Put a Lid on It!

I have a confession. I have a horrible, dirty and wasteful habit. It’s embarrassing and a problem. Mostly for others, but who wants to have that stigma following them around? I have no idea why it started, but I feel compelled to share this idiosyncrasy with the world because…well, it’s weird.

Hi. My name is ____ and I am an habitual do-not-put-lids-on-anything-er.

This problem started about a year ago. I denied it, in the beginning, in instances that I brushed off as being results of rushing off to work, being covered up to my elbows in salmonella or having too much to drink the night before.

The thing is, it’s now affecting other genres of my life. Just the toothpaste? Nope. I’ve investigated elsewhere and found lids missing from: contact cases, toothpaste, hair supplies and everything in the shower. Even the $1 travel shampoos. What the heck?

But it doesn’t stop there. I snuck a peek in my refrigerator and found that while I may also have an issue hoarding condiments, I also like to use my refrigerator door as a graveyard for broken or barely there lids.

I remember a few months ago that I dropped a bottle of mustard in our kitchen, only to have it spill its golden guts all over my floor. After cleaning it up, I took its perfectly half-mooned lid and laid it on top of its body. While I’m still making confessions – it no longer had twist-ability capabilities. I fumbled erratically through the sea of lids trying to find a matching one, but there wasn’t one. So, I left it on.

I’ve become numb to its relentless game. Every time I use it, I end up with more mustard than food. I should throw it out – but it’s a perfectly good bottle of deliciousness. So, I keep it. It’s a sick, sick cycle.

I have thought hard about this problem. Why, after about a thousand mornings waking up to a crusty toothpaste top, spilling cat food across my clean counter or having lotion spew across my new bamboo rug (with more crevices than the side of a mountain) can I not stop? I’m addicted.

For a while, I contemplated as to whether or not leaving caps off of things was a very literal interpretation of what I try to entertain in my life – being open, free-spirited, shaped like a bottle?

It’s all very confusing. I have talked to friends and family causally about my problem, but I didn’t think anyone would understand. My husband seeks refuge in our guest bathroom and no longer uses any condiments out of fear other than hot sauce, which is now hidden safely in a small corner in the top shelf.

Therefore, I felt it appropriate to seek help in an unbiased setting with other people who have this problem. After googling around (thanks for making me feel more alone Google – even with my very specific search), I found something. Someone had attempted to start a forum and entitled it: “I Will Put the Lid Back on the Ben and Jerry’s.” They must also feel ashamed by their addiction as they didn’t give their full story.

So, in the hopes of breaking the ice and finding a solution, I decided to kick-start the forum with the following letter:

Dear Ice Cream Lover:

I, too, enjoy ice cream. However, that’s not what I am writing you about. We, obviously, both share an embarrassing problem that hurts ourselves, others and our favorite sweets and bottled-goods alike. I don’t know about you, but I would really like to put an end to this. The gateway to my problem was toothpaste. Can you believe it? How can something like a shining knight that fights cavities and has a delightful aftertaste be so evil? My problem started there and moved its way into my shower and then into my kitchen. Nearly each week, we lose another condiment friend that just never had a chance without a lid. I seriously doubt this problem will change overnight. Maybe if we sponsor each other, we can support each other through this trying time. If you can complete 30 days of putting lids on your B&J, I will send you some broken caps off of my bottles as a memento of where you were and how far you’ve come. And you could send me some ice cream (please use dry ice as I live in a hot climate). This is the start of a beautiful relationship and I feel really good about it.

Thanks,

Lidless

I’ll keep you updated on what I hear back.

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Swim or Drown.

Spring cleaning is in full gear at my house. Garage tidied? Check. Closets organized? Check. New bathing suit purchased? Oye.

Living in paradise can feel like being stuck in a black hole with no other movie playing except Groundhog day. I know, I can die now for saying that. But, the weather is essentially the same every day. Being that I live by the beach and it’s almost summer, naturally, beachwear is on my brain. This weekend I felt compelled to clean out my junk drawer to see if I had monsters living in there. I was scared.

The good news is, I found about 13 lonely socks that lost their mate sometime in the early 90s’. (You’re welcome, Salvation Army. I feel bad about that donation). The bad news is, my current suit situation is PATHETIC. I mistakenly discovered stretched bottoms and faded tops that have seen more sun than well, most eighty-year-olds here. Then, I realized… <huff> I had to go bathing suit shopping. Something a woman can only do alone. Why would I volunteer opinions from an honest friend?

When I got to my favorite discount boutique, I found my way through the maze of aisles and arrived at suits. I took a quick gander at the wide variety of women shopping for them and wondered if they were as uncomfortable as me. I thought that I believed in the revolution: If you got it, flaunt it. Not saying I think that highly of myself. I’m not a Victoria Secrets model, but I’m comfortable with who I am.

UNTIL…a close friend of mine told me last year that, wearing two-pieces at our age is “inappropriate.” Thus, perplexion. There are rules to being comfortable in one’s skin? Flaunt it if you got it – unless, you’re old enough to drink, American and not a celebrity.

I spoke to my mother about this notion in order to get an older and wiser woman’s viewpoint.  She assured me my friend was clearly intoxicated or had lost her mind. I was perfect. Leave it to your mother to lie when it’s perfectly appreciated and encouraged.

There I am, swallowed in the tangle of string bikinis, sarongs and the smell of spandex. I grabbed about 24 suits  and tossed them in my cart. The scowl on the dressing room attendant’s face told me that perhaps, I did go a bit overboard and she was going to have fun putting those away later. She must realize not all bathing suits fit the same, I thought.

Standing in that line, I felt like a sheep being herded back into the farm’s gates. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the familiar face of an old co-worker. After a few moments of uncomfortable small talk about what we’re both doing now, the conversation changed. Her eyes started shifting to the large spew of neon orange and floral nylon shouting in my shopping cart.

“Looking for a bathing suit?” she said. I nodded quickly. I saw a slight rise in one of her eyebrows as she told me, “I looked for one too, but just didn’t see anything that would work.”

And I felt myself get a bit defensive. Oh. It was too late to kick away my cart and pretend like it belonged to the woman standing next to me (who I later caught picking things out of my cart! Who does that?) So I said something dumb like, “Yep! It’s that time again!” – like I am some crazy bathing suit, bag lady.

But – why should I feel ashamed? It’s my money, my purchase. I understand that as you get older, your body changes and no one’s particularly excited to see Grandma in a string bikini. That means, I’ve got like what…another 50 years before condemned to tankinis and ruffle skirts?

I have to say this. Isn’t it a bit hypocritical to be told that forty is the new twenty, but we need to dress forty if we’re forty? Maybe that’s just me, but I think it’s very confusing. Frankly, I find other matters in my life confusing enough – like reading maps (I learn best by landmarks). Why make other aspects of our lives more confusing than they need to be? I’d rather be comfortable being me than drowning doing what I’m told. Swim or drown, beach-goers. Try to swim.

Still Got It.

Me: “Can you give me a locker for my key?” (Meanwhile.. I’m holding onto my keys by my pinkie, dropping my gym bag and digging for my campus I.D.)

The blonde, blank-faced sorority girl: “What?”

Me: <Sigh with a weak smile…> “Can you just give me a key? It’s been a long day…”

Immediately, I’m annoyed.

No, not particularly at her inept handling of my stuttering. Actually, not at her all. Annoyed that here I am, at the gym again after a 15 hour work day. I work at a university and use their gym. It’s close, it’s convenient, but mostly because I could probably qualify for food stamps and I can afford their free facilities.

‘This girl has no idea what a long day is,’ I thought.

I was in college not that long ago. Taking naps between introductory health classes, skipping them to go to lunch and worrying about whether or not she’ll have time to pre-game before the party tonight is this girl’s only worry.

As I walk away and head to the locker room, I look at the lineup and scope out my machine. I will not be stuck next to the girl who does this weird fist pumping gesture while she uses the elliptical again. *Side note: It’s a cross between a drunk Snooki and an animal trying to dig its way out of a sand pit. The first time I saw her, I thought hard about what she was doing. Is this a new trend? Perhaps this is a hidden-bicep-toning-trick that only she’s discovered. Maybe it’s her way of motivating herself through the next five minutes. Maybe she has a nervous arm tick that only occurs when she moves her legs in a marching motion?

I digress. But it’s very distracting.

Anyhow, I swear that every time I walk through the doors to this gym, I have a reverse reaction than what I normally have when going to other gyms. Some places put more emphasis on keeping lipstick and hot-shorts on than keeping muffin tops and kankles off, you know?

This gym is different. There are no working moms. There are no men or women trying hard to work off a few pounds. No. There are NO normal, hardworking, fellow staff here to be on my team. There are 22 year olds, in tight shorts, with “Jerseylicious” slapped across their behinds.

Funny. There is not a trace of envy, jealousy or insecurity that I feel. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. Competitiveness and the ability to show down every single UGG boot, Northface-jacket-wearing kid in the place is what I feel.

*Disclaimer: I was in a sorority and have nothing against UGG boots, Northface jackets or Greek Life.*

Call it what you will, but when you tell yourself that you “still got it” and make yourself prove that while you’re running next to the next Nike model – you feel a total sense of accomplishment.

After I changed, I hopped onto the elliptical and started my normal routine. Throughout the duration, people next to me came and went – including one of our department’s interns. I now know he talks a much bigger talk about his regimen than it actually is. I saw it with my own eyes. He couldn’t have been on any resistance level on that stationary bike. Pretty sure he was going for an imaginary joy ride around campus.

Then, in the middle of John Mayer, this guy jumped up onto the machine next to me. Big guy. He was in it to win it. I took one look at him and flew into high gear. The faster he pedaled, the faster I pedaled. I’m pretty sure he tried to see what level my machine was at so, naturally, I kept interchanging the levels to throw his game off. I heard myself saying, “I’m beating you, I’m beating you, I’m beating you” with every full rotation of my legs.

Maybe that’s immature. BUT – there’s something about being in a roomful of good-looking, motivated, young-adults. It makes me remember who I am and laugh at who I was. I’m healthier now at nearly twenty-eight than I was at eighteen. I feel proud of that accomplishment. I feel proud that I do still “got it.”

At the end of my delicious work out, feeling confident, vibrant, alive and energized, I go to the locker room to change. I laugh at my new-found motivator game and think to myself,

‘If people only knew – they’d think you were a loony, crazy, adolescent.’

But then you struck again, Kappa Gamma Jerseylicious. I heard you do something in that bathroom and the smile on your face said you were very proud of it.

Ewww. Who’s immature now?

No Babies Here, Sorry.

Me: “I have something to tell you.”
Friend: “You’re pregnant.”
Me: “No, I was going to tell you I’m finally starting a blog.”

Apparently, my ticking timebomb, aka baby maker hasn’t only been on my newlywed mind.

I want to preface this post with the fact that I LOVE kids. In fact, I was a nannie for a family of 3 children for nearly 6 years. I loved them and played with them like my own. My friends, the loves of my life, nearly all have kids. I love being an Auntie to them all and couldn’t be happier for them.

But, am I ready? Will I ever be ready? I take an hour to order a burrito, reinforcing all the things I really don’t want. Then again, I’ve been told you’re never ready. Never stable enough financially or 100% emotionally ready.

As enticing as voluntarily accepting more insecurities into my life seems, should I feel somewhere deep down I will want, at some point, children? Or will my 30th come and I’ll feel the same way I do now — impartial.

I recently read an article that talked about a woman’s biological clock. It said, “Until the age of 25 lifestyle factors such as smoking or alcohol have little effect on a woman’s fertility.”

Great, Mother Nature. So what you’re saying is that while I was young, stupid and completely immature that would have been the “safest” time to bring a life into this world? Sorry, but I was acting like an idiot until about three years ago. A kid, pushing a stroller, brushing off last night’s hangover isn’t the perfect mother I imagine now. But, if I wait until I’m eating meals from a stove and not a drive-thru, my fertility rate drops immensely and I will have to give up wine? Being a woman really blows sometimes. We literally carry all of the responsibility.

Right now, my husband and I love being selfish. Love being able to be adventurous. Love being free and alone. I am not closing the possibility of a child, but I am not ready now. So, sorry. You can quit giving me those disappointed looks when I tell you now. And asking “Ever? Never?” isn’t helping.

When it happens, if it happens, it will be right.

xoxo