Tag Archives: lifestyle

My Love Affair with Dunkin’ Donuts’ Bathroom

I love Dunkin Donuts.   I know it’s just a chain of low-end Doughnut shops, but  I go to Dunkin Donuts every day.   The baked goods and food are not so great, but I do enjoy the coffee.    When I moved, downsized, left the marital home, whatever you want to call it — I began a relationship with Dunkin’ Donuts that was very personal.

When the old house sold, the new “old” house was still being remodeled.  “Remodeling” makes it sound so pretty and exciting — so HGTV-like.   It wasn’t.  It was more a combination of Hoarders, Clean House, DIY’s Renovation Realities and Jerry Springer.   Oh, it was an adventure, but it wasn’t pretty.   Some of the details of the renovation will be in other posts, but for this you need to know that the kitchen had already been demolished to the studs, see  Toilet or Kitchen Sink  —  Who Can Tell?  and the home’s only bathroom was under construction to allow for an over the tub shower and for my boy to be able to stand in front of the toilet — like a man.   The tub and sink had previously been removed, only the toilet remained, temporarily, which looked like this:  Did you notice the duct tape on the toilet seat?  Did ya?   Can you imagine the germ fest going on there?   Although at least one of the prior owners wasn’t even using the toilet regularly, see Piss Puke and Porn,  . . .  that toilet was more than nasty.  It was a bio-hazard. This picture was taken almost a year before I moved in, when the prior owners were still living there.   Yet when I moved in, the same duct tape was still on the toilet,   now covered in plaster dust and construction dirt which had stuck to the urine stains on the commode like a weird kind of sand art.  Ew!!

We moved into this mess –  in Summer — and it was hot.  Wait for it . . . we moved into a true

. . . wait for it. . .  hot mess!

But at least we had a toilet to flush, assuming we could use it without touching it.    I kept a bottle of hand sanitizer on a bucket in the “bathroom.”  This held us over until we could use the hose — outside.    Oh yes, and I forgot to mention that since the bathroom ceiling and roof were being raised, there was no overhead light.  A desk lamp plugged into the one working outlet gave us some light — because you  need to see in order to use a toilet without touching it.  You need to see — but not too much, not too much, not in that house.   We were seriously roughing it.

Two days after we moved in the disgusting toilet was removed.  I was slightly relieved, not realizing that a simple plumbing fixture could actually scare me so much.    But this left us with no indoor plumbing at all.   Huh.   But when the toilet was taken outside and I saw it in the light of day?   Well, no indoor plumbing became suddenly acceptable, preferable, actually.

Still, I wasn’t alone.   I do have five children.    One kid was thankfully going on vacation with another family for a week.  That left four.  Four kids with nowhere to wash themselves, wash clothes or prepare food.    And the four kids left were girls, so going behind a tree — not so easy.

I schlepped the girls to and from Grandma and Grandpa’s house, along with our laundry.  But my elderly parents  also have only one bathroom as well and were quite distraught over our living conditions.   They were distraught?  Imagine how I felt.    I had to downplay the situation to keep my parents (who are Olympic level worriers) and my kids calm.    I pretended this was not that big a deal.  I deserve an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. I don’t want a SAG award, because I can’t get over the sound of that . . . but I digress.

Of course the bathroom construction was behind, though I was given reassurances to the contrary.   And, let’s just say my funds were not liquid at the moment, which severely limited my options. (This may be subject of another post.)

Our “Bathroom,” mid-construction

While the kids were at the grandparents or other activities (which I kept them in, so as to maintain normalcy and give them a place to go — literally — ha!) I stayed and worked at the house.   Professionals were doing the bathroom but I needed to be around to supervise, and continue my round the clock cleaning and painting, see That Hoarder’s Smell, and also try to organize our belongings —which were stored in stacks of boxes that could not yet be unpacked.  Of course, there was no need to unpack the kitchen because, well, we didn’t have one.   In addition, the house was not yet secure — broken locks and doors — someone needed to be around.

My morning routine was as follows:

I would get up, roll into my clothes or keep on whatever I’d slept in (because so very few of my clothes were accessible to me) and head to Dunkin Donuts.

Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan

Walking in quickly and giving the very hip  “up” nod to the workers, who knew me as a regular, I would head directly to the bathroom where, in addition to the normal thing to do, I would wash my face, dry it with a paper towel, grab the toothbrush and paste stashed in my purse, and brush my teeth.  When I emerged my coffee was ready for me.   The largely Pakistani staff expected me, remembered my order, and never gave me a hard time about my frequent and prolonged bathroom visits — even when I had the kids with me and we did it as a group, waiting our turn, usually at night, which brings me to—

The night-time routine:

Okay, kids we need to go and use the bathroom for the last time before bed.  Get in the car.

And we went to . . .  Dunkin’ Donuts.  The folks there would often give us free doughnuts, too!  Plus I made friends with one worker even though there was a huge language barrier and I later helped her with a very personal  issue — again something for another post.

I almost forgot that at one point there was a “Potty in the Basement” provided by the plumbers  — really it was like  an adult-sized training potty, except with chemicals.   Yeah, that didn’t work too well either, partly because there was no light down there in the oil stained, crumbling stone basement, and partly because the contents of that potty needed to be dumped–  not after every use because of the chemicals, but regularly.   This meant carrying it up broken basement stairs, through the house and outside (walking a plank which extended from the  back door four feet down to the ground, no deck or stairs yet) and then dumping it into the sewer line.

That potty overflowed once in the house.  Ew. I just shuddered a little, thinking about it.  Ew.

Damn, I’ve been through some shit, literally, shit  . . .  but I digress . . .  and this post is getting long.

Even Gabrielle on  “Desperate Housewives” has welcomed a Port-A-Potty when plumbing failed.

Realizing the bathroom remodel was going to take longer than expected, and when I finally had funds available (back child support was finally paid, on the very last day listed on the court order), I arranged for a port-a-potty to be installed in the back yard.   After all, it was a construction site.

Oh the Port-A-Potty — it gave us another round of adventures . . . since it was Summer and my children were and are very afraid of bugs and the dark . . .

Anyway, this is how my love affair with Dunkin’ Donuts happened, it wasn’t just about the coffee.

Just Me With . . . a fully functional bathroom  — now — though  I still enjoy my morning coffee from my friends at Dunkin’ Donuts. 

“Time to make the . . . Doughnuts?”

See, “She Asked For My Help”  for the issue with my Pakistani friend.

 

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What Have I Done Since My Divorce?

So this is the anniversary of when my divorce became final.  Well, well, well.    The divorce process, from filing to finality was almost three years to the day.    It was  litigious and expensive.   I still have outstanding legal bills and there is retirement money yet  to be transferred.   Regardless of the loose ends,  the divorce itself has been final for a year.  Happy freaking anniversary to me.  See, Don’t Congratulate Me On My Divorce . . . Not Today.

It was my husband who was the litigious one, though I’m the lawyer.  But suddenly, after his multiple filings, hearings, and mediation and him threatening to prolong the process, as in, “I don’t care how long it takes.   This can go on forever.  I’d rather pay my lawyer than you,” when he got this last girlfriend, he couldn’t get divorced fast enough.  Huh.  Even after the settlement was agreed upon and we were waiting for signatures, he filed yet another costly petition because it was taking too damn long.

Huh.

Let me be clear:  we aren’t wealthy people, so unlike Kobe  Bryant and his wife, we weren’t dividing mansions and millions.   Not even close.  No, my Ex-husband had another “M” word in mind.

In the year since  our  bonds of matrimony were broken,  My Ex-husband has  remarried.

Now they are expecting.   Huh.  Guess he  had plans.  Plans which necessitated a divorce.    Because the ability to remarry —  that is the true power and magic of divorce.   That, and being able to sign up for eHarmony.com . . . but I digress.

Poof!

Well, that particular magic hasn’t happened to me.  (And that’s okay, really.)

I haven’t walked down that aisle again and I’ll never have any more children.  What’s more, I don’t wanna!!    I’m not looking for a husband and I don’t feel incomplete without one.   Marriage is not my goal or plan and I do not equate it with a sign of success.
That said,  let me take this moment in time to celebrate

What I Have Done Since My Divorce  . . .

1.   I got Netflix;

2.   Having never watched it  before — ever,  I started from episode one and got caught up on Grey’s Anatomy right up  to the current  episode;

3.  I bought  an iPhone;

4.  I got on Twitter, and

5.  I started this blog.

That’s right.  Apparently  I had plans, too,  damn it.    So maybe I haven’t traveled the world since I became legally single.   Maybe I haven’t  found someone to whom to publicly declare my love  “until death do us part” (yeah,  no comment)  and  started a brand new family  . . .

but Dude,

I’m texting and tweeting like a champ, #hashtags and all.

Just Me With . . .  Meredith and  McDreamy, my Tweeps, my Apps, and my Readers.

She’s Gonna Make It After All

Thank you!    See also: The Twilight Zone — Again, Seriously?

If We Were Honest on Resumes

Simon Cowell used to say it on American Idol,  “If I’m being honest . . .”  then he would insult the very being of some wannabe pop star.

Sometimes, honesty hurts.  Consequently,  in decent society (and by decent society I mean not reality TV)  we make nice-nice  while expressing our opinions of others to avoid causing them emotional injury.  Other times we choose not to be honest about ourselves to avoid the appearance of  being (gasp) boring.   We lie, omit information or engage in puffery (ha! I got the word “puffery” in a post) so that we seem fun and important.     It’s expected, really.  It’s the secret of success.

I once had a job where I had to screen  law school students for professional positions.   My best work friend and I used to love reading through their resumes and laughing at the  obligatory “Hobbies and Interests” section, you know,  that last part of the resume when candidates try to make themselves sound well-rounded and  interesting, giving the interviewer something to talk about other than grade point averages.   Call me cynical, but I never believed even  half of it.   My friend and I would sit back with the pile of resumes, go straight to the “Hobbies and Interests” section, and read between the lines to reveal what we thought could be  the, well  . . . truth.

We had a system:

  • Avid sports fan =  Watches TV –ESPN, all the time
  • Enjoys hiking and exploring the outdoors = Owns a bicycle but not a car,  doesn’t shower on weekends
  • Crafting, knitting and scrap booking = Lies — and often
  • Dancing and spending time with friends = Possibly a slut (probably knows Avid Sports Fan, above– from the bar)   

It’s not that there is anything wrong with how people actually pass their time, we just can’t put it on our resumes.  So  my friend and I  amused ourselves by trying to  crack the code.

If  job candidates were being honest, the hobbies and interest section on resumes would  state things like:

  • I watch TV from the minute I get home until I go to bed.
  • I look  for split ends; I hate my hair.
  • Electronic stalking.
  • Hair removal, ‘nuf said.
  • I like to have staring contests with my dog.
  • I spy on my neighbors.
  • Shopping.   I look nice, don’t I?
  • I meet strangers in public places, aka — online dating.
  • Plus the ever popular,  “Social Media” for six  hours a day —  usually while watching TV or at work.  (Readers say, “Amen.” )

If applicants were being honest, maybe they’d omit the “Hobbies and Interests” section entirely  (I always did, but I’m a rebel) .

They could simply tell the interviewer:

I need a job so I’ll have some money to buy equipment for a real hobby but have  no time to actually do it.

And wouldn’t it be refreshing if a stellar candidate  just said:

Look, I have a 3.9 GPA. I’m President of every club at school.   I study all the time.  When I’m not studying or at some meeting, I’m drinking, eating or sleeping.  If I’m lucky I do my laundry.   My primary interest is maintaining my GPA and getting this job so that I can make a lot of money.   Then maybe I’ll buy a boat or something and can put sailing on my resume, but I won’t need a resume then, because I’ll have your job  — if I’m being honest.

For a hilarious example of an honest interviewee, check out the movie  “Office Space.”

In Office Space, Peter tells the Bobs:

“Yeah, I just stare at my desk; but it looks like I’m working.  I do that for probably another hour after lunch, too. I’d say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.” 

I love Office Space, but I digress . . .

And by the way, as I write this, I’m not doing a damn thing, . . . except writing this.

Just Me With  . . .  Hobbies and Interests:   I enjoy reading, writing and meeting new people.  And by that I mean  . . .  Twitter. 

“Momma Said No!”

Here’s a fun fact:   As children grow they develop fine  motor skills.

One evening my then three-year-old discovered, to my horror, how to unbuckle his car seat.  He’d unbuckled it and gotten out himself.   And he knew what he was doing.   He was so proud.

So I did what everybody does, I told him, scolded him really:

“Do not ever unbuckle your car seat.  It is not safe.   Do you understand me?   You will get a time-out for that!  It is very, very, very  important.  Do you understand? ”

Him:  “Yes.”

Me:  “Are you sure?”

Him:  “Yes, Momma.”  He still called me Momma then.

He could tell when Momma wasn’t messing around.  I was using my stern voice, my serious face and my angry eyes.  Mission accomplished.

But my little Houdini is not my only kid.   I had had  five kids in all.  The three-year-old was just the oldest.  Twin girls, twice, came after.   Yes, They are Twins, Yes, they are Twins, Too.   Consequently, we didn’t get out much.  Taking a preschooler, two toddlers and two infants to any store — well,  this was not an outing that a person takes lightly.   So sometimes  when I had to run errands and my mother was with me we would buckle the kids in the car and my mom would stay with them while I would run in and out of stores.  It got us out of the house, sometimes the kids would get their naps using this method, and it gave me a little  break.

The very next day after the car seat unbuckling incident and lecture,  my mom and I decided to load the kids and run some errands.   We pulled into the local pharmacy and I ran in.   As per usual,  my Mom stayed with them in the car.  I was gone only a few minutes.

When I came out, my mom was standing outside of the car, all five  kids were still strapped in — inside.

Huh.

The doors were closed.

Huh.

This can’t be good,” I thought.

My mother was distraught.  Almost in tears.

“I can’t get in.”   She said.  “The babies started to cry and I got out to calm them down.  I — I — I —  closed the door . . . and now it’s  locked.”

We, the adults, were locked out.  The children were locked in.   Turns out I was right.   This wasn’t good.   The keys were in the car.

I tried not to panic.   After all, the  car was running and the air conditioning was on, so they wouldn’t cook in there  . . . but still,  it’s not good to leave five children alone in a car and I didn’t know how much gas I had.

Options:  I could run home and get an extra set of keys.    But that would take too long,  and my mother was losing it.  I didn’t want to leave her alone with the kids.  My husband was never really available during the day and worked too far away, anyway.   I could call my Dad to do it, but he’s hard to get a hold of  . . . so  . . . I guess I’d have to call the police to break into the car.    This was not a proud moment.  “Why?  Why, do I ever leave the house?” I wondered.

Well, hello there, Mr. Panic.

Then I remembered —  my son —  the big boy, the one who has motor skills!!!    The boy can get out of his car seat and  unlock the door!!!  He has the ability.  He has the manual dexterity.    I’ve seen him do it —  just yesterday.    “It was worth a try,”  I thought.

And so . . . one day after having scolded the boy for unbuckling his car seat and making him promise never to do it again —

I begged,  “Honey,” I spoke kindly but loudly through the closed window, “Momma wants you to UNBUCKLE  YOUR CAR SEAT and UNLOCK the door!”

He looked away from me.  “Clearly,”  his three-year-old mind must have reasoned, “This is some sort of test and I’m not going to fall for it, nope nope.”

I cooed, “No Honey, it’s okay, it’s okay, really, Momma says it’s okay, PLEASE  get out and let us in.  Please, you won’t be in trouble!!!!  I promise!!!!”

I saw him roll his eyes toward the ceiling, away from me.  His hands stayed at his sides.  He was more still than any three-year-old could possibly be.  It was impressive, really.

My mother was crying by this time and apologizing, she felt really, really badly.  But  I had to get to the kids.

Me to my statue-like son, “Honey, please.  Please!!!!!!  It’s okay, I promise.   Get out of your car seat.  Momma needs you to get out of your car seat!  PLEASE!!!”

This child would not even acknowledge that I was talking to him.  Again, it was impressive.  And comical.   I had literally just made him promise never to get himself out of his car seat and here I was begging him to do just that.   It was like a sitcom.

“Pleeeeeeease!!!!   Momma says it’s okay.”   But that boy was NOT going to fall for my obvious trickery.  “Momma said no,”  he must have thought, “Momma said no.”  

We had started to draw a crowd.  I was beginning to tear up, too.   The girls were useless, too young to manipulate their car seats, arms to short to reach the locks.  And . . .  they’d started to cry again.

This was not good.

In the end, my obedient son never unbuckled his car seat.   Some nice gentleman drove me home (I wasn’t far, and thankfully I’d left the house unlocked).  I got my spare  keys and everybody was fine.

—-  Except my mother.   It took her a long time to recover.

We didn’t go out for a while after that and when we did, no matter what the kids were doing, my mother never got out of the car again.

Just Me With . . . five car seats, a mom, and a son who had learned his lesson,  damn it.