Monthly Archives: February 2013

Why I will never get a full Brazilian wax … ever again

Because it hurt like a mutha. The end.

Shortest blog post EVER.


Sure, I could tell you embarrassing details about my first AND last Brazilian wax, which happened last summer. Is that what you want? You want me to relive it by telling you:

  • the sweet girl at the front counter (you know who you are and I bet you’re reading this!) knew this was my first time and told me it really wasn’t going to be bad at all. I found out after the fact that she’s never had a waxing of the bikini bizkit, so she was just telling me what it took to get me to drop my panties!
  • the waxologist was very professional, funny and is considered to be the best at this in the city, but none of that made a damn difference.
  • I actually believed her when she told me that once she got below the labia, it wouldn’t hurt near as much … she was a LIAR!! And I told her so.
  • instead of crying or screaming, I just started laughing uncontrollably and loudly. I’m pretty sure the rest of the salon enjoyed that.

In summary, the cost (I felt the need to leave a large tip because we’d been so intimate) to benefit (grew back too soon) to pain (seriously) ratio means I will never get a full Brazilian wax again. And it has nothing to do with being banned from that salon.

Posted in Weird shit that happens Tagged , , |

Trip pix: Pittsburgh with an h

I’ve had a few readers ask me about the photo in my blog header so I thought I’d share the story behind it.

No, it’s not a stock image I purchased – but thank you to those who think my photography work is good enough to sell :-)

Back in August 2010 when Lee & I were meandering around Pittsburgh, I thought to myself: I shouldn’t have worn these sandals. Oh, and look at this cool view. I should take a photo of this old viewfinder because it’ll go well with the blog I will likely start in two and a half years.

OK, what really happened: I was trying to find a photo I thought I had taken of a view looking out a window to go with the name Next Door To Normal. While scanning through thousands of unorganized digital files looking for that image, I stumbled upon a series of photos I’d forgotten I took. As soon as I saw them, I knew I’d found my header image!

When you say Pittsburgh out here in the plains, it’s important to quickly note whether you’re talking about the city with an h or without an h on the end. It’s the way we designate if we’re talking about Pittsburg, Kansas, or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Here’s a surprise: our trip to Pittsburgh was a baseball trip. We flew non-stop from Wichita to Detroit, then drove to Pittsburgh. Lee was able to tick the box on the stadiums in both cities. FYI: he’s currently just two shy of seeing a Major League Baseball game in every MLB city.

This image of the viewfinder overlooking downtown Pittsburgh’s skyline and river valley was taken on Grandview Avenue in the Mt. Washington neighborhood of the south city area. To get to the top of the steep hill we rode the inclines, which are said to be the oldest continuous inclines in the world.

If you’re ever watching a televised Steelers or Pirates game, no doubt they will show a view from this spot. {Unless the blimp is there.}

The full photo makes it easier to see the river valley and the different angle allows you to see the city’s skyline. Since my blog has nothing to do with Pittsburgh, though, I chose this view and cropped the image to focus on the viewfinder and the words “turn to clear vision.”

I’m certain this decision has saved hundreds of thousands of readers who might have subscribed to my blog thinking the content was going to be about living in Pittsburgh. You’re welcome, Pittsburgh.


Posted in Photography, travel Tagged |

Lessons learned on Valentine’s Day 2000

I learned a couple of important lessons on Valentine’s Day in 2000.

{OK, so it might have been the year 2000 or it might have been 2001 … it wasn’t long after Lee & I were married in January 1999. The point is, we were newlyweds.}

Early in our relationship we settled into a tradition of staying in on Valentine’s Day and making dinner together. We usually did something simple — like making pizzas — and would watch a movie.

Apparently I still had newlywed brain that particular year. I went out and spent way too much money on some hot pink, sexy get-up. I’m not talking about something simple that E.T. might throw on. I’m talking about something that had multiple components and attachments along with snaps, buckles and such {exaggeration}.

Lee had started making dinner but I was eager to show him my little surprise.

I went to the bedroom and changed.

I waddled down the hallway, pulling this and that trying to get comfortable.

I posed in the doorway of the kitchen.

I cleared my throat to finally get him to look up from the stovetop.

“Oooooohhhh, nice,” he said.

Then he immediately turned his attention back to the stovetop. And kept it there.

After a few awkward moments of standing there in the doorway, I got pissed.

“Fine, if you aren’t interested, I will just take it off,” I said as I turned and headed back down the hallway to change.

People, he kept on cooking. When he realized I’d taken it off and wasn’t just gonna sit there eating dinner in it, he regretted his choices. Too late. The moment was gone.

So what lessons did I learn that Valentine’s Day?

  • Don’t interrupt Lee when he’s cooking a grilled cheese sandwich.
  • Don’t spend a bunch of money on something that’s gonna just get taken off quickly — for good or bad reasons ;-o
  • Never let Lee forget Valentine’s Day 2000. Remind him EVERY. SINGLE. VALENTINE’S. DAY.

Here’s your VERY PUBLIC reminder, Lee. Happy Valentine’s Day sweetie :-D


Posted in Lee, Weird shit that happens Tagged |

Lessons learned on Valentine’s Day 1992

I learned a couple of valuable lessons on Valentine’s Day in 1992.

I was a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Missouri. D.T. was also a sophomore, but he was about 8 months older. It’s not a huge age difference but significant because it meant he had turned 21 years old the past December and was now able to go to bars … without me.

Mizzou campus

We’d been dating about 18 months and this was my first long-term relationship, unless you count my torrid affair with J.V. that spanned fifth and sixth grades at Benton Elementary {lots of intense dates at the Skate-or-Bowl in Columbia, Mo.!} <– sarcasm font goes there

It was not a super serious relationship – we did spend much of our limited free time together and we didn’t date other people. But I don’t remember ever thinking about marrying him. I don’t really remember thinking any farther than plans for the next weekend.

I was going to school full-time and working a part-time job to pay my way through. Also, as part of my coursework in the news-editorial sequence in the School of Journalism I had a full-time beat covering the Columbia College men’s basketball team for the Columbia Missourian, the city’s morning daily newspaper.

Just painting the picture that I was busy and D.T. wasn’t my reason for being or anything.

So when it was brought to my attention by a third-party that my relationship with D.T. wasn’t quite as exclusive as I thought it was (that’s where access to bars came into play), I wasn’t very happy. I broke things off. I’m pretty sure I was the first person to say: “ain’t nobody got time for that”  – long before Sweet Brown made it famous.

D.T. wanted to talk and explain what had happened. I didn’t want to listen.

A few nights later, on Feb. 13, he showed up at the newspaper and caught me at the door when I returned from that night’s game. I told him to go home, I needed to write my article for the next morning’s paper. When I came out several hours later, he was still there –  teary-eyed and shivering from the cold. I told him again that I didn’t want to talk. I got in my car and drove off.

I remember looking in my rearview mirror and seeing him standing in the middle of the road with his hands up in the air in exasperation. There are just some images you never forget.

I went home and struggled to clear my head; I eventually fell asleep. The phone ringing was what woke me up. It was a call from the ER telling me that D.T. had overdosed on pills and they needed to know if I’d seen him recently and if I knew anything about his condition when I saw him – had he been drinking, did I know what he might have taken, etc.

I couldn’t help, I hadn’t been close enough to him the night before to notice anything.

I rushed to the hospital that Feb. 14th morning. And I was there every day after – some 30-plus days. D.T. was in a coma the entire time and eventually his family took him off life support. He passed away during spring break that March.

Why hadn’t I let him talk? What if he would have given me a clue of what he was thinking of doing and I could’ve prevented it.

Why had I been so angry with him when it wasn’t that serious of a relationship? What if I’d told him it was OK, we’d both move on, we’d both be fine. He could have turned his focus to his other issues.

All of these ‘what ifs’ nearly broke me. I considered dropping out of school. I considered a lot of things, none of them good.

But the people closest to me picked me up and helped me see that this wasn’t all about me – it wasn’t what I did or didn’t do that caused him to overdose on a prescription medication he was taking for epilepsy. D.T. had other issues going on besides our failed relationship.

That spring, my editor at the newspaper assigned me to be the beat writer for the Missouri football team the next fall. It was a coveted assignment (even though, yes, it was during some bad years of football at Mizzou). It gave me something to look forward to. That is probably the one thing that kept me in school. And being in school kept my mind busy.


The sports crew from the J-school and the Columbia Missourian, circa winter 1991. In fact, D.T. was at this party and he may have taken this photo because he wasn’t studying journalism and he didn’t know any of this group. The sports editor I mention in this post, Paul, is the third from the left in the front row. I’m in the middle in the back, standing on a chair because I definitely wasn’t as tall as our assistant editor, Jim, standing to my left!


So what lessons did I learn that Valentine’s Day?

  • just be willing to listen
  • sometimes you have to forgive someone for hurting you or disappointing you – more for your own good than for their benefit

That last one, especially, has come in handy through the years when close family members repeatedly disappointed me by not reaching out to me as much as I wanted or by not showing the support I wanted during some of the biggest moments of my life. Based on that lesson from my last moments with D.T., I chose to keep those people in my life – at a safe distance – instead of writing them off and not talking to them again.

I didn’t do this for them, honestly. I did it so that if something happened to them, I would have fewer ‘what ifs’ and, hopefully, no regrets.

Posted in College, Family, Friends Tagged , , |

A house divided: what Lee & I argue about the most

The story of our house: divided on Mizzou vs. kU … Cardinals vs. Astros … Big 12 or SEC vs. MVC …

Lee and I go to all the home Wichita State University men’s basketball games. Lee’s been going for 20+ years, I’ve been going since I started dating him (about 16 years).

EVERY year we have this same argument about the Big 12 vs. Missouri Valley conferences. I’ve adopted the WSU Shockers as my local team, so I’m a fan. But c’mon, there’s a big difference between the type of athlete and the level of play in the MVC compared with the players and the style of play in a league like the Big 12. Or the SEC, where my Mizzou Tigers now live.

Bracket prediction from Patrick Stevens, USAToday Sports

This annual debate has been hot & heavy lately. First, the Shockers got to 19 wins and as high as a No. 14 ranking in the polls before three bad losses sent them tumbling. And then yesterday, one of the bracketologists came out with a tournament bracket prediction that would have Missouri playing Wichita State in both teams’ first game of the NCAA tournament.

I say: Bring it! We could finally settle this ongoing debate.

Back in January, we were at the Bradley @ WSU game and the Shockers were having a great second half. The Roundhouse was getting loud and Lee was feeling pretty excited knowing that the Shockers would move up in the polls since so many Top 10 teams had lost that week. So he just HAD to start up the annual debate, especially since Missouri’s season hasn’t been as good as advertised.


Lee: So if Missouri and Wichita State are playing and it’s ON my birthday, who would you root for?

Me, without any hesitation: Even if it was your last day on Earth, I would root for Missouri.

Lee: {sad look, like I’d just eaten the last piece of pizza}

Me: You’d be disappointed if I didn’t root for Mizzou, wouldn’t you?

Lee: But it’s on my birthday. {said in his best Eeyore impression}


Suck it up, buttercup. You knew what you were getting into when we started dating. And, I know if the tables were turned, he would not be rooting for the Tigers on my birthday.

See, this sign in our TV room proves I am a WSU fan! Unless the Shox are playing Mizzou.

I tease Lee about how great it will be one day when the Shockers become a Division I-A team. I’m kidding, of course. I know they are a legitimate program and a bonafide mid-major. Some great teams (Sweet Sixteen in 2006) and great players (Maurice Evans…oh, he transferred to Texas, my bad) have come through Charles Koch Arena. I just like to get Lee really riled up.

But I’m serious about this conference thing. I have no doubt that Mizzou would beat WSU if they were to play this season. {Phil Pressey, don’t let me down!}

I contend that the best MVC team would not have an easy game against the middle-of-the-pack teams in the big-boy conferences and would certainly lose to the top teams in those conferences. I love going to WSU games but as I said earlier, overall the level of play in the Valley is just weaker.

Lee disagrees.

Notice I am not able to provide reasons behind Lee’s argument. That’s because HE cannot provide reasoning. Oh, here’s one he used back in January — because the Shockers were ranked higher than Missouri at the time. Well, they are playing different levels of competition, my friend, my husband, my nemesis. Just look at the fields in each team’s holiday tournament:

  • Missouri went 2-1 — beating Stanford & VCU while losing to then-No. 2-ranked Louisville — in the Battle4Atlantis tourney that featured three other ranked teams.
  • WSU won the Cancun Challenge tourney by beating Western Carolina, Howard, DePaul and Iowa.

Lee and I don’t agree on much when it comes to our favorite sports teams. Cardinals-Astros. Missouri-Kansas. Missouri-Whoever’s playing Missouri.

That’s life in the Schnyder household … until I can talk some sense into him.

Yes, Lee gets to boast on the wall of our TV room about a kU national championship and kU wrongly going to the Orange Bowl, but I have some Mizzou memorabilia too.

Posted in Lee, Sports Tagged , , , , , , |