Leader

I have a job that sucks. It slightly crushes my soul every day I punch-in but that isn’t the point of this post.  This post is about how I am not an animal.  It starts with the fact that California is in a severe drought. No, scratch that, it starts in the 80s. I’m a child of the 80s. I was raised on the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. So when I walk in to the kitchen at the job that I hate and see the faucet dripping and no one around, I see red. It’s hard enough to deal with my coworkers on a daily basis but when they cannot literally take one extra second to make sure the faucet is properly turned off, I kind of lose my mind.

A few of my colleagues understand that I’m neurotic. I’ve made this clear by my rants about perpetually abused homonyms, the phrase “that’s not my job” and micro-management. But the point of this entire blog post is that I saw the running faucet and turned it off. It wasn’t that hard, it didn’t take any extra effort or even a second thought. So, why am I writing? Because apparently  in my hyper-focused moment of rage for Mother Earth, my actions were noticed by a muckity muck. This dude is prime middle management. He’s taken every six-sigma course offered, gotten his MBA and makes it a point to learn ever employee’s name. What happened when I turned off the water is going to be one of those things that sticks with me for a long, long while. This muckity-muck saw me turn off the water, and stared me in the eyes and said “Thank you, Stefanie”

The part that strikes me, is that his gratitude was genuine. Not because he is some secret tree-hugger. But because he bleeds middle management. In that moment, he didn’t see me as some hourly employee who was doing a good turn. He saw me as a leader. In my one innocuous moment, this dude saw a life and career path that I never imagined nor wanted for myself. He saw me advancing to a supervisor position, and maybe moving to another start-up to get some much-needed management experience because I wouldn’t find the respect from my peers that I deserved. He’d hope that a short time later, I’d return to this company and be a respected middle manager myself. Maybe even his direct underling. We’d get lunch, and I’d present innovative ideas that he could only dream of. He’d admire my “think outside the box attitude” and my “never takes no for an answer” demeanor. He’d encourage me enough to stay with the company through stagnant years and to never jump ship because we believed in the mission. But there would always be a part of him that would hold me back. He’d want me to be his protegé and never to eclipse him.

I saw his entire vision for me when he said “thank you, Stefanie” and it terrified me. Because I’m not meant for that life. I’m meant for more. Bigger, greater things. I’m meant for opportunities where turning the water off is the norm and not the exception. So I’ll go back to ranting about homonyms, I’ll still suggest big changes that will spur new ideas but I’ll also suggest cake Thursdays to keep the muckity-mucks from dreaming too big.
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My Dog

I think my dog’s biological clock is ticking. It would be so much easier if she was puppy crazy or in heat. I could handle that. This, however isn’t something I had planned on dealing with. My dog wants a baby. Like a human baby, and I think she wants it from me.

It started shortly after we moved to SF. When we go on walks, my dogs have always been interested in smells on the ground, and people walking other dogs. Like recent east coast transplants, my dogs have an attitude and don’t really like other people and if they could talk most of their words would consist of swearing at people and judging the excessive use of outer wear when it is only 60 degrees out. Now toddlers, people with strollers and, god help me if we walk past one, a day care my dog goes out of her way to interact with anyone who still has soft spots in their skull. Pup will stop and sit at a corner if she sees a stroller half a block away. She waits patiently until the stroller comes up and if the stroller pusher doesn’t stop to acknowledge pup, I can physically see her adorable little puppy heart break. She is still indifferent to childfree folks, but she knows a rube  when she sees on and makes sure to turn the cute on to get guaranteed butt scratches but children don’t know the sweet spot, so there is no reason for her to like children.

She LOVES when a child points and says “doggie!” She’s been smacked in the face with tiny grubby kid hands at least 20 times in the past month and never seems to mind. This is the same dog that cowers in the corner if HHP gets the qtips out to clean her ears and almost wets herself if a shopping cart comes too close. She isn’t one for long walks in the park and on more than several occasions has laid down in the middle of the street if we walk too far from home. But she will be at full energy (and best behavior) when a kid is around. The same dog that steps on my bladder, pees on HHP and farts with reckless abandon will be the most gentle and self-aware bulldog on the planet when in the presence of someone who regularly craps their pants. Pup is methodical when facing kids. In all of our child-encounters, she is patient and has never accidentally knocked one of them down when she turns her attention to another kid. She’s never even made a kid cry, hell I’ve done that more times than I can remember. My original theory was that children are dirty and she wanted access to their sticky fingers and secret food stash but that was busted when I saw her completely ignore a kid’s half-eaten banana.

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Baby? Where?

I’ve spent enough time with my dogs to know what they are thinking. I’ve learned that when they look at you, look at their food and back at you “feed me” is the only thought passing through her mind. So when I get the same look at the playground. Dog looks at me, looks at see-saw, looks back at me. I see “I want one, make it happen.”  How do I explain to my dog that kids are a lot of work? What’s the Cesar Milan approach to explaining my deep-seeded emotional fear of raising a child who will turn out just like me? When did this blog post go from funny story to existential crisis?

My dog is wicked smart. She knows to breathe through  her nose instead of her mouth when she is doing something bad. She is eerily quiet, and is fully aware of when HHP and I are distracted enough to get in to the kitty litter or eat yet another TV remote. I’ll have to make sure that the next time the dog is in the bathroom she is just going through the trash and not my birth control  supply. This dog is surprised by her own farts and yet could very well be the criminal mastermind to make Wardegus more than a duo.

Anniversary

It’s our wedding anniversary; 5 years of marriage. I can lie and say that it’s been roses, love and unicorn tears but it hasn’t. It’s been difficult, sure. But it’s also been the most fun I’ve had on this planet.
I love you like a love song. And yeah, I keep hitting repeat. It’s not one of those instant classic love songs. It’s dated and when people other than us here it, they roll their eyes at how cheesy and predictable the lyrics are. Doesn’t matter, because when I hear that song, I’m immediately back in our college town falling in love with you all over again.
When I have too much to drink, I’ll sing this song for you at karaoke. It will be the staple that when our friends see me walking towards the stage, they rush to the bar to drown out my warbling voice. I’ll be off-key, forget the lyrics and possibly be cut off as the next person gets up and sings their alcohol assisted version of “I will survive”.
When my depression knocks me on my ass, you’re the only person I find tolerable. In reality, I think it’s because you’re close enough to me that I can be a complete cunt to and you won’t leave. You know that my miserable mood and attitude is because of a minor chemical imbalance and not permanent brain damage. Anyone else would have told me to nut up but, you’re there for me in ways that I can never repay.
You overlook my bad habits. You don’t mind when I leave the bathroom light on, you tease me when I lock the car doors to prevent animal attacks. You let me rage against unhelpful customer service people and reel me back in when I go t0o far. You’re the only person on the planet I’m ever completely open with. Which is how I know that you won’t judge me for the next paragraph.

You’re as close to me as my intestinal bacteria. You help me process complex things and break it all down into something that is easily digestible, you help me help myself. Your presence in my life makes living just that much easier. And sometimes, when I swallow something that isn’t the healthiest option, you help me just let it pass quickly. These are the moments when you know me better than I know myself. I’d be lost without you. You’re something that I can’t create on my own and I had to travel the world for awhile looking for just the right thing, and it was you. Now that I know you, I’ll never be without you. You’ve wormed your way into my life, my heart and my soul and my digestive tract.

You smile when I make terrible jokes, when I have terrible ideas and you hold me when a fireman is sawing into the hood of our car at 2 o’clock in the morning. You see through all of my bullshit and make me feel like I invented the wheel or was the first person to put porn on the Internet. You’re not perfect,  but neither am I. We’re imperfectly perfect together. I don’t need an anniversary to remind you that you make my life better. But since it is our anniversary, I want you to know that 5 years of marriage is only the start of our adventure together.

This picture reminds me that we’ll always have good food and genitals on our advenutures.

Warrior Dash

HHP and I are going through a bit of a rough spot. We’re talking a lot but we aren’t hearing what the other person says and we are both missing super big important non-verbal clues. It’s neither my fault or his fault. I think we were super focused on improving ourselves and now that we’re ready to pay more attention to being a couple it’s hard.  So when I conned him into signing up for the warrior dash I thought it would do us both some good.

Obviously, neither HHP and I are in prime physical condition so I knew it was going to be hard. He was unsure about the whole idea of the race; jumping over fire was intimidating and the idea of  “dying” were definite drawbacks. I was concerned about getting all Kirk Cameron left behind and not having enough confidence in myself to finish. I’m really quick to quit something because it’s hard and I know that I don’t push myself as much as I should.

So we get there, and it’s scary as fuck. There are tons of people running around some of them mud covered and even a few dressed as Link and Princess Zelda. We saw an incredibly patriotic Captain America who completed the course with a giant American Flag that didn’t get muddy at all. People dressed as Street Fighters, Spartans and even a few brides running the race.

The flames shot up at 2:30 and we were off. The first obstacle was a giant fucking hill. It was pretty similar to the hill to our house, except not paved and I couldn’t stop and pretend to check my cell phone to take a break on it.  I was caught up in the rush of the crowd and ran up it and then we came to the mud. I’m not talking about a little bit of mud, I’m saying like brownie batter, diarrhea, fire swamp from the princess bride  mud.  I fell a few times, my shoe came off once and HHP biffed it too. That part of the course exhausted me. I knew it was going to be muddy and hard but I had no idea that mud could seep into my shoes and make them 5 pounds heavier. HHP was great and he would pause and wait for me to catch up and didn’t even laugh when I face-planted into what I’m pretty sure was deer shit.

When I get in stressful situations I get snippy and shut down. HHP kept me from quitting by telling me that he was proud of me and to not care that we were getting passed by people that started half an hour later than we did. We made it through the Swamp of Sadness and then we found ourselves with more obstacles. Climbing over walls, under barb wire fences, balance beams, and even more mud. It was exhausting. I was most terrified about climbing this giant wall and I couldn’t do it but HHP did. He started to struggle a little at the  top but I think I promised him “warrior dash anal” if he completed it. We could smell the fire when we came around one of the last turns. It was much smaller than I was planning and taking practice leaps over the speed bump near our house totally paid off. HHP sailed through it and I can’t wait for the sports photos to see my look of sheer terror.

We came up to the giant cargo net. You could hear the DJ spinning Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby got back” and I was pumped. I just wanted this thing to be over but in yet another awesome act of selflessness HHP asked me to wait until a woman at the top who was visibly terrified of the downward climb got started. We cheered her on and didn’t start our climb until she was securely on the ground. We slipped ass first down a giant mud hill (I have wicked  grass rash from that) and we crossed the finish line holding hands. Ok, really HHP was pulling me along.

It was the hardest thing I’ve done in recent memory, but even when I was covered in mud hating everything and everyone and repeatedly telling HHP that this was the worst idea I’ve ever had I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I got to spend a few hours with my husband, totally relying on him and his encouragement to keep me going. That doesn’t happen very often. In our relationship I’m usually the one pushing him and encouraging him so it was a really good change of pace. The whole walk back to the car we were giddy with excitement that we accomplished something that we really didn’t think we could do;  we felt closer to each other which was exactly what we wanted.

We didn’t end up getting around to Warrior Dash Anal last night. Honestly, by the time we got in the house, sex was the last thing on our minds. We took showers, HHP dressed my wounds since I couldn’t see them and we passed out.

Everything hurts today, we’re both dragging ass and all I want to do is not wear pants but I’m happier than I’ve been in a while. We’ll probably do it next year, heck I might even do the one in NY in August and Tennessee in September. But neither of those races matter because I’ve got this:

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Vulnerability is a four-letter word.

This blog post about being vulnerable struck a chord with me. I’m not very pleased about writing this, because I prefer to live in my delusional world that I’m almost always right/perfect and have few if any flaws, but this post really brought me down a peg or 7.

Fact: I don’t do vulnerable.

I can’t pinpoint exactly where, but for a long long time now, I associate vulnerability with weakness. It’s taken me a while, but I no longer think when someone else gets weepy or is emotional that they are less than me, but I flat out refuse to show that side of myself. I’m pretty sure I can count on one hand the number of people who have seen me cry in my adult life (this includes the woman who removes the hair from my upper lip.) I don’t feel comfortable expressing sadness, grief, disappointment or fear. Give me anger, rage, joy and lust any day of the week. I’ve read enough to know that I won’t connect with people or establish true interpersonal relationships with people because I don’t show my vulnerability but frankly, it’s just not in the cards for me to call up someone and tell them that I had a super shitty day and I just wanted to share. I have to be pulled, while kicking and screaming, into sharing my emotions. I go on auto-pilot when someone asks me how I am. The words “I’m fine.” have rolled off my tongue more than a million times and even if I show a hint of not being fine, no one pushes me to elaborate.

While I could have not written anything about this, this sentence struck me:

“Lame not just because I can be a gigantic asshole but lame because I am then never ever getting my actual needs met when I express myself this way. “

Fuck. I hate not being able to place the blame on someone other than me.

The blogger’s New Year’s resolution is to be more vulnerable in 2011. She’s going to accomplish this goal by focusing on 3 tasks.:

“1) tune into my true feelings, 2) disclose those true feelings (admit when I’m wrong, admit when I’m afraid), and 3) take into consideration the feelings of others and be open to their emotional processes (especially when they’re unlike mine.)”

I think I have a good handle on steps 1 and 3; being married to HHP has made me empathetic. I can tell when people are upset and I think I’m ok with dealing with other people’s emotions. But step 2 is the biggest one for me; I think I’d rather go to the dentist and gynecologist while simultaneously getting my upper lip hair removed then disclose any negative feelings I have, but I’m going to challenge myself to try. What’s the worst that could happen?

90-day Cult

Because I’m a dumbass trying to better myself, I agreed to join some people on the internet to a 90-day challenge.  They posit that you can break/start a new habit if you do it everyday for 90 days. I have a lot of addictions/bad habits but none that I’ve purposefully started. So this whole ordeal is pretty new to me. For me, it’s not about losing weight or getting fit it’s about committing to something. I’m such a quitter it’s not even funny. I’m always the first person to pull back or am paralyzed with fear to try something new. And if you know me in real life this may seem like a surprise, but it’s true.

rippedThis is exactly what I want to look like after 90 days.

So I decided to sign the dotted line and have committed myself for the next 90 days to the 90DayCult. I will workout for at least 20 minutes everyday, be it holiday, wedding, funeral or even if I get trapped in a mine for 69 days (too soon?)

I worked out for the first time tonight in god knows how long. I went downstairs to my apartments gym (read: elliptical machine my landlord found on the side of the road) and worked hard for a good 20 minutes and 30 seconds. The 30 seconds extra was because I think I blacked out and forgot to stop.

Here’s a play-by-play of my workout:

:00.15 Man, why have I put this off for so long? This isn’t so bad. I can totally do this. 90-days you are my bitch.

:00.23 What? Why is time going so slowly?

:00.46 Okay, I’m pretty sure the time on this machine is wrong. I’ve been on here for at least ten minutes.

:01.30 I really should start preparing my will, I don’t think I’m going to last all 90 days. Tell my dogs I love them.

:02.45 Why the fuck did I agree to this? Has time stopped? God hates me.

:03.57 Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” just came on my ipod. Fuck you ipod, fuck you and your brilliant sense of irony.

:08.00 My landlord came over from his side of the basement to tell me about the heart monitor built into the elliptical machine. I really hope I don’t throw up on him.

:09.15 A pre-workout cocktail was a bad idea. A really, terrible, awful, bad idea.

:10.23 I wonder if I could read while doing this?

:10.45 Why am I doing this? Honestly, these ladies won’t know if I don’t do this every day…

:12.30 I’m pretty sure I could read during this, that would be fantastic! I would get so much more done if I could dedicate a solid 20 minutes to reading.

:14.47 What the fuck was I thinking? I can’t read when I’m dying. Who the fuck do I blame for this terrible idea?

:16:54 Neck Sweat….ewwwww

:18.00 I just tweeted during this…it took me 3 minutes to try and type, that was a terrible idea, but a really good time distraction.

:19.45 I think my heart just exploded…

I hope tomorrow goes better, I’m glad I completed the first day but frankly that shit was hard.

Wish me luck!

Wax On; Wax Off

I made the appointment for 12:30 not 2:30.So when I show up at 2:20 the receptionist looks at me like I just got off the short bus. This is after of course, they confirmed the time with me on Sunday. They manage to squeeze me in but the eastern European woman who is doing my waxing doesn’t realize this my first time. She shoves me in a room with an “I’ll be right with you” tossed casually over her shoulder and I’m not sure what the fuck is going on. There is some weird ass Enya music, some crazy ass “soothing” scent being piped in and I’m pretty sure the closet I’m trapped in has 6 walls and a mirror. The only light is this weird UFO thing that will undoubtedly magnify every single one of my flaws.

This light is now my mortal enemy.

I’m standing in this 6-sided room and now the question is do I pop my shirt off? I don’t want to be creepy and have her come in and have my shirt off when it isn’t that time. I don’t want to look exceptionally eager to get my hair ripped out like I’m some kind of masochist. If my aesthetician comes in and I’m a little too eager she might tell me a safety word and put a Kado mask on. But, I don’t want to look like a dumbass by keeping the only garment that needs to come off on. I nut up and take my shirt off. I have my standards and don’t lie on the table. The aesthetician comes in carrying a very relaxation induced pot covered in tinfoil. She looks at me like I’m clearly not mentally capable of receiving a waxing and motions for me to lie on the table.

I try to make small talk as I lie on the table about this being my first time and I realize precisely how painfully awkward I am at small talk. I trail off incoherently and notice that the table is warm. Not like residual heat from the previous victim but full on this thing is heated. I’m sure that this would be calming/relaxing/therapeutic any other time, but it’s August. I’m about to have hot wax slapped on my skin and the spa wants to make sure my ass isn’t chilly?

I lay down and the woman has me wrap my hands around the back of my head. I pray to whatever deity is watching that I have the right amount of deodorant so I don’t smell bad but not enough to interfere with the waxing and the woman proceeds to throw some baby powder on my arms. She takes a tiny hand towel and casually drapes it over my bra. I’m pretty sure she cops a slight feel but think nothing of it as my breasts are only awesomely-great on a good day and this bra is terrible to say the least. My mistress shoves the tinfoil pot against my skin while asking if it was too hot. In my fear of being punished for my insolence, I say no as she starts slapping hot wax on my armpit (I hate the euphemism underarm, it’s a pit.)

The actual wax application tickles and I feel like a pain fetish freak for giggling during my torture. The wax removal isn’t even that painful it’s truly the small talk that is awful. The woman tells me how great waxing is and the best thing for the skin so you “can go to the beach and not worry about hair and it’s also great for…the beach.” My other pit is slightly more painful and the woman really gets her face in for the last few hairs that just don’t want to be separated from my flesh.

When yet another part of my body is now unnecessarily hair-free she tells me to put my shirt back on and meet her out front. I kinda want to ask if I need to leave the money on the table and if she can hold me after, but I’m afraid that will cost extra.

After she leaves, I run over to the mirror and hold my arms up for a closer inspection. I want to be excited because I won’t have to think about shaving for a while and I can now FINALLY throw my hands in the air and wave them like I just don’t care.

yeah, I linked to an NKOTB video. You liked it.

Only, now I’ve realized something; Jesus I have ugly armpits.

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