Saturday, May 31, 2008

Where can it be?

Every night before bed I take off my wrist watch and a little garnet ring and put them in a pewter dish. Like my habit with my keys, they never land anywhere else. Ever.

Last night I fell asleep in the living room. I woke up around 3:00 am on the living room floor! (I wasn't drunk or anything!) It took every fiber of my being to get myself up and put myself to bed. I have no idea why.

I know I didn't even stop in the bathroom to wash my face or brush my teeth!
I remember waking at some point in the early morning to take off my wrist watch as it was uncomfortable. I found it right next to me on the nightstand this morning.

Mysteriously, I cannot find my ring.

I don't remember taking it off. I thought maybe I'd find it between the sheets of my bed - indicating that I took it off sometime before the watch - but it's not there. I even emptied out the drawers of my nightstand and searched under my bed with a flashlight hoping for a glimmer of silver. Nothing.

In the living room, I ran my fingers over my shag rug. I looked under the cushions of the couch. I checked inside the medicine cabinet in the bathroom - in case I took it off while I brushed my teeth which I don't remember doing.

It's not valuable. It's just a simple little ring that I bought for $7 ten years ago. I wear it on my right hand, ring finger. It's not even special.
I'm not much of a jewlery person - it just so happens that this is the only ring I've ever had that hasn't lost a stone, tarnished or gotten lost - until now.
It's the only ring that I think looks decent on my hands that hasn't lost a stone, tarnished or gotten lost - until now.

No. It's not valuable. But for ten years I've recieved countless compliments on it's simple beauty. And my right hand feels naked without it.
Maybe it is special.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Not in MY House

As we were driving to Mr. Burns' favorite Chinese Restaurant last night, we found ourselves behind a small pickup truck.

Its' tiny cargo bed was laden with a huge big screen TV. Mind you, not a nice new large flatscreen - no - one of those big boxy TVs, taller than I - nearly as wide and deep as it is tall.
The kind that is like having a queen size bed standing on end in your living room.

I turned to Mr. Burns and said, "Somewhere, a few blocks away you just know there's a woman standing in the doorway saying 'That thing is NOT coming inside this house!' "

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rough Ride

I've had the same mountain bike for 17 years. The entire time, I've only ridden it on city streets and paved bike trails.

Today, I took the baby to a mountain for the first time!!

I am so terribly out of shape. I pushed my bike up the trails most of the way. Mr. Burns is much stronger and would ride ahead a bit, then wait for me to catch up with my bike. On the positive side, pushing my bike made it a full body workout rather than just cardio and legs!

I've never ridden single track before and the trails are narrow (about a foot to 18 inches wide) and many rocks.
This picture may be a bit deceiving - there is a lot of gradual incline/ switchbacks to get up - and much wide open, flat area on the mesa.

At the top, where I didn't have to fight with incline, it was a bit easier to navigate. Mr. Burns would shout back about how fun the trail was. I was still nervous about the terrain and yelled, "This is dangerous and hurty!"

When we leveled out I had much more fun - riding fast, flying over bumps and rocks and proving to myself that I could control my bike.

(I'm still a bit gun-shy since the great bike crash of 2004)

When we finally rode back down my bravery kicked in and the rocks didn't seem like such big obstacles. Although I was a little afraid of the narrow tracks combined with speed. I was afraid I would bounce right out of a track (I use the term: rut) and end up crashing.

Mr. Burns rode ahead, and on one significant hill I found myself faced with a jackknifed front tire. It had bounced out of the track and I was airborne. As I flew over the handle bars I said aloud, "Yep, just like that..." that's what I was afraid of.

Not a bad crash.
Mr. Burns was already over the next hill and out of sight. I sat in the brush for a bit and called for him twice before I realized he was out of earshot. Finally, I pulled myself to my feet and mounted my bike again. It was a little screwed up - so I had to push it to meet Mr. Burns. When I finally saw him, I told him I needed help with the bike - kinda proud of my injury free crash.

Here's to firsts! It was scary, but it was fun.

I think brush is more forgiving than concrete. And I think my bike finally feels a bit sexy - having fulfilled the destiny of being called a Mountain Bike!

What a Chore

I can't think of many things I hate more than washing dishes.

I hate it so much that I usually wait til there is nothing left to eat from - before resorting to doing dishes. At this point I should tell you that I don't have a dishwasher. Not since four apartments ago.

The one person who shares my hatred for the task of dishwashing is my friend Kimberly. We love and hate most of the same things. That's a true friend!
We both love older buildings, so we both end up in tiny little apartments with no dishwasher.

A couple years ago I made the rare journey out to visit her in San Francisco. Her apartment was so cute... with a tiny little kitchen so small you could almost work all the appliances from one standing position - just turn yourself around! Her kitchen was decorated so cute, with deep red paint on the walls - matching dishes arranged just so on the open shelving. And a small pile of dishes in the sink. As she gave me a little tour of her apartment she apologized for the mess in the sink and mentioned what a hard time she was having getting around to doing the dishes.

When she excused herself to go take a shower, I decided to fill the sink with water and clear up the dishes. Somehow, the work you hate the most is not only less dreadful, but bearable when you do it for someone you love.

When she returned to the kitchen, I tried to hide my smug expression as she surveyed her empty sink.
"Did you wash my dishes? You are not allowed to wash my dishes. No." she said sternly, as if scolding a dog with a favorite sandal in it's mouth.
Then she hugged me warmly as she said, "Thank you. That is the nicest thing you could have done for me. Just don't do it again."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Alone. Again. As Always

It's nearly a ten hour drive from Denver to my parent’s home. That's including gas stops, potty breaks and naps. My sister in law claims she drove it in eight hours. But she had her whole family for company. Such a long drive with no conversation, no company – well – it’s hard to stay awake. So for my own sanity and for the safety of everyone else on the interstate, I usually stop for a 20 minute nap around halfway through the drive.

That's why, when I came back from a visit last summer I told Mr. Burns that I was never making that trip again alone. From now on I expect him to be with me.

When my brother planned the big surprise party for dad's birthday I was so excited that this would be the first trip back with Mr. Burns at my side. It would be a great opportunity to finally introduce him to my parents. And because many of our relatives would be there, he'd meet everyone important to me!

Shortly after we set the plans for the party, Mr. Burns got a finalized schedule for his work travel schedule. It overlapped dad's party. Mr. Burns couldn’t go.

At the same time, the travel schedule put him 5 hours North of my parent's town. If he was done with the work assignment by Saturday, it was conceivable that he could rent a car and drive down. Then we could drive back to Denver together.

We talked about it as I was driving and finally about three hours from my destination. At that point he knew he would be off on Saturday. His field work is exhausting. Even when he gets to fly home, he's a pile of mush just yearning for his own bed. I didn’t really want him to have to drive 5 hours in that condition. Moreover, if he's worn down it's not the optimal circumstance to introduce him to my folks and then subject him to a crowd of 70 strangers.

He also made a crack that he considered surprising me anyway, but that I ruined it by discussing it. Ha ha. For the rest of my drive I thought about it some more. A woman with hours of free thought is a dangerous thing.

Early in our relationship I had told him that, judging by the successful marriages I knew of, the key is for the man to know that he’s found the woman he wants and fight for her. I told him that a man has to convince a woman that he knows without a doubt that she is the woman for him. Sometimes it comes down to the ‘Grand Gesture’.
Mr. Burns took that to heart and has since expressed concern that he doesn’t believe he’s doing that with me. That he hasn't done a lot of convincing. And sadly, it's true. But that's another story.

Anyway, as I drove the final few hours of my journey I thought, "If he leaves in the morning he could get to my folks house by noon or 1:00. I could introduce him to mom and dad and then he could take a good nap and be ready for the party at 5:00. Yeah. That would work. Is it asking too much? Well, I would do it for him. It’s no small favor. It would definitely be a 'grand gesture.'" Now I was convinced that this was the way it should go. I tried to call him that night but he was still on site at work. I couldn’t reach him, so I built a fantasy in my head where he was planning to rent a car and surprise me.

We missed each other's phone calls until Saturday morning when he called to tell me he had just landed in Denver. "Oh. So much for my fantasy." I told him.

Mom and I ran around getting balloons and cake and other goodies for the party. At 5:00 we were poised for the surprise. I spent the evening talking to relatives I only see at weddings and funerals. They all asked about my job (I don’t have one) and about my boyfriend (he’s not here) and I found myself in the uncomfortable position of being alone. again. as always. Damn. I’m almost 38 and I think I’ve finally found the man for me and here I am at a big event alone. It was very similar to the horror and overwhelming solitude that I felt attending dozens of weddings without a date. Excruciating. (thank God I can arm myself with my camera - it is both a conversation starter and an escape clause.)

Then I had another 10 hour drive back to Denver. More thinking.

Did I expect too much. No. I don’t think so. When his dad died last summer, I told him I would catch the next plane out to the east coast to be by his side if he wanted me there. He didn't. He didn’t think it would be a great time to introduce me to his huge family while they were grieving. What if they forever associated me with the saddest day of their lives?

Thanksgiving was the first holiday without his dad so he didn’t want to introduce me to his family then – so I stayed home. Christmas we both stayed in Denver. Finally, I went with him to his friend’s wedding in Atlanta. With all this time to think it’s becoming clearer and clearer that he’s holding me at arm’s length.

When I finally saw him again, Monday night I told him that I really needed him there with me at dad’s party. I am so done being alone. He said he was sorry he didn’t come.

What now? Am I alone in this relationship? It certainly feels that way.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

That's Not the Way I do it.

One of the top things on my pull-my-hair-out-before-I-resort-to list is moving my computer desk to access the many plugs and adapters on the back of my computer tower.

The reason:
I converted a good-sized closet into a small 'office' so that my desk didn't have to reside in my living room or bedroom. As a result, moving the desk is a major undertaking. It causes me undo stress. Just ask my friend Ben or Mr. Burns for that matter.

Today, as I was tinkering around on the Internet, I noticed that I wasn't getting audio when I clicked a couple different video links. I checked out my speakers and they were on - up - and otherwise functioning.

Mr. Burns used my computer yesterday to finish up some homework - and he remarked that the line to the mouse was too taut - so I figured he might have pulled the plug to the speaker out when he was pulling on the mouse cord.


So I pulled my hair out then resorted to pulling my desk out of it's alcove. While I was mid-way through this endeavor my phone rang with Mr. Burn's familiar pre-programmed ringtone - or as he calls it the Pavlovian signal! When he asked what I was up to I told him, "I'm doing the unspeakable." then explained my theory that the speaker plug pulled out and I was moving my desk to plug it back in.

He knew that wasn't a good sign!

Once I had a clear view of the back of the tower - it was clear that the plug was still in place. Hmm. I muttered, "I guess those speakers are pretty old. Maybe they're dead."

"Oh." said Mr. Burns. "You know what it is? I turned your speakers to MUTE while I was there. Sorry I didn't tell you."

WTH? Who does that?! I never click through the countless little gidgets all over the computer to find the one dinky feature that does what I can do with my finger - turn the volume down! Or switch the speakers off! What?!

Clearly, Mr. Burns approaches things differently than I. For him it's perfectly natural to scroll through a list of a million different features to find one little button.

I, on the other hand, skip all those steps and go straight to the horse's mouth and flip the actual - tangible button! Yes I know I'm mixing metaphors!

Oh - he owes me for making me resort to the unspeakable!

FYI - the reason I pull my desk out rather than pull the computer tower out of it's slot - is because I have all the cords in back neatly arranged and 3M'd (is that a term?) to the back of the desk. That way the cords don't tangle and the dust bunnies have to be orderly back there. As a result there is no slack in the cords to pull the tower forward.

Mr. Burns learned this the hard way. Last year for my birthday he bought me memory for my computer. Installing it was also the gift. He grumbled and swore a little bit as he tried to pull the tower forward. I said, "I usually pull the desk out and access it from behind." Thinking that was enough information to get him to change his tack.

He continued to pull it out the front kvetching and moaning all the way. I got increasingly irritated.

Finally after it was all over and he was sufficiently P.O'd I said, "That's why I move the desk out. The cords are all tethered on the back of the desk."

And that's how couples learn to communicate!!

Come to think of it... that's why the mouse cord was too taut. Because he pulled it out of it's carefully arranged 3M position when he installed the memory. I fixed that while I was back there too.