Friday, November 19, 2010

Time Enough at Last

Today I woke up at 6:45 to go for my daily run. After I ran, I took a shower and proceeded to enjoy my daily “relax” time before I left for work at 8:30. After work (which is only a couple of hours on Friday mornings), I went grocery shopping and stopped by my boss’s house on the way home. When I got home, I made Brian a pretty sweet shrimp stir fry and then set about to clean ALL the things. Bed made, dishwasher emptied, floors swept, laundry (which I had put in before work) folded… the whole gamut. I made two pounds of meatloaf so that when I don’t have time to cook on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday Brian can still have a good meal. This cooking session was accompanied with the idea that I would make him more meals on Saturday and Sunday to ensure that I can be cooking-free those days I’m busy. When Brian got home, I cooked him some chicken and made him a bomb chicken and egg and lunch meat and cheese and lettuce and spinach salad. After eating a bowl of cereal, I got ready for work and at 4:30 headed to my janitor job. I got home around 9:00 and went to the gym with Brian for (another) work out.

And now I’m reminded of a line from Coming Up for Air, the oft-forgotten George Orwell book I’m reading (recommendation courtesy of Vic Bobb). The narrator has just spent pages relating his love of fishing and then confesses that he hasn’t been fishing since he was sixteen years old. He notes, “In this life we lead… we don’t do the things we want to do… There’s time for everything except the things worth doing.” I’m not sure anyone knows how true that is more than I do. With my compulsive inability to relax, I am constantly missing out on life and on doing what I want to do. I still haven’t made it down to check out the local library. I still haven’t watched that movie I’ve been meaning to because, well, it’s a foreign film which would mean I’d have to read the subtitles (wait for the rest of this explanation before judging!), and the constant focus on the screen required by that means I can’t multitask while watching it. I’ve had a hankering to make homemade granola that I just haven’t got around to making yet.

So these are my assignments this weekend. I am relaxing. I am not thinking (too much!) about grad school. I am not going to feel pressured to do things I don’t really want to do. I will watch a movie by myself, and maybe even make popcorn. I will bake granola. I will walk down to the library just to check it out. I will take a break from all the silly things that seem to demand my attention, and I will focus my energy on the things I want to do, the things actually worth doing.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Spinach and Salad and Peas, Oh My!

Grown-ups lie.

When I complained about eating vegetables as a kid, my mom would always imply that I would learn to like them as I got older. I always assumed people hit this magical age when suddenly green beans and salad and cucumbers sounded tasty instead of vomit-inducing. Turns out that age doesn’t exist. I know it’s not just a matter of needing more time because I’ve already outgrown most of my dislikes from childhood. I used to hate chicken and refried beans. Now I absolutely adore chicken burritos. I used to hate grapes, but now I love them (and almost every other fruit). It’s not that I haven’t hit the “mature tastebud” stage yet. Vegetables are just nasty, and when my parents told me they weren’t (or at least wouldn’t be when I was older), they knew what they were doing. They knew if I thought I’d learn to like them I’d keep eating them. And they knew I’d even keep eating them when I wasn’t forced to so I could learn to like them. It was all lies.

I’ve given it a valiant effort. I truly have. I gave myself to the age of twenty to eat whatever the crap I wanted and take advantage of my fast metabolism. But over the past couple of years, I’ve really tried to clean up my eating. In a lot of ways, I have. I have started eating more fruits and vegetables and stopped eating sugar and fatty stuff all the time. I try to stick more to whole wheat products instead of white flour. I actually like the taste of whole wheat better. I cut fat off of my meat (I don’t like it there! It’s gross and chewy!) and go for a run almost every day. However, I can’t help but think about that missing component for health—the three servings of vegetables a day recommended by the FDA. Especially with Brian losing weight and getting healthy, I’ve been feeling worse and worse about my failures. I want to be a good example and teammate with him when it comes to health. I want to raise a healthy family eventually, and now is the best time to start with the healthy bit.

But I can’t help it. Vegetables taste, as Brian would put it, like a dumpster. I just made myself cucumber slices with a bit of cream cheese and lunch meat on each of them for dinner. Freaking nasty, let me tell you. The cucumber slices just ruined everything, and I had to have some frozen cherries just so I wouldn’t have that “just ate vegetables” upset stomach all evening. People tell me to cook them, and I just think, “Why? So I can lose half the nutrients AND eat something that tastes like garbage?” Yeah, no thanks. Or that I should put ranch on everything. Then it still tastes awful but also has about a million times more calories. I have tried. I have force fed myself the three servings of vegetables at various points in my life. I have tried to like spinach, salad, celery, cucumbers, beets, and many more. Some of them aren’t bad, I’ll admit. But seriously, I’d still rather eat grass. Maybe that’s what I’ll start doing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Little Bout of Ubi Sunt

One thing I miss about college is the opportunity to be irresponsible. Even for obsessive class-goers such as myself, there was always that comforting knowledge in the back of your head that if you really wanted to, you could just screw it and play flash games all day. I always ended up going to class, but the option was always there. And class was usually only for a few hours each day. Even if I was responsible enough to go to class, I could always decide to blow off homework that day and go to Shari’s with friends. Not that I did that much either. The point is that even if I didn’t take these opportunities to slack off, it was nice to know they were there.

I don’t really have that anymore. Sure, realistically I could just decide to skip work for no reason, but it’s not the same. You can skip class or homework for a day with almost no repercussions (depending on the day you skip…), but even just missing one little thing for work has consequences that are pretty undesirable—like losing your job. I’ve stopped feeling that fulfilling my basic obligations (used to be school, and is now work) is making the responsible decision. Now it feels like doing what I have to. I have to make responsible decisions by going to the store, cooking, cleaning, studying for the GRE, etc. I have to work twice as hard to feel responsible.

It’s a rainy, dreary day here in Idaho. There is a very distinct divide between things that seem acceptable on rainy days and things that don’t. Mainly, everything and anything productive just seems sinful to do when it’s raining. Here are some things I’d rather do that what I am doing today (which happening to be working eleven hours).

-Skip forward ten or fifteen years and spend the day doing Halloween crafts with the kids. There would be tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch.

-Go back ten or fifteen years and do the exact same as above with the roles reversed.

-Watch a whole season of Dexter with Brian.

-Sit on the porch (assuming we had one) under a blanket and talk (to family/friends who would also be present) while watching the rain.


-Bake cookies and then eat them all.

-Get deeply involved in some (probably an RPG) video game and play it all day with no guilt.

-Watch a scary movie and eat popcorn.

-Take a ridiculously long and hot shower/bath.

-Leisurely clean the house while watching some marginally interesting documentary.

-Curl up with some completely trivial, but exceptionally interesting, book that will keep my interest for the entire day.

-On that note, go back to my time at college and spend the day getting ahead on reading Anna Karenina and whatever the current book for Eastern European literature may be.

Notice that I did not mention dealing with whiny, disobedient children (in this scenario, my future children will, of course, be adorable and obedient just as I always was) or cleaning for seven hours straight. But alas! The opportunity for irresponsibility has left me. I will be doing none of the things I’d like to and both of the things I specifically chose not to mention.

Being an adult sucks.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Online ADD Tests

(I wrote this awhile ago, but not surprisingly, I kind of got distracted and forgot to post it...)

I am a hypochondriac, and I decided last night that I must have ADD, so I looked up some tests online. In the middle of taking one of them, I got distracted by a scab on my face and picked it. Annoyed by my inability to leave my poor, broken out face alone, I got up off the couch and headed into the bathroom to survey the damage. After inspecting my face for a few moments, I put a little make-up on it (the husband being out of town is no excuse to let oneself go!) before leaving the bathroom. On my way back to the living room, I got an unstoppable craving for frozen cherries, so I diverted myself again, this time to the kitchen where I got my little bowl of cherries and went back to the couch. After about two and a half more minutes of researching ADD, I typed “www” into my address bar to see which of my favorite sites popped up. I saw Hulu and remembered hearing something about the season premiere of Community (which is one of the funniest shows in all history) on the radio. So I opened it up and got the show ready to play before thinking, “Do I really want to interrupt what I’m doing for thirty minutes?” Sometimes I’m delusional about how much I’m really getting done. So I decided to change my facebook status to something about how ridiculously distractible I am. Upon reaching Facebook, I saw I had a message from Miss Bailey (side note: at this point in writing this, I checked to see if she had replied to the response I sent her). I found it rather humorous that I was distracted on my way to sharing with the world how easily I am distracted, so I decided the whole topic merited a blog post instead of just a facebook update. And Brian always wonders why I’m so exhausted.

I think that’s the real point of ADD tests, especially online ADD tests. If you can make it through the tests, you win! No ADD. Instead of having questions that are applicable to ADD symptoms, they should just have a bunch of questions like, “What is your favorite kind of dinosaur?” and “Would you rather face a zombie invasion or a vampire invasion?” If you are inactive on the page for more than five minutes, a window pops up with a number to a local mental health clinic. The only problem is that those questions are fun. It’d be easy to finish a test like that, regardless of your ADD status. So they’d have to be lame questions like, “What is the square root of 31” and “What is a zeitgeist?” I’d be happy to write a test like that, but I’d get distracted.

(Oh hey! I forgot I had Community all ready to play!)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Why I Graduated Summa Cum Laude...

…or “Why I Never Hung out with You.”

While going through some stuff from college, I ran across and old notebook. Most semesters, I had a place to keep notes for each class and a random spiral notebook where I’d make lists, schedules, notes for papers, and other such odds and ends. This particular notebook was from spring semester of my junior year. I’m not sure I remember all the classes I was in, but I know I was in American Renaissance, British Romanticism, Literary Criticism, and Creative Non-Fiction Writing. Oh. The other one was Medieval Europe. Yeah, that’s all of them. What follows is, no joke, taken directly from a schedule I made myself for a particularly busy day, though I admit that there are no notes as to how rigorously this schedule was followed. My comments are in italics.

5:00-5:15 Wake up This means for the day, folks… not from a nice afternoon nap.
5:15-6:00 Go to Wal-Mart I can’t remember why I was going to Wal-Mart at this ungodly hour, but I vaguely remember being angry that this day existed.
6:00-7:30 Read Moby Dick I am quite certain I am the only one who finished Moby Dick for Vic’s class this semester.
7:30-8:00 Breakfast I do schedule meals, but no shower... there's no time for that foolishness!
8:00-10:00 British Romanticism paper
10:00-11:00 Read Shelley
11:00-12:00 Lunch/read Moby-Dick
12:00-1:00 Workout I worked out every day this semester. While taking all these classes. WTF?
1:00-2:00 Lunch/plan meeting Who knows why I scheduled lunch twice… I assure you, I ate only one lunch this day.
2:00-3:00 Westminster Round meeting This was right at the end of junior year, meaning I had just been handed the reins as Westminster Round President forcing me to plan last minute barbeques and the like.
3:00-4:00 British Romanticism paper again…
4:00-5:00 Read Stuart Hall
5:00-6:00 Stuart Hall presentation/dinner
6:00-7:30 Read Foucolt For anyone who hasn’t read Foucolt, this is not good bedtime reading.
7:30-9:00 Read Kristeva This is even worse bedtime reading.

That is absolutely ridiculous. I have another almost-as-depressing schedule a few pages later. This one, though, starts at 5:30am and ends at 8:00pm, so it’s a little tame in comparison. One sad side note, though, is that next to a two hour chunk of time set aside for the British Romanticism paper is the word “FAIL.” written after I apparently failed to perform to the standards I set for myself. Oddly, I remember this semester as less stressful than the semester after where I was a TA for two classes and basically sat around doing nothing all the time. It’s always been an odd feature of mine that when I am insanely busy (taking Chaucer, Core 350, Russian Lit, Eastern European Lit, and generic-easy-night-class at the same time) I end up managing my time with near perfection and am subsequently less stressed than when I am sitting at home on Monday because I only have a part time job and a grad school application hanging over my head because it gives me the option of procrastinating. And it’s hard to relax when you know there are a million other things you should be doing. Like cleaning your car where you found that blasted notebook in the first place.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Speaking of Sleep and Delirium...

…here’s a fun story.

Brian and I had been dating for about six months—not really a long time in the scheme of things. This particular night, I fell asleep at his house (which happened to be just across the street from my parents’ house where I was spending Christmas break). Anyway, I woke up in a panic about midnight thinking “where am I Brian must go home late parents leave.” Brian was, of course, woken up by my panic. Upon sitting up, however, my head started spinning, my stomach was torn up by nausea, and my vision went black almost immediately. It felt like I had been hit by a giant wave in the middle of the ocean and was now underwater and seasick to boot. I immediately laid back down. “Must go home.” I tried to sit up again, but was foiled by the same sensations. At this point, I noticed Brian looking at me strangely. “I feel sick,” I said. “Every time I sit up, I feel like I’m going to barf.”

To this he replied, “What is wrong with you?”

“I told you already! I’m sick!”

“Okay, KT. Calm down. Stop freaking out.”

“I’m not freaking out! I’m sick! Help me get to the bathroom. I’m going to puke.”

Brian just looked at me like an idiot. He appeared utterly confused and slightly terrified. I sat up again. The nausea and blackness was a little better this time, so I said, “Fine, I’ll just do it myself. Whatever!” I got up and staggered out of Brian’s room towards his bathroom.

“Hey, just come back here!” I heard him say. “What is wrong with you? Why are you acting this way?”

I reached his toilet and collapsed onto my knees in front of it. I tried to puke, but my nausea was gradually subsiding. When I felt it was safe to leave the vicinity of the toilet, I walked out only to be greeted by a spinning kitchen when I left the bathroom. I’m no stranger to fainting, and I knew that passing out was in my immediate future, so I laid down on the ground and gradually lost consciousness. I couldn’t have been out for more than ten seconds because I awoke to Brian standing over me saying, “Oh my goodness. Stop being such a drama queen and get up off the floor. Seriously.”

By this point, I was rather furious at him for his lack of proper boyfriend-ly care, so I practically yelled at him, “I passed out on your kitchen floor! I’m not being a drama queen!” Suddenly, understanding dawned on his face.

I think this is the point in the story when we should rewind and see the ordeal from Brian’s perspective.

Brian is spending the evening with his girlfriend of six months. Though she has been an emotional wreck for the past month (alas! if only he knew what awaited!), their time so far has been relaxed and low-key. They both fall asleep. Sometime around midnight, he wakes to see his girlfriend laying there with her eyes wide open, trembling and breathing heavily. She is wont to panic upon waking, so he isn’t particularly worried. She surprises him though, when she sits up suddenly only to immediately lie down again. She sits up again and says, “Kngsd skfne dbgnfe.” She lies back down and sits up again. “Ansde dnewp mgnpwe.”

To this he replies, “What is wrong with you?”

“Nepws ndpedb! Sndmpw sdnp!”

“Okay, KT. Calm down. Stop freaking out.”

“NDJWO PETKWE! FNPWIED! Ndlsewe mpes djpwe. Jnelsp sdquwn dnfpe.”

Brian begins to get frightened. He runs through the possibilities in his head. Demon possession? Brain tumor? “Maybe she just finally snapped…” he thinks.

“THIENRW SNEF! WHDFEOWR!” She stands up and staggers out of the room, running into the wall before actually making it through the door.

“Hey, just come back here!” he yells after her. “What is wrong with you? Why are you acting this way?” He sighs. He hears her stumble into the bathroom and is a little worried about what might be happening in there. He waits a while longer before leaving his room. When he enters his kitchen, he sees her lying on the ground moaning. “Oh my goodness,” he says. “Stop being such a drama queen and get up off the floor. Seriously.”

She looks up at him, and he can see the anger etched on her face. “Uh passssed ut on yer kich floe! Uh’m not been a dramer queen!”

This was the moment of understanding. He helped me up, and we slowly parsed together the story. I realized that nothing I had been saying had been comprehensible. He realized that I really wasn’t insane or demon possessed. This was his first time experiencing my sleep drivel and my first time realizing that I couldn’t actually speak upon waking up. By now, I was actually feeling much better. Brian walked me home to make sure I didn’t pass out on the way.

The end.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

On Sleeping Together

I am a terrible bed-buddy.

I was under the impression that I would be an excellent sleeping partner. I have perfectly acceptable past experiences in regards to bed-sharing. When I shared a bed with my little sister while on vacation, she was the one that tried shove me off the bed in the middle of the night. Whenever I was forced to share beds with a teammate during track road trips, I always woke up in the exact same position in which I fell asleep—on my stomach with my arms curled up beneath me taking up approximately one-fifth of the width of the bed.

It turns out, however, that all these instances were simply the result of being uncomfortable enough with the idea of sleeping with another person that I coerced my subconscious to keep my body in check while asleep. Here are some important facts about me and sleep:

1) I have nightmares.

2) I wake up a lot.

3) Upon waking up, I am delirious. I lose all ability to problem solve and rely entirely on instinct.

4) Though I am delirious, I always feel entirely coherent and logical.

5) But seriously, I’m totally delirious. Can’t even speak.

So our bed is old and crappy. It sags in the middle, so there is a cavernous pit that eats us both every night. It’s also hot in our apartment a lot. But I’m always cold, so I always want to sleep under the covers anyway. This is what a typical night look likes:

I tell Brian goodnight and then roll over under the covers. I wake up halfway through the night and see a husband lying next to me. “Husband!” I think. “Must cuddle!” I throw myself at him. When he doesn’t move, I assume he hasn’t woken up. The next morning he will assure me that he did. I wake up a few minutes later and think, “Must let husband sleep!” So I roll away (taking a portion of the blankets with me). I wake up later after a nightmare. “Husband will save me!” I attack him again, only to roll away with shame (and more blanket) later. At this point, it really has begun to get cold in our room, so I wake up and snuggle under the blankets with just enough cognizant thought to remember that I am a notorious blanket thief. So I throw my blankets over onto Brian to keep him warm. I succeed in waking him up. This process repeats itself throughout the night.

Last night I decided to do things differently. I was going to be a good wife and let my poor husband sleep. So I took my good-bed-sharer stance right on the edge of the bed. When Brian came to bed, though, he shocked me awake so my first reaction was that I should move over (because typically I would have been enveloped in the cavern in the middle of our bed). However, since I am insane upon waking up, my thought process was “ROLL OVER! FAST!” So I did. And I smacked my lip on the night stand. I began making sounds probably best represented by a lot of As, Gs, Hs, and gurgling. Brian asked me what was wrong, and I clearly said, “I hit my lip on the night stand.” When he didn’t understand me, though, I realized I must have actually said, “Thgsde lkjnde dsgnfnskdnf suewfs” as usual. I’m getting bored of writing this story, so I’ll just say that I got really mad (because when I have so many sleep-amplified emotions unable to escape due to my inability to communicate at all they just kind of turn into anger) and hit the nightstand and scared Brian and then went to sleep and ended up having a nightmare and attacking Brian for comfort in the middle of the night anyway.

Monday, September 20, 2010

On Being Married

You know how when you turn ten, you are so excited to finally be in the “double digits” of age? But when you finally turn ten, you don’t really feel that much different even though you still think you should. So when someone asks you if you feel any different now that you are finally ten, you say, “Yeah! It’s great!” The same thing happens when one finally becomes a teenager, but by the time people hit their “sweet sixteen,” they usually begin to realize the truth. People continue to ask the “How does it feel to be…” question, and it becomes a sort of unspoken community inside joke. “How do you feel now that you’re 21?” “I feel hung over!” “How does it feel to be 40?” “Old!” Har har.

Well, I was fooled yet again. I’ve finally learned that I feel exactly the same at 21 as I did at 20, and I rightfully predicted that I would not suddenly change into a more mature adult after my college graduation. For some reason, though, I was under the assumption that something would magically change the moment I got married. I talked to Brian about this after the fact, and he said, “What exactly did you think would happen?” To which I replied, “Uhhh… like, feelings and bonding… but mostly bad things and stuff.” I’m not always very articulate. Luckily, as I have already hinted, I was not one of those girls who got married to a creep thinking that the magical change of marriage would make everything better. Rather, I married him with the almost-conscious but quite vague fear that everything would change and all the good things would become bad and he’d realize he hated me all along. Or something. Most of what I think doesn’t make a lot of sense if I actually decide to apply logic.

But guess what? Nothing changed! I thought to myself after the wedding, “Now that I’m married I feel so…” and I completed the sentence several ways in my mind. “…exhausted from not getting enough sleep.” “…glad to be going on a vacation with the person I love.” “…excited to see my friends from college again before who-knows-what.” I felt no magical new emotional connections, and Brian had not given me any reason to believe he’d suddenly get sick of my shenanigans. All the little annoying things Brian did before we got married remain, and they still manage to annoy me. But he still makes me laugh when I’m frustrated at him so I can’t be mad anymore. He still doesn’t understand my train of thought when a misplaced wallet convinces me that I am entirely inadequate and will never be successful and probably shouldn’t have kids because of the genetics I’d be passing on to them plus I’d probably leave them in the car. But he still hugs me and tells me it’ll be okay when this outburst inevitably ends in tears.

So if anyone is thinking about asking me what it feels like to be married, it feels exactly the same as it does to be engaged or dating. Except Bailey isn’t around to do my dishes.