Tag Archives: vacation

The 7 Most Frequently Asked Wizarding World Questions, And Their Answers, Respectively.

7 May

1.) What is the line outside of Olivander’s for?

Answer: The line outside of Olivander’s wand shop is for the Olivander’s Wand Experience. It’s a constant live demonstration, showing how a wand can choose a wizard. 20 to 30 people get pulled into the room, and one person of those is chosen to experience what it’s like to have their first wand choose them. It’s a very special room, being the only Ministry-approved room where real magic is allowed to happen in all of Hogsmeade!

Answer I’d Like To Give: The line outside of Olivander’s is for Ihop. Wizards love pancakes.

2.) Where is the castle?

Answer:  (Points to Hogwarts.) That is the castle.

Answer I’d Like To Give: The castle is actually lost right now. Oh, yes. A very unfortunate accident involving a very large shipment of invisibility cloaks. Ministry personnel are currently on the search. I’m sorry for the inconvenience. Can I offer you a key chain?

3.) Where is the closest bathroom?

Answer: Right down the path to your right, under the hanging cauldron.

Answer I’d Like To Give: (Points to trees.)

4.) Where is the exit for the Dragon Challenge Roller Coaster?

Answer: The exit is directly up this path. There, you will find a shaded seating area where you can wait for your party.

Answer I’d Like To Give: There is no exit. That is why it’s called the Dragon CHALLENGE. You didn’t want to see your family again anyway, did you?

5.) Do you guys have anything Dobby-related, other than this pin?

Answer: Unfortunately not, I’m so sorry! Everyone always asks that. Dobby’s one of my favorites, too! It’s so sad that we don’t have more merchandise featuring him.

Answer I’d Like To Give: I have an iron at my house, which is an item that I believe Dobby once used to punish himself for disobeying his masters. I don’t use it to punish myself. Much… Just when my boyfriend comes over. (Rubs backside.) Also, I’m wearing socks. Can I help you find anything else?

5.) Where are the Ravenclaw Journals?

Answer: We actually don’t make Ravenclaw journals, which is very silly, considering Ravenclaws are the most studious of the houses! I’m very sorry for the inconvenience.

Answer I’d Like To Give: The Ravenclaw journals are with the Dobby For President T-Shirts, right next to the stuffed animal Dobby’s, and the Dobby Sock Freedom Four Pack. That’s all actually located under the statue of Dobby, inside of the Tribute To Dobby Museum of Dobby.

6.) How much are the wands?

Answer: Wands are 31.92. After Ministry tax, that amounts to an even 34.00 dollars.

Answer I’d Like To Give: The wands are free to anyone who can perform a Patronus Charm. Any charm, for that matter. Do it. I dare you.

7.) (Points up) …Harry Potter?

Answer: I’m sorry? I’m not quite sure what you’re asking.

Answer I’d Like To Give: You know what? No. Just, no. Not today, not now, not ever. People like you make me want to dress up like an owl and hang myself from the rafters of the Owl Post. I don’t even know what you’re asking. I just… I really… Just… GTFO.

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Fantastic Muggles and Where To Find Them

31 Jan

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my witch friend who will now forever be known as “Jade.” Jade, who is a real witch, tells me stories about her days working in Hogsmeade Village. Sometimes I can’t believe what she tells me, but that’s probably because I’m a just a silly muggle…. But that’s just it! Sometimes, I can’t believe the stories she tells me about my fellow muggles! For example…

A few weeks ago, Jade was dealing with the general confusion of dimes, nickles, and dollars (what she calls “the muggle currency”) while working the cash register. She noticed a young boy approaching with a wand. He timidly placed the open wand box on the counter while his elderly father patted him on the back proudly. Feeling a sense of pride for all parties involved, Jade spoke.

Jade: And is this your very first wand, young man?
Young Boy: (Grabbing the wand out of the box very suddenly, and pointing it directly between Jade’s eyes.) AVADA KEDAVRA!!!!!!

Now. For those of you who are not familiar with the literature of Jade’s history, this is the most unforgivable of the three Unforgivable Curses, as it is the “Killing Curse.”

Jade simply did not know what to do. She looked down at the boy, then up to the father, who was standing there looking positively pleased with himself and his murderer son.

Jade: (Face still rather shocked and blank.) Oh… my. You must be a Slytherin.
Young Boy: CRUCIO! AVADA KEDAVRA!!!!

Now, for those of you who don’t know, “Crucio” is another Unforgivable Curse. While it will not kill the attacker’s opponent, it will, however, cause pain so severe that the victim will eventually become mentally incapable of normal interaction with other human beings. So, essentially, this young boy was now attempting to torture Jade into insanity before finishing the job.

Jade: (Becoming very serious, leaning down to get on his level) Do you know what spell that is?
Young Boy: Yeah! VOLDEMORT uses it!
Jade: …Yes. Voldemort, the most evil dark wizard in all of history, even above Grindlewald, used that curse constantly. And do you know why?
Young Boy: (I-just-pooped-a-little-bit-and-don’t-understand-why-any-of-this-is-happening-to-me expression.)
Jade: Because that’s the killing curse. That is the spell used to kill people. (Jade looks expectantly at his muggle father, who is now sadly staring off into space while absentmindedly flicking his credit card between his fingers.)
Young Boy: (Giggling) YEAH! (Points wand at the back of a Mexican child across the room.) AVADA KEDAVRA! Ha ha ha ha! (Young Boy runs off waving the wand like a sword and making light saber sounds effects.)
Jade:
Father:
Jade:
Father:
Jade: Well… your total comes to 34 dollars even.
Father: (Handing over his credit card, defeated.) Here… just, take it.

Jade then proceeded to tell me about a very large muggle man who wanted to purchase his first wand. He entered the shop with his bulging chest puffed out like a randy pigeon, his rebel flag hat worn backwards and his cut-off T-shirt sticking gloriously to underside his beer belly. He was holding a beer. Not a butterbeer, mind you. Just like, a regular beer. He waddled up to the wand wall, scratched his silver-grey stubble, and stared confusedly at the wall of many different colored boxes. Jade, thinking she would be helpful, asked the man if he had any questions.

Entitled Rebel: Well, the wand has to choose ME, don’t it?
Jade: (Very surprised, and mentally telling herself to never judge a book by its cover.) That’s right! Very good, sir. So, do any of these wands seem to speak to you?
Entitled Rebel: Well… maybe if you’d let me listen, maybe I could tell you.
Jade:
(Literal fifteen second pause where Entitled Rebel looks from wand box to wand box. His sweating mate and their antsy offspring are all looking at Entitled Rebel with the utmost respect, waiting on the edge of their metaphorical seats for any sign of communication. Then, quite suddenly-)

Entitled Rebel: (Pointing at the entire wall) THAT ONE.
Jade: (Guessing the general direction of his finger) …This one?
Entitled Rebel: No, down one. (Jade moves down one.) To the left. (She moves her finger one spot to the left.) To the left. (Once more, to the left.) YOUR OTHER LEFT. (…to the right?) Yes, to the left. (Once more to the right.) Keep going. Up one. Another one. THAT ONE. THAT ONE RIGHT THERE.

At this point, Jade pulls the small green box out of the masses. She knows, immediately, that this wand was surely not “speaking” to this large man. For this wand, the wand of Willow, is the smallest, lightest, wispiest wand available. It’s a top seller for little girls dressed as princesses ages 3 to 7.

Jade: (Opening the box cautiously) This! This is a wand… of Willow. Now, this wand is one of our shorter wands, a bit light-
Entitled Rebel: NO!
(Everyone in the room stops and stares.)
Entitled Rebel: No, no NO that is NOT the right wand. That is NOT speaking to me!
Jade: Okay! Okay, I’ll just put this one back, then-
Entitled Rebel: THAT ONE!
Jade: Wha-
Entitled Rebel: THAT ONE. That one over there. No, down. Down further. One more down. Yes. That one.
Jade: (Pulling out the wand, hoping, praying…) This! Oh, this is a very nice wand. One of our more natural models, it’s the wand of Elder, NOT to be confused with THE Elder Wand, however… (Opens the box to reveal a jagged looking wand with a skull on the handle.)

There was a moment of complete still silence. Sweating Mate and Antsy Offspring seemed to be holding their breath, waiting… wishing.. Entitled Rebel rubbed his hands along the body of the wand, and all seemed right… until-

Entitled Rebel: (Almost spilling his beer.) NO! NO THIS ISN’T IT!
Jade: Okay, okay, I’ll just put it back-
Entitled Rebel: (Voice lowering, becoming very still, and serious.) That one. Right there, I know that is the one.
Jade: (pulling the box from the wall) Oh, a very good choice. The Wand of Reed-
Entitled Rebel: (Grabs the box, doesn’t even look inside, and begins to walk away.) This is it.
Sweating Mate: That’s the one?
Entitled Rebel: Yep.
Sweating Mate: Well are you gunna look at it?
Entitled Rebel: C’mon.
(They all exit, never opening the box. While they exit-)
Jade: … Congratulations on the wand choosing you! (They don’t look back.) And, as always, have a magical day, here at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter…

These Are The Days of Our Lives

18 Dec

First off and most importantly, let me start this blog post by saying “I’m sorry for not writing more often” to the four people who I know read this blog on a daily basis… Hi Mom.

I could try to bore you with the traditional excuses of “Oh life has been so busy I’m so important to everyone I’m in such high demand I can’t possibly find the time to write because I’m so important doing important things hum hum mc hummerson” speech… but I won’t. Life has been busy, sure, but I’m not super important. I’m just poor and trying to work enough hours to pay my bills so my sister can stop feeling like a single mom. I’d also like to be able to afford a loaf of bread, orange juice, and shampoo all in one trip.

Secondly, I’d like to take this moment to let everyone know, going into this post, that I have literally no idea where it is going to go. The “title” section is completely blank. I don’t know what I’m writing. I’m kind of just making myself write something so that I can dig my way out of this dry spell ditch. I miss writing.

I guess I’ll try to fill you in with what’s been going on in my life. I guess. I don’t know. I hate writing without a purpose. I feel so lost. Like, I have no idea where I’m going or what I’m doing. It makes me feel like a naked, drunk, recently divorced woman who just lost her job to a much younger, more attractive and financially and emotionally successful woman, stumbling down the street while taking shots of tequila and chasing them with Samoas while wearing a shirt that says “Hip Hop Master” with a picture of Thumper the rabbit or something. I don’t know what any of that meant.

Anyway. So I made this new friend, and she’s a witch. It’s pretty cool because she’s a real witch. She wears the robes, takes care of the owls, sells the wands, the works. She tells me stories about the muggles who she deals with, and it’s pretty funny. Take today, for example. She told me that all she wanted to do was have a nice, quiet lunch to herself and then return to work. Sadly, that did not happen. Upon her arrival back into Hogsmeade, she was attacked by muggles.

ENTER FOREIGN MUGGLE.

Foreign Muggle: Lady!
Witch: …Yes?
Foreign Muggle: ‘Arry Potter?!?
Witch:
Foreign Muggle: ‘Arry POTTER!?!?!
Witch: Um… Harry Potter?
Foreign Muggle: (Nods enthusiastically)
Witch: Well, you are currently in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Foreign Muggle: (Nods even more enthusiastically at the words “Harry Potter.”)
Witch: The only place you can see Harry himself is inside the castle.
Foreign Muggle: (Confused) Cast-le?
Witch: Hogwarts. …Yes. Just, go up this path, you literally. Cannot miss it.
Foreign Muggle: ‘Arry Potter!
EXIT FOREIGN MUGGLE.

ENTER INDIAN MUGGLES.

Father Muggle: Yes! Ma’am! YOU THERE!
Witch: Hello!
Father Muggle: I AM LOOKING FOR HAMBURGERS OR PIZZA.
Witch: You… are?
Father Muggle: WHERE CAN WE FIND PIZZA OR HAMBURGERS!?
Witch: Well, the only food available in the wizarding world is at the Three Broomsticks. I’m not sure of their exact menu, but you can find it outside of the restaurant or ask that wizard right there.
Indian Muggles:
Witch: … Oooor, you could… make your way to Jurassic Park? There is a pizza and hamburger place that way? Just, go up the path towards the castle, and-

ABRUPT EXIT OF ALL INDIAN MUGGLES TO THE THREE BROOMSTICKS.

Witch: Um, okay…
(Witch attempts to return to work, when suddenly-)

ENTER AFRICAN AMERICAN MUGGLE MAN.

African American Muggle Man: WASH ROOMS! WHERE ARE THE WASH ROOMS!!?!?!
Witch: (Slightly stunned at his use of the term “wash rooms.”) Right behind me.
African American Muggle Man: OH!! Oh, THANK YOU! THANK you so MUCH!!!!!

EXIT AFRICAN AMERICAN MUGGLE MAN TO THE “WASH ROOMS.”

(The Witch tries, at this point, to walk faster, but then-)

ENTER JADED MOTHER MUGGLE.

Jaded Mother Muggle: EXCUSE ME!
Witch: Hello there!
Jaded Mother Muggle: Yeah whatever. Where is the exit?
Witch: (Looking ten feet away.) The exit is right over there, between those two giant stone pillars and the archway.
Jaded Mother Muggle: Come ON, guys!

EXIT JADED MUGGLE FAMILY.

(Witch proceeds to try to get back to work by hiding her face with her hand, almost as if covering her face will deter some of the endless questions. Where is her invisibility cloak when she needs it!? She finally gets about two feet away from the door to her destination, when suddenly-)

Disintegrating Old Man: YOU THERE!!! EXCUSE ME!!!
Witch: (Painfully turning around with a smile.) Yes?
Disintegrating Old Man: WELL now, who are YOU supposed to be!? (Animatedly waving over his reluctant muggle family of much younger muggles) GUYS! Guys come over here! Look at this!!! There’s a girl here, and she’s… well, she’s… WHO are you supposed to be?
Witch: Well… I’m a witch.
Disintegrating Old Man: ARE you?
Witch: Yes.
Disintegrating Old Man: REEEally? You don’t seem like a witch. You’re too SWEET! PAAAAAAAA HAHAHAHAAH!!!!
Witch: …Do you want a picture with me?
Disintegrating Old Man: JACOB! JACOB GET OVER HERE AND LETS TAKE A PICTURE WITH THE NICE WITCH!

ENTER JACOB THE EMBARRASSED 8 YEAR OLD MUGGLE.

Disintegrating Old Man: (Grabbing the witch around her waist.) C’mere, sweetie! (JACOB THE EMBARRASSED 8 YEAR OLD MUGGLE can audibly be heard groaning in mortification.)

The witch told me it was like a movie, these crazy people just attacking her while she attempted to cross a 7 foot path. Literally, one right after the other EXCUSE ME, YOU THERE, MA’AM! before she even knew what hit her. But she says it’s all worth it, because she loves her job in Hogsmeade. She loves helping kids find the perfect wand. She loves helping little girls adopt their new owls.  Even if it only pays her 8 muggle dollars an hour. She can deal with that.

So, other than making friends with an actual witch, my life has been pretty boring. I went out with some friends the other night to some swanky wine bar in downtown Orlando. That was really fun, until a tipsy 46 year old motorcycle driver told attempted to buy me a drink after insulting me for 5 minutes about my drink choice. It went a little like this:

Motorcycle Creep: What are you girls drinking tonight?!?!?!
Me: Well, I’m trying to decide.
Motorcycle Creep: On what?
Me: Wine, or my drink of choice.
Motorcycle Creep: (Accusatory) Which is?
Me: … Um. Whiskey. Whiskey and sprite.
Motorcycle Creep: Whiskey… and SPRITE?
Me: Yeah. I really like it.
Motorcycle Creep: (Lets out an exhale that basically says, “Wow, what a dumb young b*tch”)
Me: What?
Motorcycle Creep: We gotta get you a nice big shot of some really GOOD whiskey.
Me: I don’t want a shot.
Motorcycle Creep: Sure you do.
Me: No. Actually, I don’t. I want to enjoy a drink.
Motorcycle Creep: (Exhales again.) Sure. Okay. HEY! Bartender! Get this girl a shot!
Me: No! No, don’t, I don’t want one. Thank you. Just a whiskey and sprite.
Motorcycle Creep: (Exhales) Whiskey and sprite…
(Bartender delivers the whiskey and sprite and holds out his hand to take my card. I hand it to him before Motorcycle Creep can protest. There is another exhale of frustration when Motorcycle Creep realizes he will not be paying for my drink, nor will he be escorting me home.)
Motorcycle Creep: (Under his breath) Whatever.
Me: Excuse me?
Motorcycle Creep: (acting like he’s yelling over the music) What did you say?
Me: Did you just say something?
Motorcycle Creep: Sorry, you’ll have to speak up. I lost my hearing in this ear after a motorcycle accident.
Me: Oh. Wow. I’m… I’m so sorry about that.
Motorcycle Creep: No you’re not.
Me: … What?
Motorcycle Creep: You’re not really sorry.
Me: Yeeeeah I’m gonna go. Nice meeting you.
Motorcycle Creep: Was it?
Me: What?
Motorcycle Creep: Was it REALLY nice to meet me?
Me: Well… do you want me to be honest?
Motorcycle Creep: What?
Me: DO YOU WANT ME TO BE HONEST?
Motorcycle Creep: Sure.
Me: You’re really abrasive. It’s like, I don’t know… you’re trying to get to know me while insulting me and challenging everything I say. You’re a very closed off person and it’s unnerving. You can’t expect people to let their guard down with you if your guard is constantly up.
Motorcycle Creep: (Scowl fades. Eyes soften.)
Me: Well… I, uh… I hope you find what you’re looking for after much self-growth and understanding.

And that was that.

So, back to what I should call this blog post… Here are a few options:
1. I am still poor, I met a real witch, and I once got hit on at a bar.
2. These are the days of our lives.

…Yeah I’m not even going to go on. That’s the title.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Unemployed: My First Real-Job Interview

2 Nov

I walked into the Human Resources building at Universal Studios, thanking God that I didn’t die in a car accident on the way there.  (If you didn’t know, Florida drivers are actual psychopaths. It’s almost like you have to do the complete opposite of what would be considered “safe” on the road, and then you’ll fit in. I think it’s because there are so many tourists who don’t know where the heck they’re going, paired with a cult of bitter and resentful native Florida drivers who just want to get to work ONE TIME without any stupid tourist cutting them off. JUST ONCE! In result of this resentment, the Natives have road rage before they even get into their cars. They cut people off, tourists or not, before the people can cut them off. Both of these, when added together, result in the Obstacle Course of Death, which can also be called “driving on the road.” This Obstacle Course of Death is full of swerving and swearing, jamming on the breaks, animated choice hand gestures, and general road rage for everyone involved.)

So! Needless to say, when I pulled into my “New Applicant” parking space, I was feeling pretty victorious. Not only had no one beeped at me, but I hadn’t cut anyone off, or missed an exit, or turned the wrong way, or done anything that a native Floridian wouldn’t have done. And I hadn’t lost my life. (I still consider myself a member of Team Tourist, but only because I don’t know my way around that well yet.) It’s the small things, people.

I was wearing a knee-length pencil skirt style dress with a suit jacket. I had on the heels I wore for my senior Musical Theatre Showcase for Ball State. I felt like I was going into an audition, but I knew I wasn’t going to be asked to sing anything. I wasn’t even carrying a headshot. So that was all very confusing for me.

You see, this was my first EVER real job interview of my life. (Wait, scratch that- that was a lie. I interviewed for Applebee’s once. But that was for being a waitress.) This was like, for an actual company. I was wearing an actual suit jacket.This was actually an interview, and I was actually nervous.

Maybe it’s just me, but fellow performers, you can probably relate to this: I would rather sing 32 bars of some song and do a monologue for a room full of 500 people, than sit down one-on-one with someone who looks me dead in the eye and essentially asks me, “Why should I pick to give money to you and not the other fifty people in the waiting room?” I’m not used to defending myself. The only “defending” I do is in a call back setting, and even then it’s all through singing, dancing, and acting. At the end of the day, if I don’t get the job, I can leave and tell myself “Maybe I just wasn’t tall enough.” “Maybe I wasn’t what they were looking for.” “Maybe I shouldn’t have mixed that high C.” But after an actual real-life interview? You can’t leave and tell yourself you just weren’t tall enough, or that the girl who got the lead is probably sleeping with the SM or something. You just have to accept the fact that you weren’t good enough, end of story.

Knowing all of this, I walked into the lobby. There were two desks: a small security desk to the right, and a large desk with a saturn-esque planet looming over it in the center of the lobby.  Along the rings of the Saturn planet a sign read: “It’s a BIG Universe! Where do YOU fit in?”

I heard myself think, “I just want to get paid minimum wage to work in a gift shop.”

Security Woman: Can I help you?
Me: Uh yes, please. I have a scheduled interview appointment for 3:00.
Security Woman: Please fill out one of those little slips right there, and then take it to the big desk. Let me see your bag.
(I hand her my purse, and reach for a slip.)
Slip: WHY ARE YOU HERE? Please circle: Orientation. Second interview. Third interview.
Me: Oh no, I’m going to have to come back and do this again a second and third time? But… I don’t have another pair of sensible heels!”
Slip: Scheduled appointment time ______.
(I put an X in that box, and write 3:00 in the space.)
Me: Thank you!
(I start to walk away.)
Security Guard: Uh, ma’am? Yoo hoo! MA’AM!
Me:
Security Guard: Uh. Your purse?
Me: OH! Oh, goodness. Thank you….
Me: Keep it TOGETHER, man…

I approach the planet desk, and see that on the other side is a seating area completely FULL of human beings who look either A. nervous, B. terrified, or C. jaded. Almost like the room could be separated into two groups: Those who have never done this before in their lives, and those who have done this for 17 years straight without success. I hoped they couldn’t smell the newbie fear that was surely permeating through my pores.

Desk Lady: (incredibly calm and collected, with a voice that sounds like a cheesy Yoga instructor on one of those 90’s straight-to-VHS fitness tapes) Hhhhhello. Whhhat can I do for you today?
Me: Hello! I have an interview appointment scheduled for 3:00.
(I hand her the slip to prove this.)
Desk Lady: (calm, sweet smile, paired with a slowly extended tranquil hand.) Whhhy yes, just let me take a look here…
(She types my name into the computer system and starts to click around. For a brief moment I fear that I won’t be in the system. What if I got the wrong day? What if I’m late? What if I’m too early? What if-)
Desk Lady: (Closed lip grin with relaxed, drooping eye lids.) Ppppplease take, one of these ffffffforms. Behind me, you will ssseee…. a basket of clip boards, and… Ppppens. Fill out the form, and then…. Returrrn the clip board and ppppeeehhn. To mmmme.
Me: … Thank you.

I grab a clip board and pppppeeeeehn, and manage to weave my way through the knees of others to find an empty chair. I haven’t seen this many seated, waiting, nervous people since the DMV. And then- I hear it. The familiar dialogue. The familiar music. The shouts of “Expelliarmus!” Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix is playing in a small TV mounted in the corner of the room.

And that is the exact moment when I knew everything was going to be okay.

I wait for an hour. I see others come and go, people’s names being called, people who leave in large groups for “Day One Orientation.” (All of the unemployed hopefuls collectively shot those groups a steamy death stare.) At one point, a man in a suit came out and called for “Dominique.” At this point, two women stood up. One was a tiny twig of a shy white girl, and the other was a large, robust sassy black girl. They stared at each other for a moment, thoroughly confused. The entire room went silent. Finally, the black girl said, “Wait. Which Dominique?” After some clarification, the meek white girl disappeared to be interviewed, and the sassy black girl sat back down muttering, “This shit is whack.”

When I sat down, Harry was being seen off at platform 9 and 3/4. When I got called back to be interviewed, Harry was saying goodbye to Sirius at number 12 Grimmald Place after saving Mr. Weasly from Nagini. I was actually getting pretty emotional, watching Sirius assure Harry that he wasn’t a “bad person,” and that “The world isn’t separated into good people and Death Eaters. We all have light and dark inside of us, it’s what we choose to act on that makes us who we are…”

Voice: May I please speak with CAROLYN?
(I quickly get my emotions back in check and grab my forms and purse.)
Dominique: (muttering as I slide past her) What, she’s gets called before me? I was here first. This place, I can’t even, I mean- shoot. I’m done. I am DONE.
Me: Hello, I’m Carolyn!
Lady: Hi there, I’m Heather. Just follow me back here. Sorry about your wait!
Me: Oh, it’s not a problem!
Me: (thinking) You have all the time in the world when you’re unemployed. It’s fine.

Heather leads me back into a room divided into tiny cubicles. We slide into one of the little squares and sit down. Our knees awkwardly brush together because it’s such a close space. And so, the interview begins. I was so nervous for this moment that I spent the night before google-ing “top interview questions” and preparing my answers. I talk a lot about my time spent in King’s Island, how I was part of a “performance team” there. Everything is going pretty well. My mouth is a little dry from my nerves, but after a while I’m able to relax and just talk. Heather is a really sweet girl, and she seems to be enjoying herself as well. When she asks me why I’d like to work at Universal Studios, I say the first thing that comes to mind.

Me: Well, I mean, I’m sure you hear this all of the time, but I would absolutely LOVE to work in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I am SUCH a huge fan, I’ve seen all of the movies and read all of the books multiple times. That would honestly be a dream come true.

The interview continued, asking generic questions about my previous professional experiences, etc. Finally, I felt like the interview was coming to an end.

Heather: Well, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is we don’t have any merchandise positions available right now. The good news is, though… that with the Holiday season coming up, we will have some openings, and I believeee… that some of those openings will be in Harry Potter World.
Me: *Actual audible gasp.*
Heather: (Smiling) Soooo… I’m going to go a head and quiz you on your Harry Potter knowledge!
Me: (Finally truly believing that dreams really do come true, even when you’re not in Disney World.) Okay!!!!
Heather: Okay. So. What is your favorite book or movie, and why?
Me: That’s easy. For the movies, I liked Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Heather: (Taking notes) And why is that?
Me: I liked how they dealt with Harry’s darker side. It’s the first time that Harry is really starting to be affected by his mental connection to Voldemort, and I feel like they showed his struggle onscreen in a very accurate way. For the books? My favorite would be Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I liked how it didn’t follow the traditional format of “Harry goes to school, Harry solves a mystery, Harry comes face to face with Voldemort and defeats him.” It gave a lot of insight into Harry’s past, about who betrayed his parents, Peter Pettigrew, all of that.
Heather: Very good! Okay. So which Harry Potter character best matches your personality?
Me: (After some serious consideration) I guess I would have to say Hermione in the later novels. She’s a bit of a book worm and very driven, but at the same time she’s not a know-it-all. She helps Ron and Harry with whatever they need, and she’s very kind to others.
Heather: (still note-taking) Okayy… On a scale from one to five, five being the most, how much do you think you know about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
Me: Well, I don’t want to brag, but… I would probably say a 5.
Heather: Okay! Let’s skip some of the easier questions then. Let’s see… (She scrolls down) Let’s see here… okay. What is the instrument used to collect and store thoughts and memories?
Me: The penisive in Dumbledore’s office.
Heather: Very good! Lots of people don’t get that one.
Me: (thinking) How can you not know that?
Heather: Alright. What is the magazine that Luna Lovegood’s father writes for?
Me: The Quibbler.
Heather: Yes! Hm… What subjects do Hermione and Harry teach the other students, and where?
Me: They teach Defense Against the Dark Arts in the Room of Requirement.
Heather: You know, most people say they’re a 5, but they really aren’t. I’m impressed.
Me: Thank you! (thinking) Please just keep asking me questions about Harry Potter.
Heather: What publishing venue does Rita Skeeter work for?
Me: Oh. Um… gosh. That is a tough one. I know that one is in book 4…(thinking) I haven’t read that one in years. Shoot. I know it’s obviously not The Quibbler. The Inquisitor? Is that even a paper in HP world? Gah. (spoken) The Inquisitor? Man I can’t remember, it’s been so long since I’ve read that book.
Heather: The Daily Prophet.
Me: Of course!!! How could I forget that!? (Thinking) That is literally the most obvious answer. Great job, Carolyn.
Heather: Name three of the seven Horcruxes.
Me: Tom Riddle’s diary. Ummm… The ring that Dumbledore acquires. And the locket.
Heather: You are good.
Me: (thinking) Three out of seven isn’t very hard to do.
Heather: If you could have any career in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which would you choose?
Me: I think I’d like to be an Auror. Learning all of the defensive spells would be awesome. But at the same time, I love animals, so teaching Care of Magical Creatures would be wonderful, too.
Heather: Well! You did wonderfully! I will definitely pass your information along to that department. We’ll contact you in the future if any positions open up.
Me: Thank you!

I shook Heather’s hand and walked out of the door, past the nervous and jaded people in the waiting room. (Thankfully, Dominique was no where to be seen. Apparently she had finally been called back for an interview.) I opened the door and walked into the bright Florida afternoon. And you know? For a first non-sparkly job interview, I felt good. I felt confident.

If only all real-life interviews were based on a knowledge of Harry Potter… If only.

The Price of My Dignity Is 35 Dollars: A Chat With Adam Lord.

24 Oct
One new message, from ADAM:
Adam: I want to swim around in your irises.
Me: …I want to taste the smell of your voice.
Adam:  I want to lie down in your mind and do cartwheels through your personality.
Me: I want to make love to your fears, I want to hold hands with your insecurities and grow old through our abandonment.
Adam: I want to take off my clothes and watch you eat mashed potatoes without using your hands.
Me: I want that too. I also want to eat the meat of a slice of watermelon off of its peel, then use the peel to cover my nipples in a U-shaped carcass of a consumed fruit.
Adam: I do too. I also want to wrap mayonnaise-covered sausage links around your entire body like you’re a mummy and then over the course of three days where we watch all three Lord Of The Rings extended editions, eat the entire thing starting at your feet.
Me: Adam… I can’t wait forever for you to propose to me. You’re breaking my heart.
Adam: We haven’t even made out yet.
Me: You just said you wanted to wrap my body in sausage and eat it off while watching all 3 extended LotR movies. We could have never met and I would still consider it.
Adam: I know what you like. The path to your heart is paved with meat and Orlando Bloom stares.
Me: Don’t forget kittens.
Adam: Almost did. So sorry.
Me: Hold me.
Adam: I’m waiting for you to realize there’s nothing for you in Orlando except hopelessness and forgotten dreams. Then and only then will I embrace you.
Me: Today on Craigslist I found a job that offered to pay me 35 dollars an hour to be a receptionist at a nudist colony. I would basically answer phones behind a desk in the nude for 35 dollars an hour. And Adam? I started to laugh and cry all at once, sitting at home by myself. Because I realized, that for a split microsecond, I was considering how much I could make working 40 hours a week with a 35/hour pay rate.
Adam: Just less than three times as much as I do. And I’m living fairly comfortably. What’s stopping you?
Me: I don’t know. The price of my dignity.
Adam: That’s roughly 70k a year, before taxes, by the way.
Me: Just… don’t.
Adam:Are you looking anywhere besides Craigslist? I applied to probably 40-50 places before I got one interview with a crazy cake-maker lady. From Craigslist, I mean.
Me:Well I haven’t really been able to find any job offerings that require a college degree and wearing clothes. But I’m gonna keep looking.

Adam: http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/fbh/3360403672.html

$1,000/night is roughly $365,000/year.
Me:I am a college graduate. I shouldn’t have to sell my body, even in a place that call itself a “theatre!”

…Where can I apply?
Adam: You just did! You’re hired! By the way, when I told you Cody, Eric and I are starting a theatre company, that’s what I meant.
Me: HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!
Adam: Other than the job thing, are you happy there?
Me: I’ve only been here for a few days without my mom here… which means other than job searching, I’ve watched 18 episodes of Pretty Little Liars and consumed Naked Juice.
Adam: THAT’S ALL YOU’VE EATEN?
Me: And some chili. And veggie stix. And sweet potato chips. I applied to universal today to be a “merchandise representative.” …I just want to sell wands in Harry Potter world and tell people I’m in Ravenclaw.
Adam: You don’t get to pick your school or tribe or whatever they call it.
Me: It’s called a house. And they could put me in Slytherin for all I care.
Adam: I hope if you get that, they put an actual hat on you that tells you what house you’re in.
Me: No one even cares anyway. No one even bothers to speak in English accents. They’re all just a bunch of jaded Floridians who are over their lives. They don’t even care that they’re working in the Three Broomsticks. And you don’t even know what Ravenclaw means, so you certainly don’t know what the Three Broomsticks means.
Adam: It’s the bar where they get their butter beer. …Or are you talking to “them?”
Me: I was talking to “you.”
Adam: Well, then “you” are wrong because “I” obviously do know what the Three Broomsticks is.
Me: Good for “you.”
Adam: I read 4 and 1/2 of them.
Me: Then you don’t know Snape’s true motives, and I’m ashamed to call you my friend.
Adam: He loved Harry’s mom and was only trying to protect him blahblahblahIsawthemovies.
Me: We can’t marry until you read the books. I’m sorry.
Adam: He got so whiny in the one with blue cover, though.
Me: UGH he did. That one was SO depressing.
Adam: I think that’s where/why I stopped.
Me: Inexcusable.
Adam: I think it’s a good excuse to stop reading a book if you stop liking the main character.
Me: Oh yeah? Well sometimes I think it’s a good idea to apply to a job that offers me 20 bucks an hour to film me getting pied in the face while wearing a bikini top. And then I rethink my opinions.
Adam: I’d do the nudist colony over that. You don’t want anything on film.
Me: Two words: security cameras. I’ve already thought about it.
Adam then made this for me, without photoshop. I don’t know how he did it:

“I want to swim in your irises. How about just ‘to swim in your irises'”

The Esposo

9 Oct

Day 29 of the 90 in 90 blog challenge.

Four years ago my mom and I took a three week trip to Honduras. We sponsor a little girl there, and took the trip to go to a 3 week long language school to improve our Espanol, and then conclude the trip by meeting our little girl. Predictably enough, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life. Sure, the climate, culture, and food took some getting used to, but that trip is still one of my most treasured memories.

Looking back on the trip as a whole, it’s easy to remember the very best parts and forget the unfortunate ones. However, I stumbled upon this old email that I sent during that time, and thought I should share it…

Imagine this, okay? My mother and I wake up every morning side by side. We go to school every day, side by side. We come home, side by side, and together are banished into our room, consisting of four white walls, two suitcases, a bed, two pillows, and a dead cockroach carcass, side by side. We lay on the bed, side by side. We sit in front of our fan, side by side. We read our little books, side by side, because we have no other forms of entertainment in our prisoner of war room. You must imagine, my mother and I, sitting on the bed on our stomachs (yes, you guessed it…side by side) reading our little books. And all of a sudden, my mother bursts out laughing. I look at her like she’s crazy, and she just keeps laughing. And she starts saying ¨Can you believe this!? I mean CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS!?¨ Soon we’re both laughing so hard at our ridiculously disgusting existence that I actually feel tears come to my eyes. (Keep in mind that it’s still over eighty degrees, so we’re laughing and rolling on the bed together, and every time our skin touches we scream and coil away from each other, which sends us into more hysterical fits of laughter.) After composing ourselves, night falls. I’m still feeling sort of sick, and my mom says ¨Well…it’s time for dinner.¨ I say, “Ah…I don’t want any dinner. I don’t want to get sick again.” Then mom says, ¨Well, at least push your food around a little bit. That way you’ll be able to get out of this room.¨ Well, I laughed so hard I peed a little. (Too much information?) I hope this is as funny to you as it is to me, because if you could see how I´m living, you would truly be dying of laughter.

So, we eat dinner (literally consisting of three tortilla chips with beans and cheese sparsely spread across their little circle bodies.) We trudge back to our shitty little room with the four white walls, and both of us sit down on the bed, stomachs growling in tandem, side by side. My mother studies for a while, and I continue reading my novel I purchased in the airport.

Let me interrupt this message for a brief history of my host family. If I could describe my host family with one word it would be the following: Sketchy. Everything about this family is fricken sketchy… and shady. Okay…get this. For the first three or four days, we saw NO SIGN of a male character, whatsoever. ( My mother and I have notoriously proclaimed this shadow of the night¨The Esposo,¨ literally ¨the male spouse” in Spanish.) The door bell rings at God awful hours of the night, and sometimes we catch our hostess looking as if she is about to cry. Finally, one day we spotted THE ESPOSO….he was in the living room, and all three children AND mother were in there, talking very very quietly. (For a Latino family, talking quietly is quite an accomplishment, let me tell you what.) My guess is that he’s having an affair. But I can’t be sure. Also, the young boy, Gustavo, will answer the door for us when we come to the house after school, but he will only unlock the door. NOTHING ELSE. No opening of the door. No buenas dias, how are you? NOTHING. Just, click! And we open the door, and whhhssssiiiiiisssshhhh…..he’s gone. Okay, moving on….

So on this sleepless, hot, sticky, smelly night, my mother and I are laying on our bed, side by side, trying desperately to each get an equal amount of the small spout of moving humid air that our rusty fan is producing, trying to squeeze closely to the middle of the bed, yet still trying to accomplish this without touching the others skin. It is quite the task. All of a sudden, we hear the door bell ring. (Keep in mind the door bell rings ALL THE TIME, and at one point it was The Esposo, trying to enter his own house, but The Hostess wouldn’t permit him admittance. The next day, we found the front door bashed in, the beautiful glass work completely destroyed and now covered with a piece of cardboard and duct tape…)

So! On this night, we hear the doorbell ring. At first, neither of us say anything. Then, in the dead of darkness, laying on her back and staring at our prisoner of war white ceiling, my mother whispers intently…¨The Esposoooo…..¨

Well, we both laughed so hard I can’t even describe. I was so miserable and hot and sweaty and sick and F*CKING BORED, and I was forced to share this god awful tiny white room with my MOTHER, and here we are, TRYING to get some sleep, when DING DONG!!! The Hispanic soap opera starts up once again.

But it was not the Esposo… It was a party. Oh yes. A party. The entire STREET came over for a party. Actually, I think our host family’s entire extended family, all of THEIR extended families, AND their pets, all came over that night for a fiesta. I cannot describe the noises to you. Keep in mind it’s one in the morning, and I’m trying to go to sleep. Chairs sliding, doors slamming, DING DONG DING DONG, people screaming, the sound effects of a video game in the next room (zing zing zing! DoooOOOooOOOOT!), cards shuffling, being furiously pounded on the table, DING DONG DING DONG, tables being turned over, fists hitting hard surfaces in frustration at a bad hand of poker, soda cans being cracked open, girls screaming shrilly, bursts of laughter, DING DONG!!!

And amidst all of this madness, the heavenly aroma of sizzling steak and peppers slinks its way under the crack in our door. My mom goes, ¨Oh yeah, now they make the good stuff…¨ My mind immediately went back to our three measly tortilla chips, laden with a thin layer of beans and queso. Aaaaand my stomach growls. It literally GROWLS when I think of food. An audible growl. My mom and I, of course, burst into laughter once more, roll around, and scream at each other furiously when the others arm brushes against our own…

So, needless to say, we eventually got to sleep, but when we woke up the next morning… whhhiiisssshhhh… it was like none of it had ever happened. Not even a grain of rice was left on the table. I’m actually amazed at their ability to erase all evidence of fun in their household. It’s like they didn’t want us to know they were capable of serving steak or something. They probably thought the fat Americans would eat all of their steak, AND demand more, if we found out that they had it…

…They were probably right.

Helga and Olga’s Moving Service

8 Oct

My Mom and I decided to rent a U-Haul truck in order to pick up all of the furniture that we agreed to purchase from Craigslist humans. I had always thought, somewhere in my little juvenile mind, that U-Haul trucks were always driven by experienced, trained truck driver mover people. I guess I never formulated the thought “U-Hauls are rented by every day people to help them move their every day items from one every day place to another.”

First, though, we have to find it. So, we pile into Dory and attempt to locate the U-Haul renting place.

Mom: Plug in Chester and see where he wants us to go.
Me: (Loving the ever-changing name of my GPS) Okay. Benny says to drive 3.2 miles and then make a left.
Jedediah: Drive, 3.2 miles. THEN- turn left.

We drive along, enjoying the sunny Florida weather and each other’s company. But the closer we get to our “final destination” the darker the skies start to get. The buildings go from tightly positioned business buildings, Paneras, and Wells Fargo banks to creepy, dirty abandoned garages with signs on the sides of them that say things like “Brakes R Us” and “Tires 4 Less.” We are actually entering a ghetto.

Mom: Are you sure Jack is taking us the right way?
Me: Yeah… he says this is the right way…

We finally see a big U-Haul sign and turn in.

Michelangelo: You have reached, your destination.
Mom:
Me:

We lock up Dory, and as we walk away, I can’t help but feel like this is the last time I’ll ever see her with perfectly in-tact windows. The guy inside helps us with our reservations, then leads us outside. I’m expecting a small truck, something sensible that will hold some bedroom furniture and a bookcase…. The U-Haul truck is the size of a small house. Like, a family of four could actually reside in it for a few days and not feel completely miserable. Mom and I exchange a look that says, “Are we seriously going to drive this beast right now?” So we get in. The dude checks our gas and everything and then closes the door.

Dude: (hitting the side of the door twice) Enjoy!

There is a moment of stunned silence. We look at each other. And then, Mom does this:

So we’re on the road again. Just, you know, driving along. It’s a little nuts because we have to swing WIDE on every turn.

Me: Oh, crap, Jason wants us to turn right up here. Swing it WIDE, Mom.
Mom: OH, I’ll swing it wide!
(The Beast starts to turn)
Me: WIDE! WIDE! WIDER!
Mom: I’M TURNING IT! I’M TURNING IT WIDE!!!!
(We complete the turn. There is a moment of silence. Then we both laugh hysterically, thoroughly pleased with ourselves.)

We follow Victor’s instructions (“Turn left! Then, stay on the right lane.”) and soon we find ourselves face to face with a toll booth. There are two lanes for this particular toll booth: E-Z pass, and EXACT CHANGE. There is no other option.

Mom: (forcefully calm) Um, Carolyn? I’m going to need you to get into my purse and see if I have any change.
Me: (slight panic) I don’t think we do! We used a lot yesterday on the toll roads-
Mom: CAROLYN. Look in my purse now. There is someone coming up behind us and I need to pay this toll.
Me: (rummaging through everything, trying to find her wallet) Are we going to be arrested in a U-Haul?!
Mom: How do the windows open!?
Me: (pulling out a dime) What?
Mom: HOW DO THE WINDOWS OPEN!?
The Car Behind Us: BEEEEEEP BEEEEEP!!!
Me: I don’t know!
Mom: I NEED CHANGE!
Me: I’M TRYING!!!
The Car Behind Us: BEEEEEPPPP!!!!
Me: (handing her some silver coins and praying it’s enough) HERE!
(I notice a sign that says “STAY IN VEHICLE” just as Mom opens the door of The Beast. She then decides to hitch half of her body out of the door. She chucks the coins into the toll slot, then looks back to the car beeping behind us and waves.)
Mom: SARRY!!!

We arrive at the first Craigslist house, which actually turns out to be an apartment. But remember how the skies were darkening earlier as we drove into the ghetto? Yeah, well, there was basically a monsoon that managed to hit and run, so now the path leading up to the first apartment is a lake. Seriously, the deepest, longest, dirtiest puddle I have ever seen.

Me: Great. This’ll be great.

We try to avoid Lake Puddlegan by avoiding the sidewalk all together and just walking through the grass, but this is like trying to avoid eating meat by going to a Hibachi steakhouse. It’s just… a stupid idea. I have on my brand new gold flats and I am not pleased that I now have to lug 10 ton wooden bedroom furniture through a marshland to get to the ramp-less four foot high U-Haul. We get to the apartment. We knock on the door. We wait. We knock again. We wait. No one answers. Then-

Distant Foreign Voice: I’M CAH-MING! I’M CAH-MING!

We turn all the way around away from the door and see a sweaty, jiggly Latina woman hurrying towards us across the marshy courtyard. She has her hair pulled back in a pony tail, and she’s obviously been moving things all day. She looks exhausted.

Latina: Sorry, I’ve just gatta few men movingha my new furniture in while you take the old stuff out! Cahm een! Cahm een!

We walk in, and we take a look at everything we have to move… A positively massive dresser with six drawers, a queen sized mattress, a box spring, a bed frame, an 8 ton headboard, and a 4 ton mirror for the dresser. Oh, and a sensible 2 ton side table with two drawers. Keep in mind this is all solid dark wood, okay? This shit is HEAVY. I immediately try to stifle a laugh because there is no way my middle-aged mom and I are going to be able to move all of this outside, through the lake, and UP and into that huge Beast.

But then, the movers who were helping move Latina’s new furniture into her apartment actually morphed into human gifts from God. They just started taking all of our furniture out to the Beast for us. I couldn’t believe our luck. I mean, sure, I still helped by taking the drawers outside, trudging through the marshlands, and lifting them up and into the truck. But before I knew what was happening, everything was in The Beast and we were pulling out, waving goodbye, and saying “Thank you!!!” so much they probably wanted to kill us. Maybe this day was going to turn out alright.

(Driving to the next house to pick up a couch and a loveseat.)
Me: Mom?
Mom: Yes dear?
Me: I’m going to start calling you Helga and you should call me Olga.
Mom: Haha! Helga and Olga’s moving service!
Me: Haha! Yeah!
Mom: Forget ze men! Ve wheel move eet ourselves!
Me: Hahaha! Exactly! I’m so impressed with our strength!
Mom: I’m fifty three years old. I’m too old for this.
Me: Ha ha… hey, um, Mom?
Mom: Yes Olga?
Me: There is literally no way that an entire couch and a loveseat are going to fit in this truck.
Mom: You underestimate me.
Me: AND a bookcase! We still have to get that huge bookcase!
Mom: It’ll fit.
Me: But HOW? Like, do you understand what I’m saying? There is no more-
Me: IT’LL FIT.

We arrive at Craigslist house #2. The Couch Apartment. We drive around this apartment complex for ten minutes, trying to find apartment 15. (Keep in mind we’re in a giant U-Haul, and the apartment complex’s turns are very sharp. “TURN IT WIDE! TURN IT WIIIIDDEEE!!!!”) The numbers go from 12… straight to 17. Oh. Okay. That’s just great. It makes zero sense, and it’s getting darker, and I’m pretty annoyed that at one point in time, someone actually thought it would be a good idea to have apartment 12 positioned next to apartment 17. I feel like I’m searching for platform 9 and 3/4. Finally, we go around to the back of the apartment building. As we go, I notice little mounds of dirt along the path. Oh. You know. Just some fire ant colonies, chillin.’ And then… we see it. We see a flight of stairs. It’s a narrow flight of stairs, very narrow, and very tall, with rails on each side.

Me: Um… Mom?
Mom: Just… just go.

Yep. It’s apartment 15. Of COURSE it is. So, we trudge up the stairs. An image of my mother and I attempting to carry a couch down this flight of death flashes through my mind. I knock on the door.

Dog: RAURAURAURAURAU!
Woman: DOWN! BACK!
Dog: RRRRAAAUUUUURAURAURAURAU!
Woman: BACK!!!
(The door opens, revealing yet another Latina woman, sweaty and tired from a day of moving.)
Woman: HELLOO!!!! Come een, come een, sorry! Everytheeng’s a mess-!
(Meanwhile, she is holding back the killer dog who is barring his teeth and barking and growling at us.)
Woman: Oh, don’ mind him! E’s harmless- DOWN! BACK! Hold onna minute, lemme jus put him away.
(She pulls the snarling dog into a bedroom, shoves him in, and slams the door before he can escape. The barking stops immediately. It’s kind of eerie in a way… I wonder what she keeps in there to keep the dog occupied…)

We look at the couches… How do I put this? They are actually the size of kayaks. Like, the length of kayaks, the width of refrigerators. And they weight about as much as a washer and dryer. A full washer and dryer… And ironing board. And a car. I tell myself that we are about to move these pieces of furniture down the flight of death, across a windy trail full of fire ants, and UP and into The Beast… which is already basically full of furniture. Okay, I think. We can do this.

Woman: So! Where are the movers?
Mom:
Me:
Mom: Well…You’re looking at them.
Woman: (Bursts out laughing)
Mom:
Me:
Woman: … Oh. Uh.. Okee then.

We decide that the couches are going to be too wide to move out of the front door, so we unscrew the feet. Mom positions herself in the front, and I bring up the rear.

Woman: Are you sure you’re gonna be-
Mom: Yep! We’ve got it.
Me: (Thinking) Do we, Mom? Do we really?
Woman: (skeptical) Okayee…

We shove the couch through the door, and immediately brace ourselves for the flight of death.

Mom: (forcefully calm and collected) Okay! Carolyn?
Me: (really struggling with the weight of the couch) Mrerrrugh Yeah??
Mom: Okay, when I tell you to push, push a little bit, okay?
Woman: (Muttered to me) Is she gonna be okee down there all by herself?
Mom: READY?
Me: Yeah.
Mom: One…
Me: She’ll be fine.
Mom: Twooo….
Woman: (actually praying) Dear Jesus…
Mom: THREE! PUSH!

Using all of my strength I push! I push as hard as I physically can! I keep pushing!!! But nothing happens.

Mom: Are you pushing?
Me: Uhggg yeah…
Mom: Well push harder!
Woman: Oh Jesus…
Me: I’m- ugh!- Trying!
Woman: Oh Jesus, oh guh-ness, lemme juss try to help you, okay?

Woman than proceeds to get with me on the back of the couch, and suddenly, the couch lurches forward.

Woman: OH JESUS!
Me: MOM!? Mom, are you okay down there??
Woman: I’m so sarry!
Mom: …Yep! Just… keep pushing!
Woman: Are you ALRIGHT!?
Mom: Yes, I’m fine! Just… Keep pushing!
Woman: Oh Dear Lord, oh Jesus… how old is she? Jesus…
Me: Ugh!- shes’s- UGH- fifty-three?

We keep pushing. I literally don’t know how my mom is accomplishing this. She is fifty three years old. She is in the front, literally holding the couch ABOVE her head by HERSELF… while Woman and I are struggling together with the back. I mean, I know my mom has been working out. She’s been doing these workout tapes at home, and she’s even been drinking this protein vitamin stuff… but in the words of Woman, dear LORD what are they putting in that crap!? She is actually the Hulk.

We finally get down the stairs and start along the winding path back towards the Beast. We’ve swiveled around, so now Woman and I are walking backwards towards the parking lot, leading the way. I trip over my own feet (“Oh JESUS, are you alright!?”) and my bare foot lands- you guessed it- in a mound of fire ants. Keep in mind I am still holding my third of this boat-couch. I try not to scream and wake up the entire apartment community, so I quickly say “Mm hmm!” and brush my foot against my bare leg to try to rid myself of the sand. I don’t bother to look if there are ants on me. I figure if I start to feel burning, I’ll deal with it then.

We get to The Beast. I can’t really describe what happens next because it’s too difficult to put into the written word. But basically it consists of me climbing up over the already positioned items, reorganizing everything, guiding the couch UP and over and INTO The Beast, shoving it through a tiny opening, it getting stuck, changing positions with my mother, climbing over the already precariously balanced couch, helping Woman lift the couch UP and into The Beast, screaming directions at each other, watching two strapping young men walk by who say “Hey need help?” and then when we say sure, they look at the couch and the tiny space we are trying to fit it in and say, “Oh, uh.. actually we have somewhere to be…” and keep walking.

We FINALLY get the couch into The Beast. Only… now that it’s in the truck, my Mom is pinned behind it in the back.

Me: Uh…Mom? Can you get out?
Mom: Um, yeah… just. Hold on.
Me: Do you need us to move anything?
Woman: (glares at me)
Mom: No! I’ve got it. Hold on.

She then proceeds to CLIMB her way out of the truck. Like, literally morphs into a lemur and maneuvers her fifty three year old body in positions that I am not even sure I could get my twenty three year old body to do. Literally, we’re talking heel stretches and toe touches…. She then jumps down from the platform onto the cement.

Mom: Okay! Let’s go get that loveseat!!!
Me: (thinking) Are you on crack?

With Woman’s disgruntled help, and probably the help of annoyed Jesus (“OKAY already! ME! I’ll help you with the couches, just stop saying My name!!!”), we manage to get the loveseat out of the apartment, down the flight of death, through the fire ant wastelands, and UP and into The Beast. There is literally not a single square inch available in the truck. We wave goodbye to Woman’s back. She’s already running back into her apartment and slamming the door behind her. She didn’t sign up for this today, and I don’t blame her for running. We are, once again, back in The Beast.

Me: Mom?
Mom: Yeah honey?
Me: Are you… okay?
Mom: Yeah! Why?
Me: I think I just saw your body do things it hasn’t done in years. You were literally carrying that couch by yourself. Are your arms okay?
Mom: Yep! That’s what working out will do for you! Come on! Let’s go get that bookcase!
Me: Mom, I really, really don’t think there’s enough room for-
Mom: Honey? I have moved SO many times in my life. And believe me- we WILL get that bookcase to fit.
Me: (In a fake German accent) Okay, Helga! I veel trust yew!
Mom: ONWARD!!!

By this time, it’s like 9:45 and completely dark outside. We arrive at our “final destination.” We’re in a little development on a cul de sac. The house that holds my bookcase is completely dark.

Me: Um… is anyone home? D’you think?

As soon as I mutter those words, a buff little man bursts out of the door and shuffles his way down the driveway towards us.

Buff Man: ‘Ello ‘Ello! Welcome! Come een come een! Ve mahst be very very quiet though becahse ze babies are sleeping! Okih? OOOOkih!

He is as German as they come. I look at Mom, and she looks at me, and it takes every ounce of strength in me not to laugh.

Fredrick leads us into his house and shows us the bookcase. We agree that it is gorgeous, just what we’ve been looking for, yes yes we want it, yes really, oh yes we can tell that it’s German, it’s a GREAT piece, yes… And so, Fredrick leaves the room to get some change, and Mom positions herself on one side of the giant heavy bookcase.

Mom: Ready!?
Me:

We pick it up and carry it through the house, passing pictures of toddlers and happy smiling faces, careful not to bump it on anything because we don’t want to “wake ze babies!”

Fredrick: (trailing along behind us, whisper-screamed) Wait! Wait! No, no, I wheel help! I wheel help yew!
Mom: (whispered) No, no, it’s fine, we’ve got it…
Fredrick: I help! I help!

He continues to trot along behind us, shouting out that HE WHEEL HELP. We finally get to the back of The Beast. I open the sliding door, and reveal the leaning tower that is my new bedroom furniture and couches. We all stare at it for a second. It’s almost like we’re stunned into a wordless respect for the mountain of items. Then-
Fredrick: Yeeeew… wheel probably not feet this een there. Okey?
Mom: Oh yes we will, there’s plenty of room!
Me: Mom, he may be right…
Mom: (Climbing up onto The Beast) Come on! Lift that up here. There’s some room at the top. Thaat’s right…
Fredrick: Oh no, no no no yew wheel not be able to get theese bookcase een that leetle hole.
Mom: I promise, it will fit. Just lift it up here.
Fredrick: I do not vant to offend yew, baht I reeeelly don’ theenk- I mean, ve cahn try, but…
Mom: (hanging like Spiderman on the side of the mountain of furniture) Yep! Just lift it on up here!
Fredrick: (looking at me) Are yew sure yew can do theese?
Me: Just lift.

Fredrick and I then proceed to lift the heavy, dark, German bookcase ABOVE our heads.

Mom: Thhaaaat’s right, just lift it up here! There’s room!!!

And low and behold, there is. There is room. I don’t know why I ever doubted it. Helga always knows. She always knows. We close the door and thank Fredrick again and again. We start to pull out when suddenly-

Fredrick: Wait! Wait!!!!

I look in the rear view mirror and see him running after us. He has two coronas in his hands.

Fredrick: Here! Take zees weeth yew! Becuss I deedn’t haff change! Two beers, yah?

Don’t have to tell me twice. I grab the beers, thank him again, and then we’re off. Driving home. Finally. After a day of lifting and moving and lugging and grunting and tripping and shoving… we are going home! We have all of the furniture! And yet…

Me: Hey. Um, Helga?
Mom: Yes Olga?
Me:We… still have to move this stuff into the apartment tonight… don’t we?
Mom: YES! Ve sure do!!! But Taylor will be there to help us.

Taylor, my sister’s boyfriend, who has just gotten home from a long day of work, has agreed to help us move the items from the truck up a flight of stairs and into my new apartment. By this point, my arms and body are so exhausted I can’t even feel my fingers when I curl them. I literally have no idea how this is going to happen.

To make a LONG story short, we got the furniture into my apartment. Obviously. But I’m going to leave you with a few pictures, in hopes of illustrating the process.

Taylor The Great

Helga.

…Olga.

No pain, no gain.Helga and Olga’s Moving Service.