Sunday, January 25, 2009

Are you afraid of the...?

As some of you know, my mom and sister came down for Christmas. We took a day trip to DC, and Karalyn wanted to go off on her own, but we had to drop her at the metro station because she insisted we not leave her alone. I asked her why, and her response made me almost crash the car I was laughing so hard. “Because I’m afraid of hobos.” More specifically, she was afraid they were going to attack her and steal all her change. Hobophobia. I’d think this was weirder, but they based an entire South Park episode about the fear of the homeless. But, of course, her phobia gave me a great idea for a blog.

A phobia is a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it. And I think we all have at least one. My grandmother is terrified of snakes. And not just snakes themselves, but even pictures of them. And a friend of mine is afraid of falling and scraping her front teeth. As for me, I have a really strange fear of jellyfish, which is the reason Jere has to always snorkel without me. I’m also terrified of popsicle sticks going near my mouth and people touching my nose.

But what about fears that are just completely off the wall? Well, thanks to our friends at Wikipedia, I was able to locate fears that will make even your strangest phobia seem almost rational!

Nomophobia – fear of being out of mobile phone contact
Anglophobia – fear of the English or English culture
Spectrophobia – fear of mirrors and one’s own reflections
Trichophobia – fear caused of loose hairs on clothing or elsewhere
Phonophobia – fear of swallowing
Anthrophobia – fear of flowers
Decidophobia – fear of making decisions
Anuptaphobia – fear of remaining single
Chionophobia – for my friends in Michigan, fear of snow
Xanthophobia – fear of the color yellow
Geniophobia – fear of chins, not to be confused with Genuphobia – fear of knees
Helminthophobia – fear of being infested with worms

Now, my friends, it’s your turn. I’ve confessed mine. Now you confess yours! What is the strangest thing you fear? What is your weird phobia? Let’s get a real conversation going here!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Looking for some advice

I've reached the point where I'm curled up in bed with a huge mug of tea, a pan of brownies, and a fork. Don't get me wrong, the tea has no cream or sugar, and the brownies are whole wheat and organic. But I've landed here because I've finally lost grip of my little world, and I desperately need to recover.

Let's rewind and take a peek at what got me here. What do you already know? You know Jere is going to be stationed in Tampa. You know I'm going with him. You might know that I was trying to get things squared away with applying to college, finding us a place to live, hunting down a new car, and pulling together the random things like a new vet for Ginger and a new piano instructor.

Everything hinged on the way our orders read, and it all changed with an email and a phone call. I am no longer authorized to live with my husband, but they'll be happy to pay for me to live in Virginia while he goes to Tampa. This is something that's hard to explain to those outside of the military, but they treat their Reservists as second class citizens (note: my husband did not voluntarily leave active duty, but was forced into the Reserve as part of the military cutbacks under the Clinton administration). For all the Army talk about fostering good marriages, they could care less. Instead of making Jere's tour in Tampa a 3 year accompanied tour, they changed it to a 1 year unaccompanied tour with two 1 year extensions. That's 3 years of living apart. Yeah. Let that sink in.

I've had quite enough of this. But my husband loves the Army, and I love my husband. So we ran over the different options, and of course, I would still be moving to Tampa. It would just be more complicated to arrange. On top of it all, since the orders no longer said I had to be in Florida, my move is now considered voluntary and I can't attend a Florida college as a resident. Thankfully, we've gotten some help and good answers from the MacDill housing office, and it shouldn't be a problem for us to go back to our original plans. It's taken care of, but it's just, UGH, complicated.

So we've got that sort of solved, as well as we can without having the final orders in hand. I've started looking at houses to rent, and Jere strongly objects to the beautiful pink house I picked out right next to the Tampa Bay inlet. I know he'll give in once he sees the kitchen. The car thing has, very thankfully, been put in incredibly capable hands. College is out of the question for at least the next year and a half.

I decided last night that I need to get away. I don't particularly care where I go. I want to get on a plane and get the hell out of here before the shit really hits the fan. Because once the orders are printed, I have to start getting ready to move. Packing. Touring rental houses. Nightmare.

So I figured I would go see some snow, maybe ski. And found a great ski package and airfare. I even got the go ahead from Jere. But I couldn't book it. I thought maybe I could go somewhere else and have more fun. And what if it was too cold and I sat in the lodge the whole time? What if I broke yet another bone? What if I got snowed in? And would I have fun there alone? My paranoia set in, and I started the frantic search for somewhere else to go.

I've looked at cruises (where I have to pay for two people even if it's just me), all inclusive resorts in the Bahamas and Curacao (where I have to pay for one and a half people), air and hotel packages to Seattle, Vegas, Niagara Falls, London, Arizona, Boston, and various other places. All are within my self-dictated price range. Now I have too many choices and too much to figure out.

Here's what I'm asking from all of you! What do you think? What places have you been that made you feel relaxed? Where should I go???? Skiing, beach, city? Acceptable answers do not include the phrase "to come see me!!!" I love you all, I miss you all, but I am NOT good company right now. Michigan friends, remember I will be there in June. And possibly before that.

Let me dispel the things I know will be said about me.
"Didn't you just get back from 22 days in Europe?"
-Yes. Yes I did. Then I had Christmas with Jere's family and my mom and sister (I seriously had a fantastic Christmas with everyone), and then had a miserable New Years Eve. And then all the rest of this happened. So the afterglow is WAY gone.
"Aren't you going to Paris in April?"
-Why yes. I am taking my grandma to Paris. I can't keep up with her even when I'm at a run, so I'm not going so far as to call that a relaxing trip, though I'm very much looking forward to taking her. And by the time that trip comes, I'll already be living in Tampa and I'll be prepping for Jere to come home. I'll need the distraction then.
"How can you say your life is stressful when you don't work or have kids?"
-This one bugs me. Let me explain. Do you remember summer break when you were a kid? You didn't really miss school, but it was sometimes very hard to get around the boredom. I spend nearly everyday at home, waiting for my husband to get online so I can feel connected to him from 6000 miles away. I don't get to work. We've moved four times in two years, I haven't been able to finish school or get a job. Not that I particularly want a job, but the only jobs available to me without even a two-year degree are pretty limited. Not to mention if I work, I push Jere into a higher tax bracket, and the income I would make would barely account for what we would lose. And I really do miss working sometimes. Rachel makes me miss it. *grin*

The other thing I have to say is this. Everyone has their thing. And most people get to go to work or school, come home tired and stressed at the end of the day, and find their spouse or their child there waiting for them. Everytime I leave, I come back to an empty apartment. The time I spend away from here gives me a chance to forget about that. I don't have my husband waiting for me when I come home, or children to kiss goodnight.

What I have is travel. It's my passion. It's what kills the loneliness. Everything from the plane ride to the crazy foreign food makes me appreciate not only the wonders of the world, but allows me to love what I come back to. Even if when I get home, all I have to kiss goodnight is the cat. But she's one of the things I miss the most when I'm gone!

Besides, if I don't travel now, when am I going to do it? After I have kids to pay for? When my husband and I are too old to appreciate it? I know I'm going to have to slow down after Jerry is home, and you have no idea how much I'm looking forward to resuming my normal life. Looking forward to reality. Because these deployments aren't reality, so I reserve the right to live in my own little world for the duration.

One last question I'm always asked:
"Don't you feel guilty spending all your husband's hard earned money while he's gone?"
-No. Not a bit. I generally don't dignify this question with an answer, so that's all I'm going to say. Except that I don't spend it all.

So back to my original point. What do you all think? Where should I go so that I don't stare at the wall and eat this whole pan of brownies? All happy, positive input is greatly appreciated!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

In a weird place today...

I can't understand why I feel so GOOD today! I'm not complaining, I promise. It's just that I usually don't experience this kind of happiness at home, especially when I have nothing coming down the chute. As I said to Jere earlier, "There's nothing more comforting and maddening than realizing you have nowhere to go."

When I woke up, I wanted Spaghetti-o's. And I very guiltily made them. I don't understand why it made me feel guilty, but canned pasta doesn't really scream "breakfast food" to me. Maybe I would have felt more normal eating Cheerios. But I was pleased that the guilt disappeared after the first spoonful.

Somewhere during breakfast, I decided it was time to really start scrapbooking again. The problem has been space, as in not enough of it. I have a corner of my bedroom and a small desk dedicated to my crafts, but it's usually piled high and there just isn't enough room to spread out and work. So finally, I came up with a solution. Now all the scrapbook supplies are on the dining room table, as all the major holidays are over and I won't have to use the table again until it's been moved to Tampa. I even stuck the leaf in it so I would have even more space. I very happily started scrapping Ireland (avoiding the 400 pictures from my 2007 trip to Turkey).

In the middle of all this, I had a great conversation with someone who really gives my brain a workout. To be honest, my head actually hurts when I talk to him, but it feels wonderful, like the kind of pain you get when you begin a long run. My cousin and I have always challenged each other this way (though I'm still convinced he got all the smart genes), whether it's about politics (we didn't vote the same way this election), religion (actually, even if we don't mesh on that one, it's alright because we seem to have the same questions), even thermodynamics (if he doesn't remember sparking my fascination with Fermi, his brain's probably too full of other really smart things). Today's discussion was spurred on by something totally random, but I get the impression both of us will be picking up a couple new books to further expand our minds.

Jere and I met online in the early afternoon and chatted for awhile during my lunch. I watched Laws of Attraction (getting in that whole Irish vibe), puttered around a bit, and made it to tea time. And this was the most, for lack of a more appropriate word, ORGASMIC part of my day. I have tea between 3 and 4 every afternoon, because snacking is good for you. It's the exact time my blood sugar starts to drop, so not only do I allow myself tea and a snack; I allow myself something sinfully sweet, usually a small cookie or a chocolate.

I've had this box of chocolates from Poland just waiting for the holidays to end. A small, hand-picked assortment of truffles from E. Wedel. I'd eaten a coffee flavored one and wasn't overwhelmed. So today I put a champagne truffle on my tea plate. One tiny bite and I was gone. Better than the best Godiva could ever come up with, better than the first cup of Starbucks on a Sunday morning, and even better than long, slow sex on Saturday night. I can't come up with the appropriate adjective to describe it. All I knew was that I wanted more, and dove headlong into the box, trying a honey truffle, an after eight truffle, a raspberry truffle, a coconut teeth ached from the perfect sweetness. There are now only two left in the box, but I am perfectly sated and sitting here, blissfully typing in the afterglow.

Tonight's plans revolve around exercising and playing dress-up. I am twenty pounds lighter, and need to finally go through my clothes to get rid of what is now too big to get away with wearing. In the process, I hope to make room for some of my older clothes and all the new size 8's. Tomorrow is Sunday. Nothing will get done.

Today's lesson: Sometimes, there are good kinds of pain. Pain when you work your muscles, pain when you're thinking really hard, pain when things are much too sweet. Remember, pain lets us know we're still alive.