Today Ursula’s fiance asked if I could drive him home, because we all work at the same place (I know, I sometimes find myself shrieking IS THIS INCEST on occasion too) and Ursula needed the car. I like Ursula’s fiance, I genuinely do, and he drove me home a few times while my car Charley was in the shop last month so of course I said yes. Ursula’s fiance is an interesting mix of placating and sarcastic, and I think he shall be nicknamed Moray, because like a moray eel he can be fearsome but usually prefers to hide.
So, Moray and I jump into my sports car and I jet out of the parking lot with a delightful vrooming engine noise that fills me with glee. “Sorry,” I said, completely unapologetically. “Doing that just really enhances my ‘just left work’ feeling.” I have a Nicki Minaj CD in my car right now, so our conversation was frequently interrupted by my immature giggles and comments about how outrageous and delightful her tracks are.
We spoke about my move to Arizona as it was finally announced at work, and discussed how he likes the cold weather and I never have. This prompted me to ask him what he wanted to be when he was a kid.
“An astronaut,” he replied after a moment’s pause. His tone was surprisingly wondrous, as if he hadn’t thought about things like this in a long while. As a decidedly whimsical person, I tend to bring this tone out in people.
“Delightful!” I declared. “What did you go to school for?” He dropped out after a year or so, so I couldn’t recall. He answered physics, and I nodded and said that seemed appropriate.
“You know,” he said after another moment of Minaj’s wild lyrics caressing our ears, “I think I might still want to be an astronaut.”
The conversation turned to other things but I couldn’t help but wonder if I had accidentally ruined his life. If he moves to Orlando and leaves Ursula so he can become an astronaut, I am going to take a little bit of credit.
It’s been a rough few weeks at work. Too much to do and not enough hours to do it in. Monday was a new record for me: nine hours and fifteen minutes on the phone (lunch was tuna salad hastily chewed in between asking questions and making explanations as I fervently hoped they couldn’t hear the crunching of celery). I’ve scheduled myself out of every lunch this week and next, and I think I’m starting to snap. I’ve been dreaming about e-mails, and I’ve woken myself up in the middle of the night a few times talking to myself in my sleep because I dreamt I was talking to clients.
Well, scratch that. I know I’ve snapped. Case in point:
Today I yelled at Liebling because they changed the locks on our apartment building and I thought I was locked out (I wasn’t). I called him on Hangouts and he answered on his computer accidentally and couldn’t reply and I thought he did it on purpose. I know he wouldn’t do that. And there wasn’t actually anything wrong. But I had a total meltdown that ended in a five minute hug where I tried to pretend I wasn’t crying.
So I found out what my limit is, and I’m promising myself not to do this anymore. This is my reminder to myself. DON’T KILL YOURSELF OVER WORK, SNOW. YOUR JOB IS NOT AT ALL IMPORTANT IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS.
Today I took Liebling to Grandpa’s Cheese Barn. For those of you not living in Ohio, Grandpa’s Cheese Barn is one of those delightfully midwest staples where you go to buy unhealthy amounts of stock in your own future health problems via cheese popcorn, cheese curds, cheese itself, various jams (some of which, alarmingly, have peppers), and things called beef sticks. Next door is a candy place with Candy Land-worthy amounts of fudge and a constant stream of polka music jetting from the speakers.
Mostly I wanted to practice driving now that winter appears to be over and I can get back to learning to shift smoothly and not panicking over making it out of our icy hellhole parking lot. I spent the trip back eating rock candy.
We finished our trip by acquiring fancy olives and several bottles of red wine to accompany our alarming amount of cheese. What a good way to spend a March Saturday.
I have a co-worker we call Hong Kong. (I swear to God this isn’t racist, he’s like Italian or something, he just lived in Hong Kong for a year because his now-wife was a fashion buyer.) He’s a pretty typical thirty-something bro-dude who spends most of the workday smoking and talking. Yesterday we had a heart to heart.
He was stressed about hanging out with his friend and his friend’s fiancee. “I hate it because I always have to remember not to call him Anthony.” I raised an eyebrow that asked Do you mean the way I pretend I care that your name is not Hong Kong even when you ask me not to call you Hong Kong? “I call him Anthony when we go out to bars. His name is not Anthony. That’s his cheating name.”
Glory Hallelujah, I thought to myself. This is much more entertaining than answering my e-mails. “That’s incredible,” I replied.
He shook his head morosely. “He also lies to her about golfing. I have to remember to lie about seventy five percent of what we do together. It’s exhausting. I’m going to accidentally fuck up his whole marriage.” He went on to tell me that this guy routinely brings back women to the house he shares with his fiancee and how he would never do that because Hong Kong’s wife would be able to smell another woman in her bed. “Not to mention if she has long hair. That gets everywhere,” I said, indicating the several hairs of mine that had fallen onto the floor during our short conversation.
We shared stories of friends who cheat and commiserated that neither of us would ever do that. “I couldn’t look Liebling in the eyes if I did that to him,” I said. “I feel like you only do that to someone you don’t care about.”
Hong Kong nodded in agreement. “I feel like maybe fifteen percent of the people I know haven’t cheated. But it wouldn’t be worth ruining my marriage and my baby son’s life over six or seven minutes of pleasure.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at that. Bro-dude might have some fucked up friends but at least he’s honest.
Well, it’s 2:45pm on Saturday and I’m finally feeling like an adult again. And by that I mean I am almost wearing pants (Liebling insists sweatpants don’t count) and I have coffee and freshly washed hair.
Last night I went out to dinner with Anna and we drank beer and caught up on her new job and gossiped and laughed. In the way that these things go we ended up at the Cafe, our favorite dive bar. It happened like this:
Me: Let’s go. It’s a Friday. We’re young people.
Her: I’m tired.
Me: Me too. We can have, like one drink.
We don’t usually go out on Fridays but were happily greeted by Karaoke DJ and various other regulars. Upon finishing our drinks and singing one song each, Anna looked at me.
Her: Maybe we could just have one more drink.
Me, sagely: I am glad you suggested that. I just put in my second song.
- Anna realizing that the Dum-Dums (so named because the drink tastes like Dum-Dums) that we have been drinking since summer are mango vodka and red bull. “But I hate red bull,” she said, dismayed. We both learned that they are technically just mango bombs and are meant to be shots. We get them as drinks. Oops.
- One hour / one drink turned into three and a half hours / three drinks.
- An old gentleman in a very blue tie bought a round for the entire bar. I do love the kindness of strangers.
- Being that it is a dive bar with two karaoke nights a week, no one who goes there is really good at anything, so we all got mega sweaty “dancing” and by that I mean half the bar was jumping around and waving their arms and shouting along to musical masterpieces like the song from the end of Beetlejuice and Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.”
Once I had sobered up enough to drive (the dancing helped) we went to Taco Bell where we shouted into the drive through that we needed tacos with no sour cream because no one likes sour cream and the drive through guy shouting back that we were wrong. He also forgot to give us the burrito I ordered for Liebling, so I assume that was some kind of punishment.
We stayed up til 3:30 doing classic young people things like watching youtube videos of least weasels and got Anna to start singing along to gmcfosho, and I live tweeted the experience which prompted gmcfosho to tweet at me. He just said “bless’d.” Pretty sure that is why the internet exists.
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.
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.