Sunday, December 30, 2007
What I have is called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Basically, my ovaries aren't creating eggs because they're too busy creating cysts and without those eggs and all the other hormones telling my uterus to begin preparation, I miss quite a few visits from Aunt Flow. It's just one of many side-effects to PCOS which can be, but are not limited to: ovarian cysts (check!), excessive weight gain (check!), sleep apnea (check!), increased facial hair growth (fortunately I've been spared this except for that one solitary chin hair that I have to violently pluck every few months.) In other words, it could be worse.
Overall I've found the problems to be tolerable, but I've gotta tell ya, the missed menstrual periods were killer those first few months. Every time it didn't show I let myself get excited only to be devastated after taking a test. Nowadays, I never expect my period to arrive and I've stopped running out to the convenience store for a new value pack of First Response tests when it doesn't show. Now I put more of an emphasis on making sure I'm not pregnant before I do anything crazy that could be harmful to a baby, like drinking excessively on New Year's Eve.
Which brings us to the aforementioned store where Jon and I were standing in one of the many liquor aisles. He'd already loaded his choice of alcohol, a case of 12 New Castle beers on sale for $12.99, into the shopping cart, and I was staring intensely at the wall of premixed drinks, trying to decide between the Mai Tai or Long Island Iced Tea. Just as I'd gently placed the bottle of Mai Tai into the cart, fairly confident with my choice, Jon reminded me of the conversation we'd had earlier in which I told him that I had to take a pregnancy test before the party on Monday and that I should pick one up the next time we were at the store.
His reminder made me second guess my choice of Mai Tais so I put it back on the wooden shelf, telling Jon that I'd wait to make my decision until after we knew if I could drink or not.
We then went in search of the home pregnancy tests which we found effortlessly. I snagged a twin pack off the shelf and got in line at the register, loading what I'm sure appeared to be an odd combination to anyone; a 12 case of beer and a home pregnancy test on to the conveyor belt. I greeted the cashier, a middle-aged woman strangely resembling my seventh grade home economics teacher, and began fishing through my purse for my debit card.
"Are you expecting it to take?" she asked.
I heard her, but I didn't respond. I didn't know how to. Instead I shoved my face further into my purse and pretended to keep digging, even though I'd already located the card.
"Apparently not," she said.
I finally looked up, card in hand, and asked "Huh?"
"Well," she began, cocking her head to the side and grinning, "what did you just buy? I could've sworn I just scanned a pregnan.."
"Oh!" I interrupted, just as I attempted to scan my card through the reader but my hands were shaking so much that I missed, and the card went flying through the air and landed two feet away.
"I have no idea," I admitted, scrambling to reclaim my card and get the hell out of there.
At this point the young trainee standing at her side began to look a little uncomfortable, as well as the equally young girl who was then placing the test in a brown plastic bag.
"Do you have any children?" the cashier asked me, completely ignoring my discomfort in our conversation.
"No," I said, defensively.
"Then this will be your first! You must be so excited!" she squealed loud enough for other cashiers to glance in our direction. "You will just love being a Mommy!"
I quickly signed for the purchase, shoved the receipt into my purse, and began pushing the cart out of the lane, ignoring the woman's wishes of a Happy New Year and best of luck to us in parenthood.
Jon leaned into me while we rushed for the door and whispered, "That was really embarrassing."
"I know," I said, "I felt like a teenager buying condoms."
I'm willing to admit that I acted immaturely. I shouldn't have gotten so defensive and uncomfortable, and even though I was, I should have done a better job of hiding it. I have to stop running from social situations like this, or at least stop pretending that they aren't happening when they really are. But I'm also going to say that this woman had no business getting all up in my business like that, and assuming that a) the test would be positive, and b) that I wanted it to be positive. I'm not angry about it, but I am taken aback, because she really straddled that line between being friendly and being intrusive.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
We're pretty much set otherwise. I currently have a pound cake in the oven and a few finishing touches to work on tomorrow before everyone comes over. Overall I'm satisfied with the gifts I picked out, and I keep telling myself that it's only family coming over. They aren't going to nit-pick at that thin layer of dust on the bookshelves in the bedroom, and they aren't going to razz me about the pile of paperwork hanging around on the computer desk. For the most part I can just close the doors and no one will notice, and more importantly, so what if they do? It's just family. Get a hold of yourself, Katie.
I've had to remind myself over and over that this holiday isn't about having the prettiest tree or precisely wrapped gifts. It isn't about perfectly frosted cookies or whether or not the wood floors shine.
It's so easy to forget that sometimes.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
I'm not entirely sure what she meant by it, but I'm sure I'll only prove her right with this entry.
My backyard looks like a Thomas Kinkade painting. The snow is coming down in long streams and the last hour gave us two inches.
A few friends and I made an impromptu trip to Pittsburgh last night which proved for a very fruitful 30 minute shopping spree at IKEA before the employees kicked us out at 9:15. It sucked to have so little time, but at least all indecisiveness had to be thrown out the window and every movement had to count for something. I walked away with two gifts and two photo frames for myself.
The grocery stores are a mad house around here. I had to circle the parking lot for 15 minutes before I found a place to park! I didn't go anywhere near the mall today. I was too afraid those people would eat me alive.
Beer Tree Party tonight! Details tomorrow!
Friday, December 14, 2007
As I was driving down a long stretch of Route 18 this morning I found myself stuck behind a slow moving Chevy HHR, that according to the temporary tags, had been purchased only a week ago, but already its new white paint job had been splattered with this winter's salt and grime and the car was looking a bit more gray than white. And although I didn't have any pent-up hostility towards this vehicle for moving below the speed limit the entire way or for taking an extra 5 seconds longer to resume driving after each light changed from red to green, I felt a strange urge come over me after noticing the "Go Blue!" Michigan State license plate frame attached to the rear hatch. I really wanted to jump out of my car, unzip the flimsy black jacket given as a company Christmas gift, and flatten the chest of the Ohio State hoodie I was wearing underneath against their driver's side window and shout "Suck it!" as loud and as often as I could while the light remained red.
There was no malicious intent involved. I just thought it would be funny in a raving-lunatic-sports-fanatic kind of way.
You probably won't believe me, but I'm not even an avid college sports fan. I only own the hoodie because it was a mere ten dollars and the inside was incredibly soft and warm.
The urge subsided as quickly as it had appeared, and thankfully, I never acted on it. I allowed myself a few short moments to wonder what the hell I was just thinking as traffic began moving again, and then I proceeded to put The Postal Service's This Place Is A Prison on triple repeat and wondered where this song was when I was trapped behind the bars of my high school.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Saturday, December 8, 2007
That's when I decided that Jack was my clingy one. He'd be the type of child that would hang from my every limb like a monkey. He would cry every time I left him with a babysitter. He would take it personally every time I needed a moment to myself, even if it was just to use the bathroom. He would be a good, rule-biding kid because his number one goal in life would be to make me happy. He would grow up to be a straight A student, the class treasurer, and earn a scholarship to Harvard for fear I would trade him in for a new model if he did anything less than perfect.
Macy, on the other hand, is my mischievous toddler stuck in her terrible twos. She would be defiant, laughing maniacally or forcing a staring contest every time I told her NO. She would have to touch everything and break over seventy-five percent of everything she touched. She would be too smart for her own good, and know that the easiest way to get my attention was by being naughty. She would grow up to be a mediocre student who is disinterested in anything homework related. As a teenager, psychologists would diagnose her with Oppositional Defiant Disorder and she would milk it for everything it's worth. She would graduate high school by the skin of her teeth and spend her early adulthood flaunting her stuff as a waitress at Hooters.
I've never known two dogs to show so much personality that I could accurately imagine their lives as if they were humans. Between Jack's constant brown-nosing and Macy's brazenness there is never a dull moment around here, and yet I can't seem to get enough of it.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
So, yep, you guessed it! I'm driving very slowly down my little cul de sac, and I'm gripping the wheel tightly, and I'm pumping those brakes as if my life depends on it until my wheels find asphalt again.
I know that I complained enough about the weather last winter to merit not living in Ohio anymore, perhaps even enough to move to a tropical climate, but the truth is I don't mind the winter. Snow is absolutely beautiful. When all of the rooftops and tree limbs are blanketed in white, and big, puffy snowflakes the size of quarters are falling so fast you can barely see two feet ahead of you--it's magical. Even the cold is tolerable most of the time. Each winter, usually in the very beginning, I feel as though even the blood running through my veins has turned to ice and all the J. Crew sweaters in the world could not warm me, but once I get beyond that initial shock I'm okay with the freezing temperatures. I mean, I am a girl who loves to hide behind bulky coats and scarves. I can't exactly do that in Hawaii.
What I don't like about winter is driving. I can recite all of those Dos and Don'ts to myself for the entire commute, and follow them mechanically, but the fear never goes away. No matter how many times I bring myself and the car back without a scratch I never feel like I have control. Although I obviously do have control, to an extent of course.
Anyway, my company's Christmas Luncheon is tomorrow. We work until noon, head to a restaurant, eat, and hopefully leave soon after. For the past three years I've had to face white-out conditions while driving home from the annual luncheon, so that early head-start has always been nice.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Stalking people through public access records.
Having lengthy, one-sided conversations with dogs.
Writing profanely dirty MadLibs.
Blowing a speaker listening to Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield".
Participating in gossip.
Making to-do lists in an effort to procrastinate longer.
Snow Patrol on repeat... for two days.
Faithfully watching Beauty and the Geek.
Declaring my own snow days.
Letting my mood revolve around the music playing.
Eating the last chocolate chip muffin... or two.
A cheesy romance in-between great american novels.
Threatening to make vegetarian "meatballs" for Jon again.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
I was reminded of my brother when Jon and I put up the Christmas tree last Monday, because while the colored lights and namesake ornaments look okay, I'm having a really hard time stopping myself from purchasing one of those tree trimming kits with glittery poinsettias and ribbons from Target. I don't think there is anything that makes my husband's eyes roll farther back in his head than spending money on decorating, let alone Christmas decorations that we'll only see once a year. They're a total waste of money he says, and a small part of me agrees, but I could also say the same thing about all of his electronic toys.
I fear this is a dilemma that will haunt us for most of the Christmas season. One way or another I will pick up one of those kits, but it will most likely be at the end of the season when everything is marked down to 75% off.
We also put up outside lights for the first time this year, but Jon couldn't complain about wasting money, because I received them free from my mom's stash. We hung the white icicle lights all along the pickett fence surrounding the front yard, and we weaved the regular lights through the big holly bush and into a few small trees. I'm not sure whether our yard looks more like a fairy garden at night or something out of a Dr. Seuss book, but I'm happy to have outdoor lights regardless.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Somewhere in the midst of all that eating I let my mother-in-law talk me into participating in the Black Friday Sales. I'd tried it once before, probably about 7 years ago. A few friends and I drew up a plan of what stores opened first, waited in line, shopped faster than anyone should have to, and moved on to another unopened store to wait in line. I was tired and cold, and returned home around noon with nothing but an Elmo cookie tin and the new Jewel CD. I promised myself that I would never do that again, no matter what great deals the stores offered next time. But of course my mother-in-law is the one person in my life who can tell me to jump and I'll ask how high, and so I agreed to go bargain hunting with her even though I knew that I suck at aggressive shopping.
Luckily, she was even less interested in waiting out in the cold for an unlikely deal than I was, and had an alternate plan. Apparently the outlet mall opens at midnight every year on the day after Thanksgiving. All we had to do was make the 40 minute drive to Aurora, spend 30 minutes looking for parking (which included a lot of dirty driving tactics on my part), and we shopped for 30% to 50% off already discounted prices until 4 in the morning. I still didn't buy much; a little something for my mom, for my little sister, and a dice game Jon and I had been scouring the stores for, but that doesn't matter, because even better than the shopping was the atmosphere. It's an outdoor mall and so all of the stores had decorated their exterior with lights and garland. Bells were ringing, and Santa Claus was Ho-Ho-Hoing in the distance, and for the first time in a long time, I was happy to see snow--big, fat, snowflakes that stuck to my eyelashes. Christmas never started so early for me.
We stopped for warm chai on the way home, and I walked in the door just in to time to see Jon off to work. I slept until noon and then headed out to Target for a few smaller, less advertised deals. And let me tell you, nothing feels quite so comfortable as soft flannel sheets that look awesome and only set me back $12.99.
Friday, November 23, 2007
"I've got pumpkin bread, pumpkin bread in my hand.
If you want some, you gotta join the band.
Pumpkin bread, pumpkin bread, it's in your head.
You better hurry up, or you won't be fed."
Saturday, November 17, 2007
1. Continue preparing my body for the hopes of a baby in 2008.
When I made this resolution 11 months ago Jon and I were both feeling like the batteries in our biological clocks were running out. Being told that though I wasn't "infertile", it was going to be very hard for me to conceive, made me feel as though the pressure was on full throttle. It was either get pregnant now or forever hold your derelict eggs, because if I'm having problems conceiving at 25, what are my chances at 30? I spent a few months obsessing over amounts of folic acid and caffeinated drinks. I was reading and implementing every fertility tip I could get my hands on. I cried every time I was told another family member or friend was pregnant, because I felt like a failure. But then one day it finally hit me, and I came to a fundamental realization--I'm still young, and I still have time. I began to overlook all of the old classmates and co-workers, who were my age, but already had children in grade school. I stopped feeling so pressured by the past 4 years of a childless marriage. I'm only 25-years-old, surely it can wait a few more years. Lucky for me, Jon is on the same page. He told me a few weeks ago that he will be extremely happy when we conceive, or even adopt, our first child, but he's already extremely happy spending his life with just me, and I couldn't agree more.
2. Enhance my social skills.
My little sister once looked me in the eye and said "I don't want to be like you, Katie. You don't have any friends." It was a harsh statement, blurted out while she was drowning in her own tears and anger, but those two little sentences felt like giant, iron fists rapidly, and repeatedly punching me in the gut. I have absolutely no resentment towards her for saying it, because after all, it wouldn't have hurt so much if it wasn't true. I just didn't think anyone noticed. I've carried the statement with me for two years, not as a grudge, but as a reminder, a memento for every time I sat quietly in a corner, or received an invitation to a party, because I couldn't make friends if I didn't communicate with people, and I certainly couldn't make friends if I didn't venture outside of my narrow comfort zone, and I so desperately needed friends. And so each time I felt invisible or caught myself on the verge of turning down an invite, I told myself "I don't want to be like you, Katie. You don't have any friends."
I'm still working on not sounding like a blathering idiot every time I speak, but at least I'm speaking, and at least I'm out there doing something, rather than throwing my own lonely pity party at home. The imaginary memento, compliments of my sister, that I carry in the back pocket of my jeans is paying off. I've gotten to know some really wonderful new people this year. I have friends and co-workers that I absolutely adore, and I can feel myself becoming more and more comfortable around them. My life hasn't been this busy since I juggled three different sports for three different leagues when I was a kid, and I don't think I would have it any other way.
3. Encourage the savings account to grow, not shrink.
At least I can say the savings account has not shrunk. In fact, it might just be at the same exact dollar amount it was 11 months ago. Money has been moved in and it's moved right back out for various reasons. Owning a home has turned out to be a lot more expensive than I originally thought. New water heaters and doubling property taxes and gas bills have made saving incredibly hard. We also adopted Macy this year, who has turned out be a very pricey dog with one ailment after another. Unfortunately, pet insurance only looks like a good idea in hindsight. I wouldn't give either one up without a fight though, because I love my house, and I love my crazy dog even more. And let's be honest here, looking around our home, you can see that our priorities do not lie in building a savings account or preparing ourselves for future disasters, rather it's my hapless quest to make each room look like it belongs in a magazine, and my husband's much too expensive toys that hold our attention the most. This one should have been easy. This one should have read Satisfactory. This one will make it on next year's list, but hopefully in a more clear and defined resolution that I actually resolve to do.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
There she is in all her glory--all 356 pages, 218,965 words of depressing teenage angst. Some entries clear as day, some so cryptic even I can't tell what I was talking about almost ten years ago.
Someday I'll Laugh About This is nearly two and a half years worth of journal entries written from May 1998 through August 2000, a time in which I was determined to discover myself while lost in a world I couldn't and wouldn't understand. I was hell bent on writing about everything, not for documentary purposes, but because I saw it as a release, as my only chance of figuring myself out and escaping the deep, dark hole my high school years buried me in. Every entry is full of self-analysis, how I felt, and reasons why I may have I felt that way, and sometimes, even an ill-planned attempt at figuring out how I could stop myself from feeling that way should I have to. They almost never worked.
I chose the title back in 1998 for its irony. I never thought I would actually laugh about any of it, but in reading it for the first time since writing, I'm finding the title is actually quite fitting. I may not be laughing at all of it, some of it still gives me that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach and can bring me to tears, but my cynicism always has me laughing out loud. I grumbled about having to wear a dress for my older sister's wedding. The title for December 31, 1999's entry was "The Last Entry of the Century". I freaked out when it was discovered that Jon had a crush on me. I wrote about everything, including how my parents just didn't understand.
I've spent the last two months re-configuring and editing all of it in a Word document, printing and hole-punching each page, and wrapping it all up in a three-ring binder, and I'm not sure why. I have no intentions of attempting to publish it. Some morbid part of me is tempted to use it as my new coffee table book. I figure maybe that way I can hand it to my family and say "Here is that girl you never understood." The problem is I still don't think they will. I don't even understand her. Instead, the attractive binder will remain on my office shelves as a reminder of who I was and who I am for years to come, although I won't complain should it someday become reference material for the next Reviving Ophelia.
And now, after all that teasing, I leave you with a sample:
I AM A WRITER
Unfortunately, only in my head. I think up some of the most amazing thoughts in my head, ready myself for a journal entry, and in the midst of rewording and twisting everything around so that it makes sense to everyone else, it's too distorted to become anything near what it originally was. It was always the same thing with my poetry. I'd have nearly the entire poem written out in my head, but once I began to place those words on paper or a computer screen, I kept rephrasing and changing it until it was horrible and I couldn't remember the words that kept the poem running beautifully in the first place. If only people could hear my thoughts, then they'd know just what kind of talent I have.
I AM A COWARD
I can't stand my ground when it comes to anything, even the things that I believe in most. If I'm given a problem I'll either continuously tell you that I am undecided until you forget about it, find someone else to take care of it, or cry until everyone takes pity on me. If I'm hurt I won't fess up to it, I'll let it roll around in my head until I'm able to twist and turn you into one of the most insensitive people I've ever met. I don't know how to stand up for myself, explain myself, or come anywhere close to justifying myself. I'm afraid of my own basement because of my silly imagination. I can't sleep without my TV on because my house makes far too much noise in the silence. I can't sit in a dark room while the closet door is open. I can't drive. Heh, I can't even go to school.
I AM A THINKER
My mind loves playing tricks on me. How else would you expect me to live with a job that consists of a bunch of people who hardly even consider me staff because of my position? Where noisy little children are screaming across the room, and where I'm looking at numbers and letters for eight hours a day? I think. I think about all of my problems, about my life, about anything that happens to pop into my head because of some title of a book that I just shelved. I think about how lonely I am, about how weak and tired I am. I think about what I'm going to do when I get home and how I'm going to deal with it when I do. I even analyze poetry sometimes, working the words to fit my own current and personal mood. Yeah, that's my way of analyzing poetry. I think of ways to solve the world's problems, or what I would do in certain, unfortunate situations. I can think about anything if you just let me, but I'm warning you, it's hazardous.
I AM A LOVER
I am convinced that I always give too much of myself. I care too much, I worry too much, I listen too well, and sob over you way too many times. But mostly I don't mind. It's my nature to dive into someone the moment I'm given the okay and soak up all of the warmth I can so that I can return it times ten. I let you become my world as long as you say it's okay because I find pleasure in being able to love you so much. I love to hold and be held, to kiss and be kissed. I thrive on one on one time and feel empty when it's not there. I hurt myself when I hurt you and cry whenever you cry. I'm sensitive to anything you do, but maybe that's because I'm too open to you.
I AM A DREAMER
I hope that someday I'll be able to change. That at one point I'll be able to accept that everything will not work out as I wish, and probably come nowhere near what I would expect it to be. But, until then, I can only dream. I can only wish that I could write things down just as I thought of them so that people would actually find me remotely interesting. I can only hope that I'll learn how to speak up for myself and let everyone else know what is going on in my head before they all give up. I can beg for the chance to have something close to a happy thought or memory that didn't take place over a year ago. And I can lie myself down and give everything I have to imagining a relationship that doesn't feel so one-sided. But, of course I can always dream, it's just that sometimes it causes more pain than it does provide help.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Not only did I drink way too much, but all night I had people coming at me from all sides, grabbing my shoulders and shaking me like a rag doll. Most of the guys wanted to know if they would win a match in Beer Pong, and most of the girls wouldn't say their questions out loud. And let me tell you, girls are mean, because if they didn't like the answer, they would say "Uh uh. I don't like that," and shake me again for a different result. Let's just say most of my senses were gone by midnight, my homemade costume fell apart by 2am, and I was passed out on the floor by 4am.
My excuse for the drunkenness is a) I almost never drink and therefore can't hold my alcohol, b) When I do drink I can never remember to eat enough food to battle the alcohol, and c) All of that damn shaking!
What cracks me up about the whole ordeal is my thought processes. With each trip to the bathroom through the night, I would look at my reflection in the mirror, and I remember realizing on the 5th trip or so that I was looking worse and worse each time. My eyes were drooping more, my skin was more pale, and more and more hair was falling from the pony tail I pulled it back in. I remember freaking out at one point because I didn't feel like myself. I felt like I had been possessed by this crazy person who was holding the real, mousy Katie captive. I also remember quietly yelling at myself because, even drunk, I couldn't stop thinking in journal entries. I was observing and documenting everyone else's behavior as if I would write about it later. Of course, I didn't document it very well because I can't remember any of it nearly 24 hours after, only that I was doing it. My favorite though, was catching a single line from Death Cab for Cutie's Crooked Teeth: "You're so cute when you're slurring your speech." I'd never heard the song before, in fact I was convinced at the time that it was The Postal Service, but that single line woke me from my stupor long enough to walk over to Jon and give him a big bear hug for thinking that I was so cute because I was drunk and slurring my speech.
I spent pretty much all of today in bed, mentally kicking myself for taking it too far. My brother, who held the party, told me this afternoon that he and his girlfriend have been finding my little strips of paper in random places all over the house. At some point I stopped putting them back in my pockets and just dropped them on the floor, apparently. I had a great time, but now I'm feeling like maybe, just maybe, I'm getting too old for this.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Newsflash! You aren't in high school anymore! You've come a long way from that girl who looked like she wore clothes only because she had to. Tori Amos' Siren is not your life's themesong because of that night when you were 16 and you played it 56 times in a row during that exceptionally devastating breakdown. I'm sure your mother didn't really mean to say you were too ugly to be on TV, anyway. And yes, your husband was a dumbass back then but you forgave him and married him, didn't you? Cut him some slack for putting up with a wife as self-conscious and doubtful as you can be. You are beautiful, intelligent, and strong in your own way but you're unable to accept it for some reason. And stop carrying around those pieces of torn notebook paper scribbled with depressing one-liners for PostSecret. They are doing absolutely nothing for your self-esteem.
Monday, October 22, 2007
"Do you know what you are?"
"No, what am I?"
"You're a pessimistic perfectionist! You always want everything to be perfect, but you're never willing to believe that it can be."
"I like that.. Pessimistic Perfectionist."
"Do you agree with me?"
"Yes! I'm gonna make that my MySpace screen name."
Monday, October 15, 2007
Saturday Jon and I were invited to a Clam Bake at his mom's house. I did a little more-than-necessary fretting over how to tell friends and family about my new adventures in vegetarianism, but all of the nervousness was wasted on her. At some point in the last few years she and I have managed to move beyond our ordinary roles of mother-in-law and daughter-in-law to become real friends. As a friend and a woman who loves trying new things, she embraced my dietary changes, and boiled my portion of vegetables in a separate pot, away from the seafood, chicken broth and various meats that made up her extremely popular clam stew. And while everyone else dined on mussels and sausage, I filled up on pumpkin soup, corn on the cob, potatoes, and salad. For dessert we had sugar-free carrot cake that was so good I brought an extra piece home with me.
No one came right out and asked why I decided to follow a vegetarian diet, but I offered them this comparison anyway: "I look at it this way; I set out to explore my boundaries and I found an area that I really liked, and I would like to explore it more. I'm not ready to leave just yet."
Friday, October 12, 2007
The plan was quite simple; don't eat meat for a week. I chose a week because I didn't really plan on becoming a lifelong vegetarian, and I figured a week was long enough to see how my body and mind would react to the change. Finding the right combination of nutrients my body needed was a little harder than I had anticipated, but I think I did alright. I definitely ate more fruits than vegetables, and I may have gone overboard on the carbohydrates. My week long attempt at vegetarianism consisted of mostly whole grain wheat bread and crackers, beans, fruit, soy and dairy products.
The week has come to a close and what surprised me the most was how well my body and mind did react. I never felt hungry. I never felt deprived. I didn't miss eating meat. In fact, I still don't, which is why I've decided to ride this thing out. Maybe I'm floating on the wave of success in proving that I could do this, or maybe it's because of all the junk I avoided putting in my body this past week, but I feel happy. I felt happy the whole time. How can I possibly stop only because the week is over when it has made so many positive changes? Perhaps it would be different if I dreamt of hamburgers and fried chicken each night, but I didn't. Instead I searched for new recipes and ideas, and I got all excited about the next trip to the grocery store and all of the meatless meals I could make next week.
Jon, who joined the meatless bandwagon with me, is supportive, but he admits to being apprehensive about making such a drastic change. Unfortunately, he did start looking forward to the finish line about mid-week, and while he likes the idea of implementing healthier foods, he has no interest in going vegetarian. And I'm okay with that. I may be looking at this through rose-colored glasses, but I don't see why we wouldn't be able to find common ground. He's agreed, at least for the time being, to let me ride this out and see how far it will go.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
"Hm. You know, I can't remember!"
"That's pretty bad, Katie. It's only Monday."
I've noticed my memory is taking a progressive nosedive with each passing year. I'm unable to retain information like I used to. Birthdays, phone numbers, what I did yesterday, I have to pause for an unusually long and uncomfortable moment to try to remember, and sometimes I still can't. I've been using my mother as a scapegoat. Her defective memory has been the butt of jokes since I was a child, and I've been blaming her for maliciously passing it along to me. I thought it was some sort of revenge, you know? Like "The Mother's Curse", only she hasn't cursed me with six intolerable children, she's cursed me with the inability to remember a conversation I had 30 minutes ago.
Whether my mom is to blame or not, I can't stand this feeling. It feels like I've been battling schizophrenia, especially when Jon brings up a conversation we had last week, and for the life of me, I can't remember it. It's as if he spoke to an entirely different person.
Another part of me wonders if I'm not paying attention anymore, as if my observation skills, or interest in what's going on around me, are lacking. Perhaps it's not my memory, but my attention span that is waning. I have to start paying more attention. I have to stop letting my mind wander, and try to live more in the moment. I don't want to forget how I spent my weekend, and I'd like to stop looking like an idiot every time I ask, "What are you talking about?"
"You're not going to believe this."
"I can't get Macy out of the car."
"Why can't you get her out of the car?"
"I was just grabbing some things and she hopped right in. Now she won't get out. Jack got in there too until I stormed out of the garage, but she won't budge!"
"Well, take them for a ride around the block."
"What? I'm tired of not being the master! These dogs walked ME today! Why should I have to drive them around just because they want a ride? They're spoiled!"
"Haha! Just take them for a ride."
And so I did. I, the family pet, drove my masters to the Fairlawn Country Club and back. For what it's worth they happily jumped out of the car once we arrived home.
Monday, October 8, 2007
They're playing Nine Inch Nails on CSI:, Tori Amos in Ruby Tuesday's, Lily Allen on Grey's Anatomy, Feist on GossipGirl, and Imogen Heap in the grocery store! What's next? Ani DiFranco on America's Next Top Model?
On the one hand I'm pleased to see that mainstream is developing a taste for good music, but on the other hand it's all pretty freaking weird.
(Unless, of course, you want to say that I'm developing a taste for bad music, in which case, you can disregard this post entirely.)
Sunday, October 7, 2007
I've been feeling a jumble of emotions lately, trying to decide exactly how I should feel about never again entering the house I called home for nineteen years of my life. One minute I would feel perfectly fine with it, even happy about it, but the next I felt guilty for being so unemotional. Sort of like, shouldn't this bother me? Shouldn't this be hitting me harder than it is? I was feeling so guilty about not having a problem with the changes that I was trying to create a problem, but then I remembered that this hadn't been my home for a long time. I'll cry when I have to leave my own house, but not my parents. They wanted the change, that's why they moved, and it shouldn't bother me in the least. Perhaps that's why it didn't. It shouldn't have taken me this long to come to this conclusion, but what can I say? I think too much, and in thinking too much I create too many mountains out of mole hills.
So it's been four days since I watched my last sunset behind the old church and I've been busy trying to turn trash into treasure. I decided to start with the shelves and found I was becoming easily discouraged. I thought it would be simple to give them a very thorough cleaning and adjust a few of the shelves, but I didn't realize there were so many nuts and bolts. It's been a matter of removing every shelf, each being held on by 8 nuts and 8 bolts, cleaning every inch, and then repositioning them at the height I wanted, replacing all 16 pieces of hardware per shelf. I found the Mother of All Spiders on the bottom of one. Thank God she was dead, but I was experiencing imaginary itching for the remainder of the night.
I've finally finished with the shelves, but I never thought it would take me four days, which has me a little concerned about this desk that is the size of a large toddler bed. Tomorrow I have to stop at Home Depot on my way home from work and talk to someone about the best plan of attack. I know I have to remove the old finish, sand it down, stain it, and seal it, but I've never done this before and I'm feeling in over my head before I've even begun.
At least the shelves are finished, and after seeing how great they've turned out I'm positive this desk will be amazing. I'm just not sure I'll have it done within the year.
Monday, October 1, 2007
Let me get back on track here. Ah, yes, the move. We made two trips with a 24-foot truck and two SUVs. The apartment was nearly filled to capacity after the first trip, but my parents were still hanging on to old, beaten pieces of furniture that were not only outdated and ugly, but obviously weren't going to fit comfortably in their new apartment. We all accepted that downsizing must be hard, and harder still for two pack-rats hanging on to 33 years worth of belongings. We even understood holding on to certain pieces of furniture just to play with the placement of things, to figure out what works and what doesn't, then pitching out the pieces that won't fit with the decor afterward. What we didn't understand was the 30-year-old formica end table that if nudged just lightly could quite possibly fall to the floor in a hundred little pieces of particle board, or the wooden rocking chair with splintered arms and legs that served as a teething toy for the dog. It may have been mean, it was probably down right despicable, but my brothers and I conspired together, and purposely dropped the rocking chair from the moving truck, then apologized profusely to my parents for "accidentally" destroying the chair. Let me just reassure you that the chair held no sentimental value, and I'm pretty sure my mom didn't buy our "accident," anyway. We let my dad have his end table, because we figured the second he placed a lamp on it, it would give out.
There were positive moments among all of the negative. Amidst the purging of items, Jon and I walked away with a few goodies. We are now the owners of one very large, solid oak desk that, before I was born, was used at the Akron Board of Education. My intentions are to refinish it and add new hardware to all of the drawers. I'm convinced it will be beautiful when I'm done with it and I can use it to replace the collegiate pieces-parts desk I'm sitting at currently. We also snagged two 5' black metal shelving units which, once cleaned up, will provide stylish, open storage for our office. A few smaller pieces include a Better Homes and Gardens hose caddy and a Pampered Chef cookie press. Now I'm able to water the flowers and bake tree-shaped cookies, all while running a business of one form or another from our snazzy new home office. Does it get any better than that?
Friday, September 28, 2007
My parents have lived in their house for 33 years. The house was built in 1927 with 4 bedrooms, 1 1/2 bathrooms, hardwood floors stained a dark walnut, and a massive front porch the size of a family room. They paid $20,000 for it, but somehow they're still strapped down by the mortgage payments.
If anything the house was a little shorter and a little wider than most other colonials in our area, but from what I could tell, none of them had the same intricate details inside. It has 8” tall baseboards, crown molding, built-in bookshelves, built-in china and storage cabinets, and doors that joined rooms through closets that we always referred to as secret passages. Most of my friend's houses didn't have any type of separation between the front door and the main living area, but my parent's house has actual vestibules with doors at either end for both the front and back entrances. Aside from enclosed porches I've never been to another house in which you had to enter twice. My parents used to have their own photography business and they built a dark room in the basement where my Mom would print the wedding pictures my Dad caught on camera the weekend before. Before I started preschool I would hangout down there with her, and if the wooden locker where she kept the Kodak paper was nearly empty, I would climb in, close the door, and pretend to be buried alive.
These are all the little things I never appreciated until now, but they aren't enough to squash my excitement for their new apartment.
One thing to keep in mind is that, yes, these are all wonderful attributes to a family home and it is very sad to be leaving it for good, but the house is 80 years old, and the house has seen 6 unruly children, and all of their unruly friends, and then all 15 unruly grand-children. The house has seen 33 years of family, but also 33 years of mediocre up-keep. The bathrooms were renovated in the 1970's and the wood paneling and orange accents have gone untouched since. The hardwood floors desperately need refinished, the walls repainted, the gas fireplace brought up-to-code. It's all work my parents are just too old and too poor to have done.
I think that's why I'm so thrilled they are leaving it, moving to a place where a handyman will fix everything and a lawn crew will keep it all green. My Dad won't have to face 1 1/2 flights of stairs each night to go to bed, and my Mom will finally have a reason to purge 33 years worth of belongings to live the simplistic life she has wanted for so long. Of course, they are moving tomorrow and she has hardly made a dent, but we'll see how it goes.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
This young lady* has finally learned the meaning behind the bell!
It's been 7 long months of vigorous training. She has endured countless looks of disapproval, but she has finally overcome the language barrier between human and dog. She can now tell us when she has to get outdoors to pee. Macy May Keenan has proven that she is not only a pretty face; she is also well on her way to becoming a canine genius.
While her brother Jack has always preferred to swipe a paw at the jingle bells that hang from our back door (hence all of the scratches in the wood), Macy has a much more subtle technique. She quietly walks to the door with a cheerful swagger and ever so gently presses her little black nose against the bottom bell. This movement will emit the very faintest of jingles, but it's just enough noise to draw your attention in her direction. After ringing the bell she will look to us with a very firm plea to be let outside. And if for some reason we do not hear the initial chime (or maliciously choose to ignore it), she will resort to the bolder tactic of turning around and whacking the bell with her stub of a tail.
Thus far she has rung the bell five times; once to pee on the already wilting hostas, and four more times in an attempt to retrieve the dirty ball I will not let her bring in the house. I continue to look at each ring as progress; however, because she finally understands that ringing the bell is her ticket outside.
Well done, Macy! You have proven everyone wrong, and you can, in fact, teach an old dog new tricks!
*I would just like to note that I do understand that Macy is only a dog and not an actual lady.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
"Is it something you obsess about?"
"Well, that eliminates anything decorative like pillows or curtains."
"What? Were you thinking curtains? Because you're psycho about decorating!"
"Yes I was thinking curtains but I'm not obsessed with them!"
"Yes you are."
"Whatever. So who won that round?"
Monday, September 17, 2007
2. In a cafe full of construction workers it is every man for himself. The fastest road to breakfast is with a loud voice and pointy elbows.
3. Russian women are most entertaining when trying on shoes without a mirror. They will grunt, stomp their size 11 Gucci heels, and exclaim "I cunt see enyting!"
4. Don't Eat the Nuts! You have no idea whose hands have been in there.
5. Forget trying on shoes; the oversized benches in the middle of Century 21 are best for looking studiously aloof while beginning your "Things I Learned in New York City" list.
6. Subways are quite possibly the coolest thing in the world, but understanding how to get from Point A to Point B is an art form all its own.
7. Movies give cab drivers a bad rap. I mean, our driver only narrowly missed three pedestrians and half a dozen stationary objects.
8. I know how ants feel.
9. New Yorkers do not care if you've only had two hours of sleep. You better keep moving.
10. The Empire State Building is magnificent, but the elevator ride back down is a doozy.
11. I wish I could have seen the World Trade Center.
12. The vendors in Chinatown are only trying to sell you knock-off designer handbags and perfumes, but the monotone advertisement they whisper in your ear as you walk by somehow feels threatening.
13. My new record is standing through 5 subway stops without falling on my ass.
14. If your companion asks if you would like to share a sandwich while having dinner at a deli say Yes. That is too much food for only one person to consume.
15. I keep saying I could never live there, but it's only two days later and I'm already itching to go back.
Friday, September 14, 2007
I tracked Jon's flight for most of the day, hitting refresh on the Continental Airlines site every 30 minutes or so, trying to reaffirm that last years debacle wouldn't reoccur with his flight coming in 10 hours late. To my surprise they left 5 minutes early, and then I continued to watch as he flew over Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, and finally neared Cleveland. At 15 minutes to their estimated arrival time I went outback and waited, and wouldn't you know, a plane came flying overhead, low enough for me to see and hear it loud and clear, and then it swung out far to the East, making a large U-turn for landing at the airport, then disappeared behind some trees. I waited a few minutes and then went back inside to refresh the webpage one last time, and found the status had upgraded to Landed, Taxiing to the Gate. I was a little doubtful, but mostly convinced that my husband had just flown over my head.
Tonight I leave for New York but I'm not flying, rather I'm headed out on a long coach bus ride. I have a few things left to do yet:
1. Scuff up my two week old sneakers.
I'm headed out on this very exciting trip to New York City and all I can think about is an article I read on Gawker.com last summer. They accused Mid-Western tourists of continuously wearing ugly shoes. And while I can say that my sneakers are not bright, white Reeboks or even clunky, plastic Crocs, they aren't roach killer Manolos or sporty, uncomfortable Sketchers either. No, my shoes are white and green KSwiss that I picked out specifically for this trip and with the Gawker blog in mind. I felt they were comfortable yet fashionable, but perhaps they could use a little more dirt to make them look worn-in.
2. Change purses and wallets.
We all know I'm notorious for leaving my purse behind (see that time I left it in a shopping cart at the grocery store), but I've always been fortunate enough to get it back. Something tells me I won't be so lucky in New York, and so I'm moving everything from my little leather handbag to a somewhat larger, almost-messenger-bag-type-thing. I figure this way I can always wear it around my neck and across my chest and not have to worry about setting it down. Not to mention I can fit an umbrella and camera along with the other necessities. I figure so long as I'm not wearing a fanny pack I'll be just dandy.
3. Dump the pictures from Vegas.
You can tell Jon was a little intoxicated on the night he opted to roam around Vegas and capture a few shots. Most of the pictures are just colorful blurs of lights or photos of the fountains after the water had done all of the intricate acrobatics. Of course, my favorites are the pictures of Mexican men who stalked up and down The Strip passing out fliers with a photo of a very sexy woman, promising a good time if you call this number. Anyway, I have to clear the photo card of colorful Las Vegas and make room for what looks to be a cold and wet, but very, very large New York City.
4. Fill out my permission slip.
It's actually what the bus company has dubbed a Get To Know You Card, but could have been more accurately named an Emergency Contact Form. I have to provide them with my husband's phone numbers and my mother's contact information and answer a few personal questions about myself. I have a bad feeling that they will formally introduce me on the bus, which I'm not looking forward to, but at least they will know who to call should I try to jump out the window.
5. Pack and prepare.
The nice thing about a weekend trip is there isn't much packing involved, but there are a few odds and ends that I have to bring along like the aforementioned camera and umbrella, some snacks and drinks for the ride there, and a travel tooth brush. I'm sure I'm missing something and I'll take this down to the wire like always, but I'm really trying not to stress about it. After this weekend I will finally know what the big deal is about New York, and can decide once and for all if the Big City Life is for me or if I really am just a country bumpkin.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The Bad News: It was at the expense of a burnt-out headlight on the car, seeing as I had to touch/drive it to my parent's house for the meeting with my Dad.
Is there such a thing as the Un-Midas touch? Because I think I'm infected.
It all started on Monday with the Internet connection. As recently as this morning the small icon located in the bottom right-hand corner of the monitor indicated that we have a good signal coming from the wireless router, but try as I might, Internet Explorer won't recognize it and is accusing me of not being connected. I've unplugged and re-plugged everything, I've set the system back two days, I've done everything short of calling our cable/internet provider (I know I should do this, but I also know I'll come off as a total ditz), but it just doesn't work. Add to it that I didn't know what I was doing when I set the system back to September 9 and I lost my 114,145 words/156 pages Word document in which I had invested two days and too much blood, sweat, and tears to count. I did manage to figure out how to restore the system to the current date to recover the hours of painstaking work, but any damage done thereafter has gone unrecognized and I'm sure Jon will find it when he returns.
As if going a week without the Internet at home wasn't bad enough, in the last three days I have also managed to destroy two remotes, a television, and a DVD player just with my touch. I swear to you I have not thrown, stomped on, or beaten a single thing. They just don't like me. I have a sinking suspicion that karma is messing with me, a practical joke of sorts, because why else would only the items that I haven't the slightest clue of how to operate, except on a very basic level, be malfunctioning while my husband isn't around to fix it? And isn't it ironic that they are also my main sources of entertainment for while I'm alone?
And so, to be on the safe side, I'll be making a night of the front stoop where I'm far away from the circuit breakers and the water heaters and, God forbid, the yellow Mitsubishi Lancer parked in the garage.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I'm still debating over whether he actually is the cutest baby I've ever seen or if I just want one so much that all newborns have stopped looking like creepy old men and now appear to be adorable little gnome children. He's so alert and curious, he loves to cuddle, and he seems to likes me. This is how I know I'm bias. I'll favor any baby that doesn't cry when I hold it.
My sister is doing well. She made labor and delivery look so easy it's disgusting, and Isaiah couldn't behave better for her, because he came home sleeping through each night and even most of the day. It seems she's maturing with each day as a mother, and she couldn't be more in love with her son. Her days of self-gratification and capriciousness appear to have ended and she is more than happy to fill her days with feedings and sleep schedules, and talking to a little boy who can't quite respond yet. She's so comfortable doing all of this that she looks like a professional, like she's been changing diapers and interpreting cries for years. She baffles and amazes me, and her actions and reactions have convinced me that I could do it, too.
I am exhausted. I had a fairly easy time falling asleep last night. I even think the extra room to spread out helped me with that, but the dogs... Oh, the dogs. I think they still expected Jon to come walking through the door even after I turned off all of the lights and climbed into bed. With every little sound they began howling as if an army of squirrels were setting up camp in the living room. They were alert, primed, and ready to protect me, while waiting for Jon to come home at any moment. It feels as though they woke me up every hour on the hour, and I had to reach out to them, to pet them, and to coo at them, and give my most convincing "Everything is okay." Around 4:00 I realized that I was going to lose this battle, and so I just started mumbling "Shut up" from under my pillow. I'm hoping they will let me sleep better tonight, although I'm half convinced that I'm tired enough to sleep right through it even if they keep up the shenanigans.
I've taken on a new project for while Jon is out of town. I decided it was time to take those 3 years worth of online journal entries from my teens off of the 10-year-old floppy disk they have been stored on. I've been so worried that the disk would be accidentally erased and everything I felt and thought during the time would be lost with it. And so one by one I am streamlining the design in a Word document, numbering the pages, creating headers, and printing them off. I looked into doing my own binding, but right now I'm going the easy route with a three-hole bunch and a few $4 binders from Walmart that resemble old leather books. Unfortunately the project has proven to be anything but easy, and it has been extremely time consuming. I'm finding that my 15-year-old self wasn't concerned with what my 25-year-old self would have to go through in order to do this. Most of the entries weren't even saved in a Word document but in HTML, which means white text on black backgrounds and strange page layouts that don't work well for copying and pasting into new documents. I'm also finding that I either didn't know about spell check or didn't care, because each newly pasted text comes with a rainbow of spelling and grammatical errors. I started editing and correcting the earlier entries from 1998, but soon realized that reading over every entry could take me months and I wanted to have this done in just a couple of days. My final plan isn't set in stone yet, but I dove in with grandiose plans and high expectations, so we'll see where it leads me.
While it may not have been the most interesting or disciplined writing, I was shocked to find just how much of it there was. At last count I had 114,145 words on 156 pages (I'm using a small font), and I haven't made it through an entire year. That's a lot of words for someone who doesn't speak up much.
I'm also learning through the little proofing that I have done that I haven't changed all that much. I'm still immature, confusing, and easily amused. I'm still fickle, self-conscious, and expect too much of myself. What has changed is my outlook on life. I no longer think I'm incapable of being married, because well, I am, and that it is possible to survive your teens because I'm still here. It's one of those If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now experiences that I have all too often anymore. I want to swaddle that poor girl writing all of those sad words and in the nicest, most heartfelt way, tell her to get over it, because life does not revolve around what your friends think of you--they'll be history in a few years anyway, and the world is not out to get you--it's all in your imagination. I couldn't sugarcoat it and say it would always be easy, or that she will always be happy, but the sun does come out again and she will be content. I am content.
Monday, September 3, 2007
I've had the same email address for 5 years now, and somewhere in that time I managed to become a target for spam email, but not just any spam--porn spam. It really sucked at first because I would get all excited about having 31 new messages in my inbox, but when I actually looked at the list of senders they were obviously not from anyone I knew. A few of these emails are too funny not to share.
Subject: My boyfriend's putz keeps slipping out.
Body: Girls always giggled at me and even bucks did in the national WC! Well, now I whoop at them, because I took M_E GA D IK for 7 months and now my penis is dreadfully largest than usual.
Subject: My boyfriend's tool is too big for my mouth.
Body: Ladies always laughed at me and even bucks did in the federal bathroom! Well, now I whizgiggle at them, because I took Mega. Dik for 6 months and now my prick is badly longer than civil.
Subject: When I tried to give him oral sex, I practically choked. How do I do it without gagging? Please help!
Body: Chicks always whooped at me and even chaps did in the civil WC! Well, now I sriek at them, because I took Mega. Dik for 7 months and now my tool is dreadfully weightier than national.
Subject: Thank you, your request completed, one of our sexy girl wants to meet you.
Body: Local girls who like to have fun are waiting for you. These girls came to find a fuck buddy. Someone who is ready for a good fuck with no strings attached. Are you that person? Visit us!
Subject: I just started dating a guy I like, but his putz is on the small side and doesn't really satisfy me.
Body: Boytoys always hee-hawed at me and even chaps did in the unrestricted john! Well, now I smil at them, because I took M eg ad ik for 4 months and now my prick is very much bigger than civil.
WTF!? I don't know about you, but they haven't tempted me to buy any Megadik to make my putz dreadfully larger, and I'm most certainly not providing advice on how to give a good blow job. In fact, I'm more inclined to wash out their mouths with soap for using such horrible grammar.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
It has come to my attention through a recent disagreement with my husband that I have a few idiosyncrasies that apparently drive him completely and utterly insane. Those of you who know my husband can agree that this should be a far cry from surprise. As kind and funny as he is, he is also a very opinionated and somewhat overbearing man who uses the word "hate" much too loosely. The words "dislike" and "do not care for" don't exist in his vocabulary. He replaces them, however carelessly, with the word "hate."
I try not to discredit him for this, instead I often innocently compare him to Lennie, a character in John Steinbeck's classic Of Mice and Men, who is unable to recognize his physical strength. My husband is like Lennie in that he cannot recognize his own strength both physically and verbally. The same unacknowledged power lies behind his all too playful and often painful shoulder punches as well as his poor use of powerful words. Having this understanding allows me to take each overstated, exaggerated use of words like "hate" with a grain of salt, and offers me hope that he does not actually "hate" the little quirks of my character, but accepts them for who I am as I have agreed to do the same for him. One day, after rehashing our idiosyncrasies so often, I hope that we can learn to love each for them and not love each other any less because of them.
1. He hates that I listen to 96.5 KISS FM because it reminds him too much of my younger sister.
I can take this statement one of two ways: a) He feels that my sister and I have poor taste in music because we listen to this Pop/Rap/R&B station or b) He feels that I am too old to be listening to the same Pop/Rap/R&B station as my 20-year-old sister. I would like to defend myself by saying that if any other station could make me laugh or keep me entertained as much as the staff at this station does I would probably listen to them as well. My music tastes vary so greatly that I could listen to almost anything, but I choose to stick with what I know and, unfortunately for him, what I know happens to be a station he does not like.
I had hoped that my refusal to listen to Spelling Bee Champion hopeful, Fergie, would be enough to save me from his disappointment, but alas, it was not. I am left to accept that he does not agree with my tastes in this genre, just as he is not willing to leave me alone about listening to Ani Difranco, Alanis Morissette, or any of the other independent female artists I love. So be it. My loyalties do not lie with his favorites either.
2. He hates that I am on MySpace.
If his argument was about exposing myself to all the crazy, fucked up people who are no doubt lurking for their next victim on MySpace, I could understand and accept his discomfort, and I would willingly work with him on this issue, but you know as well as I do that his "hatred" for the megasite is all about MySpace being mainstream, and God forbid he or I have anything to do with mainstream.
I know I've said it repeatedly, but perhaps he has forgotten that MySpace has been a social experiment of mine since day one. I have an irrational fear of calling people that I can't seem to shake, and no matter how hard I try I can't avoid the damper this puts on my relationships with friends and acquaintances alike. The strain is understandably caused by feelings of a onesided relationship; I would never make that call and therefore it seemed like I didn't care, and we would inevitably lose touch. The problem is I did care I just couldn't muster the courage to pick up a phone and say so.
MySpace has given me the opportunity to do what I do best--communication through writing. I was once told that MySpace was the new phone number and I saw it as the perfect opportunity to get in touch with those old friends and keep in contact with those new acquaintances through messages and inane comments. If my husband can't see the positive changes that this website has made on my personality then I don't know what to say other than I will stop pressuring him to join even in jest.
3. He hates when I stress out about balancing the checkbook when all he wants to do is watch a movie together.
This one baffles me because, honestly, what's more important; making sure we don't overdraft our account or watching that movie from Netflix with an infinite due date? Part of me wanted to bite at this new pet peeve and scream "Well, fine! You take care of the finances!" but how could I do that when it's obvious where his priorities lie? Another part of me understood that this statement went much deeper than money and a Leonardo DiCaprio film. What he's actually referring to is my amazing talent of making mountains out of molehills, stressing myself out to an astonishing degree and depriving us of life's little pleasures. I'm incapable of relaxing. My mind has a constant assembly line of What if's and What now's and I often end up paralyzed by my own negative thoughts. I can see where this would be frustrating for him, and in afterthought, I can see that I should be working harder to solve this problem, if not for him, then for my own health. But all realizations aside, I can't see where watching a movie should take precedence over figuring out why the bank has us at $100 less than my own records. Overdrafting by miscalculations is a very dreadful occurence and should be avoided at all costs.
In closing I would like to say that I love my husband very much. He is a voice of reason when I can't hear my own. He makes the phone calls when I can't find the courage to make them myself. He keeps me on my toes when I've been feeling completely sane for entirely too long. We are the perfect example of opposites attract and our relationship couldn't flourish without a little give and take. Lucky for me I think he takes the brunt of it.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Each year has gotten a little easier. I think it's because a) I'm not nearly as needy as I was in my early twenties when he started taking these trips, and b) I usually spend the weeks leading up to it pumping myself up for all of the things I get to do while he isn't here, like watching the chick flicks that he won't come within ten miles of, and getting away with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner (he doesn't do sandwiches for dinner). I also think it's easier because I've gotten to know a lot of his co-workers and I know that they are pretty cool guys who aren't going try talking him into exploring the hotel's topless pool upon arrival. It's shameful that it has taken this long, but I am much more comfortable in my own skin than I was 5 years ago.
The only thing that could possibly make his absence a little harder this time is that his conference is in Las Vegas this year and I am quite jealous. My retaliation is to leave for New York City the day after he comes back.
I drove him and two other guys to the airport at 6:15 this morning. One of the guys parked his sporty, yellow Mitsubishi Lancer in my garage and I have the keys (last year I was left with a silver Hyundai Tiburon). Let's hope I don't get too restless. I might be tempted to see just how fast it will go.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
"You'll never guess what happened to me today!"
"I was in the backyard with the dogs and I almost stepped on a snake! It was like... 2 feet long!"
"Yeah. It's been making all those holes back there."
"Oh.. you've seen it?"
"Yeah. His name is George."
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Unfortunately I can't remember much of the music played on the drive south. I barely touched the mini that was stored safely in the messenger bag at my feet. I mostly remember filling the nouns in a book of Mad Libs with various parts of the human anatomy and using an array of creative, raunchy words for adjectives, all in good potty humor. I also remember feeling miserable about being on this trip at all as the night before our then 6-month-old puppy, Jack, ran away from the dog sitter in an effort to make it back home to us. Rather than sleeping and preparing for the long trip, we spent the night scouring the neighborhood and calling out to him, often sneaking up on an animal in the pitch-blackness only to run away screaming when we found that it was not our dog, but a skunk. It was eventually discovered that he had been taken in by a nice couple two doors down who found him cowering on their back porch at midnight, and were so kindly trying to get a hold of us, but we didn't receive the news until a few hours after we arrived in Maryland.
I had a great time in Maryland. The trip included some of the most entertaining outcomes in my history with Mad Libs, my first time to a Dave & Buster's where I blew all of my money on the Flaming Finger machine, and some of the most delicious fajitas at a Plata Grande Restaurant. The trip also gave me the most time I've spent with my brother since we both moved out on our own, and with him came his eclectic music tastes. I remember most clearly on the dark drive home through the mountains. It was late and none of us could sleep and so my brother was entertaining us with a few out-of-leftfield songs from his vast selection. I remember a song about fingers the most, which he said was The Decemberists:
“Find him, bind him, tie him to a pole and break his fingers to splinters.”
I heard the lyrics and I heard the childish, sing-song way they were sung and I immediately wrote the The Decemberists off as a band I wouldn't be listening to anytime soon.
One year, four months, and another road trip later I'm finding that I made a grave mistake, just like those two years I told my husband I absolutely would not eat Chipotle because I didn't want steak or chicken, but ground beef. It sounds strange, but The Decemberists are my new Chipotle, this miraculous entity that I refused to acknowledge for so long, but eventually broke and found I had been missing out on something wonderful the entire time. I am absolutely smitten. Now I listen to "The Mariner's Revenge Song" and see beyond strange lyrics about crushing fingers and being eaten by a giant whale to appreciate their awe-inspiring storytelling. I spend my days wandering around humming to songs like "The Engine Driver" and "We Both Go Down Together," itching for the next chance to get in the car and start up my iPod, which now holds every song from 2001-2006, or to go home and press play while I work in the office on minuscule tasks I've created just to stay in there and listen to my new obsession. I'm ashamed it took me this long to give them a chance, and I'm a little ashamed of my uncontrollable, crazed behavior, but like I said, it's uncontrollable and I'm infatuated.
I will never again doubt my brother's taste in music.
Home alone on a Saturday afternoon. The laundry has been sorted and prepared for the short journey from bedroom to laundry room. As I'm reaching for the baskets I notice the unmade bed out of the corner of my eye. I decide to straighten the blankets and fluff the pillows before exiting. I take a moment to admire the precise fold in the recently purchased comforter and the inviting mound of pillows. Call me crazy, but I've got a thing for well made beds.
Fast forward to ten minutes later. The washing machine is thumping quietly and I'm back upstairs, rounding a corner in the hallway and just about to step into the bedroom when I'm confronted with this:
An obviously unmade bed.
First I delve into my unusually faulty memory to determine if I had, in fact, made the bed only ten minutes before, but I quickly come to an affirmative conclusion. This is followed by a very short moment of panic, because really, how does a bed unmake itself? Was there someone in the house with me? Had the mischievious gremlins who I continually blame for all misfortunes and missing objects truly come to life? Had some poor man with an uncanny sense of humor die during construction of our house in the 1960s and his ghost thought it comical to come back for one last prank?
I stand staring at the bed for what seems like hours when I notice a clue. A supiciously round lump has formed under the blanket near the end of the bed. I poke it.
At first the mysterious mass does not move so I poke it again. My stomach drops as the lump begins moving and reconfiguring itself. I force myself to gather all of my courage and slowly pull the blanket back, revealing that I did not have an intruder, an infestation of gremlins, or a problem with poltergeists.
Just a dog with low tolerance for central air and bright sunlight.
Monday, July 16, 2007
2. Five grande Margaritas can mess you up, but a single tequila shot can knock you out.
3. Military fighter jets are very loud, very fast and a crude reminder of how lack of a television cuts you off from the rest of the world.
4. Virginian termite inspectors think it is acceptable to marry your twin brother.
5. Hiking to the top of a mountain is not my forte, but the view from the top makes it all worth it. However it is undetermined if I can do it sans panic attack and falling on my ass during the trip back down.
6. The night after hiking to the top of a mountain you will have vivid dreams of falling which jolt you awake every half hour.
7. Salsa combos and the phrase "You know how I know you're gay..." are very addictive.
8. You should be afraid of the deer because the deer are not afraid of you.
9. Always be on the lookout for fire ants, bears, and melted gum stuck to the seat of your paddle boat.
10. Uncle Charlie is a poker hustler. I must remember this before entering anymore tournaments.
11. I could definitely live in the mountains but for the creepy small-town people.
12. Some woman named Laura Lynn is the Bill Gates of grocery. Her name is on everything from grape soda to dry dog food.
13. Raccoons really do have table manners and eat their french fries one by one, thanking you with a wave when finished.
14. The movie theaters are cool enough to have Hayao Miyazaki characters painted on the front of the buildings, but the drive-in has an extremely crappy miniature golf course.
15. When Jon is contentedly quiet during dinner at a restaurant it is not only because he's shoving a quadruple layered sandwich into his mouth, but also because he is secretly soaking up every ounce of ESPN being televised behind your back.
Friday, July 6, 2007
Finish packing clothes and shoes (remember socks).
Double check packing list for any items we may have forgotten.
Get dogs ready for a weeks stay with the in-laws (include food, bowls, treats, and Macy's bear).
Gather all board games, cards, and books that will be making the trip with us.
Lay out comfortable clothes to wear during the 6-hour drive.
Put away dishes.
Wipe down counter tops.
Bag any non-perishable foods to bring along (i.e. triscuits, granola bars, and cereal).
Empty tote bag of work contents and fill with items to be readily accessible during the drive.
Do Not Forget Camera!
Stop making to do lists.
We're leaving tomorrow morning. See you next Saturday!
Monday, June 25, 2007
All bitterness aside, it was a good time. It wasn't exactly how I had pictured it as I thought it would flow a little more smoothly, but I was able to identify each lull very quickly and move on to the next game, or food, or even a joke. Yeah, people, I cracked jokes in front of strangers. I don't know what came over me.
Everyone thanked and assured me as they left full and happy, and I felt I could mark it down as a success. And just as my niece finished washing the last platter, and my little sister collected tablecloths that were in need of a good washing, and I stacked up the last folding chair I let myself breathe again, and then I felt like passing out. I was moments shy of giving the last of my family the boot so I could take off my ridiculously uncomfortable skirt and climb into my bed and sleep for the rest of the week. Unfortunately it was only 6:30 and just thinking about going to bed that early tends to give me a second wind, so instead, I sat down in my big, red, comfy chair and reflected on the last Month of Hell and how it all turned out okay.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Friday, June 8, 2007
Our love began with a glance across a parking lot. You possessed me in just a few days. I remember long drives through the countryside, and long weekend getaways. But the years passed, and like the upholstery in the hot sun, your love began to fade. And now in a time when I need your care the most, you hit the blinker and turn away. And while our gas tank of love may be running on fumes, I still have plenty of love to share. So if you have a quart of tenderness left for me in your heart, take me back to Firestone Complete Auto Care.
Your 2003 Aztek
I'm very sorry to be the one to tell you this, but I believe you have me confused with your previous owner. You see, it was not love at first sight for you and me. In fact I thought you resembled a garbage truck. I would not have given you a second glance if it hadn't been for my husband, Jon. He fell in love with you when he was able to fit comfortably into a vehicle for the first time, and boy did you ever rock his socks off when he discovered your center console doubled as a cooler. He was sold on you almost instantly but not me, although I have come to love you in time, my dear Aztek. You have great gas mileage for an SUV, you have retained your value quite well, and your oversized handles embedded in the dashboard are great for pretend machine guns.
I'm ashamed to admit that you have not seen many long drives through the countryside other than a weekend drive to Maryland, or the few times I've taken you on my commutes through Medina County which even you have to admit are NEVER FUN.
Mostly Aztek, I have to ask you to put an end to the melodramatics. The nice guys at NTB Tire have been treating you quite well. I just don't understand your obsession with Firestone. And besides, there is room for only one headcase in this family, and I'm sorry, but I was here first.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
--I don't mind having nearly all of my family's events at my house. In fact, Jon and I chose our house for the sole purpose that it could handle our extremely large families even though it feels far too large when it's just the two of us. I love to entertain, I love to put these things together, but only when it is my choice, my plans, and so far this baby shower hasn't involved a whole lot of my anything besides time and finances.
When I signed up for this I thought I would have a little more help particularly from my mother and older sister, both of whom have been conveniently absent up to this point (2 weeks away), and it feels like my little sister has fought me tooth and nail on the most crucial pieces. Mind you, my house is a pretty good size but can my living room fit 50 people seated? No. My idea of a baby shower and the guests, especially considering the size of our family, is 20 some odd family members, and 5-6 of her closest friends. But low and behold my sister is only 19-years-old and mentally she is not quite out of high school, and two days before her deadline to turn in her end of the guest list because I had to send out invitations, she brings a list of 30 friends and then she, also, conveniently disappears presumably to the same hole my mom and older sister have been hiding in.
I looked into halls for more room, I started crunching numbers, and in the end, I couldn't justify spending $300 dollars on a shower when my sister would ultimately benefit more if I just gave her $300 dollars cash rather than some cheesy little party. I took it upon myself to slash names from the list and I mailed the invitations. The next time I was able to reach my sister, a week later, I let her know what I did and all hell broke loose. Why? Oh, because she had already verbally invited every single person on her list, and according to her, some of them had already bought gifts. I tried to stand my ground, I tried to ignore the fact that I felt as if my own family was taking advantage, and weren't appreciative of anything I have done for the last 8 weeks. I tried to be civil and explain, step by step, why I had to do what I did, but it was to no avail. Eventually my mother called me with my little sister crying in the background, and while she wasn't particularly mean about it, my mom made me feel like I was being ridiculous and making far too big a deal out of it. I sent more invitations out the next day. 50 people have been invited to my house and I have nowhere to put the majority of them. I'm crossing my fingers that most of them won't show. And that's just sad.
New York City
--I'm told the original plan was for my mother-in-law to show up at my house the day of, tell me to grab my purse because we would be going somewhere, and surprise me with a trip to New York City. I guess she decided that you can't do that to people and so she called instead. She told me she found a great deal on an all-inclusive trip to New York, and she's been worried about me, and so she wanted to take me away to a place I've always wanted to go but probably never would on my own. Obviously I was interested and excited, that was, until she said it was on June 23 and 24. June 24 is the day of my sister's baby shower. I had to decline the best offer I'd been given in a long time because of a baby shower I wanted nothing to do with anymore. But apparently the trip is offered once a month, and so we started going back and forth about available dates: June 23-baby shower, July 13-we're both out of town, August 18-her retirement party, September 15-we're free! I'm going to New York in September! I'm going to New York without my husband who will return from a week-long business trip on September 13. I would be emotional about only seeing him for 1 out of 7 days but it's NEW YORK CITY!
The Family Reunion
--On July 7 we're all packing our bags and driving to Virginia where we will stay in the wilderness for 8 whole days. While my immediate and extended family, something like 75 of us, are all staying at the state park, Jon and I are sharing a cabin with just my brother and his girlfriend. We are looking forward to an entire week of the four of us 20-somethings doing whatever we want--swimming, hiking, fishing, canoeing, beer, bonfires, family, and friends. Is there a better combination? The only problem is July isn't getting here fast enough. Oh, please, July! Please hurry and rid me of this baby shower and let me escape to a cabin in the middle of nowhere! I'm begging you! I'm thinking it's going to be one awesome time.
Yeah, so, I'm sure there is more but I've run out of time. I'll try to keep you updated on my mental state which will most likely return to normal after June 24th.