Archive | February, 2013

There’s a party in my pocket…

22 Feb

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I know, it’s one of the cardinal rules of laundry: always check your pockets.

But you know what? So is the idea of not mixing whites and colors, but I do that all the time without consequences. I think a better rule is: separate loads for things that touch your face and things that touch your butt. Cloth napkins and underwear? Should not be in the same cycle – I don’t care how hot your water is.

Anyway… back to my pockets. I learned the lesson the hard way today.

“Was it a Kleenex?” I can hear you asking.


“A pen?” you ask.


“An angry squid?” you prompt.

Um, not that bad. And stop guessing before you ruin my story. 

What your laundry looks like after taking Crohn's medicine.

What your laundry looks like after taking Crohn’s medicine.

I take 11 pills a day for Crohn’s, nine of which are slow-release capsules that dissolve in my GI tract. That’s three doses of three pills, staggered 8 hours apart, which makes the mid-day dose a bit problematic to remember. To solve the problem, I set my phone to go off and remind me, and I carry the pills around in my pocket all day so I have them on me when it goes off.

Apparently I missed a dose last week. Because it showed up in my pocket in today’s wash.

“Wait,” I can hear you asking. “How is washing medicine a bad thing?”

I’ll tell you. Aside from the inconvenience of running out early (and having to fight with the insurance company to authorize an early refill as a result), the deal is this: slow release capsules are apparently made from plastic. And they’re filled with white plastic bee-bees the size of cake sprinkles.

As soon as I opened the dryer door, I understood what had happened. Every piece of dark fabric had hundreds of white dots all over it. It looked like someone had shot a small cannon of confetti into the dryer. I cautiously pulled item after item out, the small white balls dropping on the floor as the static that attached them to the clothing wore off.

I sat down to fold the clothes, wondering if it would be obvious where the origin of the leak had been. It was. I lifted a pair of my new (dressy!) fleece pants from the basket and they looked marbleized, they had so much white on them. I shook my head and plunged my hand into the pocket.

Yes, it was full of even more white dots. But the real surprise was the overall texture of the pocket: it had been turned to plastic. Apparently the capsule casing is some form of plastic that melts when exposed to stomach juices or high heat. My pocket was now stiff, like someone had slipped a Shrinky Dink in there.

When seeing the havoc these three simple pills wreaked on a load of laundry, I found myself wondering exactly how they help my gut. Do I have an ever-growing wad of Shrinky Dinks in my stomach? Do my intestines look like a perpetual parade route lined with confetti?

In any case, I think I’ll install a disco ball in my bathroom.

Image Source:

Apparently I wouldn’t be the first.

Vandals of a different stripe…

15 Feb

Remember last week when I was kind of excited that some drunk fool had marked all the snow-covered cars in my neighborhood with a juvenile cock-and-balls motif?

Well a friend sent me this to demonstrate that the vandals in Denver are a bit more, um, talented:

No CLUE where this originated - a friend sent it to me from his cell phone. If you're the artist - or the photographer - please let me know so I can properly attribute it to you!

I will admit, I did find it somewhat inspirational.

Until I headed out today for a quick stroll and noticed that someone had altered all of the one-way signs down 16th Street:

© 2013 pithypants

© 2013 pithypants

© 2013 pithypants

I’m guessing it’s left-over from Valentine’s Day (as opposed to the aftermath of a Marley tribute concert), but I hope it stays up for months. This is the kind of graffiti I could get behind.

Why you probably shouldn’t drive in the District.

10 Feb

This morning, walking home from breakfast at the Diner, Alan and I heard an odd noise. The streets were fairly deserted, yet – as an SUV approached us from a quiet side street – it made a distinctive thud-crack sound, as if it had run over a metal plate in the road.

We looked over just in time to see the driver raise her hand to her mouth in an expression that made it clear something bad had, in fact, just happened. It was odd though – she was the only person on the street, and she was going a sluggish 10 mph. So we couldn’t imagine what damage had just occurred…

Until she pulled over and we saw the car parallel-parked at the front of the line near the stop sign. Its bumper was lying on the ground in front of it.

It was like this, but not a Jag...

It was like this, but not a Jag…

“Holy shit!” I exclaimed. “Did she really just rip the bumper off that car?”

Alan’s mouth hung agape. “I don’t even understand what happened,” he commented. “She is the ONLY car on that street, so she didn’t need to be hugging the side of the road. And she wasn’t even going fast.”

We stood like spectators at a circus, waiting to see what she would do next. A troop of three municipal workers stood next to us, surrounding a garbage can, arms folded in anticipation.

Oblivious to our presence, the woman exited her SUV and ran around to inspect the damage. She bent down and lifted the car’s bumper and attempted to fit it back on the car.

“Now that is some f*cked up sh*t,” one of the men near us commented. Indeed.

Once we knew the situation was under control with ample witnesses, we took off. “Wow,” I said. “I can’t imagine what the owner of that car will feel like when he comes out to find that his bumper has been ripped off.”

Alan stopped and looked at me. “Um, yes you can. Because didn’t this happen to you?”

I smacked my head. OF COURSE. Five years ago, my car was totalled by a drunk driver while parked on the street in front of my house. So yeah, I guess I did know what that felt like. Except in my case, I heard the crash and had the benefit of adrenaline when I went running out to see my car, its sad wheels akimbo.

DC clearly marks all spaces.

DC clearly marks all spaces.

We started laughing. “Even so,” I said, “That’s a pretty shitty way to start a Sunday.”

Even as I said it, I had a sense that I was somehow jinxing us. And indeed, two hours later, I wasn’t surprised to see my phone light up a few minutes after Alan left my place.

“Um, quick question. Didn’t we park on T Street, near 16th last night?” he asked.

I confirmed that we had.

“I thought so. But… um…  my car is not here.”

I went running down, my stomach sinking. It’s not uncommon to have your car go missing in the District, and it can generally be attributed to one of three things: 1) You circled for a spot for so long that you can’t remember where you actually ended up parking, 2) It was towed because you broke a poorly marked rule, or 3) It was stolen.

I’ve listed the scenarios in order of likelihood, yet whenever my car would go missing, I’d immediately jump to Number 3 and assume some thugs had stolen it. When I arrived at T Street, Alan was in the same boat, but we called the phone number on the nearby parking signs and learned that his car had, in fact, been towed. Crap.

We were perplexed, because we’ve both parked in that spot before and – as far as we could remember – there weren’t any specific weekend rules. We walked back to look at it and in doing so noticed a new sign. One designating that spot suddenly as handicapped-only. Not the kind of thing you notice when you arrive at 10pm, especially when you’ve parked there before.


Interestingly, his car had been towed to a gas station back near the Diner, so we walked back past the car with its bumper lying in the road. “Well, I guess it could be worse,” I gestured. Alan shook his head, having no interest in my sudden optimism.

And for good cause. Know how much our oversight cost us? (Get ready to vomit.) Four hundred and seventy five dollars. Yes, that’s $475. Seriously.

Don’t get me wrong – I think there should be serious consequences for parking in a handicap spot. But we didn’t do it deliberately, and a fine of even $100 would have prompted me to jump out and read every sign in a three block radius moving forward. So this seems a bit excessive, does it not?

If I’ve learned anything from my mom, it’s fairness. So rather than try to fight the DC government with reason, I’ll accept their rules. But now I need to make sure I use a good pen when I write the check. Because I surely don’t want ink stains on my ass cheeks.

Alan's next license plate?

Alan’s next license plate?

At least I come by it honestly.

5 Feb

Image Source: » 2008 » November

On the weekends, a van drives around to the parks in DC and serves warm meals to homeless people. Yesterday when I was out for a walk, I passed a group of people ladling out soup just as the line finished. I didn’t stop to ask for confirmation, but I’m pretty sure that the woman with the ladle was starting to dish me up a bowl until she gave me a full once-over.

And I’m pretty sure the only reason she decided I wasn’t homeless was because my fleece had a NorthFace logo.

It was a smack-my-head moment, when I realized I had just been assessed as homeless. In my defense: It was FREEZING out so I was wearing two pairs of pants and two hoodies. And I had a ski hat pulled down to my eyebrows. And I was wearing an old, stained backpack that smelled like wet sneakers. (Don’t ask.) And I hadn’t  showered after yoga, so I probably didn’t smell exactly like a rose.

But really? My eyes were focused, I wasn’t talking to myself, and I was moving at a pretty quick clip. C’mon!

This case of mistaken identity forced me to realize four things:

  1. I can totally relate to celebrities who get unflattering photos snapped when they run to 7-Eleven for a soda.
  2. I now feel better about the time I kept trying to hand my left-overs to people who were not actually homeless.
  3. Alan is a saint for never saying, “You’re going to leave the house in that?”
  4. I’m now the second member of my family to be mistaken for homeless.

Yes – you heard correctly. I’m not even the first person in my family to have this happen.

My dad and I share the compulsion of walking (and tracking) a set number of miles. He targets 100 miles per month. I shoot for 25 miles per week. Since (as I mentioned), we’re somewhat compulsive about it, we often find that we’re walking in less than ideal weather. In DC, that’s still pretty mild, but in Michigan – where my parents live – it can be sub-zero and hailing and he’ll still head out to hit his mileage.

Another thing you need to know for this story to make sense: my dad is an ardent environmentalist. As a result, instead of outfitting himself with a snowmobile suit to make walking more comfortable  when the weather turns, he simply layers on old clothes to give himself many layers.  Also, he often picks up trash as he walks. And he has a full beard, which I suppose could be interpreted as not having access to a razor.

Image Source: Zazzle.comMy parents live in a small town, and since my dad taught there for many decades, almost everyone in town knows him. I won’t say he’s a celebrity, but he’s definitely a character. (Pause for a moment and think about it: which would you rather be? My vote goes to character.) People usually just honk and wave when they see him scrambling down a ditch to grab an errant soda can – nothing to see here folks.

In recent years, however, the town’s population has grown, so not everyone is a former student who immediately recognizes him. So it was that on a particularly cold day, his route took him down the alley behind the town’s main grocery store. As he passed the dumpsters, an employee dragging out a sack of garbage spotted him and called out, “Well now! Today’s your lucky day!”

My dad, thinking she was just being friendly, hollered back, “Really? And why’s that?”

Her answer? “This bag has a whole slew of pastries in it that are practically untouched!”

Yes. She. Did.

I have no idea how he responded, because I was laughing too hard by this point in the story. But if I had to wager a guess, I’m thinking my parents enjoyed a windfall of donuts that week. Waste not, want not, after all!

I love my neighborhood.

3 Feb

Saturday night we received a dusting of snow. Not so much that I woke to a ground blanketed in white, but enough that the cars had a light coating when I headed out to yoga Sunday morning.

I like snow, so it made me smile. And then, realizing some drunk graffiti artists had used the cars as their canvasses, I REALLY smiled. Between my house and the yoga studio, I counted over two dozen cars that had been tagged with a cartoon phallus of some kind. Like this:

Artistic. Matt Groening would be proud.

Artistic. Matt Groening would be proud.

©2013 pithypants

Five in a row. Artistic AND persistent.

Art school reject.

Art school reject.

Even cars in driveways were not immune...

Even cars in driveways were not immune…

So this tells you all you need to know about my neighborhood. Apparently I’m not the only person with a 12-year-old sense of humor.

Also? Those rumors that DC is full of dicks? Apparently it’s true.