Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Because I am 137 years old.

Today was BeneFest! at Corporate Behemoth.

BeneFest! was an exciting opportunity for all employees of Corporate Behemoth to grab free shit, such as magnetic clippie things from the 401(k) people. My favorite was a plastic card from the vision insurance people – you look through it and it’s like you have macular degeneration. Disturbing, yet strangely pleasing.

At BeneFest!, I also got a flu shot and had my finger pricked for glucose and cholesterol screening. This was my first cholesterol screening since my doctor sounded the “Sweet Jesus, your blood is actually butter!” alarm in March.

The months and months and months of fish oil, niacin and green tea have paid off. My cholesterol dropped 36 glorious points. I’m now in the high normal category.

I about started breakdancing in the middle of BeneFest!. It was glorious. I wish they had a Jenny Craig for cholesterol, because I could totally be the spokesmodel/Kirstie Alley wannabe.

In honor of my health breakthrough, I’m going to eat approximately 72 pounds of Halloween candy tonight. Diabetic coma? Don’t mind if I do!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Best. Advice. Ever.

Astute reader CB suggested that I think about my stressful work situations in terms of providing wiping tutorials.

Yes. He suggests that I think about all the stuff at Corporate Behemoth as the equivalent of helping a 4-year-old use the potty.

“If you pretended that everyone at work was a 4 year old that you were teaching to wipe from front to back, you would no longer stress out at the idiocy of work. You might be able to laugh at some of the situations you end up in and then no more stress.”

Obviously, CB is a wise sage. I’ve been thinking about this all day. And I met a situation that normally would have set my hair on fire with a “Hmm – my bad.” The potty thought is working!

I’m going to add a footer to my e-mail signature. “Helping you wipe front to back since 2005.” Because two years is a freaking long time to potty train.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Making dreams come true.

I just spent a whirlwind weekend with Mr. Wonderful’s family at Disney World. I played human jungle gym for his niece and nephew. I o.d.ed on the overstimulation that is the Disney machine. And I experienced first-hand the joy that is bargaining with a 4-year-old.

Going to Disney with kids was fun – sort of like how Christmas is a totally different gig when there are young’uns around. Only a 6-year old girl would think it was totally worthwhile to stand in line for an hour to get Goofy’s autograph. I have to respect that.

This weekend was also a crash course in Stepmomming 101.

I adore Mr. Wonderful’s 4-year-old daughter. She’s a pretty low-maintenance, good-natured kid. But she’s 4. This means that at times she screamed because the sky was too blue or some such thing.

Sometimes, she wanted to hold my hand or swim only with me. Other times, she screamed because I looked at her. Again, she’s 4.


First of all, I highly recommend a weekend with an exhausted and over stimulated 4-year-old for any idealistic, moon-eyed person who romanticizes about having kids. I love this kid, yet I suddenly feel super vigilant about taking my pill at the exact time every day. Down to the minute, people.

I felt like an understudy. At today’s performance, the part of Charming Young Mother will be played by Cha Cha. Walk around Disney or through the airport with a cute 4-year-old holding your hand and people will assume you’re some sort of parental figure.

I found myself wondering if I was pulling it off, or if other parents could tell with one dismissive glance, “Oh, she’s sooo not that kid’s mom.”

I also found myself looking at other parents and realizing, “OMG, these people look like me.” For some reason, I could easily identify the drunken frat guy, despite the fact that he was carrying a princess backpack and was, regrettably, sober. And that mom with the three screaming kids? Weren’t we in Econ together? When did we get old enough to be responsible for kids?

Oh, right. The rest of the world didn’t lose their desire to procreate, didn’t drop it in the parking lot one day, never to be found again. That was just me. It never showed up in the lost and found.

Truth be told, the weekend was exhausting, physically and emotionally. And dealing with the realities of a child put a new spin on my interaction with Mr. Wonderful. He’s used to this; I’m not. Not that I’m against it, but it’s new. I hope he doesn’t confuse my trepidation and teensy sense of ohjesuswhathaveigottenmyselfinto with regret or the desire to run for the nearest exit. It’s just a lot to process.

If I didn't take it seriously, this would be cake. But I do take it seriously. So I'm thinking about it seriously.

I mean, when’s the last time you gave a tutorial on the finer points of wiping from front to back? Seriously. I think I’m entitled to be a little shell-shocked.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hot tramp, I love you so.

The intense mental preparation that went into my eight-minute meeting with Ex-Mrs. Wonderful evidently hooked up with my job stress. They made sweet, sweet love and procreated. And now I am exhausted, burned out and near tears.

I hate it when my stress and neuroses get it on and don’t use protection. When will people learn?

I have a headache in the base of my skull. And I literally considered screaming at a coworker this afternoon. She totally deserved it. But this is not who I am.

At least I weighed the pros and cons of the screaming. I determined that I couldn’t do it without crying. Since my only cry is The Ugly Cry, this was not an option. I think I lose my ability to be an effective communicator when I’m blotchy and covered in mucus.

I need to be kind to myself and take a brief respite to rally the mental troops. I know this. But I’m so upset about being burned out that I can’t even accept it. A heavy workload and an uncomfortable social situation aren’t kryptonite – I should be fine. But I’m not.

I need a break. I need to sleep. I can’t respond to any more demands right now.

I’m going to be naughty. I’m leaving work 15 whole minutes early to go to the bookstore. David Bowie wrote “Rebel, rebel” about me. Obviously.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

All mature and shit.

So, I arrived at Mr. Wonderful’s home about 15 minutes before the Ex-Mrs. Wonderful (Ex-MW) was due to pick up their daughter. Mr. Wonderful, his daughter and I sat on the floor and played a game. And I sweated profusely.

Ok, not really. Just sort of.

Ex-MW showed up, all high-pitched voice and mommy excitement. We shook hands and both said, “Nice to meet you.”

And then?

And then she knocked me down, pulled my hair and beat me to a bloody pulp.

Ok, not really. She sat on the floor and, for the next eight minutes, proceeded to show off her superior mommying abilities. She was very ENGAGED with her daughter, hearing all about her day. She was very animated and energetic with her child.

I literally ceased to exist.

Ok, not really. I sat on an ottoman and smiled. Engaged, yet invisible.

And then they packed up and left. The end.

So, for eight whole minutes, I managed not to do drugs, get drunk or strip. I guess I passed. Mr. Wonderful joked that I should have been all, “You guys? I’m really nervous, and I’m more comfortable when I’m topless. Mind if I take off my shirt?”

Yet another reason why I love him.

So, the whole thing was rather anticlimactic, except, as a woman, I’m pretty sure that my appearance and behavior is being discussed (cattily?) amongst friends. I’m somewhat amazed that it was so important that she meet me, yet she literally spoke four words to me. I guess the real test was whether I could go eight minutes with no meth, likker or peeling.

I’m trying very hard not to be catty about the whole situation. I don’t want that sort of energy to taint my thinking on this one. But I will say that I can’t in a gazillion years picture Mr. Wonderful and Ex-Mrs. Wonderful together. And I’m also thankful that I basically never have to see He Who Shall Not Be Named ever, ever again.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Smile like you mean it.

You know it’s bad when Mr. Wonderful tries to find the bright side with a comment like, “Well, at least you’ll have lots to blog about.”

Due to a not very interesting set of circumstances, I am meeting with The Woman Formerly Known as Mrs. Wonderful (Ex-MW) tonight. And she is pissed as all hell. Yippee!

Although I have spent time with their daughter, this will be our very first meeting. Evidently, Ex-MW needs to check me out and make sure that I’m not a meth-dealing pedophile.

It’s a lot of pressure. Good thing I don’t drive a van.

I’m nervous like the first day of junior high, when I was absolutely certain that I wouldn’t be able to get my locker open or find any of my classes. I had reoccurring dreams about still standing at my unopened locker at the late bell, then realizing that I was naked. Having failed Junior High 101, I would be forced to walk home sans clothing.

So, yeah, this is sort of like that.

I could write about the sordid details of why we’re meeting and the back story and meow, meow, meow, but I don’t want to perpetuate that kind of energy. I will most likely be dealing with this woman for years to come and I don’t want to saddle an already challenging situation with undue negativity. Besides, the one thing that has me totally sick over this is the idea that she hates me and she doesn’t even know me. So, hopefully, I’ll earn a tiny karmic gift by not hating her sight unseen.

Besides, I’m too busy being nauseous to hate anything right now.

There are no manuals called “How to Date a Guy With a Kid.” I’ve yet to run across any stepmomming Web sites that aren’t just diatribes against the ex. All of my friends have been married since the dawn of time – I don’t know anyone who’s dated a divorced man, much less one with a child, much less one with whom they want to spend the rest of their lives. I am adrift in uncharted territory.

I shall report back. If I don’t drown.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Foxie Doxie channels Doug Henning

No, that's not Photoshopped. Yes, he's really that big of a magical canine whore.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The plumbing? She goes on and on and on.

It’s tree roots. It’s a main line that is evidently 1,457,359 feet of shitty, tree root-encrusted terra cotta pipe in my backyard. It’s not interesting in the least, except to say that it’s providing me with a mental breakdown and possible financial ruin.

Good times.

So, the plumbers are here for the fourth time and I’m yet again attempting to work while my entire home sounds like the inside of an operating – and off-balance – washing machine.

So, to make myself feel better, let’s talk about music.

For your listening and making-fun-of-Cha-Cha pleasure, here are some of the more interesting ditties on my ipod.

Living inside myself – Gino Vanelli
Mr. Wonderful has already proclaimed his love for Gino. Why this Canadian with Louis IVX hair didn’t become a huge superstar is, in fact, a mystery.

I’ll be there for you – Bon Jovi
This was my very favoritest song evah in eighth grade. I know Jon Bon Jovi didn’t mean to miss my birthday – he wishes he’d seen me blow those candles out. Whoooooo-hoo!

Merry Christmas from the family – Robert Earl Keen
The best holiday song ever. A song for the people. Seriously. Why don’t more Christmas songs talk about bloody marys and tampons? I savor this one year-round.

Roll with the changes – REO Speedwagon
Contrary to popular belief – and this list – I’m not 50 years old. I’m 32, so screw you. This song is on my “Deadline!” mix and makes me hyper. Plus, I just love me some REO. Kevin Cronin’s Time Life infomercial is the best!

Guilty – Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb
I do feel guilty for liking this song. It makes me feel unclean and unworthy of their all-white, let’s-embrace-and-look-dirty album cover.

The smell of sewage is starting to go to my head – obviously.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Die, June Cleaver, die!

I just spent a great weekend hanging out with my BFF. We've known each other since 5th grade, so we pretty much have to stay friends - we know too much. Good thing she's so cool and good thing she can put up with me.

God is evidently forcing me to give up my June Cleaver on Crack persona. It's really hard to believe for even a moment that you're the hostess with the mostest when your BFF travels across the country to visit you and the two of you spend an entire day watching the plumber drag all sorts of equipment through your house in an effort to clean out your clogged main line. You're really delusional if you think that giving your house guest your car keys and telling her she can run down to the Wild Oats to heed nature's call is among Martha Stewart's guidelines for hostessing.

The main line is clogged and bent and generally wonky. I've been crying and drinking heavily and praying that I won't actually have to shell out $4K to replace it. Meanwhile, Mr. Wonderful has been talking to the plumber, the plumber's boss, RotoRooter, and the city. He now boasts an encyclopedic knowledge of residential plumbing. I now have yet another reason to love him for all time.

And BFF and I just sat on the couch and drank and talked about life and people in our hometown. We've been friends for 21 years now, so we got our friendship good and drunk. And we watched Bon Jovi hosting SNL. And she was delighted to schlep down to Mr. Wonderful's house - dogs en tow - when we couldn't use my plumbing at all.

See why she's my BFF?

The plumbers are going to come back tomorrow, and hopefully $100 and an hour should solve the problem. BFF flew back home this afternoon, and so I won't have her moral support here. If the $100 and an hour don't fix the problem, I just might show up on her doorstep and demand to sleep on her couch indefinitely.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Don’t mind me. I’m just hyperventilating in the ladies’ room.

So, I have a habit of hanging out in the ladies’ room.

Not because I’m a perv, or I’m hiding from an evil co-worker. I’ll go in there to do what you do in the ladies’, and then I’ll realize that it’s quiet in there. And it’s white and calm. And the walls are tiled with lovely white subway tile that’s laid vertically, not horizontally, which is unusual and strangely pleasing.

Usually, I’ll stand in my stall, take a few deep breaths and then be on my way. But yesterday? Yesterday, I’d been in four hours of meetings with my boss. Yesterday, my world was spinning. And so, I stood in that white, quiet space for about 15 minutes. I lost track of time.

Yes. It was wonderful.

I was jolted out of my peace by the sound of another woman entering the restroom. I walked out of my stall all “Oh, hai – I haven’t just been standing in that stall for half a Scooby Doo. I just went potty like a normal human being. Heh.”

So, it’s nice that I can find a brief respite just down the hall from my cube. But the fact that the ladies’ is a refuge is sort of fucked up. Ok, really fucked up.

All of the messages I’m getting are that my job function is going to be making the best of a bad situation for the next 12 months. It’s a stressful job, but I am well paid and in the general scheme of things, I am one incredibly fortunate Cha Cha.

I need to find a way to disengage from the stress, to not take it personally, to not drag it home with me every night in my ipod case. I’m about a bajillion times calmer now that I have been at any other point in my life. I think this helps, and/or is a symptom of the degree to which I’m already disengaging.

However, I need to take another step away. For my sanity, my health, my relationship and my ability to continue in this job.

I don’t think that hiding out in the ladies’ room is the answer, but for the time being, it doesn’t hurt.

Monday, October 8, 2007

In which I figure out WTF is wrong with me.

So, Mr. Wonderful is at my house a lot. Like, in the nighttimes and in the morningtimes. Shhh – don’t tell my mom.

It’s not because Casa de Cha Cha is so super deluxe or anything. It’s because shacking up with Foxie Doxie and Geriatric Poodle in tow is a ginormous pain in the ass. I need to buy a kennel to leave at Mr. Wonderful’s so that I don’t have to transport Geriatric Poodle’s 50-pound monstrosity.

(I know, I know – he’s an elderly 11-pound dog. I know he doesn’t need the reinforced steel cage that can withstand attack by a pit bull. It was free. Give me a break.)

So, I have company pretty much all the time. Because I am sick and in love like that. Because we cannot stand to be apart, even for one night.

Yeah, we disgust me, too.

This means that I feel a weird pressure to be the hostess with the mostest like, all the damn time. This is a self-imposed pressure; Mr. Wonderful empties the dishwasher and offers to clean the bathroom. These make me think, “Pshaw! Darling, rest your weary self here on my dog hair-encrusted sofa. I shall take care of you!”

Let me recap: he’s there every damn night. Meaning this hideous, June Cleaver on Crack personality flaw is working overtime.

I’ve started getting snappish.

He asks for a new towel and I scowl. I notice dust bunnies and feel a deep sense of shame, even though Mr. Wonderful honestly doesn’t give a shit.

Once upon a time, in a relationship far, far away, I was The World’s Most Disgraceful Housekeeper. I could clean for an entire weekend – like, really clean til I was high on Pine-Sol – and my efforts would be greeted with an offhand comment like, “This place is a pit. I’m going to have to take a vacation day to clean.”

Evidently, I have completely internalized this dialogue. I expect to be inadequate. I expect to be reprimanded. And damn it, Mr. Wonderful is totally not living up to expectations.

So it’s making me June Cleaver on Crack. It’s making me feel slightly uneasy whenever I’m in my house. And yet, it’s making me appreciate Mr. Wonderful all the more.

We talked about June Cleaver on Crack and how I feel like my hair is on fire. And he offered – again – to clean the bathroom. Which is kind and yet horribly embarrassing – I should have my shit together and be able to keep a clean house. I shouldn’t feel like it’s a personal failure if I don’t switch out the towels every three days. I need to truly acknowledge the insanity of my internal dialogue.

It’s sort of like head lice. Sometimes you move on, not realizing that you did, in fact, bring a little pesky baggage.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Cha Cha's Curl Up & Dye

Mr. Wonderful is one good-lookin’ dude. Seriously. He has a great smile and the kindest, most gorgeous soft brown eyes you’ve ever seen. You don’t even know!

For some strange reason, he’s decided that he trusts me implicitly (wha?) and I am now his barber. He has basically put his social and professional lives in my trembling, inexperienced beautician hands.

The last time I cut anybody’s hair, my then junior high-age brother thought it was really cool to have a shamelessly shitty haircut. And I was just the stylist.

Mr. Wonderful keeps his hair shorn very, very short – not clean-shaven, but the shortest setting on the clippers. The first time I cut his hair, it took me about half an hour. I was convinced that I would accidently slice his ear off. But now, I’ve embraced this new responsibility and love the tangible results of it all. I zoom across his scalp with joy and ease.

We end up with giant clumps of dark brown hair after the clippers and I have had a whee of a time together. Since he always takes off his shirt for a haircut, there’s always some sort of joke about his “hairy” back, which is always good for a laugh. But since we are either situated on his deck or in my garage, the mess is fine.

Yes, I cut my boyfriend’s hair in my garage. I am *this close* to opening a beauty parlor in my garage, just like half the ladies in my hometown. You can take the girl out of the small town, but you can’t take the small town out of the girl.

And the best part? After I cut his hair *in my garage,* I was able to use my very favorite item ever – my ShopVac. Since I bought my house 13 months ago, I’ve purchased paint and toilets and a dishwasher – but his is by far the best purchase I’ve ever made. Almost as good as the $140 Banana Republic flats that I got for $9.99.

At first, I started out ShopVac-ing the hair on the garage floor. And then I realized that Mr. Wonderful was covered in hair droppings … and about to walk through my entire house to get to the shower – shedding the entire way.

I ShopVac-ed Mr. Wonderful.

I did. And I’m not ashamed. It was wonderful. And I even managed to avoid giving him a hickey with the ShopVac’s superior suction power.

He laughed the whole time. “Oh my god! You cut my hair in your garage and now you’re ShopVac-ing me. You realize this means we’re totally white trash, right?”