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Buggy 2.0

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It all started with me sharing the above photo on instagram with the hashtage #HopeIDontTurnTheWrongStoveEyeOn.

You know, because I didn’t want to burn my ass.

And do you know what I learned?

NOT EVERYONE CALLS IT A STOVE EYE.

And we are reliving the buggy incident from early in my blogging career where I found out other people in the country don’t call shopping carts buggies. Now I’m finding out some of you don’t say “stove eye” and my world is shaken again.

So! How many of you have NEVER heard it called a stove eye? Do you just call it a burner? (BORING!) I’m really hoping for something else bizarre that some other geographic region uses, “Oh! We don’t say stove eye, but we say Hot Swizzle!” or something like that because that would make my day.

The next time I’ll hashtag it #TeamHotSwizzle.

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The Weekend Of Woos

Does anyone remember this episode of Friends when Phoebe and Rachel go running?

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I think about Phoebe a lot when I’m running because I tend to be the one who randomly goes, “WOOOOO!” Sometimes it’s because I’m excited, like we’re finally at Death Trail! Or Waterline! Sometimes it’s because I’m getting depressed because there’s SO MUCH MUD and I just need to pull myself out of it. Sometimes it’s because I trip and almost fall and I’m celebrating my save. Other times I trip and fall and am celebrating being injury-free in spite of the fall. Sometimes? I just see someone I know and I like to “WOOO!” when I see my friends.

So, seeing this picture that Gregg Gelmis took from Day 1 of the Stage Race? Brought me so much joy.

That’s me trying to be jumping and enthusiastic for the picture but, in reality, I’m basically doing a Phoebe.

I spent all three days Woo!-ing because I really did have so much fun. Even in the morning when we’re getting ready to start I tried to randomly “Woo!” to show my excitement for the day. Granted, the “Woo!”s got less spirited as the days ticked by, but I got a bit more delusional so they were still there, just with a hint of insanity added to them.

I also “Woo!”ed a lot the Indigo Girls show. I’m the one that, when there’s a good riff (and there were several, this is Amy Ray we’re talking about) I can’t help but scream, “WOOOOOOO!” to celebrate it. Also? They had this violinist who I guess has been recording with them – Lyris Hung and every time she was free to play I had to give her a solid “WOOOOO!” to celebrate.

The race and the concert combined really showcased what I’m now calling Woo Tourettes. I don’t always have control over it, but it’s always a “WOO!” and it’s always released when I’m feeling some sort of extreme excitement or relief. I’m guessing there were no less than 100 “Woo!”s distributed this weekend between three days of racing and one killer concert. If you ever do a race in the woods with me and hear a random “WOO!” – answer back. That’s my favorite! If I can see people on the trail ahead (like we did on Powerline on Sunday) then I’ll “Wooo!” as a greeting…and when they “WOOO!” back? It’s the best.

Lightbulbs! In my brain!

I knew absolutely NOTHING about Whitney Cummings before I listened to this podcast yesterday. I mean, a face popped into my head from a sitcom I only knew from commercials, I think named after her? But that’s it. But holy SHIT if that podcast didn’t leave me thinking ALL OF THE THINGS.

Long story, short. She had a strange childhood where her parents abandoned her in very real ways and it led her to a therapeutic/recovery process mainly through al-anon which I’ve had my own experience with but that’s another topic for another day.

She talked about a lot of “realizations” through her journey but one of the ones that hit me the most was her talk about being a martyr. I have always known I have those tendencies, but I’ve had people in my life who are – what I now call – Miserable Martyrs. Those people who whine and complain about what all they do all the time because they want everyone to know how hard they have it.

But the kind of martyr she talked about – what I’m now calling the Caregiver Martyr – hit a little closer to home. The person who does things for people even when they don’t ask and then gets upset when the person doesn’t acknowledge that.

I felt the burn on that one.

My case is a little different from hers, I think. It sounds like she did it seeking approval/love. Mine is a little different, I think. I do a lot of my Caregiving because I adore being cared for. The problem is, I have determined, is that I also long for someone to be proud of me. And I can’t handle if – for one moment – they’re not.

OUCH. That’s so embarrassing, it hurts.

I’ve been thinking about this since the podcast. I think it comes down to the fact that I made my Dad angry – A LOT – growing up. He was a great Man and a great Father but he had some anger issues and while he never laid a hand on me, he did sometimes call me insulting names when he was angry with me. The kind of names that still make me flinch when I hear them used on other people on TV and movies. And those wounds dug deep, I think. So deep that for each one, I think I needed 900 compliments to heal them.

My Dad was not stingy with compliments, I do have vivid memories of him praising me as I do him insulting me. But you know how it is, 100 people tell you you’re smart and then one person calls you a dumbshit and the other 100 never existed.

So. I can go about caring for my family and be mildly okay without compliments or thanks. (MILDLY.) But the second a criticism is thrown out there? AND MY EMOTIONAL TRAIN WRECK BEGINS.

A perfect example:

I’ve been working 40 hours a week with a 90 minute commute every weekday for the past 2 weeks now. Counting my sub 1-hour lunch break I’m gone from the house at least 9 hours every day. All of that and I’m still dealing with all of the after school activities for the kids, making sure we all have dinner, packing lunches, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, moving the grass, all while Donnie uses his non-work time training for his Ironman and playing video games.

And this is fine with me with the periodic praise/thanks…UNTIL THERE IS A CRITICISM.

Then all hell breaks loose.

He walked into the office Thursday night and said, “Do I smell pee?” We are dog sitting, so I think that was his worry, but I freaked out because I work my ass off trying to keep our house smelling good and checking every corner for treasures from any animals. I stormed around mumbling, mopping floors, cleaning, and then I went to the kitchen and stuffed my face.

One subtle, not even directed at me, criticism – and I lost my shit.

I tell Donnie all the time, I would be 100% okay with this balance of responsibility if he gave me 15 compliments/thanks for every ONE criticism. I’ve kinda always known that, it’s less about me wanting the praise than it is me NOT wanting criticism. One negative note and I’m falling down a pit of despair feeling worthless and depressed.

I’ve kinda always known that, but listening to her relate it to her childhood forced me to relate it to mine and I thought: Holy Shit. It was like that with Dad too.

After he would have his fits of anger, and would say horrible, soul-crushing things to me, he would always find a moment to sit me in his lap and offer a very sincere apology followed by praise. Some nights I’d lie in bed just waiting for him to calm down and offer that reassurance. He didn’t get that angry often (as a parent I now know once is too often) but when he did, I just got through it knowing he’d give me my praise and compliments soon. JUST BE PATIENT.

So I think my issues with not handling criticism well is that, in the rest of the world, they’re not followed by mounds of praise and apology. So I don’t know how to handle it.

REVELATIONS!!

I think I need to work on giving myself the praise and apologies. If no one every criticized me about my domestic existence? I’d keep this balance of work no questions asked. I only seem desperate for praise if a criticism has been handed out. So my issues relate less to “WANTING ATTENTION” and more to “NOT BEING ABLE TO HANDLE CRITICISM”.

Isn’t that fascinating?

Okay! Now I’m off to clean toilets so I can hopefully squeeze in a run before Nikki’s soccer game today. If anyone has any recommendations about How To Handle Criticism Gracefully And Without Losing Your Shit, please let me know.

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Old Friends, New Memories.

(The “featured image” with this post is actually from my 20th reunion trip 2 years ago. I decided to respect my friends from this weekend and not plaster their faces all over my blog where I also talk about crotch chaffing and boob sweat. I’m a good friend like that.)

I drove 4 hours to Knoxville on Sunday, just to join some old friends for dinner.

There was a group of women (Are we women? Girls? Ladies?) from my elementary and high school years gathering for a meal and I had to be a part of that action. Some I’ve known since I was 5, others since high school, but all of them more than 25 years.

HOLY CRAP. That’s a long time.

I don’t really think about not seeing childhood friends on a regular basis. There’s not a part of me who says, “Man…if only I could meet up with my friends from first grade…then my life would be complete.”

But with how good I felt leaving that dinner…I don’t know how I lived before without that as a regular thing in my life!

We had so much fun, but I learned that I have lost a LOT of memories over the years. It started with an inability to even remember the face of our principal my freshman year. But then they would discuss other people I couldn’t remember and even EVENTS, like evidently some of them were on the swim team (I vaguely started remembering that, sort of) and I had evidently gone to some of their practices and/or meets (I do NOT remember that at all). Then there were memories concrete in my mind but not in theirs (although, not much, most of it was fuzzy in mine most of all) and it was all very weird because WASN’T HIGH SCHOOL YESTERDAY? HOW DID I FORGET SO MUCH IN SO FEW YEARS?

22 years. It’s been 22 years since I graduated. That’s a lot of time to forget stuff.

I left that dinner with my soul just feeling revived. How wonderful it was to remember a part of my life that no one in my current day-to-day life knows about! It was crazy awesome and I can’t wait to do it again.

They all live in the same town, so they get the flashes from the past at church or work or even at their kid’s school. But this was all new to me and it just felt amazing. They’re going to try to do it again next month and while the entire thing was EXHAUSTING, I just can’t imagine missing it because it just felt so good!

Do you live in the town you grew up in? Donnie does, so he has these kind of interactions once in awhile, but me? This was new and awesome! Have you spent time reminiscing with anyone you knew from your childhood? Did it fill your soul like it did mine? Have you discovered ginormous holes in your memory like I did? Does that come with age or was that thanks to the hippie years that followed high school?

I highly recommend it, it’s weird how hanging out with people you knew in high school can actually make you feel young again in many ways. Those ladies at dinner? We were all teenagers again…laughing so hard we cried.

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The One Where You See I’m Not Exaggerating My Driving/Parking Anxieties

I had a dinner meeting last night at a restaurant I’d never been to in a part of town I’m not familiar with. I knew Donnie knew where the place was so I asked him. He was able to easily tell me where it was as it related to a job I used to have, and that’s all any normal person would need to know. But me? I had a follow-up:

Okay. But I need to know the best way to get there without taking a left onto, or off of, University.

He told me the easy path 99% of Huntsvillians would have taken to also avoid that situation.

Eh. But then I have that scary merge situation. I think I’ll go around Research park and take a right at a light instead.

So. When you’re telling me how to get somewhere, my ideal route has the following characteristics:

  • NO merging during any – even moderate – traffic level. I’m good at merging before 7am or after 8pm. Other than that? NO MERGING.
  • NO left-hand turns without a green arrow. And don’t give me one of those intersections where it’s SOMETIMES a green arrow but OTHER times “yield on green”. Nope. Green arrow or RED. Those are my options.
  • NO right-hand turns onto 4-lane highways without a light during the aforementioned traffic times.

Obviously, if you’re crossing town, finding a route with those characteristics is impossible. But I come as close as it IS possible. I didn’t take the interstate last night. I only stayed on the controlled access highway until I knew I’d have a mild-traffic level merge OFF of the highway. Then I took a regular road with tons of lights (I do not mind lights! They are my friend!) all the way across town where I weaved through our research park to come out on the correct side of the big highway to turn right (at a light) on the road that would allow me THEN to turn right into the restaurant.

It took me 45 minutes. It would have taken Donnie closer to 30. Of course, I always allow for those kind of time differences to give me peace of mind. I actually would have even gotten there earlier but the restaurant light wasn’t on so I didn’t know for sure I was in the right place until I pulled up a map.

BUT! It doesn’t stop there.

I also need to know about the parking situation. First and foremost? Is there enough parking that I can find a spot in the back where I can pull through? If it’s one of those alternating lanes/alternating directions/slanted-spot lots? Then I need to know it will be empty enough that I can feel safe in the back, getting in and out of my spot. The shopping center where E used to work had that type of lot AND it had tons of restaurants so it would get SLAMMED at meal time, so I avoided it like the plague. Even if he desperately needed something from me, I would wait until a non-peak time.

If it’s a parking lot that is often full and there’s not a way to pull-through? I’ll probably find a nearby lot and walk. Seriously. I did that meeting someone for lunch once. Donnie told me where the place was, I kind knew and felt confident the parking lot would be my nightmare. BUT! I also knew it was adjacent to a craft store in a bigger shopping center with GREAT parking so I parked there…AND WALKED TO LUNCH.

You have no idea how many times I park SO FAR away from my destination, just so I can avoid a high-stress parking situation. But then? I enjoy a peaceful walk!

I know this all seems CRAZY. But the truth is? It is following these type of protocols that give me peace. I avoid situations where I have to make judgements based on OTHER people’s driving patterns. I don’t have to turn left with the fear that the person coming at me might be speeding and therefore will get to me before I cross the intersection. I don’t have to merge assuming someone is going to let me in when instead they might prefer running me off the road. I don’t have to try to back my big van out of a lot so full that I can’t see if anyone is coming. I actually have several regular parking lots I visit that I’ll back into if it’s not crowded, just so I can pul forward when I leave. I do this at the kid’s school because the parking lots are empty when I get there, but full when I leave.

All of these criteria seem stressful, but they actually help me avoid stress. I didn’t get worried at all driving across town last night. No high-stress turns or merges. The 45-minute drive and stopping at 20 traffic lights? That doesn’t stress me out at all like it does my husband.

And when I got there and saw they had plenty of pull-through parking? I was the happiest camper in all the lands.