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How To Survive By Melting Snow

When we started planning out renovations for the house, a waterfall feature was not something we discussed. Yet on a Friday morning a few weeks ago, that's exactly what we found in the basement, springing, or should I say, gushing from the bathroom wall, spilling out across a cork floor and brand new carpet, and cascading down the garage steps.  It was almost like an optical illusion watching water pour out through drywall. But like a Magic Eye that makes you nauseous and dizzy from crossing your eyes, seeing it once is good enough.  While Daniel ran around to shut the water to the entire house off, I used a push broom to guide the inches-deep water from the soaking bathroom to the garage. If you've ever accidentally spilled a glass of water on carpet, that's what you call "wet." But when gallons of frigid water tsunami over carpet for several minutes, that's what you call "soaking." And guess what cork does when it gets drenched? It puffs up with moi…
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Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

If you’d told me a year ago that I'd be asking my friends and neighbors to collect cardboard boxes, newspapers, and leaves and scouring Craigslist for hay, alfalfa, and manure, I would have looked at you and ramped up my resting bitch face. But that’s who I am now. One of the most major goals we had when choosing to move from a 600 square foot city apartment to a 4.5 acre mountainous property was to establish our own “mini-farm.” That means growing our own food, managing chickens (though we will not be eating them), and eventually adding goats to our brood. The growing conditions here at 8,000+ feet are less than ideal, so this past summer I took a “high altitude permaculture gardening” class at the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute in Basalt, CO. Though it sounds like all I did was learn to cultivate marijuana, I promise only a few minutes of the 2 weeks-long class even mentioned it. I was lucky to find the institute and attending was more than life changing. I was fru…

The House of Flies

When Daniel and I decided to move from San Francisco to a Colorado mountain home on 4.5 acres, we knew our lifestyle would change quite a bit, if not completely. We had visions of watching the sun go down from our front porch, admiring families of deer helping themselves to an evening snack in our yard, cozying up on the couch to catch up on reading. And maybe it was our bad that this is what we were focused on, instead of basic amenities like heat, hot water, and general protection from the elements, because as we soon found out, that’s exactly what our new home was lacking. One of the more unique aspects of our house is the fact it runs off heating oil. If you’re getting visions of us silently gliding around in the dark while holding kerosene lamps in front of us, you’re not the only one. But what it actually means is that instead of propane gas or electricity, our heat and water are made hot by a massive underground tank filled with a special oil that pretty much only one person in …

The Etiquette Guide To Re-Gifting The Crap You Never Wanted In The First Place

Post holidays, especially at the start of a new year, is the perfect time to clear your life of clutter, namely the pile of junk you received at the end of the month, also known as “thoughtful holiday gifts.” Even with thousands of helpful gift guides, dropped hints, and direct web links with explicit directions on color and sizing, your friends and family have once again managed to completely disappoint you. But how could you expect anything else? Seasons greetings? More like seasons repeatings, as in let’s find someone else to burden with this life-sized ceramic cat playing with a ball of yarn.

According to the most well-respected gift giving experts, you should never feel guilty about re-gifting. It’s better to give than to receive, right? And when you opened Aunt Flora’s gift of a copy of Finding A Mate Before You Become An Old Maid, that adage never rang truer.

Clothing items are some of the most popular gifts to get rid of as soon as possible, but take the time to break in the ga…

Just a Few Reminders Before We Begin Boarding The Flight

Ladies and gentlemen, we’d like to welcome you to Limitless Airlines, where we believe the sky’s the limit. In preparation for the boarding process, we have a few reminders to help ensure you have the best flight possible. For those of you joining us for your very first flight on Limitless Airlines, you may have noticed your boarding pass does not indicate a specific seat. That’s because our seats are completely unassigned due to the fact they’re actually long benches salvaged from soviet fighter planes. The engines too, I’m required to mention. If you brought more than 13 pounds of luggage with you, we’ve placed helpfully labeled bins here by the podium to help you select which items you’ll be parting with today in order to meet our weight restrictions. Suggested items include designer goodstoiletries more than half full, and paperback books that have recently been on, or are still on, the NY Times Bestseller list. Just a moment. My colleague here has an update … We have a special opp…

Referral Inquiry From An Overprotective Dog Parent

Rick and Randy,

We were given your email as a referral for Nicole Mason’s dog walking services. Personally, we’re a little concerned about her business name – Peppy Puppy Walking Service – as our Kenneth is neither a puppy, nor peppy. He celebrates his 9th birthday in about a month and, unfortunately, suffers from chronic thyroid issues due to an abusive past owner feeding him food that was not grain-free. (Why these types of people are allowed to live is beyond me.)

We’re just starting the search for a new “walker,” (we prefer to call he/she a Fitness Companion as it better describes the relationship Kenneth needs – an equal, not someone to “lord” over him – and our expectation that this person will help exercise Kenneth in body, mind, and soul) and expect it could take some time since our previous Fitness Companion was a dream come true. And believe you me, Rick and Randy, we had many dreams – and nightmares – before we found Joustin. Have you ever felt the all-encompassing, loving em…

The Car Your Father Drove

Using a prompt from 642 Things To Write About from the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto.


Tan Volvo Station Wagon
If ever there was a car built for Middle American dads, it’s this beige beauty. What it lacked in flashiness, it made up for in embarrassment to one’s children. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to be chauffeured around in it an an age where I was more worried about getting into the perfect attendance pizza party, but the potential was there. Like the Wagoneer, this car also came with leather seats. Perhaps my father saw them as a status symbol. In modern cars, small children must sit in the back, but because passenger airbags didn’t yet exist, in the Volvo, it was an all out fight to see who got to sit in the passenger seat, because my dad had sprung for two sheepskin covers. Animal skin, to protect us from the other animal skin. Otherwise, one was relegated to hovering and trying to extend one’s shorts to endure the searing temperatures of the back seats. You might think Colorado …

Charliedog

When Daniel and I buckled down on our goal to get a dog, I started planning it all out. I wanted something small to medium since we live in an apartment; a girl, of course; hypoallergenic fur; young but not a puppy. I even zeroed in on a breed that had all the qualifications: a Bossipoo. An adorable mix of Boston terrier and Poodle, that we'd name Bossy. She'd be my aptly named sidekick and sit on my lap at the office, acting as both a source of stress relief for me, and a beloved mascot for the office. She'd make best friends with all the neighborhood dogs, have manners envied by all other pet parents, love going for hikes and playing ball with her puppy cohorts in the park, and generally be the furry little light of our lives. One Saturday, we decided to drop by the SPCA to at least "get the registration papers going" for future visits, as we kicked off the search for our new addition. We learned the majority of breeds you'll find in shelters are Chihuahua m…

Why I Sing in the Shower

Supposedly, I come from a musically inclined family. My grandma was the star of many musicals at the Broomfield Senior Citizen's Center and my aunt has always made a living teaching voice and piano lessons. Yet, my own mother, countless times, has asked me to stop singing and accused me of being completely tone deaf. My mom is one of the most thoughtful, caring little ladies to ever live, so you can only imagine how much my singing must put her over the edge. I was under the impression that parents were supposed to think just about everything their kids do is grand, unless they're hurting someone, but then I guess in this case I was hurting her ears.  When I was in college, I had a job as a professor's assistant. This oh-so-coveted job meant I not only made ten whopping dollars an hour, I also got my very own office in which to do it. This "office" was actually one half of a modular unit situated on the outskirts of campus, but it was private and allowed me to bla…

Naked Neighbor

Living in a city as on top of each other as San Francisco, in buildings with walls so thin they won't last the Big One, you have absolutely zero expectation of privacy. Even walking home from the grocery store, you're forced to swing the Charmin all the way up Fillmore, letting the world know you're a fan of the ultra soft. So you'd assume in the moments and spaces we have completely to ourselves, we'd take advantage. And I assume most of us, myself in included, actually do. But I can tell you there are exceptions to this assumption, and at least two of them have lived within direct view of my kitchen window. The Friends had Ugly Naked Guy, and I had Naked Neighbor My first naked neighbor was hot fire. Yes, I've had two. Though the current one really isn't something to write home about like this one is. So anyway... hot fire as in, normal people would pay lots of money to look at this whenever they wanted in the pages of a sticky magazine. Normally, the peop…

This Is How… Surviving San Francisco

I’ve lived in SF for over 4 years now, and I’m certainly not claiming to know everything about this place, but I do know a lot, and I want to share what I’ve learned with you.


#1: Learn how to out crazy the crazy, or at least how to run fast.

I still haven’t figured out if the city makes you crazy, or just attracts crazies, but I never plan on sticking around long enough to find out the answer. The other day on the 38 Geary, a crackhead was hanging on to an overhead bar, clutching his lighter and violently twitching. A man in the back of the bus in his gravely street voice talked about kicking down doors and cracking heads and “the situation in Palestine.” And I swear to GOD the guy next to me crossed his fingers in hope he’d make it to his stop. They’re everywhere, even in Pac Heights, where I live, only they exist in a different form. The crazies there wear blazers while they collect cans and plug their salvaged laptops in to hidden outlets and steal wifi from Starbucks to watch You…