Category Archives: Fine Red Whine

It’s All Too Much

I thought I was doing okay. I am moving along, not trudging, not skipping, but moving along. Sure there are a few issues taking up residence, but that’s life and individually there is nothing horrendous signaling immediate doom. Then a random GLEE song pops on my ipod on the way into work this morning and I just lost it bawling in my car thinking about Cory Monteith.  Well that’s a sign I am feeling more fragile than I thought. Before I  put a stone on my chest and lie in the river ala Secret Life of Bees, perhaps I need to write down some of these issues. Perhaps more of a hormonal spring Festivus rather than my own personal wailing wall of grief, but hopefully getting this all out will provide some relief. (pretend these are formatted as simple bullets.)

Today is Tax Day. It is also the day my brother’s divorce was finalized and his broken heart never recovered. Now before I paint him as a victim, his ex-wife was fully justified in wanting to fix the mistake of their way-too-young marriage. I mean she went about it in a totally terrible way, but I cut her some slack because hello, who has the best relationship skills at 20? (NOT ME.) Anyway, my brother was already down a path of self-destructive behavior and bad decisions by this point, but he was also an incredibly sensitive soul who felt this rejection and smashing of his heart each and every day for the next decade. I wish things could have worked out differently for him and I wish I didn’t have the memory to have this hurtful date etched in my mind.

On the topic of relationship skills, and lack thereof, I am struggling with a personal communication issue. Just like people learn in different manners I know that communication styles are varied. I get this. Mars, Venus, the whole deal. I get it. The issue at hand is that J insists on communicating in a way that drives me completely up the wall and he knows it and does it anyway. Instead of asking if I would like to do something or instead of asking me to do something with him, he phrases it “are you/we going to (something)?” This turned into a huge fight last year when he never officially invited me to an out-of-state wedding for his cousin but then 2 weeks before asked “Are you coming to Jamie’s wedding?” I tried very hard to keep my cool and explain that the PROPER way to ask your girlfriend if you want her to come along is to INVITE her and REQUEST her presence. He thought that was an invitation. Despite numerous conversations about this approach, I still get questions such as “Are you coming over on Saturday?” or “Are we going to that wing place you like for the game?” as though we have discussed this topic previously and he is confirming prior plans instead of suggesting them for the first time or, you know, inviting me. Everyone I have talked to about this has basically said well tough shit, this is how he is, this is how he communicates. I do get I need to accept this and move on, but I hate it and it irks me (every effing time) and I don’t know HOW to get over it. It is a really stupid thing that reasonable people should be able to come together to fix in order to work in harmony, but we seem to be very Zax-like in this.

My mom needs surgery. Wonderful, amazing, hard-working, anti-cancer poison has kept my mom alive, but it is also destroying her joints (one of the most powerful results come from a drug that also weakens her heart. Lovely choices to make.) The woman trained so hard and finished a freaking sprint triathlon last year and her payback is having to get replacement hips? After some pain alleviating injections failed to provide lasting relief she had to have some x-rays. The doctor took FOREVER to get her results and I thought for sure her silence about it meant they found more tumors, so I am thankful the fix is a common orthopedic surgery.  Still, pretty pissed that in order to live my mom had to take drugs that will hijack the rest of her body piece by piece. I guess I should be thanking science that there are bionic fixes to keep her around, but I am still disgruntled nonetheless. It is not fair.

Pants. (Yes I have grumbles about cancer and pants on my list. I didn’t say all my issues were of great importance.) My pants don’t fit and I don’t like shopping for new ones and paying money to replace perfectly decent pants that I cannot find a way to continue fitting in to. Yes I am the heaviest I have ever been and whine about it, but the number and size is not what truly bothers me. The birth control method currently in use over here is a hormonal one and is the only option, for reasons, and although I know weight gain is a side effect, it coincides with everything just kind of shifting to a place where my pants don’t fit. Sure my eating choices can be atrocious and I am sure my age-related metabolism shift doesn’t help, but even if I am super strict and restrictive and I make a full effort to move my ass for needed exercise, nothing changes. The weight gain is not related to poor diet or lack of exercise. For the past year or so I have been in denial but since the birth control issue is not going to go anywhere, slowly I am adding pants that actually fit to my wardrobe. Last night I worked up the nerve to go shopping for some work pants to get me through the current period between stretchy corduroys and maxi skirt season. I can’t say I like past low rise styles by any means, but what the hell with this high-waisted, pleated bullshit that I seemed to encounter at every turn? Does that look good on anyone except a twig? (Jesus I sound like my Grams.) Since elastic waist stretchy pants are apparently NOT going to become the acceptable standard at work, I ended up getting some boring JCP Worthington pants because all I wanted was decent business appropriate pants for less than $60. Don’t even get me started on the peplum tops (still? go away!) or the acid washed jeggings I encountered. <shudder>

Work. There was a grace period where I thought there was going to be some real change in how the company I work for is run, but it seems that is not the case and once again mandates and hiring choices from our parent company are being pushed through without any regard for why they didn’t work out previously. It is aggravating all by itself, but I am also doubly angry for believing that things would get better. I don’t wanna look for another job. Ugh. I am also annoyed on the work front that in order to get anyone to do their freaking job around here you have to essentially tattle to their bosses. That is… not cool on so many fronts.

Everybody is a terrible driver this week. Is it really so hard to refrain from turning unless you are in the turning lane? My car is literally falling apart, but thankfully my horn works just great and has been used quite often lately. Oh, and then to top off my air of superiority I accidentally cut off a Fed Ex driver today. Whoops. I waved and shouted I was sorry, but yep I am included in my first sentence there.

Whew. I really needed that vent and there is no good way to end to this. Then I debate with myself why I even need an end, but I do. I was talking with a coworker about how hard it is to adult and why can’t I be more like so and so, and it reminded me of the relief I felt reading Anne Lamott’s words and the reminder to be kind to myself:

“Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides.”

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Filed under Fine Red Whine, Of Course This Is About Me This Is My Blog

Troubles

Hey look at that – I finally found a way back into my blog. Now if I could remember what password worked to actually get in here.

Like usual all that is on my mind right now are things that are bothering me and that are too long to tweet about. (I mean other than there are not enough free hours in the day to watch all the TV I would like to watch. I love TV.)

I am a firm believer in leaving an area better than you found it (is that a scouting thing?) and I guess this mentality has sorta pushed into dating. There is a lot of effort involved in getting relationships to work the way both parties want. (I don’t mean to come across as condescending like one fixes another person.) If (ahem, when, in my history) the relationship doesn’t work out then hopefully that effort to ease some of the annoyances will carry over for the next person. I think of it more as mutual improvement in general awareness/consideration of things the other person never thought of (or got called out on) before. There was a specific situation with an ex that used to drive me absolutely bonkers. (Not like toilet seat should always be left down, though that is an issue I have been known to nag about) Anyway, I felt that I was battling against this situation and constantly losing. Now I see information where an example of that formerly rigid situation (one where my request would have been automatically denied) was handled differently. I know I should be happy about this flexibility (for the greater good), but damn it sure still stings that it didn’t work out that way during my time.

Okay this one isn’t so much bothersome as just a strange thing. My guy and I went out to dinner Saturday night and for convenience we had our leftovers combined when they were wrapped up. I joked I was getting bonus leftovers this way (I love leftovers.) It was suggested on Sunday that we eat the leftovers, but I offered a different option and mentioned I would prefer the leftovers for my lunch(es). I brought the large/opaque container of leftovers to work yesterday, but ended up going out for lunch so they sat in the fridge at the office. Today I opened the container and more than half the leftovers were gone. I have no idea whether my boyfriend took out a portion Monday morning for his lunch, or whether one of my coworkers stole them. This could easily be remedied with a quick text, but I’m actually baffled at the thought of coworker eating from our half-eaten food having no idea whose it is. This wasn’t a can of soup or an intact sandwich. Food stealing is very common at my work and is basically acceptable (well as acceptable as stealing can really be) as long as you don’t take the last of something or someone’s only option. For example I have stolen frozen meals and soda, but I know exactly whose I am stealing and (mostly) let that person know I did it. (Also, by stockpiling 2 weeks of their damn food in shared space and taking over the limited fridge/freezer I feel our inconsiderate ways kinda/sorta cancel each other.) Those same people regularly help themselves to my personal snack drawer – as in I will be sitting in my cubicle and they will come and throw their hands right into my box of crackers or open my desk drawer to find a different snack option without asking. This is truly horrifying when typing out but after 15 years feels totally normal. My office is really weird.

UPDATE: Checked in with boyfriend – yep a coworker totally ate my leftovers. He was properly mystified, “But I ATE off of that…”

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You’re Praying Wrong

Look I don’t WANT to be judgy about the way someone prays but here I am. For the record, she started it.

Last Friday my lovely Book Club ladies got together to discuss “I’ve Never Been To Vegas, But My Luggage Has” by Mandy Hale. I hesitate to link to it because that feels too much like an endorsement. I did not like this book. I could just leave it at that and not even mention it further, but (despite not wanting this to be an extended twitter feed of my whining) I want to start blogging more* so here I am.

Probably my biggest beef was not even that she was so preachy about God, but that religion does not even appear on the description/synopsis, anywhere. (Fine I will link just to prove a point.) I thought this was going to be a breezy, chick-lit, beach read. It was infuriating to be blindsided with preaching about turning your life over to God. (And to think my boyfriend was initially concerned that I was too religious…)

Thankfully I was not the lone wolf of dissent at the discussion table and we were even collectively annoyed at a certain part where the author is visiting the town where Dawson’s Creek was filmed. Big fan of Dawson’s Creek, so I get her excitement (Team Pacey by the way since I know you are wondering. Not that it should even be a contest given the competition.) If God listens to our individual pleadings and grants requests (Um, no.) then is praying to God about a TV show really the best use of his powers? That’s right, I am bitchy and condescending and ANNOYED. If the book would not have been on my kindle, I probably would have tossed it against a wall.

I had never heard of the author or her Single Woman blog before reading this book (which is assumed to be known) but she seemed way more concerned about promoting her image and brand than of telling any sort of compelling story. She came across to me as entitled and immature (hmmm, maybe the comparisons she continuously made between herself and Carrie Bradshaw are not far off…) and NOT INSPIRING.

Everyone picks and chooses what works for them in the world of sin (robbing a bank and taking post-it notes from the office are both stealing, but I do not feel equally guilty about both acts) but it was really hard to follow the author’s descriptions of how she justifies her decisions to herself about where and with whom to live. Mostly I do not want to live in a world where moving out of your parents’ suburban house to an apartment in the big city is living against God’s wishes and reason to be terminated from your dream job. (Or for that matter that domestic abuse is a punishment for living romantically with a guy before marriage.) A general theme throughout the book was her belief in needing to turn decisions over to God and that when good things happened in her life (which were caused by achievement and hard work) it was because God was happy with her and when terrible things happened it was because she was not living her life the way God wanted her to. Stop the preaching! Or at the very least, change the book description to include the religious overtones so one knows what to expect!

*It was only fitting that when I finally got over myself, signed in, and opened up a new post window, my boss walked over to my cubicle within three seconds. 

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Chore Fail

It is so nice to have a completely unstructured weekend, but without a specific timetable to accomplish things I find myself completely unmotivated (I mean more so than usual, obviously.) I don’t want to do my household chores OR write a blog post, so I guess I will simply bitch about doing chores. No one reads this on the weekend anyway.

I have tried all sorts of arrangements to try and stay on top of housework, but nothing has ever stuck. Keeping things generally tidy sure makes it easier to tackle the deep down cleaning, but if things are generally tidy then I also rationalize they are good enough. I think the cleanest my house ever consistently felt was when I was living with my brother’s filthy cat. Between the disgusting litter and the fine coating of fur on every surface, I vacuumed on almost a daily basis. That says an awful lot considering how much I hate to vacuum. Since I work for a cleaning contracting company and occasionally have to work in the field, my hatred of vacuuming has been a long-running joke in the office.

Argyle Sweater comic left in my cubicle. I would much rather clean toilets. Seriously.

Argyle Sweater comic left in my cubicle. I would much rather clean toilets. Seriously.

I wish I could pinpoint what exactly I hate so much about vacuuming, but there is so much to rage against – moving furniture, repetitive pushing, cutting all my the hair out of the beater bar brush EVERY SINGLE TIME, ugh. A Roomba sounds so amazing, though if my sturdy Dyson struggles I don’t understand how my hair wouldn’t clog the tiny magic machine within 5 minutes. Also, since my plush carpet would need pile lifting and force me to use an upright anyway, I guess I might as well save my $400. I will continue to hold out hope for technological advances in self-vacuuming floors, or maybe I will fall in love with someone who will take over this dreaded chore.

 

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Cars Only Bring Me Trouble

When it comes to daddy issues, I have a surplus. This is not one of those posts.

This morning I had one of the most terrifying driving experiences I have ever known, and that is even considering I have been in 2 serious accidents and have blown a front tire at 70+ MPH. While tootling along the freeway on this morning’s snowy commute cold, icy air started pouring from my vents where it was piping hot moments before. I was quite startled and confused. Then my entire dashboard lit up and I lost complete power. I could not accelerate and my steering wheel was almost locked into place. Oh, and I was in the middle lane. While coasting I tried to make my way over to the right lane and onto the shoulder, but this was also at a point where there is a freeway on-ramp. SO MUCH FUN.

I finally made it over to the shoulder as far as I could and took a deep breath and tried to relax my tensed shoulders and death-like handgrip on the wheel. As I exhaled my hazard lights froze.  So I am basically parked without lights, blocking the end of the onramp on the narrowest piece of shoulder while cars are whizzing past me inches away. Who do you call first? Police? Tow truck? I called my (retired) dad and crawled over to the passenger seat to feel a fraction safer.

I like to think I am empowered enough to take control of a situation. If I had children in the backseat I could have put on a brave face and calmly called a tow truck. Instead I was alone and I was scared. I am not ashamed I called my dad first. The man pulled up behind me not 10 minutes later, causing me to think he perhaps did not make full stops at intersections along the way.

I got into his warm car (with working hazard lights) and called a tow truck. There has never been a time I have needed AAA without them experiencing an unusually high call volume warning, but I eventually got through and explained the situation. Despite not knowing the exact address of the mechanic I wanted the car towed to (do you guys know that off the top of your head while on a call?), I was assured a tow truck would be onsite within 90 minutes.

Dad calmed me down and told me about some of his dead car adventures (driving shitty cars is a family affair.) He even tried to tell me he was sure it was something stupid and easy to fix, like a cable. I did not believe him and was mentally calculating how much money I could justify putting into this car. I called the mechanic to warn of our impending arrival via tow truck, and about 40 minutes into waiting a sheriff pulled up telling us we had to move. I explained the car was completely dead and we were waiting on the tow truck. He said we were going to get killed in our position and he wanted to push me to a safer spot.

The sheriff had my dad pull out of the way and had me get back into my car and get it into neutral. THEN HE RAMMED ME. Do you have an adequate image in your head? I was supposed to steer my crappy little cavalier (with inability to turn said steering wheel) and avoid the freeway traffic directly adjacent to me on snow-covered pavement while he pushed rammed me forward. I thought he just wanted to get me to a wider spot on the shoulder. No, I was wrong. When I applied the brakes he honked at me and kept pushing ramming while I slid. This continued until the next freeway exit almost a mile away. The exit ramp is a giant curve – oh what fun in a dead car with no steering and snowy conditions.

Once we were off the freeway and onto the cross street I got back in my dad’s car (his heated seats doing NOTHING to calm my nerves at this point.) After another 20 minutes on hold with AAA to update my location for the tow truck, Dad asked if power had come on when I tried to start the car. I said I only turned key partway but that electrical power had come on. He told me to try and start the car just to see where we were at. It started with no dashboard lights, and dad followed me to the mechanic and then drove me to work (there is also another 15 minutes on hold with AAA, again, in there somewhere.) My hands did not stop shaking for more than an hour.

No one has a clue what happened to my car. Battery was low (new battery 6 weeks ago) but alternator checked out. They charged the battery and it is theoretically operational. I am perfectly content driving a shitty car, but an unreliable one is nervewracking.

Verdict: Cars are trouble but, today, my dad is pretty awesome.

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Filed under A Whole MONTH, All In The Family, Fine Red Whine, Of Course This Is About Me This Is My Blog

Bad Date Files: My Worst First Date

I originally typed that title as The Worst First Date when I realized that is too bold to universally declare. My is much better. This is about my worst first date – a big distinction considering I may run low on material this month and eventually get to sharing some of the worst dates that were not first-time meetings. After multiple stints of online dating I really thought there would be greater contenders over the years, but in my mind this still holds title rank.

It remains the only bad first date I have ever abruptly put an end to before the natural conclusion. This came up recently with Stef, and despite some bad dates on this last go-around for catch.mom, I am again reminded my all-time worst first date did not even last 20 minutes.

Despite accusations of a steel trap mind, I am having trouble recalling exactly when this date took place, but roughly in the decade ago timeframe. (definite downfall of multiple breakups and re-connections with same guy, the timeline can blur.) It doesn’t matter a ton and for purposes of storytelling I will declare I was 21+ and it was in a period when college boyfriend Mooch and I had broken up, again. In this period of singleness I was on the receiving end of much pressure to move on and get out there on the dating scene again. One day the morning show I listen to decided to play the dating game over the radio while I was tuned in. This radio station is known more for 60s/70s/80s classic rock and its main fan base skews a little older than my peers. I was listening for entertainment and not thinking there would be any potential interest for me. They requested folks to call in and talk about themselves and the DJs would help prompt if needed. Anyone listening could call in and get phone numbers/leave their number/go on the air themselves.

Most callers were in their 40s but then GA came on the air. 26, (age appropriate, check) 5’11” 160 lbs with brown hair and blue eyes, (I’m interested) likes basketball and baseball, (check and check) and works in I.T. for a famous non-profit (very admirable). Surprising myself, I pulled over and called the radio station to get his number. The producer wanted me to go on the air as well, but since one of the lead DJs is a family friend I thought that would be way too awkward. Their rules were to only give out guys’ numbers, which seemed strange rule in an age of caller ID, but I guess if I was super paranoid I could have called from a blocked/different number. I had already gotten to this point, what could go wrong calling a random stranger from the radio?

It took me 3 days to get up the nerve to call GA and another day to have him respond to my super awkward answering machine message. (A welcome change from the online fellows that get crazy if you don’t immediately respond to a message.) We chatted for a bit about some local news and a little of our background/interests but I needed to get somewhere so it was a pretty brief, maybe 10-minute call. He asked to talk again and seemed interested in meeting up. We talked the next day for more than an hour about our shared love for the Milwaukee area and agreed to meet for a drink later the next week.

Based on our respective locations I suggested Von Trier’s would be convenient, with the plus side of it being my favorite it having a great selection of tap beer and free popcorn. Due to having to circle for a spot and parallel park (Ugh, how I suck at parallel parking) I was about 5 minutes late when I walked in. There were not a ton of people there and as soon as I entered and scanned the room he stood up from a table and we mouthed name inquiries to each other. Let me continue setting the scene by adding he was wearing a baseball cap backwards. Now 26 is young and I have nothing against hats, but on a first date, really? I am known to let a lot slide, and yet that bothered me.

GA already had a beer and the waitress brought popcorn (YES) and I ordered a frambiose lambic. We had a few minutes of some general chit chat about our respective days and started talking about work and school. Here is where things began to run foul. He did not really like his job, but was staying there as they contributed to his grad school tuition and his parents would not chip in. You see, he went to fancy private university and they felt shelling out for that degree was enough. His parents also bought a rental property so he (and other siblings) could live near campus with friends (and where he continued to live cheaply after graduation). Since his parents were not covering his graduate degree, he had to “slum it” at the local state college (ahem, where I had gone to college).

It is right about this point when it occurred to me I was on a date with a stereotypical, overprivileged,  frat boy douche canoe. Then I was ashamed for making such a harsh, snap judgment (judgement? GAH why are both acceptable spellings?) I tried to steer the conversation to a less exasperating topic, but we only got into a petty argument over the NCAA exploiting college athletes.

The waitress refilled our popcorn and brought the little black book with our tab. I got out my wallet (I have never been convinced a guy should HAVE to pay, first date or not) and was told to put it away and that he had it. Then he opened the book and looked at the tab and got angry that my beer was $7. (From a guy that milked his parents for private school tuition!) I was so taken aback and defensively explained I was fully aware it was $7 when I ordered it and reminded him I had offered to pay for it.  Hell, I specifically chose the location so I could order this particular beer. It didn’t end there. I was on the receiving end of a crazy tirade about being “high maintenance and how all chicks have unreasonable standards.” Let me reiterate this flip out was not teasing in jest, and THIS WAS ALL DUE TO ORDERING A TAP BEER. Yes, it was certainly one of the fancier beers offered, but I just as easily could have ordered a $15 martini. I contemplated pulling out some cash just to stop the arguing, but I didn’t. I slammed the rest of the beer (not difficult considering it was a small glass) got up, told him he was being an asshole and left. The 20-minute date I never saw coming was over.

For the record, my dad is the only man allowed to call me high maintenance and I still turn off the radio whenever the morning show plays the dating game.

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The Big Chill

First 5-day work week for me since early November and I am CRANKY. The crazy cold temperatures (polar vortex, coldest temps in 20 years, blah blah blah) are not helping at all, what with having to actually leave the house combined with the inability to leave said house with my standard/super professional wet hair. Yay for twitter friends for crowd-sourced problem solving and ideas for dry shampoo. Too bad it is too cold to go search for hair product that would save me from having to blowdry my hair in this cold, but still a win. Maybe. We’ll see. I have not had past success with dry shampoo.

Can we go back to the weekend please? I am so much happier during weekends. This weekend I got to finally see Christmas Vacation for the first time, (bonus points for after Christmas viewing?) drove past the happy barn, got to take an unexpected, snuggly afternoon nap, and was the recipient of some hilarious drunk-texting from an old friend during the shitty Packers game. All in all a pretty delightful time. Significantly better than sitting in my cubicle with cold toes, terrible network access, and fighting off menstrual cramps.  Sigh.

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