Love and Whoop Ass

Keep Calm & Aim

Kind Readers:  I have been working under a deadline — okay, I procrastinated for weeks and now I’m panicking — and therefore am posting an oldie but goodie from my old blog.  Thank you for your patience.  I will get back to a more regular posting schedule very soon.


I’ve been thinking a lot about love recently. I’ve been holed up in the house due to frigid weather and when you’re locked up with another human being, you’d best be thinking about love. Otherwise, it could get all stabby.

Don’t act shocked, you know what I mean. When cabin fever intersects with quirky personal habits to make a Venn diagram of whoop ass, you’d better be concentrating on sweetness and light. It’s a lot of work to get blood out of the carpet. Just saying.

Any adult relationship is a complex dance, passion waxing and waning, irritation peaking and ebbing, human frailty exposing its messy self at every pas de deux. Were it not so perplexing, we’d have never gotten great blues music. If love were easy and constant, all songs would sound like they were written by Barney. Life is messy. Messy surprises which makes it interesting. Interesting is appealing, compelling, and fires up our juices.

Please note that I am advocating the authenticity of a messy, true, human bond. I did not say one word about sticking around for a relationship that is difficult. Don’t confuse drama for depth of feeling.

If your partner tests you, takes without giving, doesn’t recognize your needs are just as legitimate as theirs, you have my permission — no, my encouragement — to leave. We don’t reward relentless selfishness. Weigh your options. Being alone is a gift if you’ve spent any time in a bad relationship. Don’t be afraid to do what is best for you. As I said before, it’s a lot of work to get blood out of the carpet.

I think I’ve made it abundantly clear that in comprehending lessons on love, I’m a thick-skulled heifer. I’ve been in many substandard relationships. Hell, I’ve been engaged what, five times? Learning curve flat as a pancake. I’m a relationship idiot. My first marriage was lopsided. It sucked the life out of me and stomped my confidence into a puddle of fetid road kill. Starter was many things, but compassionate, supportive, and loving were not in the mix. After much careful thought, I shared with a dear friend that I was planning to leave Starter. Her response stunned me.

“But you’re diabetic. You’re going to need help as your illness progresses.”

My response was, “I’d rather crawl around a tiny apartment completely blind than rely on him for anything.”

“Well if that’s how you really feel, let’s get to packing.”

Pack we did. I was so happy after I moved out that I threw a party every six weeks for a year. I had a blast. I felt lighter and I positively bubbled with glee. I was champagne personified, all celebration and sparklers. I danced with joy every day. Best thing I ever did. I became me again, not the crust of a person who had to tiptoe through the house on eggshells because of Starter’s temper tantrums.

A surprising side effect of being a giddy-level of happy is that you attract a better kind of mate. Happy attracts happy. Stability attracts stability. Remember, Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Who knew the skinny goober was talking about dating? Be the kind of person you want to meet and — poof! — that person will appear in your life.

Now I am with someone who puts my happiness before his own. He thinks of my comfort. He supports me in any endeavor I choose to undertake, no matter how weird. He doesn’t just say he loves me, he shows me. I really appreciate it because I know what it’s like to find yourself mired up to your belly button in a sucky relationship. This is not bad. This is messy, this is real, this is human, but this is also pretty damn good.

So on Gruff’s birthday this March, just like I have done every year since I met him, I will send a thank you gift to his mother. I thank her for giving birth to him. I thank her for training him properly. I thank her for letting him go. I thank her for getting him all ready for me. Well done, Jean.   I appreciate it.

Because as you know, it’s not easy to get blood stains out of carpet.






Let Your Freak Flag Fly

(This piece originally appeared on my old blog in January 2014.)


I loved being a realtor. Basically, I’m a snoop and there’s nothing like selling residential real estate to scratch the rashy snoop itch. And here’s where the public service announcement comes in. People if you are selling your house, you need to get your embarrassing personal shit out of there. Rent a storage locker, box it and take it to mama’s attic, whatever you need to do but do not leave it out on display. It will kill the sale.

If you can’t tell whether your prized possessions are outside the normal range, ask a friend. Ask your mother. Ask your realtor. Things that you may be very fond of might just turn someone else off. That someone could have been your most lucrative offer. So don’t get uppity about your hunting trophies. Don’t be all proud about your gun collection. Don’t showcase your Nazi memorabilia. Just don’t.

I used to tell my listing clients that once their home was on the market, it was no longer their house. They were now guests in their buyer’s house. The house had to look like it already belonged to their buyer. They had to treat it as if they were just borrowing it for the weekend. Buyers have a great deal of trouble visualizing potential when they are being smacked in the face with your reality.

Don’t get all defensive. Yes, a whole lotta home buyers are freaks but they are only comfortable with their own flavor of freakiness. They find your brand of freaky downright disturbing. If your house meets their needs perfectly in every way possible but has an idiosyncratic “souvenir” laying about, they will either run away from the sale or offer you thousands less than your asking price because eeeewwww.

I know what you’re thinking, you bunch of little sex monkeys. No, I’m not just talking about the errant pleasure toy. I’ve come across a bunch of them showing houses and yes, you should definitely slide the lube and the magic wands into a storage box under the bed, you exhibitionist scamp, you. I’m talking about the less-vanilla items. The things that people don’t even recognize at first and then their brains blossom into oh-my-god-why-is-this-thing-in-the-kitchen?*

For example, I showed a normal, suburban house in a good neighborhood to a young woman. Everything was peachy until we came to the master bath. There was discoloration in the jacuzzi tub. Faded splatters in the tub and droplets on the tile. Is that blood? Looks like blood. Looks like a lot of blood. Why is there blood? Actually, don’t care why. We’re leaving now. House tour over.

I called the listing agent and asked about it. She called the homeowners. Turns out the homeowners were with the diplomatic corp and had just slaughtered a goat in the bathtub for a large family celebration. Let me repeat that. Slaughtered a goat in the master suite jacuzzi tub. So do you think my vegetarian, PETA card-carrying client wrote a contract on that otherwise perfect house? Fat chance.

I showed a house that had extra large eye bolts in the ceiling joists and wall studs of the blacked-out basement. I’m not sure what the homeowners used them for, why they needed such heavy duty bolts so securely installed but my buyers couldn’t get past referring to that house as the one with the slave dungeon.

There was one home that pushed all my ick buttons and I just didn’t see it coming. I showed a lovely condominium near public transportation, a park, and shopping to a young couple. Neighbors were sitting out on their patio and we talked with them before we went in. They said, “Oh, that’s Jasper’s condo. He’s a phys ed teacher at the middle school. Let us know what you think of his place once you’ve toured it.”

Well, the place was lovely. It was bright, updated, clean and fresh, with loads of natural light. I mean, I had this place sold. Then we saw the bedroom. And we just stood there, staring. The bedroom walls were covered in framed photos of barely adolescent girls in gymnast costumes. Most were mid-air, tumbling, jumping, splitting, all tiny with their hair in a tight little bun. When I say the walls were covered, I mean frame edges touching, no wall visible, had to be at least sixty 8″ x 10″ shots per wall.

You know what? The photos weren’t the creepiest thing in the room. Didn’t see that coming, did you? The bed was way creepier. Ole Jasper there had built the bed special, so the top of the mattress was four feet off the floor, just like a balance beam. Hanging from the ceiling above the pillows were a pair of gymnastics rings. Well, you can’t unsee something like that.

As we filed out, the neighbors asked what we thought. My client answered. “No. Just no.”

* Fun fact: That thing that was on the kitchen counter was a life like replica of a female porn star’s private parts. Why was that sitting in the food preparation area? Huh?