Thursday, September 30, 2010

Goodbyes all around

Goodbye, 27. Goodbye to the year that I entered turning cartwheels and spewing optimism. Goodbye to the year that I’m leaving with aches and bruises and maybe a few too many life lessons learned in that span of one year.

Goodbye, mossy green Milan. You were a good car for me. The perfect size. In a color that brought compliments. Decent gas mileage. A backseat that fit my hockey bag perfectly. Sorry about the door dings. And that scuffed hubcap. My bad.

Goodbye, ‘brary Boss. When I came in to work today and learned that you had “resigned” (nobody believes that), effectively immediately, I was shocked. I still am. I hope that you’re okay. And I hope that your family is okay. And I hope that the reason that I suspect you left is completely wrong.

Goodbye, ‘brary Coworker. So you “resigned,” too? On the same day. Also without notice. Crazy.

Goodbye, Favorite Granola Bars from Trader Joe’s That Apparently Won’t Be Stocked At Trader Joe’s Anymore. I’ve looked for you, my heart full of hope, for six months now. I am starting to come to terms with the fact that you will no longer be a staple of my lunches. My heart is broken. My heart will go on.

Goodbye, Half-Marathon Training Plan. I’m sure I won’t miss you much, on account of my never following your guidance. Or maybe I will. Two hours into my half-marathon when I have no idea how I’m going to finish.

Goodbye, Dream House. I am going to stop looking at your listing. Because you and me? We’re not going to happen. It isn’t you. It isn’t your hardwood floors or your stainless steel appliances or your blissfully low asking price. It’s me. And my bank account. And my employment situation. And some crappy timing.

Goodbye, September. You were one of the most tumultuous months of my life. I won’t miss you a bit.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A little here, a little there

Reading
I just finished reading Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin. I don’t normally read those pink-and-girly-shoe-or-purse-on-the-cover-chick-lit sorts of books and apparently there’s a reason for that: I don’t really care for ‘em.

Eating
It is Restaurant Week here in the D and, last night, two of my work friends took me out for an early birthday celebration. We snagged reservations at a real local establishment – one of those places you know by name and reputation, even if you’ve never dined there. ...which I hadn’t.

The meal was delightful.

First Course: Roasted Corn and Crab Bisque (Garnished with cilantro lime crème fraîche)
Second Course: Mélange of Shellfish (Sautéed shrimp, scallops and lobster on a bed of angel hair pasta with lobster Champagne sauce, garnished with crisp filo pastry and broccoli florets)
Third Course: Mango Crème Brûlée (Mango-accented baked custard, topped with caramelized sugar and fresh berries)

And, while the Restaurant Week menus have a fixed, reasonable price and my dates obviously knew what they were in for, I felt quite guilty letting them buy me dinner. Especially with the knowledge that one of the girls is struggling financially. I’m sure she could’ve spent that money elsewhere, you know?

Her birthday is in a few weeks. Note to self: come up with something fantastic.

Consuming
How much coffee is too much coffee? Because I'm turning into one of those people who downs a minimum of three cups a day. And seriously not enough water. Who has a trick for that?

Running
My half-marathon is in just under three weeks. Fear! Panic!

Just in time, all of my running technology is failing me. My iPod shuffle is completely dead and no longer being recognized by my computer when I plug it is and therefore seems to be destined to join my iPod Nano in the electronics graveyard that is the bottom drawer of my desk. Which leaves me with my second generation iPod. Awesome. I might as well run with my laptop strapped to my arm.

My heart rate monitor has also taken a turn for the worse. The watch battery died. I got the watch battery replaced. And then it died again. And I got it replaced. And then the battery in the monitor died.

But.

I don’t need any of those newfangled toys to run the half-marathon. I just need to run. Which, unfortunately, I’m probably not doing quite enough of, with all of the fancy restaurant birthday celebrations and dog park visits and two jobs and assorted other foolishness. I’ll be paying for it on October 17!

And, just for good measure, Meg and I are running a 10K on Sunday. We’re also registered for the 10K on Thanksgiving Day.

I should mention that we both continue to insist that we’re not runners.

Denial much?

Watching
I don’t consider myself a big TV watcher but OMG, GOSSIP GIRL AND GREY’S ANATOMY ARE BACK ON.

I’m also filling my DVR with episodes of Detroit 187 and Hardcore Pawn (a reality show about a pawn shop in Detroit), to fill my quota of hometown pride, as well as My Generation, to fill my quota of Class of 2000 pride (although I hear it is just horrible).

Anything else that should be on my radar? I have a few seasons of Weeds on DVD, in addition to all of Dexter and Mad Men. And little to no time.

But, like my "to read" list, my "to watch" list is always growing. And growing and growing and growing. I'll never catch up and I don't care. So - suggestions! Hit me up.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A-Z, instantly

I'm nearly 28 and sometimes I live in a complete fantasy world. Where I get an idea - that I want to write a book, that I'm going to marry David Beckham - and I instantly go for it.

Instantly.

There's no tucking that idea away. There's no reconsideration. I have the idea. And I want to execute. I want to execute now. I want to execute perfectly.

It's like I've been wired incorrectly. Like something in my head skips like a record. Skips the next verse. Goes to the chorus. Jumps to the end.

I can't just apply for a job. I have to apply for a job and dream about where I'm going to live and worry about how I'm going to find a soccer team and determine how long it would take me to drive home for Thanksgiving.

I can't just meet a boy. I can't just meet and boy and like him. I have to consider how well our names would sound together. I have to like him so much that when he disappoints me it tears me into two even though he's not my boyfriend and never was.

I can't just work out. I have to work out with a goal and feel guilty when I'm not focused on that goal and I need to keep a calendar about the goal and I need to buy special shoes to reach that goal.

I can't entertain an idea. I have to research it, instantly. I have to make an outline. I have to determine if it is feasible. I have to know how to get there.

I can't let things be. I am always meddling. Always planning. Always making a list. Always checking off of that list. Never satisfied. Never, never satisfied.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Okay

I haven't done a productive thing with my weekend, other than two weeks worth of laundry, and I'm feeling okay about it.

Dad is out of town for the weekend, so I've stayed with Mom. We haven't done much of anything, other than catch up on the contents of her DVR (Detroit 187 and Hardcore Pawn on Friday night; Project Runway and On the Road With Austin & Santino last night) and eat Chinese food. I think that's okay.

I'm so proud of my mom. She is so tough. We didn't stay in and watch TV and eat Chinese food and hang out with the dogs because she cannot leave the house. Or because she's inconsolable. Or because she can't function or anything like that. We did it because that's what we like to do. She is holding her head high. She is handling herself with enviable amounts of dignity.

I haven't written much about this whole discovering-Dad-is-having-an-affair ordeal since it all came out. I think about what I want to write, but I never write it. The words came much easier when it was in the abstract. When I was suspicious. Now it is part of my life. Part of who I am. I have a sister. I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit. I play soccer. My hair is curly. My dad cheated on my mom.

It is incredibly real.

Eventually, I will write about it. I will tell you all about how angry Meg is. I'll write about the questions that Mom asks me and the conversations that we've had. I'll tell you about how I'm doing. I'll explain my feeling that, no matter how this all turns out, we're all going to be okay.

Friday, September 24, 2010

We met in the snack aisle

So, I got hit on at Trader Joe’s on Sunday night. I don’t know how it is that I forgot to blog about this until now. Maybe it is because I’m still not sure that it happened. He might have just been really friendly. The employees at Trader Joe’s usually are.

He stopped me because of the t-shirt that I was wearing. UM hockey. “Are you a fan?”

Obviously!

We chatted about it for a minute. And our conversation slipped over into soccer – he plays, too – and then slipped to education/career (he also graduated from UM and is a graphic designer. In addition to being a Trader Joe’s associate. And teaching guitar lessons. But whatever.) and the year we graduated from high school (both of us representin’ the class of 2000) before jumping back to soccer.

“I play on a team on Monday nights, you should play with us!” He’s handing me his card, telling me to see about joining his team. Seeing, of course, requires me to call Colin. Colin who runs the league. Not that Trader Joe knows that. But, seriously. It couldn’t be easy, right?

I haven’t seen about joining his team. My Mondays are a little stretched for the next few weeks. I wouldn’t be a reliable player. And I haven’t called him or emailed him or even looked him up on Facebook, believe it or not. I guess I could? Maybe tell him that I’d be happy to be a sub for his team through the end of this session.

I don’t know why I haven’t. Bothered to get into contact with him, I mean.

I’ve been running (literally – like training for a half-marathon) a lot this week but I’ve also been doing a lot of not-work-at-work this week so surely I can send an email except for, I don’t know. I have no excuse. Unless “ugh, blah” is an excuse.

And I wonder why I’m single.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Travel Thursday: South Africa Day 4

Enough of the family drama and the no electricity and all of that foolishness. Back to the highlight of my summer: South Africa.

We had Day 4 planed out before we got to South Africa. In the morning, we would head to Rosebank, where we would go to the African Craft Market. In the evening, we had the Brazil vs Côte d'Ivoire match at Soccer City.

The day worked out exactly as planned. We took a cab to the African Craft Market. It is right outside of a mall and, like any craft market you'd go to in any country, it was totally crazy and filled with vendors handing you their goods or asking you to step inside of their stall or whatever. Typical.

We bought a lot. Jewelry. A few vuvuzelas (you know, those buzzing horns that annoyed everyone who was watching the games on TV). We admired scarves and animals carved out of wood. We bought a few gifts for others and a few more gifts for ourselves. And, at one point, we ran out of Rand and I had to find an ATM machine inside the mall while Meg stood at a stand with her hands full of bracelets for all of our cousins.

When we were through, we went into the mall for a quick lunch at a European-style cafe. The first game of the day was on TV and we had a quick, satisfying lunch. Since we the game we were attending didn't start until 8:30 pm, we had a little bit more time to kill and decided to stroll the mall.

And, then we got to the top floor. And - OMG. The African Craft Market is upstairs, too. And, like, 50 times the size of what is downstairs.

So we bought more.

I got a totebag for Colleen and a pair of flip flops for Lucy and...hmmm...I can't really remember anything else I bought upstairs. Maybe that was it. Whatever I bought, it was MORE on top of A LOT and, ahhhhh, I love shopping. I really do.

When we were all shopped out, we went back to the hotel with very little time to spare. We were actually supposed to leave for the game at 4:30 pm (traffic to Soccer City was always brutal, on top of a long walk from the parking lot into the stadium), but actually wasn't until 5:00 pm. Because Africa time isn't exactly as precise as American time.



We stopped at another hotel on our way, picking up a really nice family (a dad and his two sons who were around our age) from California. They had just arrived and they were SO EXCITED. It was kind of adorable to me at the time. Me, four days into the trip and feeling like an expert. We traded stories about what we had seen and what we planned to do and we gave them a little advice about what to expect at that night's match and over the course of their trip.

It was always nice meeting friendly, interesting people. Which is actually kind of funny for me to say, because I don't think that I lean towards either of those attributes. Put me in a bus with a bunch of strangers and, if they don't strike up a conversation, there probably won't be one. (I'm getting a little better with that.)


The stadium was gorgeous at night, all lit up. And the Brazil fans! So many and SO LOUD. We sat by this Brazilian woman and her husband and she was like a wild person. Standing up and screaming at the referees and waving her hands and, gosh, she must've burned a lot of calories. Her husband just chilled next to her. Except for when Brazil scored. Then he went wild.

Just before the game starts, we see these boys who are clearly Scandinavian. Hey! We're Scandinavian! So Meg trots up there and sees their Norwegian flag and tells them that we're Norwegian, too. And gets a picture, obviously, because that's what you do.


And that's part of what made the World Cup so cool. Because, yes, you might be seeing Brazil and Côte d'Ivoire play a match, but the whole world is still going to be there. Or so it felt. It felt like we were forever surrounded by the whole world.

And that's a really awesome feeling.

You know what else was an awesome feeling? Feeling the whole building hum with the sounds of vuvuzelas when Côte d'Ivoire had a free kick. We learned pretty quickly that South Africans, if they weren't rooting for South Africa, were rooting for the other African nations.

While we were in Brazil gear, we were certainly becoming great fans of the nation of South Africa and, thus, were happy to cheer for Côte d'Ivoire to do well, too.

It didn't terribly matter to us who won, just as long as it was a good match.

And it was.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm whiny this week

“So, how is this going for you? Do you think...” my manager was wearing this sympathetic look on her face and it was so damn genuine that I wanted to puke. “…do you think that you’re going to stick with this?”

She meant librarianship.

We were having yet another quarterly review. Another quarterly review where she tells me how great that I’m doing, wonders aloud how I can manage to hold down two jobs without losing my mind, suggests that perhaps someone will retire (which, if I’m lucky, will mean merely an increase in hours, rather than a full-time position) and assures me that she completely supports my looking elsewhere and promises me that she will do anything within her power to help me advance my career.

“I used to be such a cheerleader for this profession,” she sighed.

You and me both, lady.

I bought into the hype. I went to graduate school buying everything that my grad school was selling. About a massive wave of retirements that would bring a shortage of librarians. More open positions than qualified candidates to fill them.

I didn’t research their claims and that is entirely my fault.

Library schools are churning out armies of graduates. And then there are schools like mine, which cannot resist the temptation of offering the program completely online, too. Just to flood the market just a little more.

There’s something like four library school graduates to every one job.

I made a mistake.

A really expensive mistake.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lust

I am in love.

I went running as soon as I got up yesterday morning and, to pass the time, I like to look at all of the houses that are for sale (this is Michigan and, thus, there are generally quite a few to check out as I’m pounding the pavement) and decide if it is somewhere I would like to live.

I’ve been running in a really adorable downtown area that is surrounded by these cute, mature neighborhoods with yards that are just the right size and houses that don’t all look the same and, seriously, I’m a little in love with it. The only thing better would be living on a lake but, come on, the only way I’m going to have a house on a lake is if I double my income. And by that I mean get married.

That’s another subject entirely.

Back to the run.

So, I’m jamming to my iPod – probably to something slightly embarrassing in any situation except when you’re workin’ on your fitness – and I turn down a street that I’ve never been down and…oooooh la la. Look at that house that is tiny and adorable.

I don’t know what made me remember the name of the realtor. Or what inspired me to look it up online after I got home.

But that adorable damn house is even cuter on the inside. And cheap. Really cheap.

Of course. Of course it is just beyond my reach.

I can’t buy a house.

Nothing in my life is stable and, if I’ve learned anything in the last few years, I’ve learned that investing in real estate when you’re on shaky ground is pretty much the worst idea ever.

I can’t buy a house when I haven’t yet landed that new job. That new job that I keep applying for. That I need sending out résumés in search of. That new job that is so bloody elusive that it is driving me absolutely insane. That new job that is located in Metro Detroit. In Kalamazoo. In North Carolina. In Germany.

I hate this, in case you were wondering. I hate this, working 60 hours a week and looking for a job and renting and apartment and WAITING ALL THE TIME for my stupid fortunes to change.

Being an adult fucking sucks.

I really love that house.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

She gets around

My dad had an old friend from high school in town this weekend (a visit that was planned long before the mess of the last few weeks), so my mom peaced the hell out for a few days.

Understandable, really. I get why she wasn't really keen on hanging out with one of my dad's high school friends when my dad's recent desire to relive high school is what seemingly led him to his affair in the first place.

On Friday night, she went to stay with a friend. A friend who she went to high school with. Well, who they both went to high school with.

(I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but for those of you who may not know: my mom and dad went to high school together. The same high school that Meg and I graduated from.)

This friend, Barbie, was my one of my mom's very best friends. Barbie also married a boy who they went to high school with. A boy who turned out to be a dog, cheating on her multiple times before they finally divorced.

Cheating on her with a few hockey moms from their son's team.

Cheating on her with some randoms.

Cheating on her WITH THE SAME CHICK WHO MY DAD WAS RUNNING AROUND WITH.

So, yeah. Skank.

I kind of wonder if she's making her way through the yearbook and checking off her conquests as she goes along.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dating

Aunt Marie’s husband – Uncle Bob – has a girlfriend.

Well, I don’t know if she’s his girlfriend. I don’t know how those in the 50+ age bracket label their relationships these days. All I know is that I called my dad a few days ago and the first thing he said to me was “I just got off of the phone with Emma. Her dad just told her that he has a girlfriend.”

...and I bit my tongue to keep myself from responding with “did you tell her that you have one, too?”

But this isn’t about my douchy father.

Well, it sort of is.

I would be a lot more rattled by learning that my uncle is dating if my immediate family hadn’t recently imploded. My sorrow bank is bursting at the seams; I cannot make any more deposits.

But I recognize what it is. I realize what it means. I hear it in my grandma’s voice. I look at the calendar and I see that it hasn’t yet been a year. I think that’s what we were all counting on. 365 days to get used to the idea that he’d let another woman into his life. And because it hasn’t been a year – and won’t be until mid-November – it is just shocking enough to be knocked breathless by the news.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Shine some light on it

Here’s a reliable way to know that you’re in for a good day: you wake up to no electricity.

It started off okay. My alarm clock (which doubles as me cell phone) chirped me out of bed just when it is supposed to – 5:45 – and I turned it off and stumbled into the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea before getting in the shower.

I flipped the light switch four or five times. I checked to see if the clock on the microwave was illuminated. I looked out the window to see if the occupants of any other apartments in my building had their lights on.

Yes, apparently the electricity was really out. Damn.

I stood in my kitchen and evaluated my options. And then I went back to bed.

I set my alarm clock for 30 minutes later. There would be no showering (not ideal, but I took a shower after I worked out last night), but I could get dressed and pack up my lunch by candlelight (how romantic!) and slap on some makeup once I got to work.

It worked out okay. My hair is a little funky, but that’s what ponytails are for, eh?

Plus: 30 extra minutes of sleep? Someone out there was looking out for me. With the start of hockey season (we’re playing at 10 pm on Thursday nights), Thursdays have transformed into even more of a marathon day. Because working 7:30 am – 9:00 pm just wasn’t enough, I decided throw in an hour of hockey at the end of the day. Tranquil, lazy days such as Thursdays shouldn’t end until well after midnight. You know, just to really stretch it out. So that I can savor it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Keep going

It was only a week ago that my dad told my mom about his infidelity.

It feels like it was much longer than that. Last Wednesday, the day that I sat at my desk and wiped away tears for 10 hours, seems months ago.

I am distancing myself from this. Fast. And I'm doing it the only way that I know how: by being busy. Busy with work. Busy visiting my cousins. Busy cleaning my apartment. Busy with my best friends, who are quietly supportive and quick to schedule distractions. Busy exercising. Busy with the start of my hockey season. Busy bringing the girls to the dog park. Busy learning fantasy football. Busy checking in on Meg, who I'm still worried about. Busy reading healthy living blogs. Busy trying to keep my head above water.

I'm afraid to stop. I'm afraid that, if I stop, this will all soak in. I was hit by a torrential downpour, but maybe if I keep going, I can shed the droplets before they have the chance to reach my skin.

And so I keep running. I keep going. I focus on what is directly ahead of me. I pretend not to notice the length of this unfortunate path as I keep my eyes forward; I am always moving, trying to dodge the raindrops.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Snippets

The best part of the weekend was: watching UM beat Notre Dame. While there are few things better than watching UM beat Notre Dame on a normal college football Saturday, this year it was especially sweet. Because Luke is a huge Notre Dame football fan (despite the fact that he wasn’t nearly intelligent or motivated enough to go to school there) and commence all of the dramatic eye rolling bullshit whenever it was acknowledged that I attended (and was thus a fan of) his non-school’s rival. Facebook told me that he drove to South Bend for the game. Which his team lost. hahahaha.

Yeah, I know I’m an asshole.

Speaking of my being an asshole: one of my coworkers is consistently 20-30 minutes late for work in the mornings. During that 8:30-9:00 am timeslot, someone inevitably stops in to see her or needs something from her or has a question for her or whatever. When they can’t find her, they come to me. And it annoys me. I should be really gracious and happily cover for her until she shows up. Especially since she was the one who went to bat for me when I proposed my leaving the office for a few hours twice a week when I’m at the library. Especially because she consistently works really, really late. Especially because she deals with way, way more bullshit than I ever deal with. But, instead, it just irritates me. If you’re regularly 20 minutes late, GET UP 20 MINUTES EARLIER.

Like I said, I’m an asshole.

Things with my family: are okay, I guess. I’ll write more about it later in the week.

As a result of all of this crap with my family, I have decided that I need some more brainless and fluffy in my mind, thus: I’m incredibly fired up for the season premiere of Gossip Girl tonight. And I just put aside the unfinished novel that I had been reading in order to begin the book equivalent to a chick flick.

The second best part of the weekend was: taking Ellie and Blue to the dog park with Lucy and her dog, Wolf. We have gotten into a pretty regular routine of taking the puppies up to the dog park on Sunday mornings. It is an hour that is really well-spent. I get a little bit of time to gossip and drink coffee with Lucy. I find watching the dogs act like maniacs to be terribly entertaining. We get a little time to enjoy the outdoors. The dogs come home and are completely exhausted for at least 24 hours.

The only thing that could make the dog park better is an influx of single men. Seriously. If I see another cute dude show up with his wife/girlfriend and their adorable dog, I may vomit.

Actually, no. That isn’t even true. The dog park is so awesome that even really-cute-but-attached dudes cannot ruin it for me.

I’m going to pretend to be a big girl: and go to the car dealership all by myself to figure out the lease/buy on my next sweet ride. Anyone have any good advice?

Friday, September 10, 2010

I don't know much of anything

I don’t know if I should go home at all this weekend or if I should keep my distance.

I don’t know why I just don’t ask if the ‘rents want me to stop by or if they’d rather have a weekend of solitude, except that it would be awkward and difficult and I’m just really tired of dealing with awkward and difficult things.

I don’t know anything about fantasy football, yet I have teams in two different leagues.

I don’t know if I should pick up The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest where I left off (about halfway through) when all of this family stuff exploded or if I should just start over.

I don’t know if I should tell my aunts/cousins/family why my mom isn’t attending this weekend’s birthday festivities or direct them to ask my dad why she isn’t there or just make up some story to save face.

I don’t know why I would even consider telling other family members about all of this crap without the consent of my mom and dad. I wouldn’t. When this all went down, I so wanted to call Anna (who had dealt with enough of her own crap) or Liz (who has been in France for the last two weeks) and I’m quite glad that I did not.

I don’t know what color to choose for my new car.

I don’t know if I want my dad to accompany me to the dealership when I’m negotiating my new lease because, while he works in the industry and obviously knows way more about this stuff than I do, I’m really not sure I feel like dealing with it.

I don’t know how I’m going to make it through my workday after a Thursday that went a little something like this: 7:30 am-2:30 pm work, 3:00 pm-9:00 pm work, 10:00-11:00 pm hockey, 11:30 pm-12:15 am ramen-eating-and-email-checking.

I don’t know if I should call home every night (which, typically, is what I do) or if I should just wait for Mom to call me when she wants to talk because, well, the 80 seconds I was on the phone with her yesterday really wasn’t pleasant and didn’t seem all that beneficial to either of us and was mostly awful and made me feel like crap.

I don’t know for sure, but I think my heart is a little broken.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Tequila, vampires and the best friends a girl can have

Last night, I went to Lucy and Chet's house to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with them and a few of their Jewish friends.

I really like Jewish holidays. It may be just because it is tradition that I have not been witnessing my entire life, but the symbolism is always really beautiful and intriguing to me.

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. And, goodness, I needed a symbolic fresh start. And a few shots of tequila. And the apples dipped in honey, eaten with hopes for a "sweet" new year.

I ate a lot of apples and honey.



When I left, Lucy handed me this gift bag.



Filled with treats from her, Chet and Colleen.



Chocolate, a candle, tissues and season 1 of The Vampire Diaries.

And a sweet card. Made a little less sweet.

Because they are awesome.



I have the best friends.

And that most certainly includes all of you.

Though you're not here physically, pouring me shots of tequila and buying me junk food, I certainly feel all of the good vibes you all have been sending my way. Your comments and emails and prayers and positive thoughts and tweets are so appreciated. (And - bonus! - lower in calories.)

I don't know how I got so lucky, to have such a great group of people in my corner. Please know that you all kick incredible amounts of ass. And, while I hope that you never need me to buy you dark chocolate or to send you an email to remind you to keep your chin up, if that time ever comes, I will gladly return the favor.

I think you're awesome.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Secret's out

He told her.

Last night. After work. He told her. I don't know what he told her. I don't know how much he told her. All I know is that he sent Meg a confirmation text after he did it. "I did it. She won't talk. It's over."

Meg relayed the message.

I left from soccer immediately and drove home. Frantically. All I wanted was to see my mom. To look at her with my own eyes and know that she wasn't collapsing. I needed to know that she was okay.

I stormed into the house, my face already red and tear stained.

She was in the kitchen, standing at the counter, sorting through some papers for work. Her eyes were red but she was not crying. She was standing upright, not curled onto the floor in the fetal position. But for my urgent entrance, the house was eerily quiet. The news was not playing on the television. There was nothing being cooked on the stove. The dogs didn't bark. There was nobody typing on the computer in the next room.

"Are you okay, Mommy?" I'm not sure that the question was fully out of my mouth before I was crying. Sobbing, actually. Harder than I can ever remember crying. I went to my mom to give her a hug but, really, she was the one who hugged me. As I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. My legs were shaking. My teeth chattered as I gasped for breath. She was wearing a tank top and I drenched her shoulder, leaving it drippy and slippery from my uncontrollable flood of tears.

I apologized. Over and over and over I apologized. "I'm so sorry," I told her. "I didn't want to find anything, Mom. I'm sorry."

And I begged her. "Please, Mom. Please try. Try to work it out, Mom. Please." I've never begged like that before, with such desparation. I never knew I could feel like that. Ready to bargain absolutely anything in order to meet my demands. "Promise me, Mom. Promise me that you'll try."

She never did.

"We'll see what happens," was all that she said. It wasn't long after I arrived. It was before I asked. It was before I begged. I presumed that the statement was regarding her marriage.

I asked her. I begged her. All I wanted was for her to say that she would try.
She never did.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I've entered the crying stage

He’s telling her tonight.

Or so he says.

Yesterday, Meg told him that he had until Wednesday to tell Mom or we’d do it ourselves. He implied that, by doing so, we’d end our family as we know it. Like letting out the SECRET is the problem, not his selfish fucking actions that was the match to this fire.

I believe that he honestly thought that we would keep this secret for him.
He asked for time. He said that he wanted to talk to us later in the week. He wanted, basically, to talk us out of our ultimatum.

When we left the house yesterday, we left it at that. I spent most of the night feeling sick. Telling my mom is the right thing to do – I really believe that – but knowing that her knowledge of the truth could finish off their marriage is terribly scary for me. Their strong marriage is all I have ever known. My secure family has always been enviable. I’ve never had to even consider life with my parents as two separate units. This incident has cracked me. Divorce will tear a gaping chasm in my foundation.

I’m relatively okay with knowing that my mom and dad’s marriage isn’t perfect. I’m significantly less okay with it not existing.

He changed his Facebook password this morning. Meg called him out on it and he said it was because he felt like his privacy was being invaded.

Like that fucker deserves the right to privacy.

And then he told her that, other than the Facebook request, he hadn’t been in contact with the other woman. Yet he knew about the message Meg sent her yesterday. It doesn’t add up.

And he said that he would tell Mom tonight and that he knew, with certainty, that it would result in one of them moving out of the house. Maybe he’s just trying to scare us. Maybe he believes that it is true.

God, I hope he’s wrong. I hope they fight for this. I hope that my mom reacts exactly how I’ve envisioned her reacting: with a lot of rage and a determination to keep their marriage together so that she can make his life a living hell for as long as it takes for her to get over what he did.

I’m not angry anymore. I’m fucking terrified.

And it continues

Excerpt from Meg's undressing of the other woman that I forgot in yesterday's post:
"I'm really sorry for hurting you and your sister," the woman said.

"You forgot my mom, BITCH."

I'm still a little in awe of how Meg went from not knowing there was a problem, to accusing my father, to forcing him to call the other woman, to verbally bitch slapping the woman all within an hour. It took me a week to get to the same point where she was after 45 minutes.

While I did focus a lot on what was said to the other party, please don't think that my dad hasn't heard his fair share from the two of us.

She forgot the part where Meg told her never to contact our father again:
Meg logged in to Dad's Facebook account and unfriended the woman. After all, she'd been quite clear that they were to cease all contact.

And then the other woman requested him as a friend today. Seriously. She got a message from Meg that started with "I told you not to contact my father again," ended with "stay away from my family" and had a few other choice words in between.

I would like to believe that this woman is reaching out to him and that it isn't being reciprocated, but I am not entirely sure. My dad's phone hasn't been out of his sight since this all went down on Saturday afternoon. He hasn't so much as taken it out of his pocket unless it is to use it. And I'm not really in the place to give him the benefit of the doubt. As a matter of fact, I'm far from it.

Meg is angry:
I hate seeing how this has hurt her. She's worshipped him for her entire life. Watching him fall from the pedestal she placed him on has been really, really hard. She's crying a lot. She can't concentrate on her schoolwork. She can't be civil with him. When she went to Mom and Dad's house today (we had Mom's birthday party! Joyous!), she only called him by his first name. She told him that she wouldn't hesitate to exclude him from her life.

Witnessing this is breaking my heart. Meg is so deeply wounded and I can't fix it.

I am confused:
Unlike Meg, I'm doing a decent job of pretending that this isn't happening. I can have a conversation with my father. I can, to some extent, be around him. I'm a little ashamed that I'm not more angry, that I don't have the venom spilling out of me that Meg does, but I think that part of the reason that I'm more subdued is that I've been dealing with this for a week longer than Meg has. And maybe another part of the reason is simply that I'm in a bit of denial. I'm not forcing my dad to have conversations. I'm not calling him out on anything. I feel like I'm letting Meg do all of the hard work and have the hard conversations. Why can't I ever have a spine? Why can't I be anything other than the backroom technical support?

My friends are holding us up:
Lucy and Colleen have really stepped up to the plate in the last few days. On Sunday morning, they met me at the dog park and took me to breakfast when we were through. When I told them about how badly Meg was taking it - and about how I was thinking about going to her apartment that night - they volunteered to come with me.

We spent our Sunday night in Meg's apartment, drinking it out and singing it out. After a stop at the grocery store - for tequila and junk food - we played UNO and SingStar and did shots and, of course, talked a bit about the situation at hand. It certainly solved nothing but, for a few hours, it was a distraction without avoidance. We all knew that it happened. We weren't trying to pretend that it wasn't an issue. We talked about it sometimes. And other times, we focused on our card games and finding a slice of lemon to chase down that shot of tequila.

It was a quiet show of support that I didn't even know I needed until I was getting it. They were there. Physically there. And that is all I needed.

What a waste:
This weekend was the first time since I returned home from South Africa - more than two months ago - that I had more than one consecutive day off of work.

Thanks for ruining it for me, Dad.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Meg goes for the throat

Dad went from "we'll talk about this tomorrow" (which Meg refused) to "tell your mom we're going to the store. We'll talk in the car."

Meg and Dad "went to the store." I stayed at home because, well, it all happened so quickly and I didn't really want to draw any more attention to what was going on. ...my mom was at the house, doing a bit of work in her office, during this entire ordeal.

Meg, who is closer to Dad, didn't pull any punches. She didn't give him sympathy. She didn't pretend that anything about the situation was okay. She forced him to admit to it. That this woman had given him head and that he was "dealing with the guilt."

"Call her," Meg told him. "I want to talk to her."

Dad said that he would have to think about it. But, when he crutched into the pharmacy to pick up his prescriptions, he sent The Other Woman a text message, asking her to call.

And, shortly after he got to the car, she did.

"Meg wants to talk to you." He handed over the phone.

"You CUNT." That's how Meg started her rant. I don't remember exactly everything she said, but it was good. It was really good. It was angry and mean and so, so much truth. "How dare you do that. How dare you be so disrespectful to go into another woman's home. With pictures of me and my sister all around. Who do you think that you are? How would you feel if there was another woman in your home? How would that feel?"

"I would feel a lot like you did," she answered. "I am so, so sorry."

"You stay away from my family," Meg said to her. "No phone calls. No emails. No text messages. No Facebooking. Stay away."

She went on and on and on. "I've never yelled at anyone like that before," she admitted to me at home, while showing me her shaking hands. "Nothing even close to that."

At one point, she got so vicious that my dad told her to stop. "Oh no," she told him, "I will stop when I am done."

They came home with sweet tea vodka, lemonade and Dad's prescriptions.

"Who wants a drink?" Meg asked, cheerfully, as she burst in the front door upon their return. I could see the tears in her eyes.

"I do!"

I've never answered that question so quickly in my life.

Pressing for the truth

I don't even remember what I told Meg. I gave her a jumbled mess of information that, I'm sure, made very little sense. Something about that way I told her, I think, must have made her believe me.

"I don't think that he even went to work today," I gasped at the end of my nonsensical explanation of the suspected infidelity.

Meg left the bathroom, calmly, and went into her bedroom. "Hey! Dad! Come here!"

"Were you at work today?"

"Yes, why?"

I listened from the bathroom as she repeated some of my suspicions.

"Nothing's going on," he insisted. He crutched away.

It happened again. I spilled more information. She called him in the room again. He denied it again. This time, angry, I rushed out of the bathroom.

"I don't know what the fuck you're doing and I don't want to know, but you better shut it down, Dad. Shut it down now."

All at once, he denied any wrongdoing and agreed to my demands.

"He's lying," I said to Meg after he had retreated once again. I had gone into her room, in my towel, and closed the door. My back was turned to her. I stood facing the door, looking into the mirror that hangs on the back of it, and brushed my hair.

It was then when I told her exactly what those text messages read.

She bolted out of the house.

And, when she returned, it was clear that she had been crying. When my father found the nerve to ask why, she spit it at him. "Because I just found out that the only man in my life who has never lied to me just did."

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Confirmed

It all went down yesterday.

A few hours before we were leaving for the Lady Gaga concert. I came home early, change of clothes in tow, so that Meg and I could go for a run together. And that's what we did - cranked out seven miles while singing and executing silly dance moves.

When we came home, Dad was there. He'd been at work. And, suddenly, it struck me that he probably wasn't at work. That his office was probably closed due to the holiday weekend.

And I was suspitious.

So, when he sat down on the couch and was playing with the dogs and talking to my mom and my sister, I went to the drawer where he generally throws his wallet and cell phone when he gets home. The phone was there. I slipped into the next room and opened up his text messages.

And there it was. A text message sent late on Friday night. Something along the lines of "I'm going to go to bed now so that tomorrow morning comes faster and I can be in your arms."

I scrolled up to earlier text messages. From her: "about that sword swallowing comment that you made earlier, that is ABSOLUTELY nothing that I have ever done before."

I wanted evidence, yes. What I didn't want was to read about some old hag sucking my dad off.

I closed his phone. I put it back. And I felt like I was going to vomit.

A few minutes later, I looked at it again. I was in the kitchen. My mom was right there. I considered showing her the text messages. Just getting it over with.

I put the phone back.

I went to my bedroom and I paced around. I needed to get ready for the concert. I needed to shower. I was robotic, pulling out my clothes and racing to the bathroom. I turned the shower on. "Just get in the shower," I told myself. "Just get in the shower."

I didn't. I pulled Meg into the bathroom with me.

"Would you tell Mom if you thought that Dad was cheating on her?"

"You think Dad is cheating on Mom?!"

"I'm sure of it."

Friday, September 03, 2010

Turning the corner


Lucy, Colleen and I have had a rough time of it lately.

Lucy was upset about Colleen’s (heavy) drinking. Colleen was fairly depressed and couldn’t get her medications straightened out. I was perfect (as usual) (just kidding) and felt like I was in the middle of it.

This has been going on for nearly a year now, since Colleen got plastered at my birthday and barfed in the middle of Lucy’s living room, mere weeks from the Saturday night where she was hammered and puking at the bar at 9:00 pm. We’ve maybe hung out – the three of us – a dozen times in the last 11 months. And it is a shame, because we’re a pretty kick-ass team, but I understood the circumstances.

For the longest time, I felt like I was in an unexplainable funk. I felt off and I didn’t have a reason for it. What I was missing, I think, was our group. While both girls were still in my life (Lucy undoubtedly more than Colleen), I missed the dynamic of our silly little threesome of loud voices and signature dance moves and brutal honesty.

Recently, though, we’ve seemed to turn the corner. Colleen is acting like Colleen again. We had a few strictly non-alcohol events, followed by a few we’ll-have-one-drink-in-the-backyard-events and progressing to the we’re-going-to-the-bar-and-trusting-that-this-will-be-fine nights that we’ve had recently.

It couldn’t have happened at a better time.

On Wednesday, I spilled (separately) to both of the girls about the mess that is going on with my family. Between those lengthy conversations, blogging and the very kind and very supportive emails and comments I’ve received, I feel like I can breathe again.

Hurray for great timing. Hurray for open ears.

Hurray for best friends!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Travel Thursday: South Africa Day 3

On our third full day in South Africa, we didn't have any matches to attend, so we decided to cross a big day trip off our our to-do list: the Lion Park!

The Lion Park was maybe an hour from where we were staying. So, I asked the owner of the hotel that we were supposed to be staying in (you may remember that our original hotel burned down a few weeks before we arrived) if she could arrange transportation for us to get to the Lion Park.

She drove us herself!

Which was so nice and so unnecessary for her to do. It was just a really, really kind gesture and we couldn't have appreciated it more.

At the park, you have two options: a self-drive through the park, where you're literally driving your car through these different areas where the prides of lions are just chillaxin', or a guided tour. We took the guided tour, in an open-air safari vehicle. It was definitely the right choice: we got all of the information from the guide and we got to see some areas of the park that aren't open for the public to drive through.

First we drove through an area with lots of plains animals. Including...zebras! Love the zebras. Don't love that we didn't pack the zoom lens for Meg's camera.



Then it was through the prides of lions. There were a few different areas - separated by fences - that houses different prides. It's sort of insane because there's really nothing separating you (driving on the dirt drive around their area) from the lions. Apparently lions are very habitual creatures. They're used the cars driving around them, so it isn't any big deal. If you drove your car onto the grass, though, they would be very unhappy.

It got a little bit hot 'n' heavy.

Awkward for us, but the lions didn't seem to mind. HA.

When we were done with the "game drive" portion of the Lion Park, we were dropped back out front, where we met this fine gentleman.



My boss (who is a tool) kept saying that I was going to go to Africa and end up married to a man with multiple wives. We took this picture for him.



And then we went to the other half of the park. The part where dreams come true. The part where you get to TOUCH A BABY LION CUB.



In case you were wondering: they're not as soft as they look.



Shakira went to the Lion Park when she was in South Africa for the World Cup final. That's how cool this place is. Frickin' Shakira (my favorite Shakira lyrics: "my breasts are small and humble, you don't confuse them with mountains.") goes there. As did most of the teams participating in the World Cup.



It was SO AWESOME.



When our precious few minutes with the lion cubs were over, we walked around a little bit to see the rest of the wildlife in the park. Including this gorgeous giraffe, which you could feed.

And this not so gorgeous ostrich, which I found to be very scary.



And then we went back to the hotel. Basking in the joy that is an afternoon at the Lion Park.

That night, we went to dinner in Melrose Arch, which is a pretty typical shopping/restaurant sort of an area with a big open square in the middle. Well, I would imagine that normally it is an open square. When we were there, every restaurant had extensive tents to maximize seating. We sat outside, watched the Denmark/Cameroon match, met a nice group of American guys from the midwest, and generally soaked in the atmosphere.

We went to bed very happy. Very full. And dreaming of baby lion cubs.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Because I feel betrayed, too

I am trying
Hard
To hold it together

I understand
Now
Why alcohol is
Oftentimes
Suitable
In situations such as
These

Self medicating
(I’m not,
But
I think that I would
Like to)

Situations
Such
As
These

Situations that are
Maddening
Unfair
Awkward
Foggy
Confusing
Idiotic
Scary
And nothing
NOTHING
I ever signed up to deal with

I am on eggshells
Always on the verge of a phone call
To Lucy
To Meg
To Ashley
To my mom
Because holding this in,
While
Calculating my next move,
Is impossibly difficult,
A never-ending anxiety attack
And excruciatingly horrible

Blogging is a relief
But not a solution

Conducting
Further research
(You may call this
Snooping)
Only continues
To solidify my
Worst
Worst
Fears
And make me
More
More
More
Anxious
And generally solve nothing

I have
The skeleton
Of a plan
And a ton
Of anxiety
And doubts
That I can hold
My tongue
For all that much
Longer
 
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