Sometimes I think my life is funny.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

That Time I Realized I’m Not Classy Enough for my Neighborhood

I’ve known for a while now that I’m not a classy lady. I choose burgers over fine dining, I’ll always pick the cheap moscato over your fancy cabernet that came from your wine cellar, and it’s been pointed out on more than one occasion that I swear like a trucker.

Despite this, I thought I could hide my unclassiness and fit into my super cute, clean-cut neighborhood. Now, for the past two years it’s been quite a lot of work to disguise myself as a woman suited for my neighborhood, but I was passing – even if it was just barely.

When I bought my house, my backyard was a damn fairy garden. Juliette, the elderly woman I bought my house from, probably had her own HGTV show based on the looks of my yard. 

Look at this!

I mean, there was literally a bedframe in my backyard filled with flowers and a sign that said “Flower Bed” on it. How fucking adorable is that?


Well, in a year I successfully killed the garden. By the next summer, I turned it into a jungle with all the weeds taking over. But, in an attempt to pass as a classy lady, I hired a sketchy guy and some high school kids to rip the weeds out, so by the end of last summer my yard just looked like patches of grass and dirt and a few dead plants. Sadly, this was an improvement.

Determined to fit in my cutesy neighborhood where couples work on their yards together and wave at each other as we pull in our driveways, this spring I hired a sketchy ass guy off craigslist to turn my patchy yard into a plethora of grass. Nothing fancy. No plants. Just flatten the dirt and make some grass grow. Try not to be shocked when I tell you this: the guy was a total scam artist, made my yard look even worse, and managed to piss of my neighbors.
My yard looks like a balding man now.
Note the lush green grass that all my neighbors have.

On top of all of this, I keep my Christmas lights up until April, I have dinosaurs and a nativity scene in my front yard for Christmas, my cats occasionally escape and cause a neighborhood wide hunt before I find them all safe in my basement ceiling (not a joke, has actually happened twice), and I’m positive my kind neighbors (who bring me cookies, btw) have heard me yell profanities at my cats, tv, appliances, and other inanimate objects more than once.  

First, this looks awesome.
Second, those lights were seriously up until mid april. 

Still, despite all of this, I believed I could keep up my classy lady façade and recover from all these mishaps so I wouldn’t be known as “the girl who brings down the neighborhood.”

But in this past week I hit such an all-time low that there is no recovering.

First, when I came back from a week in D.C. I saw that my lawn had been mowed. I called my brother-in-law to thank him for taking care of my yard but he informed me that my neighbor cut my yard.

Yes, that’s right – I’m such a scummy homeowner that my neighbor felt compelled to cut my yard because it got so bad. I was mortified.

But wait - there’s more.

After apologizing profusely to my neighbor about my yard, sending my thanks to her husband for cutting it, and promising to be a better neighbor, I accidentally solidified myself as the worst person in the neighborhood.

How, you ask? Oh, take a seat and read along my dear friend.

On Sunday I was excited for the warm weather, so like many women in Rochester, I decided to shave my beastly winter legs in order to show off some skin in a few dresses this week. However, I hate shaving because I always miss a spot, so I decided to buy some Veet and spend a few minutes letting who knows how many chemicals burn the hair right out of my skin.

This is not my leg, but imagine this - except 3 times as thick - from ankle to pelvis. 

So here I am, sitting naked in my bathroom, rubbing poison all over my legs and singing along to Prince when suddenly my cat, Rose, decides she needs some attention and RUBS HER BODY AGAINST MY POISONOUS LEGS.

I quickly scream “NOOOOOOOOOO!” and my beautiful gray cat – who is now covered in hair remover – runs away in fear.

Not my best move. Clearly I didn’t think this through.

Visions of my cat losing large chunks of fur are running through my head as I try to figure out how to move with Veet covered legs without touching anything else with my toxic legs. Time is of the essence, so obviously there’s no time to wash off the creamy white toxins.

Then it occurs to me that Rose might try to lick the hair remover off of her, get poisoned, and then die.

My beautiful Rose. 

Now I’m in full cat mom mode, and decide the only thing I can do is attempt to chase my cat, tackle her, and wash the veet off of her. However, remember that not only am I naked, I also can’t run. I can’t even walk. If I said I could hobble, I’m being generous to myself. So the chase was not off to a good start.

After a minute of flailing my body around my house as I stretched my arms and pleaded with my cat to come to me, I decide to throw myself in my power wheelchair and give chase by chair. My other cat, Sophia, thinks we’re having a fun race, and I freak the fuck out thinking she might touch my deadly legs too. I yell at her to get away as I continue to chase Rose through my bedroom, then down the hall, then through my living room, and then, finally my kitchen.

When I got Rose cornered, I leapt out of my wheelchair to tackle her. Let’s all remember now that I’m still naked. Now might also be a good time to tell you I’ve never declawed my cats. You can imagine the screams from both of us.

Even though my cat was clearly trying to kill me and my kitchen looked like a murder scene, I held tight and reached for a kitchen towel to at least wipe her fur. I did the best I could before she escaped my bloody grasp.

This is a pretty accurate representation of what my kitchen looked like. 
At this point, I crawl back to my wheelchair, panting, and attempting to wipe up the trail of Veet behind me so no other cats become hairless or die because of my desire to wear a dress. 

When I finally get up into my chair, I look up and realize my curtains are open and have been open this entire time. 


Because I didn’t actually intend to chase my cat around naked with veet covered legs when I started this adventure.

But my intentions don’t matter.

The big guy with the poodle from a few houses down was right there on the sidewalk in front of my house. And if I saw him, there’s a solid chance he saw me.

Now mind you, this naked lethal cat chasing fiasco lasted a few minutes throughout every room – and every open window- in my house, so I don’t know how many of my other neighbors saw the show and hung their heads in shame.

The only thing I do know is that I am now, without question, the girl who brings down the neighborhood.

I’d like to take a moment to apologize to all of Wembly Road. I’m sorry that my existence brings down the value of your home and the reputation of our community.  

Sunday, May 7, 2017

That Time I Went on Date with a Boring Guy who Didn’t Respect Halloween

In case you’re not caught up and the title of this blog has caught you off guard, here’s a quick recap: Yes, I broke up with my on-again, off-again boyfriend of two years – did you expect anything different? No, you don’t need to tell me you’re sorry. You really don’t need to say anything. We’re both lovely people, and now we’re lovely people who aren’t together, and haven’t been since March. But to keep things nice and messy, we still occasionally go on dates. Because we have no idea what we’re doing or how to be in a healthy relationship. If you’re confused, congratulations, we are too (or at least I am). If you can’t understand how this can happen, then congratulations on your healthy relationships and never experiencing a love life as screwed up as mine, but keep your judgment to yourself. We all know the only reason my blog is worth reading is because I have nothing close to a healthy love life. But I do have cats, so let’s all just count that as a win. Actually, four wins. One win per cat.

Win. Win. Win. Win. 

Anyway, back to the date I went on.

As with all the winners I’ve dated, I found this guy online – thanks OKCupid. We exchanged a total of 4 messages before he asked me on a date and I appreciated both his efficiency and his offer of a cheeseburger, so obviously I said yes.

There were two signs in advance that this wouldn’t work, but I went anyway because he said the magic word: cheeseburger. Anyway, the signs were:

1. His profile lists hiking as his ideal first date. Yes, hiking. If you need a reminder as to why this would not work for me, here’s a quick reminder:

1. I don't walk.
2. I dress far too fabulously for hiking. 

2. In his first message to me he said “I think it’s great you’re fighting for disability rights. I’m hard of hearing myself. Don’t let that discourage you!” Wait, you read the part of my profile that says I live and breathe for disability rights, but you thought I’d be discouraged that you’re hard of hearing? Really? Did you assume I was a hypocrite or what?

Despite this, we made plans to meet for a burger. We made plans a week in advance, and then he didn’t send me a single message. Not even a message confirming that we were still on for the date. Maybe this is normal, but every date I’ve ever went on the guy at least messaged me to confirm our plans a little closer to the date. I even thought he may have forgotten about our plans, but I showed up anyway because I wanted a damn burger. I was half shocked when he was actually there when I showed up 6 minutes late (which is actually basically on time in my mind).

There he was, looking like he just came from a hike (complete with plaid flannel and hiking shoes), and looking dorky as hell. The second part isn’t necessary a bad thing. Dorks run the world. I thought his dorkiness might provide for some stimulating conversation. I was wrong.

From the moment we got to our table, I was bored out of my mind. I mean, this guy was nice, but not at all entertaining. Honestly, I had more of a connection with my waiter who I am pretty sure was 23 and gay. The most stimulating conversations I ended up having were with the waiter who liked to make sassy jokes and was surprised when I played along with his humor. He even helped me solve the crisis of the night: deciding if I wanted endless fries or endless salad with my burger. I explained that I had a made New Year’s Resolution to eat more salad, but I really wanted fries. He told me to stick to my goals and get a salad, and then after he brought me my burger and salad, he brought me out a free side of fries. 

At that point, I started to wonder if I could take “around my age or slightly older” and “likes women” off of my “must have” list for my partner search. In the end, I decided that despite the free fries, I probably should keep those two standards on my list.

Burger & salad prior to the plate of free fries. 

You may have noticed I haven’t talked much about my actual date yet. That’s because I genuinely was so bored that I can’t remember much to tell you about him. I do remember that at one point he told me he couldn’t remember the last time he celebrated Halloween and that he thinks he dressed up as Spock when he did. I was utterly flabbergasted by this statement. He thought my visceral reaction was due to his statement about his Spock costume. He seemed surprised when I went on a 10 minute rant about how Halloween is the greatest holiday of all time, that it is an entire season – not just one day, that nothing could stop me from celebrating Halloween, and how my house gets fully decked out for this glorious holiday.

Please note, last Halloween I was marching all over Massachusetts
with ADAPT to fight for Disability Rights, and even that couldn't stop me
from celebrating Halloween. I protested in a cat onesie & cat earmuffs. 

Maybe I went on for so long because this was the second time in three days that a man dismissed Halloween as a holiday that could go without celebrating (earlier that week my Pastor said that there was “no such thing as Halloween lights” during his sermon and that’s just a ridiculous statement). Whatever. I knew from before the date started that this wasn’t going to be a love connection, but this statement just torched any chance that could have been somewhere in the distance.

No such thing as Halloween lights my ass. 

No love for Halloween? Peace out bro. That’s like saying you don’t like cats. If you don’t like cats then don’t go on a date with me because I am a cat. Seriously. I meow in the halls of my office. I meow to my boss who occasionally understands my meows, and other times is confused by the inflection of my meow and states “I don’t understand what that means.”

I repeat: I am a cat.
Damn. I went off on a tangent and stopped talking about my date again. Well, I suppose that's because there's nothing left to say. Needless to say, we have not scheduled a second date.

Abbreviated version:

I went on a date who thinks “hiking” would be an ideal first date. But since my ideal first date involves cheeseburgers (and, oh yeah, I don’t walk), we did that instead. I had more of a connection with my 23 year old gay waiter than I did with my boring date who had no respect for Halloween. There’s not much else to say because the date was so boring I barely remember it.

Lessons learned:

1. In addition to my requirements on age and liking women, I am adding “must respect Halloween” and “must like cats” to my list of must haves in a future partner.
2. It’s never a good sign when you have more of a connection with your waiter than with your date.
3. Not all dorks can have stimulating conversations. Some are just boring.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

That Time I Turned 29 and Realized I’m Officially a Golden Girl

I started kicking off my 29th birthday on Saturday, April 22nd when my best friend and I spent the night eating burgers and dancing in an inaccessible club with a bunch of Woo Girls and a very bad DJ. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Katie and I started out by going to Blu Wolf Bistro for a delicious birthday burger and I have no regrets about this whatsoever. This was the first of my 30 before 30 burgers. You can read my review of this (and every other burger I try) here.  

Check out this beautiful Birthday Burger!

After burgers, we headed over to Vinyl Nightclub. I chose this one because the reviews said the music could please “women from 20 to 50” and since I regularly feel like a woman from 20 to 50 depending on the day and the amount of coffee in my system, I thought I’d enjoy the vibe there. Bonus: the pictures didn’t show a nightclub with mirrors on every wall, and I’ll be honest, after the trauma of Taylor’s Nightclub, that did play into my decision making. When we arrived I was greeted by a flight of stairs, but it was my damn birthday weekend and stairs weren’t going to stop me! There were security guards to do the lifting, and my chair and I got in just fine.

The first hint that I had that I am old now was that we were the first people there… I mean, minus an awkward bachelorette party that served to remind Katie and me that neither of us are even close to getting married, but this weird girl with  worse dance moves than us was about to tie the knot. But I digress. Anyway, we immediately grabbed some drinks so we’d be ready for our solo act on the dancefloor. I’m pretty sure the DJ just typed “TLC playlist” into Spotify and pressed play, then after 5 songs switched to “Britney Spears playlist.” Whatever, I can dance to all of it. But even better that that – the bathroom attendant could dance all of it too, and so much better than anyone else in the club that entire night. So there we were - me and Katie, alone on the dancefloor - when the DJ switches to the Michael Jackson playlist when the 60+ year old woman who claims she is bathroom attendant, but is obviously a stunt double on Dancing with the Stars, starts moonwalking on the dancefloor and putting us to shame.

No joke, the lady got on her tip toes like it was nothing.

Soon thereafter the music stops and the DJ announces that “something is wrong” and he can’t play music. No, I’m not kidding. The Spotify DJ had ONE job – play music. And he couldn’t even do that. After 20 minutes DJ Spotify gets the music going again and there are some new people on the dancefloor including:

1. Old guy with robotic dance moves
2. Guy with gold chair and sunglasses on the dark dance floor, and
3. Guy in Brockport hoodie who couldn’t understand that invading our space wasn’t cute.

I immediately decided I needed to marry Sunglasses Guy because who doesn’t want to be with that level of douche? Brockport man decided he wanted to marry Katie, but after stepping on her foot, Katie only had unpleasant feelings toward him. He kept trying to get close to her, so we tried to be nice at first and kindly inform him that he wasn't allowed in our dance space. It was very much like Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing explains personal space to Baby

But when he didn't listen to our kind "stay the fuck away" message, we channeled our inner Kelly Clarkons and sent him a stronger message. And by "strong message" I mean I literally drew a line on the dance floor and told him he wasn't allowed to cross it. 

Dancefloor Lesson

Robot Dancer didn’t want anyone – he wanted his beer and his dance moves. Beyond the Robot, Robot Dancer’s repertoire including churning butter, the Egyptian, and what I can only describe as an imitation of the crane in the crane game and never getting the claws on the prize.  Later, Robot Dancer approached me and placed a cold, opened beer in my hand without saying a word. I handed it back to him and he pushed it back to me. I announced “It’s open. I won’t drink this.” He seemed offended, but between the possibility of germs and roofies, I didn’t feel a drop of sadness in rejecting that shit. Needless to say, things didn’t work out between us. However, I did have a moment with Sunglasses Guy during a 90’s song where his dance move included pointing at me and I pointed back at him. We never spoke, but I think this is a good sign that we’ll probably get married.

After that life changing moment with Sunglasses Guy, the Woo Girls came. If you’re not familiar with Woo Girls, please watch this brief tutorial:

The Woo Girls only served to show me how old I truly am and, oddly, make me thank God that I’m not young anymore. For example, Woo Girl 1 approached me by bending down to my level to scream in my face “ARE YOU HERE TO DANCE?!” “Yes, that’s why I’m at a dance club” I tell her. “I JUST CAME HERE TO DANCE!!!!” she informed me. Super. She then proceeded to announce “MY BOYFRIEND IS OUT OF TOWN AND I JUST WANT TO DANCE!” I’m wondering if her boyfriend doesn’t let her dance or if he’s such a bad boyfriend that she celebrates by dancing every time he leaves. I didn’t get to find out because immediately after she announced this, her friend, Woo Girl 2, started screaming in my other ear “OH MY GOD THIS IS MY FAVORITE SONG!!!!” as DJ Spotify switched to the Selena Gomez station. Meanwhile, Katie and I were the old ladies complaining that we wanted better music, like Prince or the Backstreet Boys. DJ Spotify did eventually switch to the 90’s station again for a bit, and we danced in our glory, until he switched back to the Woo Girls favorite tracks (aka every overplayed song that exists currently). DJ Spotify continued to play the Woo Girls Greatest Hits, so I checked the time and it was 1 am and I decided that I’m old now and that means I don’t need to stay out until the club closes. I’m not a Woo Girl. If anything, I’m a Golden Girl, and Golden Girls do whatever the fuck they want, including going home before 2 am. So I went home, made some easy mac, and fell asleep on my couch before I finished it. And it felt good. 

I guess that makes me Rose. 

Abbreviated Version:
Katie and I rocked the dance floor at an inaccessible club with the 60 year old bathroom attendant who probably starred in Flash Dance back in the day. Throughout the night we encountered interesting/bad dancers, a man who possibly attempted to roofie me, and Woo Girls who reaffirmed that I am indeed old now. At 1a m I declared myself a Golden Girl and went home, cuz old people who what they want.

Lessons Learned:
1. I’m closer to being a Golden Girl than a Woo Girl. I’m proud of this.
2. The 60 year old bathroom attendant is closer to being a Woo Girl than I am. I am still jealous of her moves.
3. Anyone with Spotify can apparently be a DJ now. I am saddened by this.  

That Time I Tried to Eat 30 Burgers (& Rate Them) before I Turned 30

If you don't already know, in early April I decided that I needed to make and complete a 30 before 30 list in anticipation of my 29th brthday. Goal #7 on my 30 before 30 list is to try and rate 30 different burgers, with an additional bonus goal of trying to get 30 different people to buy me said burgers (because the only thing more delicious than a burger is a free burger).  So far this has been my favorite, and most delicious goal.

I have created a rating system, which I have detailed below. I will continuously update this page as I try more burgers, until I eventually hit 30 (or maybe more??) burgers.

I welcome burger recommendations, as well as burger invitations.

Burger Rating System:

1. Bun & Topping options: 1 – 10
For me, toppings MAKE the burger. I love options. LOTS of options. I also truly appreciate creativity and novelty.

2. Overall Taste: 1 – 10
Considerations for this category include juiciness of the burger, flavor of the meat, and taste of the whole package (burger, toppings, bun) when put together.

3. Value: 1 – 10
Is it a mediocre burger but a good price? Was it outrageously expensive and a meh taste? Value will consider not only the cost, but if the burger was worth the price tag.

4. Atmosphere: 1 – 10
Is it in a cool location? Was the staff especially awesome? Can I dress burger casual while chowing down here? All of these are factors in rating the atmosphere.

5. Burger Bonuses: 1 – 10
In this category, I’ll take into account anything special – were there homemade pickles on the side? Were the side options out of this world? Did it come with glitter and happiness? Because sometimes a burger bonus will really make or break an experience.

Burger 1: Lawful Waffle

              Where: Blu Wolf Bistro – Park Ave, Rochester, NY
              When: April 22, 2017 around 8:30pm
              With: Katie Kamm
              Bonus? YES! She bought the burger for me!

1. Bun & Topping options: 10

Not only was my burger fantastic because it came on a freaking waffle for a bun, but the options for all the other burgers were pretty fabulous too. Katie got the Clyde burger that came with white cheddar, peanut butter, and jalapeños. While that is certainly not my style because I don’t let spicy things near me, that certainly added points here. My burger had some pretty standard toppings: bacon, egg, cheese, and maple glaze (nice touch!). However, did I mention the waffle bun?  10/10.

2. Overall Taste: 8

Everything together tasted great, but because it was on a waffle, it was incredibly difficult to navigate eating this beast. One circular waffle was cut in half to serve as the bun, and because of the nature of the differing shapes of a circle burger on a half circle waffle bun, some of my bites were pure waffle without burger which brought down the score. However, when I did finally get bites in that had the burger, the waffle, and all the toppings, it was a magical experience. 8/10

3. Value: 8

My burger with fries was $16. And yes, I know, Katie bought it for me so it was technically free, but I still care about the value. I would hate for my bestie to spend money on me if it wasn’t worthwhile. So for the overall taste it was great, but $16 great? I’m not so sure. It’s hard for me to justify spending $16 for a burger, but this was pretty good. If I could choose a price for this burger that would make it a 10/10 it would be $14. However, because this burger was a bit more than I think it was worth taste wise, I am scoring it 8/10 in this category.

4. Atmosphere:     4

Blu Wolf Bistro is located on Park Ave, which is a pretty trendy/hipster area in Rochester. But it’s also diverse and just a generally nice area. The restaurant itself had a classed-up feel, and I was glad I was wearing a cute dress instead of jeans and a basic tee, but others were dressed like that and it was fine. What is really bringing down the score is that this restaurant has a one-step entrance making it inaccessible and in violation of the 27 year old Americans with Disabilities Act. I was in my manual, so I was able to pop up the step with some assistance, but I wasn’t happy about it and it really did bring down my impression of this place, especially since - based on the classed-up atmosphere and prices of the burgers – it’s clear the owners could afford to make the one step entrance into a ramp. In fact, I’m going to write the owners about this and hopefully get them to an install a ramp without any pushback on their end. That way I could go back and bring all my crip friends for burgers! (They did have a lovely accessible bathroom though, so adding a ramp is really all they need!)

5. Burger Bonuses: 8.

The fries were curly, but not curly fries. They were thick and delicious. I was rather impressed with them. I also got a blueberry martini that tasted like a pixie stick mixed with a smurf. Both taste and presentation were wonderful.

Overall score: 38. Honestly, if they install a ramp the score will go up significantly because I was really impressed with the burger, toppings, drinks, and everything else. Unfortunately, because they’re not accessible, I can’t recommend this restaurant.

Burger 2: 6 Buck Chuck

              Where: Burger Tap & Shake - Foggy Bottom, Washington, DC 
              When: April 26, 2017 around 8:15pm
              With: Kings Floyd
              Bonus? YES! She bought the burger for me!

1. Bun & Topping options: 5

While there were technically 9 different “burger” options with a variety of different toppings, 5 of these “burgers” were not actually burgers. They were chicken, turkey, and even salmon. How are you call any of these burgers! In general, I feel that 9 options are not enough, especially when many of them include spicy things as toppings, such as jalapeños and chipotle sauce. But then cut my selection to only 4 burgers because 5 of the burgers aren’t even burgers? Come on! I ended up getting the 6 buck chuck, which is the house burger that comes with lettuce, pickles, onion, tomato, and AP Sauce - the house blend of mayo, ketchup, mustard, BBQ and chipotle. 5/10

2. Overall Taste: 6.5

The first few bites of my burger were pretty good, until I hit something spicy, which is when I reread the menu and realized the AP sauce had chipotle in it. My own fault for not reading closer. After that spicy bite, I attempted to continue, but my mouth couldn’t handle the fire. Without the spice, it was a decent burger, so I give it a 6.5/10.

3. Value: 7

It’s called a 6 buck chuck for gosh sake! That’s a value! Even with the bit of spice, it was still a good price. It was cheap enough that I didn’t feel guilty about not finishing it after hitting the spicy spot. But what made it better was the milkshake we got the BTS shake (with butterfinger, twix, and snickers) mixed with a cookie and cream milkshake. It was mind blowing. Altogether, the burger and milkshake put Kings back $12 and she called me a cheap date, so I’d say there’s serious value in that. 7/10.

4. Atmosphere: 7

Burger Tap & Shake is in Foggy Bottom, which is a young area of D.C. filled with a whole bunch of college aged hipsters that like to talk about chai and make their own peanut butter at Whole Foods (not judging, I stuck my finger in one of those machines and it was delicious. Also, I have no shame about my unsanitary approach). The restaurant had a super heavy door to get in, but besides that, accessibility was good. Nothing blew me away about the atmosphere, but nothing turned me off either. 7/10.

5. Burger Bonuses: 8.

I can’t tell you enough about this milkshake. Seriously. It had butterfinger, twix, snickers, AND cookies and cream in it. If you’re in D.C., go get this milkshake. If you’re not, fly to D.C. right now and get this milkshake. Also, the pickles on the burger were abnormally delicious. I mean, I love all pickles, but these tasted especially spectacular. 8/10.  

Overall score: 33.5. The milkshake really did make the experience. Nothing against the burger (I mean, besides the spicy part, I have lots of feelings against that), but I’m still thinking about that milkshake.  

Burger 3: Southern Comfort Burger

 Where: Red Robin – Greece, NY   
              When: May 2, 2017
              With: Boring Guy who Didn’t Respect Halloween
              Bonus? YES!  

1. Bun & Topping options: 7

Red Robin does have quite a selection of burgers and toppings, including the Banzai Burger that comes with a pineapple on it (which is what I usually order). However, I’m not so impressed with the bun selection, since they’re all just basically real types of buns. No donuts, no waffles, no fun weird stuff. Just buns. Instead of my usual Banzai Burger, upon the recommendation of my waiter, I switched it up and went with the Southern Comfort Burger which consisted of a ½ lb. Black Angus patty glazed with brown sugar and topped with candied bacon, honey BBQ sauce, sharp Cheddar, caramelized onions and mayo on a toasted ciabatta bun.  7/10

2. Overall Taste: 7

This burger was tasty, without a doubt. The candied bacon really made me happy and the brown sugar glaze was lovely. I’d have it again for sure, but it didn’t impress me so much that I would talk about it for days (and believe me, I have talked about some burgers for days, and one burger for over a year). 7/10

3. Value: 6

The Southern Comfort Burger comes with a price tag of $13.99 with either endless fries or salad. It was a good burger, but I felt like it was a $10 burger, not a $14 burger. I mean, technically, for me it was a free burger, but you know what I mean. I guess what I’m saying is, I’d eat that burger again as long as I wasn’t paying for it. 6/10.

4. Atmosphere:     4

Let’s all be honest here: there is nothing special about the atmosphere of a Red Robin, especially a Red Robin in a mall. The one thing that Red Robin has that *might* increase the atmosphere for some people (10 and under) is the presence of balloons. However, I’m over the age of 10 and I’m allergic to balloons, so they did not help with the score. I am giving this a 4 instead of a 0 simply because my waiter was funny and kept me entertained during what was otherwise a boring date. 4/10

5. Burger Bonuses:  4

The only bonus during this experience was when I wanted fries, but told the waiter I had a New Year’s Resolution to eat more salad, the waiter told me to get the salad as a side and then brought me free fries. I liked that move a lot. Thus the score increased from 0 to 4. 4/10.

Overall score: 34. I would eat this burger again if someone else was buying, especially if I could get the same fun waiter. Otherwise, there was nothing special to make me eager to return. The leftovers were good though, to be fair.

Burger 4: Single Cheeseburger

 Where: All About Burger – Southwest, Washington, D.C.
              When: May 14, 2017
              With: Wilfredo
              Bonus? YES! 

1. Bun & Topping options: 5

I didn’t see any bun options at all – just a standard bun. Topping options were also pretty standard with a few exceptions, like A-1 and mango mayonnaise. I got the mango mayo on the side and wasn’t impressed, but I was happy to have the A-1. Overall, I chose a single burger with cheddar cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and mango mayo and A-1 on the side. 5/10

2.  Overall Taste: 5

The burger itself was meh. The bun was also meh. The toppings helped to bring up the score. I would eat this burger again and likely pay for it, but I wouldn’t go around telling the world about it. 5/10

3. Value: 7

The single cheeseburger was a little less than $8 which was reasonable considering the taste and speed. What I found more valuable was my chocolate banana milkshake (around $5) and the fact that they have a half&half order of fries and onion rings for around $7. When I can get a delicious milkshake AND not have to choose between fries and onion rings I am a happy camper. 7/10

4. Atmosphere: 5

The yellow and red décor burned my eyes a bit, but I decided to sit outside which saved my eyes a bit and let me focus my attention on my burger. The people were really nice and I appreciated the outdoor seating. I was frustrated that the benches were attached to the ground, making the tables a bit inaccessible to wheelchair users. Overall, I appreciated the chill atmosphere but wanted more accessibility. 5/10

5. Burger Bonuses:  7

The milkshake selection and the option for fries and onion rings in one order really brought up the score for me at All About Burger. I would suggest they consider renaming the place Great Milkshakes and Side Orders and We Have Burgers Too. 7/10

Overall score: 29. The next time I’m in D.C. with ADAPT I will likely go back to this place because cheap and fast food options are hard to come by later in the evening near our hotel. I will definitely get another burger, but I’ll be more excited about the milkshake.

Burger 5: Wall Street

 Where: Broadway Burger Bar – Atlantic City, NJ.
              When: May 28, 2017
              With: Katie
              Bonus? No 

1. Bun & Topping options: 6

There was only one bun option, unless I wanted a gluten free bun, which I 100% did not want. There were 12 burger options to choose from, but one was a black bean burger and one was a turkey burger, so those weren’t really burgers. Of the 10 options, two were basic burgers with lettuce and tomato, so really there were only 8 options. Of the options, 3 looked good. I settled on the Wall Street which was 8 oz of freshly ground angus beef, swiss cheese, sautéed crimini, button & shitake mushrooms, and truffle mayonnaise. 6/10.  

2. Overall Taste: 8

This burger was really good. Better than I expected actually. At the waiter’s suggestion, I added a bit of A1 to the burger and it was really fantastic. The burger as juicy, the mushrooms and swiss were lovely, and the truffle mayonnaise was outrageously good. It was so delicious I *almost* ate the whole thing. Unfortunately, I ran out of room in my tummy before I could get the whole burger in me. 8/10.

3. Value: 8

This burger was $16 and came with fries. The fries were pretty standard, but the burger was so good that I’m still thinking about it. I would pay about $14 for this burger on a normal day, but I could definitely see myself spending the extra $2 on this baby in the future if I was craving it. However, I doubt I’ll be in Atlantic City again, so this is a but unlikely. 8/10.

4. Atmosphere:  6

The Broadway Burger Bar was in the Tropicana. It was easy to get to, accessible, and had classy décor. It was dimly lit and generally pretty quiet. There was nothing wrong with the place, but also nothing special. 6/10.

5. Burger Bonuses:  4

While the burger was awesome, there was nothing really beyond the burger that would add bonus points. I am giving this a 4/10 because the truffle mayo was so good that not only did I slather it all over my burger, but Katie and I also used it to dip our French fries. 4/10.

Overall score: 32. I’d definitely recommend this burger to others, but don’t expect anything beyond the burger to be amazing. The other burger options are okay, as was the atmosphere, and the price. If all you care about is a great burger, then check this one out when you’re in Atlantic City. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

30 things I am going to do before I'm 30

      1. Take 30 pictures with 30 giant animals
For no other reason than this sounds both challenging and fun. Statues, mascots, and real animals all count in my mind.

This would count. 

2. Give 30 $30 tips on bills that are less than $30
I come from a family where almost every person worked in the service industry. I remember eating breakfast at the restaurant my mom waitressed at before school every day. I know that people who serve others are often undervalued, and I’d like to make 30 people feel a bit more valued over the next year.

3. Find out if I have abs
Ask anyone who knows me well and they will tell you that I don’t believe in working out. I just don’t see the appeal. But as a girl who sits in a wheelchair all day long, I think it’d be nice to see abs instead of my beautiful food baby when I hit 30. Let’s see if I can make that happen!

*see first picture for example of my food baby as it is prominently displayed. 

4. Dress as a cat all day. Go in public.
We all know I am a cat. It’s time I be proud of my identity and show the world who I really am. Meow.

Like this. ALL. DAY. LONG. 

5. Go on vacation alone.
I travel alone all of the time for work. And I vacation with others pretty regularly. But the idea of vacationing alone makes me nervous. I like company. I also hate the idea of people stereotyping me as a poor “wheelchair girl” who couldn’t find a friend to vacation with her. But screw that. I have friends that I know would vacation with me. It’s time I be comfortable with me, and be comfortable with me in front of other people and stop caring if they’re judging me.

6. Karaoke Jagged Edge/Rev Run’s “Let’s Get Married”
Because, well, this has always been a dream of mine and it’s time to fulfill it.

7. Try 30 different burgers and rate them.
      *Bonus if I can get 30 different people to buy me the burgers.
My friend from high school suggested this because, if you’ve read this blog, you know I live for burgers. I’ve sat through some rough dates because I was committed to the burger I was eating. I think eating and rating 30 different burgers is a fantastic goal to meet before my 30th birthday. I am going to give myself bonus points if I can get 30 other people to buy me the burgers because the only thing that tastes better than a burger is a free burger!
8. Unplug for an entire day.
My life revolves around my email. I’m trying to stop that. When I’m not emailing, I’m taking pictures of my cats and posting them. While that might not be the worst way to spend my time, I’m hoping spending a day unplugged will help me to discover even better ways to spend my time.

9. Give 30 things away.
As the youngest of three kids, I always had hand me downs. As a result, now that I am an adult with a paycheck, I buy way too much just because I can. I own too much and I just don’t need it all. It’s time to share my cool stuff with others.

10. Spend a whole weekend with my mom
My family is not your typical sitcom family. Far from it. My mother and I haven’t always had the most loving relationship, but that’s no reason we can’t try to get to a good place now. I am going to spend a whole weekend with her and I am hoping we will both survive. First I need to convince her to do this with me…

Usually my sister is there if I'm hanging out with my mom. She serves as a great buffer. 

11. Bake something without a mix
We all know cooking is a struggle for me. As is baking. Once I made burnt raw cookies. I am determined that this is the year I am going to bake something without a recipe and have it come out at least slightly edible. I am hoping it will be pie.

12. Pay off 3 big debts
It would be nice to go into 30 with a little less debt. While I know I won’t be able to pay off my law school loans in a year, I am hoping I can tackle some smaller big debts, like my credit card or car. I think future Stephanie will appreciate this.

13. Do a headstand
I’ve just started hatha yoga. I thought yoga would help me find zen, but it’s also helping me find different ways to tangle my body. This lady on youtube makes headstands look like a typical afternoon activity (I’m looking at you, Leslie Fightmaster) and I’m over here falling all over my living room while my cats stare at me. I am going to do a headstand before I turn 30. Hopefully I’ll find my zen too.

Damn you Leslie. 

14. Keep a plant alive for 6 months
Every plant I’ve ever had has died a tragic death under my watch. If I’m ever going to have kids, I feel like I should start with keeping a plant alive for at least 6 months first, just to show I can keep something alive. I mean, I keep cats alive, but they’re pretty low maintenance. I imagine kids and plants are more needy than cats, so I’ll start with a plant. I am open to suggestions on hardy plants that can survive my travel schedule and general forgetful nature.

15. Build something
I don’t think I’m going to suddenly become a master craftsman and build a couch, but I’d like to build something with my hands. I don’t know what yet, but something.

16. Go to a bar alone
Just the thought of this is freaking me out. As I mentioned above, I have a fear of people judging me as a poor crip who has no friends. I need to stop caring so much about what people may be thinking. By the time I hit 30, I need to stop giving a fuck about what other people think of me. This is going to help me get there…I hope.

17. Take a class on something creative, like cooking or knitting
I used to have a creative side. I think it left in law school. I’m going to get it back by taking a class in something creative. Who knows, maybe I’ll make new friends in that class!

18. Learn a new skill and show it off on my 30th Birthday!
This was a suggestion from my niece’s mom and I really liked it. Maybe my new skill will be from a class. Maybe I’ll learn something on youtube. I don’t know. But I do know I am going to learn to do something awesome and show it off on my 30th birthday.

19. Complete 30 acts of kindness to show my appreciation for others
This was another suggestion from a friend (thanks Sarah!) and I love it. While I try to show others my appreciation, I think I can be more intentional about both being kind and showing my appreciation to others. I’m excited to get started on this one and hopefully brighten other people’s days!

20. Throw a dinner party
When I googled “30 under 30 goals” this came up on a ton of lists. Apparently people are really into dinner parties and I’m not sure why. At first I wasn’t going to add this to my list because (1) I can’t cook, and (2) I have a genuine fear that no one would show up if I invited them to a dinner party. I can’t keep avoiding things because I’m afraid of the outcome though, so I will be throwing a dinner party within the next year. Pizza rolls will likely be on the menu. Let me know if you want to come!

This is what a dinner party at my place looks like. 
21. Go to a country that I’ve never been to
I’ve been able to travel to many places throughout my life, and for that I count myself as very lucky. But why stop now? I’d like to fit in at least one more country I’ve never been to before. And then after I hit 30, I’d like to fit in even more!

22. Get a facial
This seems like a thing adults do. My best friend had a facial once and she said it was terrible and she felt like she couldn’t breathe. Others have told me they’re magical. I tend to believe my best friend over others, but I’m going to try it myself, if for no other reason than to confirm that my bestie is right.

23. Learn how to change a tire
I feel like this is the kind of basic skill I should have. I am going to learn. Hopefully I’ll never need this knowledge.

24. Buy a crop top. Wear it in public.
As previously discussed, I have a food baby and I’m more than slightly self conscious about it. I want to buy a crop top and have the confidence to wear it in public.

25. Cook a meal without a recipe and buy all the ingredients myself.
This goal was suggested by my sister and she has full confidence that I can do this one. I have been getting Home Chef for a few weeks and have been pretty successful with the meals they send, but my sister wants me to take it a step further by buying my own ingredients, measuring the ingredients myself, and not even using a recipe! Let’s see how this goes. I might just invite my sister for dinner when I attempt this one.

26. Learn to meditate without falling asleep.
I have tried meditating a few times since 2014, but I always end up just falling asleep. I’d like to be able to meditate without falling asleep, and perhaps this will help me on my quest to get my zen on.

27. Help someone else check off something on their list.
Whether it’s a 30 before 30 or 40 before 40 or just a general bucket list, I want to help someone else check something off their own list.

28. Make a list of 1095 things I am grateful for (or 3 things per day for 365 days!).
My life is full of so many wonderful cats, humans, and experiences. I have so much to be grateful for and I want to take the time to truly reflect on all that I appreciate in my life.

29. Go on an incredible 30th birthday best friend vacation.
My best friend and I go on an annual Best Friend Vacation, and it generally falls around our birthdays (mine in April, hers in May). For our 30th birthdays, we need to go ALL OUT. We’ve previously done a cruise from Miami to Mexico, an 8 day road trip in Ireland, and an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, so those will be hard to beat, but I think we can do it!

Katie and me in Punta Cana!
30. Throw a fabulous 30th birthday party!
Again with my fear that no one will show up to a party I throw. Let’s hope by 30 I get over this fear. Please keep April 21 and April 28 of 2018 open and plan on attending.

To keep myself on track, I plan to chronicle my quest to complete this list in this very blog. Please feel free to help me along my way or just pester me to keep me on track! Also feel free to attend my parties and buy me cheeseburgers J

Sunday, April 2, 2017

That Time I Went to an Old People Club & Remembered Why I Hate People

Hello there! It's been a while, and while I thought I might never revive this blog, due to the popular demand (and by "popular" I mean 3 people), I thought I'd try to bring this back to life. Let’s get a few things out of the way up front: this blog is not about a date and does not include any cheeseburgers. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but moreover, I’m sorry I didn’t get a cheeseburger.

Last week my amazing best friend, Katie, was stressed from work, and frankly, so was I. Then I went to D.C. for a protest in the middle of the week to fight against the American Health Care Act, and on that Friday the bill was pulled. So between the stress and the urgent need to celebrate a big win, my bestie and I decided we needed to go dancing.

Now, as a woman in a wheelchair, I need some space on the dance floor to bring out my good moves. For this reason, we automatically nixed all the clubs that allowed 18 year olds, because there’s nothing sexy about being smashed against other humans on a packed dance floor and feeling their sweat drip on you. Instead, we decided to go to what Katie described to me as “the old people club” called Taylors.

I figured we’d have plenty of space on the dance floor and no one would bother us because I assumed all the old guys there would be going for the old ladies. Awesome.

So I throw on my sparkle tights (yep, I have sparkle tights. More than one pair, actually!), and hit the club with my supermodel looking best friend. And I gotta be honest, it takes a lot of self confidence to dance next to Katie because she’s tall, gorgeous, and a great dancer. I’m short, slightly pudgy, and most of my dance moves come from the 80s and my Zumba class. So I break out my self-confidence and dance next to her. 

I wasn't kidding.
Here we are just casually chilling with parrots
and she looks like a supermodel
while I look like... well, not a supermodel. 

However, I had to take pause when we entered the club because I thought we had gone to a dance club, but it looked like we were in a strip club or an aerobics studio from all the mirrors on the walls. Even in my Zumba class I refuse to watch myself dance in the mirror because I’m painfully awkward and offbeat, so why the fuck would I want to watch myself pretend to be sexy while dancing to Pitbull at a club? I don’t.

This is the actual club. However, we did not get light up hula hoops.
That may have changed my opinions about the mirrors. 

But here’s where it gets weird: NO ONE ELSE THOUGHT THE MIRRORS WERE AWKWARD.

No, these girls were literally dancing with themselves in the mirror. A group of five women walked in the club together and instead of dancing in a circle with each other, THEY LINED UP AND DANCED WITH THEMSELVES IN THE MIRROR. Is this normal? Am I the only one that thinks it’s weird to dance with myself?

Whatever. I kept dancing because I wasn’t about to let these weirdos ruin my night of fun. I’m dancing and no one is going to stop me.

But then, people actually started stopping me.

One guy stopped me to tell me he likes my tights. Great bro, but I’m trying to dance here. Admire the sparkle tights from afar, k?

Then the next guy stops me to tell me he loves my red lips. Super, want to borrow my lip crayon? No? Then don’t interrupt me while I’m breaking out my sweet moves.

The next guy asks my friend if he can dance with me. She tells him to ask me. I tell him to fuck off because how dare he ask someone else if he can dance with me instead of asking me. He ignores my “fuck no” and grabs my hands and starts spinning me around like he knows what he’s doing, but every time I twirl, this winner forgets that he needs to move his damn feet and I roll over his toes. 

After 20 seconds, I cut the dance off. He leans over and gets really close to my ear just to yell “You’re a great dancer!!!” Thanks for yelling in my ear, good sir. “You could improve” I respond as I rolled to the dance floor in the next room to get away from him.

People, I’m just here to dance. I’m not here to dance with you, I’m here to dance. I’m certainly not here to TALK to you. I’m not giving these guys any “come hither” looks, in fact, I’m not looking at anyone! My eye level is basically at everyone’s crotch, so half the time I’m closing my eyes and dancing in my own world. If I look at anyone, it’s by accident when I get super excited about a good song and start swinging my head violently.

I cannot be more clear: I came here to dance! I am not here to get a man. If I wanted that, I would go on Tinder where I can quickly swipe left until I see a guy with a cat in his picture, and then finally swipe right.

100% right swipe. 

Despite the fact that I make no invitation for anyone to speak to me, a charming man comes up to me, puts his hands on my legs, and leans over to say “I wonder what you would look like if you weren’t hobbled.”

Now mind you, I've started yoga to get my Zen on, so instead of my natural response of flipping the fuck out, I simply said “That’s incredibly rude, get away from me." 

“It’s not rude! I just meant I thought this was a temporary thing and I want to know what you look like when you’re not like that” the charmer replied.

How many people with temporary disabilities have sparkling, hot pink wheelchairs? Seriously, I want to know. Also, do people really look much different when they’re standing v. sitting? Want to know what I would look like if I wasn’t in a chair? A short, semi pudgy girl with awkward dance moves and sparkle tights.

“Bye” I told him as I went back to dancing to what sounded like all the songs from the NOW! CD from 2000.

I thought that guy would be the winner of Douche of the Night, but no. I clearly underestimated the crowd.

Next a guy with a gold grill approaches me. My first thought was “Are grillz still a thing?” In his world they are. He asked to dance. I said no. He asks Katie to dance, shockingly, she says no. We continue to dance.

Does anyone in the world actually think this is attractive? 

Later, as Katie is off calling us a taxi, Grill Guy comes up to me and tries to hug me. I push him away. His friend comes up to me and says “He’s a good guy, I know him. And I want you to know that even though you’re in a wheelchair, I still think you’re human.”

Wait, even though I use a wheelchair, you still THINK I’m a human?

I didn't realize my status as a human was in jeopardy because I use a wheelchair. 

I have absolutely no patience for this shit, so I say “That’s so fucking rude, get away from me.”

Friend of Grillz pulls me back and says “I’M A GOOD GUY!” and then tries to enlist the people around him to vouch for his good-guyness. The people around him say “I don’t know you.”

So Friend of Grillz decides to grab me and pull me really close as I try to pry him off of me so he can shout in my war “ALL I’M SAYING IS IF YOU COULD GET OUT OF THAT CHAIR I WOULD FUCK YOU SO HARD!” Thankfully, that is when a group of women I don’t know pull this guy off of me and push him away.

Thankfully, that’s also the same time Katie finished calling us a cab and we left.

Abbreviated version:

Went to a club where I thought I would be able to dance uninterrupted. Ended up at a stripclub/aerobics studio where the DJ played his hottest NOW! CD’s from the early 2000’s most of the night. Even though I gave no indication to ANYONE that I wanted to be interrupted to dance or talk with another human, men kept interrupting me to tell me things that I didn’t want or need to hear, including confirming that even though I’m in a chair I’m still a human (thanks for that affirmation) and that IF I could get out of my chair, a completely creepy stranger would fuck me so hard. Awesome.

Lessons Learned:

1. No matter how much yoga I do, I still hate humans.
2. I don’t think it’s my fault I hate humans. Its humans' fault. 
3. Awkward dance moves and refusal to make eye contact will not prevent men from approaching me at stripclubs/aerobic studios.