Friday, February 27, 2015

Thanks, February

I wouldn't label February a monumentally successful or especially enjoyable month. But earlier this week, I scrolled back to a blog post I wrote last month and, yep: February has definitely been better.

Or it might just be that I'm in a better place.

January was just one long and drawn-out bummer. I was uncharacteristically sad. I was unmotivated. I had nothing in my tank; I spent all of January running on fumes.

Then February came and I started to feel better. Maybe it was just because I didn't have time to feel so sorry for myself. The month kicked off with my attendance at the birth of Heather's son and, later that same day, I officially adopted Brady the Dog. February has been a hectic month and, largely, a good month. I'm getting more exercise. I have more motivation. I don't feel like I'm walking around with a cinder block tied to my ankle.

And I am just so appreciative.

Feeling okay can feel really, really great.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Juvenile

A few weeks ago, I was mindlessly scrolling through F'book while sitting on hold at work.

One of my F'book friends, a babysitter Meg and I had as a kid who still lives nearby, posted something about her recent knee surgery. And, just as I was scrolling through, my dad's mistress made a comment on it.

(Back story for those of you who weren't reading in 2010: my dad had an affair. I was the one who figured it out. It was awful.)

I didn't know that I even remembered her name but I remembered her name. It stood out immediately. As did several expletives. 

I texted my sister, Meg, to tell her about the coincidence and to suggest that maybe I would write my own comment. Just, you know, so she knows that we still exist. Just because I could.

Meg's response was a very simple "why not?" It was all the encouragement I needed.

I was shaking with laughter as I posted "Small world! I know Mistress, too! ;)" and, shortly thereafter, Meg did the same.

Mistress had our babysitter delete both comments.

Meg and I later confessed to our mom. She laughed. And apparently told my dad about it.

Normally, I'm all about being the bigger person. But this was pretty harmless. And sometimes it feels good to be a dick.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Anxiety Family

I am anxious today. I can't figure out why. Everything is pretty chill. I'm not feeling worked up about anything. But I also feel a little bit like I'm going to explode.

That probably doesn't make any sense. 

But it's like my head knows that I don't need to be on high alert about anything but my body does not. I'm just sitting in my office, plodding through a normal workday, feeling a little bit like I am on a tight deadline/in the midst of a conflict/otherwise out of control of my situation. 

It's really unpleasant and I do not recommend it. 

Related but not because I'm ganking his pills: Brady the Dog has a prescription for Xanax. He's that anxious. 

His anxiety is likely magnified because he's not quite settled in yet. But I think that the anxiety is just be part of his general demeanor. It's how he was wired. Loud noises bother him. Fast movement startles him. He's nervous. 

Which is okay. There are worse things than an anxious dog who will probably to turn out to be a little-less-anxious dog. 

I just think of it as proof that we're meant to be together. 

He, worrying every time that I leave the room. Me, worrying about him worrying about me leaving the room.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Slacking

My nails are currently polished which is a sure sign that my life is feeling a little more under control than it has in the last month or so.

When life gets hectic, painting my nails is the first thing to go. I like to have my nails polished, yes, but the time. First, there's the removal of the last polish. Then the application of the new polish. Then I have to sit around long enough to not trash them? Fuck it. I don't want polished nails that badly. (Nor do I want them painted badly enough to pay to have them done on a regular basis but that's another post for another day.)

The next to go is usually leg shaving because: blonde. Just don't get too close.

When I'm super busy, I also tend to be horrible about bringing food to work. Then I spend time that I don't have running out to procure nourishment. It's a thankless cycle. Plus unhealthy. Plus expensive.

And then there's the act of putting away my laundry. When I have a lot going on, I can manage to do my laundry. I can manage to fold my laundry. Can I get my laundry from the top of my dresser into a drawer? Absolutely not. I cannot spare the four minutes to complete the task.

Confession time: what do you slack on when you're really busy that you're good about otherwise?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Looking Forward

Last weekend, I mustered up the nerve necessary to buy myself a Valentine's Day present that I had been eying since the beginning of the year: an entry in a half-marathon.

Romantic, right? But who else was going to give me the Valentine's gift of 13.1 miles through my favorite city? Treat yo self. 

I am excited. It's easy to be excited now, nearly eight months before the race. Sure, my knee is still wonky. Sure, I'm not running at all* at the moment. Sure, there will be posts where I moan about my lack of training (insert Jessie Spano here: "No time! There's never any time!") and the trials and tribulations of finding the perfect new outfit for that brisk October morning.

But it's going to be fun.

It's going to be so fun, you guys. 

Sorry about being an Obnoxious Running Enthusiast, but I seriously can't help myself. I am fired up to run this race. In eight months. (You'll notice that I'm not clamoring to register for any races before then.)

Last summer's knee injury took plenty from me (mostly my money, my trust in the American healthcare system and my fitness level), but it did give me something: appreciation. Sitting out last year gives me a whole new appreciation for what I can do. And hopefully some appreciation for what I can't do, too. I'm not gunning for a PR. But finishing the race? Finishing I can do.


*Exercise lately: stepper, rower, soccer, hockey. And the steam room. The steam room is at the gym so it totally counts.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Decorating

One of these days, I'm going to get my act together and do a full tour of my condo.

Today isn't that day, so how about I just show you my newest project?



Vintage travel posters for the previously very empty walls of my living room. I bought them on Etsy. I think that they're great.

Anybody else tackle any great home improvement or decorating projects lately? I'm starting to get towards the bottom of my to-do list. Inspire me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Dog Mom Update #2

Turns out that being a dog mom isn't easy.

Okay, yes, I knew when I started considering adopting Brady the Dog that this wasn't going to be like buying a stuffed animal. And it's been great, it really has, but we are absolutely still adjusting.

What hasn't helped is my schedule. Somehow I adopted a dog just as I launched into the busiest two months I've had in quite some time. Somehow I also adopted a dog who isn't accustomed to being alone. Somehow we're going to figure this out.

I probably don't give enough credit to the routine we've built. I mean, it's only been 2.5 weeks. He knows when he's going to have breakfast and that he's not allowed on the bed and that I'm his human. He knows where his bed is and that I'm going to make him sit before I put on his leash.

In other ways, we're still working through our new relationship. He's still marking when he's at my mom and dad's house, a problem that I think will go away when he's more comfortable but every time I think he's getting more comfortable, he pees just to prove me wrong. The weather sucks so bad and it's keeping me from getting him as much exercise as I would prefer. And, most frustrating, we're still not at the point where I'm comfortable leaving him alone.

Thankfully my parents are awesome and understanding (even of the pee -- they are saints) and Brady the Dog has spent every workday over there since I got him. Plus too many evenings when I was playing hockey or at some meeting or out with Lucy. My schedule is going to need some serious adjustment going forward.

He'll get there. I know he'll get there. He is a sweet, sweet dog. I am lucky to have him.

One day, soon, we're going to figure each other out.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Flowers and Uncertainty

I saw Alexander on Friday.

He came over with a bouquet of flowers and a toy for Brady the Dog.

That was pretty sweet of him. I recognize that. And I wanted to be excited. And I wanted to melt into a puddle right there on my front porch.

I didn't.

I think about how I would have felt a year ago if The Coach was at my door with flowers and a dog toy and: it's not even close. What I felt on Friday was nowhere near where I would have been. A year ago, with The Coach, I would have been on another planet. Instead, Alexander brought me flowers and a toy for my new dog and I felt guilty more than I felt anything else. Guilty and in way over my head.

Is that all the proof that I need? Does that mean I'm wasting my time? Should I pull the plug?

I have no idea what I'm doing.

I didn't have a bad time. I don't mind being around him.

It's just... I'm so unsure. And then I add my uncertainty up with the factors that make this complicated (his age, my sister, his mom) and I feel a little bit like I'm trying to talk myself into this.

But there's nothing wrong with him.

So I'm starting to think there's something wrong with me.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentine's Date

I offered to babysit Lucy and Chet's kids on Valentine's Day.

They've always liked going out on Valentine's Day. I certainly wasn't doing anything. And it's been a long time since I've watched the boys.

I brought Brady the Dog, who has been to their house once before and quite likes their dog, with me.

The boys were exceptionally sweet. Especially Baby A, who is no longer a baby but a three year old who can barely stop talking long enough to eat the fish ("that's dead fish, Auntie") on his dinner plate.

We played blocks. We chased around the living room. We read a lot of books. I had so much fun.

It was the perfect Valentine's Day.

I don't have everything. But I sure do have a lot.

Friday, February 13, 2015

A List Is Necessary

The past few weeks have looked something like: unexpected baby delivery attendance, snowstorm, new dog, hockey game, hockey game, hockey game, meeting, meeting, meeting, meeting, what was maybe a date, meeting, musical, cold front, exhausted.

I'm just going to rapid fire fill in the blanks and you guys are going to like it. Okay? Okay.

Valentine's Day plans: include babysitting Lucy's kids, dropping a present off to my grandparents, and eating huge quantities of chocolate like I do every day. 

Most recent injury: paper cut. On my lip. I was trying to seal an envelope.

Brady The Dog: visited my work (really likes books), continues to be a sweet and nervous creature.

Heather: asked me to visit. So I visited.

Horsey: what I played with Heather's daughter (I was the horse, she was my rider) for approximately 93% of my three-hour visit. I ate a lot of imaginary hay.

Chipotle: with Lucy and her boys last night. 

Alexander: I have plans to see him tonight. I just tried to talk him out of it. It didn't work.

I'm scared: but I don't know if I'm scared of this thing because it's with Alexander or just because it's a thing.

A snow day: would be nice. Minus the snow.

February: while busy, has felt infinitely better than January. And, come to think of it, better than October, November and December, too.

Favorite new workout: quality time on the rower. I have always been such a treadmill-only girl but I kind of love it, you guys.

Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay: the book that I've been trying to finish for approximately a month now. I place the blame squarely on, well, all of the above. And work.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Bills, bills, bills

Throughout my adult life, I have been relatively healthy while also being covered by relatively decent health insurance. I am extremely thankful for that.

I will be the first to admit that I was entirely ignorant to the true hassle that is a pile of medical bills.

No longer, my friends. No longer.

When I tore a ligament in my knee in July and spent the remainder of the summer and into the fall going to appointments and getting physical therapy and having MRIs, I knew that I was in for a slew of medical bills. I had low expectations for the whole process and, still, it has been way worse than I expected.

And way slower. I still haven't paid a damn cent towards this injury and it sure as shit isn't because I won't be. It's because every bill I've been sent has needed to be revised. At least once.

I am fortunate enough to be insured by three companies, which is great because: hell yeah, I want you to pay for my treatment but exhausting in that: "hi, it looks like maybe you only billed one of the three companies you were supposed to?" is a very, very regular phone conversation that I'm having. Not to mention the periodic phone calls to those three insurance companies. They don't get anything right, either. 

How do legitimately ill people deal with this? Seriously. I can't handle my bills and my explanation of benefits and calling each of my insurance companies and all I'm dealing with is a sore knee. And a bad attitude. A totally justified bad attitude. Because this is the worst.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Huh. Well. Hmmmm.

I think maybe I went on a date with Alexander on Thursday?

I had a game at 9:30 and he asked if I would meet him for dinner before (he obviously had to be at our game, too, being our coach and all) and I didn't really have any reason not to meet him for dinner before (except that my life has been out-of-control busy the last few weeks and I really wanted to sit at home in my sweatpants) so I did.

It was okay.

While I have told him that I'm not really looking to date (him) at this very minute, and him agreeing that we would just "hang out" (with clothes on), he referred to it as a first date so maybe it was a first date.

It isn't like I don't enjoy being around him. He's actually really sweet. Sweeter than I remember him being the last go around. But, still. I am not convinced. I am not convinced that this is a good idea. I am not convinced that this isn't going to go down in flames.

Plus there's this. I'm going to come right out and say it: I feel so endlessly weird about our age difference. I am five years older than him and it feels like two decades. I keep thinking that I will magically get over it and I keep not magically getting over it.

And somehow today I agreed to see him on Friday.

Can't quite figure out if I'm setting myself up for failure.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

The Dog Mom Update

Thank you for all of your congratulations on my new dog. I have been meaning to update you guys for days now, but it turns out the transition is a little crazy.

First thing's first: his name is Brady. He is a year and a half old -- born just a few days after Lucy's second son! He's a Lab/Collie mix.

He was surrendered by his previous owners: apparently they were moving and couldn't take him and his brother.

Then he bounced around: my sister was his foster, but then she brought him to Mom and Dad's house and then he had to stay at the house of some lady with the rescue when he was going to get neutered. Whenever he goes someplace new, it seems like he's nervous that he's going to be left there. Which is understandable because, for three weeks, that's kind of what happens.

But he's a nervous creature: he's super sensitive to sound. So far, I've discovered that he is scared of the vacuum, the steam mop, my electric toothbrush, having a toy tossed in his general direction when he isn't expecting it, if I open a cupboard too close to where he is sitting, etc.

He might not really like men, either: or at least he's a little wary of them. How perfect that he was adopted by a woman who is essentially man repellent. It was meant to be!

Just kidding about the man repellent thing: kind of, anyway

A week with Aunt Ellie: to ease the transition, I decided to leave him at Mom and Dad's house (where he could hang out with their dog, Ellie) while I was at work. As far as I know, he hadn't ever been alone alone. That worked out okay. My parents are saints.

Separation anxiety: I tried leaving him home alone for the first time yesterday. I went to the gym for an hour. I came back and he was barking. I hoped that it was just that he heard me pull in but wondered if he had barked the whole time.

FaceTime spying: This morning, I dialed my dad up on FaceTime and left in on while Brady was home alone. Back at Mom and Dad's house, I watched the FaceTime feed with a bit of horror. He alternated between barking and whining. I left it go on for 30 minutes until I gave up and went home.

I'm hoping it's just a phase: because this is new and because he's been shuffled around so much. Bringing him over to Mom and Dad's house is no trouble (I only live a few miles away) but it's not a long-term solution. I'm going to be dogsitting for them in a few weeks, anyway, so maybe we'll keep up the doggy daycare situation until then and I'll keep leaving him for short periods in the meantime. (Sorry, neighbors.) It'll give Brady some more time to get settled and realize that I'm not going to abandon him. I hope.

It's all going to be fine: he's a really sweet and smart dog. I'm just a nervous new dog mom.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

A Birth Story

After I blogged out my shock and disgust, I packed up a tote bag with snacks and a book and left for the hospital.

It was 6:45 am when I got to Heather's room. Much to my surprise, Awful Husband was sitting in the armchair in the corner of the room. Okay, then. Maybe I was off the hook?

Wishful thinking.

He sat in that armchair from 6:45 am until 3:50 pm, when Heather was taken for a c-section. He played on his phone. He made weird conversation with the nurses ("I'm on enough Ativan to kill a horse!"). He got up three times: once to go to the bathroom, once when we were asked to leave as Heather got her epidural, once to get food.

He didn't get up to hold her hand. He didn't give her any words of encouragement. They weren't fighting, not really, they didn't bicker and the room wasn't tense. He just gave no indication that he cared.

The only time I really thought he even got what was happening was when he was dressing himself to go in for the c-section. His hands were shaking a little bit. He asked me to text Heather's mom and update her on what was happening. Other than that: nothing.

Apparently they had a rough drive to the hospital. The roads were bad because we were in the early hours of a snowstorm and Awful Husband can't handle anything out of the ordinary. Such as a snowstorm. Or the birth of his child. Or the birth of his child during a snowstorm. At one point, he tried to talk her into going to another hospital. At another point, he told Heather that he would just drop her off. Which is why I got the invitation to join her at the hospital.

I asked Heather, a few times, if she wanted me to leave. If she was panicking in the car and jumped the gun in asking me to come, it would be understandable. She was in labor, after all. But she insisted that I was being a big help. Maybe I was. Someone had to get the ice chips from the nourishment room and the cold washcloth from the sink. Somebody had to call the nurses station and keep the list of potential middle names. Apparently that someone was me. It sure as hell wasn't her husband.

She told me, somewhere in the middle of labor, about how she came to the conclusion of who to call. That it absolutely couldn't be her mom or her sister. Or another friend who lived nearby. It was me. I'm choosing to take that as a compliment.

But, still, I didn't see this coming. Nowhere in my mind did I ever entertain even the slightest possibility that I would be at the hospital when that baby was born. I don't see myself as a close enough friend to coach Heather through labor (we were best friends in high school but it's hard maintaining a close friendship when she's in a shitty marriage to a guy I don't trust or want to be around) but, after 22 years of friendship, maybe Heather knows me a little better than I give her credit for. Maybe she knows what I'm capable of even if I don't.

She was devastated that she ended up needing a c-section and, in the furious few minutes they took to prep her for surgery, I pulled out every motivational trick that I had in my arsenal. And then they wheeled her off.

I packed up Heather's room, wheeled her things to her new room and unpacked. It took me just long enough that I could hear the lullaby over the hospital loudspeaker that indicated that a baby had just been born. Her baby. I left her a note.


Then I put on my coat, dug my car out of the foot of snow that had fallen since 6:45 that morning and went home.

It was one of the strangest days of my life.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Hello!

Please meet So Midwestern's mascot.


I got him. It's official!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

No way, no way, no way

Remember Heather? Heather with the awful husband?

Check out the text message I just got. (Awful husband's name edited out.)


This guy gets out of everything. Including labor and delivery.

On my way to the hospital.
 
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