Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A peek in the life

From Jason, the impact of information addiction on the life of couples.

Right back where we started from

We’re going to California!

**excitement, excitement, excitement**

Yes, after much procrastination and hesitancy and laziness over the course of many weekends, we finally pulled the trigger and booked our vacation to the west coast for late July/early August. I can’t wait. Poor Lunchboy has sat patiently through all my California romanticizing. He’s listened to me wax poetic about the weather, the scenery, the yoga and the sushi, and somehow managed not to bludgeon me over the head about my constant search for a set of stairs that rival my beloved Santa Monica stairs. Ah, the stairs. I want to get off the plane in LA and go straight to 4th and Adelaide because I’m that insane.

This trip is important to me on a lot of levels. California is where I figured out who I am, and so it has a special place in my heart. I want to share that with Lunchboy because at some level I feel like he won’t fully know or understand me until he’s been there, too. And I want him to fall in love with the place like I did, to see its beauty and ugliness and totally unique personality. By showing him the life I built there, it opens the door to creating new memories. I made sure to make California my own after the breakup, but I haven’t been back to LA since it happened and going there with Lunchboy kind of makes the place ours.

Also, I’m super antsy. Must travel soon or brain will explode. Boston is a great town. It’s home but it’s small and I’m itching to see the Pacific again.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Too hott

After a hot day full of too much sugar, we watched the Tears of a Clooney episode of American Dad last night and somehow my dreams got all turned around. I dreamed that I befriended Paris Hilton. I got to tag along for all her nightclub hijinks and she bought me slinky/trashy clothes. The really weird part is that she turned out to be scary smart, like a math genius. I kept telling her to quit doing coke and go work for NASA.

I blame it on the heat. Time to install the AC, pronto.

Through the looking glass

There are few things as sobering as seeing what you think you want and realizing that you’re not ready for it yet. We went to a BBQ at Magpie’s house yesterday. The food was great, the people were nice and the kids—many, many kids, it seemed-- were on their best behavior. At one point the sun got too strong and we migrated back into the air conditioning, away from the epicenter of kid activity. I admit I was a little shellshocked by the energy of the under-8 set, but it had more to do with me than with the kids. I did, however, fall in love with a little girl whose tiny black pigtails and big eyes made her look like a baby panda.Today another friend told me that shellshocked is a normal reaction for someone who’s not a parent, but it still made me wonder if I’m suited for the job.

Lunchboy wasn’t shellshocked at all. He was in a mood but if anything, being around kids made his mood better. He’s not ready, either, but he seems less intimidated by the idea than I am.

The other day he suggested that we get on a single insurance policy when our company does open enrollment in the fall. Every week, every day, our lives become more intertwined. But I still can’t give in to the momentum, not really. We take steps toward a larger commitment—putting all three cats’ records under one name at the vet’s office, linking our bank accounts, making serious, joint decisions about job-related issues. Encouraging? Yes. In the back of my mind, though, there’s still the voice that says, “How hard will it be to untangle these connections if it comes down to it?” It’s a simple difference in approach, one that’s been apparent from the very beginning, when he was more comfortable making the forward-looking statements than I was. Again, he’s comfortable taking the slow, deliberate steps and I’m uncomfortable skipping ahead past where we are. I’m unwilling to get too entangled before we’ve taken the larger step, to put that much on the line yet even though I’ve invested so much already. It has nothing to do with ultimatums or pressure to move forward. It’s just that once you’ve been through the untangling, you don’t ever want to do it again, not if you can help it. LC understood. Chick lit doesn’t hold a candle to real friends.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Attack of the creepy crawlies

I can see why this would be alarming, what the T being in motion and all. But I totally understand the conductor’s reaction. Rodents and snakes don’t bother me. Blood doesn’t make me heave. I can even handle those weird little millipede things that scamper up the walls and seem to be ubiquitous in Boston. But spiders inspire the kind of screaming, hair-tearing, arm-waving, jump on the furniture “kill it before it eats me” freakout that makes people wonder if I’m insane. What can I say? Spiders may be ecological necessity but they are also ooky, scary, ferocious little deathmonsters and I want nothing to do with them. Ticks are the only things that make my skin crawl more. *shudder*

Sunday, May 21, 2006

This is where I used to live

Today my brother came by and took a vanload of furniture from my old apartment in Cambridge. It marked the last time that I'll be in that apartment--I'm dropping my keys off at the realtor this week. My roommate moved out a few days ago. Even without furniture or decoration, the place looked warm and friendly and inviting. After the last armful of things went down to the car, I stood in the apartment by myself and said goodbye. Call me crazy, but I had mixed emotions about leaving. I'm extremely happy and settled with Lunchboy, but the Cambridge apartment represented all the good aspects of single life. It was where I healed and came into myself as an adult. So when I left, it was with gratitude, fondness and a sense of completion that I closed and locked the door.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Getting it done

Despite the rain, my week has been pleasant, due primarily to the fact that both of my bosses are out of the office visiting our European contingent for a few days. They took their drama with them and in their absence I’ve been more productive than I have in months. It’s amazing how much work I can do when I don’t have unnecessary personal drama (and the stress it creates) to deal with. If it weren’t for the fact that I need them to come back so I can complete a few projects, I’d wish for them to stretch their visit out for a few more days (months). If only work could be like this all the time!

The other morning my commute came to a halt as a police officer on detail stopped traffic to let a family of geese cross the road. Mother goose, 5 goslings and then daddy goose at the end, all supervised by the cop. So endearing. This is what I get for reading too much Robert McCloskey as a child.

Check up on it

Playboy posted their list of the 25 sexiest novels ever written. I wish I could have been on the research team for that one. I wouldn't have voted for some of them--pretty much everything by Philip Roth turns me OFF.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

In the cave

My mother always used to tell me, “Be careful what you wish for—you just might get it.” At the time, I didn’t understand why getting what you want could be anything other than a good thing, but as an adult it’s easy to see what she meant. The grass will always be greener and once you’re standing on what looked like fresh, new green grass, you notice that there are weeds and goose poop and that the ground is damp. Nothing is ever perfect and there are always challenges in every situation, no matter how rosy your glasses are.

When I moved in with Lunchboy, I was too happy to think much about his travel and whether it would affect me. I was so glad to get away from my smelly roommate that loneliness didn’t factor into my thought process. I mean, when you move in with someone you don’t think of it in terms of loneliness because, you know, you’re living with another person who’s around a lot. But Lunchboy travels 4 days a week, so I have the place to myself until he gets home on Thursday nights. I have my life and I keep busy but there are plenty of days when it gets lonely and isolating all the same.

Historically, I’m bad at living alone. My hermit tendencies emerge and I become a lazy, antisocial couch potato who leaves the house only for work and exercise. Take a class or get together with friends? Too much effort--much easier to stay home with the cats and watch reruns of Scrubs on TiVo. Then comes the depression and the mass consumption of those Whole Foods vegetable crisps and the next thing you know, I don’t remember how to interact with people anymore. It’s a slippery slope and one I can feel myself going down right now. The rain didn’t help—all I wanted to do was be home with the cats, reading a book and drinking tea. But now the sun is out and I feel the same way. Want to hear about the cats? I can tell you all about them because when Lunchboy is away and I have a quiet day at work, the cats are the only living creatures that I speak to directly, outside of random phone calls and that doesn’t count. I’m turning into a 31-year old cat lady.

Needless to say, it’s not a great pattern to get in. I remember living with Glenn in LA when he was never home and I got very resentful. I was unhappy because he wasn’t around much, but when he was in the house I was even more unhappy because he couldn’t understand why his absence affected me so much. Clearly it didn’t bother him at all. But what’s the point of being in a relationship if you end up doing everything by yourself?

It’s different this time but it’s still an adjustment. Maybe this is the time when I learn to be more socially active or get involved in a volunteer group or something. Renate once told me that you feel the most alone when you’re in a relationship with someone and there’s a lot of truth in that. Then again, an old shrink told me that if you feel alone in your relationship that something is wrong, so what the hell do I know.

It'll come again another day

Why does it feel so strange to see the sun shining? All that rain made me retreat into winter mode again and now I feel like a wizened old hermit eyeing the sky warily and with disgust. I don’t trust the sun anymore. It could start raining again at any moment—better to stay indoors just in case.

Last night I shut the sump pump off and then sat on the basement floor watching the water level in the French drain creep up and up. “If it reaches that line of dirt, I’ll turn the pump back on again,” I rationalized. But the water stopped short of the line and for the first time in days I fell asleep without the steady sound of water hissing out of the jury-rigged hose below the window.

Stupid rain.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The fun part of home ownership

Everything is wet. Shoes, car, clothes, house—all wet. The rain won’t stop, which is a good thing because it means there won’t be draught conditions this summer, but right now it’s a very, very bad thing, particularly for our basement. Yesterday the basement was WET, or rather FLOODED or, even better, UNDER SIEGE. Usually our basement problems are minor and can be fixed with the strategic placement of towels in a particularly leaky corner. But yesterday morning Lunchboy went to check on the towels and I thought the basement had eaten him alive because he went completely silent, or as silent as you can be when you’re sloshing through an inch or so of water.

“Why didn’t you come get me to help?” I asked when I saw the extent of the water on the floor.
“I was trying to protect you from the badness,” he said.

We concluded that God hates us and is punishing us with water torture because we’re living in sin.

For three hours, we battled the badness—opening the French drain, getting the sump pump going, sweeping water into the drain and rescuing boxes from the deluge. The sump pump hose wasn’t long enough to reach into the downstairs bathroom, so Lunchboy came up with the brilliant idea of duct taping the pump hose to a garden hose and then we snaked the whole thing out the basement window and down the sidewalk about 9 feet away. Eventually we got ahead of the water and things started to dry out a bit. I’m praying that the duct tape on the hoses holds because Lunchboy’s in NYC now and if that thing blows, I’m on my own. And the forecast says we’re getting another few inches of rain before the weather clears up. Oh joy.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Classic

Last night I dreamed that I was taking the GMATs but I hadn’t listened during class and I hadn’t studied at all, so I knew none of the answers. Vince from Entourage was taking the exam, too, and he gave me his cheat sheet (as if Vince would ever take an exam straight-up) but I still couldn’t match up the questions and answers, and time was running out. Everyone else was finishing their tests without a problem but I couldn’t even read the text on the page because it kept swimming around in front of me.

Ah, anxiety.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Cojones

This past weekend was the Somerville Open Studios and artists all over town threw open the doors to their studios, complete with big signs and bunches of orange balloons. We decided to go check it out and discovered that one of our neighbors is a very talented and accomplished artist. She does amazing sketches of botanical images and balls-—the testicular variety, not the bouncy plastic kind. The sequence of images on her studio wall went from garden to peony to balls. At first I wasn’t sure if I was looking at a very large lady slipper or what, but no, it was an 8’ high set of testicles. That’s a lot of balls.

They weren't cheap, either. You really have to like testicles to shell out $3000 for one of these. I really like peonies and I fell in love with one of her peony sketches, but I don’t have that kind of money to throw around right now.

We spent the rest of the weekend sitting on the porch watching people go in and out of her studio. “Think they bought a penis picture?” I’d ask.

“They weren’t penises, they were testicles.”

“There was a penis in one of them.”

“Yeah, but that was just collateral penis. It was all about the sack.”

It's a good point

Bligh's boyfriend got right to the heart of things when he was looking at a wedding invitation she got in the mail. "How come there are only 2 choices: accept with pleasure and decline with regret? What if we want to accept with regret or decline with pleasure?"

Want to know why Bligh is a total rock star? Read this.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Closets!

I finally got around to taking pictures... Unfortunately, we didn't think to take "before" shots, so these aren't as dramatic.

The hall closet:


The bedroom closet:


The basement closet:

Getting closer

They're friends--they just won't admit it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The downside of landing a catch

I kind of love the “Sexy Son Hypothesis,” but apparently it’s a load of crap. I’m not sure who would be more disappointed—my mother or Lunchboy.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Red rover

My office is pretty open. Not in an accepting kind of way—we don’t even have casual Fridays. What I mean is that everyone’s computer screen faces outward, so if you go for a walk around the office, you can see what people are working on (or not, as the case may be). Needless to say, when I blog at work I write in Word. I think most people surf the web at work and I really couldn’t care less if I go in to talk to a coworker and see that they’re reading ESPN.com. More power to them. But today I went in for a meeting and came across my very married-with-child coworker surfing the personal/casual encounters section of Craigslist. It was awkward. He blushed. I pretended I hadn’t seen anything. My heart sank, though, and nine million questions ran through my head. Was he unhappy? Was he just looking for a 5-minute distraction from work? Or was he scanning to see what’s out there? The answer is none of my business. But it’s moments like those when I realize how na├»ve I am. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

Ginger cat cookie monster

It’s official—I am no longer allowed to shop at Trader Joe’s by myself. I don’t know what it is about that place, but I am incapable of tuning out its siren song. The food is so yummy looking, so aesthetically pleasing, so inexpensive and tempting. I can’t resist picking up a bag of this or a sack of that just because it’s new and it looks fun to try. There’s no other way to explain how I go in there with a list of five things to buy and end up walking out with $80 worth of groceries. Our freezer is now stuffed with the fruits of my weakness, with frozen cioppino and orange chicken and mushroom risotto and, of course, three boxes of my beloved baked chicken tenders. They’re all dishes I’d love to cook in theory but I’m too lazy to attempt in reality. Why bother when I can buy them ready made? Maybe that’s the hook, then. Somehow Trader Joe’s knows that I love good food but I’m disinclined to get my hands dirty. They market to my laziness and oh, they do it so well.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Not for the faint of heart

Thank god. Someone had to say it, and I’m glad that it was her because she says it well.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Chicken rabbit dead

Men living longer means women are less likely to suffer the fate that Miranda from "Sex and the City" so feared: dying alone with only the cat to rake over her rotting bones. With the existing gap, women are more likely than men to be widowed — 71 percent of people over the age of 85 are women, and the majority of them will have been married. And being alone increases their risk of dying or getting sick. No one is there to help when they fall; they eat less, and poorly.

I’m all for men living longer but, according to this article, most women aren’t thrilled to have their husbands around after age 65. Am I a freak for wanting my significant other to be around for retirement, after we’ve spent 30 years working our asses off to earn our leisure time? And the whole “you’ll have to take care of them” thing doesn’t have any weight--he does all the cooking anyway.

It’s a timely issue, though. We just had to make a very difficult work-related decision, prompted mostly by the realization that there’s no point in betting on the future if you can’t enjoy the present. All the money in the world can’t squeeze extra hours out of the day and at some point you just have to decide what’s most important.

It stuck

This movie was terrible and it made me very sad because this one was so freaking awesome.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Shelves and storage and space, oh my

Everything was a mess on Friday morning. The wonderful, blessed people from California Closets were scheduled to arrive before noon, so Lunchboy and I had spent a chunk of Thursday evening cleaning out all of our collective crap from the bedroom and coat closets. It’s amazing how stuff just accumulates, even when you’re making a concerted effort to banish its presence from the house. There was not a single surface in the living room or kitchen that wasn’t covered with piles of clothes, umbrellas, shoes, luggage, various bags and backpacks, board games and yoga mats. We also found a sizeable stash of the plastic milk bottle tabs that Cringer loves to hunt and, apparently, shove under closet doors. It was chaotic, not in the least because the empty closets threw me off my normal morning routine of standing naked in front of the closet with a towel wrapped around my head while I try to decide what to wear to work.

The California Closets van pulled up around 10:30am and—fully dressed—I left to accomplish one of the many minor miracles of the day: scoring my Somerville parking sticker from the Dept. of Traffic and Parking. No more $40 tickets for abusing the guest pass, no more jockeying for spots on the non-permit street in time for street cleaning. My car now sports the most beautiful purple and white adhesive decoration known to man. When I got home, I pulled up right in time to see the parking officer making her rounds and I had to fight with myself over whether to call her over and tell her to kiss my sticker-bearing ass. In the end, I opted to avoid the drama and go inside to see what the closet man had done to solve our storage problems.

It was as if the heavens had opened up and beamed down light on our house. There were shelves and double hang space as far as the eye could see. I can hang up my clothes without them getting crushed by the mosh pit that was our closet! Even before I entered into an orgy of clothes hanging and shelf stuffing, I couldn’t imagine how we had lived without the new closets. It was, by far, the best money spent on home improvement EVER. Now we have so much storage space that we can’t fill all the new shelves. I will try to post pictures at some point, just so you can see that my domestic blathering isn’t totally baseless.