Wednesday, April 20, 2011

strangers, don't talk to me when I'm in the shower

My shower is my sacred place, and I’m not willing to share it with many people.

So, this morning while I was in my steamy sanctuary, a stranger’s voice was suddenly yelling at me, and my sanctuary was violated.

I don’t want to talk to a near stranger while naked. Period.

A couple nights a week, I stay at a co-worker’s house to eliminate some of my driving time. After a month of this, a friend of hers came back from Germany, and he’s also staying with her, which means I have a roommate. Our rooms are across the hall from each other, and we share a bathroom.

I don’t have many personal space phobias, and I don’t really care if I’m having a conversation with someone in the bathroom while I’m doing my make up or brushing my hair. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t take long to know that the bathroom is often a meeting place for members of my family and friends.

My shower is a little bit different. There have been instances where girl talk has transpired between myself and a sister, but those times are rare and involved someone who I didn’t mind talking to while shampooing my hair.

A practical stranger is different.

I was jarred out of my showering-thought-process by a man’s garbled voice in a stringy sentence of which the only thing I distinctly heard was my name.

I’m not really sure what the protocol is in this situation. Shut off the water? Ask for a repeat? Tell him I didn’t hear him? Prematurely end my shower and greet him in a towel to see what he wants?

I couldn’t figure out what was so important that he had to yell at me through a locked bathroom door while I was in the shower.

“Have a good day, Holly.” Our relationship doesn’t call for that.
“Be sure and set the alarm before you leave, Holly.” That’s obvious.
“I’m not going to lock the front door when I leave, Holly.” I don’t need to know that.
“I’m going to my girlfriend’s house, Holly.” Newsflash I couldn’t have lived without.
“I have beer chilling in the fridge, Holly. Help yourself tonight.” That might have called for interrupting my shower.

I yelled back, “Okay.”

And then he was gone, and I was left thinking about how I don’t like being talked to by strangers when I’m in the shower. And that I should blog about it.

So I did.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I was a mom of three

I was a working mom of three.

For 48 hours.

After a 50-hour work week.

I was a guinea pig for myself in many regards last weekend, because I’ve been tossing around the question: can a woman do it all?

I’ve polled my friends, projected myself into the wife/mother role (usually when I’m exhausted beyond the ability to form a complete sentence and think, “And to come home in this state to … babies??”), and was glad for the opportunity to nurture a 6-, 3-, and 1-year old the whole weekend. I had help, but I turned most of it down for the sake of my experiment.

I was your ideal image of an OCD mom of three Saturday and Sunday. On our family agenda was a baseball tournament both days in a town 30 minutes away. So I packed picnic lunches, a blanket, snacks, bottles, drinks, baseball gloves and balls and sunscreen, tossed my unwashed hair into a pony tail (who has time to shower with three kids?!), donned my Capri work-out pants and team T-shirt, loaded all three in the SUV and away we went.

Thankfully I packed 350 wipes, because I used every single one of them. The chocolate animal crackers were a hit, as were the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, milk, apple juice, apple slices, cheerios, Wheat Thins, sunflower seeds and raisins. The babies fell asleep on the way home, and I carried them both inside where they completed their naps and the 6-year-old had rest time.

Later, it was dinner, bath time, keeping them inside after bath time, playing catch, watching TV, and then bedtime. There were the whimpers at night, which I mostly ignored, and the early rising and chilling on the couch until the rest of the household woke up.

There were also a lot of hugs, kisses, snuggling and cuddling, crying when I left the room, and trying to keep up with me.

The experiment proved my suspicion. Women can do it all, but she might not do it all well.

I didn’t get as much housecleaning done as I would’ve liked, I was folding laundry late at night, the work I would’ve done at an earlier hour wasn’t done till much later, and by the time the house was quiet I was numb and not much use for anything else.

And this equation did not include a husband.

The experiment was faulty for many reasons, which provide both pros and cons. I’m sure that if the children were actually mine, and I did have a husband, I’d find a way to do it. I’d adapt. Somehow. Also, I knew there was an end in sight. Their mother returned Sunday night and my shift was essentially over. That provided immediate relief, and also a “light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” outlook when a few moments got rough (like at 1:30 a.m.) There would be no such outlook if I were actually the mom.

This line of thinking has been at the forefront of my mind for awhile, because my new job means I’m physically disconnected from my family a lot, which I can afford right now because I’m single, no kids. But in the back of my mind I know that if I were married, and especially with kids, I would not be able to maintain my workload, and rest comfortably that I was giving everything 100 percent.

My weekend proved that to me.

I’m not stressing over what that means for me right now. If I were married, I would worry about it a little more. If I were a mother, I’d worry about it a lot. But I’m neither, and so I’m not stressing.

I am aware, though. And now I have a better understanding.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I don't like him

Of all the places I've lived and the good and bad memories associated with each, there is one place I despise. You don't have to be around too long to know where it is, and what I wish would happen to it. About this time a year ago, I was living in Van Horn, Texas, and it was not by choice. Sure, I could've left, I could've bailed, I could've moved, but where was I leaving to? Bailing to? Moving where? So I stayed in hell's armpit. I have one good memory from the four months I lived there. I can isolate it from the surrounding circumstances, accusations, darkness, and savor it for what it was. I've been mostly silent about those four months, and the preceeding and ensuing events that led to my getting there and leaving. Both happened in a hurry. I didn't talk about it, because I didn't want him to know that I knew the asshole he is. Now I want to tell him to his face. Or at least a text. But it's over now. He doesn't carry a superficial title over me; I don't have to listen to his pompous bullshit or be victim to his harrowing blunders and deceitful coverups. And the bonus is that I can buy as much ***damn ice as I want. Yet, here I am - this weekend, this morning showering and suddenly being back in Van Horn in my head. I can barely say the two words without shuddering, or at the very least getting pissed off, and in some cases crying. A lot was lost there. I can't think of anything gained. Freedom, maybe, but that's a stretch. Our freedom would've come sooner or later. An asshole is an asshole is an asshole - that's going to be apparent regardless of where you live. But why these thoughts today? I don't know. Perhaps because I was telling my story to a friend the other night. A new friend, who was asking typical questions of a typical life, except my life wasn't typical, which results in untypical answers. Most people I placate with my spin on typical answers, but she's an actual friend. So I told her my story. The truth is that he is a part of my story. What I do with that truth is up to me.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I shouldn't

I shouldn't admit I've been staring at this blank screen for as long as I have. I shouldn't have because there's enough thoughts swirling in my head to write a book. I shouldn't because still, after all these years, I'm worried about what people will think. I shouldn't be because my story is worth telling (isn't that what I tell everyone?)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


While I was rinsing my peaches canned in heavy syrup, I realized my eating habits have changed.

It took several rinses for the heavy syrup to be eliminated from part of my lunch. Sugar is an enemy of mine for many reasons, and that became more evident over the weekend when I overindulged.

I ate a piece of cake and some ice cream Saturday - the first blatant partaking of sugar I've had in a long time. That was precluded by M&Ms Friday and a bit of a cookie Thursday.

I was on vacation and so I had given myself mental freedom to bend the rules a little bit, so I did. I regretted it later, though.

On Sunday I felt like I needed to go to rehab, or at the very least detox myself.

My diet has made me look at sugar in a whole new light. Yes, it's not good for your teeth or any part of your body, but after you've taken a break from the addicting substance, you don't realize how much your body demands it or how horrible you feel while you're on it.

I know both of those things now.

Once I start eating it, I can't stop.
Once I start eating it, I feel horrible. Horrible.
It also makes me gain weight very quickly.

So I've decided it's just easier for me to stay away from it.

Granted, rinsing canned peaches might seem extreme just like reading labels might, but in the end, I think it'll be beneficial for me.

Actually, I know it will.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

'it's my first time'

I was nervous about standing in front of people and throwing the ball.

I should have been nervous about standing in front of people and throwing the ball correctly, because as I stood on the mound (after the umpire had to show me how) and threw ball after ball, and walked runner after runner, and watched as they scored run after run, and then trash-talked me from home plate, I desperately wanted the inning to be over.

The only pitcher-legitimate part of me were the sunflower seeds in my mouth.

Most of our team met each other for the first time last night, which is indicative of how often we've practiced.

Yet somehow we entered the field confidently and thought we were going to win.

We didn't.

After my 50th consecutive pitched ball, it became apparent we were not the all-stars we considered ourselves 8 1/2 minutes prior. Reality struck - we are most likely the team to not be seeded and not make it to the Dallas state softball tournament.

I didn't pitch after the first inning because I wanted to spare myself the embarrassment. If I'd have been on a Little League team, I'd have been forced to pitch through my discomfort, but such is the glory of being on an adult softball team. You can kinda make your own decisions. So before anyone could object, I grabbed my glove and trotted off towards center field like that was exactly where I was supposed to be.

The next person up to bat hit a line drive directly to my face, and while I barehanded the ball into my glove, I remembered that's what gloves are for - to handle fast-traveling balls so that the bare flesh on my thumb wasn't stinging and bruised later.

The members of our team are diverse. Some have never played, some have never batted, others thought we were in the World Series, and directed the outfielders into their positions like they were a glorified air traffic controller. While I was playing third base, he kept trying to nudge me over, but I ignored him. I know how to play third base, and that was clear when again, a line drive was nailed right to me, and since I wasn't about to throw my entire body in front of the moving ball, I stuck my foot out to stop it. Someone from the opposing team's dugout yelled, "Nice job, third base," and I'm taking it as a compliment - not sarcasm.

I think our entire team's attitude about the situation was reflected in our left center-field's words, as he bobbled a fly ball and let it drop:

"I'm still getting a feel for the game."

He yelled it with his arms spread open in a shrugging motion. Everyone heard it.

When the game was over, and we'd lost 19-4, we gathered quickly to discuss when our first practice would be.

It's Sunday. The day before Monday, which coincidentally is the day of our double-header.

Monday, April 4, 2011

comfort people

He slept on my chest for 2 1/2-hours, and as comfortable as he was is how comfortable I was during my 66 1/2-hour trip to my old Kentucky home.

It is comforting to me that such a place exists where people know me, people love me, places are familiar and despite being gone a year, it feels like I never left.

I did all of my favorite things.

From the moment Penny picked me up from the airport Thursday, I was hugged, talked to, laughed with, cried on.

Friends came over for game night Thursday, and it was normal. More friends who couldn't stay but wanted to say hi, popped in just to "see your face." Kristin and I sat at her kitchen table and talked in person about everything we email about. Her husband joined us Thursday night, and we stayed up way too late talking about things grown-ups talk about - work, business, what it's like to be on city council, family, life. Their almost 4-year-old remembered me, their 16-month-old liked me. On Friday, we walked the campus of our Alma mater, which spurred nostalgic conversation about how long it's been since we were in college, what we were like back then and how it changed us.

Friday afternoon I was with Brooke, and my surrogate nephew, and it was natural - the three of us hanging out. We browsed Wal-Mart like only we do, we talked, gossiped and laughed. We party-planned, decorated, cleaned. I watched her be a mom, and wanted to say, "I told you so." She's a great one. I've been telling her for years she would be. After the baby was tucked in bed, and we had finished getting ready for the birthday party, we fixed food and crawled in bed to continue talking (uninterrupted) and watch TV. We literally talked until we couldn't stay awake anymore. Saturday we celebrated her son. And later we went to Nashville, we talked the whole way, laughed, cried, plotted and constructed sentences that sometimes didn't make sense and yet we understood. We got to the hotel, talked about our days of working in a hotel (where we met), tried for 10 minutes to get into a room that wasn't ours, drank wine, watched the last 16 seconds of the Kentucky/UCONN game, browsed menus, visited the vending machines, and lights out at 11:30. She dropped me off at the airport the next morning at 4:30 and just like that, my trip was over.

I love the place that feels comfortable to me.
I love the people that make me feel at home.
I love how the combination of the two makes 365 days seem non-existent. Why, I was just there yesterday. And 365 days from now when I visit again, it'll feel the same way*.

*it'll be less then 365 days before my next visit. I promised.