Month in the Rearview // July '10

This Month I…

Had my first house guests of the summer when the Swedes came to visit.
– Hosted a party for the 4th of July.
Got promoted.
– Swept up a lot of dog hair.
Fought and made up.
– Spend a lot of time thinking about old friends and new friends.
– Stayed in a hotel room by myself for the first time ever.
– Got to co-anchor a thirty minute online news show for work.
– Named myself the Bat Whisperer.
– Conquered a fear by getting on a little boat for work without drowning or hyperventilating.

To-Do Recap

  1. Get an A in my summer class. – DONE! (My GPA is now 3.86.)
  2. Cross 3 4 things off my 101 in 1001 list. – DONE! (#12: Have a picnic; #34:Get promoted; #44: Grow cherry tomatoes; #49: Bake an apple pie;) 
  3. Try a new recipe. – DONE! (Apple Pie, Garlic Fries)
  4. Put all the outdoor furniture where it belongs. – DONE!
  5. Plan a trip to Ocean City, MD for August. – DONE!
  6. Watch a movie. DONE!
  7. Read a book. DONE!
  8. Play the Sims 3. DONE!
  9. Go out to dinner with my husband. DONE!
  10. Bake something. DONE!

Things I'm missing that start with "f": part of my foot & a good chunk of my feminity

Most days, I’m in my uniform, rocking out Army style with combat boots and that fucking wool hat that makes walking around in downtown Richmond in the 104 degree heat just a little bit better than climbing into an oven and taking a nap. Yesterday though, I got to play dress up. Instead of the boots and the long-sleeved uniform, that asshole of a hat and my hair twisted up in a bun, I donned a skirt, curled my hair and put on my highest pair of black heels.

It was a nice change. I hated having to dress up and wear heels every day at my last job, but now, getting to play dress up every now and then is kind of fun. I figured I’d rock the heels for an hour and two, finish up some other work tasks and get on with my bad self. And that would have been fine, except that instead of having to stand on heels for an hour or two, I ended up wasting my day away standing on gravel doing absolutely nothing for about 2 and half hours. And then, a part of my foot fell off.

See, I really want to be the kind of girl who can wear heels. There’s this tiny part of me, in between the bat-whispering, combat boot-wearing, medicine cabinet-installing me, that wants to be a girly girl. Maybe it’s Barbie’s fault. Maybe it’s society telling me I need to be more feminine and stop doing so much man shit, or maybe that’s all bullshit. Either way, there’s this little part of me, this tiny little smidge, that wants to wear heels and get manicures and pedicures and regular haircuts and accessorize better and have unchipped toenail polish and who knows how to put on eyeliner and blush. But dude – I’m not that girl. I’m really, really not.

I clomped around in heels for five hours yesterday. Two hours in, my feet were bruised because it was hot and they were swelling and there was fucking gravel everywhere and I kept falling all over the place because me and balance don’t get along very well and gravity is one swift bitch who takes me down at any chance she gets. And then, the blisters came and by the time I got in the car, I was ready to swear off all girly shit ever.

Gender roles are tricky little bitches, I guess.

As I walked barefoot into my house, heels in hand, I realized this is yet another lesson in balance. Everything always seems to come back to balance and I’m constantly trying to learn how to balance who I am with who I want to be and figuring out who I can’t be. I’m not a girly girl. I might want to be, but it just doesn’t work.

The moment we got home, I changed into my favorite pair of tattered jeans and a t-shirt. That’s just who I am. I’m a flip-flop kind of girl. I like my feet intact and I’m totally unwilling to trade parts of my foot for anything. Sure, I won’t leave the house without a hefty coating of mascara, and I love wearing my pearls with crap jeans and a simple t-shirt, and the occasional dress-up session is fine, so long as it doesn’t involve standing on gravel and has a cap of about two hours, but that’s about were it ends. I’m kind of a dude, minus the penis, and that’s okay.

The ex-best friend dilemma resolved, a pirate & that time we chased a bat around the house.

First, thank you to all of you who shared your thoughts on my ex-best friend facebook dilemma. I thought about it for a few days and came to the conclusion that stressing out over it really isn’t worth my time. Obviously the friendship we had when we 16 or 21 or 23 isn’t going to suddenly reemerge. Things aren’t going to go back to the way they were. Sending her a friend request or a message isn’t going to make things all better and ultimately, I’d hate to set myself up for more heartache. What’s done is done and maybe some things are better left in the past.

So – I’m doing nothing. For now. Having the ability to stalk, knowing her life seems to be going just fine, is perfectly priceless. Maybe something will change, maybe curiosity will get the best of me, but for now I’m taking the “if she were meant to be in my life she would be” stance.

Sunday was a weird day. Andrew spotted and pointed out a pirate at a random Exxon station on Broad Street. I kept telling Andrew it was a statue, but no, it was real, moving, living pirate. He was rocking a pirate beard, a blue and white stripped pirate shirt and a big ‘ole red bandanna.

Then, last night, as we’re watching Big Brother 12 in the living room, a fucking bat flies in from the chimney and starts flying around in circles.  We corralled the dogs in the basement, determined that the bat would just fly out if we opened the front door. Except for then the bat flew up the stairs and started circling in my office.

Andrew put on his bat hunter outfit, complete with leather jacket, scarf, goggles and mismatched gloves pulled hastily from the coat closet. He swatted at the bat with the broom a few times and we opened the upstairs balcony door but the bat refused to go anywhere near an escape route. All the bat wanted to do was roost.

Somewhere in the middle of all this I yelled out, “STOP! I’ve got to get my camera!!” because clearly, when there’s a fucking bat flying around my upstairs terrorizing my husband, the best thing to do is pause everything and run to get my camera. Clearly.

So there we all were, Andrew and I covered in random articles of clothing, yelling at the bat to go outside and the bat totally ignoring us and roosting on our air vent (yes, it is very dirty – I swear to heaven and hell we clean – things have just gotten much furrier since we got our second dog, so STFU) . I’d managed to sneak into my office while the bat was flying around in our upstairs hallway and open both the windows in there but the bat was still refusing to go anywhere that was not directly over our heads.

At this point, I started to feel sad for the bat. I was trying to Cesar Milan it into submission before it hurt it’s little bat self. I was so afraid it was going to have a heart attack and die in mid air and land on one of us and then we’d die from some horrible, probably made-up disease you get from dead bats. And really, if we’d killed it, I never would have forgiven myself because I’m just sort of crazy like that. Andrew says the bat was trespassing, but really, it was probably just trying to get cozy in the chimney when it ended up in our living room chased by two dogs.

Finally, the bat flew back into my office. I shut the door. And then, because bravery and terror make you do stupid things sometimes, I went into the room with the freaked out, slightly spastic, flying around in circles bat. I swatted at it but nothing was happening. I snuck back out, yelled for Andrew, who was on the phone with the police asking for guidance or help or something and told him I was going to do something very brave. He was on the phone though, so he totally ignored me as I yelled and bellowed and giggled.

When Andrew came upstairs I told him, again, that I was going to do a very brave thing. I was going to pick up the bat, and throw it out the damn window. Because I’d had enough of this shit and the bat was sitting, all polite like, on my bookcase, in a perfect position for capture.

I grabbed a hoodie from the closet, threw a jacket over my head to protect my ears and facial features from bat attack, snuck up on a chair, grabbed the bat with the hoodie, and threw the bat and my hoodie out the window.

Meanwhile, Andrew was on the floor, holding the broom up in the air yelling at me to “SHUT THE FUCKING WINDOW! SHUT THE FUCKING WINDOW!!! IT’S GONNA GET BACK IN!! LEAVE THE SWEATER – DROP THE DAMN SWEATER – WE CAN GET THE SWEATER TOMORROW!!”

Andrew would like everyone to know that it was very scary and that he almost got murdered because the bat almost flew and hit him in the head five times. And that he’s now Team Jacob, for sure.

The friendship that was & how Facebook is kind of a prick-face.

In high school, I had a best friend. We met in gym class, sitting on the bleachers on my first day at a new school. I was feeling sorry for myself because, as it turns out, no matter how many times you move around as a kid, making new friends is never easy. She was behind me with a group of old friends she’d grown up with when they invited me to join in their conversation. I was relieved. From there, it took off. We were instant best friends. We spent hours on the phone. We were alike and different. We’d smoke Marlboro Reds in her room after her parents went to bed and bitched about parents and high school and boys and hurt and the weight of the world. We held each other up when things got bad and tried, like hell, to save each others lives.

I moved an hour away, made new friends, but nothing replaced her. You can have more than one best friend, you know.

I moved to Richmond for college and she visited and every month I’d visit her up in Northern Virginia. We’d stay up talking until 3 in the morning when I had to be up at 6.

She was the maid of honor at my first wedding.

I deployed. During my two-week leave I spent a full week with her. We caught up on everything and even though we hadn’t seen each other for 10 months, everything went right back to normal and it was perfect.

Then I came home, expecting things to be the same, and they weren’t. We got to together a full five months after my return and it just wasn’t right. Things had changed. Something was different.

She posted a note on MySpace, said sometimes she just “dropped people.” A week later her account was gone and the only connection I had left to her vanished. Poof. The end. I was unbelievably hurt. Still am, it seems.

It’s a strange thing, losing a best friend after eight years. It hurts for obvious reasons like how I didn’t do anything to provoke an end, other than deploy to a fucking hazardous duty location for a year where I wore combat boots and carried a gun all day, every day. And then, there’s other stuff. Like how, at the age of 24, and still at 26, it’s impossible to find a best friend. Everyone is paired up.

See, I’m not good with girls, really. I’m not a girl’s kind of girl, it seems. I’m a bit rough around the edges, I drop the f-bomb far too often for the liking of lots of delicate lady ears and I’m kind of a loudmouth once you get to know me. I’d rather spend time shooting the shit under some camo netting with a group of infantrymen than spend a day at the spa. And I don’t want babies and I didn’t change my last name and that, right there, is enough to scare off a whole batch of well-meaning ladies (and men) who think I need saving or who don’t respect my personal choices despite my deep respect for theirs. Sure, I’ve got girl friends, and I love them all dearly, but sure enough, they’re paired up already.

Periodically, I’ll look her up on Facebook. Or google her. Just to see. I never expect anything to turn up. Nothing has for the past two years. And then today, on a random whim, I checked Facebook. I typed in her name and it auto-populated her right in there because, don’t you know? We’ve got 3 mutual friends.Thanks Facebook. You’re a gigantic asshole of douche-face proportions, did you know that?

So the question is, now what? Do I shoot her a friend request? Or not? What if she ignores the damn thing? What if she doesn’t? If she approves it, do I say anything? Or should I just let it go?

Getting it back

Two things happened recently:

1. The weight of everything got to me and I locked myself in the bathroom and cried for an hour.

2. Andrew and I had a serious talk (through the locked bathroom door) about the lacking romantical-ness in our relationship and what I realize is the completely and entirely nonsensical argument of mine that he never plans anything and then, when I yell him to plan something and he does, it’s still not enough because it’s like I planned it anyway because I am, clearly, a crazy person.

So last weekend, after I stopped crying about EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD THAT SUCKS (boo-fucking-hoo), which, admittedly it not something I do, except for maybe once or twice a year when the floodgates burst and I cry until I can’t anymore, Andrew and I went to dinner. A nice dinner. With delicious stuffed mushrooms and a fabulous bottle of wine and a sinfully delightful dessert. And we talked about all sorts of things and I think we came to a few realizations.

1. Being around each other all day is not the same as spending quality time together.

2. Crashing onto the couch and zoning out does not count as quality time together.

3. We need to start keeping more lists of all the things we want to do together.

Richmond’s a neat city, with lots of very Richmond things to experience. We talk about going and doing things in and around our city all the damn time, but we never make any plans. Ideas get filed away in the back of our minds and we end up wasting another weekend on the couch or on the internet or just trying to catch our breath from a busy work week.

This past weekend though, things were different. Instead of saying we should do something someday in the eventual future, we made plans. What a novel fucking concept, right?

We’d talked forever about having some friends over, and finally, we did. I made dinner. Caprese salad on a stick, beer can chicken, grilled (back-yard garden-grown) vegetables, garlic fries, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Simple. Perfect.

Saturday we lounged. We took glorious naps, caught up on our Netflix movies and I finally took Andrew to see a movie at the Byrd Theater.  It’s this amazing old movie theater in one of the cutest parts of my city. Andrew had never been and we’d talked about going since we first moved back to Richmond two and half years ago.

The movie, Date Night with Tina Fey and Steve Carell, was absolutely hilarious and the ambiance was pretty nice too.

Sunday, we brunched. Somehow, after everyone moved out of the old apartment, we got out of the habit of brunching. Thing is, I love brunch and declared, on Friday, that we needed to bring brunching back into our lives.

After stuffing our faces with eggs and sausage and french toast and mimosas, we hit the recently reopened Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, another place we’d been meaning to visit.

Sunday afternoon, we napped, again. Because we could.

Monday still feels like a bitch, but I’m happier knowing we didn’t waste the weekend. We’ve lulled ourselves into a bit of a lazy habit of not doing anything special to celebrate this thing we’ve got going on and that shit needs to change. Sure, we go on great vacations every once in a while and celebrate birthdays, but we need to work on making every day special and perfect and better.