September 2014 archive

Be a Woman

*Note, when I say man and woman, I mean male energy and female energy. Those energies can flip back and forth within straight couples and exist in same-sex relationships.

I’m going to rant a little bit, here. You may disagree with me. That’s cool.

On our first date, Bear brought me a single rose. He opened the door for me. He asked me what I wanted to drink and then ordered it for me. Same with dinner. He paid for our meal. He waited outside the bathroom for me so we could exit restaurant at the same time. He offered me a kiss on the cheek (which, I will admit, I politely declined in favor of a REAL kiss because…well, that I couldn’t help).
And I didn’t like most of that at the time.

I’m in a hailstorm of learning right now. I am re-discovering my feminine side, the part of me that is emotional and nurturing and protected. I lost most of that part of Erin due to some of the dynamics within my marriage. It’s a super weird experience finding out that I actually like being a girl, and it’s kind of a step-by-step process of the letting go of what I thought I should be.

I was raised in a generation of “Women can do everything.” I was taught that any and all careers were mine for the taking, that I was in charge, I held the power, I was woman hear me roar. GO VAGINAS! I heard things like “glass ceiling” and “gender equality” all over the place and I scoffed and scowled. I believed that I could be ANYTHING AT ALL. I DON’T NEED A MAN.

What no one told me was that I would still need to be soft, loving, nurturing, and receptive if I want to have a relationship.

That’s where shit got confusing.

chivalry2I spent years thinking that by giving up my “power” to a man, I was being taken advantage of. But as it turns out, a man wanting to open my doors, pay for my meals, fetch me ice cream at 10 o’clock at night, that’s not taking my power. That’s not degrading. Being a GIRL is not degrading. Letting a man do man-ish things is what signals to him that you appreciate his ability to be a man, and that you like being able to be the woman in the relationship.

How do I tell the difference between a man making me “less-than” and a man wanting to be an actual man? I ask myself this: “COULD I do this myself if I wanted to?” The answer, almost invariably, is yes. However, the rest of the answer is, “…but allowing him to do it gives him space to be a man. And I want to date a MAN.” It’s isn’t a relinquishing of power or rights or status. It’s allowing both parties to feel necessary in the relationship. If he tries to open my door and I don’t let him, he doesn’t feel like he has a role. Suddenly, only one of us is necessary.

Being a girl feels vulnerable. And that’s why we don’t like to do it. It’s good knowing that WE can ask the guys out and WE can make the money and WE can mow the lawn…well, it’s just that: good to know. But allowing someone to take the reigns and to trust them to guide the ship is SCARY, so we just stay right up there at the helm with them, fighting to be the captain. It’s time to stop doing that now. It’s time for me to stop doing that. A real woman allows a dude to open her doors without a snarky little, “I got it.”

Maybe it’s not that there’s a lack of good men in this world? Maybe it’s that women have forgotten how to be women. We’ve forgotten to be soft, to wait for men to order our drinks for us and pump our gas. In the midst of all this equality, we forgot that it doesn’t matter that a relationship is EQUAL. It matters that both people feel important and loved. So go out and build your careers, women! Do all the things they said women could never do 50+ years ago. But when you get home to your man, remember that he’s the man.

Step aside. Let him.

Let it Go and Other Songs Stuck in my Head

social-cartoonBelieve it or not, I’m learning new stuff in my new relationship. A whole new person means a whole new part of myself that comes out and I get to explore. I also get to dig around into the dynamic of a new energy created by two new people. It’s all super fun and interesting and I’m having a blast learning it all because honestly it’s such a safe and fun relationship in which to learn.  I’m by no means a relationship guru or expert or anything even close to that genre. This is just a few observations I’ve made that I thought I’d share because, well…I share everything else. So here are some notes to myself about doing this whole relationship thing:

1. Listen, listen, listen.
It’s superbly easy to think of what you’re going to say next while “listening” to another person. That voice in your head telling you what you MUST express IMMEDIATELY or death is imminent? That’s your ego. Tell it to shut up and just listen. You might hear something that actually clears up an issue. And if you don’t and there’s more left to be said…

2. Wait for it.
There are moments when it is right and there are moments when it isn’t. For example, when he comes home from work frustrated and tired, maybe don’t mention the fact that it really pisses you off he can’t get a single bowl from the sink to the dishwasher? Maybe bring that up later after a Breaking Bad binge when you’re both in great spirits and considering what life would be like if you just cooked and sold 40 pounds of meth ONE TIME.

3. Fake it.
No. Not that. Get your mind right.
There will be times you MUST feign interest. It doesn’t hurt you and it makes the other person feel AWESOME when you engage in conversation or even participate when you couldn’t care less. Two things could happen: 1) You go on pretending to care forever, or, 2) You actually develop an interest after a while. The latter is true for me almost every time.

4. Re-Freaking-Ceive.
Say “thank you” when given a gift, compliment, or physical form of affection. Receive it with grace, with honor, and gratitude. No “That’s too expensive” or “No I’m not, I’m fat”. Smile. Appreciate the fact that someone wants to honor you. Try feeling good about it, even. That’s the best repayment you can give to someone.

5. Let It Go
Having just watched Frozen for the first last night, I’ve been singing this little ditty for 24 hours straight. But seriously, 90% of the time…let it go. Most things that bother you about your significant other are things that are more about you then about them. I always just take it to the extreme when something is bugging me: I imagine the person not being in my life on account of this thing that’s bothering me…and then I just want to let it go. I’d way rather snuggle, anyway.

5a. Shake It Off
Numbers 5 and 5a are interchangeable, because I can’t stop singing that stupid Taylor Swift song, either.

Have a beautiful weekend, peeps.

My Dill of a Pickle or I’m Lucky I’m Pretty

My ex-sister-in-law texted me a few weeks back asking if I wanted her old entertainment center. I was half incredibly honored she would even offer it to me after going through a divorce with her brother and half thrilled because yes, I wanted it! Oh, and a little worried about how big it was but more on that later.

We texted back and forth for two weeks trying to find a night that worked for both of us to do the exchange. She lives about 35 minutes south of me so I was juggling her schedule, my schedule, and Bear’s schedule, as he has the truck and the muscles to help me move this thing. We finally decided last night would be the night as her two teenage sons would both be home to help us get it onto the truck.

After catching up for a few minutes when we arrived at her house around 8pm last night, she walked us further into her house to pick up the entertainment center.

Big.

It was big.

Bigger than I thought.

I mean, she’d sent me the measurements and sent pictures and everything and yet…bigger than I thought.

Bear walked towards the entertainment center, paused, and put one arm across his chest and resting the other one under his chin, rubbed his mouth with his hand. This is the stance he takes when I’ve done something kind of dumb but he is physically holding himself back from pointing it out.
“It’s bigger than I thought, huh?” I asked him as he stood there being very patient with me.
“Mmhmm,” he said from behind his hand.
“I mean, we drove all the way here…” I continued.
“Mmhmm,” he said from behind his hand again.
We all continued to stare at the entertainment center for a few moments before the boys and Bear began moving it towards the front door.

He had to back the truck up through the front yard grass, down through a small ravine next to the road. The boys hoisted it up onto the truck, not before nearly tipping it over and allowing gravity to yank it SMASH into the ground.
“Top heavy,” Bear muttered after the monstrosity was finally on the truck. “I can’t lean it in the truck bed. The top might snap off. We’re going to have to tie it standing straight up.” This essentially meant there was no way we were getting this thing home in one piece, but we at least had to try to make it to the next street over before the entire thing flew off the truck.
After about 20 minutes of tying and taping, Bear announced we were ready to roll.
“Is it…secure?” I asked.
“Nope.”
“So, should we…”
“Nope.”
I said my goodbyes to my ex-sis-in-law and family and held my breath as Bear got into the driver’s seat. “If we get it out over the ravine, I’ll be shocked.”
“Promising,” I said.
I waited in the driveway to see if the entertainment center would crash into the street, and when it didn’t, I made my way to the truck. “Well, that was good! It’s still up!”

Thirty-five feet down…20 miles to go.

We drove slowly and in the right lane, praying that it was late enough at night no one would call the police on the idiots trying to drive a 6 1/2 foot tall entertainment center north on Rte. 13 vertically in the bed of a truck. We made it nearly 3/4 of the way and chilled out.
“I think we’re going to make it,” I smiled.
“Yep. We just might,” Bear said. We started a conversation about something unrelated.
“I think if I take those shirts back, they may do them again in grey if I have the yellow color bolder.”
“You’ll definitely need the yellow bolder, but it will already appear bold because of the grey.”
“I just don’t want the…”
<pop>
<SMASH>
<fwapfwapfwapfwap>
<silence>

“What was that?” he asked. Calmly. I looked back and saw the entertainment center still there. I saw the tape flapping in the wind.
“Oh, I think it’s just some of the tape come undone.”
“Um…”
“Just pull over and let’s look.”
Bear pulled over and we both got out of the truck and walked around our respective sides to the back.
“Where’s the door?” I asked.
“The door is…get in the car. Get in the car right now.”
I hobbled as quickly as possible into the car and Bear accelerated slowly and steadily. “That sound was the door flying off into the street,” Bear, now more agitated, said to me. “Thank God no one was behind us but we gotta go.”
“THE DOOR FELL OFF?!” I shouted.
“We just have to get home. I don’t want anyone realizing that was us.”
“OH MY GOD OK. Ok. Be calm. Just drive. THE DOOR FELL OFF???”
“It flew off. The wind caught the tape and loosened the door.”
“Ok. Wow. The door fell off.”

We drove in silence the last 3 miles home, just praying no one pulled up alongside us holding an entertainment center door out their window shouting, “DROP SOMETHING??!?!”

There used to be a door. RIght there.

There used to be a door. Right there.

We pulled into the driveway of Bear’s house where I’d be storing it in his garage in order to paint it. We got out of the truck and just sort of breathed for a few minutes, staring at each other. Bear smirked and shook his head at me.
“What? I can’t help that we lost a door,” I said.
“No. That’s not why I’m smirking.”
“What?”
“You have no plan for getting this thing down off the truck and into my garage, do you?”
Damnit. He was right. We now had a 10-foot long entertainment center on the truck in Bear’s driveway with no way of getting it down.
“Uuuuuuuuuuum.”
“I have to go to work in the morning, darlin’. How am I going to go to work with this in my truck?”
“Right. I…I don’t know. Let me think.”
This is a very typical Erin thing to do. I had great, high hopes, the best of intentions, and very little plan. I’m a “figure it out when I get there” type. And 9 times out of 10, I do figure it out. This time, though, with a healing leg and PR of 25 pounds on bicep curls, I didn’t have a whole lot of options. So, I did what I always do when I get myself into a pickle or need help. I texted my neighbor, Gile.

He’s one of those guys that is half brother, half father, 100% friend. He shakes his head at me as much as anyone else, but he and his wife always show up when I need help. Strong, stubborn, and an excellent sense of humor…he was my only hope.

Once I texted the entire situation to him, he texted back, “Tell him I’ll be there in 20 minutes.”

And he was, in 20 minutes, there at 9:30 at night to help my Bear get an entertainment center that he didn’t want out of the back of his truck and into his garage. It took them 5 minutes. I smiled and did a little divot with my foot a few times and nervously giggled. “Thank you!” I shouted as cutely as humanly possible. “You’re welcome,” Gile shook his head.
Before Gile left, Bear looked at him and said, “She’s lucky she’s beautiful, isn’t she?”
“Heh,” Gile chuckled as he walked to his car.

So my point is…I’ll be posting a DIY paint your new/old entertainment center blog coming up soon…

Why Preschool is the most Horrifying Experience of my Life (Part 2) (It’s not Really That Bad)

I hated the idea of holding my kid back at four years old. I weighed the options of leaving him in a Junior Kindergarden class versus leaving him in the preschool class. I thought about his social development, his academic development, how I would explain to him that his new “JK clothes” would be acceptable in the preschool classroom…

anxiety girlStomach in knots, head spinning, very little focus left in my eyes, I called my ex-husband. He confirmed he felt that moving Abe back to the younger preschool classroom was the best choice. I heard him out, I compared my notes, and by the end of the conversation, we’d decided: Abe would go back.

Of course, my concern was that he would feel stupid. That his old teacher would come back and fetch him and explain that he just wasn’t going to hack it as a JK student and he’d need to take a long ride back to preschool on a short bus. I imagined the other four year olds laughing at him, calling him a baby, dampening his spirit.

But his old teacher explained to me that she would simply chat with Abe on a Friday morning and let him know that she had a room full of preschoolers who didn’t know where anything went or how anything worked and that she desperately needed his help. She would tell him she chose him to spend the year helping her to guide these “little kids” (most of whom are actually Abe’s age or just a few months older). She would make him feel special and then she would suggest he call me to celebrate the big news. I trusted her.

I got that call on a Thursday morning, my little boy shouting into the phone.

“Mommy!!! Mommy!!!!”
“What, Abe?!”
“Mommy! I get to be a helper now!”
“You do?! That’s amazing!”
“Yeah! I get to start being a helper soon! Wait…can I start today?”
<I listened to him talk to his teacher>
“Mommy?”
“Yeah, buddy?”
“I wanna start being a helper today! She chose ME!”

To hear the excitement in his voice, the joy, the laughter, the squealing…I was overwhelmed. I thought maybe, just maybe, this was the right choice.

Over the next two week, I watched my child change. I mean literally watched him change. He went from anxious, controlling, impulsive, and angry to happy. Just happy. He was excited to go to school. He followed directions at home. And he was just generally happy like, all the time. I couldn’t believe that in 2 weeks his entire demeanor shifted. It made me wonder how Abe was feeling prior to being held back, how hard school was for him and whether or not he was just realizing that his peers were catching on to the lessons and he wasn’t.

Then I felt badly for not having held him back sooner.

Obviously.

Most of Abe’s natural behaviors have returned. He still has little negotiator hat, his argumentative streaks, his tantrums. He’s a very normal four year old boy, but suddenly we are allowing him to be just that – a four year old boy. And he is so happy. (And I am so happy.)

So were I to make a completely unsolicited suggestion that my lawyer says you MUST know comes from an untrained idiot who isn’t actually suggesting anything to you and you won’t remember this tomorrow…the sooner the better. If it’s even a thought in your mind that you may hold your child back at some point, do it now. The sooner the better. It’s so worth it.

 

 

Why Preschool is the most Horrifying Experience of my Life (Part 1)

preschool clipartTwo weeks ago I called a meeting with my ex-husband and the director of my son’s school to discuss our options for next Kindergarden schooling year. I figured, being a professional, she would have some ideas about the best schools for Abe’s personality and learning style. When the meeting started, I was surprised to see Abe’s teacher this year, his teacher from last year, and the director of the school all in the meeting room. Because I trust them so implicitly that I wasn’t worried.

Ok a little worried.

“So, here’s the schools we’re looking at…” I began, fully equipped with lined notebook paper and notes because I take preschool very seriously and I’m a perfectionist so…there’s that.
“I’m going to stop you there…” Abe’s teacher from last year said. I hadn’t even started yet so I wasn’t sure what she was stopping. “You want to talk about what we’re going to do next year. Let’s chat a little bit about what we’re going to do this year.”

Abe is already in JK this year. He was born August 29, so he is the youngest in his class. He’s always struggled to keep up with his peers because of his age, but we’ve always pushed him through and eventually he catches up. But apparently while I was busy thinking about what school Abe should go to next year, his teachers were all discussing the fact that he was NOT ready for JK. This completely blew my “I take preschool very seriously and I’m a perfectionist” notebook off the table.

“You think he needs to be…held back?” I took a huge, deep breath where the elipses is in that sentence.
“I think,” his old teacher went on, “that it’s time we give the kid a break and let him enjoy school instead of white-knuckling it.” She’s a straight-shooter, this one. She loves my kid more than her luggage, and she wouldn’t steer him wrong. She also scares the shit out of me.
“Does everyone agree with that?” I asked at the table. My ex-husband sat, attentively listening to the back and forth.
Everyone smiled gently and nodded.
“I think it’s something to think about,” my ex-husband finally said.

Am I the only one here shocked and appalled that her four year old is being held back?! I AM THE PERFECT PERSON AND MOTHER. YOU ARE RUINING THIS FOR ME.

Yep…I went ahead and made my child’s education about me. Aren’t old patterns fun?

As everyone continued discussing Abe’s future (in preschool, I might add) I sat participating in somewhat of a vacuum. I understood the reasoning, I understood the words being passed across the table, and yet I couldn’t stop the wah-wah-wah sound of the objects in my peripheral vision zooming in and out. Was this the right choice? Was I hurting my son? Would I be judged? What if other people found out that he was held back in preschool when he’s in high school?

By the time the meeting was over, we were both asked to sleep on the idea and let the school know our decision in 2 days. I held it together until I got into the car and then, I didn’t cry, I stared. I stared at the steering wheel letting all the possible best and worst case scenario float around inside the car with me.

And so…I slept…
(Just kidding, I laid in bed continuing to list all the possible horrible outcomes to every situation possible and how it would affect me.)

Ask for what you want. What you REALLY want.

Yesterday I blogged about loving peperocinis. I described the fact that I need to start paying attention to what makes me happy during the day and then freaking doing it. But you know what almost always holds me back, even if it’s in the form of a jar of peperocinis?
Money.
Today I ALMOST didn’t buy a bag of clementine oranges for $5.99 even though I LOVE them because of money.
For almost anyone, money is almost always an issue. The common dichotomy is always the same: I want to make money but not doing something I don’t want to do. I want to have financial freedom but not at the expense of anyone else. I want to support my family while still serving other people and feeling good about my contribution to the world.
It’s sticky. We want it, we don’t want to ask for it, and while we don’t mind working for it we really don’t want to feel like we’re working too hard.
As I listened to Deepak Choprah on a podcast interview last night, I heard him speak about meditating on what you want, or manifesting it. Asking out loud for what you want and letting the Universe work out the details.
“But what if what you want is a Mercedes?” the interviewer asked.
“Then you should ask the Universe for a Mercedes,” he responded simply.
It took me a while to accept this answer. I am the type of person who feels I SHOULD be happy with just enough to keep me alive while I seek personal enlightenment. If I’m working my butt off to SERVE people, why should I be simultaneously asking for some extravagant “extra” like Whole-Foods-12a Mercedes? (In my case, the extravagant “extra” would be a nearly unlimited food budget because I’m a girl who can eat.)
Well, later, Deepak went into some more detail on that subject, and I was amazed. He said when you ask for what you want, if it’s truly what you want, the Universe will deliver it. If you ask for things you THINK the Universe wants you to want, you won’t receive. In essence, he said that if you want the Mercedes, ask for it. Because once you receive the Mercedes, or the unlimited food budget, or the beautiful house on the ocean, you will then have achieved that goal and you will transcend it. You will naturally ask the Universe for different desires. You will effortlessly flow into wanting something different from material goods. (This is why it’s so easy for people with money to say, “Money isn’t everything.” For them, it isn’t everything ANYMORE. At one time, though, it was.)
There are people who, after receiving a Mercedes, ask for a second Mercedes. These are people who never transcend, people who never move on from the egoic wants of the mind. Those people will likely never be happy with what they have. But if one doesn’t ever experience the fulfillment of the ego, how can one transcend it? We must first have our needs for survival met before we begin to desire/seek material goods. And we must first have our needs for material goods met before we can begin to desire/seek inner peace and enlightenment.
So my point is…give yourself a break. Give ME a break. Deepak gave a free podcast last night because he no longer has a need to charge for every last bit of information he shares. He has transcended the material world by achieving it. You, on the other hand, probably have not. (I haven’t either.) There are still THINGS that you WANT. And that is perfectly ok. Ask for what you want, charge what is fair, and use the money to make yourself happy. There is no way to honor and serve your client if you are not honoring and serving yourself.

Hello. My name is Erin. And I Like Peperocinis.

I’ve been battling The Sickness for a few days now. It seems any little bug that floats through our house takes up residence in my sinuses.

But my blog isn’t about complaining about my lack of hearty immune system.

No. My blog is about something I realized about my mom-side today.

When a mom gets sick, the world generally assumes she will continue on with her usual duties. Very few people, even other moms, stop to think that sick moms can’t even be sick without trying to plan for the care and nourishment of their children. I am especially bad about just letting myself be SICK. Letting it be a time for me to just rest and heal and take care of myself. (It’s probably why I get sick so much. The universe is trying to tell me that the world does in fact continue revolving without me.)

photoSo it seems unrelated that I opened our refrigerator and noticed my roommate bought a jar of peperocinis. But it’s very, very related. Because I love peperocinis. But my son doesn’t eat them. And I love them. (Did I mention I love them?) When I go grocery shopping, I usually have Abe with me. Or I am shopping quickly before I pick him up from school. In short, grocery shopping isn’t really about me. Grocery shopping is about caring for my son. It’s about nourishing his body: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And that means when a roommate comes home with peperocinis, it’s like a special treat for me.
Tonight, of course, I stopped and wondered, “What don’t I ever buy these? What aisle are they even on? What other things are at the grocery store that I wish I could buy?!”
I haven’t been grocery shopping for myself in a long time. I haven’t taken a sick day FOR MYSELF in a long time. I’m also bad about doing ANYTHING for myself. It’s not a martyr thing. I’m not a saint for it. It’s a very sad trait of mine. I will take care of others before I take care of myself. And then I empty myself out so fully that I end up getting sick. I don’t even THINK about buying groceries I want at the grocery store. When I do buy things for myself, I tend to feel guilty about it. When I do anything for myself I feel guilty about it. That is so. Stupid. I certainly don’t want to swing all the way over to entitled. I don’t want that “The World Does and Should Revolve Around Me” mentality anywhere close to my sphere of consciousness. I really do want to love myself enough to fill myself up first, though.

I’m giving myself a task. I’m going to the grocery store after I take a shower and get dressed (and am not dying of a head cold) one MORNING this week. I’m going to spend an hour walking up and down every aisle, and I am going to examine all sorts of food items that make me happy. Not the ones that make Abe happy or that I can use when I cook dinner for Bear. The ones I like.

This is a blog I feel like I’ve written a thousand times before because I am always needing the reminder to take care of myself first. So, I suppose I’ll just keep reminding myself.

Stupid Laughing

So I was walking Bear to his truck after an evening of Breaking Bad bingeing and before we made it to the end of my house, I heard the neighbors fighting.

To fill you in, my neighbors are what you’d call…Southern. Real southern. Like, hit your kid with a wooden spoon, carry hand guns in your sweatpants waist band, leave a toilet in your front yard Southern.

So this was bound to be good.

“Don’t listen to them. Just go back inside after I leave,” Bear suggested, which was adorable.
I got back inside and my roommate Marybeth was standing in the kitchen. “Do you not hear the neighbors fighting outside?!”
“What?! No!”
We both immediately tip-toed out front because we’re stupid. We were being careful not to pass the edge of the brick facade of our house. We stepped carefully, trying not to crunch the grass. We settled in to a spot and Marybeth quietly lit a cigarette as if we were settling in for a drive-in movie. She took one more step forward and realized our shadows were plainly visible across the driveway from the front door light. She reached her hand back, signaling for me to stay still, but instead punched me directly in the boob. We both squatted down to keep from laughing too loud and then, in our infinite wisdom, decided to keep walking to the corner of the house. Bent over. Like old women.
We were hidden JUST on the other side of the wall from our neighbors trying to listen when one of them took a step into our yard. We froze.
“Just start making out if they come around the corner,” Marybeth whispered with all seriousness.
“What?!” I whisper-yelled. “That makes no sense!”
“Lust knows no logic,” she whispered back. For a split second it made sense.
“Why don’t we just duck down into the shadow if they come around the corner?” I asked.
“Oh, yeah. Good idea.” Yeah, stupid.
A few seconds later, footsteps again into our yard. Marybeth ducked and I leaned just far enough forward to goose myself on the shed door knob. Before I could think, I was running like a 15-year-old for the front door being chased by a boy with a water balloon and Marybeth was behind me. We got all the way back inside before Marybeth realized she still had a lit cigarette in her hand.
“GO OUT BACK!” I yelled.
She continued running through the house and out the back sliding glass door and I followed.
“Let’s go around back to the side of the house. It’s dark. And we might actually be closer,” I suggested because that wasn’t enough of an adrenaline rush for me. And I’m a little stupid.
“Yeah, perfect,” she whispered. As if it was perfect.
We crept slowly through overgrown tree roots and 5,000 newly sprouting oak trees to the side of the house. From there, we could see into the neighbors’ back yard but not the front. We could hear better though, so we stood like deer for about 5 minutes listening.
Suddenly, one of them walked into the back yard right past us. Marybeth, like an ostrich, folded her body in half and got her head as close to the ground as possible. I, like a stealth crime fighter, flattened my body against the back of the house. We stayed that way, frozen, for a billion minutes. Because stupid.
Finally, Marybeth peaked upwards.
“He’s gone,” she whispered.
“We are so stupid,” I whispered back.
“Yeah,” she agreed.
We continued standing there, listening to our neighbors fight, and finally we were starting to hear enough to get a handle on the story. We breathed slowly and deeply, like two detectives who NEEDED this part of the scoop to crack the case.
“Her daughter?” Marybeth whisper-asked.
“I think so, and he’s the step-dad?” I whisper-responded.
“And how did his mom post it on Facebook?” she whisper-puzzled.
“I don’t know, I think…”
And just then, like a rocket taking off into space…the air conditioning unit kicked on.
And we left 30 feet into the air.
We ran like Kenyans.
I have not galloped so fast since I broke my leg.
We collapsed into a pile of laughter on the kitchen counter and then completely re-lived the entire experience by recalling and explaining every detail to each other as if it hadn’t just happened.

I guess my point is, I’m stupid. But I have a whole lot of fun. When’s the last time you had stupid-fun?!

Laugh like a horse every once in a while.

Laugh like a horse every once in a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the way, my girl Marybeth got a clean booby scan today. One year. No cancer. Raise a glass!!!!

What if You Were Just Honest?

What if you set up your life honestly according to who you are?

I ask this because today I watched the woman I work for make an amazing choice. A client of hers requested she complete some design work. (Currently she doesn’t do much design work anymore because she’s refocused her business to help others with branding.) The job paid a more-than-fair price for working with a woman my boss likes and on a design job she knew she’d be good at.
The only problem is…my boss is crap with deadlines. And for design work, they’re usually have to be deadlines. So she was hesitant to take the extra work because she was terrified of letting this woman down, already knowing in advance she was assuredly miss a deadline (or two).
We chatted about it for a moment over Skype this morning. We weighed the pros and cons of taking on the extra project. We talked about what it would feel like if she let this woman down. And we also discussed the fact that this woman is a seeker, a fellow traveller…someone who works from her heart. She might be disappointed in a missed deadline, but not angry. (And isn’t disappointed almost worse?!)
Then, it sort of came to both of us simultaneously: Why doesn’t she just tell the client that she’s crap with deadlines up front? That she actually changed her entire business model so that she didn’t have to face looming deadlines and letting people down when she knows time management isn’t her thing?!
Three things could happen.
1. The client would be grateful for (and maybe confused by) the honesty but no longer choose to hire her.
2. The client would be grateful for (and maybe confused by) the honesty and choose to hire her anyway.
3. The client would tell my boss she was lazy and full of it and call her names and take her pony and run away, never to return, unless it was to tell all the people in the land what a shit job at meeting deadlines my boss does.
We guessed it would be one of the first two. So, we took a risk. And it paid off. Not only was the client grateful for the honesty but she also agreed that deadlines would be loose and that my boss was worth the wait.

So what if you set up your life honestly and according to who you really are?
First you have to know who you really are. That’s the hard part, eh? Can you get real about the fact that you are horrible at meeting deadlines or following detailed directions or paying attention in meetings? Can you be honest with yourself about what you like and you’re really good at?!
2014-07-16-procrastinatorI suck at:
1. Ongoing projects (i.e. projects without a clear end)
2. Cleaning as I go
3. Getting anything done “early”
4. Waking up before 7 (and even then…)
5. Small talk (I don’t suck at it. I just don’t like it.)
I’m super good at:
1. Communicating
2. Taking notes
3. Organizing myself and other people in logical ways
4. Getting 8 hours of sleep
5. Writing
So while I would love to be a doctor or a lawyer and make boat loads of money, if I’m honest with myself I just don’t have some of the skills it would take. I told my boss up front I am extremely organized and I could keep notes of all of our conversations, but I might have to take a midday nap. As I learn more things I’m good at (and not good at) I keep communicating those things to my boss (because communication is one of my “super goods”).

Knowing what you’re good at/not good at and being honest about it gives you the opportunity to carve out a life that works perfectly well for you. I don’t like talking to people in Starbucks when I work, so I bring earbuds to deter them. The could make other people feel isolated. I work best under pressure, so I usually wait until the day of to complete a very important task. That might stress someone else out (Hi, Mom.). I don’t clean throughout while I cook a meal, so I take care of the dishes all at once at the end of the day.

It’s also hella helpful in relationships. Knowing who you are gives your partner and friends the opportunity to be very clear with expectations. If they know you aren’t going to be someone who ever shows up on time, they can have a taxi waiting to pick them up. If they know you hate movies, they can plan a dinner date. If they know you rarely do dishes, they can buy paper plates.
Knowing these things means you might choose not to take them personally when and if they happen instead of getting angry over and over and over again that your partner repeats the same behaviors without owning them.

OF COURSE you can’t float through life just being all nimbly-bimbly-honest with people and expecting everyone to accept all the things you suck at. If punctuality is the most important thing to your spouse, it doesn’t mean you should say, “Well, I TOLD you I’m not ever going to be on time.” It means you should take small steps to improve while continuing to be honest about who you are.

Start noticing the things you’re consistently good at and things you pretend to be good at when you’re really not. Who could you be honest with about those not-so-good things to take an immense amount of pressure off your own life?

I Love Cable Companies

directtvI had to call DirecTV today. It was an EASY phone call compared to what it usually. And I still wanted to rip my hair out by the end. I thought I’d go ahead and transcribe that phone call for you, using only the dialogue from my side of the conversation. (If you see a number, it’s the number I’m dialing on my phone.)

 

1-888-779-4388
2
<pause>
1
<pause>
4
<pause>
0
0
0
0

Representative.
Represen.
Representative.
Technical support.
Picture.
Picture.
No. No. Picture.
What?
Representative.
<pause>
Technical support.
No.
Representative.
<pause>

0
0
0
0

Representative.
Technical support.
Yes.
Finally, thank God.
Hi. Yes.
Erin.
Yes, that’s correct.
Ok, hi Margo.
No, I don’t have a snowy screen.
Well, that’s not correct.
Ok.
The television in the bedroom is freezing and the guide won’t come up.
No. That one’s fine.
About 2 days.
No, it just freezes.
Freezes.
Nope. Just freezes.
Yes. Freezes.
Right.
It freezes.
Right.
Yes, I’ll wait.

Hi.
Ok if I could just have someone come out to take a look at it…
Yes, I am.
Ok. Yes, I pressed it.
Ok.
Ok.
Ok.
It says searching. 27%.
Ok.
<pause>
No I don’t watch that American Horror Story.
Uh huh.
Yeah, it won a lot of awards.
Oh, really. Neat.
Uh huh.
Interesting.
Ok my TV says 100% now.
Yes, I have my password.
Ok, one second.
<pause>
No, I’m still entering it.
<pause>
Hold on one minute, I’m still entering it.
<pause>
I didn’t watch any episodes of American Horror Story.
<pause>
Ok, it’s in.
It says it connected.
The screen is still frozen though.
Press the menu again? Same one?
Ok.
Ok.
Ok.
Ok.
Now it says code 67-342-99.
No, 99.
Same menu? Ok.
Ok.
Ok.
Ok, now it says less than 2 minutes.
<pause>
Super heroes?
No.
I don’t really watch Gotham.
Nope. Never watched The Flash.
Ummm. I don’t know? Marvel comics?
Oh. Ok. Yeah.
Batman, right.
Interesting. Ok it says it’s done.
In the other room? Yes, I can check it.
Yeah, I turned it on.
Ok, it’s on. It seems like it’s working now. Thank you.
No, I don’t need…
Ok, thanks.
No, we don’t want HBO.
Because we don’t want to pay for it.
Yes, we have parties.
No, we don’t watch movies at parties.
I don’t want HBO.
Ok, thanks.
No, even if you throw in Stars, I don’t want it. Thanks anyway.
Have a great…
I don’t really have time for a survey.
Thanks, have a great…
Ok. Yeah. I’ll check out “Gotham.”
Have a great… <click>

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