Harrold Be Thy Name

The reality in which we pirouette as children is so much different than where we flail as adults. Kids dance in what is more like perception, until one day they fall through the glass, land in a chair labeled “grown-up,” and discover just what reality is.


Becoming an adult brings a flood of realization. There are a lot of important epiphanies we have as we mature, some of which result in embarrassment.

I am specifically referring the embarrassment felt once you realize you have misheard, mispronounced, and/or misunderstood sayings, phrases, and lyrics for YEARS.

I was raised Catholic.

Many of my misheard and mispronounced phrases came from mass.

For example,

Actual: “…on the third day, He rose again…”

Me: “…on a Thursday He rose again!”

Actual: “Peace be with you.”

Me: “Pleased to be with you!”

Actual: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by they name…”

Me: “HARROLD by thy name!”

Speaking of mass, when the priest sings “Let us praaaay”, does anyone else want to respond in song, “Okaaaayyy”?

Sixteen years of riding in the backseat with my mother driving and saying, “Should have gone!” when she missed an opportunity to turn. What was I hearing? “Shuddagong!”

And you can bet that’s the exact word I say now as I drive.

I can blame my father for this one: I grew up not referring to the delicious sausage as “Kielbasa,” but in fact as “Kabossy.” Imagine my embarrassment when I use the word as a professional adult only to get blank and confused stares from my coworkers.

Until recently, I was under the impression the phrase when negotiating a lower price was “Chew him down!” My husband was more than happy to point out the phrase, in fact, is “Jew him down.” I think my version is more politically correct, thanks very much.

Here’s another one for which I can place blame on my parent’s shoulders:

I grew up using the word “broom” as both a noun AND a verb. Yes. “I am brooming the floor.” I never heard the end of that one after I started working at KFC.

When I started working in an office, I quickly realized the term is not, in fact, Vanilla folder. It’s manila.  What the fuck is manila? I am damn certain that folder is the color of vanilla ice cream.

You know the furniture “chest of drawers?” Yeah. Chester drawers.  Total sense, right?

I can remember playing Barbies with my sister. Barbie would marry Ken (whom she would later leave for G.I. Joe) and our imaginary minister would say, “Do you, Ken, take Barbie to be your waffley wedded wife?”

I’m also noticing how much fun it is to go back and watch the kid shows and movies from back in the day, because as an adult, I am picking up on so much more.

Babe was an adorable movie. Remember how the farmer looks down at Babe in the end and says ,“That’ll do, pig, that’ll do”? What was I hearing?

“Daddle-doo, pig. Daddle-doo.”

Remember Hey Arnold? Helga’s mom was a total alcoholic! How sad is that? And Shaggy and Scooby Doo were definitely pot heads. How else can you explain their appetite? Nala and Simba were totally getting it on during Can You Feel the Love Tonight, I’m pretty sure Chicken Run is a metaphor for concentration camps, and it is way too obvious that Frollo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame just wants to bang Esmerelda.


The point here (I think) is that becoming an adult brings all sorts of fun enlightenments, and it’s just best to enjoy the ride and laugh along the way. We’re all coming to these grand realizations (some huge, some just as insignificant as realizing what Timon and Pumbaa were really watching as they sang their song).

We’re growing older, growing wiser (I hope).



Kentucky Fried Adulting

Nothing quite says #adulting like a teenager’s first job.

Especially when that job is fast food.

I suppose there was certain irony in the fact that I began the first pages of this section sitting in the lobby of a McDonald’s. At the time, I had intentions of drafting an entire book around my experiences at my first job. It was larger than life, and while some moments were pure immaturity, I was definitely #adulting as I made the climb from a simple crew member all the way up to an assistant manager.

Golly, I was cool.

            The search for my first legal employment was less than simple. The day I realized I couldn’t live on a non-existent allowance and the annual birthday bonus, I borrowed the Mom Mobile (my mother’s ice-blue Dodge Caravan) and set off at a questionable speed toward the isle of fast food: 17-mile Road in Cedar Springs, Michigan. It was the closest to my house in Rockford, 10 minutes south.

Subway was first. Oh Subway! So delicious with your five-dollar foot-longs and Sun chips! Then I journeyed across the street and placed an app at the McDonald’s (not the one I’m currently sitting in, stuffing my face with a hash brown that’s probably not real potatoes, but what the hell). Then there was Burger King (the BK Lounge, as Dane Cook fans often refer to it) Wendy’s (although the girl with the hair has always secretly given me nightmares) and finally, right behind Wendy’s, I placed an app at the local KFC/A&W. Yes, under one roof, ladies and gentlemen! Root beer floats AND fried chicken!

“I just placed an app at that KFC and A&W place,” I said to my mother over the phone as I sat in the Mom Mobile planning my next move. “I’ll totally work for A&W… but if it’s KFC I’m so not going for it.” I was 16 and disillusioned. KFC/A&W doesn’t employ separate restaurants. It’s all the same, like a giant, overwhelming, bipolar menu where you can eat a chicken leg, and then devour a hotdog.

“What does A&W stand for?” She asked me, curious.

“How should I know? I don’t work there. I hope one of these places calls me. But I would much rather do retail.”

“Might as well apply at the Big Boy across the street,” Mom mentioned, ignoring my desire to fold sweaters for a living.

“MOM. I’m not working anyplace that implies fatness in the NAME.”

And then the waiting game began.

It was weeks before I received the call. I started to lose hope of ever possessing a job to make money toward college. Not that I had any idea what I wanted to do at college. But it would have been nice to have been able to pay for whatever education I would pursue.

Danielle Inc. was on the caller ID. I looked at it with a sneer. “Who’s Daniel?” I murmured to myself before carelessly placing the phone on the cradle and waddling through the kitchen towards the fridge, high hopes of beef jerky bubbling within me (there was none).

The machine picked up the call (yes, this was back when we had landlines and answering machines).

“Hi, this is Monica from KFC/A&W and this message is for Kaitlin, we would like to set up an interview with you…”

I almost peed my pants. I spun around on my heel, my hands seizing the phone. In my haste, I tripped over myself and crashed to the laminate floor.

“Crap!” I jumped to my feet and immediately called them back. I had an interview the next day.

I’ve always been vaguely entertained by the questions one is asked during interviews. My personal favorite is “What are your hobbies?” Honestly, it doesn’t matter, because once I get this job I won’t have any hobbies anymore! And everyone knows the interviewee is going to answer how they’re “supposed” to answer, as opposed to the truth. Can you imagine what would happen if people told the truth?

“I enjoy counting the number of ingredients on packages and chewing gum.”

“I’m quite fond of masturbation.

“I smoke weed on the weekends.”

Instead, we get answers like “Reading. Running. Going to college.” And other bullshit.

I suppose what is even more depressing is that these were the answers I gave: Reading. Running. Writing. Singing.” And they were one-hundred percent true. Yep, I’m that boring.

Whatever the questions asked, and answers given, I was hired on the spot.

“Congratulations, you’ve just become a crew member at KFC/A&W.”


            And so, it began.

From the moment I started working, I longed to have the honor of holding employment at an institute which does not force you to wear a uniform that purposefully makes you as unattractive as you could ever possibly look. The first day I put on those black pants, the heinous black shirt, and the hat, I looked in the mirror and said to my pitiful reflection, “Damn, you’re a sexy winner.”

I was trained on front counter my first day, nervously watching as my trainer (who later quit to gallivant about Peru and do something real) pressed the buttons, filling the orders that came to her. The numerous meal combinations and burgers twisted in my head as I attempted to permanently stamp them into my mind. I had to fight not to roll my eyes as I heard for the millionth time that evening, “Would you like that in Original or Crispy?”


Or, what has become my personal favorite, “Would you like that Original or Crispy?”


Seriously? Definitely wasn’t a yes or no question, guy.

I was nice back then. Patient. My smile alone welcomed even the meanest vegetarian into the store. But that was years ago. I was just getting started.

It’s not that I wasn’t fond of the sound of crackling grease and hot fryers and all the acne that goes with it. It’s not that I felt a sense of loathing for my coworkers. On the contrary, they were like a second family.

If you’ve ever worked fast food, you don’t even have to ask.

If you’ve never worked fast food…

You have no idea.

My shoes slid across the floor as I tore through the store, the glass door slamming behind me.

“Why am I always late?” I muttered to myself, placing the black cap upon my head and yanking my curly brown ponytail through the hole in the back. I bustled past the line of red booths in the lobby of Kentucky Fried Chicken & A&W (whatever that stands for), grabbing an abandoned food tray as I passed an overflowing trashcan. Silently I cursed the costumers for being so inconsiderate. IF the trash can is full, there’s another one RIGHT NEXT TO IT. I glided past the front counter where an elderly couple stood in front of Monica, my assistant manager. Monica is a spicy, (though never feed her spicy foods, please, God) raunchy woman who cannot control the words that unexpectedly fly out of her mouth.  I flashed her a smile and pushed through the employee door.

Immediately the scent of frying chicken embraced me. It overpowered every other scent in the store. I turned the corner and passed the enormous dishes sink. One would never think KFC generates a lot of dishes to be cleaned throughout the day, but that is a common misconception. I dropped my purse in the backroom beside bottles of chemicals such as degreaser and lime-away, then went to search for my timecard in the massive pile beside the office door.

“That’s not my name,” I sang out to the tune of the Ting Ting’s “That’s Not My Name” as I shuffled through the cards. “That’s not my name! That’s no—Op, that’s my name.”

“Alright, let’s have a 411!” Monica shouted, her voice harsh and nasal. She was a middle-aged woman with long graying hair pulled back into a bun beneath her hat. Like the crew, she wore black pants and slip-resistant shoes. But beneath her apron was a red shirt, as opposed to the black donned by the crew members. She shuffled to the back and stood beside the tower of Pepsi boxes.

“Alright, we’re gonna be busy tonight,” she began, looking at the half-bored crew standing around her fanning themselves with their time cards. “Cooks!”


“Don’t run me out of chicken. I don’t want a repeat of last night!”

“Wasn’t my fault,” a cook whined. “The dude ordered like 50 pieces of chicken at once!”

Monica ignored him. “Alright, let’s punch in!”

“Happy Friday,” I muttered to Whitney, a nearly six-foot-tall chicken expert who became a dear friend and later introduced me to my husband. I slid my card into the time clock. 16:00.

And the fun began.

“Thank you for stopping at KFC and A&W, this is Kaitlin speaking, go ahead with your order whenever you’re ready!” The drive-thru introduction was mandatory and second nature. I pressed that headset button and rattled it off like nothing. After three years of practice, I could recite the intro while counting out change and filling a gallon of root beer at the same time.

“I’d like a Potato Bowl please,” the customer squawked all too loudly from the drive-through speaker. I adjusted the headset over my ear and vaguely wondered if people thought I was deaf, or that our speaker technology was really that primitive that they must resort to SQWAKING their order.

“Would you like an ice-cold Pepsi to go with that today?” I asked. Suggestive selling was part of my job. We want to squeeze every penny out of our customers who roll around to our squeaky drive through window, and we won’t go down without a fight, gosh darn it! You want apple turnovers for ninety-nine cents, and you’re gonna like it!

I took a second order and tried some suggestive selling.

“Would you like to try a Potato Bowl today?”

“No… I want a Famous Bowl.”


Potato Bowls and Famous Bowls are the same thing, Lady.

“Can I get a pie with that?” The customer asked.

“Reese’s, Oreo, or Strawberry?”


            Oh my God…


“Go ahead and pull forward and I’ll have your total at the window,” I muttered.

Everybody loves money. How could one NOT love money? Part of #adulting is having money. It gets you stuff, makes you happy, and through a complicated and corrupt supply and demand system, the world keeps going around because of it.

Given my employment, I encountered a lot of money (and I mean specific amounts of individual bills as opposed to the total valued amount). Let’s face it: Bill Gates has contact with more money in a single hour than I will in my entire life.  Apart from my increased risk of disease and drug contact, and of course how easy it was to collect all the quarters on my collector’s map, I’ve noticed certain things about people and their money.

First, I must admit the biggest pet peeve I possessed was when I opened the window, announced the somewhat over-priced total, outstretched my hand for the cash, and my hand was snubbed, the money instead slapped on the window ledge. Thanks, Guy, I was definitely holding my hand out to catch the breeze, not to collect your payment or anything.

Also, when one’s order is over three dollars, one should consider it utterly rude to pay in change.

“Hi, $7.98 please,” I’d say with my signature smile. Then it’s wiped clean off my face as a handful of change is dumped upon my windowsill. Daily Double! Two pet peeves in one. This must be my lucky day. I never worked on an honors system. When it came to the accuracy of my drawer, I took it quite personal. I WILL be counting your handful of change, and I won’t be giving you a break if it’s short!

I greatly appreciated a costumer having their payment ready and willing as I opened the window. The last thing I wanted to see was a customer’s increasingly large rear-end as they bent over in their seat in search of their purse which had so conveniently slipped off the passenger seat and landed on the floor. As if that wasn’t terrible enough, the same customer would sit and count out exact change to top it off. Don’t get me wrong, I loved exact change. It cut my cash-out time in half. But I wasn’t much for a peepshow of the customer’s backside as they searched for said change.

I found myself involuntarily judging a person based on the physical condition of their chosen method of payment.  I was always appreciative toward the simple, single crisp twenty that was handed to me and cashed in seconds. The newer bills kept my drawer looking organized. These people, I presumed, were efficient and responsible adults. They knew how to ensure the safety of Andrew Jackson during his journey from the bank to KFC/A&W. They were often very similar to the folks who simply handed me a credit card. A quick swipe and push of a few buttons, and they were ready to go. The problem with credit cards, however, was that we required a signature. It was much quicker for me to give change than it was to wait for the guy at my window to remember how to spell his unusually lengthy name.  Honestly, nobody looks at those things. Just draw an “X” and move on for Sander’s sake.

There was the money folded around the change deal. I understand you don’t want the cashier to drop the coins, but I often didn’t even realize you placed coins inside the inconveniently folded bills. Therefore, not only did I take the time to unfold the money, I also had to search for the coins once they cascaded to the ground. These people, I think, tried too hard to be efficient and therefor were counter-productive.

And how could I ever forget the careless spaz who shoved wrinkled, scrunched up bills into my hand. I guess I just assumed these people hadn’t the slightest clue what a straight line was and carelessly shoved their cash into their pockets where it may be forgotten for weeks at a time. Although I love a forgotten random dollar as much as the next guy, I prefer neatly placing it into my wallet. Not to mention wrinkled cash didn’t lay flat in my drawer and made it look terrible.

Though it’s not right, I found myself making strong, negative assumptions about the girl who handed me $23.00 in ones. All ones. I stared at the stack of cash for a moment, really hoping they hadn’t been placed into her G-string the night before.

Once, someone had folded his dollar bill into an origami sailboat. Don’t get me wrong; I love origami. I’m the origami queen! I can make cranes, butterflies, boxes, flowers, and if given some real time, I can pull off a half-way-decent inflatable frog that hops on a good day. But when it came to origami money on a busy afternoon at KFC/A&W, I’m afraid I just plain didn’t have the time to appreciate such an unexpected, germ-covered work of art, and found myself only annoyed with the extra time it took to unfold the masterpiece and place it in the drawer with all the other normal, crease-free bills.

I took another order. “That’ll be $5.69, thank you and please pull forward,”

“WOO-HOO!” Monica howled at the price. “69!”

I’ve warned you before of the certain dirty mind-ness Monica seems to possess and in turn exploit across the brains of the staff. One does not work at KFC for longer than a few months and NOT pick up some of these… tendencies. I remember how shocked I was the first time I heard Monica drop the F bomb at work.

“I’ll have a cup of coffee,” an old man muttered to me as he dug through his fading leather wallet for a bill.

“I’m sorry, we don’t carry coffee,” I informed him. It was my first summer at KFC/A&W and I tried my best to keep my temper despite the heat.

“You don’t have coffee?!” The man exclaimed. “That’s just ridiculous.” And he left.

I stood in silence, watching him leave, not really caring, yet baffled anyone could care about a cup of coffee this much (this, obviously, is before I discovered McDonald’s Hot Caramel Mocha).

Monica came up behind me and put a hand on my shoulder. “It’s 99 fucking degrees outside and he’s asking for a fucking cup of coffee.”

Well then!

I don’t know why I was surprised; if only I knew what was to come.

“She clogged the fucking sink!”

“Come on, you fuckers, let’s GO!”

“What the HELL is wrong with you?”

“Well. That just looks like shit, now, doesn’t it?”

“Requests for time off are just that: requests. Stop BITCHING.”

“Shut up, you hunsuckers!” (Still have no idea what that last one even MEANS).

Expanding my vocabulary and arsenal of insults certainly made me feel like more of an adult.

I took another order as Whitney prepared to pack it. We made such a great team.

“Can I help you find something?” I asked after a long moment.

“Just thinking,” the customer responded. Silence again. For several minutes.

“Somebody put a garage over this car!” Whitney finally shouted, tongs flailing in the air.

“Can I get the, uh… three… three col… colonial strips meal?”

Facepalm. Colonel. COLONEL. Like, “KER -NAL”. Not colonial.

“Yep, I can get that colonel strip meal for you,” I said, forcing a smile onto my face. “Will that complete your order?”

“I need some cheese with that,” the customer added.

“Like, melted cheese?” I clarified, slightly confused.

“No,” the customer said, almost annoyed. “Liquid.”

Facepalm again.

Whitney rolled her eyes but obliged.

“I need strips down!” She yelled back at the cooks, taking the last of them from the window and tenderly (tenders! Get it?! HA!) placing them in a box.

“You want me to STRIP DOWN??” Monica called.

“God, yes.”

“I also need two breasts,” the customer in my ear added.

I stifled a giggle. “Original or Crispy?”


“Do we have two Original breasts?” I asked Whitney, lifting the headset off my ear so I could better hear her response.

“Oh, yes, my breasts are very original,” Whit smirked.

I laughed. “But really?”

“We’re good.”

I sold them.

I opened the window as the car sluggishly approached. I had the misfortune of glancing beyond the driver at the passenger… who was clipping her toenails.


Suppressing a gag, I took the man’s money, gave him his original breasts, walked away.

“You know,” Whitney started as she grabbed a broom to sweep particles of crispy breading from the greasy floor. “I think you would really like my brother’s friend. You should meet him.”

Monica shuffled by to withdraw money from my till. “Are you fixing Kaitlin up with a boy? Remember what I always taught you girls. You gotta get the bling bling on your fing fing before you get that ding ding.” She looked at Whit, who was still sweeping. “Make sure you pull out them buns,” she advised, referencing the carts of sandwich buns rolled underneath the sandwich station.

“You’ve got nice buns,” Whit said as she obliged.

“Honey,” Monica snorted, “them ain’t buns. Them are the entire loaf!”

I shook my head as I started the rest of my cleaning responsibilities.

“Excuse me, Lady, I have a bone to pick!” I heard a gravely voice behind me. I turned on my heel to see a man with graying hair and an unkempt beard. He held a crinkled fast food bag in his hand and his bushy eyebrows were malevolently slanted over his eyes.

“Can I help you?” I asked, approaching the counter.

“Damn straight,” he began.  “You guys screwed up my fucking order. I can’t believe this. Every Goddamned time. I just want a fucking burger! How hard is that! You all must be stupid.”

He continued like that for a while. I checked out somewhere in the middle, waiting for him to take a breath so I could sneak in a very hilarious observation.

“Sir,” I finally sighed, trying to suppress the smile twitching at the corners of my lips. “That’s a Wendy’s bag. You’re at KFC.”

That’s when the crowd around him erupted in laughter. I’m not typically a supporter of public humiliation, but that guy had it coming. You can’t be that disrespectful and not receive a visit from karma. Red in the face, he left the store in a hurry, tightly clutching his Wendy’s bag. I wish I would have called Wendy’s to warn them. They would have at least had a laugh before being insulted.

Here’s the thing. We are all human. Humans make mistakes. There is no reason to be a douchebag about a mistake. Be polite. The restaurant will gladly fix it for you.

Just saying… you don’t fuck with the people who handle your food.

Are you nuts?

Shortly after, Monica called me into her office.

Well shit.

“What did I do?” I asked as I walked into the office and removed my hat.

“Nothing, gosh!” she said. “I just want to know if you think you might be able to run the store next Wednesday.”


“We have a manager’s meeting up in Big Rapids. Us managers need someone to run the store while we are gone. I should be back to help close and count the drawers, but the shift would be all yours.”

I couldn’t help the smile that was slowly creeping across my chapped lips. Manager? Me? It sounded so… official… so… important… so… grown up. #adulting.

“Yeah,” I finally managed to breathe. “I can do it. No prob.”

And that’s how it started. I would run a shift here and there when the managers needed someone as back up. But eventually I was named an official manager at KFC/A&W.

I spent a total of six years there.  Lots of blood, sweat, and tears went into that job. And grease. Lots and lots of grease. And I’m not just talking about the elbow kind.

This job was fundamental in developing my stellar adult personality.

And I was inches away from choosing Wendy’s for employment instead.

Who would I be now?

When analyzing the experience overall, without my experience at KFC, I would never have met Whitney… and she introduced me to my husband. I would never have gotten the management experience that led me to pursue a master’s degree in Strategic Communication Management.  I would never have built my vocabulary of sexual innuendos (so important) and wouldn’t have been motivated to be better than just the chicken girl. KFC was a solid foundation for the adult I would someday become.

Still working on becoming one, but I know I’ll be good.

Does Adulting mean Becoming your Parents??

Does adulting mean becoming your parents?

Sometimes something flies out of my mouth and I have to race to the mirror to make sure I haven’t turned into my mother.

…or my father.

Does adulting mean I need a specific table cloth for every holiday? Do I need to buy fancy Christmas china and gold color silverware? Or is that just my parents?

Should I model after my dad and have every single appliance known to man, including the little buzzing spider that stirs your gravy for you? Am I supposed to play Enya on repeat every time I have guests?

Should I obsess over everyone else’s garbage and make dumpster suggestions like my mother?

Should I spend my weekends considering how to bring up the value of my home, or futzing with my stereo for the optimal sound experience?

Do I start using words like “futz” and talk with my hands like my Italian father?

Do I begin shopping at Costco and buying gross “Pub” snackies in bulk?

Am I supposed to deep-clean my house and pick up dog poop twice a week like my mom? (Probably. That would probably be a good life choice.)

What I’m getting at here is that I don’t think I have to approach adulting the same way my parents approach adulting. I’ve already covered that they’ve been really good at pretending they know what they’re doing. So, I guess, if they’re good at pretending, then that doesn’t mean I can’t be just as good at pretending. But I don’t have to do it the same way they are.

I’m me.

You’re you.

And that’s pretty badass.

The Dum Dum Dilemma

You know how restaurants sometimes have those mints you can grab as you walk out the door?  As a kid, I thought it was cool. Free candy, you know? Now that I’m an adult, I understand exactly what they are there for.

Lunch meetings.

And you’re the poor sap that ordered something with garlic or onion, and now have a very serious problem.


Good luck with that sales pitch with fumes eking out of your mouth like an episode of SpongeBob.

Thus, restaurants provide mints.

What about when said restaurant does not have mints, but in fact has Dum Dums?

This realization hit me like a truck one day as I left a Mexican restaurant with my colleagues to walk back to the office.

Adulting is putting thought into which Dum Dum flavor you pick.

  • Is it going to turn my mouth blue?
  • Is it going to make my breath stink?
  • I still want it to taste good; does “Mystery Flavor” mean no color on my lips or shitty flavor?
  • Do I have any meetings today?
  • Do I need to get more than one to share?
  • How many calories are in a Dum Dum?
  • Wait, are these just for kids?
  • Do I look like I can pass for a kid?

Had I been an eleven-year-old spaz, I wouldn’t have thought twice; I would have grabbed a random handful of Dum Dums and merrily skipped out as I stuffed them in my pockets (Aren’t pockets great? My wedding dress had pockets. Many asked why I needed a dress with pockets. My response? “Wouldn’t you want a place to keep all your shit?”).

But I’m an adult now, and I had a very serious decision to make. And the reality was that there was no good selection. I was screwed either way. I’m either stuck with nasty flavor, with a blue or green mouth, or I get nothing and gas out my team with my mouth smells.

I settled on cherry.

Because at least a bright red tongue is more natural-looking than an alien blue tongue.

Or, I could just BUY A FRICKING PACK OF GUM because adults DON’T EAT DUM DUMS!

…do they?

More on adulting here!

“It’ll be fun,” they said.

Grow up and become an adult, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.

False. Where’s my blankey?
I’ll be in my fort.

Let’s talk about all those things “expert” adults never told us.
No one told me I would never again write in cursive apart from signing my
name. Nor did anyone say signing my name would become such a big deal… And I certainly wasn’t prepared for how many times I would sign it to purchase a home.
Actually, I’m not sure why it was so important for me to buy a house. It was like this giant
check off my “becoming an adult bucket list.” It’s not just me; when my parents decided to get married, my mom lived in a condo and my dad in an apartment. My mom insisted upon purchasing a house, because her perception of adulthood and marriage included a house. She just assumed that’s what people do. She didn’t realize some people live in an apartment for years and are perfectly functioning adults. No one said becoming a successful adult doesn’t mean becoming the stereotypical adult.

No one mentioned how utterly USELESS everything I learned in math class
would be. I can tell you the Pythagorean Theorem, but I can’t fucking balance a
checkbook. I think we really need to reevaluate our curriculum.

No one told me there wasn’t a magical “Pantry Fairy” that comes and fills your
cupboards with snackies every week.

There is no similar fairy for cleaning.

No one said that your house gets dirty even when there’s no one home.
I thought I was just going to mystically “like” doing laundry as soon as I entered

Nope. Still hate it.

I finally gave up and started shoving all the sheets inside the corresponding pillowcase.

I’ve been under the impression that knowing how to perfectly wrap presents
was just an adult thing. Now I’m convinced it must just be a parent thing.

No one explained how much making plans would change. As an adult, the idea
of plans is so much better than executing the plan the day of.

“Yeah, dude, we should totally hit the club on Friday!”
On Friday: “Dammit.”

Nobody mentioned I would be responsible for making my own doctor
appointments. Apparently, my mom no longer reminds me when I have a teeth
cleaning and subsequently does not drive me there.
Also, answering the doctor when he asks you about your medical history. #adulting.

They said there’d be bills…

No one told me the can of Sloppy Joe does not, in fact, include the meat.
Imagine my surprise when I dumped that can of just SAUCE in my frying pan.

No one told me my furnace would quit in my second week of home ownership.

Or my fridge three months later.

No one told me I would one day have no problem sitting at a public table and
eating alone.

In fact, I prefer it. Don’t sit next to me.

No one told me the world would start to take a dump and I would feel so
helpless in fixing it.
I was shocked to discover how expensive it is to shop healthy. It’s much cheaper
to live on pasta and pizza rolls, but my ass does not much appreciate it.

No one warned me I would be so much like my father.
No one said anything about everyone else not knowing what they’re doing,
The thing is, the


I dive into this adulting experience, the more I realize everyone else is just winging it,
too, and doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing.

Even my parents didn’t know what
they were doing. They were still trying to figure it out when they had me! Two kids
rushed into the hospital to have their first child, only to break the water and it come
out green.
Yes, ladies and gents, I took a shit in the womb.
And suddenly the pleasant delivery experience turned into an emergency situation
resulting in a C-section.
I can appreciate that terror now that I’m an adult.
They had no idea what to expect.
But they made it work.
They winged it.

Like we all sort of wing it as life takes us through unexpected turns and onto bumpy
Life is messy.
Everyone is different.
And everyone figures it out at their own pace.

Maybe I’ll finally have my shit together by the time I’m thirty.

More posts about adulting

What #adulting Doesn’t Mean

I have blogged earlier this week about the #adulting phenomenon in which millennials find themselves. You can read those posts here and here.

But right now, I want to talk about what #adulting doesn’t mean.

It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some candy on Halloween (or steal your kids’).

It doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to cry over spilled milk.

It doesn’t mean you can’t make mistakes. It just means you must

learn from them.

It certainly doesn’t mean you can’t be silly. Be you.

It doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help.

It doesn’t mean your favorite movies can’t be Disney Pixar.

It doesn’t mean your feelings can’t be hurt.

It doesn’t mean you can’t

Sing in the shower

Dance in the rain

Go on an adventure

Get lost

Take selfies.

Adulting doesn’t mean giving up on your dreams.

If you want to write a novel and be on Ellen,

  Do it.

That dream isn’t just for “kid” you.

It’s for “you” you.

It doesn’t mean you have to be a realist or a pessimist.

It does not mean you can’t


It doesn’t mean you have to like black coffee and the History Channel.

It doesn’t mean starting every story with “back in my day…”

It doesn’t mean you have to get married and have children.

It doesn’t mean you stop obsessing over things like Harry Potter and Wicked the Musical.

It doesn’t mean you have to find God.

It doesn’t mean you have to lose God.

It doesn’t mean you have to like politics.

It doesn’t mean being on your own.

It doesn’t mean you can’t find love at first sight.

It doesn’t mean you change what you stand for.

It just means becoming conscious of your being and how you fit into the universe.

It means learning how to be kind and empathetic to all people.

It means finding yourself in new and foreign situations, and somehow surviving.

It means becoming fiscally responsible and building credit.

It means supporting others.

A spouse.




Your aging parents.


It means losing the people you love while finding new love along the way.

It means becoming a professional.

Not a stereotypical professional…but a professional “you”.

It means recognizing your strengths and being willing to develop your weaknesses.

It means keeping it together when you’re ready to





a p a r t

…and then realizing it’s still okay to fall apart. You just have to be able to glue yourself back together again.

It means placing your trust in others, and recognizing when it is time to pull that trust away.

It means hard work…





Without my Mommy

I was 18, attending my first college orientation, and shoved into a large computer lab with other confused adolescents… without my mommy.
Not. Cool. 

You know what doesn’t make sense?

Choosing a major at 18.

We all think we are big, bad adults when we turn 18, but the truth is I didn’t know shit when I was 18.

How can a

hormonally unstable

18-year-old individual declare what she is going to do for the rest of her life? As a recent high school graduate, you will be working in your chosen career much longer than you’ve even been alive thus far.







But it happens. We graduate high school and immediately have to adult. Decide what you’re doing with your life, or else you’re a bum.

Has anyone else noticed that?

The kids who start college with an “undeclared” major, or announce to friends and family they are “undecided” are stereotyped as bums or slackers or as indecisive.

Maybe they are the ones who are #adulting better.

Maybe they are more calculating about this life thing.

I didn’t want to be that guy. That “undeclared” or “undecided” guy. So, I decided. Because I thought that was the “adult” thing to do.



At eighteen.



I wanted to write.

I didn’t know what, but I wanted to.

Maybe children books, or romance stories. Maybe even news articles or magazine editorials.             Something.

For me, part of #adulting must mean listening to your parents when they ask, “But what kind of job are you going to get with a Creative Writing degree?”

At first, I chose Grand Valley State University. Because my grandmother was sick, and that inspired me to become a Radiation Therapist.

But then, I changed my mind.

Go figure.

I moved to Education.                                 Which also didn’t pan out in the end.

Had I initially decided upon education, I would have ended up attending a completely different school. Aquinas. But there I was, at GVSU.

Again, how different would I be now?

Not that there’s anything wrong with GVSU. I didn’t mind it at all. I commuted.

In fact, after the mess of what was my Freshmen year, I was hardly on campus at all.

Yes. Freshmen year was a mess. Let’s ponder scheduling a moment.

I was 18, attending my first college orientation, and shoved into a large computer lab with other confused adolescents… without my mommy.




I was just happy to figure out how to register for classes. No one told me there was a strategy behind choosing which classes to take when and where. And so, I ended up commuting to campus daily. And working almost every evening back home at KFC.


Freshmen 15? You mean Freshmen -15.


I settled on an English major.

All it took was 3 weeks of a horrid English class dissecting “classic” texts and reading poems while asking questions like, “Why do you think the author describes this rocking chair as blue?”


I dropped my English major and picked up the complete opposite.


I didn’t stick with Spanish Education (with a minor in psych solely because it was the teachable minor with the least amount of credits) because I had at long last discovered what I was meant to do for the rest of my life. I stuck it out because #adulting. That’s just what you do.

I wasted a lot of tears on my education and put in a lot of sweat studying and striving to do well.

Most college kids have one desire: just get it done.

Or party.

I just wanted to be done already.

Make money.

Get married.

Make babies.

Preferably in that order.

But what about getting more than ¾ through your degree and deciding you hate it? Like, really hate it.

What is #adulting? Do you suck it up buttercup and finish, get your big girl job, then go back to school later to try something different?

Or do you walk, call it quits, and search for your real passion?

One of those I call adulting. The other I call brave. (I might also call it stupid. But that doesn’t make it any less brave).

Me? I would finish. Get a real career then maybe explore other options later.  But perhaps listening to your gut is more #adulting than I give it credit for. Like I said, matter of opinion.

I’ve been there. My undergraduate degree is in education. And I hated it. I knew I hated it when I started my student teaching. “Child” me wanted to walk. “Adult” me knew I had to push through and start a real career.

So I did. I couldn’t waste it all.

I told myself the hatred toward my student teaching experience was situational. Breaking down the barriers my students at that inner city high school had built proved difficult, especially with a host teacher who didn’t even present me with so much as a hammer for a teaching tool. (Give me an Amen if you student taught for a dude who only hosted student teachers to get out of doing any work.)

My student crowds of over thirty were less than enthused to be taking Spanish, or, in many cases, already spoke Spanish and were bored out of their minds. And on top of that, many were uninterested in forming a relationship with the instructor. With me.

I quickly learned teachers must be a puzzle master… and I historically struggle bus with puzzles. Seeing those students was a secret mission in itself… How could I possibly capture the attention of those students with whom I share little in common? How can I earn their respect and in turn build a relationship with them and help them succeed? Skill. That’s how. Practice and skill.

But I was made to feel I had no such skill. The teacher I worked with (…for…) was horrid. He continuously signed up to host student teachers specifically so that he did not have to do work. There was no noble passing down of knowledge happening there. Nothing.

So I lied to myself. I lied and told myself I would really shine in a different scholarly environment. I lied big and I lied loud, and I lied hard.

This lie to myself got me through, got me my degree, got me a subbing job, and eventually got me my first teaching job. It got me places. But it was an adult lie.

It took me about 4 months of teaching high school assholes to realize how much I had lied to myself.

I wasn’t prepared to be a teacher, despite my education. A 23-year-old woman fresh out of college simply cannot successfully control a room of hormonal Gen Z high school students who have no real desire to learn a foreign language.

And if you can, you’re my hero.

It just wasn’t

for me.

Back then, I felt like a large part of being an adult meant being respected, not just by those younger than you, but by your colleagues and superiors. Teaching gave me no feeling of respect. I didn’t feel appreciated.

I didn’t feel anything.

Not to discourage anyone from the profession of teaching. Like I said, it just wasn’t


Like I had hoped it would be.

I didn’t quit. I adulted, stuck it out, and I started my master’s degree.

Master’s in Strategic Communication Management.

Best. Decision. Of. My. Life.

Going back to school after you’ve started your big girl job because you want more for yourself and are prepared to put in all the time and effort? #adulting.

Shout out to all you hardworking ladies and fellas who are working, learning, and supporting all at once. You’re my heroes. Keep showing ’em how it’s done.


“Circle time!” My kindergarten teacher’s unusually high, lispy voice echoed in my small ears as I ducked under the playhouse door and cast aside my apron.

I played the mom on Tuesdays.

I took my spot in what I now remember as an oval as opposed to a circle. The carpet was a strange mix of navy, orange, and copper colors. They were all mixed together in some sort of awful concoction. I sat “Indian style” (totally politically correct…)  and impatiently rocked side to side awaiting directions.

“Let’s talk about what we want to be when we grow up!” The teacher sang as she sat in her worn rocking chair, brushing a golden curl out of her brown eyes.






“Accountant.”  (Who the heck was that kid?)





I would love to conduct a long-term study determining what percentage of those kiddos actually grew up to be what they said they would be in Kindergarten.

I was one of the kids who sang out “teacherrrrrr!” I don’t know now if I meant it, or if I was brownnosing (quite possibly the latter… I was notorious for that later in life).

But I said it.

And it did happen.

At least for a little while.

My teacher collected responses from all the children and continued to sing an awful song about growing up and accomplishing your wildest dreams.

I threw up my pizza all over the carpet a few moments later.

Let’s step back.

I’m a millennial.

And I’d place bets that you are, too.

Or perhaps you are the parent of one. Which is not easy. Kudos to you for not killing your kid and doing the best you could.

The life of a millennial, the whole growing up thing, seems to be different than the way our parents or grandparents grew up. But really, the life of our parents and grandparents was different than their parents and grandparents. This modern phenomenon of millennials and how they stereotypically think and act is fascinating to me, and even more so because I am a member of this group, chronologically speaking.

As I exited my teens and started the journey through my 20’s, I found myself and many others around my age using the term “adulting” as we completed major life changes or experienced certain successes.

Suddenly, the word “adult” became a verb.

And as it became a verb, it became a goal that seems to be difficult to successfully achieve.  Every millennial’s end-goal is to become the successful adult.

Cool. I’ve got a direction.

The only trouble is…. How do I even go in the right direction??

I think everyone journeys into adulthood differently. And sometimes there are instances of pure “adulting” without being described as an actual adult.

I mentioned adulting to an old childhood friend, and how fascinating it is to see each other again as completely different people. He responded, “Well. The paychecks certainly don’t say I am an adult.”


Is bringing home a fat paycheck what the expectation of adulting has become?

Perhaps. For some.

I want to shed some light on this thing called life and #adulting.

Let’s get real for a sec.

I’m nothing special. But I’m me.

And you’re you. Maybe you’ve got like, 20 followers on Instagram including your grandmother. But you’re you, and we’re real. And there’s no one else like us. Maybe you’re a gen x-er who is unusually hip, or a member of Gen Z who actually sets down your smart phone, but my guess is you’re a millennial struggling to find your spot and watching reality


around you

like a


Totally been there.

You’re not alone.

Adulting is hard, the world is crazy, and there are so many real moments that pierce your lungs like ice and take your breath away.  If you look back a moment, how many times would you stop and say, “Whoa, is this actually happening to me?”

And how many of those instances would deserve a “#adulting” caption on Twitter?

We don’t know what we’re doing.

And it’s all good.