Too much fun for a weeknight.

Guess where I was last night! I’ll give you a hint:

It was lots of fun. We went in to the park early (right after the gates opened) so that we could watch batting practice and walk around. It was pretty awesome being able to just walk around and watch the players warm up. I was surprised that not many people actually went early, but I guess I shouldn’t be since I never have before.

It was also awesome because if the Red Sox won this game, they clinched a spot in the playoffs. And they won! Which meant a big celebration after the game:

The only problem is, we didn’t get home until close to 1am. Which means that I went to sleep WAY past my bedtime. So I’m pretty sure that there has been a big thought-bubble floating over my head all day that just says ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

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I am woman. Hear me roar.

I have updates for you, on things like cooking projects and shoe choices for business trips (I know, you can’t wait, try to contain yourselves) but first I need to mention that if one more thing in our household breaks, I am going to lose my damn mind. Also, if I were living in the 18th century (I think that’s the right century) I would totally be worrying about things like debtors’ prison right now, because if I were living in the 18th century and things in my house continued to break, I would very likely end up in debtors prison. Please ignore the fact that there probably weren’t a whole lot of things to break in the 18th century since there weren’t things like irons and dishwashers, but I guess maybe your cow could break (or die, since cows don’t really break, per se) and then you could go into debt buying a new cow, and then if you didn’t pay your Cow Debt, you might go to debtors’ prison.

Also, to use Emily’s phrase, the List of Things That Adults Have To Pay For That Suck is REALLY TOO LONG. Specifically, the List of Things That THIS Semi-Adult Has To Pay For That Suck is getting too long.

All of this is to set the stage so that you will realize exactly how I felt yesterday morning when I hit the start button on the dryer and it made some very pathetic whining noises.

I will back up for one moment and tell you that we bought this washer and dryer when we moved into our house, and we bought them for a total price of $150 for the pair. When we first hooked up the washer we had a problem where the washer would spew water out of the back of it whenever the pump turned on, and until we figured out that the water spewing could be fixed with a 99 cent part from Home Depot, I would do laundry while sitting next to the washing machine with a large cup and a bucket, so that I could bail out my washing machine. We haven’t had a problem with the washer since then though KNOCK ON WOOD.

The dryer, however, has always had its little ticks and funny noises. One time last summer it decided to fake death temporarily, resulting in a charge from the repair guy that was more than what we had paid for the thing. A charge which was a complete RIP-OFF, by the way, since it turned out that the problem was that a few golf pencils had made their way through the wash and the dryer and ended up stuck in a vent somewhere. All the guy had to do was take the back off of the machine and the pencils fell out. So, RIP-OFF.

So, when the dryer began its complaints of a slow and painful death yesterday, I was determined to 1) not spend my hard-earned money on a new dryer, and 2) not spend my hard-earned money on paying some fool to come fix my dryer. I walked out of the laundry room and looked expectantly at Matt:

Me: The dryer is broken.

Matt: *Looks at me blankly.*

Me: Money does not grow on trees.

Matt: *Is really good at looking at me blankly.*

Me: How about we try to fix it?

Matt: *Is either in a coma or has mastered the blank look.*

Me: And by we I mean how about YOU try to fix it.

Now, I would to point out that my reason for suggesting that Matt be the one to fix the dryer has very little to do with the fact that he is the man in the house and a WHOLE LOT to do with the fact that there is only one of us in the house with AN ENGINEERING DEGREE.

(Hint: I do not have an engineering degree.)

Also, while I realize that a major in computer engineering and fixing a dryer are not the absolute most related thing on the planet, I contend that the general principle of How Things Work and the joy of Taking Things Apart should not be lost on an engineer. The Item To Be Taken Apart is not of chief importance, and the Tinkering and Using of Tools should outweigh any reluctance to take Said Item apart.

After finally diverting Matt’s attention from the football game and explaining these sound, logic-filled evaluations of the situation, it was still clear that I wasn’t getting anywhere.

“Fine!” I said in exasperation. “I will fix it by MYSELF. And I will USE YOUR TOOLS TO DO IT.”

I thought the threat of me using his tools might encourage some action, but it was clear that I was on my own. First stop, Google:

“fix whirlpool dryer”

“fix whirlpool electric dryer”

“fix whirlpool electric dryer won’t spin”

(Getting warmer)

“fix whirlpool electric dryer won’t spin belt replacement”

I finally found a site that seemed to confirm my suspicion that a belt had either fallen off its track or broken. (Don’t need to be an engineer to know that if your first car spat out belts like nobody’s business and made a noise similar to the dryer.) (Also, common sense says that if the motor will turn on but the drum won’t spin, it’s probably a belt since that’s what makes the drum spin.)

Now I had to figure out how to get to the belt in question.

“open whirlpool dryer”

“remove back of whirlpool electric dryer”

(OK, that was helpful, but it turns out that you can’t see the belt by removing the back. Luckily there was a helpful picture on the site so I figured this out before I took the back off.)

“take apart whirlpool electric dryer to see belt”

BINGO

I printed my little step-by-step instructions and went back downstairs. First I gathered the tools that I needed from the little tool/storage room downstairs, making as much noise as possible to show my displeasure with the situation.

Next I went into the laundry room armed with my tools. It’s much easier to make noise in the laundry room because metal appliances create such a nice echo and clang. Score.

But. Huh. This is not as easy as it looks. In fact, this is kind of complicated. I mean, you’d practically need an ENGINEERING DEGREE to get this thing apart. (Ha. Oh, I kill myself.)

At this point, I decided to go take a shower. This was because I really NEEDED a shower because I SMELLED, and NOT IN ANY WAY because I was admitting defeat re: the dryer. I could TOTALLY do it. In fact, I bet it was because I had the wrong tools, because clearly we do not have good tools and that is totally, completely the reason that things were not going well.

Well. I came back from taking a shower to find that the man of the house had finally risen from the couch to attend to the dryer. After much cursing, the losing (and finding) of a screw, and the slicing open of someone’s hand (not mine) on a piece of metal that someone else (totally me) warned was probably sharp, we have a working dryer.

Operation I’ll Show Him: FAIL

Operation Feminism: FAIL

Operation Not Have To Do It Myself: SUCCESS – I WIN.

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Hodge Podge

This morning I went directly to an off-site meeting instead of heading into the office, and since the meeting was right next to a Starbucks, I indulged in an expensive coffee beverage (a venti pumpkin spice latte, if you must know) before the meeting. Then when the meeting was over, my boss suggested that we go to Starbucks again. Then when I got back to the office, I went to another meeting to find that the person I was meeting with had bought me a cup of coffee. And that is why I currently find myself crashing into caffeine withdrawal of epic proportions. The day has gone something like this:

HI I AM SO WIDE AWAKE AND SO PRODUCTIVE WHY CAN’T I BE LIKE THIS EVERYDAY LOOK AT ME GO, HMM I AM GETTING KIND OF TIRED NOW, ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

This is maybe not the best approach to the day, is what I am saying. However, turning down coffee is also not a good approach in my book. What’s a girl to do?

***

Do you find yourself adjusting the temperature in the shower frequently? I never thought that I did until the temperature knob in our shower broke. We still can’t find the right piece to fix it so currently the shower has to be turned on and off by twisting the part that sticks out of the wall with a pair of pliers. It’s not the most convenient thing ever, but it works, and it’s fine as a temporary solution. However, it is difficult to get the water to exactly the right temperature and I find myself thinking it’s OK for about 30 seconds and then wanting to adjust it but I can’t. I guess that I am never quite satisfied with the temperature of the water. Do you just turn on the water, get it right, and then leave it the whole time? Or do you adjust as well?

***

If you were going on a business trip to New York City that would involve a lot of walking and probably taking the subway, standing all day, etc. but would also involve needing to look more professional than you do on an average day (i.e. you should probably wear a business suit), what type of shoes would you wear? Now assume that all of your suit pants have been hemmed for wearing with heels that are too high to be considered reasonable when walking around all day. What would you do then?

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Funny Ha Ha

The scene: I have just come home from work and am trying to find Matt so that I can ask him what he’s making me for dinner. (Although usually I try to frame the question a little bit differently so that he doesn’t realize he’s being tricked into making me dinner.) I hear some noise from downstairs so I yell down the stairs to him.

Matt: Don’t come down here!

Me: Why? What did you do? Did you break something?

Matt: Can you throw me down a towel?

Me: What did you spill? WHAT IS GOING ON?

Matt: Just throw me a towel, please, and don’t come down here.

Me: *Runs to the kitchen and grabs a rag; throws it downstairs.* Here you go!

Matt: No, I meant a real towel. Like a bath towel.

Me: Good god, what did you spill down there?

Matt: Nothing! Just throw me a towel.

Me: *Throws a bath towel downstairs and waits at the top of the stairs. About 2 seconds later Matt comes charging up the stairs with the towel around his waist, a cordless drill in one hand, and assorted other tools in the other hand.*

Me: *Giggles uncontrollably.* What the HELL?

Matt: Well, see I came home, and then I did a work out, and then I was all sweaty so I went to take a shower. And I got into the shower, and then when I went to adjust the water the thing came off in my hand!

Me: I don’t think that’s supposed to happen.

Matt: Nope, definitely not. Anyway, I thought if I could just grab a screwdriver I could fix it pretty fast, so I hopped out of the shower and grabbed the screwdriver that I knew was in the office.

Me: I’m following so far.

Matt: But then that wasn’t the right kind of screwdriver, and so I ran downstairs to get the right kind, but then that didn’t fit the thing either, so I was finding some other tools. And then you came home.

Me: And that’s when you realized that in your haste, you hadn’t grabbed a towel?

Matt: Yes! Because I thought I was just running down the hall to get the screwdriver from the office, see? But then I had to go downstairs. And then when you came home I thought if you saw me running around the house naked with a drill in my hand, well, you might think less of me.

Me: HA. How do you know that I wouldn’t find the sight of you running around naked with a drill in your hand appealing? Maybe that would turn me on?

Matt: If THAT were true, I think I might think a LOT less of you.

Me: Hmph. So did you at least fix the shower?

Matt: Not yet. I have to run to the hardware store.

Me: Don’t forget to put some clothes on first. If you run around the hardware store naked with a drill in your hand, they will not only think less of you, but they will probably arrest you.

Matt: Thanks so much for your valuable input.

Me: I think you meant to say, thanks for the towel.

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Follow up

Thank you.

No really, thank you. It wasn’t easy for me to put all of that out there so I finally settled for just typing whatever came to mind as fast as I could and then I hit publish without even giving it a second read. I think I really needed to do that. And your comments really made me feel better about the whole thing – like hell yeah, it’s not me. This isn’t my fault. Sometimes I need a little reminder of that.

I’d like to say that deleting the e-mail (yes, I did – it’s gone) made it all better. I think what I am realizing is… willing something doesn’t always make it so. Wanting desperately to put things behind you doesn’t always just instantly make it happen. I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise, because if pure will could make things happen, then my ass would be smaller, my bank account bigger, and potato chips would have no calories.

As far as what to do next – I don’t know yet. Several of you suggested that talking to someone (and by someone I mean a professional) might help. I don’t necessarily disagree, but I’m not sure that’s a step that I’m willing to take yet. I’ll continue to think about it though. I know that there’s no shame in asking for help if you need it – I just don’t know about my own comfort level in dragging up all the details right now. So we’ll see.

What I do know is that I will continue to talk about it with Matt, have long phone calls and send long e-mails to Liz, and probably write about things right here as well. It’s a far cry from flying Fed Ex men and cooking woes, but I have a feeling that you’ll be there to read anyway. I can’t do something ridiculous every day, after all.

Hope you have a great weekend everyone! We’ll be getting some torrential rains as a result of the remnants of Hurricane Hanna moving up the east coast. I’ll take the torrential rains any day over the actual hurricane. Plus, it gives me a good excuse to hunker down with some Netflix and some books and show my abilities in the art of sloth.

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Letting it out, letting it go.

This is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, but I’ve been hesitant to write about it here. I know that I could be all, my blog, my thoughts, no soup for you about it, but the truth is that I’m not sure of my ability to put what I want to say into words. Also, I think that you’re used to coming here to read about the times I’ve made a complete ass of myself, and I live for nothing if not creating blog posts out of mortal embarrassment.

Anyway, I guess the easiest way to begin is to tell you that I’ve been to three weddings this summer. The first was my best friend Liz’s, the second was Matt’s sister’s, and the third was a close work-friend this weekend. It’s not so much the actual weddings that bring up these thoughts that I want to write about, but the fact that weddings are typically a time when families come together.

This summer, I have watched Liz’s dad beam with pride and give a warm, heart-felt toast. I watched Matt’s dad join his daughter and her husband in marriage as he struggled to hold back tears. I watched my work-friend’s dad squeeze her tight during the father-daughter dance. And as much as I was involved in watching these things, as happy as I was for all of these families in these touching moments, I couldn’t help but (selfishly, perhaps) feel a profound sense of loss.

I will never have these things. My father will never walk me down the aisle, we will not dance, and if someday I decide to have children, they will not know their maternal grandfather.

You can say that this is the choice that I made – that it was my choice to cut my father out of my life almost two years ago. That if I so chose, I could have those things that I felt so heartbroken over. I’d argue that you were wrong – but you could say those things to me.

I used to think that the best thing that could happen would be for my father to have a sudden, shocking realization of what a terrible person he’s been. I imagined him coming to his senses, turning his life around, and trying, desperately to make up for things. I’ve wanted so badly for him to just recognize his actions – to feel remorse and yes, hurt. It is not nice of me to admit just how much I have wanted him to hurt, but it is the truth.

When I made the decision and finally took the action to stop having any interaction with my father, I felt immediately like a giant weight had been lifted. You see, even though I’d always hoped that my father would hurt for the things he had done, I think somewhere, deep down, I always hoped that if he just hurt enough , just felt enough remorse, maybe I could end up with the father I’d always wanted. And that’s why finally severing the ties felt like such a weight had been lifted – because I could finally admit to myself that he will never be the person I want, or need, or hope for him to be. He will never change, never truly regret, never be able to erase the indelible marks he has left on me.

It was such a relief to stop hoping. Hope is uplifting, it is empoweing, and it what keeps us going – until it is so futile that it is simply a drain on our mental resources. The only problem is that in giving up this fervent hope, I didn’t get to give up the guilt, or the longing associated with it. Sure, I might not have hope of my father ever being a person that I would want to have a relationship, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t long to have a father who I could talk to, be a daughter to, and yes, walk down the aisle with.

I have been so lucky in so many ways. I think of the way that Liz’s family has treated me as one of their own – of the example they set for me of what a family could be, should  be. The kindness that they continue to show me to this day… and there truly are no words to say what that has meant, and what kind of influence I know  it has had on my life.

I think of how lucky I am that Matt’s family has been so wonderful to me. Even when they drive me nuts, they do it in the way only your family can. I knew the first time that they made fun of me that I was in for life.

I know that there are people out there who are so much worse off than me – people who have lost loved ones or who have never known their parents or whose parents have done things to them much worse than anything I have ever experienced. Maybe that is what makes it hard to write about these things – it’s easy to complain about the little things; but take a hard look at the big stuff and your brain can’t stop trying to convince you that it’s not that bad, you can survive it, look at how much worse it could be.

***

I started this post over a week ago, but I never published it because – well, I’m not really sure why. But, I came back to it today because this morning I opened up my e-mail to find a message from him. The subject line of the e-mail is ‘Olive Branch’ and the text is basically him asking me to let things go and to tell him what he has done that has made me so angry as to stop speaking to him.

There are so many things that I could write in response. I could tell him to stop this charade of being the bigger person in extending an olive branch. I could tell him, simply, to never contact me again – ever. I could tell him that using the anniversary of his own father’s death as a reason that I should speak to him, lest I regret it someday, is a cheap trick. I could list the things he’s done that make him a horrible person in my mind. I would start with the times (plural!) that I was the one who had to call the police on him – as a child of less than 10 years old. I could recount the time that I heard my mother actually tell someone that she had walked into a doorknob to explain her black eye. I could tell him that of all the emotions that he has made me feel, it is not love or affection that top the list, but fear and hate.

I don’t know what I will do or say. I really don’t. I know that this is eating me up inside. It seems that the ability I had to cope with all of this as a kid is somehow failing me as an adult. It is coloring every aspect of my life, from my relationship with Matt to my ability to talk to my mother and brother, to my own thoughts about having children someday.

I thought I was stronger than this. I thought I could make it go away, and in fact I thought I had done just that by stopping all contact. I guess it’s not working…

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On cooking.

So you know that I like to bake, right? I mean, you want a cake, pie, or cookie, and I am your girl. Hell, want a muffin? How about some homemade bread? I can even make cinnamon rolls completely, 100% from scratch. (And I think that’s an achievement because those suckers take a long time.)

But cooking… cooking is a different story. I don’t like cooking. Oh, and I suck at it. I really, really suck at it. (Side note: one of my college roommates, who had witnessed my bad cooking on more than one occasion (see: the time I set our cabinets on fire; see also: the time I tried to make lasagna and not even our really drunk friend would touch it with a ten foot pole) really liked to play The Sims. She made me my own character, and I had my own house in the game. She didn’t buy me a stove though, since I hate to cook and since she personally had been responsible for putting out the cabinet fire. But she did buy me a microwave for my little Sim house. And my character tried to cook dinner. And then the microwave caught on fire and burned down the whole damn house. And that, friends, is what we call A SIGN.)

Recently though, both Matt and I have been pretty busy on weeknights. Between hockey and softball for him, the gym and book club for me, and dance for both of us, we haven’t been eating dinner together as much. And when my man-slave isn’t home to cook me dinner, I generally end up staring at the clock listening to my stomach growl, because WOE IS ME NO ONE HAS SERVED ME DINNER.

(Also, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but Matt doesn’t really eat many different things. I mean, I’m not exactly what you’d call an adventurous eater, but compared to him I’m doing all right. This means that if I want to eat something outside of the realm of frozen pizza or pasta, I’m makin’ it myself.)

I decided that action was needed. It was time to foray into the world of cooking. Now, it’s not like I’ve NEVER cooked before, so I had made things like lasagna, baked ziti, etc. in the past. But I chose a new recipe to make for my dinner this week. I’m not going to tell you exactly what it was, because it’s so embarrassingly simple that you would laugh at me… but I will tell you that it had exactly 5 ingredients and exactly 4 steps to prepare it, and one of those steps was “Preheat the oven.”

I did realize though, as I started to prepare my meal, that I have never – and I do mean never in my life – cooked meat before. Unless you count frozen chicken nuggets, and I don’t think that you would.

So of course I over analyzed every one of those 4 steps, especially when it came to the chicken. The recipe wanted the chicken to be cut into 1 inch pieces. And I would like to know what the means, exactly. Does that mean one inch by inch? And if so how thick should it be? Or does it mean one inch by one inch by inch? Or maybe it means one inch square so that the entire chunk is one cubic inch. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW?

Oh, and then! Then it told me to cook it for 30 minutes or until the chicken was done. Well, the chicken is now in chunks and is now part of a casserole so I can’t really SEE it and how am I supposed to know when it’s done?

In the end, I cut up the chicken into chunks that looked pretty much bite-sized, and I cooked the thing for 30 minutes exactly and kind of poked at a piece of chicken before I took it out. And – it worked! Success!

I mean, this isn’t exactly high class cooking, but at least I’ve had something to eat for dinner (and bring to work for lunch, which is not a problem since I don’t mind eating the same thing repeatedly). And this dish represents the major food groups, which I think I should get some points for.

So, I think I’m going to try to do more of this whole cooking thing. Have any easy (no, really, EASY – ask yourself if a 10 year old could make it and if the answer is no then it’s not for me) recipes that can be transported in Tupperware (for lunch) and re-heat easily and make enough food for a few meals but not so much that I get sick of it before I finish it off? Send ‘em my way.

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