Category Archives: Something Went Wrong

Mistakes & Mishaps

That Squirrel Is Nuts

One of my favorite things about my job is working downtown. The warmer weather these past few months has made it extra great, because I can sit outside and read during my lunch break. I have lots of favorite spots to sit – pretty much based on what my priorities are: doze off in the middle of a crowded place? people-watch? sit by the river? All viable options.

A few weeks ago I went to my favorite reading spot.

After a couple of minutes,  I glanced up from my book and I realized that there was a squirrel sitting at my feet staring at me.

Obviously, I was taken off guard. The squirrel was a bit too close, so I utilized my fool-proof pigeon shooing method: Remain very still and then move suddenly and scare the beep out of them. Did you write that down? It’s fool-proof.

Apparently, this method has little impact on squirrels. It started prowling. Seriously – it was pacing all around me. And I’ve never been this close to a squirrel, because typically they are freaked out of their minds about something, and darting all over the place. But this one was laser-focused. on me. Leaving me to sit and wait for it to pounce. Because once it started prowling, I pretty much abandoned all hope. My pigeon-move was really all I had in my arsenal. And I certainly wasn’t ready to try something really drastic like actually saying the word “SHOO!” so I had to face facts and wait for the worst to happen. And flinch a lot. Cause that’s what you do when you are being sized up by a potentially life-threatening rodent…who is acting strange because they may or may not have rabies…

And then something worse happened.

A lady 10 feet away from me said, “He just wants some bagel.” AKA Someone was watching me be afraid of the squirrel. (Hello humiliation…I knew you were nearby)

I looked down and realized that there was, indeed, a piece of bagel at my feet. So I gestured wildly at it to the squirrel. He came over, sniffed it, and started circling me again. I then realized two things: 1. He didn’t want the bagel… and 2. Lady, are you seriously holding a bagel? and did you actually throw food to that squirrel at MY FEET??! Use your own feet to train wild animals.

Somehow sucked into these crazy mind games…I reached into my bag to find what was left of the granola bar that I had for breakfast. I shook out the empty wrapper and only tiny crumbs came out. You know that expression about crumbs that are ‘too small for a mouse.’ These were those-size crumbs.

At this point I think the squirrel was scowling at me.

Not feeling up to sacrificing the two chocolate chip cookies I had in my bag, I did the only thing I could do. I gathered up my courage and made a break for it.

Thankfully, Rabies-Squirrel went about his crazy bid-ness without me.


Early Morning Emergency

Somehow, just over a week later, it’s happened again…

…I found myself in one of those absurd experiences that happens so often in my life. Lucky for all of you, I choose not to hide my major fails, and instead record them all here for your enjoyment. I must be living in a state of either brash irresponsibility or frequent misfortune. I, of course, believe it’s the latter. In reality, it’s definitely the former.

This past weekend we were visiting my family in Ohio for my sister’s engagement party. We had decided that my car might fare better in the event of a snowstorm, so we opted to make the 1 1/2 hour drive in my CRV. We had a great visit (at some point I will share pictures) and were sad to return home on Sunday night.

Early Monday morning around 7am, I had just woken up and begun to get ready for work when my phone rang. It was my mom.

Me: Hello

Mom: Do you have your car keys?

Me: I think so.

Mom: You don’t. We just found them hanging on the hook by the door.

Me: Some panicked response…

So there I was: Monday morning, two hours before work started, with no way to open or drive my car and no way to lock the door to our apartment.

Sean had driven the car both to and from my parents using his set of keys. Throughout the weekend, our car didn’t leave the spot we parked it, and I never used my keys. As far as I knew, they were in the bottom of my purse, on the floor in my old bedroom for our entire visit. Unfortunately, my keys sprouted legs, walked downstairs and hung themselves up on a hook by the door at some point during the weekend. How in the world do these things happen?

My first course of action was to call Sean, who had already started his school day. The first time I called his office phone it went to voice mail. The second time I called the secretary picked up.

Secretary: Hello?

Me: Hello. Is Sean in home room already?

Secretary: Sensing my frantic tone of voice…I’ll go get him.

With no way to retrieve Sean’s set of keys, I ended up calling our good friends to see if they were able to give me a ride to work. Kara and James hurried over and saved me. Without my house keys, I may or may not have left the back door to our apartment open when I left for work. When I got in the car, I asked James if “Miss Megan had woken him up this morning.” He answered me with an emphatic YES! (Which cracked me up) Sean and I are so thankful for friends who are close enough to call in an emergency – albeit a ridiculous one!

I got to work safe and sound – and on time! And no one broke into our house (as if the doorknobs would have worked anyway)…

Thank you for saving me this week VanHoudnos family! We love you and are so thankful to have you in our lives!

Rebel Without a Cause…or How I Got Kicked Off the Bus This Morning

This month, I decided to write about all of our new routines – with everything changing in our life lately, there are plenty of these. Since starting my new job, I have started riding the bus, and so I was ready to document the newness of that experience. When we were first married, we only had one car – so there was a period in which I rode a bus (that stopped at the end of our street) to work everyday. If you know anything about our neighborhood, you understand why I had crazy experiences on public transportation: a hug from a homeless man (accompanied by a Pitt football schedule, of course), a lady in a wig lecturing me about how the Nazi’s were coming to get me, and my personal favorite: the day I held someone’s baby. Needless to say, I was fully prepared to share how my new bus-riding routine was turning my world upside-down (or at least a bit side-ways).

Imagine my surprise, when the bus has proved, well, pretty boring. I drive to a park-and-ride lot each morning, fight for a parking spot, get on the bus, ride it to work (with no stops), and get off. No one talks to me, no one even really looks at me, and no one offers me a hug (or their baby). I pretty much attained regular-status on my new bus in under a week.

…Until I got kicked off this bus this morning.

Thanks to my new morning routine, my drive to the park and ride was calm and uneventful. I arrived with plenty of time to park my car. All of the actual spots at the park and ride typically fill up around 7:30am, so the rest of us, who don’t need to be at work at 7:45, have to make our own rules and park anywhere we feel constitutes a spot. On my first day, I asked a guy at the bus stop what the rules were for parking. He responded, “There are no rules.” Included in this anarchical system: you may park directly next to the bus stop. I decided to take that option this morning and parked my car. Just so we are completely clear on how I parked my car I drew a diagram:

Since I was so close to the bus stop, I decided to wait in my car. When it arrived, I got in line and was the last person on the bus. That’s when the bus driver launched into a series of rapid-fire passive-aggressive comments:

Bus Driver: Can I ask you a question?

Me: (Taken completely off-guard/nervous about talking to strange men on the bus) Uhh sure…

Bus Driver: Is that your car? (Points to the car he knows is mine because he watched me get out of it)

People on the Bus: (Silent and now completely focused on this entire conversation…)

Me: Uhh yes…

Bus Driver: Do you really think those cars are going to be able to get out of here in an emergency situation? (Could have just said ‘when they try to leave the lot after work’ but instead invents emergency situation to reinforce passive-aggressive nature of this conversation)

Me: (This is when I should have said yes. But I am totally blind-sided, so I say…) I don’t know…

Bus Driver: Well, are you going to move it?

Me: Umm ok…(At this point, I meekly back off the bus completely humiliated)

(Bus drives away. I park my car. The space I moved out of was filled with other cars in a matter of minutes. I barely make it to work on time.)


For further clarification:

I don’t know how I always get myself in these foolish situations…but I do. And now that it is no longer this morning, I am no longer angry. Now, it’s just funny and a bit ridiculous.

On Mall Walking

Due to my timely unemployment, I have been available to help take Sean’s grandma to the physical therapist a couple of times for some treatment she is getting for her dizziness. This morning was one of her appointments. Afterwards, since I was already out, I decided to pop over to the mall for a few errands.

I arrived at the mall a few minutes before 9:30am and proceeded to park in my usual section of the parking lot (Do you do that too?). I headed inside one of the stores attached to the mall. I have to admit, the thought did cross my mind that I was arriving a bit early in the morning, but the door was open so I walked right in. There was a flurry of activity inside the store, which abruptly came to a halt as soon as I entered. All eyes on me, one of the disgruntled employees briskly  informed me that they hadn’t opened yet, but that I could use the mall entrance next door. I stuck my tail between my legs, mumbled something like “Then why was the door open?”, and headed to the door she had indicated.

I’m not sure it struck me until I was almost run over by a large band of track suits – None of the stores were open yet. I was a mall walker.

It seemed foolish to get back in my car and try to find an open store in range, and I certainly wasn’t going to drive home and come back. Since I was already in over my head, I decided to at least do a lap of the mall while I considered my predicament.

I tried to play it cool – this plan was abruptly foiled when I attempted to ride the escalator to the second floor. Since the mall wasn’t open, the moving staircase wasn’t moving yet. And those first couple of short steps at the bottom make for a clumsy climb.

I found the climate of the pre-opened mall to be unusually cold. I ended up trying to keep up with a pack of locals, in a vain attempt to keep my body temperature up.

Quickly succumbing to the culture, I did what any hip mall walker would do. I went to the Apple Store.

Per usual, the Apple Store welcomed me with an open door and a plethora of devices specializing in time-wasting. There were a few actual customers there (Read: Accidental mall walkers like myself) attending their computer class appointments before the store actually opened, but they permitted me to wander around pretending like I had a reason for being there. I have been hearing so much about Siri, the new personal assistant app for the iPhone, so I headed to that section of the store in hopes that I could ask her, “Siri, am I still cool?” Thankfully, my tech-prowess failed me (and since I couldn’t ask any of the store people standing next to me for help getting the app to work until the store opened at 10am) and I didn’t have to hear her reply, “No, Meg, all attempts to salvage that have failed.”

As soon as the mall opened at 10am, I went to the smoothie stand in the Food Court and got myself a recovery drink.


Making Salsa: A Hot Mess

Our garden has been overflowing with tomatoes recently, so I decided to try my hand at making homemade salsa. I invited my friend Gabby over to help. She said yes (I think) in hopes that she would get a front row seat to how I manage to turn trying something new into an epic disaster. I did not disappoint.

I found a recipe online for canning tomato salsa and decided to go for a ‘something new double-whammy’…new recipe + first attempt at canning. The recipe was for a large batch so I cut everything in a little less than half, bought a bunch of peppers and we got to work.

Gabby wasn't crying because I was forcing her to chop beyond her breaking point...everything was just really spicy!

We threw everything in the pot and that’s where I made my tragic mistake.

The recipe called for a 1/2 cup of salt. Let’s just stop right there. That’s crazy talk. The entire bag of chips + dip I just ate had less sodium than that.

So, thinking I was being smarty pants champion, I decided to cut that right in half, minus a bit.

But that’s still just a little less than 1/4 cup of salty salty salt. Ooooo disaster.

This is us taste-testing. Right before we realized I had just totally ruined perfectly good salsa with a heap of salt.

We had already begun the canning process before we decided it might be a good idea to taste-test. We were totally shocked when our salsa tasted like ocean water.

Not to be deterred, we Googled for possible solutions. Gabby found a response that said a potato would help.

Apparently, the potato trick works better if you peel and slice it first…at this point I was needing remedies for the remedies.

After trying over a half-dozen different methods for de-saltifying food, we watered it down as best we could and decided to try canning instead.

This part of the evening was slightly more successful, and I am looking forward to trying canning again when I actually make something worth saving.

Gabby – It was so much fun failing miserably with you. Things always go better the second time, I promise.