Airing Dirty Laundry

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Date day February 26, 2008

Filed under: family — airingdirtylaundry @ 4:59 pm

Mike and I went on a “date” on Saturday.  It’s funny how my definition of “date” has changed over the years.  It used to be dinner and a movie.  Anymore, it means any time designated solely for the two of us, no matter what the activity. 

Saturday’s plans involved a trip downtown.  We went to Atria’s for lunch to use a gift certificate we had.  My glass of cabernet was excellent.  The crab bisque–to die for.  The 30+ minutes I had to wait for a bloody lump of meat that was supposed to be medium-well while the employees took turns taking smoke breaks . . . .ummm, not so good.  I could understand the wait if they were busy, but Mike and I were the only diners there for quite some time and there were only a handful of people in the bar area.  I guess I can’t complain very much–at least it was a free meal.  Even a burger that “moo”s wasn’t going to ruin date day.

Atria’s is located in PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

PNC Park 

While we were there, we stopped in at the clubhouse store, where they were having a 50% off sale.  We spent close to an hour in there just browsing and ended up with 3 shirts and a hat for $45.  Mike spent a while debating on buying a jersey, but ended up not getting it.

Although it was sunny out, it was bitter cold and I was anxious to walk back to the car.  We went over the Roberto Clemente bridge and headed towards home.

6th street bridge

We’ll be back down that way in a little over a month, once baseball season starts.

opening day

Along the way, we stopped at the Meadows Casino for a little while and had fun playing the slots and wandering around.  As it got later, it got a lot more crowded.  There were so many people smoking that we ended up leaving.  Even though Mike and I both had parents who smoked while we were growing up, neither of us can tolerate the smell and it really gets to us.

On our way home we stopped at Sheetz for MTO’s (and garlic fries—mmmmm!).  Once we got home, we put a movie in the DVD player (Superbad–blech) and then watched TV. 

It was such a great day, even though we didn’t do anything extraordinary.  Despite the bitter cold, the crappy burger, losing money on the slots, getting lung cancer from secondhand smoke, and watching a horrible movie, it was great spending time together.

We had so much fun, we decided to have Date Day Part Deaux this Saturday and go to the museum.  I’m hoping the weather cooperates with our plans . . .we’re supposed to have snow off and on for the rest of the week.  C’mon spring–we’re ready for you to get here!

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Showing my age February 23, 2008

Filed under: movies — airingdirtylaundry @ 11:38 pm

Is it just me, or does this movie suck?  It was painful to watch and seemed to last 4 hours.  I’m usually the first one to like movies about dorks and the awkwardness that is high school.  But this one . . . not so much.  Not at all.

 

Adding fuel to the fire February 22, 2008

Filed under: a month of lists — airingdirtylaundry @ 4:26 pm

OK.  I’m done bitching about my inadequacies as a housekeeper, my general malaise, and all the crap I have to do.  Actually, Mike and I had a good long talk before going to sleep the other night and I think he understands to some extent where I’m coming from.  It would have been a much better conversation if I could have stayed awake, since we had the conversation while lying in bed, and well, I shut my eyes for just a minute.  I seriously don’t know how he puts up with me sometimes.  I made the comment not too long ago (on Kerflop’s anti-mush post) that Mike and I hardly ever fight.  Maybe it’s because I fall asleep before a disagreement can escalate to that point! 

I know I don’t always express myself very well in person/out loud.  I guess the last 8+ years of me nagging at him and making comments didn’t sink in, but my blog post did.  With that being said, today’s post is about the beautiful diamond earrings I want for my birthday, Mike.  You know, the ones I emailed you the link to and have talked about incessantly for the last few weeks?  Just kidding.  I mean I’m just kidding about that being the topic for this post.  I am in no way kidding about the earrings.  Mike, are you taking notes?

Anyhow, after being a total crab-ass about having to much to do, I read about NaBloPoMo’s new idea to make EVERY month a NaBloPoMo month.  Each month will have a theme.  How cool is that?  March’s theme is lists.  I like lists.  Really really like lists.  Lists make me feel organized and purposeful and all warm and fuzzy inside.

So I decided to do it.  It will be fun, right?  And I’m not going to pressure myself to do it every day, because who really needs the added stress?  Not me.  I’ll admit, it has been fun over the past few days thinking of different things to make lists about.  I should make a list of them–HA! (Actually I already did.  MUST. HAVE. LISTS. FOR. EVERYTHING.)

So next time I get my knickers in a knot about having to much to do and not keeping up, remind me that I sometimes take on too much.  Like making lists every day to post on my blog.  Maybe I should make a list of my priorities in life instead . . .

 

Caution: bitch session alert February 18, 2008

Filed under: daily grind,me being a whiney brat,secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 6:02 pm

If you don’t want to hearread me whining and wallowing in self-pity, continue right on to the next post in your feedreader or on your blogroll.  This one’s been a-coming for awhile now, and it’s finally time to let loose before I explode or implode or whatever.

The bottom line is that I’m tired of being everything to everybody, or at least attempting to be.  Because I can’t do it.  I can’t keep up.  And I’m getting sick of trying to and fighting off the feelings of drowning in “to-do” lists.

Before you call a crisis hot-line on my behalf–I’m not depressed.  My idea of the whole world crashing down around me isn’t comparable to depression.  Trust me.  My mother was a guinea pig for so many depression medications that I got to see the super-highs , the super-lows, the drug-induced disaffection, and the whole spectrum of symptoms and side effects.  I’d write a book, if I could just find the time or the energy.  Which brings me right back to my point.

I’m just exhausted and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  And we don’t even have kids yet!  The thought of adding to our family, adding to the dishes and the laundry and the DEPENDENCE.  It scares the crap out of me sometimes every time I think about it.

Between working full time at a demanding job that has beat me up and beat me down over the past 11 years, trying to stay involved in a few social activities so that I don’t become a complete hermit, staying in touch with my family (of which certain members think that phones only work in one direction), cooking (when I can find the time), cleaning, laundry, cleaning, more laundry and more cleaning, and then trying to get enough sleep so that I can do it all over again–I feel like I’m treading water.  I can’t get anywhere.

My first natural line of defense for everything has always been to sleep it off.  I knew I reached my limit this weekend when I slept for 8 hours Friday night, took a 2 hour nap on Saturday, slept 8 hours Saturday night, took a 2 1/2 hour nap on Sunday, and then slept 7 hours last night.  Each time I woke up more exhausted than the last.  I realized this morning after hitting snooze for 45 minutes and then dragging myself out of bed that I need to vent.  I need to clear the air and start all over.  I need to throw a big pity-party for myself and clear the slate.

My second natural line of defense has always been to bury myself in a book.  I’ve read 7 books so far in the month of February and I’m currently in the middle of 3 more.  And we’re not talking 150-page trashy romance novels that you can skim through–we’re talking 400-900 page novels with complex plots and seemingly minor details that you need to pay attention to in order to understand the plot-line.  I’ve spent hours on goodreads–creating a virtual library of the books we own and the ones I want to read in the future.  HOURS.

I know you’re thinking, “that crazy bitch isn’t getting anything done because she spends all of her time sleeping and reading and yet she’s bitching that she can’t keep up with stuff”, and it’s true.  I’ve shut down.  I spent over an hour cleaning the kitchen on Saturday, only to have it trashed within 30 minutes of Mike getting home.  I stopped cleaning.  I walked away, buried myself in a book or under the covers (and sometimes under the covers with a book) , and ignored the mess accumulating around me.

Most of my friends have a cleaning person.  Even though I am way too cheap to even consider that as an option (and I know that I would feel that I had to clean before the cleaning person got there–you know what I mean), even that wouldn’t work.  I don’t need a cleaning service, I would need a live-in maid.  I spend so much of my time cleaning up after myself, Mike, and the cats (who are spoiled rotten and track litter everywhere and grind their food into the laundry room floor), that I never reach a stopping point.  I finish one room, move on to the next, and by the time I’m done with that one, the first one is a mess. I can’t curl up on the couch to watch a movie because I feel like I just sit there glancing around the room at stuff that needs to be done.  Not just stuff that I would like to do, stuff that NEEDS to be done.

It’s not like we live in squalor or anything (well, sometimes–don’t ever ask to see a picture of my bathroom), but I wasn’t brought up in a messy house and I have trouble dealing with messiness.  Even if I had hours of free time each day, I wouldn’t vacuum for the sake of just doing it–it would have to NEED to get done in order for me to even think about it. 

And don’t think I’m busting on Mike, because I’m not.  I saw his bedroom when he lived with his parents.  It still makes me shiver just thinking about it.  I knew what I was getting into and have no complaints about housework being my responsibility.  It’s just the housework in addition to everything else that’s weighing me down.  I could easily write this same post and center it around my job, but I’d probably end up getting fired over some of the things I would write.  And it’s not like I would get fired from housework, so I’m safe there.

One of my (many) problems is that I go to extremes.  On just about everything.  I can’t just open the pantry or the fridge and figure out what we’re having for dinner.  I need to plan it out in advance, mark pages in a cookbook with post-its, make a grocery list, and go to the store.  Seriously.  And I’m that way with most things.  If I can’t go all-out, I can’t start it up.  In my crazy mind there’s a logical progression to everything, and that progression needs to be followed.  Sometimes it’s simple and truly logical: take everything out of the laundry room before I mop the floor.  Sometimes it’s so whacked-out that only I understand: in order for me to do our taxes, I need to take the big pile of receipts and bills and other miscellaneous correspondence and file it, even though I’ve already segregated all of the tax-related stuff from that big pile.  And no, I haven’t done our taxes yet, because I have that monstrous pile of stuff to file first!

OK, I think I’m done.  I guess my third line of defense is to spend time on the internet, because I’m totally using this as yet another avoidance technique.

Starting today, I have to make some changes.  I’m not sure what they are yet, but I guess that’s one of the things I need to figure out.  And first I have to make a list and consider all of my options and the different scenarios.  Because I’m crazy like that.

 

The Valentine’s Day Grinch February 13, 2008

Filed under: family,holidaze — airingdirtylaundry @ 4:22 pm

I can’t stand Valentine’s Day.  I’m actually debating on whether I should leave it capitalized, or change it to all lower-case letters just to get my point across.

Sure, it was fun in grade school when we got to trade cheap-ass Cabbage Patch Kids valentines.  It was even fun in high school when we paid a buck a piece to send a limp carnation with a cheesy note to friends, boyfriends, etc.

But as I got older, I lost interest.  I’ve heard it referred to as a Hallmark holiday and I can’t help but to agree.  I don’t need a specific day each year to remind me to give Mike a card that tells him that I love him–I can do that just fine on my own any old day of the year that I want to.  And Mike doesn’t need to consult a calendar to be reminded to take me out to a fancy dinner to show his love for me (because he has ME to remind him to do it and I remind him a hell of a lot more than just once a year!).

When our relationship was “new”, Valentine’s Day was an excuse to do something special as a couple.  My senior year of college, I bought us a Valentine’s Day package at a hotel that included champagne and chocolates, and of course a bedroom time all to ourselves without my roommates hanging around.  (I’m 33 years old and still blushing severely at the thought of my somewhat computer-illiterate father stumbling across this website and reading that sentence.  I promise you, dad, I wasn’t a tramp.  I married the guy eventually for goodness snakes!) 

Ah, but I digress.  My point is that even then, I was only interested in the “romance package” because the room rate was lower than normal PLUS we got the champagne and chocolates thrown in for free.  It was all about the value we received for the money spent.  It wasn’t about throwing money around just to have an answer to the question “so what are you guys doing for Valentine’s Day?”  We didn’t buy into the romance package idea for the DAY, we did it for US.

Two years after that, we spent our Valentine’s Day at the funeral home.  This time of year took on a different meaning for both of us, and we agreed then that Valentine’s Day is nonexistent for us.  We haven’t “celebrated” it, and have barely acknowledged it since.  No fancy dinners, no over-priced flowers, no cards, no chocolate, nothing (well, maybe SOME chocolate, but that’s an almost daily addiction, not as a result of a holiday).  And neither of us have an issue with it.  And just because we don’t “celebrate” it with each other doesn’t mean we deny the little ones in our lives–we still give valentines to our niece and nephew, and I’ll probably get a card and some chocolate for my brother’s girlfriend’s little boy. 

On Sunday morning, I got a call that my aunt had passed away.  She was only 58 and was just diagnosed with leukemia 2 months ago.  The leukemia was in it’s early stages and was under control as a result of rigorous chemo treatments.  She would have gotten out of the hospital as soon as she gained a little more strength.  But early Sunday morning she had a heart attack. 

Mike and I are leaving tomorrow morning to drive to southcentral PA for the service and then on to Maryland for the burial before trekking back to Pittsburgh.  We’re spending our Valentine’s Day in the car, at the church, in a cemetery, crying, thankful to be with family and at the same time upset that it’s death that’s uniting us. 

So forgive me for being a grinch, but Valentine’s Day? . . .well, sometimes it just sucks.

 

10 years ago February 12, 2008

Filed under: family — airingdirtylaundry @ 6:03 pm

Ten years ago today, Mike’s mom passed away.  In some ways it’s difficult to believe that it’s been that long, and in other ways it seems like it’s been much longer.

I only knew her for a few years before she passed away.  After being friends for about 2 years, Mike and I started dating in early 1996.  In the fall of 1996, Peg was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.  As she got sicker, Mike and I grew closer.  I’ve never felt so helpless.  Trying to be supportive to him and his family and at the same time not wanting to interfere.  Having to keep myself from speaking up and offering my opinion while Mike’s dad and the rest of the family debated on methods of care and other decisions that needed to be made.  Just . . .being there when needed, and silently disappearing when not. 

She was an amazing woman.  Strong and yet delicate, opinionated and yet rational, stubborn as can be, and although hard on the outside, she was oh-so soft on the inside.  I see so much of her in Mike and his siblings.

The hospital that she was in when she died, where Mike’s dad used to work, is slated for demolition to make way for the new arena for the Pittsburgh Penguins.  They attempted the demolition last Friday and it didn’t work.  The building is old and made almost entirely of steel and concrete.  Instead of using explosives, the crew was supposed to use cables to wrap around the columns and then tear the building apart column-by-column so that the building would eventually fall.  The first beam went down, but the second wouldn’t budge and the crew ended up breaking cables.  The ground on Friday night was also too muddy for the excavation crew to be effective.  Demolition was re-scheduled for tonight.

But today we’ve been pounded with about 5 inches of snow, it’s warmed up and is now alternating between rain and sleet, and when the temperature drops tonight we’re supposed to get up to 4 more inches of snow.  So, needless to say, the demolition attempt is probably going to be postponed.

I got chills when I first heard that the demolition was scheduled for tonight.  The destruction of the building that has such a history for Mike’s family on such a meaningful day.  But now that it’s not going to happen, I can’t help but smile and think of Peg–she always found a way to get what she wanted, and maybe she just doesn’t want that building to come down.

 

We said “I do” . . .again February 11, 2008

Filed under: family — airingdirtylaundry @ 10:15 pm

I’m still not mentally prepared for my long, rambling, bitching post, so instead, let’s talk about happy things.

Our wedding vow renewal last night was great.  I half-expected it to be hokey, but it was actually very sweet (in a mass-production-wedding kind of way).  Special attention was given to the couples that have been married for a long time, especially the couple there that had been married the longest (62 years!), and also to those who traveled back to Pittsburgh to be part of the event and to be part of Pittsburgh’s 250th anniversary.

In addition to renewing our vows, it was nice to be a part of history:

re-union

In order to comply with the Guinness Book of World Record rules, we all had to say the same vows at the same time, so we were supplied with a program listing them so that we could all do it in sync.  Even though we were basically repeating what Mayor Ravenstahl was saying and also reading them from the program, and even though we were doing it along with hundreds of other people, it was special to us.  We weren’t just saying the words, we meant them.  I even got a little teary-eyed!  I didn’t even think to tuck a few tissues in my bra before the ceremony like I did the first time around.  Here’s our vows:

It is with a glad heart that I renew my vows to you.

I will love you and cherish our time together.

I will respect you as an individual.

I will care for you in your time of need and support you in times of want and in times of plenty.

I married you before and I am happy to have the privilege of marrying you again.

I believe our love will continue to grow stronger each day.

I will hold on to the memories, the good as well as the bad, as a reminder of how far we’ve come and why we are here today.

You’re a wonderful gift to me and my life is better because you are in it.

I will continue to love you and I will love you forever.

And here’s the happy (if somewhat windblown!) couple:

wedding picture part deux

(I don’t know why I stressed about wearing black.  There was quite a wide variety of get-ups–wedding gowns, cowboy boots and hats, Penguin jerseys, kilts, scarlet red dresses that screamed “whore”, etc.  My black dress was well under the radar.)

And here’s the proof that we either renewed our vows or tackled someone else and stole their fill-in-the-blank stamped certificate:

marriage certificate

We skipped out on the champagne and wedding cake and went to Houlihan’s for our wedding dinner.  Then back home to change into our PJs and pass out, exhausted from a busy day.  Very much like our first wedding night!