Living in the Inside of a Butt (and How I Avoided It)

“Does our house always smell this way?!”

I had just gotten home from an overnight trip, and my house smelled disgusting.  If I had an air freshener to describe the smell, I think it would have been called “the inside of a butt.”  Or, alternatively, it may have been closer to “food someone put in a garbage disposal…five weeks ago.”  Whatever it was called, it was bad.

This made me wonder – what if our house really smells that bad all the time, and we don’t notice it because we live there?!  Are we known on our street as the stinky people?  Do my clothes smell like that?  This was completely unacceptable.  My husband said it wasn’t that bad, but he also has no problem with the smell of pickled eggs or deer guts.  He’s not a very good judge.

The next day, as soon as I got out of work, I went to the grocery store and bought all of the cleaning supplies.  I bought a dishwasher cleaner, a garbage disposal cleaner, a refrigerator cleaner, new cat litter, new bedding for the rat (long story on the rat…), something to wash surfaces…cleaners I’d never heard of but that looked pretty clean…the person at the checkout must have thought I was nutty.  I went home and went on a cleaning rampage.  It was an all-out war: me versus the smell.

I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned.  I went through all of our food and threw out anything questionable.  I cleaned out all of the pet areas.  I threw the rat in a pot of water in order to clean her.  I couldn’t catch the cat to clean her, but also I think she would have scratched my face off if I’d tried.

By the time my husband got home, I was a bit ragged.  My hair was in a messy pony tail, and I was wearing stained sweatpants and a neon green crew neck sweatshirt.  I thought my house was much cleaner (even if I was dirtier), and I couldn’t smell the smell anymore.  Still, I wondered if maybe I’d just gotten used to it because I’d been wallowing in the stench for a few hours.  My husband asked if I could run to the grocery store with him.  PERFECT: the opportunity to exit the smell chamber and then come back.

At the grocery store, I discovered an aisle that I forgot to pillage previously: the air fresheners.  How did I forget the air fresheners!?  I squealed with glee and started pulling things off of the shelves.  Did I want my house to smell “fun and flirty” or “crisp and clean”?  “Sweet and sassy” or “floral and frisky”?  How does something smell frisky?  Is this the same base scent as flirty?  I could also choose scents such as clean linens, midnight woods, Hawaiian flowers, or new car smell.  So many choices, so few rooms in my house.

I started throwing things in the cart.  There were wall plug-ins, order absorbing gels and beads (better buy both to see which works better), spray scents, wax melts… I wanted them all.  My husband walked into my aisle and said, “What are you doing!?  We do not need that many air fresheners!”

I got a wild look in my eye, waved my neon green arms around, and said (a little too loudly), “I WILL NOT LIVE IN THE INSIDE OF A BUTT!  I WILL NOT!”  Some other people in the aisle gave me a strange look and scuttled quickly away.  My husband laughed, put his hands up in surrender, and said, “Whatever.  You are strange.”

I asked him which sounded better: clean linens or fresh linens?  Because you want linens to be clean, but also everyone likes the scent of fresh.  How was I supposed to choose?!  Here’s how: buy them all.

I ended up going with a linens theme and basically bought all of the linen scents.  I put a plug-in in one room, some scented beads in another, gel in another, etc.  I still don’t know what originally caused the bad odor, but I can confidently say that my house no longer smells like the inside of a butt.  Instead, it smells like someone recently hung up fresh, clean linens.  It smells just like that, assuming that the place they hung the fresh linens was in a chemical factory.

Here’s a thought I just had: what if the unfortunate smell was simply my husband farting right when we walked in the door from our trip, and I did all of this work for nothing?!

Alas.  We shall never know.  In other news, come on over – my house is clean, and it smells great.

If My Therapist Won’t See Me Anymore, Is That A Graduation or a Break-Up?

My next session with my therapist will be my last.

We had planned to continue seeing each other through the end of the year, but through an insurance glitch we discovered that I am only covered through one more session.  Next year her insurance changes, and I won’t be able to see her then.

SO.  Here we are – the end of the road.  She says I’m ready to be therapy-free, and she’s maybe right.  Obviously with bipolar disorder there’s no guarantee I won’t end up back in therapy at some point (actually, it’s veritably guaranteed that I will…), but it won’t be with her and it won’t be this year – the year I was diagnosed, the year that my life was blown to pieces and then built up again, and the year that I learned to let go.  It’s been a crazy twelve months, and I have put a lot of my heart and soul into that well-worn therapy couch.  This is a significant ending to me.

I don’t know how to feel about our last session.  Should I be happy?  Sad?  Hmmm…maybe I will talk to my therapist about it. 😉  I told her I’m bringing cake to celebrate, but I don’t know what to have the bakery people write on the cake.  Here are the main contenders:

“Congrats Therapy Class of 2016”

“To Never Coming Here Again”

“I Won’t Get Crumbs on the Couch”

“Feeling All the Feels”

“Sorry For All the Kleenex I Used”

It’s weird to think of life beyond therapy.  I’m glad that my therapist has confidence in my stability, but I feel a little like I did when my parents took away my yellow blankie when I was six years old.  The blanket had become so ragged and dirty that it had long been unable provide any warmth, but it was my blankie.  I was not at all confident that I could survive to see my seventh birthday if I didn’t have that blankie.  But I did turn seven…and seventeen…and twenty-seven, and life went on like they promised it would.  I’m hoping it will be the same here: scary at first, but surprisingly okay.

I don’t know how to say goodbye at the end of next session.  It’s a weird thing, therapy.  This person knows all of your deepest secrets, and then one day it’s simply, “Bye.  Have a great life.”  Does this strike anyone else as incredibly odd?  Who invented therapy?  Did they write a manual on how to say goodbye properly?  Am I supposed to cry?  Am I supposed to hug her?  I’m so not hugging her.  I’m not very huggy.  I want her to know how much she helped me, but I don’t want to get all gushy about it.  Maybe I’ll put it on the cake: “Thanks.  You’re sweet like cake.”  I’ll let the frosting convey my sentiments.

Also, I would like to point out that even though she repeatedly said that there are no grades in therapy, I am taking her approval of my moving on as a tacit passing grade.  If she won’t give me the grade, I’ll give me the grade.  I’m a teacher, so I think I’m authorized to do that: HAZEL THERAPY 2015/16:  PASS.  PROMOTED TO NEXT LEVEL OF INDEPENDENCE.

I don’t know about this, blog world…you’re about to see untherapized Hazel.  Let’s hope she’s as ready for this as my therapist says she is.

Wait, Where’s the Part Where I’m Perfect?

I was three years old, and I was learning to tie my shoes.

I had just failed with the clumsy laces for the millionth time (Does the rabbit run around the hole or through it first?  What is this rabbit running from?  Does anyone else think that shoelaces look nothing like a rabbit?)  My mom showed me how to do it again, perfectly tying her shoes on the first try.

Tears filled my eyes, I threw my shoe down, and I said, “I wish I was a grown-up.  I can’t wait until I understand everything and never make mistakes again.”

Oh poor baby Hazel, if you only knew.  My mom told me what I said wasn’t true, but I didn’t believe her.  I never saw her with untied shoes.  I never saw her in time-out.  Clearly her life was perfect.

I’m having one of those weeks where I have the opposite of the Midas touch: instead of everything I touch turning to gold, everything I touch is turning to poo.  I got to work late three out of five days this week. I made a parent mad with one of my lesson plans (even though I worked so hard on it!).  I dropped the football on a key play during a staff football game.  I got rejected by another agent who showed interest in my book (I know people say that rejection is part of a writer’s life, which is true, but – crazy thought here – is acceptance ever a part of it?  Ever??).  I even made a big mistake on this blog. I unintentionally wrote something hurtful and offensive in my last post, and I hope anyone who saw it will accept my sincerest apology.  I truly didn’t mean to hurt anyone, and I was being thoughtless with my words because I was angry.  I had no malicious intent.  Scout’s honor, it will not happen again.

Dang – good thing I’m not actually a scout.  If I was trying to survive in the wilderness this week, I’d be dead for sure.  I was a girl scout in second grade only.  I sold cookies and did a report on Kenya.  I hope that’s enough to make my aforementioned “scout’s honor” legitimate.  If not, invent another promise for yourself.  I’ll promise that instead.

Other jobs I’m thankful to not have this week: surgeon (mistakes would kill people), the person in charge of our nuclear arsenal (mistakes would kill a lot of people), veterinarian (mistakes could kill puppies), stock broker (mistakes could cost people millions), Trump’s public relations manager (because that job would just suck in general).

I wish that there was some age where suddenly mistakes evaporated and I could effectively do all the things, but if there’s an age where that happens then I know I haven’t hit it yet.  It should have kicked in by now, because I’m pretty adult on all levels: I’m married.  I have a full-time job.  I have a house.  I consistently tie my own shoes without error.

Then again, I occasionally have ice cream for breakfast and my favorite color is still sparkles.  I tell people it’s teal so I don’t sound like I’m four, but I don’t think I ever fully grew out of “my favorite color is sparkles.”  Maybe this means I’m not a full adult yet.  There is still hope for my dream of perfection!!

Well, no there’s not, but I still feel a little let down by adulthood.  I feel like I let people down more consistently than I make anyone smile, and I always hoped I would grow out of that one day.  Especially this week, I feel like my life is one mistake after another.

Whoa, hold on, this post is teetering on the edge of the rocky cliff marked “Pity Party.”  If there’s one party I don’t want to join, it’s that one.  Let’s turn this ship around quickly, people (don’t ask why my ship is on a rocky cliff.  My blog, my rules.  My ship needs no water).  Instead of a pity party, let’s go to the kind of party where a guinea pig wears a sombrero.


Phewf!  Way better.  Don’t ask me what kind of party that is, but I want to be there.  He’s wearing a sombrero.

Cheers to a weekend reset and hopefully a better week next week.