Friday, March 01, 2013

RingWatch 2013?

Hi, everyone. I miss you. I miss blogging and reading other blogs like I used to. I would like to say that I will be blogging more, but I don't know if I will. You see, my day usually goes like this:

5am (sometimes) -- get up and go for a run or hit the gym. Ok, full disclosure.....lately, it's been like, twice a month. Usually I sleep in until....

6:30am -- wake up at boyf's, walk and feed dog. Eat breakfast, then go to my house to get ready for work.

9am -- go to work. Yes, it takes me that long to get ready. There is significant dawdling. Unfortunately, I am already supposed to be at work at this time.....

9:20 -- actually arrive at work. I am lucky to have a boss that doesn't care I do this every day. Mostly because she spends the vast majority of her day on the phone, arguing with her lawyer or yelling at her soon-to-be-ex-husband. Or dealing with some other personal life fiasco. I detest my job. My boss is a big part of it. Don't get me wrong, she's a really nice, funny, cool person. I would totally go on vacation with her. I just hate working for her. I should really write a post about work...I have venting that needs to be done.

5:20 -- time to go home. Yes, I make up all the time because I was raised Catholic and if I don't work exactly 40 hours/week, I will go to Hell. If you're not Catholic in any way, you will never understand this.

5:40 -- get home, walk dog, put on comfy clothes (bye-bye, bra!). Boyfriend calls me to have our daily debate: will I make dinner at my house or will I make dinner at his house or will we go out to dinner. I hardly ever make dinner at my house, despite the fact that I much MUCH prefer cooking at my place (he doesn't have a vegetable peeler....or many other things you need to cook with. Which is fine, because he's a bachelor. But lugging my kitchen stuff over to his house all the time gets old sometimes.) He usually wins the debate. Which is fairly logical, because, as he points out, I always spend the night over at his house anyway. (He has a queen-size bed. Nuff said.)

Sometime in the evening -- I get to his house. We usually watch Jeopardy while eating dinner. Then we watch more tv until I fall asleep at 10pm. He is a freak who needs 5 hours of sleep every night, so he stays up.

If you review the list above, you will notice a lack of the following lifestyle activities: exercise, hanging out with girlfriends, blogging, puttering around my own house and doing things that do not involve a screen -- TV or otherwise. Unless we are at work or a doctor's appointment, we are probably together.

...and that is why I have put on 15 pounds. And why my house is a mess. And why I haven't paid my taxes yet. Or done any number of me-time things. Like blog. Or buy some new iTunes. The only reason I am doing this today is because I took the day off.

If you're anything like me, right now you are screaming at your computer, saying, "Dude! What are you doing? You have morphed into a 'we' and have forgotten the 'me'! This is not healthy for you or your relationship! Carve out some me time -- STAT!"

And you'd be right. But trust me, it's easier said than done. Mostly because he is my most favoritest person EVER in the whole world and I never get sick of hanging out with him. When I do have "VB time", I spend a lot of it wishing he was with me -- I just wish he was in the other room so I can get some stuff done.

Now, before you all begin gagging yourselves with spoons, I can tell you that we do argue. We have some things we will never agree on, like the fact that I would like his home to be free of cats and he would like it if I would be better about taking my dirty dishes to the kitchen. (I am notorious for leaving them on the coffee table.) But there is no one I'd rather argue with. Does that make sense?

I recently read an article where the author interviewed several couples. Each couple has been married for eons, and the author was trying to crack the case: what is the secret to a long marriage? Typically, the answer was never defined in this piece (article FAIL), but one part did stick out to me:

Author, addressing ancient husband: Did you ever have moments where you didn't want to be with her?
Ancient husband: Not be with her? What? No. Never. But did I ever want to kill her? YES. Many times.

And I totally understood.

So yes, it is going splendidly. We agree that this is what we've both been looking for all these years and we can't believe we dated all those other people who were so wrong for us. We talk about the future all the time. He gets upset if I speak of my future in a way that implies I'd be doing it as a single woman. We have named our children. Well, ok, we have named the first one. If it's a girl. I have started to realize that my future doesn't make sense if he's not in it. To quote The Princess Bride, it's inconceivable. Even The Czarina and MJ are asking me "So..............are you engaged yet????"

I have to reassure them that RingWatch 2013 is still on. But knowing him, he has stuff planned and up his sleeves, and I am totally clueless. Who knows. Part of me is screaming, "I AM 34!!!! LET'S GET A MOVE ON!!!" but and equal part of me is just happy I found him and I'm enjoying the ride. Ok, that's a lie. It's more like 80/20, respectively. My ovaries are shriveling, people. This ratio may grow even more lopsided if personal milestones continue to pass by without any bended knees taking place. New Year's? Nope. Valentine's Day? Earrings instead. (Which I adore, for the record.) Birthday? Well, at this point, he's 48 hours late....so I'm not holding my breath. Some of you are doing the math and wish to point out that we've only been dating for 9 months. To that, I say, shut the hell up because you're probably a smug married with a baby on your knee. When you know, you know. May 23rd will be one year, so perhaps then???

I have come to realize that good relationships are just as difficult to manage and understand as bad ones. With other guys (read: most of the jerks I dated), I was so wrapped up with "Does he really love me? Is he interested in committing?" Most of my mental energy was wrapped up in determining if he liked me. Now, most of my mental energy is split between 1) doing what I need to do to make this relationship a priority in my life and keep him happy and 2) figuring out how to fit him into my life without losing myself in the process. So it's a juggling game. I'm trying to navigate it. If you sagacious smug marrieds have any advice on how to do this, please impart your wisdom. I wish I could say I feel smothered...........but I don't. This is making it difficult.

In a deliciously serendipitous finale to this post, he and I just called each other at the exact. same. moment. We are ridiculous.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Long Absence

Hello, my ever-patient readers! Yes, I am still here in Richmond, and still loving it. I know it has been a long, long time since I've posted last. This is due in large part to the fact I have fallen in love with the guy I've been dating since last May. Remember the blind date? We've been inseparable ever since. He's got everything I've been looking for for so many lonely, single-girl years: brains, good looks, a great family, ambition, great sense of humor, similar goals, similar beliefs, common interests.......and he's a great kisser. What more could a girl ask for?

We spend a great deal of time together (he only lives 5-10 minutes away) and I would not feel comfortable blogging around him (I'd feel I'm being rude) or talking about him without his knowledge, so I have not been blogging. But I will tell you that I am very, very happy, and so is he. Yes, we have talked about getting married and having babies. I have had my last first date. :)

Other than that, not a lot has changed this year. Here are some updates:

I still have the same job, and it's ok. Not the greatest job, but not the worst. I'd love to change careers or get into a job that is better suited to my talents (I really REALLY miss supervising), but I'm enjoying all the low-stress and time off that my current job provides. So it's not the end of the world.

My family is the same, although my brother, Fat Dog, and his wife had a beautiful baby girl, so now I am Aunt VB. Yay!!!It is difficult to suppress the urge to buy My Little Ponies for a 4 month old. I like to joke that I've already started a prom dress fund for her.

I have caught the running bug and now prefer that to all other forms of exercise. I sprained my ankle pretty badly last September, which meant I had to cancel my plans to run a half marathon. I was really disappointed, but it will be on my bucket list for 2013.

Speaking of being in shape, I am a shape.........it is round. Nothing like being in love over the holidays (read: double-up on family get-togethers) to pack on the pounds. Ugh. I am dying to get back out there, but am super busy. And being busy = more restaurant food. It's easy to do the math, even for me. I am trying to get organized and run errands while I have a few days off work, so the next couple of days are not looking good. Hopefully, it is not too cold to run outside this coming week, as the gym will be packed with New Year's "Resolutioners" until further notice. Also, I got this for Christmas, and I'm dying to use it. (Good gift, boyfriend!!!!)

One of the things the boyfriend and I have in common is a shared interest in Russia. We are both fascinated by its history and culture. To catch up with him, I have started to learn Russian.  He's practically fluent in Russian, after spending 3 summers there in college. It's not coming to me as easily as I'd hoped. It's my first Slavic language, and my first non-Roman alphabet, so I'm definitely out of my comfort zone. But I can say several things at this point.

I have paid off my car. Woo hoo!!!!

Sammy injured his eye (big corneal scrape) when he escaped through the fence at boyfriend's house, but after 3 months, at least 8 vet trips (including a vet eye specialist!) and $1,000 (yes, a grand), his eye is fine.

I have met several girlfriends and enjoy hanging out with them, but most of my social life involves my boyfriend. He's my favorite person to hang out with, and vice versa. I have been trying to make a bigger effort on the girlfriend front, but it's hard, since most of them are single and want to go out and meet guys in bars late at night (not really my scene anymore). The ones who are not single are super busy, so double dating is difficult to wrangle. So I do the occasional lunch and have joined a book club. I like a lot of the girls I have met, but no one has really clicked with me yet.

I think I will work on this for the new year. Maybe I'll add it to my bucket list, although it may not be a good candidate. A girl I met here does an annual bucket list: 3 things every year she needs to accomplish/do. None of the goals should involve assistance from/reliance on others, so you can't blame anyone else if you don't accomplish them. She has so much fun doing it, and I have been inspired. I only have 2 things thus far: 
  1. Run a half marathon, preferably in a town that is not Richmond
  2. Take more photos (if anyone has any advice on how to make this goal easier to do, as well as how to make it more specific and measurable, that would be great! I never take photos and I need to change that.)
  3. TBD....I need to think of another goal/change to make. Any ideas, readers??? I am learning Russian right now......perhaps I can continue on that. Or is that boring because I have already been doing that? Perhaps I should get my finances in order or take a trip..........

Ok, I have to go and get some things done. I just wanted to let you know I'm here, and I'm happy and I love living in Richmond. I'm not sure where this blog will go next, but I think that as long as I can leave the vast majority of my love life out of this blog, I will be ok with that. I hope you all understand. Everything else is on the table, though!

I'll try and post again soon. I hope you're all having lovely holidays and will have a glorious New Year, full of hope, luck and fantastic experiences!!!!!!!!!!!





Sunday, May 27, 2012

RVA Should Stand for "Richmond: Very Awesome"

Greetings, readers! Flattered any of you are still here, as always. I have many many updates for you, as a lot has changed since my last post. I'll do my best to be brief. I think I am in love. I am in love with Richmond. I should have moved here YEARS ago. I have met so many great people, I get to see my family all the time and there's always something fun to do here. It's a great size, there's great shopping and restaurants, there are lots of young people and so much to explore. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think I'm done moving. I don't see myself leaving RVA any time soon. I'm so much happier here than I was in Savannah.

Have I talked about my job at all? I can't remember. I don't like my job. I miss my old job in Savannah. I had things to do there. I felt like I was with a team and we all had projects and ideas to work on together. Here....not so much. I strive to fill my day with something, anything. The work is not challenging at all (seriously, you could have a high school diploma and do what I do at this gig). I spend most of my day totally alone, which does NOT work for me, because I'm a social person. I don't really supervise anyone, even though technically I am supposed to. First of all, the people I supposedly supervise don't need me because no one uses our library. We can go for days at a time when no one even comes in. Second of all, my boss signs their time sheets and approves their leave, leaving me with nothing to use for ammo when it comes to supervising them. I really like my boss as a person, and she likes me, but I don't think she's a very good supervisor. I don't think she likes being the supervisor, either. There are so many things I could say about this job -- I am just scratching the surface, honestly. I should devote a whole post to it one day. I don't mean to complain, as I am grateful for this job, and it is extremely low-stress, but as a good friend of mine stated when I was describing my new job to her: "Wow, what a complete waste of your talents and abilities." It's not that this is a bad job. It's just not a good fit for me. I plan on changing careers with my next job. To what? I have no idea.

One of the things that is kind of awesome about this new job, though, is that for the first time in my life (yes, since my first job at age 15), I do not work nights or weekends. This, combined with the barely-40 hours a week and the low stress levels of this job means I can really focus on getting back in shape and my social life, which is what I want to do in a new town anyway. Yipee!! (I have already lost about 15 pounds. WOOT!)

After a few months of loneliness/dating douchebaggery, I found a group just for women in their 30s. There was a happy hour event in March, so I went, halfway dreading it because I was worried they'd all be married mothers and I'd end up getting invited to baby showers (no offense to any mothers reading, but attending baby/wedding showers stopped being fun for me about 6 years ago. They only serve as reminders of how I am not where I want to be at age 33. But don't get me wrong -- I am happy for you. I just want to mail a card instead. Is that ok?). So I get to this happy hour event, and end up sitting next to a group of girls who are all my age, all single/childless/never married AND most of them just moved back to Richmond after living away for some time. Ding ding ding! We have a winner! 4 of us really hit it off, and we've been hanging out ever since. They are so much fun and it's so awesome to see that you're not the last single 33 year old woman in the world. Every time this group gets together, we meet more cool girls, so my social circle is expanding all the time. Sweet!!!

But I am not just relying on them for my social life. There are daughters/sons of friends of my mom who I have been meeting, too. I met with one of them for after-work drinks the other day. I was especially excited to meet with her, because I hadn't seen her since I was in about 8th grade, I was told she's super fun and also because The Czarina told me she would have good career advice for me. And she did! But what I wasn't expecting was that she's also all about fixing people up. Score! A few minutes into our conversation, she asked me if I'm single. I nodded. "You have to meet ____." I asked her to tell me about him.

He sounds awesome! Smart, kind, funny, attractive, no kids/ex-wives, owns his own home, from Richmond, close to his family but not too close, has a good job, he's the same age as me.....so why wasn't SHE interested in him? After all, she's 33 and single, too. "He's not my type. I can see why people would say he's attractive, and he is. But I'm not attracted to him. He's like a brother to me. I've known him for years and years."

"So why is he single?" I asked. There had to be a catch.

"Well, he was engaged about a year or two ago. Then, out of nowhere, she broke it off. He was pretty crushed, because he didn't even see it coming. Actually, none of us saw it coming. Then he dated this other girl for a while, and she ended up getting back with her ex....so he's had a rough go of it."

"Poor guy. He sounds great, though. Sure, fix me up," I said.

"Ok, let's do this right now," she said, getting out her phone.

"Like, right now? Do I have time to brush my hair?" I asked.

She laughed. "No, I mean like let's set it up right now." She began texting him. "Are you free tomorrow?"

"Yes," I replied.

"Ok, he's free, too. You're meeting him here tomorrow at 7," she stated matter-of-factly.

And just like that -- BOOM -- I had a blind date.

We have our second date tonight. I'm really excited. I'll tell you all about him in my next post....that's all for now, kids. I have to get ready for the gym!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Another Successful Interaction With a Man

Long-term readers of my blog are familiar with my verbosity, but I have a treat for anyone out there who might prefer that I include more visual aids to my posts. Today I have not one but 2 videos to illustrate this post.

This one explains where I got the title for the post.


Allow me to explain why I can relate to this clip so much.

I should have seen it coming. That was stupid of me. After what he did on New Year's Eve, I knew in the back of my head he'd do something again. But after two months of blissful dating, I let my guard down. And I paid for it.

For the first two months of this year, I was floating on air. MM was great! He was super into me, we really clicked, he was a great kisser and really fun to be around. He even wanted to be my Valentine and took me out to a really nice restaurant. I bragged to my mom about how how he always turned his cell phone off when he was with me and was always wholly focused on me when he was with me.

The thing was, something about him made me not trust him. Yes, the NYE stunt was part of that. But eventually I began to realize that
A) He was a little too good to be true. Any guy that seems to always tell you what you want to hear is bad news bears, in my experience. He seemed to look for reasons to tell me I was doing something "hot". Last time I checked, a girl watching football isn't "hot". She's just watching football. I think he was just trying to butter me up. He would text me during working hours, telling me he can't stop thinking about me. He told me that seeing me once a week was not enough and he definitely could see me every day. He would talk about taking vacations several months from now and "if we're still together, you're definitely coming with me!" Like an idiot, I lapped all this up like a hungry little puppy. This was my reward for being so forgiving after the NYE let down! This guy was all about me! Thank goodness I was open to giving him a second chance. He was obviously worth it. *mental pat on the back*

and the other thing bugging me, waaay in the back of my mind was....

B) I was not in any way, shape or form, being included in his life. After 2 months of dating, I had yet to meet any of his friends or anyone who knew him at all. And based on a phone conversation with his sister that I overheard, I could tell she didn't even know I existed. I was sitting right next to him when he said he was "just hanging out with a friend". Apparently, despite the fact that he'd seen me with some of my clothing removed and we made out all the time, I still only qualified as a friend. WTF.

Now, I am not a pushy kind of girl when it comes to dating. I am fairly patient with all the various stages of dating. But after 2 months, you don't feel the need to introduce me to anyone you know? Or at least tell people you're seeing someone? I was starting to feel like a secret. For all I knew, he could have some other girl or a girlfriend or who knows what else?! It began to bother me. I could wait on meeting family, but I can't even meet your 2 best guy friends? We can't even double date with them and their girlfriends? Your sister can't even know you're dating someone?

About a month ago, we went to Williamsburg and went to the outlet malls there. I was flattered that he decided to spend his whole day off with me. And you don't drive an hour out of town to spend the day shopping with someone if you don't really like them. I mean, this is something that couples do! We were definitely on the way to being a couple. I could feel it.

But he acted a little funny that day. He seemed really self-absorbed and preoccupied. For the first time, he was on his phone when he was with me. Something crazy at work. But what bothered me the most, I think, was that he was not affectionate with me at all. Come to think of it, he had never been publicly affectionate with me! I started to get annoyed after realizing all of this on the way home. I had made dinner, so he came over to eat with me, and we talked. I dropped a hint about feeling like a secret and wanting to meet his friends. He said that would be fun and we could do it on Saturday. Whew! That's a relief. See, it just hadn't occurred to him yet, that's all. He stayed at my house as late as he possibly could that night (yes, there was serious making-out -- I told you he's an excellent kisser!), and then kissed me good-bye and told me he hoped I would have a good day the next day. All perfectly normal.

I didn't hear from him the next day (a Tuesday), which was normal and fine. But by Thursday night, I was feeling anxious. I texted him. Turns out, he was sick. Ah, yes, of course. No worries. I asked him if he needed anything and he said no. I told him I hope he feels better and went to bed. The next day, I asked how he was feeling. He said he was better, but would probably have to work all weekend to make up some stuff from work. Guess that means hanging out with his friends on Saturday was out of the question. He said that was probably true, but he might be able to finish in time to still go out.

I didn't hear from him on Saturday. On Sunday morning, I log into facebook, and find that his buddies have posted all these pics of them hanging out together the night before. I was crushed.

After moping around most of the weekend, I went into work the next Monday. It also happened to be my birthday. MM texted me to ask how my weekend was. Seriously??! Why do men pull shit like this and then act like nothing is wrong? Do they think that a woman has the memory of a goldfish?

"Well, I'm having a good birthday so far," I replied.
"Oh, I'm such a bonehead! It is your birthday!" he replied.
Yes. It is my fucking birthday, you piece of shit. You are definitely a bonehead, I thought.
I didn't reply.
A few seconds later, he texted me again: "Did you defriend me on FB?"
"Honestly, I didn't think I'd ever hear from you again," I replied.
He claimed to be shocked and confused, despite the fact that he had blown me off for a week. He said he didn't want to have this conversation on my birthday and that he'd call me later in the week. Fine. Whatever.

Two days later, he called and apologized, but the conversation was definitely tense. I was still pretty pissed off and hurt. We caught up briefly and he said he'd call me again later. And that was the last I've heard of him. Which brings me to video #2, an awesome song I just discovered (sorry, I'm probably the last person on Earth to discover this song, so bear with me!) -- this song pretty much captures exactly how I felt at the time:


Considering I am 33 and this is the first guy I have dated (heck, the first guy I have WANTED to date) in 2 and a half years, it was kind of a blow to me, I'm not gonna lie. I'm just now feeling like I am over him and it took me several tries to write this post. I've been running. A lot. I think I've lost about 10 pounds, actually. But I digress.

I'm just so mad at myself. I broke all my own rules:
1. Don't date a guy who is ok with disappointing you
2. Don't date a guy who makes you cry
3. Wait, wait, wait and wait some more to get nekkid with a guy. At least until you have girlfriend status and have met some of his friends.
4. If a guy tells you everything you want to hear, it's because he's blowing smoke up your ass and it's coming out through your empty, idiot head and into your ears.
5. Listen to your gut. My gut said, "Don't date him, you will regret it." I chose to ignore this particular loud-and-clear gut warning. Dumb, VB. Very dumb.

The part that hurt the most was the disappearing act. Right around my fricking birthday. At the age of 34, you'd think a guy could grow a pair and break things off quickly, honestly and humanely. But no. He pulled a stunt that no one had pulled on me since I was in my early 20s. When I realized this, that's when it all started to make sense: As a recent divorcee, he is starting to date again after being off the market for approximately 7 years. So emotionally, he's a frat boy. Which is why he basically hit it and quit it. I'm just one in what will probably be a long line of new toys for this boy. (Like the rhyming? Cuz I can keep going. No? Alright.) Glad I can be of service in helping you get over the fact that your ex-wife left you. I'm here to please. No really. My feelings don't matter. Just do whatever you want to me. Because I have s-u-c-k-e-r written in Sharpie, right across my forehead, apparently.

But let's talk about possible reasons his wife may have left him, shall we? Because this list made me feel waaaaaaay better once I put it together.
1. bad credit
2. baggage. Baggage for days and days. And I'm not just referring to his 2 kids and ex-wife. (I actually don't mind the kids, just for the record.)
3. beer gut (normally I don't mind that, but he should really hit the gym)
4. possible binge drinker (based strictly on his own descriptions of fb photos)
5. Well, I can't really put it any better than Lily Allen, so here's a song you can listen to which describes many of the things I am too nice to spell out directly to you. *ahem*

After my moping phase was done, I got to the point where I had to decide the extent to which I wanted him erased from my life. FB was already taken care of, thankfully, so I would be prevented from stalking. Then, I got a new phone, so all my old text message conversations are all gone. But do I delete the number, exposing myself to a surprise call from an unrecognizable number? Or do I keep it there, as a depressing reminder of yet another failed relationship, so at least if he calls, I will know not to answer? I could fight off the temptation if he ever called. At least I wouldn't get caught off guard.

Wait.

I had a better idea. I thought of a way to make sure I would not want to answer the phone if he called. I wouldn't want to answer because I would change his name into something that would remind me of why I have no interest in ever talking to him again. A genius moment, for sure. Every time I think about it, I grin like a fat kid at Baskin Robbins. I'll delete it entirely one day, but for now, I will enjoy the daydream of seeing his new name come up on my phone.

Tiny Penis.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Virgin Territory

Now, now, don't get excited. This post has nothing to do with anyone's V Card. I know I am not the only perverted person out there, so I figured I'd establish that right off the bat.

I figured I'd summarize my first month or so of living in Richmond. It's kind of a surreal experience, moving back to a town you haven't lived in since you were 12. My hometown is only an hour and a half away from Richmond, so I've visited many many times since then, but as a visitor, I have never actually driven in Richmond. So although the street names are familiar, navigating them is something else. But that's the fun part. What I forgot about were the toll highways. You don't really see them down south. And people don't let you in when you need to change lanes. Guess I'm not deep in Southern Hospitality anymore. Although I will say that men here do open doors for ladies, something I've always appreciated. A guy actually apologized to me the other day for not getting the door for me. *sigh* Southern Gentlemen are the best.

So far, overall, I love Richmond. It's bigger, so there are more shopping, cultural, recreational and dating opportunities. Hooray for that. Richmond is also a pretty classy town, I have to say. Savannah and even Columbia were both a little raggedy, with litter everywhere, poorly maintained streets and just a general air of poverty and sadness. Richmond is clean and neat and well-maintained, from what I have seen so far. Gone are the hipsters of Savannah and the Good Ol' Boys of Columbia. People here seem to be more genteel, as cheesy as that sounds. Now, don't get me wrong. Some of my best friends are hipsters and Good Ol' Boys. But I will never really be part of either of those groups. I just feel like I fit in here better. People here are less pretentious than hipsters and more cultured than Good Ol' Boys. It's a good balance, in my opinion.

The city has a lot going for it, and I can't wait to explore everything it has to offer. There's all kinds of parks and activities on the James River, which cuts right through town. There's a neat old part of town called Shockoe Slip, full of bars and restaurants and shops. I live near Carytown, which is a great boutique/cafe area of town. The state capital and all the state agencies are here, as well as a major university (VCU). One of the things I always liked about Columbia was that due to the state government and the major university being there, it always made the city full of life and activity. It's the same here. There are several museums and tons of historical things here, like the church where Patrick Henry gave his "Give Me Liberty" speech -- pretty cool! There's lots of Colonial America and Civil War history around here. Today I am going to visit the Edgar Allen Poe Museum. One of my friends from Savannah is doing a reading there today, so I told her I'd stop by and see her.

It's a good thing my family is so close by, because otherwise, I'd be super lonely. I don't really work with anyone who's in my demographic, unlike my job in Savannah. And I haven't met too many of my neighbors yet -- it's not fun to strike up conversations when it's 30 degrees outside. So I spend most of my time alone. I know it's only temporary, and I have ideas for how to meet people, but it still stinks for the time being! I guess I had it easy in Savannah -- there were tons of young professionals to hang out with. It's just going to take time. I'm going to join the gym and also this organization (looks like so much fun, but they don't really do much until March). I also need to find a church (I've been church-shopping with no luck so far). There's also a roller derby team here, but I would have to psych myself up for that. It looks like fun, and a great way to meet girlfriends, but I am such a wuss when it comes to pain and haven't been on rollerskates since I was about 10.

Speaking of being 10 years old, on Monday, I am going to have lunch with my best friend from 4th grade. How's that for crazy? She and I have been facebook friends for a while, but I don't think I've seen her since then. She now lives in Richmond, too, so I suggested we meet up.

Next weekend, The Czarina is getting married, so she's all in a tizzy. It should be fun, though. If there's one thing my mom is good at, it's throwing parties. I'll see pretty much every friend of my family. (Is it a sign that I'm getting older when I say that I like hanging out with my parents' friends as much as I like hanging out with my own?) I'm really happy for my mom. And my stepdad is great.

I absolutely love my new place. It's like it was designed to hold my stuff -- everything fits perfectly. As soon as I get most of the decorating done, I will share pics. The only thing I wish it had was a fireplace. Then it would be perfect.

It's totally freezing here, and my wardrobe is not equipped for it. I've been hunting for sweaters like a fiend. From what I've been told, I won't be able to get out my flip-flops until April. Aw, man!

I'll blog more about my new job and my dating life soon. Thanks, as always, for reading! Please leave comments so I can feel connected to human beings and not continue to have full conversations with my dog! I am so lonely!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Peeve

Greetings from Virginia! I will fill you in on my new life here later, with details about The Most Frustrating and Neverending Move Ever in the History of Relocations, The Magical Weight Loss Phenomenon and The Vague Job with Unavailable Boss (Through No Fault of Her Own). All you need to know at this moment is that

A) I love Richmond already.
B) My love life has already gone to shit, if you can believe it. Luckily, this has not impacted A (see above). Yet.

You may have noticed that it is almost 9pm on New Year's Eve. And I am blogging. In my jammies. Alone. What, did you think things would be different, now that I am out of horrible Savannah? That just because I am closer to my family and finally back where I feel at home that my romantic endeavors would be any different than they always have been? Or perhaps it's because last year's NYE was absolutely amazingly fun and awesome? Oh, my little naive readers. You know I can't let this year end without yet another crash-and-burn tale from my dating life, or lack thereof. Although I got down to the wire, I did manage to squeeze one final story into 2011 for you.

2011 started with a great dating story and it will end with another. Ok, I guess last year's NYE wasn't totally amazing and fun by the time it was over. But it most certainly started off that way, and it was a helluva lot better than the way this one is shaping up. Let me explain.

Thanks to the intervention of several friends and/or relatives, I was talked into (read: dragged kicking and screaming) signing up for eHarmony (emphasis on "harm") late last summer. Since you pay for it 3 months' at a time, I had completely forgotten that it would automatically renew itself, so after 3 months of guys who didn't even sound good on paper, I got to -- surprise! -- get automatically charged for another 3 months' of depressing dating prospects! Well, by the time I realized that this had happened, I was in the midst of leaving Savannah to move to Richmond. And they don't do refunds. So I had another 3 months' worth of prepaid virtual dating to burn through. Ever the Pollyanna/mental nimrod/glutton for punishment that I am when it comes to dating, I decided I would just update my eHarmony profile to list Richmond as my location and keep on trying. I am new in town. What else was I going to do with my free time?

Well, I was very pleasantly surprised, let me tell you. Not only were the men better looking in Richmond, but they were better educated, too, with more interesting jobs. Gone were the Savannah hipster bartenders who looked like they don't bathe and the desperate-for-any-female military men. (I do support our men in uniform, heck, my brother is a vet for pete's sake, but what is with their desperation to get girlfriends? It is seriously freaky. I wish they would work on that, collectively.) The guys in Richmond seem...pretty great, actually! Woo hoo!

There were a few that seemed pretty good, but one stood out above the rest. MM was just the right age, looked like he knew how to have a good time and was pretty good looking. I had looked at his profile about 3 times before I realized that in this one photo, there was a kid. He looked so good in the photo, I literally didn't even see the kid, who turns out to be one of his daughters. Yes, he has 2 daughters and an ex-wife. That's a decent amount of baggage, but I like kids and I am trying to be more open minded about stuff like that. I haven't been dating much lately (read: at all...for 2 years....). I just wanted someone who seemed like fun. So we started emailing, which progressed to texting.

He was great! He was flirtatious, funny and seemed interested in me. He asked me out and we booked a date. We were going to meet for dinner in The Fan, which is the old home/cool boutiques/best restaurants area of Richmond. I was pretty stoked. It was my first date in *ahem* over 2 years (except for the blind date where I was a cougar and we didn't really hit it off anyway, so I am not even going to link to that post). I had an outfit picked out and was kind of excited to do some in-person flirting with MM.

That is, until he canceled on me the day before. Something about work being really crazy and he had to work late on the night of our date. Ok, well, everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, I thought. It's the holidays, and everyone is a little crazy right now. So we rescheduled. And then I cried a little, because I was so disappointed. Normally, I have a rule against dating guys who make me cry, but since this was a work thing, it wasn't his fault. So we ended up just texting for another week. (I began to get annoyed at the texting after a while...why not just call me? So much easier and less sketchy.) Things got very flirtatious, though. It's so easy to flirt via text...where was I?

Our first date went well...even though he was a little bit late. (Again, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt on first dates. They can be nerve-wracking. So I let it slide. He had texted me to say he was running a little late, so that helped.) The food was good and we had good conversation, but what was odd was the complete and total lack of flirting going on. And he was sitting a little farther away from me than I would have preferred. This, from the guy who, earlier in the week, was asking me some very PG-13 questions via my phone (some I would not even answer because they were a little too personal). This same guy, who had been talking up a big storm about kissing me, was acting like we were on a totally blind date. It was very odd.

He also did most of the talking, which is one of my first date pet peeves. I like a healthy split of getting to know each other, not the entire sordid story of why your marriage broke up. All I asked was how long he had been divorced. I didn't really need to know that she cheated and lied and all that other stuff. It's not really any of my business and made me a little uncomfortable.

I switched topics and asked him about his family. He describes his mother as "manipulative and controlling" and I could see a little red flag pop up. Now, anyone who knows me at all knows that my mother drives me nuts and I believe The Czarina to be a major control freak, but I would never describe her as manipulative, and I certainly wouldn't tell any of that to someone I just met. This, combined with his description of his ex-wife and a couple of bad dates he'd been on recently caused me to make a joke about how he'd bad mouth me later, too. He assured me I was a very pleasant surprise and that I was as attractive in person as I was in my photos. That was a relief. I decided that I would keep my ears peeled for more misogynistic comments, but the little things he said weren't instant deal breakers. For all I knew, it could have been nerves.

I decided to focus on how good looking he was and how good he smelled. And how to get him to sit closer to me. I decided to take off my jacket, exposing a black sequined top that was cut just low enough to be date-worthy, but not slutty. I could feel his eyes right where I wanted them to be. And although he did angle his body towards me a little more and put his arm on the back of the booth, his rear remained firmly in place...too far away for any serious flirting to take place. Rats. I guess that's what I got for telling him the he's not allowed to kiss me on our first date. Oh the joys of trying to pretend to be good when I really don't want to be..........

Our date got better as the night wore on. Aside from the comments about his mom and ex and my unsuccessful attempt to get him to scoot closer, it went well. It went so well that he asked me for a 2nd date just before hugging me goodbye. I was stoked.

Then, all this week, he went back to the vicious flirting and regular texting. I told him I was tired of texting and just wanted to talk, so he called me. After the phone call, he texted me to say how much he likes hearing my voice on the phone. He even asked my favorite question in the whole world: "When can I see you again?". *sigh* I love that question. At this point, I am thinking we are definitely having a super hot makeout session on Date #2. Even if I have to wear a super slut-tastic shirt this time. I can't take it anymore.

Two hours before he's supposed to pick me up for our second date, he texts me.

Would you be pissed if I asked you if we could reschedule for next week?

"If you have to ask that question, you already know the answer, douchebag," I thought. I texted back: So you're canceling on me again?

I am so sorry
, he replied.

At this point, I am about to punch a wall I am so pissed. I don't reply. When I get home from work, he texts me again: I am so sorry. If you don't ever want to talk to me again, I totally understand.

Now, I am not stupid. I know that if you really liked someone, you would never say that, out of fear they'd take you up on the idea. He wanted out, but didn't want to be the bad guy. This guy has really mastered texting. He uses it to say all sorts of things he doesn't have the balls to say in person. Despite texting me every day, despite all his little innuendos about sleeping with me, despite the compliments he gave me, despite asking me out a 2nd time...he wanted out. Why, I don't know. And I never will know. Because I replied with

Good. Because I don't.


The worst part was, he never replied to that text.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Homeward Bound

Interview was a little odd (they asked a couple of questions that were not typical questions). Not sure if I answered them all that well.

I was nervous, and forgot the names of the people interviewing me, so I was unable to send thank you notes to 3 of the 4 people. Luckily, the one name I did remember is the director of the museum library.

I had good feelings (but not great) about how I did.

Tried every day since then to not get my hopes up, dreading a rejection letter and being stuck here for another 6 months or something.

But all was for naught. I got the job!!!!!!!!!!

I start the Monday after Thanksgiving!!!!! I am SO EXCITED. But I think The Czarina may actually be more excited than I am. :)

More later....gotta run. Millions of things to do. Like tell my job I am quitting....they don't know yet! So those of you who know me on FB, keep this under wraps for the time being!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Carry Me Back to Old Virginia?

Y'all, my job hunt is on the move. I am on Mission: Richmond or Bust. After a lot of thinking and praying and research, I have decided that there isn't really anything my current job can do to keep me here in Savannah and that I am only interested in moving to Richmond, VA. I hate living in this town. I have met some great people, I love my apartment and I do like my job (most of the time), but my personal life here stinks. It's a vicious cycle of this town not having what I want, which puts me in a bad/depressed attitude, which makes me not want to work harder at making the best of this place.

I have recently had discussions with a couple of my best girlfriends here in Savannah and all 3 of us dislike living here. We all agree that there is a curse or some kind of oppressive atmosphere over this town. I thought it was just me, but when I mentioned it to them, they thought they were the only people thinking that, too! We all feel like we have become depressed ever since we have moved here. It's very odd.

This was a long blogging gap! Let's see what you have missed....oh, so my favorite coworker, the one who was running the other half of the library, quit. Her old job wooed her back -- and she would have been insane not to take the job. So I am temporarily running the whole library again, for no extra pay. My temporary boss did just get me a nice raise, though -- 4%. We usually only get 3%, so I appreciate that. We've also had another person quit (I'm telling you, it's like rats fleeing a flood around here), so now we have 4 vacancies to hire for. If I leave, too, that will be 5. And no one will be running the library. I do feel a little guilty about that....with all the craziness and absurdity of my job, I do like it. No job is perfect. But if only this job were somewhere else! There is nothing my current employer can do to make me love Savannah. It's a great place to visit, but not to live.

I counted up the # of people who have quit/been fired from the library since I started here 2 and a half years ago: 16. That is a LOT of turnover, especially when the staff is only about 20 people total. Luckily, many of the ineffective and bad employees are gone (save one, although if all goes well today, he will be getting fired this afternoon, after 6 YEARS of his antics). So if I already don't like living here, and no one else is staying, why should I stay? I have had 4 awesome awesome coworkers over the years here, and all 4 of them have quit. Honestly, I hate working here without them. That more than anything else has affected my morale. And The Czarina reminded me -- I have been trying to find a job in Richmond since I got back from Hong Kong. That was over a year ago. It's time to move on.

In other news, I took down my profile on eHarmony -- I am trying to leave this town, so dating now doesn't really factor into my plan. I may pick it up when/if I get to Richmond, although I don't think I will do eHarmony again -- they don't let you browse! Kind of frustrating. You have to wait for them to send you people.

Do you remember me talking about Miss Perfect who lives upstairs from me? She suddenly stopped talking to me. It happened after I told her I am a Christian. I think that made her uncomfortable. She asked me a bunch of questions about it and I told her that in the past I had claimed to be a Christian but was not really walking the walk. I told her how I am living my life now as opposed to a few years ago (or even a few months ago!) and I think she felt I was judging her or something. Which I'm not! I'm actually kind of envious of her ability to have guys sleep over....and not go to church....*sigh* Anyway, it did hurt my feelings, but at the same time, I didn't really see her becoming my best friend or anything, so I suppose it's for the best. She reminded me a little too much of my old roommate (the one who was bi-polar and would go on spending sprees even though she was broke). I thought we could at least hang out together, but I guess she doesn't agree. Oh well. I am taking it as another sign that it's time for me to move on.

The Ex-Fiance still lives here in Savannah. He still hangs out with all my friends, which is fine. It used to piss me off but I have gotten over it. He and I have just been avoiding each other. But he randomly messaged me on Facebook a few weeks ago and apologized for avoiding me and making things weird. I really appreciated that. So we have chatted a little via Facebook/text message, and I think we're cool now. It's all water under the bridge. He was dating a girl for a little while, and that made me happy for him, even though it didn't work out. He's even watching Sammy for me while I'm in Virginia later this week.

It was a long, boring summer for me, mostly because I was broke as a joke. My tenant (remember, I own a house in Columbia, SC) moved out in early May and I had no tenant....all summer....I just now have someone in there, which is awesome because I was dipping into savings to pay for rent AND mortgage all summer. Ouch! I literally bought nothing but groceries all summer long. No shopping, no vacations.

Now for the exciting part of this post! This post's title is a play on the state song of Virginia....which I am using because later this week, I have a job interview. I am pretty excited about it! It's a very well known art museum, and it would be an amazing place to work. I have been visiting that museum since I was a kid.

If I get it, it will be much less responsibility. I would miss being a supervisor, but I also think that I'm really burned out on my current job, and would welcome a slower pace so I can focus on my personal life more. It has really taken a back seat ever since I got here to Savannah. I am a little concerned, career-wise, about potentially going down the ladder, but if my personal life is more fulfilling, I may not care. And you never know -- moving up can happen anytime.

Another way this job would potentially affect my career is that it would be a 2nd art librarian job in a row. By focusing my career on such a tiny field (there are only about 300-400 art librarians in the U.S.), I am slightly worried that I may be putting myself in a box, essentially type casting myself. But this kind of organization would probably be easy to grow in (I read one of their annual reports and it says they are expecting a lot of people to retire over the next few years). And again, if I like my job, that won't matter!

The daughter of one of my mom's friends works there now and she said everyone there is very smart and super nice -- what more can you ask for in coworkers?? This museum has really become an icon of the city, and its success can only be due to the amazing employees there, so I would love to be a part of that!

The biggest boon would be, of course, moving to Richmond. I absolutely love Richmond and have always wanted to live there. I'd be close to my family and I know Richmond has all the stuff I am looking for in a city (I have been researching! I learned my lesson about moving here -- I did no research and just went with my emotional response to Savannah-- huge mistake.). One of the first red flags I got when I moved to Savannah was that no one here is from Savannah. That means they all get out ASAP. Richmond is not like that at all. You can't shake a stick without hitting a Richmond native -- I take that as a really good sign. I can see this being my -- gasp! -- last move.

I am trying not to count my chickens before they hatch or be overly confident about this, but I have a decent shot at getting this job. If you read the description of the requirements, I have every single one of them...plus extras. I would be taking a small pay cut, but nothing drastic. And again, if my personal life improves, it will be worth it.

The Czarina is, of course, ecstatic. She wants to have all of her "chickens" (that's what she calls all of her children) back in the roost, so to speak. I miss home, too. Now that my brother Fat Dog is married (yay! They ended up eloping to Hawaii and we are all very happy!) and my little sister Smurf is in college, I really want to be around family more. Even though The Czarina drives me nuts, I still love her.

The cherry on this little sundae I am whipping up is that The Czarina owns a condo right down the street from the museum -- a nice condo. That she will rent to me. And then I can walk to work and live in a super awesome neighborhood. WOOT!

So I'll be flying up for my interview on Wednesday. The interview is on Thursday morning. Wish me luck!

Oh, and if anyone has advice/good stories to share about moving down the ladder or taking jobs to enable you to focus on your personal life more, I would love to hear about it! Was it worth it? Do you have any regrets? Have you found it difficult to move back up the ladder later? The Czarina did it once and she (to this day) doesn't regret it. Although that might be because when she did it, she moved to Washington DC and met my dad. Of course it's easy for her to say she didn't regret it!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The 5 Ps

Wow, I haven't posted in a while. Let me see if I can sum up stuff:

Parenting -- The Czarina, a good friend of the family and my favorite aunt came down to visit me a few weeks ago. There was much shopping and laughing and dating advice (directed at me, of course). They all harped on me for being too picky and judgmental and for writing off guys before I even meet them. I countered with the fact that I refuse to settle and vow to keep my standards high. Therefore, no, I am not interested in flirting with guys who I can tell are not smart. I am tired of meeting cute guys who have nothing between their ears. I want someone who can stimulate me intellectually. They were baffled by this and can't believe I am not flirting like crazy with the hot (and yes, ok, they are hot) firemen across the street. But show me the fireman who can talk about politics, philosophy or anthropology! They don't exist! As soon as I make out with one, and my hormones get all stimulated, I will begin justifying all their flaws and end up in a dead end relationship. My mother and aunt disagreed completely and told me I was being judgmental. Am I? Probably. So I promised them I would try and be more open-minded.

Pressure -- We had a big re-org at work about 2 weeks ago. It was pretty crazy. The Gorilla got fired (thank goodness -- he was so toxic!). I know it sounds like I am taking pleasure from another's misfortune, and well, ok, I guess I am a little. Wrong, I know. But mostly, I am just relieved, as I'm sure he is. He was such a bad fit and he was miserable. So, this was really better for everyone. We also had to lay off one girl, which was NOT part of the original plan. We felt really badly about it. Now New Girl (my other half at work -- seriously, I love this girl) and I are working with a skeleton crew. It's going to be bumpy and stressful for a bit, but I think we will get there. There are a few people who now have totally new jobs and have to be trained from scratch -- so it's a little wonky at the moment. Luckily, there was minimal drama and most people are happy or they at least understand why we did what we did. Some people even got promotions, so that is good. Man, I am glad that is over. It was all I thought about for 2 months.

Peppy -- I have 2 new neighbors. One I will call Peppy. She lives across the hall from me and even though my coworkers call me Susie Sunshine, even I can barely handle this girl's too-happy and perky personality. She minors in performing arts, so she sings all the time. While she is a talented singer, it's kind of annoying. I sing when I'm alone, too, but quietly. This girl belts it out. And it's usually show tunes or cheesy romantic songs. Argh. As if this wasn't bad enough, she found a dog on the side of the road, and I'm worried she is going to keep it. This dog barks. And barks and barks and barks. Then it whines and whines and whines. Any time Peppy is not home or asleep, let the barking and whining begin. Kind of annoying. For some unexplainable reason, she thinks I am interested in being friends. Which is fine. But she found me on Facebook and friended me. What the heck?! I can't deny the request -- I will see her soon enough. I hate being pressured into being FB friends. (That goes for you, too, you weird cousin of mine!!!) Sorry, I have a weird cousin. I try to deny the friendship requests, but they keep coming. Luckily, he lives in South America, so it's a lot easier to deny him....sorry, now I am off-topic.

Miss Perfect -- I have another new neighbor who lives upstairs. I will call her Miss Perfect. Obviously, she is not perfect, but I certainly can't see any flaws: she looks like a supermodel (she doesn't even need to wear makeup, y'all, it's kind of sick), she's really in shape (triathalons are her main hobby -- what?!), her apartment is gorgeous (makes mine look like a dorm room) and she's smart (she has a PhD in Psychology). She has no debt, other than her car. Yeah. Oh, and did I mention that she is incredibly nice, friendly and has a fun personality? And that she thinks I am cool? Yeah. This girl is unreal. To make her even more awesome, she is my age AND single. Yeah. Believe it or not, this chick is single. Don't get me wrong, she has already met someone after living here for only 3 weeks. But she's not that into him. Something she can totally afford to do.

In short, she's the girl I hate to love. I hate her. But I can't, 'cause she's really nice and cool. So I have to admit that I like her. Even though I feel like I have just been slimed by the Envy Monster. *sigh* And my feelings of inadequacy are causing me to wonder why she wants to hang out with me. Because she's new in town and doesn't know anyone? Probably. I predict I will be friend-dumped as soon as she finds someone more worthy to hang out with. Wow, I am cynical today, aren't I?

My first inclination that she and I come from two different worlds was when I confessed to her that I have put on a lot of weight in the last few years, but that I was trying to make some changes and get back in shape (I first met her as I was coming back inside from a run). "Oh, I know what you mean. I am in love with junk food, too. Last week, I ate an ENTIRE watermelon. And that's basically just sugar." I was totally speechless. How many calories are in an entire watermelon? Like, 100? I decided to stay mum about my ability to eat two candy bars in one sitting, as I proved to myself a week ago. Wow. Talk about feeling like a loser. Who is this girl???

I'm trying to use her as inspiration. You see, she is super optimistic about her love life -- something that is very refreshing to my pessimistic, cynical view of the opposite sex. She is not giving up, but trying harder. She's one of those super goal-oriented people. And I have to admit, it's kind of awesome. "Ok, your goal is to get a date for this coming weekend," she said to me yesterday over coffee. "Um, yeah! Ok!" I replied, while thinking, "Yeah, right, lady. I'm overweight and my self-esteem isn't the greatest. I have essentially resigned myself to living alone for ever and wouldn't be able to attract Weird Al Yankovic right now." But somehow, she talked me into signing up for eHarmony. And I'm super broke right now (long story). But I did it anyway. This girl is not taking no for an answer. She wore me down. She's right. I can't give up. I have to keep trying.

Positive Attitude -- So, if nothing else, Miss Perfect is giving me a swift kick in my ass. Which is probably exactly what I need. Here's to hoping that some of her perfection and optimism rubs off on me. Let the games begin!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Getting Maui-d

Did I tell you my brother, Fat Dog, popped the question to his long-time girlfriend? Yup. On top of the Hoover Dam. He's an engineer, so I'm sure to him, this was a very romantic spot. He lucked out, because she said yes. We all adore her and so we are all very happy and excited.

For months, the happy couple has been trying to get the basics of their wedding plans established. Get married in Virginia Beach, where they both live? Get married in my hometown, which is super cheap? Get married this year or next year? They have been very indecisive. I'm sure The Czarina, starving for grandchildren, didn't help matters. She must have really ramped up the pressure when we all found out that the fiance is not 2 years older than him, like we had all thought, but TEN. (We never asked how old she was -- she looks fantastic for her age!)

Yesterday, Fat Dog called me to announce they have decided to have a destination wedding in 4 months. In Maui.

Most people would shout, "Hooray! Maui, here we come!" But there are some difficulties with this plan. In no particular order:

1. The Czarina does not fly. Period.
2. The Czarina, who is chipping in some money towards the wedding, is also paying for Smurf's college tuition right now. So she doesn't exactly have buckets of money laying around.
3. Based on my calculations, it will cost me something like $2,000 to attend this wedding. That will wipe out my savings, eat up the bonus I am going to get....I can go, but it will hurt. A lot.
4. My other two brothers live paycheck to paycheck, so they won't be able to go.
5. Smurf will be in the middle of Fall semester of her sophomore year, so she may not be able to go. Also, The Czarina would have to pay for her to go, too.
6. Banana, my older sister, is currently vacationing in Morocco, so she probably won't have any money left when she gets back.

"So, out of all the people you have called so far, how many said they can go?" I asked him.

"Um, none, actually," he replied.

"Are you prepared to have no guests at your wedding?" I asked.

Silence on his end. I wonder if he realizes that this may mean he gets few wedding gifts, but decide to keep that thought to myself.

"Look," he said, "this is what we are doing. We hope you guys can make it, cuz we would really like you to be there."

*sigh*

This particular sibling of mine is unique in our family in so many ways: he's good at math, he got Grandma's weird feet, he is stubborn to the point of absurdity and he has champagne tastes -- only the best for Fat Dog!

I can just about guess what happened. Fat Dog got sick of all the indecision, ran out of patience and decided that this is what they are doing, no matter the cost, logistics or inconvenience. I know how he operates. I'm sure his fiance is trying to get him to slow down and think about this some, and he is having none of it. (I wish I could say he is the only one in the family who is impatient, but unfortunately, yours truly has the patience of a toddler.)

The part that irritates me the most? His argument that this is cheaper than getting married in our hometown! "You can't get married for less than $10,000. You just can't," he said. Um, I am pretty sure you can. I actually just attended a wedding a few weeks ago that was very small, very fun and very inexpensive. But you see, Fat Dog has a tendency to require only the BEST in everything. Don't get me wrong, it's great to have standards, but a touch of reality is good, too. See, he knows he can get married for less than $10k. He just doesn't want to, because it won't be all fancy and impressive. If he can't have a Top Shelf wedding, he will just basically not have one at all -- which is pretty much what this is. It's just a glorified elopement. But since it's an elopement in Maui, it will still impress.

"So let me get this straight. You guys live at one beach, but you're going to fly aaaaall the way across the country to get married at another beach?" I asked.

"It's Maui," he replied. Touche.

"And how is this cheaper than getting married in our hometown?" I asked.

He was getting frustrated with me now. "Gah! Look, the only weekend we could get married in Farmville is at the end of May, and that's when the Heart of Virginia Festival is happening."

(Trying to get married in our hometown during Heart of Virginia would be daunting, I will agree. It's pretty much the busiest weekend of the year for our 3 little hotels in Farmville.)

"The Heart of Virginia Festival is in May. You just said this would be in September," I pointed out.

"We don't even live there!" he replied.

"Nor do you live in Maui," I observed.

Silence. Touche, brother dear! This was kinda fun! I was enjoying poking holes in all his arguments. I am such a mean older sister, aren't I? But this is what he gets for having such a selfish wedding plan, after we were all looking forward to this wedding.

"So why do you think it will save you money to do it this way?" I continued.

"Because if we get married in Virginia Beach or in Farmville, we will have to invite all these people. You know how it goes -- if you invite this person, then you have to invite that person, too. Soon, your guest list is out of control. We are just inviting family. No one else," he explained.

"Yeah, I know that can happen easily with guest lists," I admitted. That's why you cap it off, make some tough decisions and deal with it, I thought. I imagined the unruly guest list like an untamed Mustang, bucking my brother off its back. How absurd. Who is in charge here, you or your guest list? I thought.

I almost pointed out to him that if you don't have any guests at your wedding, you also don't have any wedding gifts. Wonder if Mr. Top Shelf has realized this.

"Can't you just get married in Farmville or Virginia Beach and then have your honeymoon in Maui?" I pleaded.

"No, cuz that will cost even more money!" he said.

He also argued that they are saving up for a big house, since they are planning to have kids. Is it just me, or should you have the kids first before doing that?? He owns a 2 bedroom condo already. I love that taking a trip to Maui is part of the plan to save money for this house. Is he serious? I can hear Dave Ramsey screaming now.

I got off the phone with him and called The Czarina.

"Are you upset about all of this?" I asked her.

My mother, in true emotionally-repressed, German-American fashion, replied, "I'm not upset. I'm just not going."

Oh boy. She was super pissed. I wondered if she hung up on him, but decided it would be best not to ask.

Upon discovering that she and I both thought he was crazy, and for the same reasons, she told me I shouldn't have said all the stuff I said. (I was supposed to repress it all, like she did!) She made me call him back and apologize. So I did. She was right -- it's his wedding. We should be supportive. We need to be happy that we love his fiance so much.

I'm trying to have a better attitude about this, but I am still kinda pissed. I think he's being really selfish and shallow. Just because he can't have a big Hollywood wedding (like he surely feels he deserves) he will just not have one at all. He's making the wedding all about him, when I think it should involve our families, too. (Maybe I am just crazy, but I thought I was welcoming a new member into our family!) After all, out of the last 4 times my entire family has gotten together, 3 of those times were for funerals. I was kind of looking forward to getting together with my family for a happy occasion for once.

The Czarina thinks they will still change their minds and I shouldn't get too upset. She will probably try and talk some sense into him after she calms down a little. (She would never admit it, but I'm pretty sure she is furious.)

I almost just wish they had run off to Vegas or City Hall and just not told anyone. Then we wouldn't all have to decide if we want to spend all this money -- it would already be a done deal.

I love my brother, but he sure can be a pain in the neck.