Till Death Do Us Part

I just got word that one of the women I love most is dealing with a significant loss. Her husband passed away in a car accident last night. Quick– and hopefully without suffering (for him, at least). For her and her four beautiful children, however, I’m sure it’s a much different story.

Death is a strange, uncomfortable thing for me. It usually results in some sort of awkward smile, a nauseous feeling, and an incredible ability to shut off part of my brain. My grandfather’s passing years ago sparked the change in reaction. I guess I don’t even know what a “normal” reaction would or should be considered. So, never mind that.

I can’t even imagine. I love my husband, a lot. I don’t always like him — 50% of the time if we are lucky. He knows me well, especially since he knows each and every nerve to pluck. If he were gone tomorrow though, I’m not sure what sort of emotion I would be feeling. It might be hard to feel anything, really. I think I would feel numb…for a very long time.

My friend has four children, a house, a farm, and a job. I have a dog, a rented apartment, and a career. I would say that’s not even remotely a comparison. Four children? *Sighs* That’s about as hard as trying to pay for four mortgages, I’d say. This same friend cooks and cleans for her family…and somehow manages to cook and clean for an entire Target family on top of it all. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her slow down or take a moment for herself. She amazes me. Every day.

My husband helps with a lot. I couldn’t do it all on my own like her. When we moved into our new apartment, he helped pack up our old one and did all of the heavy lifting. He helped me with the painting, and even though it was to curb his own OCD, he unpacked all of my clothes for me as well. He tries. Hard.

Still, I make fun of his eating habits, his lack of hair at a young age, and his stupid morning voice. And oddly enough, I would regret my own eating habits if it weren’t for his. I would have to wait on my husband to fix his hair before going out if he had more, and I would have to play Chatty Cathy in the morning if he were better at AM conversation.

“Till death do us part…” That could be tomorrow. Or Friday. Or Saturday. Or a year from now. Or ten. Either way you slice it, dice it, or dress it up, I wouldn’t ever be prepared. I couldn’t possibly. “Till death do us part…” You bet your ass I will be here with him each step of the way, with every new hair lost.

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Newton’a Law, Sorta.

People are lazy. Well, most people are. Newton proves it: An object at rest stays at rest until an unbalanced external force is pressed upon it. Everyone’s “external force” seems to be a little different though. For some people it is success, fame, competition…for others it may be money, the desire to appease others, or simply the desire to appease oneself.

My motivator or “external force” is my appearance or I guess just my overall physique, rather. It started when I was about 13 years of age. I hit puberty early, and I definitely saw 100 lbs on the scale at an early age too. I wasn’t BIG, but I definitely wasn’t scrawny.

I don’t think I even thought about what I looked like until a family member brought it to my attention. I don’t think she meant any harm, but from that moment on, I was acutely aware of everything I put into my body. Whether it be good or bad, full of fat or full of water…I knew it. I knew almost every nutritional fact about every single item I ever ingested. That continued for several years. Those years felt like decades to me, and each day felt like a week. It was a lonely, sad thing to obsess over.

To combat all of that, I continued to play sports. I grew up playing softball, but played soccer and ran Cross Country through high school. before games, the soccer girls would exchange Buddy Bags (I’m pretty sure that’s what we called it) in an attempt to motivate and encourage the other person for that afternoon’s big game. “Motivate” is an interesting concept here, you see. Again, my motivator was and is my physique. These bags were usually filled with candy and some sugary sports drink. And according to the nutritional guide stored up in my brain, none of these things were good for me…and not one of these things would enhance my performance for the day. I ingested most of it, but then sat quietly with headphones on regretting each calorie.

I try to ignore those things now or at least give myself a day or two a week to cheat (even if cheating only means not memorizing every part of the Nutrition Label). Despite the completely compulsive part of my brain that obsesses over my every health decision, I wonder why or how I don’t exercise more often. Or, why doesn’t anyone exercise more often really?

I think every now and then it takes a swift kick in the ass to get all these lazy objects in motion. After all, fear is a motivator for us all. At least that’s what Cannon said…

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The Foodie in Me

In Dahlgren, we had a Walmart and a Food Lion. Food Lion “sort of” sold food. I mean, they were frequently out of nearly everything I intended to buy and the produce looked like it took a trip down an elevator shaft before being put onto the shelves. Walmart was, well, Walmart. It wouldn’t matter how many dollars they stuffed into their marketing bag of tricks, I don’t think I would ever buy anything sold there that wasn’t pre-packaged. There’s the snooty girl in me…

Alexandria, on the other hand, has Whole Foods. Let me repeat: Whole Foods. “Whole” items of food that aren’t beaten and battered by a rising platform for lazy people.

I was in awe — complete awe — when I walked into the grocery store this evening. It has been two years since I’ve stepped foot into this particular one, but I was as amazed this time as I was the last. Straight ahead of of me, directly through the entrance, stood a man passing out tickets and glasses. As he was ushering people into the next room, I noticed a little station set up with several bottles of wine on display. People were holding out glasses and enjoying the various selections after a long day’s work. As I scanned the rest of the produce department, I saw other stations set up too. Then I saw the signs announcing this evening’s event: wine tasting.

Ohmigosh. Wine tasting.

I had never seen such a thing in a foodmart. I’m pretty sure that samples of pigs-in-a-blanket or the new flavor of Goldfish doesn’t even begin to compare.

In addition to this beautiful post-work relaxation activity, I saw dispensers of honey complete with plastic bottles and caps to-go…the largest salad bar I have EVER seen…and roughly 20 different kinds of fish. I was seriously in Heaven.

See, this food-loving gal spent about 9 years of her life obsessing over food. Calories, sugar content, grams of fat, sodium. Okay, when I say, “spent about 9 years,” I really mean, “9 years and counting.” It is imperative that someone with a, still, bulimic mindset has access to healthy, good, REAL food.

Whole Foods and stores alike helped to heal my mind years ago. While this wasn’t the answer to my prayers, it was a start…and it will help keep me on the road to recovery even now. And even though wine isn’t on the “plan,” a girl can stand a good glass of Sleep Aid now and then. 🙂

The Big Move…Again.

I’m tired of packing. I think I’m even more tired of unpacking. If I’ve counted correctly, I have boxed up my entire life 12 times now. Each time, I throw out a little more…and reminisce a little less.

My husband has been a lucky guy. He has a place that he can call home and friends that he has had since childhood. He feels very rooted and definitely speaks highly of his early stomping grounds. I, too, speak fondly of the places I’ve lived, but I sound more like a tourist than a local. It’s hard to have a vivid account of much, as most towns I have been in have been very brief stays. Sometimes it feels like I’m on extended vacations…over and over again. Thank God my landlords haven’t decided to charge me some sort of weekly summer rate.

As some of you may know, I lived in Alexandria about two years ago when I was working in DC. I moved from there back to the Eastern Shore and then to the Exciting Town of Dahlgren, VA.

After the wedding in September, I decided I was over the small-town scene. I was tired of eating the same pizza weekly, and even more tired of shopping at a grocery store that hardly knew what produce was. Walmart was the only attraction in town, and seeing a movie meant an hour trek to the theater and an hour-long drive home. My training with Starbucks was nearing a close, and the announcement of my store assignment was right around the corner. Once I heard that it was quite a hike from our current “home”(if you could call it that), I decided it was back to Alexandria for me. And, er, well…us.

See, my husband is NOT a city boy. He hates traffic, highways, lots of people, and food that can’t be classified as southern cooking…consisting of meat and potatoes only. He ate vegetables for the first time in years as an engaged man, and learned that his head didn’t ACTUALLY have to explode because he hit a red light. Those life lessons weren’t enough to make for an easy transition into the DC area. However, I knew it was my duty as a wife to convince him that the city-life was the way to go. After much pleading, breaking finances down into digestible figures, and more pleading, Matthew decided we could move.

I spent hours looking for apartments online. I knew the area I wanted to be in, and I knew our limit on rent. Nothing measured up to my old apartment, so I decided to circle back to my old “vacation spot” about a mile south of Old Town. There was a spot available and it had my name all over it.

It was strange moving back in, you know? It actually felt like home. I knew some of the neighbors…all of the restaurants…many of the street names. It was nice. And comforting. We have now painted, hung our wall art, and acclimated our hyper-active dog to the others pups in the community. Even though my stay here was brief years prior, I love how pulling into the parking lot feels like coming home.

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