Recruited

Several things:

First, this morning I looked out my kitchen window and saw that my lawn was mowed. Except I didn’t mow it. For several weeks now actually. It looks as if someone paid a company to do it as the mower tracks on my driveway look commercial. Does this mean I am now an object of pity/scorn in the eyes of my neighbors? I am actually okay with that as I seriously hate yard work.

Second, I accidentally shut my cat in the refrigerator tonight. He’s fine. I found him before too long.

Third, I ate hot dogs for dinner. Which says to me this single thing ain’t so bad.

Now onto the title of today’s blog. As a single person who lives alone it is often assumed I have lots of time on my hands to take on projects. This is actually pretty true. My newly discovered singlehood danger of the week: being the new cheerleading coach at the college where I work.

The thing is now even if I wanted to spend some real quality time with an intriguing member of the opposite sex I don’t have any. I work until 5, practice starts at 5:30 and I am lucky if I’m home before 8:30. At which time I put on PJs, microwave hot dogs, and go to bed. The girls cheer for men’s basketball. We have 17 home games this season. So not only should I kiss good-bye any romantic interests (pun intended) but my friends won’t remember who I am come springtime.

Here’s the crazy part though. I love it. I get to work with college students which is already one of my favorite things but in a totally different context from my day job. I was always on athletic teams growing up and never realized how rewarding coaching is…which is a good thing since it’s a totally volunteer gig :) I have already seen girls do what they didn’t think they could and astound themselves. That is such an incredible lesson not just for school but life. Okay so I guess I should have warned you it was going to get cheesy and philosophical but I can’t help it.

I may get a cool t-shirt so that is exciting. I’ll have to buy it myself but still…

Overthinking

I had a fabulous conversation with a single female coworker this past week. We were heading to a restaurant/bar after work for a meeting. It went something like this:
Me: I am seeing this boy and want to ask him to come over here later and meet up with us. Is that weird? What should I say?
Her: ummm no that’s good. Let’s see – say something and make sure it seems really casual. Like hey I am just over this way for work if you want to stop by.
Me: Are you sure? That’s not too weird?
Her: Yeah. But only send it if you can accept that you may get a no. It’s already almost 7 so is unreasonable to count on a yes.
Me: Okay. So tell me what to write exactly.
Her: Um. I don’t know. I can’t remember the last time I had a boyfriend. Maybe you should wait and ask one of the guys.

Which is exactly what I did. Waited until one of the guys met us at the restaurant and crafted the following: I ended up at Bar XXXX for some work stuff – if you’re in the neighborhood you should stop by

All that mental energy for one text. Which is completely ridiculous! And I realize this but can’t seem to help myself. I am an epic fail at feigned casualness. He ended up not able to come but I did get to hang out with him the next night. At which time he met a couple of my work colleagues who immediately after introducing themselves congratulated him. Classy.

I guess this is really just part 2 of the previous post on all the reasons why I stink at dating. Actually I could probably come up with a pretty good list. A couple that I know off hand:
I talk a lot, especially when I am nervous and tend to monopolize the conversation
I like to tell stories about my cats
I pick outfits based almost entirely on comfort
I show pictures of my cats
I’m terrible with pop culture references
I offer to give the person a cat from my backyard
I have no poker face
I can’t cook so if I want to make someone dinner we are having spaghetti

There’s nothing really to be done though. I am exactly who I am. I have friends, people who like me. Definitely not ‘cool’ but never really have been. More of a nerdy type. I’m not going to fake it to manipulate you into liking someone who isn’t real. So I am going to continue to overthink. And be my same bad self. And by bad I mean super rule follower goody two shoes nerd.

Poker Face

Dating sucks. I am not any good at it. I also am not any good at poker. I just suck at bluffing. I was seeing this guy for a minute and I tried really hard to play it cool. He interpreted that as me being judgmental and aloof. But if I am honest and tell someone how I feel, don’t I risk scaring them off? That guy turned out to be super sensitive so it wouldn’t have worked long term anyways. If you drive a jeep with a lift kit on it and can’t handle someone making fun of you…then obviously we were not MFEO. (Got that off an episode of Private Practice – made for each other.)

I feel like Goldilocks searching for the bed that is just right. Wait – that could be misconstrued. Maybe it’s better to discuss using the porridge metaphor instead. Not too hot and not too cold. I tend to get one of two situations: I am very interested and they are indifferent or they are very interested and I could care less. It is so rare and challenging to meet someone who you like and who likes you back in equal measure. This could be why I tend to stick with cats.

I guess what makes it harder is that I didn’t think I was going to be playing poker anymore. I met someone I liked a lot, had fun with, fell in love with, and he asked me to marry him. Then at some point after he had done the asking, he changed his mind. Just wanted to go back to being boyfriend and girlfriend. After he had proposed. And we were engaged. And he had introduced me as his fiancĂ©e. Anyone whose known me for more than thirteen seconds can imagine how well this went over. I just couldn’t trust him anymore. He made a commitment to me and to us and when it got scary, he bailed. I like how my mom put it though – it was a successful engagement. It helped us realize it wouldn’t work longterm. Or at least helped me realize this. Looking back there were flags – red, yellow, etc. But for whatever reason I ignored them. So now in addition to being single again I am weary. Not of other people but the ways in which I lie to myself and allow myself to settle. I am trying to be cautious and find myself more picky. Perhaps selective is a better way to phrase that :)

Returning to the dating world after an almost marriage is defeating. I guess it’s similar to anyone trying to get back out there after being in a committed relationship. It takes time to establish a level of comfort similar to what you’re used to. I am notoriously impatient through this getting to know you phase which is ultimately where I scare people off. I asked a friend if I may come off as intimidating and he replied “well if you said and did all the things you normally do then yes.” Not encouraging. When soliciting dating advice from male counterparts I am told constantly not to over-think it. I just wrote a blog post on it. We are so far past over-thinking.

Decomposition

This may be a little morbid. But I seriously do think about this. If I die in my house, at what point would someone come and look for me? How stinky would it be by the time my body was discovered? Would my cats eat me?

Just humor me for a moment: Let’s say something happens on a Friday – I fall off a ladder and hit my head, go through my ceiling while doing something in my attic, electrocute myself putting in a ceiling fan, etc. Maybe my friends miss me over the weekend but assume I’m just busy or blowing them off. Then Monday rolls around and I don’t show up for work. I have exactly one close work friend and he’s not the type to worry if I wasn’t there. He would probably assume I was out of the office and then immediately forget to think about it again. Would my boss or assistant call someone? Who would they call? I think my mom is still my emergency contact on file – she’s in a different state and there isn’t much she could do. Perhaps the first day I don’t show no one worries but the second or third someone decides to look into it more. Maybe my friend realizes there’s some sort of problem. Then what. They send the police to my house? At this point it could be Tuesday or Wednesday and my corpse has been rotting since Friday. Not good.

I worry less about this scenario than something like getting hurt while running and not having anyone who knew I was out there. Sometimes after a particularly tough work day or when I need to clear my mind, I head out for a run. I have a three mile route that I do on shorter days but every now and again I go exploring and might go anywhere up to 8 or 10 miles. The worst ever was when I was training for a marathon (which I never did, only half marathons for me) and had a 16 mile course mapped out. It was essentially an 8 mile out and back. Around mile 7 my butt started to hurt. Literally. I found out later from a physical therapist that the issue was related to an inflamed piri formis. The injury ended up taking several months of PT to recover but meanwhile I was far away from home and having a hard time walking let alone running. There wasn’t a great way to shortcut my route but I was able to shave off a mile or two by climbing a fence and trespassing across a private athletic training facility for a certain NCAA Division I school I attended. Luckily it was early on a Sunday so no one was around. I had to take stairs to get up to my apartment at the time and ended up hopping up on one foot I was in so much agony. I couldn’t walk for a week and the PT I was working with was a little ticked that I had overdone it by so much.

There have been other times when I’ve been out and had issues. Once I got seriously lost in the woods and the only reason I found my way out was that I run with a Garmin GPS. Another time I was running through a park near my apartment and the gate at the far end was unexpectedly locked. It was still early in the summer season and while it was normally left open, that day it wasn’t. To get around I would have had to run all the way back through the park and around the fence to get out. This wouldn’t have been a big deal except there was a group of what I can only term menacing looking guys playing basketball. They saw me run through and stopped their game when they saw I wouldn’t be able to get out and would have to run back by them. They started to move towards me and I had the sense that I needed to get out as quick as possible. I ended up scaling the fence (I apparently climb a lot of fences) but there was barbwire at the top. I still have a scar on my right forearm from where it cut me.

I feel bad writing all this as I have visions of my mother breathing into a brown paper sack to mitigate the hyperventilation stemming from the panic attack I just caused. But as a single girl living in not quite the safest city in America I wonder if there is some awesome solution out there to assuage my worries. I’ve thought before about having some sort of website similar to mapmyrun.com where you would report the route you were running, the time you left, your predicted time of return, and instructions on what to do in the event you didn’t check back in. With the technology that exists I’m sure there is some way to do this in an app form and using an automated text system it could alert your emergency contact. Having GPS tracking enabled on my phone helps but I don’t like to run with it in the event it rains and also my general sweatiness. I also don’t think this would need to be limited to just running but anytime you were about to embark on something that could end in disaster such as first dates. Especially with the increase of internet dating, it seems people meeting strangers for the first time might want some sort of safety net in case the person chopped their body into tiny pieces and stored it under the floorboards of their front porch. If no one ever knew you even went on a date let alone who you were with, then you’ll end up with the situation I outlined at the beginning – rotting corpse several days old.

Maybe an app already exists for this and I haven’t found it yet. Let me know if you are a whiz programmer who wants to make this happen and/or if this is the most preposterous idea ever and would never work.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep texting my friends anytime I’m about to do something stupid.

Imbalance

I’ve been having a hard time coming up with a label for what I more affectionately refer to as me making really ridiculous/bad/reckless decisions that I am sure would be different if I had 1 – a sounding board and 2 – a presence other than cats consistently observing my lifestyle. Short of hiring a life coach though I’m plagued by this imbalance business. I thought that was a good way to sum it up. It’s ironic as the thing that first brought me to WordPress and blog writing was my decision to pursue a liquid diet/detox of sorts. I wanted to create a blog to follow my miraculous outcomes from pursuing a vegan lifestyle. After one too many documentaries, I decided it would be a brilliant idea to clean out my refrigerator so I could stock it full of fruits and veggies. I then proceeded to embark on a 7-day juice fast. I’m sure you can already guess how well that turned out. First I thought I could make juice by just shoving everything into a food processor. For the record that doesn’t work. So I went out and bought a fancy juicer (which I later returned). I made it through 1.25 days of fasting. No wait – if memory serves me I made it through three juices and then went to a party where I loaded up on cake and veggie sandwiches. I still remember how unbelievable the veggie sandwiches tasted. That night I had nightmares about juice and the next day decided to chuck the whole venture. I attempted to create some meals with all the fruits/veggies stashed away but as often happens around my house, I threw out a bunch of food in various stages of decomposition.

This is but one of the fantastically stupid ideas that I’ve had while sitting around my house unattended. I was initially going to label this danger ‘diet’ as it seems I am particularly irresponsible with food however I make bad decisions in all aspects of my life – why limit myself. To continue on the ‘diet’ theme though, people who know me well can usually guess what I am eating on any particular occasion. If you’re not one of the lucky few in the inner circle, let me break it down for you:

Meals I can make for myself:

  • Spaghetti with tomato sauce, frozen garlic bread
  • Stir-fry…kind of
  • Grilled chicken/salmon in the George Foreman
  • Salad
  • Vegetarian chili in the crockpot with cornbread
  • Corn on the cob

Those are the meals reserved for the nights when I cook. If I’m being honest, that happens about once or twice a week. Otherwise I am too tired/lazy to come up with something so return to one of my defaults:

  • Double stuf oreos with milk
  • Ice cream (Graeter’s Black Raspberry chocolate chip… AMAZING!!!)
  • Ghiradelli dark chocolate sea salt caramels
  • Peppermint or caramel mocha (but caffeine makes my heart race so try to limit at night)
  • Red gatorade

More often than not it’s oreos for dinner. I feel better having the milk too. For those of you already up in arms as I’m technically lactose intolerant, rest assured – it’s lactose free milk.

I realize for a lot of reasons this is not exactly a balanced diet. In case you’re wondering what I eat for lunch and breakfast, that can be summed up in three words: peanut butter sandwiches. So I’m probably missing out on some vital nutrients which is why I’m making an effort to better plan ahead on meals and be a teensy bit less lazy in food preparation. In the past when I was in relationships and/or living with people, I distinctly remember eating a larger variety of food and frankly eating better food. Probably that partially had to do with the fact that these other people knew how to cook. There’s also something to be said for not wanting to face your roommate’s judgy face when you decide to eat oreos and milk in your bed for the fourth day in a row.

Just so you don’t think poor eating is my only vice, I must say that Hulu/Netflix are two of the best/worst things that have happened to me as a single girl, especially Hulu. Problem is when I find a new show that I like, I watch it obsessively ignoring other responsibilities and social obligations. (My lawn hasn’t been mowed since…nope can’t remember. Only reason it got done was I begged my gay husband to do it – more on him later.) Recently I started watching Grimm and could not tear myself away. I’m not a great TV watcher – I can’t sit still but if I have something to work on while I watch I can go ten or twelve hours straight. Which is exactly what I did. I’m all caught up now and am waiting for the next real live episode. Before that it was Downton Abbey…anyone who has watched that can tell you how truly nerdy that obsession is…

Also scratch vegetarian chili off the list of items I can make. That’s what I made for dinner and it’s gross. I screwed something up and all I had to do was dump stuff into a crockpot. Seriously.

I guess the moral of the story is if you drive by my house and see a perfectly manicured lawn paired with smells of a delicious feast, call the cops as I have most certainly been taken hostage. Also that it might be a good idea for me to get out more. And learn how to cook.

“Every pan is a no-stick pan if you no-cook in it” – the birthday card my sister sent me last year