Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Time and Money

The other day one of my friends posted this on his Facebook wall. If you’ve got the time, it’s absolutely hysterical and worth the read (also, the rest of my post will make more sense):

And I laughed, because the writer managed to take some cold hard facts and make them funny while making his point. And he’s right. Whoever truly believes that money can’t buy happiness is an ignorant tool.

Of course money can’t be the source of one’s happiness. Then all you have is some asshole with no friends sitting on piles of money. That’s not happiness at all, that’s someone who’s going to die alone and sad. But it can buy everything that writer said it can, which does buy happiness (if you have love, peace of mind, healthy kids and enough money to enjoy the simple pleasures in life and you still aren’t happy, you’re also an ignorant tool).

I laughed until I got to # 2, “The Best Hobbies Don’t Cost a Thing.” And I realized this is exactly what’s been going on with me lately:

First of all, there's the time issue. I write for a living now, obviously, but when I was trying to do it as a hobby? Yeah, ask me how much I felt like writing after 12 hours of work/commute and then all the other time spent doing home shit after that (eat, shower, tend to the kids, etc). Unless you wanted an article on "6 Ways I'd Like to Fucking Punch All the Truck Drivers in the Cock," all you'd get out of me is some low moans about my aching back while I stared sleepily at some Internet boobs. Creativity takes energy.

Read more: 5 Reasons Money Can Buy Happiness | Cracked.com http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-reasons-money-can-buy-happiness_p2/#ixzz1fpKbnK4y

I love to write, both as a profession and a hobby. But lately, writing at work has been insane. We just went through our busiest month, where we were all required to work a Saturday just to get caught up and took on more events than we ever have.

 My job requires tons of creativity even when we aren’t slammed and by the time 6:30 rolls around and I (sometimes) finish, my brain hurts. Then you add in the 90 minute hot yoga classes I’ve been dragging myself to or a spin on the Elliptical machine to offset the 10 hours I spend sitting, riding the harrowing public transportation home, taking a shower and cooking a meal, and good luck getting me to do a damn chore, much less write something that still has a long way to go before I can even try to turn it into anything real. Or type up my Days of our Lives interviews from a month ago. Or blog. I still haven’t unpacked the overnight bag from my girls’ night at the Bellevue Hyatt last Saturday for a friend’s bachelorette party. I have no motivation.

But tonight it hit me just how quickly time really passes. I can’t believe it’s almost 2012. I can’t believe my twenties are two months from being over. I commented on a picture of my friend’s (adorable) kid eating ice cream on her Facebook page and I realized he’s old enough to sneak ice cream from their freezer while she’s asleep. And that I can remember his mom and I doing that, staying up late and sneaking my dad’s chunky chocolate ice cream after he went to sleep, and it seems like just a couple of years ago.

And then I realized: I can use my exhaustion as an excuse. I can be one of the millions of people who say they just don’t have time to work on anything else, and it would be a valid claim. I want to puke just thinking about all the goals I have for next year that have nothing to do with writing, much less writing goals.

But I don’t want to be one of those people who wakes up and they’re 40 and everything they wanted to accomplish when they were turning 30 is still left undone. Looking back, though it seems like all I did was party and play, I’m pretty proud of what I managed to accomplish in my twenties. I want to say the same about my thirties, but for that to happen I’m going to have to step it up.

So when I’m not spending long hours at the office, coming into Camel pose in a 110 degree room, grocery shopping or doing the other mundane things I used to be able to do whenever I wanted… you’ll find me writing. You’ll find my ass in a chair in front of my laptop until I’m satisfied with what I’ve done and I’m ready to show it to all of you. I may not have the time that I used to, but the money I’m making supporting myself writing by day means nothing if I can’t use it to support my passion in the evenings.

Monday, November 14, 2011

George Clooney is magic

Every year on the first weekend of November I travel to LA to interview some of my favorite actors for the Day of Days event. I go specifically for the event, which is always amazing. But it’s the things that happen during those hours when I’m not in soap opera mode that are truly magical, and what I’ve come to love the most.

Despite the fact that the weather wasn’t much warmer than Seattle—in fact, Mr. W and I got caught in a torrential downpour like nothing Seattle has ever seen while we were at Hollywood & Highland—LA treated me as well as it always does. The event on Saturday went better than I expected. Some of the cast couldn’t make it, but we got to interview everyone who was there (which never happens). The show brought back some old veterans recently and I found myself sitting across the table from a couple of stars I was enamored with as a kid. It doesn’t get much better than that.

But it did get better. Later that night Mr. W and I hit Citywalk in Universal Studios and drank giant drinks at a bar with a mechanical bull with friends we don’t get to see often enough. Our friend A arrived from Sacramento that night and we spent Sunday exploring the city (he’s considering relocating). On Sunday night, I suggested we go back to the amazing restaurant Mr. W and I had tried on Friday, a charming little Argentine grill in a strip mall.

As we drank our bottle of wine and waited for our dinners, we discussed A’s possible upcoming move to LA. Somehow the topic of celebrities came up. The streets of Hollywood are lined with brochures for tours that will take people to celebrity “hot spots” and past their homes. In reality, celebs blend right in with everyone else (as someone I follow on Twitter put it, they look like well-dressed homeless people) and every place you go is so crowded you would be overwhelmed if you tried to spot them.

“Besides,” I said, swirling my wine. “None of us watch enough TV to recognize half of them. They’d have to be, like, Jennifer Aniston famous or something.”

“Yeah, and what if you did see one?” A said. “I wouldn’t get starstruck. They’re people too.”

We talked about it for a few more minutes, and then I started to give A a wine-induced pep talk about how he should follow his dreams. As I lectured, a shiny Lexus pulled into the strip mall parking lot and stopped, waiting for the valet driver (yes, in a strip mall). A woman got out, decked out in a long fur coat. I looked her up and down, admiring her outrageous outfit. I was so busy looking at her that I didn’t see who was stepping out of the driver’s seat.

“That’s George Clooney,” Russ said matter-of-factly in the tone of voice that told me he wasn’t kidding. I looked over just in time to see George Clooney flash a sexy smile at the valet driver, toss him his keys and walk the young woman into the sushi restaurant next to us. I looked back at Mr. W and A. And we instantly became the people we were mocking, starstruck and ridiculous.

“Holy shit, that was George Clooney!” I kept saying, and we’d laugh. Not only did we see a celebrity, we saw the celebrity. I know people who don’t own TVs and all of them would recognize Clooney. It was as if the Universe was purposely bitch slapping us for thinking such a thing would never happen.

After dinner we headed to Howl at the Moon Piano Bar at Citywalk, where Mr. W and I had gone last year discovered the drinks were three for one, which made for a terrible Monday but also a great time. This year the special was still on and we took full advantage. The bar was crowded, so I couldn’t see much of the stage where the piano players were rocking out.

“That singer looks kind of like Zooey Deschanel or Katy Perry,” A said. Mr. W and I looked at each other, then tried to see the stage.

Last year, our waitress was the young Katy Perry look-alike. Mr. W and I had gotten chatty with her as a result of all our drinks. That night she ended up taking the stage and belted out “California Girls.” She said it was her first time up and it hadn’t been rehearsed, and that she really hoped to do more of it. One year later she was the star of the show, playing the piano and belting out song requests like she’d been doing it all her life. She sounded amazing and looked like she was having a blast.

And it really made me think. Who in the hell are we not to follow our dreams? No matter what they are, we should be. I started watching a soap opera when I was 11 years old because my life sucked and I wanted an escape. And it led to me getting the privilege of meeting them and interviewing them. I mean, really, who gets to do that? And what could I accomplish if I got out of my own way and really tried? I don’t want to be a piano bar singer but maybe I could run a 5K or something.

The first year I went to LA, I wound up getting dressed up like a Barbie doll by a gay boutique owner. The next year, the most unfortunate looking gentleman I’ve ever seen accosted me during Day of Days, absolutely insisting that I had to be on the show (because I’d come from the press room) and forcing his resume upon me. His resume was one giant run-on sentence in all caps about how he was going to “make it big” as an actor. I swore I couldn’t get him an acting job, but he didn’t believe me. This year, George Clooney got out of a Lexus in a strip mall and ate sushi 100 yards away from me.

Just when I think LA can’t top itself… it does. Every time.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How NOT to get attention from a female: a cautionary tale

I don’t know if it just seemed extra-awful because I’m spoiled by the amazing men I surround myself with or if I just haven’t been out in awhile, but recently I was exposed to the most pathetic male I have spoken to in years. And it made me realize… for as much time as men in their 20’s spend trying to get sexual attention from females, you’d think they would actually put some effort into learning what works. And I’m not talking about taking seminars from sleazeballs or buying a bunch of drinks and hoping. I’m talking about acting like a decent human being.

The fateful meeting occurred at a nightclub in Portland called Dirty. Despite the unfortunate name, it’s actually a pretty nice place. I was there celebrating a new start in life with two of my dearest friends, my sister wife and my ray of sunshine G. One of them asked their awesomely generous guy friend if he would cover the cost of our VIP table so we could have a place to sit when our heels started to hurt. He said yes. He did so out of the kindness of his heart with no expectations, which automatically makes him cooler than 99% of people in general. But I digress.

So there we were, three chicks all dressed up and looking our best (thanks to G, the stylist), sipping champagne and dancing while our resident male sat in his seat with a smile and cocktail. G mentioned that she had invited one of her friends out and she was going to stop by. The friend arrived shortly thereafter, but she wasn’t alone. The girl is engaged, but she brought her fiance’s best friend with her. I hope I just misunderstood, but apparently that’s the only way the girl was “allowed” to go out… if she had the guy with her. Yikes.

 So the guy sat down, looked all three of us up and down and immediately settled in on my sister wife. He bombarded her with questions while staring at her chest, all while doing that creepy half-smile half-smirk that for some reason that gender think is irresistible. In fact, it looks like they’re about to sneeze.

My sister wife is an instructor at a pole dancing school. Our VIP booth conveniently contained a dancing pole. One of her favorite songs came on as her champagne kicked in and she jumped up to perform one of her many acrobatic routines. Of course, the guy’s jaw dropped open and was rendered still by the unforeseen amazing thing that was happening right in front of him. He looked really douchey just staring at her open-mouthed and it started to get awkward… for me. I felt a little bad for him.

Trying to help him look like less of a weirdo, I leaned in and smiled. “She’s pretty amazing, isn’t she?” I asked.

Swear to God, he looked me in the eye, grinned, and said, “How do I get in her pants?” He then reached his hand up to smack her butt, but stopped when he saw the look in my eyes.

Holding back laughter, I debated on what to say. I didn’t want to come across as what the men folk call a “cock block” and I certainly didn’t want him to assume I was jealous because he wasn’t focusing on me. But I knew my sister wife would kill me if I encouraged him in any way, and rightfully so.

“Um, I think she’s actually pretty satisfied in that department,” I said, trying my hardest not to laugh in his face. “But I’m sure she’s having fun talking to you.”

The guy scoffed. No, really, He actually scoffed. Then he said the words that every single douche bag I’ve ever met in my life has said at one point:

“She hasn’t met me. I’m not like all these other guys. I’m a nice guy.”

Oh, brother. I bet you have lots of money, too.

The general truth is: if a man has to say it, or brag about it, it simply isn’t so.

I didn’t know what to say. So I turned to our resident man friend and said, “This guy is a total tool.”

Sure enough, when my sister wife ended her performance and returned to her seat, the guy went right back to it. This time I decided to listen in for fun. He went on and on about his big house in Beaverton and all the fun things he had there.

“So if you ladies want to come back and drink there later, that would be cool,” he said, nodding in my direction.

Once again, I tried not to laugh. “Why do you live all alone in a big house?” I asked, feigning interest.

“I’m remodeling it as a favor to a relative, so I get to stay there.” He began to tell me about his remodeling projects, but I was already bored. I wandered away and went back to the champagne and the good company. The douche asked my sister wife for her number. She said he was seeing someone. He said that didn’t mean they couldn’t go on a date and get to know each other. She declined.

When it finally became clear that Mr. Nice Guy simply wasn’t going to get anywhere with anyone, he stood up, did what appeared to be some jerky dance moves with the same smirk on his face, nodded his head to the music, and disappeared with his friend’s fiancée at last.

When they disappeared from our sight, G let out a huge sigh of relief.

“I don’t know if you all noticed,” she said, “but that guy was a total tool.”

I’ll be the first to admit that as a married woman I’m out of the game when it comes to getting picked up. I probably couldn’t advise a man on how to actually get laid. But I can certainly explain how not to:

  1. Immediately tell her you’re a nice guy, and somehow “different” from all the others.
  2. Brag about your lifestyle and how much money you have. Put a douchey twist on everything… not “I’m living rent-free so I can fix up Grandma’s house for her” (which is actually very sweet), but “I have this huge crib stocked with tons of booze and I’m making it even more awesome as a favor to someone in my family far less fortunate than me” (douche). As a double bonus, spend a long time bragging about your money and then make her pay for her own drink.
  3. Ask her friend how to get in her pants.
  4. Immediately- when you’ve known her for no more than five minutes- invite her back to your place when the bar closes to “kick it.”
  5. Be insistent when she refuses your number. I mean, why wouldn’t she want to spend more time with you?
  6. Dance with a constant fist pump.
  7. Smirk.

Do all of those things and throw in a few words like “sick” and “tight” and you’ll never have to worry about things like STDs… or first dates.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Losses and gains

If you would have asked me at the age of 10 what I wanted most in the world, I wouldn’t have said a trip to Disneyland, every toy ever made or every book ever written. I would have told you I wanted a dog. There was a long period where there were no animals at my house. I wanted a pet because pets always loved you, no matter what.

Finally, when I was a junior in high school, my dad decided he’d gone too long without a hunting dog. He picked out a female chocolate lab puppy from a young litter. While waiting for the day when we could bring her home, we talked about what we’d name her. Every time a name was spoken, I’d shake my head. It didn’t sound right.

“Abigail,” I finally said. “Her name is Abby.” My mom, dad and brother unanimously agreed. It just sounded right. And the first time that small squirming bundle was placed in my arms, I knew that’s exactly what we should call her.

I had never dealt with a puppy in the house before. I was told the crying at night was normal and I should ignore it. I couldn’t. It broke my heart that little Abby was all alone in her bed, crying for her mommy. I finally dragged my comforter and a pillow out to the family room and slept on the floor next to her. When she woke up crying, I’d roll over and place a hand on her. She would stop right away. I did this every night for about a week until she figured out that she was safe and she had no reason to cry.

Abby took feisty to a whole new level. She tested every boundary my parents set, even being labeled as stubborn by her trainer. Her energy was endless. If someone came to the house, she’d rush out to the backyard and jump straight into the air repeatedly out of sheer joy. For this reason, some family friends called her The Kangaroo Dog.

Abby did calm down eventually, turning into a very sweet dog who loved to be petted and cuddled. Her stubborn streak remained, however. No one was ever going to tell her it wasn’t OK to beg for food. If you were eating at my parents’ kitchen table, you could expect to feel the nudge of her nose and hear the whack of her tail against the chairs until you caved and gave her a bite of whatever it was you were eating.

I know dogs don’t live forever. I tried to start bracing myself for the heartbreak after her tenth birthday. For the last year, every single time I’ve left my parents’ house I’ve given Abby a hug, looked into those beautiful brown eyes and told her how much I love her, no matter what. She’d lick my hand and lean into me. I wouldn’t leave until I could find my Abby and say goodbye. Still, I couldn’t imagine the thought of losing her.

Last Friday morning, on October 14, we did lose our Abby. She lived almost 13 years and thanks to my parents’ excellent care, they were happy and healthy years. I know that’s all we can ask for when we get a pet—or for anyone in our lives, for that matter. We want them to live long, happy and healthy lives. And even though she did, I’m still going to miss her terribly.

 Abby was the first pet I watched go from birth to death. It had a profound effect on me. And that’s why I allowed myself to go into the bathroom at work, remember how Abby used to greet me so happily when I got home from school, and cry like a baby. Then I wiped away the tears and told myself that she is safe and I have no reason to cry. I will always miss her but I’m grateful for the years we had and grateful my parents took such good care of her.

I headed straight for Portland  after work to visit two of my closest friends. I warned them to expect some possible emotional outbursts over the loss of my Abby. I didn’t cry during the three hour drive, but I did wonder what was awaiting me. The friends I was visiting have been through hell over the last year and it wasn’t quite over for one of them. I hoped that I would find her in a better place.

I walked into my friend’s house and immediately noticed the energy felt different. The place was cleaner than normal, candles were lit and upbeat music was playing. She rushed out from her bedroom and gave me the hug I’d been needing all day. She was smiling and energetic and looked so much more alive than I’d seen her in a long time.

I unpacked the car and freshened up and we headed to a late night happy hour. Over the wine and food she insisted on paying for, we caught up… and I mean we really caught up. I suddenly realized my friend was back, and it was only then that I realized how much she’d been gone.

 I spent the last year and a half watching an illness slowly take my friend from me. And not just any friend. This was the friend who always succeeded at whatever she tried, who had endless energy, who had goals and dreams and was more responsible than most women twice her age. And it was because I held her in such high regard that I underestimated the illness that was keeping her down. I knew she was strong enough to beat it, but I didn’t realize how much of her it would take before she did. But I knew she would get through it and I would love her, no matter what.

I’m sure she got tired of me saying, “You’re back.” But she is. My beautiful, funny, smart friend is better than ever. That weekend was exactly like the kind of weekend we used to have a few years ago. We did hot yoga, we watched movies, we went out and partied until the wee hours, and we talked… really talked, more than we have in a long time. I didn’t cry on the way to Portland, but I cried on the way home. I cried because I didn’t want to leave so soon after I’d gotten there and found my old friend just the way she used to be, only stronger and wiser. Losing Abby was as hard as I imagined it would be, but having my friend back healed my heart.

But now that she’s back, I’m not going to let her leave me again. She changed so slowly that I didn’t even notice. But I notice now, and she’s not going anywhere. The next time I visit will probably be even better than the last because I know that only good things are in store for her now. She’s back, she’s safe and I have no reason to cry.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

$#@!. I care about fashion.

Excuse my month-long hiatus from blogging, but I was enjoying the glorious Indian summer. Summer came late to Seattle this year, but by God, it delivered. We had so many gorgeous, sunny 82 degree days in September that we’ve almost duped ourselves into thinking it will be a tame winter.

Naturally Mr. W and I spent ample amounts of time soaking up our Vitamin D while we could. Idaho summers were so hot, I’d spent most days hibernating. But 75-80 degrees is perfect. I spent more time in the sun this summer than I have in the last decade. I should probably get checked for melanoma, actually.

Labor Day was no exception, beautiful without a cloud in the blue sky. I found myself with the day off and nothing to do but relax. Alki was packed, but I didn’t mind. I grabbed my sunglasses and a blanket, treated myself to a frozen yogurt and read my Glamour magazine on a bench overlooking the beautiful water. Thirty minutes later, I realized I was only on page 74. Normally in half an hour I’ve blasted through most of the 260 page magazine, stopping only to read the articles that interest me. What was slowing me down?

It hit me like a giant slap across the face. I’d been reading everything and not just skimming over certain pages. Including the style section, something I normally barely glance at. I studied the fashion pages, taking the information in like I was going to be quizzed on it.

“Shit!” I said out loud, sitting up straight. “I care about fashion. Shit.

Despite having a best friend who has been in the industry for 11 years and is literally obsessed with all things fashion, I have spent just as long trying not to get involved. Sure, I’d like to think I have a little bit of style. I get my share of compliments and can usually assemble an outfit that doesn’t look ridiculous.

But I’ve never read up on anything. I’ve never tried to learn what anything is called, and I’ve certainly never bought something solely because it was “in style.” My shopping process going something like: 1. It’s cute! 2. It fits! 3. I can afford it! Step three is sometimes optional. Ladies, you understand.

But now, damn it, all of a sudden I have to admit that I give a shit. I know the difference between a shift dress and a slip dress and I know the definition of surplice. I know what color blocking is. Thanks to You Tube, I actually know how to tie a scarf a few different ways and I have worn them with actual outfits. This is a huge deal.

It’s partially due to my job. Since I mainly write about women’s apparel, I write about women’s clothing, shoes, handbags and exercise apparel pretty often. And in the process, I’m learning things. And I actually like it.

It’s also who I surround myself with. I used to visit Sydney once every few months. Now I see her several times a month, and her passion is so contagious I can’t help but get excited about things that excite her. I’ve gone to some fashion events with her and loved every minute of them. I’ve discovered some of her followers on Twitter with fashion blogs, like this absolutely adorableprecious girl whose blog I just adore. Her excitement is contagious, too.

Last but not least, I finally “get it.” Fashion is an industry that can seem very superficial. I always felt like learning about it would be a waste of time. But it’s not. It’s so much more than luxury labels and designers. When it’s done right, it’s an art form. And having a beautiful style that’s all your own takes skill and a trained eye. It’s the perfect way to express yourself. And for the first time in my life (ironically when I have less money for shopping than I ever have), it’s a skill I’m willing and eager to learn… to a point.

I’m not going to go crazy. I’ll never be over the top trendy. I’m holding true to my refusal to wear leggings as pants, though just the other day I found myself wishing I had some for under my dresses (which means they’re about to go out of style—I always, without fail, cave in and buy something right before it’s no longer in). I still think half the models that strut down the runway look ridiculous. And I’ll gouge out my eyes before I ever give a crap about keeping up with a Kardashian. I’m still me. I’ve just realized that I should stop fighting the urge to care about something and let myself enjoy it.

I think the best part about it is seeing things through new eyes. There was a women photographed on the street in that issue of Glamour (not any of these photos), and a few months ago I would’ve thought she looked a little ridiculous. But I was able to see how she tied all her colors together and the look she was going for. I saw the beauty in it, even if it wasn’t my personal taste. And that’s amazing.

Then there are the crazy tips and tricks I’m learning. For example, did you know nude pumps elongate your legs? Probably, seemingly everyone did except me. Now when I see a woman wearing nude pumps, I notice it. And now I want to get my hands on a pair and do some justice to my short, stubby gams.

Seattle is constantly making “worst-dressed cities” lists because of our large collection of hipsters who wear too much plaid (which, by the way, IS back in style this year) and don’t pull up their pants. If only people would get off Capitol Hill for a minute, they’d see people actually dress very well here. And it took less than a year for me to get bitten by the bug myself. I care about fashion. Shit.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Read labels: a cautionary tale

The other day I stumbled across an article saying that research shows half of all Americans will be obese by 2030. 65 million more Americans will likely become obese within the next 20 years.

I want to be confused, because it seems like we know more about how not to become obese than ever. But I’m not confused. I know what it is. With as much good information that’s available, there’s 100 times as much effort from companies to dupe you into thinking that what they’re selling is healthy.

 As Americans, we’re a gullible bunch. We fall for every advertising gimmick. We eat the fake fat even if it does cause severe gastrointestinal distress and cancer. We take diet pills even though we know they’re no good and no substitute for just eating a damn salad and getting on the treadmill. We jump on every fad eating plan thinking it’s “the one” that will make us magically skinny.

Worst of all, the biggest offender that I believe is the number one problem today: we don’t read labels. We pick up boxes of cereal, yogurt or crackers that are labeled “healthy” and we stick them in our carts and we eat them thinking we’re doing our bodies a favor. Never mind that the cereal might be crammed with high fructose corn syrup, the yogurt has aspartame which is bad enough for support groups and the crackers have more chemicals in them than a nuclear plant. But it’s low fat and sugar-free! Woo hoo!

I’m not writing this to announce that I am superior to all Americans because I happen to educate myself on nutrition and eat my fruits and veggies. I am writing to tell you that I am a victim too. Still, even though I get my SELF magazine and read every study I can and pay attention, those bastards dupe me now and then.

 I’ve known it’s important to read labels since 2008 when I was horrified to learn my favorite cereal of all time, Raisin Bran Crunch, was packed with high fructose corn syrup and modified ingredients. I quit eating it, made NO other changes to my diet and lost five pounds in just over a week (which never happens even when I’m trying to lose weight). The corn syrup was keeping me fat and tired. I’ve been a diligent reader of labels ever since. But last week, I got tricked at the worst possible time.

I set aside one week every couple of months for what I refer to as “clean eating / no crap” week. It’s not some kind of liquid diet nonsense or anything gimmicky. I just eliminate alcohol, added sugar and sweets, starchy carbs, dairy and meat and try to get to a steam room or hot yoga class, all while drinking tons of water. It’s just a week, but it’s tough, especially now that we live in Seattle which pretty much has the best food ever. But I stick to it, because I always feel great afterward and ready to bring the wine and chocolate back into my life.

Last week was that week for me. And it was tough, but I stuck to it, even when my co-workers offered me cupcakes and Starbucks runs and cheesecake brownies (I’m still mourning passing that one up). No, instead I stuck to my steel cut oats and salad and quinoa like a champ.

 By Thursday afternoon, I was feeling great, but also very hungry. My simple salad lunch of mixed greens, an apple and almonds with no dressing simply did not tide me over. I get grumpy when I’m hungry (understatement of the year). By 6 PM, knowing that dinner was two hours away, I knew I needed a snack before I headed home or I’d surely stab someone on the bus. So I headed downstairs to our vending machine / little mini mart type thing. In addition to chips and cookies, there’s a decent selection of healthier snacks as well.

Nestled in with the Cliff Bars and Luna bars, there was a little green baggie marked as “Yogurt Apple Nut Mix.” Peanuts, almonds, little chunks of apples. Yummy! It was next to all the healthy stuff, and it was in a green bag! Green for health! Maybe I was weak from starvation or just in too much of a rush to catch the bus, but I grabbed the bag, glanced at the calories on the back (220! No problem!), paid for it and left. I ripped open the bag as soon as I got on the bus and shoveled a handful of the mixture into my mouth. It was delicious… in all the wrong ways. It was the kind of “good” food companies have tricked all our tastebuds into thinking was good. The peanuts were coated in sugar and the apples were more preserved than Joan Rivers’ face. Everything was covered in “partially hydrogenated” bullshit.

I knew before I even read the label that I’d been tricked. I couldn’t pronounce half the crap that was on it. It was literally everything I’d spent the better part of the week ridding my body of and most of everything I try to never, ever eat. I was so pissed. I should’ve just had the pita chips… or better yet, the cheesecake brownie. Instead I had all the junk of the brownie with none of the fun.

I don’t think most obese people in this country purposely stuff themselves full of garbage until they weigh 400 pounds and then wonder what happened. I think a lot of people simply don’t know how bad some of these chemicals are and that they really will keep you fat and do more damage than any calorie will. I think most people THINK they are making healthy choices. And it’s not entirely their faults. It’s hard to stay on top of the information and almost impossible to avoid these additives that are in everything.

If you don’t do anything else for your health, ever, read up on things like trans fats, corn syrup and all those freakish things on labels you can’t pronounce. Don’t be an idiot like me and get duped. These companies will never stop trying to trick you. And you’ll be surprised how much better you look and feel simply by cutting back on or eliminating chemicals you can’t pronounce. They’ll never give it up, so fight back. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

If I had a hall pass...

I consider myself a somewhat cultured person. I enjoy musicals, even symphonies on occasion, and I’ve read plenty of the classics. Yet I love to watch mindless comedies. So the other night when Mr. W came home from work with Hall Pass, I was onboard.

Hall Pass is that movie where Pam from The Office and Christina Applegate give their husbands one week off from marriage after some really douchey behavior on both their parts. A week off, meaning they’re allowed to do whatever they want including sleep with other women. Of course, if you were married to Jenna Fisher or Christina Applegate you would be thanking God every day, not secretly wondering if the grass was greener elsewhere. But not these morons. Of course, shenanigans happened and hilarity ensued. Admittedly, it was a pretty funny and we’ve found ourselves quoting it all week.

“Part of me wants to be offended at the way men were portrayed in that film,” I said to Mr. W as the credits rolled. “But I can’t be because the majority of you are really like that. I love you guys. Some of my favorite people in the world are men. But you do act that way, you do think of women that way and the majority of you think you’re much better looking than you really are. I know enough of you to know all this.”

“I know, too,” he agreed. “Why do you think I don’t want to be friends with these people?”

Then, of course, he had to ask… “What would you do if you had a hall pass? Would you go out and hit on a bunch of guys?”

“God, no!” I said, genuinely appalled. “That sounds awful and is literally the last thing I would want to do.”

I won't lie, it’s (sometimes) quite flattering when I do get male attention. The sweet teenage boy that gave me a free blended coffee, the random older man at the bus stop that told me I was beautiful, the employee on the ferry to Vashon Island that told me I was “probably the hottest thing to ever set foot in Idaho…” these people all made my day and earned themselves a special place in heaven. Also, these instances happened months apart, I am not some kind of Goddess Badass.

But in reality, those occasional instances and the attention I receive at home from the man I love are more than enough validation that I’ve Still Got It. The thought of cramming myself into something tight that requires giving up food all day, spending hours getting ready and drinking a $15 Cosmo just so I can talk to a douche in a popped collar sounds like absolute torture. And God forbid it should go any further. I don’t touch anything in public restrooms and won’t even use the same bath towel twice. I can’t imagine how I’d be hooking up with a stranger. I’d probably ask if he uses a tongue scraper and if he’s up to date on his shots, to say the least. It would not be fun or enjoyable. It's just not my thing.

No. I’d take that hall pass, all right, but I wouldn’t do any of the things they dreamed of doing in the movie (except maybe the brownies, those looked tasty, but that's another post). If I was given one week off from marriage to do whatever I pleased, it would not be pretty.

First, I wouldn’t shave anything for at least five days. I would sleep in the most unflattering pajamas and sweats known to man. I would also instantly revert to my college days of spending approximately 16 hours a day online browsing blogs while eating cereal. I would watch a continuous Golden Girls marathon, the one chick show that for some unknown reason no straight man ever likes.

I would eat like crazy. I do that now with my husband right next to me. But I would try all the recipes with foods he doesn’t like, like zucchini and eggplant and weird random vegan things I’ve always wanted to make… combined, of course, with things like chili cheese nachos. There’s a scene in the movie where the guys pig out at Applebee’s with a ton of food and several bottles of wine. I would totally do that, except at a tapas place instead of Applebee’s and with lots of dessert, too.

And if at the end of this week off I still miraculously fit into my nice clothes, I suppose I would shower and shave and pull myself together and go out… but not with the intention of picking up a man. It would be with my girlfriends, in a roped off man-free VIP section of a place where the music was at a volume where we could converse without too much trouble and perfectly danceable if we so desired. The evening would end with a ride home in a limo followed by a full day at the spa to cure the hangover that would result from all the champagne. Apparently on my week off I would have plenty of cash, too.

When asked about his hall pass, Mr. W said he would camp out on the couch, unshaven, and watch all the scary, violent movies I never want to see and eat lots of things with mushrooms on them.

In other words, our marriage is all that keeps either of us from turning into disgusting lazy leeches on society. It’s probably a good thing we found each other.

The best part is that it was actually tough to imagine myself with a “hall pass” because I have the kind of relationship where I don’t feel restricted. If I want to wear my pajamas for 48 straight hours, have cupcakes and wine for dinner or take off on a girls’ trip to Mexico or Vegas, that’s OK with him. And when I picked him up at the airport after his weekend of drinking in Montana and he immediately barfed down the side of my car, that was OK with me (he cleaned it, anyway). I don’t know any grass anywhere that is greener than that. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dexter in Seattle: a series of unfortunate events

I knew this whole "life change" thing would be difficult. I knew we'd
face challenges and have some bumps in the road. What I didn't expect
was that my dog would face more disasters than anyone in the family.
Since we left Idaho in March, a dark cloud of "fail" has hung over the
dog and it seems to get worse by the week.

It shouldn't be surprising, really. Dexter has been a pain in our
asses since the moment he came into our lives and promptly relieved
himself on Mr. W's new pool table. Between the separation anxiety,
being born with one undescended testicle which makes neutering a bitch and not ever being properly trained (we were too young to be responsible for a dog and we know that NOW THAT IT'S TOO LATE), he has single-handedly caused more monetary and emotional damage in our lives than one pet ever should. He finally calmed down around the age of, oh, seven, and we had a nice
drama-free year. Then we decided to move.

I expected some turmoil. The dog had never lived in an
apartment in his life and he wasn’t used to sharing a space with strangers. He's also very lazy and never really barked unless he thought strangers were invading us, so we assumed he'd do all right once he got over the initial excitement of seeing so many people. And at first, it almost seemed like everything would be ok. We had the luxury of being at home together with him for a few weeks getting him used to the new life. Once he got over the initial stage fright of relieving himself on a leash, he saw the world as his toilet and he delighted in squatting down in the middle of crosswalks and other inappropriate places. A week after we moved in, we left him alone to go to an event at an art gallery and miraculously, all was well. We thought we'd worried for nothing. And then he started to regress on catastrophic levels.

It started with tearing up the front door to our apartment. He would do it at random, foaming at the mouth so much that the carpet and walls would be soaked and parts of the door would be reduced to a giant splinter. Duct tape helped, but it was no match for his talons. We read our "Boxers for Dummies" book and tried all the suggestions to no avail. Sometimes we'd leave for work and he'd be an angel. Sometimes we'd come home to utter destruction. We finally figured out he'd have meltdowns when we deviated from our routine in any way. We refuse to be a prisoner to an 8-year-old diva boxer, so we are already saving up for the damage we'll have to pay for when we move out. Awesome.

Then the barking and eating off the counters started. Dexter used to bark only when the doorbell rang. We'd mess with him and get him all riled up, thinking it was funny. Now he barks repeatedly whenever we come home and it's just not funny anymore. It's a shrill, excited, happy "I thought you were going to
leave me" bark, but it's still loud and not apartment-appropriate.

And suddenly, no carbs are safe left out where the dog can reach them. During a recent visit, my parents brought bagels which we left on the counter in a spot that previously would've remained untouched. We came home to an empty bag and a very bloated dog. This has happened several more times and he has also picked up the habit of snooping through our guests' luggage like a deranged creeper. We are horrified but unsure how to proceed. I mean, he's almost nine. He knows the rules. He's just being an asshole.

Then, of course, there was the matter of his sudden extreme allergies. The entire first week of my new job, I was up practically all night listening to Dexter run from room to room, sneezing and hacking and scratching and acting miserable. It was
miserable for me, too. One morning and 3 am, I finally screamed out that the reason I do not yet have a baby is because I can't handle getting no sleep AND having a new job.

In an ill-timed effort to meet Dexter's nutritional needs, Mr. W had just switched his food to a senior formula that caused severe gastrointestinal issues. If I wasn't being woken up by sneezing, I was being woken up by loud dog farts. Mr. W said if we kept him on the same formula, we'd run out of "doggie bags" quickly. We switched him back to his old food and got him some Benadryl. That seemed, momentarily, to quiet the beast. So all we had to worry about was him destroying our apartment and eating our bread. And barking. Fantastic.

Even though he'd had a bath recently, Dexter had felt a little grimy for a couple of days. He was itchy again, so we assumed his allergies were back and perhaps he'd developed some kind of skin issue. Imagine my thoughts when I received a text from Mr. W yesterday afternoon that read, "Bad news. I found bugs on Dex." He claimed they weren't fleas or ticks, but I went straight to Google and was
informed that a flea infestation was the most logical explanation. I had Mr. W do the test (I will spare details for the squeamish). When he texted me back, "Shit. It's fleas," I lost my cool.

I spent all day and night scratching and obsessively checking myself, convinced they were all over me. Everything the dog has come into contact with has been bleached and he was given the bath of his life last night with proper flea killing products. It'll be an ongoing battle likely lasting several weeks. In an effort to quarantine the problem, Mr. W moved Dexter's bed from our bedroom floor to the living room last night. He petted him and lovingly explained that he'd have to sleep there for a few days. Then he closed our bedroom door. Big. Mistake. Dexter scratched, whined and cried for an hour until we finally gave up and opened the door. He promptly lay down on the floor, slept for maybe an hour, and got up and went back to his bed. He was sleeping in the living room when I woke up this morning. He just wanted to be in the bedroom because he wasn't allowed. He is an asshole.

Seattle hates my dog. He has been a magnet to disaster since his arrival. His combination of bad luck and appalling behavior make him practically intolerable. If he was a roommate, we'd have kicked him out. If this is the Universe somehow preparing me for a difficult child, mark my words, my tubes will be tied by week's end.

And yet, somehow, I still love the little jerk. I just feel a bit deprived of the years you’re supposed to have after your dog is no longer a puppy and he’s just a dog who behaves himself and loves you and doesn’t destroy your property or get fleas. I expected the dog to hate the city. I didn’t expect the city to hate the dog.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The best years of your life

Recently I was helping my bff at an event her company did the PR for (meaning we were “working” aka eating chocolate and drinking wine while making money because we are awesome) and she mentioned that she’d watched Oprah interview Shania Twain that week. Shania recently started talking publicly about finding out in 2008 that her husband was having an affair with one of her best friends… pretty much a worst nightmare situation.

“She just got remarried and she’s happy,” Sydney said. “And she said that she’s made peace with the situation. But she did say the only thing she was ever really bitter about was the fact that she spent the best years of her life with that man.”

That really struck a chord with me. After all, I never intended to marry young, but I did. I met a guy I thought was the most gorgeous man on the planet at only 18 and after a long friendship when he finally asked me on a date, I couldn’t have been more eager to accept. Neither of us had any idea that it would become what it has, but it did. Despite my vow to remain single through college, I didn’t. And despite all the odds that were against us and the challenges that come from loving someone when you don’t know who you are yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Still. The best years of your life. That’s a lot to think about. I’m an optimist and believe the best is always yet to come. I’ve loved nearly everything about my twenties but I’m looking forward to my thirties and I can only hope I’ll feel that way about my forties at 39. Eventually, though, you’ll end up elderly (if you’re lucky) with not a whole lot to look forward to. It’s then that all you’ll have (again, if you’re lucky) is your memories. And if you live right, that will be enough and you’ll be grateful for them. But the thought of reaching that point and having sorrow and regrets is pretty terrifying.

One year ago, before the great road trip, I was almost smug about my marriage. I thought we’d survived all we possibly could and nothing would ever go wrong again because by God, we had this marriage thing down. One year later I stand humbled and with the knowledge that I will never think that again. You never know what life will throw at you and you never fully know what you can expect from even the person you know best in the world. People change. People do strange things. And being married gives you an all access pass to another person that no one else gets to see.

Six years ago today I walked down the aisle of a church on a hill and spoke my vows and meant every word with my whole heart. One year ago I did the same thing in a tiny little chapel in Vegas wearing a little white sparkly dress and a tiara. It was just the two of us but somehow it was just as special if not more so. Today I can honestly say I’d do it again. It’s entirely possible that my twenties have been the best years of my life. And I’ve spent them with a man who loves me unconditionally, supports me, challenges me, comforts me and always opens the jars.

I preach independence more than anyone. I tell other people to stay single in their twenties to fully get to know themselves. I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with being single at any age. Relationships, even the good ones, are tough and complicated at times.

But I think in the end you have to do what’s best for you. And looking back I see that spending the last decade with this man truly was the right decision for me. I think of all the goals I had for that decade and all the things I wanted to experience. I’ve gotten to experience all of them and be in a healthy relationship at the same time because I’m with someone who gets me. Even if things somehow don’t work out to forever like we plan (because I’ve learned to say you just never know) I will never allow myself to regret spending the best years of my life with him. After all, they’ve been the best years of my life mostly because of him.

They say an Aquarius woman is most loyal, ironically, when you give her freedom and space. I fit that profile perfectly. And I am so blessed to have met a man so young who not only understand me but respects me. He places me not on a leash, not in chains, not on a pedestal but right by his side and lets it be known that’s where I’m welcome to stay. And on this special day I’m so happy that it’s where I belong. Today I celebrate the best decision I’ve ever made along with the second best, moving to Seattle. I can’t wait to see what the next part of our adventure together holds but have no doubt they’ll be more of the best years of my life.

Maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed. Maybe they just need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with. And I have.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tolerance is a two-way street

This weekend Seattle is flying the rainbow flags high and taking to the streets for the annual Pride parade. This year’s celebrations are sure to be extra festive as it was announced on Friday evening that New York has legalized gay marriage. Anyone who knows me knows I am extremely passionate and opinionated on this issue. I am more confident debating it than any other issue you could throw at me and I am fairly certain I will shoot down any argument against equality you can think of with logic and facts. So rather than spend my time preaching to the choir or trying to change the minds of those that are set in their ways, my topic today may come as a surprise. Today, on some level, I find myself defending The Other Guy.

Tolerance is something the more liberal-minded in this country love to preach, but some get so involved in fighting for others’ rights that they forget that tolerance works both ways. Just like we ask those who disagree with us to at least respect our rights to have our views, we must show them the same respect or this whole equality thing just isn’t going to work.

On June 13, two gay men placed an order with a print shop in Kent for flyers to promote their gay bar, Diesel, which will open this summer on Capitol Hill in Seattle. The next day, they received an email from an employee canceling their order. She said the owners had decided they couldn’t print the flyers knowing they would be promoting a kind of lifestyle that goes against their morals. “Not that we’re against homosexuals in any way,” she specified. Right. Needless to say, gay-friendly Seattle went ape shit. The bar owners scrambled to find someone else to print their flyers. Angry columns and blog posts appeared. The ACLU got wind of the incident and offered to help the bar owners with a case against the print shop.

And to all that I say… we’re doing this wrong, people. This isn’t the way.

This is not a big corporation… if it was, I’d tell them to get over it and just print the flyers already. This is a small print shop owned by a conservative Christian family just trying to pay their bills. Granted, owning a business means sometimes having to do things you don’t necessarily agree with. But where do you draw the line? I immediately imagined what I would do if I owned a print shop and someone placed an order for flyers for a pro-life rally calling women murderers or something. I have nothing against people who believe in the things I’m against, but I honestly don’t think I could bring myself to print the propaganda and further their agenda. I just don’t see it happening. And shouldn’t that be my right, as a small business owner? I think it should.

I saw on the news that the owner swears it wasn’t necessarily about homosexuality itself but the somewhat suggestive flyer and the fact that his kids are in the print shop and would potentially see it. I saw the flyer and while there is absolutely nothing profane about it, well, it’s not exactly something you’d show at church, either. I’m sure as hell not going to teach my child that there’s anything wrong with being gay nor will I tolerate anyone else doing so, but I can’t in good faith say I’d show that flyer to a kid who may be just old enough to get the implied suggestions on the flyer, either. I’m no prude, but I get it.

This is quite the gray area because, as the director of Equal Rights Washington says, “We would not tolerate it if a business were being denied services because its customers are Jewish, African American or Latino. We should be equally vigilant when services are being denied to LBGT establishments.” Point taken. Discrimination is discrimination and we are fighting for equality here.

But again, where do you draw the line? I have no doubt that these print shop owners didn’t refuse to print the flyers just because the people placing the order were gay. I also have no doubt they’re good people just trying to earn an honest living who just had a moral conflict over both the content of the flyers and the lifestyle they promote which, to them, is wrong. I may not agree with them, but I don’t think making them out to be the devil is the right thing to do. 

I’ll be the first to say I truly don’t understand those who are against homosexuality. I won’t even get into the Bible thing (though I could) because this would become a ten trillion word post. Why people are so damn concerned with something that has no effect on them personally is beyond me. However, I know there will always be people who don’t support it. That’s just life and people have the right to form their own opinions.

By fighting to legalize gay marriage, aren’t we asking them to tolerate it even though they personally don’t think it’s right? We certainly are. We’re asking them to look beyond themselves and see the big picture, that everyone deserves equal rights even if they don’t fit the mold of who you’d choose to be yourself. I have to do that with Mormons every day, and I do. The owners of this print shop deserve that same respect. Yes, it’s a gray area. Yes, on some level it probably is discrimination. But it’s their right to feel the way they feel and print what they feel is appropriate for their business. Forcing them to do something they aren’t comfortable with or attacking them with a lawsuit defeats the entire purpose of freedom and makes us, the fighters who I believe are in the right, look bad.

Tolerance isn’t one sided. It goes both ways. Let’s remember that.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Not even once

In honor of Fathers' Day (and definitely not because I don't have time to blog this week) I've decided to re-post an essay I wrote for a writing contest in 2009. I didn't win, but I'm pretty proud of this piece anyway.

“I wish I could get drunk with my dad, just once,” I’ve caught myself saying to my friends and husband.  “Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he quit, but to see that side of him just once would be great.  I bet we’d have so much fun.”

I bet we would.  I’ve heard stories about my father in his younger days.  He was once having so much fun (and tequila) at a party that he didn’t want to leave when my mother, who was very pregnant with me, was ready to go to bed.  In defiance, he climbed a tree and hid from her.   My dad’s drinking stories are legendary.  The pictures in the photo albums from the late 70s show one crazy bastard who knew how to have a good time.  With his bright red hair, a permanent grin and the can of Rainier Beer in his hand, my father was always the life of the party.

Obviously, not all of the stories I heard are funny.  In recent years, my mother has told me that my father’s drinking caused big problems between them.  I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to see the love of your life so addicted to something that he put it before everything.  She always thought once they got married and had children, he’d settle down.  And he did- at least in part.  But after work every day, he’d come home and open a can of Rainer and drink until he went to bed.  He was a good father when my brother and I were little and I’m sure he was, for the most part, a good husband.  He just couldn’t quit drinking.

But then, suddenly, he did.  I was still a little girl when the cans of beer disappeared forever from the refrigerator.  I didn’t know why it happened, but one day daddy drank and the next he didn’t.  There was no cutting back or twelve steps.  He just stopped.   I was proud of him. I understood even then that too much alcohol was bad. 

The mind of a child is a funny thing.  I remember parts of our fishing trip on Labor Day weekend in 1991 and how it went from fun to serious.  One minute we were packing up our things and bringing the boat in, the next we were speeding to our hometown hospital, dead silent except for the sound of my four year old brother gasping for air and crying in pain.  Even as a nine year old, I knew he must be very sick because he didn’t drink his milkshake we got him at the gas station.  We always looked forward to those post-fishing milkshakes.

Hours later, my brother was in the ER with a serious case of pneumonia.  For children with asthma, pneumonia can be deadly.  It nearly was.  I didn’t realize at the time how serious it was, but my baby brother was very sick.  And for several days, he wasn’t getting better.

It was nearly thirteen years later when his own father lay dying in a hospital bed that my dad told my mother what had really happened that weekend.  He’d gone home from the hospital, worried and scared, and all he’d been able to think about was having a beer.  He opened that can of Rainer, drank it, and realized how pathetic it was that his focus was on alcohol at such a critical time.  For the majority of his life, alcohol had been there for him in times of celebration, despair, and everything in between.  On that day, he realized he had others there for him who were more important- he had a family who needed him.  That night, sitting alone in the house with his empty beer can, my father promised God that if my brother got better, he would never let alcohol touch his lips again.

My brother got better almost instantly.  Today, he’s a 22 year old baseball player and over six feet of solid muscle.  My dad kept his promise.  He hasn’t had a drop of alcohol since that night.  As he told me, when you make a promise to God, you’d better not go back on it.  Where many have failed, he succeeded.  We’ll never know for sure whether my father’s promise saved my brother, but on that day, my father saved our family.

I don’t know why my he chose that time to tell my mother about his promise or why she shared it with me.  My grandfather’s death was the hardest thing we’d ever gone through as a family and emotions were high.  I was surprised and touched to learn the reason behind my father’s sobriety.  When it comes to religion, my dad and I are a lot alike- believers to the core, but very private about our faith.  We don’t feel the need to shout it from the mountain tops or sing loudly in church.  Our faith is personal, but it’s strong.

I inherited many things from my father- his blue eyes, his fiery temper and his sweet tooth.  By the grace of God, I didn’t inherit his addiction.  I enjoy drinking socially with friends, but my subsequent hangover always deters me from alcohol for weeks at a time.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to be so dependent on something every day and then have to stop using it completely.  The withdrawal must have been hell, but he never complained.

There are many things I’ll never do.  I’ll never skydive, I’ll never ride a motorcycle and I’ll never get drunk with my dad- not even once.  My dad was there for my graduation, every father’s weekend in college, and danced with me at my wedding- all sober.  He has given his family the greatest gift he could, and if you ask him, he’ll tell you it has been worth it.  To me, that’s worth not having a beer with the crazy redhead from those pictures of the past.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My life in Choose Your Own Adventure format

Do you ever feel like your life is one big Choose-Your-Own Adventure book? You know, those little books we all read in grade school that allowed us to make choices in our stories. That’s kind of how I felt about my day on Thursday. Of course, with those books, I usually ended up in a situation that led to a violent death. Fortunately that didn’t happen. It went something like this:

7:15 AM. Your cell phone alarm goes off and boy, is it annoying. Why did you choose that ringtone to wake you, you sadist? You have two choices:

A.    Wake up, as planned, and immediately do the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred, thus beginning your day with an energizing workout and using your time productively.

B.  Shut the alarm off and snooze for another 40 minutes before you absolutely must shower.

You chose B. Way to go, asshole. Now you have to workout after work when you’re tired and you’ve wasted time already.

You shower, get dressed, eat a healthy breakfast and decide to curl your hair. Midway through the curls, your husband informs you he must leave for work 45 minutes ahead of his normal departure because an expensive and important delivery must be made .He is normally your ride. You have two choices:

A.    Ride with him and dodge the “what happened to your hair?” questions all day

B.     Catch the bus that stops mere feet from your front door and allow yourself another 30 minutes to finish.

You chose B. You kiss your husband goodbye and return to the task of curling your hair. By the time you finish, you see you have exactly five minutes until the bus arrives. Noting how fickle the buses in the city are and recalling that time you tried to go to the Vashon Island ferry terminal and went to Capitol Hill, you set down the curling iron and haul ass to your shoes. Smiling and happy, you grab your purse and keys, sticking your hand in your wallet to count out bus fare……

You realize you have exactly $1.00 in cash. The bus ride costs $2.25. They do not accept debit cards, credit cards or pleas for mercy. You scrounge around the apartment for change only to realize that your husband has taken every single cent for his parking fees. You call your husband and prepare to curse him out as if he’s to blame. Your husband is apologetic and you realize this is the result of your stupidity, not his. You check the schedule for the water taxi, which does accept cards, only to realize that the last ferry departed at 9:15 and wouldn’t return until 11 AM. The time is now 9:25 and you must be at work at 10. You have two choices:

  1. Walk the two blocks to the ATM outside Starbucks on Alki, pay Chase bank’s ridiculous fees, get $20 in cash, buy a coffee, and use the change for bus fare.

  1. Give up, lie down, cry, rip freshly-curled hair out, likely lose job.

You chose A. Great! You haul ass to the ATM, cutting off a couple who is surprisingly cheerful about your rudeness. You take your cash, turn around, and notice that it is an absolutely gorgeous day at Alki Beach. You have two choices:

  1. Continue on this crazy frantic attempt to get to work, or

  1. Take the one sick day you’ve earned so far, you pathetic newbie, and spend the day at the beach.

You chose A. Good call, your Seattle rent is almost as much as your mortgage on your big house was and you need to pay it. You head into the local coffee shop next to Starbucks (no lines) and order the smallest Americano they have. You spill coffee all over yourself as you’re adding cream and remind yourself to slow down. As you head to the bus stop, you hear the unmistakable sound of a bus behind you. Your bus isn’t due for ten minutes, but the buses here suck so much, it’s entirely possible that you’re about to miss yours. You have two choices:

  1. Run like mad, trying not to spill your coffee

  1. Relax! This is likely not your bus.

You chose A. You run until you’ve reached the bus stop, turn, and discover it was only a school bus and now thirty little brats are laughing at you. And now you’re sweaty and your curls have already started to fall. You sigh, Google the number of your company, get a frustrating menu and end up calling customer service to try and reach your boss. “No really,” you tell the rep. “I work there!” At last, you’re given the cell phone number of your boss and you leave a message saying you’ll be 20 minutes late. On your fourth week. You’re an idiot.
You finally board the bus, take a seat, and have a somewhat pleasant ride to work. You have put entirely too much sugar in your coffee. You recall you’re supposed to be eating clean this week and you’ve just fucked that all up with the sugar. You look around for a garbage can and see none. You give up and drink it all.
You arrive at work at 10:25 and realize that no one who has any authority over you even noticed your tardiness. You recall your voicemail to your boss and slap your face into your palm. You open your email and begin writing about Paris Hilton shoes. They are surprisingly fabulous. The coffee and sugar is like crack and you crank out the copy. Before you know it, your stomach is growling and it’s lunch time. You didn’t have time to make your usual salad but now you have $15 in cash. You open the Yelp app on your phone and see you have approximately 15 choices. You consider your diet and your budget and narrow it down to three:

  1. Pho
  2. Grand Central Bakery and their delicious soup and salad combo
  3. That cute little place you went with Cheryl that one time that uses organic everything and is overprices but so good

You chose C. Good choice! You can’t resist grand Central’s fattening quiche and that place by your house makes the world’s best pho, anyway. You head to the café and order a red lentil veggie burger with tomato relish. You have two choices:

  1. Cous cous salad
  2. Corn tortilla chips

You chose B. And you ate every chip. You’re an idiot who can’t even stick to clean eating for one week. Regardless, your burger is the best thing ever and you devour it happily. As you’re wrapping up your lunch, your brother calls to tell you he’s put dish soap in the dishwasher, there are bubbles everywhere and he can’t find the dogs. You suggest he Google how to fix his mess. You have to work! You head back to work and write about children’s headbands. Before you know it, it’s time to leave. You have two choices.

  1. The shitty, crowded, noisy bus and its unpredictability
  2. The beautiful, serene water taxi

You chose B. Now you’re getting it! You head home across the Puget Sound. Your husband collets you at the ferry landing and you head for home. You have two choices:

  1. Do the 30 Day Shred you blew off this morning
  2. Collapse on the couch before starting dinner

You chose A and you do every move except that final push up you can never quite complete. Better yet, dinner is a spinach salad with leftover wild caught salmon from your dad. Best of all, your husband agrees to catch up on Days on Hulu with you. Before long, it is past your bedtime and you brush your teeth and turn out the lights. Your husband gives you “that look.” You have two choices……

… let’s just say you made the smart one.

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