Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Taking the Good with the Bad

A big tragedy occurred this weekend, readers. My composting worms died. All of them. It was mass wormicide.

I think I had gotten too cocky. The weekend before, I went to a composting class with a friend and bragged to her about how easy it was to set up a worm farm. I went home after the class, and proudly fed my wrigglers, noticing new babies and some pregnant ladies in the mix. I was so proud of my little community. And I was excited to give them the tomatoes I just learned they could eat.

Sadly, I think it was the tomatoes that killed them. There was so much liquid in the container last weekend, that most of the little worms drown. Even the ones in the actual compost were suffocated, I think. Despite my massive search and rescue effort, I could not find a single one alive. And yes, I cried. Cried over IM to Mr. Wonderful—who sweetly told me it wasn’t my fault…sort of like when I ran over that pigeon.

As heartbreaking as it was to lose my farm, I did have some high points Saturday and Sunday. Like when Mr. W sent me a link to the hotel he booked for us in Paris. Yes people, I not only get to get some much-needed action in the UK next week, I get to celebrate my 33rd birthday in Paris. Poor me.

It was also a joy (and relief) to book another trip to see Mr. W in May. We’re going to meet halfway in Tampa, to stay with his mom. I haven’t met her yet, which is a little weird considering that Mr. W and I may commit lascivious acts in her house when the lights go off (sorry, but 6 weeks is a LONG TIME!). But I’m optimistic she and I will get along. Especially when I kiss her feet and thank her for raising such a thoughtful, sensitive, intelligent stallion…I mean, son.

So I guess the weekend was all about balance. I’m just sorry so many lives were lost in the process. Maybe I can light a candle for my wrigglers when I visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in France.

[By the way, that picture up top is the view across the river from Mr. W’s penthouse. Not bad, right…?]

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Get Paid to Do What?

Some of you may know that I write in-house at a well-known tech company. It's a great place to work. I love my job, and on certain days I can't believe I actually get paid to do what I do.

Although this isn't what the company hired me for, our fun little creative department has its own web portal with a blog—and occasionally, I put my blogging skills to use over there. I had a particularly good time writing this post, so I thought I'd share it with you all...

Mel's Tips for the Big Move
As you know, our two buildings will soon become one, closing open cubicles, clogging walkways and possibly toilets, and turning the coffee bar queues into Communist bread lines. It’s going to be tight quarters around here, but I’ve got a few suggestions to help you keep your sanity.

1. Shower at the office.
I don’t think the showers on the first floor get too crowded (yet). By getting here around 6 or 7 a.m. to take your shower, you’ll definitely be able to get a parking spot and you’ll probably have a chance to grab some coffee before your 9:30 meeting.

2. Get a hotplate.
The microwaves could become mighty crowded at lunchtime. Surely your cube neighbors won’t mind if you just whip up some cod or curry right at your desk.

3. Consider Depends.
I hear their latest design is really streamlined—you don’t see the diaper bulge in the back of your pants at all. Think of how much time you’d save by never having to wait for a stall or urinal to open. Your productivity could skyrocket.

4. Wear Bluetooth in both ears.
Not only will this make people think you’re on the phone—so maybe they’ll avoid talking to you—it can also work to drown out the noise produced by the 48 new neighbors you’re inheriting.

5. Bring your own soda.
That free soda fountain downstairs? Yeah, it’s going to be empty about every 20 minutes. Even the old fifty centers in the vending machines will probably be going like Purell at a preschool. I say bring your own 12-pack and lock it in your desk. You’ll save yourself hassles and money.

Good luck with the move!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blasted Calendar

It was a weepy weekend. Could’ve been the rain. Could’ve been hormones. Could’ve been the night with my family that really seemed like it should’ve included Mr. Wonderful. Could’ve been the fact that we passed our marker for longest time ever apart. Maybe it was a combination of everything. Regardless, it was a rough one.

I seem to be in constant battle with the calendar. I have two of them staring at me from the walls of my cubicle right now…one is set to March, one to April. There are big red boxes around the days I’ll be in London over Easter.

I think once I can actually flip both calendars to next month, I’ll feel better. Because then it’ll at least be The Month I’m going to see him again.

But I don’t really want to speed through the year, continually anxious to get to the next calendar page. Time goes fast enough as it is, I really don’t need to be accelerating it.

People tell me to take advantage of this period and do all the things I wouldn’t have time for if Mr. W were here. Well, I am doing that. And it does make me really happy to catch up on writing and cleaning and scrapbooking…most of the time. But then the rollercoaster crests that pinnacle and starts racing back down into the pit of He’s Gone. And the next thing you know, I’m counting weeks on the calendar again.

When I get home from this upcoming visit, there’s a good chance I’ll get to have a weekend with him again in May. Memorial Day in Tampa to meet his mom for the first time. It’ll only be 6 ½ weeks of waiting in between. Then hopefully only another 5-6 weeks before I can go over there for my extended stay.

I know I’m being a wimp. I know we’ll look back on this in September and think it flew by. But I don’t want to feel like I lost a year to waiting. Nor do I want to feel like I spent a year doing really great stuff—all without him.

Okay I’m starting to irritate myself now… I’ll shut up.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Can't Take Credit

I am no wiser than you. I am not stronger. I am not more in tune with my intuition. I am not more courageous. I am not a better judge of character.

I do not deserve praise for my actions. I'm not worthy of envy or admiration. I shouldn't be recognized as making better decisions.

When I was with him, I wanted to stay put. Friends tried to warn me. Family tried to warn me. My ears preferred to be deaf. The hurt and frustration came in waves, like a daily tide you could predict by the position of the moon. I could see it coming, in the distance, again and again. I hoped, every time, it would be different. But it was the same. Over and over.

I clung to any shred of positivity I could find. Any kind word. Any semi-thoughtful gesture. I thought I could change him. I thought I could save him. I thought I could save us. So noble in my quest, I stayed and stayed, all the while feeling in my gut that I'd be better off leaving.

But I didn't leave.

Because I am not wiser or stronger or braver than any one else who is trapped under love's thumb.

The only reason my situation is not yours is that he set me free.

I am luckier than you, only because I was released. Not by my own hand, but by my captor's. And oh how I wish I could uncurl your captor's fingers and release you, too.

Because the freedom from that hurt tastes so incredibly sweet.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bloody Awesome

So, it’s a wonder to me sometimes that Mr. Wonderful is primarily Greek in his heritage. He says he has a bit of Irish in him, but I’m beginning to think that part is bigger than he thinks because the boy has luck like nobody’s business.

Seriously. First he gets laid off from his studio job, yet will continue receiving a paycheck through October. Then he gets a job right away with an extremely well-known director. Then he gets upgraded to first class when he’s flying out to London the first time. And now? Now this:

Because he’s going to be living in England for so long, the studio is paying for him to get an apartment. Given that the studio’s office is an hour outside of London, he opted to look for flats in Richmond—which is a 30-minute tube ride from the city.

He found a place he liked, and was all ready to rent it but then the housing coordinator found out that the person renting it wanted to stay longer. So instead, Mr. W gets this place.

It’s the freaking penthouse.

A 3-bedroom place, right on the Thames River; walking distance into the cute town of Richmond; minutes from a huge, beautiful park. The freaking penthouse.

Of course this is how it worked out for him. He’s Greek-Irish. I’m going to rub his head extra hard when I see him next month and see if I can bring some of that luck home with me…

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mad Catter

So you're probably getting bored reading my recent posts. You want to hear about how Mr. W is moving into an awesome penthouse outside London. Or how one of my nieces let a wallaby eat a trisket cracker out of her mouth the other day. But right now I feel like discussing odd animal behavior.

See, I've had cats all my life and I'm used to most of their strange feline quirks. However, my little 9-year old cat Zoë displays the weirdest behavior ever, every single morning.

She waits on the bathroom sink while I'm in the shower, sitting like a little bookend. And when I emerge from the glass doors, she starts yelling at me and pacing. Then she starts to purr as she walk back and forth. This escalates until she is in snuggle overload mode. She smashes her head against my body like a prairie dog rolling in the dirt. And sometimes she gets so drunk on snuggle hormones that she falls off the sink. But other mornings, she just hops down and weaves figure eights through my legs while I put on my make up.

The strangest part about it, though, is that she puffs up like a bottle brush. I've never known a cat to put its hair on end unless it's frightened or threatened. But not Zoë. It's like her bizarre little cat senses get so heightened, she goes into intoxicated fight or flight.

Anyone else ever seen anything like this? Or do you have another odd animal story to share?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Inexpensive Refresh

Every now and then I start to get restless with certain decor in my house. I'll fixate on a pillow or a particular candle arrangement or some other element in one of the rooms, and the next thing you know, I'm daydreaming at work and scouring pier1.com and crateandbarrel.com for inspiration.

Well, the latest hangup was the picture over my couch (and maybe the living room curtains). But given the economy and the fact that I'm trying to save my pennies for a move to London this summer, I couldn't justify spending $100 on a new wall-hanging.

So I decided to check out some of the cool designs at The Paper Source. I went there Saturday and found a great floral print that matched the colors of my living room. I also picked up some little die-cut ginko leaves, unsure what I would do with them, but thinking they might come in handy.

As you can see, they did. It took me awhile to find a design I liked—but I was able to arrange the leaves in a way that made them look like flowers. I thought this worked well to break up the busy background.

And it only cost me about $9.00. Not too bad for a fun new piece of art!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Daddy Rooter

Saturday night, I had 10 girlfriends from childhood over to my house for appetizers, dessert and lots of wine. I decided to make proscuitto-wrapped dates, and was busily working away in the kitchen, chatting with two of my friends when we heard a very odd noise coming from somewhere in the apartment.

It sounded like someone was taking a shower with the water up full blast. The pipes were groaning like I’d never heard before.

I sprinted to the hallway and determined the noise was definitely coming from the bathroom.

As I turned on the light, I was hit in the shins with a spray of water from the valve next to the toilet. I frantically tried to turn it off, but it was stuck. A couple of friends clamored into the bathroom behind me and watched in horror as the tank began gushing water all over the floor. Without thinking twice, I ran to the phone and dialed my parents’ number.

I calmly screamed that the toilet was exploding and I couldn’t get the water shut off and I needed help immediately because I had a house full of people and a balsamic reduction sauce to make. While throwing every bath towel I owned onto the floor to mop up the mess, I tried again to turn the shut-off valve. It finally gave way and the spray sputtered out.

“Do you need me to bring the wet vac down?” my Mom asked. Yes. And please bring Dad so he can look to see what the problem is.

Hands shaking, I returned to my dates in the kitchen and lovingly accepted a giant glass of wine from one of the girls.

When my parents showed up, Dad immediately marched down the hallway. I opened the toilet tank and showed him the broken pumper thing inside. “Do you think this is fixable?” I asked.

He then removed his Clark Kent glasses, loosened his tie and revealed a superhero emblem on his shirt. “Not only is it fixable,” he said, “I have the part with me.” Confetti fell from the ceiling and the cats started doing a tango on the bathroom rug.

He went back outside to his car and returned with a toolbox. Then, like a house-call-making doctor about to deliver a baby, he said, “I’ll need a bowl and a flashlight.”

I left him alone to work on his patient, and 15 minutes later I had a fully functioning toilet again. All the girlfriends cheered.

I handed him a cookie. “Mom said you weren’t very happy when I called for help.”

He crossed his arms and, in typical Dad fashion, explained—“I just sat down to watch COPS and your Mom comes running in saying ‘Melissa needs us to come down and help her with her toilet. It’s flooding the bathroom.’ And I said AWE CRAP! GOD DAMMIT!”

A nearby friend and I broke into hysterics. I can picture that reaction perfectly in my head after witnessing it so many times as a child. But the best part is that after he and my Mom went home, he was all cheery and chipper and proud of himself for saving the day in front of all the girls.

The other good part—when I told Mr. W the story the next morning he said, “Yeah I would’ve pretty much reacted the same way your dad did.”

“But you would’ve fixed it too, right?”

“Of course.”

How does that old saying go about marrying people like your father…?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Now THIS Makes Me Want Kids For Sure

Last weekend, I visited my brother, sister-in-law and their two girls. Being a firefighter who enjoys many days off each month, my brother is tasked with watching their youngest a few days every week. She's almost eighteen months old and a total firecracker. He shared the best story ever while I was visiting...

Apparently one day last week, he was laying on the chase lounge portion of their couch, watching TV. My niece was tooling around playing with her toys, doing her thing. She noticed her daddy and walked over behind him to pat him on the back. She lifted up his t-shirt and poked him a couple times with her tiny finger. Then she wandered away to continue her important baby business.

My brother didn't flinch when she came back and lifted his shirt again. But then next thing he knew, she yanked open the waistband of his underwear and dropped three raisins down his buttcrack.

She's not even two!! He said he almost died laughing, as did I. What in the world would possess a kid to drop dried fruit down her dad's pants, I have no idea. But I could not be more proud of her and am certain if I can have a kid that does stuff like that, all will be right in the world.

On the Heels of My Last Post

I found this very interesting article on iVillage and wanted to share it. There's a great quote right up front:

"As long as we raise our children, especially girls, to believe that marriage is the solution to life's problems and essential for personal happiness, we will continue to have many couples marrying with little appreciation for the true difficulties and complexities of married life."

Nieces: Marriage is not the solution in the quest for personal happiness.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Letter to All the Girls

Dear girls (my nieces included),

Don’t ever settle.

Whether you’re 8 years old or 35 years old, there are probably people in your life right now saying things to you like, “when you get married” and “when you’re a wife” and “when you’re a mother.” These things might make you feel like the most important part of adulthood is walking down the aisle. You might feel like getting married is THE thing that will make you a complete person. THE thing that will make everyone proud.

It could be your parents encouraging you. Or your church. Or maybe you’re old enough that all your friends are saying I Do and you feel the pressure to fall in line with your peers.

But marriage isn’t the most important thing. Becoming a bride isn’t what matters.

The thing that matters is finding the right person. Why? Because you deserve him.

You deserve to be with someone who treats you like a precious gem. You deserve someone who respects you. Who wants to make you happy. Who leads a life that makes you happy. You deserve to be with someone whose stories you’re proud to tell. Not someone who you construct an intricate façade around to conceal his behavior or his true identity.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how many of your friends or family members are attached. You should wait for the man of your dreams.

If you waffle back and forth on whether or not he’s the right guy, he’s not the right guy. If he makes you cry on a regular basis, he’s not the right guy. If you find yourself keeping secrets about who he is or how he acts, he’s not the right guy. If you’re hoping he’ll change after you get married, he’s not the right guy. If you hope he’ll change at all, he’s most likely not the right guy.

Find someone who you don’t want to change. Find someone who you’re so proud to call your own that you want to climb up the Empire State Building and scream off the top that you love him. Find someone who worships you and makes you feel like the funniest, smartest, most beautiful girl in the world. Find someone who embodies your dream.

And if you don’t find him at 23 or 29 or 36, wait for him. Don’t marry someone else who is okay and makes you relatively happy but doesn’t light your fire and make you want to stage a celebration rally in Union Square on his behalf. Don’t settle.

You deserve the best. You deserve the guy who you truly respect and love. The guy that makes YOU want to be a better person. The guy who fits the bill on who you always imagined yourself with.

Don’t walk down the aisle until you find him. It’s not about getting married, it’s about finding him—finding the happiness—that will stay with you for the rest of your life. And if that happiness doesn’t arrive in your twenties, it’s okay. Stick it out. Because the rewards of being with the right person will far, far outweigh the joy you’ll experience the day of your wedding.

Mel Heth (aka Auntie Lissa)