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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My own personal Gauntlet

Last night, I was watching the season finale of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet II. I could do an entire post on this, as my love for dumb reality tv has been well documented, but I will resist for the benefit of my loved ones. Of the Gauntlet, I will only say this: at one point, one of the guys said "life is a Gauntlet", meaning that life is a competition. I am so not down with that.

Don't get me wrong, I am probably one of the most competitive people you could ever hope (or not hope, depending on your point of view) to meet. My entire job is a competition. I take board games way, WAY to seriously, and I believe that if you looked into my past, you would notice that on more than one occassion I have challenged other couples to a sporting event "ANY SPORTING EVENT, DOESN'T MATTER, WE WILL KICK YOUR ASS!" Tennis, basketball, running...I can make shuffleboard competitive. I refer you to the time when I made our Christmas gift swap a competition in my head, which I subsequently won, under protest from other family members who complained that they didn't know it was a competition in the first place. Whiners.

Competition breeds excellence. I believe that. But I don't like the whole idea that "life is a competition." To compete within a context of a game is great. But to make life about "one upping" friends and family makes me uneasy, and upset. I like my house. I didn't buy it because it was better than yours. I like my job. I didn't go to law school so I could be "smarter" than you. And I like my blog, but I don't keep track of the comments I get vs. the comments that Undercover Celebrity gets. (you should check her out if you haven't already). I love my house because it suits me and my husband. I like being a lawyer because I like to argue alot. And write my blog in search of a single comment. My husband's after I give it to him on our anniversary.

Life should not be a competition. There is enough of that already. Life, your real life, at it's heart, should be the place you feel most comfortable, most at ease. The place you rest up for the competition...

Much as I would like to abolish "keeping up with the Jones'" it inevitably seeps into everyone's life. Everyone has friends who aren't truly happy for you when you buy the house of your dreams, or get that great job, or make that perfect cupcake. I imagine when we have kids there will be parents whose child walked a little sooner or had a bigger vocabulary at that age, and they won't hesitate to let you know about it (no doubt with a fake smile and a condescending tone). Not everyone's kid gets to be featured on Regis & Kelly's cutest babies, and I'm okay with that.

It happens, but if you don't engage and let it roll off your back, then it is something in the background that doesn't bother you that much. Most of the time. There are times when it gets under your skin. And that, my friends, sucks.
It sucks because it makes you feel bad, and it sucks because it's so unneccessary.

But mainly it sucks because I am not in the competition with you. Therefore, it isn't really a competition is it? It's really just you trying to make me feel bad. And congratulations, because you are winning...I feel bad.

I don't feel bad because your house is nicer, or you make more money. I don't feel bad because your clothes are better and you drive a nicer car, live life a little higher on the hog.

I feel bad because your own insecurity prevents you and me from really being close. And that is the real loss. I feel bad because this little competition prevents us from truly being in a great relationship. And the real kicker? You are the one truly missing out. Because I could be a great friend to you if you would just get over this jealousy. I am really a great friend. I rock.

Because when you get that great house, or that great job, or that cute one is more happy for you than me. I just wish you could be the same way.

Here's the thing though...I'm going to keep trying. For alot of reasons, but mainly because I think you are worth it. So I am going to ignore it the next time you give me a 'compliment' or you accidentally leave me out of something or exclude me. And I'm going to keep on trying, because eventually you will come around. I'm pretty sure you will...I mean, I hope you will come around. You would have to right? I mean even my little brother grew out of his jealousy after college. And he was a real pain in the you? Yeah, you'll come around. Won't you? will. I'm sure, well, I'm pretty sure. No, you will. I'm sure.

In the meantime, I will be over here, trying my ass off, so just let me know. Okay?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Remember the time....

Have you ever heard the adorable ramblings of older people reminisce about when they first started dating, or when they first got married, or first bought a house? They tell a funny story about something dumb they did because they didn't know any better, and "wow, weren't we innocent and dumb, but we had fun didn't we? Oh those were the days weren't they?"

And it's adorable, and you think to yourself, "I hope we're like that when we grow old and sit on our front porch telling stories of times past to the new couple who just bought their first house next door and have started a life."

Memories have a way of making the past seem so much more romanticized. In thirty years, I'll ask my husband "remember when we were just married, and had just bought our first house? Remember how we didn't know that the gas bill was an estimate, and that the gas company read the meter every month to confirm the bill? Remember how the gas company never read our meter until a year and a half after we moved in because they kept coming during business hours? Remember how they never even told us that they came, or called us to let us know that it had been 18 months since our last meter reading? Remember how they finally showed up one Saturday to read the meter and two weeks later we got a gas bill for $2000 because they had estimated our gas usage pitifully low? Remember how mad I got and I called the gas company in a fit of rage? Remember that they told me that the bill said it was only an estimate in fine print on the back, and that we should have realized because 'everyone knows the gas bill is only an estimate', and 'why didn't you call us when you realized no one had read the meter since you moved in' and I screamed that I had no idea that the meter was supposed to be read or even where it was for the love of God, and then I hung up? Remember how you had to call back and we had to go on a ghetto payment plan because we had just spent our extra cash on a vacation to Mexico?"

"Remember that? Wasn't that funny? We were so young then, weren't we?"

Good times, Good times.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

My First Meme

3 things you wish for:

1. To have a beautiful family with my Husband
2. To retire at a reasonably young age, while I can still walk without my arthritis acting up
3. That my husband never has to know the bane of "billable hours"

3 things you would do to/for yourself if there was no one to judge you (or if you had the guts!):

1. Quit my job to be a full-time mom
2. Write a book
3. Smash my Kitchen-aid Mixer

3 bad habits you have:

1. Biting my nails
2. Leaving my belongings all over the place so that anyone who happens to come into my home could trace my exact steps from the moment I walked in the door
3. Watching 'dumb' reality tv shows...

3 insecurities you feel:

1. My weight
2. Not being a good enough wife
3. That I won't be a good enough mother

3 talents/skills you wish you had:

1. The power to throw up on command (this could get you out of almost any situation.
2. I wish I could dance
3. If I could only be more computer literate, I could rule the world, or at least not have to bother my secretary to put every letter on letterhead.

3 things you would do if you had more time:

1. I wish I had time to think about the things I would do if I had more time
2. Travel, but that would require money, which requires me to work, which is the reason I have no time. A vicious circle no?
3. Spend time with my mom and dad

3 things that bring you peace/relaxation:

1. Just being with my husband makes me instantly relax.
2. My niece
3. The beach

3 things that spark your creativity:

1. Well...
2. Ummm...
3. Apparently I am not that creative. We can't all be Creative. The world needs ditchdiggers too...

Thanks to Bearca! I enjoyed my first meme!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Sephora IS HERE!!!!!!!!

I started out at 19 using Clinique. At 26, my bestfriend/roommate informed me that Clinique was "like, Oh My God, such a starter makeup" and that I needed something that reflected the woman I had become. So I got some Chanel, and some Laura Mercier. And then I got the worst clogged pores you have ever laid eyes on. Apparently the woman I had become had bad skin. So I decided to leave the woman I had become in the dust and go back to the flawless skin Girl I Had Been All Along. So I went out and repurchased the clinique. I was 27 and that was the last time I bought makeup...I am now 30.

You see where this is going right? The Sephora Store in my area has been opened for a few months now. How it escaped my attention I don't know...I have no idea how this is not on the front page of the paper...Women of New Jersey, are you too caught up in being from New Jersey to realize the social impact of such an opening?

Apparently, they are. Regardless, this Saturday my husband and I went to the mall specifically to go to Sephora. I had wrongly assumed that he would understand the significance of the new Sephora store. He has absolutely no comprehension of what a magnificent occassion it was to be purchasing all new makeup. It was a once every few years experience that I relish...

We went in together and he immediately asked "what is this place?" I did not have time to answer before Andie came over to us. Andie was the male makeup artist who was going to assist me in determining what type of makeup best suited me. Andie was also wearing about three times the amount of makeup I had worn on my wedding day, a day that I wore the most makeup I had ever worn in my life: FOUNDATION PEOPLE!

My husband shook hands with Andie and promptly told me he would be back to get me. Although he was polite, it was clear that Andie's eye liner and lip gloss scared my husband a little. Once he was gone, Andie and I got down to business and as it turns out, Andie completely understood me from Hello. He instinctively understood my wants and needs (purely in a makeup sense). I grew to appreciate and even love Andie in that half hour of consultation.

Right on cue, just as Andie was finishing up, my husband walked up to me. I asked what he thought, and he replied "it's very orange". Andie was visibly hurt. I tried to console him. I tried to explain that my husband prefers me without makeup and as a consequence I don't normally wear alot of makeup...My husband just wasn't used to it, he didn't mean anything by it...

And then my husband looked at Andie and said "no, it looks good, you did a good job. I like it, it just took me a minute." Andie relaxed a little and dabbed at his welled up eyes. It was a touching moment really, my husband trying to make Andie feel better about the makeup. Telling his wife she looks orange, yeah, he has no problem with that. But hurting Andie, what did you think he was, some kind of monster?

Oh Sephora, I just can't quit you...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Herbie the Dentist

Three weeks ago my husband told me he had a toothache. Three weeks ago, I told my husband to call the dentist. By Monday the agony was great enough that he couldn't play soccer that night because of the pain.

Not having gone in 3 years, we are both due to see the dentist. We obviously have issues, I know, I know.

The appointment was not made without some amount of prodding on my part, nor did my husband refrain from whining that there were no appointments available either before or after work hours on less than a week's notice.

Correct, you heard it correctly...SOMEHOW IT HAD ESCAPED MY HUSBAND'S ATTENTION THAT THE COVETED 8 AM APPOINTMENT WOULD BE IN SUCH DEMAND THAT YOU WOULD NEED TO CALL OVER 6 MONTHS IN ADVANCE. And he assumed that he could call on Monday for a Tuesday pre-work hour appointment. Yes, of course, because you are the only person who is slightly busy during the conventional work day...

The fact that he ended up getting an 8 am appointment only 3 days after calling for it is the first indication that the apocalypse is upon us. Quite frankly, I would have said his odds were better at winning the powerball than getting that appointment, but what do I know?

My point here is that he should be thanking the God we pray to on Sunday that he was lucky enough to get the appointment. But is that how it goes down? Noooooooooo.

He calls me on his way to work to tell me everything went fine, he got the cavity filled, but "can you believe he wouldn't fill the other cavity he found or do a cleaning? He said this was an 'emergency' appointment and I had to make another one to get my teeth cleaned and the other cavity filled!" No, actually, I can't believe that because I am too busy not believing you got the appointment in the first place to not believe what he may or may not have said to you.

And then I make the mistake of a rookie wife. I should have known better than to get involved in this debacle but..."Let's just go together, I'll call the dentist and make appointments for us to both get our teeth cleaned and you can have your cavity filled then too. Okay?" Why? Why isn't there a manual on marraige, surely this would be one of the most prominently featured chapters "Do Not Get Involved in Making Appointments for Your Husband to See Professional Health Care Providers"

This kid gives me two days to work with, BOTH FOR NEXT WEEK MIND YOU, only one of which I am available for. So I call and get the appointments for the day we can make it next week at 11 am. I don't even ask for the 8 am, because when I say who I am, the receptionist makes clear that my husband was a pain in the ass on the appointment front and lets me know that there are no 8 am or 4:30 pm appointments available until June.

So I happily make the appointment, just glad there was an opening for next week at all. Then in my naive newlywed stupor, I call to let my husband know the good news. Truimphant in my belief that I was the World's Greatest Wife, secure in the knowledge that I had succeeded in setting up an appointment under a set of limitations no ordinary human could have overcome...only to be met with this response:

Him: Alright, I guess it's okay. But did you try and make it for earlier? 11 is really a pain.

Me: What about this process do you not understand?