Salty Stories

Things I Googled In My 30th Year On This Earth

Proving that you do not get wiser with age, you just learn to trust the internet to be smarter so your brain can hold onto important things like every lyric to an N*SYNC deep cut.

We’re closing in on the first anniversary of my 30th birthday. Please send your condolences in the form of straight cash to my Venmo, homies. (@Julia-Giantomasi) Since last year I dug real deep and got vulnerable with all of my insecurities about aging and accomplishments (Thirty, Flirty & Full of Anxiety.) I thought I would keep the tradish alive and bare my soul again. Everyone knows revealing your search history is more embarrassing than admitting in a public-facing blog how many times you’ve pooped your pants so you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be ousting last year’s edition. I started this piece during a comedy writing sprint (where you write every single day) in February and when I reviewed it for submission, I realized there was nothing satirical about it. I just straight up copy/pasted my Google searches and then roasted myself for them. So in the spirit of making fun of myself no matter how much closer I get to being an Old Maid, here’s actual things that I Googled this year to prove that we don’t need to grow up or even be smart to survive this thing called life, just as long as we have the World Wide Web at our fingertips.

Name of (insert ‘actor/singer/character/title’ as needed)

This has because almost a daily occurrence. As much as I religiously check IMDB to refresh my memory, it’s hard to admit but sometimes I don’t even remember enough to plug into IMDB and find the answers. But at any rate, about 99.9% of the time I can’t remember the name of something or someone in whatever I’m watching at that current moment and I want to fire off a funny tweet about it but I don’t want to have egg on my face for misspelling or mixing up actors.

Natural ailments for memory loss / How young can you be to start showing signs of dementia

Were you concerned when I just said 99.9% of the time I can’t remember something? Yeah, me too. Hence this very real Google search. Seriously did my brain just fall out of my head when I entered a new decade? Is this normal? Should I get an MRI? LMK, because my mom banned me from checking WebMD and I think this is a cause for concern. Also, if your only recommendation is fish oil pls see yourself out because the thought of taking a pill that either smells or tastes like fish makes me want to be braindead for the rest of my life.

What’s it called when you start to fall asleep and have hallucinations?

Turns out this one is “hypnagogic hallucinations” and the cure for it is to be less stressed. LOLZ. Guess I’ll be seeing bugs in my bed or on my walls as I drift off to dreamland forever and for all of eternity. I even started blind folding myself for bedtime (ya I know they’re called sleep masks but let’s call a spade a spade) and what’s fun about that is I now have a prop to rip off of my face when I wake up with a jolt, launch from my bed and yell, “WTF IS THAT?!” (referring to the made up creatures sharing a bed with me.) At least I provide a midnight show for my dog, so there’s that.

Can you mix Sudafed and alcoholic beverages?

It is not recommended, but research shows (2 sudafeds followed by 2 rum and cokes and a bud light) that you’ll probably survive, you just might feel like a real snoozy suzie at the bar. Probably still safer than the time I took my heels off in the middle of the bar on Halloween then proceeded to walk 5 blocks home barefoot.

Things that are cheugy

Thanks, Gen Z, you’re all a buncha judgmental a*holes. If you are also above the age of 25 and don’t care enough to fire up the ole Google to find out what this means, I’ll give it to you straight, it’s a stupid made up word that the youths created to describe every single trend, personality trait and interest of humans in their late twenties and onward. Parting your hair on the side? Cheugy. Using the crying laughing emoji? Cheugy. My ENTIRE persona? C H E U G Y.

Matching your coordinates to your environment? Cheug City.

What’s a BENNY

Welcome to New Jersey, where they created a nickname specifically to insult anyone who didn’t grow up at the beach. Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark and New York. Let it be known that Bayonne, Elizabeth and Newark ARE IN THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY. These people bully their own! You live 40 mins North of the beach in the same state? L O S E R. Within one month of living in Jersey, I bought a table off of Facebook marketplace and the seller told me that she’s from North Jersey but has lived at the Jersey Shore for 20 years…TWENTY YEARS…and her husband’s family still calls her a Benny. RUTHLESS.

BENNY with ATTITUDE.

How to make new friends as a single adult

Honestly there were many variations of this search and all of them were equally as weird and sad. No answers were found, yet many cringey efforts were made. 10/10 DO NOT recommend joining BumbleBFF unless you want to feel like you’re courting someone just to have a gal pal to talk Housewives and drink wine with.

How old is someone if they were born in 1970?

The ‘how to make new friends’ search and this search go hand in hand because after joining “meetup”–an app where you can find groups of people also seeking new friends based on your interests, I sashayed into a “Young and Fun in Monmouth County” group. Judging by the title, you’d think it’s a classic group of whippersnappers who are looking to grab drinks and sing karaoke and do game nights, count me in! I RSVP’ed to the new members meet up at a dive bar AND 90’s dance night right off the bat feeling like this was an easy layup for friends. Until I saw the collection of members out in the wild and immediately wondered if there was an age cutoff to “YOUNG and fun.” I doubled back and read the fine print. Members have to be born in 1970 or after. Hence this search because no matter what the decade, math will never be a strong suit of mine. FIFTY TWO. THIS GROUP OF YOUNG AND FUN PEOPLE ALLOWS PEOPLE WHO COULD BE MY PARENTS. NO OFFENSE TO THE OLDS, BUT IF I WANTED TO MAKE SOME FRIENDS IN YOUR AGE GROUP I’D SIT ON A BOARDWALK BENCH IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY AND CHAT UP THE RETIREES THAT ARE SWARMING THE BEACH ON A WEEKDAY ITCHING FOR SOMEONE TO DISCUSS THE WEATHER WITH THEM. I WOULD NOT HIT A DANCE PARTY WITH A GENT WHO COULD BE MY DAD AND FEEL ALL SORTS OF UNCOMFY WATCHING HIM GYRATE TO GOOD VIBRATIONS. So as I previously said, meeting people your age in a new city NOT through work? Insert fart noise here.

Crushed the 90’s dance party wardrobe tho, too bad there was no one young enough to appreciate it without readers

How can you see if someone unfollowed you on Instagram / How can you tell if someone blocked your number

Breakups in 2022, man. So many avenues to contact or check in on each other and since I’m probably still Facebook friends with the kid who bullied me on the bus in 7th grade, I clearly don’t have a grasp on what it looks like to cut anyone from social media. Listen, at the end of the day, anyone who unfollows me on social is missing out on quality content–flowers, beaches, sunrises, and the occasional video shaming my dog for being an uncoordinated doofus. Their loss. Quick PSA though: if you are the dumper and you block the dumpee’s phone number for literally no reason, you are a real flesh dumpster. (Say dump again.) I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them. Who made the rules, you may wonder? Taylor Swift, Queen Bee of breakups, obviously.

Was this just an excuse to post the GOAT of breakup song music videos? YUP.

How do you spell Jake Gylenhall/Gyllenhall/Gylenhaal

And speaking of…honestly couldn’t Taylor have shaded a man with an easier last name to spell? November was FRAUGHT with spell checks on this man’s name. He’s one notch below Matthew McConaghey(sp?) as my most googled name for spellcheck.

@thesaltyju

To ALL of my friends begging me to hang out…I’m booked on Friday night. #redtaylorsversion #swifttok #alltoowell

♬ All Too Well Taylor Swift – TaylorswiftxFolklore

What do you report doctors to when they’re bad?

After seeing a dermatologist who confused me with another patient then proceeded to cut me open and stitch me up with 0 explanation, my shirt pulled up over my head and the door wide open, I was FIRED up to report this doc to the medical version of the Better Business Bureau. Unfortunately if you choose to spend half of your life in school and the other half of your life paying it off, you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want. What a letdown to find out that I couldn’t pull the ultimate Karen and tattle on this doc to the reigning doc association, so instead I used my PHENOMENAL writing skills to blast off a very detailed response to the office’s “how did we do?” survey. Guarantee no one read it, but it made me feel a teensy bit better even if I will forever have a raging scar in the middle of my back from the drive-thru hack job biopsy I received. Whoops, guess I’m still not over it. (Peep a snippet of my scorched earth feedback below)

Boom. Roasted.

Do dolphins rape people?

I actually googled this in 2014 (see tweet below for proof) after visiting a particularly sassy dolphin named Nick at the Clearwater Aquarium. However, I included it in this list because if I hadn’t searched this exact phrase then, I absolutely would’ve this year as I planned my dolphin swim excursion to check it off the ole bucket list. I swam with a female dolphin and she was quite a lovely lady, but I will say out of all the whistles that were blown that day, none of them were rape whistles. So I think we can officially put the rumor that dolphins are feisty rapists to bed once and for all. I cannot vouch for dolphins in the wild so protect your bishop, Glen if you ever find yourself in the open sea.

Everything was consensual here, but tbh I really would’ve appreciated a face smooch. Hand kisses are for prudes.

Iodine smell after Covid

Couldn’t tell you one single thing about iodine except that it’s the word I pulled directly out of my ass after an entire afternoon with a weird chemical smell stuck in my nose a whole 5 months after I had Covid and recovered from it. Google was also like, do you really mean iodine, boo? This one remains a mystery.

Praytell

No explanation and absolutely no memory of this one. Other than using the interwebs as spellcheck sometimes I just pick a random phrase that I don’t really know the definition of or where to use it but I feel like it might work somewhere in my life. I’m assuming this was for a blog but who knows, maybe I was just trying to spice up my everyday conversation vocabulary, I do declare!

What time does the Super Bowl start?

Honestly throwing the super bowl in a day before Valentine’s this year really messed up my internal clock. It’s never that late in the month, right?! Football is stupid. At least I didn’t need to look up anything associated with that Halftime show because it was TAILOR-MADE for my age demo. Make that lineup into a tour and I’d buy tickets faster than an upside down Fiddy can say, “Go Shawty.”

The girls who get it, get it, the girls who don’t, don’t.

Shocking to no one: I don’t. Another stupid Gen Z thing. When will I stop googling young people phrases? WHEN I’M SIX FEET UNDER, TRICK. Seriously, there’s a reason friends and fam text me and ask me what these sorts of things mean. They know I hate having FOMO and have no shame in my Google game. So if you’re ever embarrassed about searching something on your own, just shoot me a textie text. (This also applies to celebrity nudes or sex tapes. Chances are I’ve already done the dirty work to search such smut and I’m happy to share and keep your browser history clean.)

Can I pop the white bump on my eyelid?

At first glance I figured the makeup artist who had a severe issue with gluing my fake lashes on for a wedding this past fall left a glob of glue behind…then three weeks later when it was still lingering on my eye, I was excited to find out if I’d discovered an inconvenient pimple to burst. Seriously, I think I salivated a little at the thought of embarking on new pimple popping real estate on my face. As it turns out, it’s ill-advised to pop and guess what is still living rent-free on my eye 6 months later? THANKS FOR TELLING ME TO LEAVE IT ALONE, MOM, NOW I HAVE PERMANENT CHUNKY EYE.

Can I get pink eye from my dog?

For those of you who have had the pleasure of knowing me for many years, you’ll know that 2018 was the year I couldn’t seem to stop getting pink eye. I’ve been a ferocious eye rubber my whole life (not sorry bout it, my eyes be itchin) and it turns out itchy eyes doesn’t mix well with touching people’s dirty towels at a spa. The summer I worked at the spa I picked up “the pink” twice and then had PTSD for anytime my eyes watered that I had it again and would immediately started splooging cream into my eyeball as a precaution. It also coincidentally was one of the times in my life I was sans health insurance and that goopy eye cream was EXPENSIVE so I really wanted to get my money’s worth. But I digress, back to the real issue here, my dog licks her butthole roughly 900 times a day. I’d say if her tongue isn’t caressing me with sloppy kisses, it’s cleaning out her nether regions. So when a rogue lick caught me in the eye when I wasn’t paying attention, you bet your bottom dollar I was hopping on over to Google in fear. Happy to report dogs cannot pass pink eye but also it is not recommended to let their tongues grace your moneymaker because they carry a whole lot of bacteria. Whatever. Respectfully, I decline. I didn’t get a dog to not get on the ground with her and let her all up in my grillpiece with smooches.

*Also I refuse to reveal everything I’ve googled since procuring the pooch because the limit does not exist to what I won’t ask the Internet. From “what can’t dogs eat” to “why is my dog dipping her paw in the water dish while she’s drinking” to “how do I get my dog to stop biting me” there is not one thing this dog has done that hasn’t been researched. And boy oh boy it’s a slippery slope, you’ll go from thinking you’re a great dog mom who wants to be proactive and knowledgeable to feeling like you traumatized your dog because you pushed her butt into the crate one time. The great news is I’ve had her for almost two months and she’s still alive and thriving so shout out to me for that. I also rescued her from living on the streets with a homeless drifter so I’m not saying I’m a hero, but I’m not NOT saying it either.

Super Tongue Sneak Attack

Bonus: A behind the curtains peek into the Google shitstorm that occurs just to write ONE blog. Here’s my search history from the night I wrote the Met Gala Red Carpet blog:

  • Does gilded mean gold
  • Are flappers in the gilded age
  • Does the gilded age include the 1920s
  • When is mid century
  • Did cars exist in the 1800s
  • The British are coming meme

Honestly I would feel embarrassed about how LITTLE I paid attention in History (Sorry, Mr. Muench) except for the fact that judging by that red carpet no one in Hollywood paid attention either and they pay people to make them look smart and good so, HA. The Salty Ju would not exist without the power of the Internet (both to answer all of my dumb questions and to publish all of my idiotic words) and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Seriously if an apocalypse happened and I didn’t have an iPhone with 5G in my hands at all times, I would die within 5 minutes and I don’t care who knows it. Onto 31–excited to see what another year of a deteriorating brain and body will bring me 🎉

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Salty Stories

Taylor Swift Trivia For One

I exist for the mere entertainment of the general public. These days, if I’m unsure about doing something, I convince myself that if it all goes terribly, at least I can blog the mishap after the fact for shits & giggs. I’m basically a reporter doing research for the blog except the research is endless embarrassing moments that happen every time I interact with the general public. Regardless, that’s how I found myself making the sound decision to show up to a night of Taylor Swift trivia at a local bar in my new hometown. I saw a post on their social media advertising it one afternoon and after quickly counting the 0 friends I can call on to join me for such frivolous activities, I thought, well how terrible would it be to roll solo on this one? As someone who is BEYOND self conscious and thinks everyone is staring at me always whenever I do something by my lonesome (I mean, I am like, really pretty) it has been hard for me through the years to come to terms with what I’m comfy with doing alone. In travel situations I’ve been forced to go to a restaurant or explore a city by myself and in those moments, I’m either taking 900 pictures or I have my nose in my phone scrolling Twitter so I don’t have to look like Steven Glansberg.

I talked myself into it, reasoning that it’s not like I’m eating dessert alone, I’ll have an actual activity to do in trivia so it’s not as embarrassing. I also phoned two friends for confirmation in this decision because I’m nothing if not constantly seeking approval from my peers. They told me to go because worst case scenario it sucks and I can just leave. They clearly underestimated how dramatic I can be. I carefully chose my wardrobe to look cool, effortless, and chic with a touch of Swiftie fanfare. (AKA I dug through my 15 Taylor Swift tees and selected the one that would give off the perfect amount of I Did Something Bad vibes) I added a red lip, for obvious reasons. And as I drove there I had fantasies of walking into the bar, being embraced for my ‘fit and welcomed into a large friend group with open arms to go on to win trivia and 5 new besties. Supes realistic. (This ideal scenario I concocted in my brain is especially funny to anyone who has a vagina and knows just how bitchy and cliquey girls are, Swifties or not.)

Instead, I walked in 15 minutes early, asked the hostess if I could sit at the bar and do trivia by myself–quickly darting my eyes around her to see if anyone heard me…am I yelling?! It feels like I’m YELLING! She told me that was *TOTALLY* fine in a way that only someone who has had the same 100 BFF’s since childhood and couldn’t possibly fathom attending trivia solo dolo could say. MuSt bE NiCe. There was an upper bar and a lower bar and since I’m an awkward bird with a VERY high chance of tripping over my own feet, I beelined it to the closest bar stool. I barreled into it without looking up (I didn’t want confirmation that everyone in fact had stopped what they were doing to turn and stare at me.) This turned out to be a terrible decision as it was right near the server computer so I had basically lumped myself in with the waitstaff yet I was not earning a paycheck and also the door which was 5 inches away from my chair was left open all night. In December. I immediately regretted my choice but it was too late. I had already made awkward eye contact with the bartender when I tried to hang my purse on a hook underneath the bar. As my purse flopped dramatically to the ground the bartender alerted me that there were in fact, no hooks. Hot start.  As I scanned the room I saw that the place was packed with groups of friends and my back was to them all. Something told me I wouldn’t be brought into the fold of one of these wolfpacks as the only person who could see my I ❤ TS tee was the bartender who already thought I was blind for thinking there was a hook where there wasn’t. I ordered a flashy Christmas margarita that would look good on the ‘gram and that’s pretty much all it was good for because every sip I took was full of Pomegranate seeds that I was forced to chew. Strike two.

After an excruciating 20 minutes of nearly choking on pom seeds and pretending to be very interested in a muted TV above the bar, the host of trivia finally made his rounds. He asked if I was participating and when I said yes, he immediately fumbled his entire stack of index cards on the floor. Well lookie lookie here, seems like I’m not the biggest loser in the room anymore. This guy can’t even keep a grip on his flashcards. SO HA! What’s your favorite game, bro? FIFTY-TWO PICK UP?! My internal gloating didn’t get me very far, because I had a real ego check when he told me to write my team name at the top of each card for the three separate rounds. Nothing humbles you more than choosing a team name for a team of uno. The first thing that came to my mind was one of my fave Tay lyrics (that I conveniently made into a tee) “I come back stronger than a 90’s trend.” I hoped that it would be foreshadowing of me dominating trivia all by my lonesome. Stories of my Team of 1 comeback would make their way to Taylor Swift herself who would then pay off my student loans and invite me onstage at her next tour with dramatic “PLEASE WELCOME TO THE STAGE” flair. Or in the real world, I would tweet about my team-naming dilemma and a fellow Swiftie would reply with a far superior team name for my sad ass team… “the 1.” And honestly, it was too good not to steal. So perfect that I then went through and scribbled my previous team name out on each card and wrote in my new one. The trivia had not even begun yet and I looked like a REAL psycho.

Round 1 kicks off and I knew I had gotten got. Not only did I roll through with visions of forming an instant bond with fellow Swifties, but I had SEVERELY underestimated my Taylor Swift knowledge. WHAT AN IDIOT I was. The first question was, “What Taylor Swift song is sampled in Olivia Rodrigo’s album Deja Vu?” Despite being v. knowledgeable on the Oliva-Josh-Sabrina Disney love triangle, I can’t name any other Olivia Rodrigo song than Drivers License and Good 4 U. Neither of those have Tay songs in them. I guessed Trouble, knowing it was dead wrong. Ok just a little hiccup, question two will be MUCH better. Orrrrr NAHT. The second question was what time was Taylor Swift born at? ARE YA KIDDIN ME?! I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TIME I WAS BORN. In fact, I don’t even know if my MOM knows what time I was born at and it was her vagina I straight wrecked with my 10 lbs of rolls. I started to get swamp pits thinking I just made this big a deal about going to Taylor Swift trivia and I wasn’t even going to get one question right. I wrote down 11:13, mixing Paris Hilton’s favorite time and Taylor Swift’s favorite number. It was most obviously incorrect. Taylor Allison Swift was born at 5:13 AM. WHO THE HELL WOULD KNOW THAT OBSCURE TIME?! Well as it turns out, everyone except for me because when the stupid host read the answers he made a point to say ALMOST everyone got it right. Thanks, dude. By the end of round 1 I was confident in 2 out of 10 answers. I didn’t even deserve to be wearing the I ❤ TS tee but alas I didn’t have a change of clothes.

The bartender could see how distraught I was and asked me how it was going. I told her not well. And then as one tends to do when they’re incredibly insecure, I overshared with her now that I’d gotten her ear. “I just moved here and I don’t really know anyone but I saw this trivia posted earlier and I love Taylor Swift so I thought I’d come by and play by myself just to get out of the apt and do something social…but I didn’t expect it to be this hard!” She gave me a sympathetic smile and asked if I wanted another drink to gently remind me not only that I reeked of desperation but also that she was simply securing her tip, not acting as my therapist. A duo of girls at the end of the bar were also very vocal about the difficulty of the line of questioning and I looked to them with the hopeful wonder of friendship until I saw how blasted they were and decided this was a partnership I did not want to explore. It’s a Thursday night (I’m old) and also I was looking to enhance my knowledge, not shoot myself in the damn leg by hitching my wagon to an equally as dumb team. It’s called strategy.

When the host came around to collect my answers I told him to knock it off with the ridiculous questions. He assured me it would get easier. I told him with my eyes he was full of shit and he admitted (out of guilt) that he didn’t even come up with these questions. His gal pals gave them to him and as soon as I learned that I knew I’d need a Getaway Car to escape this trivia. This jabroni clearly surrounded himself with the type of ladies that analyzed every Tay social media post’s content, date and timestamp like it was a clue to be investigated and NOT JUST A SINGER POSTING A PIC OF HER CATS. BUT as someone who once wrote an entire creepy blog based on a music video about drinking with Taylor Swift, I thought I still had a fighting chance. This trivia night was going to be my End Game because I was about to step into my Reputation era. We were about to find out if this unsuspecting part-time trivia host was …Ready For It

Round two started and I got real serious. I ordered a Guinness. No more fruity cocktails, it was time to buckle down and make my comeback. Look What You Made Me Do, Trivia Guy. As it turns out, Trivia Guy was about to become my Jake Gyllenaal. Not because he was going to bang me for 3 months then steal my scarf but rather because in 10 years I’ll still be talking about this villain to anyone who will listen. He threw in a softball multiple choice question to throw me off the scent of which actor Taylor has NEVER dated (Chris Evans and that’s obvious.) I also knew that she sent ex-boyf Joe Jonas’ baby a present and I think it’s safe to say that my knowledge of Taylor Swift is PURELY pop culture gossip about the men in and out of her life. I would have thrown in the towel on my own after another horrendous 10 questions of which I maybe got 4 right this time, except that Trivia guy swiftly (see what I did there?) made that decision for me BY NOT EVEN COLLECTING MY ROUND TWO ANSWERS. Rock bottom. The writing was on the wall. I shuffled my index cards, pulled my cardigan tight, signaled to the bartender for my check and skidaddled out of there.

The night was like Death by a Thousand Cuts and I was ready to let my tears ricochet. As it turns out, a hobby writer who has published 7 years of Taylor Swift superfan blogs and re-watched her music videos on repeat, critiquing each look, giving a track by track review to each album released HAS NO PLACE AT TAYLOR SWIFT TRIVIA NIGHT.

Thanks for asking, girl. No, I’m not.

I’m sorry too, Tay. Sorry I let you down by not knowing the exact time you were ejected from your mother’s womb or how old you were when you penned your first song and what the title of that song was. Looks like I’ll need to keep myself in check next time I think a night was MADE for me and just sit at home perfecting every cadence to the 10 minute version of All Too Well instead. Cause I’m not fine at all.

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Salty Stories

Stay Grounded

Remember back in August when I had a traumatic moving experience and I wrote jokes about it to stop myself from crying about it? Feel free to refresh yourself HERE. Well, ever a magnet for disaster, I’m bootscootin on back to the blog with my latest saga. I had to take a week to process as I went right from this shitshow directly into a 5 hour drive home for Thanksgiving and if we’re being real honest I physically haven’t come up for air between cheese dips and wine in the past week. Now that I’ve finally detoxed, it’s time for y’all to gather round and hear about the time I went to a wedding with my ex-boyf and we almost got stranded at LAX. 

First thing’s first, let’s address the elephant in the room for all the gossip queens. Why would I travel cross-country with an ex? The answer is really quite simple. I’m forever on a budget and I’ve lived with this man before…he is well-versed in my digestive system from hell–which only gets worse when I travel. He’s seen some shit. Literally. He ain’t gonna disown me for stinking up the hotel room when my In-N-Out comes in and goes right back out…whereas I can’t confidently say the same if I were to bunk with another acquaintance. Other than reasons directly related to my b*hole, we actually get along and like hanging out with each other in the way that everyone tells you not to do when you break up. We’re renegades. Sue us. So now that we’ve settled that, let’s point out our obvious differences. Eric is a fly by the seat of your pants guy, I’m a neurotic freak. Also a bonus for me because I knew that I could have complete control over our travel plans like my Type-A ass dreams about. He just needed to show up and take the middle seat so I didn’t have to sit next to a grody stranger. This wedding was two years in the making after a COVID postponement and we were VERY antsy to get on out to California and celebrate with our friends. These days there’s a whole lot of things that can throw a wrench in travel plans so we were just praying that we didn’t get sick, no extra vaccine/testing travel mandates were thrown into the mix and nothing got delayed or cancelled. Thankfully everything went off without a hitch on the way there and exactly according to my carefully constructed travel itinerary where I laid out all of our reservations and even the local weather forecast all in one doc. See? Neurotic. I even emailed it to everyone I know should anyone want to stalk my travels. Our parents appreciated that. I packed 6 weeks worth of snacks and alcohol for two six hour flights that we both slept through most of and honestly if anyone ever wants to fund my plane ticket, I’m a PHENOMENAL travel buddy. My fanny pack was chock full of tissues and gum too.

Immediately upon landing, Eric tried to board a shuttle for a janky rental car company that was not ours and I realized that as much as I needed a roommate who didn’t care if I ripped too many farts, he needed a flightmate who paid attention and had a bomb ass itinerary. I’m guessing he seriously reconsidered that after a full day of being stuck next to me ended in an 11PM PST (2AM EST) ROUSING passenger seat rendition of All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) where I pretended my cell phone was a microphone and hadn’t quite learned all the lyrics yet so I made noises through the ones I wasn’t confident in. Wanna test your ex’s patience? Scream-sing a breakup song into their grillpiece while they’re driving through the mountains in the dark in a rental car in a state they don’t live in. It’s a G-D miracle I wasn’t fed to the coyotes that night. Instead, I rewarded my phenomenal concert with cheese fries.

Now to the real meat of the story and I don’t mean a double double, no onions. It’s all fun and games until you get to the end of the trip and realize you’d rather saw your arms off with a butter knife than spend an entire day traveling back home. Especially when you’ve gotten a taste of that sweet, sweet, California weather. It was 80 and sunny on the drive to the airport Sunday morning. Having already taken Monday off from work as a recovery day, I suggested (mostly joking) what if we just…didn’t leave today. Mr. ‘I’ll just board a bus to anywhere without looking’ replied, “Ok. Sure.” After confirming that he wasn’t being sarcastic, I remembered that the app told us upon check-in that our flight was overbooked (shocking, I know.) We gave the airline a quick call and as most things with airlines go, if you’re unwilling to make travel changes, they incentivize you with a voucher, but if you’re a couple of NY idiots who just want another day of warm weather…you get nothing and you’ll like it. The airline rep happily changed our tickets for no additional fee (TYSM Covid) to the same flight the following day. To reiterate, United got what they wanted by bumping people from their overcrowded flight but didn’t have to pay a dime for it. This piece of the puzzle isn’t super integral to the story but it’s important to note that we were riding that vacay high and opted for a bonus day. And ooh baby was that bonus day sweet.

Monday morning it was back to reality. After far too many jokes of “should we just never leave?” (in retrospect, we probably shouldn’t have put that thought out into the universe, multiple times) we begrudgingly returned the rental car and got ready for this suckfest of a flight. Both of us had only traveled with carry-on’s, something I wholeheartedly do not recommend for a formal event. My bridesmaids dress alone filled the suitcase and since I’m an obnoxious overpacker, I jammed much more in. The amount of times I sat on my suitcase to zip it in this very short weekend was enough to teach me a lesson about overpacking, but alas it is a lesson I will never learn. We hauled our overstuffed suitcases through LAX, where security noted we were *super early* uhh, thanks for the shade for being organized fliers, hooch. Having not eaten breakfast yet and being 3 hours early for our flight, we went in search of some of the fine cuisine you hear about at airports. We settled in at the Rolling Stone Cafe. Drooling in anticipation of a breakfast burrito and coffee, I placed my order and the waitress immediately crushed my dreams by telling me breakfast ended at 11. It’s an airport, not a McDonald’s…since when are there stringent breakfast rules at a place that lets you get boozed up anytime of the day before boarding a plane. She then doubled down on worst person I’ve ever met and told us they had no chicken tenders either. That was going to be my next order (yes, I’m five.) Finally I settled on a burger and fries—she asked how I wanted said burger cooked and when I said Medium Rare, she fired back, “we can only cook it medium.” Then why even ask? Hangry Ju’s patience was already wearing thin. Eric ordered a chicken caesar salad to which she replied, “we don’t have any chicken at all.” LEAD WITH THAT, HOMEGIRL. “Welcome to Rolling Stone Cafe: Breakfast is over and there’s a chicken shortage so the only thing you can order on this menu is our burger, hockey puck style.” How hard was that?! I’m not saying I should have her job but I’m not NOT saying it either. Obviously the meal was trash. I asked for bacon on my burger and got none but was sure charged for it. Eric paid for a salad missing its main ingredient. McD’s would’ve been a zillion times better and 1/4 of the price. Hot start. (There were certainly no sunset fries there.)

From there we moved on to inject some caffeine in ya girl and found that the only coffee shop had one employee taking the orders and making the drinks. I was hard up for some Christmas in a cup (peppermint mocha cold brew) so I waited the 20 mins to get my fix. Naturally after I placed my order, reinforcements were sent for this poor soul. Finally, we board the plane only to find out we’re in the very last row. I guess when you switch your flight you get the seats no one else wanted, directly in the potty. Noted for the next time we wish to YOLO it up. We get settled in and ready to fly the friendly skies when there is an IMMEDIATE announcement over the loudspeaker that this plane’s left engine was leaking fluids on its travels to LA and they’re going to check things out. If you live on Planet Earth you must understand that if there’s a reference to any plane issue on the left, Phoebe’s left phalange bit is going to immediately take over your brain. 

We laughed about it but then we realized, when it’s on a fictional TV show and it’s going to finally bring Ross and Rachel together, it’s funny. When you’re about to fly across the G-D country with an engine that’s “leaking”, it’s very unfunny. WHY THE HELL WOULD THEY ANNOUNCE THAT?! To give everyone a panic attack before they’ve even hit the runway? This very much seems like a “you guys could’ve discussed this discreetly before making a public announcement scenario.” Or I don’t know, MAYBE checked things out before putting 200 people on a plane? Just a thought. They continued to make announcements every few minutes, even shutting the plane off at one point to “see if that might help.” I’m no plane expert but I don’t think rebooting it like it’s a 1990’s PC is going to zip up the leaky ole engine. As we’re waiting for the final verdict, I suddenly am about to burst with urine and have to do that very obnoxious thing where you use the plane bathroom before it is approps to do so. I had peed before we boarded but with all this nervous energy and that peppermint mocha coursing through my veins, I had to relieve myself. That bathroom had SEEN some shit. I mean, seriously, it looked like an airplane bathroom after a 12 hour flight to Bora Bora. Toilet paper all over the floor, tissues gone, sink soaking wet for whatever reason. Place was WRECKED. And I don’t know if it was just my breaking point but when the most important part of the plane (I’m spitballing here but the engine seems pretty important) isn’t even functioning correctly and you see the state of the bathroom before anyone has even been in it on this flight, it really puts a sour taste in your mouth to continue on this journey. The pilot agreed. Not because he saw the bathroom looked like a thruway truck stop, but because he was done pretending that it would be chill as hell to fly a broken plane 3,000 miles. He told everyone to get the hell off. He said it nicer, but after finally getting in the mindset to do this stupid trip, we were in no mood to be displaced. Other passengers were applauding the flight attendants and pilot for “making the right decision” and “keeping us alive” as if they were ever going to take off with a bum engine and kill everyone right before Thanksgiving. Let’s relax on calling them heroes. As all the thankful passengers are busy slobbering all over the airline staff, us rational folks are wondering what the hell we’re supposed to do now to get home in time for turkey. I mean they all but gave us a rousing rendition of “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye” but they never told us if they’d get another plane or service this one, or find us connecting flights. NOTHIN. We sat with our thumbs up our butt by the gate waiting for further instruction. I finally asked the gatekeeper what we should do and he told me to hang tight because they don’t know anything. After about 20 mins he got on the hot mic and said ALLLL YOU SUCKA MC’S AIN’T GOT NOTHIN ON ME. JK, he told us to go to customer service. It turns out we were the only two idiots to not know how to do that on our own. As we rolled on up to customer service we were DEAD LAST in line. 

It’s right about here that we both get the *sinking* feeling that perhaps we were being punished for taking a bonus day. We had flown too close to the sun and we were paying for it in a 2 hour customer service line. I’d seen enough Hallmark holiday movies with traveling home for Christmas snafus and let me tell you, ain’t nobody trying to buddy up and find a rental car together and I didn’t see one single Christmas tree farm employee who said he could give us a ride toward New Jersey if we helped him deliver some trees. So THANKS FOR THAT FALSE ADVERTISING, HALLMARK YOU BUNCH OF HOLIDAY TRAVEL FRAUDS. As we shuffled forward inch by inch, employees walked up and down the line SHOVING the virtual assistant on their app down our throats. You know a customer service experience is about to suck BALLZ when they’d rather you AIM chat with someone in Sri Lanka than stand in front of a human being and interact in real life. When one attempt with the virtual assistant ended in “there are no flights until 3pm tomorrow” we decided to try our luck with the 3-D assistant, hoping our pleading faces might help get us into another airport by tomorrow morning. Woo, buddy were we dead wrong. Let me preface this bitchfest by saying that I’ve worked in customer service for many a year. It sucks. Most customers treat you like shit because it’s easier for them to take their frustrations out on a complete stranger than pay for therapy and get to the real root of their problems. I tend to feel as though I’m a compassionate customer having been on the other end of irrational rage and attitude. HOW-EV-ER, I do not tolerate dumb. That’s a whole different ball game and this airport was full of dummies. We get to the front of the line finally and the woman says “What can I do for you?” We very kindly reply, “is there any way that you can get us home as soon as possible.” And she says no. She says there are no flights. None. Zero. You mean to tell me that in this massive international airport, there is not one flight available? We didn’t tell her where we could fly to. We could’ve said we need a flight to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. But she just said no. Really that should’ve tipped us off immediately that she was a lazy MF’er who was probably on the last leg of her shift and would prefer to just tell us to F off than actually help us. But we had no other options according to this twat, so we asked if we could at least get a hotel voucher. Our flight was “delayed” until 5am the following morning and I feel like covering the hotel was the least that these turds could do. She had me read our confirmation number (readily available on my handy dandy itinerary) and told us she texted us hotel and food vouchers. We waited a few minutes, they didn’t show up. We looked at her for more guidance. She stared back at us. Was there any activity in that attic of hers? Hard to say, but no. Considering we went through this exact word for word scenario SIX MORE TIMES. I read that reservation number SIX FUCKING TIMES and she said ok I sent the voucher. And we stood there getting texts and emails from EVERYBODY ELSE and no voucher. At one point she accused us of opening it. WHY THE HELL WOULD WE STILL BE STANDING HERE TELLING YOU WE DIDN’T GET IT IF WE OPENED IT?! I’m getting my 7th email of the day about the latest sale at Bath and Body Works but I’m not getting your shitty voucher OBVIOUSLY THIS IS A YOU PROBLEM. At this point I was enraged. But ever afraid of confrontation and causing a scene, I still kept a low profile with my sass. Rather than using her pea-sized brain to find another way to get us the vouchers, like say, I don’t know, old fashioned PAPER, she told us that the United Virtual Assistant could send them to us and kicked us out of line. I spun around and muttered backward “well you’ve been very helpful” in my bitchiest tone and immediately tripped over my luggage that didn’t spin with me and almost ate shit. Strong exit. That’ll teach her.

We hit the bar to booze off our anger, charge our dying phones and fire up this virtual assistant bullshit again. I don’t know what these third world country employees are getting paid but they better get a year end bonus with the way United is hawking their chatroom services. A/S/L and also CAN YOU GET US OUT OF LAX BEFORE WE BLOW OUR BRAINS OUT?! We picked the one bar in a dead zone where the wifi didn’t reach (natch) but it didn’t really matter because the virtual assistant remained to be as trash as everyone else we dealt with at United. The She-bot informed us that vouchers can only be acquired at customer service. I thought I was about to witness Eric spike his beer off the bar in real time when he received that message. If he did I would’ve gotten on the bar and done an Irish jig around it with my middle fingers in the air. That’s how done I was with this airport. At least whatever holding cell they put us in would be equivalent to a hotel voucher, right? We went back to customer service. At this point the only people trickling in were richies doing pre-check on their way to Hawaii. I spit in the face of their hang loose about to be in paradise demeanors. I just wanted to see the world burn at this point. HOPE IT RAINS THE WHOLE TIME YOU’RE THERE. MAHALO! The United rep who dealt with a MUCH grumpier duo this time around was more helpful in the sense that he didn’t tell us to buzz off. In fact, he had to call his own customer service line just to get us printed vouchers. WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT THE STATE OF CUSTOMER SERVICE IF A CUSTOMER SERVICE REP IS ON HOLD JUST TO GIVE YOU THE AIRLINE EQUIVALENT OF KOHL’S CASH. I sat on the floor and made snarky comments, a skill I’ve honed in my thirty years on this earth.

Another half hour later we walk away with real life paper vouchers. Forty dollars for 2 dinners and a hotel stay with no idea where the shuttle is to get us to said hotel. We meander out and don’t see any signage so we ask where to find the shuttle. We’re met with a buttload of ‘tude. I think my favorite thing about this whole debacle is that every employee that’s supposed to be there to help acts like we’re inconveniencing them. Ma’am I’ve been in this airport for 8 hours wearing a mask that now feels like a damp gym sock on my face and I just want to know how to get to this 1 star hotel for 4 hours of sleep. MY SINCEREST APOLOGIES FOR DARING TO ASK YOU A QUESTION. Once we’re standing at the shuttle stop and we see our shuttle CRUISE on by, we realize that you have to FLAG your shuttle down like it’s a taxi. The hits just keep on comin. At the same time, we’ve got a local news crew interviewing everyone around us about how it was the last day for airline employees to get vaccinated and was there a noticeable difference in level of service. HOW MUCH TIME YA GOT, LADY. Point that hot mic on over this way and you’ll get an earful from the Jersey boy next to me who has a photo of Trump hanging in his apartment. Now we’re cookin with gas. Just kidding. We left her alone and lost our chance at becoming local news viral because God forbid we miss that damn shuttle again. 

By the time we finally got to the hotel we would have already been back home in New Jersey had we not boarded a leaky faucet of an airplane with no left phalange. Jus sayin. We learn that the hotel restaurant accepts our food vouchers and that ONE dinner at this establishment costs $28. Well bend me RIGHT over. I had to go down to the lobby and order our food with the vouchers because we couldn’t use them over the phone for ordering room service. An extra thirty dollars later on top of the $40 vouchers and we had to-go containers with food that tasted like it should’ve been at an Applebees $13.99 per meal price point.

After wolfing our food at the hotel room desk like the animals that we are, we decided it was time to call it quits for the night since we’d be getting just a few hours of sleep before our ass of dawn flight. I had the unfortunate realization as I laid my outfit (the same plane outfit I’d be putting on for the third day in a row) out for my 3AM shower that I was FRESH out of clean undies. I always overpack undies but I also like to switch from day time to night time ‘roos if I’ve had a long day. And this trip was full of long days. Since crusty used undies was not even a little bit of an option, I had bikini bottoms that were never worn as the pool was colder than the ocean and I had the *CLASSIC* Spanx that most girls own yet none admit to ever wearing. (See disturbing visual below.) 

On the one hand, you could actually eat right and work out and be skinny, on the other, much more attractive hand, you could eat whatever you want, never exercise and then when you need to look skinny, slurp all those rolls into a pair of 10 ft long spanky pants that tuck right underneath your nipples. OPTION B ALL DAY ERREDAY, FOLKS. Since I could not POSSIBLY fathom having a TSA scan of granny panties that reach my neckline, I went for the bikini bottoms and I DO recommend. No swass, maximum comfort, flexibility, AND moisture wicking. I might start wearing bathing suits instead of underwear always. 

After 0.0 hours of sleep because I couldn’t stop feeling like bugs were crawling on me and literally googled this hotel’s reviews in the middle of the night looking for bed bug commentary—there were none but I was fully prepared for that to be the next trauma. We arrived at the airport at a ripe 3:30 AM and security wasn’t even open yet. But people were sure lined up! Ah the joys of traveling, where the worst of humanity comes out to play. We got in line and as they opened and we got up to the front, some sneaky little 18 year old ho-ho laying in wait cut in front of us. She then proceeded to pull out her phone and take a selfie and check herself out. Who are you trying to look good for at 4 in the morning, bish? Get the hell out of here. We made it a point to cut her back when we got up to go through the metal detectors. Because we’re a couple of Tom Petty’s and we had ENOUGH. She’s lucky I didn’t strangle her with my control top panties right then and there. Whoever she was trying to look snatched for better feel #bLeSsEd she made it home for the holidays without incident.

We boarded the plane and it was 80% empty. As we walked through both first class and business class with almost no one on board, I started to get excited thinking that perhaps on a technicality (everyone else being more savvy than us and getting the hell out of dodge the day before) I might be able to have my only first class flying experience. Lord knows I’ll never be able to afford it. In my salivating haste I forgot the part where the first class snobs would NEVER allow common trash to infiltrate their section just because there are empty seats and also every airline employee on this earth stinks. We walked back past empty rows to the very last row of the plane where we belonged. And wouldn’t you know, a nice old chap comes cruising on back and joins our pod, rounding out the ONLY full row in the entire plane. The United treatment right up until the very end.

Luckily, once the safety talk started–and we were reassured this was not the same plane with the drippy engine–one flight attendant took pity on us and said we could move up but made SURE to give us a short range of rows we were allowed to touch. WE GET IT, KIND SIR, POOR PEOPLE SECTION ONLY. I laid across three seats and tucked in for a nap with the seatbelt metal digging into my muffin top and my feet hanging off the edge. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that is JUST like first class. The plane rocked diagonally on the landing, I almost puked directly in Eric’s face and also crapped my bathing suit bottoms (probably would’ve absorbed that shit right up) and the saga was over. We laughed, we almost ralphed, and we got to sneak a peek at the Matthews’ home from Boy Meets World for about thirty seconds before I screamed that someone was coming out of said house and ran around the corner and hid.

Oh, and we also got to see our besties get married. Shout out Kat & Mat, a close second in greatest things I’ve ever seen in California. #WorthIt.

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Salty Stories

The Seven Year Itch

Wanna know the benefits of starting your own blog? You get to treat it like it’s your only child and celebrate its birthday like a basic bitch. Listen, chicks get a whole MONTH of celebrations so just LET ME HAVE THIS, alright?! In case you haven’t heard…it’s the 7th birthday of The Salty Ju. I could refer to it as my blogiversary but The Salty Ju is a persona and I may not have suffered through hours and hours of grueling vag-ripping labor to birth her but I HAVE spent the last seven years dedicated to cultivating this brand and devoting more of my time creating fresh content than I have at any job I’ve ever held. SEVEN YEARS. Unpaid I might add. In fact, one could argue that I actually lose money each year because I pay WordPress an annual fee to secure my right to blab all over the internet whenever I damn well please. (My Venmo is open to donations.)

So anyway, you’re probably wondering why I brought you all here. The truth is, I never miss an opportunity to talk about myself and since last year’s Salty Ju Birthday was basically just an appreciation post for making it through 2020, I thought it might be nice to reflect on this past year because even though this blog is inconsequential to everyone’s life but mine, some cool shit happened this year!

Salty Stories, Yo

Exactly 1 year ago, I finally bust outta the ole parents house (perhaps third time’s a charm) and hit the ground running as an independent woman (read: living off of government money and stinking of desperation for a job.) This turned out to be a recipe for SUCCESS for The Salty Ju. It turns out you’ll share just about anything on a blog once you hit rock bottom in life. What’re the consequences going to be?! Part ONE of that was establishing “Salty Stories”, a fun lil segment where I write deeply personal essays that paint me in a real vulnerable light and invite you all to laugh at my misfortunes. IT’S HOW I COPE! And I did a whole lot of coping this past year. Anytime something ridiculous occurred that made me want to cry, or something irritated the shit out of me and made me want to rage my face off, I put it in the blog, baby. Starting with my tall tale of the time an assassin at Supercuts ruined my head for my Gam’s funeral right up to my middle finger to dressing professionally for work, we had ourselves a year in embarrassing story time! Feel free to catch up on any you might’ve missed below.

Hype House, Party of 1

Part TWO of that IDGAF if people judge me mentality came in the form of videos. I’m not going to call them TikToks because that paints a picture that I’m setting up a tripod in public places and doing the renegade to the hottest song of the moment. And that is the opposite of what I spent this past year doing. TikTok may have been the main platform that I shared my idiotic videos on, but considering the fact that I just googled “TikTok dance” just to make that joke, I am most CERTAINLY not a TikTokker. Plus that app is dumb as hell and I still haven’t figured out how to do anything useful on it a whole ass year later. So instead, I’ve downloaded 100 other apps to get the job done. Either way, the key takeaway here is that exactly 2 weeks after moving into my new apartment, I was so excited to not have any judgmental onlookers in my home as I film 900 takes of me lip syncing a song, that I blew a fuse trying to create a dramatic storm effect for a 17 second video (see “Celine Dion Made Me Do It” above for full recap.) And really, it all just spiraled from there. If I thought something was funny, you can bet your bottom dollar I was playing the role of a 1 person non-union film crew to bring that idea to life for your social media screens. I don’t even want to venture a guess into how much time I spent filming myself dancing, singing or making cocktails by my lonesome. Let this be a lesson to all that content creator is a mindset. If you believe it, you can create it! Please enjoy a smattering of me doing my best Spielberg via stupid internet videos this past year. (I can’t post every single video so I’ll sprinkle in a few and you can scoot on over to my Tok for the rest.)

@thesaltyju

Oops I thought I could do sexy Halloween at 30. #halloweenfail

♬ original sound – The Salty Ju
@thesaltyju

A year of quarantine as told by Taylor Swift and increased alcohol consumption. #swifttok #folklore #yearinthelife #drinkup

♬ original sound – The Salty Ju
@thesaltyju

A little late to this trend…probably because I’m a side part lovin’ millennial 😂 #hotgirlshit #loungewearorchastitybelt #onesiesquad #feelinggood

♬ busy doin hot girl ish – Chelsea
@thesaltyju

Blew a fuse in my apt trying to get the “storm” effect. So this @celinedion duet better be appreciated. #celinedionchallenge #allcomingbacktomenow

♬ original sound – The Salty Ju

Baby’s First Published Piece

After writing a book last year and realizing that not a soul on this earth would publish a nobody’s memoir, I decided to dabble a little harder in the “professional” writing game. Put a little something on the scoreboard, so to speak. I buffed up on writing satire and lo and behold, managed to get published by someone other than myself, sending my big head into another stratosphere. And I’ve had a case of the yips since then. It’s all about balance in life and if I were to end up being published on a regular basis I think I’d just get out of control, so it’s really for the best that these two pieces were my shooting star moments. Maybe one day I’ll strike again but right now I’m busy workshopping some ideas, editing my book, and writing a rambling useless post celebrating the birthday of my blog. Suuuuuper bogged down. Either way, getting published legitimized me (in my own brain) and I casually began to refer to myself as a comedy writer to strangers I crossed paths with. It felt right until I harmlessly dropped it in the interview for my current job and I then had to endure everyone on this planet introducing me around the office as THE comedy writer. When a Zoom call full of librarians stare at you like “oh you’re a comedy writer, tell us a joke,” the title really loses its zest.

Prepare for Global Domination

And LASTLY (if you’ve gotten this far, you a real one) after spending a no-shower Sunday revamping my entire blog, designing amateur graphics via my homeslice Canva and reorganizing all of my content so you can revisit my old classics (you’re welcome), I got an Instagram DM from across the pond. Turns out a kindred spirit ALSO took the time during quarantine to dive into the fiery hot garbage that is the Real Housewives franchise and try out new cities. While I immersed myself in NYC and New Jersey, this gal went for Beverly Hills and upon googling the drama, stumbled upon my little corner of the internet. Once upon a time (before I realized how time consuming it was) I was in the TV episode recapping game. Now that I’ve spiffed up the blog, you can find all of my old TV blogs divided by show under the Television tab! How CONVENIENT! AnYwHo…this was by far the coolest thing to ever happen to me and I promptly screenshotted it to everyone I’ve ever met. If I may quote my new fan from across the world:

I just wanted to say thank you from an Irish girl living in the UK for making me laugh during a global pandemic.

My First International Superfan

Booyah, Grandma. Who would’ve thought 6 years ago as I feverishly jotted notes while watching TV, created an outline before bed and made sure I wrote the recap at work the next morning to publish by 9AM that someone would still be laughing at it this many years later. OI…sounds to me like SHE’S HERE, SHE’S THERE, SHE’S EVERY-FUCKING-WHERE, THE SALTY JUUUUUUUUUUUU, THE SALTY JU.

So, as it turns out the “Seven Year Itch” doesn’t have to just refer to crabs. (This is what I assume the phrase was invented for until we eradicated pubes from our lives.) It was a productive year of shaking things up for your girl and I’m excited to forge ahead into “The Ocho.” If you’re reading this right now or have read, shared or laughed at one single thing I did this past year, I want to just smooch your face off with gratitude. Sure, I can easily cackle at myself and be entertained all the live long day, but having people to share it with and bringing giggles to your life is actually what dreams are made of, Lizzie McGuire style. GRAZIE MILLE!

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Salty Stories

Thirty, Flirty & Full of Anxiety.

Your life is over when you’re thirty. That’s what my older sister used to say. I think she started saying it in her teen years when 30 was SUUUPER far away. She was a fun party girl who could befriend a rock and I think she assumed the party would be over when she hit thirty. All I know is that I heard this so many times, I started to believe it. Thirty is when life gets a little more boring. You’re past the happy hours that turn into nights you come stumbling home at 2am shoving pizza into your pizza hole. You’ve got a stable job that has probably become a little stale and boring. You’re starting to settle down maybe by getting married, buying a house, perhaps having kids? When my sister turned 30 I laughed directly in her face and told her that her life was over because that was what she always said, right? And now that I’m 30, I’m hitting a very hard realization that I’d much rather be “boring” if it meant that I had everything she has. If you had asked dramatic emo teen Julia who whined in her journal every night where she’d be at 30? She would’ve said career, house, hubs, dog & maybe a kid on the way. See below for my 12 year old fantasies of my wedding:

Well folks, that couldn’t be further from my reality. In fact, even typing that out felt like I was writing a fictional fairytale. So now that I’ve gotten real with y’all, I’m gonna do what I do best. I’m taking my crushing insecurities about reaching a whole new decade and being nowhere near where I wanted to be in life, and spinning it into laughs. It’s a little thing we in the biz of comedy like to call a coping mechanism. Let me tell you, it’s a whole lot healthier to poke fun at myself through the written word and let us all giggle it out together than it is to drown my sorrows in rosé, which I will probably also do later on tonight so DON’T JUDGE ME. Anyway, for this milestone birthday I recruited most of my family members to coordinate a photoshoot one might have for a baby turning 1 so that I could get glammed up, overserve myself some champs and pretend I’m a model in downtown Syracuse. Then I jetted off to the West Coast to guarantee there wouldn’t be snowfall on my blessed day of birth and *hopefully* reenact LC & Lo partying at Les Deux with my bestie Kat. (TBD if Les Deux is still open or if partying is allowed post-covid but I was willing to shoot my shot.) And last but certainly not least, I’ve whipped up this blog for your entertainment. Rather than focus on the things I haven’t accomplished yet…

The Salty Ju’s Biggest Failures (as determined by where she wanted to be by age 30): 

-Laid off and on her third round of unemployment in the past 8 years.

-Has moved 11 times since she turned 18. (Not including the parents’ moves)

-Most certainly does not own a home.

-Does not own a car.

-Has not paid off college loans.

-Does not have a dog or offspring.

-Single AF.

-Severely lacking a career. And also, as noted above: a job. (Editor’s Note: this was factual when this was written but as of post date, ya gurl has a job so HA. Career to follow.)

I’ve decided to list out Thirty things I HAVE accomplished. Since this is completely subjective to what I FEEL is an accomplishment rather than what the outside world tells me SHOULD be an accomplishment, you’re in for a real wild ride through my dumb brain. BUCKLE YO’ SEATBELTS. (Wine may or may not have been consumed in the making of this list.)

30. Smoked hookah, drank white Russians and played tonsil hockey with a bartender in Spain. All in one night, BOOYAH. Also, I was 15 (but I said I was 17, duh.) Hot start. My parents are already proud of this list, I can tell. Fernando, if you’re still out there…you tried to swallow my head whole and I hope you’ve learned how to dial it back on the tongue usage otherwise T’s and P’s for your wife. Having to take a shamwow to your face after every smooch is less than desirable.

29. KFC Said I Was Funny. This is a very niche audience accomplishment but it was a turning moment for the sake of my “brand.” As an avid follower and fan of Barstool since I was 17, my favorite blogger through the years and the one whose angry and spiteful rants inspired me to finally strike out and start publishing my own angry and spiteful rants *about celebs* was KFC. He used to blog on the side at his full time job as an accountant and when I finally caved and started The Salty Ju, I was writing TV show recaps while I temped at Boston College. I’d do an expense report then look around and switch over to WordPress to talk about how unhealthy Kim and Kyle’s relationship was on RHOBH. After shooting a tweet to KFC saying I felt like him leading a double blog life, he followed me on Twitter. I geeked out like nobody’s biz. But that will never compare to me going to the KFC Radio live podcast in Boston and hitting up the meet and greet afterward with KFC not only recognizing who I was but also shouting “The Salty Ju! You’re funny, girl!” Music to my ding dang dong ears. My blog was FRE$H on the streets and not only was I being recognized as the Salty Ju but I was being recognized by my fave blogger of AWL time. It was an ultimate starstruck moment and I told every single person I knew. No one QUITE understood why it was such a big deal but it was to me. Would’ve been chill as hell if that compliment rolled into a job at Barstool but that’s just not the way the cookie crumbled (despite my several attempts). So at least we’ll always have that magical night when The Salty Ju became known to Boston as ~*~FuNnY~*~. Tysm to my OG Saratoga bestie Alex for not only agreeing to go to this show without knowing a single thing about Barstool because everyone else bailed on me, but also turning into a straight up paparazzi to catch the palpable energy of me attempting and failing to keep my chill all over a bunch of bloggers/podcasters. It’s probably for the best that I never meet Taylor Swift if this is how I acted around normies.

28. Accounting Superstar. I worked on a film set for exactly 4 weeks before Covid shut the world down and it took me exactly one week into production to win my first award. I know, I know, it’s like I was put on this planet to impress others. How did I get this award, you ask? Oh, I filled out all of my HR paperwork in a timely manner. Although I probably should’ve received a star cameo in said film, what I did receive was my photo hanging outside of the accounting office and a big ole bag of Syracuse’s finest salt potatoes. I try to stay humble but honestly once you win Accounting Superstar it’s like is there even anywhere else to go in life? 

27. Saw N*SYNC live in their P*RIME. N*SYNC is the greatest boy band of all time and Justin Timberlake is the greatest performer of all time so seeing their glorious choreography and flashy coordinated outfits with my own two peepers was an all-time moment. What made it even more memorable was the fact that it almost never happened because I was a little a-hole (shocking, I know) and my parents took the tix away from me. Plot twist, they felt so guilty for killing this dream for my sister and I that they rebought a second set of tix so we could go after all. And now it’s making my life accomplishment list so I GUESS IT WAS WORTH IT AFTER ALL, MOM AND DAD. (Update: my dad shared that he was much more educated for his second ticket purchase and got better seats right next to where N*SYNC appeared to kick off the show so just goes to show that bad behavior pays off.)

26. Reenacted Weekend at Bernies all for a Yanks spring training game in Florida. There’s no one more desperate for some vitamin D in an upstate winter than the girl who will fly down to Florida for a weekend while also dying a slow death from Mono. Soldiered through though thanks to the dream team propping me up—literally. Touched mad stingrays, took mad naps & saw Jeets and that toight ass play one last time before he retired.

25. Learned how to grill like a Pitmaster. I may have exaggerated a little bit there but I didn’t think knowing how to grill stuff was an accomplishment until I realized that most of my friends and all of the women in my family are not grill savvy. So now I feel preeettttyyyy cool about the fact that I can grill a dawg like nobody’s biz. Last summer under the advisement of my v. grill talented brother-in-law I even made myself a mean sirloin that straight melted in my mouth. CHEF’S KISS. What a solid life talent it is to be able to fire up the grill and BBQ some meats. I may make 90% of my meals in an air fryer but oh buddy, when summer comes, I sure know my way around a grill.

24. Went to a Rave (twice) and lived to tell the tale. This is the most out of body experience I’ve ever had. Literally because I drank so much that I vacated my body. Can’t call myself a true 90’s chick until I’ve attended a rave and I had absolutely no business being there. The first Barstool Blackout I missed the memo that girls essentially attend nude with some neon accents and made myself the below VERY sexy oversized men’s neon tee with a bunch of barstool catchphrases on it. I then took the theme way too seriously and blacked out for the first time in my life. Fell down an entire flight of stairs and lost all of my belongings including my fake ID that I demanded my sister replace. At least I still had my dignity, amirite?! Not. Round 2 resulted in a much cuter homemade shirt and a harsh realization that I had already aged out of this phase and standing in a sea of sweaty neons tripping their faces off was not my idea of a good time. Tough stuff, lesson learned. On the bright side: Blackout 2.0 occurred the night after the Boston Marathon bomber was finally captured and arrested so the rave was kicked off with Darth Vader leading the entire crowd in scream-singing the National Anthem in hands down one of the most patriotic moments ever. Still out on raves, tho.

23. Made this masterpiece. Once you learn that this was the FINAL project that I did to earn myself a Bachelor of Arts degree, it really puts things into perspective about how much of a joke college actually is. Not only was this music video inspired by a bunch of Taylor Swift lyrics, it was also just my backup plan. After spending an entire semester planning a completely different project, traveling to another college 3 hours away to film it, then promptly dropping the camera and ruining all of my footage…this music video was made in 2 weeks right down to the deadline wire after I begged my sister and her husband to help a girl out. I think we all know why I never became a filmmaker. 

22. Two-Time Scavenger Hunt Champ. If there is a themed scavenger hunt taking place in a downtown area that includes drinking, you can bet your ass my sister and I will participate and dominate that B. Although our Jesse and the Rippers team showed a lot of heart in the 90’s pub crawl, it was Team USA in the Olympic pub crawl and Team Who Let the Dogs Out in the Pup Crawl that were my two championship moments. Adult bevvies were consumed, clues were found, photos were taken & prizes were won. Although, once we found out our Olympics prize for Best Dressed was tickets to the circus, we told them to give those to a family in need. #Charity #ItsJustAboutTheThrillOfWinning

21. Pooped my pants as an adult 3 times. First time is an accident, second and third times…it’s a problem. That level of humiliation really humbles you. It’s a badge of honor that I wear proudly. I’ll spare you the messy deets but take comfort in the fact that each accident was mortifying in the moment, but hilarious to recount afterward. Sorry not sorry that I’m thirty years old and ANY story that involves a fart gone wrong will have me in full tears.

20. Learned how to not be terrified of babies. I may not have mastered how to control my bowels as a grownup but I’m very proud to say that when my little niece-monster was born, I was forced to adapt to the baby lifestyle. Since her father abandoned her a week into her life for a Mexican “work trip”, I got a crash course on feeding, burping, changing & making sure her neck was supported as hell. S/O to my little Babs for making me an Auntie and also twinning, selfie’ing & dancing with me.

19. Graduated College. I don’t really feel like this is that large of an accomplishment because it’s essentially 4 years that I’ll be paying off for the rest of my gosh darn life but the fact that I graduated college in a hurricane wearing 100 layers underneath my soaked robe and my hat literally flew off as I walked across the stage…that was priceless. Shout out to my entire family who also sat outside in a monsoon just to watch me receive an empty folder and cry about it afterward. It was the worst day ever and now that I look back (hindsight’s 20/20, yo) it was for sure an omen to my future. BUT I’M STILL KICKIN!

18. Climbed 463 *very* narrow steps to the top of the Duomo in Florence. You’ll notice that this is on the list and hiking a volcano isn’t because it was 100x harder than that hike and also way more claustrophobic so I take more pride in this one. I’m guessing our Italian homies in the 1400’s did not build the Duomo with thousands of tourists trekking through its narrow passageways in mind. 

17. Partied all night before a flight. This is one of those things that you get talked into when you’re inebriated and looking back I would probably never fall for it again. On my last night in Florence closing up my semester abroad, my friend and I were painting the town buzzed and decided to never let the fun end. We stayed out all night bar hopping and traipsing the streets of Firenze then stopped back home to grab our suitcases and share a cab to the airport in the morning. Would’ve been smooth sailing to just pass out on my flight back to the US of A except that Italy had one of their many infamous transportation strikes that day which led me to a 6 hour bus ride to Rome to re route my flights. Wanna know what a 6 hour bus ride feels like when you start to sober up? It feels like the seventh circle of hell. Was it worth it? My heart says yes but my intestines said nope. (Surprisingly, this was NOT one of the three times I’ve crapped my pants. Close call tho.)

16. Lived with a boy. This is smack dab in the middle of my list because it is CERTAINLY an accomplishment that I was able to cohabitate with a boy and yet if you’ll recall from above I’m very single so obviously it wasn’t the greatest success story. HOWEVER, knowing how neurotic, OCD and clean I am and how I’ve done everything in my power to never have roomies again due to my very specific way of living, I’d still call it an all-around win. The bennies far outweighed the negatives on sharing a small dwelling with a smelly boy. Also important to note: this occurred pre-pandemic. Throw a panny in the mix and all bets are off on co-habitating.

15. Bought a couch. The couch saga of 2020 is one that will go down in history as a real shitshow. It includes being persuaded to buy a used couch I didn’t want just because the guy was hot, reselling it a week later, checking way too many furniture stores, roping everyone I know into the dramatic process and then FINALLY finding the grey couch I wanted for a budget price. This isn’t just a couch, this is a symbol of my independence, GURRRLLLLL.

14. Peed in the ocean. Anyone who knows how I have crippling pee anxiety understands what an accomplishment this was for me. It was such a monumental moment that I literally cried out into the ocean breeze, “I’M DOING IT!!!!” Totes understand why everyone quickly swam away.

13. Rosé on Broadway. Bringing in unlucky number 13 on the ole accomplishment list because as everyone knows it was the greatest wine festival ever planned to never ever take place. My addiction to pink wine and all things basic betch drinking festivals allowed me to create this bangpiece of an event that maybe one day people will actually buy tickets to attend.

12. Held a Joey & Fed A Giraffe. Call me Joe Freakin’ Exotic because nothing makes me happier than cuddling/interacting with wild animals. TYSM to the trash-hole backyard zoo in ‘Nango for giving me all of the opportunities to embrace my inner Bindi Irwin, sans khakis.

11. Survived the Great Zucchini Toss of 2019. The world (and more specifically, my hibachi chef) tried to take me out at my own 28th birthday dinner, but I said IT’S NOT MY TIME YET. One perfectly arc’ed raw zucchini took a smooth dive right into my trachea and I sucked air and sputtered with wide panicked eyes until I eventually gakked it up underneath the table. Not only did I learn that not a single soul in that restaurant was even remotely concerned that I was choking to death, but also my favorite simple pleasure of an onion volcano on fire being pushed around an open grill while a chef shouts CHOO CHOO will forever be marred by this incident. No more Hibachi birthdays.

10. Explored Porto Solo Dolo. I’m not the type of person who is confident enough to grab dinner alone or see a movie with me, myself and I. So on a trip to Portugal with my dad and his work colleagues, when I was left to my own devices for the day I was ready to just hide in the hotel room and read my trashy novel. But I decided to face my fears and explore a foreign country by my lonesome and boy am I glad I did. I worked on my “stop thinking everyone is always staring at you” mentality and even stepped directly into the ocean in my sneakers trying to get a self timer pic of me beachin it up. Crushed it.

9. Shot a gun. It was A W E S O M E. Shouts to the Poultney gang who helped facilitate this and trusted me to operate a firearm 30 seconds after meeting me. Double shouts to my friend Kass who realized how important it was to document every second of my transformation to a country girl for the gram.

8. Got rejected more in one year than probably most of you have in your entire lifetime. This is a sore subject, cause on the one hand I’ve cried my face off about it way too many times. HOWEVER, positive spin—I can probably handle rejection better than the average person now. You don’t get stomped down every day for a year and not come out stronger, amirite? Plus check out my sick Wall of Rejection that I made to keep me humble. It’s strategically placed behind me so that if I never look back, it’s almost as if it never happened. HA. TAKE THAT, REJECTION! (Also, a framed photo of me dancing in a sunflower field because I dance right in the face of people telling me no.)

7. Biked 20 Miles. When I first started dusting off the ole wheels a few years ago, a five mile bike ride was more than enough for me to feel athletic but not actually exert myself. Biking to drinks was my MO, especially when I was gifted my adorbs teal beach cruiser. It was more of a lifestyle than an achievement. Then quarantine hit and I realized I had no goals on the horizon so I told myself I would bike 20 miles by the end of the summer. It took me MUCH longer than that. Going from a few miles up to 20 was not easy breezy but I stuck with it through all the trials and tribulations (of which there were many) and finally nailed a 20 miler. RIP to my lady bits.

6. Picked out, hauled in & decorated my own Christmas Tree. Nothing brings me more satisfaction than the look on my neighbor’s face as she peeping tom’ed through her upstairs window at me hoisting a robust pine tree over my shoulder and dragging it through my front door. Ya that’s right, betch, JUST CALL ME PAUL BUNYAN. The tree looked and smelled majestic for two whole months and I got to send everyone I know an OBNOXIOUS solo Christmas card to brag about my accomplishment.

5. Created The Salty Ju six years ago and have now maintained it for longer than any job I’ve ever had. Can you imagine if I didn’t have a highly esteemed platform that I pay an annual fee for to share this ICONIC list?! That’s not a world I want to live in. Thank GAWD I invented The Salty Ju. 

4. Published by a humor site thus allowing me to refer to myself as a comedy writer unironically. This was a BIG moment for ya girl. Blogging was a hobby and my audience was my immediate family and friends. Once I was published by an outside source, I could officially call myself a writer and there’s a slight chance I really overused it. In case you missed it…here’s my claim to fame. And also my second published piece that was rejected by everyone else so a blog called Rejected Writers threw me a bone. STILL COUNTS. I’M A COMEDY WRITER!

3. Saved Money. Just a couple of years ago I was going into the back room at work to call Bank of America and yell at them for drilling me with maintenance fees because my “savings account” dipped below $300. I got stuck in a cycle of those dirty MF’ers just repeatedly taking what very little money I had. I think at one point I got so mad that I told them it would be more beneficial for me to have a piggy bank at this point with the way they’re punishing me for being poor. Anyway, I tell you that sob story to make you realize that ever since I graduated college, I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck—typically with multiple jobs. For the first time ever I have a savings account and it feels good as hell so suck on THAT, BANK OF AMERICA.

2. Wrote a book. A national shutdown and almost two years of unemployment can really take you to new levels of boredom. For a type A chick like me, I just did everything I could to stay busy, which included writing a collection of my personal essays and compiling them into a whole ass book. It may not be published (yet) but it is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life and I feel pretty freakin awesome that I did it. I taught myself everything there is to know about submitting to publishers and agents, formatting into a manuscript and thanks to my family, I even got my own collector’s edition (art by my fave cousin Ray Ray.) Maybe one day it’ll be sold at a bookstore near you (or like…Amazon) and then I can call myself an AUTHOR too. 

1. Got a REAL DEAL job. I purposefully left #1 open as I crafted this blog over several weeks and wouldn’t you know it, in a total Hail Mary down to the buzzer moment, ya girl got offered a job before entering a new decade of life. WHAT A SUCCESS STORY! Since October 23, 2019, I’ve applied to 215 jobs and had 50 interviews. I’ve updated my resume countless times. I’ve joined networking groups and mentoring groups. I’ve had zoom meetings with strangers “just to connect.” I’ve walked into places and asked if they’re hiring. I’ve been served some cold rejection emails and I’ve been straight up ghosted after interviews. I took a one week hiatus in late January after a particularly rough rejection to cry a lot, binge Real Housewives of NY and contemplate the meaning of life with Disney Pixar’s Soul. And then I kept crushing my own soul by applying to more jobs. Let that be a lesson to all of you, if you try REALLY REALLY hard to get a job for a solid year and a half, you just might finally snag one. Or in my case, two. When it rains, it pours, amirite?! So cheers to the Dirty 30 beginning with a new adventure in the Dirty Jerze. Say dirty again. THE SALTY JU TAKES THE DIRTY JERZE COMING TO A THEATER NEAR YOU THIS SUMMER!

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My Body Was Not Built To Climb Mountains

It’s that time of year again in Upstate NY. The snow is “melting” into black-spotted mounds surrounded by mud, the temps are hitting 50 which brings out society’s inability to dress appropriately and it’s no longer pitch black outside while you drive home from work in the freezing cold. SPRING HAS SPRUNG, Y’ALL! And not only does that mean seeing bozo’s wearing flip flops with their disgusting feet that they prematurely pulled out of winter hibernation loudly on display, but it also means all of your hiking friends come out of the woodwork. You know the type, the people who CHOOSE to wake up at 4am on a Saturday morning, scale the rocky side of a mountain and then sit unnaturally close to the edge of a cliff to watch the sunrise. I say this with the MOST jealousy because I’ve forever wanted to post a cool-ass Insta of me at the top of a mountain with the sun cresting behind me, bragging about how casj and effortless it was to hike my 14th high peak. I want that for myself SO badly, that I’ve attempted hiking. I’ve attempted hiking knowing that on a regular Tuesday, I trip over my own feet an alarming amount of times. A few days ago I slid stepping into the shower and smashed my shin off of the tile so hard that I screamed and just stood there in the water for a hot second contemplating how I haven’t fallen to my death yet. It’s a valid question for someone as uncoordinated as I am who also lives alone.  

Not only am I clumsy but fun fact numero dos: I get VERY winded from exerting myself physically. If you’ve ever been on a phone call with me while I’ve gone up a flight of stairs oh baby, are you in for a treat. I gasp for air from the slightest activity. So yeah, this ganglerod disaster who is regularly out of breathe from walking voluntarily scaled a mountain. THRICE. The first time was in Hawaii. Humble brag. I climbed Diamond Head. Climbed is a generous term. I feel like I need to get ahead of the story here and admit that I had absolutely 0 plans to do any physical activity on my work trip/vacation. My vacay mode is beachin and drinkin and it is almost NEVER climbin. Except for the fact that it stormed for the majority of my trip, which really put a damper on beachin. So that’s how I found myself agreeing to join a VERY fit friend on the Diamond Head adventure. I figured I didn’t have anything better to do and it sounds BADASS as hell to tell people you climbed a freaking volcano. I was doing it strictly for the story and for the ‘gram. (In case you haven’t figured it out yet, that’s basically how I live my life.) As our gang started the hike, I knew I was in trouble when families with small children, all wearing flip flops (at least they were summer-ready feet) were immediately lapping us and we’d barely just begun our journey. Nothing kills your confidence quicker than a 4 year old in beach gear showing you up. The rest of the hike was no less than 15 years long. Built for tourism, it was essentially paved with railings the entire way and yet I still felt as though I was being personally attacked by this volcano. If it had erupted, I would’ve just nodded in understanding and lied down, letting the hot lava solidify me there in my huffy embarrassment. I kept chugging though. I wanted that money shot at the top and I would die getting to it if I had to. As if Diamond Head was a salty bitch and knew my intentions for hiking her weren’t pure, she decided to do me dirty one last time. The last segment of the hike is just a staircase. It quite literally looks like the stairway to heaven. You can’t see the top, you just see stairs going up toward the sky. And there were A LOT of them. This was like a 7 floor walkup just to finish this damn hike. I stopped at the bottom and literally laughed out loud (and took the picture below.) Well played, you fiery volcano, you. My friend ran full speed up the infinity stairs because clearly she didn’t feel challenged enough by being forced to keep pace with a 26 year old trapped in a 96 year olds body. Sorry bout it. I took the steps one by one, thinking about the consequences of my actions. This is what I get myself into when I live for the gram. On the bright side, after that giant stairmaster, and a very rusty spiral staircase immediately afterward, I can only hope I was one step closer to buns of steel.

My friend, Rocky’ing the shit out of these endless stairs
Not sketchy at all

Plus, the view WAS pretty flawless. I also took it one step further and hopped a fence that said “don’t cross this fence” to literally sit on the ledge and dangle my feet. If I was going to do the equivalent of a year’s worth of workouts in one afternoon, you bet your ass I’m gonna illegally dangle (trembling with fear the entire time) to make it worth my while. The over-edited shot that I posted accompanied by my supes casj cool caption basically qualified me as a fitness influencer, so my job here was done. Everyone believed that I do this every weekend and didn’t just almost keel over and die on a hike that toddlers were doing with ease. And I bet not a soul knew that while I was “livin on the edge” I was also crapping my pants with fear. Insta-magic.

The second and third (final) hikes of my life just so happened to be the same exact hike. Again, motivated by aesthetics. I’ve always wanted to peep the foliage from a mountain as well, so I took a poll from my hike-happy friends and all agreed that the tamest one for me to tackle while still getting an eyeful of orange leaves was Pilot Knob in Lake George. After a Saturday full of drinking, I forced my boyf at the time to do nature with me for a nice Sunday cleanse. Our definition of cleanse started with eating hot dogs and cheese fries out of a food truck first. I’m not sure exactly what is the correct hiking fuel, but if I had to guess, wieners and processed cheese probably isn’t it. Whatever, it was delicious. This hike turned out to be the real deal. In fact, it had a journal at the bottom for you to “check in” aka if you go missing in the woods, at least the cops looking for your dead body know you’re definitely there and how long you’ve been gone for. The boyf and I were unaware of that feature and felt very confident charging into this hike until roughly 3 minutes in when we were confused where the actual path was and started to second guess if we even knew how to follow a marked trail. Thankfully a family was near and we could follow them…until we couldn’t see them anymore. SERIOUSLY WHAT IS IT WITH TAKING YOUR SMALL CHILDREN ON HIKES? It’s just downright embarrassing for us fatties. They’re like speed racers, I tell ya. This hike was directly uphill. There were leaves and branches scattered about, the stairs were just jutted out rocks and there were multiple times that I slid on a wet patch. It was horrific, but again, I wanted that leaf porn. We huffed and puffed to the top, and honestly, leaves weren’t even peak anymore. I didn’t feel accomplished. I just wondered, probably out loud, “Who actually enjoys this?” After a photoshoot to mark our athletic achievement, the boyf and I agreed that this was a one-time deal and never under any circumstances would we become hiking people and we beat it down the mountain back to the comfort of our couch. 

The deadest leaves in all the land
vs.
What I edited the shit out of and posted on IG:

I hate to even admit this, but the next time I did this hike was the following summer with a group of friends and if you’re wondering how I ever agreed to join them…so am I. You know when women say they forget about the pain and trauma of childbirth when they’re having more kids? I think that’s what happened here. Enough time had passed for me to look back on Pilot’s Knob with an easy breezy attitude like it was a walk in the park. I remembered it not being that bad and also this time, there was alcohol to be had at the top for sunset. Call me an alcoholic but that was for sure a motivator. Apparently I had blacked out that HIKING IS THE ACTUAL WORST AND THIS BODY WAS NOT BUILT TO CLIMB MOUNTAINS. But if we learned our lessons the first time, that wouldn’t really be life, now would it? I accompanied a friend of mine who invited a bunch of her other friends I had never met. Essentially I was hiking with a pack of strangers and guess what?! They were all pro hikers. Some of them were even wearing hiking boots. It was clear from the jump that my tank top with slits up the side that read “If only sass burned calories” wasn’t going to cut it with this seasoned outdoor gang. After a late start and the realization that the sun was about to set in 20 mins, everyone kicked it into high gear essentially running to the top of the mountain. Again, quick reminder that I was surrounded by the kind of people who grew up playing sports…and not in the participation trophy kind of way I did. I was quite literally wheezing to keep up while simultaneously mortified that this would be a long lasting first impression to this new crew. I finally waved everyone off to go on and leave me alone on this mountain to hopefully die and leave my horribly out of shape body to be eaten. My beefcake of an ass would be a delicacy to whatever roamed the Adirondacks…at least I have that going for me. For a brief moment, I considered chugging a seltzer as I dragged my body up thinking a buzz might put a little pep in my step but honestly I probably would’ve just given myself a foot cramp and tumbled back down to the bottom. I will also be forthright with you and admit that there were tears. Not like a sobbing moment…more like a who the hell do I think I am teary-eyed moment. When I finally crested the top, I tried to play it off like I went that slow on purpose to take in the scenery and not because it’s exhausting for me to support my own body weight when it’s not laying horizontally. I chugged the seltzers that I earned, took some shitty sunset photos that I refused to be in because I looked like a sweaty garbage can, and got ready to reach my grand finale of forest-related walking. Another key factor that I didn’t think through all the way, if you’re climbing a mountain to see the sun set, YOUR HIKE DOWN WILL BE PITCH BLACK. Guess what doesn’t have lights? The woods. *cue Taylor Swift’s 1989 sleeper hit are we out of the woods yet are we out of the woods yet are we out of the woods yet playing on loop in my terrified brain.* I saw exactly one snake on my descent using a cell phone flashlight and it never for a second crossed my mind that ALL THE CREATURES WOULD BE OUT AND I WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO SEE THEM. So that’s it for my hiking career. I tried guys, I really did. I envy your outdoorsy adventures solely for the pictures because I’m a real picture whore. But NO PHOTO is worth stumbling over rocks on a steep incline amongst woodland creatures for. When Elon Musk invents a way for me to get the breathtaking shots without the exertion– a quick elevator ride to the top, perhaps? Then I’ll be all in on hiking.

Seltzer hit harder than this sunset

PS I also attempted a brisk walk in the woods this spring (level ground), gasped for air the entire time, tripped over twigs and ended up with blisters on both of my heels so let’s just go ahead and cancel my body because I’m not even 30 yet and walking in general is a no for me, dawg.

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Aloha, Bus Driver From My Nightmares!

It was this time three years ago that I was about to embark on the biggest trip of my life. Through my esteemed work as a beer festival event coordinator, I was granted the opportunity to travel to Hawaii to run Honolulu on Tap—because when you live in paradise, why wouldn’t you buy an overpriced ticket to hang out in a giant convention center and drink beer for an entire day? Never one to pass up turning a once in a lifetime work trip into a tropical beach vacay, I recruited my bestie to come with me, mostly so that I could have a snorkeling, beachin & drinkin buddy but also because returning to upstate NY shouting Mahalo and crushing the dubz hang loose hands is WAY funnier tag team style. The plane ride from New York to Honolulu was going to be 11 hours and that is without a doubt the longest I’ve ever been trapped in a plane over the ocean. So how did my body prepare? Oh, glad you asked. By getting a Biiiiiitch of a cold/flu/sinus infection exactly one day prior to my travel. My friend and I started our journey to the land of loosie goosies by taking a four hour bus ride from Albany down to NYC where we would then spend the night with another friend and wake up at the ass of dawn for our 11 hour flight. After mainlining Emergen-C and taking a midday snooze the day before did absolutely nothing to stop the freight train of sickness from ravaging my body, there was 0% of me that wanted to travel for the next few days. Little did I know that it would be a real shitstorm with or without snot profusely leaking out of my nose. 

We boarded the bus and found our seats, ready for naptime as the sun had already set. I was just getting as comfortable as a 5’9” ganglerod can in a very limited legroom bus seat when we heard the crackle of the loudspeaker. As soon as our driver began his announcements, my friend and I knew we were in for the ride of our lives. It appeared as though luck had placed us on a vehicle driven by Satan himself. I’ve never experienced “announcements” on a bus past age 11 and yet here I was at 26 listening to a driver sternly tell a packed bus of grown adults that this would be a QUIET ride and we would NOT want to find out what happens if someone speaks. Uh, RED FLAG MUCH? As someone who had sneezed about 14 times just boarding the bus alone, I immediately began to shake with fear that my body would betray me and I’d get ejected at full speed on the highway for my noisemaking on the silent bus. It turns out, I didn’t need to stifle my sneezes or dab at my waterfall of snot quietly (not being able to blow your nose just makes it 100x sloppier) because I wasn’t going to be the culprit who took this ship down.

About an hour into the ride after SEVERAL shushes from our fearless leader when someone dared to crinkle a snack wrapper (it was me…snacking is life), a cellphone ringtone echoed through the prison that was our ride. A collective gasp was heard as we wondered what the punishment would be but THAT WASN’T ALL. Following the jingle, we heard a normal speaking voice carrying a godforsaken cell phone conversation. The driver was swift to hit that loudspeaker again and tell this renegade to get the hell off of her phone or get the hell off of this bus. She did not oblige. He continued to harass her via tiny bus megaphone, while the rest of us cringed out of our skin and wanted to die on the spot rather than find out what happens when in a free country you take a phone call on a bus that you paid to sit on. The crew was getting restless, people shouted from the back for this woman to just get off her phone and save us all. Amongst the vocal unrest, a hero that we didn’t ask for, but that we all needed came to this cellphone yapper’s defense and fired back that this woman was receiving news of a death. I mean, you can’t script it, folks. This seemed to settle the Lord of the Flies crowd forming in the back preparing for a forced takedown of cellphone lady. You know who did not settle for one single second?

Nazi bus driver.

We could now hear that the lady was upset and rather than easing up on the code of silence, our bus driver doubled down as someone who probably kicks puppies does. HE PULLED THE BUS OVER. This MF’er whipped that bus right off the side of the highway, slammed it in park and warned us he would not be putting it back into drive until this bus was noise-free. A riot ensued. Shouts went from back to front, the driver continued to prove he was an incredibly mentally-unstable individual and most importantly, our safety was in this man’s hands. A man who PULLED THE BUS OVER ON THE HIGHWAY LIKE WE WERE HIS CHILDREN FIGHTING IN THE BACK AND HE WANTED TO TEACH US A LESSON. Nope, no children fighting here, Sarge, just a grown woman receiving a death announcement via telephone and crying about it. I obviously sat there in silence, clutching a tissue to my face to hide the fact that I was downright terrified of not only this much stranger interaction, but also that this unhinged man was put in ANY position of power. Obviously I would be the first to be eaten on a desert island. After much convincing, and a promise from the grieving lady that she wouldn’t dare use her cellphone again and would dial her sobs down to a suppressed hiccup, Driving Hitler allowed us to continue our journey of silence. There would be no round robin singing of ‘The Wheels on the Bus go round and round’ on this ride.

We arrived in NYC without another incident and I’ve never scrambled off of a bus faster—and that’s saying a lot because my middle school bus driver’s nickname was Chomo for child molester. And that was just the first leg of our trip. I danced in and out of a fever throughout the night, taunted by nightmares of our bus driver hitting the gas off of a cliff plummeting to our death because I had audibly farted in my sleep, then boarded a plane for 11 hours of mouth breathing and a fiery sore throat. The good news is I survived. The bad news is it rained all week in Hawaii, our snorkeling excursion was cancelled due to high winds, I reversed the rental car into a cement parking beam, and exactly 3 days after I returned from the biggest trip of my life and finally kicked my sinus infection, I was laid off. You know who probably wasn’t laid off after terrorizing his passengers? That bus driver. MAHALO.

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Salty Stories

Hydration Is For Suckers

There’s a whole lot of annoying people in this world. Believe me, I live in a constant state of annoyance and if you give me about thirty seconds I could fire off a list of things currently grinding my gears and point out everyone’s obnoxious qualities. See? That’s MY obnoxious quality. Near the top of that list are people who tell you to drink more water. These people are usually females, and they will always promise that drinking more water will CHANGE 👏🏼 YOUR 👏🏼 LIFE 👏🏼 GURL! In addition to being as irritable as a small baby with colic, I’ve also lived my entire life in a constant state of dehydration. I’m very aware of the fact that I don’t drink enough water. I drink water with my three meals a day, toss in a coffee every morning (which basically deducts that first water) and that pretty much sums up my day. Way, WAY back when I had a desk job, I’d keep a tumbler of water at my desk to sip during snacktime, but often didn’t finish more than one cup a day. Water washed my food down my gullet and that’s pretty much the sole purpose it has served in my life. Here’s a few other fun facts about me though: I have heavy digestive issues with an emphasis on the D for Diarrhea, I get horrifically crippling hangovers and sometimes my foot will seize off of my body at stupid times of the day in Charlie-horse style cramps—usually when I’m exercising or in the middle of the night when I’m just trying to catch some Z’s. You don’t need to be a doctor to assume that all of these ailments could probably be cured by having a few more glasses of water a day. But I’ve just never been able to bring myself to do it. Obviously counterpoint number one to drinking more water is the inconvenience of needing to pee every few minutes. As someone who has performance anxiety when it comes to peeing in a public bathroom–why are bathrooms a thousand times quieter when there are other people in the stalls?–I never felt the need to create even more stressful situations just by drinking more water. Plus, water just doesn’t taste that great. I mean, be honest with yourself, water is a pretty trash drink. Oh, just continuously sip something that tastes like NOTHING all day long? Get outta here.

So I carried on living my life like the H2O-lacking heathen that I am. Whenever someone brought it up and was like GIRL, just drink eight glasses a day and you’ll NOTICE a difference. I just nodded my head and smiled like you do when someone yaps about a show on Netflix you MUST watch that you 100% know you will never watch. These water worshippers would RAVE that drinking more water will make you lose weight, and clear up your skin, and help your digestion and overall just make you feel like a QUEEN. Ya, ya whatevs. I’m just going to keep destroying my body at an alarming rate. But then, something changed. On my 9th month of unemployment, I was listening to the Token CEO Podcast where someone else was being interviewed about being laid off as well. She pointed out that since it was her second time around on unemployment, it didn’t feel as bad…plus with a national pandemic, there are a lot of people in the same spot. And I thought to myself PREACH. I’m on my third bout of unemployment since graduating college and subsequently my LONGEST one and yet I think I’m the least phased. It’s just a way of life now to never have a G-D job–not for lack of trying of course. I felt connected to this podcast soul sister. At the end of her interview she gave out a tip of advice and it was “drink more water” immediately followed by, “I know everyone says that and shit and I always ignored it but I’ve been doing it lately and honestly I do feel better.” And once again, I felt a kindred spirit in this asshole who was equally as unemployed and also scoffed at people bragging about the health benefits of the plainest drink in the world. And I thought, well what the fuck else am I doing? Now seems like a great time to finally succeed at something rather than fail for once. Clearly I had reached the point where I’d do anything for a win. So the next day, I downloaded a water tracking app for accountability and because my Type A ass NEEDS to check off boxes. Did I really DRINK water if I didn’t log it? Nope. Obviously not.

After testing one app for about 30 seconds and immediately getting annoyed by the ads crowding up my eyesight—no I will not pay for a water tracking app, I don’t even know if I’m going to keep up with this for more than one week. The next free app I downloaded had a lovely percentage bar graphic that was pleasing to the eye and made me feel like I had something to work toward each day. I entered my weight and height and this almighty app told me that 76 oz was my recommended dose per day. It seemed low to the naked eye but seemed even lower when I realized that I own a water bottle that’s 28 oz and I was slurping several of those a day. My first day of tracking I logged 138 oz without even trying. I was ALREADY crushing it. And true to my fantasy life, I was already envisioning eradicating all my tummy probs, having glowing skin, a model bod, and never getting hungover again. The next morning, a reminder to drink water alerted me at 6AM and I quickly turned off the annoying notifications. I was lapping this app, I didn’t need to be told before my eyes even opened that I should be drinking water. LET ME HAVE MY REST TIME. Plus I was reaching my goal by 12pm every day and this app needed to learn to respect my water-drinking hustle during waking hours only. I continued my waterboarding for weeks. I wanted to kill myself with the constant dribble of pee that was threatening to burst out of my urethra every time I breathed, but I assumed much like breaking the seal, this was something my body would get used to and would lessen over time. To distract myself, I took to bragging to everyone around me that my water intake was off the charts and therefore I was superior to them. This made me feel a whole lot better about the fact that I was spending roughly all of my day in the bathroom and dedicating all of my efforts to tracking my bevs like it was my full-time job–to be fair, it kinda was.

And yet, all these days of basically drowning myself and I was still constipated. So much so, that I had to take a laxative to create some movement. I paused to feel confused about the fact that I was basically on a liquid diet and yet my intestines were still like nah, we’re at capacity and we don’t really care. I also was expecting to basically never see a zit again and I was getting chest acne like nobody’s biz from working out and generally being sweaty 24/7 (cause summer, duh.) Another red flag that caused me to wonder if this water thing is really all it’s cracked up to be. Finally, I reached my breaking point. On a particularly sunny Wednesday, I ate a full lunch and then saw a beer sitting in the fridge leftover from a beach day. The beer was a Pina Colada Wheat and I had chosen it specifically for the sun and sand because I wanted to also be drinking alcoholic sunscreen, obviously. I never got around to it and it got pushed to the back of the fridge. I was feeling rather frisky from the nice weather and I decided to give it a try. It was a craft beer of 7.4% alcohol—something I would certainly not find on my trusty water tracking app, and knowing the lightweight that I am, I took it nice and slow. I drank that bad boy over the course of almost two hours. And when I finished it, I kid you not, I was trashed. Kinda a low point for me if we’re being honest. Rather than pass out for a midday buzzed siesta at 4pm on a weekday, I decided to power through the buzz and chug another 28 oz water. I was obviously well above my “goal” at this point in the day and thought surely this magically-powered drink that is supposed to change your life would bring me down from this buzz and also eliminate any bad feelings that would come my way by dinner time. NOPE. By dinner I had a full blown hangover. FROM ONE BEER, FOLKS. And that’s precisely when I called bullshit on this whole drink more water to become your best self philosophy. I ranted to my mom as loud as my headache would allow. How is it that I am THE MOST hydrated, and yet got hungover from one lousy sunscreen tastin’ beer? HOW?! Riddle me that, WATER DICK SUCKERS. After months of drinking over 100 oz of water per day, not a thing about me had changed. My skin was still pre-teen zitty garbage. My flabby muffin top was ever-present. My intestines constantly reminded me that I’m no better than a nursing home resident. I either needed a healthy dose of Prune Juice or an adult diaper and there was no in between. And ya know what? Why don’t you just go ahead and saw my brain in half every time I indulge in an alcoholic beverage. I’m over it. Water worshippers go back to being the most annoying people alive that I’ll ignore for the rest of my life. Nope, that’s a lie. I won’t ignore them. I’ll tell them point blank that they sit on a fountain of lies. AND I HAVE THE APP AND CONSTANT STATE OF DETERIORATION TO PROVE IT.

Editors Note: Due to the fact that this was originally written in August 2020 and it is now February 2021, I wanted to give you all an update on the watering process. Despite my untethered rage toward hydration, I have maintained tracking my agua intake so that I may continue to poke holes in the theory that being hydrated does anything for your body other than giving you bragging rights for drinking the recommended dose of water daily. I appreciate your concern for how much I have to pee in a regular day and I can confirm that I have adjusted, but as I sit here with a sizable zit on my neck, I can also confirm that nothing good has come from my great H2O hustle. Therefore I will continue to shout from the rooftops that WATER IS STUPID. I look forward to the day when I have health insurance again and can boom roast my PCP with my well-researched findings that hydration is for wieners. No further questions at this time.

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Salty Stories

Let The Creatures Take Me.

I don’t do creatures. You’re probably wondering, what are creatures? Oh wow, great question, thanks for asking! This is my all-encompassing term to describe anything that creeps me out and thus should not be allowed in my vicinity, let alone sharing a home with me. In middle school one of my friends told me that you’re always within three feet of a spider while we were camping out in her backyard and I almost didn’t walk in the grass back to her house for fear of how many spiders my feet would come in contact with in the grass. I would’ve become a permanent resident of that tent just to avoid being NEAR a spider. There have been multiple incidents since then where I have considered torching my car upon finding webs INSIDE the vehicle but the culprit was missing. It’s like it couldn’t help spinning that home with it’s butt and then going into hiding, knowing what a psychological mind fuck it is for me to find a new cob web every time I go to drive somewhere but the architect was still at large. In fact, now that I really stop and think about it, I’ve been taunted by creatures my whole life.

There was a very significant stink bug phase of my adult life where every apartment that I lived in had an infestation of stink bugs during peak season and I just had to fight them off as they took over my home, knowing that if I squashed them, they would FURTHER punish me AFTER THEY HAVE PASSED by releasing their stink into the atmosphere. And that’s not even my biggest complaint about stink bugs because a little bit of smell is overshadowed by the comfort of knowing they are done haunting me. My biggest issue with them is that they fly. WHY OH WHY did we let these insects grow wings? If they were just stationary bugs I would have no issue stomping on them, but instead they turn into freaking pterodactyls and buzz all over the joint making them ten times more terrifying. The first time I learned that they can take to the sky was in my first solo apartment. I was making dinner when I heard a buzzing so loud I could only assume I was being swarmed by locusts and then it was INCREDIBLY close to my ear and I went to touch my hair and felt a hard shell. A stink bug had flown directly into my head and gotten stuck there. Naturally I screamed and flailed and then it fell to the back of my sweater and got stuck there. As I stripped down throwing clothes and contemplating shaving my head, I knew that this was just the beginning of my story with stink bugs. My hate for them reached its peak in 2017 when I was working at a new job and they were RAINING FROM A VENT IN THE CEILING ONTO MY DESK FOR WEEKS. So obviously the stinks and the spiders have always had a personal vendetta against me, see below for a journey through the years of definitely not at all dramatic live tweetings of each insectual encounter.

Although spiders, centipedes (WHY DO THEY HAVE SO MANY LEGS?!), stink bugs, bees (if they didn’t have a needle as an ass they wouldn’t be so horrifying), bed bugs, cockroaches and ants (one time I had carpenter ants in my wall and I could hear them building an empire at night) all fall into the creature category, we move up the chain of scary the bigger that the animal is. For example, I’m more afraid of bats than I am of spiders. Bats are creepy as hell with their red beady eyes and the fact that they swoop down without a sound and drink your blood and turn you into a vampire. As you’ve probably gathered by now, I’m a very impressionable girl. Someone will tell me a fact that may not even be true and I’ll carry it with me for the rest of my life, repeating it to everyone I meet. Back in my teen years when I held a cashier job at Wegmans, there was a bat loose in the store one day and a fellow cashier informed me that bats LOVE curly hair and tend to be drawn to it because it reminds them of their nest. Again, I immediately considered shaving my head. All I could think of was having a bat go after my luscious ringlets and then someone capturing it on my head with a bag, Dwight style. 

For the rest of my life, whenever I heard a bat story I relayed this fact to whoever would listen and told them I was deathly afraid. During a night of debauchery a few years ago, I was walking into a friend’s apt for a little pregame and as we were going up her back steps in the dark, something hit my head with such force that I obviously screamed. Without missing a beat, my friend goes oh that’s the bat that lives underneath our porch. HOW CASUAL. MY FEAR HAD BECOME REALIZED. THE BAT WANTED TO NEST IN MY CURLS AND RICOCHETED OFF OF MY DOME. I may or may not have rabies. I was never tested.

As if the 20 years of insects and bats preying on me WASN’T ENOUGH, we’ve arrived at DEFCON level 1 of creatures: Rodents. To be perfectly clear, even though people keep hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits as pets, they fall into the creature category for me. Ever since my childhood trauma of a friend who knew that I was afraid of hamsters PUT HER HAMSTERS—YES MORE THAN ONE— ON TOP OF ME, I’m OUT on both domesticated and wild rodents. I don’t care if it lives in a cage and you feed it and name it, get it the hell out of my life. My family learned just how a small furry critter could cripple my life in my teen years when I would spend hours upon hours in my basement in front of the family computer on AIM. Each night I would go down there at 10PM with a can of Pepsi and a snack and not re-emerge until 2 or 3AM. Who was I talking to? Realistically no one. I was probably updating my profile to highlight my 3 BFF’s initials or create a dramatic lyric with the right word italicized or just waiting for my crush to log on with that open door squeak while I blasted emo music and refreshed my Myspace page. I was “cool” in that basement. Until one night a tiny little mouse scampered across the carpet near me and I almost fell out of my chair and beat it up the stairs. To be clear, I did beat it up the stairs every single time I turned those lights off at the end of the night and if you didn’t also do the same to escape a possible serial killer then I don’t want to know you as a human. But anyway, after I ran from the furry foe, I declared that I wouldn’t return back downstairs until there was definitive proof that the mouse was gone and it did not have any remaining relatives or friends also kicking it rent-free in our basement. Do you know how much of a commitment it was for a teenager in the AIM days to boycott the computer?! It’d be like giving up your cell phone today. And I stuck to it! My dad caught the mouse almost immediately, shamed me for being afraid of it claiming it was the smallest mouse he’s ever seen and yet I still doubled down that it might have homies and didn’t return to my desktop throne for almost a month afterward. That’s when my family learned that I don’t F around when it comes to mice. 

My co-workers unfortunately had to learn this lesson many years later when I was pretty fresh on a job and was asked to help unload theatrical sets off a truck into a warehouse. I’m not sure of how someone could take one look at my bitch ass and think that I would EVER be helpful in this situation, but as I was new, I was on my best behavior and put on some sneakers to get to work. I quickly learned that not only was I useless because the set was made from steel and I’ve never lifted a weight in my life, but when we picked up a flat and uncovered A MOUSE GIVING BIRTH AT MY FEET, I solidified my role as top asshole by dropping the heavy set, squealing and nearly Kool Aid man running a hole in the wall to get the hell out of there. I’m sorry but once you VIEW A BLOODY MOUSE BIRTH CENTIMETERS FROM YOUR FEET, it’s curtains. I refused to even go on that side of the warehouse for the rest of my residency at this job. Luckily my soon to be boyfriend worked with me at the warehouse and I would regularly bat my eyes and tell him to go do my job if it required going into mousy territory. I’m not saying I’m a flirting expert but we DID date for three years after that so…I obv know how to reel ‘em in. I knew he’d be a ride or die when he went so far as to hide another Mickey on the loose situation from me a few months later knowing I would full on kill myself if I saw it. Also important note to any future suitors: clearly my only standard is can you deal with creatures so I don’t have to. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the only reason to get married is to have a full-time hubs to kill all the spiders and build all the things. 

Jumping for joy or away from mice? We may never know.

Here’s the thing, what I don’t know won’t hurt me. Seeing a mommy mouse with bloody baby mice hanging off of her scurry away (just wanted to give you that visual again because if I had to see it so do you) or finding a shredded marshmallow Santa in my overnight bag and putting the pieces together that a rodent joined the slumber party IS NOT SOMETHING I CAN HANDLE. I want to just exist in a bubble where creatures are not.

I feel like I needed to give you a full history of my creature interactions for you to understand why me finding mouse droppings on my kitchen counter the other night was THE END OF THE WORLD. I’ve been #blessed enough to never have a mouse-infested apartment…even when I lived in dirty water Boston. Well, the streak of luck has abruptly ended. I wanted to tell myself that it was just a little chocolate on the counter but I knew I had an uninvited guest and obviously texted everyone I know to alert them on the matter. I avoided my kitchen for the rest of the night, googled the best mouse traps to buy (and if renters insurance covers exterminators…it does not) and then promptly had 9000 nightmares about the mice crawling all over me in my sleep that evening. Everyone told me that would never happen and that they were more afraid of me than I am of them. UM. EXSQUEEZE ME?! I think we can all agree after reading this, that could not be further from the truth. Also, it’s an open apartment, these little fuckers are gonna go wherever they want and you know what’s super warm and cozy? MY BED. Jus sayin. As much as everyone tried to talk me down, shout out to my therapist who’s a real one and told me point blank that when she was living in Boston she woke up to find a mouse crawling up her arm and into her shirt where it then GOT STUCK IN HER HAIR. Nope. NOPE TIMES A MILLION TRILLION. ERASE ME FROM THIS PLANET IF THAT EVER HAPPENS TO ME. So IN YOUR FACE to everyone who told me I was overreacting. Obviously, I’m satisfied that I’ve proven everyone wrong with a real life incident but also I will now never sleep a wink again. The next morning I bought traps then FaceTimed my dad to learn how to set one. As my dad is telling me to hold the end down when putting the peanut butter in, I’m motioning to the spot where it goes and said, “Oh you mean right here?” And the trap snaps shut and OBLITERATES my finger. Immediate red mark, tears and permanent damage to my psyche when it comes to mouse traps. My dad rolled his eyes and told me that was exactly what he was saying. SORRY I’M NOT SMARTER THAN A MOUSE, DAD. 

That was right around the time when I gave up on this whole endeavor. If I moved out that day maybe I could find enough generous friends who allow me to couch surf until I’ve found a mouse-free living establishment. Instead, what I did was text my landlord with my uninjured hand and beg him to come over and set the traps for me. If you’ll recall, my landlord is a real baller having already dealt with me blowing a fuse for my Celine Dion Tiktok and clearly has a high tolerance for my bullshit and doesn’t just tell me to find a husband like my dad does. As he set the trap, I lowkey relayed to him that creatures terrify me and I was not doing well in this scenario so that he understood that in no way would I be dealing with these traps should they catch something. I think he picked up what I was putting down. I did not divulge that I refused to put the traps down because I was scared to get any closer to the crevices where I assumed the mouse was kicked back in a La-Z-Boy feasting on popcorn kernels. I had already been blowing in and out of my kitchen with hurricane force when hunger strikes, banging cabinets and talking out loud since I had found the droppings. I needed to remind my new roomie who was paying the rent here and more importantly, the heat bill. 

Needless to say, the next morning when I woke up, speedwalked through the kitchen to get in the shower and saw one of the traps on its side with a dark shadow, I had a full-on seizure of terror and almost knocked the door off its hinges trying to get into the bathroom. I slowly peered out of a crack in the bathroom door to confirm that the trap had a resident. I mean what if this thing was just playing dead or had somehow figured out a way to lap up that PB and not get caught? There was no way I was getting any closer to scope out the scene. I kept my eyes up and immediately texted my landlord to handle the disposal. And by that I mean I texted him (and everyone I know) “DEAD MOUSE ALERT sobbing emoji, puking emoji, skull emoji” and hoped that my colorful text would convey my crippling fear. It did. He got Mickey out of there REAL QUICK and just as I was feeling relieved that we were dealing with a dumbass who walked right into the trap on night one, he shared with me that mice are like rabbits and love to procreate. AKA THIS IS NOW A SAGA OF WAITING FOR THOSE TRAPS TO SNAP ON THE REMAINING TROOPS. So it was nice knowing you all. Thank you for your moral support and for laughing with me or at me through my struggles but this is it for me. I’ll just continue leading the great American bandstand through my kitchen when I need something and quickly retreating back to safety on my side of the apartment crippled by fear when I’m done. I’m no Snow White. I’m not equipped to handle living in the forest with the woodland creatures. We had quite a run. UhhhhBUHBYE.

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Salty Stories

The DMV Did Me Dirty

Here’s the deal, I’ve got a real hot streak of GLAMOUR shots on my driver’s license and I’m not ready or willing to give that self-imposed title up just yet. (My passport photos are another story, anyone except Taylor Swift who knows how to closed mouth smile and NOT look like a serial killer, get @ me with some tips.) These are supposed to be my peak years and I’m RAPIDLY approaching the swift drop on that rollercoaster, so I really need to capture it when I can. On my driver’s license is really the best way to do so. It’s a government issued document and one that I’ll have to show to a stranger every single time I enter a bar or order an adult bevvy. That’s a lot of eyes on one pic, and I say that knowing that I’ve never gotten more than 15 likes on anything I’ve ever posted on social media. ID PHOTOS ARE ALL I HAVE ANYMORE. I never thought this day would come. 

On my 16th birthday, I took my driver’s test—told no one I was taking it so I didn’t have to tell them if I failed (old hockey trick)—and looked like a youthful babe soda in my very first license photo. I had a pre-summer tan, styled hair and an adorable teal dress. All of which could be seen as it was proportionately distanced and sized. In fact, anytime a friend, foe or stranger brought up their dreadful license photo, I paraded that shit around for all to see. Oh you look like you just drowned your kids in a bathtub in your photo? I look like a beauty queen, READ IT AND WEEP BITCHES!

It might be suggested that I annoyed everyone with how much I worked my ID into a conversation. I almost didn’t want to get a fake ID in college for fear of having a fake hideous photo. Fortunately, my sister provided my “fake” and she also takes a great pic. When I turned 21, I did everything in my power to keep my original photo. Unfortunately I was met with much frustration and eye rolls at the dear ole DMV. I took a shitty temp pic until I could get myself home to where my mom had recently become employed at the DMV and promised a full photoshoot to get the right headshot. I cannot stress this enough, I recommend everyone has a relative working at the DMV. Not only did I not have to wait in line and suffer years of my life in that soul-sucking place but I literally got to treat my license photo like a JCPenney portrait shoot minus the kickass 90’s backdrops. Plus my mom knows all of my best angles and I got as many reshoots as I demanded. Another stellar ID was created. Note the carefully curated white lace tank to once again, pop that bronze glow. (PRO tip.)

And now here we are in my 29th year, license expired. Thanks to COVID, I was able to push that renewal back for a solid 5 months before I could go into the DMV again safely. And you better BELIEVE I planned on preparing for this appointment with a full blowout and face of makeup after months of being a loungewear shut-in. Unfortunately for all involved, when the day arrived, I had a friend in town and poorly planned our morning. Eager to fit a scenic 14 mile bike ride in and soak up the sun before my appointment, I let the morning get away from me and all of a sudden I had 15 minutes to shower, dry my hair, put on makeup, curl my hair and pick out the perfect outfit to enhance my summer tan. On the 30 minute drive back to my house (in the opposite direction of the DMV) I began to panic that I would become * insert tone of absolute disgust here*: an UGLY ID holder. And not just like casual caught off guard for a pic ugly…unshowered, hair pulled up under a hat, just sweat my ass off in a high speed bike ride to try and make up for my poor time management, no makeup, in a tee with visible pit stains kind of UGLY. I wondered how horrible it would be to cancel my appointment. Or just commit to it and then immediately change my photo at a later date. All of these options were either incredibly inconvenient or more expensive. This is when I really had to look inward and have a stern talk with myself about what was important here. How I look in a photograph that’s the size of a stamp or keeping an appointment it took me a month to get for the renewal of my driver’s license that had been expired for almost half a year now. The answer was my looks and that is the most obvious thing on this earth. Having been born with naturally curly hair that I let air-dry, I cannot allow myself to be photographed within a few hours of my daily shower or I’ll look like ole ramen-head ass Justin Timberlake that immediately turned into a meme because of HOW BAD IT LOOKED. So it’s not even like I could trim time off of my prep by leaving my locks au naturel. 

I arrived home and I’ve never gotten ready faster in my entire life. And you know what? I looked like a 10. From the front. I never dried my hair in the back. Too time consuming and the back of my head will never be featured on an ID. I selected a teal dress to accentuate the new race I had become from 4 straight months of baking in the sun and even tossed on my custom-made Salty Ju jean jacket on top of that for clout. All of my fans and supporters (my sister and my friend) applauded my Herculean effort to transform myself into a top model in 15 minutes flat. I expected paparazzi to be hiding in the bushes when I exited my house, shoveling peanut butter crackers in my cracker hole because I skipped lunch in favor of my looks. I got to the DMV with two minutes to spare and ready to do the cover of Vogue, should Rosie at counter 8 impromptu ask me to. We got the long-awaited photo out of the way first and when I tell you it was horrific, that is an understatement. It turns out, no matter how GREAT I look (or dress…my outfit didn’t even graze the photo), if you close crop my head in the square, there is REALLY no positive way to spin that. Rosie snapped away and showed me the pic for review where my jaw resided on the ground. I didn’t think it was possible to look like the poster child for my 600 lb life and yet a super zoom WILL DO THAT. My chins were abundant and falling out of frame as the square went from my forehead to my first chin, also giving me a buzz cut in the process–so much for drying and curling my precious locks. That was a proportion that Rosie felt comfortable with and to be honest I would’ve asked for a reshoot, but I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to and it looked like the camera setup would be permanently unforgiving. I had just carefully curated a look and an outfit for a MEGAHEAD PHOTO THAT I’LL BE STUCK WITH FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS. But don’t worry, the guy at counter 10 who processed my renewal told me it’s a great photo and he doesn’t just tell everyone that. He also complimented my nail polish so obviously he was just trying to bang me. My perfect ID photo streak has come to an abrupt and aggressive end and I will forever curse this stupid day. Ten years from now, I’m bringing my own photographer.

And as if NY State wasn’t cruel enough, they double up on your mug, hologram style. So that Salty Ju Megahead can also float in space on the right side of my ID reminding me to invest in a neckline slimmer.

***Important February 2022 Addendum***: We’ve got a real good news, bad news sitch here. The good news is I wasn’t stuck with the fat face photo for 10 years. The bad news is what I have now is INFINITELY worse. A mere two years later and a move to a new state found me repeating this horrific process all over again. To put it simply, over my dead body did I want to get a New Jersey license and registration but Toyota narc’ed on me when they found out where I was living and I was on borrowed time for inevitably getting pulled over for having NY plates and daring to enter the left lane on the parkway. So I begrudgingly made my DMV appointment knowing for sure that the crowd would be a lot rougher in the Dirty Jerze than it was previously in E.Bumfuck Cicero, NY. And yet, ever the hopeful buzzing bee, I still felt like I was going to nail it this time. I arrived a half hour early for my appointment (scheduled 2 months in advance) armed with a folder overflowing with the required documentation and then some and decked out in full glam. From my leopard headband (so Jersey it hurts) to my coordinated sparkly eyeshadow, perfect mermaid waves and a mauve sweatshirt that complimented my olive skin tone.–Obviously I’m really pushing it here, it’s the dead of winter and I was going in for a license photo and already horrified that my alabaster skin was going to be sealed onto my ID forever so yes I did use as much bronzer as one could without looking like Snooki circa 2010. When your girl’s down bad, sometimes all it takes is a face of makeup and bomb hair to lift the spirits and if it ends up resulting in the best photo I’ve ever taken then it’s a win for all.

Shocking to no one: It…most certainly…did not go that way. After immediately being denied for switching my registration over because I have a lease (and was ill-informed by the website about what was needed, thus opening a whole can of worms that I’m still dealing with so 10/10 do not recommend ever moving from NY to NJ) I had a real bad taste in my mouth for how this license photo was about to go. I stood in front of the human equivalent of Roz from Monsters Inc. as she squared away my paper work when she finally told me to take a step back for the photo. I fluffed my hair, took off my jacket and my mask and assumed the position like any model would, with a slight head tilt and a wide open smile. She hit me with, “you can have a slight smile but you can’t show teeth.” I was so outraged that I borderline hysterically squeaked back “NO TEETH?! Are you SERIOUS?!” What I really should’ve said was, “That is a mugshot, ma’am.” And honestly, please explain to me how showing that you have a nice set of white chiclets alters the effectiveness of an ID. If anything it should help my cause if I’m ever pulled over. The cop can immediately assume I’ve invested in braces and/or regular dental visits and therefore I’m probably a pretty upstanding citizen who will pay whatever bogus ticket they throw at me to meet their monthly quota. Same with passports…if anything I look MORE like a terrorist without teeth so what gives with this dumbass rule?

Either way, the rule stands and as I mean mugged the camera and Roz asked me if I approved of my photo, I looked her dead in the eye and said, “it’s disgusting but I’m not a no-teeth smile kinda girl so it is what it is.” This is when Roz decided to have a bit of compassion (not sure why) and goes no, no, let’s retake it. I really didn’t want to. The stage was set. I’m not Tyra Banks smizing up a storm. I have not and will never perfect the art of the closed mouth smile like my sister and Taylor Swift have so effortlessly done. I’ll always either look pissed, stoned or be smirking like I have a secret. But I appeased Roz and took a step back for round 2. This time I was on the verge of tears and just wanted to get out of this seventh circle of hell. As you might’ve already assumed, the second photo was even worse than the first. And that’s what we ended up with. Roz’s grizzly smokes a pack a day “Welcome to New Jersey” as she handed me my paper license and sent me on my way could’ve been accompanied by the Jersey salute and it would’ve been appropriate for how this big life change is going for me so far. Here I am pictured below, with proper lighting and portrait mode (after I sobbed in my car on the way home, I might add) just to show you what DMV employees with an influencer start-up kit could accomplish if they even cared…or allowed genuine smiles.

And now for the big reveal…the new license photo I’ve been cursed with, which conveniently arrived on Valentine’s day to remind me that not only am I single, but I am also hideous.

If this photo doesn’t scream don’t mess with the Jersey Ju or she’ll take her gold hoops out and rough you up, I don’t know what does. Welcome to New Jersey, indeed.

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