Several folks have asked my husband and I over the years how we met and have gregariously proclaimed that we are, “hashtag couple goals.” Considering sometimes I have to look at him and say, “do that thing I like” – which means take your kid and vacate the premises for a minimum of two hours so I can sit in complete silence in my comfy chair in the corner of the living room while I gaze myopically out the picture window – and the fact that sometimes we look at each other and just know he’s sleeping in a different bed that night because we both like to be comfortable and our dog won’t let that happen if we’re in the same bed, I have serious concerns about the state of marriages in the continental United States. But since people have requested it, I would be glad to tell the story of how we were put into an awkward situation that turned into true love.
I’m not done writing that, though, so for now you’ll have to wait and read this instead or find something else to scroll through on your phone/tablet. If you’re unsure of what option to pick, I suggest WebMD or another medical site where you can enter made-up symptoms and see what sort of obscure diseases it will tell you to ask your doctor about today, because whatever it is it’s an emergency and you should’ve had that checked out years ago. What were you thinking waiting this long?
What was I talking about?
Right. Goals (marriage goals, but I’m not done with that post, so today is just about goals, or more accurately my inability to set them and keep working toward them).
*Added after drafting: Today did not come close to getting to the actual goals part. Stay tuned for that. Today is setting the stage. Sort of.
Also, vacation time. I promise in my world those are related. And it will probably take me at least three posts so I am committing to posting at least three times in the next week (give or take), four if I can set the habit and wrap up that whole hashtag marriage goals post, but let’s consider that as potential serendipity, ‘kay? ‘Kay.
*Disclaimer: If you don’t like lots of asides and parentheticals then you should stop now and go read something else. Seriously. I’m the kind of writer editors hate because I have issues that have been actually diagnosed and one of them manifests itself in my inability to focus on one thing/storyline for more than a hot minute and in my over-use of parentheses, hyphens, dashes, slashes, backslashes, commas and other punctuation options, adverbs, and adjectives. It’s like if Gertrude Stein capitalized things and punctuated them slightly more often but still didn’t stop her stream of consciousness. And I can’t believe I just had the hubris to compare myself to Gertrude Stein, because clearly I’m not anything close to her level of gravitas, I’m not even sure if I used ‘gravitas’ correctly right there since I’ve been awake for almost 17 hours after only sleeping for about four, and OBVIOUSLY I’m closer to a Mrs. Maisel or a Gilmore Girl than Stein. I mean, come on. ALSO, I just found out I can change my font color and I tried that for this disclaimer and I don’t know if it worked but if it didn’t I won’t know until I publish and by then I’ve already written this part so I’m not going back to change it. It is what it is. But if it worked, then, YAY! And no, none of that font color part matters but I love all.the.colors. so I got excited and this is a great example of why if you don’t like parentheticals and twisty ways of getting to the end of paths with unexpected bumps along the journey you should FOR SURE be reading WebMD right now… or Gertrude Stein. But probably Hemingway instead of Stein. You seem like you don’t love exposition. But if you do, read on, friend. Read on.
I set a goal this year to be better at taking my PTO even though I work from home and don’t often feel like I need a vacation. Why? Because not taking PTO time is the same as giving yourself a paycut. What’s even worse is taking PTO time but staying plugged into work when clearly the phrase “paid time off” means you should be logged off. For real. I hear it’s a thing.
Fast forward to a random conversation Hubby and I are having about my childhood best friend and how I haven’t seen her and miss her and owe her about seven years of visits since I haven’t been to see her in Cali since 2006 but she has been back home to the Bluegrass (15 years, divide by 2, it mostly checks out). He looks at me and says, “Do you need to buy a plane ticket to go see your friend?”
Uh, yeah. First, there’s been a worldwide pandemic and we’re finally able to travel. Second, I’ve said for the past several years that I would go and then major surgeries, thousands of dollars of home repairs, and yes, pandemic got prioritized and my integrity felt called into question. I miss my friend. Of course I need to go see her. And Hubby meant it when he offered. Bless him.
*Aside – Hubby also just looked at me and said, “Is it blog time? Has it already been six months?” And he’s now singing a song he’s making up about my typing. So this might be the longest post in the history of ever and I suddenly only type well by hitting the keys as if trying to unstick them from a delightful mix of jelly and half-baked tar. Feel free to break this into chunks accordingly so your plans aren’t wrecked.*
*Never mind, I’m chunking it for you. Pretend this is a Victorian serial novel, except most likely shorter.*
He asked it and instead of going through the are-you-sure-do-we-have-it-in-the-budget verbal dance I just said, “Yes.” I keep seeing all these warm/fuzzy self-care books/shows/articles/memes about saying yes to things and thought I’d give it a shot. Best. Decision. Ever.
In January of 2006, my childhood BFF, Emma, decided to live her dreams, pack all the things she could fit into her Volvo, and move from central Kentucky to Los Angeles, California. She was going to drive by herself, making the 2,154+ mile drive – approximately 32 hours – across more than 7 states. (It was only about a third of Kentucky and I’m counting Texas as one whole even if we only crossed the panhandle, because we crossed it in the middle of the night and I had listened to a full day of Coldplay and she refused to go to sleep while I drove my portion through the night, so I stand firm on not being held responsible for what may or may not have been alleged littering on the side of I-40 somewhere in northern Texas at 2ish AM CT in January of 2006. I still can’t listen to “Yellow” or “Clocks” to this day and she had it coming and I warned her several times! But that’s another story.) I am now secure enough in my age and who I am to freely admit we were *redacted* years old. It was winter, but fairly mild in our deciduous area of the country, and we thought we were headed to sunnier and greener climes.
We got one of those right. Sunny it was; green it was not. We were arts/humanities grads, so the fact that we were driving across the flattest, most boring interstate in the country in the infancy of winter had escaped us.
It was brown. 32 hours of brown. And Oklahoma was scorched after the wildfires in 2005, so parts of the trip were also crispy; it was brown and crispy but not in a good way.
I freakin’ hated LA with the passion of a conspiracy theorist in Facebook jail who thinks “marshall law” is spelled correctly and that COVID vaccines are bogus ways to give us all the mark of the beast. (Too soon? Hmmmmm… it’s too late, I’ve already committed. *Please know this doesn’t mean I am this conspiracy theorist. I am not on social media often enough to be put into Facebook jail or even know it if that happened, and I think the vaccine is a vaccine, full stop. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.*)
When I say I hated it, I mean at one point I looked out the car window somewhere in Rodondo Beach after she told me to stop reacting to people honking (rude) because we were going to get killed (but they were being rude – I was raised to know better) and said, “I don’t drink, but I need you to stop at that liquor store because I think I’m having a panic attack and I may need a fifth of bourbon to numb it until I can leave.” I don’t know if it was because she knew about my health issues and that I, in fact, did not partake of alcohol or if it was the deadpan delivery, but I think she was alarmed. She asked if I was okay. I told her I hated that city. It hurt her feelings a little at first, but she then said, “Yeah, it’s not really your kind of place.” God bless friends who love you for who you are and refuse to do things like buy you a fifth of bourbon when they know you’ve never even had bourbon and that strong tea or a milkshake would probably work better. She took me to In-n-Out, instead. That’s love, people.
So, that’s how it started. We have been friends since we were in the third grade and she would come to the house, walk in without knocking, make herself a bologna sandwich and grab the remote to see what was on TV. (Notice how I’m not part of that picture? That’s because I was in my room and had no idea she was there until my brother or step-father knocked on my door to tell me Emma was there. And if you’ve never had that level of friendship, you are missing out on the joys of life and I feel for you. That is epic, next-level stuff.)
Since 2006, we’ve stayed in touch, been through our own junk in life, and loved each other through it. She came every year or two to Kentucky to visit family and I got to see her, then, but we never got more than a few hours. So I took my chance, bought the ticket, packed my carry-ons and my personal brand of awkwardness, and took a short trip last week to LA to spend a few days with my bestie on her days off.
*Back to Vacation*
Emma is amazing, creative, beautiful, energetic, and she excels at planning events and creating hospitable environments for people. And she is the epitome of mercy and grace. Spending time with her feeds my soul, and her penchant for planning and organizing balances my go-with-the-flow-and-change-with-the-wind talents, her tendency to sense and feel balances my preference for thinking and logic. She’s also the tall to my short and the fancy to my low-key. (Draw your own conclusions without the ending cliche I so desperately want to write but from which I shall refrain.)
She also likes dessert – so we have things in common.
Emma also has the magical ability to convince people to do things they wouldn’t do on their own, so since I suddenly realized it was past my bedtime and that I have more to say than I can write in this sitting, head on over to her YouTube channel, 100proofEmma, if you like mixology – or if you’re a zero-proof person who likes fancy mocktail options – and take a gander at the, uh, verdant beverages we created (if you like Jamba Juice’s wheatgrass options, enjoy, and if you don’t, pick a different video and recipe to try – you’re welcome on both counts).
I’ll be posting the rest of the adventure, including tales of my clumsiness in the airport, over the next couple of days.
(For real. I can’t torture Hubby too much longer.)
(Also, sleep is one of my favorite hobbies.)