Pintesting: Or as my mother would say: Pin-nin-testing.

First, I can no longer pronounce Pinterest properly in my head, as I can only hear my mother saying”Pin-nin-terest.”  It’s quite the affliction.

Keep reading. I promise this graphic is relevant to this post.

Keep reading. I promise this graphic is relevant to this post.

Anyway, I’ve shared my frenemy relationship with this soul-sucking black hole of a website where twee goes to die.  Alas, I keep going back to it.  Pinterest and I never stay broken up.  I was terribly afraid I was alone in my love/hate relationship with this instrument of the devil, when I discovered Sonja Foust’s blog: Pintester.  What is this stroke of genius, you ask? Well, in the name of research, Sonja tests pins so we don’t have to.  She has wrapped her body in saran wrap after coating it with a questionable mixture of old body creams, made satanic deviled eggs, nearly set her hand on fire, created baked goods that would probably bounce, and much more.  As an added bonus, she has a delightfully dirty sense of humor while she does it (if you have a “delicate constitution” when it comes to profanity and filthy jokes, this isn’t the blog for you).  It’s a winning combination.

So, when Sonja put out the call to ask us “Pintestes” (there’s that dirty thing) to join her in the Pintester movement, I signed up and prepared to fail quite hilariously, vowing to pick the weirdest pin I could find. I then amended it to “the weirdest pin I could find that wouldn’t give me nightmares,” probably because of visual dalliances with things likes this :

Someone, somewhere, actually made this.  And presumably, brought it out into public.  Around people.

Someone, somewhere, actually made this and presumably, brought it out into public.                                                                         Notice how it appears to have retained its ass imprinted shape.

Next up from this crafter: "How to build a floating canoe for your dish soap with popsicle sticks and a glue gun!"

Next up: “How to build a floating canoe for your dish soap with popsicle sticks and a glue gun!”

I would like to take this opportunity to go on record as saying that if I EVER start to dress, accessorize, or otherwise “jazz up” my cleaning supplies (this includes glitter in the windex), please send help.  Moving on.  Very nearly frightened out of doing this project, I decided to take a break and feasted my eyes on this little rock.

For a split second, my heart lifted, but then I remembered that my life is not a Hallmark movie.  No way could I secure one of these things by the deadline of May 30.    Phooey.  It's probably a blood diamond, anyway.

For a split second, my heart lifted, but then I remembered that my life is not a Hallmark movie. No way could I secure one of these things by the deadline of May 30. Phooey. It’s probably a blood diamond, anyway.

Bolstered by this showing of good taste, I forged on, turning my attention to fashion DIY.

Now, I will say that this was pinned for that scarf.  I'm not sure what it says about me that I found myself thinking, "I suppose you could glue one of those things from Pier 1 to a headband and call it a day."   NO, JENNY!"

Now, I will say that this was pinned for that scarf. I’m not sure what it says about me that I found myself thinking, “I suppose you could find a ball thingy like that from Pier 1, glue it to a headband and call it a day.” See what Pinterest does to you?

I quickly veered back to the Craft/DIY section, where I happened upon what appeared to be a pretty promising project.  Until I realized I would have to paint hundreds of plastic spoons by hand.

llama meme

I made one more tentative fray outside of the Craft/DIY section, where a recipe for vegan deviled eggs caught my attention, but I was deterred by the thought that if they really were as “true to the real thing” as possible, that sulfur smell had to come from SOMEWHERE.  About to give up, I decided to give the Crafts/DIY section one more shot and  lo and behold!  Buried in a quite religious-leaning post, complete with fanciful prose was a project that I could do, would LIKE to do, and wouldn’t require a trip to a hardware store, the art store, or result in a trip to the emergency room.  I gathered my supplies, and prepared to complete my pintest.

feathers pin

You’ll see that I declined to use bible pages and hymnals (I really have no idea, but is cutting up the bible kind of like cutting up the flag?), choosing instead to use some colorful papers I had lying around.  My supplies:

Getting Started

Obviously, the occasion called for coffee frozen yogurt and strawberries. I also threw in the paper, wire cutters, tacky glue, metal rods and scissors.

 The first instruction I ignored?  Rather than use the template, I eyeballed the feather and metal rod cutting because I am a complete rebel. Basically, I cut some wonky looking surfboard shapes with the paper back-to-back and glued the rods in between so the patterned paper showed on both sides.

IN PROGRESS

Then, it was time to move to cover the ends, a task that inspired a bit of profanity.  The finished product?  Absolutely terrible.

BAD QUILL2

This wasn’t the last mistake I made, either.  There was an unfortunate slip of the scissors, which, thank the Pinterest gods, I was able to fix.

MISTAKE

Despite these two earth shattering obstacles, I bravely forged on after peeling the layers of glue from my cuticles.  I made the cuts, and used my fingers to shape the feathers ever so slightly.  I suppose I ended up with a decent product. Here’s a side by side comparison:

FINAL FEATHERS

Here they are in an appropriately twee setting.

Feathers in vase

So, my first Pintest was a success.  I’m sure this is because I didn’t smear weird things on my face, use an iron for a purpose other than to iron clothing or linens, combine brownies, cookies, pie and bourbon into a brookpiebon or something along those lines, or attempt to make a smart car out of lincoln logs.  Keeping it simple is sometimes the best way to go.

When your parents are deaf.

First, a couple of items of business.  Numero uno:  I am incredibly honored to have been freshly pressed (that sounds like I was run through a juicer), and I am touched and humbled by the responses I have gotten and those of you who have started following this little blog.  Thank you for reading and for all of your comments – some that made me tear up, some that made me laugh, and one that, admittedly, was pretty gross (to be fair, there was a fart reference in the post in question, so I’ll let it slide). Numero dos: I am recovering from a nasty flu-like virus as I write this.  So, any errors, let’s chalk it up to the Dayquil, shall we?

Now, let’s talk about the good stuff.  No, not the GOOD good stuff.  I’ve told you before- my grandma reads this.  I want to talk a bit about what it was like growing up with profoundly deaf parents.  I’ve never intended for this blog to be about the deaf/hoh experience, but I never thought people would be terribly interested.   Apparently, I was wrong, so, when the mood hits, I’ll continue to write about it.

A while back, I had the following conversation with my cousins.

Lily (Age 12):  So, I invented this thing called sledbagging.

Me (attempting to hide laughter at name of  said invention):  What the heck is that?

Maddie (Lily’s sister, age 9): Basically, you get in a sleeping bag and slide down the stairs.

Me:  What?! Doesn’t that hurt?

Maddie:  Not as much as the laundry basket! That was Lily’s first idea.

Me:  Lily, what the heck are you making Maddie do this stuff for?

Lily:  Do I LOOK dumb enough to try this stuff first?

I, too, forced my little brother to do a lot of questionable stuff, my favorite of which was tying tomato stakes to his snow boots and making him “ski” down the rocky hill in our backyard (no, it didn’t work).  I got away with A LOT because my mother couldn’t hear me plotting and planning.  Nor could she hear the screaming that ensued when my plans went awry, as they inevitably did.

My brother is completely hearing and as a child my hearing was not as poor as it is now, so I suppose you could say that we were hearing children raised by deaf parents.  I’ll preface this next sentence with a “sorry, mom!” but we cashed in on it in every way, shape and form possible.  That’s right- these two innocent looking kids=hellions.  I think I was acting out because I was resentful of my damned hair (I hadn’t heard of frizz ease yet).  Or maybe I was just a brat.

The hair! The sweater!  But look how cute Josh was.  You can clearly see how he got away with everything.

The hair! The sweater! But look how cute Josh was. You can clearly see how he got away with everything.

What, exactly, did we do? We talked back under our breath (I’d be an awesome ventriloquist- you can’t move your lips- deaf parents lip read), we snuck out of our rooms at night and hid behind the couch in back of them watching TV we had no business watching, we hid out in the attic that we were expressly forbidden from entering, snuck out of our rooms while grounded, we would talk to each other from our bedrooms at night, listen to music when we were supposed to be quietly doing our homework or “thinking about what we did,” etc.

I have a really bad microwave track record.  The first microwave (yes, I said the FIRST) I ever set a fire in, my mother was downstairs on the computer and Josh and I were upstairs trying to make popcorn.  The bag burst into flames and we started screaming like maniacs.  I unplugged it and we ran back and forth from the sink to the microwave, putting out the fire.  When my mom still didn’t appear, we cleaned it up and I sprayed her perfume ALL OVER THE KITCHEN.  It was like a Perfumania detonated their version of the atom(izer) bomb.  She came up shortly after we’d repaired the damage, sniffed the air and said, “Have you been playing with my perfume?”  That’s right.  I set a kitchen fire as a child with my mother in the house, she wasn’t asleep or in any other way unconscious, and I got away with it.

Our house was always super popular on Halloween.  It wasn’t because we gave out full-size candy bars or we had fabulously creepy decorations.  On the contrary- my mother loathes halloween.  It really wasn’t her fault we were inadvertently ready for it 24/7, 365 days a year.  Whenever the doorbell rang, the phone rang, or the alarm clock went off, the lights in the house would go on and off, the bed would vibrate (I know, I know- there isn’t a joke on the planet I haven’t heard about THAT one), and an extremely shrill noise went off in short, staccato blasts.  Depending on how many times/in what pattern this occurred, my parents could tell what was happening.  Essentially, we had several elements of a haunted house without even trying.

Sometimes, it would be a bit of a party trick to show off my parents.  It broke the ice.  Whenever I had a new friend over, I’d demonstrate the joys of having deaf parents.  I remember my dad in the kitchen chopping zucchini when my friend Melissa came over for our first playdate.  We ventured to the kitchen and facing his back I said, “I HATE zucchini- that’s all we ever eat!”  He kept on chopping, completely oblivious, and her eyes bugged out of her head.  I actually LOVE zucchini, but apparently, that was irrelevant.

I wasn’t all evil.  I helped a lot.  I interpreted endlessly, I made phone calls that no one would expect of a child who hadn’t hit double digits, and I learned tolerance from a very young age.  I had my heart broken, too.  When you learn about tolerance, you must also learn about intolerance.

In Helen Keller’s time and long before, deaf people were labeled “deaf and dumb.” What we don’t realize, perhaps because many people have not met a deaf or hard of hearing person, is that the attitude persists today.  I’m not talking about the people who have lost a little hearing as they age and go to the mall for a Miracle Ear.  I’m talking about people like my mother, who didn’t hear a thing until she was two years old and got her first hearing aid.  She’s amazing.  She underwent years and year of speech therapy and you can hardly tell she’s deaf when she speaks.  For a profoundly deaf person- holy crap.  I can only hope that if I have children, they will grow up to be tolerant, even if the world itself is full of ignorance.  And they better watch out.  I know all the damn tricks.  And mom, don’t even THINK about encouraging them.

What’s it like to be deaf?

First, you know how some people carry an emergency…contraceptive (my grandmother reads this) in their wallet?  Well, MY friend carries an emergency York Peppermint Patty.  Priorities, people, priorities.

That really has nothing to do with my post for today.  What I really want to talk about is the whole, “being deaf/hard-of-hearing” deal. Here’s today’s public service announcement: CONTRARY to popular belief, I do not have selective hearing, I’m NOT making it up, and NOT ALL DEAF PEOPLE have a “funny accent.”

Sure, my friends can still do it like animals (must.bleach.brain.) in their room with paper thin walls while I crash on their couch and no one is embarrassed in the morning.  Sure, if I tell the airline personnel handling boarding I’m deaf, I get to board with the babies and elderly.  Jealous, are you? Don’t be.  There’s a whole other side to this, people.  I bet you’ve never thought of half of these.

The REAL Reasons it’s tough to be deaf/hard of hearing:

1.  Unless it’s an SBD, you’re at a distinct disadvantage when someone lets one fly.  No advance warning (hi, grandma!).

2.  You can’t lead flashmobs.  If you miss the first strains of music, your count is thrown completely off and that’s just embarrassing.

3.  Your aesthetician may forget to speak up, so you might miss the warning that she’s going to pull the strip.

4.  Your TV is up so loud, your neighbors suspect that there is a ninety year old hostage living with you.

5.  On a similar vein, when you go through a rough patch, EVERYONE in the neighborhood can hear you listening to Air Supply and Celine Dion. On repeat.

6.   The Helen Keller jokes when you wear your glasses… Or when you don’t.

7.  You mix up weird words and think you heard the following sentence, “I burned the toast and went to the animal shelter for more booze.”  (I have no idea.)

8.  You sit through a drama at the movie theater and make up dialogue for entertainment, as you have no idea what the characters are saying.  While this is highly amusing for you,  a couple of days later, when at a party, someone knows you went to the movie and attempts to make conversation about said cinematic experience.  Your “I found it…highly ironic,” is met with odd stares.

9.You’re STILL mad you lost the fifth grade spelling bee finals because you thought you heard the girl before you spell “exaggeration” the way you thought it was spelled (CORRECTLY), and when they said, “incorrect,” you scrambled to come up with a different spelling, only to be informed that’s how SHE spelled it and that was “still wrong.”

10.  You have been hit with the following projectiles in a bid to get your attention: a remote control, a pool noodle, several pens, a coaster, a cherry tomato, a matchbox car, a potholder, a kitkat…  You KNOW there are more, and the lack of memory worries you there’s been some brain damage.

But what’s it really like?  You know, I’m not sure I can explain because it’s just the state of things. Technically, I’m not deaf, but moderately hard of hearing.  I miss a lot.  I don’t know what it’s like to be a hearing person, so I don’t know how to adequately compare.  What I can tell you is that mostly gleaned from observation and experience seeing what others can do that I can’t.

I can’t imagine being able to talk to someone in the next room, watching TV without captioning, listening to multiple conversations at a party, going to the movies without having to think about whether I’ll still understand it if I miss a lot of what is being said (action is always better than drama- rule of thumb)…  But for all of that, it’s my life.  It’s what I was born with.  You do the best you can with what you have, you use humor, you become resourceful. When all is said and done, I’m too grateful for what I do have to bother mourning what I don’t.