Break.

5 Apr

A slight break in writing, but don’t think it was due to laziness.

OK, it started off as laziness, then became prolonged sickness, work travel, my 30th birthday, and being dumped by my boyfriend. In that order. It was an eventful laziness.

Needless to say, none of these events were all that fantastic (well, with the exception of my birthday), but the breakup really takes the Crap Crown. It didn’t exactly come out of nowhere – we were having some difficulties, for sure – but I still didn’t expect it. I thought we were having a hard time that we would work through; he thought it was the beginning of the end and decided not to prolong the inevitable. Just rip it off quick, like a Band-Aid. Like a ripped-off Band-Aid that took a clump of arm hair and some skin off with it.

Honestly, there is nothing I can write about being heartbroken that hasn’t been written a hundred million billion times before. Having your heart broken is like having a dream – it’s happened to everyone and not really interesting to anyone else unless they were one of the main characters involved. I’m sad and I miss him; I’m angry because I tried so hard to make the relationship work and had no control over its ending; I’m glad to not have to deal with all of the troubles we had anymore but still miss the good bits.

Overall, it’s been OK – rather than collapsing in on myself like I had with past breakups, this one has been more constructive. I’ve been working on putting together a group date with all the awesome ladies I kinda know, but want to be friends with, I immediately rearranged and deep-cleaned my living room (shoving around a gigantic couch across the room a couple times is pretty damn cathartic), signed up for a new gym down the street that focuses on more one-on-one training. The things I’ve been wanting to do, but didn’t. There is a melancholy sense of freedom now: I can do whatever I want because I don’t have any ties to anyone else. Sometimes the thought makes me excited for what can happen, other times it takes all the wind out of me to think of what will never happen again. It sucks and it’s hard.

But, it will be OK.

65% Recycled Dinosaur, 100% Jackass

19 May

Humboldt County, though pretty large in size, is actually a very tiny community. And after you’ve lived here for a few years, it becomes your tiny community. Sometimes, this can be nice: the guy at the coffee shop knows exactly how you like your coffee, chances are you know your mailman, and the possibility of running into people you know at any given social event are high.

Sometimes, this can be bad. Say, for example, when you realize that the guy you’re dating is best friends with that other guy you hooked up with at that party, the one where you learned that tequila makes you super slutty. Or when you keep running into people that you used to work with just a few days ago and have to deal with their pity looks. Moments like that make you miss the anonymity of large cities.

Though getting fired is pretty crappy, it’s not the first time it’s happened to me. The first time was at my first job right out of college. I had always had a job throughout high school and college, but this was my first time where I would be completely supporting myself and the excitement and the stress of this made me overlook the big red flags I was getting during my interview and first few days of the job.

The job was working at a rinky-dink radio station, answering phones. And the owner of the station was a Grade A Douche Nozzle. Rude, dismissive and rich. He wore his cell phone on a holster on his belt. He had a ridiculously large, mahogany desk that only served to prop up his feet. He made staff members park their cars two blocks away because he thought it made the office front look “cluttered”, with the exception of his luxury SUV. Real dick.

My first clue was at the interview. He asked me some sort of question, to which I answered, “Yeah, and blah blah blah blah….” With a scoff and a smirk, he said: “‘Yeah’ isn’t a word. I would think someone with an English major would know that.”

How are you supposed to respond to that? It’s as if he said, “Nighttime is when the sun is hiding”, or “I’m made up of 65% recycled dinosaur parts” or “The world is going to end on Saturday“. IT DIDN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.

I wish I had the wherewithal or the balls to have told him, “Actually, a word is the smallest unit of free form communication that carries a literal or practical meaning. The fact that you, I, and most English speakers accept that ‘yeah’ is a statement in the affirmative, means that it is, in fact a word. Now please take that PDA you’ve been playing with during our entire conversation and shove it up your ass because I’m done here.”

Instead, I said: “Oh….sorry.” I got the job. And two weeks later, I was standing in the supply closet on the verge of a panic attack because I didn’t want to use the wrong kind of paperclips and have him freak out. Again.

During the entirety of my four week employment there, I knew in my gut it was wrong for me. It was the same feeling I had during my last job. And so, when I run into those former coworkers with their pitying glances, I can honestly say that I’m OK with no longer working there. Sure, I wish I had something else lined up ahead of time, but deep down I knew it wasn’t right for me.

I was at the post office earlier today, waiting to buy stamps to go on the handful of job applications I was sending out, when the customer ahead of me asked if that branch would be closed on the weekend.

“Yeah, we’re closed on weekends,” the guy behind the counter replied.

“‘Yeah’ isn’t a word,” the customer scoffed.

It was him. The Douche Nozzle Dick Boss. His hair was thinner and he had replaced the PDA for a Bluetooth headset, but it was undoubtedly him. He didn’t recognize me at all as he walked by. I wasn’t surprised.

And then the bottom fell out.

17 May

How was your weekend? It was good? That’s nice.

Hmmm? My weekend? Oh, my weekend sucked. Great big, sweaty donkey balls.

OK, that’s not entirely true: the beginning portion of my weekend was fine. With the exception of helping my parents with their myriad of technological questions, I had a perfectly pleasant visit with my family. The trouble was when I was on my way home.

The highway that goes from my home on the coast to where my parents live inland is a three-hour journey through the mountains. For the past 10 years I have driven that road in every condition imaginable – fog, snow, ice, hail, rain, forest fire – all without incident. But this time, as I was driving up the first big summit, around the first really tight hairpin turn, my tires hit a slick spot on the road and my truck spun into the oncoming lane, towards the edge of the road, an edge that was a straight drop down the hill.

I remember all the rules for this type of situation: don’t slam on the brakes, turn into the swerve to regain control and then turn back out. But at that moment, when it looked like I would either run head-first into traffic or fly off the cliff all I could think was Don’t Die. And that meant cranking the wheel in the opposite direction. Which meant slamming my truck head-first into the side of a mountain.

In the grand scheme of things, everything turned out well: the truck took most of the impact. At the scene, I felt fine with the exception of my knee, which hit the steering column. But I was still taken to the hospital in the ambulance, strapped to a backboard. And, as is my way, I hid my fear with humor:

EMT #1 (to EMT #2): Gee Gary, it looks like you’ve done this before.

EMT #2: Nope, never done before in my life.

Me (as I’m being strapped down): Oh great, I get into an accident and you guys send some guy you just picked up off the side of the road.

EMT #1: Well, he seemed nice enough.

Me: And he was wearing the vest.

After a quick look over at the ER, it was determined that I was OK, save the knee and a nasty mark across my neck and chest similar to a rope burn. It’s clear that I am very, very lucky that I was able to walk away and that no one else was hurt. But, the logistics are a little worse: I just took collision coverage off my truck two months ago, so it’s a complete and total loss; I have no health insurance and I’m terrified to think what the hospital bill will end up looking like.

The next day, my father gave me a ride home, but that meant I had to miss part of a day of work. Things at my job had been…tense over the last few weeks. My supervisor and I had never gotten along very well during my six weeks there and it seemed that no matter how hard I tried or however I approached her, it just annoyed her.

So when she was terse with me on the phone when I explained what happened, it worried me.

When I got to work a few hours later and she wouldn’t look me in the eye, it bothered me.

When she let the entire day go by without once mentioning what had happened to me or pretend to show any concern, it pissed me off. It also clued me in that I was on my way out.

And sure enough, when I showed up for work this morning, all my belongings were in a box on my desk with my last paycheck, I was told that it “wasn’t a good fit” by the big boss, and my supervisor refused to look me in the eye.

So, a quick rehash of the last 36 hours: terrifying car crash, loss of my sole form of transportation, swollen knee that makes walking painful, expensive ER visit, and no job. Yes, it could be worse, but it sure-as-shit could be better.

So, what do I do now? I’m not entirely sure, but I think for today I’m allowed to sit and wallow. I’m allowed to cry and cry and cry. I’m allowed to eat cookies for lunch. I’m allowed to leave weepy voicemails for my boyfriend, even though I’m usually not that kind of girl. I’m allowed to throw myself a pity party and invite my friends and allow them to buy drinks for me until the burn of the last few days is numb.

And tomorrow? Well tomorrow, I’ll get up and I’ll start again. Because that’s all you can do sometimes.

New internet.

15 May

Every time I come home to visit my parents, it seems like their television has grown in both size and price.  Spurned on by a sense of competition with my gadget-loving aunt and uncle, my parents love to buy whatever is the latest in home entertainment systems. Unfortunately, their mastery of technology peaked with the VCR, so trips home tend to become a mix of maintenance calls, lessons, and frustrations.

Why come home at all? Simple: try explaining how to set up and use an iPod to my mother over the phone. The three hour car ride is worth it, believe me:

Me: So, you just go through the list of what you want to watch—-

Mom: Where’s this list? On the TV?

Me: No, on the computer….remember, I should you how to make your queue earlier.

Dad: Can I do that on my computer too? Or do I have to use her computer?

Me: It’s a website; anyone can use it from any computer.

Mom: Anyone? Do we need to worry about hackers?

Me:….Hackers for your Netflix.  No. No. OK, focus: So you go through the list and pick something you want to watch—

Dad: What? People can hack into your mom’s movie list??

Me: OH MY GOD. NO. NO ONE IS GOING TO….(takes a deep breath)…..no one will mess with your movie stuff. OK, you pick something you want to watch and hit ‘select’. Then you just wait for it to load. Sometimes it takes awhile.

Mom: This is taking a long time. Does it always take this long? Maybe we need a new internet or something.

Dad: Yeah, we can get a new internet. Or just plug it into the phone down here. Why is it so slow? Are you sure it’s not a virus or something? Or the hackers?

I still pay for things with spare change, though.

13 May

I really like the idea of being one of those people who monitors where every dime goes; one of those Good With Money people. Those people balance checkbooks and save receipts. Those people know stuff about interest rates and ING accounts. Those people own accordion folders.

I am very much NOT one of those people. I have handfuls of random receipts balled up in the bottom of purses and in coat pockets. I check my bank balance online before going out to see how much money is left. I lost the cover and register part of my checkbook eons ago, and now just keep one raggedy book of checks on my entry table to write my one check a month to my property management company, who apparently hasn’t heard of this thing called “online payments”.  And despite being a relatively responsible, smart person, budgeting and spending my money wisely has never been my strong suit. In fact, my spending habits are less Grown Up Person and more Crackhead Who Found a Wallet Lying on the Street.

For those who are visual learners, I give you this:

But after seeing a large portion of other people my age able to do things like go on nice vacations or, I don’t know, buy a house, I realized it was time for the big B: a budget (#18).

I find budgets depressing. Seeing how little money I actually make on paper and how quickly it disappears make me want to drink. And then add that into “expenses”.  And I always seem to forget something important like insurance or medical costs or food. But you know what else is depressing? Being broke all the time.

I’ve been using Mint.com to help me out, which makes things a bit easier. Rather than having to make a spreadsheet or keep a written log, all you have to do is enter in your bank information, set up your budget amounts, and it tracks all of your transitions for you, using nice, pretty graphics to tell you that you have no money. It will also send out emails when you’re over-budget, which can be a nice heads up but also a real nag (“Yes, I KNOW I’m over-budget for Alcohol and Bars for this month. THANKS MOM.”)

I’m hoping that all this fiscal responsibility will spill over into other aspects, so I can start saving money (#19) and finally pay off that one credit card that has been dragging me down forever (#16). It’s all very grown up and very…boring. It’s boring. People never tell stories about that one time in college when they took all their money and invested it in a Roth IRA with no contribution limits. The good stories are the ones where someone lost it all in a backroom poker game or drained their accounts and went backpacking through South America.  But, much like oil changes and prostate exams, it’s just something that most people just have to do at some point in their life.

But it will be worth it. Right?

Feel the burn.

9 May

Dear Dude at the Gym Who Gave Me the Evil Eye for Wiping off HIS Ass-Sweat from the Machine Before Using It Because Even Though You Can Bench Press a Small Buick (Feel the burn, bro!), You Can’t Lift a Damn Spray Bottle of Disinfectant:

You’re right; I’m totally the asshole in this situation.

Signed,

Me

PS – Please tell your friend Guy Who Sticks His Hand Into His Gym Shorts to Scratch His Balls IN PUBLIC that he is the sole reason why I never use those free weights in that corner. And that he’s disgusting. AND IN PUBLIC.


Also as a note: I like to follow up a good workout by coming home and eating nachos and drinking wine in front of my computer. It’s a little tip I picked up from Health Magazine. My only justification is that I would probably be doing the same thing even if I hadn’t worked out, so at least this way I get to do it while wearing super sweaty gym clothes.

Doesn’t work to her potential.

9 May

Let me paint a word picture for you:

It’s mid-March and my 29th birthday is quickly approaching. Outside of being able to get drunk off of free drinks that I didn’t need to wear a low-cut shirt to get, my birthday wasn’t that big of deal for me. In fact, I had to take a moment to calculate how old I was going to be. And then, I took another moment to recalculate it, either because I’m a lady and therefore have trouble with things like math, parking, and not being irrational, or because I couldn’t quite believe that I was turning 29 already.

I don’t have a thing about getting older; I welcome the day when it will be generally accepted for me to wear elastic-waist pants, open-toe sandals with nylons, and loudly criticize those around me and have it all written off due to my impending dementia. But there was something about almost being 30 and where I am in life that caught in my brain. I’ve accomplished probably an average amount of things during my life: went to college, worked a variety of jobs, lived in a foreign country. But I’ve also spent a large portion of that time napping, pretending to be busy, and watching youtube videos of cats riding vacuums. A lot of time.

This because I am very, very lazy. How lazy? Let me give you some examples:

  • I haven’t bought coffee filters in…..ever. Originally this was because I used a french press and didn’t need them, but then I upgraded to an actual machine that would make coffee without me getting out of bed or having to press anything. And even though I live  less than one block from a Korean market where I could buy coffee filters (also, if I felt the need: cigarettes, energy drinks, random tubs of cake frosting that passed their sell-by date by a few years, and ziploc baggies full of 10-15 Ritz crackers), I haven’t bothered. Why? Because there are paper towels.
  • The clothes that were left on my living room floor last week are still there. I plan on wearing them to work tomorrow. I hope there isn’t too much cat fur on them.
  • All my dishes are stacked beside my couch, in reverse chronological order of when I used them. Rather than wash them, I ate cereal out of tupperware. And then put it on top of the stack.

Anyway, back to March: I’ve almost turned 29, thinking I could really do more with my life and decide to make a list of 30 things to do before I turn 30. I like lists. I like crossing things off of lists. They keep me in line. I decide this is a really good idea.

I then completely forget about it for about six weeks.

And then today, on a gorgeously sunny Sunday, I did absolutely nothing productive. Wait, that’s not true – a patched up a hole in a second-hand purse I bought because all this weird orange powder kept falling out of it. I assume that the original owner of the purse was a drug mule and cocaine oxidizes over time.  But still, not a super productive day. And so, to counteract my laziness and my guilt for not tackling Mt. Cereal Bowl, I created my Shit To Do Before 30 list:

  1. Start a blog. (BOOYAH.)
  2. Read Infinite Jest. All 473829384 pages of it. And the footnotes.
  3. Knit a sweater that I will actually wear out in public (and not just at an Ugly Sweater party)
  4. Watch every Hitchcock movie.
  5. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
  6. Grow a plant from a seed. And then try not to kill it.
  7. Watch the sunrise.
  8. Host a dinner party for all my lady friends. (Which, considering the myriad of dietary restrictions that exist between them, might just consist of a bowl of baby carrots and a bottle of vodka. But, baby carrots and vodka served on fancy dishes.)
  9. Print out, frame, and hang up all my favorite online photos before Mark Zuckerberg steals them, frames them, and tries to pretend like they’re his friends.
  10. Complete the Couch to 5K running program. Or, finally just break off my bad ankle. Whichever comes first.
  11. Go to a music festival.
  12. Get a short story published.
  13. Go fishing with dad. Try not to slip and fall into the river. AGAIN.
  14. Ride in a hot air balloon.
  15. Learn to drive a stick shift.
  16. Pay off debt (excluding student debt, which will be haunting my ass for the next 20 years or until I die, whichever comes first.)
  17. Achieve my ideal weight. Hopefully, with some hard work and diligence, my dream of being 800 lbs. will be realized.
  18. Create a budget and stick to it, i.e. – More money into savings account, less on nail polish.
  19. Have an emergency fund. I’m pretty sure my feminine charms won’t help pay for any sort of medical expenses should something happen.
  20. Pet a cow.
  21. Make my own beer. Then get drunk off of my own beer.
  22. Make 100 paper cranes. Then: figure out something to do with 100 paper cranes -OR- recycle 100 paper cranes.
  23. Learn the how to find constellations.
  24. Have a girls’ weekend with Mom.
  25. Find a career that I enjoy.

There are five spaces left because a) I couldn’t think of anything else off the top of my head, and b) I may find something else I want to do later on. If not, then clearly all I need to do are those 25 things and my entire life will be complete. Because, let’s face it, after petting cow, there’s nowhere to go but down.