Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One Vodka (and episode of 'Downton Abbey') at a Time

Ok, so it's probably not the best thing to alcoholic beverage to the Alcoholics Anonymous slogan.

Actually, that's probably a terrible thing to compare. 


But that's the thing that people say when you're going through a tough time, be it dealing with a big move, the illness of a family member, difficulty at work; or, ohhh, sayyyy, your significant other moving 7,000 miles away. "One day at a time."

And there's a reason for that. Were you to, for example, begin calculating the seconds, minutes, and hours that must pass before you shall see this person again, you would probably be reduced to a puddle of smoosh on the floor. 

That is a lot of seconds and minutes and hours.

In fact, it feels like all of the seconds, minutes, and hours there ever were.

In eternity.

But that whole one day (run, vodka, Downton Abbey and/or Bob's Burgers episodes, diary entry, workday, project, sleep, whatever) at a time thing has merit to it because it forces you to focus on what's right in front of you rather than dwelling on the hugeness of what  might be. 

So, that's where I am now. We're only on Day...what the hell day is it?...ah yes, Day 12. And, to be honest, everyone knew that the first month or so was going to Suck. (Capital "s" intended.)

But I am coming out of my cocoon and making plans. Happy Hour with Sporty tomorrow after work, drinks with Joel on Friday, and dinner out on Saturday. New Kid is coming to visit for a weekend, and then I'm headed to San Fran for Labor Day weekend for Snikkers's wedding and to see hugely-pregnant Snap. 

Who is, seriously, about to explode. She sends me pictures of herself, and she looks totally normal all over except for this ridiculously huge belly that, quite frankly, scares the bejeezus out of me. Like, I seriously want to suggest that maybe her doctor is wrong, and that there are in fact four or five babies in there. That would make more sense to me. There simply cannot be just one baby in there. This is terrifying. And awesome. 

Also, there's a chance that the baby in that belly will be out in the real world by the time I get there, so that would be even more exciting. To meet Snap's son or daughter...damn. I gotta process that for a minute.


Still not processed, but moving on.

In other news, I am coming to grips with the fact that I am not a total failure for having not written a book in the past 12 days. Apparently these things take time. 

And time I've got. Speaking's nigh about time for me to walk to Whole Foods for some frozen Greek yogurt, which is my new favorite thing. 

Maybe I'll start that novel tonight.

Or not.

One frozen yogurt trip at a time.

FUN FACT OF THE DAY: (New segment - important things I share with The Gentleman via text to keep him in touch with my world here)
Omg, the weird lady with the hunch back and fake boobs at the gym....has a twin. Boobs are real, blonde hair but same hunch back and fake plump lips 8:19 AM

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I'm a woman, Mary. I can be as contrary as I choose.

OMG, ya'll.

So, I had all of these amazing plans. Like I was going to write a novel and take ten minutes off my best half marathon time. And fix my sewing machine. To make a quilt. That I would donate. To people who are cold. Or something.

I had all of these ideas of things I was going to do when The Gentleman moved to Abu Dhabi. Cure for cancer? Found it! Perfect Jillian Michael abs? Earned 'em! Social and cultural attache to groups all over Baltimore? Bien sûr, bitches!

Here is what I have done so far:

Become obsessed with Downton Abbey.

Leave me alone, it's only been 10 days. I have one year and 355 days to do all of that other stuff. Starting tomorrow.

Yes! Tomorrow.

Maybe next week.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bed Sessions

Yesterday was the bridal shower (excuse me - Co-Ed Bridal BBQ, because "shower" implies ladies and finger sandwiches and we had beer, Italian ice with vodka,  pizza, and certainly no ladies) for one of my oldest and very best friends, Snikkers. She and three other girls comprise my "core four" of that group of friends with whom I'm still incredibly close. Three of us lived together at one point, but since college we have been all over the continental US. This summer, for the first time in 8 years, three of us are all in one time zone. And yesterday was the first time all four of us had been in the same room since 2004.

I'm the youngest of the four, the only blonde, and therefore look like the weird Swedish exchange student in photos. In 2001, three of us made an ill-fated beach trip that resulted in pierced eyebrows. We all saw each other through the awkward, difficult years of college which were sort of a mesh of Felicity, Girls Gone Wild, and Anne of Green Gables.

(Tell me you wouldn't want to see a movie with that as the concept.)

The BBQ was packed with Snikker's and her husband-to-be's friends, but at some point late in the afternoon the four of us managed to seclude ourselves away in a bedroom and somehow wound up all lying on the bed, whispering and giggling like a slumber party instead of four 30-year-old women (actually, one of us is 31, but who's counting?).

We bemoaned the choices we'd made in our younger years - in men, fashion, life, and hairstyles. We bemoaned the fact that we hadn't all been together in over eight years. We lay, legs all entwined, and heads resting on shoulders. And it was as though all of the thousands of miles we've traversed between us since college were removed. We were just there, four bodies lying on a bed, talking about our former selves.

What amazes me is how very much ourselves we still are.

We are still so very us in the way that our personalities are distinct and defined. And yet we are not the selves that we were at 19, 20, and 21. We are stronger, better, perhaps even more defined. We make no apologies for our selves anymore, and we've all found people who love who we are just for being those very selves. It's amazing to me how the baggage both falls off and stays on at the same time, honing us into better people who make better choices. 

Especially fashion-wise. Those eyebrow rings...not cool.

As I drove home last night, I felt wrapped in this warm glow of love and acceptance, and the knowledge that we will always have what we have. We've had it for ten years. We may not be in the same room, the same state, even the same time zone or continent, but we're still together somehow. Even when everything else is changing.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day Five Thousand...I mean, Day Six.

So, some things haven't changed.

It's been six days since I climbed out of the Bed Fort. Minus the two hours I spent in there on Tuesday night when I had an attack of wanting to do nothing but watch Bob's Burgers with the cats. But I'm starting to suspect that was less of wanting Bed Fort and more of just wanting to do absolutely nothing after a day of endless meetings.

You know those days.

The things that haven't changed in the last week (a neatly bulleted list):

  • I still text The Gentleman when I am stuck in traffic. Being stuck in traffic is one of my biggest pet peeves, and the only reason I think I'd ever consider going to live somewhere remote. I HATE traffic. I become my basest self when I in traffic. In fact, very recently, my sailor's mouth got the worst of me when The Gentleman's poor mother was in the backseat of my car as I attempted to navigate Baltimore City rush hour. I simply cannot be held accountable for what comes out of my mouth, any hand gestures I might make, or texts that I send that usually come in ALL CAPS. TO VENT MY FRUSTRATION. He's used to it.
  • I get up, I go to the gym, I go to work. The sun appears to be still rising and setting normally, and to my knowledge time seems to have slowed down only for me. I believe that might be due to "perspective." So no real metaphysical changes.
  • I'm still afraid of my basement because one of my friends said it had a "bad vibe." This really has nothing to do with The Gentleman moving away, but it's a point of normalcy in my life so I embrace it.
  • I feel his absence acutely. I don't foresee this changing.
And the things that have changed:

  • My God, it's quiet. 
  • I haven't eaten a single organ meat all week. Usually we have at least one adventurous meal a week, either something random from the Korean market that we have no idea how to (or if we should) cook it, or a half-priced appetizer featuring ingredients we're pretty sure the chef got on sale in April and is trying to kick out the door while still turning a profit. 
  • My feet are unusually crampy because no one will rub them.
  • My mind is constantly in two time zones. When we Skype, we are in opposing time zones - one of us is getting ready for bed while the other is just getting up, or vice versa. When I get to work in the mornings, I usually get a text as he leaves work for the day. No matter what time of day it is for me, I'm doing mental math to calculate what time it is where he is. Right now, it's 8:58pm, which means it's 4:58am for him. 
  • Instead of sharing things with him in person, I have to do so via text or email. I bought this truly life-changing hummus (hummOUs) today (bear with me) that has black truffle olive oil in it. I KNOW, RIGHT?! Normally, I would have taken a big spoonful of it and run right over to him and forced him to try it immediately so that he could experience the life-changingness of it all. Instead, I had to take a picture of the label and email it to him. Kind of not the same.

Mostly though, I just feel as though waking up every day requires another adjustment. Much the way I had to make adjustments when we first started dating to let him into my life, so do I now have to let him into my life in other ways. Find ways to stay connected and feel togetherness while still maintaining my life and happiness independently of his physical presence. 

I do have to say: thank God for Google voice. It's seriously the best thing ever.

Since Black Truffle Hummus (HummOUs), that is.

Oh, and my room is still really clean. I've actually been folding my clothes and putting things away all week. I have no idea how long this will last.

Seriously life-changing. And local! You're welcome.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

'K, Bye.

I knew Friday was going to suck.

To begin with, driving to Dulles Airport from Baltimore City sucks. No matter what time of day you leave, there is going to be traffic. Nasty, snarly, DC traffic. And there seems to be a ridiculous concentration of drivers who are hopelessly lost, and who back up onto the highway upon missing an exit. 

I'm not kidding. We witnessed this twice on Friday.

The drive home, I knew, was going to be exponentially more nasty. You can't go anywhere headed East in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area on a Friday afternoon from May-October, because everyone and their mother (and their mothers-in-law, and their 17 bikes, and their luggage carrier on top of the minivan, and their screaming kids, and their boogie boards, etc. etc.) is on their way to the beach. And if you're not headed to the beach? You don't go anywhere. At all.

I also knew that dropping The Gentleman off at the airport was the single act I had been most dreading for the last 30 days. Airport passenger drop-off zones are hideous for proper goodbyes, although I'd foolishly thought that a quick-like-a-Band-Aid approach would be best in the long run (more on that later). 

I had absolutely no idea just how much suckage I was in for.

First of all, The Gentleman told me that he had "a few things" that needed to go to Goodwill. And that we could just toss them in the car. "A few things" turned into four trips from his second floor apartment to my car, arms laden with boxes.

I tried to be "happy and helpful" through all of this. "Happy and helpful" is what The Gentleman says, in a mocking tone, whenever I have to do something that I really, really, really don't want to do. Those 5am training runs for the half marathon? "HAPPY AND HELPFUL!" he would yell, because usually he'd ingested two Five Hour Energies before I'd even had a chance to get my second eyelid open. At which point, I'd punch him. 

Playfully. And lovingly. Happily, and helpfully. Punch him. In his stupid face.

(This has come back to bite him. Like the time Small, Troubled Cat decided to go on a pukefest that led me to believe she'd ingested poinsettia or coolant, and he had to go with me to the vet's with a tiny, trembling, puking cat. "Happy and helpful!" I reminded him. Only he couldn't punch me in the face, because I am a lady. And he was holding the heaving cat. Who, it turned out, had a "teensy allergic reaction" to something. AKA - Attention Whore Syndrome.)

I digress. (Get used to this. I have a LOT MORE FREE TIME on my hands to digress in these blog postings these days.)

Anyway, so to punish The Gentleman for making me haul boxes containing every pair of jeans he's owned in the last 10 years to my car, I made him stop and put air in my tires. A chore I HATE. Happy and helpful!

And then the drive to the airport. What can you possibly say to the person you love during a two-hour drive to the airport, whom you're about to not see for like four months that hasn't already been said? You both know what the end destination of this drive is - a really intense goodbye - and so making conversation becomes about either commenting on the passing scenery or discussing people you mutually know, usually in a way that illustrates what terrible life choices they are making. Because that makes you feel BETTER about this terrible, terrible car ride. To break the tension, I also played The Gentleman my current favorite workout song:

(It's this, by the way. Seriously. Tell me that doesn't make you want to pound the treadmill.)

Somehow, despite the traffic, that drive was far too short. My stomach was churning with the thought of that one awful moment, the one where I have to let go, let him go, get back in my car, and drive my separate way knowing that I won't see him until November. I had envisioned the drive as being neverending, but the next thing I knew we were trying to find the British Airways drop-off zone, and the next thing I knew we were pulling up to the passenger drop-off area.

I had secretly hoped it would be completely packed so that The Gentleman would have no choice but to do a little tuck-and-roll maneuver. "OKAY LOVE YOU BYE!" and I could speed off and start crying and get on with the rest of this shitty day.

No such luck. There were like three other cars there, and not an officer of the law in sight to tell us
Hurry Along, This Is a Drop-Off Zone Only, No Stopping. We had all the time in the world.

I helped The Gentleman unload his suitcases, secretly wondering if I could distract him so that he'd accidentally forget one and he'd have to come home to get it. No such luck, he seemed to know exactly how many bags he had. Oh, NOW you're organized!

And then....the hug. The epic hug where you try to wrap everything up, tie it all up nicely, and say everything about what that person means, what all of this means, how you're going to be just fine, and no, of course you're not crying, and this is totally cool and everything's been said and, ok, bye now, ok, bye, ok bye.

Except I was crying. Big, stupid tears. And I didn't want to make things any harder, so I tried to be totally cool and suave ("Like whatever, no biggie.") and make a swift exit. Except that somewhere in the midst of our epic hug, thirteen van cabs had pulled up around my car, and passengers were exiting and swarming around, blocking my escape route.

And, totally coincidentally, they happened to be Muslim women, draped in nijab. The irony was not lost on me - with The Gentleman flying off to Abu Dhabi and whatnot. 

I tripped very ungracefully into my car, trying not to look back, and had to sit, patiently, while the women unloaded their luggage from all of the van cabs. With The Gentleman still standing next to the car with his luggage.

It was so not cinematic.

When I finally was able to exit the Dulles drop-off zone, things deteriorated from there. I couldn't get Pandora to buffer properly and so my "pick me up" soundtrack (side-note, I also had a station ready to go for "slow motion, pulling away from the curb in the rain, eyes tearing slightly" in case that was the mood I wanted to cultivate) was not working. I missed an exit to 495 and ended up taking a nice little shortcut through downtown DC. I got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for two hours when I finally got to 295. And, thanks to all of the stress and anxiety, I was experiencing what I'll politely term "GASTROINTESTINAL SOS."

It was pretty much the worst three hour drive ever.

I got back to Baltimore somewhere around 6pm, let myself in, and plopped facedown on my bed. 

Where I stayed until 9am the next morning.

I decided that was the only place I wanted to be. I made a fort of blankets and pillows, and broke my code of silence only to call Dominoes, Princess, and Lee (in that order). I watched "Easy A", because I fricking love Emma Stone and she can do no wrong. I may or may not have had a bottle of wine. I texted The Gentleman. I fell asleep before 11pm.

And then I woke up, and it was the next day. And the cats were behaving for once - curled up into nice little puddles of cat on my bed next to me. And I pushed off my Bed Fort, and I went to yoga. I made an egg white omelet. I cleaned my room. And such began Day One of my New Normal.

Since Saturday, we have exchanged countless emails, text messages, Gchats, and one hour of Google Voice Chat. We have an eight-hour time difference to maneuver, and we have 106 days until we will see each other again. 

But I only stayed in the Bed Fort for a night. Because now, we move forward. 

But seriously, that was one epically shitty drive.

(Not literally. I realize there might be some confusion, since I earlier cited that there had been some GASTROINTESTINAL SOS issues. But that was more stomach cramping than-  you know what? Never mind. I'm gonna let this one go.)

(I digressed again. Sorry.)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Boyfriend Is Moving To the Middle East Tomorrow....

....and he started packing yesterday.

File this one under: things I'll never understand.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Things I'd Never Thought I'd Say....

The Gentleman's move overseas has temporarily taken over my entire life, which is really quite rude, when you think about it.

First off, it was terribly inconvenient for him to be given 30 days' notice. That is just bad form. I will say this however - he is remarkably adaptable. If someone gave me 30 days to move overseas, my priority list would be altogether different. I would be worrying about how to pack up my extensive collection of scarves and shoes, and I would be Googling "What to wear in the Middle East in July" over and over again. He just seems to mostly be concerned with silly, less-important things like vaccinations and ex-pat paperwork.

Side note: It was all fun and games to go to Jordan in December. I never worried once about my attire, primarily because Jordan is far more relaxed than most other Middle Eastern countries about what women wear, and also because, well, it was December. I actually spent most of the time being cold and grateful that I brought a winter coat.

But going to Abu Dhabi in July? Here's a brief glimpse at the forecast: 99, 107, 108, 109, 99.


Not that Baltimore has been much chillier... But still, this is something I'm going to have to consider. How am I going to visit The Gentleman and be covered from elbow to ankle in 100+ degree weather? Thankfully I don't have to think about that just yet, because he's the one heading out there in four days, not me. I'll worry about it when I go this fall, when the weather is perfection and I have time to plan fashionable yet respectful outfits.

That was a long side note.

Note to self: break habit of writing long side notes prior to beginning book writing.

Note to self: don't self-criticize publicly.

Anyhoodle, so when your significant other moves overseas, it's only proper that you'd want to spend oooh-gads (note to self: don't make up words) of time with this person. Because in the coming months, your interactions will be limited to the written word and pixellated images. Which is kind of really depressing, but also kind of really fun because you get to think up what all you can do over Skype.


I mean like...watching our TV shows together. Or a movie. Or playing UNO. Whatever people do on Skype that isn't THAT.

Whatever, anyway, the point is - we've fit a pretty decent Baltimore bucket list into the past 3.5 weeks (pics to follow). We ate adventurously, traveled as much as we could in such a short period of time, and spent time with family and friends.

But there comes a moment where you have that awful, horrible thought. The one that racks you with guilt, that you know you will regret the instant you drop him off at the airport and wave goodbye for the first leg of being apart.

It's the feeling of...wanting relief. Of saying, OK, here we go, life begins again anew and it's a new normal. Here's my new routine, here are my new habits, here's when we'll Skype, and here's when we'll call, and here's how this is all going to work. There is relief in that - in building a new normal.

What we have now is chaos. We are cramming six months' of activities into three weeks, on top of one of us trying to prep for a trans-continental move. Life feels at ends, with laundry undone and toenails in bad need of a pedicure.

The Gentleman leaves on Friday, and I know it's going to be difficult. I know it is. But the truth is, I'm totally exhausted from the intensity of saying goodbye-but-not-goodbye, and with the constant realization that Friday the 13th is coming (horrible choice of dates, bee-tee-dubs), and that I'll have to make that drive to the airport, and I'll come home and The Gentleman will no longer live only two blocks down but 7,024 miles and 8 time zones away. And I'll probably cry and yell at the cats for a few days, but then at least I can begin the process of finding this new normal. And do my laundry. And paint my toenails.

The anticipation'll kill ya.

So, I never thought I'd say this, but...I'm ready for it to be Friday. We have three days left of running around like crazy, and then I can just be upset and crazy and stop with the brave face I've been putting on because I didn't want to waste a second of our time together with being sad.

And the sooner we get started on this new life, the sooner two years will go by.

And the sooner I can go to Abu Dhabi to see Marina Mall.

I mean - The Gentleman.

Yes, to see that guy.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Was That a Holiday?

In the throes of a heat wave, the 4th didn't feel so festive on a Wednesday this year. But we still had a good time with The Gentleman's visiting family on some friends' deck with the best view of the Inner Harbor fireworks I've ever seen.

The temps are threatening to push up into the 109's. The 109's, ya'll. Bawlmer be melting. But tonight...there is a random hot breeze pushing clouds around in a vaguely threatening way. Every time I think it's about to storm its head doesn't. Standing on my deck this evening, I discovered that if you look one way, the storm looms dark and forebearing. A complete 180 and the sun was sending ACTUAL RAYS OF LIGHT into this brilliant sunset. My trusty HTC phone camera caught both views:

Impending doom.

Not impending doom.
 No, but seriously, all I want to do is eat foods that are at least 85% water, and spend my days in darkened rooms with AC thinking about things floes. And Orbitz gum.


Monday, July 2, 2012

And Then That Happened....

Welcome back, Glitteratis, after the longest absence I've taken from this blog since its inception four years ago.

There were many reasons for the absence, and I vaguely recall turning 30 somewhere in there, but suffice it to say that when major life events occur, as a blogger you have two choices:

1. Write about it.
2. Don't write about it.

In this case, there was so much happening in such a condensed period of time that I went with #2, publicly at least.

There's a lot that I am choosing to not write about right now, mostly to give my loved ones the privacy they need, but there's one thing that I can totally write about and that is the fact that in the midst of everything else that's been going on, The Gentleman's work informed him that he is being relocated. Overseas. For two years.

Now, to be fair, this is not such a huge surprise. There's been a chance of this happening since we started dating over a year and a half ago. I just didn't expect it to happen when it did. The timing was less than spectacular, although I'm not sure there's really a spectacular time for your significant other to turn to you and say, "Hey guess what, I totally love you, and I totally have to move to this other country for two years and you totally can't go with me because we're not married." 


But, since The Gentleman is pretty much my favorite person on this earth, and since he asked me so very, very nicely, it appears that we will be spending the next two years together but living 8 time zones apart. This is not as bad as it seems for a few very notable reasons:

1. I am going to get to travel. A lot. Like, a lot a lot. When your boyfriend moves overseas to take an incredible job offer and you can't go with him, it's a silver lining that you get to go on all kinds of amazing trips to see one another. I mean, it's only fair, right? Alright, fine, I'll temporarily give up "Horror Movie Sunday," where we cook dinner and watch scary movies, for two years if it means I'm going to get some kick-ass vacations out of it. Travel being one of my favorite things, and all.

2. I have a totally exciting plan to give birth. To a book, that is. With The Gentleman overseas, I'll suddenly have a lot of free time, and I've decided that that free time needs a structure beyond watching too much Netflix and having extensive conversations with my cats. Also, The Gentleman is making me write a book. Also, Lee is making me write a book. Also, I am making myself write a book. READYSETGO, CREATIVITY!!

3. I am so going to get to exhibit all of my secret single behaviors with all the benefits of having a loving, caring, supportive significant other. I'm going to get to not shave my legs for weeks on end and totally eat scrambled eggs with salsa out of a coffee mug for dinner five nights in a row if I want, and still receive the gratification of getting to Skype/text/email/chat/visit with my favorite person. Because he can't see my legs on Skype! (Obviously that's a reference to the whole leg-shaving thing. That was terrible syntax. I'm going to have to work on things like that for that book I'm gonna write.)

Ok, so there you have 3 reasons why this won't suck so horribly. There are also many reasons why it will suck horribly - I'm going to have to learn to fix my own computer, I can't give myself back rubs, and there's that whole not  having my best friend/running partner/hot awesome person around all the time. But at the same time, my mom pointed out that The Gentleman and I have a way of making every situation into an adventure, and she's right. 

Also, I can't wait to go back to the Middle East.

More to come, Glitteratis; much, much, much more to come.