Putting the ‘Y’ in Gym

In seventh grade, I had this insane urge to join the lacrosse team. My sister had done it years prior, and my friends were joining. The thing I didn’t realize was that they all had natural athletic abilities, and I did not. I run like Peggy Bundy and get nauseous after the first two minutes. I never got the ball, let alone scored a goal (or whatever they call it in lacrosse). But during the last game of the season, I had a chance to shine. It was a total inspirational sports movie ending, all in my hands. Last couple minutes, down a point against the rival school, I was at the goal… totally open. My teammate tosses/throws/lobs (?) the ball to me and I watch it breeze right by my head in slow motion. No sports glory for me. To this day, when my nephew throws me a ball I flinch as if I’m about to get a Marsha Brady nose job.

I’m terrible at sports. All sports. It’s just not my aptitude, I don’t even look good in a hat. In elementary school I managed to stretch my required ‘run’ of the mile to a stealthy twenty-six minutes, so after the mile I didn’t have to also play basketball. And when I did attempt to put some effort into it I broke my wrist during the shuttle run (you know the one with the erasers?), followed by a nice old vomiting session. So I went back to my old ways, doing everything I could to do exert the least amount of effort in gym class. There was no reason to hurt myself for nothing, I wasn’t going to become an Olympic athlete. So I worked on entertaining myself by seeing how long I could sit in the locker room before being called for, how loud I could yell ‘get the fucking ball!’ to someone before I got detention, and wishing for mono so I could have a couple of weeks off. Those things worked, most of the time. That is until a high school gym teacher forced me to run the time, with her, while she sang girl scout songs. I didn’t think gym class could get any worse.

Today, I know my place. I won’t play football in the park with you, I can’t go ride bikes with you (those things terrify me), and as much as I love it for some reason, I don’t think you want me playing tennis. I’m happy in my natural habitat, the couch, with a beer, watching General Hospital or a Hoarders marathon.

And for exercise? I walk. Just walk. Because I know how to do that pretty well… most of the time.

-xo

*This short post brought to you by the fact that it’s my birthday! So back to enjoying the day, my way.

The Week That Hated Me

Well hello old friends! I am, in fact, still alive. Hooray! I’ve quickly learned how easy it is to keep letting this blog slide. Getting back on the old blog-horse is harder than hopping back on the work-out-bus after a brief illness! Plus, I’m oh so easily distracted. I’ve had some really fun journeys the last half of the summer that I completely intended on sharing with you all but life got in the way big time. That’s something I’m actually happy about considering my lack of money, job, and all that. I was visiting family in multiple states, eating way too much awesome food, and enjoying time with amazing friends that invited me to a beautiful wedding that they so truly deserved. Maybe I’ll share all/some of those memories if I deem you all worthy!  ;)

But today, dear readers, I have to vent about my week. This week has been absolutely… weird and if I have to encounter another one like it soon, I’ll probably curl up in a little ball and bid you all farewell. So fingers crossed people!

I think I’ll go day-by-day, just to keep the flow going. Let’s start with last weekend.

Last weekend, we all know, we marked the tenth anniversary of September 11th. A very somber time that I honored by staying in my apartment, not watching any of the coverage (because it’s still just too depressing), cooking and drinking vodka to keep my mind on more positive things. I drove up to New York that Friday before the anniversary, freaking out the whole way through the Lincoln Tunnel thanks to that whole heightened terror alert… and because tunnels freak me out in general. I reflected on the tragedy, thinking about how I was supposed to already be living and going to college in New York on that day in 2001, but my housing had fallen through and I had to defer one semester until I secured my current apartment. I like to think that something/someone was looking out for me that fall, because I don’t know that I could have handled myself in a sane manner amid all that chaos and stress that was the uncertainty in the weeks that followed.

Luckily, the day passed very quietly. But it did set the tone for the rest of the week.

Monday’s event was an afternoon of babysitting for a family with two children. One is a four-year-old boy and the other is an eighteen-month-old girl. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? The boy dominates EVERYTHING and is extremely hyper-active. Once he senses his mother is ready to leave he clings to her like a spider monkey while screaming at the top of his lungs. There is not much distracting him, until he’s ready to move on. I was able to temporarily take control of the situation by suggesting we put on some music to dance (a double whammy since he loves to dance and it’s an energy zapper), that is until he got over-excited and started attacking his little sister. I had to stand in the middle of them the rest of the evening in order to prevent the boy from sweeping the little girl off her feet with one swift tug of the ankle, sitting on her chest, dragging her across the room tempting rug burn, trying to pick her up or pull her onto things with the help of only one little limb, and pushing his index finger as far as he could into the middle of her chest while she was laying down, just because. Needless to say, I was exhausted physically as well as vocally thanks to repeatedly yelling his name and the word ‘stop’ for multiple hours. I soothed weak vocal chords with some vodka.

Tuesday, I was enjoying a quiet afternoon when I encountered a Facebook status update that read, ‘Holy crap! The store just got robbed!’ It was posted by a delivery driver from my dad’s pharmacy. My father owns a pharmacy on the grounds of a regional hospital in a quiet Pennsylvania town where my sister also works. I called my sister immediately to ask what was going on, but she couldn’t talk because the cops were there interviewing everyone. It turns out, masked and armed men burst into the store, ordered everyone on the ground (staff and customers included), stormed the back of the pharmacy and ordered my father to empty the locked drawer that holds all of the controlled substances. My sister was in the other office that happens to be on the other side of a partial wall. Once she heard what was going on and was able to overcome her shock, she ran down the hall to call the police. Some damn, dumbass tweekers put my family and friends in danger for a couple bottles of pain killers and I’m not OK with that at all. I had to soothe my frayed nerves with some vodka. The newspapers reported that this is the first ‘take-down’ robbery the small-town police department has had to deal with. We’re still waiting on follow-up news, but I’m staying very positive. I’d like to think the police would be interested in starting off their foray into this new type of crime to solve with a 100% ‘take-down’ robbery conviction rate.

Wednesday actually came and went without a hitch. I had a really good dinner with an old friend and some shows started their new fall season. The little things make me happy!

During that Wednesday dinner, my friend mentioned that a friend of hers was looking for my number so I could babysit her daughter on Thursday night. She and her husband are having some heavy marital issues and she has been dying to get out to have a little fun in order to escape the stress at home. I agreed to get in touch with her since I was free that evening and could use the money. One of the first things the little girl said to me when I arrived was, ‘I slept with daddy last night and mommy slept on the couch. Isn’t that weird?’ It shocked me so much that it took me a minute to respond with a reassuring answer. Later that evening, I was sitting at the table with the girl doing crafts when her father walked in the door, obviously disgusted and surprised at the sight of a babysitter in his home. He ignored the little girl’s attempt at a welcome home hug and uttered loud enough for me to hear across the room ‘I see your mother went and hired a babysitter’. As he walked further into the room, he brought the icy chill with him and flatly said, ‘I’m going to have to ask you to leave, you can come back tomorrow so [she] can pay you.’ I stood up, picked up my bag, and began to walk towards the door. He followed so close behind me that all I could do was grab my shoes so they wouldn’t be left behind. I turned to say goodnight to the little girl, but he slammed the door in my face before I could even focus my eyes on her. I had to sit down in the hallway to put my shoes on. I stood up completely shaken at the brazen rudeness I had just encountered and left afraid for the state of the little girl inside that house. I came home and soothed my inflamed adrenaline rush and raging anger with vodka and pizza.

Today, Friday, I decided not to tempt fate and stay home. I did go out to sit in my car for street sweeping day this morning. If you aren’t familiar with the free street parking in NYC, twice a week you have to go sit in your car for an hour and a half so you can move your car for thirty seconds when the street sweeper comes. If you are not in your car for that whole hour and a half and a cop walks by, you get a ticket that rivals your monthly rent. I’ll sit in my car to the very last second in order to avoid that slap in the wallet. Today, as the street sweeper was approaching, the girl in the car behind me turned her wheel a little too hard and proceeded to jump the curb. She kept on going to not just kiss, but make out with a tree on the sidewalk. She crunched the whole front driver side corner of her car. I just thought to myself that with the week I have just had, I’m so glad that wasn’t me.

Maybe my luck is changing… or at least the bad has jumped on to someone else for a bit.

Have you ever had a week that just wouldn’t stop poking you?

-xo

Should I Add Professional Part Time Dog-Sitter to My Resume?

Oh, hey! I’m still alive, just completely neglecting things that I find important. I suppose it’s natural to go through these phases, especially in the summertime. I guess we never veer far from our lazy, out-of-school childhood selves once June hits. And still being out of a job, that laziness creeps up on me like nobody’s business if I don’t keep it at bay.

I lose that battle more than I’d like to admit.

BUT! I’ve recently deposited some money into the bank thanks to a job that still has allowed me to maintain my level of summertime sloth, in the form of dog-sitting. And not even for my parent’s dog this time!

... Or maybe dog-lazing

This is Churro. A three-year old blond, long-haired dachshund. I’ve known him since he was a puppy and I love him lots.

He belongs to the family I nannied for for eight years of my life. We tightly bonded during our year in Hong Kong together, and since moving back nearly two years ago and not being needed by a teenage boy as often, I barely get to see this cute little mug. Now, most of last week and again for a week starting tomorrow, I have him all to myself.

As a puppy he was, of course, super hyper-active as well as an excited/nervous pee-er. The boy I watched quite enjoyed getting Churro riled up while on my lap… resulting in many instances of damp jeans. But, as an intense animal lover, it barely bothered me. He also suffered through some abandonment issues, probably stemming from the family’s very busy, very active lifestyle. The issue was exacerbated even further with our move to Hong Kong six months after being brought home for the first time. He traveled separately from us via a pet-handling service, making an over night stop in an Amsterdam pet hotel where he picked up fleas which freaked him out even more. He was a neurotic mess most of his puppy life.

Our first day in Hong Kong

My heart went out to this little tortured soul so I hoped to create a more stable living environment. It also helped me have an easier time dealing with missing the hell out of my cat, who was with my parents on the other side of the world. So maybe my taking on of this new task wasn’t completely selfless. But, being the hired help that I was (though was rarely made to feel that way), I took on Churro as my second charge being responsible for a good deal of his daily care-giving, as well as occasional nighttime snuggle partner.

My favorite thing to do was take him out for long walks most days for exercise. But it was also in hopes of tiring him out so he wouldn’t bark all day when we left the house.

Scratching his belly on the pavement

The walks never worked in terms of the barking, but it did manage to keep my beer belly to a minimum. Those crazy Hong Kong people can party, another year there might have killed me!

Now that the boy is too old for a nanny (you don’t know how many times I tried to figure out how to keep him a kid forever so I wouldn’t have to go look for another, less awesome job), I don’t get to see little Churro much so I was excited to receive an email requesting my fantastic sitting services. (It also meant I would be staying in an apartment with a working air conditioner!) We’ve resumed our long walks, this time enjoying the sights of Central Park rather than the views of the part of the city Hong Kong calls Central.

Looking over the reservoir to the westside in Central Park. NY.

The view of Central over to Kowloon I got to see every time we went for a walk. Hong Kong.

Not too shabby as far as eye entertainment, if you ask me. I’ll take either one any day of the week.

I’m going to miss Churro after this week because I have no idea when I’ll get to spend this much time with him again. But at least when I get back to my cat he’ll have all new smells to inspect when I walk in the door.

-xo

Oh Boy!

I got to meet my new little cousin yesterday… or I guess he’s my first cousin once removed… I never understand how that stuff works. He’s not even two-weeks-old so he’s still all tiny and mushy. My mom and I went back and forth between holding him for over two hours, and then I got a stiff neck because I’m not used to propping up a little, mini baby noggin in my elbow.

This makes three little babies within two and a half years on my mom’s side.

There are four of us cousins, between my aunt and my mother. All girls. My grandmother had two children, both female. My mother had two children, my sister and I, and my aunt had two children, my two girl cousins. So when my little cousin was the first to get pregnant three years ago we were certain she was having a girl. It just made sense. She had a boy. A big boy, at over ten pounds. Then my sister announced she was pregnant, and we were certain she was going to have a girl. She had a boy. An even bigger boy, at almost eleven pounds. So when my other cousin broke her news, we chose not to jump to any conclusions. She had a boy. A teeny boy, comparatively, at just nine pounds. A shrimp among his cousins!

Now all eyes are on me.

Would I have a boy if I got pregnant? Would I also have a huge baby? Would I too have to suffer through a C-section after a tough labor? Am I ever going to settle down? Will I give up the spinster lifestyle? How many cats will I end up owning? Some of these things I’m afraid to have answered, pregnancy and the future scares the bejesus out of me. But sometimes, sometimes, a small part of me does want to get knocked up just to see if the boy trend continues… though I’m not that curious yet.

-xo

Adventures in Babysitting (Part Deux)

While home today nursing a pain-in-the-ass sinus infection, I ran across the movie Nanny Diaries. I read the book years ago even though I didn’t have to, I’ve lived it. But I always intend on checking out the films of the books I’ve read and today, while laid up on the couch, I had the perfect opportunity.

The movie allowed insane amounts of memories to flood back, some I’ve been happy to forget. Tonight, I will regale you with some of the horrors from a short-lived nanny job I had last summer. The first job I was ever ‘let go’ from, and it was one of the best things to ever happen to me.

My dad is always trying to get me a job because nannying is not one, in his mind. Except, I don’t have any interest NOR do I have any experience in pharmaceutical or insurance sales. Now I ask of you, my handful of readers, from the little you know about me does that sound like sometime I’d do? So you could imagine my surprise when, last summer, he found me a nanny position. I took it under a load of false pretenses, but of course I didn’t know that then. But I learned quick that the mother wanted a child, though didn’t want it to effect her career and the father wanted to be a small business big shot, period.

First off, the kid (three-months-old when I started) was a total nightmare. Although how could I blame him for being a product of his environment? His parents were total jerks, his father in particular. In the initial interview, the father went on and on about how he would love to be a stay at home dad but it just wasn’t in the cards as a new small business owner. Blah, blah, blah. I empathized with him that day, because my dad was in the same boat when my sister and I were small and I know how hard my father worked to provide for us. Little did I know that to this guy, being a small business owner meant that he had the freedom to come and go as he pleased. I would show up at 8:00am to be thrown an unhappy, starving child with an hours old poopy diaper, only to watch the father stroll up the stairs to bed for another couple hours. Then as I would just have baby settled down for his morning nap (in the port-a-crib in the living room that they insisted he/I use), the father would come hopping down the stairs, making every noise possible to disturb the child’s sleep. In his last effort, which would ensure he didn’t have to hear or deal with any crying, daddy dearest would slam the door as he left. They prefered their child to nap at an absolute minimum during the day, that way he would be instantly ready for bed when they got home. This ensured, of course, that got their money’s worth out of me at the detriment of their child. Once I started realizing that I wasn’t imagining this situation, I made sure he slept his little ass off every chance I could.

One morning, I showed up to the house with the father actually dressed and ready to go to work. I was shocked to see that he could function at such an early hour. He made me aware that the baby was still sleeping upstairs and that he’d probably be up soon. I was trying to figure out how I would know though, since they refused to use a monitor. I went upstairs to check on him, but he wasn’t in his crib. Weird. I then took an educated guess that he was in the master bedroom, daddy dearest knew that letting him sleep there would shut him up so he could get more sleep. Nope! Not there either. Where the hell was this freaking kid? He was so tiny that he didn’t make any noise when he was sleeping, but he couldn’t be far! I soon noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that the guest bed was not made. This was not strange though because the mother would sometimes nurse there in the middle of the night. As I crept in closer, I found the poor child wedged between two pillows and a blanket with the comforter over top of him. I was mortified at the fact that anyone would think it was a good idea to swaddle an infant with a double bed. After that day, I was totally over these people, they were strictly employers. I felt no obligation to go above and beyond like I usually do, and typically do too much.

In attempts to keep you from utter boredom, I will save the rest for later. There is so much more where this came from even though I suffered through only five months of this job. But I’ll leave you with this for now. Everyday I ended up consoling a child who felt unloved, being an object that validated a mother who felt more obligated to her career, and hating a man who didn’t want to be a father.

Thanks Nanny Diaries for bringing up such awesome memories!

-xo

My Calendar is Always Full But Blank

I’m still home. The black hole that is Philadelphia always swallows me up. I think I’m only going to visit for a week when a thousand events pop up.

Your nephew this, are you still going to be here?

Family event that. You’re not going back until after, right?

I’m a sucker for a good time. And how can I say no? I don’t have a job waiting for me in New York, so what’s my excuse? ‘Sorry, I have to go back to sit around while you guys have fun!’ It’s a lot easier to decline invites when I’m already out-of-town. Mostly because New York, then, has eaten up all my attention. I think I’ve mentioned before that I can’t say ‘no’.

It doesn’t surprise me, I’m easily distracted. On top of that, I’ve kind of led a nomadic lifestyle throughout a lot of my life. All the way from spending every other weekend with my dad, to spending at least half my time with my boyfriend (who lived on the other end of the turnpike) in my late teens, to spending as much time as I could with my best friend while she was in college in New York (and I wasn’t yet), to visiting home every college break and all summer once I moved, to picking up and moving to Hong Kong for a year then coming back to no job (and lots of time on my hands). I’m never completely settled and actually, I like having options. It merges well with my hatred for making plans. Not because I’m waiting for something better to pop up, but because knowing I have a calendar full of obligations drives me to insanity. It incites a need for me to rock in the fetal position until it’s all over.

Yesterday I went to my dad’s for dinner. My sister and I were chatting with my step-mother while she was slaving over dinner (she’s an awesome cook so we don’t want to get involved and ruin anything). She asked us if we would be around the 25th for my niece’s high school graduation party.

Me: Of May?

Step-Mother: June

Me: June? I have no idea what I’m doing tomorrow!

Step-Mother: Well, let me know.

Me: I’ll figure it out eventually. (Like the middle of June).

I hope they don’t expect me to RSVP in time. That stresses me out too.

-xo

Things I’ve Learned While Visiting Home

It’s been a little while since I was home for an extended period of time. Things seem to have changed quite a bit, and here’s what I’ve learned (or re-learned).

  • My mom thinks the hall closet is the best place for the can opener.
  • Gas prices are out of control
  • Dishwashers kick ass.
  • I can afford to have an actual social life here.
  • Access to a deck on a beautiful day is perfect for the lazy outdoorsman/woman.
  • A fully stocked bar is better than having to go to the bodega every night.
  • My nephew likes to dance to R&B music with me.
  • Gnats are a huge pain in the ass. They attacked me while out on a walk the other day. They are EVERYWHERE!
  • Waiting until you can’t wait any longer just so you can get your money’s worth out of a pay-washer & dryer is for chumps. I wash my sheets whenever I want, yo!
  • Having to share a DVR with two other people sucks.
  • I have to be nice to the neighbors here, sometimes I’m not in the mood for that.
  • My brain seems to think it’s on vacation. I’ve got to have a talk with it tonight.

I think, for the most part, I’ve been spoiled. But New York is calling me, that’s where my productive side belongs.

-xo