Ex-Factors

Ever wonder whatever happened to those people who ruined your emotional stability for a certain period of time after they dropped you for someone else?  Or, maybe it was visa-versa with you holding the better hand: you dropped their baggage at the curb.  Well, I do.  I wonder from time to time what happened to those exes, but with the internet, a LOT can be unearthed.

I found my first boyfriend’s wife’s blog. I found my last ex’s wedding page advertising their need for fancy cheese presses and gift cards to support their honeymood. I find out lots of things with the help of the little search engine that could: Google.

(So, yes, internet fans, this comes across rather stalkerish. But, admit it, you’ve Googled a few people from your past to see where they landed in life. In fact, you probably do it on Facebook and MySpace, too. And, if you’re anything like me and the REST OF THE WORLD, you know you’re comparing apples to oranges. You know you expressed a “holy shit, I can’t believe this person procreated!” It’s true – you know you wondered how some people even managed to figure out how to use those parts to make babies.)

Anyway, what I find to be rather ironic (hopefully this is being used correctly) is that in each of my previous relationships, the women my exboyfriends married were both women they said THEY WERE NOT ATTRACTED TO. This should have been a sign from the moment I met these women. Right then, in my pajamas with one and a formal dress with the other, I should have stood up, shook their hands, congratulated them on their wins, and stepped aside.

After all, it was a testament to my taste and my good luck. My taste because I got them first. My good luck because they took the tired, used parts off my hands for free!

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Pontoon Problems

Last weekend, my mother and stepfather purchased a brand new SunChaser pontoon boat from a dealership/marina in Lake Wedowee, Alabama.  It is pretty nicely outfitted, too.  So, this weekend, while I am in Georgia visiting them, they decided to take the boat out again, and then return it to Georgia in order to store it within their subdivision.

While we are out on Lake Wedowee, on our return trip back to the marina, I decided to take the helm and drive the boat back.  Even though I have the boat driving at maximum speed (which, right now, is about fifteen miles an hour), the boat feels like it is dragging.  Well, my parents, slightly rusty from the last boat they owned (which was stolen, retrieved by U.S. Marshalls, and then stolen again FROM the U.S. Marshalls), forgot to pull the anchor up.  So, there they are at the front of the boat, in one corner, leaning over the edge trying to pull up the anchor while I am still driving the boat.  All of a sudden, the boat lurches forward toward their corner and water starts spilling into the front of the boat.  I’m still driving, so essentially I am turning the pontoon into a submarine, attempting a ridiculous drive maneuver.  I am in so much shock from the situation I just sit there with my mouth gaping wide-open.

Luckily, my cousing jumps up from next to me and throws back the throttle, causing the back of the boat to drop back into the water.  My uncle is laughing hysterically at me because I just sat there dumbfounded by the entire situation.  For the rest of the day, he teased me about trying to sink the boat.  While I should have stopped the boat when they first tried to retrieve the anchor, my parents should not have stood in one corner and put all of their weight on the very edge of the boat.  On a boat that sits on two large aluminum panels, weight displacement is fairly important to navigation.  However, we managed to aid each other’s destructive habits and almost sink a brand-new $17,000 boat in the middle of a 100-foot lake. 

Will power

Yesterday, Dave decided to give up watching television.  He felt that the time he spent watching TV wasted away valuable hours in his day.  Those precious hours, which he could use for, I don’t know, staring at the ceiling, ticked away without any good moments to take away; no valuable memories were made.  So, when he came home, he sat down in front of the television and watched the rest of the Indians game while playing Brain Age on my DS.  Can you not see why I love this man? 

Awkward moments

In life, there are some things which must go unsaid and undone with certain people.  It is for the betterment of society and an individual’s own sanity.  One thing that I personally refuse to do is watch a specific television show, for a particular reason, with Dave’s mother.  I absolutely refuse to watch The Tudors with her.

Why?  Why would any twenty-something woman want to willingly sit down to watch an hour of mostly royal sex with her boyfriend’s fifty-something mother?  I already live in the same house with Dave’s parents, who probably assume I have a healthy relationship with their son, with whom I share a bed each night.  I think that implication of the assumption alone is enough of a reason why I do not want to watch Jonathan Rhys Meyers poke Anne Boleyn each episode with Dave’s mom sitting in the chair next to me.

I think it is safe to say this is one situation I would much rather leave to the imagination than to reality.  No one needs  to experience the deafening silence that follows each one of those bedroom scenes.  Been there.  Done that.  Perhaps the best course of action is to stick to The Office or House Hunters, two shows thankfully void of rampant sexual promiscuity.

 

Happy Unbirthday to You

Aries, the dog Dave and I adopted back in October 2006, turned two on April 4, 2008.  Or, so we guess she did.  Because there is no evidence of her birth (you never know, she might be divine), Dave and I decided we needed to come up with a birth date.  It needed to be one we could remember and one that would reflect her name, the astrological sign represented by the Ram.  So, 4/4 seemed like an easy solution because it fit both bills: easiness and astrological-correctness. 

Her birthday was surrounded by fanfare.  She received a whopper of a steak, at least one gift, multiple treats, and all the tummy scratchin’ a dog could want.  She responded rather well to he steak, as we continually ound her cornering her food bowl to lick the taste out of the plastic.  Her gift was a little bear baby, a stuffed toy which she normally would have destroyed and sent its innards outwards within seconds, but this time Dave and I have been more wary about her destructive habits.  I already restuffed parts of the bear and sewed back together the seams twice.  We are trying to make this one last.

We are trying to make this one last.  Isn’t that underlying message?  My dog has more memorable birthdays than Dave and I do.  Dave experiences the least memorable birthdays of any person I know.  His parents don’t even get a cake or a gift.  If they remember a card, it is a miracle.  For most humans, the birthday experience is similar; it is a pat on the back and a “Congratulations, you have made it this far.  Imagine how old you’d feel is this was 1262!”  For Aries, it is a circus-like event, played out in three rings, with two ringmasters orchestrating the whole operation. 

For me, I know why we give Aries so much love and why we create such excitement over her fictional birthday.  She brings us love, and while we know she brings us this joy, we cannot quite understand that she experiences it in return.  So, we give her a steak, which we know she enjoys through her incredibly quick consumption.  We give her a toy we know she will love to catch.   We try to return to her those little moments she cannot always recognize, but that we do and take advantage of all the time.  It is one of the ways we know she can recognize our love for her.

 

Connections

Lately, my obsession with LinkedIn has gone a little overboard.  The insanity is reminiscent of when I discovered Facebook and perpetually sought ought my three-hundred odd acquaintances and five good friends.  I might as well be honest about the status of my relationships.

I actually discussed this topic with my boss today and explained to him that I have always maintained a large stock of acquaintances, but very few close friends.  He felt the same way in his own life.  I could probably name five on one hand, and two would be my mother and my sister.  The close friends, with exception to a few, have rotated in and out of acquaintanceship depending on time and distance.  The same story probably reads the same for many others.  It is too hard to maintain most deep friendships due to time, self-interest, and proximity.  Luckily, the Internet kindly defers proximity for the want of actual, face-to-face contact.  With each click, you are one website closer to friends in frozen images.

I like networking websites, particularly LinkedIn, because it showcases your talents without needing a resume due to your associations.  Some people have already remarked that this makes me superficial in some sense, but when you get down to it, it is very much all about who you know in life that gets you where you are.  I build good relationships based on mutual respect, perseverance, and a common goal.  I work hard to play hard, and those I work with are important to the game.  In the end, we are all really quite self-centered because we’ve all got our own agendas to live out.  LinkedIn makes the game just a little easier.

Future Outlaw?

I do not get along with my boyfriend’s mother, and it is admittedly obvious.  In the past, for the sake of my relationship, I tried to find some way to get along, some thing in common, anything that would at least allow me to talk to her without immediately feeling defensive.  Or wanting to walk into another room when her presence is near.  Or turning into a crab-ass every time she looks in my direction.  The negative reactions list does not end here.

I research constantly to try to find a way to approach the situation.  I know I am not alone.  There are thousands of results for people who are “trying to get along with their in-laws.”  No, she is not my in-law, yet, but I have lived with her son for over a year-and-a-half, and we may soon be moving to another state for his upcoming career.  Most of our friends call us “might-as-well-be-married.”

Through my research, I have pinpointed some of the situations that create the tension I can currently feel in my neck.  The first situation is the meddling.  Dave and I purchased a dog over a year ago and we have worked very hard to train her.  We give her plenty of treats, toys, and love, but we also try to give her things in moderation.  She is our little baby, and we treat her as if she were our child.  In the same scene, Dave’s mom constantly tries to buy her things we do not want her to have because it promotes her destructive habits.  We avoid giving Aries soft plastic or fabric toys because she rips them to shreds.  Although her habit of doing this has recently waned, it is still prevalent.  Also, at a past dog show, we purchased Aries a dog coat for long walks, if we even took any, during the winter.  If she is simply going outside to “potty,” she does not need the coat.  Her fur is long and she zips around the yard to keep warm.  But as soon as the temperature drops near freezing, Dave’s mom wants her to put on her coat.  Now, she wants to buy her dog boots.  Neither are necessary, but we bought the coat at the dog show because it was cute and I have an incessant need to spend money.  She definitely does not need the boots because she will tear them from her feet and rip them apart.  We can barely get her to wear bandannas for special events because she tries to bite them, so the boots would surely suffer a worse fate.  She does not need the doting, but Dave’s mom constantly worries about it.  I admit that I do not ask, but tell her not to buy her the things we do not want her to have because she does not need them or it is not her responsibility.  I look like the bad guy and Dave accuses me of being too protective of Aries. 

The second situation is a mix of constant anxiety and competition for Dave.  Dave’s mom vocalizes zero confidence in her son around me and often around him, too  My usual reaction is that of indifference whenever she turns the pitch up in her voice because it means one thing: she wants to hear someone agree with her sentiments that her son is not capable of living on his own.  She wants to hear that he needs her.  I no longer want to hear the doubt and anxiety.  Dave, who is one of the most successful people I know, is about to take an incredible position with a large company.  This career offering may be the highest paid position a company offered a student from his university after receiving their MBA.  He is incredibly responsible and intelligent, but she only sees him as the child of her memory.  She would do just about anything for him, which is not unique among many parents, but sometimes takes the assistance too far.  We really will not need her help in decorating our future apartment or house, though she seems to think her advice will be heralded.  The scenario brings to mind a scene from “Sex and the City” where Charlotte visits Trey’s home in NYC, only to witness the insane amount of Tartan plaid and Mallard ducks.  Of course, Charlotte is appalled.  That would be our household if Dave’s mom decorated it, except with Longaberger baskets and chickens.  Neither of which I like (Dave appears indifferent).  I realize that having one child in life results in a lot of control over that child. All of her attention went into raising Dave, so it must be a tough situation to let go.  But, there also comes a time when people need to let go and allow their children to thrive in their own lives.  In the past, it only made her angry when I pointed out that her son is will not be her exact reflection (that is a long story over certified mail receipts).  The rule of thumb in on chapter of Freaknomics is that how you raise a kid has almost zero correlation to how they will turn out.  It should be no surprise that children are rarely the mirror image of their parents habits and personalities.

Her anxiety makes it difficult to want to talk to her.  It turns her angry or needy, neither of which anyone in the house likes because the outcome is that she yells at everyone and slams things or she nags Dave or his dad.  I cannot decide whether this is a habit brought on by a need for attention or something much deeper.  It could be neither, but it could also be both.  For me, when I have recognized that I have a problem, such as with my own bouts of depression, I go to a specialist.  I visit a doctor or a psychologist, someone that will help me see the end to my problems.  If I want to change something about myself, such as eating habits and weight issues, I actively pursue the end goal.  I whine and complain about my discomfort for much of the time, but I try, even if the attempt results in failure.  I do not know if it disappoints me or angers me more that this is not the same with Dave’s mom.  

The biggest problem for me is that I do not want all of the above to plague my relationship with Dave and his family.  For the past year, it has.  I can see the disappointment with Dave and I know it affects his mother and father.  They treat me kindly, much like a daughter they never had, and they provide a lot for Dave and I while he is in graduate school.  It is not that I do not appreciate them, it is that I cannot seem to get around the tension I have for his mother, as much as I want to have some sort of working relationship with her.  I do not want to feel like I have to retreat to another room.  I do not like feeling like a crab all evening.  I do not like avoiding conversations with her.  But, at the same time, I do not think anyone understands how I feel, and since I do not vocalize these sentiments well and tend to internalize the anger and annoyance, I needed to write it out in hopes of someone having some advice or a similar situation to share.