Interesting life snippets from quarantine.

So, my dad thinks he can survive anything. He’s in his sixties and has had the attitude his entire life that he can tough out anything. It’s the boot-strapper attitude. “You pull up your bootstraps and keep going no matter what.” It’s why I have this ridiculous work ethic. Both myself and my brother have it. I am a full time English teacher and author. He has three jobs: a college basketball coach, a banker, and a bartender on the weekends. 

I always find it funny when my dad tells us we need to find time for a life. Especially when he tells me I work too hard writing those “damn” books. Or my favorite, “You need to set boundaries for teaching. You’re working too hard.” A psychologist might call this projection. 

See, my dad has owned a business of some sort all my life and most of his. The last thing he did was work as an owner operator, aka truck driver. He worked for himself, so he could work as hard as he wanted to. He’s retired now and has filled his life with all kinds of projects. (One day I came home from teaching and my deck was gone. Literally, gone! He then informed me that I needed a new one, and I had to go buy supplies so he could start on it right away.) 

His mind lately is always on what he’s making for dinner. He has begun watching cooking shows and likes to try new things. (I don’t mind, I get invited to dinner.) The problem is that he thinks he has to go to the store everyday to get the ingredients for his new dish. 

Under normal circumstances, this would be fine. I get it, he’s bored. If you want to go to the store everyday, go for it. (Did I mention, he cooks for me? Such a wonderful dad.) 

We’re in the middle of a pandemic! 

He has COPD and spent last year in the hospital after a hypertension incident that almost killed him. (It mirrored a stroke because his blood pressure got so high.) The nurses who saw him when we brought him to the emergency room thought they would never see him again. He was catatonic. Yet, somehow, against all odds, he made it. He’s doing better than ever. (Thanks to some amazing doctors and nurses at Mayo.) 

So everyday we’ve had some form of the argument,

“Dad, you can’t go out. You need to stay home.” 

He grumbles that Covid isn’t gonna get him, he has things to do. Blah, Blah, Blah. 

(I’ve heard similar conversations from a few of my friends, so I have a feeling many millenials are having this conversation with their boomer parents.)

Yesterday was a classic. 

We were watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding. (I had a small existential crisis when Tula was sitting in between her two parents watching TV. Oh my God, I need a life! See picture below.)  

I would like to mention before I go into it, that I bought the house across the street from my parents so I could help them. My mom has never driven a car, and my dad used to be a truck driver, gone for weeks at a time. My mom’s twin lives next door to her. We’re a pretty close knit family. 

Here’s how our conversation went: 

Dad, “I got to go to the store.”

Me, “No you don’t!”

Dad, yelling, “I need my pop and popcorn!”

Mom, “I think we need to make him a mask.”

Me, “I think we need to find the duct tape.”

Dad, pointing to the kitchen, “I got that, it’s in the drawer right there.”

Me, “I don’t think you thought through telling me where you keep the duct tape.”

I, of course, went to the store for him, again. I may have bought four twelve packs of pop and four large packs of popcorn. I swear if he asks me to go again in the next two weeks, I will use that duct tape. I love my father, but sometimes he can be a big kid. 

To all the grown-up kids trying to keep your stubborn fathers home. I salute you, may the odds be ever in your favor! Also, if you lose the argument, you know your dad is storing duct tape somewhere. That shit fixes everything, including a stubborn parent.  

Dancing on Bourbon Street

I dance around my house daily. I mean if your going to clean you might as well dance while you do it. It makes the task so much more fun. (You’d think my house was much cleaner, it’s not.)

I love to dance.

So, when I went on a road trip with my brother and picked New Orleans as our destination I was super excited. I knew I would live it up, Curt style. I had taken a similar road trip shortly after high school and couldn’t wait to do it again.

First, we spent two nights in Nashville. I danced on the bar at Coyote Ugly. I’m not shy and I really like to have a good time. It was the end of our second night in Nashville. The bus would pick us up in front of Coyote Ugly, but we had time for one more drink. My brother liked that they had two-dollar beers. I liked the idea of dancing on the bar. Win-win.

The place was pretty dead, but it was a Monday. There were two other groups of people at the bar. The bartender was trying to get ladies to come up on the bar to dance. I agreed but had to run off to the restroom.quick. When I got back, there were two girls up there. One looked super nervous, shook her head and got back down quickly, leaving her friend all alone.

I jumped up on the bar and strutted over to her and started dancing next to her. She smiled wide, thanked me and we continued to dance. When the song was over, she joined her friends and I went with my brother. I was feeling pretty confident after dancing on the bar. It had been a spectacular night in Nashville.

A couple of nights later, we’d finally made it to New Orleans. After writing by the pool all day, I finished my novel in The Carousel Bar. I had timed my writing perfectly. I was feeling awesome after finishing, so it was time to go enjoy all that New Orleans had to offer. The food had already been spectacular, but I knew the city lived for its nightlife.

I said goodbye to my brother and ventured to Bourbon street. I hit every bar that was playing something good. I wandered into one packed bar. I had to push past people to get to the front. Which I normally hate to do, because I love having space. Yet, the music was perfect for dancing, and I just had to get up there to dance. These two beautiful ladies were singing and everyone was dancing. They were so good at it too. I learned shortly the group around me were from Brazil. I spent hours dancing with them. I loved the unabashed way they moved to the music. Sweat soaked through one guys collared business suit, but he didn’t care. He still danced. It was amazingly freeing to dance with them. They embraced me as a friend on the dance floor. I loved them immensely for it.

I had gotten some peculiar looks earlier in the evening while dancing. I tried talking to a few people with some polite, some not so polite, rebuffs. I love when a fat guy looks at me like, “why are you talking to me?” with such a condescending attitude. Like, sorry dude, I’m just trying to have a good time. I only asked a question. On the other hand, maybe they know I’m trouble. I got one guy to take a shot shortly after meeting him. He was super sweet and from Wales. I felt kinda bad ditching him when he was drunk, and completely out of his element. But I wanted to dance and he wanted to hold up the wall.

Okay, I know this was going somewhere…

Oh right, live like the Brazilians. Dance when you want to dance. Find ways to truly live everyday. I will definitely take their kindness and zest with me. So, next time you’re at a bar or whatever and the music starts to play. Dance like you don’t care if anyone is watching. Move all your beautiful jiggly bits. Don’t forget to have fun. We only have one life. Don’t let a little pudge get in the way of having a damn good time.

Day Job

So, I’m a teacher.

I love every minute of it. Even when that one beautiful students blurts out random things during the lesson. It’s not like you’re trying to impart anything important up here, in front of the class. I loved the reference I learned this year about the cat in the dog house. We all have them. We all love them a little bit more, because they need it.

I do a lot of workshop style reading and writing in my classroom. I’m having individual conferences with students everyday. I kneel down next to their desks every time they need help. I call them desk squats. It’s a great workout. On a good workshop day, my legs are burning at the end of the day. It’s great because that means I’ve helped a lot of students.

There’s only one problem with desk squats. Trying to fit between the rows can be difficult. I have thirty-two desks in my classroom. Currently, they’re in rows. There is maybe twelve to eighteen inches between the rows. Not much room for a girl like me. Fill those desks with students and forget about it.

I bump into desks, students or stuff everyday. At least my students are cool about it. When they know they’re in the way or they’ve blocked the aisle, they move for me. I have bruises on my hips and legs from the daily struggle.

My students laugh at me when I try to get around and can’t fit. I shrug, say, “Fat girl problems,” and keep moving on. I’ll stop at the beginning of the row and say, “y’all know I can’t fit through there.” I make a joke of it and laugh, cause that’s what I do. I love humor. It works well for me.

I watch videos from when I recorded myself student teaching. That classroom was smaller. Y’all I just don’t fit between the desks. I have to plan a route around my classroom everyday. I move the desks everyday. Those rows get narrower, every single day.

It’s okay though, we’ll start literature circles in a couple of weeks. I still won’t be able to move around the classroom without bumping into things. (It’s probably that I’m just a clutz on a daily basis.) It might be better. It might not. We’ll see.

Of course, it’s not going to stop me. I’ll be next to each students desk every day asking about what they’re reading or writing. I’ll be next to their desk helping them when they need it, even if they think they don’t I’ll be there. It’s what I do. It’s what all teachers do.

Even if I get a few bruises from the desks.  


So we all know that feeling. That burning sensation you feel when you’ve walked a little too long in a day. You chose to wear that skirt or jeans or whatever, not thinking anything of it, you wear them all the time right? You keep walking around, everything seems fine, maybe you’ve walked a mile, maybe five and everything seems okay. That’s until that all too familiar fiery pain begins with each glide of skin on skin contact. The burning pain that can only come from the friction between the skin on your all too filled out thighs. In an attempt to stop the pain from getting worse you begin to walk like a penguin straining to keep your thighs from touching. But let’s be real, they are going to touch no matter how far you try to spread your legs while you walk. Or you might have figured out that if you take smaller steps your legs won’t rub together quite so much.  You attempt to walk by only moving your leg from the knee down which doesn’t really work. This is that moment when you really understand what it means to be chafed.

Many of us know all too well what it means to be chafed. Well some of us do. The ones who’ve never experienced the novelty of the “thigh gap.”  The feeling you get when your legs have rubbed together for hours and you are now waddling hoping above all else that salvation will soon come in the form of a chair, if only to rest your legs long enough to stop the terrible burning you experience from the friction between your thighs. But you know that once the chaffing has begun it will only get worse. .

I am quite familiar with chafing. My first memory of this phenomena is a family trip to Valley Fair. I wasn’t super heavy then, only about one hundred and eighty pounds. Which for me being five feet eight inches wasn’t too bad, really. I had chosen to wear a pair of jean shorts. I hadn’t even thought about it at the time because I hadn’t really realized I didn’t have the thigh gap that I’d had my entire childhood. By mid afternoon I knew, my childhood and the gap between my thighs was gone.

My favorite ride was Thunder Canyon and I had finally talked my family into going on it. I was so excited watching us each get drenched in turn. I even laughed as I got off the ride and couldn’t wait to run around to go again. I hadn’t thought about the consequences of beginning the day soaking wet. It was summer who would’ve thought about anything besides getting cooled off by the refreshing waters from the ride. Of course that wasn’t enough. We continued on, riding the flume, the wave and anything else which could keep me soaked all day. Oh man what was I thinking.

I was walking by the pirate ship, off to the next ride when I noticed a slight burn between my legs. At the time I shrugged it off ready to venture toward the next ride. My brother loved roller coasters and so we were heading to every one. Walking from one side of the park to the next, But as I walked the dull burning began to worsen. Turning to a full on throbbing pain. I had to stop walking, I couldn’t go on.The friction caused by each new step fueled the fire, I didn’t want to take another step. I begged to stop walking, pleaded, could we just take the train back to the entrance and my salvation, the car. Within the hour, I was walking with my legs so far apart that a Saint Bernard could have walked comfortably under me. I could’ve been riding a horse with my legs straddled so far apart. Seriously I must’ve looked ridiculous. I complained to my mom but her only response was “I told you not to wear jeans.”  She was of course the expert on chafing. She had known better.

Here I was walking with my legs as far apart as I could get them so that my thighs wouldn’t touch and we were all the way on the other side of the park. We had still planned to be there for hours, HOURS!  My brother was running and dancing around us because we were walking so slow. He was excited to go on more rides. I, on the other hand, just wanted to go back to the car. I couldn’t believe just walking could hurt so bad. I thought that I would never recover.

But of course I did recover. My parents finally agreed to go back to the car and we went home. I rejoiced in each step closer to the car, knowing that I wouldn’t have to endure this agony for much longer. I celebrated when I reached for the handle of the car, knowing that it would be at least a whole forty minutes until I would have to walk again. Oh the relief of being able to hold my legs apart, stationary for the entire car ride home.

When I reached my house I waddled to my bedroom to assess the damage I had done to the innermost part of my thighs. I thought I had to have worn the skin clear off. But to my relief I had not. My skin was bright red with purplish tinges. Some of the skin had begun to flake away at the center most part of where my legs touched. I tried to rub lotion on the skin but that only made it burn more, I couldn’t believe it.  I laid in my bed with my legs spread wide across the mattress. When I fell asleep I cringed every time the skin on my thighs touched. I vowed to never wear jeans to Valley Fair ever again. But this kind of memory fades and of course I would wear jeans again not realizing what was to come until it was too late. Experiencing that all too familiar pain caused by the friction that accompany my fuller thighs. So I begin my story Chafed.