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I’ve processed many short bits of “Breaking Bad” over Tom’s shoulder in the last few months. I know nothing about the show but it seems to involve unattractive people and unsavory dealings in a suburban milieu. I don’t know if it’s the show, or the fact that Portland can’t seem to afford an active police force right now, or the fact that Cuz, recently transplanted from NYC, has commented numerous times about the dangers of living in Portland—yes, Portland—but I’m feeling a bit spooked and under siege in my home.

It started a month ago, when neighbors started emailing around about would-be thieves posing as Comcast employees. I don’t want to get into the details but the incidents were alarming enough that we all took extra care to lock our doors for a while. But time passes, and I forgot all about it, until I went grocery shopping with Cuz and she started talking about a weird Comcast employee who had stopped by during the day, asking her a slew of questions about who she was and how long she was staying in Portland, and where my husband and I were, and for how long. He left a flyer, with a handwritten note to call him about saving money. Bad number. Ugh.

The Comcast story isn’t that interesting, except to lay the foundation for my current, keyed up mood. All of a sudden, I’m buggin’. I see danger everywhere. The morning after I heard about the Comcast guy, I woke up and saw this in my parking strip.


I’m not one to freak out unnecessarily, which probably explains why I am robbed bi-annually. But that is a heavy metal mystery box chained to a tree in my front yard. With a serious lock, and electric wires protruding from it. I didn’t put it there. I thought, for three seconds, that it may have been Tom, but let’s be serious, there are at least seven things in this photo that require mechanical know-how that my husband does not possess.

Plus, I’ve seen a lot of episodes of McGyver. And if I learned anything from that show, it’s that if a box has wires coming out of it and is chained to something, it’s a bomb. Normally, my rational mind would stop me at this point to say, “Yoona, what are the chances that there is a bomb chained to a tree in your yard?” But as I said, I’m keyed up. On top of the Comcast thing, I’d been watching the DNC all week, worrying that someone would try to bomb the convention. So I saw this box chained to my tree, and promptly freaked out. I then proceeded to do the one thing I always do when I freak out, which is, to bother Tom.


But Tom wasn’t taking my texts that morning, either because of a legal emergency, or because he appears to permanently reside in a deadspot that is immune to receiving texts from my phone, unless I’m texting him to ask for his Chipotle order.

When Tom finally did call, he told me, matter-of-factly, that this box is likely a monitor of sorts, a machine that measures speed and other traffic info. He said he saw such boxes growing up in Michigan. Which hardly seems possible, because there are solar panels on the top of the box, and solar technology certainly postdates Tom’s childhood by at least a couple decades. But, per the usual, the more Tom talked, the more it made sense. Once explained, I hated the box even more, because now, the box made me feel stupid. It also made me feel panicked, because it suggested that someone on my street had complained about the speed of driving on my road, which made me wonder if they had called about me.

No time to dwell on it, though, because there was other spooky stuff to get paranoid about. That very night, I opened up Tom’s medicine cabinet looking for some Advil, and stumbled upon this.


I would hardly say otherwise here, but believe me when I say that I am clueless about drugs.  Almost the entirety of what I know about drugs comes from local news stories about meth, and my trusty US Weekly.  I still don’t really know anything about meth except that it gives you terrible skin and that you cook it, using common household items like fruit roll-ups. As for US Weekly, my most favored news source tells me that prescription drug abuse is running amok through Young Hollywood. Tom’s not a part of Young Hollywood, but Young Hollywood nonetheless sprang to mind when I saw his medicine cabinet.

I had so many questions. What was Patanase? A quick glance at the label revealed that Patanase is a nose spray for allergies. But WHY? I hadn’t noticed Tom’s allergies being particularly intense this year. Why would anyone have that much nose spray? Could my husband be addicted to Patanase? Could the addiction be spiraling out of control? Could the spiraling addiction explain why he keeps washing my yoga pants with towels, and also forgetting to turn the sprinkler off? Could it?? And how about the coupon for $40 off? $40 off a container of Patanase? How much did this stuff COST??? How could he need MORE Patanase? And when would the coupon expire?

Tom says most of the Patanase tubes are empty. Which raises lots of other questions, like why I even allow him to have his own medicine cabinet. But between the fake Comcast employees and the traffic boxes that look like bombs, I’m too tired to think about it.

31 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on aminukawu.

    October 7, 2012
  2. Um, the day after I read this, I came home to find on our front door a piece of printer paper with the shadiest-looking fake Comcast ad I’ve ever seen. Printed in Arial, and decorated with clip art of a computer circa 2006, it just says “Comcast special deal! Cable $17.99, cable and internet $39.99. Call John” with a phone number (in our area code). I immediately freaked out and thought about this post, and then I called Comcast, thinking they could maybe enlighten me? Or they’d want to know about this scam? I explained myself to the Comcast employee, who said, “So you want to know if it’s a scam?” and I said, “Um no, I’m like 99.9% sure it’s a scam.” She put me on hold and then came back and said, “I checked with my supervisor and we have representatives in the area, so it’s actually not a scam.” She checked with her supervisor, my foot…she just went and ate a Snickers, right?

    Anyway, I guess I wanted to say that this Comcast thing happens elsewhere, and if you have any other details about the scam in your area I’d personally love to hear them so I know if there’s something else to look out for. (Also, your texts to Tom about the potential bomb in the street made me laugh like a crazy person.)

    September 17, 2012
    • Comcast should think hard about doing something proactive about this problem before someone sues them for negligence. At the very least, have a care for the communities you service. Ugh!!! I loathe cable

      September 17, 2012
    • Also, I really appreciate that you noted the font. My kind of gal

      September 17, 2012
      • I had to make note of every detail, just in case it ended up as Evidence A in some major trial.
        (Would that happen? You would probably know better than I.)

        September 18, 2012
  3. I just have to say that you are hilarious! Love reading your blog — always makes me smile 🙂

    September 12, 2012
  4. Ashleigh #

    Dying. Just dying. At work. When I should be working and instead I’m reading your posting for the 3rd time. Just in case I missed something on the first 2 go rounds. Bless your heart for writing this blog and keeping me laughing.

    September 12, 2012
    • ha! i love re-reads. like re-runs. my posts do change from time to time if i fall out of love with the way i said something the first time. so if things ever seem slightly different, it’s not you

      September 13, 2012
  5. This must be a man thing, because why don’t they THROW THINGS AWAY if they’re empty?
    My super macho Husbandio wears women’s aerosol deodorant, and when the can is finished he just puts it into the medicine cabinet. WHY NOT THE GARBAGE???

    September 11, 2012
    • yes. YES. tom eats a gallon of ice cream but leaves one spoon’s worth at the bottom because he doesn’t want to throw it out. i confronted him about this and at least with the ice cream, it’s less laziness than an unwillingness to confront the fact that he ate a gallon of ice cream by himself

      September 11, 2012
  6. jinx #

    hilarious. this is my favorite new blog.

    September 10, 2012
  7. David #

    Your blog is my new addiction, reminding me of the late, great Erma Bombeck. If you ever do a book, I’ll buy it. Charming, funny and well written.

    September 10, 2012
    • awesome. i’m writing down the names of each would-be buyer and will be holding each to their bargain. i’m guaranteed at least seven sales to date

      September 10, 2012
      • Akie #

        Make that eight! At least, depending on how many copies I buy for other people.

        September 10, 2012
      • you’re on the list, akie. and btw, about your skin post comment–your oily skin will serve you well in the long run. fewer wrinkles!!

        September 11, 2012
  8. I love this.

    September 10, 2012
  9. Everything you need to know about Breaking Bad: It’s all about the hair

    What I don’t get is how they measure speed when those monitors are laid out over multiple lanes of traffic or lots of bikes pass over them. Should two cars be driving in opposite directions and hit the sensors at just the right moment, does it look like one car going 478 mph? “Mother of GOD!,” moans the traffic engineer. “Get a speed bump there NOW!”

    September 10, 2012
  10. Emily #

    Meth is also reportedly very bad for your teeth. It makes them chalky and brittle, which in my mind rivals bad skin for terrible side effects. Sorry to hear about the Comcast scam. So scary.

    September 10, 2012
    • Emily, I had no idea about the teeth. As Tom likes to say, what I don’t know would fill an ocean

      September 10, 2012
  11. lol, meth from fruit roll-ups. too funny!

    September 10, 2012
  12. I’ll second the traffic monitoring vote. Traffic gets monitored for speed, direction and frequency – that’s old stuff. Those monitors are employed when somebody other than a grieving family member being interviewed for the nightly news opines about the “need” for a stop sign in a neighborhood. Or maybe speed bumps. God I hope its not speed bumps. Those are a tool of Satan, no question.

    The fake cable company thing is totally gruesome though I’m shocked anybody who lived in NYC even answered the door, much less engaged in conversation with a stranger that way. Your cuz needs to check her skin regime ingredients for potential gullibility side effects.

    As to Tom? Think back – way back – maybe you saw this coming? He is the one who can stay up mysteriously cheerfully for hours past the point you’ve called it a day? He disappears into the bathroom (the newspaper is obviously a dodge) for long stretches at a time? Finally – his “watching” Breaking B? Probably arranging his “at least it’s not Meth” Teflon shield. What is with his insistence on breathing through his nose anyway? Doesn’t his mouth still open? I sense an intervention in your future.

    September 10, 2012
    • don’t blame Cuz. she has complained about the excessive friendliness of Portlanders for years, and now, having moved here, she was just doing her best to fit in

      September 10, 2012
      • When in Portland, etc. I get it. Actually sort of sweet when you put it that way. Cuz (and by extension her skincare productia) are hereby fully exonerated. Says me.

        September 10, 2012
    • “when in portland,” precisely!

      September 10, 2012
  13. I’m with you, Yoona. What is that box? Why the nasal sprays? Some very alarming things happening right now. I would be tempted to call the cops about the box–if they put it there, they should at least tell you so.

    September 10, 2012
    • the box is gone. as mysteriously as it appeared, it disappeared. which is a good thing for my poor young maple, which could hardly bear the strain

      September 10, 2012

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