The Grass Isn’t Always Greener on the Other Side of the Desk

Truth be told, I am barely capable of deciding what to have for breakfast—and experience immediate, soul-crushing regret as soon as I’ve chosen the scrambled eggs instead of the avocado toast —so I’m not sure why I’ve been entrusted with the task of deciding what to do with my entire life, especially now that I’m a mom.

Lately I’ve been grappling with the quest of finding “The Perfect Scenario” that seamlessly and beautifully merges my #momlife with my #regularlife, if #regularlife is even a thing at this point. When you have a 20 month old wild animal under your roof and you’re 25 weeks pregnant with a pretty rough pregnancy both mentally and physically (an entirely separate post, coming soon!), #regularlife as you knew it takes a little hiatus (and by hiatus I mean it says “peace the F out, crazy lady! I’m not sticking around for this shit show!”) and you’re left with a surplus of hormones and a lack of wine, trying to fit together the confusing bits and pieces of it all but usually just feeling like you’re failing miserably at every aspect.

So, serious question that’s been plaguing me lately: what is the best scenario for a balanced life as a mom?

When it comes to jobs, I’ve seen all sides. I’ve worked for a high-profile entertainment PR company in the music industry, not leaving my desk until well after the sun had set and spending many a night attempting to schmooze with the intimidatingly cool “it” people at loud bars until way too late (keyword: attempting. I’m horribly inept and frightened at having to do this and got embarrassingly adept at the art of the Irish Exit, which I guess is frowned upon in some social circles? Whatevs, saying “goodbye, everyone” in a chill, non-awkward fashion is just too much for me, guys. Let it be.)

Aside from the rigorous dog-eat-dog PR world, I’ve also worked for an online women’s lifestyle site where I was able to make my own hours and write from a coffee shop or from the comfort of my living room — which, surprisingly, was much tougher to do with a baby than I had previously expected. And now, in what may be my most demanding job yet, I’m working for a 23-pound slave driver with a deceptively innocent high-ponytail and newly-acquired, very strong opinions on things like the importance of sleep (Scout: “Nope, not important- next question?”) and when it’s acceptable to bite other humans (Scout: “Um, when they have a toy you kind of want and/or just always. Any other brain busters you got for me here?”)

Staying at home with a toddler while growing another tiny being inside of me has been one of the most uniquely gratifying, insanely frustrating and thought-provoking experiences all at once. Just when I think I’m cut out for it, I have a day where I find myself rocking back and forth in the fetal position from the safety of my bedroom, periodically emerging to throw my daughter a few Teddy Grahams and make sure she’s actually still in our house before I retreat back to my phone and continue sending my husband texts reading “So, are you on your way home yet?” quickly escalating to, “TIME’S UP, PAL. EXIT YOUR OFFICE IMMEDIATELY AND NO ONE GETS HURT” at 2 pm in the afternoon.

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[Scheduling all of those high-profile media interviews of the past has definitely fully prepared me to paint tiny pumpkins in the grass on a Tuesday morning, while my child paints her own body/everything within five feet of her.]

Yes, there are definite perks to my current job. I don’t have to rush out the door in the mornings, Scout and I can go to the pool whenever we want, we can schedule fun playdates with reckless abandon, I have the option to lounge and nap when she naps and, maybe most importantly, I don’t have to let a bra be the boss of me. But there is a laundry list of other grievances I’ve experienced and sacrifices I’ve already made that have me wondering if a cubicle, sack lunch and awkward networking meetings might just be easier and more sanity-salvaging than what I’m currently experiencing.

I have girlfriends who work full time in an office but would give anything to be at home with their kids every day. I also have girlfriends who are stay-at-home moms but are thirsting for more structure or some sort of creative outlet or even just plain and simple adult interaction. Do you see the conundrum here?

Full time jobs, part time jobs, stay at home mom jobs: what is the best scenario for a mom who wants to feel balanced, present, successful and sane all at once?

After much thinking – and by thinking I mean desperately racking my brain to come up with a different life solution as my child is laying face down on the floor in the middle of the Nordstrom check-out line, screaming at maximum capacity with no shoes and no regrets — I have finally figured out the answer. Whew!

My answer is: there is no best scenario. Nada. Zilch. Move it along, people—no best scenario to see here.

From my experience so far, I can confidently attest that mothering littles is one of the hardest jobs in existence– definitely not for the faint of heart, and definitely not for the woman who wishes to have a clean house, isn’t willing to spend a small fortune on industrial-strength dry shampoo or ever wants to be able to wear white again. Motherhood is hard as hell, and that statement remains true no matter how your particular motherhood looks. It doesn’t matter how you spend your days or what time you get home from work or if you take networking trips to New York City or if your biggest activity of the afternoon is a Gymboree Play and Learn class: we are all still mothers and we all still experience the same mom guilt, the same worry, the same frustration, the same tears and the same “how does anyone get out of this alive” thoughts.

If you spend all day in an office, missing playdates with your sweet stay-at-home friends, missing seeing your daughter shake a tambourine for the first time in music class or even just missing spontaneous afternoon ice cream dates with your little man, you might find yourself mechanically staring at a computer screen and shuffling endless piles of papers thinking, “What is my life right now? Is this really all there is?”

If you spend all day chasing a human tornado, experiencing severe anxiety about something as simple as braving the grocery store with kids in tow, meticulously making lunches that get aggressively catapulted onto the floor within five seconds and helplessly watching as your own offspring launches into a public meltdown that has you Googling “is my child a sociopath?” late at night when you can’t sleep, then you might find yourself covered in applesauce, mechanically rolling a toy truck on the floor for upwards of an hour in between saying 47 times a day “We don’t lick the dog!” thinking “What is my life right now? Is this really all there is?”

No matter what your motherhood situation looks like, one thing remains the same across the board: it’s 100% not going to be easy. So it would make sense that as women we should stop putting pressure on ourselves to “figure it all out,” right? Then why do I spend more time than I’m willing to admit brainstorming a “better scenario” to fit my motherhood, when we’re all just doing the best thing– the ONLY thing– we know to do at any given moment?

 

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[She’s so sweet right before she bites…]

When I was on the other side of all of this (i.e. going into an office, actually having to wash my hair more than once a week, trying my hand at interacting with adult humans, using my brain, etc) I couldn’t imagine that sort of life being my reality when I had little people at home who were depending on my love, support and mere presence in their daily lives. I wanted to be there in the thick of it with my baby (and future babies), not missing one single laugh, crawl, spit up or step. I despised being chained to a desk, having to answer to someone else when I dreamed of only answering to my kids when they asked giddily, “what fun adventure are we doing to go on today, mom?!”

SPOILER ALERT: kids don’t wake up with stars in their eyes and syrupy-sweet grins asking about magical adventures. They wake up screaming for milk, kicking you in the stomach when you’re trying to change their diaper and crying when you try to do something semi-educational with them instead of letting them watch Mickey Mouse Club on their bean bag chair alone with their industrial-sized box of Cheddar Bunnies.

Now that the stay-at-home mom life is my reality, I find myself thinking how glorious it would be to have a totally separate job that doesn’t involve child rearing– how mentally enriching it would be to use my brain for something other than scheming how I’m going to sneak a carrot or two into my kid’s macaroni and cheese that day.

But, here’s the catch: I know if I was dropping her off at daycare everyday and heading to my competitive corporate job, picking her up in the evenings just in time for dinner and bath and a quick bedtime story, I wouldn’t be satisfied either! I’d question my priorities on a daily basis and long for those early mornings spent lazily in PJs with mini pancakes, the mid-day bubble baths when she kills herself laughing every time I splash her, the long afternoon walks to the park to watch her finally be brave enough to take on the big kid slide. Oh, and the public tantrums– I would be NOTHING without my ability to mentally and emotionally transcend the most soul-sucking, screaming fits in the middle of the Whole Foods produce aisle when I won’t let her gnaw on every apple in apple bin. It’s my badge of honor and I wear it with more pride than I wore my college cheerleading uniform.

So, does this mean I’m a miserable, whiney, unsatisfied soul who is completely incapable of being happy in any situation? Or. OR! Am I simply a mom? Meaning it’s impossible to find that illusory perfect balance of motherhood, where you’re simultaneously giving enough to your littles while giving enough to your own dreams, desires and bank account? (Oh, and also to your husband and your friends and your family and your kids’ school and your book club and your spin instructor and your mom who is permanently pissed at you for not sending approximately 75 grandchild photos per day.)

At the risk of sounding horribly cliché, I think the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and I’m starting to believe no one lives that truth more so than mothers.

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The Forgotten Pregnancy

After recently hitting the 20-week mark in my second pregnancy, I’ve learned a few things. First, and maybe most importantly, do not under any circumstances get yourself impregnated when there is also a maniacal toddler living in your house. If it’s too late for you, like it is for me, then do what you’re probably already doing and grab a bagel (made of white-flour and gluten, if possible, or the closest heavy carb with negative nutritional value) sit said toddler in front of TV, turn on Caillou for irresponsible amounts of time and travel in your mind far, far away to a beautiful winery with glorious vats of wine (or just to your local liquor store…they both get the job done).

Aside from that, I have actually learned a ton so far with this second pregnancy—about myself, about my toddler, about my marriage—and each of those deserves its own lengthy, dysfunctional post.  But I can tell you quite bluntly one of the biggest, most glaring differences I’ve noticed since deciding life was going WAY too smoothly and it was high time to change that by growing another human inside of me is that the first pregnancy is vastly different than the second (or what I like to refer to as “The Forgotten Pregnancy.” Or sometimes, on particularly teary days when we’ve run out of Halo Top ice cream, “The Pregnancy That is Going to Make My Husband Get a Vasectomy and/or Leave Me For a Lady Who Hasn’t Yet Turned Into One Big Walking (Waddling) Hormone.”

Where do I even begin? With your first pregnancy, you’re kind of regarded as some sort of magical, ethereal, beautiful baby-grower. It’s new, it’s exciting and everyone wants to know literally everything about this miracle of life you’re conducting right before their eyes. “How are you feeling?” they say. “When is your due date?” they say (as they mark their calendars/block off their schedule in nine months). “Can I feed you grapes (pre-peeled, obviously) while telling you how amazing you look and fanning you with a palm leaf?” they say.

You become the apple of your friends and family’s eyes. You’re intriguing, you’re still cute at this point and you’re the reason for a million ooooohs and awwwws simply because your uterus has suddenly morphed into a luxury AirBnB for the next nine months.

With your first pregnancy, people are thirsting for details—they are practically foaming at the mouth for insider info on hot topics like your nursery theme and your extravagant birth plan (spoiler alert: I don’t have one. Not that you would want to know about it anyways, because I’m on my second pregnancy.) The first go-round, people want the chance to touch your adorable, magic belly not unlike the way I imagine lepers ached to touch the hand of Jesus. Now, no one wants to touch me and instead they ask me to scoot over a tad because I’m sweating on them.

Oh and my “nursery theme” for this second baby? It’s an inspiring mix of shoving a hand-me-down crib in the corner of our guest room and using an extra storage closet for all of her things in place of a cute dresser.

Basically, the second pregnancy just feels a little anti-climatic; you’ve been there, done that, gotten the incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction to prove it. You aren’t living in this idyllic state of blissful ignorance like you were the first time, being giddily excited to simply be pregnant and having literally no idea what to truly expect (which is a good thing!). By the second time around, you’ve heard way too many horror stories, you’ve watched helplessly as way too many friends have experienced complications and loss, you’ve read way too many insane mommy blogs written by highly accredited authors like stay-at-home moms whose primary pastime is filling message boards with extremely helpful advice like “coffee is poison!” and “have you checked your mercury levels today, ladies?!” and “if you want a safe, healthy baby just hide inside your house for nine months straight while sitting very still (aside from doing your kegels every hour of every day!!!) and not breathing in any of the surrounding air! And for the love of God don’t forget to relentlessly Google EVERYTHING!”

With your first pregnancy, your head was filled to the brim with sweet, naive unknowns like will she look like me? Will I know how to make her smile? Will she grow up to be a famous country music star so I can finally fulfill my own dashed childhood dreams through her (but only if it’s her choice, of course…)?

With your second, your unknowns turn a little less cute and a little more emotionally-cutting like will I carry this baby until a miserable 41 weeks like I did with my first? Will she brutally kick my ribs relentlessly every night until one of them pops out of place again and requires me to do months of physical therapy? Will I even be able to deliver naturally again without any complications and no C-section? And if so, will my vagina ruthlessly rip open like a stubborn bag of potato chips just like last time? Great, now will I ever be able to open a bag of potato chips again without experiencing PTSD symptoms? And so on and so forth.

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***(This is V-V-V important guys: regardless of how tough your pregnancy is, you must always ALWAYS post a happy, light-hearted, whimsical pregnancy announcement photo like the above including but not limited to large balloons and some sort of cohesive color palette theme! Oh and you must also push your marriage to its outer most limits by forcing your husband to pose for an ungodly amount of time while your toddler shrieks and hits you both in the face! Write this down, plz!)

Frankly, I want to go back to the pregnancy where my biggest concern was where we would be baby-mooning, and how to convince my husband that a babymoon was, in fact, a real thing. (Side note: our first babymoon we went to Miami Beach, the very same place everyone is yelling from the rooftops that pregnant women shouldn’t step foot in because of Zika. Again, take me back to simpler times before I didn’t have to choose my babymoon locale based on where blood-sucking demons weren’t waltzing around town.)

While we’re on the topic, with each pregnancy it gets exponentially harder to convince your husband you even need said babymoon. In the same way people typically only have one honeymoon, my husband applies the same logic when debating whether or not his uncomfortable, pudgy, emotionally-unstable wife really needs a tropical getaway to repay her for months of nausea, overactive bladder and adult acne. (Second spoiler alert: the weekend I had suggested that we save for our babymoon, my husband scheduled invasive back surgery. I spent my “babymoon” bringing him meals in bed and cleaning his incision.)

A few other highlights: with your first pregnancy, your entire body just kind of lets your stomach do the work. Your semi-toned arms, legs and butt muscles that you’ve worked so hard to achieve are sort of like “go ahead, Stomach, you do your thing. We’ll just sit tight (literally) and watch from afar.” With your second pregnancy, every fiber of your being is in on the joke. You will look much more pregnant much, much sooner– and all over. Basically you will pee on a stick, see the two pink lines and then your stomach will be like “aight, step aside Waistband, I ain’t playin” and start embarking on its journey to spill over your pants before you sit down for dinner that night. In addition to your stomach’s swift migration outward, every other part of your anatomy will begin it’s journey in a different direction: downward. (Specifically the boobs, buttox and arm fat, most notably, but truly no part of you is safe. Industrial-strength leggings and sleeves of any variety will become very important to you in your life, and you will wear them selflessly during the dead heat of summer in order to not offend the innocent civilians around you.)

Hm, I seem to be forgetting something important … ah, yes, I’ve got it now. Remember during your first pregnancy when you felt tired, achy and sick so you curled up in a ball and napped whenever you could? You know, you turned down the lights, drew the shades, put an eye mask on and drifted asleep softly to the soothing tunes of Boyz II Men (just me?).

Well you can literally throw up the peace sign to that sort of delusional eurphoria this time! Because now you have a tiny human inhabiting your home who makes it her sole purpose in life to make sure your eyelids never close more than a 45 degree angle. Toddlers have zero chill when you’re pregnant (or ever, I guess). And they have an unsettling, uncanny sixth sense that emerges during those nine months and that’s to pop up from nap time shrieking incessantly the minute you finally heave your pregnant, sick body onto the bed.

Currently everyone reading this is now frantically googling “most heavy-duty birth control pill on the market… no SRSLY give me the hard shit, something so strong that it might not even be lethal in some countries.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m SO THANKFUL to be pregnant, so excited to add to our family and there are most definitely good days along with the bad. But to any mamas out there currently in the thick of a “forgotten pregnancy,” it’s important for you to know you’re not alone: you can rest assured I’m right there with you, taking aggressively large bites of my cinnamon raisin bagel (when/if I stop crying long enough to do so) while getting hit over the head with a Paw Patrol book and pondering exactly how many stitches I’m going to have in my vagina in four months.

How to hit on women via social media: A guide for the otherwise creepy guy.

After taking a ten-month hiatus from sanity to drive everyone within five feet of me seven kinds of crazy and develop three new nervous twitches along the way (some people call it “planning a wedding,” tomato, toe-mah-toe), I’m back! Back to being a fully functioning, (semi) normal human again.

That’s right everyone, I now have the mental capacity to focus on other things besides tablecloths (I pray none of you ever has to know the depths of various tablecloth fabrics the way I now intimately know them) and slightlydifferent shades of pinks (key word: slightly). Think French Rose Pink and Persian Rose Pink are the basically the same thing? Hahaha! Think again, you poor, ignorant, confused simpleton. French Rose Pink and Persian Pink are tremendously different things, and if you choose the wrong shade EVERYTHING WILL BE RUINED AND NO ONE WILL HAVE FUN AT YOUR WEDDING AND YOU WILL PROBABLY BE DIVORCED IN LESS THAN A YEAR. So, yeah, choose your hues wisely, guys.

Anyway, as happy as I am to no longer be a lunatic anymore, no one is happier than my now husband, who weathered the storm of wedding planning and lived to tell about it. Our former weekend nights, consisting of lazy couch sitting or pizza eating or margarita drinking, quickly transformed into seating chart making, envelope addressing and bird food eating. (“Bird food” is what he referred to as our means of sustenance during those last few months leading up to the big day. Nuts, seeds, legumes… sometimes raisins if we were feeling naughty. Poor guy definitely had his Man Card revoked during that time. But it was totally necessary because our wedding meant it was MY our time to shine. And in order to look as good as we possibly could on our special day we needed to become skeletons of our former selves, obviously. It’s just wedding basics, guys; Wedding 101.)

So yeah, I went from a single woman to a betrothed woman to a wedded woman, all thanks to one thing: social media. (And to Clay Travis, if you ask him, but mostly social media.)

For those of you who don’t know, I met my husband after he read my debut article on OKTC back in July of 2011. It was so sweet: he politely asked Clay for my phone number and then promptly called me on the telephone and proceeded to ask me out on a proper date to the nicest steakhouse in town the following evening. LOL, just kidding, you guys! He saw my name in the byline, let an entire month drag by, then sat behind a computer screen and searched for me via Twitter and proceeded to hit on me via social media, telling me he was partying at Paradise Park that night and I could “hit him up” if I wanted to join. I mean… *SWOON.*

But here’s the scary part, y’all: it worked. IT FREAKING WORKED. That is either really terrifying or really amazing or actually a little bit of both. So I’m here to break this down and explain what he did right. Consider this your non-creepy guide to getting a wife via social media (for the otherwise creepy guy). Shout out to all the guys out there who are “only reading this to pass on tips to their creepy friends.”

 

  1. He DM’d me.

If you’re going to use Twitter as your vehicle of choice for running game, then you had better get familiar with the “Send Direct Message” button. There are not many things more painful for innocent spectators than witnessing public Twitter banter between horny, lonely people of the Internet. Or worse, one horny, lonely guy Tweeting at an indifferent, unresponsive hot girl. When the world can see your failed attempts at getting lucky, you need to reevaluate your actions and probably your life in general.

 

  1. He complimented me.

“Hey. Had no idea you were so funny.” That was his opening line, in reference to my OKTC article. Some important background info you need to know is that we’d actually met briefly at a Nashville bar the year before. We had introduced ourselves, shaken hands, made some small talk, but I immediately went on with my night and didn’t think anything of it, mostly because he was wearing a neon bandana wrapped around his forehead and a T-shirt with the sleeves ripped off (don’t ask). It later came out that he thought I was “quiet” and “shy” and “just another blonde girl” (translation=boring and not funny and probably really dumb). He was genuinely flabbergasted that someone like me could form sentences that would entertain him. So, his opening line was essentially a backhanded compliment… but a compliment, nonetheless! And if there’s one thing a single girl loves, it’s a damn compliment. And we don’t even care how it’s presented! “Hey, I’m having more fun with you than I thought I would.” YOU’RE GETTING LAID. “Hey, you’re not as ugly as I remembered you being last time.” WE ARE YOURS FOREVER WHEN ARE WE MEETING YOUR PARENTS HOW MANY BRIDESMAIDS SHOULD WE HAVE. So, yeah, compliment her, guys.  It’s easier than you think.

 

  1. He played it cool(ish).

If you’re already going through the trouble of stalking nonchalantly perusing the Interwebs trying to track her down, you’ve already used up your overzealous card for the foreseeable future. Like, you’re already not playing it cool to an extent, so don’t be afraid to chill the eff out a little, k? In this case, he took the UBER cool guy approach, which can be tricky if you’re dealing with a girl who has a strong sense of how to play “the game” (SPOILER ALERT: I DIDN’T. GAME? WHAT GAME?). The second half of the DM read, “Lemme know if you’re gonna be out and about tonight,” and then he added his cell number. That’s it, no “What are you doing tonight?” or “Would love to meet up,” not even the correct version of the words “let me.” (That part was a little offensive to me, and I told myself if he ever used “u” in place of the actual word then he was toast.) And what did I do? I put those digits to good use and texted him that same night. (SRSLY though, WHAT GAME?)

 

  1. He swooped in when his prey was vulnerable.

Actually, he had no idea how great his timing was, so I can’t fully give him credit for this move. However, he Tweeted at me exactly when my roommate’s boyfriend was coming to town to visit for the weekend, i.e. as I was preparing to be the dreaded third wheel and just eat my feelings for the next three days.

GUYS, THIS IS AN IMPERATIVE MOVE. You need to figure out a way to adhere to this step.

“Heck, what do I have to lose?” I’d thought as I was texting him. “The person on the other end of this line can’t be any worse than the thought of accompanying my roommate and her boyfriend on yet another romantic dinner and then trying to spoon with them on the couch afterwards and talk about our futures together.” So use your resources, ask around, stalk her roommate’s Facebook, do whatever you need to do in order to time this out correctly and figure out when she’s at her weakest (and maybe even a little delusional?). When a girl is lonely and sad about being single and sick of being the third wheel, it’s amazing how much better you’ll look.

 

  1. He finally did initiate real human-to-human contact (…eventually).

So yes, the tweeting and texting did go on for a few weeks, but eventually he moved the party from the virtual world to the actual world and asked me on a brunch date to only the classiest of classy joints, YOLO’S in Nashville. (Sadly, YOLO’S has since been shut down since that first date, most likely due to extreme health code violations, although we don’t have this on good authority. RIP YOLO’S, you really did only live once.)

 

So there you have it, everyone. Now for a little recap, shall we? Guys: it IS doable to pick up girls via social media. And girls: not ALL guys who hit on you via social media are total skeezeballs. In fact, they can even turn out to be your husband! (Now, Tinder? I am not speaking for Tinder. Tinder is a totally separate beast and was invented after my single days, therefore it is so mysterious to me and frankly it terrifies me a little bit. I repeat, do not apply any of my above advice to the world of Tinder. In fact, you should probably just assume every guy on Tinder is a huge creeper with a roofie in his back pocket. Yeah, let’s just go with that to be safe.)

 

So happy Tweeting, everyone! (And happy swiping, Tinder creeps!)

You were wrong about Christmas.

The most wonderful time of the year isn’t Christmas, everyone. (Did you realize you were wrong about that all these years?) No, the most wonderful time of the year is fall.

Not Halloween, specifically, because I’m at that awkward age where I can’t quite figure out how to celebrate it: I don’t have the option of trick-or-treating door to door anymore without raising my neighborhood’s collective eyebrow, and I don’t yet have children to be my pawn so that I can live out that night to the fullest (“Trick or treat! Oh, thank you, Mister, but little Tommy doesn’t like Tootsie Rolls. He would like to know if you have any Godiva 70% Pure Cacoa bars? If not, he will just settle for a Snickers. King-sized, please.”) So it seems the only choice I have is to celebrate by attending adult Halloween parties, which terrify me. An adult Halloween party is really just a drunken over-grown orgy at this point, and orgies are just plain exhausting! I mean, who has time for that, AMIRIGHT, fellow cool people? (Was that convincing? Lemme know.) Plus, I’m just weird and I like to wear my bra and panties UNDER my clothes, instead of like, as an outfit for a Halloween party. Yeah, I know, LOOOO-SER. So, not collecting candy from strangers and not really fitting in at adult Halloween parties leaves that night feeling very anticlimatic for me. Also, I don’t mean Thanksgiving specifically either, because on Thanksgiving I always insist on seeing how close I can come to having to get my stomach pumped. It’s like I black out and eat my weight in pie and then when I finally come to I am pretty sure I should kill myself but instead just manuever myself into the fetal position and quietly weep. So, that kind of puts a damper on the night.

But fall in general? I think it’s glorious. That’s probably due to the fact that I have a hearty obsession with pumpkins. Pumpkin candles, pumpkin coffees, pumpkin breads, pumpkin wreaths, pumpkin patches, PUMPKINS. I went to Trader Joe’s yesterday and stocked up on my yearly pumpkin supply, not remembering that I now have a walking disposal system; a four-legged monster of destruction who inhales anything and everything in her path and never looks back. So, yeah, those voluptuous orange beauties don’t stand a chance.

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I’m really enjoying the 72 hours I’ll have with my new fall decor, y’all.
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It all makes sense now.

The other day I accidentally locked myself out of Barton’s house when he was at work. I began to panic and started rummaging around in my purse to find some sort of tool (a bobbie pin? hairbrush? hammer? ice pick? Not quite sure what I was expecting to find in there) to help me finagle my way into the house. All I could come up with was my credit card, which I absurdly thought that I could use to pull off some sort of expert burglar door-opening execution. “This is never going to work,” I said as I effortlessly slid the card into the door crease by the lock and watched as THE DOOR QUICKLY AND EASILY POPPED OPEN and OMG I’M SO PROUD OF MYSELF BECAUSE I’M A SAVVY GENIUS and OMG THIS IS ACTUALLY THE MOST TERRIFYING THING EVER. So many conflicting emotions were being experienced at that moment.

I could only bask in my resourcefulness for a full 3 seconds before realizing that this lock was completely useless and arbitrary and ANY random psychopath on their afternoon psychopathic stroll could effortlessly breeze into the house at any moment using only the contents of whatever is in their pocket at the time*. I immediately went into full on basketcase mode and called Barton, the self-proclaimed “Voice of Reason,” who expressed the exact response I thought he would: complete indifference.

Nothing phases this man. Your door glides open with a little piece of plastic and a little flick of the wrist? No big deal, at least you got inside. You were two hours late picking up your girlfriend for a planned Saturday outing with his family, AND you forgot to bring the pasta salad? It’s fine, relax, no one died and you got there eventually, didn’t you? Your entire HOUSE IS ON FIRE, going up in violent, fiery flames right before your eyes??? It’s only a house, we can get another one.

I used to get so upset when he wouldn’t show what I deemed were the proper reactions to certain scenarios. Whereas literally EVERYTHING phases me, nothing phases him, and I would be outraged at his lack of impassioned response.

There is a story about Barton from his college days where he inadvertantly discovered that a homeless man had been living in his basement for an unspecified amount of time. He had set up hidden cameras in the house as a prank to spy on his roommates (creep) and while watching the footage back one night (huge creep), he watched on film as a homeless man mosied out of the basement and just strolled out of his house one afternoon while he had been in class. Whereas I would’ve instantaneously blacked out upon setting eyes on this scene, promptly packed up my things while screaming at the top of my lungs the entire time, moved out of the house and then signed up for approximately 2 to 4 months of post-traumatic stress therapy to deal with the latent fears of a crazy homeless intruder sleeping under my same roof, Barton simply shrugged it off and went back to eating his dinner. THIS IS WHAT I’M DEALING WITH HERE, EVERYONE.

It’s exhausting trying to provoke some sort of emotion out of him all the time. If you’re with the two of us, you will usually hear me saying things like, “But, doesn’t this worry you?” or “Aren’t you freaked out by this?” or some other variation of the phrase. But then THIS gem of a video surfaced … and it ALL makes sense now.

(KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE GUY IN THE BLUE SHIRT, STANDING BY THE FIELD IN THE BACKGROUND. RECOGNIZE HIM?): http://deadspin.com/reporter-gets-run-over-by-football-player-while-conduct-733218927

It was also on the Yahoo homepage today... SMH.

It was also on the Yahoo homepage today… SMH.

Not an “OMG,” not a step in the direction of the injured girl, not a bat of an eyelash, not even the slight widening of an eye. Yes, it all makes perfect sense now: If this man doesn’t react to an ususpecting, delicate little lady getting ferociously pummeled by a huge beefcake running at full speed– I mean, doesn’t even FLINCH– then how can I expect him to react to ANYTHING? After watching this video, I know I should probably feel sympathy and compassion for this poor girl, but oddly the only emotions I’m really feeling are relief and validation. This is just how he is! I don’t have to be mad at him anymore! This would free up my schedule significantly and give me a lot more free time.

*Disclaimer to all the robbers out there: The door has since been fixed since that fateful day, so don’t try any funny business over here. A few years ago, one of Barton’s meathead friends had savagely busted through the back door one day and broken the deadbolt (because, heaven forbid you simply twist the handle and OPEN IT like a decent human being. You know, those damn doors. Always getting in the way.)

Puppy Withdrawals.

We had to board our puppy for the very first time this weekend. And even though she spends most of her life either like THIS…

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Or like THIS…

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…we are still kind of a basketcase without her (although it has been nice not to have had any blood drawn by a needle-point, razor-sharp puppy tooth in the past 24 hours. Yes, on the bright side, the weekend away will be a great time to replenish our plasma levels after three months of immense blood loss.)

Before driving away from the boarding facility yesterday, we stopped to watch her out on the playground, assimilating into the rest of the group. I had my face pressed up really tight against the chainlink fence, and I kept poking my fingers through the fence holes and waving at her. Of course she ignored us, probably getting made fun of by the other dogs for having the dreaded “hover parents” and thinking to herself, “GOD, Mom, get a grip. This is like, so embarrassing.” We’ve only been gone a day and I’ve already called the place twice to check in on her, asked for a full report on how many friends she has made so far, had the poor front desk guy text me a picture of her, and spent 25 minutes on the phone with the owner trying to connect to their in-house puppy webcam so I can stream live video of Milo all. day. long.

And now all I can think about is: the only thing scarier than having kids any time soon, is how scary it’s going to be dropping them off at summer camp one day. If it is this traumitic leaving a CANINE for a weekend, Lord only knows how emotionally scarred I will be leaving actual real, live, breathing human being offspring that I have carried around for 9 months and then birthed.

But there’s no time to dwell on all that. I have to go live-stream Milo drinking some water and chewing on her butt right now. Later, guys.

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Aside

A Dysfunctional Pizza Night.

You know what’s annoying? Those couples who cook some elaborate meal together and then document every step of it and then photograph the finished product and then blog about it and then ohmygod it’s actually the cutest thing EVER and then you hate them for being so cute and then you kind of hope their kitchen catches on fire? Yeah, those couples are the worst.

You know the types I’m talking about: those irritatingly cute, talented bloggers who make cooking from scratch look like a walk in the park– a fun, breezy, low-stress walk in the park where they simultaneously transcribe their exchange of witty banter they had with their spouses that day and then still have time to impart some little gem of feel-good wisdom to their readers. So I was pondering this rare breed of human while walking my maniac pup, Milo, the other night, and I came to a few conclusions. 1) I really do commend these annoying people for their proclivity for complete perfection and 2) I know I am not (nor will I ever be) one of them.

“But should that keep me from blogging about MY cooking endeavors, favorite recipes, home deco experiments, new beauty finds and other sorts of domestic female general interests???” I screamed out loud to no one in particular while leading Milo into the dog park. The dog park seemed to clear quickly right after that, and all the dog owners pulled their leashes a little tighter that night, but I couldn’t be bothered by all of that because I had just made a decision: Barton and I were going to make a homemade pizza, and then I was going to blog about it. And we were going to be damn cute doing it.

So, without further ado, here is the master dough maker at work in his element.

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Impressive, right?

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You know where that big blob of delicious dough landed right after that expert toss? Right smack dab in the middle of the kitchen floor. Just like I warned him it would. (MEN.) So, things were off to a great start over here.

While I chopped up all the veggie toppings, Barton continued to give me multiple heart attacks by throwing the dough up into the air as high as the ceiling would allow and attempting to catch it with his fists, the whole time yelling in a hybrid Italian accent of sorts. I made him stop mid-toss though to take a picture of me; every step was important, and EVERY STEP needed to be documented, even if my veggie prep step wasn’t as imperative or required as much skill as Barton’s dough prep step (his words, not mine).

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The finished product? An odd-shaped monster pie that was probably as tall as it was wide, due to a sudden competitive streak when it came to dressing the pizza with the toppings. What should’ve been a calm, nonthreatening task inexplicably turned into a heated race to see who could add the most toppings in the most appropriate spots of the pizza, while simultaneously correcting each other’s topping placements and ultimately overcompensating. Once again, MEN. Am I right, gals? Can I get an amen, my lady friends?

We sat down and enjoyed our handiwork paired with a salad and some red wine, basking in our blogworthy evening. Then, I proceeded to spend the rest of the night complaining to Barton about feeling sick and eventually convincing myself that I had a raging gluten allergy. (Was I sure what a gluten allergy actually was? No. Did I know exactly how one would go about discerning if she had a gluten allergy? Of course not. It was more of a buzz word I’d heard tossed around in health magazines, but I had already made up my mind by that point, and by God, I was allergic to the gluten in that dough. I was a victim, yes, but I would be a survivor. Maybe I would be a pillar of hope for all the other gluten allergy sufferers? Later that night, I went back to the fridge and ate the leftover pizza for a late night snack and waited for the allergy to wreak its havoc on my body. I felt okay. I don’t know, I heard it comes and goes.)

I know I’m missing an intricate part of the process by  not publishing a photo of the final product. The thing is, I accidentally burned it, leaving all of the once-beautiful red sundried tomatoes sprinkled atop the pizza looking like a bunch of little black worms crawling around on it. Not a good look for our pizza, guys. But it didn’t matter because I was pretty sure I had enough blogging material by that point to make me feel like a psuedo-domestic cooking blogger, and I was pretty sure we looked damn cute in the process (just smile and nod here), even if I did almost die of a gluten attack.