October 30, 2007
All the time.
I mean, I’ve always had stuff to do on the weekends because of sports growing up and then because of the sorority and all the completely necessary parties in college, so it’s not anything new.
But when I was in junior high and high school, none of the activities I was running around doing involved alcohol, so other than occasionally being sore from a hard workout or from swimming my ass off at a meet, there was no recovery time needed the next day. In college, if I was exhausted I would just skip my morning class to grab a few extra hours of sleep or just to enjoy the silence of an empty apartment.
Now, I can’t just skip work or sleep a few extra hours and roll into the office at 11. Weird, I KNOW. And now on my weekend adventures there is almost always alcohol involved, so one or more of the days is spent not feeling so great and cussing all the Coors Light I drank the night before.
And being busy while I was single is not even close to the busy I am now that I am part of a pair. Not only do I have MY stuff to do and MY friends to see, I also have HIS stuff to make room for on my calendar. I can probably count on one hand the number of weekends SK and I have spent alone in the almost 2 years we’ve been dating.
I am tired.
I can’t even remember the last time I didn’t feel tired, or sleepy, or groggy. I never wake up feeling completely rested and refreshed. Ever.
But instead of taking a night off, or even (gasp!) a whole weekend off, I continue to push myself and I keep making plans.
And before you start screaming at the computer screen or bashing your head repeatedly into the closest hard surface while saying out loud “THEN JUST QUIT FUCKING PLANNING SHIT!” let me tell you something;
I like it.
I love it, actually.
I love to plan. I love to be busy. I have always worked better under pressure—yes, I am a huge procrastinator—and I seem to focus better when I am going in a million directions all at once. I enjoy coordinating things and getting lots of people together at any kind of event. I make lists and spreadsheets and write down notes in my calendar. SK still gets amazed that I can recite all of our weekend plans in August when he asks me in March.
SK knew I was a planner right from the beginning, though. The first voicemail message I ever left him was a play-by-play of my LIFE. He was trying to ask me out on a date and I was busy every night but one for the approaching 2 weeks, so I told him about it. On his cell answering machine. Really. I was pretty embarrassed when I FINALLY hung up and realized I had given him an explanation of each of my next 14 days. He thought I was trying to be snobby and show him how popular I was. I was actually just really nervous and went to a place where I was safe—My Planning Place.
It started with that first message and it’s been going full force ever since. I am lucky that I found someone who puts up with the busy-ness. Someone who tolerates all the scheduling and list-making. Someone who can understand that while it is SO important that I know TODAY what we are doing for Easter NEXT YEAR, I could give a flip about how much money I currently have in my checking account, and love me for it all the same.
I love that SK and I are so busy that it feels like we never have time for a date. Because that’s not true at all. We always make time for a date night, or a stay at home and watch tv night, or a let’s ignore the dog’s I have to pee NOW! howls and sleep in a few more hours weekend morning. Being so busy and always having something to do, somewhere to go, and someone else around makes the time we are alone in our little apartment so much sweeter. We really appreciate each other in those quiet moments and I love that.
Almost as much as I love being busy.
I get antsy when I have nothing to do. I always say that a weekend of “nothing” would be divine, but I honestly think I would have a panic attack in my apartment and have to run hysterically to the Galleria and regroup in the food court just so I could be around people.
I don’t know where that comes from. I don’t want to explore that further here because this is probably something I need to go spend thousands of dollars on to figure out. And I don’t want to open THAT door.
Being busy means that I have lots of people who love me in my life, and who like for me to be around. Being busy means that I am lucky. I am so grateful for all of the friends I have made and for all of the friendships I have been able to keep strong throughout the years. To me, being busy means that SK and I have our priorities in order, and that we prove on a daily basis that our lives are not full without the ones we love in it.
So if you hear me bitching and moaning about how busy we always are and how tired I always am, just slap me. Hard. And then show me this blog. Because really, I have nothing to complain about. Sometimes I just need to be reminded of that.
October 26, 2007
October 24, 2007
The only show that I can’t watch is Everyday Italian, with Giada De Laurentiis . She is way too toothy and her jaw looks like it sometimes comes unhinged, which totally creeps me out. Really girl, shut your mouth.
I especially like the challenges. Once a month or so they do a whole show on some sort of challenge—best pie, craziest birthday cake, best bbq—and one show last year was about garlic. Apparently there is a garlic festival in Gilroy, CA each year and it’s a pretty big deal. SK and I were watching the show together and we were laughing hysterically—Garlic Festival?? Gross! I like garlic, but wow. These people were getting CRAZY with the garlic, too. Even putting it in ice cream and cakes. Barf.
Anyway, we were in California this summer and were driving south from San Francisco when we hit a wall of traffic. Seriously, we were NOT moving. We were trying to make it to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and I was getting really frustrated with the way the car was going nowhere. I think the words, “I seriously better be seeing a dead body somewhere on the road up here,” actually came out of my mouth. We were with our friend, Matt, and he suddenly goes, “oh day-umm! I know why there is so much traffic. It’s Garlic Fest!”
Um, excuse me? The same Garlic Fest I laughed at a year ago? Yep. That one.
To be honest, I didn’t even know where Gilroy was in California so it had never occurred to me that we might actually see it while we were making our north to south crawl through the state. And really? They do the garlic thing EVERY YEAR?
So we FINALLY get through the traffic and see that yes, it really IS because people are crazy about getting to the festival and diving head-first into a bowl of fried garlic cloves. After an hour of sitting outside the town and being so incredibly pissed off that I was missing the aquarium because of a bunch of garlic-crazed freaks, we blew by Gilroy. I loathe Gilroy.
SK’s sister is getting married this weekend. Yay DK! There is all kinds of family coming in for the big event, and SK’s Aunt Kerry and Uncle Art are going to be staying with us. Kerry and Art are awesome. We stayed with them while we were in California (after experiencing The Traffic From Hell outside of Gilroy. Ugh, Gilroy.) and they were so great.
It is important to mention here that we arrived at Kerry and Art’s on a Thursday. Kerry had just returned from the hospital after having a heart attack on Monday. And she still hung out and made us feel completely welcome and comfortable in her home. The woman is amazing.
Kerry and Art get here tonight, so SK and I have been cleaning like mad. We usually keep our apartment pretty tidy, but it wasn’t until I went in to clean the bathroom that I realized really how untidy our place was. I apologize to all of you who have ever used my bathroom for ANYTHING in the past few months. I solemnly swear that from this day forward my bathroom will be clean and completely un-gross. I attacked it with everything I had under the sink and left it smelling like bleach and being all shiny and wonderful.
SK did the bulk of the cleaning, as he always does, and I did the bathroom and kitchen. I bought some new candles that smell like vanilla and baked apple pie, so our apartment smelled good enough to eat. The floors were sparkly and the balconies were swept and all the laundry was even done. Nothing left to do but keep it clean last night. Clean for about 6 hours.
Um, about that…
What did I, brain-child that I am, decide to make for dinner last night? GARLIC SHRIMP. I know, I know...
The meal was fantastic, but now my super clean apartment smells like freaking GILROY and all I want to do is cry.
October 18, 2007
I would like to think that people are inherently good. That, unlike the world-view held by some, everyone on Earth is not out to screw you over. I think that people, given the choice between being malicious and wicked or kind and helpful, will choose kind and helpful. Generally. I say this because the people I know are nice people. They are friendly unless given a reason to behave otherwise, say, like if your name is Treasure. I mean, COME ON. Who can be nice to someone named Treasure?! I know. But overall, the people in my life are good-hearted individuals who will help a person in need, avoid suicidal squirrels that try to kill themselves under their cars, and who love dogs. Really—never trust someone who doesn’t love dogs. That is just weird. Apparently, though, I guess I don’t know enough people.
A woman hit my car last week, in the parking garage at my office. She left a card, which was nice, but I am starting to think the only reason she did was because it happened IN the parking garage and that this woman truly has no moral center and would have just left my poor car, scratches and all, if it hadn't been right outside our building.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
The resolution to the unprovoked attack on my car actually started out kind of marvelously AWESOME. My company has 2 reserved spots in the parking garage. My boss parks in one and the other was originally intended for me. I get to the office between 7:40 and 8 every morning, when there are lots and lots of open spots, so I usually just take one of those and let someone else from my office who arrives later have the reserved spot. The spots I park in are small, but then again so is my car, and so are most of the other cars in our parking garage. So on the day of said car attack I park for the morning, go out to lunch around 1, and then drive back into the parking garage. Someone had taken my morning spot so I cruised up to the second level where our reserved spots are and parked in one of them. It is important to note here that the car to right of me, on the side that the damage was sustained, was now my bosses car which is a big ass RED Nissan.
Got that? Red. Ok. Just making sure you’re still following.
So I go in to finish my work day. I leave at 5 and drive home. I park in our designated spot and walk up to the apartment. SK and I left again a few minutes later to go to the grocery store and when we walked down to my car SK was the one to notice the scratches first.
“Holy shit Cheryl! Someone hit your car!”
“Uh, right there…see the big white scratches running down your side? I bet it was those close-parking motherfuckers in the white truck** that park next to you. Assholes.”
**The people who park to the right of me in the apartment lot usually park SO close that it is impossible for Bella to squeeze in between their car and mine. And Bella can squeeze her entire body through the bars of her kennel. She’s rubber-boned.
“Well, they left a note…HOLY CHRIST!! This chick works in my office building!”
“You mean you made it all the way home without that little business card flying off your car?”
“No. I mean I made it all the way to lunch and back and THEN all the way home without that little business card flying off my car!!”
I know. My jaw was on the floor. Thanks, God. That was pretty cool. So I am figuring with a great start like that, this whole experience won’t be too bad. I wasn’t even bummed about the scratches; I was so pumped about the staying power of that little business card.
I go in and call the lady who is SO nice that I start to feel bad about asking her to pay for the damage SHE did to MY car. She asks me to go get an estimate done and fax it to her because she would rather settle this without involving insurance which I am cool with because hey, I know where she works. It’s not like she is going to get away with not fixing my car. And she was just being so freaking agreeable and sweet.
I call Toyota on 249, where I bought my car and where I have all my maintenance work done, and ask them their hours. Turns out, their body shop is on I-45 and like, CONROE and they close at 6pm on weekdays and are not open weekends so unless I took the day off and went at 11 in the morning to avoid all the traffic there is no way that was going to work. So I get online and find a random place close to my office (red flags everywhere, I KNOW) and run over there on my lunch break on Monday. It's a little crappy looking place off Westheimer, but the people were nice and they were working on NICE cars, which I am now guessing were probably stolen--I almost took my baby to a chop shop!!!--so I thought, what the hell, I'll let them work on my car. The estimate was $522, plus the cost of a rental because they said they would have my car for 3 days. No big deal.
I fax the estimate to her and she balks. Thinks it's too high and that they shouldn't have my car that long because, oh I don't know, she's THE TOYOTA WHISPERER and knows everything about cars and the time it takes to heal them?
So I give up my lunch break today too, and go to a Toyota dealership that is really close to my office that I guess I had just never noticed before. I talk to the guy there and he gives me THEIR estimate which is, no big surprise, about twice as much as the first place. I ask why and show him the first estimate. Turns out, the first place was just going to basically pound out the dent and buff over the scratches and not even bother with matching the paint, which means that my beautiful, not even one year-old, that I bought all on my own and pay for all by myself, big-girl car would be TWO-TONED. I just stared at him. What? He nodded. Two-toned. As in, different colors. Like bowling shoes. NO FUCKING WAY.
I made up my mind at that precise moment that this man, this man who opened my eyes to the evils of the chop shop masquerading as a body repair center, would be my car’s savior. He would fix my car and take care of her and treat her as his own. And no way was this dude letting her come out two-toned.
Ugh. Two-toned. Even typing it makes me want to vomit a little.
But now I am kind of screwed. I have already sent The Hitter the first estimate and she lost her shit over that one. She was really going to flip out when I dropped the bomb that the place I now wanted to fix it would cost twice as much. So I called Denise, The State Farm SuperWoman. Denise has been handling our family’s car insurance since we moved to Texas, which means she and I know each other veeeery well. Denise has been with me through ALL of my moving violations, 90% of which involved destruction of a vehicle, either mine or someone else’s because of me. Denise is THE SHIT. She always finds a creative way to keep our insurance premiums down and has probably been the sole reason I never had my license revoked when I was a teenager and extremely prone to hitting non-moving objects. She kicks asses and takes names and always tells me exactly what to do.
“You should have called me Monday.”
“I know, my dad told me to, but I thought that since this lady was being so cool that it would be taken care of by now.”
I can hear her rolling her eyes on the other end of the line.
“Cheryl. No one is THAT nice. You call this woman and tell her that you do not have time to be doing HER insurance company’s job. You get her insurance information and you tell her that we will be in touch with them about this. If she doesn’t have insurance, then your No Insurance coverage will take care of that and you will only be out your $250 deductible. We will then go file with (some scary sounding institution) to get OUR money back for the cost of the repair as well as YOUR deductible. You should not be running around getting estimates for her. Why didn’t you call me MONDAY??”
So I call The Hitter. I tell her what I found out and that Toyota would be fixing my car and that yes, it was going to be more expensive. She, of course, freaks out. Have I mentioned she doesn’t speak English well? Yeah. She doesn’t. I am waiting for her to go off on me in Spanish, but she stays calm, only because I imagine she is sitting at her desk in her office, and tells me her husband will be in touch with me. I stay calm, only because I don’t really know all the rules with this kind of stuff and am slightly worried that if I let her have it and chewed her out like I am wanting to she will somehow be able to throw it back in my face and Denise will have to tell me that because I called this woman a dumb bitch over the phone that she is not responsible for fixing my car anymore. So I say ok, thank you, goodbye. I realize I have my right hand balled into a fist and I am squeezing so tight that my knuckles are turning white.
I am starting to lose faith in the goodness of people. This is not a good feeling. This has not been a good day.
Stay tuned for the continued saga of The Great Car Incident of 2007. I hope I get to see Denise whoop her ass.
October 17, 2007
October 16, 2007
This is what it looked like about 2 hours later:
The temperature is back up, too.
My first Texans game. We won! I don’t remember the end, though. Tailgating was brutal.
The Christmas tree at Toby and SK’s condo on Heights Blvd. Toby bought the tree, I helped decorate, and SK was obsessive about picking up the pine needles. The one gift under the tree in this picture is actually an empty box that I wrapped up anyway. I bought SK some new cologne and body wash for Christmas and he wanted it RIGHT NOW…I wanted the tree to look pretty and loved, so I wrapped the box the cologne had been in.
October 15, 2007
So I am sure you’ve noticed that I have changed the look of this place. It’s my little black and green and orange tribute to all things October. I wish I was better versed in HTML. Good for all of you I’m not though, because you’d probably come clicking to my page, calmly checking out if I have recently posted anything about dog pee or car fires and BAM! You would have to avert your eyes due to all of the SCREAMING HALLOWEENness that would jump out at your face through your computer screen. I love Halloween.
It used to be my favorite holiday for obvious reasons: the candy, the parties at school, the dressing up and painting my face green. I was a witch for 4 years straight, varying my attire a little each year—witch in black ballet slippers with pointy hat, witch in army boots with pointy hat, witch in short skirt and army boots with NO hat, witch in black tights and back dress with mary janes and pointy hat—always with the green face. I think I was trying to channel the Wicked Witch of the West, but the absence of flying monkeys always fucked it up.
And then they axed Halloween at school. I was talking to SK’s mom, a pre-K teacher, the other day at her house while SK and his dad built a bed in the back room and she was telling me that she can’t do anything “scary” for Halloween with her kids. No mention of Jack-o-Lanterns or witches or ghosts. Something to do with the school district saying that people are offended by the “worshipping of the occultness” of it all.
I laughed because it was cut out at MY California elementary/junior high/high school for very different reasons: the school district thought that people would be offended by the “gang riot shootings” of it all. Halloween, with its enticing offer of being able to dress up as whatever you wanted for a whole day caused big problems in schools that strictly regulated our wardrobes to non-gang colors. Blue, red, purple, black and silver in mass quantities and in specific combinations were all gang related and not allowed at school. You can imagine what this did for the sporting goods stores around our neighborhood, considering all of the California teams were combinations of those colors—LA Lakers, LA Raiders, Dodgers, Angels. All the schools eventually went to uniforms, but not before exchanging Halloween for Story Book Character Day!!
I swear to God. Story Book freaking Character Day. And the only reason this was different from Halloween dress up day was because the teachers had to approve your costume first. AND you had to do a book report on the book your character came from. My brother was Pecos Bill for like, 3 years because he didn’t want to do a different book report, it was that big of a joke. And, let’s be honest, Kevin didn’t grow a damn inch between the ages of 6 and 10. I was Kirsten from the American Girl series the only year I can remember participating. Shut up.
My favorite Halloweens have been the years I was in college, when no one had money for elaborate costumes and just dug through closets to find anything to put together for the evening. I’ve seen a SpongeBob costume made out of an egg-crate mattress from someone’s bed, a walking stick (some dude that painted himself brown with a girlfriend’s bronzer), a black-eyed pea (a friend who blacked out an eye and wore a shirt with an iron-on “P” on the front), and—my personal favorite—a walking mammogram machine, which was a box on a guy’s head, lined in aluminum foil with a sign that read “Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month—Free Mammograms Here!” I feel like those costumes, created in times of major poverty when getting an extra scoop of mashed potatoes in the dining hall felt like winning the lottery, were the most creative and funny. Now that we can afford to go buy costumes packaged up at Halloween Express, it feels a little like cheating.
Not that I don’t still love Halloween. I do. But now that parties are restricted to the weekend before the holiday because of work, it’s lost some of the magic. I still enjoy dressing up and checking out what everyone else is wearing, but I find myself looking forward to Thanksgiving more and more every year. At least that is an ACTUAL holiday that I get 2 days off for.
October 8, 2007
Elizabeth--18 years ago I held you when you came home from the hospital and then got my first real anatomy lesson when I asked your mom and mine where babies came from. We've been through some fun times (Thanksgivings/Christmases/Lake McQueeney days) and some not so fun times (the great SIMS incident of 2001) in the past almost 2 decades. I've babysat you, changed a diaper or two of yours and even dropped you once when you were 1...sorry. You've been the little sister I never wanted ;) and the friend I've been lucky to have. I am so glad to have you in my life.
Happy birthday, cousin!! I love and miss you. Drink a beer for me...in 3 years when you turn 21.
October 4, 2007
My dad works in the oil industry and being that Texans pretty much piss oil on a daily basis (have you ever watched Dallas? Hello.) this is THE state to be in. For a few years before The Big Move we had been hearing rumors of my dad being relocated to random places, some within the US and some not, but I never thought about it much. I don’t think the fact that we were really going to Texas even hit me until a few days before we left. My mom and dad and brother had come out to Texas to go house-hunting a few months prior and I refused to go, saying Texas would never be HOME and that I didn’t care what we lived in because I wasn’t going to like it anyway. I never went through a typical angsty, rebellious teen phase, but I was pretty much a nightmare for my parents in the months leading up to leaving with all the attitude I was throwing around. My mom would have been completely justified in slapping my bitchy little mouth completely off my face.
I’d like to think now that I handled it better than that and really hadn’t been so mean to my parents for RUINING MY LIFE (I can be super dramatic when necessary…or completely unnecessary, in this case). I didn’t though. I didn’t handle it at all. I even asked my mom to divorce my dad, for Christ’s sake, because then I wouldn’t have to move and wouldn’t that alone make everyone happier? I kept telling everyone that I was only in Houston until I finished high school and then I was back on the Pacific Coast for college. Ah, the angry rants of a pissed off 15 year-old.
The first few months in Houston are still so fresh and sharp in my memory. For nine years to have gone by, it still feels very raw. Sometimes I still get bitter and wonder where I would be if we had stayed; would I have gone to college on a swimming scholarship, would I have majored in Marine Biology like I had always planned, would I have been a Grand Officer in Rainbow?
And then I am proud. During a time when it would have been very easy for our little family to fall apart and disconnect from each other, we didn’t. We stuck together and, as lame as it sounds, we became a hell of a lot closer. Instead of pushing my family away during my teen years, I clung to them. They were THE ONLY ones who really knew what it felt like to be going through what I was going through. My brother and I hung out all the time. We went to movies. I drove him around when I got my license. When one of us made a friend the new person became OUR friend. While we had many mutual friends in California, I think we would have drifted apart in high school had it not been for moving. Because we only had each other to talk to, I had to really focus on what he was saying to be part of the conversation. Normally, I think I had only half-way listened to him because there were always so many other things I could have been doing. During the months after the move, I found out my brother was sarcastic and driven and smarter than I’d ever thought. He’s one of my best friends and I don’t know that that would have happened like it did without the move to help it along.
My parents were pretty phenomenal through the whole thing too. We blamed my dad. A lot. And while I don’t know if I ever actually said those words to him, “It’s your fault!” I know I felt them at some point. There was always such a look of defeat in my dad’s eyes when he would get home from work, ask me how my day at school had been and only get an “I hate it here,” in reply. There was a lot of guilt during that time that I’ve just come to grips with and gotten over in the last few years because I had always been really close with both of my parents and feeling like my father was to blame felt damn painful. I knew he didn’t take the job in Houston to hurt me. I know that if he had known the utter and complete HELL he was creating for himself by moving the family he would have quit his job and become a fucking paperboy if it meant keeping us in Highland and avoiding all the drama. He moved us because he loved us and it was the right thing to do. I knew that then, but I really know it now. And there is not an “I’m Sorry” card in the world big enough to express my regret for making him feel like he was doing something wrong. I love you, Daddy.
Although my dad was the family scapegoat, it was my mom who had the hardest time I think. She was transplanted from "Most Popular Mom on the Block World" to "Just Another Mom on the Block World." I didn’t realize, while I was mourning the loss of my friends and familiar social life, that my mom was doing the same thing WHILE she was deflecting all the shit I was flinging violently in her direction. She tried to be as involved as we’d let her be, but when I was so against making friends in Houston there wasn’t a lot of room for her to be involved in anything. She tried desperately to make us happy, to help us adjust. We just pushed back so damn hard that her attempts didn’t stand a flying fucking chance. She had no one to talk to about what awful and terrible monsters her children were being except people back in California, on the phone. If I were her, I would have killed me. And then drank a big ass glass of wine and smoked a cigarette in celebration of the fact that I never had to deal with “I hate life and Texas sucks and California is the only place I will ever be happy” Cheryl Ann EVER AGAIN. But she didn’t. And I love her so goddamn much for that.
And while the whole thing just really fucking sucked, not ALL of what I remember about coming to Texas is unhappy. Some of those memories I can still see so clearly were full of happiness and the realization that things were actually getting better. There is a definite line in my life—Before Texas and Since Texas—but that line is blurring as more years pass. I still feel a twinge in my heart when a friend from California calls, or when I think of going back to visit. And even though I resisted for such a long time, Texas really is HOME now. I’d love to go back someday, when I can afford to live somewhere nicer than a box under Highway 5, but for now I am content with making my way in The Lone Star State, becoming more southern each day. I still avoid Rodeo like the plague, and I will never EVER wear Wranglers, but saying Ya’ll just makes more sense and cowboy hats and boots can be cute…sometimes. I’ll always be a California girl, but a little Texas showin' through every now and then really ain’t so bad.
***Gotta love perfectly timed horoscopes: “You are attached to your living space more strongly than most people and today reinforces that attitude considerably.”