Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We live here now

I may be exhausted, but that's what happens when that big whoosh of relief sweeps over you. I went to bed at 9 last night and finally pulled myself up at 8 this morning when the phone rang. That's it. We're done. No more moving. No more hauling. No more driving. And, for the moment, Jere and I live together again.

Monday afternoon I drove up to our hotel so we could finish up with everything on Tuesday. I spent the whole drive listening to Irish music, thinking how much the fields in Virginia resemble County Clare. By the time I got to Springfield, I wanted Guinness and chips so badly! Jere asked what I wanted for dinner, and I said Irish food. So we went to a little Irish pub across the street from us, and I had my Guinness, and fish and chips. And we talked about Ireland and other places we'd been in the past, and caught up after our two weeks apart.

Of course, with nothing better to do, we went to Best Buy and Borders, then out for dessert at Friday's. I went back to the hotel full of Irish food, Irish beer, and Irish coffee. That's happiness right there.

Yesterday, Jere got up early, I finished loading the car, turned in my room key, and met the office for lunch. I love that group of people, I really do. I will have to bake them some cookies this week. I'd forgotten one of Jere's coworkers went to Trinity College, and told me all the places I should go next time I'm in Ireland. And I told him I'd send him back some pictures of Peru, as his girlfriend would like to go.

Jere then had to go finish some paperwork, so I went to the movies and saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Pretty funny movie! A little bit of frightening full-frontal. But I had my popcorn, soda, and a good laugh. I'd forgotten how fun it is to go to the movies by myself.

And then we drove home, had some of Monique's meatballs from my last care package (*sniffle* I'll have to learn to make them myself now!), and I passed out cold. Because the moving is OVER! That does not mean there isn't junk piled up around the apartment. It just means I don't have to drive it all here anymore. It's all here. Minus one box that has gone missing and I believe is still somewhere in my mother-in-law's basement. My whisks and a vase have gone missing. Hm.

So it's back to my morning routine for a week. Minus the part where I feed the cat. Jere does that and she seems to like that better.

Today's lesson: Love, hope, anger, fear, happiness. Some of the most powerful feelings we can experience. But I've learned now that probably the most underrated feeling is relief.

Deep breath in......and let it all out.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Once again, I am faced with a day in which I have more to do than time to do it in, and I'm stalling. It's just so comfortable here with my computer and my coffee, listening to nice music and not having to hear the neighbors upstairs stomp around because it's Monday. Ah....

There is a continuing kink in my morning schedule, and that is my sleeping habits. I've been going to bed later and later, and in return haven't been getting up until the morning is mostly gone. Last night I was up baking a cake for Jere's office (the last one, sad!) until almost 2, and the night before I was planting an herb pot at midnight. This flux in times is screwing with my cat, especially when she sees me put on my pajamas and gets onto her spot on the bed, assuming that's where I'm heading. But as I was baking in my flannel last night, and hopping around to work in different rooms, I found her camped out, giving me the evil eye everytime I moved.

Yesterday was a fun day, actually. I took on a couple of craft projects and got them finished, and booked some cheap cheap cheap airfare to Orlando. Never let it be said that living in a small town makes ALL destinations expensive. If you watch close, small town fares can drop pretty low to certain places, and Charlottesville to Orlando just happened to dip at just the right moment. And parking there is pretty cheap, considering the poor car will be there for quite awhile!

I said a few days ago I didn't want to be here for my birthday. And I meant it. No party (not hard, since I don't know anyone down here), no cake, no whatever. 25 is not something I especially care to celebrate. My friends, do you realize how close we are to a ten year high school reunion?

So I started surfing around for a vacation, of course finding very few tours that left around my birthday. I thought I was just going to have to book a hotel somewhere and go myself, but then I got an email from the company doing my Eastern Europe tour, and decided to check out what I could find there. And voila! An 11 day tour of Peru through their sister site, with a very cheap single supplement. After some playing around with the numbers (because airfare is mostly a bitch right now) and schedules, I am going to Peru for a bargain! I even get to fly into Orlando before and after to see my family for a few days. And come my 25th birthday, I'll be in Cuzco, exploring the Sacred Valley.

In the meantime, I'm waiting for my self-purchased Mother's Day present to come. (Note: Don't even get me started on this holiday. While I think it's great to celebrate most mothers, I think it disenfranchises those of us who a) don't have kids and b) have fertility issues. Seriously, where's the Hallmark holiday that celebrates me? So I figure my very demanding cat owed me a Mother's Day gift, and screw you, Hallmark, I'm celebrating me anyway!) On a truck somewhere between here and Kansas City is a very nice digital piano with my doorstep as its final destination. No, I'm not talking a Casio keyboard you buy at Walmart. I'm talking a Yamaha Clavinova, with graded keys and set on a rosewood base. I was going to wait until I got to Michigan to go shopping for one with my dad, but after doing a little internet research found a little problem with that idea. The one I wanted weighs almost 150 pounds, and wouldn't fit in my car. So I found a company online that had a sale and free shipping. I haven't had a piano of any kind in years, and this was the perfect solution to apartment living. It should be here on Wednesday. YAY!

It's probably time to get moving and find something to wear. Not to mention I have a cake to frost.

Today's lesson: Loyalty is a wonderful thing. Especially when loyalty to your travel agency gets you over $200 in credit to spend on a vacation, loyalty to your airline gets you free upgrades, loyalty to your credit card company gets you free hotel rooms, and loyalty to Coca-Cola gets you free car rentals.

(Bonus funny moment: When talking to my grandma a few days ago, I mentioned I was going to Poland in December, to which she replied, "Why the heck would you want to go to Poland?!" And in the background I heard her husband shout, "HEY! What's wrong with Poland??" At which point she laughed because she'd completely forgotten her husband is Polish.)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Body issues

You know, I woke up with a pretty good sense of humor yesterday. If you read my blog, you saw that. But as the caffeine settled in and I once again realized there is too much clutter and not enough closet, my blood pressure started to rise.

The bad mood began when I put on the sundress I'd picked out for the day. It was warm and sunny, and even though I didn't plan on going anywhere, it look comfortable. All I have to say is "holy Kristin's boobs." Not that they're holy, but they were out there. And they didn't look any better no matter which bra I tried. No problem. It's a $12 dress from H&M on Hollywood Boulevard, not a big loss and I'll figure it out later. Next sundress was my new one from a boutique shop off of the farmer's market in LA. It fit the girls fine, but the shoulders fit poorly with my bras. Well, crap, it's obviously a boob issue.

I have not always been the girl with gargantuan breasts. In fact, they didn't show up until well into my senior year of high school, after I quit running and gained a ton of weight. And for awhile, they were a novelty, and I'm bring them out for parties and whatnot (I know some of my party friends just fell off their chairs with memories), but as time has worn on, and gravity has begun to take over, I'm less impressed. And I thought if I lost weight, I'd gain some control back, as they say it's the first place you lose weight. Oh no. Not me. I lost two pants sizes, but no bra sizes.

By this point yesterday, I was stomping around the house fully covered in sports bra and t-shirt, grumping about the girls and stupid bras and dresses my size made for flat-chested waifs. Thankfully, I knew who to call. Or I thought I did. If anyone can make these improportionate evil things seem like an asset, it's got to be my husband, right? His answer to this problem was, "Why don't you go to the mall. You'll feel better." My response, of course, was, "You do not tell a girl to go to the mall when she's having body issues!"

A big thanks to Kari for solving the dress/bra mystery. Tomorrow I'm going shopping for a couple of new bras so that I don't look like a floozy when I wear my new sundresses. Not to mention I'll be looking to come down and visit her (and her baby belly!) as soon as I shed a few pounds and am ready to spend hundreds of dollars on bras. *grin* We'll go out and find some yummy tempeh!

Yesterday was making me feel cramped and crazy. Too much caffeine and clutter, I think. By day's end, I'd gotten into such a fluster that I uncorked a bottle of French wine and ordered a pizza. Of course, while I impatiently waited for the pizza guy to show, I decided to move the blanket press and the couch, and ended up knocking off one of the couch's feet, which I now can't get back on. Stupid heavy 60's green couch. Pizza guy finally came (remind me not to order from that Pizza Hut anymore, pizza was cold), and I settled in with one of my newly found wine glasses and a slice and watched Alton Brown. Jere called, and ruined my grumpy mood by telling me good stories and making me laugh. It also rained, which meant no attack wasps, so I took some of the bigger things out to my storage, which made for so much more room.

I kept poor Jere on the phone for two and a half hours. Yeah, it gets lonely with no friends close by. I just put him on speaker phone and sat lazily at my computer. Unfortunately, he brought up getting me vaccinated for Hepatitis A since I'm going to a medium risk zone in December (that's the one you can get through bad food and water that goes away, but it makes you sick for like a month). Which sent me flying to the State Department's website to see if I really needed it (no, not really, Turkey is a medium risk zone, too, and I did fine there, and as long as you don't drink the water or go to really rural areas, it's no problem). The State Dept.'s site had a link to the CDC, where you can pull up a list of possible diseases you can get from going to any country. Kept me fascinated for HOURS. And am now convinced I will die of malaria if I go to Mexico. Even though I just got back...

Today's lesson: Knowledge is a double-edged sword. On one hand, gaining knowledge about the right kind of bra to wear with a dress from someone with expert experience can save your rack (and your reputation). On the other hand, learning about anything from the CDC's website will give you nightmares.

Research with caution...

Friday, April 25, 2008

It's all routine...

First off, let's all take a moment of silence this morning to commemorate ANZAC Day. On the 25th of April, Australians and New Zealanders remember their fallen at Gallipoli and in subsequent wars. After seeing the graves at Gallipoli with a group of New Zealanders, I know this is their Memorial Day, and they hold it more reverent than most Americans hold their own.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

Being a now experienced deployment wife (though not to Jere, so I'm guessing I'll get at least a little more correspondence this time around), I know what I need to do to maintain my sanity when he leaves. I remember what a sad, pathetic mess I was when Josh was gone, and I'm determined to fare much better this time around. Having no job and no local friends doesn't make that easy (Sara, you were my Godsend when Josh was gone, even though I did learn to lock the bathroom door). So a routine is the key! Ok, so it has nothing to do with deployment. I need a routine to make sure I get out of bed in the morning even if Jere's here.

Mornings are tough for me, mostly because with this quarter-life crisis thing, I'm convinced nothing in my day is important enough to get up for. Moving has made that easier, because if I don't do something about the cluttered mess, I have to live with it. But now that things are slowing down and I have some room to walk, I'm finding myself getting lazy again. I've only been out of jammies long enough to either change into clean ones or slip on my jeans to take out some trash. I resolved a couple of days ago not to do that anymore because it turns out the UPS guy here is gorgeous, and I showed up to my door in reindeer jammie pants. No, I'm not trying to pick up UPS man, but still, how embarassing! Plus we get tons of deliveries, and if he always sees me in jammies word will get around that I'm strange.

So here is my morning routine so far. It started out as just remembering to eat breakfast and feed the cat (because I tend to forget both, and that pisses Ginger off). Over the past week, it's developed into something pretty solid.

1. Wake up at random time because the clock in my room is wind up and stops ticking everytime I set the alarm. Walk straight to the computer all the way across the apartment.
2. Check email. Curse because there's nothing but junk. Check status of all deliveries to see if UPS man is coming. If so, throw on jeans and a t-shirt just in case and pull back messy hair. I'm married, so it's good enough.
3. Walk to kitchen and feed cat, because she will have obviously clawed my leg by now waiting for me to get done at the computer.
4. Turn on coffee.
5. Take some kind of berries out of the fridge and wash them. Set on paper towel to dry.
6. Make bed while waiting for coffee, because once the bed is made, I won't crawl back into it after breakfast. Plus it makes a future step easier to accomplish.
7. Coffee is still brewing, so put away clean dishes if I ran the dishwasher the night before.
8. Get out bowl, mug, glass, spoon, milk, water, and super healthy cereal. Pour coffee, pour water, pour cereal, pour milk, top with berries, and drag all off to the computer. Most likely still in jammies. Tear pages off of desk calendars.
9. Reply to a few non-junk emails. Double check Amazon to see if they lied about incoming packages. Play on myspace and facebook until breakfast is gone and maybe a little after.
10. Go pee, because somewhere in my morning routine I forgot to do it, and am now dancing around in my chair.
11. Refill coffee. I didn't drink it all, but it's cold now.
12. Sit at the computer a little more, probably blogging if I have something to talk about. Drink coffee and water. Possible second refill of coffee.
13. Open the blinds and watch the wasps, cursing because I can't go outside. Even though I wouldn't go outside anyway.
14. Finally get off my ass and shower. But on the way to the shower, realize I have tricked myself the night before by washing either my favorite towel or favorite jeans or favorite bra or favorite bathrobe. And to get to whatever the missing item is, I have to go get the laundry out of the dryer.
15. While in laundry room, switch laundry out of washer if needed.
16. Take laundry to bedroom, and fold it on the neatly made bed (see, bedmaking benefit #2!). Put away laundry.
17. Shower. Brush teeth. Brush hair. Get dressed. In no particular order. Just as long as it all gets done.
18. Go back to computer with the last bit of coffee. By now, am so caffeinated I'm shaking and couldn't be lazy if I wanted to.

Unfortunately, this entire routine only takes about two hours. If that. And it in no way guarantees I'll get anything important done the rest of the day. But at least I'm out of bed at this point, usually dreading the fact that I'm almost out of berries and need to go to the store. Or grumping because I really need to do some writing, and just don't have the motivation or inspiration to take it on at this point. My life seems to run out of meaning before noon. Hopefully I'll be able to adapt the rhythm of my morning routine to the rest of my day, but it won't happen until after Jere's gone and I come back from my trip to Michigan. No point in getting started when I don't have the time to follow through.

Speaking of writing, I think I want to go somewhere in July. I almost don't care where at this point, just as long as it's someplace new. I wrote a ton while I was on vacation with Karalyn, despite how busy we kept ourselves. And even though I'm going to Michigan and seeing my friends in a month, I know by July I'll be itching to get on the road again. Plus I'll be turning 25, and I am already sure I don't want to be here for that one. I'm just not sure where I want to go next! I'm already going to Eastern Europe in December, and I'm thinking of adding either Berlin or Vienna to that. I'm starting to think visiting some of my friends in Oz might be in order.

Well, I'm stuck somewhere in the middle of step 17 (meaning I'm in the bathrobe all clean, but my hair isn't brushed), so I should probably get my ass in gear. Unfortunately, the hot shower made me drowsy and I so badly want to go back to bed. But I have to battle the wasps today or tomorrow to get to the grocery store and pick up more berries for my cereal, and some bread. And empty the coolers for the big final move down here next week. Hooray!

Today's lesson: What can brown do for you? Well, it can panic my ass out of bed in the morning...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I am so sick and tired of the boxes and junk everywhere! While my husband is off being all important today, I'm recovering from yesterday's moving induced injuries. Yes, that means I'm going to sit here and not unpack a gosh darn thing today, mostly because I still can't see straight.

Yesterday was great at first! I went and bought some things I needed, hung a picture, and went to the grocery store across the street, which has lovely organic foods everywhere. My mother-in-law was right, I love this store. So I came home with loads of healthy foods, then settled in with some graham crackers and nutella (hey, I have to get the bad foods out of the house, and I hate waste!).

So I went to put some more things away, and decided the only place I had room for the crockpot was on top of my cupboards. I climbed a chair, reached way over my head to put it up there, when the glass lid fell off and whacked me in the head before falling to the counter. I now have a nice bump/dent combination on my forehead. Which matches well with the gash and bruise I have on my neck. Because after I finally got my head to stop throbbing, I came to the computer to print out some scrapbook journaling pages, went to walk out of the room, and tripped over a pile of books into the corner of a stack of desktop organizers, the corner of one hitting me square in the trachea.

I am a lovely splotchy purple mess today. So no more unpacking for me. Not until tomorrow.

Today's lesson: Pretty obvious. Organizing is dangerous. Avoid it at all costs.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Oh, this might be a long post

So, um, I moved. LOL. This is my second full week at our new place, and I'm kind of so-so on the whole thing. The first week I didn't have internet, and still managed to somehow survive with just my television and DVD player. But no net means no updates, so now I get to fill you all in at once! Aren't you excited? *hey, I heard that collective groan*

Jere and I have been dragging boxes down here since the 5th of April, right before I left for Baja. So when I got back, it was time for the movers to come. Army moves, as many of you know, are generally contracted out to the lowest bidder. Which is why many military families end up sleeping on the floor for weeks before their things arrive through a van line. When the movers came to do our pack out a year ago, they ran a semi-truck door into my sister-in-law's car. It's the lowest bidder thing again. But we're darn lucky when it comes to moving because of Jere's job in the Army. We can have tons of furniture because NONE of his books count in our weight limit. So we ended up with our own semi and our own move out date from storage. No sharing! But still, lowest bidder.

The movers arrived right on time, and they were fabulous except for one thing. The semi drove down the hill next to my apartment, and couldn't get back up. For hours. Stuck. They unloaded the whole thing, and it still wouldn't back up the hill. Which my neighbors though was pretty funny, and was how I realized that I now live surrounded by idiots.

After the truck finally left (which involved someone towing it), I was surrounded on all sides by furniture and boxes. I had been authorized for the movers to unpack everything and build my furniture, but when you have 43 years of your husband's bachelor stuff filling up an entire semi, there's no room to unpack or build. The movers were sweet, and left my room box free and set up my bed so I could have a room to sleep in, but the rest of the apartment was ceiling high with boxes and junk.

I set to work and didn't get far before it was time to sleep. When I woke up the next morning and opened my blinds, the door to my outdoor storage was hanging wide open. Great. Here two days and I've been broken into. I had set an empty TV box on my porch to get it out of the way during unpacking the day before, and brought it in at night, and I'm guessing one of my neighbors thought maybe I'd stashed the new TV in the shed. They didn't take anything because there was nothing there but a Christmas tree and some old blankets. Stupid redneck kids with too much time on their hands.

The next problem came when I started to haul things to the trash. I walked around the corner and was chased down by a wasp. One time thing, right? No, he chased me all day, and I finally realized he and his buddies live on my porch. I hid inside and watched them from my bedroom window. A couple days later a nice maintenance man came and sprayed the area, which did nothing but make them mad. After watching awhile longer, I found where they were hiding, and made Jere go after them this past weekend. It's been raining for three days now, though, so I don't know if it worked or not.

Unpacking has been unpleasant, to put it nicely. Jere has so much stuff I dno't know what to do. There were well over 40 boxes of books alone to unpack, and they're now sitting all over the office in no particular order. I'll give him big credit, he worked his ass off this weekend and got very far, while I sat around and gave orders (six days of unpacking, I wasn't doing another damn thing for the weekend). I have to admit, going through the dish boxes was like Christmas, because my macho soldier had some of the most beautiful china and crystal, most of which I kept.

Our biggest issue, besides the knick knack and book thing, has been an over abundance of furniture. Thankfully, the Salvation Army came Thursday to rescue me, taking a loveseat, four DVD racks, a dining table and four dining chairs, three living chairs, a TV, a coffee table with two end tables, and a few more odds and ends. I can finally move a little in here. We also have some Goodwill boxes going, and will deliver them when we're finished here.

Walmart has been a huge source of amusement the past week. Yes, I know, I'm boycotting, right? It's kind of hard to boycott when it's the only store for 25 miles. Plus, I don't hate this Walmart like I do the one in the NoVa slums. Everyone here is nice, and their Site to Store service is fantastic. But going to Walmart the past few days has formally introduced me to the south. Everything is slower. And there is unbelievable respect for old people, even when they go through the 20 items or less lane with more than 50 items. Now, honestly, would that fly in Michigan, or would we tackle them and tell them to find a different lane? I know I would, but I'm afraid all the good ole boys here will go to their trucks, get their shotguns, and tell me to mind my own damn business. I actually asked the sweet girl back in Site to Store if it was a southern thing to give the elderly free reign, and she assured me it was not only that, but their manager has made it store-wide policy. You are officially not allowed to ask the old people to switch lanes. Guess I'm going to have to learn not to mind it, and to always have a cart (because the first time I learned the old people thing, I had three heavy items that I was carrying, including a 12-pack of bottled water, and stood there trying to hold it all while a little old woman with a cart full of items in the express lane argued over the price of a can of tomatoes).

Jere and I moved Ginger down here this weekend, as I'm convinced he tried to slow roast her while I was gone. She loves all the space and all the places to hide. She's a military cat, I tell ya. Used to moving. I called the vet I picked out for her today, and LOVE them. They had plenty of room to board her while we're in Myrtle Beach, and she didn't have to have any kind of consultation to become a new patient since I have a full copy of her records. Sweet! A vet who isn't trying to gouge me from the get-go.

Lastly, I have to tell you about my favorite thing in the new apartment. I had a nice little desk shipped from Walmart, put it together, stuck it in my room, and made my own scrapbooking station. I love it. I'm so excited! I sat down to do some scrapping last night, and when I was tired of working on the pages, I just left them there and walked away. Now I just need a better chair, and I'll be completely set!

I hope it stops raining so I can unload the car and get groceries.

Today's lesson: Never underestimate the amount of clutter a man can accumulate over the course of his bachelor years. And trust me, it ALL has sentimental value. This includes the military helmets, toy tanks, and one very odd cookie jar in the shape of a walrus.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Busy weekend ahead

I want to take a moment to thank my friends. You all said the sweetest things to make me smile after I announced my feelings of agedness yesterday, and every one of you was completely right. And Joana has now guilted me into scheduling my next trip so I have more travel material to write about (Jo, sorry, I have to blame you, because I think Jere may actually fall over when the credit card bill comes).

Ok, so maybe it won't be my NEXT trip. It's not until December because it was cheaper that way, and this girl loves a deal. Actually, Jere and I thought this one was meant to be, because I wasn't on my travel agent's website looking for a trip when I found it. And I live on that website. No, I was reading the Washington Post (Express edition, much easier to handle as they truncate all the bad news into bite sized snippets). They put in a travel page once a week, and I happened to find a 17 day guided tour of Eastern Europe for an amazing price with air included. So I researched it. And booked it. Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic. Four countries that were never actually on the long list of places I wanted to go before I die.

When I was in Ireland, I became very frustrated by the situation of our dollar. Due to the poor state of things in the US, it was costing me $10 for an egg salad sandwich and $2 for the tiny bag of chips to go with it. Because when converting US dollars to Euro, you have to double it at the current exchange rate. After I got home, I declared to my husband that I was going to boycott all the nations in the European Union until either the value of the dollar went up, or the value of the Euro came down. But that cut the number of safe countries I could travel to down to, well, Japan. And do you have any clue how expensive Japan is? Not that I won't still go, but it kind of ruined the idea of my expensive country boycott.

My husband, after seeing me struggle with planning travel to hard to reach places of the world (20 hour flight, anyone?), said something rather smart. "Boycotting the EU is like boycotting WalMart. The only one that hurts is you." I hate when he's right, and I booked the trip to Europe, but that doesn't mean I'm going back to WalMart.

We move tomorrow! Well, not really move. We get the apartment there, but we still live here. That means there will be a good amount of time to work on the apartment over the weekends. But tomorrow we sign the lease and take down a load of our stuff from here. We have no clue when the Army will decide to show up with our things from storage. They haven't exactly called us back on that one. Let's hope they don't run the semi into anyone's car this time around.

Sunday I've decided to drag Jere to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms, then over to the Holocaust Museum, as it's the one thing in DC I haven't seen. Yes, the weekend passes are long gone, meaning no one could get in that hadn't reserved a spot, except I'm married to the military. And we're special (at least at this particular museum). In all seriousness, I think it's nice they give the military members and government employees unlimited passes, because most of the people who fall into that category and visit DC's museums live here. And every once in awhile we'd like to do something without tripping over tourists.

Anyhow, if I've said it once, I'll say it again. I should be packing. For the move and for Cali.

Today's lesson:
Dark chocolate with blueberries for an antioxidant boost - $5
Tube of Body Shop eye cream - $13
17 day trip to Europe - $2500
Buying your way out of a quarter-life crisis - Priceless

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Quarter-life Crisis

I think the chain of events that led to my most recent mental breakdown is kind of hilarious. After being carded in Ireland (God bless the nice blind man), where the drinking age is 18, I was feeling pretty darn good about myself. Actually, the lady standing next to the blind man congratulated me when I told her I was 24. "You look fabulous!" Then I came home from Ireland and asked my husband the stupidest question ever....

"Honey, am I beginning to look my age?"

Now, gentleman, you know what the correct response is to this, right? To stop the car in the middle of the road, get out, and run like hell. I forget Jere only has a year's worth of experience at this marriage dealy, so he actually answers. "Yes." And at my gaping expression he explains, "Mostly around the eyes." Like that makes it better. Poor guy.

So yesterday I was standing in the shower and reached for my facial scrub (a step I usually skip), and mentally reminded myself to make sure to moisturize after I got out. Which reminded me I had vitamin E eye cream in my bag I could use to get rid of dark circles. Then I began to think that I was using a whole lot of different creams and whatnot, and don't only old people need that many creams to look young? And at that point I started thinking that I'm going to be 25, and 25 is really old, and all my friends are having kids, and maybe I should go back to school. But I hated school, and my credits aren't going anywhere, and I need to see the world before I die. In fact, I need to see the world NOW, and began to list all the places out loud I want to go before I'm decrepit.

All while standing there in the shower, holding a tube of peach scrub and staring off into space.

Now I know what most of you are thinking. How can I have any kind of crisis? I've been to more places than some people will reach in a lifetime, I don't have to work, my husband makes a comfortable living, and I'm about to become a valley girl with a gorgeous view of the mountains out the window of my ginormous apartment. To all those naysayers, well, screw you. Despite current restlessness, I am blissfully happy and love my life. But sitting at home with nothing to worry about leaves a lot of time for thinking, and we all know that's a dangerous pursuit.

My friends, I want you think back ten years. Remember being young and optimistic? We were in high school, and were just beginning to take the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" seriously. Get into the mind of your 14 or 15 year old self and remember what your dreams were. Where did you think you'd be by your mid-twenties? Close your eyes and think. Have you done everything you said you would?

Well, considering I'm not working for NASA, I'd say I'm a wee bit behind on that dream thing. Back then it was so easy to dream big because we had the most promising developmental years ahead of you. We all swore we'd attend and graduate college (and some of us did). But now that I'm almost 25, the years ahead don't look quite as wonderful. Mostly because I know 30 is five years away. I guess when it comes down to it, I'm just feeling my age.

And apparently looking it, too.

Today's lesson comes from the author Douglas Coupland (and bless Aunt Debbie for giving me his book ten years before I needed it), who defines a mid-twenties breakdown as: "A period of mental collapse occurring in one's twenties, often caused by an inability to function outside of school or structured environments, coupled with a realisation of one's essential aloneness in the world. Often marks induction into the ritual of pharmaceutical usage."