Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Knee Brace: Day 7

I have been a very good patient. Despite my initial plan to continue to play soccer despite the doctor's orders, my sister made a comment that set me straight and I have been compliant. 

I wear my knee brace every day. It looks awesome with shorts. It looks equally awesome under the one pair of work pants that I can fit it underneath. 

I got the okay from my doctor to do a bit of running on the treadmill. I took my knee brace for its first spin around the gym on Monday evening. It was hard and awful. I should probably go back and try again. 

I am rapidly running out of time to register for the half marathon that I have enjoyed running over the past four years. I don't have another appointment until after the registration deadline. My knee doesn't feel great. I'm not going to have much time to train. 

And I feel like I'm going to be really, really, really bummed to sit this one out. 

And really, really, really bummed to register and be unable to race. 

On Sunday, my soccer team plays for our league championship. I will show up to watch. What great fun.

Basically the only good thing that has come to this is that Lucy's husband Chet sings me George Michael's "Never Gonna Dance Again" every time he sees me. I do love me a good serenade from a married man. 

Other than that, this is basically the worst.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Being Auntie

Lucy and her husband, Chet, closed on their new house this week. It's a lot of house but it will be great for them. And, selfishly, it is blissfully close to my house and has a beautiful finished basement that would be perfect for housing a spinster aunt in 30 or so years.

They have more wallpaper to strip than they know what to do with, so my mom and I took Lucy's boys on Friday afternoon.

The boys were the sweetest and my mom was over the moon. She's never said a word about not being a grandmother but I absolutely feel guilty for making her wait. But such is life.

We started with fishing off of the dock. By fishing, I mean the boys each had a fishing net: Baby A (age: 2.5) caught some pool toys and Baby L (age: 13 months) waved it around for a few minutes. Then a small dead fish bobbed on by and my mother swept it over to where Baby A was fishing and he caught a real, (formerly) live fish and he nearly burst open he was so excited. As disgusting as that was. 

We dug in the sand and we went on the boat, where Baby A turned the steering wheel and pressed buttons and otherwise captained the ship (which was moored to the dock).

They met a neighbor, who saw the little guys and came down to see what fun we were having and to remark, "so, Aly, this is how behind you are?"

She's a very blunt woman.

Mom and I took the boys back to the house, fed them dinner and gave them both a bath. Lucy had packed them changes of clothes but, because shopping for the boys is my mom's #1 hobby, she had a set of new pajamas for each of them. 

Lucy and I had traded cars so that I could just drive the boys home. They were both getting tired and Baby A suddenly realized (four hours later) that his mom was gone and sadly remarked, every 30 seconds, "Momma. A's momma" during our entire drive home.

And then we got to their house and Lucy wasn't home yet.

This was how I felt:

Luckily I have a key. Luckily the boys were happy to be home and didn't seem to notice that their mom, their dad and their dog weren't there.

Turns out that Lucy thought that I was bringing the boys to the new house and I brought them to their old house (it was bedtime, after all!) so we killed more time playing in the living room.

Baby L absolutely loves books and he kept toddling over with a book in his hands and ploping into my lap. It made me want to kidnap him and keep him as my own. With each book, Baby A announced "Auntie bring that book! Auntie Pie bring that book from the li-BRARY." and then I wanted to kidnap him, too.

But Lucy came home before I had time to formulate a kidnapping plan so I went back to my condo, instead, where I slept as though I had not for months.

Babies are hard.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Enough with the email

On Tuesday, my guardian angel of eHarmonizing and I finished all 9,253 questions on their questionnaire/personality test/torture advice. I complained about, oh, every question except the one that asked my height.

But I finished and that's all that matters. We picked out a couple of decent pictures the next day and, while I wasn't really ready to go, eHar was taking off my training wheels and: the emails. Oh my goodness. The emails.

That devil of a website has sent me over 100 emails since Wednesday. This dude wants to get to know you. This dude sent you more f'ing questions. Give us money so you can see what these turds look like. Over and over and over.

It was enough to make me quit entirely. I started flushing them all into a special folder, unopened. I do not like being overwhelmed. I also do not like being excessively emailed. Or reminded that I'm doing this in the first place. Give me some space!

It took me a few more days, and a coupon code, to actually sign up. To just use the service for a month is, like, more than the cost of my gym membership. Whatev, eHar. My gym has a steam room and yoga classes. eHar clearlys want you to sign up for a multi-month package, the prices are way less stupid, and I decided that I could commit to three months.

Six months is their shortest package. (24 months is the longest which seems...mildly hopeless.) And that annoyed me so I put it off a little bit longer.

And then I got an email yesterday for a three-month package at at the price of a one-month package and I was like "OKAY. FINE."

I logged in and gave them my credit card information (automatically renewing, someone remind me of this come November 15).

Then immediately changed my email settings.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


30 days since injuring my knee, I finally, finally, finally had my doctor's appointment.

A partial tear of my lateral collateral ligament. (Exactly what my sister, Meg, thought it would be.)

No soccer for the time being, which is a horrible disappointment. I am getting fitted for one of those horrendous hinged braces this afternoon, which is equally disappointing. 

When I told my sister (who is a physical therapist) that I wasn't supposed to play soccer, I really thought I would get the "oh, you can play, just be careful" response. Advice which was going to usurp the advice my doctor had given me. But instead Meg said, all professional-like "you just need to let it heal. It takes as long as it takes."  

With two professionals telling me to give it a rest, I guess I'm giving it a rest. But only from soccer. I got the okay to try running in my sweet new brace, which means that it's time to give serious thought to whether or not I'm up for cramming in enough training to run a half-marathon in October.  

I was really hoping that I had just imagined my injury. So much for that. 

It could be much worse; I will refrain from complaining further.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Just browsing

My cousin, Emma, leaves today for New England. She starts grad school in a few weeks.

With a level of drama expected for anything that includes both Emma and my sister, Meg, we arranged to go to dinner last night to celebrate her big move. After far too many changes of plans, irritations, weather-related delays and the like, Emma decided that she wanted to go to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.

Oh, the Cheesecake Factory. The one in the area has only been open for six months, so it is still laughably busy. I wasn't exactly surprised when I was told that our wait could be as long as two hours and I probably should have ditched my mom and my grandma (my partners in waiting out the line) and arrived extra-early to put our names for a table but I am so over being the ringleader for every single little thing I do with a group of people. So I just told my mom to pick me up at work when they were ready to go.

It was almost 7:00 when we arrived. There were six in our group. I wanted nothing to do with waiting two hours for dinner but Meg and Emma were at least an hour away and I didn't have it in me to change Emma's mind.

And anyway, I had a plan.

Sur La Table is just around the corner from the restaurant and I was quite certain that neither my mother nor my grandmother had ever been inside. Or even knew that such a store existed. (Grandma despises the mall; Mom is never in that particular corner.) As I come from a long line of housewares junkies, I was certain that a stroll through the store would help kill a bit of the long wait.

We weren't seated for 90 minutes, every second of which my mom and grandma and I spent touching approximately every item that Sur La Table had on the sales floor. They had something to say about each and every thing, too: how clever it was or how unnecessary or how they had one that was older/better/worse/different/comparable.

It was oddly enjoyable. I guess maybe it's because that domesticity gene that Grandma passed along to us is so strong. She loves that stuff. My mom loves that stuff. I love that stuff.

In the midst of a couple of weeks where I've felt so out of sorts, it felt positively luxurious to have the time to share an experience and an interest with two of my absolute favorite people in all of the world, even if all it was is a slow crawl through the entire inventory of a mall store. 

I feel a lot better today and I think it had something to do with all of the pie-baking supplies. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

About Soccer

Yesterday was my very last game in my Sunday summer soccer session.

I play in another league into the fall, but Sunday summer soccer is my absolute favorite. I love my teammates. I love that we get to play outdoors. I love that we have cute jerseys. I love that I can still hang with 18-year-olds who play college soccer. (I don't love doing the math and realizing that I'm quite nearly biologically old enough to be their mothers.)

That Sunday summer soccer is the soccer that I grew up playing. It's soccer for the sake of soccer, not for socializing, not for fun or for exercise. It's just pure soccer and it just kills me that we only play a few months out of the year.

Yesterday, I needed soccer because the three hours that I played were the only three hours in the day when I wasn't restless and irritated and completely stuck in my head. I played soccer and I felt like myself. I shook off everything that I'm carrying around for a few hours. I needed the break. I needed the exercise, too. (I forget sometimes that I'm pretty anxious if I'm not getting in a regular workout.)

It probably seems silly, this love affair that I have with this sport. I'm 31. There are more important things. I get why people think that way.

But I also can't understand why they don't feel the same.

Just last week, an acquaintance who is about to be a step-mom to a 7-year-old girl emailed me about finding a soccer league for the daughter to join. I stopped what I was doing and immediately sat down at my computer to search out what they were looking for. I sent her a list of options. The acquaintance didn't grow up playing a team sport and I'm not sure she has any idea how defining that participation can be and, though I resisted the urge to preach ("it's not about the sport," I can picture myself writing. "It's so much more than that.") I gave her more options than probably necessary. Because I think it's so important. I think it's so, so important.  

Along with the abundance of soccer information, I sent along links to Girls on the Run, which is a very sweet rah-rah girl power running program, and the local girls hockey program that I also know to be very empowering. Because it isn't about the sport. I don't care what that girl, who I've never even met, does. But I care that she does something. I care that every girl, every kid does something, be it soccer or hockey or cross country or figure skating or golf.

Because sometimes you grow up and you find out that you need teammates. Or you need a reason to exercise. Or you need three hours on a Sunday to temporarily lose what's weighing you down.

I simply cannot imagine my life without it. I can't picture myself without it.

It's just a sport. But it's also not just a sport.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Everything, everyone

I am not in the best place right now.

And I don't really know why.

Usually, when I'm in a strop, it's about something specific (ahem, boysworkfamily) and I let it spill over into everything until I'm a miserable hot mess and I can't even stand to be around myself.

Except right now my something specific is: everything, everyone.

I always know I'm in a really foul mood if I'm irritated with my best friend, Lucy. And if I can't blog. And when I aggressively delete photos from my phone. And when doing nothing sounds as awful as doing something (anything). And being alone is as unappealing as being around anyone else. All of which: yes.

It wasn't even a bad weekend. It was actually pretty decent if you overlook the black cloud. I got a lot of stuff done. I started watching the Mindy Project. I played a few soccer games. My big secret project (no, not the eHarmonizing) is 95% complete. I ate a Snickers ice cream bar.

But I'm basically just not any fun right now.

Keep your distance, friends. I'm afraid this is contagious.
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