Monday, March 31, 2014

Because sometimes you might actually want the "hot seat"

I am totally being tested by this new way of being: "don't get sucked into your thoughts, just be aware, observe, and let it go."  I like to think I am learning a lot and growing from my new favorite book, but I am being challenged.

When I came home a couple of Saturdays ago after yoga, I noticed that our house was pretty cold.  I didn't think anything of it at first because it is not unlike P to open all the windows when the outside temperature hits a whopping 40 degrees.  (With five fur-children, fresh air is absolutely necessary.)  After awhile I couldn't take it anymore and when I suggested that we turn up the heat, P replied with, "I'm working on it."

I'm working on it.

Um.  What is there to work on?  We have a furnace.  When we turn up the thermostat, our furnace kicks on.  Like magic.  Because that's what furnaces do.

P walked downstairs to "work on it."  Whatever "it" was.

I was very confused.  And so, I started firing a million questions because that's what I do when I find myself in a stressful situation.  This has a calming effect on everyone involved, as you can imagine.

Me:  Is something broken?

P:  I don't know yet.

Me:  Well, is our furnace not kicking on at all?

P:  I'm working on it.

Me:  Oookaaay.  So, our furnace is not working. 

P:  We might be out of oil.

Me:  How can we be out of oil?

P:  I saw we were getting low and I was going to call last week.

Me:  But you didn't?

P:  I was going to.

Me:  Why didn't you?

P:  Because I didn't think we needed it yet.

You see, my husband is one of those people who doesn't think he needs to put gas in the car until the light comes on to tell him it's time to fill up.  Why don't homes have lights to alert you when it is time to refuel?  If this exists, we need this.  If this doesn't exist, someone needs to invent this ASAP.  If you are taking this idea and running with it, don't forget who planted this seed in your head (you can email me at to learn where you can send me a percentage of your profits).  Seriously, don't be greedy.

And so we spent our weekend in a house that averaged about 59 degrees while the outside temperature was in the 30s (we hit a low point of 57 by the end of the weekend).  If that doesn't sound cold to you, I dare you to live in your house for 48 hours with your inside temperature at 59 degrees.  I promise you, it's colder than you think.

We turned on our oven to warm our hands.  We wore hats and multiple layers.  We built a fire in our fireplace and we lit candles all over the house.

This may sound romantic, but then there was this:  we even lit candles around our toilet in an attempt to warm the toilet seat.  Because when you sat on it, it felt like you were sitting on a giant block of ice.   

It was actually really tricky to sit down without catching your pants on fire.  It was like the weekend challenge.  Every time we finished our business without catching ourselves on fire, we felt an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment.  You may wonder why we didn't just move the candles before we sat down, and if you are, then you clearly don't understand how lazy we are.  Remember, we are the people who ran out of oil because we didn't call our oil company.  And by the way, my watch is still an hour behind from when we "sprung forward" for Daylight Savings.  Yes, I am that person.

The oil finally came on Monday around 3pm (because clearly our oil company didn't think it was an emergency - or at the very least a top priority - when my husband explained that we didn't have heat for over 48 hours and that I was currently working at home with five fur-children in a freezing cold house - thanks, oil company).  Of course, the heat still didn't kick on because I guess when your house runs out of oil you have to bleed the oil because your pipes fill with air (or something like that).  When the heat came on at last, I think our cats were the happiest of all.

P and I celebrated by cranking the temperature up to 80 and lounging around in our underwear for the rest of the evening.  Because that's what responsible adults do when they have a full oil tank. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My inner roommate

My inner roommate is totally a sociopath. 

Let me explain.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I am reading an amazing book called The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer.  I love this book so much.  I feel like Mr. Singer is writing directly to me.  He makes happiness and inner peace seem so simple.  I'll tell you the secret.  Are you ready?  Those things that disturb you, all you have to do is let them go.  It's that easy.  Of course, learning how to do this is the real challenge, but it is a challenge I am taking on because I think inner peace sounds pretty awesome.

One chapter in the book is about your inner roommate.  Basically, your inner roommate is that voice you constantly hear in your head.  It's that voice that never shuts up and doesn't always say very nice things (at least mine doesn't).

It makes quick judgements about a situation or a person.  I don't like that.  This is boring.  She just gave me a weird look - what a jerk.  I don't like her.

It nags you and makes you feel guilty when you are trying to relax.  I shouldn't be watching TV.  I have a million things to do.  How can I be so lazy?

It can turn a perfectly lovely moment sour in a blink of an eye.  What a beautiful day.  Oh shit.  How could I have wasted this entire day of sunshine inside?  There will probably never be a day this beautiful again.  What the hell was I thinking?

It interrupts your night out with friends:  Did I turn off my hair straightener?  Oh, God.  My house is going to burn down and all of my pets are going to die and it will be all my fault.  It's always a lot of fun explaining to your friends why you are suddenly grabbing your keys and running out the door. "Sorry guys, but I think my house is on fire."  My friends are now used to this and so their response is usually something like, "Okay, thanks for the wine!  Talk to you tomorrow!"

Does anyone else have an inner roommate that sounds like mine?  I told you.  My inner roommate is a GD sociopath. 

Mr. Singer tells us that the mistake most of us make is that we assume we are that inner voice and so we let it talk us into feeling the way it tells us we should feel.  But that voice is not us.  Rather than allowing ourselves to get caught up in the thought, he tells us that we should simply observe the voice.  In other words, don't let the voice control you.  Be aware of it, but know that you are not the voice.  It is just your inner roommate.

And so this chapter taught me that I am perfectly normal, but my inner roommate is a lunatic.  From now on, I am blaming every bad mood I have, every mean thing I say or do, on my inner roommate.

When I start yelling at P for for leaving his laundry in the washing machine over night (again), I will say, "I'm sorry.  Your forgetfulness really set off my inner roommate."

When I snap at my mom for calling me when I'm getting ready for work, I will say, "Sorry, Mom.  My inner roommate hates interruptions."

When someone catches me rolling my eyes, I will say "It wasn't me.  That just really annoyed my inner roommate." 

I am pretty sure this wasn't the point of the chapter.  I realize that I need to work on observing my inner roommate rather than reacting to it.  But it is liberating to know that the crazy voice inside my head isn't me because that voice can be a total B sometimes.  Right now I am thinking that I should write a thank-you note to Mr. Singer.

Well, look at that.  I guess that B inside my head can be nice sometimes after all.   

Friday, March 14, 2014

Just call me Mrs. Franco

I am going to get a little deep here...

Although I have always been a thinker, I have been thinking a lot lately about who I am and what I want in life.  Probably because time keeps marching on and I find myself reflecting where I am in life and sometimes I catch myself comparing my life as it is to how I thought it would be.  (That is a huge no-no, by the way.)  For the most part, I feel satisfied and very lucky.  Of course, being happy with what I have would just make life way too simple and easy.  And I am not a simple person.  And as my husband will tell you, I am not an easy person either.

My expectations tend to be very high for a lot of things.  I am a "doing" kind of person.  I keep myself busy by setting new goals and striving to achieve.  Although that's certainly not a bad thing, when I take a closer look at why I do those things, it may be for the wrong reasons.

Achieving and accomplishing makes me feel good.  It gives me a feeling of satisfaction.  I feel successful.  I like myself more when I am successful.

Keeping busy allows me to escape, resist, or ignore things that I don't feel like dealing with in that moment (and by in that moment, I actually mean ever).  When I am DOING, I am too busy to focus on things that cause me worry, pain, stress, or fear.

I have resisted the things that I don't want to face by doing things.  I also do things to define who I am - or more accurately - to define who I think I should be.

Get good grades.

Play this sport.

Go to that college.

Earn this degree.

Run that race.

Take on that project.  And then take on 10 more projects on top of that.

DOING allows me to create my own journey where I am the boss rather than experiencing the journey that is given to me every day.  I choose to drive instead of going along for the ride.

Rather than "doing" all the time, I am making time to process and reflect.  I have also started reading the book, The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer.

This book is incredible.  I am not one who typically reads books about self-discovery, but I thought it was time to revisit my promise for 2014:  To shine.  It is hard to shine when you don't know who the hell you really are and what makes you tick (like really, really tick).  What I do know is that my current life, although it is very nice and I like it a lot, doesn't fill me with the kind of passion and fire that I would like it to.  And I'm not sure if it's my perception that is off or if I am just not living my life the way I was meant to live it.

I mean, maybe I am supposed to be a world traveler backpacking from country to country.  Or maybe I am supposed to be a photographer where "a day at the office" requires me to explore all kinds of magnificent landscapes.  Or maybe I am supposed to be a poet living in England's countryside.  Or maybe I am supposed to be James Franco's wife.

On that (amazingly awesome) note, there is a bottle of wine with my name on it.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Brew You

I found a new way to waste hours and hours on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  P and I are in need of a new coffeemaker.  We stopped by our local Bed, Bath, & Beyond and spent a solid 60 minutes checking out their merchandise.  We went back and forth (well, I went back and forth) trying to decide:

Do we want a coffeemaker or should we try an espresso machine?

If we go with a coffeemaker, do we want an automatic drip with a carafe or a single cup machine?

If we go with a single cup machine, do we want a Keurig or a Tassimo?

If we go with a carafe, do we want glass or thermal?

And by the way, I am saying "we" but really, P couldn't care less.  I could tell him we are switching to instant coffee and he would probably go along with it.  (Although even he would probably care a little about that.)

We (aka I) finally decided on a purchase:  an automatic drip coffeemaker with a glass carafe and a built in burr grinder.  Before today, I had no idea what a burr grinder was.  P kept telling me it was a high-end brand.  Clearly, we know nothing about brewing coffee and probably shouldn't be allowed to go coffeemaker shopping.  I know that coffee connoisseurs would scoff at the idea of an automatic drip coffeemaker and even more so at the idea of buying one with a built in grinder, but we decided that convenience was important.  And I think I just proved that we are not coffee connoisseurs. 

When we got home, we were both so excited and all I wanted was a fresh cup of coffee from our new coffeemaker.  You know what it's like when you have something in your head and in that moment that something is the only thing you want in the whole wide world?  Can you tell that I am setting up for a disappointing ending here?  The DAMN coffeemaker wouldn't fit under the cabinets in our quaint 1940s (aka awkwardly-sized) home.

I guess instead of blaming our cute (but still teeny-tiny) house for being too small, I should say that the stupid coffeemaker was freakishly huge.  To be honest, I would have been more upset, but the first thing I read in the manual (before we realized it was too big for our counter) was that damn California warning that states:  "This product contains hazardous, lethal, poisonous lead that will likely result in death and/or birth defects."  Okay, the warning may not say that exactly, but that is the gist.  Seriously.  If you don't believe me, just click here.  (I talked about this warning before.)  The size issue gave me an excuse to return the coffeemaker without making a big deal about the warning (which happened a few months ago when P and I purchased a vacuum cleaner).

And so I went on the hunt for a new coffeemaker.  What is the best coffeemaker for the best price?  I spent the rest of my afternoon and evening (until about 10:30pm to be exact) researching coffeemakers and their parts, where they are made, customer reviews, etc., etc., etc.  My head is going to explode.

Finding a BPA-free coffee pot was the least of my worries (although this is where my worries began).  The more I thought about this, I am pretty confident that our current coffeemaker, which we have used for about 8 years now, is probably filled with so much BPA that P and I are permanently poisoned and we will most likely develop every possible disease that can result from BPA toxicity.  I am probably lucky if I live long enough to finish this post.

Awesome.  Now I am scared of my coffeemaker.  What was once the highlight of my morning is now my worst f***ing nightmare.  Never mind the fact that the damage is certainly already done, so why worry now?  But, still.  What if it is that one more sip of BPA-coffee that just makes my organs give out completely?  I am so F***ed.  (I don't know why I keep typing *'s.  You have to know what I am saying, right?  Sorry, if you are offended.  But, if you are offended, aren't you glad that I used the *'s?)

As much as my mind could have spiraled down this path of "What are the signs of BPA poisoning?" instead, I continued my research on finding the perfect coffeemaker for P and I.  My questions went on and on.  Although I did know that we wanted an automatic drip with a carafe, I was still torn between thermal or glass.  I liked the idea of coffee staying warm without a hot plate, but I swear that stainless steel can give coffee a weird taste.  Then, I found a glass-lined thermal option.  WINNER!  

So I thought my job was done, but then I started agonizing over other things like:

Is it okay to purchase a coffeemaker that is made in one part of the world when it is designed in another part of the world?

Is it safe to get a coffeemaker that has an aluminum heating element rather than a copper one?

And what the heck is in the plastic if it isn't BPA?

Do I spend $300 on a coffeemaker (without a grinder) or buy the much more reasonably priced version (also without a grinder)?

And then there was the grinder.  I will spare you the details as this research followed a very similar pattern.  But I will tell you, a burr grinder is not a brand.  You see?  This wasn't a total waste of time.

P should be thanking me for all of my hard work in trying to find a coffeemaker that won't kill us.  As much as it pains me, he talked me into the less expensive option.  So, I will spend countless cups of coffee in my future fretting about the aluminum heating element.  After all my worrying about BPA poisoning, we will probably now both develop Alzheimer's from the mother-loving aluminum heating source.  P, if I get Alzheimer's, I'm blaming you.

But until then, I am stuck with my BPA coffeemaker (which probably also uses aluminum so I am doubly screwed) because Amazon won't ship my purchases for 5 to 8 business days.  Because why would I spend more money on shipping when I wouldn't spend more money for the copper heating element?  That would just be stupid.

And that was my Sunday.

Ugh, I need a cup of coffee. Oh, wait.  F*** me.

I am pretty sure the bubbles are from all the BPA.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Parenthood (a little perspective from a fur mom)

Warning!  You must bring your sense of humor if you plan to read this post.  If you do not have one or temporarily misplaced it, please just hit the back button right now.  Better yet, just close the window and forget your ever saw this.

When you are in your thirties, Facebook can be a strange place.  Although, in all fairness, I did not join Facebook until I was in my thirties, so it is quite possible that Facebook is a strange place no matter how old you are.  I am sure that anyone who has a Facebook account can relate to how their friends' posts often fall under a certain category (e.g., the chronic complainer, the bragger, the know-it-all, etc.). 

Today, I want to talk about that one type of post that increases dramatically when you are in your thirties - the parent posts.  The reality is that many of my thirty-something friends are parents or expecting parents-to-be.  I, too, am a mother - but my five children each have four legs and a tail.  A few days ago, I had a conversation with a good friend (who also has several fur children) about some of the parent posts showing up in our feed lately.  We have a few friends who have been posting things about motherhood that have, quite frankly, terrified us both about the prospect of having human children.  They make motherhood sound like torture with all of their complaints about lack of sleep and non-stop crying, pooping, and throwing up.  Then, they will follow up with pictures and posts about how their babies are the cutest things to ever exist in the universe, which will again be followed by an awful story about how poop exploded from someone's hiney.  (By the way, this is the first time I ever typed the word hiney.)

Then, one of our mom friends posted something about how she totally agrees with the statement that you are not a real parent until you have more than one child.  I am not one to publicly criticize what someone writes, but I have to be honest here, I think that might be one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read/heard in my life.  I mean, I get what she is saying - having more than one child is extremely hard work - especially when both children are under the age of three.  I would never, EVER argue that point.  I cannot imagine how much work that must be.  But come on now, by saying that someone is not real, you are either calling that person fake or imaginary.  As an only child, I can tell you that my parents are quite real.  Although having imaginary parents does sort of sound cool, like your parents are invisible with superhuman powers.  Maybe my friend was making the point that imaginary parents are way more kick ass than real parents and if that was her point, then I'm an asshole.

Anyway, this is how the conversation with my fellow fur-mom friend went (please note that names have been changed as I want to protect her identity from our mom friends):

Nina:  I want to post all the things that parents post but apply it to my dogs.  Like, "Urgent!  All mommys and daddys within 15 miles, what's the best doggie daycare for little Barkley?"

Me:  Well, that's just utilizing your contacts.  You are being a smart and responsible dog mom.

Nina: "And PLEASE - only people with three or more fur babies reply, because otherwise you aren't real parents."

Me:  Absolutely.  No fake dog parents allowed in this conversation.  Their input would be fake input and that would just be rude on their part.

Nina:  "Ugh!  I FINALLY got 8 hours of sleep!  Thank God, Maxwell stopped licking his butt hole all night long and let mommy and daddy catch up on sleep.  We were zombies!"

Me:  Butt hole breath is the worst!

Nina:  And then the next day...  "UGH!  If it's not one, it's the other.  Maxwell finally stopped licking his bum and then Jack starts licking his penis all night!!!  So exhausted today!!!  This mommy needs coffee!!!"

Me:  And now you're dealing with butt hole AND penis breath!  Good thing they are both so freaking adorable!

Nina:  Zing!

Me:  We should share this with the world.  It teaches everyone a valuable lesson.  The world would thank us.

The end.

P.S.  You're welcome, world.