beautiful: it's just the lighting that's been wrong.
While my Basic Bitch photo is certainly Baublebar worthy, the problem is that it doesn't convey my personality at all. It's not nearly beardy enough, and also it suggests neither humor nor shame--the twin pillars upon which I have penned my book and built my entire life. Aside from the cognitive dissonance and moral shadiness of trying to catfish my audience with a fake Instagram photo, what's the point of luring all these beautiful, fashion-savvy people here if they're not the kind of beautiful, fashion-savvy people who would be interested in international dick jokes? Shouldn't I be showing my realest self, even if it's not the best? You know what Socrates says: To thine own brand be true.
Which is why I also took this photo:
Note my amazing taste in wallpaper, my tendency to wear unflattering T-shirts, my fondness for liquor, my disdain for cosmetics, how cleverly I buck the trends--and the fact that I'm wearing fantastic earrings. In this photo, I am satisfied that both the product and I are heroes.
In conclusion, I will not beg you to like me on Instagram because I probably won't be using it much. However, I do encourage you to vote for the photo you'd like me to submit as my product review to Baublebar. I'll announce the winner on September 16--though I'm pretty sure we already know the obvious answer. (Cool Rhino FTW!)
UPDATE: Within 24 hours, Baublebar started featuring Cool Rhino onsite. I didn't even submit it: they just found it on Instagram. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
I've written a book. Like me on Twitter. Follow me on Facebook.
I have spent an embarrassing amount of time tinkering with a book about the year I spent making an ass out of myself in Japan. Now that it is finished (and perhaps even tolerable), I'm toying with strategies on how to get it published by fancy cigar-smoking New York types. But to reach premium attractiveness to agents and publishers, I have to have what is called "a platform," which, as far as I understand it, consists of two things:
To accomplish the above, I have embarked on a journey to become what I loathe the most...
a Person Who Internets.
A Person Who Internets commits fully to the idea that she is interesting all of the time, even when eating a bagel on a Tuesday or getting stuck in traffic. A Person Who Internets has Deep Thoughts(TM) and isn't afraid to share them multiple times a day. A Person Who Internets is a borderline narcissist who wants ALL the attention without ANY of the grammar--or at least that's what I see when I see people celebrating anniversaries on Facebook, hash tagging "blessed" on Twitter, or engaging in the socially acceptable habit of posting pictures of nachos to Instagram. I scoff at their navel-gazing: Do these people actually think strangers care about their lives? And then I realize I've written a memoir, which is like the world's most self-indulgent tweet. I am banking on the fact that strangers care about other people's lives.
Any Freud could tell you that my distaste for oversharing is rooted in an overwhelming fear of being rejected: if an outfit is worn without photo documentation, can anyone definitively say you looked like shit? The vulnerability associated with becoming a Person Who Internets is terrifying. Anyone who's ever posted a resume to LinkedIn or crafted an OKCupid profile or Snapchatted a dick pick is clearly screaming out into the void, "Am I worthy of love?" This is followed by: am I ready for the answers? Can I handle the truth?
At the very least, a platform proves to agents and editors you have the balls to promote yourself, which is well and good assuming you have the balls to promote yourself. I don't. I have itty-bitty balls, teeny-tiny BBs rattling around a scrotum of self-doubt. It's hard for me to say "I'm good at this," or "My thoughts are important," or "My nose is beautiful." Beneath my hamming and vamping, I'm just a girl, sitting in front of a laptop, asking a bunch of other people with laptops to follow her on Twitter.
You can also like my writer page on Facebook while you're at it, even if you don't like me in real life. You can read this blog sometimes: I'll post on social media when I update it. If something I write catches your eye, share it or mock it with your friends: Google analytics can't tell the difference. You can share it without even reading it: it's OK! I'll never know. If I am acquainted with you personally, I promise to never talk to you about my writing IRL. Considering I probably never have, you can count on this.
In conclusion, this is me: promoting myself. I'm telling you I'm cool, and I write some mildly entertaining stuff, and I'm going to put it out there on the Internet even though it kills me to do it, because I'm worthy of love, or at least a Like. I'm asking for your help: follow me, forgive me when I suck--help me prove to a frightening, judgmental world that my book is good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it: my balls are yuge.
Bad days happen, and despite the pitfalls of consumerism, sometimes you've just got to treat yourself. The experts maintain that spending money on experiences is more gratifying than buying things, but when you're at your desk mopping exploded yogurt out of your purse after arriving late because of traffic, you can't exactly pop out for a hot air balloon ride at lunch. That's why tantric shopping is the perfect solution. Combining the dirty thrill of Facebook stalking with the delayed gratification of Sting-like sex, tantric shopping will ensure you get the most pleasure out of your unnecessary purchasing experience so that you can satisfy your materialistic urges and your spiritual sense of buying only what you need.
It starts harmlessly enough: go to your favorite shopping site and browse. Something will catch your eye: a color-block ruana, a pair of tasseled earrings. Realize that you deserve something nice and then decide what that nice thing should be. The amount of time you take to do this will probably calm your nerves without requiring you to pull the trigger on purchasing. Even so, put these treasures in your shopping cart, admire them, take them back out, and get back to work.
If you feel better, congratulate yourself on your ability to self-soothe and save money. But if you find yourself back in your shopping cart an hour later during your coffee break, that's when you know you're in trouble. This thing you were going to buy yourself on a whim has now taken root and is on the verge of becoming a necessity. Even minimalists will agree: you need these things. Imagine the drafts you'll ward off, the way the light will dance off your earlobes at cocktail parties. Your mouse hovers over the BUY NOW button, but wait until tomorrow, sensibly. If you still want them tomorrow, you can buy them.
The next morning, go on a Google odyssey. Research the history of ruanas. (Are you culturally appropriating by wanting one? How are they different from ponchos?) Explore the accessories trends for fall. Read the reviews, check out the Instagrams, the fashion blogs, the places that will teach you how to optimize the imaginary accessories that will change your life the moment you buy them. Tomorrow. The fact that these things aren't terribly expensive is not relevant: the point is that you don't need them, but you want them, so you wait as long as possible to possess them, to ride the fever as high as you can go until it breaks or you go insane. You're playing chicken with yourself. Do you want the earrings in red or blue? Should you get two wraps so you can leave one in your car? At your desk? At your mom's house? OMG: THEY'VE GONE ON SALE!
Let this last for at least a week. Visit your potential purchases every day as if they were in prison. Make sure you want them--really want them. Do they spark joy? If you are not fully possessed, then do not buy. It is only when you've been driven to the brink of madness by your lust yes, that you plunge your hand into your wallet yes, breathlessly rip out the credit card yes, and BUY THOSE THINGS. Free shipping? Coupon codes? Oh, god! OH GOD!
And it's done. You're panting. You're sweating. You're waiting... a whole week for them to arrive.
The agony, it burns! How will you cope? The minimalists were right: you don't own these earrings, they own you. Track the package: rerouted to Denver? Google frantically. Fantasize about how you'll look on dinner dates, when you get that promotion. Picture yourself breezing through the office on time, yogurt intact, looking effortlessly capable. It's not just possible: it's probable the minute the package arrives.
Hopeless, you come home from another battered day at work, and there it is on the doorstep like a lover returned from war: a box. You tear it open, and all the possibilities of the world are yours. Thanks to tantric shopping, you've turned a five minute shopping blip into a two-week love affair, all for cheaper than the cost of a hot air balloon. Now don't you feel better?
Gudetama is the latest kawaii character from Sanrio, that Japanese culture factory that rolls out cuteness as fast as Taylor Swift goes through boyfriends. A play on “gude gude,” the Japanese term for lazy, Gudetama is an egg who “lacks spunk.” This is an understatement, because Gudetama lacks almost everything: joy, empathy, pants. Unlike Hello Kitty, My Melody, and other chipper, cheerful characters that danced across your fourth-grade pencil case, since 2013 Gudetama has been complete and unapologetic dick prone to dramatic sighs and stealing people’s smartphones to upload videos of himself to Instagram. Unsurprisingly, he’s a hit with Millennials, who relate to his nihilism, laziness, and fondness for social media. (He has 672 thousand followers. I, a tax-paying member of productive society, have 12.)
Gudetama’s apathy is showcased in a series of minute-long Internet cartoons in which the listless egg lounges around on plates of food, huddling under a bacon blanket and complaining about everything from the temperature of the room to the fact that he “can’t even.” His human companion, a nameless man at the dinner table whom we only see from the back, is forever scolding Gudetama for his general worthlessness and telling Gudetama to put on eggshell underwear. But the egg persists in being a self-absorbed little shit. Each short showcases one of Gudetama’s Very Important Problems (will he reach the remote?), but all invariably end with a full-grown man named Nisetama-san, “Mr. Fake Egg,” in full-body orange spandex dancing humorlessly through the closing credits like Buffalo Bill in his lady suit.
So what’s the appeal? Why should anyone feel endeared to this gelatinous turd high in cholesterol but low in moral fiber? It’s easy to blame the Millennials for this, but really, I think Gudetama speaks to the squishy, vulnerable heart of everyone old enough to doubt that Santa isn’t real, the soft-boiled yolk of the soul that fears the melting ice caps and the looming threat of zika (not to mention the high cost of lattes) and longs to return to the warm, isolated shell of youth. With the world as it is, what’s there to be excited about? Who can feel optimism over ever finding love, happiness, or even nice-fitting jeans? “I wanna go home,” Gudetama says. “But you haven't even gone anywhere?” replies his human companion. Leave it to an egg--even younger than a baby--to strike at the core of adulting: you wake up, you go to work, moving but never advancing, nostalgic for “home” and a time in your life when dreams meant something and adventures weren’t rare.
It is unclear if Gudetama’s human companion ever eats him. Is Gudetama a single egg or all eggs in succession? Are we, as people, prone to the same innate hopelessness?
The larger, human metaphor of Gudetama is clear but lies not in the spoiled naked egg scratching his salmonella-dripping bottom but in the guy who must deal with these ovoid shenanigans: all of us are, deep down, lazy, navel-gazing, and worthless. But our job as adults is to overcome the urge to take comfort in bacon or stink up our Instagrams with self-indulgent photos. We must, every morning, consume the egg, destroy it. Address its lazy power over us and defeat. Eat our breakfast, wash the dishes, put on that spandex, and just keep dancing. In short, Gudetama teaches us that we must “even”--even when we can’t.
Kishiwada is a town south of Osaka in the Kansai area of Japan, and its Danjiri Matsuri, held every autumn, is one of the most boisterous festivals around. This year the festival falls on September 17-18, so you still have time to go. Here are six reasons why you should book your airfare now:
1) Visually, it looks uh-mazing.
A danjiri is a portable shrine—like a one-car garage smashed atop a medieval oxcart—that's made entirely out of meticulously carved wood. Weighing in at a few tons, it is pulled through the streets by hundreds of people hauling on ropes the girth of a grown man's wrist. The Kishiwada festival boasts 34 danjiri all going at the same time, the teams vying for who can pull the fastest and most recklessly.
2) The danger is real.
At the height of a double decker bus with a base the width of a Camry, the shrine is twice as tall as it is fat. An tremendous split-level roof does its best to makes the thing even more prone to falling over, but that doesn't stop someone from flailing around on the roof as the cart sails through the streets. If a corner is taken too fast, the danjiri could topple, taking crowds, buildings, and telephone poles with it. Kishiwada shops along the route have special danjiri insurance, and people have died in the melee.
3) The fashion is on fleek.
Festival participants (both male and female) wear identical short navy happi coats, fitted white pants with high waists, split-toe ninja shoes, and a rolled-up towel tied around the head like a halo. Though the clothes are old-school, the accessorizing is still modern, making the scene like a Kurosawa film with cell phones and tons of mascara.
4) Drinks are plentiful.
If the thought of all this running makes you thirsty, you'll be happy to know that Japan's open-carry laws apply only to alcoholic beverages, so you can imbibe on the street while watching (or fleeing) danjiri. Beers can be purchased from kiosks along the route or from convenience stores that also sell wine, whisky, and Chu Hi, a canned carbonated cocktail consisting of flavored shochu or vodka that boasts an alcohol content of 9%.
5) The food necessitates sweatpants.
Osaka is known for being the Nation's Kitchen, so festival food in the cities south is guaranteed to be good. Have some Kansai-style okonomiyaki: a savory cabbage pancake made on a griddle from flour, eggs, grated yam, and some kind of protein—pork belly, bacon, squid, octopus. Okonomi means “what you like” and yaki—as in yakitori, yakisoba, takoyaki, every Osakan specialty food yaki, yaki, yaki--fried. Green tea soft serve, fried chicken, and madeline-style cakes are also up for grabs.
6) The atmosphere is primed for friend making.
The Japanese famously have a reputation for being hard working, so when festivals roll around, they really let their hair down. With huge crowds of people giddy on beer and junk food, you're bound to strike up a conversation. Don't let the language barrier intimidate you: when you and the guy next to you narrowly escape being flattened by a 300-year-old shrine on wheels, you'll be instant BFFs.
This is not my video--I was too busy drinking/fleeing--but watch it to get the grand scale of this s%$& show.
Tornado season in Kentucky is nothing to fuck with. Should you find yourself under a tornado watch, here are some simple tips to help you "weather" the storm.
Step 1: Extend your right arm to your side at a ninety degree angle from your body. If you are in Kentucky, there will undoubtedly be a bottle of Maker's Mark bourbon there. Pour yourself a liberal amount over ice to steel your nerves. DO NOT MIX IT WITH COKE. Mixing with Coke will only dilute the bourbon's effects and prove troublesome in the future, like taking antibiotics with your birth control.
Step 2: Take stock of everything you know about tornadoes. Know what to expect. You could see a bemused cow drifting by your window. Your home might be transported to a technicolor dream land. Reflect on the tornado-related damage, injuries and deaths you've seen on the news. Have a moment of silence as you contemplate the fragility of life and realize this is serious.
Step 3: Panic. The weatherman on TV will tell you not to, but go ahead and come completely unglued. Call your mother to say goodbye. Text ex-boyfriends and tell them you're sorry for everything. Open the front door and let your dogs out to fend for themselves, screaming, "Run, my darlings! You are finally free!" Eat a pint of ice cream because it deserves to die nobly in your mouth and not whizzing through the air alone.
Step 4: If you are in your home, find a duffel bag. Fill it with items that cannot be replaced in the event your house is destroyed: heirlooms, family photos, passports, birth certificates, computers, favorite shoes, that dress you bought on sale at J. Crew even though it was too small because you promised yourself you'd fit into it one day, etc. Take this along with your grandmother's china, mementos from your babyhood, all six of your dining room chairs and your wedding dress to the basement.
Note: If your house does not have a basement, either find one that does or nestle a cyanide capsule between your gum and cheek just in case. More Maker's Mark can be substituted if cyanide is unavailable.
Step 5: Watch the weatherman on TV for hours. He will show you the angry red radar like a rash across Illinois, but he will have no updates other than "There might be a tornado later." He will be checking his Facebook on air. He will be calling his second cousin in Indiana on the phone to ask if she has a tornado at her house ("Nope, not yet"). He will cut to the live camera on top of the tallest building downtown, which will show you a beautiful blue sky. He will say you are safe for the next two hours and that you can probably watch the episode of House Hunters you have on DVR. This is just another of his weatherman games. Whatever you do: don't change the channel. Stay tuned at all times.
Step 6: Press your nose against the single leaded-glass panes of your 1920s home and watch the clouds start gathering like no-good kids outside a convenience store. Squeal a little every time you see lightning.
Step 7: By now it will be raining. Hard. When the force of the rain has reached biblical proportions, make your husband go outside to chain the barbecue in the backyard to the drainpipe with a bicycle lock so it doesn't blow away. He will protest. Make him do it anyway. "Why didn't you think of this sooner?" he'll ask. Get angry when you tell him you were too busy making sure the Kitchen Aid mixer made it to the basement.
Step 8: Watch more TV with the lights off for maximum fear factor. Freak out again at your husband when the satellite TV he just HAD to have because it offered seventeen fishing channels craps out, leaving you without a weatherman. If you had cable, this wouldn't have happened. This tornado is all his fault.
Step 9: Apologize. Turn on a radio. Have more bourbon.
Step 10: By now you will hear sirens that mean someone may or may not have seen a tornado, and it might or might not be coming your way. You're could be in danger, but there's no way to know for sure. To be safe, grab the bottle of Maker's (which, by now, should be the only thing left on the ground level of your house besides dust bunnies and discolored squares on the wall where your photos used to be) and retreat to the basement.
Step 11: Wait.
Step 12: Drink more bourbon. Tell your husband you love him. Thank him for a grand life. Cry a little if the mood strikes.
Step 13: Wait some more.
Step 14: Wake up when your husband shakes your shoulder. You will either find yourself riding an airborne cow toward Virginia or totally fine. If the latter, try not to feel disappointed that all your preparations were for nothing. Try not to feel sheepish; finishing the bourbon will help. Stumble upstairs to bedroom. Realize you moved bed to basement. Curse the weatherman and go back downstairs. Review best practices of your weather plan: are there any things you could have done better? Done without? Contemplate this as you pass out on whatever is handy, cuddling the wax-topped bottle under your arm like a teddy bear.
NOTE: This plan can also be used in cases of predicted rapture.
You've no doubt had your eye on my house for quite some time, and why wouldn't you? You've seen the Bud Light cans we throw in our unmowed grass. Your eyes have caressed the length of PVC pipe we use for a banister, leading to our porch with the curling white paint. And you know it's all a ruse, that this thousand-square-foot bungalow is home to treasures beyond your most meth-addled dreams: a vintage 32-inch TV circa 2002. Our Target bath linens. Three IKEA bookcases. A Tiffany bowl etched with a corporate logo filled with caramel Hershey Kisses. You've seen these jewels in your mind's eye, and you've lusted for them forever. And now that you've noticed my six-foot-five Australian husband has gone on a business trip for two nights, you're rubbing your palms together beneath my window, cackling, "Now's our chance!"
I want you to know I am ready.
First of all, I don't know how good your view is from the bushes, but I'm willing to bet you can't appreciate how ridiculously jacked I am when you see me eating cookie sandwiches in the kitchen all night. Cookie sandwiches = muscle fuel. Don't believe me? Go ahead: break the glass panels of my front door with your bare elbow, grope around the left side of frame until you find my keys hanging from their Hello Kitty lanyard and let yourself in. It's only when you're within fist's range that you will realize how terrifying/beautiful I am in my red, over-sized 1996 YMCA Mock UN Assembly T-shirt: beautiful in that you'll want to ravage me, but terrifying in that you'll stop and think, "Is it worth having my dick ripped out like a cork from a wine bottle?" I promise you, it is, but that decision is one you and your urologist will have to make.
So I'm jacked and I'm armed. I'm sleeping with a carving knife on my nightstand; it's right next to my cell phone so that I can call 911 when you break in. (If you're lucky, the cops will get here in time to save you.) Is it dangerous to keep a knife next to a phone I spend half the night groping for in the dark because it doubles as my clock? Yes, but that's just the kind of crazy I am. That I'm halfway through my second bottle of Riesling does you no favors. I've also seen, like, five Bruce Lee movies.
And even if you do manage to overpower me (which you won't, but let's just pretend for giggles), if you do so much as bruise my hulking biceps with a dead arm, my husband will find you. Did I mention he's Australian? Have you seen what they do over there? That guy's been strangling grown dingos with his bear hands (that's not a typo: I swear to god, he has bear hands!) since you were playing Oregon Trail on DOS. So go into the backyard, turn on our barbecue and throw yourself on it. Save him the trouble; he'll be tired when he gets back.
I know you had big plans for pawning my silver monogrammed bracelet from Things Remembered. I know my five-year-old Mac laptop would have gotten you enough black-market money to treat yourselves to a post-burglary dinner at Qdoba. But look, I just don't want you guys to get hurt, OK? Do yourselves a favor and turn to your right: the old lady who lives alone in that house has a three-piece corduroy living room set. Sure, it's covered in cat hair, but I think you'll agree that your lives are worth more than the cost of a lint brush.