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The Laundry Criminal

I was about to see Sydney. I’ve been on a plane for hours. We finally landed and I could feel the presence of kangaroos- their glares from far far away. I knew this would be the best trip ever.

Then I got stopped by Australia’s border security. I was called into their awfully small and eye-burning white interview room. A nice lad by the name of Shane asked me some random questions as to why I was visiting Australia and how I planned on supporting myself. Then he started asking suspicious questions about how I do my laundry. Apparently they track that too.

“Sir, I am here to see the kangaroos and dingos. Why do you have to know how I do my laundry?” I asked, nervously. My laundry record follows me everywhere. It’s like a crime people cannot get past it. Can never forgive me for it.

“‘Mam, there is a record of your previous offenses regarding ghastly laundry methods- you have admitted in the past that you do not separate your laundry into colors and whites/light pastels. Is that correct?”

“Yes, that is correct. But I only did that in the past, I don’t do it anymore,” I tried to reassure him.

“Ok. What about your usage of hot water when washing? Do you still use hot water every-time you do laundry?” Shane asked with a serious face.

“No, sir, I don’t do that anymore, either. I learned my lessons. May I ask, how is this relevant to my stay here?” I asked, getting nauseous. I scratched my unwashed head like a monkey.

“The reason I am asking this Miss …errr.”- he glanced at my passport, “Leah, is that we want to make sure you won’t commit any of these crimes here in Australia.”

“I can assure you bad laundry habits are in my past,” I reassured him and bit off a piece of nail from my pinky.

“If that’s the case, then you don’t mind if we swap your laundry for any discoloring?”- Shane would not stop.

“Not at all,” I told him.

He left the room and was gone for probably an hour. I sat there with my head leaning against the table. I knew the outcome of the test. I have also seen the show “Border Security: Australia’s Front Line.” Once they have you in  the interview room you are banned from the country no matter what you say.

Shane comes back with a disappointing look on his face. He puts a big bureaucratic pile of papers on the table and clears his throat.

“Today I have decided to cancel your visa. So what will happen from here is that we will contact an airline to–” His words became a blur. I didn’t fight it. It’s pointless. Every conversation I have with people I get the same treatment. I am the laundry criminal.

“I, Leah Rennes, am the criminal who does not separate her laundry into colors and whites/light pastels and I don’t care if I use hot or cold water. I just use hot for everything- and I will do so until the day I die because I DON’T care!!”

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The loser leaving work at 5pm

I normally start my work count down to 5pm roughly around noon.

I take my lunch  at 12:30pm so in my head, I am closer to that 5 o’clock in my head. Since I take an hour lunch, I get back by 1:30pm and, hey, that is just 3 hours and 30 minutes away from that wonderful 5 pm!!

Then I try to do some work, maybe be productive for about two more hours which gets me to 3:30 pm. Then the second count down to 5 o’clock starts. Any work that would require more than two hours gets pushed onto the next day. I probably get up and go to the bathroom and/or get some coffee. Then I do some more work, hoping for no last minute complications that would impede me from leaving at 5pm.

I don’t know how your workplace is, but where I work people are serious. 5pm means nothing to them. They don’t care if they don’t see their kids, spend more time with their spouses, no, work has to get done because there is not always another day.

So that means that I am usually the first one to get up at 5:00pm. I look around as business chatter continues as if in fact, it is not 5 o’clock in our very own office. I shut down my computer and I sneak out.

I sneak out like a plain traitor that has the audacity to leave work at 5pm! I try not to attract too much attention. I know most of these people will stay at least half hour/an hour late to finish up whatever they were doing. I feel like I am being watched, being judged- “Look at Leah leaving work exactly at 5pm! Who does she think she is?!” So I try to duck down in a way that will get me fastest to my car. I  feel their stares, they are piercing me with fierce judgement but I continue. As the proud leader of the 5pm rebellion, I see some other people follow behind me.

I get inside my car and drive away before my boss comes behind me, chasing me to finish something that can be done tomorrow- and once I am off the company parking lot, I feel like I am winning! I get to go home and see my family even if for the measly 2 hours. I may be a loser that doesn’t work hard and leaves at 5pm, but I am a winner in my family’s eyes!

How about you, readers? Do you also feel weird leaving work at 5pm on the dot or is your company more understanding when it comes to it? Do you feel the peer pressure as well? Leave comments below……and don’t forget to leave at 5pm, sharp!!

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“How was your weekend?”

It is an early Sunday morning, but I already dread everyone’s favorite question at work after the weekend is over.

The mandatory Monday morning question.

The whenever you’re awkwardly standing by the Keurig machine waiting for the water to  heat up so you can make coffee question.

The whenever you spot someone pass your desk and you accidentally looked them in the eyes and you can’t ignore them question.

The question everyone likes to shout as they pass you by and obviously have no intention of knowing the answer to.

“How was your weekend?”

I guess this question  bothers me because I can’t ever answer it truthfully. Can I say that it was:

“Too short.”  “I did absolutely nothing.”  “I slept all day.” “I was exhausted from last week so I sat around all day and watched the Office.” “My weekend was ruined because of the mere thought of having to come to work.” “My weekend was bad because I got a bunch of emails from my boss.” “I had two glasses of wine which got me a little too drunk and I had to rest all Sunday to recover.”

So, meh, don’t ask me about my weekend on a Monday. Mostly it is two days of trying to recover from a crazy work week.

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Luckily, my Mom is on Facebook.

I know kids these days don’t know what Facebook is or they roll their eyes and say it is SO passé. But I still use it as it’s been a part of my life since 2007 – woah, 9 years!- and I’ve stuck with every layout change that they made, specially in the first five years before they kind of decided to stick with the timeline format.

Of course, the usage of my Facebook greatly changed throughout the years. I was much younger and more naive 9 years ago and therefore the posts were age appropriate. I have since, as might be expected, deleted quite a few but all in all my posts were/are alright.

Around 2010 (2011?), my Mom joined Facebook and as many others, I dreaded adding her to MY Facebook. Gosh, these are my private thoughts I share on the internet with my friends, not my MOM! What should I do? Add her or block her? After a week of listening to her whining that we are truly not friends if we are not Facebook friends I decided to add her.

My Facebook posts have changed since. I think twice about what I write or think twice about who am I arguing with about a certain hot issue (btw, never get into arguments on Facebook, they are a complete waste of time and pointless!).

I guess it is safe to say that since my Mom joined Facebook, I think twice about what I say or do because I do not want her to see her daughter act like an idiot or say something stupid. Not that I do that often, but it happens. It happens to all of us and we should all be happy we have our Moms as Facebook friends- internet is not a public diary and we don’t want them to find out every detail of our lives. Or do we?

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10 experts in 1 C-grade student

I’ve never been so good in the field of science (hence, I got C’s or B’s if I was lucky). But I thought hey, it’s ok, some are better at it than others and my forte has always been the creative side of the brain.

That was until I was struggling to figure out what they put in my joghurt, my make up and my shampoo. The food/make up industry is making me re-learn everything- how a body works, what is good for your body, types of skin, types of vitamins, how organs work and are affected by what I eat etc. I mean, it is annoying. I have to be a nutritionist, dermatologist, biologist, psychologist, chemist, dietitian, pharmacist, materials scientist, environmental analyst and a researcher all in one! I am not capable of doing that people!… And I shouldn’t have to be all that!

I am appalled by how meticulously I have to look at every product I buy. In the food section I have to make sure it doesn’t have hidden sugars (like, oh, just 18g of sugar in a small yogurt), don’t even get me started on bread products and foods that have random trans fats etc. I mean, yeah, I know you will say just stay away from processed foods. I do that, for the most part, but darn it if I crave a yogurt or bread every few days do I really have to spend ten minutes looking at labels wondering which one is the worst for me?

Do I really have to learn chemistry to figure out the sulfites or whatever they are putting in my shampoo is actually bad for the hair but it is cheap to make? Do I really?

Things need to get better regulated in the States, I’m sorry. It shouldn’t be ok to dump sugar in every product out there just because they can, it shouldn’t be ok to stuff people with trans fats just because they can and it shouldn’t be ok to add the crazy chemical components to the products we use on our skin/hair etc just because they can. It just shouldn’t be!!

I know, as consumers we have the choice of not buying these products, but you know, sometimes I just want to buy a nice piece of meat without having to wonder what kind of treatment the poor animals went through and that steak shouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg. I know for a fact that for example Aldi, the German discount retailer, had much better meat in Europe than it does here. And it has everything to do with what they can get away with. So I want that quality here in America too, people. That’s all I want.

It’s sad that the USP (unique selling proposition) of some companies is that their products don’t contain “the fake stuff.” How on Earth did we get to this sad point?

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Area dog more than happy to be a couch potato

“Would you look at her,” said Tanya with a hint of despise. She was referring to her dog Stella who was stretched out across the couch in the living room. “I think when she dies we will bury the couch with her.”

Tanya and I nonchalantly took a seat next to Stella. “Is it really that bad if a dog enjoys being on the couch?” I asked Tanya. “You love the couch as much as the next person.” “I do,” she responded and took a bite of the grilled cheese sandwich she made inspired by the one seen on America’s Test Kitchen. “But this dog, she almost abuses the couch. I’ve never seen anyone so happy just spreading across the thing in multiple ways. She lays on her back, her belly, her side- you name it.”

I looked at Stella. Her eyes gave away content and a sense of bliss. Soft cushions were supporting her big head as her butt was slowly sinking into the couch. This dog was happy, so happy to be a couch potato.

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Little girl wants to become a singer to sing about drinking and partying all night


Atlanta, GA- Music is a powerful thing. It influences our mood, our feelings and even changes our lives. There are many wonderful musicians which touch our hearts with their powerful songs.

For Ellie Coleman, 5, singing is her life. Ellie means nothing but business- she may be only five but she is more than ready to be a singing sensation when she gets older. She has a lot of favorite singers she looks up to, she told me when I talked to her about musical inspirations. “I like Miley Cyrus. Keisha. Taylor Swift too although I liked her better when she was country,” she shared with me.
“What kind of songs do you like to sing? Right now it seems you are leaning more towards love songs,” I asked her.
“That’s true,” she agreed. “But that’s because my Mom chooses the songs. I think once I get older I will sing about drinking and partying. You know that Keisha verse –Drop top and playin’ our favorite CD’s, Pullin’ up to the parties, Tryna get a little bit tipsy. Or Miley singing about being in the club standing on the couch, In them Wolf Greys like it’s my house, Drinking out the bottle, I got no respect…- these are the words of great musicians,” Ellie said with her eyes sparkling. “They know what life is all about. So I will definitely try to carry on this legacy of clubbing days, poppin bottles and staying up til the break of dawn.”

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Wife annoyed by having to be “the big spoon” all the time

Austin, TX- Spooning is one of the most popular ways for couples to share some tender moments, affection and snuggles. In most cases, men tend to be the big spoons since they are the taller or more masculine partner. However, in the modern age, spooning does not necessarily have to be done with traditional roles assumed based on gender.

Lilly Phillips, 34, has been the big spoon through the entire five year marriage with Francis and as she says, “she is getting sick of it.”

She is used to being the little spoon from her previous relationships but with Francis, it was different. “He always wanted to be the little spoon. I did it for a while but I want to be hugged to you know,” she shared with us. “I like his arms around me, I feel very safe. But when I am the one spooning him and I feel so awkward because of the size difference. He is a 280-pound man who is much taller than me so hugging him does not cover much. I just wish he would be the big spoon, you know. I deserve to be the little spoon sometimes, darn it.”

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Guy at Sweet Tomatoes Doesn’t Eat All He Can Eat

West Palm Beach, FL- Employees of Sweet Tomatoes, “a buffet chain serving health-conscious American eats with from-scratch soups, salads, pastas & more,” are used to customers who walk out with their pants undone, moaning of how much food they had. It is a common sight at the “all you can eat” restaurant- but last Thursday, a normal guy walked in and had no problems walking out.

“I noticed his suspicious behavior by the salad bar already,” an employee at Sweet Tomatoes told us. “He didn’t pile on as much salad, croutons, beans etc. as he could but actually put a normal amount of food on the plate. Then, he continued his way to the soup&pasta area and took a bowl of soup, a baked potato with only a little bit of sour creme and that was it. I was shocked,” said the aforementioned employee. “He didn’t even get desert! The guy took an orange to go and he walked out like nothing happened.”

All the employees that day were utterly shocked and stayed in shock for the rest of the day. “We don’t see it happen a lot, you know. It seemed surreal.”

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Billy, 25, just barely got himself to “like” his Dad’s ZOO photos

Sarasota, FL- It is bad enough our parents know what Facebook is. It is even worse that they have befriended us and have the rare access to our public internet Facebook life. Their presence means only two things- posting embarrassing comments to our photos and postings and/or them posting embarrassing photos of themselves in a public or private space.

Billy, 25, has been friends with his Dad on Facebook for more than four years now and he has unfollowed his Dad’s post feed a long time ago. “He uses humor that is very typical for his generation, you know. The pictures he takes and the ideas he shares are from Ronald Reagan times and well, he loves the Three Stooges type of humor, you know, the one with physical farce and slapstick and I just find that incredibly dumb. All the old people he knows find it hilarious but I just can’t get myself to like any of it.”

Billy does try sometimes to like his Dad’s photos. “Well, I don’t want to be the son that doesn’t like anything on his Dad’s Facebook. Just the other day I liked his ZOO photos. He went there and took selfies with the giraffes and found it hilarious when monkeys were doing it in front of him and posted a bunch of photos of it. Like, it’s not that funny but I love him anyway. So I “liked” the album but I won’t “like” anything for a while.”

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