You own everything that happened to you

The last time I published a post on this blog, I was a naive 23-year-old.  Fresh out of college, I was working as a first-year reporter for a small newspaper. I was newly engaged to a man I had been dating for five years. We had just moved into our first non-rental home. I was excited for our future, and was sure a wedding was just around the corner and the sound of our children’s feet would soon fill those hallways. We would live happily ever after.

At least, that’s what I kept telling myself — too afraid to listen to the voice inside my head.

Today, I reflect on the sense of security I felt at that time and realize it was fake. Truthfully, I was living through a daily shit-storm, in love with someone who didn’t love me back, and certainly didn’t respect me.  When I met him at 17, I was confident. But after years of constant criticism and insults, my self-confidence had been whittled down. I walked on eggshells.  I didn’t make decisions. I didn’t have opinions.  I didn’t have an identity other than being his wife. I viewed myself through his distorted lens and lived for his approval.

The best thing he ever did for me was leave me for another woman nine months into our marriage. We had been together nine years. Our divorce was finalized in October.

His choice launched me into the deepest depression of my life. For the first time ever, there were days in which I understood why some people commit suicide — although I never reached a point when I considered such an act. During the weeks I lived alone in our big house — the one that was supposed to be our future family’s home — the sounds of laughter and his music were replaced by my relentless sobs as I collapsed in the garage off a stool, in my hand a cigarette I’d sworn not to smoke, occasional outbursts in the form of a picture frame thrown across a room and my heels clicking on the hardwood floor as I primped in preparation of his random returns. I was dead set on winning him back, and I did a few times that month. But, you shouldn’t have to beg someone to love you.

Now that it’s over, people have asked me how I let that happen to me — someone who acts so strongly during the week. I manage a staff of five. I serve in a public role that’s sometimes difficult, but I go toe-to-toe with public figures on a daily basis. How does one so steadfastly grip to another being, despite the fact that they treat you so badly? He ignored me. He insulted me. He screamed at me. He lied to me. He threatened me. All of this while he secretly whispered loving words to another woman. Unbelievably, I blamed myself.

The short answer is this: it doesn’t happen overnight. That’s how emotional abuse and manipulation works. He wasn’t like that in the beginning — at least not to me. Sure, he raised his voice to other people and cut other people out of his life, but he complimented me. He earned my trust and utmost loyalty. Over time, it began to change. Per his wishes, I cut out my friends and family. I moved to another city. I changed the way I dressed and how I wore my make-up and how I spoke. I was convinced I was stupid and helpless and chubby.  I learned to bite my tongue, afraid of what would happen to me once the others were gone. Would he attempt to convince me to drop out of college? Make fun of my job, calling it “disrespectful gossip?” Throw my clothes into the yard, ordering me out of “his” house? Pick up a table and dump it on the ground, screaming so loud his veins would pop out of neck while I cowered in the corner? Drive my car way too fast in a drunken rage, as I begged for him to pull over, fearing for my life? Smash my cell phone? Push me against a wall? Pour a beer on my head in a crazed fury? All these things eventually happened. Sometimes he would offer a half-ass apology. “I’m sorry I acted like that but you push my buttons.” I hid it for years.

But not anymore. I own everything that has happened to me.  I’m rebuilding my life. And, I’m claiming back myself.

I’m resurrecting the blog. Instead of hidethechocolate, which narrated my attempts to lose weight, I’m calling it “Off the Record.” These are the columns I want to write, but aren’t appropriate for publication.

Am I going to “get in trouble” for writing about these topics? Probably. But I’m not scared anymore. Now that I’m removed from the situation, I see others living my past life. And if my words can help them, I’m going to write them. I’ve learned so much during the past six months and I want to share it. And not just about divorce, but life in general.

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” – Annie Lamott

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T-shirt, where have you been all of my life?

It’s been more than two months since we’ve moved.

The house, well, the home — it’s coming along. Slowly. We nixed cable and home internet to help with the change in our lifestyle, having a mortgage and all as a couple of twenty-somethings, and so it wasn’t important, or necessary really, to get the office into shape immediately. There are no computers set up and so I had to dig around for ol’ Bessie, my college laptop.

With a couple jolts and a dry cough, the laptop revved to life. While it booted, I glanced around for a beverage. I wanted something thick, but even after I fished out the chocolate syrup (that stuff doesn’t expire, right?), sniffed the milk and concocted the 10 ounces of decadence that I’m sure I’ll regret later, I didn’t realize until I opened a blank document that I was fitting the scheme. Chocolate. Oh, my blog.

Of course, the laptop has since become Danny’s music laptop, as I have moved on. And I discovered all of my college papers, photos and various projects have been deleted. Shit, even Microsoft Word was gone. So, here I am, typing into a Notepad document, wondering why it bothers me that I can’t go back and read the papers in which I was cheated out of many lovely nights.

Just thinking about the massive amount of coffee I drank writing those makes me shiver, even now.

Do I need them? No.

So, it’s good to delete, trash and move on, right? Why do I feel weird about this?

Mostly I find this whole scene of me, sitting in my new kitchen, on my old laptop, with my chocolate milk, ironic because it just turned into a preface of this blog post I have intended to write since earlier this evening.
It’s funny how stuff works out.

 

Here’s the lead I originally intended: My tee shirts and I need to get a room. And not my bedroom.

I was blessed with four glorious days off of work this week. But trust me — I deserved it. I work insanely long hours and have had zero time to get my house settled.

So, I like to lay on my back and pretend that I’m walking on the ceiling. That way, the floor looks really clean.

It’s also no secret that I’m a slob. Shit, I’ve been a slob my entire life, and my bedroom has always been “a disaster zone,” as my mother so often pointed out.

You can rarely see the floor. And now that we have a dog, what a freakin’ mess. Not to mention, while we worked on the current home for two months back in the fall there was no time to do ANYTHING at the farmhouse. I didn’t cook. I didn’t clean. I didn’t do laundry. And that’s where the problem began. We moved in a chaotic mess like we always do, three days before Christmas. And when we moved I brought piles. And, I do mean PILES of dirty laundry. We had moved the water softener from the farmhouse to the new house a few weeks prior, so Danny could plumb it in, which didn’t help the laundry catastrophe. Since, I’ve “organized” it into this mountain of shame in the corner of our bedroom.
I do laundry on the weekends. Every weekend. And a lot. But, I never seem to get caught up on what we’ve dirtied throughout the week in addition to the mountain of shame.

I often try to hide it from guests. That door is usually shut. it’s like a nasty, fat and ugly child we don’t anyone to know about. But of course, since we just moved, everyone always wants a tour of the home.

“What’s back there?”

“Oh, you know, spiders. Lots of spiders. Blood-suckling, cross-dressing spiders. So, yeah you should probably just not go in there.”

But seriously, you say, how many dirty clothes can there be?
Well, about 15 loads, I answer.

ImageThis really wasn’t too far off. At one point, I thought I discovered a cat’s body under a pile. Turns out it was just some cat hair “tumbleweed.” You know how it balls up and floats across the floor. You don’t? Oh, well just pretend I never said that.

But today, on my fourth and final glorious day off, I decide I’m going to tackle it. I’m going to be an adult. I’m going to stretch those big girl panties so high. 
I’m going to make my chocolate milk later.

Upon digging through the mountains of clothes, both dirty and clean boxed away, I discovered many things. I found two perfect pairs, with no holes, of Danny’s jeans. That alone was a cause for celebration. I also discovered panties with the crotch eaten out.

No, it wasn’t Danny.

Instead, I found the dog enjoying a nice snack o’ pantolones in the kitchen. Culprit identified. I’ll save you the details.

But, what I discovered of the most importance was how many freaking tee shirts I owned. It was appalling, really.

In my quest for closet organization, I piled the tee shirts onto my stripped bed. I stared at them. WHERE DID YOU COME FROM? I decided to divide them into two subpiles: normally wear and rarely (or never) wear.

The next discovery was even more frightening. Honestly, I wear about five tee shirts fairly regularly, and about FORTY rarely or never.
WTF, you say, throw them away!

But I can’t. I just can’t. I pick each one up, some have holes or stained pits or just smell like your Grandma’s basement. I would say 90 percent are from high school. One from every musical, every year of marching band, the powderpuff game, Quick Recall, Relay for Life.
The rest are tee shirts that were dear to me in high school. Rock band shirts: The Beatles (several), Nirvana, The Descendents, The Ramones, Rancid.

I even have one of those “Make 7” *flip* “UP Yours” shirts.

That one’s in my regular rotation. Seriously. Best two bucks at a thrift store, ever. I wonder if that tee sat in someone else’s closet for eight years? It PROBABLY did. Hole ripped in universe.

Image Shirt? Where have you been all of my life? Oh yeah, IN MY CLOSET. Except my tee shirts are gross, and I’m not asian.

I have moved six times since high school, and with this most recent move being the exception, each time I have gone through this dilemma about my collection, and sacrificed a few. I must have already pitched 20 over the years.

Although I had already created a pile of clothes to go toward charity, I just couldn’t throw these stinky shards of cotton into that pile. Those clothes mean nothing to me, and somebody else probably needs them and would appreciate them.

But who are we kidding? Nobody is going to appreciate a size medium tee, once black now more “dirt” colored, with holes, a thin collar and marker stains, like I do.

Am I alone in this? These are what I have deemed the best of the best, as they have made it through these six moves.

But they’re fuckin’ nasty. I can admit that.

ImageI seriously had one like this. I threw that one away and miss it. Seriously, I want another one.

Even after the discovery, contemplation and realization of this issue, I still didn’t throw them away. But, I don’t have room for them in my closet, where they’ll surely collect room stinches from lack of use as they have in the other closets.

So, what did I do?

I put them into the closet in the extra bedroom, where they now sit adjacent to my prom dress, two graduation gowns, dress I can’t squeeze into, and a bathrobe I don’t like.

The bathrobe is just too fuzzy to throw away, though.
I would wear it in this chilly house, while I sit in my new kitchen and stare at this archaic word document and sip my chocolate milk, but I don’t like it.
I never wear it.

So, I got my tee shirts a room. Just not my room.
I plan to visit them next time I move and go through this.

The column that will never meet a printed page

To say that the last month has been a whirlwind in my career would be an understatement. Me, of all the people to be caught in the midst of covering what some have called a ‘political scandal?’

Let’s be serious here. I was eight weeks into my very first job – just five months out of college, when I exposed some political dirt in this small town. No, never a quiet person, but polite. “Yes sir,” I would always echo.

Covering county government can be intimidating, to be honest. Sometimes, I feel like I’m  the only female, the only person under 40 years of age to glide through those architecturally stunning courthouse halls. They never expected “kiddo,” as I was previously referred to, to discover the content of the closed door meetings, and I didn’t either.

But I did. And I put it on the front page of the newspaper seven times.

Some things have become inherently clear to me, things that I didn not want to believe. Politics are nasty. Politicians are corrupt. It really revolves around serving not necessarily individual interests, but the interests of a relatively small, inner circle.

It’s the good ol’ boys club, as we’ve so jokingly, and more recently seriously,  discussed.

These guys are willing to lie, cheat and hide behind their titles to protect their own. They change their stories, but keep that smiling face. Because, after all, who will the people of the county trust? These officials, who have been voted into their selected offices for continuous terms, who have had their names practically carved into our printing presses because they occur so often, or me, the new, unfamiliar face with little experience?

That continues to be a mystery.

It’s sad, really. I did not want to believe in the deception. But when I finally unpeeled that final layer Wednesday, asked that final difficult question that put them at risk for discovery, did those political guises transform into tactics of intimidation.

You spit in my face. I thanked you for your time. I upheld my professionalism, but all of you, who have been serving the people of this county for longer than I have been on this planet, did not.

In my mind – it’s wrong. There is no argument the other way. But, because you, and your friends, have a political monopoly on this county, can manipulate the law as you choose. You have complete jurisdiction and authority, and you know it.

But, you can’t keep me from writing. You can’t keep me from requesting documents. Yes, you can deny them, but then I can write about that, too.

“Why does this keep coming up?” you angrily asked, explaining that from now on my requests for interview will be ignored. “This is water under the bridge, and we’re only looking toward the future now.”

But, it must not be over. I know it’s not over when strangers venture in my newsroom after dark, pleading for privacy and refusing to disclose their name, because they know something and it needs to come out, but it can’t be attached to their identity because they will be black balled in the community.

You campaigned on an open and transparent government. Now, that makes me want to spit.

You chastise me for calling you in the evening, while you were driving to your mother’s funeral.

Did you really think I enjoyed that? Do you really think I took pleasure in stating, “Well, I’m sorry to hear that, but unfortunately I have to ask you a question.”

You’re sick of it. That’s funny, too. because I am sick of it. I have been writing about the same, disgusting circumstance, that has grown increasingly ridiculous for the last month. I have spent time away from my friends and family. I have worked outlandish overtime, which is not paid. I haven’t cooked a meal at home in weeks. I’ve had to put every single other thing in my life on hold.  On my days off, I constantly read over the stories, checking for a single error, because  know my perfection is pertinent. It never leaves my mind. I have been under pressure, and I had to deal with you sorry sons of bitches.

So, yes I am ready to move on. But, it’s not because of what you said to me, It’s because I have hit a brick wall under the discovery that NOTHING I can do will make this right. Because, unfortunately, you still have the final say legally.

But if even one person in this county sees you for what you are, like I have, then I’ve done my job.

Oh, and I’m not going anywhere. My assignment remains county government.

See ya Monday.

Five Ways to Sound Like an Idiot When Calling a Newspaper

I haven’t been in this business long. My experience includes four years in college, and about two of those as a staff writer for the college paper, two summer internships – one at a very small paper in within the county and the other at the corporate medium sized paper and finally my first “real” job. I’ve only here, in this 10k sized, traditional town, for about 10 weeks, as well. But no matter what demographic I’m covering, where I’m at or what size paper, people who call in still manage to ask the same stupid questions, or make the same ridiculous comments.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it when people call in. I really do. I even love it when you call in to bitch to me personally about an article I wrote. I love feedback – it means you’re reading. And I have no problem listening (sometimes, they are legitimate complaints/comments/questions) or explaining to you why you are wrong and I am right.

After all, I spent between 2 and 20 hours researching this project. Did you? Doubtful.

But let me get this straight, if you’re going to call in, prep yourself. Hell, write yourself some notes and some points to highlight. It’ll save both of us some time, and I MIGHT not mumble to myself after I hang up the phone. So, let’s just skip all of this stuff, and next time you feel the urge to call and do these things, call your mom instead.

5. Believe that I am your personal savior

Yes, I am a reporter. No, I do NOT give a shit that your baby mama is taking you to court for child support, but that bitch is a ho and that baby’s not yours.

It’s unbelievable how many calls I get like his, or comments on the street. This is not breaking news. This is not a big deal. This is not unordinary. People do this all the time. Did you have sex with her? Who are we kidding? With the grammar and vocab skills you have, I’d be willing to bet that you two fell in love in the back of a truck to the sounds of Lynyrd Skynyrd playing from the radio in the cab that you stole from your buddy’s brother.

Also, I understand that an officer came to your private business last night “for no damn reason” and took the AK-47 from the front seat of your truck. I understand that “this is America and (you) got the right to have a weapon. Right? This is America, right?”

Too bad you forgot the part where I call the police, and they explain to me that they did in fact, take your gun. Because, after all, you were rip-roaring drunk and they came to the location on a noise disturbance in the first place, then explained that you could pick it up in the morning when you were sober.

What pigs, right?

So, no. I am not going to do an expose on this subject in your life. I do not think that others “have the right to know what the idiot leaders in this county” are doing.

Shit, I didn’t even want to know. Why do these calls keep getting transferred to my phone, specifically?

4. Ask me how you get on television

Remember that part where you opened the phone book or your browser and typed in newspaper? I do, because I work at a newspaper and you called me.

Let me try to explain this to you in a way you can understand: pizza.

Would you call Donatos and ask them how to get a pizza from Pizza Hut?

Well, you actualy probably have, haven’t you?

But I will give you this. Some newspapers and television stations are involved with one another in ways. For example, in Columbus The Dispatch and Channel 10 are owned by the same company, and in Dayton, Channel 7 and the Dayton Daily are owned.

But how about this, do you know of a local television station?

Probably not, and if you do, you should call them. Because although it would be awesome, I do not have a Batman symbol, in the shape newspaper, that I shine into the stratosphere, informing all of my television buddies that you have called about your small town bullshit.

In addition, it’s like you’re saying, ‘yeah you’re not bad, but can you get me to the real media outlet?’

You’re lucky I answered the phone and politely explained to you that I cannot and would not get your story on television. Do what everyone else does and make a youtube video, watch it on your computer and pretend you’re on TV.

Or just kill someone. That’ll do it.

3. Complain that the only stories we cover are “bad news

Everyone has heard it. Where is the good news?

Guess what, there isn’t any.

Your life sucks, your society sucks and your peers suck. Get over it.

I don’t make the news, I report it. And the way the format works is the most important news going on the front page, usually.

Yes, this may include, arrests, a political crisis, budgetary issues and 50 wild animals being shot in the back while running for their lives.

I didn’t let the animals loose, and I didn’t shoot them. But it happened.

So, imagine my face when someone told me they cancelled their subscription because of all of the bad news constantly smothering the front page.

“Did you know that on 73 of the last 87 days, a negative story led the front page?”

That actually happened.

Listen, there is some good news in the paper. Check out page 5, 7 and 8. That’s where we put all of your crap, that you get to send in for free, that I have to edit just so you will buy the paper.*

* – we’ll get to that in a second.

Yes, I am glad that the local high school’s FFA Club placed “Best Fowl” at State.

No, I do not think it merits being placed above the story about an elected official’s resignation.

It just doesn’t. Really. If you want to feel better, go talk to Grandma about what Johnny did last week. I’m sure she will think it’s the most important news of the day.

2. Accuse me of being biased

See, it’s funny how you say I wrote this with a conservative stance, because anyone who has shared the fate of filling their cup of coffee in the breakroom with me, realizes that I am not conservative.

I am not traditional. I am not safe. I am not socially acceptable, in many ways.

Note: This does not mean I am a hippie.

So, when you call and e-mail and complain to my boss about my conservatively slanted political article, I am forced to bru-ha-ha at you.

Because this means I am doing my job in that my personal opinions are not found in this jabble of words, which I spent HOURS perfecting.

Furthermore, you know how you complained the sidebar, specifically, was slanted?

Guess where I got that information.

I copy and pasted it from the bill itself, dude.

A subsection of No. 2 is ‘Know Your Shit, Before Accussing Me of Not Knowing Mine.”

Also, seriously. I realize this county is bias, but it’s not my fault.

You guys are the idiots who voted a republican into every. single. position. in this entire county.

Literally guys. The mayor, the entire city council, the auditor, the commissioners, the judge, the teasurer, the sheriff EVERYONE. is a Republican.

You’re knocking on the wrong door, dude.

1. Bitch about not seeing an article, and when I tell you it ran last Saturday, you giggle and say, “Oh, well I don’t get the paper.”

Please, stfu. Don’t even tell me that. You sounded so sweet on the phone. You explained that you contributed an article about your grandon’s being engaged to such a nice girl, and I listened and small talked while I researched it through the software system, destracting myself from the powerhouse lede I was working on.

I find the article, see it ran Saturday and pick up my paper, which is under a stack on my desk. I see it in there, with the glorious photo of them standing in front of a mauve backdrop. And then you tell me you you didn’t know because you don’t get the paper.

Did you hear it? Did you hear me die inside?

No, that was probably me hanging up the phone.

Because here’s the thing, although I love editing your little stories, I don’t want to do it for free. You want the news, you want the coverage, you want the attention. But, you expect it to be free.

“Well, it’s not on the website!”

No shit, do you pay for a website?

And oh, I just love it when they tell me they can’t afford it.

I really do believe that may be the case for some. But, c’mon. It’s 75 cents. Let’s think about all the crap you buy. Even better yet, when you tell  me it’s not even WORTH the 75 cents you pay. THEN WHY ARE YOU CALLING ME IF I AM SO HORRIBLE AND WORTHLESS?

You say, well I can see anything I want on the Internet.

Oh yeah? How many other media outlets in the nation covered that school board meeting? And how many sat through three hours of commissioners discussing your county’s finances? And how many showed up for that po-dunk ribbon cutting ceremony that you care so much about?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

For being a piece of worthless, outdated, expensive, trash – you sure do want to read it, eh?

A socially unacceptable love story

Oh, hey there Snickers bar. 

I can’t see you right now, from the dark crevice of my corner desk in the newsroom, but I know you’re in there and thus on my mind. In fact, I know exactly where you all are. Adjacent to the Milky Way, and below the danish — which we all is just trying way too hard. Hershey’s bar, don’t think you’re hiding under the shadow of the Grippos – barbeque, may I add — because I see you winking, too. 

I should probably keep it safe and eat you both. That was nobody gets jealous. I don’t like having to make these decisions — to choose between you all. However, I only have this one dollar.

But Snickers bar, you’re on the left side of the vending machine, which may I add, is not looking quite as fine as it did last week, but still pretty sexy. Actually, you make the entire break room one red light special.

After all, we did get promiscuous several times last week, and I have a feeling some of my co-workers have had their way as well. There are already empty compartments and it was just filled last week.

But see how you’re still here, Snickers bar? They didn’t choose you. They said, “You’re not good enough for me Snickers bar. I’m going to go for the lower-fat Three Musketeers, or the always delicious Nacho Cheese Doritos. I’m going to conform under peer pressure and get the Reese’s Cups, because that’s what society says must be my favorite.”

OK. I’ll admit. I didn’t choose you last week either. I felt obligated to purchase the Chex Mix to eat with my soup. And yes, I know I promised I’d come back to you later in the afternoon, but I couldn’t find a quarter. And then another day, someone gave me some cookies. C’mon, Snickers bar. You know how it would have looked if I would have eaten the cookies, and THEN made the purchase.

But there are no other sweets today. Just you, just me and this horribly long day that will not end until I have written a story about tonight’s protocol school board meeting. It doesn’t start until 7:30, and I’m going to need you to get me through this. You and coffee, of course.

Also, I ate vegetable soup and Cheez-Its for lunch. That’s not that bad, and don’t be jealous of the Cheez-Its, they were considered my side dish.

However, you are what I’ve been waiting for.

I’m ready when you are. Let’s get this on.

I’m going to quote Britney Spears. Deal with it.

I’m not a girl, not yet a woman.

Yup.

This has become increasingly clear to me, especially at work today. For those of you who ignore my statuses, I am in my third week as an intern at the Springfield News-Sun. The first week or so, I wore a suit everyday. I referred to everyone as “Mr. or Mrs.,” I kept my inappropriate thoughts to myself and sat quietly in the corporate setting.

But, my facade had to fade at some point.

It all started with a box of Teddy Grahams. Specifically, cinnamon, in case you were wondering. (I know that I would have)

I offer my juvenile snacks to others. The cooler people partake.

Then, I am informed that the other intern and myself will be alternating shifts at the paper’s booth at the Clark County Fair. There are two interns, and five days. It is obvious that one of us will be forced with the task three days, and the other only two.

I decided that the only proper to solve the problem was with a game of rock, paper, scissors.

I won, and I celebrated a bit too loudly with a fist pump.

Then, after discovering that this year’s midway attraction was a mini circus complete with elephants and camels, I made a joke.

I’ll give you a hint. It involved a camel, a toe and the residents of Springfield who attend the fair.

A collapsed into a spout of giggles, only to realize while gasping for air that the room is very quiet.

I literally had to walk outside and compose myself.

The rest of the afternoon was very productive. I scored a few brownie points with the editors and spoke eloquently. I was a grown-up again.

I’m stuck man.

Ya dig the Britney Spears quote now?

It’ll never happen again.

A very Polly Mother’s Day novel.

Where do I begin?

Just one hour ago, I was sweeping the floors at work, thinking that I couldn’t wait to get home and write about my Mother’s Day experience with Polly this morning. Now, I’m like ugh. Seriously, where do I even start?

I guess I’ll start with my general feelings on Mother’s Day.

Every year, I dread it. This year, I had blocked it from my mind, until a little birdie named my sister asked on Monday what we were doing this weekend. Crap. Why do I hate it? Well, because Mother’s Day is all about focusing all the attention on that special woman in your life who has done so much for you. Unfortunately, I don’t feel this way at all. Mom already constantly focuses the attention on herself year-round, and Mother’s Day is the one day of the year that she actually has an excuse to do so.

Not to mention, I’m busy right now. Really fucking busy. The last thing I have time to do is drive out to Springfield and waste three hours of my life buying her dinner and even partially pretending that I give half a shit about anything she’s ranting about.

Still, I do it. Maybe I think “this year will be the year she grows up,” and like every other year, I was disappointed today. I remember one year when I was about 12 that I actually ripped up her card and threw it at her. I wish I would’ve done that today.

So, I’ll start again with the story.

Sunday is packed with interviews, papers to write and a mass of McKinneys coming over to celebrate Danny’s and one of his siblings birthdays, coupled with their Mother’s Day. Not to mention, Grandma is always really busy on actual holidays, so it’s hard to schedule with her. Today (Saturday) I had to work from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., so I decided to squeeze the festivities in this afternoon.

The logistics of every celebration are always up to Amanda and myself. Because, you know, I have nothing to do and plenty of time to plan events. Usually, we plan a gathering at a restaurant because we know it’s easier to jet after the meal. Well, Polly finally figured that one out and suggested we gather at Grandma’s for lunch instead. Damn.

So, this morning I drag myself to Kroger to buy cards and flowers for the three ladies in my life. Honestly, I cared the most about getting something for Debbie, Danny’s mom. She has been my mom for the last four years. She’s the one I shop with. She’s the one I cry to. She’s the one I cook with. She’s the one I happily get stuck on the phone with. She’s the one who solves my problems, and tell me how to get spots out of the carpet. She taught me how to fold fitted sheets, make spaghetti sauce, DRIVE, walk properly in high heels, write a resume and paint a room. You know, she does the things a Mother does.

What’s my mom do? Bitch and talk about herself and ask for help. A whole fucking lot.

Here’s the thing about cards. There are two types of cards: mushy and funny. I always buy Grandma a mushy one. She cries, and I sincerely mean every word that is printed on the lavishly decorated paper. I underline the important phrases like, “you mean so much to me,” and “for everything you’ve done.” I always get Mom a funny card because I don’t mean any of those things to her. I’m flipping through the Mom’s cards.

“You’ve taught me everything I know.”

Nope.

“You’ve always been a shoulder to cry on.”

Negative.

“Of all the things you did for me, loving me was the greatest.”

No.

“I don’t tell you often enough, but I appreciate every thing you do for me, and on this very special day, I want to remind you how much of a role you’ve played in the person I am today.”

Well, maybe the last part. As in, you’ve shown my exactly what NOT to do in my life.

So, Mom gets a card with a sexy cowboy on it and a witty little phrase that says something like, “figured you had enough floral and cuddly cards.” She and Grandma also got coordinating bouquets – one featuring white and the other yellow. They were pretty flowers, and I spent 30 bucks that I really didn’t have on them.

Why is this a problem, you ask? Well, because Mom specifically told Grandma to have us buy her some expensive designer perfume and powder. You know, because I’m a full-time college student who has never received a dime from anyone, and I pay my OWN way through school by waiting tables 30 hours a week. One. fucking. dollar-tip. at. a time. And I have plenty of cash flowing to buy her DESIGNER shit.

Who does that? Polly.

I arrive, flowers and cards in hand, to Grandma’s house. Mom has parked in the middle of the lane so that we both have to maneuver our cars around the CAR THAT SHE DIDN’T EVEN FUCKING BUY FOR HERSELF to park.

I walk in. Grandma has decorated the table in china. There’s a centerpiece. It’s adorable. Homemade Johnny Marzetti in the oven. Love Grandma. She greets me with a kiss. I unhappily drag myself into the living room where Mom is perched on the recliner, watching Grandma pant around the house in preparation. Mom’s so fucking lazy – but oh no – here we go.

“Hi, girls. OHHHH I’m SOOOO TIIIIIIIIRED! I’ve slept for TWO hours and my back feels like someone is pushing with their knuckles into my lower back. Here. Let me see your hand. Feel that? That’s how I feel ALL THE TIME.”

Sigh. Hi Mom.

This goes on for about 10 minutes until I hear Grandma offering Coors Light and wine. Really? Nice Grandma. I usually don’t drink at noon, but I think I”m going to need it.

Mom makes her first amazing comment of the day, by asking if I’m an alchoholic. She says that whenever she see us, we’re drinking. Do we drink all the time?

No. But you can bet your ass that a buzz dulls down your god-awful incessant screeching complaints.

I tell her that Grandma provided the alcohol. She looks shocked. I holler “Sure, I’ll have a glass!” into the kitchen and make my first escape of the day.

Everyone is huddled into the tiny kitchen – which happens to be the room furthest away from where Mom is sitting. Coincidence? I think not.

Grandma is running around. You can literally hear her breathing hard. Everyone pitches in to help in some way, except for – you know who! She’s yelling into the kitchen and chasing us down to reiterate her exhaustion. What makes this even more funny is the fact that she only works two and a half days a week. Yup. 20 hours.

She eventually pulls me back into the living room and pulls out two 8×10 pictures of herself sitting in a Honda vehicle at the plant. Apparently, she’s sitting in the very last Honda Element that will ever be built at East Liberty — where she works (for now).

“Andrea. Look at these. That’s me. This is a COLLECTOR’S EDITION! I want these at my funeral. Yup. Pretty cool, huh? Aren’t these neat? Andrea – are you listening?”

*poke poke*

YES MOM!!

I really hate it when people poke me. Don’t fucking touch me, you imbecile.

We finally sit down to eat. Mom – literally- asks for us all to do about 50 things for her. I’m not kidding. They ranged from buffing her head lights to sanding wallpaper to painting rooms. She also rambles on about her job, lack of money sleep and time (again – 20 hours people), aching back and crappy “boyfriend.” No one can get a word in, and if we attempt, we’re “rude.”

After eating, Danny and I immediately start washing dinners and cleaning Grandma’s kitchen. It’s so filthy because she can’t see anymore. Her salad dressings are expired (one expired when I was still in high school!) I mention it to Mom, because she lives two minutes away, that she should help Grandma with some of these things in return for everything Grandma does for her. She retaliates with a demand that I drive to Springfield and do it, because she is too busy and exhausted and drained. Also, the phrase “I’m JET-LAGGED!” was used about 54895743 958 times. What Mom doesn’t know is that I have been secretly spending time with Grandma and purposely not inviting her.

After dinner, Grandma discovers two cards that she can’t read. I tell her one is for Mom and the other is for her. Grandma hands the blue one to Mom.

Mom: “Where’s my other card!? I should have TWO, girls!!!”

Amanda and I exchange glances for the 30th time. Amanda rummages under the table and hands Mom her other card.

Grandma can’t read her mushy cards, so Mom has to read them for her. The tone in her voice was amazingly angry while mouthing the lovey sentences that weren’t meant for her. Grandma cries that she loves us so much, and I smile.

Mom reads her “funny” cards.

Mom: “Girls, you’ve gotten me funny cards three years in a row. You need to get me nicer cards.”

Everyone’s jaws drop. We expect her to say ridiculous things, but this one is over the top. How rude!!! She also complains that her flowers were pink and white, and didn’t have as many colors as Grandma’s. Grandma offers to switch. Mom huffs. I think about how badly I need a cigarette and a margarita. It’s about 1 p.m.

(This post is getting crazy long, so I will attempt to summarize the rest more efficiently.)

We spent the last hour reading through the journal I bought for Grandma last Christmas. It’s a blank notebook that I asked her to fill with stories of her life. For more information on Grandma’s amazing life, read my “Rosie The Riveter” column on thelantern.com

Mom continued her same stories. We asked her to stop. She told us we were rude. She explains that she asked for Monday off work because she figured her daughters would spend actual Mother’s Day with her – not the day before – and we need to stop doing this because she is the most important.

I think I actually laughed out loud.

She continues that we need to spend more time with Grandma because of everything she did to raise us like buying us clothes and going to our concerts etc..

Something in me snapped. I think it was my self-control

Me: Mom, I am WELL aware of everything Grandma did to raise us and that you did not do.

It was the only five seconds of silence the entire afternoon.

I return to reading some of Grandma’ hand written stories out loud. They’re amazing. They’re about growing up during the Depression on a farm, working through the War, raising kids in the 50s and 60s, becoming a grandmother and learning life lessons. Mom tries to tell us that she catchphrased the term “Life Lessons,” because she used to tell us those all the time growing up. No one acknowledges the ridiculous accusation.

Mom constantly interrupts Grandma’s talking or my reading by interceding comments that bring the attention back to herself.

Example: (CAPS is Mom)

Grandma: “Yeah when I was in school I used to be so skinny and the boys would pick at me – OH ME TOO – and one day they started making fun of – OH TELL ME ABOUT IT – me but I showed them I could swing a bat – OH I WAS SKINNY TOO AND GOT MADE FUN OF – but they still -YUP, ME TOO – did and – UH HUH – I quit worrying about – YUP THAT WAS ME, YOU GUYS! – it. DID YOU HEAR ME, GUYS?

I couldn’t take any more. I abruptly announced it was time to leave. Mom reminded me again that I need to make time for her, and started telling me her “free time.” Funny – I thought she didn’t have any?

On the drive home, Danny told me he was never going to another gathering again. We discussed what we think is wrong with her. How can she not notice the looks we give her? I mean, at one point, Amanda and Nate were literally holding a book over their faces and laughing. It never stops her.

She acts like a child. She’s completely dependent and self-absorbed. It’s fucking absurd. It’s like, she has peripheral vision in which she can only see things that directly affect/benefit herself.

She never once asked about me. Didn’t mention the fact that I’m graduating college in five weeks. Not even a “how are you?”

What Mom does that?

So, Happy Mother’s Day to me – the adult in our relationship. And Happy Mother’s Day to Debbie, my real mom. But mostly, Happy Mother’s Day to Grandma, the woman who has wiped Polly’s ass for 56 years, and will do so until the day she dies.

It was inevitable, guys. I mean, really.

So, let’s just say that I haven’t been to the gym in more than two weeks.

And that the Lean Cuisine’s in my freezer are freezer burnt. (What the hell kind of phrase is that anyway? Freezer’s are cold. There is nothing burnt.)

And the produce in my fridge is starting the think about growing mold. (Several apples and a bunch of asparagus have been sacrificed to the dumpster Gods.)

And I threw away that “LIGHT” yogurt because it was expired. (Whatev. They were only .50 anyway.)

And that those damn no-bake cookies Chris made have taken a beating. (They usually serve as an appetizer, dessert and midnight snack. OK, and sometimes breakfast.)

Let’s just say.

No, screw that. I’m coming out. I’ve abandoned the fitness journey.

Have you notcied I haven’t been posting lately? Yeah. That’s because I have nothing to share. So, here’s what I’m thinking. Can this fitness blog just transform into my general blog? Can I write about anything I want? Right now, I feel like I’ve been punished. I can’t write if I haven’t been following the rules. And my self-righteous arrogant ego would also like to think that I’ve been punishing you all by not writing.

But honestly, I’m pretty sure you are capable of getting through your week without reading some random rant of mine.

I miss the blog. But, I don’t miss it enough to become motivated, apparently.

So, can I just write about whatever?

I can? OK. Thanks.

I’m taking suggestions.

That naked chick must read the scale often

First of all, I apologize for not posting for over a week. It was a very long, busy, stressful, four-letter-word filled week, and I cannot write witty little posts while I am angry. Also, I was not dieting or working out hardly at all, so there was no good material.

But, today changed all that!

Every Monday at approximately 11:15 a.m. there is a sinking feeling in my stomach.

At this time, I am walking the half-mile stretch from my Crime and News Media class to the RPAC, knowing I’m about to get my ass kicked.

I always arrive early and take my time in the locker room. I change into my skin tight unflattering gym clothes, and pull my hair back. And then, I get on the scale.

Today I noticed two things.

The scale in the locker room is one of those medical office scales and has the blocks. The smaller block measures in the 1-50 lb increments, and the second larger block measures in 50 lb increments. I always slide the bigger block straight to 150 to start.

I’m not in denial people.

But to my surprise, the level slowly fell to the right. I had to back that bad johnson back to the 100 lb spot.

Sweet.

Let’s ignore the fact that the smaller block had to be slid clear over to the edge. Still, it’s under 150. Win.

The second thing I noticed was a sticker on the scale that read, “You are beautiful.”

That’s nice, I thought. Too bad I’m a fucking whale. Sticker can’t get to the roots of my feelings of self-hate! Take that sticker!

So, I walk over to the gym where class is held and wait outside for 15 minutes because I am early, as usual. At 11:45 I finally walk inside, and as normal, am the first to arrive.

Natalie can’t ignore me this time when I smile at her as our eyes meet. She says hello, and asks me how I am.

“Ready for you to kick my ass,” I replied.

She giggled, and even shared that she was sore herself from doing Yoga the previous day.

At this time, I stretch and notice that the lights in the gym do absolutely nothing for my pasty pale hairy legs.

Note to self: shave legs.

The minutes begin to tick by.

At 11:54, I am still the only one there.

I began to panic. She tells me not to worry, that if no one else shows up it will be a personal fitness training day.

Oh God. I explain to her that this is not good, and summarize my fitness journey thus far, adding that I had never worked out a day in my life before this quarter.

She looks surprised. This makes me feel good like I seem like a bad ass now or something, but I know better than this. In reality, she was probably thinking, “what a lazy ass.” But, I will choose to believe she was thinkg, “WOW! She is catching on quickly.”

The only route to self-fufillment is the imagination.

Thankfully a few more filter in over the next five minutes, and our class swells to an impressive four people, including myself.

I can’t hide now. She’s going to see me cheat.

But, it went well. I was a sweaty mess as usual. She smiled at me throughout the cardio. Maybe she was intimidated by my sexy work-out faces?

Kidding. I am not sexy. I grimace. I groan. I pant. I wipe snot and sweat onto my arms. It’s hardcore.

But, once again, I surprised myself by getting through it. Tonight, I’m noticing that I’m not NEARLY as sore as I used to get. I yelled thanks to Natalie as I wobbled out of the gym, and she smiled and waved.

Finally winning that skinny bitch over!

Here’s where it gets good people.

I walked back into the locker room and collapsed onto a bench for a few minutes, still catching my breath and running my fingers through my sweat soaked hair in an attempt of a white-trash blow dryer. Out of the corner of my eye I see another girl open a locker about 5 feet away. She’s wearing a towel. No biggie. Chicks shower here all the time.

Then, WOOOSH.

Towel’s gone. Ass is exposed. Cheeks in my face!

My first reaction: is that girl really butt ass naked and just standing there?

I try not to look, but I can’t help it. So, I busy myself with my own task of undressing and mess with my phone in an attempt to take an unflattering picture of myself for the blog.

I totally succeeded, eh?

I expertly slid my normal bra over my sports bra and performed a quickie. Here, I was afraid that some side-boob might escape and ol’ girl’s over there waving her glory flag.

Now, I’m thinking, dude c’mon. Just put your clothes on already. But, no.

She’s totally cool with being naked. She’s taking her time going through her locker. She gets out a few things. She hangs her towel up. She brushes her hair.

All. While. Naked.

Here’s the kicker. She bends down and starts applying lotion to her entire body.

Face down, ass up! (I know you still remember the words to that song —  don’t lie.)

Now, I’m thinking, nice! This girl has got some confidence! Good for her!

Just when I think it can’t get any crazier, she walks away from the more private locker area into the main lounge and uses the sink, maybe.

NAKED!

I didn’t follow her around. No, I’m not that creepy, but I know she disappeared toward the common area for awhile then returned.

She finally gets dressed and we leave the area together.

She stops to step on the scale.

She must read that “You are beautiful” sticker a lot. Good for naked girl!

Now, before any of you tell me that I am disgusting for observing this situation, let’s think about this.

You would have to look, too. Don’t lie to yourself. Be honest.

It’s kinda like knowing about 2 girls 1 cup. You can’t help but sneak a peek.

I would also like to use this as evidence for accusing any man of checking out others’ junk at the urinals. It doesn’t mean you’re gay or whatever (and so what, anyway!) YOU CAN’T HELP BUT LOOK!!!

That was pretty much the highlight of my day. I had a  salad and a green apple for lunch (yum!).

At work, it all went to hell. I was starving and ruined my entire day on a coney dog with cheese, fries and a brownie flurry.

Oh man. Better than sex, that was.

But I guess that’s the sacrifices a fat chick makes.

Food sex or real sex.

Today, I chose food sex.

Maybe if I’m confident enough to walk around with my va-jay-jay flashin’ to the world I’ll be more comfortable.

That chocolate gets me everytime. Damn.

Until the next time a naked chick inspires a post,

Enough with the muffin top

A milestone? Only in the morning

Anyone else notice that you’re skinnier in the morning?

I mean, sure I’ve heard that, but I even feel skinnier in the morning. My clothes fit better when I leave the house. By the afternoon, I always seem to have grown. I usually make sure to wear a sweatshirt later in the day to help cover.

So, this morning, I weighed myself. And what do you know? I weigh 149.0.

This is cool. I’m in the 140s. It’s been a couple years.

Maybe it’s because I’ve not only lost my appetite from being sick lately, but also any motivation to cook real food. I’ve been grabbing easy food, which fortunately, has been pre-stocked grocery items such as light yogurt, low-cal gronola bars and orange juice.

149 is still way too high. But, it’s only one pound away from a total of 10 pounds lost. I’m pretty happy about that.

Since I skipped class and called in to work today (did I mention I feel like crap?) I was alone most of the day. I decided to splurge on some take-out.

There aren’t many choices in London, so it was pretty easy to decide on Los Mariachis.

Steak fajitas are the bomb. If I just ate the veggies and steak it would’ve been better, but I just can’t resist chips and salsa, sour cream and rice. So good. I also refrained from purchasing guacamole (for me) and queso (for Danny). That was difficult!

I tried to keep myself in check, though. I separated the entree into halves and only allowed myself the percentage. The rest is for lunch tomorrow, if I am actually hungry.

At the restaurant, there are assorted candies for sale. I picked up a couple 10 cent York Peppermint Patties. Splurge on calories. But, oh well. My motivation is still lacking a bit when it comes to chocolate, but you all know this.

In other news, Danny likes my black pants, which I think is hilarious.

Excuse the short post and the lack of humor tonight. I’m going to bed early.

I’m hoping this weekend will bring on a wave of health, motivation and rollerblades.

Until next time readers (and I think you guys need to think of a collective name for yourselves. If Lady Gaga can have her ‘monsters’ or whatever, I want something, too)

Enough with the muffin top

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