5 Spiders and 2,000 Miles

Vintage_Moving_PosterAfter Cobra* and I decided we were meant to be and knew we didn’t want to live apart from each other, we started talking about making things more permanent as quickly as possible. Because I owned my home and was halfway through my mortgage with a decent amount of equity built up, had an established career and network of friends and family and a ton of clothing and furniture that I had no desire to move, I just assumed we would live in Atlanta. The back-and-forth visits were already getting expensive just three flights in and I hated the saying goodbye part. HATED it.

An opportunity for a transfer with my company came up and it would allow us to speed up our permanent plans by more than six months. I jumped at it without giving it a second thought. People were shocked. Most of my friends, though not too surprised, were a little hesitant to express happiness (if they felt any for me) and my family was split down the middle. My dad and brother who had met Cobra were ecstatic, my mom was tentatively thrilled (i.e. more concerned about what I was going to do with all of my furniture and freaked out every time I told her I donated something and totally lost it on me when I told her I gave away my couches – I mean, they weren’t dipped in gold or anything!) and my sister was completely hysterical and flipped out on me.

I had just under six weeks to pack up all of my belongings, coordinate a long-distance moving company, make sure my car was ready for a cross-country trek, get things at work ready for the transition, close out all local accounts, change addresses on everything else, find a realtor and make time to say goodbye to friends and family. And I was still working at least a 50-hour work week. It was very stressful.

golden unicornI’ve always been a homebody and living in the same place for 15 years allows you way too much time to nest and collect. The local Goodwill store will have full shelves for a year courtesy of my questionable shopping choices many donations. (Thanks to my HOA, yard sales were strictly forbidden.) So, the next time you’re at Target and you see that knick-knack that you can’t live without, just remember that you may have to move it someday. Don’t buy it.

The funny thing about moving away is that the very last week before the truck arrives your life is at its apex of stress and it’s that very time that everyone wants to spend with you – dinner, drinks, what have you. So by the time Cobra arrived to help me move just a few days before the truck arrived, I was a complete nut and I’m shocked he didn’t run away at that point. Instead, he was patient and supportive and thought it was funny when I was nuts. But he knew that if he teased me, I’d go berserk, so he smiled and spoke to me in simple words and soothing tones like he was dealing with someone in a mental ward.

The last night of packing before a 6am call time with a huge moving van and helpers, we were in the final stages of sorting and boxing when I came upon a hat box from a 1950’s trip to a London department store on the floor in the back of my foyer coat closet. Knowing one of my grandpa’s favorite fedoras was in the box, I opened it to show it off. The fedora was inside, along with an enormous family of giant glossy black spiders. (One of the downsides of living in a wooded area near protected wetlands.) The screaming that followed must have scared the bejesus out of the neighbors. Cobra, secretly terrified of spiders, carried that 40-legged box all the way to the community trash bin and threw the whole thing in, family hat and all. That’s when I knew for sure that he was a keeper.

So, that was the end of a lifetime in Atlanta – a box of spiders – and the beginning of a 2,000 mile journey to my new home.

*Referring to him as Mr. Wonderful seems too Mommy-Blogger for me (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and too syrupy for his personality. And besides, Cobra is his most-quoted action-movie hero. And he’s the expert on everything.

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Posted in Spring | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

So, Where Was I?

I've been up to a lot more than this, but this is all I want t5o talk about. To anyone! All. The. Time.

I’ve been up to a lot more than this, but this is all I want to talk about. To anyone. All. The. Time.

I realize I’ve been gone for nearly 9 months but I think we’re like those old friends who catch up once or twice a year like it’s been nothing. And plus, after we’re all caught up I think you’ll want me to go away for another 9 months because I’m that really annoying happily-ENGAGED and so in love gushing puke-fest of a woman who I used to want to punch in the face. I’m sure you’ll have that urge. But please don’t, I have engagement photos coming up soon!

See what I mean? Grab a barfbag.

So, I loved writing this blog and I really miss my time alone in front of the screen with my own ego and funny little jokes and stories, wondering if people will think they’re funny and wondering if I’m as weird as I think I am or if we’re all a little weird and that’s pretty normal.

I just want to give y’all a quick teaser synopsis of the last 9 months before I move on to more regular posts (I’ve already got some doozies lined up). And anyway, I can’t write a long one tonight because we’re queueing up Cocoon on the DVD player and the popcorn’s waiting. I love popcorn and Jessica Tandy. And Hume Cronyn. And, if I’m being totally honest, I love Steve Guttenberg, too.

AT drinks-after-workAfter the falling in love, we just kept falling in love. And then an opportunity came out of nowhere for me to relocate to THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COUNTRY for work and be with my love all the time. So, I went for it. And people were pissed. Some were supportive, but really so very many pissed people. They were unsupportive and upset about the rashness, the risk, the what-ifs that keep everyone in the same place day after day until they reach the nursing home. I didn’t want to look back and have this what-if lingering out there.

So I sold my home in Atlanta and moved to a place in the United States so strange that sometimes I can’t even believe it’s in the United States. Or in this century. Or on this planet. But that’s all for a future post. But let me just say – Utah, you are truly bizarre. (And, relax, I’m not becoming a Sister Wife.)

Work has been interesting. So stressful and most days pretty horrible as I’ve had to purge the ridiculous questionable interesting hires made by the recruiting team in the last-minute “oh crap, we’re about to open for business” dash. Including a certifiable nut who made up the most bizarre stories about conspiracies, the FBI, false sexual harassment claims against a coworker who’s barn door was open more than she was comfortable with and a pretend boyfriend overseas, an actual thief/con-artist, and another certifiable nut who I actually adored but who had insurmountable personal problems.

So, stay tuned for more. If my singlehood and dating life is anything to go by, I can only imagine how this wedding planning is going to go. I’m picturing something between My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Muriel’s Wedding. “You’re terrible, Muriel!”

Posted in Spring | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Completely in love. Huh. There’s a first time for everything…

Guess what?

My week with Mr. Wonderful turned out to be everything we both hoped for and more. So much more! The first meeting lacked any of the awkwardness I feared and we jumped immediately into our usual comfortable rapport with each other. And my outfit? Wouldn’t ya know I settled on the very first thing I tried on!? Figures. A Diane Von Fürstenberg-style wrap dress and a pair of wedges if you’re really curious. And he loved it. And I felt great!

We goofed off, did a few touristy things, went out for dinner, stayed in and made dinner, went on a picnic, took in a few movies, went to the drive-in (I couldn’t even tell you what we went to watch,) talked, laughed, introduced him to the family and the best friend, talked some more, laughed some more, declared our undying love for each other, went on a fancy dress-up date and a drive through the countryside and before I knew it, our time was up and I was taking him back to the airport to return home. That part was so cruel.

I think because I was so caught up in how our initial meeting was going to go, I didn’t really anticipate the crushing blow I would take when the week ended. I’d compare it to snatching away a child’s balloon. Get your mitts off my balloon!! I love my balloon.

At least we did not leave this visit open-ended. I will be visiting him in three weeks and he’s going to be back here for Christmas and New Year. There is a good possibility that I may be in his neighborhood in November for work and we’d make time for each other then. October, however, is looking pretty desolate. Stupid October.

Part of this one-year challenge goes beyond the actual no-dating portion. I committed to waiting until marriage for sex. I am very proud to say that I remain true to that committment. It’s not easy. The chemistry is there. It’s very there. But a committment is   a committment and Mr. Wonderful thankfully shares my views and neither of us is concerned about “kicking the tires”, so-to-speak. It’s a good thing I didn’t pledge no necking, though. At the drive-in movie, from the backseat of my car he said “It’s like a Turkish bath in here!” Ha!

Seriously, though, it was.

I’m in love, I’m in love, I’m in love, I’m in love, I’m in love with a wonderful guy!!!

Posted in Summer | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Today is the big day, y’all!

“Jazz Hands!”

Now that it’s a hair past midnight, I can say that today is the big day! I’m meeting Mr. Wonderful at the airport in the late afternoon. Today!!!!!

Nervous? … Who, me?

**Trembling**

But mostly with excitement.

The fact that I’ve tried on 45 different outfits and still have no idea what I’m going to wear is beside the point. I know it doesn’t really matter what I wear; if it’s meant to be, it will be. That’s really the long and the short of it.

I often think about that line of scripture in the book of Matthew when Jesus says “…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…” and I think he meant that for people who wore burlap robes and gladiator sandals, not people like me with a full walk-in closet. Then I start to worry about thinking things like that and what kind of a horrible person I must be. Ugh, my worries are so trivial. I realize that was Jesus’ whole point there but you know what it’s like – it doesn’t feel trivial when you’re in it!

Well, we have lots of fun stuff in store for the week so have no fear, there will be an update as soon as possible.

And I’m sure I’ll figure out what to wear. Eventually.

Posted in Summer | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Getting to know someone from two thousand miles away.

“No, you hang up first!”

“Sooo, what do y’all talk about anyway?” is by far the number one question I’m being asked lately about my long-distance fella. Followed closely by “Is he a Mormon?” / “Does he have any sister wives?” (he’s from Utah) and “Are you reading 50 Shades of Grey?” and “What if you don’t have chemistry in person?”

First, he’s not a Mormon (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and he doesn’t have any sister wives (not that there’s anyth… well, no comment) and I refuse to read “50 Shades of Grey” although I’m starting to wish I had written it. Type in “5” – just the number 5! – in a Google search and that book comes up. As for the chemistry, we’ve already got 90% of it taken care of, it’s the pesky 10% in-person chemistry that we’ll have to wait and see about.

I’m not too concerned about it. He’s very handsome. VERY. And even if he looked like Sloth from The Goonies, I swear I’d just make it work. Fortunately, he does not so I don’t foresee any issues. This is a little off-topic but I dated an Australian guy very briefly a few years ago who was so ugly that I almost gagged when we kissed. It was like kissing Rocky from Mask. Uh, not that there’s anything wrong with that, either.

Anyway.

I’m not worried about a lack of chemistry. And I’m kind of a dish very pretty and confident that he’ll still think so in person so there’s nothing to worry about there. I suppose there are those pesky pheromones to think about but honestly, I’m just not too concerned.

I’m excited!

The kind of excitement I feel when I haven’t seen someone in a long time, not an anxious kind of excitement. Happy excitement. No jitters. Well, minimal jitters. This is gonna be good, people.

So what do we talk about, anyway?

Well, we talk about the same stuff people on in-person dates talk about. In the beginning, we had a few super-long marathon phone calls and at least two all-nighters. Who hasn’t done that? We’ve talked about our families, our childhoods, our friends, our hobbies and interests, things that annoy us, things that make us laugh, what we wanted to be when we grew up. Our jobs. Food. We talk a lot about food and movies. Religion, politics, history, strange phenomena, the space-time continuum, diner lingo, Route 66, World War II, the Muppets upon occasion, Messy Marvin at least once.

E.T., Michael Jackson, honesty in relationships, family values, popcorn toppings, personal values, fried chicken, my fear of clowns, his dislike of spiders, my other fear of scary movies, current events in the news, Vanilla Ice one time, Astronaut ice cream last night. Snakes, the plural of cannoli (that is the plural, America, cannolo is the singular – you heard it here first, folks) what a fluted melon is, my unreal love of Trader Joe’s Chipotle Flat Iron Steak, coffee, running through the sprinkler, ice cream, swing sets, floating islands, eggs, the greatest criminal mastermind of our time (that’s Lex Luthor), Saturday Morning Cartoons, reading, bikes and ligers, romancy stuff, diseases and flesh-eating bacterial infections, photography, Aunt Bee’s sour pickles, creamed honey, red hots, road trips, holiday traditions, jigsaw puzzles, limoncello, card counting, past relationships and my irrational fear of being hunted and killed by Jaws.

We also talk about General Zod quite a lot – if you haven’t seen Superman in a while, check it out, G Zod (that would be his hip hop name that I made up for him) reminds me of an extra-terrestrial Stewie Griffin from Family Guy.

So, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, folks. We’re still finding new things to talk about all the time. Stay tuned… 😉

Posted in Summer | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Is cautiously optimistic the same thing as recklessly pessimistic?

Too much?

Hello, dear friends. I have quite an update to share! Remember how I signed up for eHarmony and joked about a couple of my ridiculous matches? Well…… they weren’t all ridiculous.

My One Year Challenge ended in the middle of May, then on May 28th I signed up for eHarmony, wrote a story about the unbelievably horrible interesting matches I was receiving the following day and was simultaneously matched with someone pretty amazing. I fully expected to sign up for eHarmony, as I’ve done in the past, meet a couple of bores, a few clowns (hopefully not scary real ones,) collect a handful of funny stories and that would be that. I didn’t think I’d actually meet someone – and certainly not right out of the gate!

Mr. Wonderful and I got through the guided communication stage pretty quickly and once our conversation was more free-flowing, we really started to get to know each other. 1,500-word emails from me were met with equally long email responses, if not longer, and we quickly graduated to phone conversations. Our longest conversation to-date was 10 hours and I’d say our average now that we’ve logged about 200 hours on the phone is around 5 hours. That’s a whole lot of talking and listening. And we still haven’t run out of topics. (Admittedly, I am a jabberjaw, but still! That’s a lot of talking!) Thank goodness we both have unlimited plans.

The only caveat right now is the distance. He lives on the opposite side of the country and lately this has become a thing among my set. Everyone keeps warning me to be cautiously optimistic. What is that, exactly? You would never say to your friend “I hope that things work out for you but I don’t expect them to.” or “That’s so exciting! But keep your hopes in the middle because life is a steaming pile of shit just waiting for you to step in it.”

One friend has suggested a full background check with drug test and psych evaluation. And how do you bring that topic up, exactly? You know, I met a guy at church a few years ago who turned out to be a complete lunatic stalker but because we shared mutual friends, nobody would have dreamed of suggesting a full cavity search and FBI interrogation.

So, Mr. Wonderful is coming to Atlanta to visit me next month and ever since I announced the news, there has been a new wave of cautious optimism. So, don’t wear a wedding dress to meet him at the airport. Got it. But other than that, what’s the big deal? I like him. I really, really like him and I am excited to finally meet him in person. If we don’t have chemistry, if we don’t gel, I will be very disappointed but it won’t be the end of the world. I’ve lived through worse. What if we approached every life situation like that?

“I want to go to a movie today, but what if I don’t like it? I won’t go then.”

“I want to read that book everyone’s talking about but what if I hate it? I’ll just watch tv.”

“I want to meet my friends for dinner but what if I don’t like the food? I’ll just stay in.”

“How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?… . Nah, who am I kiddin’, I won’t even try. If coach had put me in, I wouldn’t have won State.”

He lives 1,900 miles away. Is this what has everyone freaked out? My friend’s husband is skeptical about the entire thing because he finds it hard to believe that I can’t meet someone in Atlanta. Believe it or not, eHarmony has never even matched me up with anyone within a 100-mile radius of Atlanta. South of Macon is the closest I’ve gotten and, folks, he was about 350 pounds in overalls on a tractor and had on some sort of straw hat. I don’t think so.

The truth of the matter is that my friends care about me and don’t want to see me get hurt. But there’s no way to find out without putting yourself out there and exposing yourself. Well, that was probably a poor choice of words. I think it’s illegal (and creepy) to expose yourself. I meant ‘be vulnerable’. But the persistence of their caring makes me feel like they don’t believe he will like me. Isn’t this the risk you take when you court someone across The Great Divide? It’s easy to pop into a Starbucks and give someone the once-over, not as easy in this case. There is a bit more at stake (read: the money he’s spending on his airfare and stuff) and the buildup is so much greater that a letdown could be crushing.

Oh well, I’m a strong woman. I like myself. I know I’m smart, beautiful and funny and he is equally matched in all departments. So, I’ll see my friends’ cautious optimism with this:

Since this is apparently going to go horribly awry, I’m going to go and get his name tattooed on my ass this weekend. Reckless and pessimistic!

Posted in Summer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

There are two types of people in the world: Parrot Heads and everyone else.

“Arrrrgh.”

It has long been known to me that the people in the Parrot Head subculture are, for the most part, complete lunatics. I don’t mean this as an insensitive, sweeping generalization, but the simple act of stating that I don’t like Jimmy Buffet and deride his legion of Parrot Head superfans will likely result in extreme hate mail. In the real world, telling a Parrot Head that ‘I don’t get it’ usually results in a two-hour diatribe from said Head rife with words like “cheeseburger” (of course) “salt”, “tequila”, “paradise”, “margaritaville” and such.

I can’t say the word “such” anymore without thinking about Miss Teen SC’s and such as.

So when checking my eHarmony matches last week, imagine my abject horror as I was confronted face-to-monitor with an actual, literal Parrot Head. It was a man with a live parrot perched on his shoulder in not only his main profile picture but in various action, or lifestyle, shots in his amazing gallery of photos. My first though was “are you kidding me, eHarmony?” and my second thought was “this can’t possibly work for him” and then I started to wonder if I was being too narrow-minded. Maybe parrot man isn’t so bad? He likes to ride his bike, stroll along the beach, hike mountain trails, enjoy drinks on a sunny patio, go on boating excursions, albeit with the parrot in tow, or on shoulder, as it were. Those all seem like fun things to do, but then I’d have to put up with that parrot and the stares and whispers, so I did the only sensible thing I could think of; I closed the match and wished him well in his quest for booty.

Pirate’s booty, that is.

The fact that we were matched made me wonder about the famed “29 dimensions of compatibility” algorithm that eHarmony uses to match its members. Instead of spending hours wondering why they would match me with someone who seems so off-base for me, I spent hours wondering if all I am missing in my life is a parrot on my own shoulder. You know, maybe this guy has the secret to life and it just happens to be a bird, perched on my shoulder, crapping on my back. Do I have an inner parrot? I could take it to the gym with me, it would be an interesting conversation topic at work. We could get frozen yogurt together. I’d easily get out of all sorts of boring social situations because people would think I’m nuts and graciously excuse me, we’d have some sort of jaunty theme song and I could start talking like a pirate. These are all pluses. Argh!

But the reality is, I’m in the “everyone else” camp. I don’t like margaritas, I like mojitos. So, no matter what our dimensions of compatibility happen to be, the parrot will keep me at bay forever. Kudos to him for putting it out there, though. Can you imagine going through the whole email process and finally meeting in person only to discover the parrot on his shoulder over coffee? How do you bring that one up? “Do you know there’s a parrot on your shoulder?” I think they make a salve for that.

After hours of analyzing the hows and whys of being matched with Parrot Head, and ultimately closing the ill-fated match, I remembered that I have a young female customer who shops in my store from time to time with a parrot on her shoulder. I think hers is actually a cockatoo but it’s still a parrot. This only proves that there is someone out there for everyone and I only wish I could find a way to introduce Mr. Parrot to Ms. Cockatoo and let nature take its course. I was telling this story to a friend the other day and he said “maybe the parrots will love each other, too.” Ha! Two matches, one proverbial stone!

Meanwhile, thanks to a slew of similarly crazy matches, I reset my matching preferences to “no parrots” among other things and I did actually meet someone on eHarmony that I genuinely like. Don’t get any crazy ideas, we’re just talking. And I haven’t yet told him about the Hurdy Gurdy Monkey that goes everywhere with me.

Posted in Spring | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments