How to Remove Skunk Smell

We awoke to skunk smell. A smell that crept in the window like a green wisp of air like in the cartoons. And behind that wisp, another wisp. Behind that? More wisp. Lots, and lots of green wavy stink. Impressive, really.

When we got of bed we noticed the stink had surrounded our apartment. Stink crawled in the kitchen window, it mingled with the smell of shower gel, it waited to escort my husband to work. What a thoughtful stink.
Skunk
Soon, my nice neighbor—we’ll call him Archibald—informs me that the meandering cat that “belongs” to the downstairs neighbors got sprayed. I say quote-unquote belongs because the care the cat receives is minimal at best. The cat kind of gets fed. It’s kind of given shelter. It kind of has a litter of kittens who are kind of given love in the form of a box shoved in the bushes next to the tree that is constantly covered in bees. But it quote-unquote belongs to them. It no-quotes-needed-at-all-does-not belong to me.

But here we were, Archibald and I, discussing what should be done about Stinkila the cat. Apparently she had wriggled into his apartment earlier and now Archibald was in go mode. I gave him some latex gloves and he took his bottle of Skunk-Stink Off© down to assault/help the cat.

Except the cat freaked, wriggled out of his hands, and bolted into the nearest thorny bush.

Archibald had to go back to work. I couldn’t help at the moment because my 1-year-old was awake and dangerous, so it would have to wait. We’d have to let Stinkila prowl, recirculating her new fragrance here and there and everywhere.

Later, for some unknown reason, I was feeling ambitious. So I made myself a trash bag skirt, snapped on some latex gloves, and headed down to scrub the skunk-gland juice off this poor wretched animal. Stinkila did not enjoy this process. I did not enjoy this process. Un-enjoyment had by all. But in the end, she was less stinky than she was before, and I was uncomfortable and sweaty so…mission accomplished.

Come to find out, latex gloves and Skunk-Stink Off© are not enough of a barrier to keep your hands smelling minty fresh (or any variety of fresh, for that matter) when bathing a cat covered in skunk anger. Imagine my disappointment.

As one should do for all serious matters, I turned to the internet. Since you come here to melaniecrutchfield.com for all of your practical life advice, here are the steps I followed:

Wash With Dish Soap
Wash hands with dish soap, being sure to make that suck-slorp sounds that frequently accompanies too-soapy hands.

Rub with Hand Sanitizer
This was just a guess for me. Why not slather something else on there.

Scrub with Apricot Scrub of Some Kind
Again, this is just something I had in my bathroom. Might as well. Then…

Slorp Hands with Mouthwash
I had read to use peroxide, then mouthwash, but my mouthwash is one of the fancy whitening kinds that has peroxide in it, so double-point score for me.

Soak Hands with Lemon Juice
Hope you don’t have any paper cuts…

Scrub Hands with Baking Soda Paste
Little bit o’ baking soda, little bit o’ water. Then more baking soda, and more water, and much more slorping.

Apply Much More Hand Gel
Because why the freak not at this point?

Apply Lotion
Your hands will be dry, crackly, and akin to lizard thighs. Might want to address that.

And tada! Your hands will be less stinky!

“What?!” you say. “They won’t be fresh as a daisy, Melanie?” No, kitten. No they won’t. They got skunk juice on them. What did you expect?

There’s only one thing that really and truly works.

This step CANNOT be overlooked.

TAKE HEED:

Don’t wash the cat that “belongs” to the neighbors.

photo via Enokson at Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

How to Remove Skunk Smell

I’m Putting Disgusting Oils in My Mouth

3/52: Liquid
First it was “oil pulling.”

For those not in the know, oil pulling is the process of swishing oil in your mouth for 20 minutes (yes, about the length of episode of Parks and Recreation and not nearly as witty), for the purpose of cleaning your teeth, pulling toxins out of your body, and communing with a version of yourself that existed in a past life. I put that last one in there because ob-vi-ous-ly that could never work, and that’s exactly how you should view the first two things.

Gabrielle Blair at Design Mom did a post a while back about how she started oil pulling. I have an internet crush on her because she’s über cool and fancy, and she seems like a great parent who doesn’t binge watch The Only Way is Essex, but rather flips through the latest issue of Dwell while sautéing root vegetables for a sensible meal she has planned later in the week. So, I figured if she’s doing it, I should definitely do it. She made it sound fabulous.

Cut to: me swishing olive oil in my mouth because I was too lazy to go get coconut oil. This will make you hate having a mouth, people. Don’t do it. So then I thought, “Well, I can’t really blame her for the gross-o-meter in my mouth breaking because she uses coconut oil which, in retrospect, is a much more sensible choice.” So I bought the coconut oil and tried it and it’s still freaking gross. But then I kept doing it (this should give some reference for my idiot-level tenacity) just to see if my eyes would shine like a baby fawn in the first light of the day. (I believe fawn-eyes are listed as a benefit of oil pulling somewhere in the hippy sector of the internet.)

After many days of waking up early to chew on, then swish, coconut oil in my mouth I discovered I did not, in fact, have fawn eyes. To oil pulling’s credit, my teeth did feel clean-ish. Sort of. But, I did not feel any radical bodily changes that would indicate vacated toxins. I did not commune with Nelanie, the Melanie of years gone. But I DID repeat a super gross experience many times, beyond the point where Reason was like, “Nah, you go ahead. I’ll just go brush my teeth like a normal person.”

Bottom line is: Would I recommend oil pulling to a friend? No way, dudes. No way. Unless I was trying to play a mean trick on you. Then absolutely.

You’d think my participation in any oils-in-the-mouth experiments would be over. You would be wrong.

I started reading this website called Megsanity (ht to Abandoning Pretense) which is amazing because the main author is a therapist and so she’s super smart but she also likes to say weird stuff and swear a lot while she’s giving you priceless life advice. I want her to be my therapist pretty please. So, Meg suggested that oregano oil may be helpful in combating depression because of something called “serotonin reuptake.” If you’re curious, go read her stuff because she’s smarter than I am.

Well, we all know I suffer from the occasional brold, so I figured what the heck, right? Sweet lambs: let me tell you that oregano oil tastes like what angry might taste like if it was oil. The bottle says that “warmth is normal” which I assume code for “the fires of hell will awaken in your throat”.

I’ve been experimenting with flavor combinations of candy corns because, well, sometimes I make bad choices.

So this morning I thought, “What if I use a candy corn as a chaser? That might help…” Cut to: abso-freaking-lutely not. Candy corns and their sweet evil do not pair well with the fires of hell, especially if said fires taste like all the pizza sauce in the world. Learn from my mistakes, friends. I’m here to help.

So, what oils have you been putting in your mouth? If the answer is “no oils” please make something up. Just for me, okay? Somebody get in this oily boat with me.

image CC BY-NC 2.0 by Christopher Rose at Flickr

I’m Putting Disgusting Oils in My Mouth

The Problem with Being a Writer

The problem with being a writer…

The problem with being a writer is that you have to give yourself that title long before you feel you deserve it.

The problem with being a writer is that it makes you twitchy and self-conscious.

The problem with being a writer is that it makes you conceited and vain.

The problem with being a writer is that being self-conscious and conceited at the same time is hard on the brain.

The problem with being a writer is that people who have less talent than you will be more successful than you.

The problem with being a writer is that people who have more talent than you won’t be successful at all. And if they can’t do it, how can you?

The problem with being a writer is the comment section.

The problem with being a writer is that blog stats exist.

The problem with being a writer is that you keep checking your blog stats.

The problem with being a writer is that any modicum of success gets you addicted to a drug you can’t buy, so you live mostly in withdrawal.

The problem with being a writer is that you never take compliments seriously.

The problem with being a writer is that you checked your blog stats again.

The problem with being a writer is that there’s no guarantee that you’ll ever get paid a dime.

The problem with being a writer is that you can’t stop wanting to be a writer.

 

Photo credit Donovan Beeson at Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
The Problem with Being a Writer

Here, Let Me Help: Mascara Edition

If you’ve never noticed, the subtitle of my blog is, “A Guide to Life and Other Quandaries.” As you can tell from previous posts, I am full of all kinds of knowledge. And you should definitely listen to me because, as I’ve mentioned before, I have a website. On the internet. That’s basically like a Ph.D.. So, perk those ears up people, ’cause you’re about to get a dose of the ol’ Crutchfield learning magic.

I’ve decided to start a new series called “Here, Let Me Help,” wherein I give you all kinds of advice you didn’t ask for. You’re welcome, kittens. I know there aren’t enough people with opinions this days. I’m here to fix that.

First up in the “Here, Let Me Help” catalog: mascara.

Now, now, not everyone uses mascara, but if you do, you’ve likely run in to a host of problems. The mascara must be scrubbed from your face like barnacles from a ship’s hull. The mascara flakes and leaves black streaks like you’re a member of KISS. It gets all clumpy and looks like you put fake spider legs on your eyes. “Bahhhh!” you say as you shake your fist at the sky.

KISS members in full make up on stage.
The KISS look may not be the one you’re aiming for.

Well, fist-shake no more, readers. Instead, let me help. This mascara here, L’oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara, to-ta-lly works.

 

L'oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara
This business is legit.

This will not flake. At all. Like, not even after you leave it on for three days because you’re too lazy to wash your face. (Not that I’ve done that.) It also won’t run, not even a little!, if you cry in your kid’s pediatrician’s office. (Not that I’ve done that either, I just think maybe you’ll  do that some day.) You don’t have to break out crazy chemicals to get it off either. Just put some warm water on your closed eyes and pull it off gently.

I don’t know what’s in the stuff—probably fairy blood and magic spells from Michelle Obama—but it’s so great that I don’t even care. (Sorry innocent fairies.)

So there you go. You’re all squared away with your mascara needs, ladies and gents. Need advice on something else? Ask away. I’m here to help.

I didn’t get paid to write any of this because that’s not a thing around these parts. (That doesn’t mean you *can’t* pay me, L’oréal. Especially if you use chocolate as currency. Preferably this.) These are my honest little opinions straight from my heart/brain area. If you could gaze into my perky little perfectly-mascaraed eyes you’d see nothing but sincerity. 

Here, Let Me Help: Mascara Edition

Things You *Really* Shouldn’t Say To Your Kids

I just read this blog post over at Abandoning Pretense in which Kristen Mae gives the thumbs down to all those “Things You Should Never Say to Your Kids” lists floating about, and I was like, “Whew! Thank God someone is letting me off the hook.” I’m all for people pursuing positive parenting with patience and aplomb (sorry, got a little carried away with the alliteration there), but never? NEVER?

“Never” reinforces this sort of oops-you-did-this-BUZZ!-now-you’re-a-terrible-parent vibe that I’m basically totally sick of. Like, I’m barfing guilt already, people. Let’s take it easy. Kristen sums up my feelings at the end:

Most of us are working really hard at being the best parents we can be, and we’re doing a pretty bang-up job of it, too. We are good parents.

Yeah. So take that, internet jerks.

That said, there really ARE some things you probably shouldn’t say to your kids. I’ll list them out, in case you’re just about to say any of this. It takes a village, after all.

Word Graphic - Things You Really Shouldn't Say to Your Kids

Things You *Really* Shouldn’t Say to Your Kids

1. Finish your cocaine or I’ll feed you to my shark.

2. I regret letting the aliens drink your blood every night. Tuesdays? Yes. Every night? Too much.

3. Sometimes I watch you sleeping at night and just cry. Oh, no…not in the good way.

4. Heads up: I’m gonna be real drunk at this parent/teacher conference.

5. Wanna take the cinnamon challenge?

6. Take the cinnamon challenge or I’ll feed you to my shark.

7. Hold this land mine real quick.

8. I wish you were more like your sister, if your sister was like someone else’s kid.

9. Hey! That stove is hot! Ehhh…go ahead. We have insurance.

10. Feed my shark or I’ll feed you to my shark.

If you’re saying any of those things, you probably are a terrible parent. Take your internet shame, you! Take it and like it!

p.s. you’re subscribed to Abandoning Pretense, right? Because you should NEVER tell your kid not to subscribe to Abandoning Pretense.

Things You *Really* Shouldn’t Say To Your Kids

I’m Getting Over a Brold

sad
Image by Kristina Alexanderson via Flickr. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Depression is stupid.

And it has a weird rep that makes already crap-feeling people feel more isolated and alienated. Which is dumb.

So, I have an idea. Depression needs to be a thing that you can say you have without any sort of weirdness attached to it. Like when you have a cold, no body gives you that weird I-hope-I-don’t-send-you-over-the-edge-with-my-response-to-you vibe when you mention that you need to stay in that night. Because a cold is a cold. It’s a thing that a lot of people deal with, and it sucks, and you work through it. And depression is not entirely unlike that. It’s a cold for your brain.

Thus, periodic bouts of depression will henceforth be known as brolds.

Next time you’re feeling crappy and you had a dinner date planned but really you can’t do anything other than cry and watch old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy—no big deal. Text your pals that you came down with a nasty brold and you’ll catch up with them next time. Or if you have a mound of work to do, but depression is sucking the gumption straight out of your head, send an email to HR explaining you’ll need a sick day or two as you deal with your brold.

Once the idea catches on, we’ll see over-the-counter brold treatments popping up all over the place. They’ll mostly contain caffeine pills and pictures of baby animals. It’s not meant to be a cure, just a little something to help you weather it.

The truth is sometimes brolds just come; there’s nothing you did to get in it, and not much you can do to get out of it other than wait with a cup of coffee and an internet full of baby ducks. But sometimes you need go see a doctor and get some more serious meds. But either way, it’s just a brold. Don’t freak out, people. It’s just a brold.

So there’s my idea, you all. I’m full of them. Got another problem that needs to be solved? Send it my way. Though it might take me a bit to get to it—I’m getting over a brold.

Oh, also…go watch this TED talk by Kevin Breel for some more awesome thoughts about normalizing depression.

I’m Getting Over a Brold

The Loser’s Guide to Screenwriting

20130906-100255.jpg

Become Impregnated by The Idea

The Idea comes to you like a mythical creature. It creeps through your window at 2 AM. It rushes straight into your bosom, carried by a warm, southeasterly wind. When it comes to you, it’s fully formed, for it has been made by the hands of tiny green gods from another realm; they know more about storytelling than we ever will.

Yes, they’ve crafted The Idea, the green gods have, and now they’ve sent it to you. It’s so good it’s sexy. And you’re sexy too, now that you have The Idea. You cuddle it, coddle it, coo at it in your mind. You’d kiss it straight on the mouth if you could. Heck, you’d kiss yourself on the mouth.

Obsession. Development.

You write a few things down—not too many, just the broad strokes, really—afraid that delving straight into details will scare The Idea away. And it really is a fantastic idea. So good you can’t believe no one has come up with it before. How is it that a story like this has never been told? Not in this way. Not with this twist. You can’t believe your luck. You speak of The Idea to no one as you flesh it out in your mind, and even in your mind you speak in hushed tones.

The Idea is to be revered. Respected. Protected. You caress its head like it’s the prettiest kitty of all time.

Share Just a Little

Aflame with the exhilaration of having an actual writing project in the coffer, you find yourself unable to resist sharing a little with your writer friends—juuuuust a little.

But lo, when you open your mouth some kind of sentence fragment sputters out, and falls directly in your coffee. You have made a mockery of The Idea. You must stop speaking immediately.

Immediately.

Backtrack Paired with—What’s That? Oh, Yes—Panic

Back in your apartment, you pull out your notes, searching for The Idea. It must be here somewhere; intact, gorgeous, purring.

You read through one page. Then the next. And the third. The last? Wait…wasn’t there more than this? What about the opening images that gave you chills? Or the B story that brought just the right blend of levity and intrigue? This is not The Idea! This is something else, something lesser, something—God help you—pedestrian.

Excavate. Hyperventilate. Repeat.

Okay, just calm down. The golden Idea crafted by the tiny green gods could not have disappeared this quickly. (Unless you angered the tiny green gods. What did you do!?) You just need to think a moment. Just think. THINK.

So you need more than a moment. That’s okay. What’s that 99% perspiration thing? That’s fine. You can do that. Stop worrying. Go to the shelf. Pull out a few screenwriting books as reference, and you’ll have the bones all nice and laid out before you in no time. Sexy bones. The bones of The Idea. It will be fine.

Reinvent All Wheels

Whatever crap they’re selling in screenwriting books isn’t going to help you now. What were you thinking? What, were you hoping to write formulaic drivel that will make a bunch of money for some studio fat cats out there but will leave you dry and listless in your soul? Starved to the core of your creative being? (Wait, what was that about money? Creative famine might be fine with money…)

No! No formulas will work for you. No “structure” or “journey” or “beat sheet” will do The Idea justice. Instead, you must cull the collective knowledge and craft your own system. A system, a structure, a theory worthy of The Idea. The Idea needs a warm, fresh, bohemian yet ruthlessly genius home in which to appear once again. Yes. Yessssss. This will work. Just give it time. Tease out the structure with your hybrid, game-changing ideas and all will be well. The Idea will be well. And you will kiss it on the mouth.

Beer

And a little whiskey.

Vomit

In the alley. Defeated, you deposit both your stomach contents and your hopes for The Idea neatly between a dumpster and a family of rats. Even the rats pity you. A baby rat averts her eyes. You don’t disagree with her choice.

Interlude

Hello, Old Friend

Months later, you find a folder on your computer holding a vaguely named file. You open it out of curiosity. “Now that was a good Idea,” you think. “Just a little work and…”

Another ride around the carousel, please.

The Loser’s Guide to Screenwriting