Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It's Story Time: Country Girl in the Big City

When the school system in which I teach was hiring me for their county, a most interesting thing happened. You see, it all started with the crazy messages that Dad creates for the answering machine. When the new answering machine arrived and I was in elementary school, I still remember Mom, right before she left for a PTA meeting or the market, telling Dad, "Now, don't you dare go right upstairs and make a stupid message for our machine. I mean it, Danny." Like a small child you put the red button in front of and tell not to touch, Dad scurried (as much as a man who's 6'6" can "scurry") upstairs the moment she closed the front door behind her because he had the perfect message in mind.

For years, the message ran, in his most impressive "redneck" voice, something like this: "Howdy, this yars the ________. We can't come to the phone right now. We're outside sloppin' the hogs and feedin' the chickens. Sure would like to know why y'all called, so leave a message after this thing makes that little ol' beepin' sound." When the school system called my parents' house where I lived at the time, we still had this answering machine message, the same one that people would actually call back our house again just to hear it another time. As a result, the manager in charge of hiring me wrote a special note in my file: "may encounter adversity." Why? He thought I was some country girl from the back 40 who was coming to the big cities of Howard County, Maryland (which is a joke in itself, I might add).

When I called him one day to say that Mom was coming with me to sign paperwork, he thought my shitkicker and overall-wearing (not cool at the time like it is again now) hillbilly of a mother was coming to check out the town and make sure it was safe for her baby girl. All of this truth came out, and I explained that Dad is an extremely eccentric man; I am from a county affectionately nicknamed "Cow County," but I'm not a farm girl despite how many times I watched Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies (SO.MUCH.NICK.AT.NITE.)

Several years later, when Jeff and I were adopting our sweet puppies, Roxy and Squirt, the adoption lady called my parents' house for a reference. Once again, someone heard this message on the machine. She hung up and did not leave a message; in fact, she called me, asking whether or not I gave her the wrong number. And, once again, I had to explain my Dad's eccentricities to a stranger. Four of us lived in that house for a long time, but I am the only one who not once but TWICE had an interesting experience as a result of Dad's voicemail creativity. And people wonder why it's impossible to embarrass me.

Anyway, Mom accompanied me to Baltimore City yesterday because I needed to visit one of the professional buildings. If you don't know Baltimore, though it has its allure and charms (I met my now husband in a dance club there almost 10 years ago), then you should know that Baltimore makes a name for itself with its impressive number of murders per capita. Like everywhere, however, it has its redeeming qualities and not-so-bad parts of town. On the ride home, GPS took us the shorter route, which did not translate to the safer route. In fact, many of the houses were boarded up and the loveliest of individuals frequented the streets. As Mom stared at a boarded up house, commenting on its "shaggy curtains" and "light coming through one of the boarded up windows," I scolded her severely. "DO NOT ENGAGE. STOP LOOKING. LOOK STRAIGHT AHEAD. IF YOU MUST, LOOK WITH YOUR EYEBALLS BEHIND SUNGLASSES, NOT WITH YOUR HEAD TURNED." She asked why and I responded, "you're looking into a boarded up window. You don't know what's looking back at you." She kept her head straight the rest of the time. I guess that's what the "country" taught me.

I now understand why my high school Chem teacher told us that if we were somewhere we shouldn't be at a time we really shouldn't be there, we need to pull our hoods over our heads, rock back and forth, and chatter incoherently at a trashcan. No one messes with a crazy person.

Now that I shared story time with you, I will share with you an outfit I wore while signing the offer we put in on a house last week (an offer the seller accepted, I guess I should add?).

The Look:
Dress: Some designer for Target via thredUP  (similar options: $, $$, $$$--$20-70)
Cardigan: Target, Mossimo brand (I finally got another one to replace the original I killed from wearing too much.)
Shoes: via DSW 
Necklace: H&M via Poshmark shop
Purse: via Marshall's
Sunglasses: gift from Momma (LOFT)


  1. Congrats on the new house! No more icky apartment!!

  2. A new house?! Congrats!!! Also, it's funny that your teacher gave you that advice. When I studied abroad and found myself having to walk home alone at night, I would talk to myself the entire way there, usually in a brisk walk. Some other girls would complain that they would get whistled at at night. Not me. No one whistles at a crazy person.

  3. Oh my gosh, is your dad's message still on their machine?? If so, you should definitely record it for us to hear. That sounds hilarious! I'm surprised your mom kept it after telling your dad not to record anything. That is too funny. I think you need a funny voicemail message on your new home machine should you get one for your NEW HOUSE! So exciting.

    I never thought about trying to look crazy to be avoided. I'll have to remember that if the situation ever arises (let's hope it won't shall we?)

    I love your dress by the way! Red is a good color on you :)

  4. bahahaha! That's so awesome. My brother and I recorded a silly answering machine message once (the one that George uses on Seinfeld), and my dad immediately erased it. He's a pastor and didn't want someone calling us with a serious problem and get a ridiculous message and not know if it was the right number. I mean, we thought it would brighten their day, but apparently not.

    Also, a new house! Yay!

  5. Haha I loved this story! I lived in SC for my very early formative years and earned myself a southern accent that stuck with me years after moving to PA, people definitely thought differently of me. Love this outfit, those gold shoes! (insert heart eyeball emoji) And congrats on the house, yay!!

  6. Haha you funny girl you. Great story! But then again your stories are all fun. =)

    Love the red dress with the gold ballet flats. So chic and Americana!! Congratulations on the new house too!! Cannot wait to see photos. =)

  7. HAHAHA I'm dying at that story of your dad's voicemail! I love it! He sounds like such a character - one that I'd probably enjoy, haha! I'm also SO excited for you and Jeff - a new house?! Color me jealous. We are really liking our new townhouse, but we canNOT wait to own instead of rent down the line! :) I can't wait to hear more details about your new digs!

  8. The next time we hang-out, I think you should bring your dad. Is that weird? Haha, he just sounds so hilarious! I also learned that if someone is harassing you, you should just act like a crazy person. I was advised to get down on the ground and start eating grass. I think I prefer your method of talking to a trash can.


Feel free to throw some witticisms my way.