I’m Pretending This Means Winter is Almost Over

So I’m finally taking down my Christmas tree.

I know how ridiculous that sounds. And it is. But it’s Liebling’s birthday this Thursday so it’s the least I can do.

I’ve had a hard time saying goodbye to it this year. I keep looking at it and plugging it in anyway because I’m not ready to say goodbye. Only a handful of people know so far, but I’ll be moving to Arizona in August.

So no more snow, no more commute, no more coffee break pleasantries and my favorite bar and sending packages to my parents’ house as an excuse to say hello and steal dinner. It also means a long distance relationship because Liebling won’t be able to join me for a while.

So I’m dragging out all my goodbyes, even to the Christmas tree. Luckily every time I get sad he reminds me that I’m going to love the desert and I can video chat and call and text and he’s only a plane ride away.

My sister is going with me, so we started a Pinterest board for design ideas and a Trello board for logistical planning. I think I’d be lost without her. We’re going to road trip it up and take Route 66 to our new home. I’m pretty excited to live with her again.

So if anyone has any long distance move or cross country drive advice I’d love to hear it. And thanks for listening to my pouting.

No Poo, No Cadillac

I am not a calm person. I don’t believe in meditation, calming yoga, or decaf coffee. I have never come across a molehill and not seen a mountain. Liebling is more the type to turn a mountain into a molehill, so he usually has to listen to me panic and then calm me down.

My arrival home from work yesterday coincided with a letter from our apartment company (people? landlords? robot overlords?). A few weeks back our water had been shut off for a day and a half because someone had been flushing paper towels and it overflowed the toilets into another unit. This cheery letter, full of CAPITALS and underlined serious words informed us that this had apparently happened four more times and they were doing an investigation. If they found out who had been fucking up the plumbing they would have to pay for the inspection, the repairs, and send an apology note to the poor flooded unit people. At least my home is not full of poo, I said bracingly.

My next evening event was dealing with my poor car Charley. I took her to the body shop to see how much damage I did with the garage, and heard a song to the tune of eighteen hundred dollars. I left a voicemail with my insurance company to see if I should file a claim of stupidity and called my dad and spazzed so much in my kitchen that when our friend invited us over for drinks Liebling had to text him back and say that we would be over later because I was having a moment.

The body shop guy had tried to reassure me, insisting that this happens literally all the time. He told me that his friend bought a brand new Cadillac and upon driving it home for the very first time had knocked the sideview mirror clean off when backing into his own garage. At least I don’t have a Cadillac, I reminded myself on the drive home, just hoping I wouldn’t do any more damage on the way.

My rant in the kitchen continued on for a while.
“This really isn’t that big of a deal,” Liebling pointed out. “Just be more careful next time.”
“No poo, no Cadillac,” I muttered into his shoulder. This is the closest I have ever come to having a sage mantra.
“No poo, no Cadillac,” he agreed.

Moment finally ended, we went to visit our friends to drink their beer and smoke hookah. This is the closest I get to being calm.

My Father’s Daughter

I have inherited many things from my father. His love of music, his disinterest in social activities, his ability to be involved in weddings he doesn’t want any part in, and his irascible temper. (When one of us is backed into a corner, or, if I”m being honest, even just mildly inconvenienced, we are going to shout until we’re hoarse about it. Then we get over it immediately.)

When I was learning to drive, my father took me to the parking lot of the Urgicare and told me “At least this way if you give me a heart attack, I’m already at the hospital.” Unfortunately it turns out I also acquired his driving ability, partially through the accidents of genetics and partially through his tutelage. I drive too fast, I brake too late, and I take turns like a maniac.

When my sister came home from college for Christmas break last month my dad forgot she was in the driveway and hit her sideview mirror, completely knocking it off. My sister was livid and proceeded on the parade of mockeries to end all mockeries. When my mother took the car to get it fixed my sister was mad she didn’t bring back the ruined mirror.

“Why?” I asked her. “Were you going to hide it around the house?”
“Yes,” she frowned back at me.

Liebling and I had dinner with my parents this week and after dinner my dad went out to shovel the rest of the driveway. As I was leaving my mom reminded me not to hit him as I backed out. “What if I just tapped him with my sideview mirror?” I suggested and she burst out laughing.

But alas, this week I joined the idiot brigade when I scraped the side of my car against our too-small apartment garage and scraped off a nice chunk of paint. Liebling had to stand behind the car and direct me to move slowly forward to the right, slowly back to the left, slowly forward straight, and so on, until I was even enough that I could get back out of the garage without destroying anything else.

Back in the apartment I was dismayed. In an effort to cheer me up Liebling mused, “Why don’t you just go visit your parents and insist that your dad hit it? Your mom would play along. Both of you could shout ‘What do you mean you didn’t hear that?’ That might make you feel better.”

Dear reader, I have only just enough self control that I did not do that to my poor dad. But I won’t say I didn’t think about it.

On Being the English Major Friend

I love words, as anyone who has heard me tell a five minute story when a two sentence one would have worked better can tell you. I love the interplay of language, and a good pun will always make me breathless with laughter. This has resulted in an alarming number of books read per year, overflowing bookshelves, a slavish adoration for proper use of the Oxford comma, and a degree in English literature with a creative writing focus.

It has also led to my being the go to person for proofreading papers. And I’ll tell you a secret.

I don’t mind.

I like seeing sentences and making them better. I like seeing paragraphs and making them more cohesive. I like drawing red, red lines through misspelled words. I like pondering the best way to turn a phrase or introduce a character, whether the character in question is a person applying for a job or a literary figment of someone else’s imagination. I may not be a great humanitarian or artist, but I like thinking that I have made some small thing better than it was before.

New Year’s Reso– Let’s Just Call Them Suggestions

Friday after work I went to the memorial for G, and when I got home I succumbed to sadness and a cold and found myself unable to sit still because I didn’t want to think about anything. So I finally undertook the project I have been meaning to complete for a few months now: catalog all the books I own on Goodreads while listening to loud music and Welcome to Nightvale(also, finally).

This may sound like the task of an hour, but let me assure you it took many many hours and many glasses of whiskey. I am finally finished, and the final count is that I own:

  • 189 hardcover books (it was 190, but I realized I had actually bought one book twice so I gave one copy to my local library)
  • 410 paperback books and
  • 338 kindle books.

Disclaimer: I am not counting any books left at my parents’ house when I moved out as I accept no responsibility for them.

I feel like a dusty hoarder, but it was fun rediscovering some old books I haven’t really looked at in ages, and reminding myself of all of the books I’ve bought that I have not yet read. Which brings me to my main goal of this entry: New Year’s Resolutions. Here they are:

  1. Stop checking out library books until I’ve read the books I own.
  2. Lose ten pounds. (I know, I know, this is a vain one not improving my moral character. But it is a goal nonetheless.)
  3. Finish the draft of the NaNoWriMo novel that I began and abandoned when I spent all my free hours in November learning to drive stick shift instead of writing.

With that list done, I’m off to tackle some books on my to-read list!

A Thing That Made Me Cry

I work at a company that is laid back, open, absurdist. I drink with these people and laugh with these people, I gossip with them when they sleep with each other and we commiserate when we throw up in the bathroom together. When Liebling worked there he joked that it wasn’t a company so much as a government experiment to keep us crazy people away from normal people at real jobs. The founder views us as his family.

Tuesday morning I came in to work and the receptionist was pointing us to a meeting room asking us all to go right there. I checked my watch because I thought we were all in trouble for being a bunch of tardy shitheads. But when I got there Anna was crying and I put my arm around her and asked her what was wrong. She whispered it to me before the founder came in and told everyone in the room that one of our coworkers had passed away the night before.

I’ll call him G, for his name, because I can’t come up with a nickname for him today. He was one of the first people I got to know when I started working there three years ago, I celebrated his birthday with him, we talked about life and marriage and laughed over drinks like our little group always does. Another coworker, let’s call him Harley because he loves his motorcycle, was close with him and invited some of us over for a toast to G after work. I had to go home first and cry because I couldn’t bear to cry in front of anyone else.

So we drank and we toasted and we laughed at Harley’s basement bar. We were honest and we were sad and we spoke about him and about each other. We had a memorial that was true and cold. I don’t have much experience with death. But I am grateful to these people who understood that we can cry but we are still going to move forward and we will remain. I am heartbroken for his family. But I am grateful for my coworkers and friends.

A Very Merry Christmas

Christmas Eve was one of the best I can remember having; Liebling and I went to my parent’s house for dinner and spent the evening drinking wine, eating delicious food, and opening presents with my parents and my sister. He hasn’t spent Christmas Eve with us before, so it was a fun evening where we did friendly welcoming things like tease him that his red beard makes him look like Yukon Cornelius.

Gifts were both plentiful and outrageous! Novelty t shirts and beautiful jewelry and tarot cards and kitchen things and Christmas ornaments. Liebling gave me a pair of Han Solo and Princess Leia hand towels that made me swoon. He also gave me a car decal set like the ones you see everywhere: but instead of a couple next to a smattering of children and pets, it is a couple next to piles of money. I don’t know who laughed harder, me or my mom.

Christmas day was split between his family, so we picked up his brother and drove to their dad and stepmom’s house. I adore them; they have a beautiful house and a beautiful cat and told me that they weren’t so concerned about the boys but they were very much looking forward to me visiting. Wine was plentiful and we ate three different variations on the same coq au vin recipe served over heaping helpings of spaetzle.

Liebling’s dad drives an Audi TTRS and asked me how my driving is going and we talked about cars and he promised to take me down to the racetrack to help me be a better driver. He asked me about books and Liebling’s brother shook his head at me and commented that I read constantly. I laughed because Liebling’s brother is one of those smart people who are kind of . . . let’s say oblivious, so that amused me. They gave me a gift card to buy myself more books.

It was a treat to spend time with a big group of people sharing food and laughter. Very different from the Christmases I’m used to which involve bad food and grumbling. We ended the night by visiting Liebling’s mom, who gave me a pretty bracelet and we talked for hours in front of the fireplace. We got home around midnight, exhausted.

Tonight I’m seeing Minerva and I just hope she likes her present as much as the one I got for her cats.

I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas.