Wanting . . .

When I have no money is when I want things most. Specifically, lots of things I don’t need. A new vacuum cleaner touted as a pet hair-buster. Jeans. Shoes. Cute tops. Dresses when it’s cold out. Expensive makeup. A chemical peel. Bras that fit. A fireproof safe. A second DVD player or video game system for upstairs. Pillows for the couch. Nice fabric so I can make pillows for the couch. A different rug in the kitchen. A hybrid car. My own home.

When I have the most to do is when I want the least to do anything. Cleaning the house. Taking the dogs for a walk. Listening to online lectures. Doing homework. Writing papers.  Doing yoga or exercise of any sort. Doing the dishes. Reading chapters. Washing the sheets and duvet.


Truth Time

All right, kids. It’s time for me to come clean. I said something to Katie about this a few days ago, but it’s official: I was accepted as a participant in a study on anxiety at IU. I spoke with a woman today and see a psychiatrist next Tuesday.

I’ve been experiencing incrementally more periods of anxiety lately than I ever have in my life. I think it all started when I was in the car accident with Liz 10 years ago, and has gotten progressively worse. It could have been bad prior to that, but I self-medicated with drugs and alcohol. Since I’ve quit drinking I have definitely felt worse.

It’s reared its ugly head most recently in a series of social events that I’ve missed out on due to my constant worrying. We almost didn’t go to dinner on our anniversary. I have managed to make excuses for just about every single thing that’s come up in the past few months.

I don’t know what all of this is related to or why it’s getting worse. I just know that it’s begun to seriously affect my happiness, and is something that Charlie has had to deal with — and he shouldn’t have to. I feel like work and school wear me out. When I have to socialize in any way, I do expressly what I have to do. Beyond that, I feel exhausted. Making a phone call makes me want to take a nap. Going to the grocery store is a challenge. I’m okay doing things at home; cleaning the house, walking the dogs, doing dishes. But if I have to do certain social things after work, after having conversations for five or six or however many hours, I just want to lay down.

Because of my inactive social life, my neglect of my friends, my lack of energy, I know it’s time to do something. At first I put it off until April, when IUPUI is going to be having an anxiety screening in the new Campus Center. But then I saw they were enrolling people in a trial. Besides, I don’t need to be screened. I’m about 150% positive what needs to be treated.

This study includes compensation for time and travel, a couple of medications (they choose which one), and perhaps a PET scan or two. The last two options interest me more than first. I could care less if they gave me money. The fact is, I’ll be receiving free treatment for something that started out as a mild form of post-traumatic stress disorder (according to a shrink I saw a few years ago — I’ve only seen a counselor three times in my entire life and have never gone back to any of them more than twice) and has developed into something that’s putting pressure on my relationship and friendships.  The idea of getting a scan of my brain is really exciting, for some reason. And since we have no health insurance, my only other option is the CAPS program at IUPUI, which limits the amount of times you can see someone during your entire college career.

To show you exactly how bad it’s been, let me detail the phone call I had this morning. After getting up the nerve (I have to do this) to call and leave my name and number last Friday, someone returned that call this morning around 11:30. I saw my phone was ringing but didn’t recognize the number. If I don’t know who’s calling me, I will definitely not answer. I waited for the person to leave a voice mail and finally got one. It was someone recruiting for the study. I sat down in the bathroom for about ten minutes, trying to calm myself down. I was excited that they were calling me, but I was nervous about what I would have to do. Would I have to go somewhere I’ve never been before?  Talk to someone new? Find a place to park? Pay to park? Would they want to see me today? What if they didn’t want me at all?

I ended up speaking with the recruiter for about fifteen minutes as she asked me a series of questions — none of which I answered negatively. It was all “Yes.” “Definitely.” “Frequently.” “All the time.” When I got off the phone I was bouncing around the house in a kind of manic, nervous excitement.  I felt shaky and tense, and the muscles in my neck and shoulders have been hurting ever since (it’s now almost 4pm). I wanted to ask Charlie to go with me, but he has to be in class on Tuesdays at 10:30, so I couldn’t ask him to skip just to sit in a waiting room while I had a conversation with the doctor.

I’m very, very glad that I’m doing this, but of course, I’m also really worried about the outcome. What I know is that my worry has had a tremendous impact on my happiness and I don’t want that to happen any longer.

You’re Still Here?

I can’t believe I haven’t updated all week! I guess my excuse is that Charlie has been sick all this time and I’ve been trying to keep up with schoolwork, cleaning, and feeding and bathing him. Okay, he can bathe himself. And I haven’t been doing all that hot in my classes. My abnormal psychology tests thus far have both been kind of pathetic and I’ve been working on this paper about sustainable living that I forgot I have to write a shorter piece on something else, first.

After our trip to the organic farm last weekend and meeting Kelly, I signed up for her Seldom Seen Farm’s mailing list. I got an email a few days ago notifying me about the Sustainable Earth gathering at the fairgrounds today. I had to open the store this morning, so when I got home I put my feet up for a minute, let the dogs out, and we headed towards 38th Street.

Neither of us really knew what to expect. I knew Kelly and John would be there, since they’re the ones who told me about it. A girl who works at our other store also works for a mushroom farm and said she would be there, as well. There were a lot of people there, which really surprised me. When we attended the presentation of An Inconvenient Truth at The Vogue a few months ago, it was a sad crowd. We were in the “Our Land Pavillion” and there were several areas set up with stages and microphones where people were speaking about everything from sustainable living to buying locally to organizing your own homestead.

I finally ran in to Kelly and John and managed to grill them for a bit about where they lived. I’m really interested in the shift from suburban or urban life to one of diesel trucks converted to run on used vegetable oil and installing solar panels and windmills in your back yard. I don’t know that this is something I’m quite ready for, considering I neither own land nor do I know how to grow an herb without killing it, but I’m definitely up for working in that direction.

Charlie and I share a mutual dilemma: both of us want to avoid getting stuck in the ‘burbs when gas reaches five or eight or ten dollars a gallon and only rich people live in the city. So, do we stay where we are – or move even closer to the city where jobs and transportation are more readily available — or do we chuck it all and invest in a few acres, start growing our own food, and stock up on shotguns?

Indiana has a relatively small sustainable community, and it is a diverse one. You might go to a city like Seattle or Portland and meet – for the most part – a bunch of old-school hippies and earth-hugging chicks who crochet their own clothes. Here, though, I noticed that the crowd was everything from hippies and John Deere trucker cap-wearing old men, to 40-something granola lesbians and Mennonites, and a few other fun stereotypes thrown in. There were young people, elderly people, disabled people, people who hate the government, people who love the earth, and people who are scared shitless (that might be about where Charlie and I stand on the spectrum).

I discovered some interesting things about growing your own food (raised beds do very well in the city) and even how to raise chickens when you live in an urban area. It’s all good stuff for my article, but what it really does is make me ask myself how far I’m willing to go to decrease my ecological footprint. I’d say I’m willing to go pretty far. As long as those wind and solar panels can power my Mac, that is.


img_0033.jpgThe past few days have been a mix of something new and something sick. Saturday was, of course, the anniversary of the day we rushed to the courthouse on Charlie’s two-day leave from South Carolina when he was in the Navy.

He got home from work this past Friday night/Saturday morning early enough to get plenty of sleep before we headed to the Trader’s Point Creamery for brunch and interviews. Charlie wasn’t feeling all that hot, so we didn’t dilly-dally. We ate the nine dollar breakfast (orange juice was extra, they forgot my biscuit, but the chef was really nice and talkative) and went to the heated barn to look at the goods.

Of course, being February, there wasn’t much to be sold but the place was still completely packed. We got a dozen eggs, a bottle of peach mead, some blueberry tea, Charlie got some burgers, and I managed to talk with someone who has their own organic farm in Danville, an area I’ve actually heard of. Most of the people I spoke with had farms in towns I couldn’t find on a map of Indiana. I’d asked where they were located and they’d say, “Do you know where [weird city name] is? It’s about 45 minutes north of there.” Kelly gave me their web address and I emailed them today about getting together with some questions I have for the article I’m writing.

That night we went to Mama Carolla’s for the first time. The wait was one hour, and we didn’t even get there until after 8pm. We made the mistake of taking our time getting ready and toasted our seven years with (part of) a bottle of wine. I should have known better, though, since it was Valentine’s Day weekend. We waited about 45 minutes, squished together on a couple of small chairs in the bar area. I nursed the strongest cosmo I’ve ever had and we made fun of the heavily made-up women carrying matching gigantic bags and wearing ridiculously expensive trench coats.

The food was great, though, as promised, and neither of us wanted to go someplace else to sit and wait just as long. The dressing on the caesar salad makes my mouth water whenever I think about it, and the cheesey garlic bread was delicious. Charlie had some sort of disgusting fishy pasta (I think it had shrimp, calamari, clams, scallops, and something else. I do not like seafood), and I had a rigatoni with spinach, pine nuts, olives, and a garlic sauce.

I gave Charlie a framed print of a photo I took while he was getting his back piece started. It’s a pretty cool image. He gave me a gift certificate to a frame shop to have some other prints done up so I can show them later in the year. He admitted to calling Scott for advice. Thanks, Scott!

We both crashed out when we got home, the food and booze going to straight to our respective heads. Not very romantical, I know. Sunday morning Charlie was not feeling up to par, and today he was even worse. I had to run out and get cat litter, cat food, and some other crap for the house and he called, wheezing and moaning about needing some cough drops and Day-Quil. While I was at Target Jay called. I remembered the rally downtown. Oh, no. When I got home it was already almost one. Sigh.

I know a significant contributor to his perma-cold is the environment he works in. As a nonsmoker he’s exposed to second-hand smoke every night for hours. He can’t really go back and sit in the office the whole time he’s there since, as a manager, he’s required to fill in for the door guy, as security, whatever. I know he’s sick when he says he doesn’t want to go the gym, and I don’t think he’s gone in a week. I regret missing the rally at the statehouse, since I think it’s important for us to show how stupid this proposed amendment is, especially considering the fact that we were allowed to get married. I don’t think of myself as the kind of person who would get hitched, but I did, and no one had an issue with me doing it. This is the second one I’ve missed.

Thanks, Charlie! You sick jerk.

All By Myself . . .

Tonight is the eve of our seventh anniversary. While I’m more than accustomed to spending nights alone, going to bed early, possibly even leaving for work before Charlie gets home, it does hurt my feelings that we won’t even be in the same room when I get up. He tried to get tonight off, which I didn’t see as a problem considering he worked eight nights in the past week and a half, but the owner wasn’t having it.

We still have plans tomorrow. We’re going to a local farmer’s market to check out the produce, eat their organic brunch, and hopefully I’ll meet someone I can interview who has made the decision to cast off urban life to make a living selling food they grow. I’m not as interested in people who have family farms — you know, the ones who have lived in the same area their entire lives and whose parents left them the farm. I’m more interested in interviewing someone for an article who chose to leave the city for a more sustainable life. I wonder how many people around here are like that?

After that we might have lunch with Liz and her husband (it still weirds me out a little bit when I think of the fact that she’s married now), unless they’re planning a dinner, in which case we already have plans. We have two bottles of champagne (technically, sparkling wine). My Little Black Dress was let out a bit and, while I will have to limit the amount I eat so as not to pop out of it, it does fit better now. I also have a fabulous pair of Nine West four-inch heels (black patent mary janes with a red heel) and a cute clutch. I went on a half-hearted search today for a little jacket or sweater, but everything I found was too expensive to wear for an evening.

Although yesterday I did not receive a card, flowers, or any sort of recognition of the Hallmark holiday, and while he admitted today that he hasn’t gotten a thing for our anniversary, he did drive all the way to Southport this morning to pick up yet another midcentury piece to add to our collection. I think we’re officially done acquiring furniture since we’ve run out of space to put things, but I think we’ve been really lucky with what we’ve found, how quickly, and for how cheap. Of course, I’m going to have to remove the link in my favorites folder to CraigsList so that I stop looking every day.

Nothing has cost more than forty or fifty bucks and it’s all from the same period. The one we got today might be painted because it’s not in the best possible shape and has a wood grain neither of us is especially fond of, but it does have glass doors — perfect for displaying your various McFarlane or Matrix or Aqua Teen Hunger Force figurines. Ha! I’m thinking a robin’s egg blue or something equally retro. Cherry red? Lime green? Lemony yellow?

If you happen to drop by his MySpace page or his WordPress blog, wish Cavan a happy birthday, as tomorrow just so happens to be the day he turns a creaky old 25. I sent him a card, which the lady at the post office said would take 6-10 days, but for 90 cents I doubt it will be there on time. In which case: sorry, Cavan! It’ll be there . . . soon?

The Busy Bee

I’ve been weighed down with exams, papers, editing, homework, school, work, and the attempted selling of our various extraneous items that go to pay for the new crap we want. The sectional was delivered today but we still have this maroon loveseat to get rid of. A tall, hot med student came to look at it today, but the guy was so tall, I don’t think he felt comfortable on it.

I’m supposed to be writing an article for my literary journalism course and I haven’t even done any research yet. I’ve been studying the crap out of my abnormal psychology because my first exam result was a B. I wasn’t thrilled with this score because it was the first test — it was all history and basic stuff I should have known. The instructor put a lot on the test from his prerecorded lectures, which I listened to but did not take notes on too diligently.

One idea I’ve had lately about psychology that has absolutely nothing to do with my class: someone, somewhere, must have done a study that determined Americans trust English people more than American people. This is why so many stupid commercials — from car insurance to gum to potato chips — have British narrators. I’ll buy your product if you sound foreign and smart.

I Regress

photo-16.jpgI met my 22-year-old friend Audrey at Metamorphosis today. She has a consultation with Trevor to go over a tattoo idea, I had an idea I wanted to talk with him about, and I got my labret pierced again (see scary photo at left taken with Photo Booth just now. Also, why do I look like I have two black eyes?). The procedure was relatively painless compared to when I had it done the first time, I have almost no swelling, and I think she even pierced a slightly different area than where I already had the hole.

Considering this is the year I turn 33, perhaps some people might think it wasn’t the most mature of choices I could have made. But it was fun to hang out at the tattoo shop, sit with Audrey, detail our List O’ Complaints (we’re co-writing a letter to the manager about problems at work), and just be.

There was a time when I was in my early twenties — and it does not feel that long ago — when I did the same thing with another female friend. But this time no one got matching tattoos or was inspired to get the exact same piercing as the other person. Audrey didn’t get mad because she thought a boy was paying more attention to me than to her, and she didn’t eat my lunch right off my plate, then tell the waiter I was a pig and ate all of it by myself. Not that I’m speaking of anyone specific here, of course [coughkatecough]. Audrey and I are at surprisingly similar places in our lives for being a decade apart, but we are still very different. For example, she wants an entire full sleeve on her right arm with a pirate ship and finger waves and a kraken eating men. I just want a half-sleeve octopus on my left arm. See? Very different.

Charlie is at the end of a six day (or, rather, night) stretch at the club and he still has to work yet another concert on Tuesday. He was completely tuckered out today so I decided to meet up with Audrey and give him some alone time to nap and chill out with the PS3. I had a wicked migraine yesterday that left me incapacitated for most of . . . well, let’s face it; all of yesterday. I woke up with one of those post-migraine hangovers where I can still feel the blood pounding, my teeth ache, and I get queasy whenever I think about food.

Tomorrow we have an appointment to get the dogs groomed, someone is coming to get our sofa, and we have to get the new one. {Update} I got my Mondays wrong; the protest at the statehouse is next week. Whoops.

The New Furniture Phase

Charlie and I go through these phases where we trade off a car for a more fuel-efficient one (or to replace one that got stolen/is falling apart), we rearrange everything in the house, we set out on a determined search for a new television, we decide to take a vacation far away at some point in the future, we decide to defect to Canada, or some sort of thing.

The phases generally last somewhere from a couple of days to weeks. Most of them never come to fruition — especially those involving far-away vacations and claiming refugee status in another country. Lately we’ve been on a new furniture kick (and by “lately,” Cavan may tell you it’s actually a perpetual phase out of which we’ve never really come). We found the great midcentury cabinet at Midland Antiques upon our first visit, then almost immediately found the cheaper one to go upstairs. Then Charlie got a bug up his butt and decided he wanted a smaller flat-panel television to go on it. We found one super-cheap at a CompUSA that was going out of business, but it didn’t have a warranty and I couldn’t figure out why we’d sold the one that was upstairs if we were only going to go out and buy another? It was too big, he said, and so we sold the wall-mount for it.

Now we both want a different couch. The fact that we paid a little less than a month’s rent on the one we have now, and just bought it when we moved in to this house, is apparently not that big an issue. Thanks, in large part, to the IRS and our refund that was directly deposited last night.

We have a hard time talking ourselves out of ideas once we have them. Generally, I’m the voice of reason, saying there’s nothing wrong with the [insert item here] we have now. But then someone responded to the ad I put on CraigsList and was willing to pay our asking price, as well as pick up the sofa soon. It was difficult not to rationalize getting a new couch. Besides, we told one another, the sofa we have now is made of a material that, though we loved it when we bought it, is certainly not conducive to pets – hair, slobber, claws, you name it.

I also used to really, really hate the microfiber material they’re putting on every effing couch made now.  It’s starting to grow on me, although I’m not 100% what it’s made of and I’m sure it’s not at all environmentally friendly. But the sectional we like has a 7 (SEVEN!) year warranty, which includes every scratch, dent, tear, and stain you could put on it.

I also have to admit to you, dear readers, that there’s an ulterior motive in all of this. Charlie is still trying to convince me to have my father’s family over for Christmas Eve this year and I absolutely refused to host if we had the couch we have now. I don’t know why, exactly, I just don’t like the idea of having to vacuum the damn thing all the time.

In other news, our 7th anniversary is a week from tomorrow. Not the one where we had the wedding, but the one where we legally – and secretly – got hitched at the courthouse in an effort to save the extra married-living-separately income from the Navy so we could at least afford to buy me a dress. There wasn’t much fancy about that wedding, but we could barely afford the rent on my apartment, let alone a honeymoon.

I got Charlie the octopus tie I was telling you about the other day, and he took my Little Black Dress in to a tailor to “have the zipper fixed.” What the woman is actually doing, and which neither he nor I need to discuss, is letting it out in the back just an eensy-weensy bit, so that I don’t end up stuck in it again, screaming and tearing around the house.

The Joy of Dogs

I woke up this morning to the sound of a cat retching. It was about 7am and I had not intended to get up that early, but when I discovered the gigantic pile of poop on the dining room rug I knew I was going to be up for the rest of the day. I kept gagging and had to leave the room. I’m not good with bodily fluids/solids. Anything like barf, poo, or blood and I’m out. Charlie got up to the sounds of my shrieking “Oh, my god!” and helped clean it up. I don’t know what happened, but at some point Alvy must have come down the stairs to deposit what appeared to be two days’ worth of saved-up poo.

Of course he was appropriately mortified when confronted with the mess. All we had to do was watch him sneak down the stairs with his ears straight back and his tail between his legs to know that he was the culprit.

Luckily, this is the first time something like this has ever happened with our dogs. When Kate used to live with us she would hole herself up in her bedroom for twelve hours at a time and her dog would frequently crap next to the door to the backyard. I’m sure, being smaller than ours, he couldn’t hold it for very long. But after a while I was sick of cleaning up his poop and trying to gingerly remind her to let him out once in a while. If she was in bed, he would stay down there with her. When our dogs went out he wouldn’t bother to leave her room and no amount of quietly calling his name would rouse him. But if she didn’t get up to let him out, he’d eventually take matters in to his own hands. I know it wasn’t the dog’s fault but sometimes I just wanted to kick him. Most of our dogs’ bad habits, they learned from him.

What bothers me is that I never heard Alvy get up. He didn’t whine to go out, which usually wakes us up, and he was out at midnight before we went to bed. So at some point yesterday he could have pooped but apparently decided to hold it in and ended up releasing a two pound pile between 12am and 7. Yuck.