Sunday, October 28, 2007

This Is One For The Record Books

My Magic Eight Ball costume cost me three dollars. I cut a white circle and black eight out of remnant pieces of felt from the fabric store, glued them together, and pinned the whole thing to a black sweater. I sat at the dining room table with the toy Magic Eight Ball I received as a stocking stuffer a few years ago and copied as many answers as I could onto little strips of paper which I stuffed into the pockets of my jeans. I wasn't expecting to win Best Costume, but I thought it was a fun idea. And I didn't win Best Costume, instead I won Most Original. My reward was a cheap ribbon and the worst hang-over I've had since my 21st birthday.

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

(Emo)tional Content Within

Dear Self,

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

$2,000 Worth of Marriage Counseling

"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

What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day

My plans for Saturday and Sunday were to begin work on the desk, but because it was cold, and I was still feeling overwhelmed by the massive size of the furniture, and because there were other things to do, I busied myself on everything but the desk.

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

Trying New Things

I've always liked the idea of vegetarianism, but I never thought it was for me. I come from a meat and potatoes, everything-covered-in-coordinating-gravy kind of family, and amidst all of the beefy, creamy foods, I never grew fond of vegetables. And how can you go vegetarian without liking onions, cauliflower, and green peppers? I'm still not entirely sure that you can, but recently I decided to try anyway. Not because I wanted to save the poor, defenseless animals (although I think it's good reason), but because I wanted to feel healthy. I needed to set boundaries. I needed affirmation that I was in control of my body, and what better way to do it than trying something I had admired for so long but never thought I could do?

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

I'll Probably Forget Writing This

"What did you do this weekend?"
"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?"

On Being the Family Pet

"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

Whoever is in My Head Please Get Out Now

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'm Over It

Jon and I agreed to meet at my parent's old house after work to collect the desk and shelving units I mentioned previously. It didn't occur to me that Jon had our only copy of the key until I was the first to arrive and found I was locked out. In lew of another option I sat on the front steps and decided it was time to reflect on my life in the house. I thought about all of the conversations I'd had, some meaningful, while others were not so much, in that very spot leaning against the white pillar with my legs pulled up to my chest. I had read dozens books and written hundreds of poems right there as I watched the sunset behind the dated church. It saddened me a little to think this would be the last time I watched the sun go down from this particular seat, but then I remembered I wasn't a child anymore, and it had been years since I'd written a poem or watched the sunset from there anyway. That's when I realized that I am over this.

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

Leaving A Home Behind

Saturday's move went about as expected--it was complete chaos. I had given my parents the benefit of the doubt in saying they were half packed, but on Saturday morning they were nowhere near half anything and from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. it was a 9 person packing, dusting, loading, and unloading melee. I just tried to keep in mind that a smooth move, especially one forcing downsize, doesn't exist whether you're ready for it or not. I continually reminded myself that not everyone is as anal and controlling about these things as I am. I find it comical that the reason behind my being so anal and controlling is because of my parents. My disorderly, haphazard upbringing has scarred me for life. I won't let leftovers sit in the fridge for longer than 24 hours because if I see one more bowl of moldy spaghetti, even accidentally, I might just go insane. My mom cleaned out the refrigerator maybe once every 6 months. I cringe when I see mail on my dining table because we didn't have a dining table while I was growing up--we had a postage table with seating for eight. My furniture is moved every weekend in order to sweep and mop the floor underneath because when I was younger the dust bunnies multiplied at a rapid rate, forming armies so great in numbers that I'm surprised there were no casualties. While I don't consider myself a clean freak, I do get an irritating twitch in my right eye whenever I feel I'm mimicking my mother's housekeeping skills. You get the point.

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?