Bad Things Happen in Threes, Which is Why I’m Glad We Only Have Two Pieces of News

As I annoyingly alluded to to a few weeks ago, there are some fabulous new developments in CKDLand:

1.) Ed got an exciting, challenging, extremely well-deserved promotion at work which means

2.) We are moving back to the Bay Area, where his home office is located.

After a crappy year of disappointing news we decided to take some matters into our own hands. Namely: figuring out where we wanted to be both literally and figuratively. After talking about how our future was going to look differently than we had imagined at the beginning of 2013, we re-focused our energy on other goals. It became clear rather quickly that moving away would be necessary to accomplish much of what we wanted. Not because life here is so horrible, no. I mean, it would be a million times easier to stay put and coast. But we’re both in a place where we’re ready for some creative challenges and change. As sad as it will be to leave this house – where we got engaged and hosted our first Christmas as a married couple and created zillions of wonderful memories as a family – my home is with Ed and Molly. There are new memories waiting for us in a new place. And I cannot wait to get there.

Aside from locating a place to live, my number one mission is finding myself some gainful employment. So if you know of anyone looking to hire a smart ass who smells really good and is excellent at clearing paper jams in the copier, let me know.

There’s a Very Good Chance I’ll Get Yelled at for SOMETHING, Though

My wise stepmom once told me that it’s common for people to revert back to their old, familiar childhood roles when gathered with family for any extended period of time. If this is true, there’s a decent chance my 33 year-old cousin and I will take a swing at each other.* But I don’t think he’s bringing any Matchbox cars so maybe we’re good?

We’re going to my aunt and uncle’s cabin about three hours north of here for the weekend and I cannot wait to unplug, relax, spend most of the day in the pool with Bubba, and have my uncle bring me cocktails. Bliss! Ed has never been and I can’t wait to show him the property. I love that Bubba enjoys it there, too, and that we play tag on the same lawn and eat popsicles on the same deck that my cousins and I did 30 years ago. Of course if I take a swing at him CPS will be called, but I think I’ve learned to handle myself better now. Plus, it’s likely I’ll have a drink in my hand and I don’t want to spill it. Child-on-child beatings aside, I do hope there is some truth to what Judy said because taking a break from adulthood for a day or two sounds perfect right now. If the only things on my to do list are “be in the pool” and “eat something” I’ll be a happy girl.

*My cousin and I actually get along fine and generally did as kids, but every now and then one of us would get impatient with the other one and well…words were not always used.

Warning: Vagueblogging Ahead

It’s the sixth anniversary of when I moved to Chico and – lucky you! – started this blog. That was at one of my lowest points personally and professionally and I was convinced, truly, that my life was destined to suck forever. As if I had one shot to have the life I wanted and it didn’t work and NO SOUP FOR YOU. Ridiculous, I know. Obviously that isn’t the case. Within the year I was on my way to this lovely, fun, surprising, not-perfect-but-highly-entertaining life. I try not to take it for granted.

As shitty as I thought 2008 was, 2013 probably trumped it in terms of feeling weighed down by disappointment and heartbreak. Almost like the universe was saying, “Oh, you thought THAT was bad? Ha-HA! We’ve got more for you!” Cheesy as it sounds, you’d think I would have learned by now that sometimes the old “there’s more room in a broken heart” thing is true. Sometimes shit needs to fall apart in order for other new possibilities to make themselves clear. The life you thought you were going to have – supposed to have – isn’t the only way to be happy. And all the good things coming your way wouldn’t have been possible if you had stayed that original course.

Happy, welcome changes are coming (which I promise to share in more detail in due time) and some of them are a little scary and uncertain and we’re not completely in control of everything (anyone who knows what compulsive list-makers and planners we are can just imagine what fun it is in our house right now). But we’re ready and open. Bring it.

Girl Crosses a Finish Line…

So, remember that 5k I was gearing up for? The one I almost killed myself in a horrible sports-bra related incident? Well, I ran every last bit of that 3.1 miles and loved it.

Until I crossed the finish line, that is.

As my running partner and I neared the end, I found Ed on the sideline and excitedly waved. Picked up my pace a little with some Tom Cruise arms and looked straight ahead at the clock: 45 minutes had gone by. I ran through the finish and immediately made a beeline for Ed, holding back tears.

“I can’t believe my time,” I choked out. “Why did I even bother practicing? My time has gotten worse!” I was bordering on hissy fit territory here.

“Sweetie…they started that clock for the first race. The 10k? It started before yours, right? It didn’t take you that long. Go check your time.”

*A few minutes later*

“Yeah, so I finished a minute ahead of my goal and five minutes ahead of last time. Ha! Sorry about that.”

To summarize: I am amazing, but also kind of a dipshit.


I Promise This Isn’t Going to be a Fitness Blog Now

What started as a somewhat half-hearted New Year’s resolution – start running again – has morphed into quite the hobby. I started the first week of January with a friend and we, along with my nieces, ran a 5k in March. When I went to the shoe store sponsoring the race to pick up my packet, an employee mentioned that they had a training program starting up the following week if I wanted to get some extra coaching and encouragement. Also: there would be a t-shirt.

So against my better judgement I enrolled and then almost immediately freaked out. An email from one of my new coaches read, “While this is an individual sport, you are now part of a team, so take the time to get to know the other great people in the group.” Um, what was that now? I like running because it is a mostly individual endeavor; I like having some quiet and being able to concentrate on my pace or just zone out for once. And now you’re telling me I should try to talk to people? Like a functional adult with basic social skills? Sure. Just what I want to do at the end of a long day of being “on” at work and talking to strangers: talk to more people while I’m sweaty and out of breath. Bonus!

At the first meeting I did see someone I know and chatted her up; she’s in the more advanced group so we were split up quickly. I glommed on to a former co-worker, too, but scheduling conflicts made it hard for her to come each time. As we were doing a walking warm-up to get moving I found myself side-by-side with a woman who appeared to be near my mom’s age. We made polite chit-chat about the weather and joked about the not-terribly-scenic meeting place out by the airport.

“I guess it’s a good place to have a group. Lots of wide open spaces and room to park,” she observed.

“Yeah, it’s definitely empty. I wouldn’t be surprised if we found a dead body out here,” I answered.

“Wait, what? Oh my God.”

“Oh, no, wait, like on Law & Order – it’s always people out for a run who find the dead body in the park or whatever… I love Stabler,” I blurted.

Teambuilding, motherfuckers!


Despite my commitment and genuine enjoyment of running I still hesitate and demur when asked, “Are you a runner?” Self-deprecation and jokes and qualifying follow in my answer. “Oh, yeah, I belong to a training group, but it’s for fun. No big deal. Just a couple miles at a time. I’m slower than a herd of turtles.” Hahaha. Silly Christen!

You get it.

One of the coaches and I ran together early on and he said, “You’re a runner. An athlete. Take yourself and what you’re doing seriously.” He meant it in a kind, encouraging way, not a sanctimonious one that shamed me for my love of pizza and beer. And yet: I have a hard time doing exactly that. We had dinner with my parents a few weeks ago and I had an extra helping. My mom commented on my unusually robust appetite – not in a harsh way, but simply observing that I was eating more than she had seen in some time. “I’m an athlete in training,” I shrugged.

“Oh, yeah, RIGHT,” she laughed.

Running? That’s the easy part. Changing my mindset and expecting the people around me to see me differently? Well, there’s no 10-week training program for that.

Why Yes I WOULD Like Some Cheese and Crackers with My Whine

I make an effort not to bitch and complain excessively here.  Snark and mockery?  Sure.  But self-indulgent whining?  Not terribly productive or interesting. But we’ll make an exception today because this is my blog and I’ll cry if I want to.

This week has been oddly difficult for me and after tracing back where it’s all coming from it seems to come down to this: my routine has been thrown off.  Ed has been gone this week for work, taking my car with him as well as my ability to sleep since a certain dog who shall remain Molly likes to wake me at random intervals when he’s gone. And apparently it’s a quick leap to “Everything is fucked” when my little systems start to break down. And then I feel like a useless idiot incapable of rolling with basic life stuff, which feeds into a delightful cycle of feeling crappy, being paralyzed by self-doubt and loathing, and then feeling even worse about uncompleted tasks or the inability to make decisions. 

It’s become obvious to me in the last year that control and routine keep me sane.  To be clear: I don’t have to touch a doorknob eight times before I leave the house or necessarily care what anyone else is doing.  I’m not that far gone.  Being able to organize my day and make time for myself means I’m better-equipped to be there for others. But lately something as simple as a change in my running routine (Oh yeah: I’m running again.  It’s actually helping to keep the crazy in check, if you can believe that.) or a spontaneous dinner invitation which requires me to reorganize my mental to do list sets off a sequence of negativity in my brain that I can’t seem to fully quiet. “You’re a bad friend for not making plans.” “You’re a bad wife for not keeping the house spotless.” “You’re a bad daughter for not checking in with and visiting your family.” Normally diving in and tackling whatever is hanging over my head – or even just completing something simple to give that sense of accomplishment that then propels me forward to take on the big stuff – helps pull me out of the funk, but anything other than sitting under the covers binge-watching episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine sounds too overwhelming.

Adding to the general crankiness: every person I work with has been recently/is currently incredibly ill and yet still coming in to work while fully contagious THEN taking a few days off to rest. Working in what sounds like a tuberculosis ward is not exactly pleasant, and then you add in the extra work I’m taking on to compensate for their absences (not to mention client complaints since I am expected to cover for at least three other people at a time, which means one person doing the work of four = shit’s not happening as fast as they’d like) and it’s the routine/control issues with a side order of resentment and frustration. Plus, no one laughed my Doc Holliday joke (too soon?) and that’s just disappointing.

There’s a lot of positive change and transition in our not-too-distant future, but it’s requiring a lot of focus, money, and time. The list of things to do seems daunting and Sisyphean in nature, which isn’t helping my little freakout. Some of it’s out of our hands, which is scary and unsettling (see aforementioned desire for control). Logically I know it will all work out; as with almost anything worthwhile it will require some patience and a can-do attitude. But emotionally? To say that I’m feeling adrift would be accurate.

And of course I know this will pass. Ed will be home soon and things will recalibrate. At the very least, I’ll get some sleep and if there’s any cliche that has proven to be true it’s that everything looks better after a good rest. At least, that’s what I’m banking on.