In Too Deep

A dream of mine came true recently. It took a hard left turn into a bit of a nightmare, but, like, a funny one, where you wake up scared-- but laughing. 

A mistaken identity text exploited for japery!

The sender thinks they are texting someone else, and rather than telling them "wrong number," you just roll with it. You've seen instances of this online, they sometimes go viral because the recipient plays along or trolls the sender, and hilarity unfolds as things escalate. I always say, "dang I wish that would happen to me so I could mess with someone."

Because in my head, and despite never actually attempting it, I'm an improv genius, and the world is missing out on my star-shine because I'll never be camera-ready. 

With all this pre-existing desire to have a wrong-number text fall into my lap, I may have been over-primed and shot out of the gate too fast when it actually did.

Let's dive in. Here's the initial text:

if you already know where this is going, congrats on being smarter than me, and maybe we should get you some help.

Now, most of this was pure nonsense to me, but I didn't care. MY MOMENT HAD COME! And if my sender/target is a little less proficient at making the Englishes, it could be even more fun!

Since I was shooting blind with zero context of what this dude is talking about or who he (she?) thinks I am, I just went wide with it, employing the classic Righteous Wronged Lover/Friend ploy as my opening gambit.

I'm confident I have him off-balance right away.. He's thinking of every way he's ever wronged whoever he thinks I am. 

I am expecting a little more personal and specific intel when he replies. Is he an ex-lover? A bro turned enemy? A mild mannered co-worker that is spiraling now that I've come out guns blazing? 

Damn. My new friend is surprisingly emotionally healthy (unlike 80% of people I typically encounter) and apologizes immediately rather than escalating or striking back like I'd hoped. BUT he is accepting the fact that he does in fact have a lot of nerve contacting me--meaning there's been some drama in the past.  I'M AS GOOD AT THIS AS I HAD HOPED.

I'm concerned but still frosty. I care about him, at least, hurt though I may be. Trying to keep him on the line here. If his grandma died, or he was in a car accident, and that's why he wronged "me,"  I don't want to be so mean to him that he just cuts me off.

Ummmmm. Okay. Was NOT expecting that.

So what we know:

1. He screwed over someone, but 2. he didn't want to--there was an extenuating circumstance, and 3. the emergency ended well because he escaped from something/someone.

This is like guessing someone else's Mad-Lib answers. I am genuinely intrigued and want to know his life and story at this point.

He could 100% be reverse trolling me here, but I don't care. I'm eating out of his hand. And anyway, once I figure out what he escaped from, I can double cross him and return to my pranksmanship.

I'm wracking my brain though as I wait for a reply. What on earth is happening? Is the initial message he sent me the Rosetta Stone to figuring out the rest of this convo and our secret backstory?

I look at it again and drop out everything that is nonsense words to me and get a rough translation of  "super super a1 on deck and zans."

"really much/extra noun (probably) is on deck (aka on hand, coming up soon, ready, etc.), and also some plural nouns(?)" 

The lack of syntax should have been my first red flag. "Lean not on the words of he who useth not verbs" -(1 Keighticles 2:14)

But he replies!

Okay, on first glance this doesn't make sense either. But then one "word" jumps out. "Popo." As is Police, or policía, if youre Ben Stiller in Anchorman.

Image result for policia anchorman

But policía are not people that I attempt to get away from. I'm now concerned that I am trying to be Bart Simpson and I have Tony Soprano on the other end of this little joke. I notice the texts aren't blue like they are when an iPhone texts, and all my Breaking Bad knowledge comes flooding back: he's texting me from a burner!!!

He elaborates and clarifies.

Someone tried to set him up with the police and he *thankfully* got away. Oh dear. None of this is how I imagined it. 

I decide to do what I should have done from the beginning (if I hadn't been so giddy to start my punk'd episode): Urban Dictionary the words I don't understand from the original text.

Urban dictionary has two types of entries: those that are so elementary or stupid that even a 3 year old doesn't need to be told what they mean, AND horrifying (surely fictional) sexual terms that turn any (and basically EVERY) normal word or phrase into something that--at 35 and rather acquainted with the rated-R aspects of modern life--I'm too young and innocent to be exposed to. If you can leave this website without cringing, you've got me beat.

First mystery term: a1

Aw, okay. That's kind of what I figured. So my friend is talking about something lovely or on point. Nothing to be afraid of there!

Buuuuuut then I scroll down to the next most popular entry

horrible word blurred by me, in an example sentence that is unintelligible.

Wellllll, now I've done it. He's writing me to tell me he has some very pure cocaine. I am not in need of riding the cocoa dragon: I can't even drink two freaking cups of coffee in one day without losing my mind and trying to make friends with strangers at the grocery store, can you imagine me on cocaine (no baking soda)? I’d for sure try to balloon boy one of my kids

 I almost don't even need to search "zans" because I have some solid context now for who this guy is and why he's texting "me."

Ah. Xanax. Yes. So I'm guessing this fellow isn't a pharmacist, because though cocaine was prescribed back in the day for your dropsy, swooning spells, and overexertion in the gold rush of 1848, I don't believe its pharmaceutical heyday ever overlapped with that of Xanax. THIS IS NOT COVERED BY MY HEALTHCARE PROVIDER!

It's a drug dealer. I'm trolling a drug dealer. I regret everything and I want out. 

I immediately google my cell phone number to see if it's in any way associated with my physical address, name or children's schools (mama don't need no Man on Fire Dakota Fanning drama). It's not. Shwew.

I have not responded since then. I couldn't sit still for like 3 hours after this adrenaline spike (like I'd gotten ahold of some super super A1, amirite?). 

Ironically, I never thought I needed Xanax until this little episode! 

I think I'll talk to my doctor about it instead of my texting buddy, though.


About That Rebuild...

90% of conversations with non-Jesse adult humans these days start or include this:

"How's the house coming along?"

They do this out of love and concern and interest. Having people in our life who know what's going on and care about us? That's a great thing: I see and receive that as goodness.

This doesn't negate the fact that I now have a self-diagnosed case of carpal-tunnel syndrome in my tongue from answering it in the most diplomatic way I know how, over and over again:

"Well, they are saying we'll be back in by the first week or two of February...but then again they said before Thanksgiving and January 4th, also. Really, anytime before vernal equinox would be a slam dunk at this point."

I act breezy when I say that, like, "whatevs, I BARELY even care. I almost forgot I was building a house until you mentioned it," and hope they don't notice my insurance-sponsored facial tic.

And we all go on about our lives.


The other, truer answer gives far more insight into our building experience and my general frame of mind, but may also qualify me for an involuntary psych hold, so I usually hold back. 

But hell, what's a blog for if not for saying things in writing on the WORLD-WIDE web that I wouldn't in real life?! (cue Jesse panic-sweat as he reads this).

You should picture a rubber band being wound progressively tighter as this reply unfolds:

"You know when you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a beautiful sculpture you've always wanted and will have for decades? 

And then it breaks into a million pieces 10 months after you buy it? 

And you have to pick up the pieces and glue it all back together? 

And there's a chance you can make it even more lovely than it was before, BUT only YOU know how it's supposed to look once it's finished?  

But you're not actually allowed to touch the pieces yourself?

And how only a blindfolded person can touch them for you, but you can't talk directly to the person touching the pieces, and instead MUST use an interpreter/middle man? 

But you only share maybe 20% of a common language with the interpreter? 

And you only get ONE CHANCE? 
And the clock is ticking because time is money?

Yeah, that's pretty much how it's going. LaughOutLoud, right?"

And then I hit the powder room to freshen up because I'm sweating a hearty mixture of blood and concentrated stress hormone from my under-boob area. 

And I look in the mirror at my crazed eyes, and I think to myself "THIS. Renovating after a fire. THIS is the Joker's true origin-story."


Oh, you were just wondering about paint color? Oh, yeah, ahem, it's white. We're going with white.

'Cause it matches my facepaint.

Image result for the joker burning money


Halloween 2016: Put Up Your Dunes

I have been SITTING on this drop-dead-slay-worthy piece of comedy for OVER TEN MONTHS. It took everything I had in January not to run immediately to the computer and share it.

I knew, I JUST KNEW, if I could wait until after Halloween, it would be so so worth the wait to reveal it all together.

What follows is the funniest recording I've ever spontaneously caught, combined with our yearly DIY family Halloween costume, sprinkled with every self-esteem issue I've ever had, rolled up with what it often feels like to be a mom.

Before anything, you must--MUST watch this short clip that explains where it all began. I beg of you not to skip ahead...it's so worth it. --Also because I spent an embarrassing amount of time making the video on my phone to go along with the audio and it's delightfully ghetto:

It came RIGHT to her, and Judah immediately agreed: no one had any issues with this match up!

And with that, the Dukes Family proudly presents our 2016 Halloween Offering: 

Aladdin Fam:
Starring: Jesse as Jafar; Noa as Abu; Layla as Jasmine; Judah as Aladdin; Keight as that buxom obese creepy lady who is on screen for 2 seconds objectifying the protagonist.

Could we have gone the Genie/Sultan/Carpet route? YES! In fact, Jesse was only chosen as Jafar out of all of these options only because I found a black robe at the thrift store before any of those other characters' prop (and it turned out great because I'd actually forgotten what the kids had originally assigned him in the recording). And it would have been way more iconic and recognizable for me to do one of them instead of "the rather tasty lady", but I simply could NOT give up this chance that the kids had scripted for me.

It crazy to me how well they nailed a theme too. They just did so well picking out costumes that fit each kid and what character they would like and would be cute on them. PLUS something cool for daddy and then something leftover and horribly embarrassing for mommy. JUST LIKE EVERY YEAR.

I was kind of feeling like a slacker for doing a Disney princess theme (including her non DIY outfit) but now I think this may be my favorite year ever because it's so bananas and just so us.

Street Rat surprisingly LOVED his costume. He's usually the least game of all of us.

Lounging with Raja on her terrace dreaming of a life of freedom (crying eyes because her ear piercing had closed up a teeny bit and I poked the earring through). 

Sticking together on the mean streets of Agrabah.  Noa also put up ZERO fight about the face-encompassing costume. and ADORED everything about Halloween (saying "TICKOTEE" and "gank goo" repeatedly being her favorite activities). 

This was extremely fun. He has on SO much eyeliner. We ran out of time or we would've added the twirly beard and snake staff.  I still think he pulls it off, and then some.

Go ahead and pencil this one in for "Senior Yearbook ad" and "rehearsal dinner"


I can show you my fist
Punch you over and over
let me tell you princess, if this gets out at school 
I'll make you paaaaaay!
A whole new world!

Urchin Squad

Things are unravelling fast now, Boy!

Sending your flea-ridden pet to do your dirty work!?
 Your sorcery will never win her, Jafar! She doesn't love you!

The greatest love story never told. Cant wait to spend 10,000 years crammed  into a lamp with this guy.