Sunday, September 29, 2013


It was my grandma's 95th birthday today. NINETY-FIVE. And she's every bit of a baller as she has always been. It should have been a big enough day, but something else was happening.

I was leaving Minneapolis.

Today was the day I officially signed out of my lease and moved to Rochester. I closed up shop in my Minneapolis apartment and handed over my keys to my old life. No backup. No extra apartment. Needless to say, I took it like an adult.

I cried for 55 of the 75 minutes it took me to drive to Rochester tonight. And then when I got here, I unloaded all the absolute crap from my car. Geo wasn't back yet, so I pulled in to our luxurious 2-car garage and sat at the steering wheel. Crying.

Like any full-grown woman, I unloaded my car, crying, and started just putting stuff in places thinking "This isn't where this belongs. This belongs in Minneapolis." I was literally heave-crying. And that's the ugliest kind of crying you could ever do. I pulled all my stuff up the stairs, crying because I wanted to be melodramatic about it. And when I realized no one was around to see my emotional breakdown, I cried harder.

I was already SO homesick. And the fact that Geo wasn't home yet didn't help. I cried and hauled my stuff into our house. I cried and unpacked linens into the linen closet. I cried and unpacked the accidental bag of garbage that I had collected from my old place. The memories! I was a mess.

So I cracked open a beer, took off my pants, crawled into bed and just laid there watching Law and Order: SVU while sniffing my blanket and that's when I decided that I am not equipped for adult living. My mom moved from Rhode Island to Minnesota to marry my dad, and that was before Skype. I had thought "Surely I can move 75 minutes away from home and take it like a man," but it's so much harder than I was expecting.

Geo did what he could: he got me beautiful flowers, made dinner and got us Grand Theft Auto V. He did everything the best husband in the world would do for a gal who's down, and for awhile, it was the greatest time EVER! But then, Geo went to sleep and I was left to my own devices. Night owl + homesick + being TERRIBLE at Grand Theft Auto = Pharon is a mess.

Am I telling you all this for sympathy? Perhaps. Do I know that other people have moved way further away and to worse places for love? Of course. But none of that happened TO ME. And the point here, people, is that I'm a big baby and nothing but time and constant complaining will get me through this. And probably a lot of late-night GTA.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Great Plate Debate

I'm moving. Have I mentioned that? I'm moving to Rochester to live with my husband. For the past month and a half, I've been living part-time in Minneapolis in an apartment I leased when Geo was in Alabama and I was trying to figure out how to live by myself. But now the lease is ending and I've gotta get out or I'm pretty sure they'll be pretty mad and like poop on my doorstep, or whatever it is property managers do when they want you to leave.

I can't verbalize how ecstatic I am to finally live full-time with Geo. I want to finally eat breakfast AND dinner with him more than a couple nights in a row and stop packing up bags to go back-and-forth. I want to share closets with him and buy toilet paper together and do everything we used to do when we first lived together. (PharonSquare amateurs: I met Geo because he was my roommate. We lived together for a year before dating, and it worked out better than perfectly, but then he had to move away for grad school.)

But I can't lie to you guys: It's been kind of an emotional journey for me to pack everything up and say goodbye to my one-bedroom apartments and hand-me-down kitchen appliances. I've packed and unpacked MY things like 100 times since high school. But I keep getting really hung up on my dishes.

My dishes were actually my sister Prinna's. I think she got them from my parents, but then they came to me. I unpacked those dishes when I moved in with Kim in college, when I moved into my first solo apartment, my second solo apartment, my first apartment with guys, my second apartment with guys (and Geo), and then again when I moved in to my current place. They are pretty much the only things I've ever had and not broken.

So tonight when I tossed bags and bags of "single girl" stuff into the garbage, I stopped when I got to those dishes. I'm married now, and my bomb loved ones have given Geo and I all the brand new gorgeous dishes that we handpicked as our Everyday Dishes. I LOVE the new ones. I don't NEED the old ones.

But I feel like a total abandoner (it's a word) tossing out the old dishes. I never LOVED them (the bowls are a weird shape and the dinner plates are always too big for dishwashers), but I NEEDED them. And I've somehow gotten extremely attached to them. It's like the ugliest sweatpants ever that every person has in their closet. They don't look good, and sometimes you just wanna throw them out, but you never do. You keep washing them and putting them right back where they belong. And you pack and unpack them 1 billion times. But then you get married and you feel like you need to pretend like those sweatpants never existed.

But you can't. Because it's hard.

Anyway, I made a bagel and put it on my single-girl plate and then gave it a little high five as I smeared the cream cheese off of it with my tongue.

Then I tossed it in a garbage bag with the rest of my dishes. (Yay! No more dish-washing!) I hauled the bag out to the garbage and heaved it into the bin with unimaginable guilt. (No, not because I was throwing away perfectly good dishes. I know I could have recycled them or donated them, but I'm not a hippie, and also I didn't know how to do that since I've never gotten rid of dishes.) But I stood there, kissed two fingers and saluted my dishes with a peace sign before turning back into my apartment to open some wine and mourn.

Am I insane? Am I? Does anyone else have something that they had trouble letting go of when they got married or turned into a grown-up??

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Stranger Danger

I hate Craigslist. I do. It makes me so uncomfortable that any potential benefit of a quick profit or easy sale is quickly masked by my racing "worst case scenario" thoughts and compulsive googling about the seller/buyer. My sister, on the other hand, has basically furnished her entire new house with top-of-the-line furniture she found on Craigslist for a fraction of the price.

But I simply cannot embrace the process of posting something anonymously online and having some stranger show up (or show up to a stranger's creepy house in the middle of abandoned woods), hand over cash and then just exchange goods without incident. It seems way too...I don't know, naive.

Recently, I had to buy something off Craigslist. I had no other options. I called my sister and my mom and was like "Hi. I am getting something off Craigslist and I need to not go get it by myself. It's not big, I'm just petrified."

So they humored me and agreed to come with me. Before we headed out, I googled everything I could about the seller, Google street-mapped the address he gave me and checked out every link on a website of his that I found to make sure they didn't send me to some black market wife-swapping/kidnapping webpage. Then I went to the bank, got out some cash and wrote down the serial numbers of the bills in case I went missing and the kidnapper tried to use my own money to buy duct tape and rope (or whatever it is that those crazy kidnappers are using these days) before sharpening my fingernails into a point and heading out.

Flanked by my body guards (my mom and sister), I got into the car and we drove 40 minutes to the guy's office building. About 3 minutes into the ride, I started sweating and trying to think of everything I've been taught in kickboxing and Karate Kid in preparation for the exchange. Who in their right mind goes to a stranger's house, goes inside and gives them money!? I was making the same terrible decision that every idiot chick makes in every scary movie: walking right into a trap! What was I doing?!

I gave the cash to my sister and pleaded, "You have to do this! I'm so scared!" And she laughed and was like "Okay, crazy. I'll take care of it."

So we get to this tiny office building and the guy shows up with a woman who was either his wife or latest victim. I get out of the car with Prinna and whisper "OMG. YOU BE PHARON!" and luckily she complied and introduced herself as me. They let "Pharon" and "Crazy" into the front lobby, which had been pitch black when we first arrived. I stood with one foot out the door and the other just barely past the threshold while Prinna examined the goods. The lady went to get something and the guy looks at me and says, "Shut that door, please." And he said it, like, menacingly. My heart raced and it was all I could do to keep from running away and leaving my sister, my mom and my cash behind.

So the woman's gone, the guy has instructed me to shut the door - "tightly" - and he is encouraging us to examine our purchase. Bend over a box with my back to the guy AND the door?! NO THANK YOU. I leaned over for a second, but kept my eyes squarely on the man's hands in case he reached for a statue to hit me on the back of my head with.

Prinna paid the guy, and then we hauled a$$ out of there. Back in the safety of the car, I had an odd thought. For as scared as I was to be showing up to this guy's place, I couldn't help but think how sketchy I looked.

For starters, what kind of name is "Pharon"? He probably had no idea WHAT to expect. I show up at night in a conversion van, and then whisper something to my companion/accomplice while I wait in a dark parking lot. Inside, I stand with my foot out the door, seemingly on the lookout for a getaway car. I stare eerily at the man, flinch when he asks me to close the door, show no interest in the item and shift nervously as the woman leaves the room.

The point is that I do not understand how ANYONE gets through a Craigslist transaction without firing a taser out of sheer panic. But, at least I got what I wanted, for a helluva deal and didn't get kidnapped or robbed. Score.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Black Leather Skirt

We can blame this one on my mom. In 5th grade, she took me to this awesome little children's store for some back-to-school clothes. I got to pick out whatever I wanted, and this girl [points to self] browsed around for oh, 5 seconds before setting my sights on a black leather skirt. It wasn't skanky. It was for kids. It went to my knees and hung off my bony body like a garbage bag on a lamp post. I was in LOVE with it.

So, I wore that skirt everywhere: school, church and probably soccer practice. I paired it with a super boxy (but also very-loved) red blazer and looked like a 40-year-old businesswoman. Seriously, I LOVED IT.

Cut to: freshman year of college. I hadn't worn the skirt in like 8 years, but because I'm a clothes hoarder, I brought it with me. I pulled it out for a disco-themed sorority party and it still fit. But it looked very, very different. It was considerably shorter and tighter. But it still looked super cute and I wore it multiple times with confidence. Then it no longer fit and it went back in the closet, where it still hangs to this day.

Okay, so that was then. This is now. More specifically, this is the night before I head back to Iowa City for my friend Kim's bachelorette party. We are going to tailgate and go out and have a ball. I can't WAIT to go back to my old stomping grounds.

But things are different. I'm a wife. In the suburbs. With an SUV. So I suppose it wasn't surprising when I went through a tiny little identity crisis at the mall tonight. Suddenly, there was nothing else I wanted more in life than a black leather skirt.

Because I am in Rochester, I figured my best bet at finding a black leather skirt was to go to Forever 21. I sent Madeline a text that said "Having an identity crisis and am shopping for a black leather skirt. At Forever 21. Send help." And she responded with "NO! BAIL OUT! BAIL OUT!"

So I did and I went to Express. I felt better about shopping there because the girls working there were NOT wearing mesh leggings with crop tops that said "GANGSTA" on them, which was a nice change from Forever 21. Then I actually FOUND a black leather skirt. For GROWN-UPS. Like, one that you could wear with a red blazer and almost look like a business woman. (Who works at Forever 21 corporate headquarters.)

Geo questioned my wardrobe when I proudly displayed my purchase. He was all, "Um. So. Wait, what?" And I was all "Listen, it's not super short and it's a loose-fitting style." And he goes, "Yeah, but it's...leather." And I was all "Well, FAKE leather!" And he goes "That doesn't make it better."

But I don't care. I'm going to bring it to Iowa City and wear it for the bachelorette party (not the tailgating, duh) -- if I have the guts.

Honestly, chances are, I will probably end up wearing sweatpants and a dirty tank top...because hell, what do I care? I've got a man locked down and money for my own drinks now, thankyouverymuch. Plus, I seem to remember a very important lesson from Friends and I would like to avoid a similar fate

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lady Grotto!

I had a very enlightening discussion with my dear pal Madeline today on Gchat. We were talking about decorating our respective homes and what we wanted to do. They all sounded like amazeballs decisions, but we both lamented over the fact that our guys showed much less interest in decorating a home than we do.

Unless it involves a Man Cave.

Um, it is RIDICULOUS that men feel so entitled to have these stupid Man Caves. Who started this phenomenon?! I'd like to think it started as a way of throwing men's ugly stuff away without making him feel bad. You know, just shove his broke-ass ping pong table in the basement next to his beanbag chair and make him feel like it's a "special place" for him. But suddenly, it's turned into this insane thing that every man thinks they need. And they have decided that it also needed to be "awesome."

Men do not need Man Caves anymore. Unless they live with Laura Ashley, there are plenty of ways to decorate a house in such a way that it is fun, accessible, party-proof AND nice looking without covering everything in flowers and lace. Yes guys, women ARE capable of decorating without potpourri and pictures of cats. (AND non-functional decorations will not kill you, men.) Case in point: I suggested hanging Frisbees instead of framed pictures in one of our hallways. As long as they were "nice" Frisbees. See? COMPROMISE.

The worst part about a Man Cave is that when they are challenged about their little hole, men ALWAYS come back with "Well, you have the rest of the house!"

GEE. THANKS. That leaves us the bathrooms, maybe a dining room, a bedroom and, of course, the kitchen. What else could a gal want than a bathroom and kitchen all to her purdy-little self!? So much space to clean and talk about boys and have our periods in! Huzzah!

Um, 'scuse me, but women need to stop egging this behavior on. If a guy has terrible taste or wants a game room or whatever, make it work in the house or throw it away.

Or, wait. You know what? Actually, fine. Have your smelly Man Caves. But then I'd like a Lady Grotto. That's right. I want a Lady Grotto so that I can put MY stuff in it: A craft cart, my wrapping paper supplies, an Apple TV and Dr. Mario area, a wine cellar, my Kate Spade china, billions of Tampons, 2 years worth of InStyle back issues, my fresh linen Scentsy, matching furniture, full rolls of toilet paper, and posters of Charlie Hunnum on the walls.

But no. There are no plans for a Lady Grotto. And that's just fine with me. I'll deal. I don't need a whole room to just fart and drink beer in. I can do that anywhere I want to in my house.

So far, we have a tentative Man Cave going on in our new house. Geo doesn't have bad taste or ugly stuff or anything, but he is one of those guys who has somehow just assumed that a den in our basement will be "his." And he's got big plans for that room. It'll have a bar, his Xbox, a Pacman machine and possibly stadium seating.

Say what?!

Anyway, that's a fight we have yet to have. But after talking to Madeline, I've decided that unless we have a Lady Grotto, there will be no Man Cave. Problem solved.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Happy Anniversary (kind of)!

Well, they said it couldn't be done. They said it'd never last. But "they" were SUPER wrong. That's right, Geo and I have officially been married for one month! Thirty days of marital bliss. People ask me "How's married life?" And I say the same thing every time: It's much the same as non-married life. But upon reflecting on the last month, I realize just how much has changed in one moon.

In short, I am now a wife with a new (not-quite-legal-yet) name. My husband and I have a townhome in Rochester and a spankin' new SUV in our two-car garage. I purchased a vacuum. I made a (frozen) lasagna. I joined a Fantasy Football league. We have a Guest Room. OMG. What is happening to me?

In the midst of all the growing up I've been doing this month, I realized that I have gone 30 days without regaling people of the story of the best day in my life...a.k.a. my wedding.

It started with a hangover. It was a late night for the rehearsal dinner, and I woke up sandwiched between my sister and my sister-in-law on a queen sized bed in the hotel. Padrin played "Going to the chapel" and I felt 1000% amazing. We rallied the troops, got our hair and makeup done, went to the church, got dressed, and then took a zillion pictures.

The best part was the 45 seconds or so when I first saw Geo during our "First Look" pictures before the ceremony. It felt like the day had been amazing but was missing a tall, thin piece. Like in Tetris. And then when I saw Geo, it all fit and made sense.

Then the ceremony happened. Geo sang a song with his uncle, we exchanged rings, said "I do" and then smooched in public. Then we walked down the aisle while our friends launched off confetti streamers all around us. It was amazing.

Then we took a bus to the reception. I had 3 beers in about 45 minutes without even realizing it because I was so relieved and pumped all at the same time. We got to the reception, my dad announced the bridal party and we sat down to eat.

People told us "Don't worry about the food. You'll probably never even taste it. Or your cake." To which Geo replied once, "I think you underestimate how self-centered Pharon and I are." And turns out? He was only half right. HE barely ate his dinner but I was busy finishing mine and digging into his, too. Then I ate two pieces of cake. What can I say? I was hungry and it was the best food ever.

Meanwhile, my sister Padrin sang her toast to the Gilligan's Island theme song and I had never heard anything better ever in the history of time. It was AMAZING. Then I danced with my dad, Geo danced with his mom, Geo and I danced with each other and then everyone danced all together. For hours. People drank and ate late-night grilled cheese sandwiches and took pics in the photo booth. It was totally amazing.

The evening was absolutely perfect. Nothing broke down, nothing got skipped, and everything just went perfectly. I can't wait to get all the pics ready to share with everyone! Oh, and the weather was perfect but yes, I sweat. A LOT. And then we skipped town for Southern Cali for our incredibly fun and relaxing honeymoon.

And now it's 30 days later. One month after the "I do's" and the night when all the hard work and stress and anxiety and fighting paid off. And to be honest? I'd do it all again. Is there such thing as a One Month Vow Renewal??

In case anyone is interested, here is a list of the bestest group of Twin Cities wedding vendors in the whole world!
* Bumble Bee Floral
* Hazeltine National Golf Course
* George Street Photography and Videography
* Flow Event DJs
* The Traveling Photo Booth
* Buttercream 
* Flutter Boutique
* Creative Beaute Agency

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Team Pharon McDadden

Hey bros. Grab a beer and let's pee standing up. It's football season!!!!

Tonight I had my first ever Fantasy Football draft. I LOVE football. Professional football. I have only a minimal knowledge of the rules and the most basic of understanding when it comes to which team is good and which team is bad, but I seriously LOVE watching football and drinking beer and eating wings and just being a guy. I mean girl. Whatever.

So it's a little surprising that I've never been in a fantasy league before. But then again, I don't know enough to play with hardcore guys and I like it TOO much to play with casual non-chalants. So I was stoked to be included in Geo's work draft. It did not go well.

For starters, Geo didn't show up until oh, split seconds before the online draft started. I was sweating and texting and calling Geo being like "When are you going to be here?! I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DRAFT! DO I PICK 2 RUNNING BACKS FIRST?! WHAT IS HAPPENING!? WHO IS CALVIN JOHNSON!?"

So Geo gets home, calms me down and we get ready for the draft. I am an irrational drafter. Totally and completely irrational. Here's why:

* I HATE Bears and Packers fans so I absolutely refused to draft any players from those teams. Which wasn't hard because they all suck.
* I kept claiming that I needed an "emotional" connection to players I wanted to draft. If I didn't feel a "connection" to someone, I skipped over him.
* I drafted some guy named Darren McFadden because I made myself cry-laugh when I accidentally called him Pharon McDadden. Fate.
* I refused to draft Reggie Bush because he's been with Kim Kardashian. Then I SUPER wanted him because he was strong enough to BE with her and make it out alive and with dignity. Then someone else stole him away and I didn't know HOW to feel.
* There's a guys whose last name is Pead. As in "I peed my pants when I saw there was a dude named Pead." I've never wanted anyone on my team so bad in my life. Didn't get him. Got pissed. (HA!)

Then things got ugly. I stated that I wanted to draft Blair Walsh, who is the awesome effing kicker for the Vikings in, like, the 6th round. Geo said it was way too early to draft a kicker. I argued "But I love him. And he'll get more points than some mediocre receiver. Also, I just want SOMEONE to cheer for on the Vikings." He insisted, "Just wait. He'll be there next round."

He was NOT available next round. Someone else took Walsh, and my dreams right along with him. I was more upset than a normal person should have been. But I was sick of getting all these players who are on teams I have spent eons rooting against and just wanted ONE purple dude on my team.

The wind went out of my sail pretty quickly after that. I picked a few players out of spite after Geo tried to give me some tips that I ignored because they didn't include Blair Walsh. I was like "Oh, you think I should take this dude who is handcuffed to so-and-so? Screw that. I'm picking up Aaron Hernandez."

Anyways, I lost interest when I stopped knowing who players were and as soon as I got sick and tired of drafting running backs. Snooze. Everyone knows I love wide receivers.

So, the draft came to an end. I got a kicker who was NOT Blair Walsh, some pretty decent players and a handful of spite picks. Seems like a well-rounded team, right? Well, the entire process was an emotional roller coaster and I'm absolutely exhausted. But if it's possible, I'm now even MORE excited for the start of football season. And no matter who is (not) on my fantasy team, I will be sporting my purple and gold every week and screaming for Adrian Peterson to kill people on the field. SKOL!!!!!!!!!!!