May 26, 2011

Come At Me Bro!

I slept my last weekend away.  Seriously.  I was maybe conscious 30% of the time. At the time, I thought it to be a waste, all those hours spent doing nothing.  However, in the last 24, I've learned that my rest was not so, it was a much needed recharge so I could continue to fight the battle for getting rid of my house through legal means, and not, oh, say, arson. (Kidding.  Sure, I've thought about it, but I'd never do it.)

I got a panicked phone call from my real estate agent saying that she'd gotten into a heated discussion with a drone at my bank.  They were claiming that they needed some information from me because my file with them asking for assistance in getting out of my house was incomplete.  If she didn't get it soon (with no definition of soon) she'd close the file and we'd have to start all over again.

Now, I understand why this is a bad thing for my agent.  The longer this sale takes, the longer it will be before she'd paid.  That hurts her right in the pocketbook.  It hurts the bank too because the longer my house is in limbo, the longer it will be before they see a profit.  Also, pain in the wallet.  On the other hand, their delays and threats to close the file actually helps me.  I can stay in the house that much longer and live rent free.  Sure, I'd prefer to be in a place with less emotional baggage, but I'll take free over anything, given the choice.

However, the forms need to be filled out eventually.  And my rest means my temper with all of this is less inflamed, so when I got the form in my email, I printed it, filled it out, and faxed it back to my agent within about 3 hours.  I also made sure that my ex knew this was critical.  On a scale of 1-10, this was an 11.  Now, I'd stayed at work to get this done, so I was leaving an hour later than normal, and traffic is much heavier at that time of night.  I had an obligation last night, so I wasn't willing to throw another curve ball at my schedule and wait for my ex to bring his paperwork back to my house so I could take it to work and fax it for him.  He's a grownup, he's perfectly able to make that happen on his own.  That didn't stop him from grumbling about it, but my opinion is that I've been dealing with the day to day of this since November.  I've uprooted my life enough times to get this going, he can be a little inconvenienced once, and told him as much.  Again, more grumbling, but I wasn't gonna budge.  Eventually, he caved.  I was told that he'd get everything filled out and faxed back to my agent in the morning.  Ok, that's a good enough turn around.  I think we can all live with that.


Fast forward to this morning.  I get a text message at 6:03 AM from my ex asking if I can stop by this morning and pick up his paperwork and deal with it since he has a migraine.  Perhaps it's my rarely indulged bitter streak that told him no.  My involvement with this has been much deeper than his; I've lived it for months.  I have been doing this alone.  He has his live in girlfriend he can lean on should he need it.  I'm sorry, but I'm not feeling all that sympathetic when all I need is a document to exchange hands.  I am putting this on him to find a way, and told him so.  We exchanged a few text messages where I stood my ground that he needs to be a man about this.  If he's unable to do that, at least be an adult.  Life isn't going to hold your hand or wipe your nose for you, so I certainly won't.  Not anymore.  That ended with the official "I don't" in October.

Next thing I know, I get a call.  Ok, fine.  I can tell him the same thing over the phone too, if he'd like.  In the end, I didn't back off from delegating this to him.  He hung up cranky, and I got a text message soon after saying that his girlfriend would run the paperwork by my agent's office later today.  Had I suggested that, it would have been extremely presumptuous and rejected on principle.  *shrug*  Que sera, sera.  In the end, what needed to be done is done.  I don't really care about the specifics and the hows of the execution at this point.

So, on to the next flaming hoop!  Whatever that may be.

*Editor's note.  Since published, the document in question has been delivered to my agent's office.  We should be able to get this to the bank by lunchtime.  My favorite part of this whole exchange?  Trading texts with Jenny about  how we'd like to tell the bank to stick that in their pipe and smoke it.  Have I mentioned I love my real estate lady?

May 25, 2011

Flaw-dar

Some people "just know" if a person they meet is gay.  It's colloquially known as gaydar.  I've had some conversations recently where I've listened to some stories from the people in my life that cut close to their bones.  I won't betray those stories, but it got me thinking that maybe people who have been through the fire and rain of mental illness can just tell when they meet another who's suffering, or has suffered in the past.  We have Flawdar.

Me?  I suffer from anxiety and depression.  I wallowed in it during my college years, and it's the reason why I only was able to spend two years at Dickinson College.  I was plenty smart and capable enough to meet their academic standards, but I was so sick that I wasn't able to do much more than exist.  I went to class, I puttered around the internet back in my dorm room.  I went to work as a computer lab monitor.  That was about it.  I considered jumping off the library, and it was only two stories tall.  The worst of it was when I finally told my parents that I was suicidal, that my depression had gotten that far.

It happened during break between semesters my Sophomore year.  I said I couldn't stay there, I had to transfer.  I was told that I had to go back.  The second semester was already paid for.  Talk about a slap in the face; your life for tuition money.  As a teenager, it was a lesson learned in not trusting your emotional state to anyone but yourself.  (That would later be reinforced by an emotionally abusive partner in my early 20s, sad to say.)  I did eventually finish my degree at a state school.  It's a piece of paper that I'm not using, but it's proof that someone with mental and emotional problems can function in the world.

My point is, I've been through it.  I know some of the tells, some of the feelings, and the shame of being "broken" or "flawed".  Certainly, having been through some of what I have was difficult, but I wouldn't trade it.  It's perspective that those who haven't been through it don't have.  It's filled my empathy coffers, which is important for an ENTJ.  We're not known to be all that...  sensitive.  And being the type to do so, I make myself my own case study.  Perhaps my experiences make me better able to talk to others in the same or similar situation.  And in a way, it helps me deal with my own demons too. 

I say all this, because I think having been there, those of us who have suffered are better equipped to just Know who their brethren are.  It's like gaydar.  And it makes getting to know someone a little easier if you know they're not going to judge you because you're some kind of Crazy, when in fact there's no need to be shamed at all.  I'm proud to have the people who's stories I've heard among my friends.  A person's strengths paint a broad picture, but the flaws fill in the details.  And the details are what make us real, make us honest, genuine.  I promise never to forget that.

Defender Of The Food Day Taco Meat

It's food day, and the smell of the taco meat is making people curious.  Several people have ducked into the office to say how good it smells, and they joke about how I should be somewhere else for a moment so they can sample the wares.  This planted in my head an image of me with some sort of paper plate on my head, scissors in my right hand as a rapier, and the lid of the crock pot in my left hand used as a shield.  It's an odd thing, this imagination of mine. 

May 22, 2011

Stage .5, Complete

This is what I hope to be the last time I compose one of these posts from the relative comfort of my neighborhood Panera Bread.  I've bundled the dogs into the car and taken my dog and Ephemily show on the road for what could be the last time.  My poor agent has been dealing with a very cranky and overstimulated ENTJ (me) and that tends to bring out the worst in us.  Normally, I can handle three or so sources of stress in my life at any one time and still have the energy to be charming and pleasant.  Right now, I've got about five, and that's two too many.

As a result, I've been more reclusive, my temper has been shorter, and most tragically, my sense of humor got off the train at the previous stop.  So, she's had to contend with my being lippy and intolerance to being out of control.  For that, I am eternally grateful. I'm well aware of the fact that when I get puffed up, I can be really unpleasant to be around.  Which is why I'm glad it takes me so long and so much to get to that point.

Alright, my kvetching aside, here's the story.  I now have two offers on my house.  Well, as of tomorrow I will.  I'm going sign it after work and my agent is going to take it to the bank post haste. This makes me hopeful that this could actually happen sooner rather than later.  You'd think nothing could rain on my parade, right?  So did I.  Thing is, when I'm stressed, I get scattered.

When I reach that point, I can't find something I'm looking for even if I'm holding it.  It's like a kind of blindness; adorable to others, infuriating to me.  I tell you that to set up my Saturday morning.  I was sound asleep having had a lovely evening in to the early morning the night previous.  A dear friend of mine asked me to see Vienna Teng in concert.  It was a lovely show in a very intimate little concert hall.  Wrap that together with dinner and a little time to unplug in front of The Big Bang Theory and I was just about glowing when I left.  Nothing like company you admire and respect to recharge a girl's batteries.

I'd been out till a shameful hour of the morning, so it's to be expected that I wasn't awake (for good) till well after the clock ticked over into double digits.  As I was finally drifting up towards consciousness, my phone beeps at me to let me know I have a text message.  A very long 45 seconds pass before I convince myself to roll over and see who wants my attention.  It was my roommate telling me we just had a showing that none of us knew about.  Um.  What?

As soon as my adrenaline rush propels me to find my bathrobe and head downstairs (about 2.84 seconds) I find him and ask what happened.  Apparently, he was half asleep on the couch in the basement, his daughter was upstairs watching cartoons, and I was snoring contentedly away in my own room.  He heard a noise, and called out.  The buyer's agent was in the basement, and the family he'd brought into the house was in my kitchen staring at my two dogs through the sliding glass door.  Uh...  No.  Please don't leave strangers unattended in my house.  I have most of my stuff packed up, waiting to move.  But, I still have a few things I would really be angry to lose (some of which are handy pocket sized).   

So, the roommate tells me he confronts the guy, asking what he's doing in the house.  Apparently, he was pretty confrontational and said that he was scheduled to be there and we should be gone.  From what I'm told, he was more or less a jerk about it too.  How do you stand in someone's house and treat them like they're the ones trespassing is beyond me.

In the end, it was a crossed wire on my part.  I must have missed the email on it, and when there was either no response, or an accidental yes, the showing agency gave the guy the all clear.  Still, it was enough to rattle me a little.  I might hate my house, but it's my sanctuary.  One of the toughest things for me was to allow that to be violated so frequently and critically.  I might be critical of my house, but dammit, I'll be the only one to complain about it thankyouverymuch! 

Anyway, back to my phone call with my Real Estate Agent this morning.  After hearing my whinging about how I'm cracking under the pressure of life, Jenny offered to put the house in Pending status so we could put a hold on any future showings.  Oh.  Happy.  Day.

What this means for me is, for now, there will be no more showings.  So, today's showing is the last for a while.  Now, if both offers fall apart then we'll have to open it up again.  However, until that happens (which I hope it doesn't) I'm free to live in peace and clutter, as I see fit.  Remove on major source of stress, and call is having completed stage .5.  I'm hoping that my normal, gregarious personality returns swiftly.  Then we can get back to the humor and the smut.  (Believe me, I've missed it at much as you have!)

May 17, 2011

Ephemily Reports to Jury Duty, or, Hey Baby, is Your Jury Hung?

Two months ago, or there about, I got a "just for information purposes" questionnaire from the Federal Jury Commission.  Mmmm Hmmm.  Informational purposes only my left butt cheek.  So, I wasn't at all surprised when I was official summons showed up a few weeks later.

Fast forward a few weeks to the day when I'm supposed to report.  7:37 AM, I'm rolling in the door to the Jury Assembly room.  I pick up my form, verify all my information is correct, slap on a sticker with my juror number on it, and find a table.  There's a flat screen TV on in the corner with the national morning show blasting the latest celebrity gossip.  There are people around me making new friends, and talking about how much they don't want to be here.  Me?  I don't care about who Elin Woods is boffing, and apparently, nobody wants to sit anywhere near the glow-in-the-dark pale girl with two-tone hair dressed head to toe in black.  (What?  Like you expected me to play it completely straight.  They said business attire.  They didn't say it had to be warm and fuzzy.) 

May 13, 2011

House Offer & Other Drama

Well, the good news is, there's an offer on the house.  This is what I say to myself through clenched teeth when I'm getting more and more frustrated with this whole mess.  There's an offer on the house.  Aum.  Ooooooofffffffeeeeeeer.  Aum.

I got the word that there was an interested buyer last week.  Fantastic!  Let's sign up.  The original plan was to put my name on papers last Wednesday, but due to a personal obligation, the buyer couldn't do his part.  Hey, I get it. Life gets in the way at times.  Thursday it is.  Well, Thursday it was, and my agent had showings back to back to back to... Well, you get it.  She wasn't going to be available til 9:00 that night.  I guess I'll put my going out of town for a little weekend getaway on hold so I can sign these papers Friday.  (Remember the bamboo sweetie.  Strong, but flexible!)

Ok, the offer has been signed.  There was much rejoicing in those around me.  (yaaaaaaay.)   However, this is the calm before the storm, I'm just sure of it.  Call me a pessimist, but there are still at least two more steps that can go horribly wrong at this point.  I need to have the bank accept the offer, or if they counter, have it be one that the buyer can still afford and is agreeable to.  I need to have the bankruptcy court accept the good faith offer, and then I need to find a new place to live that I can afford where I can take my animals.  There are perhaps, hundreds of places that this could derail between here and there.  I'm excited, yes.  But, it's not time for rejoicing just yet.  Put my beer back in the fridge, please.

So, here it is, Thursday, May 5th.  I get an email from my agent needing a few things.  Now, this I expected.  There was NO way this could be that easy.  Here's what the letter said.  Paraphrased of course.  She needs me to write a hardship letter.  Basically, that means I need to tell the bank why I need them to consider a short sale. Let's see, I'm divorced, in chapter 13 where half of each paycheck is being garnished, I can't afford to stay there on what's left, my house is a reminder of all that was bad in the last 8 years of my life, and I want to make a fresh start because that's good for my mental health.  Ok, so I know that I'll need to breathe a little more life into that, but that's the basics.  I've been a good delinquent mortgage holder.  I've kept the place up to the best of my abilities.  It's not a hole for someone who loves the place.  It's just a hole for me.

Moving on.  Beyond the letter, she needs to know if my chapter 13 has been discharged because the person she'd been working with at the bank told her they couldn't accept a short sale unless it had been.  (For those of you who don't know what discharged means, it's after you're done making all of your payments to your chapter 13 plan.  The courts bless it and call it done.  That's what discharged means.)   That is pure, uncut malarkey for those of you playing along.  Yes, they can.  There's just an extra step involved.  They have to accept the offer and provide a letter of good faith intent to the courts and then the courts have to approve it.

Ok, that process aside, here’s what really got my goat. Come to find out, that the bank requires that my house be appraised.  Well, that’s not the exact term that was used.  What they needed was a Broker Price Opinion.  This pretty much means that someone that the bank appoints gets to tramp through my house and tall the bank if they think the place is worth more or less than the offer on the table.  If they guy says it’s worth more, then the bank can counter offer.  If the guy says they’re getting a deal, the bank is getting a deal.  Seems fair, right?  Well, in principle.

It was mid-morning Thursday.  I get an email from my agent telling me she needs two things to happen.  First, she needs my hardship letter.  Second, she tells me that at 5:30 that night, this appraiser will be looking at my house.  Um.  Don’t I have a say in this?  I had plans you know.  Alright, alright.  They weren’t critical, and I need to get this done.  Sure.  Let’s do this dance.

This is the kicker.  During the course of our conversation, she tells me that this guy learned about needing to get this done the night before.  He has a due date of Friday morning.  This gives him something close to 36 hours in which to work my house in.  Alright.  That's a really short cycle.  And I understand the need to get it done.  However, there's a way that will ingratiate you to people, and then there's this guy's methods.  Here’s how he goes about it.

At roughly 10:45 at night on Wednesday, he calls her and tells her that he needs to get into my house.  That night.  What?!  How on earth did he think that would be acceptable?  When she pretty much laughed at the guy and told him there’s no way she’s calling me that late.  He parried with a “Well, I’ll just go before she goes to work”.  Don’t think so Spanky.  I’m at work bright and early and there’s no way you’re calling me before the crack of dawn to ask, much less tell me you’re going to be in my house.  At best, I'm going to laugh at you.  At worst, you might learn a few new words that, if you say, you can’t kiss your mother for a week.

Both my agent and I were just incredulous that this guy had the stones to think that sort of thing was ok.  Neither of us were all that upset about both his being seemingly put off by having to wait till that evening.

Maybe the fact that I’ve been more or less living in a pressure cooker for several years amped me up.  Maybe it’s that I’ve never really gotten to decompress in the last 8 months or so.  Maybe it’s that I have more headaches than a gobstopper has flavors.  But the nerve of this guy really got to me and I came a little unglued.  

I know I’ve said it before, but my agent is amazing.  If it were possible, I’d have her babies.  She took my mouthing off in stride, talked me down a little bit, and told me what to expect.  She urged me not to do anything dumb, like follow the guy around the house, menace him in any way, or leave some bondage gear out on the bed side table.  She cautioned me that if he were to mark up the price of the house just to be a dick, that would set us back some time and could cause the offer to fall through.  *sigh*  Yes, logic.  You stately king you.  I can’t argue that.  So, I did what was best.  I put the dogs in the yard, packed up my laptop and headed out to run some errands and grab some dinner at a place with wi-fi.  

I decided to play it safe and give the guy a solid 90 minutes or more to get the his appraisal done.  So, at about 7:00 I headed home.  

Now, before I go on about this next part, let me give you some background.  I have showing times allowed for Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.  There are some time restrictions since I have to get the dogs out of the house, and don’t want people to ask to see the place after 9:00 PM.  Also, as part of the instructions to the agents doing the showing, I request that they A) turn off all of the lights when they leave, and B) leave a business card so I know they were there.  Relatively simple, right?  You’d be surprised how often those aren’t honored.

I digress.  The final drop in the douchebag bucket was as follows.  Normally, when I come home after having strangers looking at my house I check all the lights and head to the kitchen.  I usually find the business card on the counter or table.  My ex husband needed some furniture when he moved out, so he took the stuff I didn’t like as much; the couch, chair, and table in the living room.  So there isn’t much in there.  So, when I walked in the door and saw this guy’s business card on the steps leading up to the main level, it really made me think about how much passive aggressive energy that took.  I mean, 10 steps away was a counter.  5 steps the other direction and he’d have been able to put it on a shelf.  Nope.  he chose the floor of all places.  Classy.

Complaints about the business practices of local agents aside, now all I’m doing is coasting.  Which is rather nice for the moment.  I got the letter saying the earnest deposit on the house has been received by the title company.  While this is wonderful in most cases, in mine I don’t really care.  I’m merely the source for signatures.  The bank and court are the real power holders here.  So, until they poke me with a stick and tell me they need something else, I’m moving on to the next thing that needs done.  For the moment anyway.

May 10, 2011

Scurvy Girl

So, there's this band of obnoxious loudmouths that I've been known to associate with that calls themselves Scurvy.  Accomplishments to include disapproving looks at the local watering holes, vacating entire seating sections in less than 15 minutes, and thinking that a fake band by the name of Kotex Explosion is really fucking funny.  Enough so that there were, at one time, a few t-shirts made for this fictitious metal group.

You can imagine that nothing that comes out of our gatherings is genteel.  And you know what, we're the type to record that shit.  Today, we're recording the latest Scurvy Media Podcast here at Ephemily's Boudoir.  It's part ad lib, part planned.  Think of it like the script is written in crayon with the left hand of a righty.  I will post the link when it's polished up, but for now, bust out your favorite citrus fruit (on the rim of your umbrella drink's glass) and get to know those who call themselves Scurvy.

Without further ado, here's the low-fi video taping of the audio podcast that will be posted tomorrow on iTunes and  libsyn.  Enjoy!

Love and Pinches,
Ephemily

The Hardship Letter, Or Why I Can't Afford To Stay In Or Pay For My House.

I'm working on my most recent post revolving around the offer on the house and subsequent appraisal.  In the mean time, here's my hardship letter.  This is something that I was instructed to write to the bank as a reason why they should consider accepting a short sale or, if that doesn't work out, a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure.  I was told that it should be factual and emotional, but not filled with venom or blame.  This is what I came up with:

May 9, 2011

Character Sheets are the new Rorschatt test.


I'm a big fan of being able to convey a complex concept in a tiny little package.  It's tough, but when done right, boy will it knock your socks off.  I'm always trying to find a way to communicate with people in a way they'll understand. Working at an IT help desk, I get that what I think of as being very simple is exceedingly complex to someone else.  That someone else could be a highly educated lawyer who's had years more schooling than I have.  It's all about what makes sense to a person.

That said, the toughest part of dating/making a new addition to your pool of nearest and dearest is the "getting to know you" stage.  This is where my inner rational and geek pick up their boffer weapons and prepare to let loose the pencils of war.  To set the stage, a dear friend of mine and I have had some long, detailed discussions through email.  Some of which include our favorite tabletop RPGs.  We're both drawn to the World of Darkness series; him to the Tolkienesque world-building mechanics, and me to the character interaction and development.  Being two sides to the same *NTJ coin (He the I and myself the E), it gets a little spooky at times.  But, it's the "being able to quote Silence of the Lambs in any situation" good kind of creepy.

We've both kvetched about how certain aspects of our personalities appear to others and how, in truth, perception isn't the reality.  For example, I bemoaned the fact that I've been called intimidating, aggressive, and scary.  I know I have some personality flaws that lend to that, but in fact, they're in place for just the opposite reason; it's how I disguise weakness.  Thing is, I've spent so long perfecting that facade, I have no idea how to tear it down now that I want to.  Case in point, I don't just gush.  Female ejaculation jokes aside, I don't know how to just give shameless adulation to a person.  My adaptation is to point out silver linings and truths that perhaps a person has lost sight of with sincerity and force.    Have you seen the Blind Side?  It's very much a Leaigh Anne Tuohy "Don't you lie to me now." sort of thing.  It isn't quite the same as genuine praise, but it's the reality of things in the here and now.

Ok, now that the stage has been set dressed, let's continue.  Sometime about two months ago, I ran across a card game called Cards Against Humanity.  After I had nearly peed myself laughing at this game, I had to share.  So, I sent the link to Greyson.  Seeing that it was licensed under creative commons and that we could modify it, we got to thinking about making our own decks.  Card ideas suddenly became all we could talk about.  I have never laughed so hard or spent so much time peeking into the more absurd aspects of life. 

Sometime during this creative outpouring, we'd started taking about gaming again.  I think it was after I'd mentioned that I wanted to change my real name from one of the most common ones given to girls in 1977 to Jezebel.  That got us onto the topic of how the WoD treats those biblical myths, and how maybe Lilith would be a better pick.  So, amid this orgy of D10 and #2 pencil goodness, I get this email with two PDFs attached.  They were vampire, the Masquerade character sheets, drawn up to reflect our real-world personalities.  Brilliant! 

Freud’s version of my ego threw a ticker tape parade down Cerebellum Avenue.  The NT aspects of my personality danced the lambada with my gamer geek.  How better to give someone a simple, one page synopsis of either what you believe yourself to be, or how you perceive someone else.  As any self-aware person knows, how you believe yourself to be, and how you're seen by others can sometimes be VASTLY different.  If I didn't think the reaction to that would be to say "That's nice." and back away slowly, I'd suggest something like that as a fantastic tool to cut through all the BS and really tell a person who you are.  As is, I'm pretty sure you'd be asked if you still lived in your mom's basement.
Ephemily, as identified by Greyson.

Alright, I know you’re curious.  So, without further ado, here’s the sheet created for Ephemily by my nearest and dearest Greyson, in all its shame and glory.

How to Carry a Condom

We all know that safe sex is a foregone conclusion, right?  I mean, regardless of your birth control status (if you or your partner is on one, or if you’re in a same sex situation and that’s not an issue) you still have to be concerned with STDs.  Remember those?  You know, those gross pictures you saw on the walls of the high school nurse’s office and your local Planned Parenthood examination room?  Yeah, they still exist, and anybody who’s sexually active needs to be concerned with them.  Sure, most of them can be cleared up with treatment, or managed with long term medications.  But, let’s all admit to ourselves that we don’t want to have to do that if we don’t have to.

Treating an SDT is an ordeal, and there’s a real sense of shame associated with contracting one.  That shame is one of the reasons why they’re not reported as soon as they should be to get effective treatment.  Truthfully, if we could get over the fear and stigma of having something wrong “down there”, conditions like the Blue Waffle wouldn’t exist.  (Trust me, if you have a weak stomach, don’t google that.)

There really aren’t any rules about carrying protection.  Sure, there’s care and feeding of your rubbers to consider.  However, ladies, if you expect your partner to be packing, you may just be sent home frustrated some night.  Gentlemen, just because you don’t have the safety equipment doesn’t mean that you’re excused from using them.  We’re well into the era where both partners have had their liberation movement, let’s get real and care about what we’re putting in our bodies, over and over and over again.
 
Any material used to prevent the spread of STDs is light sensitive.  Much like your favorite micro brew, UV rays can damage them, so that’s why they’re generally in packaging that doesn’t expose them to light.  The same can be said of stressing them, so while carrying them in your wallet that you keep in your back pocket seems like a great idea, you’re just potentially setting yourself up for one to break.  If you’re using them for birth control as well as STD prevention, that’s risky business good sir.  You get an A for effort and intent, but C- for execution.  Let’s work on that, shall we?

Also, condoms expire.  Nobody likes to have that happen to them since it can be a bit sad.  But, you can still find a use for them.  If you have toys, use your expired condoms on them to help make cleanup easier.  Or, use them on an appropriately shaped item to help ensure proper application in the future.  One of the biggest complaints about condoms is they take the spur of the moment out of sex.  Well, if you're good at putting a condom on, then that's less likely to be the case.

Condom manufacturers have branched out from prophylactics recently.  Watch infomercials at 2:00 AM and you’ll see that Trojan has a full line of vibrators that will “blow your hair back” apparently.  (What does that even mean?!)  Oh please.  Personal massager?  Yeah, it’s a vibrator.  Let’s not kid ourselves.  

My point is, if you’ve looked in the family planning isle at your local hyper mega gluttony mart these days, you’ll see a huge variety of items, one of which is a handy condom pouch.  Heck, you can even get a 2 pack that comes in its own plastic wallet case.  They’re somewhat discreet, and work well to protect your license to thrill.

Those of you with a latex allergy, I hadn’t forgotten you.  Truth is, I’m not sure what to tell you.  If you’re seeing someone pretty regularly, I think this is something that you should bring up pretty early on.  I mean, it’s good to know in case something happens to you and your date has to tell the EMTs to use the nitril instead of the latex gloves.  That knowledge would just carry over into your bedroom antics.  But, if you’re out casting a wide net, might be best to roll your own.  

If you’re worried about expense, think about this.  Most Planned Parenthoods will either give out or charge a very nominal fee for condoms.  The local STD clinic offices will also provide them.  If you have a medical flex spending account, most of them will pay for condoms as well.  In my case, I have to buy them up front and submit a claim to get it back.  Sure, I have to wait a couple days for my reimbursement, but it’s worth it.  If the idea of buying condoms in person is absolutely mortifying, there are dozens of alternatives online.  Many places even offer variety packs if you want to try different styles, sizes, and textures.  Plus, depending on your partner and your tastes, you can buy an personal lubricant that you may want or need.

A word about lube.  There is a huge variety out there that were meant for intimate use.  Astroglide is my personal favorite water based lube. It doesn’t get sticky as fast as KY does.  Plus, I’m told that strippers shave with it, so there’s that.  Wet is another good brand that also makes a silicone based lubricant.  You could fit a Cadillac in a phone booth a week after putting it on the door.  Wet has staying power.  Keep that in mind when using it.  Joy Jelly is flavored and has a mild anesthetic property that suppresses gag reflex.  You know where I’m going with that.  KY has scented options you can use for both personal massage and sexual lubricant.  Your choices are vast.  So, let’s stay away from the Vaseline, mineral oil, or cooking spray. (I’m not kidding, I heard this as a “do not do” on a PSA in my lady doctor’s office last year.)  Those are not only horrible ideas for lube, but they’ll break down the latex and are more likely to cause failures and breakage.


Personally, I carry my two with me at all times in a little Tiffany and Co suede pouch.  It's just the right size, and the content now as equally as valuable as what was in it when I got it as a gift originally.  Works for me.  How do you carry yours?

May 3, 2011

Zaftig, Not Just For Scrabble Anymore

The Universe may be lacking a funny bone, but I would swear it has a sense of humor.  This morning, I could have used a spatula to get me out of bed.  I didn't want to get up.  And, I'm half-awake dreaming of how soon I can crawl back under the covers.  But, I grabbed my gym bag none the less.  I am going after work.  My clothes are getting a little too tight to lie to myself and call it water retention.  Alright, alright.  I'll get off my ass and move, starting today.

I'm sitting at my desk programming my new padlock when my phone lets me know have a new email.  I log in and check it.  It's spam from obviously not reading one of the hundreds of EULAs I'm exposed to.  Did you know it's never too soon to start planning for your burial needs?  I had no idea.  Apparently, I'd given the ok to some app saying that their affiliates could contact me, and one of their people was a full service funeral parlor. 

Alright, I get the message.  Sweat, or else!