T is for Toilet Fears

Imagine getting a report card for your child with glowing remarks on intelligence and behavior but concern over his or her paralyzing fear of public toilets. If you have experienced that, you are probably my mom reading this post. (Hi, Mom!)

I was that child, freaked out over using any toilet other than my own. And it wasn’t necessarily a germ phobia, though my dad may have scarred most of my childhood by explaining to me how I got salmonella the first week of kindergarten and giving me a lifelong fear of raw meat and pink burgers.

No, I was afraid of the noise and the irrational idea that somehow, the toilet was going to pull me in and suck me down the drain. The worst were the automatic flush toilets that nearly drove me wild with fear when they would flush while I was still sitting! I would have peed my pants if I wasn’t there to do that already.

Apparently, my teacher thought it was a  bad enough issue to devote an entire sentence in my report card, forever branding me as the kid who cried when toilets flushed.

Why couldn’t I have had a normal fear like the dark or monsters?

My mom employed tough love to help me overcome my fear, blocking my escape from a public bathroom stall and refusing to “please flush it for me, Mommy.” I’m sure she hated making me upset , but who wants their adult daughter texting her from the stall asking her to flush for her?

Nobody does.

And you know what, you guys? I am now a proud squat-so-I-don’t-touch-the-seat public toilet user who flushes her own toilet and us afraid of mostly normal things like heights and decapitation by ceiling fan.

Go, me. :)



S is for Snap, Crackle, Pop Went My Pants


The saying “desperate times call for desperate measures” must have come from a kindred spirit looking for office supplies to fix their pants too.

It all began yesterday morning with my most comfortable pair of brown dress slacks. I bought them at Goodwill for $3.99 recently, and they accept my curves for who they are: untamed and abundant.

As usual, I was running late, half dressed while trying to track down a rogue shoe, and wishing I hadn’t hit snooze those two extra times when it happened. The button on my pants came out of my hand, and since I can’t sew either (I’ll never be a domestic goddess), I knew I was screwed.

So, I grabbed a safety pin and ran out the door.

I got to work and rushed inside, hoping my pants wouldn’t decide to slip off in their unbuttoned and rapidly unzipping condition. I went to hide in the bathroom to adjust myself and realized that the safety pin had gone MIA.

So I did what any desperate person would do in my condition: I raided our office supplies for something that would hold my pants together.

Paper clip. Nope, that didn’t work.
Rubber band. No success.
Stapler. I don’t want to risk stapling myself in the stomach.

I finally stumbled upon a solution: a binder clip. I jimmied that clip into my pants and managed to hold my pants together a bit better. The clip would periodically slip, and I’d hear the sinking crackle of a zipper gone wild and exposing my gut. Thank God for long shirts or that could have been much more awkward.

But it made for an interesting day at work, wondering if today would be knowm the Day the Librarian Mooned Everyone.

Yesterday was not that day, and I’m thinking an emergency belt and safety pin collection may be a wise office investment. Just in case…



R is for Rescue Furniture

Some people rescue adorable puppies and kittens from abuse and try to guilt us all into doing the same to a sappy montage set to Sarah McLachlan’s singing. Others of us see homeless furniture abandoned on the side of the road and end up letting it in our car and taking it to its “forever home.”

I’d like to justify taking in stray love seats and cabinets as simply the eclectic and eccentric style of a brilliant mind. But, really my style is cheapskate meets “I don’t know what the heck I’m doing.” I think I make it work.

Our first curb rescue was a love seat that smelled like pipe smoke, but it had working foot rests and unbroken springs so it joined our family.


My mom always told me I was a special snowflake

Next was the ultra classy white futon someone was giving away – FOR FREE! We couldn’t pass it up.


Eustace the ROUS loves watching TV on the futon

Yesterday, we welcomed our newest member of the family to replace our classy Plastic by Wal-Mart drawer set.


Still a work in progress

We found this poor dresser by a dumpster today, alone, with its drawers exposed to the cold, cruel world. Friends of ours spotted it and knew we had been looking to rescue some bedroom furniture. We somehow stuffed it in the back of Ryan’s Jeep and drove it home.

And despite my puny arm strength, I helped Ryan carry it inside with only about a dozen or so stops along the way. I’m a freaking beast, y’all!!

We’re very happy with our growing collection of other people’s trash, and if you know of anyone who is dropping off a bed frame or a kitchen table on the curb to fend for itself, let us know, and we’d love to adopt!

*Cue music*

You can’t use it any longer
We will take it off your hands
In the arms of your armchair!
May we find some comfort here.

- Sarah “McLachlan” Balding

Q is for Qi


Few things can strike fear more quickly to the heart than having the letter “q” with no “u” in a cut-throat game of Scrabble. Desperation sets in, causing you to lose points because the only other word you can spell with your crappy letters is “cat,” a measly five letters that will certainly crush your chances of ever beating your foe.

That’s because you don’t have a list of words that use “q” without “u.” Any Scrabble worth his weight in tiles has a few of these little known words up his sleeve (not literally, as that would be cheating) to baffle and amaze his opponents with his verbosity. My personal favorite is “qi,” which Google tells me is a Chinese word for the “circulating life force” behind most Chinese philosophy and medicine. Even without double letters or triple words, you can still plunk down a not-too-shabby 11 points and rid yourself of this letter quickly and efficiently. Other words include -



This has been a PSA from Sarah’s Brand New Chapter and its writer/Scrabble and Word with Friends extraordinaire Sarah Balding. I only ask for 25% of your Scrabble tournament winnings in return for reading this post. And yes, if you’ve made it this far, it’s too late. I’ll include a link to my PayPal here that you may shower me with the monies. :)



P is for Poetry


For those of you who have been hiding under a rock and don’t know this already, April is National Poetry Month. This fact has inspired me to put on my thinking cap and write some poetry for you all on this fine Saturday. Poetry was my first love in writing, and while we’ve grown apart in recent years due to lack of angst on my part, I am having a momentary fling with Lady Poetry today in this blog post, specifically with the poetic genre of haiku.

As I’ve never really written haiku before, I naturally took to Wikipedia to get the lowdown on how to write this genre. Wikipedia assures me that the English forms of  haiku are usually 3 lines of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, and 5 syllables juxtaposing two thoughts; it then began to delve into the history and the different forms of haiku as my eyes glazed over. The next step was to discover what the heck I was going to write about. As this week has been National Library week, I figured there would be no better subject than writing haiku for my problem patrons.

So here we go -


Fine of $3.60,

You brought two cans, expired.

I want to smack your face. 


There is no excuse

You returned a wet book

Your butt just got fined. 


We’re closed after 8

The bathroom is on the right

Same questions, all day. 


Your fines are too high

No computer for you

Please don’t yell at me. 


Biting books is bad 

A bookworm does not chew 

We’ll just blame your “dog.” 


And that, my dears, was my first attempt at haiku writing. Not award-winning, but hopefully, it got the point across. I’m thinking about writing more and making book marks to hand out. Classy, no?



O is for Olives Suck


I’ve never been able to forgive green olives for what they did to me as a child, which is partly why I hate their whole kind.

I was a naive child, unaware of a world full of olives that masqueraded as delicious green grapes. I saw that tiny bowl of faux grapes, and my child heart leaped for joy as I popped that sucker into my mouth and crunched.

It was not sweet. It did not make my heart dance. It tasted like broken dreams and death, and my face reflected the betrayal I felt in my heart as my parents laughed at me.

So, I eschew all olives. I don’t care if black or green olives are good for you or bring you good luck in the New Year. (Or is that black-eyed peas?) I pick them off pizzas and remove them from salads. I don’t even pretend the plump green eye balls are scary, green eye balls.

Olives are evil. Period. No arguments. The end.

Your turn: What foods do you despise most desperately?



N is for Not-So-Classy TV Shows


I have a confession to make: I watched Jerry Springer one morning to see what that was all about. Mostly hair-pulling and yelling, if you’re curious.

I guess I’d call it my sick day guilty pleasure, but I find the weird civil court cases and paternity test shows fascinating when I find myself home for daytime TV. Maybe it is a bizarre mixture of prescription drugs and fresh-from-the-can chicken noodle, but I trade my husband’s documentaries and news presets for Trish issuing lie detector tests and Bridezillas throwing wedding cake.

It’s like a train wreck; you just can’t look away.

Afterwards, I’m in a daytime reality show hangover, wondering why I thought watching two grown men wrestle over a cheating woman was quality TV, swearing I’ll watch that PBS documentary on aliens and the Mayan instead next time.

Until I see the commercial for tomorrow’s show: Cousins and Break Dancers. The Siren song claims another.