Elf on the Shelf Sucks

At the risk of angering and alienating some of my readers, I am just going to come out and say what’s been on my mind these past two Christmases: I hate Elf on the Shelf.  I really do.  For those of you unfamiliar with this creepy thing, I’m including a picture.

Scary, right?

Scary, right?

I don’t know what the “rules” are, but apparently, parents hide him (and this year I’ve noticed a “her”) each night somewhere in the house, putting him into positions where he’s getting into some sort of mischief.  The children wake up to find him doing something naughty like stealing cookies from the jar or making a mess of the toilet paper, etc.  The mischievousness alone is enough for me to dislike him!  Santa wants us to be good all year, and here’s a representative for him doing everything any child wants to do, but refrains from doing in order to get a gift from Santa.  Talk about a bad role model.

Furthermore, Elf on a Shelf is practically sold everywhere!  It’s definitely at Target prominently sitting in its little red box at the checkout line.  This little elf is supposed to be magical, and I assume, sent from Santa.   Any kid who’s not blind can see that the elf can be purchased at the store, so when it magically shows up one morning in their house, isn’t it pretty obvious that Mommy or Daddy bought an elf?!  Maybe that’s the whole point.  Maybe it’s marketed to explain why a poor, ill-behaved elf is packaged in a box to be brought home during the Christmas season.  But if not, way to raise suspicions and doubts over the reality of Santa, parents!

However, my primary reason for hating Elf on a Shelf is because my parents (Santa) did something very similar, but way more awesome, when I was a kid!  I present to you, The Elf Bear!!

Way cuter than that bobble headed freak!

Way cuter than that bobble headed freak!

See how cute he is in his little elf outfit?  And in case you didn’t notice, those are bulb ornaments by his head, so he’s tiny; just my style!  In any case, the tradition went thusly: We’d buy a Christmas tree and decorate it.  The following morning, we’d wake up to find The Elf Bear sitting in the top branches of our tree!  Santa sent him to watch over us during the day to make sure we were behaving, and he’d report our activities to Santa at night, where he’d choose a new place in the house to hide.  His hiding places were always amazing!  He’d defeat gravity by chilling in the upper ceiling corner of the living room, or remaining precariously seated atop a thin picture frame hung high on the wall.  That little dude just exuded magic!!  Plus, he kept my brothers and me in check.

I can’t tell you how many times in my childhood I’d be pounding on my brothers, only to notice The Elf Bear staring down at me, stopping my fists in mid-air.  And conversely, by taunting my brothers, then running into the room that The Elf Bear was residing, I was spared many a bruise, as they didn’t dare sock me in front of him.  I’ve gotta hand it to my parents.  It was a brilliant way to keep us somewhat peaceful, while adding to the magic of Christmastime.

Santa left us one rule to The Elf Bear.  We were not to touch him, or he’d disappear.  (Smart move, Mom and Dad; I’m sure it took some mighty MacGyverying to get him in those crazy locations, and one touch might have brought him crashing down.)  In any case, one day when I was older and becoming more curious, I noticed The Elf Bear in a location that could be reached if I stood atop the piano bench.  I was a sucker for teddy bears and tiny things, and he looked so soft, that I just wanted to give him a quick pet on his little nosey.  I knew that touching him would risk his disappearance, but I felt it would be worth it.  Who cared if my brothers missed out on seeing him everyday?  So, I stood on the bench, reached my arm and pointer finger over, and felt the softest bear fur anyone could ever have the pleasure of feeling!  And to make it even better, he didn’t disappear!  I knew I had done wrong, and worried everyday that Santa wouldn’t bring me a gift, but sure enough, I got everything I wanted on Christmas Day!  I figured it was due to me profusely apologizing to The Elf Bear each day until Christmas, and so I never tested that luck again.

When my brothers and I got older, and the magic of Santa was dead, I confessed to them that I had once touched The Elf Bear.  They were appalled!  Like, literally, very upset that I had broken the rule. (And they expressed this anger by mockingly, yet still somewhat painfully, beating me up while chanting, “She touched The Elf Bear!”)  I, on the other hand, was shocked that they had never tried it themselves.  I considered myself the goody-goody of the bunch, but apparently, I crossed the line that should never be crossed.

So anyway, in comparison to my family’s elf, and for all the aforementioned reasons, I truly despise The Elf on the Shelf.  I’m sure many kids are getting quite the enjoyment out of seeing its frightening smile each morning, but I for one, am glad my parents gave my brothers and me something much more special.  Thanks, Mommy and Daddy!

I’m Schalz, Y’alls!

I spent a week over the Thanksgiving holiday in South Carolina, visiting Greg’s parents.  We had a really nice time, which concluded with me seeing his mom’s foot doctor so I could get a second opinion on my ankle.  The doc told me I’m deformed and possibly have bursitis, but I’m not going to get into that today.  What I am going to talk about is the fact that the doctor’s office gave me a new Southern name!

When I was finished with my exam, I was printed out a very thorough and extensive note to take back to my original doctor.  I was very impressed with the information provided in the note, but my eyes were immediately drawn to the awesome spelling of my last name.  Schalz was a new one for me, and I was giddy over how effortlessly Southern it sounded as it rolled off my tongue: sh-ah-lz.

I’m totally okay with my new last name, but it’s so not cool to age a woman.  I’m 31, y’all!

I’m totally okay with my new last name, but it’s so not cool to age a woman. I’m 31, y’all!

Having a German last name with a vowel that doesn’t follow the traditional short or long sound, and consonants that are never, ever combined together in common English, my surname of Schatz has been butchered for me my entire life.  It is pronounced shots, which has recently made LMFAO’s “Shots” my personal theme song.  But to get back to my point, I’ve been called anything ranging from Schwartz to Schultz, and my personal favorite: Shats.  As in, the past tense, plural or possessive form of shits.  (And by favorite, I mean that I cringe every time I hear it.)  My poor, beautiful last name, which German natives envy due to its use as a term of endearment in Germany, very often gets reduced to the act of pooping.

My favorite twist of my last name, however, is Schatzy.  For some reason, those that know the correct pronunciation, like to add that cute little “y” at the end for a fun nickname.  When I was a senior in high school, and my brother Robert was a freshman, he gained the nickname Schatzy from his baseball team.  For the rest of my senior year, I was known as “Schatzy’s Sister.”  Despite attending that school for four years, and only gaining recognition due to my little, freshmanbrother, I liked it.  Ten years later, it made me happy when one of my co-workers took it upon himself to call me Schatzy.  Take that, Robert!  They knew you as Schatzy’s Brother!

Regardless of having various versions of my last name presented to me, it’s been a source of entertainment my entire life.  Just when I think I’ve heard it all, something like Schalz shows up to prove me wrong.

A Smurfy Addiction

I’ve always been drawn to anything miniature.  My favorite toys as a child consisted of tiny animals with small accessories.  I even swiped my brothers’ Micro Machine cars that had baby cars tucked inside.  So it comes as no surprise that I completely immersed myself into the Smurf world.  I wanted the Smurfs to exist in the worst way, and would slowly creep up on the mushrooms growing in my backyard hoping to catch a glimpse of them.

When I got an iPhone last year and saw that there was a Smurfs game, I downloaded it immediately.  It’s basically FarmVille with Smurfs.  I played it for months, and even learned how to mess with my phone’s clock settings to cheat and get ahead in the game.  Eventually, I grew bored of the game, and forgot about it.  That is, until a few weeks ago.

My mom discovered she was only using her iPad as an eReader and Pandora streamer, so she decided she might as well get a Kindle Fire and pass the iPad on to someone who might actually use it in its entirety.  That person was me.  While I do use the iPad for a variety of purposes, currently, 90% of its usage is spent on Smurfs.  I’ve been delightfully enjoying the larger images of my little Smurf Village.  That poor, expensive iPad went from a glorified Kindle to a hand-held Smurf game.

At night, I’ll sit for hours cheating my clock settings to collect the Smurfberries that allow me to “buy” the nice things in the game.  I feel so accomplished at the end of it, and that’s horrible!  While I do know this Smurfy addiction of mine needs to be reined in, it’s difficult, because I can’t get over how cute my little Smurfs are, and I just want to keep checking in on them!  I decided to take a few screen shots over the last week so that when I feel like playing, I can instead, flip through my pictures and get the “cute fix” that the playing of Smurfs gives me.  That way, I’ll have my iPad open for better uses.  Like spending hours on Feedly reading all of my favorite blogs.

I mean, look how cute they are riding their pet guinea pig!

I mean, look how cute they are riding their pet guinea pig!

I created my dream Smurf home in all its purple glory.

I created my dream Smurf home in all its purple glory.

 

I Once Was A Tiny Being

There’s something many of you readers might not know about me: I saw my pediatrician until I was 20.  No, I’m not a freak (well, yeah, I kind of am), but there’s a valid reason for this: I stopped growing at a young age, and if not for modern medicine, I’d still be child-like in stature.  Yep, my body decided to stop producing growth hormone, so I was technically a dwarf.  Okay, that’s not totally true. If I’m going to be honest, my growth hormone deficiency can be referred to as pituitary dwarfism due to the pituitary gland being a lazy asshole, but all I see in that name is “dwarf,” so I’m running with it.  Wouldn’t you?  I think I’ll call myself Quirky.

In any case, in 10th grade at the age of 15, being only 4’10” and well below the average line for height and weight, I began growth hormone injections twice a day.  I was told that I’d be lucky if I reached 5’1”, dashing my hopes of being an airline stewardess.  I didn’t really want to be a flight attendant, but when I was a dwarf, one of the medical professionals, in an attempt to shed some positive light to enduring multiple shots per day, pointed out that certain jobs had height requirements, and her example has always stuck with me.  I didn’t need coercing to start the therapy, but one factor that scared me into wanting to begin immediately was when my pediatrician told me I needed the shots if I wanted have children in the future; which I did.  Gentlemen, you may want to skip the rest of this paragraph.  But hoorah alas, I was fifteen and had yet to start my period.  I cheered and loathed the day it came two years later at age 17.

Even with the late onset of puberty, I still had a ways to go with my injections.  A quick x-ray of my wrist allowed my doctor to see how much further I could grow.  Apparently, our joints show how much room is left for growing because they fuse together once we’ve reached our maximum growth potential, and as long as mine had space and weren’t fusing, I could still grow.  Armed with this knowledge, I placed a $10 bet with my cousin’s future husband (who’s really short, but was taller than me at the time) that I would be taller than him by his graduation day.  Not knowing I was taking shots, he agreed.  I totally won that bet, but didn’t see him after graduation and never got paid…that is, until almost 10 years later when he began dating my cousin and reunited with me with a $10 bill in his hand!

I took my needles and medicine with me to college, where it was a bit harder to hide from others.  Living in the dorms and actually being social, it was common for friends and acquaintances to witness me injecting myself.  Once I was out of high school, I was more comfortable with putting my true self out there for people to accept or not, so people knowing about it wasn’t as big a deal to me anymore.  By my sophomore year of college, I was still growing, and my x-ray showed that I had the potential to continue to do so.  At that time, I was 5’ 4 ¾” and a healthy 120 pounds.  My goal for beginning the therapy was to reach puberty and reach an acceptable height of at least 5’1”, which I had more than surpassed.  By 20 years old, I was taller than most of my friends, but not towering over them.  If anything, I was finally “average.”  My doctor was honest with me and said that my joints showed room for growth, but that it would be safe to stop the injections now, and my joints would fuse together at this height with no problems.  It was my decision, and despite being an indecisive individual, it was an easy one for me.  After four plus years of twice daily shots, I was done.  As expected from a non-functioning pituitary gland, I grew no more, I am currently the same height as the day I stopped the injections, and I have no regrets.  I was born to be this height!  Well, not literally, but in my head, I was born to be of this stature and feel incredibly lucky to be standing where I’m at today.

Me, my cousins and BFFs at ages 13 and 14.  I'm the one on the left in the dorky pink hat: the shortest and oldest of us all.

Me, my cousins and BFFs at ages 13 and 14. I’m the one on the left in the dorky pink hat: the shortest and oldest of us all.

Zombie On My Mind…Still

With the return of The Walking Dead, I can’t help but constantly have zombie on my mind.  I’ve already mused on my blog about what sort of zombie I’d become, yet still, the other day, I was thinking about possible scenarios that might play out in the case that I actually live through most of the zombie apocalypse.

 

Me:  If we live through the zombie apocalypse, and it reaches a point where we are completely surrounded with no way out, I think we should just turn ourselves into zombies.

Greg:  I like how this conversation started with, “If we live through the zombie apocalypse…”

Me:  I know I’ve told you before to just shoot me, but now I have a better plan.

Greg: (smiles amusingly while getting up and walking into the kitchen)

Me:  (follows him into the kitchen) Let’s say our apartment is boarded up, with zombies trying to break in.  We could just stick our arms out, get bitten, and wait to be zombified.  That way, by the time they get in, they won’t be able to eat us because we’ll already have turned.

Greg:  Being you, if you stuck your arm out, it would just get torn off.

Me:  True.  So maybe I can just stick a finger out…

Greg:  …to get bit off.

Me:  Or better yet! When their arms squeeze through one of the cracks in the boards, we can stick our arms just within their reach so that they can only scratch us!  Then we just sit back, and wait to turn into zombies.

Greg:  Yeah, and be stuck in our apartment not eating brains.

Me:  Exactly!  So when they come out with the cure, we’ll never have ingested humans.

Greg:  When the CDC finally busts into our apartment, they’ll find two zombies sitting down playing video games.

 

That’s why I love him.  He might tease at first, but at the end of the day, he’ll talk real zombie strategy with me.

pStyle Giveaway!!

So, remember when I went on and on about my new found ability to stand and pee using the pStyle?  If not, you should go read my awesome review HERE, and join 112 others in viewing my actual urine (don’t worry; you won’t automatically see my pee by clicking on that link…you’ll get to make that choice on your own once you’re there…I’m not totally gross.)

Well, the founder of the company that promotes the pStyle, read my review, loved it, and gave me TWO free pStyle’s to give away on my blog!  I’ve been itching to give these away for a while now, so I’m glad things are finally in place to allow me to do so. ::cough:: Google killed my blog ::cough:: I made the time consuming (but worth it) transfer over to WordPress ::cough::

Colors to choose from if you win: Blue, Clear, Pink, Purple, Green, or Orange

So without further ado, here are the giveaway instructions!

1. Leave a comment on my blog telling me where you’re most looking forward to peeing while using your pStyle.  Or if you are trying to win this for someone else, tell me why you feel that person really needs a pStyle and what their reaction will be upon receiving it.

2. Make sure you leave a working email in the comments form so that I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, your email will only be viewable to me, and I will only use it to contact you if you are a winner.

3. The last day to leave comments will be this Friday, October 26th, at 3:00pm PST.  After the 3pm PST cut-off, I will do a random drawing of two names.  Check back at www.yeahimanerd.com on October 26th after 3 pm PST to see if you are a winner! (FYI, you’re all winners in my eyes, but only two of you can win a pStyle from me.)

Good luck, and be sure to tell your friends about this giveaway!

UPDATED: Winners have been announced!

You can also buy a pStyle through me by choosing your color and clicking the button below:

 

Colors
Orange $10.00 USD
Blue $10.00 USD
Green $10.00 USD
Purple $10.00 USD
Pink $10.00 USD
Clear $10.00 USD

Standing To Pee

 

You can now purchase a pStyle from me! Scroll to the bottom of this post for details.
Three weeks ago, I posted this picture of my newly purchased pStyle on Facebook and Instagram.
It caused many dudes to question why, and many girls to ask where they could get one.  It even sparked a curiosity as to whether the GoGirl was better.
I’m only including a picture for comparison purposes. I have
never tried this product and cannot endorse it’s use. Though if someone
buys me one, I’ll totally go use it and review it.
I love camping and backpacking, but I’m getting too old and tired of hiking a mile away from my companions, digging a six inch hole to bury toilet paper, and popping a squat every time I have to pee.  I also do not enjoy the times I accidently pee on my shorts or ankles while attempting this squatting process, so I decided to spend the last half a year researching stand up urination contraptions.  Though the GoGirl seemed to be the most well known, it also had extremely varying reviews, which troubled me and delayed my purchase of a device.  The women who loved the GoGirl, professed that much practice would be needed before taking it to the wild, and the women who had problems with it…dude…they had problems!  I read review after review of the flexible rubbered GoGirl collapsing and leaving a puddled pee mess in their pants.  And then I also read many horrible accounts of women filling the funnel faster than it could be expelled; overflowing the container and again, making a wet mess.  I just wasn’t sold on the GoGirl, so I kept looking; and that’s when I found the pStyle.
Though the pStyle didn’t have as many reviews as the GoGirl, every single review it had, was positive!  I couldn’t even find a review lower than 4 (out of 5) on Amazon.  The 5 star reviews raved of it’s greatness, and the 4 star reviews pointed out petty complaints such as: it’s too long and made of hard plastic (making it less discrete than competitors) and it didn’t come with a carrying case.  That’s it.  No horror stories of pee leaking all over themselves, no woes of hot urine splashing back or dribbling on their feet, basically, no functionality complaints whatsoever!  I was sold!  After receiving it and posting the picture above, I decided that I would come back from a backpacking trip and review the shit out of this product for my inquiring friends and family.  So here’s what I found:
The pStyle rocks!
The day I got it in the mail, I drank copious amounts of water so that I could test it multiple times that afternoon in my home before I left for my backpacking trip the following morning.  For my first test, I dropped my chonies and shorts, stood over the edge of the tub, slightly bent my knees (as instructed) and peed into my shower.  The stream never even came close to flowing over the outer edge of the pStyle, and it drained out and away from my body just like it said it would.  The last step was to gently press upward as I pulled the pStyle away from my body to simulate wiping.  Afterwards, I grabbed some toilet paper and did a regular wipe anyway, to see how well the device actually “wiped,” and I gotta say, it did pretty well.  I only had a small drop on that piece of toilet paper.
For my next test, I dropped my shorts and chonies again, but stood over the toilet.  Though I had to badly urinate, it took my body a few seconds to respond to the awkward positioning and overcome the fear of peeing all over my bathroom floor.  As soon as I relaxed, the pee came, and it went perfectly into the toilet!  I was ecstatic!  However, I didn’t let my excitement completely overtake me, as this tool would not prove to be perfect unless I could pee without dropping my pants and exposing my butt to the world.  Half the reason I got the pStyle was so that I could turn my back to my friends and pee on a tree!  Anyway, my last home-test worked.  I unzipped my shorts, pushed my chonies to the side, positioned the pStyle, and peed with ease over the toilet.  I was ready to go camping!
The next morning, I left on an overnight backpacking trip with my dad and uncle.  I was eager to try out my pStyle after we stopped for lunch on the trail.  Unfortunately for me, my body freaked out.  Even though I had hiked out of view, as I stood there pushing and willing the pee to come, it would not.  I don’t, however, blame this on the pStyle.  As this unfortunate event was taking place, I remembered that this happens almost every time I try my first outdoor pee.  I usually squat and push and nothing comes out due to my body telling me that it is unnatural, and this was what was happening to me then.  Dejected, I zipped up my pants and returned to our lunch spot.  Of course, as soon as we began to walk, I felt the urge to urinate, but we were on our way, and I wasn’t about to ask my dad and uncle to stop just so I could fail again.  I waited until our next break, and then, despite my body not wanting to urinate in nature, I HAD TO PEE, and what a glorious and perfect pee I had using my pStyle!  No leaks, no hesitation, and very easy to use in the wild!
This is what it looked like from my perspective after
positioning it.  See?  All lady parts covered!
Also, please erase from your memory my dorky
Tevas with socks. Coolness is a low priority out in
the wilderness.
I wanted to post a picture of my urine actually coming out of the pStyle (‘cause yes, I totally took a picture of that!), but my brother, who is as gross and unashamed as me, pretty much told me (through his laughter and shaking of his head) that it would be a bit over the line, so I decided against it.  However, what’s a good review without pictures of the product in use?  For those of you who would like to see how it worked, I created a Flikr account just to give you the chance to witness it in it’s glory.  To see that picture, click HERE.  That way, for those of you who think pictures of pee are the grossest thing in the world, and better kept to our imaginations, just keep reading and don’t click on the link!  We all win.
The rest of the trip, I was able to use the pStyle successfully, and I was so thankful to have it!  Our campsite was wide open, with thin bushes scattered throughout, so if not for the pStyle, I would have had to hike quite a ways before finding a decent place to drop my pants and pee.  Instead, I was able to duck behind a bush, turn my back, and urinate.  Alas, I never did walk up to a tree to pee.  Even though my private areas were completely covered, my embarrassment of peeing in front of others overcame me, and I felt that I still needed to hide.
If you are a camper, or you just don’t like using public toilets, I highly suggest the pStyle.  Not only did it function perfectly, but it was also easy to clean and put away.  The shape of the device allows the pee to drain right off, so when it was stored in the Ziploc it came in, there were no lingering drops of urine.  Though the wiping effect isn’t perfect, it’s damn near close, and I didn’t have to use toilet paper on the trip.  Also, it was small enough to carry in my fanny pack (heck yeah I rocked a fanny pack!) and I felt pretty discrete whenever I brought the pStyle out.  Seriously, I have no complaints about this device whatsoever.  I can’t wait to add my review to Amazon and inspire more women to get this product!
UPDATED: If you would like your very own pStyle, you can now purchase one from me!
Just click on the button below.  Each pStyle is $10 and you have five colors to choose from!

 

Colors
Orange $10.00 USD
Blue $10.00 USD
Green $10.00 USD
Purple $10.00 USD
Pink $10.00 USD
Clear $10.00 USD