Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Luxuries of Bygone Times

How spoiled was I as a child? Lets look at the facts:

My mom packed my lunch and made me dinner every day. She washed my clothes, cleaned the house and carted me around from soccer practice to swim practice to school to everywhere in between.

She was our family's accountant. She kept my important documents filed. She did my taxes when I got my first job. I never realized what a luxurious lifestyle I was leading as a teenager. (Dad, I'm not forgetting about you, you worked everyday to afford this lifestyle for our family!)

Now I'm 28. Nothing is automatic anymore. If I want someone to make me dinner or pack my lunch I have to pay them first. If I want to go somewhere I have to drive myself. And make sure the car has gas, and pay credit card bill for the account I used to pay for the gas, and make the payment on the car...

Last week, I had to catch the bus home from work. Despite the fact it took 3 times as long as driving, I felt more relaxed than usual. I was grateful not to be the one actively maneuvering on the highway, cursing the slow paced midwest driving.  I just paid my fare and read a book the whole way home, without a care what the cars around me were doing. Relinquishing control was like exhaling a sigh of relief.

I find being an adult is exhausting at times. My to-do list is an overly abundant, renewable resource, and I'm sure yours is too. If we could power cars with our "to-do's" the US would be energy independent by 2016.

I know these aren't real problems. These are first world, middle class, problems. But I'm weary nontheless, so yes, I will take my whaaaburger with a side of french cries.

Thanks Kat for hosting the confessions link up. Happy Halfway!
Vodka and Soda

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bucket List Update: Summer, Summer, Summer Time.

#35 Swim in Lake Erie. I was persuaded to go swimming on a stormy night when the lake looked like this. 

Don't worry, I was not swimming near the rocks. I rationalized I had swum in crests bigger than what Lake Erie had to offer,  so I went for it. My evening swim turned out to be good fun, although I was never successfully able to body surf a wave like I could in the ocean.

Upon arriving back at the car, we learned the valet key to Chris' new car did not fit the lock. Our keys and phones stuck inside the confounded thing, we hailed some strangers in the parking lot to call Chris' brother to rescue us. (Thank goodness he had a phone number commited to memory.  Modern Life Advice: make sure you memorize a few important phone numbers, like local family or friends who could help you in an emergency.)

Two hours and one locksmith later we were on our way home, but it calls to mind the last time I went to the lake, where I experienced a different sort of disaster with keys and cars. I think Lake Erie is a jinx.

#96 Go to the Duct Tape Festival.  It has all the trappings of any other fair you might attend (funnel cakes, corn dogs, rides of questionable safety standards) BUT this one is set apart by the incredible statues made out of duck tape set about. Which is to say: it's awesome. Of the four activities in this post, I would recommend this one above all. This years theme for the annual statue competition was "Out of this World."

 And my favorite exhibit:

#21 Visit the pro football hall of fame. Not really located in Cleveland,  the pro football hall of fame is an hour south in Canton. Truth? I'm not a big football fan. In this way, I am the shame of my family. I at least understand the game better than most other professional sports and will happily tailgate for, and drink beer at a stadium. However,  most of the museum was lost on me, but at least my hat looks ever-so jaunty in the picture.

#93 Attend the All American Soap Box Derby.
I had no idea what to expect, but after a few minutes of observing I came to the conclusion a soap box derby is a lot like a swim meet. If you've never been to a swim meet, I shall set the scene:  you sit around all day under a pop up tent with your family, eating snacks out of a cooler while heat after heat after heat of races go off that you really don't care about but have to pay attention to, lest you miss your heat. You wait arduously until it is finally your turn. When that blessed time comes,  you race for a minute or two, and then return to your tent to beat yourself up about what you could have done better and wait some more for your next event. Thrilling, right?

For a first timer, it was cool to watch for a bit, but I can't see this as a "thing" to do unless you have a child or a friend competing.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Confession: With age comes wisdom and conversely, declining mental faculties

Confession? I have a terrible memory.  I wish I could change this about me, but I never can  remember to work on it. Its a viscous cycle, you see,  having the memory capacity of a gold fish. I've offended many a person by not remembering their name after meeting them countless times. It makes for some incredibly awkward encounters, especially at work. Scene: Someone passes me in my office "Hey Shelly how are you?" Internal monologue: How does that person know my name? They look kinda familiar. QUICK say something. "Hey, YOU, I'm good!" Woops.

Apart from my forgetfulness with names, faces and  WHERE IN GODS NAME ARE MY KEYS? I tend to forget important life lessons I've already learned the hard way, so I've gotten in the habit of writing them down in my phone's "notes" app.  Is this incredibly weird? Maybe. But its either that or create some rhyming pneumonic device. This is just easier.

So now, whenever I am tempted to do something questionable, I vaguely remember I had an opinion regarding said situation, and consult my virtual legal pad for advice from past-me.
On drinking:
"Don't take shots. You'll have a sour stomach and heartburn for 12 hours to pay for it and I hate you if you do. Also stop mixing."

On shoes:
"Shelly, stop buying stilettos. You hardly wear the ones you already own, and when you DO wear them out, they hurt so much you end up barefoot anyway. Save your self $50, and don't buy them."

On chain restaurants:
"Just order vegetable side dishes, you'll be less disappointed." This one probably requires some explanation: I am a food snob. Blame it on Cleveland. "Cleveland?" you exclaim, "I thought all you had was a burning river and an abusive relationship with a certain basketball player?"  Don't let our bad press deceive you: Cleveland is nice place filled with great food! Applebee's no longer passes as a nice meal. Sorrynotsorry? Not sorry. Nevertheless, it is not always possible to avoid chains (see: office lunches.) My most recent trip to a popular steak house, which shall remain nameless, ruined meat from chains once and for all with its gristly, plasticky excuse for beef.  I like to think its harder to screw up a baked potato or steamed broccoli, so I'll be sticking to the side dishes from now.

I am reviewing my advice notes now so they are fresh in my memory because this weekend I am in a wedding. Everyone dressed up with an open bar? #1 and 2 are directly applicable.

It is my vain hope I will listen to my own advice, and achieve my elusive goal of being a classy guest who sips champagne til a reasonable blood alcohol saturation and then stops; versus the guest who, at the end of the night gets rolled into the hotel on the luggage cart because her feet hurt too much to walk and the world is spinning madly beneath her. That scenario is entirely hypothetical, of course...

Oh all right, I'll confess: Its not.

Thanks to Kat for hosting the Link up. Happy halfway!

Vodka and Soda