It’s the most wonderful time of the year. (But not really…)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. (But not really…)

The 4th quarter is my least favorite time of the entire year. Yes, it’s even worse than the 6 weeks of summer where I don’t get a single day off and am stuck in town for the long haul. I mean, I don’t HATE everything about the 4th quarter, but the parties for hosting, gay happy meetings, misteltoeing, and caroling out in the snow are just not my cup of eggnog. (Oh yeah, and eggnog is gross too.) I don’t watch Hallmark style Christmas movies unless I’m REALLY deep in to a self loathing cycle, and I could do without Christmas music in any form except classical until the day of Christmas.

“But Annalee, what kind of Christmas movies do you watch then?”

Good question! The Die Hard franchise, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Gremlins, and Bad Santa. Who needs feel good Christmas movies anyway?!

 But I digress, this isn’t an “I hate Christmas” post. Far from it actually. I love the excitement little kids have on Christmas, and I love the serving others part of the holidays. What I hate, is that after Halloween, the remainder of the 4th quarter is basically a whole lot of “Will you be bringing anybody with you this year” or “Hey, can I steal you from your family tonight so everyone will just question my sexual orientation instead of wondering why I’m still single?” Yep…It’s 2 full months of Valentine’s Day-like hell.

 I’m usually pretty good at avoiding this line of questioning really. It’s easy; I just hang with the kids. They’re usually more fun anyway. This year, however, one of my very oldest friends is getting married in the beginning of December. This guy has pulled me through some pretty rough times. Namely, when my parents got divorced, and he took it upon himself (with the help of his kick ass girlfriend at the time) to make sure I was eating and sleeping. I was the permanent third wheel in their relationship for at least a month. So he’s getting married, and I’m not even sad that I’m losing my “If we’re both single when we’re 45, we’ll just get married” back up plan. (Rom-Com plot…gross! Also, I don’t think it was 45 either, but we haven’t quite reached that age yet, so it works) Here’s what sucks about this. He’s getting married on a weekend. The ONLY weekend that I could fly to the PNW for a quick wedding weekend, and I don’t have a soul to go with me.

 I know what you’re thinking. I thought about it too. There’s only like 5 million Hallmark style Christmas movies with the same plot. I could ask a guy friend to go with me, or hire a stranger to come with me and pretend that we’ve been quietly dating for months. We’d go to the wedding, get snowed in during a rare Portland blizzard, and fall madly in love before we have to come home. Yeah, I just threw up a little in my mouth too. This is precisely the reason I won’t just ask a guy friend to come with me. I can’t turn my life in to the plot of a Christmas movie, especially when I’m absolutely certain those kind of Christmas movies exist only to make single people feel even worse about themselves during the time of year when everyone is coupled up and happily celebrating. So, even though I’m DYING to wear that black Michael Kors in a public setting, I’m skipping the wedding in favor of crashing their life for a weekend during the summer when we can all chill, instead of spending a week’s worth of wages to play dress up and hang out with a bunch of people I don’t know. It’ll be better weather, and there won’t be the winter season PLUS wedding weirdness that comes along with still not seeing anyone. As an added bonus, I won’t have to hear “You’re such a nice girl, I just don’t understand why someone hasn’t just snatched you right up.” At least I’m not alone in this though. You see, as I was sitting in my office throwing myself one hell of a pity party because I had convinced myself that I can’t go to a winter wedding alone, even though I really need some Jones brothers in my life soon, when the real reason is that 8 days prior to the wedding, the county I live in will be stealing all of my discretionary spending money in the form of a giant ass property tax bill, I received a snapchat from another dear friend of mine. It was a picture of the invitation to her office Christmas party captioned “Please tell me I’m not the only one who gets severe anxiety at the idea of going to a Christmas Party alone. I know I could take one of my girl friends, but I’m sick of going without a guy. I’m tempted to call up an ex and see if he’ll go with me just so rumors stop about me being a lesbian… Or so I don’t have to feel self-conscious walking in and sitting by myself.” You are definitely not alone…. Solidarity sister. This single shit is hard, but at least we don’t have someone blaming us when they’re the ones who burned the dinner beyond recognition, so there’s that.
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The one with the regret

The one with the regret

I’m not the kind of person who typically regrets anything. I have a huge parenting regret though, and I didn’t even realize it until this weekend.

I’ve struggled with eating disorders since I was 13 years old. That’s just over a quarter of a century dealing with an eating disorder for those of you who know me and are doing the math. I WISH I was as fat as I was when I first thought I was fat. Mother eff…I REALLY wish I was as fat as I was when I was when I was 3 months in to post baby, depression fueled anorexia. If you know me now, you’ll see that I CLEARLY beat anorexia though. I mean, I’m not morbidly obese or anything (even if that’s what I see in the mirror…thanks to the eating disorder brain), but my body definitely says “loves tacos and tequila…and all the rest of the food.”

Here’s where this leads to the regret. I think it must be a universal thing that kids love the water. I have yet to meet a kid that doesn’t love to swim, slip-n-slide, run through sprinklers, or anything that involves a swimming suit and water. I live by some amazing lakes, we can swim in the river, and we have a pretty kick ass rec center pool. Do you want to know how many times I put on a swimming suit and took advantage of any of those experiences with my kid? Aside from a year or so where I had someone in my life who was seeing me naked on the regular, so it didn’t really matter how fat I thought I looked in a swimming suit at the lake with him and the kids (his and mine, not ours), I can count them on one hand. That’s not to say my kid was totally deprived of all water experiences. I just didn’t experience them with him. I sat on the sidelines, like so many other moms, terrified of what people would think of me if I just put on the damn bathing suit and joined my kid in the water.

This weekend, my best friend brought his kids to the tiny town I live in. They stayed at a hotel, partly so they had their own space with no questions back home as to the sleeping arrangements at my place, and partly because it’s been a loooooong time since I’ve had a toddler in my house, and it is NOT a toddler friendly place. (That, and I don’t have TV, so I needed something to help with the cool factor that I would have otherwise been COMPLETELY lacking…) Of course, since there are no Hilton properties in my town, and I refuse to willingly spend any of my money on any Marriott property ever, I just picked the nicer of the 2 hotels near my house, and made sure the pool was in working order before I made reservations for them.

Because this friend is one of the few people in the world I feel 100% comfortable around, you can bet I joined them in the pool, and you know what? Those kids didn’t care one bit that I am without a doubt packing around a few thousand (slight exaggeration) extra pounds. They didn’t care that once my top was wet, it clung painfully and uncomfortably close to my food baby. (Alright, alright…it wasn’t PHYSICALLY painful and uncomfortable….but you guys…I have an eating disorder brain, and the mental struggle was real.) You know what they did care about? They cared that I could balance on one foot, while the 9-year-old stood on my thigh, counting to 3 before I pushed him as high as possible out of the water so he could come crashing back down in to it for maximum splashing. They cared that I could lift the 3-year-old out of the water and on to the side so he could jump back in to me, and make sure I kept his head out of the water over, and over, and over again. They cared that I could do that for 2 solid hours, two different times that day. ALL they cared about was that there was someone there, playing with them, in the freaking water. The sheer joy was infectious. I haven’t had so much fun in the town where I live in YEARS.

I missed out on the one and only chance I had to experience things like this with my own kid. I missed out on that kind of pure joy because I was too damn worried about what other people would think if they saw me in a swimming suit, and after this weekend, I regret the hell out of that.  It’s one of the few things I’d change if I could rewind and try again. So learn from me being soooooo incredibly stupid, and just put on the damn swimming suit and play in the water with those tiny humans of yours. They’ll never forget it, and either will you.

RIP to my brain

RIP to my brain

Facebook keeps reminding me that I haven’t posted in a while. What Facebook doesn’t know is that it’s because I’ve been a little busy here working on some political things, and trying to maintain a shred of sanity while working 70+ hours a week and not having any time to escape the tiny town I live in to get some real life saving time in the city. Anyway, I’m pretty sure that’s all made the last functioning brain cells I have left abandon ship, so instead of being able to compose something somewhat intelligent about some of the actual kick ass things I’ve been doing lately, you can get to know me just a little bit with this “30 questions adult version” I’ve been tagged in no less than 30 times on Facebook this week alone.

1. What bill do you hate paying the most?
I hate paying for all of them except my insurance, and that’s only because my insurance agents are THE best. Seriously, I pay my bill and then we chat for a while (sometimes over cocktails) about the people who are driving us crazy.
2. When was the last time you had a romantic dinner?
Does wine in the shower count as a romantic dinner?
3. What do you really want to be?
Relaxed, well rested, and content.
4. How many colleges did you go to?
I kind of burned myself out in High School and made some bad life decisions afterward. So…I’ve taken a few classes at a couple of different colleges, but that’s about it.
5. Why did you choose the shirt you have on?
Simple: It was clean.
6. Thoughts on gas prices right now?
It doesn’t matter what gas costs, I don’t want to walk, so I’m paying whatever it is.
7. First thought when the alarm goes off in the morning?
“So….here’s another day of waking up to an alarm instead of morning sex or breakfast in bed.”
8. Last thought you had before you went to bed?
Literally woke up at 3am with my phone on my face, so considering I fell asleep while binge watching season 4 of The Last Ship, my last thought was probably “I should probably plug the iPad in.”
9. Do you miss being a child?
I miss not having adult responsibilities, but that’s about it.
10. What errand/chore do you despise the most?
Cleaning in general.
11. Up early or sleep in?
I don’t even know how to sleep in anymore. Is this something that comes with getting old? Because I think only old people consider 6am sleeping in….
12. Found love yet?
Yeah…but not in a way that is ever going to result in the end of people asking me when I’m going to settle down and get married, so there’s that.
13.Favorite lunch meat?
I prefer lunch cocktails.
14. What do you get every time at Wal-Mart?
Anxiety. I avoid that place like the freaking plague.
15. Beach or lake?
They’re both water. I’m at home in either location. I prefer the beach, but a lake will do.
16. Who mows your lawn?
I’ve managed to cut down on the lawn needing to be mowed by simply not watering it. For real. I shouldn’t even own a home. An apartment with a little balcony to sit on and read or chat with friends and no yard to take care of would be absolutely perfect.
17. Is marriage over rated?
Probably not, but I know a whole lot of miserable married people, so who really knows.
18. Ever crashed a vehicle?
Unfortunately, yes.
19. Do you make your bed?
Of course, but it’s not something I’m a stressed out bed making Nazi about…
20. Strangest place you’ve brushed your teeth?
What the hell kind of question is this? Like are there people who brush their teeth on a roller coaster, or while scuba diving or something?
21. What is your bedtime?
Whenever I can’t stay awake anymore.
22. Somewhere you’ve never been but want to go?
Fiji, Hawaii, Iceland, to sleep for 10 solid hours…..the possibilities are endless.
23. Your favorite vacation you’ve ever been on?
Have you ever experienced the joy of taking a kid to Disneyland? It’s the best thing in the world. Favorite vacation sans kid though? Adult trips to Vegas are always a solid choice!
24. At this point in your life would you want to start a new career?
It’s something I consider on a daily basis.
25. Do you have a go to person?
Several of them.
26. Are you where you want to be in life?
Am I currently a trophy wife who does brunches and CrossFit and has a nice budget for philanthropy? No, so I’m not where I WANT to be in life, but I’m exactly where I NEED to be.
27. Growing up what were your favorite cartoons?
I only had cartoons on Saturday morning growing up. We took what we got.
28. Are you a parent yet?
Meanest mom in the world 19 years and counting.
29. What do you think has changed about you since you are older?
Besides the gray hair? I’ve finally learned that it’s ok to say “no” to people, and I care a whole lot less about the opinions of people who think I’m going to hell because I don’t live up to their standards.
30. What do you miss the most about being a kid?
Easy: spending every single day of the summer at the pool. That, and not paying bills.

On what it’s REALLY like being a parent

On what it’s REALLY like being a parent

High school health classes are REALLY missing the boat on the whole preventing teen pregnancy by sending students home for the weekend with a robot baby thing. Yeah, it’s annoying to have to wake up and feed, change, or play with the robo-baby, but that’s all over with in 2 or 3 days, and you’re back to life as normal. Do you want to really give your children an idea what it’s like to be a parent? Skip the robo-baby and give them a toddler who hasn’t napped in 3 days, an 8-year-old who just lost screen time privileges, a pre-teen ball of hormones, or a teenager who thinks they’re entitled to EVERYTHING, and has the attitude to go along with it. You want to teach kids what it’s like to be a parent before they’re a parent? Those are all better options than a baby robot. Scar them for life with some real parenting obstacles.

Here is a much more accurate depiction of what it’s really like to be a parent. Imagine you’re drowning, and you see someone headed your direction in a boat, and you think you’re being rescued. The boat stops and they throw you a life-preserver. You catch it, relieved for a split second until you realize it’s made of concrete, and the people in the boat aren’t even looking back while you just keep on continuing to tread water. Then you just repeat that for the rest of forever.

Women’s healthcare: Keep your policy out of my…well, you know.

Women’s healthcare: Keep your policy out of my…well, you know.

Can somebody please explain to me why you can walk in to ANY pharmacy anywhere in the country and buy Plan B immediately, over the counter, without a prescription, BUT God forbid you want a refill on your Diflucan and you’re out of them, AND the prescription hasn’t been filled in over a year. No…then you need to wait around ALL day to see if your doctor’s office called one in, which they didn’t so now, thanks to your shitty HDHP, you have to make an appointment (or stop in to an urgent care clinic), pay $30-230, depending on how they bill it, sit around for an hour, most likely in one of those drop dead sexy open back gowns, only to have a PA tell you “Yep, here’s your prescription.” AND THEN you get to pay for the prescription on top of that.

Female anatomy is such bullshit sometimes. Seriously, all of the fun things in life have the potential to wreak havoc on you. You want to soak in a hot bath after blowing a whole wad of cash on bath bombs at Lush , go for a run, hit the hot tub, maybe have a little fun with someone, go for a run again in the morning, then slip in to your favorite skinny jeans for the day? There’s a prescription for that, and you’re going to want it, because the OTC treatment for the perfect combination of relaxing/enjoyable weekends is a joke.

Anatomically speaking, there’s no doubt guys have it easier when it comes to healthcare. As far as it goes for the ladies, you can buy Plan B over the counter, but you need a prescription for Diflucan. THIS is exactly how you know that ALL of the rules governing women’s healthcare were made up by a man. It kinda makes you want to just tell them to stay the hell out of your lady business doesn’t it? Except, what would be the fun in that? 😉

Why are Mom Jeans making a comeback?!

Why are Mom Jeans making a comeback?!

This weekend, I stopped at a friend’s house and left with 6 pairs of jeans that she was getting rid of. Trading clothes with your girlfriends is the best. It really is. We had a nice little fashion show while trying everything on, then threw my new goodies in my trunk and went to brunch. When I got home, I threw them all in the washing machine and actually hung them up when they were dry, instead of sharing a queen sized bed with a pile of clean laundry (my most common “relationship” status btw, second only to sleeping diagonally across a queen sized bed).

This morning, I pulled a pair of jeans from the closet, threw them on, and left for work. Fast forward not even 2 hours in to the day, and I was going completely INSANE!! Why? High waist jeans. How on God’s green earth did we deal with these in the 80s and 90s? Really, I want to know. I mean, I fondly remember my Guess, Jones New York, Silver, and JNCO jeans of the 90s, but what I don’t remember was how insanely uncomfortable it was to wear jeans with a waistband set so high it could damn near double as the band on your mother F wording bra! (Clearly they’re not QUITE that high, but you get the picture.) I’m not 100% positive that the jeans cut so low you have to shave or wax your you know what of the late 90s and early 2000s were not in rebellious direct response to these mom jean monstrosities! I get it now. I really do!

I mean, I’m not in any hurry to go back to pants with a 1 1/2 inch zipper, because Lord knows after having a kid, those don’t do me ANY freaking favors. Honestly, even in the middle of a damn eating disorder, those ultra low rise jeans didn’t do me any favors,  but I’ll still pass on the jeans that can double as a bra too. Mom jeans shouldn’t make a comeback, and the only reason the ones I have on now aren’t going straight in to the donation pile….or trash….is because at some point, I’m going to fail at adulting, and be completely out of clean clothes, and at that point, the mom jeans MIGHT be a better choice than a skirt, and that’s only because they don’t require you to shave your legs (and other areas) without the promise of a pedicure, doctor’s appointment, or on the chance hell might be freezing over….a promising date.

On how to deal with blatant sexism

On how to deal with blatant sexism

I’ve worked in a male dominated business for the better part of 2 decades; 17 years and 356 days to be more exact. I’ve dealt with a whole lot of “I’ll just wait to talk to one of the guys sweetheart. They’ll know what I need.” I’m more than happy to let these people wait for one of the guys to tell them exactly what I would have told them 20 minutes sooner. I figure their wasted time is just a little bit of karma.

The other day, I was talking to a friend who gets to deal with this kind of crap on a daily basis in her job. She’s more qualified, more educated, and simply better at her job than any of her male counterparts, but she STILL gets second guessed or outright ignored by men she has to work with outside of her office to get her job done. She was venting to me about this, and wondering what to do, so of course I had to share my foolproof way of shutting down sexism. I mean, it’ll probably get you a nice forced visit with HR, but it’s worth every second of it.

One day, several years ago, when dealing with a particularly ridiculous case of “I’ll just wait to talk to one of the boys” followed by this person getting more and more upset because “the boys who know what they’re talking about” were not there, but still refusing to let me take care of their issue, I looked at the “gentleman” and said something that shut him down completely.

“I’m sorry that you don’t feel like I can possibly know what I’m talking about. Would it help if I had a penis? Because I can go get one and bring it back. Maybe then you’ll consider the fact that I might just know what I’m doing. Fair warning though, it’s probably going to be bigger than yours, and I hear that is a problem too.”

After spitting and sputtering for a second before he eventually gained his composure, I helped him with what he needed, and sent him on his merry way. Several times I’ve been tempted to use that line again, three more times I have. It works like a charm every single time, in every single situation. Every. Single. Time.