Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cutting the cord and other tragedies

Dudes, it's been a rough couple of weeks. Moving, car accident, an absent husband (out of town on a work trip) AND a grownup conversation with my dad about life's all just really kind of making me a crazy person with 100 empty bottles of wine in our recycling.

But perhaps the biggest travesty through which I have suffered is the fact that we did it. We cut the cord. We don't have cable anymore.

I'm onboard with it. I really am. I find it absolute highway robbery that we paid $100 a month for TV. I can't stand that. We are a content-consuming population who places value on our entertainment that we would be willing to pay for it if we weren't forced to also buy 600 things we didn't want. We are being controlled by cable companies looking to make money, and it's super dumb. Especially because I spend most of my viewing time watching rerun episodes of Law and Order: SVU, Friends and Chopped. Anyway, for our purposes, cable was ridiculously expensive.

I feel like I was bred to be ready for this. I never had cable growing up. My parents told us that we couldn't have cable because we lived on a creek, and they couldn't dig underneath the creek to get the appropriate connections. It made sense.

But it was all a lie. My neighbors, the Fosters, got cable like the DAY they moved in and I was painfully jealous that they knew what was going on on Hey Dude and I didn't. But the point is, I never really NEEDED cable. I got along just fine without it. I learned all the swear words I needed to learn in high school. Plus, I was too busy being a neurotic teen to even care about what was on TV.

Unfortunately, now it's different. I really kind of depend on cable more than I expected. I have TV on a LOT and playing recordings of shows is just not the same. Also? I just like to have noise happening. Especially when I'm bouncing around unpacking. But when I have to stop every 40 or 120 minutes or whatever to click "Yes, I'm still watching," I feel both annoyed and judged.

Plus, I don't ALWAYS want to have to choose what I watch and just really commit to that. It makes me nervous. There's some theory that Geo has tried to teach me about having too many options: the paradox of choice. It basically says that having too many options is not a benefit to anyone. It creates anxiety and the fear of missing out on something. Both of these things are just the worst in my eyes.

So yes, I'm infinitely glad I can watch Archer and Friends and, like, only 4 seasons of SVU at a moment's notice. But I miss the spontaneity and immediacy of regular TV. Also, I miss things like Rehab Addict and Impractical Jokers and the Daily Show that I just can't get on Netflix.

I don't know what other people do. I'm sure you guys, who are way smarter than me, have found some sort of sweet spot where you aren't selling your blood for cable but you also aren't living in a time 15 months ago. Care to share your secrets with me???

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A fine "howdya do"

Well, it's been, let's see....4 nights since we moved our stuff into our new place in Minneapolis. It's kind of been a whirlwind. So much unpacking, adjusting and generally trying to figure things out. There was some strangeness, to be sure. I've been putting on pants, like, EVERY DAY, you guys. I've seen friends and family without having to then ask to crash at their houses. I BRUSHED MY HAIR this morning! Whaaaa?

But I learned a hard truth today, y'all. A hard truth indeed. No city is without flaw. And this came in the form of a fairly upsetting message.

I got into a car accident this morning.

It was minor. I'm fine, the other dude is fine. The only casualty is the beautiful front bumper of my car, and part of the Americano I had just purchased and snuggled into my cup holder. But a lot happens in the split seconds of a collision. A lot of things run through your mind after even the most minor fender bender that might surprise you. In my case, I had three thoughts. In this order.

1) OMG, I'm an idiot...but also? HE'S an idiot! The city planners are idiots! Everyone's an idiot!!!
2) My parents are going to be sooooo mad!
3) I'm really scared and I literally have no idea what I'm supposed to do.

Obvs, the first thing I did was to call Geo. I got his voicemail. Darn you, important husband who has a job! (He did call me back less than 3 minutes later to make sure I was okay and was not hysterical, which was entirely possible). But then I did what any normal grown woman who owns her own vehicle and is a very mature person does when she is met with a difficult traffic situation. I called my mommy.

I was scared and annoyed at myself and mostly just needed some reassuring words. I was not disappointed. My mom first made sure I was okay, and then with this levity, which in hindsight was just so perfectly appropriate, she said brightly "Welcome back!"

Luckily, my parents weren't mad, and I had a boatload of help figuring out what to do. But the most reassuring thing that I've heard lately came toward the end of my call to my mom. She asked "Do you want me to come over there?"

See, she could have, if I had asked her to. I'm only like 15 mins away. But I'm a grown woman. I can cry after an accident all by my grown-up self. I laughed/sighed and said "No, it's all good," and it really was. I came home, figured out insurance stuff, got back to work and just generally got myself together.

This shockingly upsetting, but almost-non-incident taught me a few things. One? Never try to turn left on Cedar Ave. Ever. Even when you and everyone else on the road thinks it's okay to do so, don't. Two? This is why we change out of pajamas in the morning, people! But most importantly, it taught me that I'm incredibly co-dependent on my friends and family. Is that a bad thing? I don't think so. It helps me keep things in perspective and get my bearings. I don't feel so lost or floopy (which is a word. Check your Friends history, people) when I know I have people around me.

So, anyway, my front bumper is now nestled in my car, a reminder that I am neither perfect nor alone. A reminder that, as my friend Rachel said, this crazy town is not for the weak. A reminder that sometimes your day starts like a big steamy pile of poop and ends up fine and even enjoyable when you know some good peeps.

All this I learned, and we don't even have cable hooked up. Big city livin'! I hope to chalk this up, in the grand scheme of things, as a win.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Moving Experience

Moving. I'm moving. In case you live in Siberia and just got Wifi, I should tell you that this weekend, I'm moving back to Minneapolis from Rochester.

It's been a rough 18 months, to be sure. I've learned a lot about being a wife, being alone, and being a person without ready access to beautiful lakes and nomnom restaurants. However, if I'm being honest, moving has been a little more emotional than I thought it would be. I love our house. I love the fact that I have 4 awesome people in this town who are regularly amazing and sometimes similarly bored and let me hang out with them from time to time. I love that nothing in this town is more than 5 minutes away.

Still, I'm SUPER ready to get back to Minneapolis. If I ever saw those movies about that troll who wants that ring that all the hairy-toed little people have, I'd compare my feelings to that joy the troll has when he gets that ring. (I've literally NEVER watched Lord of the Rings, because that troll and the little hairy-toed people freak me out, but I feel like I kind of get the gist.)

Regardless of where I'm moving to or from, the fact is that moving is definitely the stinky pits.

Turns out, I'm PERFECTLY happy eating nachos off a paper plate with a side of bread buttered with a wooden spoon, in spite of the fact that I have 12 different nacho-specific dishes on which they should be served and at least 8 different kinds of spreaders courtesy of Crate and Barrel. Oh, and spoiler alert: Wine tastes the same out of a plastic cup as it does out of any one of the 8 different types of wine glasses I have. And as much as I love all the clothes in my 4 enormous IKEA bags, turns out I'm totally fine just wearing the few items I've packed into a single suitcase. Also, all my Kate Spade boxes (which I have embarrassingly saved and kept in yet ANOTHER IKEA bag) seem less beautiful when I have to figure out how to fit them into a Subaru Impreza.

So yeah, I have way too much crap everywhere, but it's pretty so I love it! :)

However, it does not escape me that moving with a man is THE. WORST. Granted, I haven't done this before. I've always been extraordinarily immature and individual about moving. I move MY stuff only and ONLY when my mom and sister come over to pack for me.

No more! I'm a wife and grown up now, so I've gotta step up. It kind of sucks because when you move with a spouse, you can't throw away a box of "probably useless documents." You have to pretend it's important to you. You have to look at a Tupperware that has 2 sweaters in it and be like "Is this something you want to save even thought it's incredibly inconvenient?" instead of being like "DOESN'T FIT, THROWING AWAY!" In my moving life, I just throw away stuff that doesn't fit in whatever box I happen to have at the time. Bummer when Geo's like "Yeah, those are my fall golf sweaters. Don't touch that."

Also, he doesn't obsessively wrap every piece of glassware in 23 pounds of paper, so I regularly have to ask him to buy more and more paper and boxes.

Part of me -- actually, an increasingly enormous part of me -- wishes that I would have left all our packing to Geo. He would probably have gotten it done WAY faster and in WAY fewer boxes than me. But I would like to think there would be way more broken vases and mis-categorized tidbit plates. Then again, there probably wouldn't. It's not like we are moving live organs across the Atlantic Ocean before the dawn of modern shipping.

I don't know. I guess in closing, I'll say this: I've been hard on Rochester. But it's been hard on me. It's been 18 months of goose-poop-filled lakes and hanging out alone a lot. And the pervasive amount of chain restaurants has just kind of kicked me in my already-dirt-covered face.

HOWEVER! I have found some amazing friends here, and have learned a lot about myself and my marriage. And for those reasons, I will feel sad tomorrow when we load our crap into a truck to take it back to Minneapolis. I will look out on our patio and think "I won't see these deep dark skies and bright stars at night anymore," and I will dance around in our 2nd bathroom because who knows WHEN we'll have a place with two bathrooms again?

But more than anything, I will remember that I don't need 90% of the Crate and Barrel $hit I registered for.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Potty Humor

Ever since I was a tiny, adorable, bowl-cut-wearin' tyke, I've thought the words "toilet paper" were like the funniest, grossest words ever. I could be in mid-chase of one of my siblings and all he or she would have to do is yell back "TOILET PAPER!" and I'd trip all over my bony body, doubled over in fits of laughter.

I've always had a very visceral relationship with toilet paper. There's something forbidden about it. And, because I was raised in a home where swear words -- and even the phrase "that sucks" -- warranted a major time out/grounding, "toilet paper" was pretty much the naughtiest thing I could ever think of. It thrilled me. It scared me.

Anyway, now that we're moving, "toilet paper" has taken on a whole new importance. It's almost like it's not funny anymore. See, the house we are moving into is your typical amazing home in Minneapolis. Read: Gorgeous, with old plumbing. We were told that the plumbing is as sensitive and volatile as my feet during a pedicure. Ever since I learned of our house's handicapped pipes, I've been very preoccupied with toilet paper. In fact, I've been downright scared. All I can think of is: clogs. They aren't just a fashion no-no anymore.

There is a very big disconnect between modern TP and modern plumbing. They don't work together anymore. Toilets angrily oppose TP and TP insists on getting "stronger" and "thicker" and sorry, but who needs "heavy duty" (doody!) TP? It's like the TP industry and toilet industry were about to get married, but TP got cheated on by the toilet industry and decided to dedicate its entire life to making life miserable for its ex.

Although, I'm pretty sure it's a cultural thing. I mean, in some parts of the world, there is no plumbing. And in that one restaurant I went to once in Mexico, you were prohibido from flushing paper. In Europe, according to Reddit, there are, eh hem, ways around using TP...aka: get an inside bath. In America, people are like "MORE OF EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME!" despite the obvious restrictions. How very patriotic. So, we end up (ha!) with buttloads  (ha!) of either Uber Toilet Paper or extremely environmentally-friendly TP that is little more than a whisper in your hand -- Thanks, hippies.

(Also? BTW? If my choices in TP were between the clever British girl selling baby wipes for grown ups and those commercials featuring the DISGUSTINGLY open animated bears talking WAY too much about their TP usage, I choose clever British girl. Every time. Super disturbing TP company using stupid bears? Hire a better ad agency. For the love of all that is good and holy. You are absolutely $hitting on TV...and it's not even funny.)

Okay, so anyway, I live in Rochester, where we buy TP in bulk from Costco. There is literally nothing more American. We could sell this stuff on the black market and make a killing. But when the time finally came -- after, oh, 12 billion years -- to buy some more TP, I opted against the Costco run. We are too close to the move to make an investment in "bulk buying" TP. I felt like I would be buying the TP version of "2 Broke Girls" -- well-intentioned but ultimately heavy-handed, unnecessary and not the least bit funny.

So, that brings us back to how hysterical TP is. I'm actually kind of bummed. It used to be so silly and prohibido when I was a kid. Now it's like "This is an actual decision you have to make as a grown up." I hate it. I liked it much better when it was a phrase my sisters could mumble to me in church and make me laugh hard enough to get the stank eye from my parents.

Now? Now it just has the potential to cause real, non-funny stank. I hate being an adult.