On Carpe-ing the Hell Out of the Diem

One of the things I love most about Ed is that he cares and likes to make things special.  He isn’t afraid to be spontaneous, but he likes to put some time and effort into researching things a little so we don’t, say, drive around a strange town aimlessly and have to eat at a Chili’s on Valentine’s Day and risk explosive diarrhea from the questionable nachos because someone is just too fucking cool to look into places or HEAVEN FORBID make a reservation like some square because you fancy yourself an artist who likes to layer irony over every interpersonal interaction or some shit.  Not that that’s ever happened to me with a previous boyfriend.  (It totally happened with a previous boyfriend.)

Anyway.  Ed: he cares.  I care!  It works well, actually.  Except when it means we are paralyzed with some idea of perfection that keeps us from actually doing things.

We’ve been in our new place for almost six months and have been purging and rearranging and organizing and decorating and generally trying to make it a comfortable home that we can open up to friends.  We have a good social circle here, and have continued to make new friends, too.  I mentioned something to Ed about wanting to have a few people over for dinner soon.

“But we don’t have any artwork for over the couch.”

“So? Is that necessary for dinner or drinks?”

“No, but I just want everything to look nice.  And be perfect.”

And here’s the problem: we do this a lot.  While it may seem like I’m calling Ed out, I fully acknowledge that I’m guilty of this.  Waiting until everything is perfect before doing something is innocuous enough – we’re talking about a dinner party here – but when I look around me I’ve been seeing the result of that thinking, that lifestyle, and it scares me.  We currently have three out of our six parents dealing with health issues, all to varying degrees of severity, but all serious enough that day-to-day quality of life is compromised.  And out of that three, two have operated from a “someday, at some point, after I accomplish XYZ” mentality and someday is here and now they can’t travel, garden, swim in the pool.  So why in the hell are we putting off a damn dinner party until we have artwork on the wall?

My dad is among the three who isn’t doing so hot right now; he’s at home and healing slowly. He is on bed rest primarily, which is maddening and frustrating and scary at times but we’re staying positive. Obviously, he isn’t able to participate in much, and while he’s hardly ready to tag out I see that he doesn’t seem to have many regrets. After his accident, he continued to ski, learned about sailing, and started SCUBA diving. Not to mention that whole had another kid thing. He hasn’t let age and circumstance stop him from doing what he enjoys and living life. We don’t always agree and our relationship can be complicated (isn’t that always the way with two stubborn people?) but damn it if I don’t admire that about him.

It’s quite a leap here, I know that.  Not to mention weirdly morbid to tell your spouse, “We should have people over because one day we’re gonna be old and our friends will be dead and we’ll regret the cookouts we DIDN’T have!” but seriously: life is short, we don’t tend to get healthier and more energetic with age generally, and there’s always going to be something that would make everything perfect, if not just a little bit better.

So who wants to come over for dinner?

I Assure You This Thing Is Still On

Warning: Writing About Writing Ahead

Hey Interwebs. I really miss writing here.  At one point I thought about trying to monetize this site, but my attempts at coming up with some sort of brand always fell flat and felt really forced. Ever since I abandoned that notion and decided to keep this up simply as a little outlet for whatever I feel like sharing, it became fun again.  Lately I’ve been wanting to post more; I open up a blank document and…stare at it for a few minutes, then close it down out of frustration.  Basically, I think we’re dealing with some good old fashioned writer’s block.  Ah yes, that fucking bitch.  As a writing instructor once told me: the best way to work through that is to work through that. Write SOMETHING.  Anything!  So you’re getting a cop-out-brain-dump-list and here’s hoping it opens up whatever is blocked.

  • My dad is in a skilled nursing/rehab facility after a week-long stay in the hospital for issues similar to what we were dealing with exactly two years ago.  While he’s a little closer to home, the level of care is somewhat concerning and it’s taking every bit of self-restraint for Judy and I to resist recreating the “GIVE HER THE MEDICINE” scene from Terms of Endearment when it’s clear the staff has no hustle.  Once again I’m so glad we moved down here because a.) a weeknight visit is not out of the realm of possibility and b.) my new manager has agreed that once he’s home but still requiring some care I can work from his house during the day once a week.  I am so grateful so this I could cry.
  • Both my brother and I have turned another year older.  He celebrated with a party at one of those trampoline places charmingly decorated with signs warning you that if you leave a quadriplegic YOU SIGNED A WAIVER, SUCKER while children you don’t know somehow manage to sneeze at you.  I celebrated by drinking all the wine in the tri-county area. The DeFazio kids know how to party is what I’m saying.
  • My left contact has been making me crazy today, like it wasn’t situated correctly. Upon further inspection it appears it has either rolled back into my eye socket OR I never put it in because THERE IS NOTHING THERE RIGHT NOW. I’m in hell.
  • I am continuing to enjoy the crap out of my job and being back in the Bay Area.  Every now and then I forget that yes, the traffic is awful and I find myself running late to an appointment even when I think I’ve left plenty of time but luckily shrugging and saying, “101 blows” garners instant forgiveness and understanding.  Also, there’s a Round Table Pizza two blocks from my office and all my pants are tight.  You do the math.
  • Right after my birthday I just sort of decided to… avoid Facebook. And lo, it is glorious. I hesitate to say anything about it at all since it’s such a non-announcement and “I don’t even have a Facebook account” is the new “I don’t even own a television” isn’t it?  A pretty good case of FOMO keeps me from deleting my account altogether and I love the birthday reminders, but if you recently announced something huge in your life and I failed to acknowledge it I’m not being a dick (this time), I’m just oblivious.

Since I sat down to write this the rain has started up (yay!), I’ve ditched my contacts for glasses (double-yay!), and some Round Table pizza made its way into my facehole (fuck yeah!).  Let’s do this team!

Keep an Eye Out for the Other Horsemen

My dad now has texting capabilities, thanks to the wondrous world of voice-activated texting.  I love my father deeply but if he keeps sending me messages referring to them as “hashtag texts” I will change my number or throw my phone down a flight of stairs.  Whichever is easier.

The best parts of this are that 1.) I imagine that he’s screaming the texts into the phone since he tends to do that when using technology and 2.) He’s not wearing his reading glasses so he has no idea that I’ve texted him back.  He has sent me two separate texts telling me I’m the first person he has contacted supports my evidence of that second theory.  Also: he has identified himself in each message, like I don’t have him in my phone AND HE HASN’T HAD THE SAME NUMBER FOR OVER FIFTEEN YEARS.

I also suggested he send Ed a text because why bother being married if you can’t drag your spouse into your family’s crazy?

No one better tell him about Twitter.

Take Your Vitamins

While on a walk at the Stanford Dish yesterday:

Me: “I think I needed some fresh air and Vitamin D today.”

Ed: “After this, I’m going to want some Vitamin B, if you know what I mean.”

Me, in not-an-inside-voice: “Do you mean boner?”

Ed: “What?  NO!  I meant BEER you weirdo!”

Me: “Sorry!  But you gotta admit that was a good one.”

Ed, high-fiving me: “That was a solid assumption.”

Second Shift

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces. – Bridget Jones” I nodded so hard I thought I’d give myself whiplash.

Maybe “fall spectacularly to pieces” is a bit dramatic in my case, but hear me out.

During my years of being somewhat underemployed in both a financial sense and as far as time and energy required to do my job, I threw myself into our home and family. And I enjoyed it! It only seemed fair that if Ed was bearing the brunt of the financial burden, the least I could do was make sure that everything under the roof he was keeping over our heads was in order. I worked four days a week with zero expectation of overtime, which left me with one whole weekday to run errands, make calls, be home to deal with repairmen, and so on. It made sense: I wasn’t the primary breadwinner, my job wasn’t deadline-oriented, and I had a little extra time to burn. Someone needs a ride to the airport? I’m on it! Forgot to get a birthday card? I’ll pick one up and make sure there’s postage on it. Need someone to brainstorm Christmas gift ideas and browse stores? That’s where I’m a Viking! And again: I did these things willingly. I’m confident that if the roles were reversed and I had the more demanding job, Ed would have done the same. My contribution was largely simply making life easier for Ed, and by extension, our families.

The accepted narrative within our families was largely that Ed – poor, sainted Ed – was saddled with this loser of a wife who didn’t have much of a career and certainly wasn’t adding children to the mix so of course she should be happy to pick up the dry cleaning! She should be happy that anyone wants her at all!

But now, I have a job that I not only love (seriously, it’s a revelation to walk into work without a sense of dread) but that requires more of my time and energy. Add in a slightly longer commute and my available hours to get stuff done is shortened dramatically. And while my earning power isn’t quite equal to Ed’s, it’s leaps and bounds better and we’re working similar hours. In fact, he’s had to wait for me on more than one occasion as I race to meet a deadline or talk with my VP. As cheesy as this sounds, I feel like it’s finally MY time career-wise. And I’d like to be afforded the space to grow and make my goals happen.

AND YET.

It’s entirely possible that I’m not being direct enough about what I need, but it also feels pretty damn obvious that if one area of my life is ramping up, another is going to need to take a backseat. And when I am direct about that need, I’d like the courtesy of the same understanding that I’ve afforded everyone around me for years. Which is: OK, I’ve got your back. You do you.

So while everything isn’t falling spectacularly to pieces necessarily, it feels like I’m failing in one area of my life where I’ve always felt like I had my shit together. It’s hard to celebrate my new success when the reaction I get is that I’m selfish or neglectful. But then I remind myself that I’m not asking for any more than I received before; I’m just asking people to maybe handle their own lives so I can focus on mine for a minute.

FAQs

How are you settling in to the new home and new jobs?

Surprisingly well! For all of Ed’s fears about BAY AREA TRAFFIC our commute to work (we carpool pretty much every day) is about 15 minutes and the drive home seems to run about 25 minutes. For those not in the know: we fucking WIN. Our new place isn’t much smaller square footage-wise than our house, but it’s configured differently (duh) and we’re getting creative with our organization. Also: we’re painfully aware of how much stuff we have and how much of that we just sort of…shoved in the garage and ignored. Molly is adjusting nicely to having to get into an elevator in order to use the pet potty area in our complex; she’s, uh, quite popular with a couple of other dogs who seem to have no issue humping her while she’s just trying to poop. Boundaries, guys. I love my new job so very much and Ed is happier than I’ve seen in a long time. It’s pretty obvious this needed to happen.

How’s the family adjusting to you being further away?

With their characteristic understanding and unwavering supp-HA JUST KIDDING. We were recently told that we will regret this move. Like that’s just a fact. So that’s fun. However, there are certain branches of the family who are happy for us. We tend to talk to those people more frequently, quelle surprise.

What do you miss about Chico?

My esthetician Jen and my nail lady Lisa. For reals. My eyebrows look insane, my mustache is a legit contender for Movember, and I got the world’s crappiest pedicure yesterday. It’s madness. Oh, and the beer-cheese dip at Sierra Nevada. That stuff is tits.

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

We’re going to Ed’s sister’s house where we will relax and watch 80s movies with our nieces and drink champagne and, most importantly, not endure the pressure of hosting. It will be glorious.

How’s re-watching Gilmore Girls affecting morale in your household?

Just hearing the opening bars of the theme song forces Ed to his knees, fist-shaking at the air screaming, “Noooooo!” and questioning every decision in his life that brought him to this point. He does agree, though, that Logan is a douche.

And There’s Excellent Cuban Food Here, Too!

I’ve been living in the Bay Area and at my new job for just over a week and HOLY SHIT DO I LOVE BOTH SO MUCH.  Everyone at the office has been beyond welcoming and kind and fun, and I’m impressed by the organization and training offered.  I’m still in quite a few workshops and learning the ropes, but I hope to start “earning my keep” around here soon with some real assignments.

Ed and Molly are still in Chico, which has been a source of great amusement (have you ever tried Face Time with a dog?) and also incredible sadness as I drive away from them on Sundays.  There’s an end in sight and we knew this would be the temporary situation when we pushed forward with this plan but that hasn’t stopped me from pulling off the freeway to have a good sob in a gas station parking lot like I’m Britney Spears circa 2007.  I feel like such a dependent baby when I admit this, but the truth is I like my husband and the little routines and fun we’ve created together.  I suppose it would be more concerning if I didn’t miss him, right?  To be clear: I’m not weeping at my desk or anything.  We’re certainly used to being apart and doing our own thing during the day while at work and I’m definitely occupied from 8-5 but it will be great to share a glass of wine and make dinner and talk about our day in our new home.  On a purely selfish note: I am so fucking tired of driving back and forth and living out of a suitcase and not knowing where any of my shit is.

There’s also some guilt on my part.  While I miss Ed, I’m also having a wonderful time staying with my family and making new friends and re-connecting with old friends.  I’m developing work friendships and joining clubs.  Bubba has been a delightful host and source of near-constant amusement and distraction.  It’s such fun to be here while the Giants are in the play-offs.  It isn’t as hot as the face of the sun. I get to see my mom since she’s working down here temporarily.  It’s not a terribly rough transition all things considered.  It’s a great life.  It’ll be even better when we’re all here, though.