Thursday, December 29, 2011

I'm OK being by myself, but this one time...

Growing up means, in part, learning to do things on your own. Whether it's pay your bills, clean your apartment, do your laundry, or the typical grown-up chores, you just start doing them without being prompted. (Okay, so I admit even at the age of 31, my husband has to occasionally nag me to do my laundry, but that is ONLY when my hamper starts to take over our entire bedroom like a slow-moving swamp creature.)

Another thing that I had a difficult time learning to do for myself was eat alone. College was, for the most part, where I learned to do this. I tend to have all things anxiety when it comes to cafeteria-style eating, probably due in part to watching too many movies or televisions shows in which someone trips and drops her tray to the mocking laughter of everyone else.  Of course, I worried about that in college. At first, I never ate by myself. I would only go eat in the cafeteria when my friends were going. Eventually, I learned that breakfast was a safe meal to attend in the cafeteria. There weren't many students at that hour, and I could have a table to myself to read or study, or just sit there and enjoy my watered down, overly creamed and sugared coffee. The important thing was that I WAS EATING ALONE AND OKAY WITH IT.

I have since progressed to eating alone at a sit-down restaurant. While it is not my favorite, never again will I miss a meal for lack of company. However, old anxieties crept up again upon a recent venture outside of my comfort zone.

As I may have mentioned, P.I.C. bought me a fancy camera as a wedding present. It's very nice, but had so many bells and whistles on it that I knew I needed a class. I signed up for one. All by myself. I don't love doing new things without back-up due to my still-present anxiety at being alone. It's just how I am. So when I choose to do things alone, it's kind of a big deal. In this case, my desire to learn photography was greater than my desire to have a buddy. So I did it. Turns out, most people in the class came with a buddy. There was no real problem because there were no "partner" activities, so it was fun until lunch came around.

There was another girl, a loner, in the class, and lucky for me, we had the same camera. It was lunch time, and we had time to eat, but also an assignment. We walked out of the building together and I slowed to talk to her. I asked her if she wanted to grab a bite to eat with me and then do our assignment together. HER RESPONSE WAS LESS THAN STELLAR.

"Um, well, probably not because since we have an hour for lunch, I have some errands to run."

Sigh. I WAS SO UNCOMFORTABLE. I then went to eat at a nearby restaurant BY MYSELF. I sat next to some of the buddied up people in my class who ONLY conversed with the other buddied up people in the class, despite my best efforts to involve myself in their conversations.

This story still makes me cringe. Apparently, I still have some anxiety about being alone. In any event, trust me, I will not stop trying things alone and will not stop opening myself up to get shut-down for lunch dates with strange girls. I've grown up enough to know that taking myself out of my comfort zone is very rewarding and a big part of being an adult.

I've also come to learn that if I just wait until P.I.C. does laundry, I can just throw stuff in with his and VOILA...he does my laundry. What can I say, I might still be an anxious adult, but I have learned a few things about persuasion in my life.

Friday, December 23, 2011

One year ago today...

There was snow. Clearly, it was going to be a white Christmas. P.I.C. had the day off and had plans for a whole day of laziness. Well, aside from the grocery list. He was in charge of making his famous corn casserole for Christmas dinner and I had to make a peanut butter pie and so had to head to the grocery store. Me? I was headed into the office for one last day of "work." I hadn't been there long when I got the phone call from P.I.C.

"Hey. What does rosemary look like?"

WTF. Why did he need to know what rosemary looks like? That was most definitely not on the list I had given him. Furthermore, how is this a challenge? Find the effing herbs section in the store and locate the rosemary. EASY. (Alternatively, head back to Sevilla and grab a sprig from the gypsy women before they try to read your fortune for twenty euros. Now THAT is a challenge.) I described rosemary, and wondered what the heck was going on. I am fairly certain I was less than pleasant on the phone. I was so crabby that I had to work while he had the day off and just wanted to be left in my own misery at my desk, talking to no one.

The day progressed uneventfully. As it passed noon, I started to get very antsy. Why on earth wasn't my employer letting me go home early? The few people who WERE in the office that day were not working, that was very apparent to me. The hour creeped closer to two, with no report of an early departure. My crabbiness reached an all-time high. Of course, as my employer is prone, we received word at 3:35 p.m. that we could leave at 3:30 p.m. Merry Christmas. (Okay, I have MULTIPLE issues with this. We all sense we are going to be allowed to leave early. Please just let us know earlier. ADDITIONALLY, 3:30 p.m. doesn't really count as leaving early. That's a piss poor "you can go home early" hour. Make it 2:00 p.m. and stop being such a jackass.)

I called P.I.C. in rather sour spirits.

Me: "I'm on my way home."
P.I.C. "OH GREAT. Can you stop at Walgreen's and see if you can find a table cloth?"
P.I.C. "Well, I wanted it to be a surprise, but I made you dinner tonight. You've been upset that we didn't really do anything for Christmas this year and were all crabby you had to work so I thought I would be nice and make you dinner."
Me: "Fine, but I don't think that I am going to find a table cloth at Walgreen's."
(We had embarked on a puzzle of a thousand cats and our kitchen table was occupied at the time by the puzzle. We hadn't eaten dinner on the table in about a month.)

I stomped off to Walgreen's, only NOT to find a tablecloth. The weather was cold, my spirits were bad. I hopped on the el and then the bus. You'd think my mood would be improving as I approached my apartment via alley. YOU WOULD BE SO WRONG. I stopped up our porch steps, attempting to knock the snow off the boots.

When I walked in the door, I immediately sense something was off. First of all, P.I.C. was just standing in the kitchen, leaning up against the counter with a bunch of flowers. I walked in, still wearing my boots and my coat and my gloves. He walks up to me, kisses me and says, "I bought you some flowers." I took one glove off and thanked him. But he stood there, looking at me. I started laughing. "What is wrong with you, you weirdo? Can't I come in and take off my coat and boots? It's cold out and I'm all snowy."

He stood there, just looking at me. All of a sudden, I noticed he had a box in his hand. He wasn't just standing there looking at me, he was forming words in his mind. I COULD SEE THAT.  After a few seconds he kind of half-nodded to himself and then got down on one knee.


He said a few nice things and then asked me to marry him. I started cracking up. I said yes, obviously. I kissed him. But I could not stop laughing. I was still in my coat, my hat, and my boots. I was still wearing one glove (my left one, of course.) I was holding the flowers he had handed me a few moments before.

I didn't cry. I didn't scream. I didn't pass out. I just laughed and laughed. Eventually, he helped me out of my outer clothes and helped me put that ring on my finger. And guess what? He DID make me dinner. Pork tenderloin. He ALSO remembered to get an appropriate wine AND a bottle of cava so we could toast. We reveled in our new status, yet told only a very small handful. I called a few of my friends that night, but we agreed to wait until the next day to tell our families. We were in the unique opportunity to tell everyone in person, so we just decided to wait. I nearly died from holding that secret in me. (In fact, the next morning my mom called me to find out what time I was getting to my aunt's that day and I nearly hung up on her so I wouldn't BLAB.)

So yep. One year ago today, my best friend and the best man I have ever met proposed to me. I said yes. So today, despite having to go into work yet again while P.I.C. stays home (with yet another grocery list), I am happy. I am not going to be pissy all day. Well, not until 2:00 p.m. when I am waiting for them to just say we can leave. Then I will be pissy for a little bit.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. May your season be merry and bright and full of love and laughter. Oh, and hopefully the appropriate wine.


(This photo doesn't really pertain to our engagement photo, but it IS one of our engagement photos which I LOVED, so here you go.)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

So many jokers today.

I feel as though I have encountered a rather obscene amount of jokers today. When I say joker, I mean "person who is acting like a jackass." There were no jokes involved. Furthermore, this is not a Batman reference (sorry, P.I.C.) JOKERS. MY definition.

So, yeah. Lots of jokers. First, I crammed onto the train this morning only to press up against a dude that was FUMING booze. It was the sort of pore secretion that happens when one imbibes way too much the night before. I nearly got a buzz off his smelly booze seeping out of his pores. I bet he was going straight for a bagel. Or McDonald's. I know I would be if I were him.

Then, I forgot to show my I.D. badge to the security guard to get in the elevator. I think I was still thinking about Mr. Booze on the train and completely forgot that I was entering a restricted area. Only the security guard yelled "Ma'am!!!" at me, as if I were trying to pull something past her. PLEASE, lady. You know I am the ONLY person in this building who has adorned her ID badge with a hot pink holder. (This is not because I am obsessed with pink. I just needed a color that would pop so that I wouldn't lose it again. OK, fine, I guess I like pink too.) In any event, I was all annoyed at the fact that she acted like I was all about sneaking into the elevator bank. TRUST ME, lady. No one really wants to be in this building. I promise you. Also, I still don't think I deserve to be called ma'am by someone who is CLEARLY old enough to be my mother. Joker.

Then I go to court. There is a man that gets into the elevator on the sixth floor only to take it to the seventh floor. Sometimes, I get that there are locked stairwells. However, at this particular courthouse, there are escalators that go between the sixth, seventh, and eighth floors. ADDITIONALLY, there is an elevator bank for floors six through eight. DO NOT interrupt my journey to the 22nd floor so you can be lazy. Also, he had crazy long fingernails that nearly made me vomit. He should be ashamed of himself. Men should NOT have longer fingernails than me. AT ALL.

I return to the office after court only to find a PREPOSTEROUS email from a PREPOSTEROUS person. I cannot get into further details here, but trust me, this man is fully insane. This email I received means I have to wear a suit. On a Friday. ON THE FRIDAY BEFORE A HOLIDAY. (I know, I am a lawyer, I should be used to it, but come on. Oh, and it's municipal court so I likely will just wear a dress. I AM A REBEL LIKE THAT.)

WHY oh why are there so many jokers out today?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

An alternative to road rage.

Funny bones clearly run in my family. OBVIOUSLY, I'm quite hilarious. Well, I like to think I'm funny. That may be a skewed perception, but whatever. My grandfather (dad's dad, aka Grandpa C.) is quite the comedian. He was a car salesman back in the day, and he did quite well, most likely due to his rather goofy personality. Before that, he did collections at a bank. I'm fairly certain that he's the only person who can make stories about repossessing refrigerators funny.

Allegedly, a relative of my grandmother (mom's mom) was a writer for Phyllis Diller. Allegedly. Of course, my brother is quite funny too. Only two and a half years younger, he is quite the jokester. He can always get me to laugh. One of my favorite things he does that makes me nearly cry every time he tells me about it is point.

Point? Yes, point. Imagine this scenario. You're in a parking lot, patiently waiting for a vehicle to pull out of a parking spot. Someone squeals up from the other direction and steals your spot a moment before you're able to maneuver into the spot. Irritating, right? Perhaps your inclination would be to get out of your car and yell at the person. At the very least, you'd roll down your window and yell. "JERK!" My brother does not do that. Rather than let this boil his blood, he simple waits for them to get out of the car and make eye contact and he points, slowly driving off.

Imagine you are driving down Interstate 90, doing slightly over the speed limit and passing slower cars on the right. A car comes speeding up behind you and starts tailing you. Unfortunately traffic is rather heavy and there are multiple semi-trucks traveling to the right of you and you are unable to immediately yield to this person who is clearly in more of a hurry than you. When you were eventually able to pull over into the right lane, I know you want to flip them that middle finger that got SO ITCHY while you watched this guy ride your bumper. My brother instead would change lanes and then proceed to point at the person.

Really, I challenge you to try this. I cannot do it without cracking up. So rather than getting all worked up and yelling, give them a creepy point. I dare you not to laugh. Besides the person in the other car probably gets all sorts of freaked out. "Why are they pointing at me? WHAT DOES IT MEAN? AM I NEXT? Wait, next for WHAT? OMG. OMG. OMG."

Pointing. It's the clear alternative to road rage.

(This message sponsored by the clearly funny Awkward Family.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

This guy I know...

I have to tell you a story about a guy I know who can have a short temper on occasion.*

It was a blustery and rainy day, the kind where the rain seems to be coming from all directions, not just the sky. All he had to do was make it across the street into the building. Golf umbrella opened, he began to walk briskly. As he reached the opposite side of the street something horrible happened. A huge gust of wind WHIPPPED that big umbrella inside out and then proceeded to RIIIIIPPPP it in half.

He stood there for a second before shouting loudly. "FUDGE!"** He then proceeded to bash that beat-up umbrella against the sidewalk, punishing it for misbehaving. After several good thrashes, he gave it a very swift kick and sent it flying. He then walked away, abandoning his defective umbrella.

Three people nearby just stared.

* This story is quite obviously about P.I.C.
** He didn't say fudge. I just watched A Christmas Story and couldn't resist a reference.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I'm having a boy!

HA. No, I'm not pregnant, I swear. However, I had a really funny incident last night that still has me laughing.*

The weather was unseasonably warm for mid-December in Chicago so we had walked to dinner. After say goodbye to our lovely dining companions, P.I.C. and I strolled toward home. I'm sure we looked quite happy, walking arm in arm. We do that once in awhile. A gentleman, well-dressed, probably in his mid-30s, walked up and this conversation ensued.

G: "Wow. Sure is foggy. I feel like we're in London."
P.I.C.: "Yes, it's quite London-esque out right now."
G (after looking at P.I.C. and I standing there): "You two look like old souls, like you've known each other for many lives. You've lived many lives together, I can tell."


We all crossed the street. We turned one direction as G continued the other way. He turned his head for one last parting shot. "Your first-born will be a boy."

At that point, I lost it and started laughing. I'm not sure if it was the fact I was wearing my favorite fuzzy fedora or that we were walking with our arms linked together, but that man seemed to peer into our souls and give us a palm reading, even sans seeing our palms. Hilarious? Yes. It was also a little bit creepy.

* I really, really, really promise I'm not pregnant. (Emphasis fully intended.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Another sincere thank you.

Well, we did it! My team climbed all 58 flights this past Sunday to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It was difficult, but not quite as difficult as I imagined it would be. The fact that there was a bloody mary bar and a screwdriver bar at the end didn't hurt. Although, to be honest, a bloody mary was the last thing I wanted after climbing 58 flights of stairs. I really just wanted a big glass of water. (Additionally, I am grateful I was not riding down in the elevator with the person who puked. TWICE. Some of my friends couldn't say the same. Yikes!)

In any event, I want to say thank you to all of you who donated to our team. I made a last-ditch effort to raise my goal on Friday evening, and lots of people from twitter stepped up and helped me not only meet, but surpass my goal. I was moved to near tears as I received a steady stream of emails notifying me of another donation. Thanks to your generosity, my team was able to raise over $2,100. Not too shabby! There were four of us, and the bare minimum was $200 per person. Do the math. We surpassed the bare minimum. So yay for us. And YAY for you all. Thank you for making this possible.

In seeing people's generosity at the late hour for me, I've become determined to be able to help others out for their fundraising goals. I know I have a tendency to be self-centered and worried about buying my own stuff, but I can fit into my budget a little bit to set aside for charity/non-profit donations. Starting this month, I am going to set aside a small sum each month for this purpose. I'm starting this in December because then it doesn't seem like a resolution for the new year. I don't do those.

So thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Your generosity has moved me to be more generous. Nothing wrong with that.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I'm not playing hard-to-get. Nope. Six months ago, I plainly told you I was not interested. Yet you persist. You called me about six weeks ago several times. I didn't answer once. You started calling me again yesterday, including twice this morning. I know both of your numbers by heart, so I know when not to pick up the phone.

It's not me, it's definitely you.

Right now, I feel as though you are stalking me.

Does anyone else have issues with a financial planner who just cannot get the hint?

Yes, I could answer the phone again and reiterate the same thing I told him six months ago which was the same thing I told him six months before that: I am not interested. I don't ever anticipate being interested. Furthermore, in the event that I do find I need a financial planner, I will not be calling you because I feel you do not listen to my needs. Now? I do not need supplemental life insurance policies. I do not need to start an I.R.A. I do not need long-term disability insurance in place. I do not need you to continue to leave condescending messages on my voicemail after I have plainly, and rather politely told you, "NO THANK YOU."

I need you to leave me the hell alone.

Monday, December 5, 2011

But, but...I'm OLD enough.

P.I.C. has been amazing since my grandma passed away. He's fetched me my favorite Thai food (tom yum noodle soup, if you care, it can cure anything). He holds me when I cry. He wakes me up so I'm not late for work. (OK, that last one he does every day.)

The latest thing has been to buy me a box of wine. We usually have a glass of wine with dinner each night. I've taken a liking to boxed wine. It's cheaper. It's fun to pour. I know it's not really fancy, but it does make me smile. I'm wholly certain that boxed wine helped me plan my wedding unscathed. P.I.C. was doing our weekly grocery shopping this week and had the lovely plan to surprise me with a box of wine. Yay, P.I.C. You do ALL THINGS RIGHT.

Sadly, this did not go as planned. P.I.C. had left his drivers license in his car. That means when he was carded for the wine, the cashier said "NO WAY, NOT ON MY WATCH" to P.I.C. buy that wine. Even the lady in line behind P.I.C. offered to use her I.D., cashier was like "NUH UH. NOPE. YOU CANNOT DO THAT." Now, P.I.C. definitely looks younger than his thirty-six years, but he's no spring chicken. It's not really questionable that he's over twenty-one. That cashier was a real jerk.

Rude. So rude. That means I have no boxed wine. Sigh.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blood on the Saddle.

I really need to start this by saying THANK YOU. The wonderful and kind comments you all left on my post about my grandma were wonderful. They all brought me to tears in such a happy way. The comfort that your words gave me was great, and I am truly appreciative.

Of course, in this situations, the pain doesn't go away right away. While each day I feel as though I'm getting better with limited occasions of all-out crying, by the time the night rolls around, I am a sobbing mess. I feel guilt consuming me for not being there as much as I should have been. I want to throw up when I realize I will never hear her voice say my name. But then I think of a funny memory and smile. I know she will always be in my heart. I imagine that my tears will continue to come rather frequently for quite awhile. Part of me is happy that I won't be in such pain all the time. Another part of me is truly sad because knowing that the pain is subsiding means I am used to her being gone. I hate that.

BUT. I'm trying to stop the tears so I can fall asleep. I was laying in bed with P.I.C. tonight and thought of something that had me laughing so hard. My grandpa loved to torture my grandma. Sounds awful, right? Not really. My entire family tends to show its love in a more teasing fashion. The more you pick on each other, the more you love each other, right? This fact rang especially true for my grandma and grandpa. One thing that my grandpa used to do that would make my grandma SO STEAMING MAD that made me laugh so hard was playing a particular song (Blood on the Saddle) on their stereo. You couldn't even mention the name of the song without my grandma blurting out, "DO NOT PLAY THAT STUPID SONG." My grandpa would casually go over to the CD player and be all nonchalant. "I'm not playing it, GEEZ." Of course, he'd play it. My grandma would holler at him, grandpa would sing along at the top of his voice ("There was blllloooooooooooood on the saddle"), and we would all laugh and laugh. Of course, by the end of it, we were all in tears. No one could resist my grandpa's shenanigans, most of all, Grandma C.