List #239: The Chills

This weekend was pretty much a wash. A pretty rough illness took hold on Thursday morning, sent me home from work only about an hour after I arrived, and didn't let me leave the house until Saturday. For only about an hour. Ditto to the boyfriend who came down with the same thing around midnight on Thursday night. Neither of us can remember the last time we were both that sick and chained to the bathroom. 

Things that happened and things that don't happen when you're stuck on the couch or in bed, sick, for a few days on end:
  • Hours of Parks and Recreation.
  • Moaning in pain. 
  • Emails sent to coworkers
  • Trips to malls.
  • Cat cuddles.
  • The depths of Netflix.
  • 10 + hours of sleep. 
  • Backaches from too much couch time.
  • Lots and lots of garbage.
  • Boozy brunch. 
  • Loads of laundry.
  • Hours of How I Met Your Mother, Season 1.
  • Movies.
  • Reading boos.
  • Soup deliveries from coworkers.
  • Chicken broth.
  • Rice.
  • Wasted leftovers.
  • Hot showers.
  • Paper reading.
  • Muppets.
This pretty much sums up the whole weekend. 

So here's to a healthy week. 


Letter #56: Writing Through Time

Here and there and sometimes here I've wrote letters to my future boyfriend. They were mostly written under blankets on my couch in my old apartment. Dreams and wishes that were fueled by past mistakes and what I had hoped for the future. But that was then and this is now. So new letters need to be written.

Dear Partner Who Wakes Up with Me Every Morning,

We don't always get to sleep in on Saturday mornings. Our internal alarm clocks are set to early. Adjustments in growing older, a baby's cries, a needy cat, our inability to be lazy for too long. All fair reasons for getting up with the sun and the perfect excuse for cups of steaming tea while still wearing pajamas.

But when we do ignore the alarms, and let the sun escape the curtains and filter into our bedroom, it's worth it. It's worth it for the way our snores stop and to hear the cat jump out of bed and run down the stairs. It's worth it to have your hand slip into mine and for my foot to find your leg. The two of us wrapped under sheets.

You whisper in my ear and pull back my hair to kiss me in a gentle haze that isn't quite ready to begin the day. And I mumble back an "I love you too" as I wiggle to get closer. This is as warm as we'll be for the rest of the day.

But when we do finally manage to push back the covers and start the day the newspapers to read, the candles to burn, the city to explore, the meals to prepare, the jokes to tell, and the laughs to be had fill in all the gaps.

And when it's all over there are those few minutes at the end of a night. When you're on your side of the bed, and I'm on mine. And the window is cracked and at least one bedside lamp is still glowing. And you're eyes are growing heavier by the second, a book dipping closer and closer to landing on your nose. And I'm already halfway to sleep, my own book thrown to the floor.  And my blanket is draped over my eyes. It's hard to remember the past. Because I never thought it could be this way.


List #238: Old Apartment

Locking Up for the Last Time

I locked up my apartment for the last time this evening. I haven't slept there since mid-October. And I have been living with the boyfriend since before Thanksgiving. But the lease is finally running out at the end of March. And after weeks of procrastination, mixed with bad weather, we taped the last box and threw away the garbage. 

I'm certainly not going to miss it. The carpet was awful, the heat hard to regulate, and the refrigerator was ancient. I was living in one of the last units in my building to forgo a renovation and it would have driven me crazy if I had stay much longer anyway. My rental company was run by shady people who had were guilty of tax evasion. Too many big dogs lived next door. And I never really talked to any of my neighbors.

But, it was mine. It was where I moved on after the most difficult year of my life. It was where my friends showed their love for me by moving all of my stuff, building my kitchen table, and picking up my estate-sale love seat and couch, without any of my help thanks a hospital stay and a Coumadin prescription. It was mine in a neighborhood that I loved, just steps around the corner from the first coworker I was ever really good friends with, and with a fantastic pizza place only a block away. It was spacious and warm and where I always knew quiet would welcome me home.

Two years. (Or, more correctly, a year and almost a half.) Here's what happened inside those walls.
  • Radley Cat was adopted.
  • I learned to sleep alone in a big bed nearly every night.
  • Many bubble baths were taken.
  • Chinese food was ordered. Regularly. 
  • Hours of Parks and Recreation were watched.
  • The cable bill was often paid late.
  • A guy once made me cry in my own bed.
  • I cried on the couch, not related to a guy.
  • Friends danced to Thriller.
  • Friends burnt themselves on glue guns.
  • Cards were played at the kitchen table.
  • Bean burritos were cooked in the kitchen.
  • Parades were watched.
  • Pierogies were taunted.
  • Dance parties. In the living room.
  • Many bad dates were never invited over.
  • Dance parties. In the kitchen.
  • Piles of clothes were ironed while watching television.
  • Tipsy friends slept on couches and in beds with me.
  • Floors were scrubbed.
  • A vacuum was borrowed. 
  • Many candles were burned.
  • One online dating profile was created.
  • My first Christmas tree was displayed
  • Snow fell.
  • One Christmas party was hosted.
  • Pictures of far away places I've visited were hung with care.
  • Friends moved away and I stayed.
  • Saturday mornings meant shopping at the farmer's market.
  • Weekday walks with my mom were treasured.
  • Books were read in bed, in the bathtub, on the couch, in the kitchen, and on the floor.
  • So much of this blog was written.
  • One smoke detector woke me up in the middle of the night.
  • Artwork was purchased to decorate white walls.
  • Clothes were always on the floor.
  • One great date was invited upstairs.
  • Two beers were sipped after one great date.
  • One first kiss.
  • One boy and girl up against a wall.
  • Two people pretended to watch Lincoln.
  • One girl fell in love.
So many things changed within the walls of that apartment. Not overnight, to be certain. There were a lot of lonely nights, uncontrollable self-doubt and sobbing, and unending life questioning. But slowly, things turned around. I may not miss that apartment. And I will certainly not miss those crippling feelings. But I will always look back fondly on that place simply because of the journey that was all about discovery, and failure, friendship, and family, and love.

Good-bye crappy apartment. I hope your next person experiences just as many things. 

List #237: Irish Eyes are Smiling

Even if I didn't get the chance to join in the revelry of Pittsburgh's St. Patrick's Day celebrations this year, I can still hold my head high and declare my ancestry. Because honestly, America's habit of holding on to our family's pasts generations after our great-great-great-great grandfathers settled on this land is one of the things I love most about this country. Yes, I am American. But I am also Irish, and Polish, and a little bit Austrian too. 

So in honor of those ancestors who came over on ships, worked harder than I can ever imagine, and found Pittsburgh there home, I raise a glass and listen to a few little songs.

Molly Malone
Because my mother taught me this song as a young girl. She sings it every year, teaching her preschool students the chorus and first verse. It's adorable. And it will always remind me of her sweet voice and love. 
Dirty Old Town
Because Pittsburgh used to be known for its dirty and grit. When I was a little girl I thought all songs that talked about downtowns and anything that referenced dirty cities was written about my town. I still think this could fit the Pittsburgh of those days. 
Because this song was in heavy rotation during my middle school years. When I was awkward, and my family had little money, and I was just trying to figure out who in the world I might try to try and become. A female Irish rockstar sounded like a pretty good idea.

Drunken Lullabies
Because I'm embarrassed to admit that up until a few years ago, I weirdly thought that Flogging Molly was Pittsburgh-based Irish band. In my defense, it often seems that this city (or more aptly many of my Irish relatives) have a very big thing for them and no one else outside of this city had ever seemed to hear of them. So I thought they were Pittsburghers who just really embraced their Irish culture and maybe had one or two real Irish members. 

Because when a name like mine, you're required to wear green on St. Patrick's Day...May your day be touched with a little bit of Irish luck. 


List #236: Over the Course of a Weekend

I don't want to say that I'm still adjusting to living with a significant other. The boyfriend and I have been cohabiting for a few months now. And once upon a time in what feels like a lifetime ago, I shared a small and awkward place with someone else. I think we've adjust quite well, and I'm sure caring for a baby helps in that regard, but the final weeks of renting my apartment are coming to a close.

I haven't stayed in my once beloved one-bedroom apartment since before Thanksgiving. I can't even recall the last night I tucked myself into the bed alone. But I'm guessing it was around the time I went away for the weekend, and the boyfriend went away for a week long business trip. After that think we just made the decision to pick up the cat and let my lease run its course.

Besides running hot and steaming water for my bath on freezing winter nights, I haven't missed it all that much. Our shower here is a lot nicer than mine, but the bathtub just isn't as deep.

So in preparation of handing the keys over for real, this weekend was really the time to take care of the big things that we've been avoiding over the last months.

And in the course of a weekend, here is what happened all because one girl moved in with one boy:

  • A brother-in-law met a boyfriend at an apartment to load up a truck.
  • The librairan worked on a strategic plan community meeting.
  • A couch and a love seat was moved to a parents' garage.
  • A dining room table was disassembled. And moved to a parents' basement.
  • Three end tables, each over 20 years old, were placed on the side of the road. 
  • One CD rack from Pottery Barn, a college gift from a babysitting family, was taken outside.
  • Two tarps were purchased.
  • Bubble wrap was ordered. Thanks to Amazon Prime.
  • Bubble wrap was purchased. Thanks to Rollier's Hardware.
  • Prints and postcards and pictures were taken down, boxed, and propped by the front door.
  • Wearing an Allegheny sweatshirt made one old man inside a Chinese restaurant assume that I was rich, conservative, Republican, and Christian.
  • A whole lot of furniture was moved to a new nursery. 
  • Burgatory dinner happened. With alcoholic mikshakes shared and beer consumed.
  • A handful of Parks and Recreation episodes were watched.
  • Texts were exchanged about the effects of the first season of How I Met Your Mother.
  • Two people fell asleep before 10:00 pm on a Saturday night.
  • Daylight Saving screwed with all of our minds.
  • The cat got a few new toys and decided inside bed was the best place to play with them.
  • Loads of laundry were finished.
  • Sunday night came way too fast.
In the end, we aren't really finished emptying the apartment just yet. One more day and perhaps an evening after work will do the trick. I want my owl collection and postcard collection. Moving might be the worst, but you can't complain when it's a good thing. And when other people spend their day off picking up heavy pieces of furniture while you work. 


List #235: Lenten Promises

In 2014 I'm only Catholic by tradition. Meaning I spent eight years attending Catholic grade school, countless Sunday mornings in church, and was Confirmed. But now I have faith in some general god, believe that special people do walk this earth and do good things to be saints, and really only go to church for weddings and funerals. Is this all a little simplistic? Sure. But trying to narrow one's faith into a few sentences for a blog post is actually pretty hard.

Because I am a Catholic by tradition, Lent has always played a part in my life. And yes, I will try to give up something this season. Or at least try to a little more good.

But before I decide, and in between all of the promises I saw people post to Facebook and Twitter swearing off of social media, or promising not to yell at their children for the next 40 days, I couldn't help but remember some of the promises I had made in the past.

  • Every year at my parochial school, the teachers would make us write down our lenten promises on some themed paper. Secrets that no one else would read. And into a big brown basket they would go; to be burned into the ashes that would be placed upon our foreheads.
  • When one teacher finally told us that we could opt to do an extra good thing every day during Lent, instead of giving something up, I very often wrote down doing extra chores for my mother. Or being nicer to my brothers. I honestly have no recollection of doing extra chores. And I was always reasonably nice to my brothers any time of the year.
  • In college, one Ash Wednesday, I attended a nondenominational mass with some of my roommates at the college chapel. During that same time, the local bowling alley was burning down and was the talk of the mass. Years later, this chapel would become famous for a little while after they held a seminar on sex and masturbation inside of it. 
  • On the Good Friday's of my youth, my mom would not let us watch television during the hours that Jesus was dying on the cross. And all of us had to fast. She's gotten a lot lighter on these rules and I really don't know why.
  • Probably the thing I gave up most during Lent's of my childhood were chips and sweets. It was probably a whole lot easier back then considering my mom packed my lunch.
  • In fourth grade, it was (and still is) a tradition for the class to perform the living stations. Everyone in the class had a part and we'd very silently act out the scenes from the stations of the cross. I was one of the women who met Jesus in the eighth station. It was a coveted role because you had to dance too. Thank goodness, I had all of that ballet experience. 
  • As a creature of habit, I still don't really eat meat on Fridays during Lent. My dad was already asked when we're coming over for a Friday fish fry.
  • In graduate school my Young Adult Resources professor dressed monochromatically and brought us in treats every week. For Fat Tuesday she brought in King Cake because she couldn't find enough paczki. Or perhaps it was the other way around.  
  • Now this year, I plan to give up Coca-cola. It will be hard, but no ordering cola in restaurants, none for lunch at work. Though if I get hit with a tension headache or migraine, my favorite soda will have to make an appearance. But I'm hoping for 40 days without a pounding head incident.
So dear readers, do you still give up something for Lent? Even if you aren't Catholic? Share your stories in the comments.