The Pre-Vacation Stress Blog

I’m leaving for vacation in a week in a half, and I’m seriously stressed.

I have never gone through this before. Always, in the past, I purely looked forward to vacation. I’ve never had a job where work was mine specifically to do. If I was gone, someone else would do it. Now, I’m worried about making sure all the complaints assigned to me have been responded to. Even if I manage to keep my own work up-to-date, regulatory agencies can come back and request more information at any time. Those requests come into my email inbox, so someone is going to have to be able to check those for me and be able to respond to them.

My boss seems remarkably unconcerned about this issue. I’m not sure if I regard his everything-will-be-all-right stance as a sign that I’m being too pessimistic and borrowing trouble, or if he’s not even realizing the chaos that could errupt. I love that this job is a challenge and I’m always learning something new, but at the same, the work is not leisurely and the deadlines are very serious. Today I didn’t even take my lunch hour until almost five at night because I was hammering out a complaint response.

The hectic schedule hasn’t done great things for my weight worries. This morning I set my alarm for 5am so that I could make it to the gym for step class before work. I slept badly and didn’t make it. Instead, I slept until 730. I’m tired, and these early mornings to work out feel a lot more like a punishment than something good I’m doing for myself. When I got to work, my meals for the day consisted of a cup of coffee and two cupcakes. On my late lunch hour, I made myself a bag of popcorn to munch on. NOT healthy. I’m too busy to remember to eat, which is bad, because when I do finally eat it’s whatever’s on hand and not good for me.

Tomorrow I’m going to do better. I’m trying out a different gym, doing strength training instead of an aerobics class. I can go in as early as 5am or as late in the morning as I can get away with before work. Since I have to be at work by nine, I’m thinking I can hit the gym around six and still be fine. Maybe that will help. I’m also stocking my drawers at work with healthy soups and snacks so that I can grab something easily that won’t be terrible for me to eat.

And there will be no cupcake vendors at the office tomorrow. So that will help.

Last weekend I cleaned our house. I know that sounds like a terribly mundane activity, but for me, it was truly mood-changing. I love my townhome when it’s freshly cleaned! It feels so Zen now. It’s completely changed the feeling I get when I arrive home. Just picking up the clutter and cleaning up has given the place a completely different vibe. A clean home is just so relaxing, whereas the dirty mess we WERE living in left me wanting to run far, far away and get out of there.

Saturday morning I’m going to get up early to work out and clean a little, then my buddy Sarah and I are going out to IHOP for brunch and then taking her five year old son to his school egg hunt. After that I’m off to the salon for a nice relaxing mani/pedi.

And then I have one week to completely clear out my inbox so that I can go on vacation.



I must be losing my mind, because I stepped out of the laundry this morning, spotted a cat out of the corner of my eye, and made my usual kissy-kissy come-here-and-I’ll-pet-you noises. Except it wasn’t a cat, it was an empty container of litter, which is green and in no way shape or form resembles one of the felines that takes up residence around here.

Maybe I’m going a little nuts because instead of a nice spring week, it freaking snowed in places a couple days ago. On the upside, I’m starting to hear birds chirp, the sun is rising earlier, and flowers are coming back. I love dogwood trees because they are pink this time of year. It’s neat to drive down a street lined with dogwoods and see all the pink. For me, spring in Washington means the Mt. Vernon tulip festival. We went last year right after moving up, and I want to go again this year but I know Paul won’t want to do it on a weekend. I may take a day off during the week so we can go together since I love the tulips.

Spring also brings baseball, another thing I love. Paul got us tickets to Mariners games throughout the season, and I’m excited to go. Baseball on tv isn’t nearly as good as baseball in person, watching the game and being able to see the skyscrapers of Seattle in the background and hearing the train whistle while gorging myself on Rally fries. Ahhh, good times. We leave April 30th for a visit to California to see our families and to (hopefully) enjoy some warm SoCal sun. I want to sit on the Parkers’ back porch watching hummingbirds and drinking margaritas. I want to be able to wear light summer clothing without freezing my butt off. If the weather is going to be exceptionally nice, I may need to buy some new stuff. I don’t have a lot of T shirts and tank tops anymore. I haven’t needed them. Last summer there were only a few really hot days, so mostly I wore jeans. When we went camping on the beach for my birthday last July, I wore sweatshirts the whole time. Maybe I’m more aclimated now, but still, Washington doesn’t yield the hundred-plus degree weather I grew up in all summer long.

Today I’m driving to Tacoma to meet up with my cousin Melanie. It’s been way too long since I’ve seen her and I’m excited. She lives in Ridgefield, almost in Oregon, so we meet in the middle to have lunch and shop. Our plan today is to have lunch at BJ’s Brewery (and yes, I can only remember the name because when we picked it I was all, “heh, the name is BJ” and damn near snickered myself into an I’m-funny coma. I look up the address so I can program it into my GPS, and it’s time to get ready so I can hit the gas station and Starbucks on my way out of town. Hopefully I won’t be met with an April blizzards along the way.

Of Marriage, Kids, and Looks

So I’m at the gym Wednesday morning, waiting for step class to start. A thin blond starts talking to me, just casual banter. She tells me she and her husband own a business and have six kids. I tell her I work for the phone company, and live with my boyfriend and our pets. She asks how long Paul and I have been together, and I respond that it will be seven years in August. “That’s a long time! Why haven’t you gotten married?” she says.

 Grrrr. I loathe this question. There’s no good way to respond. The truth is tough: although Paul and I love each other, he doesn’t see himself getting married. It’s hard not to find it hurtful when the love of your life tells you, to your face, that he doesn’t want to marry you. But then I look at all the good things, and I don’t want to throw away a special relationship just because he won’t get dressed up and sign a piece of paper swearing to love me forever. Since I’ve been down that road, been married and divorced, I know that in the end that piece of paper will not hold a relationship together, will not fix what’s broken. It’s difficult for me. So when people ask, especially complete strangers, I usually smile and say that if we get married I want it to be perfect, and we just don’t have the money to make it perfect.

So yeah, I lie.

 I have similar issues when people start asking me when we’re going to have kids. “We don’t want kids,” I always reply. Now, not wanting kids has nothing to do with whether or not I like kids (not that I love the idea of being woken up throughout the night, paying up the ass for daycare, being spit up on, or fighting Paul on the issue of why we cannot name a child Farnsworth). On some levels, I would love to have a child of our own. But then I think about how financially unprepared we would be for one, how difficult it would be to even spend time with our own kid with as much as we work, and how very much we’d be on our own with the responsibility. Up until a year ago, I always figured that if we changed our minds about becoming parents, we would have help from our families. Now that we live in Washington and both our sets of parents are back in California, we wouldn’t have that help.

Kids and marriage aren’t the only things that people seem to feel they have every right to run their mouths about. Appearance is fair game as well. I had a coworker a few years ago that would see me and exclaim, “You look twelve! There is no way you are old enough to work here!” I was in my early twenties and not amused. Often I wondered what would happen if I were to respond, “Oh my, you look sooooo old! How are you still working? Shouldn’t your kids have put you in a home by now?” I know that if I’d said it, I would have been thought rude. Which makes me wonder why likening me to a middle schooler is socially acceptable.

Really, the majority of people find it perfectly okay to say things or inquire about subjects that are none of their business whatsoever. These conversations are unsolicited and, in my opinion, rude. Perhaps I will start voicing this viewpoint. A friend had a good suggestion. The next time someone asks me why I’m not married, she recommends that I should say, “Where are your manners?” When that person gets Shock Face and demands that I elaborate, I can reply to the tune of, “That’s a personal decision and none of yer damn business.”

 Or, something like that.

I’m actually sort of disappointed that I didn’t know the blond at the gym was going to bring up such subjects. If I had, I would have responded to her having six kids by saying, “Damn! Haven’t you ever heard of birth control? You guys must be proof that pulling out doesn’t work! Are you some of them Mormon folk?” I know there are things about my life (and I suppose my appearance) that are not the norm for a twenty-six-year-old. I’m just doing the best I can to make the right decisions and be happy. And even if I say nothing, what I’m thinking to all those who comment on my marital status, lack of offspring, and young looks is “Fuck off.”