Side Hustle/Side Thoughts

I went to the doctor yesterday to have a colposcopy because the pap smear I received in June showed irregular cells on my cervix. I’ve had an irregular pap smear before, but this time there were two different spots that the doctor looked at (or at which the doctor looked if you’re pretentious and don’t like ending your sentences with a preposition). I seriously doubt that I have cervical cancer, but the last time that I seriously doubted I had cancer, I ended up having a walnut-sized tumor in my left breast. If I have another type of cancer, I am going to be PISSED. Not sad, not scared, but PISSED. Again, I seriously doubt that it’s cancer, but if it is, I will have to have a hysterectomy. I don’t mind the idea of removing my uterus. It’s a member of the Useless Organ Club that meets daily in my post-menopausal body (other members include my ovaries; I picture them as two grumpy, elderly spinster twin sisters who spend their days sitting on the front porch complaining about today’s youth). However, if I have to remove my uterus, then I’ll have to miss twelve weeks of work, and I can’t afford that. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: only get cancer if you can afford it. Both my mastectomy/initial reconstruction surgery as well as my implant surgery were at no cost to me. Bill Clinton passed a bill (I love that it was good ol’ Billy to pass the Boob Bill) stating that if you have breast cancer and need reconstruction, then you get new boobs for free. It’s your consolation prize for having undergone chemo/radiation. However, the cherry on top of the reconstruction process–the nipples–is not free (because the cherry is not exactly necessary when it comes to the sundae). Insurance covered most of the nipple surgery, but I am responsible for $740 of it plus $400 for the anesthesia #creditcarddebt. I wish I had the discipline to save more money so that I could pay outright for large expenses such as these, but I enjoy going out to eat and travelling and buying stuff for my house and hosting parties and getting my hair done and buying Groupons for laser hair removal. I’m saving for retirement, so that’s good, but it’s basically negated by my student loans and credit card debt and my car loan. It’s terrible to say, but my only motivation to find a life partner at this point is to have someone to split bills with (with whom to split bills). But then I think about online dating and then credit card debt doesn’t seem so bad.

Enter The Side Hustle. I’ve been doing a lot of dog-sitting this summer. There was Libby the Shiba Inu, then Ronin the Goldendoodle, and this week there’s Frank the Labradoodle. Poor Frank has had diarrhea since Sunday evening when I started watching him. Luckily he’s a sweet boy, so when his piles of stinky, soupy stool on the dining room and/or living room floor greet me every morning, I can tolerate the clean-up process. The first morning I was here, I woke up to two piles of Frank’s diarrhea. As I was cleaning up the second pile, Frank started to shit again, so I took him outside. Because there is no fence in the backyard, I have to stay outside with the pup, and when it was time to go back inside, the door was locked. I had somehow locked the handle. Fortunately (surprisingly), I wasn’t overly angry/concerned; I was miffed. So I sat on the porch steps for a moment, sweating and contemplating my next move. I then walked around the home to see if any doors/windows were unlocked (nope). I tried the side door again to see if a miracle had occurred and the door had become unlocked (nope) (I’ll admit that I tried that three times). I could hear the trash truck on the next street, and I knew it was heading my way, so my first plan was to wait for the trash dudes to get to the house and ask them to call the non-emergency number for the police, who would then call a locksmith. The idea of knocking on the neighbor’s door and inquiring about a spare key crossed my mind at first, but I just thought it was unlikely that they’d have one, so I hesitated. Finally, I knocked on the neighbor’s door. No one home. I knocked on the other neighbor’s door, and voila! They had a key (which they kept per my friend/home-owner’s request because this had happened before). I went to PetSmart today and bought some special diet food for Frank, so hopefully (mainly for his sake), his bowels begin to stabilize and his poo begins to harden.

But the side hustle I’m currently most excited about is Hammered Grammar! (My mom came up with that name; good work, Mom.) My friend Amanda started working for The Novel Neighbor (an adorable bookstore in Webster Groves), and she is in charge of booking its new event space. I had done some professional development on writing at her previous place of employment, and it went really well and I had a blast, so when it was time to start booking events at TNN, she asked me if I was interested in teaching a writing workshop for adults. I immediately said yes, and then my eyes grew wide. “Oh my gosh,” I said, “can the course include drinking?” and Amanda said, “Of course,” and I was all, “OMG this will be so fun!” So there is the backstory. And here is my vision: Hammered Grammar is a course for adults who would like to polish their grammar/writing skills for professional and/or personal gain, but it is also a joke/storytelling event that includes drinking and spontaneous dance parties. It’s everything I want in a teaching gig: I’m allowed to drink and tell occasional R-rated jokes while providing instruction to motivated and engaged students who don’t need me to grade their papers. Ya’ll should come! Get your nerd on and do some learnin’ and drinkin’. I’m pumped! And, of course, I feel like I should know every English grammar rule in existence, so I’ve already revisited Strunk and White, and I’m currently reading Mary Norris’ Between You and Me. I sent Ms. Norris a friend request on Facebook yesterday, so let’s hope she accepts it…


So I think today would have been my 9-year wedding anniversary. Every July 18th I think, “Did I get married on the 18th or the 19th?” I’m pretty sure it was the 19th. Let me look on Facebook to see if anyone has wished my Aunt Brenda and Uncle George a happy anniversary (since I know I was married on their anniversary). Hold on…[*checks Facebook*] Well, nobody has posted anything on Aunt Brenda’s page, but I’m pretty sure their anniversary (and what would have been mine) is the 19th. What muddles it for me is that I got married in 2008, and that crazy ‘8’ throws me off (befuddles me). On the way home from PetSmart today I was thinking about the fact that I don’t remember my ex-husband’s birthday. I have a somewhat valid excuse because he was born in rural Lebanon where the people consider the day the birth is registered in town to be more significant than the day that one actually enters the world. He entered the world in December, but his birth was registered in January. Also, I can’t remember how old he is. I believe he is seven years older than me. My favorite memory of my ex is from 2007 when the fires overtook San Diego County; the flames literally made their way to the ocean. When our neighborhood was told to evacuate, everyone else was packing up their cars with valuables, but my husband was on our roof with a garden house, wearing a large sun hat and drinking a Corona. The other strong visual I have of The Ex is him sitting at the kitchen table in his tighty-whiteys grading Calculus tests, dipping tobacco, and listening to Black Flag. My favorite thing about him was that he could take his finger to his nose, push up on each nostril as well as the bridge, one section at a time, and white sebum would pop out of the pores (better than Biore). It’s so weird that I used to be married to him but I don’t even remember his birthday.


I just want to throw this out there: today, when I was leaving PetSmart, I saw a woman, probably in her early 70s, walking into Trader Joe’s, and I was so taken aback by her level of not-giving-a-fuck. She was wearing white tennis shoes and knee-high black compression socks. As a result, my eyes were immediately drawn to her lower extremities, but as I continued to look at her, my head moving upwards, I noticed her t-shirt had a large cat on it (a lifelike tabby sitting on its haunches). If I had been wearing a hat, I would have tipped it in her direction.

Keep it random. Stay cool, and remember:

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