Halfway to 50!

Twenty somethings unite!

The Staple of Summer: The Public Pool June 4, 2012


Do you remember your favorite summer activity as a kid?  It had to be going to the public swimming pool.  If not, you were deprived and missed out on the best life had to offer.  Anyway, I remember waiting for my mom to get off work, in my swimsuit, towel in hand, ready to enjoy summer in the chlorine-filled abyss that is the public pool.

 

Flash forward to now.  I’m 27 and had the opportunity to relive that awesomeness today with a friend,  except… things were a little different from I remember.

 

First, we arrived at the pool and approached the entrance.  I studied the Justin Bieber wanna-be boys with florescent colored sunglasses and daringly low-cut trunks.  I had never been to this particular pool before.  Because we are teachers in the area, we go to great lengths to avoid parents and students.  We like them, however it is quite awkward to catch up with a former parent as you’re rocking a tiny triangle top bikini… So there we were, sitting on our towels and liberally applying sunscreen.  The younger crowd of kids were throwing their towels down, ripping off their cover ups, and dashing into the pool with a carefree attitude.  Damn.  “Don’t these girls know the importance of protecting their skin? Psssh!”  (While secretly wishing I could do that.)

 

Later we decided to try out the lazy river… key word here being lazy.  I grabbed a two person raft and moved toward the water.  My friend says, “Um, don’t you think we should get our own rafts?  People might think we’re together.”  Ha!  If we were in a relationship, she had already taken the role as the butch.  We looked all around for single rafts with no luck.  We agree on the double raft and push it in the water.  A Zach Efron look-alike stopped the raft with his hand and stared at us through his aviators.

 

Zach Efron look-alike: “Uh, you can’t both use this.”

Me: “Why not?

Zach: “Because it’s not meant for two people.”

My friend: “Then why are there two spots to sit?”

Zach: “That side is for babies.”

Me: “That’s dumb.  What mother would lay their baby here and cruise down the lazy river?”

We pulled the raft out past a group of pre-teens laughing nervously.  Yeah, like they knew that’s what it was for (unless one of their friends was a teen mom, then yes, they may have legitimately knew what it was for.)  Moments later another young lifeguard handed us a raft that WAS for two adults and we began our float.  (By the way, what is up with these über young lifeguards?  I don’t seriously think one of these 16-year-old girls could pull my drowning ass from the water.)  In the lazy river, it only took seconds before a group of crazed ADD children began playing bumper boats.  They were ramming and pushing their way through, causing us to hit the wall several times, block up traffic, and end my tranquil summer moment.  Without thinking I snapped… “Chill out guys!”  They all stared in fear and disbelief.  Hey, what can I say?  I can’t turn the teacher in me off.  We continued our gossip-filled float and manged to avoid most of the waterfalls along the way.  Seriously.  Who decided to have waterfalls all over lazy rivers?  Most people are here to float, relax, and keep their hair dry.  If we wanted to get soaked, we’d be in the damn pool!  Once my friend leaned back to avoid a waterfall on her hair and instead it poured onto her chest and stomach.  It looked like something out of a raunchy summer teen movie that would’ve been in slow motion.  Lots of the preteens stopped their banter to watch and I quickly stole the hypothetical butch role back.

 

Later that afternoon we considered trying one of the water slides.  It was a tube slide that literally stops halfway and catapults you 10 feet out into the water.  We looked down at our swimsuits and quickly decided that we’d probably end up all sorts of undressed once we hit the water.  None of these children needed to be a witness to it.  Plus, the kids were coming out of the slide so nice and calm when they splashed into the water.  Pretty sure I’d pull some sort of spastic flailing motion in the air that would cause a viral video.  It would end wonderfully with me exiting the water without my bottoms.  Perfect.  I will not be partaking anytime soon.  Oh to be young again!

 

Finally, we ended the day laying on our towels, talking about work, vacations, and boys.  Next to us a group of teens were actively trying to get thier first romantic relationships started.  They were screaming, giggling, smacking (yes, that’s still how the young ‘ens show affection; however with adult relationships it’s called domestic assault) and draping their arms around each other nervously.  Was I ever like that?  Um yes, probably times ten.  When does one go from slapping cute boys to reapplying sunscreen for fear of early wrinkles?

 

Going to the public pool is always fun, but the experience changes with time.  As a little girl, I was swinging my legs, eating an ice cream cone on a bench.  Then I was chasing boys around and showing off with my sweet cannonball form.  Today, I was slathering sunscreen, avoiding getting my hair wet, and watching the time to be sure I left in time to still get groceries for the week.

 

Have you been to the pool lately?  How was your experience?  Should we embrace our inner child and go for the water slide or sit back and take a spin on the lazy river while monitoring other people’s children?

Advertisements
 

Wanted: Childless Couple Friends May 22, 2011


I feel like a liar.  I feel deceitful.  I had a birthday last week that makes my blog title no longer true.  However, I don’ t think calling my blog, “Halfway to 50… and then some,” sounds as catchy.  On Tuesday I entered Club 26 (ooo now that has a ring to it!)  I rang it in with my hubbie, a bottle of wine, a vodka shot, and a few unexpected surprises…. let me explain.

The weekend before my birthday the hubbie and I went to dinner downtown.  You know, one of those places with dim lights, long narrow menus, and tiny tables.  The waiter came over and poured my husband a small glass of wine.  I raised an eyebrow at the smidge of wine standing in his glass and anxiously waited for him to fill up my glass when I noticed something great happen.  My husband picked up his wine glass, swirled it around, smelled it, and took a sip.  He nodded to the waiter who proceeded to pour him a full glass and then fill up mine as well.  Oooo classy!  I smirked at my husband who so gracefully handled a situation that made me giggle.  Turns out his fancy job puts him in situations like this all the time so he knew exactly how to handle it.  That’s my oh so grown up man!  We wrapped up dinner and walked, well my husband walked and I stumbled, back to the car.  We hit 2 Redbox machines up on the way home (both were out of order) so we gave up. 

Tuesday night we went out to dinner again with another couple because, well, I’m not about to cook on my birthday.  We ordered a round of shots, which my girlfriend declined.  The waitress came back with a regular glass, not a shot glass, full of vodka for each of us.  “Sorry,” she said with a shrug, “we don’t have shot glasses.”  Gulp by gulp I took about the equivalent of 3 shots and continued with my dinner.  Hey, like 50 Cent says, party like it’s your birthday!  That’s when my girlfriend dropped the news on me.  “We’re expecting,” she said.  Surprisingly my eyes began to well up with tears.  I’m not a super emotional girl so this was big.  I pushed my husband out of the booth, forced her husband out as well, and hugged her.  On the way home I tried to picture her with a baby.  “Well, another one bites the dust,” I said to hubbie.  “One more couple we can’t call to meet at the bar on a Saturday night.”  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited for them!  I love kids (I am a teacher after all; it’s not for the money) and I hope to have my own someday, but it’s getting tough to maintain couple friends without kids.  We’re holding tight to the ones we’ve got.  When the topic of babies comes up with them, I often try to make it sound like we’re discussing purchasing a snake. 

Childless couple friend:  When are you two thinking about having kids?

Me: Psh… (gulping a drink) Not for a while.

Childless couple friend: Really?

Me: Yes (taking another drink) I still have so many things I want to do.

Childless couple friend: Like what?

Me: Oh you know, travel, finish school… drink in a bar without paying $50 for a sitter.

Childless couple friend: Yeah… me too.

Haha!  Someday I’m going to laugh at my obnoxious self-centered thinking.  But until then, I’m going to sleep in, write papers until the wee hours of the night, change my plans at the last minute, and plan elaborate vacations.  Please don’t judge me.  Recognize that I just celebrated another birthday, receive news about friends being pregnant almost daily (thanks Facebook), and simply put, am just not ready.  Here’s to all the childless couples out there who are sitting around reading blogs on a Sunday night because there’s nothing else to do!

 

Help! My Classroom is Haunted! April 20, 2011


Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!

Today I had the crap scared out of me at school- and it wasn’t because of the kids.  I’m so freaked out that I’m not sure how I’ll sleep tonight.  Let me explain…

I was rushing out of my classroom to get to my Zumba class.  I threw my school bag, gym bag, purse, and lunch box around my shoulders and hurried out.  I locked the door and spun around to find a woman looking at me funny in the hallway.  She was older with long white hair.  I hadn’t seen her around school before so I asked if she needed anything.  She continued to stare at me and pointed to my classroom door.

Woman: Do you teach in that room?

Me: Yes.

Woman: Have you ever been in there when it’s dark?

Me: Ummmm (super confused) not usually.  When the kids are in there we work with the lights on.  I guess during rest time I turn the lights off.

Woman: Oh, okay.

She turned around and began to walk away.   Intrigued and confused I had to stop her and continue the conversation.

Me: Why?  What’s the problem?

Woman: Well, I’m a custodian in the school here and I’ve noticed some strange things in that classroom at night.

(This is where I began to raise my eyebrows.  I knew the custodians in my building, pretty well actually.  They’ve saved me when my students have peed, vomited, and even pooped on my carpet.  That’s a whole other blog post though.  Why had I never seen her before?)

Me: What do you mean strange things?  (I laughed a little while saying this because another co-worker had joined the conversation and we exchanged glances that said, “This woman is crazy.”)

Woman: Well at night, when I come in to clean, I hear voices.  More than once I’ve heard people have conversations in here.  There’s nobody else in the building but me.  The parking lot is empty when I get here.

Me: Really??  That’s weird.  (Again, I said this while laughing a little.  This time, I was a little freaked out and thought that by laughing I’d appear calm.)

Woman: Yes.  I also get the feeling that someone is watching me when I’m in there.  I always look over my shoulder.

Me: Uhhhh that’s scary.  (Not laughing anymore, because now I’m officially freaked out.)

Woman: It’s so scary to me, that I’ve gotten my shift switched.  I work between 2 schools and I make sure to get to your classroom before it’s dark.  No other classrooms make me feel like that.  But yours… yours is haunted. 

Me: That’s interesting to hear you say that.  I’ve heard the automatic toilets flush in our bathroom after school hours, but I thought it was just a faulty toilet.

Woman: I’d keep an eye out for those things. 

Me: Ok, well, now that you’ve scared the crap out of me, I have to get going.  (By this time I had chills because of this woman’s claims.)

I stepped outside with my co-worker and we talked about what had just happened.  The weirdest thing about this whole thing is that I had never seen this woman at school before.  I work at school a few hours after the kids leave almost every day to get organized and tidy up.  The custodians and I usually see each other during those hours.  How had I never seen this woman before?

As I drove to Zumba, all I could think about was talking to our main custodian in the morning.  I pictured myself approaching her and telling her about what the woman had said to me today.  What if she says, “There’s no other custodians.  I don’t know who you are talking about.”  Maybe the woman who talked to me was a ghost!  I pictured my kids coming up to me tomorrow saying, “Sally won’t give me my book back.”  I’d reply with, “There’s no Sally in our class.”  The kids would say, “Yes there is.  She’s in the corner.”  Another ghost! 

Ahhhh!  Now I’m terrified of my classroom!  Have you had an encounter with a ghost?  How did you deal with it?

 

Growing up, one night at a time… April 12, 2011


I was being pulled through the city by my husband.  “Come on!” he said.  I picked up my speed from a quick walk to a light jog.  “Um, I’m in a dress and heels,” I reminded him.  I tried to look calm and collected as I breezed past onlookers in my half sprint down the sidewalk.  After a few minutes, we finally arrived to our destination.  Whew!  We made it before 7:00 and that means no cover charge!  Winning!  I flipped out my ID and began walking into the piano bar.  “Hold on,” called the bouncer (is that what you call the guy who checks ID’s?)  He grabbed my wrist and stamped me.  Ugh.  I haven’t had a bar stamp in years.  It totally didn’t go with my outfit.  We strolled into the joint with our friends and immediately noticed there was no seating left.  Ok. so we’ll be standing.  We watched the stage as both a bachelorette and her future husband suffered public humiliation.  I believe at one point the man was told to “motor boat” his fiancée’s boobs and he did.  Forgive me for being a crabby pants, I had nothing to drink at that point.  It’s amazing how things aren’t as funny when it’s 7:00. 

We stood around for about an hour, sipping on drinks and trying to catch up with each other over the noise of the pianos.  I began to get a stomach ache.  Standing against a wall, in heels, sweating, was not the way I thought the night would be.  A few friends left and called to say that the brewery a few blocks away had seating and amazing appetizers.  We gulped our drinks and headed out.  Ahhhh, fresh air! 

We stepped into the brewery, pulled up chairs around a big table full of friends, ordered a plate of nachos, and I sighed.  “This is so much better.  We can actually hear each other and give our ankles a rest,” I proclaimed.  Then I gasped and covered my mouth as everyone stared at me.  “Oh my God.  That statement made me sound so old!”  We laughed and all agreed that this was indeed the better way to spend the evening.  We were visiting friends in the big city for the weekend and truly enjoyed catching up over greasy food and strong beverages.  Around 11:30 we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.

It happened.  Again.  Just another night of being pulled further from 20 and closer to 30.  And you know what?  My feet, kidneys, and ears are thanking me 🙂

When did you notice yourself growing up?  How did you feel about it?

 

25 in the Midwest March 28, 2011


Are expectations different depending on where you live?

I had this thought today as I was driving to the gym.  I had Cosmo Radio on in the car and was listening to a segment called, Cocktails with Patrick or Cocks with P (if you’re feeling a little sassy!)  He was on a roll delivering a strong message about being 25 years old to his co-host.  Apparently she is 25 and he was telling her to relish every moment of this time, because it only goes downhill from there. 

After you’ve all stopped gasping, continue reading please.  He was telling her that she is at her prime physically, emotionally, and sexually.  He went as far as to tell her that she should throw herself a party tonight to celebrate this wonderful age!  But what really got me was when he asked her about her “old” friends, you know, those girlfriends she has who are 28 or 29 years old.  (There was even a moment where they referred to these women as “golden girls!”  Their words, not mine.)  If asked, he believed every one of them would turn back the clock 4 years.  Why? Because they have more pressure and responsibility now.  Together they listed the things that cause pressure and responsibility when you are in your late 20’s like careers, marriage, and babies.  He advised his halfway to 50 co-host to truly soak up every moment of her carefree existence right now before she becomes engulfed in life’s expectations.

Here is where my head spun around.  What he is talking about??  I’m 25, four years into my career, married, and paying a monthly mortgage.  My halfway to 50 life is full of responsibility and pressure!  Now, please don’t think I’m complaining.  I chose every element of my life and love what it has become.  I have a career that I’m passionate about, a husband who adores me, and a home that we’ve created together that someday we’ll raise children in.  So why does this radio host believe 25 year olds are free of responsibility?  Am I crazy or is he?  Where I come from, once you graduate college, you get a move on with life.  It is still filled with fun and excitement, but you have to work for it.

Most of my friends were married in their early 20’s and many are starting to have children.  We all have jobs because, well, who else is going to pay the bills?  We have fun on the weekends and work hard during the week.  We haven’t thrown in the towel on our youth yet, but still take on a lot of responsibility. 

Two of my best friends are not married.  Both have come to me with concerns about their age and the increasing pressure to marry soon.  They’re great girls with good jobs, amazing families, and dazzling personalities.  So why are they worried?  Because they want security, love, and, babies before they’re 30.  Most of the time these conversations turn to the idea that people our age in other areas of the country are partying, carefree, and starring in reality shows about living in a beach house. 

I guess what I’m saying is if I was born in Los Angeles, maybe I’d be running around from bar to bar, flirting with muscle laden bronzed men, working a temp job as a dog walker, and living in a run down apartment on the beach.  The only responsibilities I’d have is to sweep the sand off the floor at night, keep enough protection in the house for my gentlemen callers, and keep an ample supply of sunscreen on hand for my tanning sessions.

So my final thought to you is, does region determine the expectation on you and your age?  Do you think you’d have a different life if you grew up elsewhere?  What is society’s current expectation of you?

 

Green Drinks? Yes, Please! March 16, 2011


So St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow.  I’ve recently begun to celebrate this lovely holiday in which leprachauns dance and the beer is delightfully green.  Why?  Because it always falls during my spring break and let’s face it, I have nothing better to do.

This year I’ve happily recruited 2 people to join my in my St. Patrick’s Day festivities.  Both ladies are teachers and therefore also experiencing a lame spring break in the midwest (not on an island.)  Together, I’m hoping, we can say “Screw the island spring break getaway!  We have green beer to drink, green shirts to wear, skinny jeans to rock, and good times to be had!”  Yes, this year is set up to be great.  However, being halfway to 50, I have some worries about what is actually going to happen tomorrow.  Here are two scenarios I’ve created in my mind that may or may not happen:

Scenario #1) We three half way to 50’s arrive at the most Irish bar in town.  The place is packed and we push our way through the crowd to find a table.  We waltz to the table in our green attire, tall boots, and hair flowing in the breeze.  (Well, it’ll probably be flat and a little snarly, but this is my fantasy ok?)  We order some lovely green beverages and begin catching up on all that has happened over our spring break so far.  We shoo away the men who just keep coming up to our table in attempt to buy us a drink.  “Please,” I say, “I’m married!”  (Again, this is my fantasy so don’t judge.)  After several beverages we dance a little to our favorite songs and run into even more friends.  We stumble out the door after a fun night of drinks and laughter.  St. Patrick’s Day was a succcess!

However, there is always this possibility…

Scenario #2) I can’t find anything green to wear that looks cute.  Someone calls to say they’re running late.  My hair won’t stay curled, but looks gross flat.  I pull it together and run out the door to meet my friends.  We walk in and nobody is at the bar.  Apparently, there is a free keg somewhere downtown and everyone went there.  We easily grab a table and order drinks.  There are no drink specials and no men grappling at our feet.  We have a drink and then someone decides to make it an early night.  Then there were two.  We have one more drink and decide to head home.  St. Patricks Day was a disappointment.  Maybe next year…

When you’re halfway to 50, you just never know how the night will turn out.   Sometimes people are in the mood to party like they’re 21 and sometimes people are tired and pack it in early.  It’s like flipping a coin.  But hey, pennies are lucky so maybe I could flip one of those tomorrow night.  It’s the luck o’ the Irish!

 

How do you know it’s love? February 14, 2011


As someone who married her high school sweetheart, I’d like to think I know a little something about being in love.  I’m not an expert on love, but I believe I’ve learned a few signs that show its true love between you and that special someone.  Even though I’ve been in love for 11 years, the kind of love we share has evolved over time.  You can and should fall in love again and again with that special someone.  This happens because the love you share changes as you grow together.  In my case, it changed when we learned how to drive, when we graduated, when we entered college, when we got engaged, when we got married, and then as we’ve shared our life together over the past couple of years.  The following, in my experience, are the top 10 ways you know it’s love…

10. You share the last piece of… anything! 

 If there is one piece of bread left in the basket at a restaurant, neither of us will just grab it and scarf it.  Instead, one of us takes it, breaks it in half, and the other person gets to choose which half they want.  Silly?  Maybe.  But I feel it’s so important to still share with each other, no matter how long you’ve been together.

9. You feel comfortable announcing that you are going to the bathroom and say exactly what you’ll be doing in there.

I know, I know.  This may seem nasty to some people, but once you get to know someone really well and then live with them, this becomes second nature.  Often times it isn’t necessary, but it just comes out like word vomit.  I couldn’t fathom announcing that he should “stay clear of the bathroom for a few minutes” when we were dating.  Now, I feel like its common courtesy to give him a heads up to avoid an unwelcome surprise.  That’s love.

8. He’ll accompany you, no matter where you’re going.

Whether it’s your parents’ house or a spin at the Gap.  Someone who really loves you will go with you.  Although my husband frantically searches for a chair the moment we step into the Gap, it is important to note that he is there!  He hates shopping, but will go with me because he loves me.  He’ll drag his feet through Express and The Loft and happily answer me when I burst out of the dressing room saying, “How does this look?”  Ok, so he doesn’t happily answer.  He’s usually rubbing his forehead and bouncing his knee nervously.  BUT, he’s there.  For me!

7. He learns to love chick flicks!

Although resistant at first, my husband has come to not only tolerate, but enjoy movies like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Serendipity, and The Holiday.  I don’t think the story line is what draws him in, I think it’s knowing that it makes me happy to watch these movies together.  It probably doesn’t hurt to watch Kate Hudson and Jennifer Aniston in all their glory, but again, I like to think it’s because he loves me!

6. He doesn’t judge you based on your music, clothing, TV, or food choices.

I can be scarfing down peanut butter M&M’s by the handful in my two inches too short pajama pants, while watching Teen Mom and my adoring husband doesn’t even flinch.  This probably isn’t the picture he had in his mind of me when we began dating, but once you live with someone, that kind of goes out the window.  Being in love means you can be yourself in front of your husband.  But keep in mind, this means I must also be accepting of the nearly see-through sweatpants he’s had since college and obsession with Captain Crunch cereal.  Which I am.  Usually.

5. He calls you back when you’re upset.

We’ve all been there.  You get in an argument with your significant other.  Your voice gets shaky and you don’t want to get upset in front of him.  So you insist everything is fine, hang up the phone and cry.  If he loves you, he’ll call you back and make sure you’re happy before you go to sleep.  This happened while we dated in high school, college, and now as we’re married.  My husband travels for work sometimes so we still use the phone often to communicate.  He will absolutely not let me go to bed upset.  The same goes when we’re home together.  We do not go to bed upset.  That is true love.

4. He still manages to smile and laugh as you belt out terrible karaoke.

After a few drinks, I like to sing karaoke (see previous post.)  I’ve been known to sing Vanilla Ice, Sir Mix-A-Lot, and Britney Spears after consuming a few adult beverages.  Only a man in love will watch and crack up at a tipsy girl’s rendition of Baby Got Back and then hug her after she’s done. 

3. He’ll write you love notes and you’ll write back.

I went to high school about 8 years ago.  There was no texting (hard to believe!!)  If my husband (my boyfriend at the time) wanted to say “hey” or “I love you” he did it through a note.  We were young, but so in love.  He wasn’t too proud to write his feelings in a note and that’s what made me love him.  Want to know the crazy thing?  I still have every single note he ever wrote me 🙂

2. No time to shave your legs?  No problem!

I’ve only been married a couple of years, but it’s wonderful to not worry about having perfectly smooth legs at all times.  I used to feel that way.  Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t let myself go or fallen apart completely, but sometimes it’s just a pain in the ass to shave your legs!  Having a husband who loves me regardless, makes me less self-conscious about my leg stubble.  Gotta love marriage!

1.  He’ll hold your hand in the car, church, Target, or in bed.

My guy’s a hand holder.  At first it was in the halls of our high school.  Then it was throughout campus on the way to class.  Now it’s while we sit in church or watch TV in bed at night.  I wasn’t much of a hand holder until he came along, but it turns out to be a great way to show someone you’re in love.  Ever since we were 16 he’s held my hand in the car.  There’s something so simple and so sweet about hand holding.  I hope it never ends.  I can already see us in our motorized wheel chairs cruising the halls of our retirement home hand in hand.  Sigh. 

Happy Valentines Day to all of the couples who are in love and to those seeking love.  It’s an amazing feeling that I hope everyone gets to experience at some point in their life!