I blame my sister (costume edition)

When I was in elementary school, my family would get really into decorating the outside of our house for Halloween. My older sister, who was a teenager at the time, was especially into making it legitimately creepy.

One year, when I was in fourth or fifth grade, I had just gotten home from trick-or-treating, and my sister and her boyfriend were passing out candy. I was dressed as a gypsy girl. As we stood on the porch waiting for the next round of kids, my sister had a vision. “Kelly!” she said. “Go sit in that chair and pretend to be dead!”

Obediently, I draped myself across the chair, eyes closed, mouth slightly agape. I must have been like that for a while (and possibly fallen asleep), because by the time I heard the rustle of candy dropping into plastic bags, I was over it. I abruptly stood up – at which point the little costumed boy on our porch let out a blood-curdling scream. Apparently he’d been a little too convinced by our ruse, and thought I’d either woken from the dead or was a dummy come to life.

His mom was pissed. It was very awkward.

WTF, sis?

Fast forward ten years…

This time it was not actually Halloween. However, I was home on break from college, and my sister excitedly called to tell me that she and her neighbors were throwing a Napoleon Dynamite-themed costume party. I was pumped and started crafting the perfect outfit to be Deb: calf-length leggings, a short, pastel tie-dye dress, fanny pack, slouchy socks with sneakers, and of course – the piece de resistance – a major side ponytail.

I showed up to the party feeling pretty good. I walked in, and it was a scene straight out of a movie – music blaring, everyone’s heads turning in slow motion to stare at me, and my heart thumping with the realization: no one else is in costume.

Soon my sister emerged from the crowd, covering her mouth with her hand to hold back laughter. “Oh my god,” she said. “Oh my god, I forgot to tell you we changed it.”

Shortly thereafter I grabbed hold of a bottle of wine, and thus began an epic failure of a night, the details of which do NOT need to end up on the Internet – but all of which I do blame on my sister.

Happy Halloween, sis!

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Anxiety shirt

“I bought Luna an anxiety shirt,” my mom said to me the other day.

“I’m sorry…what?”

The statement was nonsensical – Luna is our dog; she doesn’t wear shirts. Plus what the hell is an “anxiety shirt”? I thought I must have heard her wrong.

But no – she really did buy Luna an anxiety shirt.

She explained the concept to me – it’s supposed to apply soothing pressure to a dog, thus calming their nerves. I guess it’s similar to swaddling a baby.

I was flabbergasted. “I want an anxiety shirt!” I said.

The more I think about this, the more and more hilarious it becomes. I really didn’t know dog anxiety was such an epidemic. I mean, I was well aware that Luna suffers from it – she’s an adorable but incredibly neurotic, anxiety-ridden old girl – but I just assumed she was fitting in with the rest of us (ha, love you guys). A plethora of things trigger her anxiety – the small vacuum cleaner; the UPS guy; strange men (she and I are on the same page there); rain; loud noises; people wearing hats; etc. And when my dad goes out of town? She has a complete, stage-ten nervous breakdown.

This enormous bow is giving me anxiety

So yeah, she has anxiety. But this is really a widespread problem? I mean, obviously anxiety is a huge issue in our society and something most of us have probably dealt with. And I’m not going to go looking for the stats right now, but I know we in the U.S. seem to have a way higher instance of it than many parts of the world. But is it possible that our over-stressed, anxiety-inducing lifestyles are extending to our puppies??

It may be farfetched, but… I thought about the dozens of little dogs I used to see running along the beach in Costa Rica – nipping at my bike tires; scavenging for treats; chasing a rogue soccer ball that rolled their way. Not for nothing, but…none of them were wearing an anxiety shirt.

Poor Luna – the effectiveness of the shirt is TBD, but my mom fears they caused her even more anxiety just trying to get the thing on her.

But you know – with the end of grad school looming and a million life decisions waiting to be made…if the shirt doesn’t work for her, I’ll gladly give it a try!

(According to the website, anxiety shirts are now available for cats. There is nothing – nothing – I can think of that would give me more anxiety than trying to put a shirt on a cat.)