Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Good Advice OR Sorry For Being a Jerk

Folks, I know we've talked about this before and we will probably talk about it again.  I am single. 

I know that I have ranted about my irritation with the dating "game" and my desire for reform, but you should know that it was to no avail.  The problems persist.

Not that I am desperate.  Please know that I am not to the point that I will throw myself into whatever new-fangled dating scheme has come on the market.  I am still an advocate for good old-fashioned chance encounters.  Taking the reins and making things happen can actually work in other areas of life, but this is literally a crap shoot and you cannot control the outcome.

I write this because I have once again come up against the well-intentioned attempt of one of my loved ones to set me up on a date.  And as always, it was a short-sighted endeavor fueled by a desire to see me settled and "happy."  To clarify, I have no problem with the fact that my family loves me and wants what they think is best for my life.  I just have a different opinion of what that picture actually looks like in the end.

What failed in this latest attempt?  Perhaps it was the fact that the proposed date lives at least an hour away from me.  Or that the matchmaker was relying entirely on word-of-mouth, with that mouth being the sister and sister-in-law of the man in question.  But really, to be honest, the most crucial component of the failure was the fact that she couldn't even tell me his name.  Not even his initial.  Because she did not know it.

All in all, the only thing that could be known about the man (other than what could be seen in his awkward color-coordinated extended family photo) was that he liked to read and play piano.  To be sure, these are both things that I myself enjoy, but as the lone factors they are insufficient to pique my interest.

So again, let my story be an example or template for you of how to properly set up a single friend on a date.  First and foremost, do your research.  Knowing me from birth is great, at least it is great for the person you are trying to convince to go out with me.  Try to know (or learn) as much about BOTH people before you even approach the idea of making a match.  Think long and hard about their personalities and what you know they like to do.

Do they both like to read?  Great.  Take it a step further by asking what kind of books they like to read.  If one likes to read Steinbeck and the other prefers Harlequin romance, you may have a problem.  Do both people like comedies?  Cool.  Slapstick or satire?  Think about it.

I am not suggesting that you conduct personality inventories on both parties or put them under the microscope at such a magnification as to be analyzing their genetic compatibility (although I wouldn't be upset if you did).  Just a little investigation and common sense are sufficient. 

One final little tiny thing.  If you do not find one of the people to be interesting, attractive or special, that is probably a good sign that your friend or family member may not either.  Just a good rule of thumb.  If you really like your friend/family member, you want the best for them, right?  Not just the first available person you could find with gainful employment and most of their original hair.  Correct?

For those of you who will read this and be sad/worried/upset, relax.  This does not mean that I have given up on dating.  It is just an affirmation that I have waited 32 years, and I can wait a little longer if it means being with someone I actually really want to date.  Not just whatever I can get.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Can we say RANDOM?

Welcome back!  It is August 23, 2012 and I am writing in my blog.  You might assume that my life has taken a crazy turn for the busy, and I won't stop you from this assumption.  And it isn't totally wrong either.

My new job is going well, but seriously, it does not encroach on my personal life in any way, which is nice (for a change).  Meanwhile, back at my old job, things are not quite as clean.  But there is always room for improvement, so hopefully things will turn around for them.  I am just glad that I got the hell out of Dodge when I did.  Yikes.

As for my house?  Things are moving forward.  Onward.  Upward?  Twirling towards freedom?  (There is a Simpson's allusion that just happened, did you know?)  I have an offer on the table and it is now just a matter of getting my lenders whatever information they need so they can make a decision about whether or not to accept the offer, which is a short sale.

In my (optimistic) opinion, I should be house-free by Christmas.  Until then, I keep paying the bills while remaining encamped at my parents' home.  So far, it has not been that bad, but I suspect when the winter confinement starts, things might start to get a little more tricky for us from a psychological standpoint.  There are many potential outcomes in circulation for what I will do when I have the financial freedom to seek out a new living situation.  So many, in fact, that it is hardly worth getting into them right now because it would make your head spin.

Long story short, I am starting to get my head around the idea that I will finally be able to have options.  One of the downsides of home ownership is that one's options become very limited.  Not just financially, but in general quality of life.  I love the show House Hunters International and secretly wish one day to be featured as I seek my new living quarters in some fabulous place like London or Stockholm.

In the past, knowing that I have this house/mortgage weighing on me has kept my imagination in check.  But now, very slowly, it is starting to run a little wild.

Perhaps I will move up into the north woods and become the next big hermit author of the great American novel.  Maybe I will get a nice little apartment in this area, keep my current job and enjoy the proximity to civilization and the workplace.  Maybe I will build a yurt in the tundra and live with no indoor plumbing.  Or not.

This much I do know:  I am not buying another house.  At least not in the near future.  I have student loans to repay and other financial responsibilities that will not go away with the sale of my house.  My plan is to live on a different kind of budget; one that does not require that I fork out nearly half my monthly income to put a roof over my head.  At least if I can help it.

So does that help you understand where my thoughts have been as of late?  I know it is a stupid excuse and I should really get back on track with writing, but I am not making any promises.  But stay tuned.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Can you tell it's been a long day?

Just when you think that you are finally "moving on" with your life, you find that you are still following similar patterns.  First of all, my job is fine.  Sure, things are a little slower at the moment than I would like, but compared to the alternative 13 hour day my former coworkers are experiencing today for company conversion, I cannot complain.

My house remains on the market.  It has been nearly three weeks, and I am not that surprised.  There have been almost eight showings, which is good (I think), but the comments I have received have all pertained to things over which I have no control.  No fireplace, not big enough, short sale, blah blah.  All things that people could have figured out from reading the listing, but who reads nowadays?

I know I have said it before, but I will say it again:  it feels a lot like online dating.

You put your best image forward with nice pictures.  You get a fun and catchy write-up.  And then you get interested parties who clearly do not read any of the crucial information you put forth but still want to meet in person and see what you have to offer.  I sense a pattern.

Tonight I am going to a book signing.  I have never been to one before, and I am nervous, excited and a little scared.  It is for a book written by one of my favorite bloggers, The Bloggess.  She is funny, crazy, clever and has an affinity for taxidermy.  It's hard to explain.  Check out the website and then read the book.

As for the rest of the weekend, I haven't really decided what to do.  I do need to move some of my scattered belongings out of the basement and into an upstairs closet now that is now available due to the return of my visiting uncle and aunt to their home in Belgium.  That's right, the country.  As in the place where waffles, chocolate, beer and fries come from.  All the major food groups. 

But right now I am at the computer reveling in the fact that I have two days of not working in a row.  You might not be impressed, but maybe you do not understand.  You see, I have not had a non-weekend, non-holiday day off since sometime last winter and I will not be eligible to have one until winter comes again. 

It's my own fault, really.  I didn't take any time off between jobs, and I really should have.  Not that I would have gone anywhere, but it might have been good for my mental health.  Of course, that would have happened in July when we were in the midst of the horrendous heat/humidity wave that has ensconced my beloved state for nearly the entire season. 

Speaking of weather, today has been AMAZING.  Temperatures in the upper 70's and I am in HEAVEN.  If I didn't have this book thing tonight I would totally be going for a walk around the lakes.  I guess that can wait until tomorrow, right?  Because this weather is supposed to continue all weekend, folks. 

That said, I would like to give a nod and a shout out to my former coworkers who will or may already be stuck indoors at their respective locations to endure an extended workday to convert their old computer systems over to the new company's platform.  I do feel sorry that you must be indoors on this glorious evening.

OK, so this has been a pretty wordy entry for me.  I am quite proud of myself.  So on that note, I shall conclude.  Should tomorrow's house date/showing produce any new comments or positive results, I will be sure to mention it.  Otherwise assume that my house, like me, remains single.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Oh la la!

Yesterday I experienced something new.  I had long been dreading the event, but I always knew that one day I would acquiesce and allow it to happen.  Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed it.  Sure, it tickled a little and I was a little tense at times, but once I just sat back and let it happen, it was fine.

So what was it? 

I should just let you stew about it for a bit.  Let your imagination run wild. 

OK, there, rein it in.  Don't go too far. 

Any guesses?

Isn't this game kind of fun?

Alright, I get it.  Just say it, already, right?

I got a pedicure.

Are you shocked?  No?  Maybe you do not fully understand the gravity of the situation.

I have always been a bit self-conscious about my feet.  They are on the bigger side, but they are no more than what one would expect from someone of my greater height.  It really comes down to my toes.  I have been blessed with some special gene that makes my toes long and skinny.  Almost finger-like, in my opinion.

Seriously, it took me a long time to even contemplate being comfortable wearing sandals because I thought everyone would be drawn to stare at the freak show.  When I finally was brave enough to try, no one even commented, so I grew more confident. 

But when it came to the thought of a pedicure, I drew a line.  No way was someone going to get that up close and personal with my feet to view them let alone TOUCH them.  Gah.  Gross.

My aversion to pedicures is long-standing and well-known among my closest friends and family.  So my split second decision yesterday to venture into the unknown came as a bit of a shock, even to me. Around noon, my best friend called up to see if I wanted to come with her to the little nail salon by her house to get a pedicure.  And I said YES.

I do not know exactly why I did it.  Maybe I was tired of staring at the calluses on my heel and was finally ready to shed all the dead skin.  Maybe I was tired of being ashamed of my feet.  Or maybe I was having an out-of-body experience.  Who knows.

But I did it.  And you know what?  It was nice.  I got to sit in a nice massage-chair while a very nice woman pampered my least favorite body parts.  I even had my nails painted.  My favorite part was the Micro-plane cheese grater type contraption she used to shave off the dead skin on my calluses.  It did not hurt at all and made a huge difference.

So will I now become one of those girls who has to get her feet done?  Maybe.  But it was only $23, so I think I can swing it once every couple of months if it always feels this nice.

What is the lesson to be learned here?  Never say never to beauty and spa treatments, especially when they include a lengthy sit in a massage chair and fuchsia nail polish.