Tag Archives: texas

I hate summer. There. I said it.

I know what I’m about to say isn’t going to be very popular. But hey, you know what? Abraham Lincoln wasn’t universally appreciated for his views in his lifetime either.

(Although anyone wishing to assassinate me needs to get in line behind my ex-boyfriends, my ninth-grade English teacher, Kim Kardashian, those Jehovah Witnesses that came to my door last week, Khloe Kardashian, Octomom, my former basketball coach, pretty much the rest of the Kardashians and the entire country of Amsterdam).

OK. Here goes…

I am not a fan of summer.

Oh, screw it. Enough sugarcoating. I downright dislike summer. At certain points, I even loathe it. And as for August? Well, I want to sew one of its orifices to another month’s orifice (preferably July’s) and make them crawl around and do stuff and junk and other mean, evil things. (Confession: I never actually saw “The Human Centipede”).

In fact, I even made a chart about how much I hate summer:

And yes, I am well aware that this makes me the cheese who stood alone and that I might be the only person ever to list summer as my least favorite season. But contrary to the disproportionally angry responses I received on Facebook when I dared to insult this oh-so-holy season, it is not illegal to hate summer.

And yet, when you dare to say this out loud, people act like you just punched a baby in the face. And not one of those ugly babies that no one cares about. One of the super cute ones.

It’s like being a vegetarian in the South. Or a Republican in Portland. Or a woman in Utah. You constantly have to defend your reasoning for daring to be this way.

But to that I say, why does everyone love summer anyway? The major holidays– Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day– are only fun if you have a boat or are good friends* with someone who owns a boat. The rest of us landlubbers just get to look forward to sweating onto our plate of charred meat, sweating out all the beer we worked so hard to chug and trying to prevent our pets from committing suicide in response to the ceaseless BOOM-BOOMs going on all around them.

*Or have really big boobs. Or even semi-big boobs. Or…you know, boobs.

And sure, summer is great when you’re young and when apparently based only on the merit of your immaturity and acne, you earn the right to have those three months off. But once that stops, what’s left? The same stresses you have to deal with in your daily life during all the other seasons, only now with more BO that you pretend not to smell on other people or yourself.

Not to mention the mosquitos. The tiny, tiny unforgiving summer wardrobe. The trying to maintain the delicate balance between not getting skin cancer and not having the skin tone of a corpse. The constant need to shave my man-hairy legs. And seeing people wearing Crocs unironically.

I mean, just look what you have to look forward to during every other season compared to summer:

Now, I thought maybe when I moved to Boston, my summer issues were over. Because after living in South Texas, the land of eternal summer, for five years, it seemed like a breezy, 75 degree, sunny oasis in my heat stroke-destroyed mind.

But HA! No! It’s hot and humid here too! In fact, I haven’t stopped sweating since May!

And so, I maintain my stance. I hate summer.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go scythe off my leg hair and put on 12 more pounds of deodorant.*

*Sorry, fellas, but I’m already taken.

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When real life attacks…

Well, I’m back. It’s been a hellish two weeks out in the real world that ended with the funeral of a beloved family member, but now I’m ready to retreat back into my virtual life where the biggest emotional incident is when someone I barely know un-friends me for cursing too much in my status updates.

I’m sure at some point in the near future, I’ll write more about what happened, but for now I am emotionally drained and physically bloated (thanks to way too much little old lady church food). So, for now, please enjoy this re-run column I wrote when I got bored one day at work a few years ago and created new state mottos for this lovely country of ours.

Mary Ahlers
1928-2012

                                          Aprill’s List of New State Mottos:

Texas: Come for the Ungodly-Sized Bugs, Stay for the Debilitating Heat

Arizona: Yup. Just as Racist as You Imagined

Florida: Housing the majority of senior citizens so the rest of you can get to work on time since 1967.

Delaware: Bet you ten dollars you can’t pick out our state on a map.

Illinois: At least we have Chicago.

Idaho: No, You ‘Da Ho

Kansas: Flatter than your 12-year-old sister

North Dakota: The “North” State

South Dakota: The “South” State

Rhode Island: Officially neither a road nor an island.

Ohio: Screw you, Michigan.

Kentucky: Over one million people, only 15 last names.

Nevada: Prostitution is legal…need we say more?

Georgia: We should already be on your minds.

Michigan: Suck it, Ohio

West Virginia: The Alabama of the East

Utah: Former Day Saints need not apply

Arkansas: Yeah, we’re not really known for anything

California: For sale

North and South Carolina: The “Mary Kate and Ashley” of the U.S.

Washington: Remember when we were cool? Grunge? Kurt Cobain? Starbucks? Anyone?

Missouri: Motto Currently Under Reconstruction

Colorado: Come for the mountains, stay for the snotty rich kids on school break.

Alabama: Not as redneck as Kentucky, ya’ll

Louisiana: Mosquitos big enough to rape your dog

Iowa: We heart vowels!

New Hampshire: Like Old Hampshire, only newer

New York: Like we care about a motto

Connecticut: We’re pretty much just one giant suburb for New York

Virginia: No presumptuous directional prefix required

Alaska: Sorry about Sarah Palin

Hawaii: If you enjoy swimming, take a ride on our interstates

Maine: We have crabs!

Massachusetts: The Traffic Jam State

Mississippi: The Educashun State

Maryland: The Other OTHER “M” State

Nebraska: CORN RULES!

Montana: Ask us about our state motto contest!

Wyoming: Wy not?

New Jersey: The Reality TV State

Pennsylvania: It’s not really always sunny

Tennessee: Rivaling Mississippi in misspellings since 1867

Vermont: Name two of our cities, we dare you

Wisconsin: We’re actually OK with global warming

Oregon: Like California, only crappier

New Mexico: Aliens!? Wha…? Don’t be ridiculous.

Oklahoma: We hate that fucking musical too

Once upon a time, an adult had a nervous breakdown

Hey kids! You know how you can’t WAIT to become an adult and do all the COOL stuff that only adults get to do? Like…

Well, kids, ice cream gives you heart disease, puppies eventually grow old and lose bladder control and insomnia gives you wrinkles.

And now, Auntie Aprill wants to tell you some more “special” stories, little ones. All about the other COOL stuff you get to do as an adult.

The first story is called “The Princess With the Out-of-State License.”

Once upon a time, there was a princess who had moved to the kingdom of Texas. But being a fairly lazy princess, she waited a little too long to replace her Ohio driver’s license with a Texas license. So when it came time to renew her auto insurance, the evil step-insurance agent said “Princess, we can’t renew your policy until you get a Texas license,” and then laughed an evil laugh.

So, the princess drove her “technically” un-insured car all the way into the bowels of Hell, also known as the Department of Motor Vehicles. And it was there she was told by the horned devil, also known as a DMV employee, that “Princess, we can’t give you a Texas driver’s license until you have proof of insurance,” and then laughed an even evil-er laugh.

So, the princess, trying to remain in good spirits and not chew through her seatbelt in utter frustration, returned to the evil step-insurance agent and told them what the horned devil had told her. And then do you know what happened, kids? That’s right! The evil step-insurance agent said, “I’m very sorry, princess, but we simply can’t give you insurance until you have a Texas license.”

Now, kiddies, do you see the problem with this scenario? You do! Well, good for you! Because apparently the asshats trolls at both these institutions did not. So finally, the princess told the evil step-insurance agent “Well, lady, something’s gotta give. Else I will be stuck in your office forever because I can’t drive anywhere.”

Luckily, the evil step-insurance agent finally relented and agreed to give the princess proof of insurance under the condition she immediately return and show them her new license. So the princess drove back to the bowels of Hell, stood in line for 43 hours and then finally went through the ass-numbingly dull process of getting her license. But just when she thought her epic journey was finally at an end, the horned devil behind the counter said, “That will be $62.50.” As the princess whipped out her debit card, the horned devil disguised as a human being added, “Sorry, we only take cash.”

“You didn’t feel the need to mention to this earlier?”

“Nope.”

“What about a check?”

“Nope.”

“OK, well, let me run to the ATM. Can I have my Ohio license back real quick?”

“Sorry, princess, I can’t do that. Once you turn it in, I can’t give it back.”

“Can you give me the Texas license then?”

“Nope. Not until you pay.”

Kids, do you see the problem with this scenario? You do! Good for you! Because once again, they did not.

And so, the princess said “Well, lady, something’s gotta give. Else I’m stuck here forever and I’m about two seconds away from re-enacting that scene in “Steel Magnolias” “Terms of Endearment” where the mom really wants the nurse to give her daughter the drugs.”

Luckily, the horned devil let her run to the ATM real quick in order to get $62.50 in cash after discussing it with Trooper Gary, who said “Whatever. Just don’t kill anyone. I’m on break.”

And they all lived happily ever after.

That is, until the princess decided one day that in order to pay off one of her credit cards, she needed to cancel her security protection and warranty policy on items purchased because the monthly charges were adding too much to the interest. This story is titled “The Princess and the Battle of the Automated Phone Answering Service” and can be read in one of my earlier columns here. (You can also read the story of “The Princess Who Tried to Find a &#$@ing Place to Live in the Kingdom of Boston” here.)

This next one I like to call “The Princess and The Ogre Guarding the Rental Car Office at the Columbus Airport.”

Once upon a time, there was a princess and her prince who flew in a giant, metal bird to attend a friend’s wedding in Ohio. Upon landing, the two went to meet the ogre guarding the rental car office at the airport.

“We’d like to rent a car,” the princess said.

“OK, princess. May I see your license?” the ogre replied.

“Oh, well, actually it will be the prince driving. My license expired this week and unfortunately, I didn’t notice,” the princess said.

“OK. Does the prince have a credit card?”

“No. But I do. I’ll be paying.”

“Oh, I’m very sorry, princess. We can’t allow that.”

“Allow what?”

“We need a valid license and a credit card to rent you a car.”

“Right. And that’s what we have. He has a valid license. And I have a credit card.”

“I’m sorry. It doesn’t work that way.”

“What way? I’ll sign a waiver or whatever saying I am allowing the prince to drive the car.”

“No.”

“No, what? Look, we’re together. Like, together together. Not married yet or anything but we have a joint bank account and I’m comfortable enough to fart in front of him, so basically, all that’s missing is a piece of paper. We have what you require: A license and a credit card. Now give us a freaking car.”

“I’m sorry but one of you needs to have both.”

“Are you kidding me? It’s two hours to my family’s house. We. Need. A. Car.”

“No.”

“I’ll give you my first-born!”

“Um…no.”

“Don’t make me jump this counter, little man.”

“Princess, you’re becoming belligerent.”

“I’ll show you belligerent, you mother-…”

“OK, princess,” the prince finally said. “Time to go.”

“Have a good day, princess!” the ogre cried out as they were leaving.

“I hope you die!” the princess said as dignified as she could while being carried out fireman-style.

And if all THOSE stories weren’t enough to convince you of the joys of adulthood, kids, check out this one fresh from this morning, which I like to call “The Princess and the Multi-State Bureaucracy Nightmare.”

Once upon a time, a princess tried to register her car with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. Now, the princess, through a rare instance of fiscal responsibility, had actually paid the car off and owned it in full. Now, kids, you may be thinking she should be rewarded for that. But NOOOOOO. No, because see, the princess originally bought the car in Ohio, an evil land where apparently, when the bank no longer owns your car, the title doesn’t go to you. Oh, no, silly goose. It goes, obviously, to the Clerks of Court in whatever god forsaken county you happened to purchase the car.

And in order to get it back, you have to download and fill out Form No. 3774 to apply for your certificate of title (of the car you legally own, by the way), and under the replacement box, put No. 5500XXXXXXXXX, and then under some other line put 67907XXXX, fill out the vehicle information section, have it signed by a notary, then mail it to the Clerk of Courts WITH a self-addressed, self-stamped envelope. Luckily, you should retrieve your title before the Mayan-predicted end of the world next December.

(Kids, this is all true).

After that, you have to get auto insurance from a Massachusetts state-approved insurance company, who has to fill out a RMV-1 form, send it to you, which you then print out and bring it with you to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, along with your registration from Texas (of which you can’t find), some other documents you are pretty sure are simply just made up, a royal decree agreeing to give the RMV your second-born (since your first-born promise to the ogre at the car rental place is binding) and the still beating heart of a baby bunny.

And the moral of all these stories, kids? Don’t ever grow up. And if you do, don’t ever buy a car, move to another state, get a credit card, travel or drive. Just become a hermit. In the woods. Far away from civilization.

Just make sure you fill out Cave Dwelling and Advance Beard Growth Permit Form No. 9073 first…in triplicate.

Feeling hot, hot, hot…and semi-homicidal

Full disclosure: I have never actually been to Vietnam nor fought in a war over there. So therefore, I can’t “technically” have a flashback to ‘Nam. But I’m pretty sure that during last week’s heat wave, I had the closest approximation a civilian can get to having that experience.

As the temps continued to climb into the 100’s here in New England, suddenly I was thrust back to the five years I spent living in South Texas. While I may have actually been walking down Newbury Street in Boston, in my mind’s eye I was back in that steamy (non)jungle, whimpering and rocking in the fetal position as my sobs mixed with my sweat.

For those of you who have never been to Texas, or anywhere in the South during the height of summer, there are a lot of ways you could describe the “seasons” down there:

Hot, Hotter, Really Hot and December.

Hot, Hotter, DAAAAAMN! and Satan’s Asshole.

Hot and Humid, Hot and Humid-er, Drought and Mosquito.

But personally, I think the best way to sum up the seasons down there in regards to my personality is: Homicidal and Slightly Less Homicidal.

(Of course, over time I got a little bit more used to the Texas heat. For instance, while my first summer was spent mostly lying down on the floor spread eagle by a fan in nothing but my skivvies, my last summer there was spent lying down on the floor spread eagle by a fan in my skivvies and a tank top).

Now, you may be thinking, “If Texas is so unbearably hot, how come so many people live there?” And the answer to that is very simple.

I am 100 percent a super-mega-ultra-wussy when it comes to heat. And the rest of the world is, in fact, not.

See, while normally I look like this:

…when I got hot, I turn into this:

To most people, being hot is a natural occurrence that happens from time to time and is no big deal. To me, however, being hot is akin to the end of the world and makes me want to stab little baby bunnies in the throat.

And the thing is, I don’t know why. I don’t know what it is about my chemical makeup that makes me turn into the Hulk (APRILL STAB BUNNY!) when it gets above 80 degrees. I see other people out and about, enjoying their days during the summer and not frothing at the mouth with one eye bulging out of its socket a’ la Mr. DeMartino from “Daria.” And I wish more than anything I could just deal with the sweating and the heat index and the steaminess rising from the concrete and the SWEATING AND THE STICKINESS AND THE SUNSHINE AND DID I MENTION THE SWEATING AND AHHHHHHH!!! DIE, BUNNY, DIE!

Yeah.

Anyhoo, the good news is the heat wave is finally over and Boston is back to seasonal temperatures…meaning I’m back to my old, non-bunny murdering, self. And I gotta tell you, it’s good to be back.

That is, until this weekend, when temps are supposed to climb back up into the 90’s…

Here bunny, bunny, bunny…

*No bunnies were harmed in the making of this blog post…too bad I can’t say the same for that raccoon.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

My husband generally gets home from work every day at around 7 p.m. (note the “generally” and “around”). However, by 7:03 p.m. every day, I am convinced he was mugged. Or had an aneurysm. Or got hit by a car and is lying in a ditch somewhere. Or was a victim of a sadistic serial killer named Meat Claw.

Or actually finally did meet Keira Knightley, who agreed to run off with him to Aruba (which, per our informal pre-nup, is permissible… by the same token, Ryan Reynolds, if you happen to be reading this, my husband is completely OK with us running off to Puerto Rico together… just throwing that out there, buddy).

I haven’t always been this way (the crazed, worried wife, not the crazed, Ryan Reynolds stalker… the latter has been going on for years).

In fact, this constant worrying has only been going on for about a month, which not-so-coincidentally, is how long we’ve been in Boston.

But it’s not for the reason you think.

I love it here. Every day is, in the words of the common vernacular, a wicked awesome adventure. I find myself constantly getting inspired in terms of my writing and photography, and I’ve finally achieved my dream of becoming a syndicated columnist (granted, writing for one newspaper is a pretty broad definition of the term “syndicated,” but I’ll take what I can get). I also now have my own website, something else I’ve always wanted to do.

My husband loves it here possibly even more and his new job working at the Boston Globe. He’s working fewer hours, too, which means we have more time as a couple to explore the city (and stalk Boston-bred celebrities like Mark Wahlberg).

And we are now finally financially secure enough that we don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck anymore, a lifestyle we’ve been accustom to since our days as pimply-faced teenagers working the fryer.

We just found a perfect apartment, located in a great neighborhood, right by a park with a river running through it (complete with three bedrooms, huge kitchen, two porches and a driveway, all of which is usually downright impossible to find in our price range in a big city).

And to top it all off, I’ve been losing weight without even trying, mostly thanks to the fact I walk everywhere since I’m terrified of attempting to drive here.

We’ve never been happier. Even our freaking dog seems happier.

Hate me yet? I know! I totally would, too!

It’s just all too much. All too good to be true.

Which is why I am constantly worried something bad is going to happen. I mean, the other shoe has to drop soon, right? No one gets everything they’ve ever wanted, do they? Maybe even a better question is, do we truly deserve all this good fortune that has befallen us?

Oh sure, we’re good people. We adopt rescued animals, are above-average tippers and recycle if given the chance (and by “if given the chance” I mean if a recycling bin is in my direct walking path at the very moment I finish my soda).

But we’re by no means saints. When asked at the gas station if I’d like to donate a dollar to help one-legged orphans with lupus in Kurdistan, I usually decline. I judge people who wear fanny packs. And the two times I actually remembered to bring our cloth grocery bags doesn’t mean much when you think of the 7,843 times I forgot and just went with plastic.

And so, I sit here waiting for some disaster to happen, like getting burglarized by a shoe thief.

But hopefully, after awhile, when my husband never does get mauled by a rabid pit bull, or I never end up spontaneously going blind, I’ll learn to just enjoy our new life and realize it’s a waste of time worrying about things I can’t control.

Until then, however, I’m going to try to be a better person (like, for instance, one that doesn’t take a penny with no intention of ever leaving a penny). You know, just to try and balance the karmic scales.

Road trippin’

They say a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Ours started with an overstuffed Hyundai Accent, two huge tubs o’ coffee, an overly stimulated and highly neurotic dog, and a giant snowstorm that stretched from Texas to New England (which coincidentally was exactly where we were headed).

Schnookum Bear and I were headed to our new life in Boston with a bang.

Now, I’ve always loved road trips. From Ohio to North Carolina to see my aunt as a kid. From Ohio to Florida on spring break. From Texas to Kansas to visit in-laws.

But South Texas to Boston? That was the motherload.

(Illustration by Julie Zavala)

Three days. 2,000 miles. 14 states. 57 potty breaks (thanks to my husband’s freakishly small bladder, which I estimate to be about the size of a baby grasshopper). 325,000 calories worth of fast food. 16 “my life just flashed before my eyes” moments. And one souvenir “Welcome to Fabulous Alabama” t-shirt (only $4.99 with purchase of 16 oz. Slurpee).

And BOOM. There was the Boston skyline.

For all the gory details about our road trip to Boston, check out my latest column here.