Halfway to 50!

Twenty somethings unite!

How to Get a Terrible Picture Taken for Free August 17, 2012


Church pictures.  Something I thought I’d never be a part of at 27 years old.  I vaguely remember being a part of them as a child.  I know I’ve seen pictures of myself at 5 years of age, permed bangs hair sprayed up 4 inches, and my parents in matching white shirts in front of a gray backdrop.

Yet, as a member of a great church today, I found myself in the same mortifying moment 22 years later.  They advertised “100% participation” in the bulletin for our church photos week after week.  So I signed the hubbie and I up for our photo shoot and what we got was an awkward moment (and photo) to remember…

We walked in at our scheduled time wearing shirts in semi-matching hues (hey, I checked pinterest for tips on how to dress for photos!)  As we waited for our turn, I noticed the hubs had on a pair of blue plaid shorts that completely clashed with my navy striped shirt.  We were off to a wonderful start.  A nice older lady walked up and told us she was ready.  The gray background made me cringe, but I rolled with it.  She directed me to sit on one of two stools.  She stood back, assessed the situation, and said to the hubs, “I’m going to have you sit on the other stool behind her.  Straddle her.”  I fought back a laugh.

My husband did as he was told, we looked at the camera and waited for the click.  I begged the lady to crop out the plaid shorts and smiled.  We smiled for what seemed like 5 minutes… you know when you smile for so long that it begins to look like your third grade school picture?  I knew it wouldn’t be pretty when the shutter finally clicked, but at least it was over.  I stood up and turned to leave.

“So, we’re done?”

“Um, no.  Unless you really want to be.”

How could I walk away from this nice old lady?  She was just doing her job.  OK fine.  She had us stand and face each other.  “Let’s show off this pretty ring!” she said and propped by left hand up on my husband’s chest.  Can you see this in your mind?  It was one of those cheesy engagement picture shots that just make my roll my eyes in the back of my head.  I mean seriously.  Who does that?

I blurted out, “I can’t do this one!!”

Startled, she said, “Why not?”

“It’s too cheesy.  Sorry, I just can’t.”

Instead she had me wrap my arm around his waist so we were now just in a standing hug position.  Not much better than the cheesy engagement photo pose.  This was God’s punishment for being difficult.

Pose number three had my husband sitting on a stool with me behind him.  I was told to wrap my arms around his neck and lean forward.  Really?  Now I was just going to roll with it and get the pictures done.  Finally, the photo shoot was over and we sat at a desk with our photographer.  She brought up all of our pictures on a computer screen and I screwed my face into a horrified expression.  Ew.  The florescent lighting, navy blue shirt, and gray background did nothing for me.  I looked like a meth addict who had been locked in a closet for 3 years.  Not exactly the church photo I had in mind.  I looked about the hubs who could care less what he looks like and even he was cringing.  She clicked through all of our pictures and we decided on one.

She assured us our free 8×10 would be arriving in the mail within a few weeks.  Oh yes.  That is for sure going on the mantle.  When we thought the awkward church photo experience was over, the photographer offered to… um… spruce up our photo.

“Would you like me to add some words to your 8×10?”

???

“For example, I could add something like, ‘Love’ or ‘Together Forever’ on the bottom of your photo.”

“Uh, no thanks.  I think we’re OK…. yep… plain is fine.”

We slinked out of church that night with 2 shreds of dignity left.  We got in the car in silence.  I was clutching a piece of paper containing our black and white photos in thumbnail size.  We looked at each other and burst out laughing.  The whole things was just weird.  These photos would haunt us for years to come – and lucky us!  They’ll be published in our church directory for thousands to see.

I texted a photo of our pics to my mom.  Her response?

“LOL those look like the photos you see on the news when the wife disappears.”

Thanks mom.

The point?  If you can’t laugh at an experience like this, you’re taking life too seriously.  Chill out, laugh at odd situations, and get your church pictures taken.

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Spring Break… You Dirty B*&%@# March 23, 2012


What the hell is everyone doing?  No, I’m serious, what is everyone actually doing?  I’ve been on spring break for 8 days now.  8 days.  As a teacher, it is one benefit we reap every year in March.  10 days with no students, no assessments, no crazy parent emails (well, actually those keep coming, I just choose to ignore them during my hiatus), and no stress.  With 8 days down and 2 to go, I’m feeling stir crazy and just want to know what everyone else is doing to occupy their time.  Until I can figure that out, let me tell you about the wild shenanigans I’ve been up to.  Brace yourself…

Days 1-3 my parents visited.  I moved approximately 3.5 hours from home (yes hours, not miles, I cannot read a map to save my life and would easily die on Survivor before being voted off first by my tribe) so when they come to visit it is always a fun time.  We went downtown to see the big St. Patrick’s Day parade.  My dad grabbed for my mom’s hand upon seeing multiple “weirdos” as he called them.  “Where the hell are you taking us?” he asked.  After convincing them that this parade is supposed to be really cool and worth our time, we stayed and sat on a curb for an hour.  I tried to keep conversation rolling to pass the time, but it was clear they weren’t exactly impressed with my itinerary thus far.  Finally, the first few floats (well more like large party buses) drove by and were filled with screaming, and I’m assuming drunk, people.  Mom began to enjoy herself as she screamed for beads as each float, er, bus passed by.  She had several within a few minutes and was smitten.  An hour or so passed and my parents rolled up our blanket we were sitting on and promptly announced they’d had enough of the drunken people screaming and were ready to go.  We left.

Day 4 began with my friend calling me around 10:00 screaming, “SPRING BREAK 2012 BITCHES!!!”  A little groggy having just woken up only minutes ago, I managed a small, “Woooo.”  I looked down at my baggy pajamas and tried to run my fingers through my bed head hair.  Spring break wasn’t off to a great start this week.  If only I was hanging out at a swim up bar with my girlfriends in a cheetah print bikini taking body shots off some guy named, Brad, whom we had just met and claimed to be producer for MTV.  Now that would be a real spring break!  “Hello?”  I shook my head as my friend brought me back to reality.  “Oh sorry, I was just trying to figure out what to do today,” I said.

Days 4-6 were filled with my attempt to be a 1950’s housewife.  I am a pretty big feminist so this was big for me, and very exciting for my husband!  I’m sure you heard of Pinterest by now.  If not, get out from under your rock and Google that shit.  I hunted furiously for great recipes I could actually make (the options were limited due to my crap cooking skills and flat-out laziness) and got busy cooking!  Creamy Crock-Pot Spaghetti was up first.  Overall, it went pretty well.  But four hours later when it was time to open the pot and stir, all of my noodles were stuck together.  It tasted alright, but watching my husband eat a wad of 10 spaghetti noodles stuck together and kindly say, “Mmmm, good!” with each bite was just sad.  Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Chip Cookies turned out great!  I put way more care into making these high calorie, carb-filled, bites of pure deliciousness than I had selecting our first house.  Finally, I made Lasagna Spinach Roll Ups.  Although they were more time-consuming than the lovely blog they came from explained, I was proud of their outcome.  We didn’t eat until after 8:00 PM, but hey, Jersey Shore wasn’t an overnight sensation either.

Finally, FINALLY, on Day 7 I found a poor soul to have lunch with.  Seriously, I had been calling other teacher friends all week for some human interaction (apparently my mind craves it after only a few hours alone) and everyone was busy.  What the HELL were they doing all week?  Someone please tell me!  I walked into the restaurant and my friend says, “Wow, did you get your hair done?  It looks cute!  I like your clothes, very fun!”  Nope, no hair appointment.  No new outfit.  The thought of interacting with another person excited me so much that I kind of dolled myself up and went a little crazy.  “Well, you know….” I said and shrugged as if I hadn’t been lounging in baggy sweatpants and old college t-shirts for 6 days in a row.  Lunch was nice and we ended up having a 2 hour convo about moving, school, relationships, and buying furniture from nut jobs who “only accept cash.”  Yikes.

Which brings me to today.  Day 8.  It is Friday and the only part left of my spring break is the weekend with my hubbie as usual.  My “vacation” is over and back to reality I go.  I managed to rearrange some bookshelves after knocking over a lamp and cussing like crazy to nobody in particular.  I also caught up on the latest celebrity scandals and gossip by repeatedly checking my Twitter account and People.com.  (Did you know Tori Spelling is pregnant AGAIN??)

In conclusion, I just have to tell spring break what a dirty b*&%@# she is.  Yes, I got to relax.  Yes, I slept in like a college student with 1:00 class.  Yes, my photos are now perfectly arranged by date and in albums.  But I’m ready to get back to contributing to society.  Back to getting dressed like an adult every day.  Back to having a reason to put on hair spray and mascera.  Spring break, you’ve been relaxing, but you’re also a dirty  b*&%@#.

 

Feeling Guilty About My Guilty Pleasure June 10, 2011


I was in a crazy rage the other night.  Literally, sweaty palms, shaking, flushed face, the works.  So what happened?  Someone cut me off on the road?  No.  The hubbie shrunk my favorite jeans?  No. Worse.  Much worse.   The TV.  Went.  Out.

Ok, ok, so most of you are now raising your eyebrows thinking I’m some gross slob who sits around and watches hours of TV with no life outside of the couch and the remote.  Not true.  But I do have this, what I now consider an obsession, with reality TV.  So imagine my surprise when mid-Real Housewives of New York, my TV screen goes blue (as if they purposely chose this depressing color to solidify the sadness of the news) delivers me a message on the screen: “Hello.  We’re restarting the hard drive.  Do not power down or restart.”  Ugh!  Seriously?!  This is a new episode!  What am I going to do with myself if I don’t know how the Ramona vs. Jill fight ends? 

It all started because of this crazy rain we were experiencing.  It had been pouring off and on all evening.  If there is ice, snow, or severely cold temperatures, DirecTV stands strong.  But if there is even a hint of rain, our satellite goes out.  It seems to shut down about 10 seconds before a heavy rainfall starts.  It is a nice little weather forecaster, but annoying as hell when you’re watching something as wonderful as The Real Housewives.  So there I was, typing up a paper that was due last week on my laptop, sipping a Diet Coke and 30 minutes into a special 75 minute episode of The Real Housewives of New York.  Then it happened.  The blue screen and that damn message.  I swallowed the Diet Coke that I had just poured into my mouth, slowly set the can down, closed my laptop, and stared at the TV.  I didn’t know what to do.  I paced back and forth in my living room trying to think of a solution.  The more I paced, the more angry I became.  I was sweating, nervous, and confused.  I started talking to myself, “How can we put a man on the moon, bring Internet through cell phones, and have a video conversation with someone on the other side of the world, but THE SATELLITE GOES OUT IF IT RAINS?!?!”  Seriously, our TV satellite people need to do some serious research on how to get the signal to go through, no matter the weather.  How does this happen? 

About 15 minutes later the signal came back, I watched the rest of the show, and was fine.  But I came to an important realization: I may be addicted to TV.  I work out regularly, eat right, and work hard 8-5, and am thisclose to getting my Master’s Degree.  Don’t I deserve some down time at night with Teen Mom, Millionaire Matchmaker, and Real Housewives?  Should I feel guilty about my guilty pleasure?

 

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!

 

How Aunt Flo Almost Ruined My Graduation May 14, 2011


It has been awhile since my last post and all of my fans are demanding that I put out another hysterical post ASAP.  Well…. that may not be exactly true.  But my growing readership of 4 subscribers is probably going to abandon my fan club if I don’t deliver soon.

Tonight I’d like to explain how I learned one very important lesson a couple of weeks ago: Always, always, carry a purse.

I have been taking graduate level courses for the past 2 years to increase my teaching ability, benefit my students’ learning, and let’s be honest… beef up the paycheck.  I attended my graduation recently and quickly found out how necessary my purse truly is.  Because we had a rather high-profile commencement speaker, we were told through several frantic emails not to bring a bag to the ceremony.  With airport like security (minus the awkward pat down), bringing a bag would cause us extra time in line and frustration.  Knowing my own patience level, I decide that a purse wouldn’t be a good choice for myself, the security workers, or anyone standing next to me that day.  I bravely followed their guidance and left it at home.  The catch?  Like clockwork, whenever I have some sort of important event planned, I also had my period.

“It’s going to be fine,” I told myself.  My mom can carry some lady items (this is what I call tampons and pads, see previous post, “Tampons, Pads, and Condoms Oh My” for further explanation) in her purse and we can trade-off my supplies at some point during the day.  Done.  Little did I know that my family would be enclosed in a different building for most of the day prior to the ceremony due to security purposes.  I was left high and dry… well not exactly dry but I won’t go there.

Once I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to meet up with my mom, I went into straight up panic mode.  I gathered the support of my 2 friends to go in search of a lady item.  We had 2 hours to complete our mission… plenty of time, right?

At first I was reluctant to approach perfect strangers for help.  “Um, excuse me.  Do you have a lady item? ”  I felt stupid and embarrassed.  But after politely asking the only 5 girls in the building who broke the rules and brought a purse with them, we created a new plan.  Let’s get a quarter and I can just buy one.  “Hi, sorry to bother you but I need a quarter.”  This was usually followed with a shrug and cringe from me.  After asking about 15 people, one fabulous female reached into her clutch and handed me what I’d been looking for.  As she revealed the quarter and handed it to me I almost saw it happening in slow motion.  I even think that it glistened in the florescent lights of the arena.  I hugged her like she had just returned from serving in Iraq for a year and ran to the bathroom- wait, I think I skipped- no, I frolicked.  I proudly set the quarter into the slot, cranked the handle around (by the way, why do they make those damn machines so fricken loud?) and peered into the dispenser as if it were a Christmas stocking on December 25th.  My beaming smile quickly faded when I saw nothing.  I started cranking the wheel right, left, and then right again.  Nothing.  Shit.  Now what?  Half of the people in the arena are now aware that I need a lady item, yet none can help me.

I did what any 25-year-old girl would do.  I grabbed my friend’s smart phone and called mom.  Close to tears and with a shaky voice I said, “Mom, I don’t know what to do.  I need a lady item and the machines don’t work, nobody has a purse so they can’ t offer me one, and we have to line up pretty soon to walk into the ceremony.  I’ll never last 3 hours with what I’ve got.  HELP!”  We arranged to meet at a side door and perform a hand off.  I found out about this secret door after speaking with someone in charge.  It went something like this:

Me: “Hi, how do I meet up with my mom who is in the other building?”

Lady in charge: “You can’t.”

Me: “Welllll, what if it’s an emergency?”

Lady in charge: Sigh… “What’s the problem.”

Me: (At this point I had lost all pride and came out with it as if I were talking about a TV show I saw last night) “I need a lady item, desperately, and will NOT last for the 3 hour ceremony without it.  Machines are broken.”

Lady in charge: “You see that long hallway?  Go down there.  There are doors in either side of the garage door at the end of the tunnel.  They open into the next building.  But hurry, we’re starting soon.”

My mission was clear.  Get to the end of the tunnel, find the door, meet mom without being jumped by security, and perform a handoff.

I grabbed my friend by the arm and began pulling her down the tunnel explaining the plan.  The whole while I kept thinking a security guard would be throwing me against a wall at any given moment.  I carefully opened the door praying that an alarm wouldn’t go off, got the goods from my mom, ran to the restroom, and sprinted to my seat just in time for our final directions.  Now I know what it’s like to experience a drug deal.

Although this whole ordeal made me miserable for the first part of graduation day, things quickly turned around and I was able eo enjoy the ceremony.  We took pictures of my family and I with my diploma and had a lovely dinner that night.  Everything turned out fine.  My lesson in all this is simple.  Always carry a purse with you, no matter how harsh the warnings are against it.  Any security line would have been worth waiting in if it meant being better prepared for my bitchy Aunt Flo.

 

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?

 

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!