Ya down with O.P.P.?

Ya down with O.P.P.?

Warning:  This post is not for the squeamish.  If it weren’t my own true story, I’m not sure I’d even be able to admit to it, let alone,  read it.  But it happened and there is nothing I can do about it now. I can’t change the experience or forget that it occurred.  From here on out, this will forever be part of my autobiography.  Part of my life’s adventure.

My church meets in a retirement home’s multi-purpose room.  We are small but are actually growing there and we like it.  Truth be told, if I could afford it, I would live there.  I tell people that I want to live in a retirement community and they look at me as if I am crazy; but a retirement “village” is the perfect set up for me.  It’s quiet, except for the occasional blaring of the deaf’s television sets at four am because they fell asleep during the seven pm telecast of the Snuggie infomercial.  Every meal is fixed for you, which is perfect for someone who essentially lives on takeout or frozen meals because it’s just not worth it to cook for one person.  And this particular home has Wii bowling tournaments and I don’t want to sound all braggy, but I could totally beat those old people at bowling. Plus, they bring in outside entertainment.  A friend of mine is in a harmonica band and I went to see them play recently  and the home was giving the residents refreshments as they entered the program!  Free chips, soda or beer at three in the afternoon while I sit in the AC and listen to a harmonica band? YES PLEASE!

But I digress.

As is my normal custom at church, between worship service and Bible study, I sauntered down to the home’s public bathroom.  It’s a two seater.  Normally, even if the handicapped stall is open I go for the regular stall because to take a handicapped stall in a nursing home when you are not handicapped is bordering on cruel.  It’s a real possibility that while you’re in there, someone who actually needs that stall will come in and then you have to take that awkward walk of shame out of the stall. You know, the one where you open the stall door and lock eyes with someone patiently waiting for you to get out, leaning on their walker.  You smile that sheepish smile because you’re busted and they try to smile back but you can tell there are some territorial things going on here.

On this particular Sunday, as  I turned the corner to enter the restroom, I saw an abandoned walker by the sink.  The handicapped stall was open and I heard someone making noises but I entered anyway, trying to think what I should do if I enter the stall and they are in there but just didn’t close the door.  This happens sometimes because I think as you get up there, you don’t care anymore if someone sees you pooping or not.  But the noises were coming from the tiny stall so I took my chances and walked in to the bigger stall.  Whew.  Empty.  I put aside my pre-guilt of using the handicapped stall because, really, how long would it take me to pee?

I turned around to close the door and that’s when it happened.  I made the mistake of not looking at the door but just grabbing it and pulling it closed.  And this is where the regret comes in.  As I pulled my hand away, I felt something on it.  A sick feeling went through my entire body because just as I felt the sticky goo on my hand, my eyes landed on the handle.

There was something dark brown on it.

And on my hand.

OH NO. OH NO. OH NO. THIS IS NOT HAPPENING TO ME. THIS IS NOT HAPPENING! But it was.  I looked at my hand for a brief second.   It was on my index finger and thumb.  Now, had this been a  different time, a different place(not a bathroom) and a different color of goo (anything but brown or red)  my first reaction would have been to immediately smell my hand.

I didn’t smell my hand this time.  I didn’t want to know.  I didn’t want to confirm my fears.  Quickly I grabbed some toilet paper and wiped it off and threw that in the toilet.  I still had to pee though so with my one untainted hand, I swiftly unbuttoned my fly and did my usual hover.  Buttoning back up was a bit tricky but I made it.

I hurried out of the stall to the sink. All I could think about was what had just been on my hand and how even though I had wiped it off, nearly taking the outer layer of skin with it, it was still there, but was just invisible.   Yes, I realized that the proper adult thing to do would be to wipe the gunk off the door. When it comes to bodily secretions or fecal matter, I am not a proper adult.  I turned the hot water on as high as I could and as hot as I could stand it.  I tripled the amount of soap I would normally use.  I scrubbed every inch of my hands, especially the part where the substance had attached itself to my fingers.  I rinsed. I repeated the whole thing again. And two more times.  I washed my hands four times. I dried them and left. As soon as I got back to my journey bag, I got my hand sanitizer out and sanitized my hands not one or two times but THREE TIMES. I still felt dirty.  I spoke to no one of the incident.  Whether this was out of shame or shock,   I do not know.

Later I texted a friend and told her what had happened.  i told her that I may or may not have stuck my hand in….

Old people poo.

She LOL’d me.  This was no LOL’ing moment.  This was serious. This was traumatic.

I don’t have proof that it was old people poo.  In the hours since the incident I have tried to make myself believe that it wasn’t old people poo.  It’s a scientific fact that old people like chocolate pudding.  Maybe it was chocolate pudding.  Or maybe the dining room was serving chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  Could have been chocolate frosting.  Or maybe, Just maybe, instead of carrying Werther’s or butterscotch disks, or starlight mints, maybe the woman who used the stall before me had a forgotten melted chocolate bar in her pocket.  Maybe she  sneezed and when she went to get her hankie, instead brushed against the melted chocolate and that’s what was on the door.

I’ll never know for sure. I’ll never have concrete evidence as to what the substance was on my fingers.  Could have been chocolate, could have been poo.

I could have smelled it to find out but sometimes it’s easier to not know the truth.  I have to accept the fact that I will never know what it was.

Because if I don’t accept that, I have to accept what is probably more likely the truth and that is that I stuck my hand in old people poo. And I cannot fathom living my life with “I stuck my hand in some unknown old person’s poo” as part of my legacy.

I am not down with OPP…Old People Poo…

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Posted by on August 6, 2012 in Random


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My Official Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Review or…the Muny Sucks

My Official Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Review or…the Muny Sucks

Having a degree in theatre has quite possibly ruined me forever.  I can no longer watch a play, musical, tv show or movie without being hyper-critical.  I will be the first to admit that if you have a movie you’re crazy excited about seeing, you might not make me your first choice as a viewing buddy.  If I am not buying the story or find something wrong with the production, my brain takes over and I over focus. And then I will inevitably ruin your evening because I will point out the faults to you so that I’m not sitting there with my thoughts running around all willy nilly in my brain bugging the crap out of me. I share. For instance, recently I went to see Rock of Ages with Romy and I was do distracted by the horror of seeing Tom Cruise’s naked torso that I missed the plot line entirely.  I had to ask her to give me the synopsis the next day and even then I can’t promise that what she told me was what really happened.  I had no idea. For all I know he could have busted out into Scientology bullroar.

That being said, I’m not sure why I even bother going to see shows at the Muny (our local “professional” summer theatre which is really just glorified community theatre and in full disclosure, not even GOOD community theatre) here in St. Louis. I am always disappointed in the quality of the production.  Last night was no exception.

I may or may not have mentioned that Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is one of my favorite shows.  So when I heard it was coming to the Muny stage I was very excited. I’ve seen it there before and while it wasn’t the best production ever, it was still better than almost everything else I have seen there.  If you’re familiar with the show, you know that It’s really a pretty hard show to screw up.  I always compare it to a Big Mac:  you go to any McDonald’s and a Big Mac is a Big Mac. No exceptions.  Dependable but tasty. That is Joseph.

Or so I thought.  When I saw the season lineup I was so pumped because 1) it’s the Big Mac of all theatre, 2) Justin Guarini (the sideshow Bob look-alike from season one of American Idol) was set to star as Joseph.  Not only would I be seeing one of my favorite shows but I’d also have the delicious opportunity to make fun of the star of  the rarely seen From Justin to Kelly! (And no, I have never seen it.)

Folks, if you’re ever asked to star in a Muny production, you know you are officially watching your career swirl about the toilet bowl.

I wondered what I was in for when I saw a giant projection screen at the back of the stage before the show and it was lit up like a Christmas tree with a giant picture of the St. Louis Arch.

“Oh no….say it ain’t so….Joe,” I prayed silently to myself, “please tell me they aren’t going to Lou this up (Lou is the unfortunate nickname given to St Louis)  and make the whole thing St. Louis based.  I love my city very much but St. Louis is not really an appropriate place to set the show.

Surely, they wouldn’t…..surely they did.

Instead of just using the standard prologue, a bunch of actors in modern day clothing flitted about the stage. Every once in a while one of them would stop at the front of the stage and say something like this,

“I lost my job….and then I lost my dream.”


“I lost my husband…and then I lost my dream.”


“I lost my career when I signed on to do this production….and then I lost my dream.”

It was all a tad dramatic for the opening of what was supposed to be a comedic show.

Then the show started. The actors in the show were fairly good. The narrator was impressive and surprisingly when Justin entered the stage, wearing a St. Louis Cardinals jersey, of course, I was quite impressed with his version of “Any Dream Will Do.”  This kid was going to be ok in this show. But an early red flag was that they added a new song….to an Andrew Llloyd Webber classic.  It’s a bold move to add a song you made up to a very well known show.  Is bold the word I’m looking for?

Then the brothers entered.  The show does not require a lot of intense choreography for the brothers, aside from a few dance numbers.  But in this production, any time they were singing, they were doing awkward dance moves that distracted from the song.  They dance through every scene. Way over choreographed and none of the choreography made sense in relation the show or the lyrics.

Each scene was played in front of a very large projected picture of a St. Louis Landmark.  Somehow, someone wrote a new song that basically made it clear that Jacob and Sons was actually a Schnuck’s grocery store. Nice way to take a TRUE story and Lou it up just for a cheap joke…or seven.

“One More Angel In Heaven” was played with a bunch of women in skimpy St. Louis Cardinals shorts and tees with the brothers wearing Cardinals cowboy hats.  The first time they sing the name of the song, out comes Justin/Joseph in an angel costume (looking like a six year old in a church Christmas pageant) surrounded by other angels. Wait…what?  Now we’re in the brothers’ heads?

Potiphar, who bought Joseph as a slave and then put him in charge of the household was portrayed as Donald Trump.  So now I’m really confused because I can’t figure out what Trump has to do with St. Louis.  Or Egypt. Or the Bible.

The end of the first act is the go-go dancing crowd favorite song, “Go go go Joseph”  It’s always amazingly choreographed and makes you want to rush the stage and start shaking it with the actors.  This was a poorly choreographed semi-dance number.  Then at what you thought was the end of the song, the choreography started over.  They repeated the ending three times.  It was like being in an Andrew Lloyd Webber production of Groundhog Day.

At this point, I just felt sorry for Justin.  Poor guy probably thought he was going to come do a classic musical that everyone loves and then he gets stuck in this St. Louis-ified version.  I bet when he was making From Justin to Kelly he thought it couldn’t get any worse.  While I never saw that movie, I can assure you, he thought wrong.

Normally at the Muny, I would leave at intermission but for you, my dear readers, I stayed. While the show was horrific, and I can’t get back my two hours, I did it for the sake of the blog.  If only I had gone to see the show earlier in the week, I could have saved some of you from seeing this trainwreck.  My sadness lies in the fact that as I looked around the amphitheatre at intermission,  I wondered how many first-timers were there.  This was their initiation to the show and I felt bad for them.

As the time for Pharaoh/Elvis to appear neared, I wondered how they would change the classic character.  Would they turn him into Chuck Berry, a native St. Louisian?  Or maybe Tina Turner?  Or worst of all, NELLY?  A flood of relief washed over me as Pharaoh took off his hat to show that he was indeed sporting the Elvis pompadour.  He sounded ok and he danced ok, if not semi-spastic.  The most impressive thing about this actor was that while he was singing, he repeatedly jumped in the air and landed in the splits. Ouchie.  While the song lends itself to cheesiness, the Muny overdid it. Elvis milked the scene for way more than it was worth and in the end it drained the cleverness and wit right out of the entire song. By the end of the song, you were wishing that this Elvis had been the one to have a heart attack on the toilet instead of the real one.

As if  the show wasn’t weird enough already, it got worse.  There is a song of lament sung by the brothers as they are experiencing the famine.  The song “Those Canaan days” is sort of a sendup of a little French café. The brothers sing in an accent and generally wear berets.  The song, although not one of my favorites musically, is always good for a few laughs….except that this director, in keeping with the St. Louis-ification of the whole show, set this song at…where else? TED DREWES FROZEN CUSTARD.

Really?  Mr or Mrs. Director? You thought that it would make sense  to set a FAMINE at a well-known CUSTARD SHOP?  That’s the exact opposite of famine. The giant picture was of Ted Drewe’s famous building and each of the brothers was dressed in a Ted Drewe’s shirt and cap and was standing behind a mini Ted Drewes stand.  For those of you who don’t know, Ted Drewes is famous for it’s concrete (DQ blizzard) and the claim to fame is that you can flip it upside down and it’s so thick that it won’t fall out.  So of course it would make sense that the brothers, who are supposedly starving and singing about it, are standing there holding frozen custard. Ted Drewe would be rolling over in his grave, if he were dead. And if he goes to see how they’ve made a mockery of his shop, may very well end up that way. Death by embarrassment.  I can’t understand how a director makes and justifies that choice. It doesn’t make sense on any level.

But we’ll move on.

Finally at the end, Joseph wants to trick the brothers before he tells them who he is so he hides his cup in a sack of food that he gives to his little brother, Benjamin.  As the brothers are leaving, Joseph accuses them and looks through the sack until he finds it.  This leads into a song called “Benjamin Calyso” which, is always a calypso. Go figure.

Not at the Muny.  Again, the brilliant director, decided to exercise his artistic license and turned the song into a church show choir song.  They changed the lyrics so that it didn’t sound tropical and they ADDED lyrics about “letting Benjamin go”  It was like a gospel church got a hold of the song and made it into a ten minute praise-the-Lord-a-thon.  The sound of the song changed, the lyrics changed and the entire song fell flat on it’s ungodly face.  I cannot even imagine what drug the director was on to make him think it was a wise decision to change the “Benjamin CALYPSO.”  Again, bold move.  But bold is not the right word….the right word would be IDIOTIC.

We stayed through the entire show up until curtain call. Now having been on stage myself, I do try to follow the rule of waiting until after the curtain call to leave.  The curtain call of Joseph is one of the best parts of the legacy.  It’s not like any other one you will ever see. It has been geniusly made into a megamix of all of the songs and the actors dance and sing along.  To reiterate how bad this show was, I will just say this: I didn’t even stay for the megamix.  I was already well on my way to the car. Not that I didn’t think the actors deserved a curtain call. They did, for several reasons.  They all worked very hard. They all performed very well.

But mostly,  they all took a huge hit to their careers by being in this production.

Joseph runs all weekend at the Muny. So if you’re in St. Louis and you’re looking for something to do this weekend,  we have an amazing zoo and it’s free.


Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Jenn's Adventures


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Breaking News

Breaking News

This sporadically scheduled blog is interrupted to bring you some breaking news.  I repeat, I interrupt this post to bring you a different post.  My other story will have to wait until next week.

I don’t always post all of my comments.  If someone somehow reads my blog and finds it offensive or attacks me, I read it, respond to them privately (usually unless they play the coward card and comment anonymously) and move on with my life.  Recently someone read my post about the Village that lives above me and called me racist.

I did not respond to it so I will now.

Dear reader, if you are still out there, looking for ways to condemn me, let me say thank you for taking the time to read ONE post in which I stated the TRUTH about the morons who lived around me.  If you really knew me you’d know I’m not at all racist. I am however, blunt.  The only thing I did was to write about what went on in my building.  If you can’t comprehend this, then let me just add this:  the blog is titled “THAT’S NOT APPROPRIATE”  meaning, that possibly, what I’m writing isn’t going to fly well with all of the PC crap out there now.  In conclusion to your condemnation, I say, I calls ’em like I sees ’em.

Last night a friend came over to play guitar, more on my bands later (yes, I am in two:  Sticker Monkey and the BEETles. We only play private parties.)  We decided to go get something to eat so as we’re walking out, I stopped dead in my tracks, horrified at what lay before me.  On my front porch, there was a three-inch puddle of fresh vomit.  Apparently the puker had hot dogs because that’s all it was.  On one of the steps was an even more massive puddle of chewed up hot dogs and milky tan spittle.  This had to be a kid.  We came back and I washed  the vomit into the bushes, ants and all.

This was just one more incident that happened because of the village.  I made a mental note to text the landlord one of my many texts that always begins like this:

“Can you please tell the people upstairs….”

But I didn’t and night turned into morning.  I stepped out to take Yadi for her morning poopy walk and saw that the parking spaces in front of my house were blocked off and in front of them was a U-Haul truck. Great. More neighbors. Another chance at being annoyed by bad behavior.  We finished our walk and went inside.

I sat down on the couch and heard shuffling coming from upstairs.  It sounded like someone was wrestling a baby elephant.


What the…?

I felt a little excited butterflies begin to stir in my stomach. My brain was doing the math:


Whoa. Down girl. Let’s not get too excited.  They, being the village that they are, and already having at least six people in a two bedroom apartment, might be moving someone in.  Maybe a grandmother. Or a grandfather. Or a second cousin once removed who didn’t have a green card. Or all of the above.

I got up and went to the front door, parted the mini-blinds and looked out.  And there, struggling to move an unbelievably large mattress down the steps, was the UPSTAIRS NEIGHBOR!

YAY!  I have envisioned this moment and hoped for it for so long and now it’s happening!

No more finding motor oil bottles in my freshly washed sheets in the basement!

No more oompa music from speakers right below my bedroom window!

No more tuba lessons in the backyard!

No more party remains left in the back for days, drawing bugs, rats and possibly even city raccoons!

No more little kids peering into my windows to make Yadi bark!

No more twelve SUVs taking up every parking space in front of the house!

No more missing laundry detergent!

No more unidentified socks showing up in my laundry!

No more second-hand smoke drifting up from the basement!

No more front bushes being used as a trash can for empty beer cans!

No more dirty diapers left on the steps!

And finally,

No more hot dogs puked on the front porch for me to clean up!

Yes indeedy, today… new, Village Free life begins…..

(Insert Hallelujah chorus here)


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Sea Monkey Farmer

Sea Monkey Farmer

As you all know, I am already a proud pet parent.  My shih tzu could beat up your honor roll student. Being Yadi’s mom is quite a commitment. One that I wasn’t sure that I was ready for. But I believe that I have raised a very happy dog and it makes me feel like I’m ready for more.

Romy and I went to a subdivision sale a few weeks ago.  We drove by a house where a lady was standing by the mailbox trying to get her sign to stay put.  We stopped and after calling “dibs”  (calling dibs in the world of rummage sales means that you have first call on the products for sale.  Rummage sale dibs is in no way legally binding nor do the people in the car with you ever actually follow the rules of dibs.  But I have to call it anyway.)

“Dibs!”  I screamed while opening the car door, with my dibs being totally ignored by Romy.

We walked up to a garage full of educational toys.  For me, a bust.  Yadi is smart but I refuse to try to make her learn how to count with an abacus.  Upon closer examination though, I found a gem, a diamond in the rough.

For there, among the fourth and fifth grade math books, nestled behind several packets of Brainquest cards, was something that made my ignored pleas of Dibs pay off:


A complete Sea Monkey kit, normally costing seven to eight dollars….for TWENTY FIVE CENTS!


I immediately snatched up the monkeys and forked over the quarter.  My adventure was set to begin.

We got back in the car and I explained to Romy how excited I was about this find.  She seemed unaffected.

Hmm….well she won’t be so unimpressed when she sees them magically hatch right before her very eyes!

I headed home, knowing that I would have to wait four whole days to hatch my new babies. Romy was going to come in Wednesday to go to a Cardinals game. I planned to hatch them then.

On Tuesday, per the official Sea Monkey directions, I filled the tank and added the water purifier.

One more day.

After the game, we headed back to my house. (We mopped the Pirates by the way)  As soon as we got there, I made Romy come into the kitchen to watch the little beasts come to life.  She was able to contain the overwhelming excitement that was brimming just beneath the surface.

I ripped the envelope and dumped the eggs into the tank and stirred gently and….


See those little black dots?  THOSE are Sea Monkey eggs!

Wait for it…..see how they’re moving around in the current?  See how they’re not wiggling yet?

Sadness.  My eggs did not hatch.  Romy picked up the instructions and informed me that it may take more than a day due to the water temperature.

I was so disappointed that Romy, who was to be the godmother to my monkeys, did not get to experience their miraculous birth.  Even more disappointed that the next day, Romy and I were headed to her house in the country and she would again not have the opportunity to see them come to life because despite  homeschooling her kids, Romy had NEVER seen live Sea Monkeys.

Let me repeat that for emphasis:


Un-American. It’s equivalent to never having had a Chia Pet.  Everyone needs to do it once.

And I had owned Sea Monkeys before. In seventh grade, I had some.  I don’t remember the specifics but I think they may have started to smell and we um…disposed of them.  Don’t ask.

I came home from the country on Friday and immediately ran to my little Sea Monkey tank.


Oh sure, they were just tiny little dots but they were alive! I didn’t fail! (at least at this one thing.)

Now, I can proudly say that I have a pretty healthy amount of Sea Monkeys. I am officially a Sea Monkey Farmer.  They’re only a week old and they are thriving.  I can’t wait til they breed.  I don’t want to rush them to grow up and I’d like them to be kids for as long as they wish but I want grandmonkeys!

I just wanted to let you all know that I am embarking on this new adventure.  I will keep you updated and will eventually post pics (because I know you are all on the edge of your seat) and maybe even videos of my thriving Sea Monkey World.  Until then, wish me luck on my breeding.

….of Sea Monkeys…not of myself.


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The Declaration of Friendependence

The Declaration of Friendependence
“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.–Thomas Aquinas
I take my friendships very seriously.  I am sure that I am guilty of setting my expectations probably way to high for my friends but I have a credo of friendship that I live by and here it is:
I will never ask my friends to do something that I would not do myself.
  In keeping with that, I realized that I owed it to Romy, as my best friend, to clearly lay out the expectations I have of her and of myself in this friendship.  So without further ado, here is the
Declaration of Friendependence.
I, Jenn Murphy, being of semi-sound mind do hereby, on this twenty ninth day of the month of April of the year two thousand and twelve do hereby and henceforth, plan to abide by the following guidelines as set forth in this very official sounding but really just full of big legalish words that would more than likely allow me to kick butt in a game of Scrabble.
Article 1-Timeliness
1.1.  I will always be on time to meet you wherever we decide to meet.  More likely, because of my paranoia and constant fear of running late because of someone else’s moronic driving, I will be at least thirty minutes late to any event.
1.2.  I fully expect that you will be a minimum of ten minutes late to nearly every event and even if your husband Duke isn’t with you, I will overlook the fact that you blame your lateness on him. 
1.3.  Due to your consistent lateness, I will always tell you that we need to meet earlier than we actually do.  Please expect that this time will range anywhere from five to twenty minutes early, so as to keep you from guessing what time you actually have to be there. This way, you’ll be on time and I will not be irritated. Win win.
Article 2-Embarrassment
1.1  Going forth from this point, I will try to limit the amount of embarrassment I bring to you publicly.  I expect you to do the same. 
1.2.  At certain events, please expect that I will be wearing a Wonder Woman cape and or tube socks as wristbands.  Maybe even at the same time.  Don’t ask questions, just go with it.
1.3.  Fanny packs are not allowed at any events that we go to.  Just hand me your personal effects and I’ll throw them in my journey bag. 
1.4.  If either party is discovered by the other party to have a boog, the second part will discreetly let the first party know of the boog’s presence.  And this shall be done quietly, without yelling, “hey you’ve got a boogar hanging out of your nose!”  Perhaps a simple upward tilt of the head with widened eyes while quietly intaking a little air would be appropriate.
1.5.  If one party asks the other party if a particular item of clothing makes them look fat, the questioned party must fight very hard to keep from retorting, Tommy Boy style, “NO YOUR FACE DOES.”
Article 3: Aging
1.1.  Eventually we will both be senile.  You, being older, will probably hit this milestone first.  I promise to not get irritated with you when I have to answer the same question fourteen times in a span of twelve minutes. 
1.2.  I will come visit you in the home.  Should I end up in one first (by some freak accident) you are expected to do the same.
1.3.  I will gladly feed you your pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, just like Hoke in Driving Miss Daisy.
1.4.  Along those same lines, I will drive you to the Piggly Wiggly but you have to sit in the front seat because I am not your chauffeur.
1.5.  I will not change your diapers.  That’s why you have kids so that one day they might return the favor.
1.6.  I will tell you where you left your false teeth (in your mouth) after about a half an hour of not telling you.
1.7. Both parties must alert their families BEFORE they are too senile to express their wishes, that they wish to be placed in the same home.
1.8. In the event that I perish before you do (unlikely since you’re like a decade older than me) please have my ashes scattered in two places:  Art Hill in Forest Park and Busch Stadium.  And try not to get arrested dumping the remains on the warning track of the stadium.
Article 4:  General Articles of Friendship
1.1. In the event that we are engaged in a fit of laughter that is making our stomachs hurt so bad, and the first party tells the other party to stop because they are going to throw up, the second party is not required to do so and in fact, may take this as encouragement to try even harder to get the first party to throw up. This also applies when there is the threat of liquid coming out of nostrils due to uncontrollable laughter.
1.2.  If both parties are shopping and the first party squats down to peruse items that are on the ground, the second party can not be held responsible for giving in to the urge to push the first party down. 
1.3.  Only in the case of extreme emergency will either party be expected to share their Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers with the other party.  This sharing will ONLY occur once the top layer of wax has been scraped off before and after usage.
1.4.  The above is also valid for the sharing of beverages.  If party one has a beverage and party two does not and is parched, party one may share her beverage with party two but not through straw usage.  Party two must take the lid off of the beverage and sip carefully so as to avoid any backwash and must then replace the lid.  At no time should party two use party one’s straw. 
1.5. If both parties have agreed to view a movie together, each party must abstain from watching the movie without the other.
1.6.  While shopping at the Goodwill By the Pound store, party one must fully expect party two to throw a pair of underwear in her general direction at least once during the outing.  Party two agrees to aim only for the arms of party one.
1.7. Both parties must agree to capture a picture of any plumber’s butt that they encounter when not together and send it to the other party.  If the parties are together, a funny photo must be taken of one party pointing to the offending plumber’s butt.
1.8.  As the need arises, either party may place addendums to this declaration within reason and as agreed upon by both parties.  In the event of a disagreement on addendums, Jenn Murphy will make the final decision.
1.9.  Neither party will ever sing Celine Dion songs in each other’s presence.
1.10  Party one reserves the right to, at any time and on any occasion, bring up the fact that an elderly woman in our church mistook party one for party two’s daughter….and giggle.
1.11.  I promise to always have your back and tell you the truth (even if this means just hesitating too long when you ask me a question)  and let you know if you have a piece of corn on your face when we are in a restaurant.
Please note that these are the original articles of the Declaration of Friendependence.  I, Jenn Murphy, have given Romy the ability and authority to make addendums to these original articles in case I have forgotten or overlooked any important points. However, if she writes something that I disagree with or in no way can follow through on,  I hereby reserve the right to change the addendum at my whim. 

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Death By Apartment

Death By Apartment

There hasn’t been a day that’s gone by since I’ve lived in this apartment when the thought “Hmm….that seems kind of dangerous. I might die because of this…” hasn’t passed through my mind. That’s not to say that I’m over here dwelling on death or ways to die, it’s just that, to put it bluntly, I kind of sort of live in a death trap. Don’t get me wrong, I love my home. Other than my parents’ house, this is the place that I’ve lived the longest. I’m comfortable here.

I’m also sure that I’m living in my coffin.

Let me put it another way: Besides the obvious lack of maternal instincts (other than the ones that come quite naturally to me when in reference to Yadi), and the total lack of interest, because of my home, I would never be allowed to foster a child (I must re-iterate here how my dwelling is but a minor part of this equation) This place would never pass the rigid inspection needed to allow it. I’m not even sure this place would pass the city inspection to avoid condemnation.

So I’d like to take you on a tour of my home and the many ways I could die in it. This is a verbal tour so if you haven’t been here, you must use your imagination. Hopefully I will paint a picture that will allow even the weakest of the creative minds to envision it.

Before we even enter the giant ugly red brick building which I call home, we must go up steps that are crumbling, cracking and eroding away. The landlord’s solution to fixing these is to shovel some Sakrete into the holes and crevices and barely smooth them over with what I can only guess is a jagged piece of glass. This is not even the biggest problem with the steps. I can’t even begin to recount the times that I have fallen down (or more often up) the front steps. I thought I was just getting clumsy (clumsier) in my old age until a friend pointed out that the one step in the middle is not the same height, so when I’m taking my natural strides, expecting the steps to be basically the same size (how dare I think this) they in fact, are not. This, along with my natural lack of grace in movement, causes me to trip at least once a week.

One day, I might be going up (or down) the steps with a sharp object (maybe picking up the jagged piece of glass that was used to even out the Sakrete) and fall on the uneven step, thereby impaling myself on the piece of glass that was supposed to have remedied the situation in the first place. Ironic Death.

I have some pretty mirrors from IKEA on the wall behind my couch. This is also the same wall I share with the upstairs neighbors’ stairs. It behooves me to mention here that they do not come and go like normal neighbors. They travel like a herd of buffalo stampeding everywhere they go. This causes my mirrors to shake on their wall anchors.

One day, I might be sitting on my couch, watching a stirring and emotional episode of Good Times when suddenly, the buffalo herd decides to go the grocery store. I could be sitting there eating Cheetos, totally unaware of the impending death I will suffer when the mirrors come crashing down on my head and the shards embed themselves through the still-soft parts of my skull. Good news is that because of this death, the landlord will now have more jagged glass with which to perfect his masonry skills.

The electrical outlets in my house are less than reliable. If ever I am in need of entertainment after dinner, all I must do is plug or unplug something in any one of the wall outlets in this apartment. Every time I plug something in, sparks and flames shoot out from the socket. This can’t be right.

One day, I could be trying to do my weekly vacuuming, go to plug my Dirt Devil in and the next thing you know, I’m a charred piece of jerky lying on the floor in a puddle of my own urine (Because although I have no proof that this is what happens, I am sure that when you are electrocuted you lose control of your bladder.) And of course, being smoked meat, I will smell delicious and the next thing you know, you see my big ugly apartment on the five o’clock news because, after my horrible and grilling death, every channel will be telling the story of how a normally mild-mannered, yet Be dog ate it’s owner’s face off because it smelled like Beggin’ Strips.

For a while, you could go in any room of the house, turn on the lights and find giant water bugs everywhere. At first I thought they were roaches and I was appalled because I am nothing if not a OCD housekeeper. But after many hours or looking at pictures of bugs online and having conversations with St. Louis natives, I found that these were just old-fashioned water bugs. What I discovered on my own was that if you don’t have bug spray handy or you panic and grab the first thing from underneath the sink with which to spray them, water bugs will die a slow and seemingly painful death when doused generously with Kitchen 409. Sidenote: They will also lose control of their bowels. This might be where I got it in my head that everything loses control of bodily functions at any given time.

One day, I might be sound asleep in my bed (why I’m sleeping soundly during the day I don’t know. Just go with me on this one) and the water bugs might decide to mutiny. They will all come up the steps of the basement, probably singing that “oh ee oh” song from the Wizard of Oz in a little platoon and attack me. They could embed themselves in my brain by going through my ear or nostril or any other orifice. Someone will find me, bugs crawling out of my empty eye sockets, lying in my bed. Death by water bug.

We’ve got a couple more rooms and the basement. Stay with me.

I may have mentioned my fears of the bathroom before. Not the one where I’m convinced I’m going to find a dead body in a public bathroom stall or the one where I’m positive that some night I’m going to get up to go pee and there’s going to be a snake coiled in the toilet bowl and because I’m not fully awake and unaccustomed to checking toilet snakes, I will sit down and he will bite my nether regions and I will die either from the venom or from fear or a combination of both. No, this fear is probably more realistic. Every time I take a shower, because I have seen the rotting floor beneath it, I am quite positive that it’s just a matter of time before I am showering, singing some Broadway show tune horribly off-key, when the floor finally rots away and the whole bathtub goes plummeting into the basement and I am found lying nekkid in a pile of ceramic rubble with various bottles of shower gel and shampoo strewn about my mangled body. If I’m lucky, it will be a quick death and the buffalo herd will not be doing their laundry in the basement at the same time. Nothing would be worse than dying nekkid in front of your neighbors as they’re sorting they’re unmentionables. Death by rotting floor.

The other fear I have is that I could be showering at the same time someone from the buffalo herd is showering and we all go crashing down because if my shower is leaking all over the floor, I’m positive that theirs is too. Also factoring in to my sureness of this is that I can see the ceiling becoming water-logged above my shower. It’s just a matter of time, people. Death by rotting ceiling causing nekkid neighbor to come crashing down on nekkid me, sending us both hurling into the basement.

Other than the fact that my back door opens directly into my bedroom, I don’t really have any fear (except for the water bug attack) of dying in my bedroom. Ironically, this will probably be where I will die because I am not expecting it.

This leads us to the basement. If possible I would avoid going into my basement at all costs but that’s where my washer and dryer are so once I run out of the 93 pairs of underwear I have, I am left with no choice but to go downstairs. To let you know how much I really hate going into the basement, I left the carcass of a dead mouse in a trap for at least two years because I didn’t want to go into the back of the basement to retrieve it. Also, I didn’t want to touch the carcass of a dead mouse. By the time I found him he was a shriveled little dried crunchy bit of mouse. The weird part is, when I went back to look at him again, the trap was there but the body was gone. Mouse body snatchers? I don’t know.

So I have to trudge down the rickety steps to the basement to do laundry. That part isn’t the worst part, although it’s scary in its own right. The more dangerous part is heading back up the steps with my center of balance off-kilter because I’m carrying a basket full of 92 pairs of underwear.

One day, I might be carrying my laundry back up the steps and not throw my weight forward enough and the next thing you know, I’m lying at the bottom of the steps in a heap, covered in my own clean underwear (save for the pair I’m wearing, because, again, I’m sure one would soil oneself when one realizes they are falling backwards to their death) Death by clean laundry.

Thank you for indulging me and coming on this journey with me. I’d ask you to stay the night but you might fall asleep on the couch when the buffaloes come home and I can’t in good faith, allow you to die by falling mirrors.


Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Random


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Last Thursday part of my regular routine was disrupted. For those of you who know me, you know that this can be catastrophic. As with the rest of my life, my work life has a routine and any variance on that routine can screw up my whole day. Here’s how the liquid intake portion of my work day goes, every day, without fail:

I make my to-go cup of cappuccino (English Toffee made with skim milk, I refuse to drink it if it’s made with water. Don’t try to fool me, I can tell.) about fifteen minutes before leaving for work so that it has the appropriate cool down time. This way, the minute I step out of my car, I can take my first sip without fear of having a burned tongue. An early morning tongue burning will literally mess up the entire day. As long as my beverage is in a spill-proof container I can take it to my desk. So I do. I will sip on my cappuccino, pacing myself perfectly so that by my first break, it is finished. When I go on my first break, I will then either get the soda I brought from home and pour it into my cup or I will go down to the cafeteria and purchase an overpriced bottle of soda.

I’ll be honest, sometimes I buy the soda because one of the machines, after I push the button to get my soda, has a little elevator that goes up to my selection, which is propelled forward somehow, and takes it on it’s final journey into my hands. Maybe I just don’t get out enough but I am greatly entertained by watching this take place.

Back to last Thursday, everything was going smoothly until I went to get my Mountain Dew. I dug through my journey bag to get my miniature Jordache duffel bag (circa 1980, purchased a few years ago at a yard sale for ten cents) full of change. It wasn’t there. Luckily I had a few dollar bills to get the soda so as not to disrupt my day. But still, the missing change purse was disturbing. I wasn’t worried yet though. Perhaps it fell out into the car and was resting peacefully beneath the passenger seat.

I checked the entire car. No mini Jordache duffel. I drove home, all the while going over in my head where I might have left it. Once home, I tore through the house looking for it. No duffel. I went through this routine for a few days, looking in different places as they occurred to me. Still no duffel.

Just when I’d finally accepted the fact that I no longer had my vintage mini Jordache duffel, along with a missing one dollar and eighty-five cents, I found it. I was putting Yadi’s leash on a hook by the front door where it is always kept. And as usual, it fell off the hook and landed in the brown bed that I keep for her by the front door. While leaning down to retrieve it, something maroon caught my eye.

I knew instantly. Buried under the cushion of Yadi’s plush bed, I found my mini duffel. BURIED. This was no hapless accident. This did not happen by mistake. This was foul play.

The bigger picture unfolded right in front of me. It took a few minutes for me to begin to process the truth. My dog, my daughter….my baby girl…..was a thief. I looked over at her and those big bulging eyes told me everything I needed to know. Everything that I didn’t want to believe was confirmed with just one glance at her face.

Guilt. She had the same look that she gets when she accidentally poops on the floor and I say to her “Did you poop on the floor?” Guilt.

But why? Why would a seemingly innocent dog steal one dollar and eighty-five cents and stash it away? There had to be a reason. My mind raced over all the possible scenarios. Perhaps she was plotting a get away. Maybe she was waiting for me to drop a dollar bill here and there as I emptied my pockets each day after work. Could she be hiding money other places? Was she so unhappy at home that she felt like her only way out was to run away, living off of the kindness of strangers and however many Milk bones a dollar eighty-five would buy? How would she reach her destinations? Would she try to hitchhike? How could she possibly think that she could hitchhike? She has no thumbs.

And then I felt bad for thinking the worst. I mean, maybe, just maybe she was still the sweet, innocent dog that I had raised since she was seven weeks old. Maybe she was planning on surprising me on my birthday, buying me a new squeaky tennis ball. Maybe she was going to surprise me with a trip to New Zealand. Perhaps I had been too hasty. Perhaps she had good motives. Perhaps I had misread her look of disappointment at not being able to surprise me as one of guilt.

Or perhaps I let my overactive imagination go too far either way and she really just found something that she liked chewing on and decided to hide it away to savor it. The worst part of this is that I will never know her motives.

But I’m not taking any chances. I’m keeping all my valuables at least a foot and a half off the ground.

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Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Jenn's Adventures


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