Saturday, August 27, 2011

No Homeless People Attacked Me Today, So I feel I am Making Progress.

I'm very excited to report I am no longer as neurotic as I used to be living alone. I still have a fear of ladders, yes, (who cares if you love on the 4th floor, LADDERS WERE INVENTED A LONG TIME AGO AND PEOPLE CAN USE THEM IN BROAD DAYLIGHT,) but I feel like I am growing up and moving on. Okay, maybe I still sleep with the bathroom light on, and the fan, and sometimes the T.V. (I am putting some guy from PG&E through night school,) but I panic less. Ish.

I don't really live alone. Let's face it. My in-laws live about 2 seconds down the road from me, and I eat food at their house almost every day. They are even watching my fish, Caper for me right now, and I tried getting him back when I came home from Pittsburgh. However, they have become not only super attached to me, but super attached to my koi. This is a real, live, conversation I had today with my mother-in-law:

M.I.L: "Hiii! I know you are in class, but I am going shopping for Caper, and I..."

Me: "Wait! Hi,...wait. Shopping? For Caper? The Fish?

M.I.L: "Yes, of course Caper the Fish! I was just running down to the shop to buy him new greenery. I don't think he likes the ones I bought last week, silly thing."

(At this point I was trotting down a side walk as a cracked out patron of the YMCA was yelling at me to 'rub his back.')

Me: "Mom, really, you do not have to buy him anything. I mean. He's a fish."

M.I.L: "Don't be ridiculous. I know what he likes. Would you like to come along? No, I'm sure you have work to do, and I know what he likes. No worries!"

How could I have any worries about a woman who "knows" what my fish likes? I jest, but I actually am so grateful to have family so nearby. Even though I refer to them as having "fish-grand-babies." Thing is, they like that.

Life has returned to normal. Like I said, I visit my in-laws almost daily, gobble up all of their cheese and talk their ear off, and come home and slowly make my way through my daily 9-movie-a-day-cat-lady-esque Blockbuster habit. The apartment was stale when I came "home", but I gave it a good cleaning before I realized the lingering smell was still, well, lingering, after hours on my hands and knees with a bottle of Ajax. THANK GOD I decided to cook tonight, (and this is a testament to how often I cook alone,) because when I opened up my cabinet door...a gel began to ooze out that I can only describe as smelling like a cross between dead feet from Harry Potter animals and crushed mice. I gagged. I freaked. I Ajaxed the hell out of that mess before I realized it was coming from a fermented, oozing, rotting bag of potatoes left un-eaten and un-loved. WHAT THE HELL POTATOES?! ARE YOU NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HEALTHY AND RICH IN VITAMINS, NOT DISGUSTINGNESS!? Long story short:

I ate pizza tonight and took 2 showers.

So, the house is now clean, it smells like fake flowers and not rotting death, and I am beginning to feel like I have a handle on things now. I still need to make myself have a normal bedtime. I still need to stop crossing the street RIGHT IN FRONT of the ghetto YMCA, and I still need to eat more fruit than the odd banana and grape chewing gum here and there...but I am figuring it out.

I'll get there someday. Maybe not tomorrow, because I will be taking the BART again with my Mace in broad daylight. So, injury will occur. It might be me, it might be the strawberry-vodka gang, but at least I am prepared.

Half the battle, you know? Unless half the battle involves yourself...and the other half is...oh hell. Never mind.

Just wish me luck, happiness, and continued success in GROWN UP LIFE. God knows I need it.

Potatoes are bastards, man.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The end of the road.

I'm blogging from a kitchen that was only moments ago filled with people. laughter, and life. Now, the dishes are waiting to be washed in the sink...the wine glasses have been hand washed and put away, and the house is silent.

I leave Tuesday. Tomorrow is my last full day in Pittsburgh, and we had a little dinner party here tonight to celebrate. But that dark part of me begs the question: "celebrate what?" I leave soon. And even though I think Brett fantasizes about having some alone/un-emotional Melissa time, I also sort of think that he will miss me. And I will miss him. And this place. And our life here.

Today in Costco I saw this gorgeous pregnant woman and her husband buying 5,000 lbs of peanut butter, and when Brett wandered back to our cart after looking at knife sharpeners, (I don't even know what that is,) I started a serious conversation. And this is what it was:

Me: I've made a decision, and I feel like now is the time to tell you.

Brett: (sighing.) Oh God. Okay...(sighing again,) what now?

Me: I have decided...(pregnant pause, pun intended,) TO GET PREGNANT! I WANT KIDS NOW, OK?

Brett: (Weirdly calm,) and your decision was made because of...?

Me: I feel like if I get pregnant now, you can't make me go back to California.

Brett: Ok, good. So you thought this out then.

Well, long story short, I guess you can figure out we won't be getting pregnant any time soon.

I'm just grasping for straws at this point. I don't even know what to do. What to think, how to act. This has been an amazing indulgence- 3 WHOLE WEEKS TO FIGHT/LOVE/FIGHT with my husband to my hearts content! And now, we are looking at sneaking in weekends here and then. 3 day vacations where we have to pretend to have a life together and an airport is not involved.

It only hit me tonight, after we had 4 great friends over for an adult dinner in our newly decorated place. I put a tablecloth on, had Brett buy folding chairs from Target, we made all French food and laughed over stories and open bottles of wine and the glorious clinking of glasses. We made a toast. "To Sunday Family Dinners!" And my heart ached as I looked across the table at Brett. His face was bright with sweat (it is VERY hot here) and laughter, and rose wine and happiness. This is a face that, starting Wednesday, I won't see every day. I'm still getting used to that. I will never, actually, get used to that.

But, let's switch back to our friends. They have been with us from brand new house-cheap wine picnic to fancy-ish dinner party on all Ikea furniture. We play games. We drink too much on occasion. We laugh, lunch, cry, talk about Pittsburgh's problem with public urination...and I am so grateful for them.

It's easier to leave knowing I am going across the country and leaving Brett with an amazing crew. He has a family here, and he may not even realize it. I may be his wife, but you make your family where you can...and we have been making that in bits and pieces as we go along.

I'm readying myself for California. What am I looking forward to? Buying alcohol in drugstores EVEN ON SUNDAYS, the smell of pot smoke in the air at 10 am on my way to class, a few friends who seem to like me, and the never ending challenge of Berkeley and all it requires of me on a daily basis. So, I have some things.

But I will never forget tonight. Laughing at some one's joke during dinner, and looking at Brett's rosy face...catching his eye...and winking at him. A kiss on the forehead, a laugh shared with true friends over a great meal, and being able to touch your husbands hand as he loses miserably at a trivia game over dessert. That is heaven, no?

So, going. Going. Back. Back...

To Cali...Cali...

but will always miss you, Pittsburgh.

Friday, August 19, 2011



Okay, back to our original programming.

Or not. I need to tell this story.

I became tired of moping today. I know, shocking. I made myself have a productive day. I went to Target with a friend. I bought decorative pillows. We stopped at the liquor store on the way home and when I told her how it only felt acceptable to me because it was almost 11am she just looked at me and said: "Let's not kid ourselves, ok? It is 10:15." So, by 10:15 am I had bought febreeze, decorative pillows, a bottle of scotch and 4 bottles of wine. You may be judging me right now.


Anyway. This friend, her name is Heather. She is like, utterly fantastic. So funny. So direct. So silly for letting me in to her life. (Just kidding.) Anyway, besides Lindsay, she is the ONLY FRIEND I HAVE HERE IN THE WORLD. So, when she got this job at a local coffee shop...I sort of did too. And by sort of got a job with her, I mean I just show up for her shifts, but order coffee and watch her from the back of the shop. For, like, 6 hours at a time. It is not creepy at all.

SO, today I was doing my "shift" with Heather, and a thought dawned on me. I will now share this thought with you. It was: "DO NOT BE A DOUCHE BAG TO YOUR HUSBAND TODAY". That was literally the thought. I think it was sent by angels. So, as I drank my latte and stared at Heather, I decided that today would be the day that I would act like a real, live grown up. I packed up my bag, said good-bye to my new BFF, and walked home. But stopped into Williams Sonoma. And they had this new french onion caramelized marinade.

I came home. I SHOWERED! And then I cleaned our apartment. AND THEN I STARED AT GOD. God being, obviously, the French onion marinade. This marinade called for something spectacular. So, I cleaned the apartment again- for real this time.

I organized Brett's desk. I febreezed, I put decorative pillows out; I swept, mounted pictures...and then totally forgot what I was doing. Ah- the marinade. I remembered. And then I put on Louis Armstrong.

Picture this: A dinner: French onion caramelized chicken breast, rosemary and rugged mustard mashed potatoes, and a cold vegetable slaw of beets, shaved carrots, tomatoes, peppers, red onions...all tossed in a light olive oil/balsamic homemade dressing. It was divine.

Brett sat down, ate- and he looked at me like: "WHO ARE YOU AND WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?" In fact, he did not just look at me like that. He said that. Actually. So, I just ate dinner and smiled at him and hoped I had shaved my legs that day. It was the most perfect day of marriage ever invented by Williams Sonoma and a very expensive French cookware company.

This is my moral point: TRY. Maybe you don't want to. Maybe an "Amy's Pizza" and a limp salad sounds better on most nights. The thing is: We might not live a very long time. MORBID, I know. (And I should know morbid. My dad i s a funeral director, and most of our conversations start out: "So, tell me your most recent case.")

What I am trying to say is this: That amazing lingerie? Wear it. That china? Use it. Those nice wine glasses you sneak when your spouse is not around to cry about the washing of them? USE them. Pamper your spouse. BRUSH YOUR HAIR. WEAR CLOTHES THAT FIT. Very simple things, but I feel we all ignore them.

When I die, I hope I am old and all of my kids are around me drinking wine. BUT, I hope more than anything I taught them to live this life like it is one big, fun, block party before they head home. Drink the weird watermelon-vodka punch. Dance with your husband in the living room. Make chicken from Williams Sonoma even though it is VERY EXPENSIVE.

Live life.

We're only here to mess it up and blog about it...once.

Thank you for reading,


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lately Sometimes Often This Is What I Want To Do:

Hide In A California Shirt While Clutching An Inch Of Scotch.

This has been a lot harder than I anticipated. Like, painful. And not fun. And generally yucky.

I guess I pictured this time as a movie. One of those plucky romantic comedies where the characters go through a difficult time, but always end up making out in the rain after a cab chase. I was optimistic, in other words. Hopeful. And then I got here and was watching my husband create this other life for himself and I got bitter and cranky and felt every single one of my 28 years. Except, instead of acting 28, I acted about 14 1/2 and had about one good tantrum a day. This is difficult. And trying. And a huge thing happening in my very selfish life. I am so used to Brett rotating around the center of MY universe, it was incredibly hard for me to accept that he would move out here and have a universe of his own. The thing about marriage is this: IT IS NOT ALWAYS EASY, JENNIFER LOPEZ. Meaning, you can't always get divorced from your back-up dancer to move on to more Latin pastures when things go stale. Marriage takes work. It means a peck after work and not long, teenager-esque make-out sessions most days. It means talking about bills and seeing each other through sickness and health. Like, literal sickness and health. There will be a time when your husband gently knocks on the door of the bathroom after you ate a bad sandwich and he wants to make sure you have enough toilet paper. THAT is marriage. You take the good, you take the diarrhea, you take the bad.

One thing about this awful separation is that I learned this: I am in this. I will fight, I will cry and wail and beg for toilet paper- but I am not going anywhere. I am married, I will always be married, and unless Brett finally gets sick of the catastrophic person that I am, I am here for good. (And even if he does get sick of me I am not going anywhere. I will go all "Fatal Attraction" on him.) But I do think it is healthy to recognize that this. is. hard.

I met 2 girls while being here in Pittsburgh, and I have to say that a large amount of my faked sanity is because of them. We met today at this local restaurant- a restaurant so obnoxious that we cannot even understand the menu and we usually end up ordering chicken salad, because it is the only thing on there that makes sense- and during 6 diet cokes with lemon, we became so honest and authentic with each other I wanted to weep from the purity. We literally looked at each other, (all of us having partners in the MBA program,) and we said, "This sucks. It is hard. It is not easy." And we were okay with it. I have so many girl friends I sugar coat my life to, so to have these two beautiful women sitting across from me as I sputtered out my frustrations- and they SHARED that with me- it was like yoga for the soul without the butt sweat. We ended up laughing, sharing survival tips, and parted with hugs. And I received a text from one later that just said, "Hey. I am thinking about you. Chin up." And I can not tell you what those 8 words meant to me. It meant that I was not alone in this MBA world. That is was okay to drink a scotch from a plastic cup once and awhile, and that- along with my husband- I have a network of friends here that support me and know what I am going through. Priceless.

I don't know where I stand now. I am considering leaving California for good and coming here-now, but that decision comes with its own repercussions. I lost. But, the one thing I know is that I love Brett more that I love breathing. I love him more than chocolate, wine, Twilight movies, and sleeping in. This IS hard, but he is my absolute everything. I can get through any thing this world hands my way- as long as he is at the end of every tunnel.

This post was more deep than I wanted, but you know what? Funny girls can be serious too. Especially when faced with the real world, Because, baby- there 'aint no funny I can think of to make this ache go away.

I'll be more entertaining next time.

I promise.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Attack of the cardboard.

This is my life right now.

And, naturally I am posing for pictures with a box on my head instead of actually unpacking them. Success!

It has been a crazy past few days, but the good kind of crazy. Our actual stuff was finally delivered from the movers(!) only one glass was broken(!) and it only took Brett a few hours to assemble an Ikea bed(!)

Being the good wife that I am, I stay home during the day trying to set up the house while Brett is at school. I've been pretty good about it too. Today I listened to Justin Bieber while unpacking a box, took a break for lunch, and came back 3 hours later and decided to blog. Saying I have no motivation is like saying a 28 year old should not be listening to Justin Bieber.

I think my reluctance to actually wield a box cutter comes from the sad truth that I am literally setting up a home that I will not be living in. All around me are cardboard reminders that this won't be my home for another year. I deal by listening to bad music and taking obnoxiously long breaks to stare at the ceiling and meet my one friend in Pittsburgh for chicken salad.

In other words, I'm coping really well.

THE GOOD NEWS IS we actually slept in a REAL LIVE BED last night. We did an Ikea run, (which is just a story in itself. We bought so much damn stuff that Brett packed the car with me sort of as an afterthought. I had to curl myself in to the one space available-which was the space with the metal bed rod poking me in the back of the neck and my head turned sideways pressed against a couch box. The whole time Brett was driving I kept screaming: "I SWEAR TO GOD I CANNOT DIE BY IKEA. DON'T LET ME DIE BY BED FRAME!" This kept up for about a half hour.) Anyway, while I was at an event trying to make friends in 2 hours, Brett assembled the bed and I swear to God Almighty I wept at the sight of a mattress on a frame. It was gorgeous.

We're slowly pulling it together!

So, my stay here is half over, and I apologize if you are my friend (for many reasons,) but mostly because I know you haven't heard from me. I am so absorbed with following Brett around like a puppy, making him cuddle me in the sweltering heat, and memorizing every little line on his face. (So, all two lines.) I just can't imagine leaving him in 11 days- so I won't. I'll stare at this mountain of boxes, eat some more chicken salad, and ignore the inevitable plane ride where security will probably ask me to please remove myself from the airport.

But I should probably go and unpack another box. Because I can't even see my feet.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I lied.

I remember when I said I would update this blog daily. And I am aware that little chunks of time pass before I sit back down and write again. I didn't take in to account that sometimes during this next year I would actually BE WITH MY HUSBAND, and I am usually so busy flirting with him and making him hold my hand every 5 seconds, that I never get any real work done. I barely brush my hair. I am busy being in love! It's so nice having this man around again.

The weekend was crazy. We were back home for a whirlwind 3 days cramming family, friends, and my ten year reunion all in without pausing to inhale air. It was amazing fun though. Except I walked in to a sliding glass door. And I fell in gravel outside of a strip club, and still can't bend my knee properly without chunks of gravel popping out like little bullets. (The real thing that should be worrisome about that sentence was the fact that it happened outside of a STRIP CLUB, but I'll get to that.) Overall, I did party a little bit too much, but I was just drunk on life and overwhelmed with happiness that I was around family AND my super cute husband. It was like winning the lottery! With gravel.

My family held a cook-out/birthday party for me, and when my aunt put real, live sparklers on the cake in lieu of candles, I thought 2 things: 1. I am definitely home. California won't let you do anything with real, live sparklers. Ever. 2: I didn't think it was possible for me to love my aunt more than when she lit those babies and then had to scrape the carcinogens off the top of the cake. It was like brand new love, just swelling through me.
It was a good day.

The next day was the reunion, and I was super nervous after the sparkler-cake-high wore off. First of all, I bought a dress without trying it on, and when I slipped it on my sweaty body (east coast humidity reduced me to a puddle all weekend,) I was horrified that the dress CAME DOWN TO MY THIGH. LIKE, BARELY GRAZED IT. It was a T-shirt, really. I was going to be that girl at my reunion. You know exactly what I am talking about. The girl that shows up in something really inappropriate and just tries too hard the entire night. After I saw the way my non-existent dress looked, I started getting ready for a good cry. I think I did cry, actually, but I was sweating so much I can't really be sure. Anyway, Brett saw my pre-meltdown, grabbed me by the shoulders and said: "I've been away from you for 3 weeks. Believe me when I say: that dress is perfect."

I stopped crying.

The night was fun, even though I showed more leg than a freakin' giraffe. We ate, reminisced, drank, and then someone had the great idea to take the party somewhere else. One cab ride out to the middle of nowhere later, and I found myself at a strip club. I don't know if it was the surprise at the location, or the stilettos picking their way through a dirt road covered in gravel, or the wine I drank earlier, (actually, yes. Let's just go with that last one,) but I ATE IT IN FRONT OF MY WHOLE CLASS IN THAT STUPID LITTLE DRESS IN FRONT OF A STRIP CLUB. So, I was that girl. And you know, when something like that happens, you know nothing else can really go wrong- because you are scraping around on rock bottom. Like, literal rock bottom. With rocks in your knees.

So, I went inside the strip club, sat down as I picked out hunks of bloody gravel from my leg, DRANK WATER, and made the most out of it. What else are you going to do? All dramatics aside, I actually had a really good time. The people I went to high school with are really good people, and hilarious too. I wish I spent more time back then being happy to know them and not trying everything I could to get out of that town. When I fell, no one laughed, (okay, maybe there were a few chuckles,) but what was important was seconds after I landed neatly on rock bottom, one girl was sponging my leg and another was already spraying it with medicine. And I haven't seen these people in TEN YEARS! If I fell in Berkeley, I'd probably just get mugged 2 seconds later, so it was a nice change of pace. I'm so happy I went, even if I did look like I should have been working at the strip club, not falling outside of it.

I am now healthily and happily in my husband's college town, and the only thing I am drinking today is a latte. I had the crazy re-visit to my youth this weekend, and it only made me desperately grateful for my age. Gravel in the knees is not a good look at 28. Only 19 year olds can pull that one off. So, I'll finish this latte, take a little walk in this soup/humidity laden world...and be really happy to be here right now. Because Brett comes home tonight. And I get to hold his hand.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I finally get to see Brett.

Yes, that's right.

We are meeting in an airport in Boston tomorrow morning, and I am preparing for my red-eye by drinking a 30$ glass of tepid wine from a Chili's in the airport.

(Seriously Chili's? I know you are giving me gasoline practically. I saw this wine brand on the grocery store counter for 7$ MAN. Whatever. So happy I don't even care!)

(By the way, the waitress next to me just said to a co-worker: "Jesus Christ I swear I never posed for that picture!" I love Oakland.)

I sort of feel bad for complaining as much as I have when I knew a visit with my succulent was eminent. But, I really adore the guy. He is worth the many blog complaining sessions. I get to re-inact all of my favorite chick flicks and run in to his arms in the airport tomorrow. All we need is a cab chase in the rain and I am Kate Hudson.

I don't even know what to do with myself, I am so happy. I HAVE BUTTERFLIES IN MY BELLY. This is serious, folks. I might marry this guy....Oh. Wait. I DID!

In all seriousness, I have more important news:

Today is my birthday.

I am 28 and now suddenly mature and I will cease this self centered/self glorifying blog.

Just kidding.

This blog in so many ways has been my savior. All gorgeous 7 of you that read it have really poured in to me, and I don't feel so alone. Except the nights I eat a bag of frozen ravioli while watching "Golden Girls" and staring at my fish. BUT OTHER THAN THAT, I do not feel alone.
I have been blessed by friends who support me, a super cute husband who will meet me at my gate, and another year to love, make some more mistakes, try to learn from them, and hopefully drink some more wine along the way.

This blog post is not nearly as meaty, but I just wanted to thank YOU for being HERE reading THIS in your life.

Because you really add to mine. :)

Thank you, salutations, and cheers!
Mrs. C.