Tag Archives: crazy

Very Busy and Important

24 Aug


Me.  I am very busy and important.  Okay, maybe just busy…  This week goes down in history (I’m probably forgetting some weeks in history) as the Busiest Week Ever.  It’s kind of a funny story…

Normally, I work Tuesday-Saturday, as I mentioned in my last post.  This week, however, we were going to be closed on Saturday due to a work function in Chicago that did not involve me.  So I opted to work Monday-Friday for a free three-day weekend!  Plus, I’d have been home alone, so I was going to have a party in my basement.  At least one person said they’d come.  Then, however, I was asked to join on this Chicago thing.  Oh, and I need you to still work Monday.  Fiiiine.  Plans: canceled.  Fun: over.  It turns out that having a one-day weekend makes me a little, shall we say, testy.  So in my testy state, I did some quick math and figured I’m working 99 hours this week.  Including commute time… it sounds more pitiful.

Once I finished feeling sorry for myself, I started to panic.  First, I do need to sleep.  So, working around that and my 14-hour days, I need to get the basic things accomplished, and get my business-suited self off to Chicago for a long day and a black-tie evening.  *deep breaths start… NOW*

I’ve got some systems in place to get me through my busy weeks, but this week my systems are failing me.  Part of my week-prep involves making an egg bake for breakfast all week.  It’s the greatest thing, because you can change the ingredients around to suit your mood.  The base is a loaf of crusty bread, like a baguette, an egg mixture, and cheese.  But you can use goat cheese, or cheddar cheese, or swiss cheese, and so on.  You get the idea, right?  Sometimes a little goat cheese with spinach and bacon is nice.  Sometimes I like to use the Mexican cheddar and throw in some olives and chorizo and have myself some huevos for the week.  Life on the edge.  One of these days I’ll teach you all how to make it.  For now, though, I’ll just wish I had some.  One-day weekend system fail.

Another system failure: I set up the coffee pot each night… okay, I’m lying.  He sets the coffee up.  He also puts a mug of it on my bedside table in the morning, and that has become my alarm clock.  I know, spoiled.

Okay, he doesn’t put a picked flower with it, but I am NOT complaining.  (Even if the occasional flower would be nice…)
This coffee thing is a double time-saver, though.  First, I get coffee in my system ASAP so that I can function to get out the door ever.  I won’t say it happens quickly, because it doesn’t.  I am my mother.  I also take a mug of it with me, saving me a stop on the way to work.  I didn’t say these were innovations, just systems.  And this one won’t happen all week because I simply can’t drink a whole pot (i.e., I like to go to Caribou).
And did I say I was my mother?  Not quite.  I’ve got my own spin on it… She has to leave the house 6 times before she leaves the house, each door slam louder than the last.  I just cover all those trips in and out before I walk out the door.  Same amount of time, less obvious malfunction.  Always improving on the previous generation.

I’m working on a system to get the dishes and laundry done so that I don’t come home to a disaster zone, but I’m not sure where exactly that fits in.  I’m starting to wonder how other people get things done.

Sure…

Wa__sabi

6 Aug


My husband doesn’t understand these predicaments, either.

The aforementioned Friend K had a really cool post that has had me thinking for a couple weeks.  She said that her house is “wabi-sabi,” which not the same as my favorite green goo for sushi.

It’s not as tasty, and takes at least as long to get used to.  My favorite translation of it is Mess.  K says is “the acceptance of transience, of seeing the beauty in something that is imperfect, impermanent, or incomplete.”  I did a little wikihomework on the subject, and also liked how they summed it up… “[It] nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.”

The house I live in is fine.  Not wabi-sabi in the slightest, and in fact it could use a little more of that.  It was built in 2001, the walls are straight enough, and the carpet is only lightly stained.  I think it’s my life that is wabi-sabi.  Discuss…

Nothing lasts?  I guess I don’t think of material things that way, it’s more that I always have this hourglass in the back of my mind… “Like sands through the hourglass…”  How many times did I hear THAT during pre-employment summers?  More times than my mom wants to know.  For me, time is what doesn’t last.  My favorite moments of gin and tonics on the patio seem very temporary.  Fleeting, even!  My inability to work efficiently could have something to do with it, but as it stands, I feel like days, especially the good ones, go by too quickly.

Nothing is finished?  SERIOUSLY.  Nothing, unless it’s a pizza or a cheeseburger, is ever finished.  I have a special collection of garments at the bottom of my laundry basket that do not get washed.  I don’t ever have the right load to throw them in with, nor do I ever feel it is a “good time” to do a load of hand-washing.

Nor am I good at line drying…
This gives me a little bit of a complex about some things, but this wabi-sabi thing wants me to just accept that the dusting might get done, but not the vacuuming.  Practical application: I’m having a sizeable party this weekend, and it’s just not possible to be “ready” for such a thing.  There’s a pretty constant back and forth in my head that goes a little like, “Agh!  Nothing is done!” and then, “Nobody will notice that you haven’t rotated the picture frames in… ever.”  And so on.

Nothing is perfect?  Well, I think we all KNOW that, but sometimes that doesn’t make it easy.  When Friend B first moved into the apartment that neither of us knew would define our relationship, it was white.  White walls, white carpet, white furniture.  I had spent about 30 seconds in Leiden and the house I stayed in had light wood and white everything else.  Very cool, I thought, so I tried to recreate it in my carpeted suburban apartment.  Fail.  Friend B took my concerned self down to the Home Depot, and we picked out a purple (called “Sassy Pants” or somesuch), a tomato red, and a blue and a green for her room and bathroom that she would later decide was sort of lurid.  Oh well.  The living room was purple, the kitchen was red, and they were connected so it was just a lot of stuff happening that disturbed my sensibilities.

See?  Disturbing.  Lurid.  I’m pretty used to it now.
Note: several years later, my parents would apply the first coat of colored paint their house had seen since 1986.  Good work, Friend B, you even got to the root of the problem.  Don’t even get me started on how she started on the arrangements of knick knacks that were not in a Straight Line or hanging pictures without Using A Level.

More on wabi-sabi… Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.  Generally, I like it.  I think it’s a great model for working with what you have, going with the flow, and not falling into the ginormous trap of the Crate & Barrel catalog of Things I Don’t Have But Totally Need.  I have everything I need, none of it is perfect, I am not finished, and time doesn’t last.  So I guess I’ll have a gin and tonic!

Crazy Nines

20 Jul

I’m obsessed with the Enneagram.  I know that on some level, all of the personality typing systems are the same.  Do you like people or do you hate them?  [Depends on the day.]  Do your emotions overflow or do you bottle them?  [Bottle.]  Do you eat your feelings?  [Yes.  Definitely yes.]  But I can never resist a little reinvention.  Like, sometimes I have my gin with an olive, and sometimes with a twist.  Sometimes I want a meat-lover’s pizza, and sometimes I’m feeling a little more omnivorous.  I like having new language and systems for these personality types.  Plus, it’s always fun to have new people to discuss them with.  We got on the topic at the most recent book club meeting, and the more I think about it, the more I’m pretty sure I’ll recommend an Enneagram book the next time it’s my turn to choose.

I think I’m a 9.  Abraham Lincoln was a 9, so it can’t be so bad.  It says I’m a “peacemaker,” which I’m not sure is true, but that I have a basic fear of loss or separation.  I have a vivid memory of following a pair of legs around at the harbor in my hometown, and being VERY startled that they did not attach to my dad’s head.  Via torso, of course.  I also remember the guy who looked down at me seeming very amused, which I took as vicious mocking.  So yeah, we’re on the right track here.  My basic desire, as a 9, is to have something they call “inner stability,” or “peace of mind.”  I’ve heard of these things, but never found them.  I think that might be what I’m attempting with this here outlet.  There’s also a bit in the description of the 9 that suggests I may have several different personae.  While I’m sorry about that, I fear it may be true.

Of course, I immediately want to know what everyone else’s type is.  I’ve moved past “sanguine” and “phlegmatic” (really?  phlegm?) and all that INTJ stuff they made us do in school, and I want you all to give it to me in code.  Numeric code.  I think that a large part of what appeals to me about this particular system (aside from it being another opportunity for me to study ME) is that it seems like a secret language.
Here’s a recap of a recent conversation I had…
J: “I’m a 3.  All of my siblings are 3s.  That’s very unusual.”
Me: “I think I’m a 9.  Or a 4.  Or a 9.”
J: “Ooh, my mom is a 9.  They’re constantly mistyped.”
Me:  “They sound crazy, maybe I’m a 4.”
J: “My dad is an 8.”
Me: “Of course he is.  What else could he be?”

And so on, until we noticed that the rest of our friends were staring at us, totally perplexed.    Once they were filled in, the discussion naturally turned to how to dupe the menfolk into taking the quiz.  It didn’t seem to occur to us that they’d do it willingly, and maybe there’s something to that.  But it seemed to go without saying that it’d be even MORE fun to discuss them if we could apply our Secret Number Code.  Maybe we’ll even give them Spy Names, to add to the secrecy.  “Agent Cargoshorts is totally a 6.”

You want in, don’t you.  You can take a free test here or the full monty ($10) here.  I might disagree with your findings, as I’m pretty sure that one of my multiple personalities makes immutable decisions about other people.  Thanks for being my friend, though.

Freaks!

8 Jun

Seems that a busy work week can put a damper on my intentions to get to this… ironic, given the title of my last post!  Oh well, back on the wagon!

We are both control freaks, but of different colors.  Me, I’m a freak about the details.  He is a freak about “the plan” and something called “all-or-nothing.”  I will explain.

Because of the high incidence of Spandex (R) and exposed skin in our chosen profession, we sometimes (less frequently than in previous years) shave some carbs out of our diets.  For me this means having two pieces of cake instead of three.  Or having sushi, because “it’s only a little bit of rice!”  For him this means eating scrambled eggs and cottage cheese and grilled chicken.  Once he decides not to eat cake or rice or anything that tastes good, he just doesn’t.  End of discussion.  I can’t seem to understand why, after our grilled chicken and cottage cheese, we can’t just have a little dessert!

By about Tuesday (we have Sunday and Monday off, so Tuesday is the beginning of our work week), he is usually asking me what “the plan” is for the weekend.  My response is usually something like this: “…I don’t know…” accompanied by a look that says, “stupid question, stupid answer.”  I’m a really nice person.  The thing is, I’m a recovering over-planner, so whenever possible, I like to go where the wind blows me.  I learned it from my friends, I think it’s lovely.  He thinks it’s disorganized.

However… if we are GOING to make “a plan,” it needs to be The Perfect Plan.  This is where I become a freak.  (Maybe my resistance to planning is a self-preserving attempt to be less freakish?)  We’re going out to lunch?  I have to research the menu online – nothing is more irritating than an unpublished menu! – so that I can make a decision on my order sometime the same day as being seated.  I need to find the perfect patio on a gorgeous day.  And what kind of cocktail will enhance the sunshine?  It’s paralyzing, folks.

A couple weeks ago, after much “What do you want to do?” and “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” he planned a date.  It was wonderful.  I did not criticize the details.  I didn’t even want to!  We went to see The Hangover 2.  He poured Captain Morgan into our Coke.  The movie, and the drink, were gross.  Then we went to dinner.  This was actually pretty exciting, because we never do the dinner-and-a-movie date.  I had a good martini, some thawed calamari, a pretty decent entree, and a great time.

I think we can all see the lesson here: let him handle the details.  I’m going to start doing a LOT of delegating.  As an act of self-therapy, of course!

Oh Look!

24 May

I have a short attention span.  This makes me challenging to be around in several ways.

In any given shopping situation, you might find me changing directions (let’s call this “Path B”) without warning or announcement because something caught my eye.  You would then find my husband continuing on Path A for quite some time before noticing my disappearance, hunting around until he finds me – I don’t stick up much above the racks – and reminding me yet again that he would like a little warning when I decide to tear off in the direction of whatever was shiny or polka-dotted.

He loves movies.  We have the largest collection of VHS tapes in the Central Time Zone.  He owns most of his favorite movies and likes to watch them while we cook or eat or do other chores.  Last night, he put on “Road to Perdition” while I cooked and he did some dishes.  About every 2 minutes, I said something like, “Who’s that guy” or, “What are they doing?” or, “Are they gangsters??”  This, apparently, was irritating.  I’ve been known to ask the same questions during an episode of Law & Order.  Supposedly, nobody else in the world has trouble following the plot of Law & Order.

Our house is too big.  We have about 2500 square feet.  My last place was about 1000 square feet, and I was only responsible for half of it.  Have you ever tried to clean 2500 square feet?  There’s SO MUCH TO DO that it’s hard to stay on one task for very long.  No, seriously.  You’re cleaning your office, and then your mind wanders to all the other things that need to be done.  There’s that box in the basement waiting to be sorted (does that mean emptied and spread around a 12-foot radius for anyone else?), or maybe the counters in the bathroom need to be wiped down.  Or maybe there’s a pair of socks that didn’t make it into the sock drawer, and I can NOT finish what I’m doing until one or three of those other tasks are complete.  Begin distraction task, repeat distraction.  This seems like a good time to mention that my mother-in-law’s house is Very Clean.

I try to put a positive spin on things.  I’m a silver lining kind of girl.  I’m trying to sell him on this silver lining being my endless curiosity, or my interest in all kinds of things that could bring richness and texture to our lives, but I’m pretty sure he just sees several pairs of half-made earrings, or the 12-foot spread of junk that at least used to be contained in a box.  He may be infinitely patient with me, but at least all my socks make it into the sock drawer.

One to go… with a side of ‘mones

19 May

I’m not crazy…

Today is the eleven-month mark for us.  I’m pretty excited to have a year of marriage under my belt.  It has surprised me how proud I am to be married.  Reminds me of Bridget Jones’ Diary, and the Smug Marrieds in her group of friends.  I like to think I’m not one of those, as their most distinguishing marking seemed to be their efforts to convince everyone to buddy up and get hitched.  While I desperately want my friends to be happy, I recognize that marriage may not bring that to all of them.  I think my smugness may lie more in how my wedding ring is so much prettier than yours.

We’ve talked a little about what we want to do to celebrate, and it’s been narrowed down so far to “something special” that is “not so expensive.”  That rules out most of the culinary experiences I’d like to have, as well as many of the hotels I think would be fun to crash.  So there’s some work to be done there…  I also need to figure out how I’m going to get him the super-clever, oh-so-punny gift I’ve thought up without getting busted via credit card statements.  Online?  Disguise it by lumping it in with a Target run?  Good thing I so love to scheme, there’s lots of it to do!

I just can’t help wondering, on this nearly-significant day, why they don’t recognize the obvious signs of our monthly hormone swings.  When a female coworker or friend of mine has an inexplicable outburst of bitchiness and/or tears and/or both at once, my first thought is something like, “Maybe we’ll have this conversation in 5-7 days.”

But on this, our eleven monthiversary, he tried to console me.  He tried to reason with me.  He tried to out-argue me.  And back to reason.  He even SAT ON THE FLOOR with me (reasoning attempt #2).  It was all such an interesting contrast to the response from a female coworker of mine: “You, too, this week?”

So, after some consideration and a quick check of the calendar, I’ve decided to go forward with the planning of what we might do to celebrate our first (paper) anniversary.  He should be safe on that weekend.