Tag Archives: lifestyle

The kids probably aren’t going to be all right. At least not yet.

13 Nov

I’m at the age now where more people I know are either married, getting married, getting divorced, had children, having children, or planning on having children in the very near future than not. They’re collecting relationships. I’m collecting degrees.

My theory is that since I grew up in a military town, those in the military tend to get married earlier than those that aren’t, and the majority of my young, married friends and/or parents are involved with someone in the military.

Or maybe it’s just to have something to do.

Or it could be “love.”

At any rate, I think a lot about how differently my life would be right now if I had married my high school sweetheart like I planned for so long. I’d probably already have a kid, my decor wouldn’t be composed of old alcohol bottles (there are six empty wine bottles in my living room right now, holding flowers or serving as bookends. There’s also a Corona bottle filled with sand from Mexico), I wouldn’t be comfortable in such a tiny ass, old house, and I’d be a different kind of happy. I know being married and having kids can really enrich your life and shit, but the kind of happy I am couldn’t come from a screaming mini-me or a husband in my bed. I’m pretty selfish.

Here are the main reasons why I know I’m not mentally prepared or emotionally equipped to handle a child:

  1. Whenever I empty the litterbox, I think to myself how much easier it’d be if I just fed the cats less food. There’d be so much less to scoop.
  2. My idea of a “well-balanced meal” is when I can balance in two hands — usually with my phone in the crook of my arm — whatever boxes or bags I’ll be eating from on the walk from the kitchen to the living room without having to go back and get more. I also drink from the carton.
  3. Whenever I’m supposed to shop for someone else, I get distracted and buy myself more clothes or shoes or jewelry or scarves or purses or make up or things to decorate my house with.
  4. I have an open jug of sangria on the kitchen counter, an open 2L bottle of Pear Arbor Mist at my feet in the living room (it’s 2:40pm), two open bottles of white wine in the fridge, an open bottle of red wine in the wine rack, two kinds of vodka in the freezer, an assortment of other liquors on top of the fridge, and two full flasks in my kitchen cabinet.
  5. Whenever I meet someone’s child, I extend my hand, prepared for a firm handshake. I’m then insulted when the child doesn’t respond appropriately to my question about the progress of their pending careers.
  6. I swear entirely too much and too frequently.
  7. I laugh hysterically when I hear the word “nickel” because I think they’re saying “nipple.” There I go laughing.
  8. As I was grading papers, Shelly wouldn’t leave me alone (he likes to eat — everything), so I locked him in my sunroom. Then when he meowed incessantly, I angled the screen of my computer to create a reflection on the wall just out of reach so he’d think he could get to it. I also call him “little bastard” or “teeny assface” from time to time. Shmow is perfect.
  9. I routinely heat my house with candles and an open oven door. And, most importantly,
  10. I just bought the most adorable pair of neon yellow pumps. The majority of the shoes I own are heels, and pregnant/mom feet just wouldn’t fit in them. I’m just not ready to part with my heel collection or accept that my adorable feet will become gigantic monsters that I can’t reach.

I have no doubts that some day I’ll get over all of these things, or I’ll figure out a way to make my life fit around the life of a child. But until then, I just have to keep in mind that despite the overcrowding of adorable babies flooding my Facebook News Feed and constant questioning of when I’m going to breed, kids right now would probably turn into teeny, tiny delinquents.

You’re welcome, world.

— AM.

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Flogging Molly wasn’t a coincidence.

26 Oct

There’s really something magical about the first snowfall of the season.

The leaves are still dried, rotting away in gutters, illuminating the grayness of cement with the colors of their death — reds, yellows, and oranges, turned a musty brown as the moisture seeps into the skeletons left behind. All bets are off when it snows.

It snowed today.

I presented with BFF and a few others tonight to a large group of eager (for extra credit) students, discussing history and travel and humanity. BFF, D (who also presented), and I decided we needed to catch up. D has been teaching several counties away, and we no longer have classes together since he’s working strictly on thesis hours. We wound up at Jonny Carino’s splitting a pitcher of Bellini with three straws since it was too thick to pour into our glasses. The three of us became friends on a trip to Italy a couple summers ago, and our decision to split the pitcher was familiar territory, ringing distant memories of bottles upon bottles of wine in Florence and Rome, huddling up to keep our shit together. D and I almost had a thing on that trip, but he recently began dating his roommate’s ex-girlfriend before the trip, so nothing came of it but dancing, holding hands, and sharing drinks.

We asked how things are going with the two of them, since the last time we drank together his apprehension about a serious commitment wavered. He pulled out his phone and said “Check out what I’ll be picking up when I go back to Indiana over Christmas.” It was an engagement ring. Beautiful. Classic. “It was my great-grandmother’s.” Of course it was.

BFF and I reacted appropriately, offering congratulations and excitement and suppositions that “we’re of course invited to the wedding, right?” but when we made eye contact, like true BFFs do, we knew we were both screaming on the inside.

“I bet you’re jealous, huh? Since you don’t have this,” D said to BFF, who has been in a relationship for the last few years. What a little fucker, I thought. Somehow we changed the subject, but the sting of it stuck: when the hell did everyone decide now was the time to get married?

We said our goodbyes, and BFF and I decided we needed to continue drinking (even though it’s Thursday and I teach in a few hours). So we went to our favorite bar. Well, really it’s my favorite bar, mostly because the bartenders know me by name and have my gin and tonic prepared as I’m walking to the bar. I spent about 82% of my weeks there over the summer getting pre- or post-drunk. I’m an extremely good tipper for those who are responsible for my drunk.

“Dude, seriously, what the fuck,” isn’t really an uncommon way for us to start conversations, and this was no exception.

I mean really, it’s like someone decided that the second you hit your 20s, you’re supposed to have a ring on your finger and a zygote growing in your uterus. College? Careers? Post-graduate degrees? Na, bro. That shit’s for fools.

Clearly we’re fucking fools.

BFF hasn’t been out drinking with me when I’m in usual form for quite some time; mostly because she’s in a relationship, and single beast-me knows how to welcome conversation from strangers.

A homie with glasses and a satchel sits down across from us, offering his hand and a name. [Okay, total side note, but my radiator just kicked on and it almost made me piss myself. Damn old radiators.]

We spent the next hour or so accepting shots of tequila and chatting it up with homie with the glasses and satchel and his friend, Twitchy. Twitchy is awkward as shit, which I find ridiculously adorable. So much adorable, that when they got up to close their tabs, I told BFF I think Twitchy is super adorable and I could totally fix him, to which she replied “Bitch, I swear to God I will smack you in the face if you say that again.” Reason why we’re best friends? I think yes.

I’m not one to refuse strange conversation, especially from not-entirely-creepy guys who tell me I’m pretty, so I allowed it. Where was I from? I’m a German Jew, abandoned in the corn fields of Nicaragua. “Really? I’m a first generation American, too!” Hell-fucking-yeah. Making headway.

I spent most of the night awkwardly laughing, grateful that homeboys came around. I’d finally admitted to myself and to BFF that no matter what pseudo-homeless guy says or does, I forgive him and I never hold it against him — that much in love. (He’s a whole other story and kind of makes me turn into a Debbie Downer, so maybe I’ll save that for another day, but the quick and dirty version: I’ve been madly in love with him for years.)

I know it’s a good night when I (mostly soberly) tip 80% and can’t stop smiling as soon as I sit in my car. I live up the street from this bar, which likely contributes to my frequency of it. The ride home was brought to me by Flogging Molly’s “The Times They Are A-Changing”:

It’s no accident that tonight, when we learn of D’s engagement, we’re also reaching epiphanies of our (hopefully) inevitable happiness in relationships and how ridiculous we’ll feel in a few years (again, hopefully) when we’re with whoever-his-face-is while being courted by nice, drunk-as-fuck awkward guys who buy us shots and listen to me lie and tell us we’re pretty, the first snowfall is here, masking the death of summer in a blanket of silence.

The times are a-changing. I can feel it in my bones.

Or maybe that’s just the gin.

–AM.

There’s no expiration date, right?

23 Oct

I called my dear, sweet grandmother in Alabama on the phone the other day to see how she’s been doing. We always have the same conversation: an overview of her current health status, how school is going, how my sisters are doing (which always starts with their schooling and jobs and ends with their relationship statuses), and then we discuss why I’m not married and have no current prospects.

“Well damn girl, when you gonna be able to start havin’ babies then? You’re runnin’ out of time!”

Oh, how I love the obvious markers in the differences between generations. It probably wouldn’t be as bad if my 20-year old younger sister who, when we were in high school, brought home — on separate occasions — a homeless looking stoner, a guy who played in a metal band (in all fairness, so did I — long story), and a guy who ended up being sent to reform school, is now planning a wedding.

Her boyfriend is terrific. He recently took her away to a cabin in the mountains for the weekend to celebrate her birthday. He has or is about to purchase an engagement ring, and is working up his whole “can I have your permission to marry your daughter” speech to give to my dad. This past weekend, we got together to have a birthday dinner for her combined with an anniversary celebration for my parents (34 years — holy shit). She detailed us about this church they saw on their trip where they want to get married in fall 2014, how his dad’s girlfriend will make their cake, the dress she looked at. They routinely make it a habit of triggering my gag reflex. I feel like if I spend any more time with them, I’d become bulimic.

Although my older sister, at 28, isn’t married, she at least has a 3-year long relationship to fall back on to ease the minds of our grandparents.

I have degrees and cats.

My other grandmother who lives a short drive away once told me she doesn’t want me to be bitter because I’m so alone. She’s German, so I appreciate and understand the honesty. They’re not ones to mince words. (She’s incredibly useful to take shopping. “How does this dress look?” “Oh, no, you look pregnant. Do you want people to think you’re pregnant? Take that off.”) I’ve insisted that despite all reasons to be miserable — which, really, is simply just the absence of love and all that shit that goes along with it — I’m actually happy and loving being alone. Half-truths are fun like that. Sure, I’ll go through bouts of self-loathing, fueled by a bottle of wine and Nickelback songs (if you choose to leave this blog now, I probably don’t blame you. It’s been fun), but I get over it and realize I’m kind of awesome.

So every once in awhile, I’ll start talking to someone new and give the family just enough information to know that I’m not bitter or alone or unloved or a leper. Then when it doesn’t work out for a whole slew of reasons, they’re mildly disappointed, but proud I gave it the ol’ college try.

I’ve been single now for two years. Before that, I was in a five-year long relationship, and before that, I was with a guy for a year (the one in the metal band), and before that I was fourteen. So me being single is strange, not only for me, but for the family who was sure I would be the first to get married and pop out a screaming chunk of flesh that owned half my genes and twice my time.

After that last break-up, I was pretty low and had zero confidence or self-esteem. If I’m really being honest with myself, there wasn’t much of that while I was with him, but I had the whole “look, world! Someone loves me (kinda)! I’m not horrendous!” thing going for me, so it wasn’t as obvious as it was when I was suddenly alone. I’ve made considerable leaps and bounds since then (which I’m sure I’ll cover in later blogs — it’s been entertaining), and have never felt more sure of myself. So the other day when I was out shopping with my mother, our conversation turned to my semi-non-existent love life.

There’s a guy I’m sort of talking to (see brief mention of “Barista boy” in the previous post that had something about Tums in the title), and I’m in no hurry to see where things lead. I’m leaving to start my PhD in a year, so I’m not trying to get serious any time soon. No one in my family is pursuing academia, so there’s very little actual understanding; mostly just sympathizing, which I kinda hate.

I posted something on Facebook about a conversation I was having with BFF (mentioned in first post) and how I’m somehow a beacon to emotional fuckwits (only I didn’t say “fuckwits” on Facebook — and I’m pretty sure I stole that from Bridget Jones’ Diary) and socially awkward jackasses (I did say “jackasses”), then a quick note about my cat’s bathing habits and that it wasn’t a euphemism. My mother is my friend on Facebook, and called me earlier that morning before we shopped to see if everything was okay (and to remind me my grandmother is on Facebook — something about appropriateness). I said “I’m fine. I’m not worried. I’m fucking awesome. I mean, you’ve met me, right?”

The conversation then continued in the car, her reassuring me that I’m great and someone someday will realize that and he’ll be awesome and perfect and she’ll remind me how worried I was about finding love and she’ll say “I told you!” and I’ll say “I know, mom, you’re the greatest” and then the camera will freeze on that image of the family gathered around the dinner table as the credits flash on the screen to the sound of an upbeat, feel-good hit from the 80s.

Maybe I’ll even get my own spin-off series.

–AM.

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