Friday, April 29, 2011

Sour grapes make a bitter (but fine) whine

There have been very few times that I’ve relished being in my late thirties, so please just let me have this moment. OK? You see, last week, I was at the salon, and for the first time in a decade, the event produced a happy ending... albeit not the same kind a guy would have.

But… to tell you the moral of this tale, I have to tell you the story first.

Now that we’re only a few short months away from the wedding, my stylist and I have a work plan: monthly facials, monthly haircuts and highlights, and pedicures every five weeks. It’s a lot like my normal regimen, except that the costs are considered “wedding expenses.” Think Enron meets Vera Wang. At any rate, should all go well, I will look about 38 instead of 40. But that’s the thing about goals… they should be measurable and achievable.

If it sounds shallow, that’s because it is. However, it’s important to plan the work then work the plan.

That said, that’s not the point of this blog post. The point is that, while I was at the salon, a wedding party came in to do a dry run of the bride and bridesmaids’ hair. They were all in their early twenties and heading to the bachelorette party immediately after their appointment. Intrigued, my stylist (who is about my age) and I listened to their agenda, which went something like this:
1. Hair
2. Drink
3. Drink more
4. Rave club
5. Drink some more
7. Pass out
8. Politely skip brunch the next day (this is implied)

I have to admit, I was slightly jealous and said to myself, “Self… there’s not one line on her face. There’s not one ounce of fat on her body. And she will not be standing at her wedding reception around ten o’clock at night… exhausted… wondering if it’s rude to leave and get some sleep.”

And that’s when it dawned on me; two emotions cannot co-exist in the same space. Instead of being jealous, I should be happy for her and wish her nothing but the best… the same sentiments I want others to have for DB and me. And not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because if there’s anything I’ve learned as I approach 40 -it’s that karma is unkind.

Besides, I was that bride and I’ve been that bridesmaid. I’ve been that girl at the wedding du jour… listening to the music du jour… drinking the shot du jour… in the bridesmaid's dress du jour. You know the dress I’m talking about… the several hundred dollar one that your friend, the bride, picked because, "It’s so pretty yet practical that you can actually use it again..." the dress du jour that I always feel like wearing to the brunch du jour… with the hang over du jour… just so I can say, "You're RIGHT! This one is different from the other forty that I own. I actually CAN wear it again.” But I digress.

The moral to this tale is this: While I could fake being sage and loosely quote Aesop who said, “Although sour grapes make a bitter but fine whine, the more fully matured ones make a truly enjoyable drink.” I’d rather quote Meatloaf instead and tell you that, “A wasted youth is better by far than a wise and productive old age.” Party on young bride. Have a blast. Love with reckless abandon and enjoy the ride - even if it takes you to a salon twenty years from now... where you're eavesdropping with your stylist… slightly jealous of a young wedding party. Just remember to wish that bride the same thing I wish for you - nothing but sheer bliss.

Talk to you next week.

Monday, April 25, 2011

My mom is right, “Real friends are the ones who walk in when everyone else is walking out.”

There’s a hole in the middle of our lot *clap clap*
There’s a hole in the middle of our lot *clap clap*
There’s a hole. There’s a hole. There’s a hole in the middle of our lot *clap clap*
There’s a loan on the hole in the middle of our lot…

And that’s where our story begins.

For those of you who know me, you know that I’m not good with paperwork. I’m just not. So thank God the task of dealing with the construction loan has fallen squarely onto DB’s very capable shoulders. Had I gotten stuck with it instead, the above ditty would have been more, “SECOND VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST” than “There’s a loan on the hole in the middle of our lot.” In other words, no progress would have been made whatsoever, because honestly - the last time I had to get a home loan, it was so therapy-inducing (for all involved) that I ended up severing all ties to a shallow acquaintance while clinging to my best friend for dear life.

However, to tell you that part of the story, I have to tell you this part first.

Though my ex-husband and I bought our house in 1999, he handled the details. In fact, it wasn’t until after our divorce in 2008 (when I had to refinance and transfer the mortgage), that I looked at my first financial document… ever. As you can imagine, walking into a bank as an old dog unwilling to learn new tricks… with no fiscal experience and even less patience… in the midst of a global economic crisis… trying to understand equity and escrow and APRs and closing costs and appraisals… was NOT my finest moment. So I did what I do in every meltdown, I called my best friend... and not just to vent, but for help. You see, she’s owned several homes, is getting a PhD in Economics, and truly knows what she’s talking about. Add to that the fact that she knows how to handle me in just such moments, and voila – she’s my crisis hotline.

So for about thirty minutes straight, I called… and I texted… and I called… and I texted, but she didn’t respond. And that’s when I figured out that she must be in a meeting with her phone off, so I sent the following e-mail to her instead: Please come to the Credit Union with me and help me finish this fucking paperwork. Note, if you don’t, you leave me no choice but to tell them it’s for a Lesbian Boys Ranch… our Lesbian Boys Ranch (to be specific) and I will list you as the co-signer. Don't make this uglier than it has to be. See you Tuesday at 11:15. Love you."

Later that day, I received an e-mail back that said, "I'm sorry. I don't think you meant to send this to me." It was from the Head of a Women’s Club that I belong to… who happens to have the same initials as my best friend, TB. Yup - I e-mailed it to TB alright, just the wrong one. Now, to fully understand the horror of this situation, you have to understand that this woman (not my TB but the other TB) is a typical mid-western social club president. She is a prude and a gossip who believes that divorce is a disease... that it’s contagious... and that it’s coming for her like a semi on ice without breaks. So she wants nothing to do with me to begin with. And now, NOW she thinks I'm a lesbian... who wants to open a boy’s ranch... with my best friend... who also happens to be my lover. Needless to say, she didn't need any more fundraising help from me.

When I forwarded the entire string to TB… the real TB… she said, “See you at the bank. Wear that sweater I love that makes your eyes pop (and by that I mean shows off your boobs).” Clearly this is why we’re best friends.

At any rate... this story isn't about a shallow woman who walked away when it got hard or even about the amazing woman who didn’t. It's about a hole that’s been dug, on a lot that’s been purchased, with a loan that neither TB nor I had to handle. But it’s also about passing on my mother’s advice - with a twist, "Just because you don't keep the shallow friends doesn't mean you can't fuck with them. And just because you kept the good ones doesn't mean you can."

Talk to you next week!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

happy birthday dear mkromd. happy birthday to you.

On April 10, 2010, I published mkromd’s first post. Had it been a birth announcement instead of a blog, it’d have been easy to see how my project was progressing. With writing, it’s not that simple. There isn’t a, “What to Expect the First Year” book, so I have no idea what the benchmarks for success and failure are. However, what I do know is that I gained twenty pounds and don’t have a toddler to blame it on. That said, since there isn’t an infant involved, it has to be better to have gotten stretch marks than sore nipples - because I’m not sure I’d know how to explain that... to anyone. But, as always, I digress.

The point is that, the other night, as we were getting hit by a thunderstorm, I decided that if I couldn’t track my growth as a writer, I could at least track it as a human being. And so, instead of logging into the back end and checking mkromd’s analytics, I started with the first post and read each and every one of them in order. To quote the late, great Selma Diamond of it’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, “I laughed. I cried. It became a part of me.”

I just wish the part of me that it went to wasn’t my ass.

At any rate, if there’s anything I learned from that exercise, it’s that the French are right… "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.” The more things change, the more they stay the same.

- I still have a bat-shit crazy puppy who eyeballs me while masturbating on her dog bed. What's new is that she now has an all-glass sunroom and does it for the neighbors to watch. Because the sunroom is near the kitchen, I like to think of it as dinner and a show.

- I still have TB (the friend not the disease), but I'm told that a shot of penicillin can cure both.

- I still write mercilessly about my partner, my family, and my closest friends, albeit anonymously. However, I think my mother speaks for all of them when she tells me, “Honey, if you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in writing.”

And though I would tell you that I write because it saves me $100 a week in therapy bills, I'd be lying if I didn't say that her argument has merit. And that would be wrong, because birthdays aren't just about getting older, they're also about growing up. Talk to you next week.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dr. Brothers said it best: Marriage isn't just about love. It's also about taking out the trash.

As you know, DB and I have been together for over two years now. In that time, we've designed a house, found and purchased a lot, buried his father, gotten engaged, sold my house, moved into a rental house, planned a wedding, and broken ground on our new home. However, it wasn't until yesterday that he saw me have a full-blown diva fit… at a city dump… in an Armani pantsuit, Ferragamo pumps, and an Ann Taylor sweater. Yes. Really.

That said, to tell you that part of the story, I have to tell you this part first.

Not only did DB inherit his father’s good looks and love of nature and guitars, he also inherited a giant, red Dodge truck from him. It’s huge, and at the risk of sounding like I don’t care about the environment, it has come in VERY handy to:
- Move things from my house to our rental house.
- Move things from my old garage to the dump.
- Go skiing.

At this point, I need to remind you that DB is a TOTAL keeper, whom I love and adore with every fiber of my being. That amazing man has easily taken 100 loads of my 'stuff' to the dump (from when we worked on my landscaping, when we cleaned out my basement, and when we emptied my garage), he has done all of it in his very calm, Buddhisty way, and he has asked for nothing in return. So, two weeks ago, I said, “Please don’t go to the dump without me again. It’s the last load of shit from my house, and it’s massive. Your back hurts. Your shoulder hurts, and your neck hurts. I’ll handle this.” And… he waited. Through snowstorms, tornadoes, and rain showers, he waited… until yesterday.

You see, last weekend, we had agreed to meet at 4:45 to do it… which I didn’t remember until I got to work and saw it on my calendar… which was unfortunate – given my wardrobe selection. However, instead of cancelling… I showed up… ready to work... fashionably (my people are Irish, we know how to toil). So, I put on a pair of work gloves and started grabbing trash from the bed when a RANCID BAG OF GARBAGE EXPLODED ON ME.

That was it. There were tears... there was snot... there was even a little vomit... all of which was accompanied by a scream which was more like a whimper whose pitch was so high that only dogs could hear it. To be exact, it was a diva fit. However, in my defense, it was legitimate and warranted. The whole event was so disgusting that I had to change my clothes in the garage at our rental house and wash my hair with anti-bacterial soap... which is now so dry that it's going to break off at the root. And then, this morning, when I took the outfit to the dry cleaners, the woman had the nerve to say, “Only you would wear Armani to gut a bear.” She's lucky that I've already had one diva fit this week.

Talk to you next week.