Crissy

“Get out, loser!” I scream and pound on the bathroom door. For God’s sake, he’s been in there for like half an hour. What could he be doing? Wait. The last time he was in there that long, he was…not alone. I tighten the sash around my waist on the blue fuzzy robe that matches my slippers and press my ear to the door. Silence. No moaning at least. Of course, he could be in there doing other things…alone. Ew. I knock on my forehead to get that image out of my head. I pound on the door again. “How much longer you gonna be?”

 

The pipes clang before the shower blasts out. He’s doing this on purpose. He knows I’m in the shower this time every morning. I yell again. “Hey!” I hear the dude mumble something, but in between the car honks outside the window and clanging pipes, I can’t hear what he’s saying. “What?!”

 

I wait a few moments but he doesn’t answer. That’s it. I turn the doorknob. Dumbass didn’t even lock the door—as always. I peek in and the entire bathroom reeks of something awful. I make a face and pinch my nose. “Caleb, why are you in the shower at five in the morning? And didn’t I tell you a million times to use Lysol spray after you make #2?” I run over to the sink and spray in a cursive motion where I’m spelling my name in mid-air.

 

The man from behind the shower curtain finally speaks in a decent tone. “Crissy, not now. I just got in; I’m nursing a hangover. I think I just threw up my entire body weight.”

 

I roll my eyes; so that’s why it smells. I put down the toilet seat and sit on the fluffy white seat cover, picking at dry patches on my ring fingers. “Beer or vodka?”

 

He moans and peaks out of the shower curtain that has lyrics to Michael Jackson’s Heal the World printed on it. “God. I don’t even remember.” His eyes are barely open.

 

I glance down at the black-and-white tile; I’m surprised everything still looks clean. “When are you gonna stop acting like you’re back in your fraternity days? Jesus, we’ve been out of college for a few years now, you know.”

 

He raises his voice and sounds annoyed. “You know Crissy, unlike you, I actually have friends to hang out with on weekends.” He slides the curtain forward again. “Besides, it was Scott’s bachelor party. It’s not like we did jello shots; I can handle myself.”

 

So many memories came to mind after he said that last sentence. The multiple lies he made me tell our parents when he stayed out past curfew, the time I bailed him out of jail in college after the guy he punched out at a party went into a coma, and most recently when I let him live in my tiny, one-bedroom apartment after he was fired from his last job (or “laid off” as he put it).

 

There are several things I want to say to him, but I know he would make some cruel comeback. I go over to the sink and use all of my strength to squeeze out the last tiny dollop of toothpaste on my toothbrush. Damn it, Caleb! How many times have I told you to stop using my stuff?” I throw the toothpaste in the trash and then swish some Listerine in my mouth; I can still taste the fish I microwaved for dinner last night.

 

“You’re one to talk. This Dial soap of mine is nearly empty and I just bought it not too long ago.” I can see him dangle the bottle over the shower curtain behind me from the mirror.

 

“Please, like I would rub anything of yours over my body.” I quickly turn on the water to get my revenge.

 

“Damn it, turn that off! God, I hate this apartment.”

 

I splash some cold water on my face while Caleb gets scalded. “I would shut up right about now. A crappy apartment is better than no apartment. Am I right?” He ignores me. Whatever. “Caleb, I have to run some errands this afternoon. Will you be around? My editor is coming by to pick up my manuscript.”

 

“Oh that’s right. It’s Friday. Where the hell do you go all day, anyway?”

 

I dab a hand towel over my face and then turn towards the shower. “You didn’t answer my question. Are you gonna be here or not?”

 

He says condescendingly, “Well I don’t know yet, Crissy. What time’s he coming?”

 

“Sometime late this afternoon is all he said. And I can’t put it in the lockbox outside the door; he won’t have the key with him this time since he and his wife are coming straight from their vacation. It’s in a big manilla envelope on the kitchen counter.”

 

“Why is your editor so old-school? You should tell him about these things called computers.”

 

I exhale loudly. “If you would’ve listened the many times I’ve told you before, you would know that when I finish a book, he still needs a hard copy because he likes to edit it that way.” I fold the hand towel neatly on the rack right next to Caleb’s grungy one.

 

He turns off the shower and raises his hand. “Hand me something, will you? And how about making a cup of coffee while you’re at it? Decaf.”

 

I scrunch up my face. “Make your own damn coffee, Mr. Starbucks. You remember how. And I’m not giving you a towel until you answer my question.”

 

“It’s not really a question is it? You’re telling me to be here all afternoon.”

 

“OK, fair enough. It’s seriously not gonna kill you.”

 

“Fine. Sarah’s off today anyway; I’ll just tell her to hang out here.”

 

“Sarah? What happened to your little sex-kitten from the laundry room?”

 

“Hey. Her name’s Abby,” he snaps. Well, that’s a first. He used to use degrading nicknames for women all the time. Which explains so many things. “She just…I… it didn’t work out.”

 

“What’d you do?”

 

“Nothing!”

 

“All bitchy are we?”

 

“No, that’s usually you. Throw me a damn towel already. I’d like to get some sleep before Sarah gets here.”

 

I grab a towel from the cabinet next to the toilet and throw it over the shower curtain. “Just make sure you two are done with your little sex games before Thomas gets here.”

 

He pauses. “Who’s Thomas?”

 

I exhale loudly and glare at the ceiling. “I swear to God.” I punch the middle of the shower curtain, but I must’ve missed Caleb. “What were we just talking about?”

 

“You’re the one who brought up sex games. And by the way, will you let that go already? That was one time when Sarah and I jokingly rented a porno and got so into it, that…”

 

I put up my hand and shut my eyes. “Please don’t finish that sentence.” Flashes of handcuffs, a Twister mat and my twin brother…naked, scarred me enough. “Thomas is my editor, you son of a–”

 

“OK, OK. I forgot the guy’s name! My brain isn’t working right now.”

 

“Does it ever?”

 

He slides open the shower curtain and says sarcastically, “You’re hilarious.” With a towel around his waist, he pushes me aside to take a look at himself in the mirror.

 

I pinch the bags under his eyes and at the same time hold my breath from the nauseating smell of his breath. “See? All that hard partying catches up to you eventually. You look like you’re 40 years-old.”

 

He grabs his toothbrush out of his blue cup and runs water over it like that could possibly do any good. With the toothbrush hanging out of his mouth he says, “Well even if I do look 40, at least I still have a social life. I mean, you wake up at this ungodly hour every morning and then spend most of the time in this apartment on your laptop.”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

He rinses his mouth out with more water. “Oh wait. Except for Fridays when you do whatever the hell you do, but you’re back early because God forbid you stay out when it gets dark. And you can’t be having an affair with your little Thomas the Editor friend because you’re not interesting enough to do that.”

 

Direct hit. Again and again.  “Caleb, I have 2 jobs and they both require me to be in front of my laptop constantly! I have to be available for those rich clients when they need me to book them an expensive vacation; I’m working on commission, you know! Writing books doesn’t always pay the bills!”

 

Caleb continues as if he hasn’t heard a word I said. Like normal. “For God’s sakes Crissy, the only time I see you is when you’re heading in here or in the kitchen.” He then grabs my Listerine bottle, swishes and spits. “You have to go out and talk with people. It’s good for you, you know? Life’s short. So get one.”

 

I am so damn tired of this man. After all I’ve done for him? I get in his face and cross my arms; we’re both almost the same height so at least I’m not looking up to him like I do with most guys. “This is my life and I am comfortable with it. And if all you’re going to do is criticize me, you have a million friends. Go and live with one of them! I’ve had it with you!” I storm out.

 

I powerwalk to my bedroom, slam the door and lean against it. I can feel a lump in my throat but I swallow. I’m not going to let this get to me. He’s my brother; who cares what he thinks? A “Castle” rerun is playing on the TV directly across from my bed. I collapse on my bed, putting a pillow behind my neck and turn out my palms to my sides. I close my eyes and say quietly several times, “I’m alright. Breathe. Just breathe. I cannot let other people’s words fight me.”

 

Castle: “See? Right there. Disapproving, judgemental…You’re totally my work wife.”

 

I smile again.

 

Caleb

I throw Crissy’s basket full of wet laundry at her bedroom door. “Yo Criss! Here’s your wet clothes you didn’t take out of the washing machine like you said you were gonna do half an hour ago!” A grey sock sticks and slowly slides to the bottom of her door full of those crappy “inspirational” quotes that she cuts out from websites like be-a-better-you-or-die.com.

 

She yells, “I’m writing!”

 

Bullshit. She’s either playing solitare on her computer or turning the volume down on another rerun of “Castle.” Even if she really is writing, I wouldn’t understand a word of it. The last book she wrote spent 100 pages on a girl sitting in a meadow talking to herself. And after I gave her, what I think was valuable constructive criticism by saying, “You could do better,” she never let me read anything of hers again. Now when she works on something to show her nerdy editor (whom she crushes on so bad, but thinks I’m too stupid to notice), she seals it up in an envelope and puts it in the locked box outside our door.

 

Screw this. I need to wash my shirts. I’ve got a hot date tonight. And I mean that literally. Sarah walks on hot coals on a regular basis because it’s “therapeutic” or whatever. Daredevils. Apparently, it’s the kind I go for. Not too long ago, I dated a wrestler (I mean, women wrestling? Automatic turn on), and a few months before that, it was a chef who used to be on that “Hell’s Kitchen” show. Anyone who can stand up to Gordon Ramsey is automatically bad ass—until she started hanging out with a women’s activist group where an awful lot of them cut off their hair and stopped wearing bras. I mean there’s standing up for what you believe in, and there’s just plain gay. Wait. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s not like I go out in search of bad girls. They find me. One I met in a bar, another in the grocery store, and Sarah, of all places, I met at an AA meeting. Well, when we used to go to AA.

 

OK, so she and I don’t exactly bring out the best in each other. Or so says Crissy. But I don’t care what she thinks. I really don’t.

 

As I go down to the basement to the laundry room where you wouldn’t be caught dead down there on week nights (because with all the creepers, you might as well be dead), I freeze and see the back of a fit blonde in flip flops, yoga pants and a plain white tee. She’s holding up lacy underwear. Where has this love goddess been?

 

The hot girl sighs. “Damn it. Another pair ruined.”

 

I move my laundry basket that was sitting on a washing machine near the door to the one right behind her. But she doesn’t budge. I do something constructive by putting my laundry in; but really I’m just glaring at her panties. And now I’m picturing her in them. You know, I’d really like to meet the person who invented thongs and buy him a Starbucks chain. I learn in where my chin is nearly touching the back of her shoulder. I catch a whiff of her hair that smells like…rose? Lavender? Some sort of girly smell. “They look fine to me,” I say.

 

She quickly puts the panties in her basket and briefly pauses to look at me. Hazel eyes, just like mine. Crissy would probably say it’s a sign. She clears her throat and straightens her retro black plastic glasses. Well I’ve never dated a nerdy girl before but there’s a first time for everything.

 

“There’s a stain I can’t get out. Thanks to my, uh, friend that comes to visit every month.” She then shakes her head and puts up her hand like a stop sign. “God, like you care.” She takes out the rest of her laundry from the machine.

 

I was about to say, “What friend” when it hit me. “Don’t worry about it. I have a sister.”

 

“Ah. So you get it.” Wow, this is the first time I see her smile. Nice.

 

“I get it.” I smile and lean on my basket like one of those guys from an 80’s magazine who modeled a nice suit by leaning on a Ferrari. I think she might be starting to give me her come hither eyes but she quickly turns to fold the rest of her laundry. “Did your sister make you do the tampon runs, too?”

 

“She still does that. I’ve become a regular at the CVS next door—since we live together now.” Did I just tell her I’m living with my sister? Damn, I’m off my game today. I’ve lost my inability to think before speaking. I blame that damn smile of hers.

 

“Aw. What a good brother you are.”

 

“Nah. She just always tells me what to do. And if I don’t, she’ll nag me about it until—“

 

Damn it to Hell. A silver ring on her finger clangs against the machine. I go back to putting in my laundry and clear my throat. “It’s kind of like being married.”

 

She breathily laughs, reaches down in the machine and puts the last of her underwear in her basket. “Oh really? Maybe you’re right.”

 

Wait. Maybe? I turn to face her and point at her ring finger. “Sorry. I just saw your ring and thought you would understand.”

 

She gets serious and looks down at the band. “Oh.” She wrinkles her forehead and bites her lip like she’s about to cry. She looks like a character out of one of those movies based on a Jane Austen novel that I’ve been dragged to see too many times.

 

We stay in silence for what feels like eternity until I say, “Isn’t that what most married people do? Wear rings and run errands for each other when they really don’t want to?”

 

She takes her basket under one arm and closes the machine’s lid. “I’m not married,” she says quietly. She slides in front of me to get towards the entrance. Seriously, if she just got out of bed, how can she still smell this good?

 

I’m not gonna lie. Part of me is jumping for joy. I’m now picturing the both of us jumping for joy—in my bed. Damn it. Halfway to 30 years-old, man. I blink and get back on track. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to—“

 

She turns around and doesn’t look me in the eye. She scratches the back of her neck with her free hand. “No, it’s fine. I just can’t bring myself to take off the ring yet.” She looks at her ring again. “It’s hell letting go.”

 

I suddenly get some painful flashbacks from that year of college. No, I can’t go there again.

 

She shakes her head. “Again. Why am I telling you all this?”

 

I shrug. “I have that kind of face; I’m a popular guy,” I say trying to lighten the mood. A million things go through my head about what I should say next. Most importantly, should I ask her out right now, or wait?

 

She moves her basket under her other arm. Damn, the muscles in that arm. She obviously goes to the gym. Or maybe she’s a yoga instructor? That would explain the pants she’s wearing.

 

“Ah. Well maybe I’ll see you around then.” She tilts her head again. “If you’re so popular.”

 

God, that smile again. It’s not that kind of phony, model smile. It’s a cute, crooked smile. Simple and genuine. Perfect. She walks out, but I just can’t let her leave. My heart is racing and it’s not from the caffeine I had earlier today. I run to catch up to her. “Wait! I’m Caleb!” I yell.

 

She stops and pivots to face me. The Pepsi vending machines on both sides of her make her glow—but not in a creepy way. “I’m Abby,” she says. She shakes my hand once (and hard). Totally hot.

 

“Nice to meet you, Abby.”

 

“You too. Sorry I didn’t introduce myself before. It’s just…”

 

“Yeah. It kind feels like we’ve known each other all along?”

 

She pauses and raises her eyebrow. “Uh, no. I was just gonna say that I’ve met a lot of weirdos in this laundry room that I wouldn’t dare talk to; but you seem to be fairly sane.” She leans her head to the side.

 

“Oh.” What a moron I am. I’m surprised she even used me and sane in the same sentence.

 

We just stare at each other for another awkward moment. There’s something about her and something about this meeting, though. And it can’t just be me.

 

She blinks and gets back to reality. “Well. Maybe next time if we see each other again, you’ll see me washing something other than my underwear.”

 

God, I hope not. Wait. Say something. “Yeah. OK,” is all I get out.

 

She nods but kinda looks disappointed. The woman totally wants me to ask her out and I’m just standing there like an idiot. Oh God. Junior High flashback.

 

She walks backward for a little bit and says, “Oh! Good luck with your sister.”

 

I totally ignore her mention of Crissy (otherwise, it would have ruined the moment), but I gently touch her basket to stop her. “Wait, Abby.” I really want to ask what floor she lives on, but I better not. Keep it casual, dude. Not a big deal. “If you’re not doing anything tonight, I’m going to a party. It’s just a casual get-together for a friend. He’s about to get married.”

 

She looks confused and tilts her head. “Did you just invite me to a bachelor party?”

 

I’m not an idiot. I totally realize inviting this girl to a party celebrating an upcoming marriage after what she just told me about her ex (or maybe dead) guy might not be the best thing for a first date. But hell, I have to see her again. And the earlier the better.

 

“Not a bachelor party” (even though it kinda was). “And there’ll be no strippers, I promise.” I move closer to her. “It’s at the sports center at Chelsea Piers. Eight o’clock dinner and then more fun to be had after that.”

 

She almost giggles. “Sounds fun! But I don’t want to horn in on a guy’s night out.”

 

“They’ll be women there, too. You won’t be the only one. Wives, significant others, friends. They’re all invited.” This was true, but I honestly didn’t know how many women would actually show up.

 

She purses her lips and moves them to the side. “I…I don’t know.”

 

“You know, I heard a rumor there might be jousting, too.”

 

“Well, now. How can I say no to a jousting duel?” she says sarcastically.

 

I nod and raise my eyebrows. “Right?”

 

She wrinkles her nose all cute. “I have dinner plans, but maybe I’ll see you there a little later.” She walks off and kind of swivels her hips.

 

Oh yeah. Totally into me.

 

This afternoon’s to-do list: breakup with Sarah.

 

Crissy

“Let me guess. This is about your brother again,” Dr. Locke says while tapping a red pen on a stack of ungraded papers on her desk. She reaches on the top of her head and in the midst of her thick, curly grey hair, finds her reading glasses and slides them down on the edge of her nose. She starts marking up the top paper amongst the huge stack.

 

“No, it’s not.” I fidget yet again in one of her wooden chairs across from his desk. All these years in this office and she still hasn’t asked for some comfortable chairs? So annoying.

 

She looks at me and raises one of her eyebrows. “Really?”

 

“He just—“ I cross my arms and let out a deep breath. “This morning he said some things that were so hurtful and…”

 

“Maybe true?” Dr. Locke says going back to her grading.

 

There she goes with her tough love approach again. I still don’t know how I made it out of her psychology class with a decent grade. Why do I talk to this woman again? I pull up my knees and pick at a torn patch on my jeans.

 

She takes a brief sip of her usual earl grey tea from a “Downton Abbey”-like tea cup on the edge of her desk. She takes off her glasses and swings them around in between her pointer finger and thumb. “We’ve talked about this, Crissy. You can’t let his criticisms get to you; you have to let them go. Isn’t this what we’ve been trying to move forward from?”

 

We? Whatever. “I’ve been doing those breathing exercise like you’ve told me. They’re helping.”

 

“Are you sure? Because you’re still sitting the same way you did the time you came into my office asking for these little sessions the day after you graduated.”

 

I look down and notice I’m nearly curled up like a ball. God, has it been three years already? I clear my throat and let go of my legs until my tennis shoes make a loud stomp on the hardwood floor.It’s these damn chairs.”

 

Dr. Locke glares at me. “Crissy, remember what I told you. He gets you off track.”

 

I pause. “Off track from what?”

 

She takes another sip of tea, places it back on the saucer and gently moves it away from her papers. “From what you’re meant to be doing.”

 

“But I’m writing; that’s what I always wanted, so that’s what I’m meant to be doing.” I looked up at her for confirmation. “Right?”

 

She leans forward and squints. “What do you think?”

 

Man, I hate it when she does that. “Dr. Locke, I don’t know what I think. That’s why I come to you. So you can tell me what I’m doing wrong and how to fix it.”

 

Dr. Locke shakes her head and reaches for her purse on the floor. “Crissy, did you not learn anything in my class? Pretty soon I’m going to have to start charging you if you don’t straighten up.”

 

“Excuse me?” God, I hope not. She told my psychology class once that before she started teaching, her starting rate as a therapist was $200 an hour. Why she quit that job is beyond me.

 

“Well you’ve obviously decided to forget what you’re doing here. And you aren’t listening to yourself.”

 

I undo the rubber band in my hair that was barely holding my hair up in the first place. I get a lump in my throat and I just know my tear ducts are about to start kicking into high gear. But I quickly (and forcibly I might add) wrap my hair around my finger and put it back up into a bun with a rubber band. Hold it together, Criss.

 

She sets her black leather Coach purse on her desk and nearly has her head buried in the thing. “I have something I think you could use right now.”

 

If she pulls out a Dr. Phil CD, I’m leaving.

 

Dr. Locke unsnaps the coin section of her wallet. She then unfolds a tiny piece of paper and hands it to me. It looks like one of those fortunes you pull out of a cookie from a Chinese place.

 

The paper is stained with what I hope is soda or tea; I don’t think I should even be touching it right now, but I do anyway. I can barely read it. “What is this?”

 

“Read it. And tell me what it means.”

 

Was she for real? There are 2 lines and it looks like random letters were typed on one of those old typewriters at the Smithsonian. It doesn’t make any sense. Is this in a different language or something? “But I can’t.”

 

“Exactly. But you will. When you’re ready.”

 

When I’m ready? Screw that. There’s probably an app that can tell me what it means in like 5 seconds. “Well can you give me the gist?”

 

“Nope. That’s not what I’m here for, Criss. You have to figure it out for yourself. And you can’t cheat by utilizing technology. You won’t find what the fortune says anywhere.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“It’s encrypted.”

 

Is she just making this crap up as she goes along? “Where in the world did you get this?”

 

“Someone very special to me gave it to me. And now I’m passing it onto to you.” She goes back to grading her papers and says, “Just don’t lose it OK? That little piece of paper has had quite an interesting journey.”

 

“Oh so this is a loan, huh?”

 

“Yes indeed.”

 

“This thing means that much to you?”

 

“Of course it does. But you’ll give it back to me when it’s time. You won’t need it anymore when you figure it out.”

 

I literally just sit there in silence. What just happened here? I’m more confused than when I started these meetings.

 

“Um…ok.”

 

She looks up and smiles. “Have a good rest of your day, Crissy. I’ll see you at our next meeting in a couple of weeks. Oh, and thanks again for booking me that flight on such short notice. Carl is going to be ecstatic when I surprise him for our anniversary. God, I hope he retires soon because these last minute business trips of his are killing us.” She takes another sip of tea.

 

I get up and turn the handle on the door. “Yeah.” I stick the piece of paper in my back pocket and say, “Well have a great trip, and uh, I’ll have this figured out by our next meeting.”

 

“You probably won’t, but I like the confidence already.” She winks.

 

I stand there, gaping. Seriously? Seriously.

 

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“Oh Mylanta!” Another season of “Fuller House” already?! Didn’t they just do the first season?! That’s what I kept saying to myself while watching season 2. Whoever heard of a show that did two seasons within a year? Crazy. But that’s how this cast is. Crazy in love with each other and crazy for this show that they just can’t wait to do more.

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It was a season of seasons. Like for real. They did a whole season that included our favorite holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years. And I’m happy with that because original show lacked holiday episodes, with the exception of Christmas.

After binge-watching all 13 episodes of “Fuller House” with my mom for 6 hours straight the day AFTER it came out on Netflix (thanks Mom for making me wait until you visited me), it brought back all the good feels yet again. And we needed this show after such a rough 2016. It’s nice to see a fun show like this bring this god-awful year to a close on a happier note.

So here are some of my reactions of what I thought was, for the most part, another great season.

P.S. Forget what the critics say. Forget the little 1 and a half stars on Netflix. Yes, the show is corny. “Full House” was created that way to begin with. So quit your belly-aching. Enjoy life like these quirky characters in this big house do.

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Most Surprising:

Dave Coulier directed an episode.dave

Say what?! This is his first directing gig and I never thought he’d be interested in something like directing, but I gotta say. Good job, Dave! Our Joey has indeed grown up (well, just a little).

D.J. & Kimmy’s Old Flames are Back!

I stayed away from spoilers this season because there was SO much I read from the first season that ruined most of the episodes. But aww, what a nice surprise that the original “whatever” guy came back (Dwayne sure has changed, hasn’t he?!) and now he’s a motivational speaker? Whatever. Still hilarious! And he still has a bit of shyness to him.

D.J.’s old beaus: So the Nelson guy was re-cast (I could tell that right off the bat), but wasn’t that the original Viper? I honestly couldn’t tell. If it is the original guy, he looks very different. Out of all the boyfriends D.J. had, I hated Viper the most. And it’s about time in this new series, D.J. was like, “What was I thinking dating that loser?” D.J. was way too smart for him. Nelson for the most part was a good guy, but all his money got in the way. And it still has. Now he’s as cocky as ever.

I don’t know where Nelson and Viper came from at D.J. & Kimmy’s high school reunion (they didn’t even go to that high school), but it was nice to see them have cameos anyway. I wouldn’t care to see any of these 3 guys again, but that’s what the last season of “Fuller House” was like. It was a whirlwind of new characters and quite frankly, not as strong.

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Things that STILL Haven’t Improved from Last Season:

Fernando

I know he’s supposed to be annoying like Kimmy. But 2 annoying people married to each other?! (or not married yet? I can’t keep track.) What is this, “Married with Children?”

This guy is such an idiot. And the fake accent is worse. He’s not a father or a husband. He’s a laughing stock. Get him out of the house. NOW.

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Danny’s Mysterious Wife

Come on now. I always saw Bob Saget’s Danny as the main character. But now in “Fuller House” he’s been downgraded to a next door neighbor who just pops his head in every once in a while (aka: Joey, Jesse and Becky). I mean, “the father” of the family remarried and no one seems to care or ask anything about his new wife? She’s D.J., Stephanie and Michelle’s stepmom for goodness sake! I honestly was shocked when we found out in the first season that Danny got married. I never thought he’d get married again. He came close with Vicky (STILL no mention of her?!), but I always saw him and Joey be bachelors forever. But then again, between the two of them, Danny was more marriage material.

Here’s hoping “Fuller House” gets picked up for a 3rd season and we get to actually get to hear more than the one sentence that came out of her mouth in the first season. Any woman who can put up with Danny’s obsessive cleaning disorder has to be some sort of saint, right?!

John Stamos: Out of Character Again

Is it just me or has John Stamos’s voice gotten higher than his “Full House” days? Maybe losing weight on top of that makes the voice go higher? OK, that’s probably a stupid comment. But he doesn’t even sound like Uncle Jesse anymore.

I will say his scenes with Becky helped him get more into character (praise to Lori Loughlin!) but as I mentioned from the first season, it was mostly him just playing himself. It’s obvious John hasn’t watched the original series in a LONG time; he’s even admitted it.

I just thought throughout most of this season, he had a “bad attitude” (as Michelle would say) about not wanting to have a kid. Hey, wait! He said that over and over again last season too! But out of nowhere, he announced at Thanksgiving dinner that he and Becky will be adopting a kid after all. Let’s be real. We all knew he would change his mind because he’s such a sucker for babies.

Yes, Jesse & Becky might be too old to adopt a baby, but maybe this will be their redemption from raising those two hellions Nicky & Alex. What losers. I mean, all they could come up with for Nicky & Alex is that they now own a taco truck?!

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Stephanie’s Boyfriends

OK I get that the writers wanted Stephanie to have a steady boyfriend for once this season, but couldn’t they do better than Jimmy Gibbler?! I can only take so many idiots on this show; Kimmy and Fernando are enough.

One of the mysteries of “Full House” was that we never saw Kimmy’s family. I wish they wouldn’t kept it that way. “Home Improvement” never showed us Al’s mom did they? “Cheers” never showed us Vera. Why ruin a perfectly good mystery?

I might be biased because the actor who plays Jimmy also plays the same kind of character on “Switched at Birth.” He’s a dumb guy who dates smart girls. Either he’s a really good actor or he’s like that in real life. Who knows? But I really don’t care.

If “Fuller House” does get picked up for a 3rd season, no doubt he’ll be a regular. Ugh.

The only thing good I can say is that he was the inspiration for a cool song Stephanie wrote (and it’s on iTunes for real! Go Jodie!).

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The Love Triangle

At least we learned that D.J. was originally going to choose Steve. Until he found C.J. (really, writers?! Other shows have done this exact storyline. Rachel dated a “Russ,” and Daphne dated a “Miles.”). I think we all know once D.J. and Steve gave each other that “look” right after Steve got engaged to C.J. that these high school sweethearts are definitely not over.

Matt? I’m already sick of. Yeah, the guy’s better looking, but that’s all he’s got. For you LOSTies out there, Steve is the Jack; Matt is the Sawyer. Truth. #TeamSteve

 

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Most Improved:

The costumes

NOW we’re talking. As I said, this season was all D.J. and it was nice to see that she actually dressed like a mother of three for once. Even Stephanie, who was mostly criticized last season for wearing revealing outfits (“Yo, we get it, Jodie. You had a boob job) wore some decent outfits to keep most everything covered. Of course, there were a few dresses that both she and Candace wore that were way too short (Take a note from Kimmy for once!) in the last episode as well as the episode where they crash a wedding, but overall, good job. They either fired their last costume designer or they actually took the criticisms from fans seriously.

One thing I noticed about the costumes: What is with the costumer’s obsession with off the shoulder shirts? D.J. and Stephanie wore them constantly. Is that the style now?

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Andrea Barber / Kimmy Gibbler

Finally, the woman calmed down a bit. Andrea was much more relaxed this season and wasn’t trying so hard to be funny. Because she doesn’t need to; her dialogue is funny enough. Even though I admittingly fast-forwarded through her scenes with Fernando (still can’t stand the man), I was able to at least tolerate her more.

Candace Cameron / D.J. Tanner

This season 2 of “Fuller House” was very D.J.-centric. And it should’ve been last season too if they hadn’t shoved Kimmy Gibbler so much down our throats. After all, it was established from the start of “Fuller House” that D.J. is the main character.D.J. had more of the wholesome “Mom-like” features (no more wearing slutty dresses while going out to clubs and drinking) and acted more “Danny Tanner-like.” She definitely took after her dad in the nerd and organizational aspect—as we all knew she would. She was closest to Danny than the other two girls. Like the typical oldest sibling, D.J. was raised right and knows how to take care of everybody.Candace definitely stepped it up this season by acting more like a positive role model for her family, friends and kids. Plus, I didn’t realize how FUNNY she could be! Way to show off those comedic acting chops, Candace! I’m so used to seeing her in serious roles from her Hallmark movies. I’m wondering if she learned a bit from Jodie. Stephanie kind of took a back seat this season (just by a tad), but Jodie just always had it when it came to being funny. It was a bit harder for Candace, but I think she’s finally found it!

The only complaint I had about D.J. this season was that for MANY episodes, she complained so much about not having a boyfriend. “I can’t pick Steve OR Matt now! What do I do with my life?” Dude. Your husband just died (and she never mentions him anymore). You still need time!

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Best Moments:

Another Olsen Twins jab

Just one this time. As they were praying at the table and D.J. mentioned Michelle, I was like, “Here it comes.” Jesse (or really, John Stamos, because who can tell?!) peeks out from behind D.J. and into the camera says, “Come next year! It’ll be fun!” At least he was nice about it this season. After all, he had to redeem himself after last season’s Twitter hate.

For God’s sake, people. The Olsen Twins are NEVER coming back. They have said goodbye to that acting lifestyle for good. And I can’t say I blame them. But OK, cast. Y’all keep telling yourself that.

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New Kids on the Block

I mean, do I even need to say why on this? Candace & Andrea wanted them on the show since day 1 of shooting “Full House.” I’ve never actually seen bigger fans of theirs than those two. Even though I knew of the group but they were a bit before my time (get Backstreet Boys on next season!!), it was fun to see them. But mostly fun to see Kimmy and Ramona scream, “NEW KIDS ON THE BLOOOOCCKKK!”

By the way, did you know fans of theirs call themselves “Blockheads?” I sure didn’t until that episode. Cool name, though!

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Stephanie’s Girl Talk Band Got Back Together Again (well, most of them)

I was SO excited about this that I literally clapped and cheered when Kimmy was like, “Let’s get Girl Talk back together!” That “Full House” episode is one of my all-time favorites. Mostly because they all sung my favorite song in middle and high school–Ace of Base’s “The Sign.” Unfortunately, they were missing one original member—the drummer who apparently “plays for Beyoncé” now. But who knows where the actual actress is now. However, D.J. made for a humorous drummer, so all was OK.I initially was excited that they were bringing Gia back. Here I thought she had changed her ways when Stephanie told D.J., “She’s a soccer mom, now!” But in the end, Gia ended up being the same bitch she always was. I knew girls like that in high school. “Hey, loser! Try this cigarette! People will like you better! And Stephanie once again fell for her ways when she was like, “I’ll meet you at happy hour later!”

The only thing I don’t remember from the original series is D.J. hating Gia that much. I remember Michelle made jabs at Gia when she could, but I don’t remember D.J. and Gia having hardly any scenes together in the original series. Even Danny dated Gia’s mom for a couple of episodes (What was that about?!). The only episode I can remember where D.J. might be getting so much hate towards Gia was that episode in “Full House” when D.J. ordered Stephanie not to go in a car with guys she and Gia met at the mall. Gia went cruising the guys and they ended up in the hospital. But in this new “Fuller House” episode, man, D.J. REALLY hated Gia. But she’s allowed. 

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The scene with all 3 of our boys in the last episode.

Seriously. I would watch an entire series just with these 3 guys sitting around a fire talking. They could insult away and I would still be happy. Bob, John and Dave are gold when they are together. They’re like brothers in real life and you can definitely tell. Jeff Franklin knew what he was doing when he hired these three for the original series.

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Kimmy & Fernando’s “I Love Lucy” Halloween costumes

I mean, why wouldn’t I put this in my Best Moments section? I appreciate anything having to do with my favorite show so near and dear to my heart. If only the kids they were performing for knew how great “I Love Lucy” was (and still is!)

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Biggest Tearjerker:

Honestly, there wasn’t one this season. It was a happier season–probably because everyone was just so excited the show even got picked up for a season 2.

But I can think of a couple of scenes where tears might have been involved. Not by me, but my mom got a little misty-eyed. Of course, my mom cries at everything so take what you will from this.

D.J. talks with Stephanie about losing their mom.

Something we didn’t know from the original “Full House:” D.J. reminds Stephanie that when their mom died, Stephanie could not handle her grief, so she retreated to her room and wouldn’t talk to anyone for a while. D.J. then takes that example and compares it to Stephanie’s current situation of her fear of commitment. And that story somehow worked because Stephanie ended up not dumping Jimmy Gibbler (“Why, Stephanie, why??!”)

Jackson cries to Stephanie about “not fitting in.”

Preach, dude. I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. It’s a bad case of Charlie Brown syndrome. I never expected Jackson to actually cry, but for a kid, he did a pretty good job. The only thing I didn’t like about this scene was that at the end of this sad scene, Jackson asked Stephanie to leave him alone. And she did.Um…you were a middle child, Stephanie. You know what it’s like about not fitting in. Danny, Joey and Jesse would never leave the girls alone after they’d been crying. They have to talk and hug it out first!

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Ch. 3: “Gorgeous hair is the best revenge.” ~Ivana Trump

Oh. My. Freaking. God.
This is what I say to myself when my mom and I walk into the Crystal Rose salon that’s full of wealthy, anorexic women dressed in black and white to match the marble floors. I shiver not only from the air conditioner blasting to keep out the ninety-degree heat, but from the faces on the creepy women—their lips are pursed, makeup caked on, and all the wrinkles from the tanning beds make them look older than my grandma.

Against the walls are a rainbow of nail polishes, gels, shampoos, and hairsprays stacked on wire shelves. A tall woman at the front desk glares at me. I look down at myself. Jean shorts and Dad’s old “The Who” t-shirt. I so shouldn’t be here.

I have half a mind to turn back and run, but Mom gives me a push until my boobs hit the edge of the desk. The tall woman, whose nametag reads “Shelley,” asks in a deep voice who I have an appointment with. She sounds like the Beast from the Disney movie. Her voice certainly doesn’t match her name. I make figure eight’s over the smooth, cold surface of the desk. “Her name is, uh…”

I look back at Mom, who walks up next to me and smiles. “My daughter has an appointment with Miss Toni.” She attempts to tuck a strand of hair behind my ears but I swat her away.

Shelley hands me a piece of paper. My name is at the top of the ticket; the wash, cut, color, style, dry boxes are marked off. If I had a pen I’d write in the other box, “Kill Self.”

I go to the back where there is an endless row of sinks. The leather chairs in front of them have plastic covers on the top half and towels with a monogrammed rose drape the bottom. A woman walks towards me, wiping her hands on a towel. The combination of her clunky boots and silver dangling earrings play a tune. “Follow me to this chair, honey,” she says. Could she BE more southern?

Of course, I just have to get my hair washed by this woman who gossips with another girl with bleach blonde spiky hair. “So that loser finally got dumped, huh? Girl, I know! ‘Bout time, right?” When she turns off the water, I feel my head to make sure it’s not bleeding from her long nails digging into my scalp.

She then points me in a general direction and says,”Toni’s over there.”  I guess that thing called southern hospiality doesn’t exist in this place.

After squinting at the business card holders on the edge of each station while also trying to hold up the towel that’s about to topple over like the Leaning Tower of Piza, I find Toni’s station.  I collapse in the chair and look in the mirror; in the reflection, my mother is talking to some weird girl with red dreadlocks. I slide down in the seat and lean my head back. Please God. Just strike me dead. My annoying mother and the burning fumes from the hair dryers are giving me a migrane.

I close my eyes, but am suddenly awakened by that same weird girl who looks like she dunked her head in a vat of red Kool-Aid. She snaps the towel off my head as I yell, “Ow! Son of a bitch!”

“Now,” she says popping her gum. “Let’s see what we can do here.”

Mom comes up from behind and taps my shoulder. “Here. I got you something to drink. Maybe this will calm you down.” She hands me a sweating bottle of 7-up.

“What? No cherry?” I ask, grumbling.

“Just drink your coke.” She sits in the empty chair next to me in front of a mirror with an arch of spotlights, making her look even more pale than she usually does. She crosses her legs and arms at the exact same time and stares at me.

I take a sip of 7-up and reach to put it down on Toni’s desk. “Mom, can’t you do something else? Or better yet would you mind, like, going away?”

“I’m not going anywhere. Besides, who else can take the before and after shots?” She holds up her iPhone.

Seriously? As if I’m not humiliated enough. I put up my hand in front of my face (like that’ll do any good). “Mom, this is stupid. It’s not like I’m getting my hair done for anything important like my wedding.”

She snaps a photo. “Come on Peach. Just enjoy this moment. Besides, you probably won’t get photos like this for another 20 years.”

“Aww, what an encouraging remark.” I look at Toni in the mirror, who is combing out the tangles in my hair. “My mom doesn’t think I’ll find a guy to marry until I’m in my 40’s! Such a great mother, right?”

Mom snaps another photo. “That’s not what I meant. I’m just saying that marriage is not your priority; I know you.” She lowers her phone and raises her eyebrows. “More than you think.”

Though I didn’t say it out loud because I was too distracted by the giant wad of hair Toni just combed out, Mom’s remark sounded kinda creepy. She snaps one more picture and I try to get up to grab her phone but Toni pushes me back in the chair. “I swear Mom, if any of these photos end up on Facebook, Instagram or anything social-media related, I’m suing.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. They’re going in your scrapbook.”

Damn. I was hoping she gave up that hobby. I rub my forehead. “Mom. I beg you.”

She puts her phone down. “Fine. But I’m still not moving. I just want to make sure your hair is just right.”

Toni searches inside a drawer for scissors. “Don’t worry, Leanne.”

Leanne? What are they, like BFF’s now?

Toni twirls the scissors in the air. I suddenly feel like I’m Sweeney Todd’s next victim.

I move my head away from those deadly things. “Just how much are you chopping off? I don’t want to come out of here with one of those bowl cuts like my Aunt Sue’s”

“It’s just a trim,” says Mom. “And besides, her hair wasn’t that bad.”

“Not that bad? You could serve stew on that woman’s head.” Mom makes a brief giggle.

Toni sprays some more water into my hair like the bottle is a squirt gun. “I’m just going to cut the split ends before the coloring goes in.”

“What kind of coloring, exactly?” If Toni colors my hair exactly like hers, I’m torching the place.

“Just a few streaks of blonde highlights mixed in with spiral curls.”

I jerk my head away. “Umn, no, I don’t think so. I draw the line at curls. I’m not Shirley freaking Temple.”

Mom rolls her eyes and looks at Toni. “Forgive my daughter. She has a problem with change.”

“I do not!”

“Peaches, you have to trust me; I know you will love it,” says Toni as she puts her hands on my shoulders and flashes me a schoolgirl grin. That’s so fake.

I close my eyes and count to ten like I usually do to calm myself down when I feel like I want to punch somebody. I play with the braided straw bracelet that Kyle bought me at an arts and crafts fair a few months back when we were still talking. Even though there are times when I feel like running the guy over with my car, I wish he was here with me. Or Dad, or Brian, or anyone but my mother.

After the hand finally reaches the hour mark on my watch, Mom is still using her I’ll shoot you in the back if you move stare. I ask, “Wouldn’t you rather be doing something?” Mom takes out an Emory board from the front pocket of her purse and starts to file her nails.

The foil squares and purple curlers are pulling my cheeks so hard, that I can’t even enjoy the pleasure of frowning. If this takes another hour, Mom and Toni will have to call an ambulance for a stretcher. I’ll be for sure dead by then.

Once Toni lets me get out of that damn chair and sit in another chair in the corner to let my hair set, I finally think I’m gonna get some quiet time. Mom then walks over to hand me a People magazine, but I put it aside. I refuse to be one of these stuck up women in here who read gossip magazines. Mom then gets off on a speech, saying we haven’t had enough mother-daughter bonding.

“Is everything OK with you?” she asks.

“Well no, but did you have something specific in mind?”

“I mean with your hair. You’re not used to having your hair styled so fancy like this.”

Now that’s uncalled for. “Yes I have. Plenty of times.”

“Getting a trim at Supercuts from a guy named Spanky isn’t exactly in the same class as this.”

“OK A, his real name isn’t Spanky; it’s Spencer. And B, I go to him because he’s hot.” Oops. “I mean, he’s decent.” That didn’t sound right either. “At least he looks alot more normal than guys like him.” I point to a guy in a suit walking by with dark sunglasses and a pony tail all the way down his back.”

“Oh, really? Then why is your hair always frizzy?” Another zap. What has happened to this woman? I miss the days when she didn’t care what I looked like. She would usually say something cliché like, ‘You’re perfect the way you are.’ Why is she all over my back today? It’s getting annoying.

“What about that special hair dryer I use? Or used. It only overheated because our electricity sucks.”

Mom leaned forward, raising one eyebrow. “And whose idea was it to buy the cheapest one at Wal-Mart?”

“Spank—” I fold in my lips and grab a magazine, holding it close to my face. “OK, I get it.” So I bought a crappy hair dryer a few months ago. I would have bought a bobby pin from the guy if he asked. Everytime he runs his fingers though my hair, I get this incredible urge to jump out of my seat, wrap my legs around his waist and make-out with him—right there in front of everybody. That’s why when I schedule an appointment I bring a friend along for restraining purposes.

“How are we doing?” asks Toni who comes out of nowhere.

“How are we doing? I’m hangin’ in, but I don’t know about my mom here.” My mom laughs and says I am such a kidder.

When we get back to Toni’s station, Toni finally takes out the curlers and squares of foil; I’ve never felt so liberated in my life.

Toni styles my hair for another half hour and Mom bombards her with questions like, “What conditioner should she use? Is the spray better than the gel? Should she let it air dry or use the curling iron?”

I feel like stabbing my eye with a pick comb right now. Toni excitedly says, “OK, we’re all finished!” She lowers the chair and turns it around to face the mirror. “How do you like it?”

I almost don’t recognize myself. I mean, I don’t want to brag, but I do look pretty good.  Spiral curls all around, with half of it up in a twist. And wow, who knew I would look sexy as a blonde? Toni did work some kind of miracle on me. Too bad it will all probably deflate by morning. “Yeah, it looks good.”

“Good? That’s all we’re going to get?” Mom says.

“Really, it looks great.” I just need to get out of here before I die of exhaustion. I unsnap the black smock and grab my purse on my way towards the front.

The same tall, deep-voice lady appears yet again and asks again if she could help me. “Who did your hair?”

I look around to find my mom who is giving Toni a hug. Seriously? I turn back around. “Huh? Oh, Toni.”

She looks it up on her computer and says, “$250.”

“No, no. I’m Peaches Templeton. I had a 4:00 appointment with Miss Toni.”

 “Yes, that’s right.” She speaks slowly, acting like I’m a crazy person.

 Dang. I could have gotten an iPad for that amount of money. I take out my wallet. 20 dollars in cash. Bummer. Well, I have a credit card that’s supposed to be used only for emergencies. And I guess this is an emergency. If I don’t pay, this woman could burn me with her death glare alone.

Oh. Woops. I look at a receipt that has fallen out of my wallet. $158.99 for the Complete Works of Shakespeare. I forgot about that.  But, hey, that is a necessary item for a soon-to-be English major.

Suddenly my mom shoves another credit card in her face. “Here. Use this one.”

“Mom, no. I got it.”

“Don’t be silly. My treat.”

Even though I kinda figured she’d pay for it, I politely smile and say thank you, walking away from the two crazy ladies. Just when I think I’m finally gonna get out of here easily, Mom drags me to the sticky, leather chairs in the spa section near one of the entrance doors.

I’m worried she’s gonna make me get a facial, but she’s too busy digging through her massive tie-dyed purse. “Now. We’ll go to Macy’s first but you know what, I think we’ll go to the mall that just opened. It’s further away, but it’s much bigger. I printed out MapQuest directions for a better route. Where is that stupid thing?” At this point, half of her purse that contains everything from Junior Mints to toilet paper to Tarot cards is poured out all over the glass coffee table. “Oh, forget it. I’ll just ask someone.”

“Mom I have Google Maps on my phone. We’re good.”

“Yeah, but I need…” She wanders off, trying to find someone at the front desk. She rests her elbow on the counter and taps her fingernails and foot at the same time.

I come up behind her. “I said I can find it!”

Mom turns and puts a hand on my shoulder. She says softly, “OK. Calm down.”

“Then let’s go.” I need to get out of here pronto. I start to open the door to the real world with real air, when–

“But Peaches, we need to go somewhere that’s near it.”

  Please just shoot me. “God! Where are you taking me now?”

“I want it to be a surprise.” She sits back in the chair and takes out a pen and notepad out of her purse. Oh, sure. Those she can find. “Now, let’s make a list. What do you need?”

“Why do you need to write it down?”

“So you’re not throwing things together at the last minute.” OK, so she knows me more than I thought. “Now, what shoes do you plan on wearing?”

“That’s why we’re going to the mall. Shoes, dress, jewelry. I literally want to pull my hair out, but I know my mom would have a fit if I touch one strand.

“I thought you said you had a dress. You ordered it online, right?”

“Oh. Yeah.” I lied about that in the car on our drive to this god-forsaken hell hole. I doubt the dress I pick will meet her approval of being “dressy” enough, so I’m getting the dress on my own.

Mom is still scribbling away in her notepad. “I just hope that dress fits like a size five should and not feel like a size one. Remember when you ordered those pants from DELiA’s and you couldn’t even get the zipper up?”

“Yes. I remember,” I say, rubbing my temples.

Mom straightens up when another thin woman dressed in a slinky black dress answers the phone at the front desk. When she runs over to her, I walk out of the salon and breathe in the fresh air. I take the keys out of my pocket, quickly get in my car and place my hands on the wheel.

Ah. Quiet. Nice. I close my eyes, wishing everything around me would disappear. And I could be the only one left on the planet. Well, me and Matthew McConaughey.

I peek to see if my wish comes true, but my mom comes out of the salon flailing a piece of paper in hand. When she sits, she’s out of breath from, what, the ten steps she walked from the salon to the car? “OK, here’s the plan for the rest of the day.”

Will the madness never end? I rev up the car and put it in reverse just a second after Mom closes the door.

She turns on the radio and flips to the oldies station until I click on a Top 20 station that blares a Beyonce song.

She starts to turn the station again, and then I switch it, back and forth until I slam on the brakes at a red light. “Mom, please! Could you please just back off? This is my car.”

“Peaches, what is with you today?”

“What’s with me? What’s with you? You’ve become this different ‘mom’ all of a sudden. I mean, what happened between yesterday and today?”

“What are you talking about? I’ve always been a mom.”

“Please. Even Brian gives me more rules than you. You’re usually so laid back and let me do what I want. Like, what’s the deal?” Mom’s face drops. She folds her hands in her lap. I lower my voice. “You’re just kind of creeping me out.”

Three cars around me honk in unison. “The light’s green,” she says quietly. Almost like she’s ashamed of something.

“Seriously, Mom. What’s going on?”

“Peaches, go. We’ll talk about it later.”

That went well. At least it’s back to silence.

Wrong again.

Mom perks up and says, “Guess what I have planned for us after shopping?”

Just murder me now and get it over with.

 

Ch. 2: “The Belly Rules the Mind.” ~Spanish Proverb

The phone call is from a vice principal. I forget her name as soon as she tells me. “Congrats!” she says like she’s had one too many Red Bulls. “You’re receiving an award at the Senior Awards Assembly tomorrow night.”

Big whup. I know I’m getting the creative writing award, anyway. Bryan’s most likely getting the theatre award and I’m getting the creative writing award. Trust me. I’m not bragging, but who else would they give the writing award to? The girl who writes poems on her obsession with Matthew McConaughey movies, the guy who wrote an essay stating that Bigfoot is real, or the twins who always write about themselves on the “turmoils” of being twins?

Glad to see Bailey High is really on top of things by giving us plenty of notice. The last fire drill we had, they came on the intercom and said, “Be prepared for a practice fire drill soon.” Five seconds later, we were holding our ears to make sure they weren’t bleeding from the sirens and high school teenagers yelling as we were all falling over each other in the stairwell to get to an emergency exit.

To me, the Senior Awards Assembly means squat. In a class of 250, pretty much everyone except for the Bohemians who never wear shoes receive a Senior Award. Even the biggest idiots in the school like the dude who wrapped toilet paper around his head on Super Bowl weekend is probably gonna get a “Principal’s Award.” Which really means, “Your parents donated money to the school, and we have to give you something so they won’t gripe at us.”

After I get off the phone with the nameless vice principal, I can’t resist the hearty aroma of stewed tomatoes, beef, onion and a tad of chutney simmering in Mom’s crockpot. Mom is gently stirring with her wooden ladle, and as I sit at the kitchen table, I kinda mention the award to her. It’s that damn chili.

My mom suddenly goes into peppy cheerleader mode and says, “I know! Isn’t it exciting? She left a message yesterday!”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“She said she’d call back.” She takes a sip from the spoon, licks her lips and turns to look at me. She furrows her eyebrows and shakes her head in disappointment. “Why are you in your pajamas?”

I shrug and twirl my spoon in between my fingers. “Just felt like it.” I spot a new quote written in Sharpie on the pastel-painted table. My mom is so proud of this table. When I was five, she found it at an antique mall and being the crazy artist that she is, painted all over the thing. Cats, hearts, skulls, you name it. Now that she’s divorced, she writes quotes on it instead. She seems to be obsessed with inspirational quotes, like the ones that are in that completely useless quote book she gave me. I lean back in one of four mismatched chairs she picked up at garage sales and change the subject. “So Dad knows about my award, too?” I knew she couldn’t have talked to him just about the chili.

Mom flips her hand like a valley-girl and says, “She called HIM first before us. They all should know full well you live with me.”

I roll my eyes. She never mentions dad’s name. She just puts emphasis on the word “HIM” like everyone knows the HIM she’s talking about. Apparently in her eyes, he doesn’t deserve to be called his own name.

I put up my hands and press my knee up against the edge of the table. “God forbid. They have like 1,000 kids at that school and can’t keep a student’s home phone number straight? Blasphemy!”

Mom takes out grandma’s old vomit-green bowls from the cabinet and spoons out three huge ladle-fulls in each bowl, sprinkling them with her specialty of cut-up hot dogs and shredded Velveeta. “I know. But still.”

She puts the bowls on the table and I rub my chin to make sure I’m not drooling. It’s still bubbling. As I put the spoon up to my mouth to savor my first tangy bite, Mom decides to make small talk. She acts like getting a senior award is like winning the lotto. Sure, the school gives me a Barnes and Noble gift certificate (how convenient—the same place I work), but is that supposed to help me be a successful, Creative Writing student? $25 can maybe buy you one decent book. Bailey High is so pathetic.

My mom attempts to hug me across the table while she yammers on and on, but I quickly get up to get some apple juice.

“Wait!” She reaches over to block the fridge door and grabs a bottle off the counter. “Thought we could celebrate with champagne.” Since my mom lived in France for a year when she was a teen, she’s never been a stickler for under-age drinking.

“Mom, it’s not like I’m getting the Pulitzer.”

“Oh, nonsense!” Nonsense? Why is my mom talking like a character out of Anne of Green Gables?

“Everybody knows that my baby is getting the writing award. It’s about time you get recognized for your creative talents.” She pours me a glass in my favorite Garfield mug as I sit back down.

“Well, I’m sure Bryan’s getting the theater award. Can he come over to drink, too?” Better listening to him than Mom who’s on some kind of happy pill.

She ignores me and delicately puts her napkin in her lap, slowly slurping one spoonful of chili at a time. This is weird. Like me, she usually gobbles the whole thing up in two minutes.

I pinch my wrist to see if this is all a dream. Have I suddenly stepped inside an alternate universe?

She looks up, concerned. “Something wrong with the chili?”

Forget it. I’m too hungry. I gobble up a large spoonful. “No. It’s fine.”

“So, I was thinking that since the assembly is coming up and you and I are off for the rest of the day…”

Oh. God.

“We should go shopping.”

I choke and it’s not from the chili powder. I sip some champagne which makes it worse, so I run to the fridge and drink straight from the milk carton. I wipe my mouth with the back of my hand and head back to the table. “I’m sorry. What?” I slowly sit back in the chair.

Damn this chili. Damn all the chili.

“We’ll go to the mall. You have heard of that place, right?”

I suddenly feel like I’m falling down a burning death hole. The Jaws theme song pops in to my head. Mom and I shopping together. In the mall. At the same store.

I’m losing the feeling in my legs. My face has gone numb. I slowly start to make the words out. “By we, you mean, you right? YOU should go shopping at the mall.”

“Don’t be silly.”

Here it comes.

“I already know what I’m going to wear.”

Crash. And by crash, I do mean crash. I actually do fall over.

Mom pulls me up. “Oh! Hon, are you alright?”

“This can’t be happening,” I mumble as I stagger back to my chair. I push my chili bowl forward; I’ve suddenly lost my appetite. I cross my arms and continually bump my head against the edge of the kitchen table.

“Peaches, tomorrow is your biggest night since prom. You should look nice. Classy. Elegant.”

 I look up, stunned. “And you’re telling ME this? Who was the one who wore a straw hat and a kimono to my first boy-girl party?”

“You told me you wanted a Hawaiian theme.”

“So you thought a Mexican Geisha was the way to go?”

Mom briefly smiles but turns serious as she tucks a strand of hair behind my ear. “Please, Peaches? I just thought we could use some mother-daughter time.” She suddenly gets serious. “We haven’t had that in…forever.”

I roll my eyes back along with my head. So this is why Dad wanted to say goodnight to me early. He knew I wouldn’t be in the mood for anyone when I got home.

And this is why my mom made chili–the one and only thing my mom cooks that I actually eat more than one bite of. God, this chili is the devil.

Mom has a pouty-look on her face like a seven-year old boy whose lunch money got stolen. So should I say no and be like the worst daughter ever, or should I do what dad says and try to make the best of it? I say softly, “You really want to do this?” I rub my finger over that quote written in Sharpie, What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

“Of course! Let me be the responsible parent.”

“Well that’ll be a nice change.”

She laughs, points a finger at me like I made some kind of joke and goes back to eating like Lady Mary from Downton Abbey.

She thinks I’m kidding? The day the divorce papers arrived, Mom refused to get out of bed for three weeks. I cancelled her art classes at the studio, made sure she ate, and I also read to her from my American Lit textbook until she fell asleep. During the times when she was awake, I got my ear-full of the same overly-dramatic phrases of, “Why can’t love be enough? I hate men! I’m never dating again!” And after hearing other horror stories of the men she went out with (though I’m not sure if they were all true), I almost considered being a lesbian.

After Mom and I do the dishes, we throw away some of the food in the fridge that could feed ten children in Africa, just to make room to put that godforsaken huge pot of chili. Thank you, growling stomach.

Mom then paces around the house, writing down a list of fancy stores she used to loathe. I stop listening after the words, Sax and Bloomingdales. Being the hippy she was, she used to tell me she wanted to start riots outside of those places. But now?

I need to sit down. And possibly kill myself. I run upstairs to my room and slide my rocking chair in front of the doorknob.

I sift through my closet hoping to find a decent dress I could wear to this thing tomorrow so I could avoid this shopping spree from hell. Other than my prom dress which is sealed up tight since Bryan’s mom made it for me, the only other nice dress I have is my frilly lavender dress I wore to the 8th grade ice cream social so Joey Summers would notice me. He ended up throwing up on my shoes. How was I supposed to know he had an allergy to dark chocolate after I spoon-fed him some chopped-up peppermint patties?

“Dang. I’ll have to go to Charlotte Russe.” Speaking of Charlotte Russe, can I move to U.K.. steal someone’s identity who is part royalty and eat a Charlotte Russe everyday? ‘Cause that sounds like a good plan. 

Knock. Knock. Knock. “You ready to go?” The doorknob rattles.

How is Mom ready to go in the two seconds I was in my room? “We’re going right now?!”

“Yes, we have three hours. We’ve gotta hook it.” She tries to open the door with more force this time.

“Oh, horrors. We’ll never make it!” I say sarcastically. I take the rocking chair away from the door and stare at the doorknob that’s about to be turned. And will make me want to jump out my window. In my head, I can hear the music they play in westerns when two men are on opposite sides and they’re about to draw their guns.

I say a prayer for the first time. “Dear Lord, please watch over me during this trying time.”

When I barely crack open the door, she stands like a kid at Chuck-E-Cheese. She’s missing a button on a pink short-sleeved sweater with a rose pinned near the collar. And don’t get me started on the pencil skirt.

Oh my God. Are those tassels on her shoes? “Going for the conservative look, huh?”

“Just trying something new. Isn’t this how mothers usually dress?” She tugs at her collar.

I smile. “Sure. Why not.”

I grab my purse and try to escape, but she grabs my shoulders. “Wait, aren’t you going to change?”

“Hey if this outfit was good enough for school, it’s good enough for a mall.” I run down the stairs, take my car keys off the hook of the door leading to the garage, and slip on a pair of flip-flops that thank God I leave next to the door for a quick getaway. My mom scares the crap out of me when she says, “But Peach, we’re going to the mall that has some nice places in it. You’re wearing pajamas.”

“We’ve established that! Just get over it! Now we’re taking my car.” How else am I going to have control of the radio?

She grabs her carkeys off the other hook. “No, let’s take my car. I’ll drive. It’ll be safer.”

Talk about a slap in the face. “Mom, I’ve had my license for two years now. I think I know which color on the stoplight means stop and which means to go.” I smirk.

“But honey, I’ve been driving downtown longer than you have.”

“So that qualifies you as the better driver? Dad told me about the time you ran into a parked car when you got distracted by a shirtless guy on a bicycle.”

Mom rolls her eyes. “I can’t believe he told you that. That man makes me crazy.” Here she goes, going into crazy-mode again whenever dad is mentioned. She scratches her head, causing some wavy strands of hair to pull out from the tight bun in her hair.

I put up my hands like stop signs. “OK, Mom. Calm down. Forget I brought it up.”

She and I walk out the door and into the stifling hot garage. “Honey, downtown Dallas is so congested during rush hour; it can be dangerous.” She pushes the button on the garage door opener that is velcroed to the garage wall.

“That still doesn’t mean that if you drive and we take your car, someone won’t stop us, kidnap us, drown our bodies in the Gulf of Mexico and then make us into clones!” I make a face in horror and bite my nails.

She lets out a deep breath and throws her keys in her huge tie-dyed purse.  Well, at least the purse hasn’t changed. “Alright, you can drive. But we’re taking as many back roads as we can.” She then mumbles, “I don’t know what goes on in that brain of yours.”

Whatever. Maybe if I keep making snide remarks, she’ll end things early.

When I put in the keys in the ignition of Susie, my yellow Volkswagon beetle (it may be an old car, but it’s still my Suzie) my mother then mentions, “We’re stopping first at Crystal Rose. I called and they were able to squeeze you in for a haircut.”

I close my eyes. “Of course you did. Golly! This will be loads of fun!”

“Stop the sarcasm, Peaches.”

I take out my sunglasses from my purse and throw it in the backseat. “Yeah. I’ll get right on that.” I put the car in reverse and we embark on the mother-daughter day of doom.

All thanks to that godforsaken chili. I’m never eating that stuff again.

“The mind that is anxious about the future is miserable.” ~Marcus Seneca

Son of a bitch.

I throw the “Peaches’ Guide to Life” quote book towards the edge of my bedroom door and curse my mother for ever giving it to me. The black and red sequins fly off and the glitter shimmers into the carpet. I must have hurled that thing pretty good ‘cause now there’s a dent on the wood paneling. The Boys Are Stupid; Let’s Throw Rocks at Them postcard my so-called boyfriend gave me as a joke, comes loose and it’s barely hanging on by a string of spearmint gum.

“Inspirational” quotes my ass; they don’t help me a lick about the future. Especially the ones about writing which is the only thing I actually have some sort of talent in.

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”
“Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.”

Well, duh. Seriously. This book sucks. My life sucks. And I’m not feeling this way just because I got that letter from Red Kite Publishers—the publishing company I’ve worshipped since I read one of their Young Adult novels entitled, Buckles and Beads and Bows. Oh My!

Seriously, I have been working my ass off (well, for the most part) writing this YA novel since freshman year and it now it’s all crashing down. I’m starting to think I don’t have a future in anything. I collapse on my bed and count the little bumps in my ceiling. As I get to number 37, I take a deep breath and try to forget this horrible day.

It all started this afternoon when I came home during lunch period. The mailman comes around 12:30 and for three months, I raced home in my crappy yellow Volkswagen bug to check the mailbox. And today, the letter was waiting for me.

“I got it! I got it!” I tried to pull up my bedroom window to share the news with the rest of civilization. I “argh”ed, “grr”ed and said “Dang these stupid old windows” until it finally opened. I stuck my head out the window and yelled, “People of the world! Animals of the world! Flowers of the world! I got it!”

I kissed the envelope clutched in my hand, and blasted the Spotify station on my phone. Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are,” one of those songs played during the previews of a sappy, romantic comedy, blared.

When you smile
The whole world stops and stares for a while
‘Cause you’re amazing
just the way you are

If only those damn lyrics were true.

I sat in my rocking chair (one of my favorite things that my dad gave me) and stared at the very professional-like envelope. At the top left corner, the little red kite flew above the return address. The envelope had a rough, grainy texture like the cardstock from my mom’s scrapbooks. Wow, this publishing company really goes all the way. This was definitely a “Dear Diary” moment–if I actually had a diary. A simple piece of paper that could change my life. My best friend Bryan said the same thing when we both got accepted to NYU.

I took a deep breath. Thank God I didn’t eat Mom’s half-burnt grilled cheese sandwiches, ‘cause I would’ve been in serious trouble. I slid my finger carefully under the flap. The licky-part of the envelope almost smelled like mint. Ah, how classy.

I smiled as I peeked inside. It was thick. Good sign, right? Like getting into college–if the envelope is fat, it means you’re in. Totally learned that from a “Gilmore Girls” episode.

I took out all the papers and put them against my chest. Everything smelled of New York. Big corporate office. Business suits. Coffee. iPads…

“Ow!” I sucked my pointer finger. “Paper cut!”

The room was suddenly silent. I lifted the stack of papers and peeked but after “Dear Ms. Templeton,” I put the papers back against my chest. This isn’t right. Maybe Bryan or Dad should be here with me. But what if it was bad news? I couldn’t take another cliché like, “There’s other options out there. Don’t worry. One of these days…”

I smacked my forehead. “Wait, what am I thinking? This will be good news.” I took a deep breath and started reading.

Thud.

After reading, “Thank you for submitting your manuscript. However…,” I collapsed to the ground. My mom came in at one point and pulled me up by the elbows to get me to go to my last class, but by the sound of my groan and the constant mutter of “my life is over,” she finally gave up and went to work at her art school.

When another sappy song came on, I adjusted my bent black leopard-printed glasses and reached for my phone on the arm of the rocking chair to see what time it was. Before I shut turned off my phone, I removed the Spotify app when it played yet another sappy song. And it was one of those Michael Buble tunes that 50-year old moms listen to.

1:17. “Screw it.”

That dreaded first sentence still burned in my head. I thought about going downstairs to get the half-drunk bottle of wine we had on top of the fridge. After all, this was an emergency.

Oh, wait. Crap. Physics test.

As much as I wanted to skip it, my GPA was in enough trouble. Yes, Senioritis had definitely kicked in (like, two years ago) but then again, my mom promised me she’d buy me a new laptop if I maintained an A average. So, I grabbed the leg of my rocking chair and literally had to pull myself up.

I should’ve stayed down. When I got to Physics class a half hour late (and my teacher glared at me the entire time), my mind went blank on my last name. And the name-forgetting thing was nothing compared to how the rest of the test went. Halfway through, I noticed a pattern of dots filled in on the scantron, so I finished filling in the rest of them to make an “S.” After that, I was a zombie right out of “The Walking Dead” the rest of the day. Because I am just that pathetic.

So now I’m back in my room, quote book still flung, and I’m up to number 58 in the bumps on my ceiling. I quickly turn away from The Hunger Games calendar above my bed that mocks me with a circle around May 29th. One month away from high school graduation. I wish I was happier about it.

When I try to suffocate myself with a pillow, a Ding comes from my laptop. I’ll lay you ten to one it’s Bryan.

Ding.

“Go away.”

Ding.

“Shut up!”

Ding. Ding.

“Aww Hell!” I run over to my desk and rip the power cord from the wall, almost tripping over it as I bring my laptop over to my bed. I lean on the pillow against the window. Our noisy ten year-old ARod wannabes won’t stop bouncing a softball off their roof. I double click on my iTunes, play some Rihanna, and look at the Facebook chat toolbar.

I roll my eyes at what Bryan has written. First line: “hey”; Next line: “are u awake?”; Third line: “stop ignoring me”; Last line: “THIS IS IMPORTANT!”

I shake my head and cross my legs as I rest my laptop on my navy-stripped pajama pants. And then I realize I wore these pants to school all day. Whatever. When you’re in your last semester of school, you just don’t give a damn of what you wear to class anymore. I reach down to take a Dr. Pepper out of the mini-fridge I hide under my bed that contains all kinds of junk food and drinks that aren’t good for me. I put the can on my nightstand next to me.

Peaches Templeton: “u rang?”

I see he’s changed his profile pic again since yesterday. It’s that lame pic of him pursing his lips at Brad Pitt’s wax figure when he visited Madame Tussauds in L.A.

Bryan Tolley: “Thank God. I was bout to send a search party”

Peaches Templeton: “u could’ve texted”

Bryan Tolley: “off again. u should be arrested for that”

My backpack still holds my cell in the front pocket. I glance back at my laptop and notice the clock at the top right corner. 36 past 4. He knows better than that. He knows I have it off at this time on Thursdays. He hates it, but hey, I refuse to be woken up by an annoying “Yellow Rose of Texas” ringtone. Everytime I delete that ringtone, he manages to put it back on there when I’m not looking.

Peaches Templeton: “Look at the time moron”

Bryan Tolley: “I know I’m interrupting your precious nap time. But this is an emergency”

Peaches Templeton: “What is it? I was in the middle of a serious REM cycle,” I lie.

Bryan Tolley: “Have no idea what to wear to Sr. Awards. Need u to come over NOW”

This is his emergency? For real?

Peaches Templeton: “No! This is the one weekday I don’t have to work and I’m not going to waste that time on u.”

Bryan Tolley: “Geez Louise, Peach. What crawled up your butt?”

A strand of frizzy brown hair comes loose from my ponytail. I twirl it around my finger as I attempt to type with my left hand.

Peaches Templeton: “u ever feel lost?”

Bryan Tolley: “I’m a gay guy from Texas. Good enough?”

Peaches Templeton: “I’ve been thinking about things.”

Bryan Tolley: “there’s your problem right there”

Peaches Templeton: “What if NYU is a big mistake?”

Bryan Tolley: “Peaches Templeton!”

I cringe. God, I hate my name. I sound like Strawberry Shortcake’s freakin’ BFF.

Bryan Tolley: “Turn your phone on. We need to have a convo”

I ignore his last request because every time I get Bryan on the phone, I have this nagging feeling to put a gun to my head. He hasn’t quite grasped the concept of “I gotta go. Bye.”

Peaches Templeton: “I don’t know what I want to do anymore.”

Bryan Tolley: “Peach. Since 4th grade, u wanted to get out of Texas, make it big in NY with moi, and write the next great American novel.”

Peaches Templeton: “But do I want to do that for the rest of my life? There’s no money in it.”

Bryan Tolley: “There is if you’re the next JK Rowling, Stephanie Meyer or Stephen King. Don’t forget about the movie thing, too.”

Peaches Templeton: “Yeah right. It’s just that too many people have reminded me that I’m a terrible writer.”

Bryan Tolley: “Grumpy the Dwarf must’ve given you a bad grade on that short story.”

Our creative writing teacher is known around school as Grumpy the Dwarf because he has a big nose, eyebrows that meet in the middle, and has a scary white beard. He probably has never given any of his students a compliment in his life. People say it’s his angle–just to get us to actually learn something. Or it could be that he’s just an ass.

Peaches Templeton: “It’s not that. I got a B+.”

Bryan Tolley: “What?! He gave me a freakin B- and I’ve no idea why. My story about the autistic transvestite was epic. Grumpy is such a homophobe.”

Peaches Templeton: “I told u that story was too much like Rocky Horror.”

Bryan Tolley: “And u didn’t put in a couple of LOST references in yours?”

Peaches Templeton: “Can we drop the pop culture stuff?” I doubt Grumpy the Dwarf even owns a TV anyway. “I’m trying to tell u that I got another rejection letter. And from Red Kite.”

Bryan Tolley: “No wonder you’re pissed. But every writer gets rejection letters. Besides, u can’t not go with me to NYU. Where would Double T’s be without the Double?”

God. Really? That nickname is so 4th grade. When we met, we sat next to each other since they arranged us alphabetically by last name. After we found our love for Eric Carle books and My Little Pony stationary, we were inseparable. By the end of the school year, everyone was nicknaming us”Double T’s.”

Peaches Templeton: “Don’t u wish u could do something that has more of a future?”

Bryan Tolley: “Like what?”

Peaches Templeton: “Like Dawn Steinbrunner. She’s gonna be a surgeon.”

Bryan Tolley: “She got an A in Biology because she flirted with Mr. McGregor to get a better grade.”

Peaches Templeton: “What about Josh and Harvard Business School?”

Bryan Tolley: “Parent connections. Seriously. Where is this coming from?”

I twirl my ruby-stoned class ring around my finger.

Peaches Templeton: “It just hit me.”

And it did. In more ways than one. After the physics test from Hell, I picked up my class ring in the cafeteria and as I was signing the confirmation slip, I couldn’t remember what the date was. The creepy old man whose eyes were fixated on my chest said, “April 29th.” And the pen slipped from my hand until my signature read, “Peaches Templnnn.”

Bryan Tolley: “Don’t worry. Everything’s gonna be OK.”

 I’m so sick of him always being so damn positive.

Bryan Tolley: “Wanna come over for dinner? Parents will be out tonight. We can order pizza and pig out on chocolate—that is until we hate ourselves the next day.”

OK, so he’s not always the most helpful, but the guy does know how to cheer me up.

Peaches Templeton: “Can’t. Having dinner with mom. Chili.”

I just now realized. Why is she making chili this time of year? April is still a hot month for Texas–in between all the tornadoes.

Bryan Tolley: “I hope you’re willing to buy me a new desktop; I just spit out my Chick-fil-A iced tea. You’ve actually volunteered to stay and eat with her? The two of u together?”

Peaches Templeton: “U know my mom and her obsession with her tomato garden.”

I am kind of dreading it. We don’t exactly have the best Gilmore Girl-esque type of relationship. But since she’s found yet another hobby and has her own little organic garden in the backyard, her cooking is almost edible.

Bryan Tolley: “Just promise you’ll eat a Kit-Kat to calm down and not throw a fist through a wall like last time.”

Peaches Templeton: “Totally.”

And he wasn’t kidding. The dent on my bedroom door isn’t the only one. And I have a sore knuckle to prove it.

Bryan Tolley: “Now onto more important things like the awards ceremony…”

Suddenly, another Ding comes up. I smile at the profile pic—the one with him and me at the State Fair chomping down on fried Oreos.

Dave Templeton: “Howdy.”

Peaches Templeton: “Hey Pops. Aren’t u supposed to be working on your song?”

Dave Templeton: “Multi tasking. I would’ve texted but can’t remember how.”

Dad. What a character.

Peaches Templeton: “I’ve showed u a million times.”

Dave Templeton: “Hey. Peach Pie. (The only one who can get away with calling me that.) You’re lucky I got a cell phone at all.”

After the divorce, my Dad used to called me at home. But Mom usually got ahold of the phone first and by the time I made it downstairs, World War 3 commenced.

Even worse. I have these weird old school parents who hate cell phones. Seriously. They hate them with a passion. “Cellphones. A modern addiction that will strike us dead,” as Dad used to say.

I told my parents that they were probably the only two people left in the U.S. without a cell phone. “Even homeless people have them,” I said. A few months later when I spent the night at Bryan’s for an Alfred Hitchcock marathon, we both fell asleep around the same time the electricity freakingly (yet appropriately) went out. My parents thought I had died after not hearing from me all night, so they finally gave in and bought me a cell to use only for “emergencies.” Which, by the way, they also did so they can talk to me without the other one knowing.

Peaches Templeton: “What’s up?”

Why is he Facebooking me now? He usually messages me before I go to sleep.

Dave Templeton: “Just wanted to say I love you.”

Peaches Templeton: “Love u too. U could’ve told me that tonight.”

Dave Templeton: “I just thought I’d do it earlier.”

Peaches Templeton: “Why?”

Dave Templeton: “Your mom just called me.”

I suddenly have this image of two cars colliding together on an empty highway at night.

Peaches Templeton: “What did she say?”

I stand up on my bed to turn on the fan. It’s getting hotter by the second in here.

Dave Templeton: “think she wants to tell you herself.”

Peaches Templeton: “What did I do?”

Dave Templeton: “Nothing. Just don’t tell her I said anything or I’ll never hear the end of it.”

Peaches Templeton: “But u didn’t tell me anything”

Dave Templeton: “I heard you’re having chili tonight.”

Wait a minute. Mom calls Dad and they end up having a conversation about a flavorful soup with a kick?

Peaches Templeton: “She’s made chili before. It’s not that special.”

Dave Templeton: “Just be nice to her today.”

What’s his damage? Why should I suddenly be extra nice to her all of a sudden?

Unless…Oh, God.

Peaches Templeton: “Is Mom dying?”

Dave Templeton: “Of course not.”

Peaches Templeton: “Then what?”

I wait a couple of minutes for him to respond but he doesn’t. Either he’s trying to think up a decent lie (which is not possible because he’s a terrible liar) or he’s really trying hard not to tell the truth.

Peaches Templeton: “Fine.” Whatever. Now I’m dreading this dinner even more. “Subject changed now.”

Dave Templeton: “Anything bothering you Peach Pie?”

I stare at my depressing walls that are plastered with posters of my favorite people: Shakespeare, Emily Dickenson, DaVinci, Mozart, the cast of “The Vampire Diaries” (guilty pleasure, but still). I poise my fingers over the keys, almost not wanting to ask this question because I know what his answer will be.

Peaches Templeton: “Do u think I have what it takes to be a writer?”

Dave Templeton: “Of course! Why?”

Peaches Templeton: “I’m graduating in a month and I’m freaking out. I told myself when I started high school that before college, I would have something published.”

Dave Templeton: “What about those articles you wrote in the school paper?”

Please. The school mascot storyline in the “Bailey High Review” wasn’t exactly well-read.

Peaches Templeton: “I’m talking about being a real author—where u can find my YA book at a Barnes & Noble.”

Dave Templeton: “Sweetie you’re only eighteen. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself.”

This from the man who tried to get me to hold a mini-ukulele before I could hold a sippie cup. “This kid was born a musician!” my dad used to say. But he stopped that real quickly when I finally got to hold a guitar; as soon as I put that pick to the strings, I dropped it.

Peaches Templeton: “But what if I get to NYU and decide I don’t want to be a writing major? What if I want to go into medicine or law?” God, my head is spinning right now. So many choices, so little time.

Dave Templeton: “Just remember this. You were raised in an artistic family, so don’t be a doctor or lawyer just for the stability and to make a lot of money. As long as you love what you do, you know I’ll support you.”

That sounds like something Mom would say.

Peaches Templeton: “Thanks” is all I write. I make a homework excuse to end this depressing e-conversation because my head hurts and I don’t know what else to say to dad. I sign off and close my laptop (forgetting that Bryan was probably still chatting with himself).

I squiggle down until my head rests on the pillow. Just as I finally start to close my eyes I hear, “Peaches, chili’s ready!”

I quickly sit up and look at my alarm clock on my nightstand. I put it up to my ear. Yep. Still ticking. “Now?!” I yell back. It’s not even 5:00 yet; is she serious?

“It’s been stewing in the crockpot all day. Come down and get some with me!”

Dun. Dun. DUN.

“I’m not hungry now, Mom!”

She doesn’t say anything for a few seconds, so I lay back down. Then I hear the phone ring downstairs and she answers it. “Phone’s for you!” she yells at an unhealthy decibel.

I groan and slowly get up. She couldn’t have led with that?

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After being in the hot seat several times lately for job interviews, I’ve almost had it with the same answer I give to the very first question interviewers always ask me. “Why did you choose Lycoming College in a small town in Pennsylvania when you’re from a fairly large city in Arlington, Texas?’

My answer: “Because I wanted to go to a small school and because they had a major in Creative Writing.”

Let’s just call that the “in a nutshell” answer. But a small school and Creative Writing weren’t the only reasons why I chose to go to school far away from home where I didn’t know anyone.

I wanted adventure. I wanted independence. I wanted to stand on my own two feet without any help from my mom whom I was (and still am) very close to. Up until college I was a homebody, had practically no friends in high school (I was one of those who ate in the library), and, being an introvert,  didn’t like going out. To be honest, I still don’t (which likely explains why I don’t have a boyfriend right now. But, that’s another post for another day).

At Lycoming College, I learned how to step up to be a leader (especially when I was elected President of the English Society senior year), and I made some of the best friends a girl can have. While it sometimes wasn’t easy being a southern belle in the midst of so many “yankees,” (no offense), I hope I relayed my optimism, cuteness, naiveté,  and southern hospitality to my friends. I learned several things from my friends at Lycoming. One is to be patient (it takes time for some northerners to warm up to you), and what really kept me on my toes was how smart they were. I could immediately tell my high school did not prepare me nearly enough compared to others who went to Lyco. I also loved the fact that many were so cultured. Several friends got me so obsessed with Broadway musicals that to this day, I can’t watch a musical unless friends from Lyco have seen it (and they for sure would know if I would like it or not).

So, for those of you who were wondering why a quiet, girl-next-door type from Texas chose to go to a school across the country, I’ve put together a Top 5 List of reasons why I chose Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania to be my home for four years. If I decided to talk about all of these reasons in interviews, two things would likely happen: 1) The interviewers would cut me off and say, ‘I’m sorry our time is up.” and not hire me, and 2) They would look at me like I was an alien and recommend me to enter a mental institution.

While some of these reasons may seem lame to ordinary people, I’m not ordinary and don’t try to be. Everyone has reasons for making the decisions they do. These were mine.

  1. Just Like Felicity

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The one-and-only show I watched religiously in high school was “Felicity.” I was completely inspired by Ms. Felicity Porter (and for that matter, Keri Russell) from day one. I thought, “Wow. A goody-twoshoes girl like me from California went to college halfway across the country to New York. Even when she had never been there before. I want to do that.” So I did. I always found the northeast part of the country so fascinating. The culture. The people. The landmarks & gorgeous views. The fact that you can drive a couple of hours and be in another state. All of the unique experiences I wouldn’t always have in Texas (like actually having friends with liberal views for a change). I suppose my initial Felicity-like reasoning was a bit extreme. But then again, Felicity Porter decided to follow a boy she barely knew to the same university he was going to.

I idolized the friends Felicity made and the dorm she shared with the girls. And if I happened to find a boyfriend like Ben or Noel, well, that would just be a perk. In reality, I never did (just my luck), but I did have some similar Felicity-like experiences.

It was hard to say goodbye to my mom who helped move me up to a 3rd floor in Asbury dorm with no elevator and no air conditioner (don’t ask me to do that again), but we survived. So thanks to the WB for keeping that show alive all 4 years of high school while I had college life to look forward to. My mom still watched “Felicity” reruns when I was in college because she said it kept me close to her. I watched “Felicity” reruns freshman year because, not only was it my favorite show ever (this was before “LOST” started), but also to get my friends interested in it. I don’t think I succeeded, but it was worth a shot.

“Felicity” came on at exactly the right time in my life. As did “LOST” and “Glee,” but that’s another blog post.

2. Make a Fresh Start

I wanted to go to a college where I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me. It’s not like I made so many horrible mistakes in high school that I never wanted to see those people again. I wanted to make friends on my own without any help from my dad and because of my last name.

Going to the same high school where you dad teaches isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. At first I was excited because I knew my dad was one of the most popular teachers there; I thought for sure, everyone would want to be friends with me. Wrong. Everyone wanted to be friends with my dad; he was after all, the cool (yet very loud) theatre teacher. The few friends I did make in high school were mostly all theatre kids (most of whom also were in choir with me). There were times when I would get caught in the middle. “Can you tell your dad to cast me in the lead of the musical? I would make a great Maria Von Trapp.” Come on, now. Let’s get real. Like I would EVER do that.

So, all through high school, the question I always got when students would meet me was, “Oh! You’re Mr. Cure’s daughter!” Yes, yes, I am. So? They soon learned he and I don’t have much in common other than a love of musicals; our different personality types showed. Once students learned that, it was back to eating lunch in the library. When I was at Lyco way out of state where no one had heard of the last name “Cure,” it was very refreshing. I could be myself without having to be fake and pretend I liked hanging out with theatre students.

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3. Texas: It’s Not For Everyone

Face it. If you don’t like sports (especially football), why are you in Texas? People here base their college choices on how good the football team is. For real?! OK, maybe Texans aren’t the only ones who do that, but it sure does feel like it when you’ve lived here all your life. Whenever people would ask me what college I was going to and I would say, “Lycoming College in Pennsylvania,” their eyebrows would furrow. “Why would you want to go there?” Like I was going to college in outer space or something. Of course, I really wanted to tell them, “I’m going to a small college where football is not the most important topic of the day.” Some of my Texas friends still don’t understand why I decided to choose a random private college out in the middle of nowheresville, Pennsylvania (“Hey now. Williamsport is the hometown of the Little League World Series, so it’s not exactly nowheresville”). But the thing is, my college choice wasn’t random. Back then, we actually had to look through books to make a decision. I spent several days at Barnes & Noble scanning through all of those heavy college books that were listed by major. I had Creative Writing. I knew I wanted to go somewhere far away from Texas (preferably in the Northeast) and going to a small college (which Texas doesn’t typically do) was a must. I also grew up in the Methodist church, and going to a college that was Methodist-affiliated didn’t hurt either.

Perhaps when I came home after college, it made me appreciate Texas more after being away from it for 4 years. After all, I soon learned the job market is better in Texas. But, as I always tell the college students I advise, travel while you can while you’re in college because you might not have the opportunity to later. That’s what I did and I don’t regret it. If I hadn’t gone to a college up north, I wouldn’t have gone to so many wonderful Broadway shows in NYC (just a bus ride away), and visited other states that were closer to Lyco (much better than driving 10 hours just to get out of the state of Texas).

It is true what they say. Everything is bigger in Texas. But it’s not for everyone. Being a true introvert, it’s hard being in large environments all the time. It’s exhausting.

4. My Admissions Counselor

I really do think my Lycoming admissions counselor, Michelle, was the one who got me started on the higher ed. career path I’m on now. Of course, I didn’t realize this until last semester when I did my internship/practicum in admissions.

Michelle was also one of the main reasons why I chose to attend Lyco. It is true when they say admissions counselors are the face of a college. Michelle was the first one to set up a campus visit for me and my mom and Lycoming was the very first college I visited. What a difference Lyco’s staff was compared to the other university I visited (Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island). In the pouring rain, Mom and I had to stop and ask for directions on how to find a bus to get to campus. When we got there, they didn’t have anything prepared for me. It’s almost like they didn’t even know I was coming. Total nightmare.

Michelle on the other hand was with me every step of the way. All four years I was there, she even offered to drive me to and from the airport when I went home for holidays. She couldn’t always do it, but what other college administrators would offer to go out of their way to personally drive a student to the airport? Not many. OK, OK. Perhaps I was a special case because I was one of two students from Texas.

During my first campus visit, Michelle was the first friendly face to meet me and my mom at the airport. She drove us around Williamsport, helped us get checked in to our hotel, and even let me sit in on a fiction class (I wasn’t terrified of Dr. Hawkes yet at that point). She made me feel at home. And I was definitely home as soon as I set foot on campus. The people, the beautiful campus, the faculty/staff (Michelle set up a meeting with a financial aid counselor who informed me that I would be receiving a Creative Writing scholarship all 4 years). Michelle and I still keep in touch to this day. I don’t know what I would’ve done without her support.

So I hope you hugged your admissions counselor at least once. They do great work and work hard doing it. (Well, most of them anyway. Working in higher ed, you always hear the occasional story).

5. A Non-Competitive School To Find Myself

While some parents would like their child to go to a competitive school (sound familiar, Felicity Porter?), my parents were very open to me attending any school I wanted. Even though it was financially tough for them since I went to a private school out of state (my parents are both teachers after all), I thank God for Lycoming’s financial aid package they offered. Though we still had to take out some loans, it wasn’t that bad. See? It does pay to have good grades in high school. Since I didn’t do well socially in a huge high school, my parents could see that I needed to be at a place where I could hear myself think. To find myself. And college is a great place to do just that. While the freshman year is always an adjustment (I found that alot of freshmen were still stuck in their high school days), Lyco was definitely the best fit for me. Thanks to freshman year when I was on the Creative Arts floor of Asbury Hall, I discovered several other introverts who, like me, weren’t interested in sports, being competitive, and all that nonsense. The faculty weren’t either.

For the most part, the faculty were great. One of my English literature professors, Dr. Rife, would put Texas Monthly magazines in my campus mailbox every month. Little things like that is what makes it so rewarding to attend a small college. My parents had the same experience at Texas Wesleyan. It’s where they met after all!

Sometimes I do wish that if I had the chance to time-travel, I would’ve chosen a school where there was more than one fiction professor (and while we’re at it, one who was not like Dr. Hawkes where the professor was actually nice and more open to other forms of writing besides short stories). However, the whole Lyco experience made me tougher, yet more empathetic, and open to a more diverse type of population that maybe I wouldn’t have had if I went to a Texas school. I was in a bubble for so long, that spreading my wings and giving me a chance to fly with new people was the best thing I could have done. Choosing Lyco was definitely one of the best decisions I ever made.

So, thanks “Felicity” (I should really say J.J. Abrams for creating and writing the show) for jump-starting my college career. And thanks Lycoming College for giving me a chance to shine!

Everyone knows my love for “Full House.” Upon looking back at the show that made my childhood so special, I’m pretty sure this was the first show that started my obsession with television; so you can blame my TV-colored glasses on “Full House.” Yes, the show was corny and (in my case) cringeworthy when it came to a lot of Michelle scenes (I fast-forward through most of her scenes) but at least it’s a show that the family could watch together. In today’s world of nothing-on-TV-but-dramas, I can’t think of one show where you can do that.

It was also the first show where I actually cried over a breakup of a fictional couple. Now the fangirl that I am, I cry when any of my favorite couples breakup, and/or (in many cases) one of them dies. I still remember that episode when D.J. & Steve climbed up a mountain together and then everything went downhill from there. And D.J., with tears in her eyes said her final words of that breakup with, “I’ll be OK.”

After binge-watching all 13 episodes of “Fuller House” with my mom for 6 hours straight the day it came out on Netflix, it brought back all the good feels. So here are some of my reactions of what I thought was, for the most part, a fitting reboot. Or, according to Jeff Franklin & the cast of “Fuller House,” NOT a reboot.

Most Surprising:

  1. Jodie Sweetin back as Stephanie Judith Tanner

I always said that Jodie had the best comic timing out of the 3 daughters; I remember reading an article where John Stamos said the same thing. She was a natural starting at age 5. Turns out, she still has the best comic timing. After all she has been through in real life (drug rehab, multiple marriages and kids), I was worried about her the most. She also hasn’t done much acting since “Full House” and I was certain she and Andrea Barber would have a tough time getting back in the groove of things. However, I could not have been more wrong. From the first moment Jodie walked into the kitchen for her first entrance, she WAS Stephanie Tanner; it’s like she never left. Unlike the other cast members, she never broke character. I was also shocked to see that she was much better with D.J.’s kids than Candace was (and in real life, Candace is the poster child for most perfect mother with the best family ever).

Where Stephanie Is Now: She’s a struggling singer who also “D.J.’s” on the side. SPOT ON. Though I kinda wish she ended up as a dancer (she danced in real life as a kid), because of the way she grew up, and her body type (let’s not discuss those big boobs she had done), I can understand why they didn’t go the dancer route. At least she did end up doing something in the music and arts industry.

Stephanie’s Best moment: In what may have not been scripted, D.J.’s baby kept looking up at the ceiling. She took his lead and decided to do it with him. It was a great bit. I wonder if Jodie ad-libbed some lines in those scenes. After all, you never know what babies will do next on camera!

2. Harry’s Return

Aww, talk about a big surprise! I read spoilers before watching “Fuller House” (I couldn’t help it) but there was never one on Stephanie’s first husband returning! Even though a different actor played Harry (bummer the original kid said no), he’s still such a cutie! Even though those two don’t have much in common now, is it wrong that I kinda wanted Harry & Stephanie to be hubby and wife for real this time?! After all, the guy would be good for her.

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Disappointments:

1. Kimmy Gibbler & Family

They spent WAY too much time on Kimmy Gibbler. What happened to the good old “Full House” days when she would pop her head in a couple of scenes and leave?! It was pretty clear that Andrea Barber doesn’t act anymore. She did her best I suppose, but she was trying WAY too hard to be funny. Her overacting got old after a couple of episodes, and her annoying ex (and then husband again) was even worse. Her daughter did remind me of Kimmy when she was younger, so it was good casting. I could have done without Kimmy altogether. She didn’t annoy me this much in “Full House.” After all, my favorite line she ever said was, “Speaking of grips. You boys better get one.” I miss the old Kimmy Gibbler.

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2. The last episode

Jesse & Becky renew their vows and not even their own twins show up?! I guess they forgot that Danny was also Jesse’s brother-in-law and he didn’t show up either. Yeah, yeah, I know. Bob Saget was doing a Broadway show and had scheduling issues.

My other issue with the last episode is that they spent way too much time on Kimmy’s wedding that Jesse & Becky got pushed aside and ended up leaving. And by the way, why did D.J. choose neither of those guys?! Thank God this show already got picked up for a second season because, you know, D.J. & Steve forever.

3. Danny & Joey’s Lack of Storylines

I know “Fuller House” is really supposed to be about the kids as well as D.J., Stephanie and Kimmy, but seriously. All they could do with Danny Tanner’s character was for him to come back and take a selfie with their couch?! It wasn’t even the same couch from the original set. He’s the father for pete’s sake! “Full House” started with him. I do appreciate though that he got the very first line of “Fuller House.” D.J. always had such a special relationship with her dad (they were the closest) and those two had one measley little scene together. At least Stephanie made him that rad Dad jacket. Oh, and why in God’s name is Danny married to some young woman who acted kinda slutty?! Not even a mention of Vicky?! Because everyone knows those two should’ve ended up together. That was an outrage.

All we know about Joey is that he lives in Las Vegas and has a much bigger Mr. Woodchuck. No, that’s not a metaphor. However, did everyone catch that wedding ring he was wearing?! Or was that his wedding ring in real life he just didn’t take off? As usual, Dave Coulier got gypped again. Out of the 3 guys, “Full House” did always give him the least amount of storyline possible; we really didn’t know THAT much about him anyway. Well, at least the guy still hasn’t grown up in “Fuller House.” No surprise there. And quite surprisingly, he’s aged rather well!

Props to Joey though for locking up the kids’  cellphones in a drawer and breaking out the water guns and board games. And it worked! Love him for that.

4. John Stamos playing…John Stamos

John Stamos prides himself in telling everyone that “Fuller House” was mainly his idea. After all, he’s the one who first announced this was going to happen on Jimmy Kimmel. Um…Jeff Franklin is the creator and writer. He’s the one who really did this. Not John Stamos. So, since John made himself a producer, he apparently got to do whatever he wanted. Besides saying his catchphrase, listening to an Elvis song, and singing “Forever,” we didn’t see as much Jesse Katsopolis as we could have. Other than that cute scene with the baby (Uncle Jesse was always a sucker for babies), wasn’t he just playing himself?!

Maybe it’s just me who has a problem with John’s ego. He also said the scene where the cast looks at the camera after Danny mentions Michelle’s absence was his idea, too. Whatevs. And he was the first to announce a second season. Whatevs again. Letting go…

5. D.J. & Steve’s occupations

I was on board with Kimmy becoming a party planner. And Stephanie becoming a musician/DJ, but D.J. ended up becoming a vet?! I’m not sure where that came from. Although, after”Full House” ended, I really did think she would end up becoming a doctor. She had the smarts. I’m just not sure how the vet thing came about. Was she even that close to Comet as a kid? Michelle for sure was. Michelle becoming a vet is definitely more believable.

Oh, and Steve became a podiatrist?! What the—? Was this just a nod to Kimmy’s stinky feet that were always made fun of in “Full House?” It would’ve been even funnier if Kimmy became a podiatrist. But alas, the writers don’t ask us fans. I personally thought Steve would end up a big shot in L.A. After all, he was so excited to be there when his film teacher asked him to go (as stated in that sad episode when D.J. & Steve broke up). That would’ve made more sense.

6. The “costumes”

Was there no costume designer? Did the actors get to wear what they wanted? ‘Cause it sure looked that way. Even though I have strong liberal beliefs, I dress conservatively, so people who know me won’t be surprised by this comment. This is supposed to be a family show. I was prepared for the revealing tops with Stephanie because she ended up becoming the wild one (plus, Jodie obviously had a boob job) but I was disappointed in D.J. the most. She’s supposed to portray a decent veterinarian mother; so why was she wearing stiletto heels around the house? And that slutty black dress she wore in the second episode? She’s a widow–not a 15-year old teen. The one good thing I could say about Kimmy? Her outfits were decent (in that they weren’t revealing).

Best Moments:

  1. D.J. & Steve

Why all the Steve hate?! Why am I reading online that everyone is Team Matt?! Yes, D.J. was too good for Steve (maybe still is), but they were each other’s first love. Have a heart, people. They were by far one of the best (and one of my favorite) high school couples on TV. These two just took me down memory lane from the moment Steve set foot in the living room again. And how did Steve get so funny? Props to Scott Weinger for being a comedy writer on TV (Did you know he writes for “Galavant” & “The Muppets?”). He knows funny. How about next season, Scott writes a”Fuller House” script?! I’m all for that. Plus, the reenactment of the scene from “Ghost” was one of the best scenes of the series. Candace & Scott still have such great chemistry. It’s hard to believe they’re not together in real life. Such sweethearts. #TeamSteve

2. The Olsen Twin jabs

You knew they had to do it. And wow, more than once. By the way, did people really even miss Michelle?!

3. D.J.’s kids

Honestly, I wasn’t too happy when I read that D.J. would have 3 boys. I smelled trouble. But I could not have been more wrong. All 3 of her boys are the cutest and fit right in with the cast. Not as annoying as I thought! And the middle child is JUST like Stephanie. I can’t wait to see more of them!

Biggest Tearjerker:

When Stephanie told D.J. that she is unable to have kids. Woah, what?! I wasn’t expecting that. Although, I never pictured Stephanie with kids. But like I said, in “Fuller House,” she’s great with D.J.’s. I guess they wanted one of the girls to not end up with kids (like Joey). Although from what I read, the show’s creator (Jeff Franklin) says Joey does have a family in Las Vegas but hasn’t been mentioned (yet).

This scene was so genuine and real. Both of these ladies had real tears in their eyes at the same time. That never happened in “Full House.” Candace was always the better crier. And if I have to choose between the two, she still is. This was such a sad, yet heartwarming moment when Stephanie really admits that she fell in love with D.J.’s boys. I guess it’s Cool Aunt Stephanie forever. Though I wouldn’t put it past her if she looks into adoption (if the show continues). Fans want Kimmy to serve as the surrogate mother. But I hope they don’t go there.

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“Quitting is not giving up; it’s choosing to focus your attention on something more important. Quitting is not losing confidence, it’s realizing that there are more valuable ways you can spend your time. Quitting is not making excuses, it’s learning to be more productive, efficient and effective instead. Quitting is letting go of things (or people) that are sucking the life out of you so you can do more things that will bring you strength.” ~Osayi Osar-Emokpae, Impossible Is Stupid

In February 2015, I made a brave (yet a risky) decision. I quit my job without having another position lined up. This was something I had never done before. Yet, I now realize I made the right decision; I’ve learned that it’s OK to be proud of risky decisions like this one–because you never know where they might take you next. So why did I quit my job? I was 31, living in a spacious 2-bedroom condo by myself, I finally had my own garage and backyard, and I had accomplished my main goal of starting a new career in a higher-level administrative role at a university (and in study abroad–what I thought was my dream job). Like I did when I moved to Pennsylvania to attend college, I wanted to live and breathe a new town with all new people. Being an introvert, this was good for me; I thought I was doing the right thing. But my first day on the new job, I had a horrible feeling in my stomach; I made a dreadful mistake. I stuck it out for 11 months. And that was 11 months too long. Most everyone (friends and co-workers) thought I was crazy when I turned in my 3-weeks notice to my supervisor. “You still have tuition to pay for grad school, and you don’t have another job lined up? How will you survive?”

What I wanted to say (but couldn’t) was: “Because it’s better than being miserable here.”

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Even though I wanted to quit on several occasions, I kept thinking, “I am being tested and put in this position for a reason. I’m learning a lot (mostly what not to do), so it’s got to get better than this.” But what sparked my decision to quit for real was one day in January. I called my mom in tears (as I did most days when I came home from work) and said, “I can’t do this anymore.” That day, my supervisor (she became my supervisor just a month after I started; the supervisor who originally hired me abruptly left), who had already made several humiliating comments about me and study abroad in front of co-workers several days, took the cake. During a meeting with several well-respected administrators in the registrar’s office, my supervisor said the hurtful words of “I blame Cassie for all of this.” Since I internalize everything, I am a big proponent of “think before you speak.” My supervisor was the exact opposite. From day one, she said everything on her mind without any concern for how her words were negatively affecting others (and it wasn’t just me–there were several emotional breakdowns in the office). Without first taking me aside to discuss issues she had one-on-one, she blurted things about me in front of others. This was unprofessional and several times, I thought about turning in a grievance report to her supervisor.

Filing a grievance report is one thing I regret not doing because since I try to always see the good in people, I thought, “maybe the main reason why she is so hard on me is because, as the executive director of international programs, she has zero experience with study abroad. Therefore, since she doesn’t know anything about my position, she takes it out on me.” I really was a one-person office and was on my own to handle both the outgoing and incoming study abroad students, recruiting, scholarships, and putting together a new student organization for domestic and international students. Basically, whenever the words “study abroad” came up around campus, I had to handle it. When I asked for help from my supervisor or other employees, study abroad was a bother to them. Sadly, I learned too late that there was no institutional support for study abroad. Soon, I couldn’t keep up and was missing deadlines; and my supervisor was very cold with me. We barely spoke to each other unless we had to and towards the end, I stopped trying.

This is not how a job should be. No matter how much the pay is. For months I dragged myself out of bed every morning, and got butterflies in my stomach everytime I walked up to the building because I kept thinking, “what else can I get in trouble for now?” My self-esteem was shot and I constantly doubted myself. I was in a dark place for 11 months because of this job. No job should make you feel like that. As the cliche goes, “Do what you love;” I was not. I wasn’t sure I even wanted to go into higher education administration anymore. And yet, here I was working on my masters in that field.

My advice to anyone who has problematic issues with co-workers is to not be afraid to speak up; there were times when I wanted to say so much to my supervisor, but because we decided to avoid each other, I did not have the guts to talk to her. Secondly, you have a right to file a grievance. Because if you don’t (and I didn’t), that employee will not learn and make the same mistakes with others.

“What’s worked for me is… when I don’t believe in myself, turning to others who believe in me.” ~Marc Jacobs

So how did I make it for 11 months? There were two people who got me through such a challenging time in my life. One was God. After months of searching, I found a methodist church that did an evening contemporary service. I truly believe God was speaking to me through one of the ministers there; he was so uplifting that the first night I heard him, I got into my car after the service and wept–but with a smile on my face. Soon, I brought my mother with me and she did the same thing. All of the challenges he mentioned in his sermons were the exact same challenges I was facing. Soon, I bought a new bible and started delving into the scriptures like I should have done a long ago.

The second person was my mother–aka my best friend. Though I tried my best to make it exactly a year at the university before quitting, after the phone call I made that day in January, she said, “you’re unhappy and you’re coming home.” After all, my entire personality changed in that I was pessimistic about everything, I wasn’t eating because of the stress, and pretty much every weekend, I went home because I had no interest in making friends in the city I was living. And you know what? Life is too short to be in a job you hate. Though I love my family, many of them have a history of staying in the same job year after year without doing anything about it; and they complain along the way. I didn’t want to be like that. I want to embrace life; “just say no” to unhappy and depressed. I don’t need expensive vacations or fancy clothes to be happy. It’s the memories–the little things that I remember most. I wish more people believed that.

Without faith and family (the two most important things in my life), I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through such a challenging period. But I agree that every rough period we go through, it is god’s way of testing us. Today, I am doing temp work at a university, and I know one day I will find a permanent position that I am meant to be in. Most importantly, I will be a bit more selective in finding a place where I am happy. The best is yet to come, all.

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 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

For those of you who are considering quitting your job, ask the following questions first:

1. Am I happy? (more specifically, do I look forward to going to work?)

2. Do I feel I am doing something worthwhile to help others?

3. Am I appreciated and respected by others and do I appreciate and respect them?

4. Does this align with my career goals?

5. Do I maintain a healthy work-life balance?

If the answers to all of these questions are no (as they were for me), there is no doubt that it’s time for you to leave! If there are some no’s and yes’s, start looking! You never know when opportunity will come a knockin’!

Since I got all of the bad couples out of the way, how about we move on to better and brighter things? Like the TV couples that give us the warm & fuzzies (or make our hearts go pitter-patter whenever I utter their names to those who probably think I’ve lost my mind).

Note: I originally was going to do 10, but I have so many favorites, I had to up it to 20. My apologies for such a long post. So much needs to be said about these beautiful couples! And if you disagree with any of them, I won’t take offense (well, except Lucy & Ricky. I may have to cut you).

1. JACK & KATE (“Jate”) / LOST

LOST ended 5 years ago and I still think about these two constantly. Before Jate, I had never “shipped” a couple as much as I did these two (before them, I had never even heard the word “ship” used as a verb). And it all started in season 3 with the “The Man From Tallahassee” episode. That genius game room scene covered more emotions in a 3-minute scene than all the Sully & Dr. Quinn scenes combined. This scene had romance, anger, sadness, a sprinkle of happiness, protectiveness, and sacrifice. Pretty much all the angst we enjoy with our favorite couples.

People ask me why Jack & Kate were it for me (rather than the dozens of other LOST couples I could have shipped–Sawyer & Juliet, Jin & Sun, Desmond & Penny, Charlie & Claire…) and the gist of it is: emotional chemistry. Matthew Fox & Evangeline Lilly just had it (and with Matthew’s intensity, he doesn’t have chemistry with every woman). Of course, they had the looks and the fact that they acted like a married couple in real life (“brother and sister relationship” my ass), but never have watched a couple where they could look into each other’s eyes and know exactly what one another was thinking. As the years went on, they even developed the same facial expressions, the same movements, and if Kate would start to form tears, Jack would follow right along with her. All it took was just a quick look and their tough exterior would fall down; they would melt into each other if they were butter (a sappy analogy, but still). Evi once said in an interview that they both made sure that they were always on the same page when rehearsing. Yes, Matthew might be a perfectionist and probably drove Evi crazy at times by demanding rehearsal time, but it was for the best. They both showed such a wonderful sensitive side for two characters who wanted to protect and care for each other. Though Jate technically did not “end up” with each other (RIP, dear Jack), they did in the afterlife; that’s all that matters. Jack and Kate were set up to end up together from their first momentous “stitch up” scene. And that’s one thing Damon & Carlton got right as writers. As they would say, just like all Jaters do, “Jate is Fate.”

Award: Fated Couple

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2. CLARK & LOIS (“Clois”) / LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN

What I loved about this show was it focused more on Clark than Superman. The movies and comic strips were all about the “truth, justice and the American way” superhero and Clark was just his disguise. But, by the show’s title, Lois’ name comes first; mostly because this show was created and written by women. Nevertheless, we could tell this show would be a more of a romance than a sci-fi, superhero show (after all, the special effects for Superman were sometimes laughable).

These two come VERY close to beating Jack & Kate as the best OTP of all time. I can’t get over the romantic comedy chemistry Dean & Teri had; no one else will ever come close. Teri Hatcher & Dean Cain still deny they ever dated in real life, but really? Maybe they were just really good actors, which could’ve been true, too. What more to say, but I think everyone agrees with me on this one; they were simply the best (and cutest) Lois and Clark ever.

Award: Best Chemistry

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3. RICKY & LUCY / I LOVE LUCY

I mean, how can I not put these two on this list when I Love Lucy’ is my favorite comedy?! Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz started this show to save their own marriage. And it kept them going for 9 years until they divorced the day after the last episode aired. Lucille & Desi both said in interviews that they received letters from fans saying, “You saved my marriage.” Who knew a fun, screwball comedy could be that powerful? But it still is and even to this day, people still love and adore this show. I think this is the most popular show of all time that has had the most staying power. “The Handcuffs” is in my opinion, one of the best Lucy & Ricky episodes. I believe Lucy ad-libbed “Don’t tickle my feet” because she seemed surprised and started to laugh (this was back when they didn’t do many reshoots; if you messed up, too bad!). The first couple of seasons were great because the scenes were mainly just the two of them (interspersed with our favorite next door neighbors). But once they got out of the apartment and traveled, the guest starts flooded in (which was great, too). This is always my go-to show when I’m feeling down and it immediately cheers me up. What would the world have been like without Lucille Ball? With the help of Desi, this show really was the pioneer of television.

Award: Funniest couple

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4. PETER & OLIVIA (“Polivia”) / FRINGE

Though it is quite sad that Joshua Jackson & Anna Torv didn’t get along much in real life (towards the end they didn’t and we don’t know why), Polivia is the definition of an “epic” couple. I’m not sure if the writers actually planned to get Peter & Olivia together (in the first season, they wrote them as more of a sibling relationship), or if it was the fans who wanted it more than they did. Nevertheless, the second season finale made history when Olivia told Peter to come back with her to our universe because you belong with me.” And that line (including a sweet, brief kiss) is what made me jump on the Polivia bandwagon and I became obsessed with this show. It’s hilarious when people ask Fringe fans what this show is about. There is a long pause, and a fan like me goes, “Uh…it’s about science, time travel, alternate universes, romance, father and son relationships, and a bunch of gross stuff…” Pretty much. This show was always called “The Little Engine That Could” by the cast and crew because it had a small cult following, but the fans are what saved the show for 5 seasons.

Peter & Olivia remind me a lot of Jack & Kate. JJ Abrams sure knows how to pick OTPs, doesn’t he? Ben & Felicity, Sydney & Vaughn, Jack & Kate, Peter & Olivia…such epic couples. But like Jack & Kate, Peter & Olivia were not overly lovey-dovey because it took them so long to open up to each other; both couples were tough, had difficult pasts, and therefore, put up walls. It was a shock when they would finally open up to each other and say something halfway romantic. The romance was a bit easier with Peter & Olivia because towards the end of season 3, Peter & Olivia took a little bit of time to examine their relationship every once in while. And in my opinion, some of the most romantic scenes on TV happened between Peter & Olivia (as brief as they were). When you have two amazing actors like Josh & Anna who have such heartfelt dialogue (thank you, writers), their scenes together just tugged at my heartstrings.

Award: Meant to Be in any universe

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5. VAUGHN & SYDNEY / ALIAS

We’ll find each other. We always find each other.” = best line ever. Like Jack & Kate and Peter & Olivia, these JJ Abrams couples are so epic, I just can’t handle it. They overcame so much– Sydney’s disappearance, Vaughn’s wife (don’t get me started), Vaughn’s so-called “death,”(whose name really wasn’t Vaughn), and a baby. Yeah, the last season sucked big time because Vaughn was supposedly dead for most of it while Sydney had to raise their child on her own. And they killed Vaughn off mostly because in real life, Jennifer Garner & Michael Vartan had broken up (dating your co-star: not always a good thing). But because fans were understandably outraged, the writers brought him back. And, surprise! He didn’t die after all. Let’s just pretend that entire 5th and final season didn’t happen at all.

Award: Best kick-ass couple

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6. FINN & RACHEL (“Finchel”) / GLEE

This is the couple that could have been (both on TV and in real life) had it not been for a tragic death. Yes, Finn and Rachel were supposed to end up happily ever after (Ryan Murphy said so), but sadly, Cory Monteith made one fatal mistake one night in a Canada hotel room when he overdosed on drugs. He had just gotten out of rehab, too. I still don’t understand how a nice, good guy like Cory got messed up on drugs in the first place, but perhaps it’s best we don’t know the details of his constant battles with drugs and alcohol. Finn/Cory’s “The Quarterback” tribute episode was more about celebrating his life than focusing on death. So, let’s remember Finn & Rachel’s amazing duets (“Pretending” was when EVERYONE knew their relationship would change forever–both on the show and in real life) and how Rachel/Lea made Finn/Cory a leading man for the first and only time. RIP.

Award: Musically talented 

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7. PRINCE CHARMING (DAVID) & SNOW WHITE (MARY MARGARET) (“Snowing”) / ONCE UPON A TIME

They are living proof of a couple who ended up getting together in real life (a baby and marriage all in one year), and they are another one of those classic, OTP couples that were destined to end up together from the very first episode. Though they both don’t have the classic movie star look (OK, maybe Josh Dallas does), they are cute just the same. As a LOSTie, they also remind me a little of Jack and Kate. Both couples at one point or another got “caught in a net” , Kate/Snow White were on the run and wanted for murder, and both couples said some of the same lines (“I hope you find what you’re looking for”). I guess Once writers Adam & Eddie, who also wrote for LOST, are still Jaters at heart. But let’s not forget Snowing’s most repeated line, “I always find you.”

Award: Dreamiest couple

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8. CASTLE & BECKETT (“Caskett”) / CASTLE

Though I bet Nathan & Stana are not that great of friends in real life (I just have a sense), they sure do play a realistic, likable married couple. Like many of my other favorite couples, they were never overly lovey-dovey (unlike Lois & Clark), which I actually like better. It leaves fans wanting more; am I right? Even though it’s more than time for this show to end (all we need is a baby and we Caskett shippers are good), it has been a great run. I “always” (Caskett’s magic word) wanted them together, but I didn’t obsess over them until that episode when the first boss (AKA “Sir”) died. Beckett knew her best boss was going to die and Castle literally had to drag her out of that dark garage. I had never seen Castle be so sweet, attentive to her, and whisper “I am so sorry” when he had to cover her mouth to keep her from hysterically crying/screaming to save her life. Both Nathan and Stana have had some wonderful acting moments (especially Stana), but yet, not a one Emmy nomination–seems to be a theme for most of my shows & couples.

Award: Most supportive

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9. LUKE & LORELAI / GILMORE GIRLS

I couldn’t get into this show until just a year ago– and I really only watched for Luke & Lorelai. Rory gets on my nerves and I never cared for any of her boyfriends; they made her stupid. But who doesn’t love Lorelai and her quick, witty humor (with a dose of pop culture mixed in)? This is another couple that took forever to get together. And they did for one brief shining season. Then it got all mixed up again. I mean, really? Luke has a daughter that shows up out of nowhere? Lorelai marries Christopher? The writers were really desperate to find ways to break the two of them up (perhaps because it’s rumored that Lauren Graham & Scott Patterson didn’t get along in real life). Well, at least they had one final kiss in the finale, even if we never got a Luke & Lorelai wedding. I demand a new finale for this show!

Award: Best witty banter

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10. SULLY & MICHAELA / DR. QUINN: MEDICINE WOMAN

Sully was the only guy I liked with long hair. And now that he’s cut it, he doesn’t look the same 🙂 What can I say about these two, but another epic OTP. They were set up from the pilot to end up together when Sully glanced at Dr. Mike who had fallen in the mud in her pretty Boston dress. Jane Seymour actually admitted that she and Joe Lando dated briefly early on. And it totally shows; these two, for a family show, had some pretty risqué make-out scenes. And let’s not forget that wedding night scene on the train (“Sully, it’s not even dark yet”). These two are one of many couples that prove that opposites attract.

Award: Best Hair

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11. NED & CHUCK / PUSHING DAISIES

For a couple who could never touch, Ned and Charlotte (or as he called her, “Chuck”) had such sweet chemistry. I hate that this show only lasted 2 seasons but I think people have come to appreciate it more in recent years since it’s been off the air. I miss this show everyday because it was so damn creative. No other show has come close to trying the fantasy-romantic comedy-murder mystery genre. Well, who could, really? As a writer, I love that the creator of this show thought outside the box. So thank you, Bryan Fuller.

Award: Most Delicate

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12. ROSS & RACHEL / FRIENDS

Ross and Rachel were the “it” couple of Friends. After all, they were set up in the pilot to end up together. I mean, how else can you scream to the audience, “OTP!” when Ross says, I just wanna be married again” and Rachel comes barging in the coffee house in a wedding dress?! There were a lot of fans who liked Monica and Chandler better (after all, they had a much smoother relationship), but I didn’t. I don’t think Monica or Chandler were every the same (or funny) once they got together. But Ross and Rachel were always the couple who the audience adored and wished would get over their “we were on a break” nonsense and get it together. They dated in season 2, broke up in season 3, and didn’t “officially” get back together (even a daughter didn’t change anything) until the last couple of minutes in the season 10 finale. Dang. It really did take Ross 20 years total to “end up” with his crush.

Award: The one with the longest crush

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13. BATES & ANNA / DOWNTON ABBEY

I have many favorite couples on this show–Matthew & Mary, Branson & Cybil, Lord & Lady Grantham, and (newly added!) Carson & Hughes, so it was hard to choose my absolute favorite. Though pretty much everyone would say, “why didn’t you choose the obvious–Matthew & Mary?”, what I loved about Anna & Bates from the pilot was when Anna showed such kindness to Bates from the beginning when no one else from the downstairs people would. As opposed to Matthew & Mary who bickered at first, Anna and Bates cared about each other since day one; this is one couple who did not take long at all to fall in love. However, I would say this couple takes the cake on TV couples that have had the most tragedies happen to them; with one season left, it’s hard for us to find any more hope on them finding lasting happiness in their marriage. Murder trials, rape…geez louise, how much more can this couple go through?! But, I suppose that’s why I love these types of couples. No matter how much crap they put between two people, they always find a way to make it through–and love each other every step of the way.

Award: Tragic couple

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14. DEREK & MEREDITH (“Merder”) / GREY’S ANATOMY

He was nicknamed McDreamy for a reason. He’s every girl’s dream guy; a cute doctor with great hair? Yes please! Though I didn’t like that this relationship started with a one-night stand, Derek was patient with our “dark & twisty” Meredith and waited for her to get over her commitment, trust, and mommy and daddy issues. They eventually got married (via post-it) and had 2 kids. Out of all my favorite couples, these two definitely had the most steamy scenes (the exam room scene at the prom?! We all needed a splash of cold water after that). I think it helped that they had such explosive chemistry because Patrick Dempsey & Ellen Pompeo were great friends in real life. Too bad Shonda Rhimes decided to kill off Derek this season when Patrick asked to get out of his contract; thank God I don’t watch this show anymore. I hate it when they kill off one half of the main couple. And in American television, that’s when ratings go down; mark my words, this show will last one more season. Look what happened to ALIAS. Killed off Vaughn=end of show.

P.S. This Derek monologue makes me melt every time. Now HE is a romantic hero!

Award: Hottest couple

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15. JIM & MAGGIE / THE NEWSROOM

Yes, Don and Sloan & Will and Mackenzie were great, too. But I’m picking Jim & Maggie because we got a first meeting in the pilot; and I knew it was going to be something great. Plus, they were the characters that were immediately likable for me; it took me a few episodes to warm up to the others. What helped Jim & Maggie’s instant chemistry was that John Gallagher Jr. & Alison Pill had already done movies together, so it didn’t take them long to warm up to each other. Of course, Jim & Maggie dated around a little, but they finally came around in the finale and were like, the cutest (and smartest) couples ever. After all, they can nail the quick banter as much as Luke & Lorelai.

Award: Smartest couple

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16. MIKE & RACHEL / SUITS

Mike & Rachel have had their ups and downs, but compared to Harvey & Donna (who still refuse to admit their true feelings for each other and I’ve given up hope), they’ve had a fairly stable relationship the past couple of years. Let’s just pretend the horrid Rachel “cheating” storyline did not happen. I don’t know who would win between the best hot “did it” scene– Mike & Rachel or Derek & Meredith! But other than those couple of times in the file room, Mike & Rachel try to keep it professional at work. It’s a no-brainer that the award for this couple should be “Best Dressed.” Mike finally knows how to wear an expensive, stylish suit (no more skinny ties!) and Rachel…well, she always looks good in any dress she wears. I love the scene where they first meet. Rachel insists she is not interested in him in that way, but that changes pretty quickly. Plus, Mike’s “I Love You” whisper is hilarious.

Award: Best Dressed 

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17. NOEL & FELICITY / FELICITY

This is one of just a couple of my favorite couples who actually did not end up together. When I watched this show in high school, I was young and thought Felicity should end up with Ben (as she did) because let’s face it, what girl my age did not have a crush on Scott Speedman? But, after I matured and made my friends watch the series with me in my dorm room in college, I thought, “Wait a minute. Noel is her soulmate (or perhaps my soulmate?!). He treats her right, always had feelings for her, and is so much like her.” However, this is probably the only love triangle in TV history where I actually liked both guys. Ben & Noel were good for Felicity in different ways, and even though I still hope the ending will turn out differently in that Felicity decides it’s Noel she should be with, I stop and think, “well, Felicity WAS in love with Ben from day one.” And if Ben had signed my high school yearbook that way, I would have followed him to New York, too! However, Noel was better at the witty banter scenes with Felicity that Ben was. It was a fun ride while it lasted (whenever I think of Boggle, the Magic 8 ball, dart guns and time capsules, I think of Noel). I still don’t think Noel ended up 100% happy since Felicity chose Ben for the hundredth time over him. Yeah, he married Zoey, but eh…they had to give Noel someone to end up with. But she was a dud.

Award: Most Alike

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18. PAUL & JAMIE / MAD ABOUT YOU

One of my favorite married couples! I love Paul & Jamie so much; they’re funny, romantic, a bit neurotic, and clicked from day one. But they can also pull off serious scenes, too. I only watch the first 5 seasons because the show changed once they had a kid (and suddenly the show wasn’t funny anymore). I can’t be the only one who once believed Paul Resier & Helen Hunt were married in real life; they were just that believable as a married couple. Such passion for each other! This show was Paul Reiser’s baby (he created it, produced, wrote, and directed at times), but unfortunately, he never won an Emmy for best actor (which is insane). Helen won, and even though she was funny too, Paul was the greatest. Paul Reiser put both of them on the map; too bad neither of them have done much of anything memorable since.

Award: Most romantic

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19. CLIFF & CLAIR / THE COSBY SHOW

Let’s put aside Bill Cosby’s allegations and focus on his character and relationship with Clair. Another favorite married couple, Cliff & Clair were, in Theo’s words, “all over each other.” Indeed they were! 5 kids and they hardly ever fought; if they did, they made up by the end of the episode. This was the first show (and correct me if I’m wrong) that changed the African American television show. Cliff Huxtable was a successful doctor and Clair a successful lawyer. Several other shows depicted African Americans differently, but this show was the pioneer. Cliff & Clair, childhood sweethearts, were always adorable and amazing parents. I hope when I am older and married, I have a relationship just like theirs.

Award: The Old-Timers Who Still Got It

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20. FITZ & SIMMONS (“FitzSimmons”) / AGENTS OF SHIELD

This is a fairly new show and I probably shouldn’t be putting these two on this list (especially since FitzSimmons have been on the outs this current season), but they are pretty much the only reason I watch this show (sad, I know). While we’ve had several occasions where Fitz has told/showed Simmons that he cares about her, Simmons has stated on several occasions that he is only a friend. Boo. But watch THIS and tell me if he’s really “just a friend” to her. Because I don’t see it. They are just on cuteness overload–perhaps also because of the accents.

Award: Cutest couple

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Stay tuned for my next entry on my Top 20 Favorite TV couples, but I thought I would start with the most failed TV hookups (in my opinion, anyway). Because, well, they’re more fun.

1. Rumpelstilskin/Belle (Once Upon a Time): Their so-called “relationship” is wrong and incredibly uncomfortable to watch. I can’t pull the “ick factor” of “he’s way older than her” because Bates & Anna from Downton Abbey have quite a bit of an age difference, and everyone adores them. Rumpel and Belle simply lack chemistry (even when they changed the fairy tale on us where Rumpel was the beast). And let’s face it, kiddies. Rumpel will always be more attracted to power than any woman. Belle can do so much better. I love this show but the writers need to learn that you can’t “hook” (no pun intended) everyone up with each other. Yes, part of the story is about romance and True Love’s Kiss, but that’s not all fairy tales are about. They’re about discovery, imagination, and going on a journey to find out who you really are and what you are capable of.

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2. Sawyer/Kate (LOST): I may get tons of hate mail, but I NEVER understood why these two were such a popular couple. They have sex a couple of times and that automatically makes them a meaningful couple? I know Kate & Sawyer both bonded over having such tragic, criminal pasts but umn…other characters did too (Sayid? Ben? Ana-Lucia?). There are “Skater” fans out there who still can’t believe they didn’t end up together. I mean, really? Were we watching the same show? Sawyer & Kate’s cage-sex scene completely ruined that relationship for me. It was cheap, dirty, and was the worst excuse for Kate to “choose” someone that the writers had been pimping before the third season started. Kate basically thought, “Oh.  Sawyer’s gonna die. I might as well get one ride out of him to say goodbye.”

It was hard to like Kate after that because her character lacked depth and up until the fifth season, she was just chasing after two guys (Woah. Felicity flashback). Another pathetic Kate and Sawyer scene (and Evangeline Lilly agreed this was not Kate’s best moment) was in season 3 when she saw Jack eating dinner with Juliet and crawled into Sawyer’s tent to forget about it. Now I’m not saying that her decision to go into Jack’s bedroom and have sex with him to forget about giving up Aaron was a bright decision either (season 5 was just weird in general). But Kate had this mindset of, “just find the nearest man in order to forget about something that hurts.” I kept having to tell myself, “It’s just her character. Her impulsivities are what get the better of her.” Once she got away from the “Woah is me” Jane Austen-like character and instead focused more on finding Claire to bring her home to Aaron, then I could appreciate the few scenes she had left with Sawyer.

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3. Sayid/Shannon (LOST): This is another couple I had a huge problem with. They are the classic example of “We’re alone on a deserted island with no hope of rescue. Might as well get together.” As Ana-Lucia once told Jack, “It’s what people do.” But to have these two “end up” together in the afterlife was just wrong. I would have rather seen Boone & Shannon end up in that church together (OK, maybe not). I just don’t get it. After ALL the emotional turmoil Sayid was put through after losing Nadia in 3 timelines (flashbacks, flashforwards, and in the afterlife), he decided Shannon was the one he was meant to be with?! I saw absolutely no depth to their relationship. I’m still not OK with the explanation that Sayid “chose” Shannon because he finally came to terms with the fact that he wasn’t good enough for Nadia. Please. I love you Sayid, and you totally could have made it work with our girl Nadia. He didn’t have to lower his standards for Shannon. Shannon could have been like Boone or Locke and just sat in one of the pews by herself. Nuttin’ wrong with ‘dat! It would have made MUCH more sense for her to end up alone, since Shannon used guys for a living, anyway. All the characters actually learned something about themselves. Besides learning to live without her brother’s assistance, she didn’t learn much else from living on that island.

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4. Vaughn/Lauren (ALIAS): I get that they had to get Vaughn together with someone after the Season 2 cliffhanger when Sydney finds out she’s been missing for 3 years. But for God’s sake, at least find him someone he had some chemistry with. Yes, Vaughn & Lauren were both CIA agents, had jobs to do, and couldn’t be all lovey-dovey, but at least try to be believable as a married couple. Lauren actually had better chemistry with Sark the couple of times they fooled around. I just can’t believe it took Vaughn an ENTIRE season to find out she was evil. I mean, the guy isn’t THAT gullible. OK, so it was another way to push back the Sydney/Vaughn storyline for yet another season, but that was ridiculous. Even after Sydney & Jack knew from day one Lauren was a liar, he STILL couldn’t believe it for another 20 episodes.

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5. Joey/Rachel (Friends): The writers were obviously running low on new storylines (who wouldn’t after 8 seasons?) and with Joey & Rachel’s characters, they thought, “They’re already really good friends; they live together. Why not?” When Joey and Rachel went out (for what, a day?) they brought out the dumb in each other. We all know Joey was dumb (yet we liked him that way), but really, Rachel? I thought she had more sense. But it’s pretty clear the writers were just killing time and throwing in another obstacle for Ross & Rachel– until the very last episode when they finally ended up together. I just love the fact that Joey claimed Rachel was the first woman he ever loved, but he sure got over her fast in the next episode when they both knew it would never go anywhere. Plus, that relationship was never even mentioned again. Seriously. Did ANYONE like Joey & Rachel?? Let’s just pretend their hookup never happened.

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6. George/Izzie (Grey’s Anatomy): UGH. I don’t even have the energy to waste time talking about this couple. But someone has to. THE biggest mistake of this show (and there have been many). I get that sometimes writers write romantic storylines based on couples who have good chemistry in real-life (Patrick Dempsey & Ellen Pompeo are living proof). Everyone knew Katherine Heigl & T.R. Knight were BFF’s in real life; they were inseparable. But that doesn’t mean you need to put their characters together just because you’re running out of storylines for them. It was weird enough seeing T.R. play a straight guy so he didn’t have romantic chemistry with any woman on that show. But when you add his best friend Izzie when he’s already married to Callie…just no. After they dragged out how much Izzie was so in love with him after just one night of drunken passion, I get why Shonda Rhimes wrote it. She was trying to point out that romance doesn’t always work between best friends. But it was literally the dumbest and most pointless storyline ever. And it ended like this. “So we had sex again and we were sober. It was awful. Let’s break up.”/“Yeah. Sounds good.”

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7. Sam/Diane (Cheers): Now hear me out on this one. I know this couple may be listed on some of those “Best TV Couple” polls and they were quite popular, but I had a hard time believing they were actually in love. Talk about polar opposites to the extreme. To me, it was just a physical relationship (as all the couples I dislike tend to be). Sam was obviously not on Diane’s intellectual level. Frasier was, but those two would have driven each other crazy. Though Sam & Rebecca never ended up together either, it was more amusing watching them than seeing Sam & Diane constantly argue; that got old fast.

Cheers

8. Santana/Brittany & Sam/Brittany (Glee): As you can see, I’m not a Brittany fan. I love to watch her dance, but once she opens that mouth of hers, I cringe. It’s not that I have a problem with a lesbian couple, but why Santana? I don’t care for her either, but at least Santana has got some sense (at least I thought so). What was the point of her falling head-over-heals in love with Brittany, anyway? Hello. Brittany also dated Artie and Sam (but then those relationships were never mentioned again, which seemed to happen in this show). Sam may have loved Brittany at one point (after all, he wanted to go and look for her when there was supposedly a school shooting going on), but he bounced back. All of a sudden once he started dating Brittany, he got even dumber than he was before. Really?! Brittany made Joey Tribbiani look like the President and that’s saying a lot.

Glee

9. Meg & Chris (American Dreams): You may not remember this show, but it’s one of my favorites of all-time. The time period, the cast, and the music on American Bandstand is what was so great about it. But I blame this short-lived TV show on the last season, because A) they got away from the American Bandstand fun and B) Chris came in. After Meg stood up for herself in the second season by protesting against the war (she even got arrested for it), Meg ended up being the strongest female character in the show. But then this idiot Chris came in and with his bad boy quality, sweet talked Meg into running away with him to Berkley so he could get away from his draft notice. Meg sure did lower her standards once she went out with him (and apparently these two had a brief relationship off-screen as well). After all, Meg lost her virginity to him. Unfortunately, we’ll never know if Meg actually ended up with Chris or not since the show abruptly got cancelled. But I can see the reason why the ratings were low that last season.

american dreams

10. Love triangles in general: They’re just there to create unnecessary drama because writers tend to stir up the triangles for higher ratings. Even though I admit that they’re amusing to watch at first, they end up being frustrating as hell. So many shows drag them out and spend way too much time on the love aspect instead of actual plot lines (although I may not complain about this as much when it comes to some shows). Here are some love triangles where the woman could have chosen who she wanted to be with in about 2 episodes. And I blame J.J. Abrams–but not really.

  1. Jack/Kate/Sawyer (LOST): And let’s not forget Juliet. That quadrangle got ridiculous after a while. But as a “Jater,” I finally got my happy ending (well, sort of). And for anyone who still can’t believe Kate chose Jack at the end (have you forgotten about the first stitching scene they always made references to), well, we need to have a talk.
  2. Adam/Marjorie/Brian (What About Brian): Marjorie never could make up her mind so she ended up with neither of them. That’s one of the very few times that the girl chose neither. Eh, it’s OK. She got annoying, so thankfully she left the show in the second season.
  3. Ben/Felicity/Noel (Felicity): They really did drag this one out until the very last episode. By that time, I didn’t really care who Felicity ended up with. OK, that’s not true. I’m a Noel girl all the way, but I can understand why she chose Ben. It was set up that way from the beginning.
  4. Jake/Marley/Ryder (Glee): Even though Jake can be an ass at times, I think it’s pretty clear Marley will choose him. So why do they keep bringing in Ryder everytime Jake & Marley have a fight? Maybe because they have nothing else to do with his character?
  5. Meredith/Derek/Addison/ Mark // Callie/George/Izzie (Grey’s Anatomy): This is pretty self-explanatory. I’m so glad those days are gone.

felicity

As an overly optimistic person, this post took an effort. But I had to get it off my chest sometime. Feel free to disagree and complain about any of these. Just give me some reasoning to back it up!

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