Monthly Archives: May 2016

Where Did I Go Wrong?

I love nature and being outside, I grew up largely unsupervised in the safety of a giant backyard – I climbed trees and harvested caterpillars. I never wore shoes and threw temper tantrums if anyone tried to take a brush to my hair.

I think I always assumed this was a kid thing – that all children responded the same way to the freedom of the outdoors, I found out just recently that I was wrong.

A few days ago I decided to take Lucy to a remote arboretum for a lunchtime picnic. I packed a nice spread, a blanket, plenty of lemonade and headed out close to noon. We were the only car in the parking lot and as soon as Lucy realized we were alone she clung to me like the entire place was crawling with hidden serial killers.  I could barely walk with her hanging on to me but I directed her in to the woods and assured her that we were safe and there was no cause for worry. Nothing I could say would relieve her anxiety. We didn’t go far into the woods, when I suggested that we find a nice shady spot to put down our blanket, I got her to sit down…reluctantly.

The space we had chosen was under a maple tree across a ravine from a giant rhododendron. A rhododendron that was home to several birds. Birds that kept making noise. It was 20 minutes of “what was that?!?” “Did you hear that?!?” “Mom! What’s out there!?!” The answer to all of which was, “That was a bird Lucy”. She was clearly not enjoying herself and at one point told me “Nature makes me nervous – I don’t think I’m an outside sort of person Mom” Huh. Okay.

After she was ‘done’ eating she told me she had to use the bathroom and I decided it was time that she learned to squat under a maple tree like God intended – I mean how did she get to be five and never pee outside? I feel like I failed as a parent.

After she successfully relieved herself she was insistent that we get back to ‘civilization’ I offered her a bag of Doritos (Lucy will do anything for Doritos!) to stay a little while longer and explore, but she looked at me with big round teary eyes and said “Please, please Mom I can’t take this anymore.”

I took pity on her and we left, and headed to the mall where according to her she felt the “most safe”.

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The Ven Diagram of my Life Just Got a Little Bit Closer

There was a time in my life when I was always the last to leave a party, you know in my early twenties when I habitually woke up the next morning wondering if I needed to make new friends or if it was okay to check my voicemail. It wasn’t irresponsibility but a need to live every day like it was my last. I had some existential crises when I was a freshman in college wherein this became my mantra and I took it literally – why go to Psychology? If this really is my last day I’ll be so pissed that I went to class… This literal reasoning was a large part of my withdrawal from college, subsequent move to the west coast and well pretty much the next seven years.

And there ensued almost a decade of poor decision making and short term goals whose failure was easily justified away.

I’m not saying that everything that happened in my twenties was bad or unscrupulous but I sure am glad that the internet wasn’t widespread in the 90’s and that Facebook didn’t exist, there was good and there was bad and there were a lot of parties wherein I was the last to leave.

In my thirties I unintentionally became responsible and started making a concerted effort to NOT be the last person at the party. In my forties I spend most of my evenings in yoga pants, preferring to spend my free time with my family and close friends, I enjoy afternoon wine and being in bed by 11:00. Maybe I’m old but I’m past the point of trying to impress anyone and I have to get up early in the morning.

Last weekend I was invited to a ‘swanky cocktail party’ and I hesitated slightly about even going when I found out it started at 7:00. Started at 7:00, also it was at my gym, my gym where people see me nearly every day sweaty in a sports bra. I’m okay spending the morning without make up, sweaty with these people because the only way they exist in my world is inside this gym. I wasn’t thrilled integrating any of these people into my world as people and not just ‘gym people’. But I figured it was fine because I’m not 20 anymore and the plan was to have a drink or two, be home by 9:00 continuing to keep my ‘life’ and my ‘gym life’ separate.

The best laid plans and all that…

There were two problems with this plan 1.) Stacy and 2.) my inability to make small talk with people I don’t really know without 750ml of wine inside me. The evening began slow and at some point got WAY out of control. Stacy whom I love dearly is much more the devil on my shoulder than the angel on the other side, she is… an instigator. When I suggested that perhaps we shouldn’t be the last to leave the party she just laughed at me and suggested that I start sobering up by drinking a light beer. I drank like 6 light beers before we were finally ushered out and the lights were shut off behind us.

At this point it was clearly not the end of the evening but the start of round two – we headed to a local dive bar where I had on good authority heard you could get drafts of Yeungling for $2.00.

So the evening digressed into a messy, incoherent haze of stale beer and cigarette smoke. But that’s not the point of this post. Is there a point? Why yes there is!

The point is that after a rough Sunday where I nearly threw up at a 6 years olds birthday party I had to show up Monday morning and face the ‘gym people’ as people who now knew whatever the hell I decided to divulge after a box of wine and a twelve pack of miller lite – it’s been two days and I haven’t managed to make eye contact with any of them.

Because Home Goods is a black hole of things I really want but don’t truly need

Things I meant to do during my stint on unemployment:

  • Go to the dermatologist
  • Organize the laundry room
  • Teach the dog to walk on a leash without pulling
  • Learn new healthy dinner recipes my whole family would love

Things I actually did do while on unemployment:

  • Find good people who were willing and able to drink wine with me at noon
  • Institute mandatory cuddle time for the first 15 minutes after coming home from kindergarten
  • Learn how to do Romanian deadlifts with a 45-pound kettle bell
  • Vacuum so much I actually broke the vacuum cleaner

Things I feel like I would do if I didn’t ever have to go back to work:

  • Become an alcoholic
  • Barricade myself in the office and write a novel I would be too terrified to actually share with anyone and would only be discovered after my death with a lot of tear stains and spelling errors
  • Committ our wifi pssword to memmory
  • Empty the litter box more often (this ones questionable, I might just teach the cat to use the toilet)

Things I’m looking forward to about going back to work:

  • Less pressure to have a clean house
  • Actually having a reason to drink in the evening
  • Not having to avoid eye contact with people who commiserate with me about how hard their jobs are
  • Less free time to spend at Home Goods

 

Updates From the Couchside – Final Edition

I’ve written before about my struggles with being a grown up. Lord knows I certainly do not feel like one, I drop Lucy off at Kindergarten and I half expect to get yelled at as I’m leaving the school for ducking out of class.

This post will mark the end of my couchside chats- I officially got “the call” yesterday and will be starting a new career next Tuesday. Ugh, I’m not really sure I’m ready to go back to work – I’ve gotten quite used to being at home, making sure that we don’t all drown in dog hair and we don’t eat popcorn for dinner. I’m going to have to open my side of the closet for the first time in 3 months and put on something office-worthy.

I am still working out and now that I’m being held accountable to what I eat and how much I drink I found there is a direct correlation between the amount of wine I imbibe and how often I write these posts – I was doing a lot of writing (and drinking!) prior to my initiation into fit tribe, now that I spend my days sober I fell less inclined to be creative, once the other day I found myself doing push-ups on the stairs. Push-ups in the middle of the day with no one towering over me threatening me with heavy blunt force objects. WTF is happening to me? I need to figure out how to channel my inner Hemmingway without doing it through booze and general poor decision making.

There’s been a lot of adult-ish family drama going on, nothing makes you feel more mature than fighting with your siblings about important things. It seemed so much easier to settle disputes when we were younger and could just pin each other to the floor until someone yelled uncle or cried so loud that our Mother stepped in.

And that my friends is how I’m playing the grown up this week – not drinking, going to work and dealing with situations that I’m ill equipped to handle. Someone pass the wine…