~Wednesday, January 28, 2009


The only way I can afford professional hair coloring is by going to the Aveda school in my city. Where else can you get highlights for $45? Nowhere, that's where. And even though the students work on you, and sometimes they accidentally whack you in the forehead with their hair dryers, the instructors will never let you leave if you're unhappy or in tears (from non-hair dryer related activity).

I was in the chair last Friday. It took me months to make an appointment that I could stick to and by that point, my roots were looking "arty" to more than one person. The student hair dresser and I were making small talk and then she asked where I liked to party. I can't even remember the last time I used party as verb. I remembered when I was younger—her age and not yet enveloped in responsibilities and my career—and the importance of the verb party. And all of a sudden I was embarrassed at my lack of use of the verb.

"Um, I don't really party anymore," I bit my lip.

She put her round brush down. "But you said you live in Midtown?"

"I do. I just don't go out all that much." And then I lied, "Recession and economy, ya know?" The truth is that I've become a bit of a homebody, and I've been perfectly okay with that. Everything I need for entertainment is already within 800 square feet of me and I don't need to get out of my pajamas to do it. And Scott is usually there as an added people buffer.

"So what do you do?" she asked.

"Uh, I, uh. Well, I knit. A lot. In front of the TV. And I watch movies. A lot. I have one of those Blockbuster online memberships."

And this girl looked at me through the mirror like she was highlighting the hair of a loser. Worst of all, I kinda felt like she was right.

"I've been thinking about getting into tea," I added lamely. "You know, the expensive loose leaf kind."

Her expression didn't change. We didn't talk much after that.

After she was done and left me at the counter to pay, I gave her a larger tip to compensate the time she spent with the loser who knits.

Then I went to the mall and bought some tea. The expensive loose leaf kind.

~Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Morning Sickness

I had morning sickness the other morning. The first morning a wave of nauseousness blanketed me while I was driving to work. All of a sudden I was sweating and checking the shoulder of the highway for room to pull over. But as soon as I arrived at work, I had some crackers for breakfast and I was fine again.

The second morning came and with it, the same wave of nauseousness. This time it was little more severe than the one before it, alleviated with a bagel for breakfast and a muffin for an after lunch snack.

The third morning came, and any time I wasn't actually chewing and swallowing, I was nauseous again. And I wasn't ill in an upset stomach kind of way, but a motion sickness kind of way. I could feel my eyes roll around in my head. The computer screen was too visually stimulating for me to get any work done.

Even though I was four days out of my period, I was convinced I was pregnant. And I wasn't the only one. Scott nervously asked me what my other symptoms were. "Nothing, just constant motion sickness," I answered. "And my hair kind of hurts. Like how it feels when it's pulled back into a tight ponytail, but I haven't worn one in days."

Because I was too ill to work, I did nothing but sit at my desk and think of pregnancy tests. I would do it without telling Scott. I won't tell him how nervous I am about this. And I won't bring up the fact that I've been at my job for less than a year and therefore not qualified to take maternity leave, nor have a job waiting for me when I get back. Nor will I think about how I feel like I just feel like I've gotten my life back in order and a baby right now will totally screw up all of my work over the past few months. I've even felt so good I stopped taking my antidepressants...

I don't want to brag, but I've been having a fabulous year. I realize I'm only 21 days into it, but I'm not looking this gift horse in the mouth. I've just been feeling so good and so in control of my life. I've forgotten to take them a day or two here or a weekend there, and I've never noticed a difference. But I never developed a game plan for getting off them... I just sort of stopped taking them.

I squinted in order to focus on the computer monitor and then I promptly googled "quitting antidepressants." The list of withdrawal symptoms were incredible: nauseousness, motion sickness, vomiting, etc. Everything I felt was listed (so was mania, but let's pick and choose here).

I had to call my pharmacist to refill my prescription and then I put my head back on my desk to try to make it through the day. On my way home, my own driving made me motion sick, exacerbated by the brightness of the brake lights in front of me. "Just seven more minutes," I told myself. "Just seven more minutes and I'll be at the pharmacy."

I think the speed bumps in the pharmacy parking lot is what put me over. I opened the car door and threw up for the first time. I was ready for a second, but some kids were walking through the lot and I didn't want them to see me. I tried waiting them out, but they met another kid and were standing completely in front of my car door.

I struggled to get out of the car and shut the door. Every step I took made me feel closer and closer to something involuntary happening. I turn towards the kids to see if they'd moved on yet, but they were in the middle of a freaking drug deal. My pharmacy is in my neighborhood which is not a place you want to be out alone at night. But drug dealers or not, I wasn't going to throw up in front of them, even though they'd probably assume I was detoxing myself (which if you think about it, I really was).

That something involuntary did eventually happen. Behind the charity book drop in front of the pharmacy storefront. My only solace is that I probably wasn't the first person to do that there, although I probably was the first non-homeless person to do so.

One shower and one pill swallowed later, I was feeling okay again. Apparently I'm going to have to wean myself off them. It's such a foreign feeling to be physically addicted to something. To be ill without it in your body. I imagine it's what addicts go through, but I'm missing the psychological addiction of it all. I don't want it, I don't need it, however unless I stick to my schedule, I'm one very sick girl. It's such a peculiar idea for me.

~Monday, January 19, 2009


Somewhere in mid-November, when I was broke and sitting on my couch alone because I was paying off my credit card, I decided my Christmas present to myself/ reward for getting out of debt/ reward for surviving the year would be a new Coach handbag. I have one of the signature handbags covered in the brown Cs, but this time I had my heart set on creamy black leather.

Two days after Christmas I walked in the Coach factory store among every other woman in the surrounding area. Ladies had 2-3 bags dangling off their arms: at over a $150 a piece, you couldn't tell the economy is in major meltdown mode. I accepted my 10% off certificate the doorman handed me and proceeded in.

I had my mother accompany me this time because I wanted something classic that wouldn't look ridiculous years from now. If I was going to spend this much on a purse, I wanted it to last. However, my mother is abusively frugal and buys her bags secondhand. I didn't know how she would react to my extravagance.

The handbag I had my eye on for months was hanging in the crook of a slender Chinese woman's arm, along with the red version of the bag and several other choices. She had the only black one left and I stared at her forlornly as I stood in line with my okay pick, but it wasn't the one I really wanted. I debated putting mine back and just saving my purse allotment for another day. I knew I couldn't approach her and ask her if she really wanted it, because my asking would just make the desirability of the bag increase. Instead I shifted my weight on each foot and whined my mini-tantrum.

Then she did it. She put the bag down. I immediately ran out of line, picked it up and ran back in line without even asking her. To me, if it was on a table, it was fair game. The tag on the bag read $328. The factory price was marked at $309, marked down again to $146.30. The 10% I received at the door took another $14.63 off and a scuff on the front—the assumed reason the lady put it back—reduced it by another 10%. In the end, my $328 bag sold for $118.50. I threw in another smaller Coach bag my father gave me for Christmas and my final total was $75. Even my mother, who hasn't spent more than $3 on a purse in years, got into the spirit of my deal.

And the best part about it wasn't the $75, but knowing I could afford it free and clear. I splurged on an item without the guilt of the credit card statement or even wondering what else I had to skimp on to afford it. It was mine and I deserved it and every bit of happiness that came along with it. It feels good.

I haven't even used my brown Coach bag since I bought the black one. Every time I look at the black one, I am reminded of how hard I worked and of my accomplishments and the good vibes return and I smile. I have the same feeling with my little car I got last summer. It was my down payment that took me a year to put together and my own loan with my credit and something I had to work at to get. I paid cash for all my other cars, but this one is different because it's nice, not to mention new(ish).

So I guess at the end of the day, I like to work. I like to save and I like to earn the things I have.

And I like them to be nice.

~Tuesday, January 06, 2009


It feels good to be back. At work. With a combination of my 4-day work week, company holidays and 3 vacation days, I scored a 17-day break from the daily grind. It was so long that I spent most of yesterday fumbling over the keyboard, re-learning how to type. And while it was awesome, I managed to screw up my sleep schedule and I've seen enough of the Lifetime Network to last me another year. Also, believe it or not, I got tired of wearing only pajamas and other elastic-waist pants. It's time for belt buckles and zippers. Not to mention daily showers.

I've always worked best under a consistent schedule. The two years in college where I had a steady boyfriend and our patterns were the semesters I made the dean's list and headed for magna cum laude. The semesters where I was single, I landed myself in academic probation (which I also attributed to the bout of mono I had during finals, another side effect of singledom). So even though it means I have to get up before 6 a.m., it feels good to be back.

2008 and everything I hate about it is gone, and so far 2009 is going swimmingly. All the goals I've set for myself—opening a second retirement account, funding an emergency savings and getting rid of my credit card debt—have all been put into motion, the most notable being that I am officially debt free again. Just a few months ago I felt so helpless, but with the aid of time and some great medication, I am once again organized and in control. I'm back in more ways than one.

Stay tuned. The pink is going away.


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