~Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Home Sweet Home

As I was leaving work the following night, I complained to my coworkers about my pending kickball game. The pollen count was so high that the ground was slick with yellow dust and billows of pollen blustered through the air. Just standing outside irritated my nose and lungs, much less playing a game of kickball in a grass field. To quote my friend, people were buying meth to make allergy medicine.

Since we had a night game, Abraham offered to get drinks beforehand. Abraham and his roommate began gathering their things as I stood at the door.

"Don't you want your phone?" His roommate called to me.

"No. We're just getting drinks and going to kickball. I don't need it."

"Are you sure?" Abraham asked.

"It's just kickball!"

At the bar I ordered a double gin and tonic. Abraham ordered a pint of porter. A few friends met up with us, presumably because we had a late game. I downed my gin and tonic and looked hungrily at Abraham's beer. I don't even like porter, but I was jealous at the way he was lazily sipping his, without a care in the world.

At one point in the conversation, I made a grab for Abraham's phone. Abraham recoiled.

"Oh hush. I'm just looking at his profile," I said. We have an open-phone policy and frequently look things up on each other's phones when ours is out of reach.

"I thought you didn't need your phone," he quipped.

"I don't. I have yours." I typed away.

When our hour was up, we headed to the kickball field. The gin and tonic (and stolen sip of porter) had diminished my pollen anxiety. I looked at the line-up. I was the first female kicker and the second kicker overall. This was notable because usually the good people kick first... and I'm used to kicking somewhere around last.

"Why am I so high on the kicking order?" I asked Abraham.

"Because you've improved so much this season," he replied.

To be clear, I get zero special treatment on Abraham's team. I kick last. I get shoved to the back of the outfield when our team is losing. But! But, my kicking had been getting better. I'd been consistently advancing runners or sacrificing for the run. I wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth. The one game I played this season, I played well. I was going to kick second!

We were playing my old team, and I was in a good mood. We always have fun when we play each other. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero's "Home" began playing; it was my turn.

The Leader pitched the ball to me. Ball. I didn't like the second throw. Strike. The third throw I bunted and made it safely to first base. On the base I danced a jig.

"It's my first time this season on first!" I called out.

I looked at the first baseman. Standing awkwardly next to me was Clemson. He had lost even more weight.

The Leader pitched to the next kicker. More balls. The kicker got walked! I excitedly trotted to second base.

"It's my first time on second!" I called.

"Sarah, go to third!" my team shouted at me from the sideline.

There is a rule that a pitcher cannot purposely walk a male kicker to get to a female kicker to try to get her out instead, so any time a man is walked and a woman is next in the line-up, she automatically gets walked as well.

I pranced to third. This was a fun game!

"It's my first time on third!" I squealed. It never got old.

The third base coach told me that there were no outs so I didn't have to run unless it was a good kick. The next girl kicked toward third. I stayed.

"Now the guy is going to kick deep. Make sure you tag up if the ball is caught," I was instructed.

The ball was indeed kicked deep into the outfield. It dropped to the ground. I ran for home.

As I ran for home, Abe ran in front of the plate and blocked me, just as I did when we first met. Then he dropped down on one knee and held up a poster that read WILL YOU MARRY ME?

But April Fool's Day was last week? I thought, confused.

Then I saw the ring, The big, beautiful, shiny ring. That's how I knew this moment was real.

I screamed. I was running so fast that I had to windmill to stop. And then I burst into tears.

So I am the kind of girl who cries when she's proposed to, I thought.

It was not a pretty cry with a single, solitaire tear running down my cheek, not smudging any of my makeup. Truth is, I wasn't wearing any makeup. I didn't even put my hair up nicely. I was supposed to just be playing kickball!

I stood there with my hand over my mouth, doubling over at the waist and crying a cry that sounded more like a grieving honk. Abe stood up and awkwardly hugged me because it was obvious that I need some amount of consoling.

"Is that a yes?" he finally said.

"YES!" I cried. My nerves were shot. "I'm so glad I had that gin and tonic!"

Both teams cheered. I looked around. Several video cameras were going. Someone honked an air horn. The song had been changed to Bruno Mars' "Marry You." A member of my team handed me a bottle of champagne...

Wait? They knew?

Abraham had planned everything. He approached The Leader and told him the plan months ago before the season even started. Together they picked a night and a time for us to play each other. Abraham said he wanted to do it in front of my old team because we were all friends. Lawyered stood in the outfield and clapped.

Abraham coordinated the plays. It turned out I wasn't as good at kickball as I thought. They let me on first. The Leader was instructed to walk the guy after me to push me to third base safely. The other guy was told to kick deep so I could trot home.

But I'm not that great at kickball, so I never trot when I have a chance to score.

The time Abraham refused to go running with me was because he was coloring the poster board. The nights he played racquetball, he had been ring shopping beforehand.

Abraham's roommate reached in her pocket and handed me my phone. "I thought you might want this," she smiled.

"My phone!" I cried.

"When you grabbed my phone at the bar, I panicked," Abraham told me. "When you left your phone at home, I posted to Facebook that there was a big surprise tonight. I was worried you were going to see it."

AND THEN THE GAME STARTED OVER AGAIN. The fake plays didn't count. My run didn't count. I even made sure my foot was on home plate when I said yes. For naught!

I was so distracted during the game that my special treatment had ended. I was once again placed in the back of the outfield. I was literally staring at my ring when the ball was kicked toward me. Someone else had to get it.

I didn't know the final score until two days later. We lost. But as the ref explained to me when he restarted the game and my run didn't count, I had already won.

~Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Rules

A girlfriend of mine has a tradition within her circle of friends. One of her friends used to work at a wedding magazine and had received a Mr. Wonderful doll as a promotional item. Mr. Wonderful is a plastic doll with pre-approved sayings such as "You look nice today," and "Why don't we go the the mall, didn't you want some shoes?"

She kept Mr. Wonderful on her desk until she met her real-life Mr. Wonderful. And then she gave him to a co-worker, and then she met her own Mr. Wonderful. That's when my friend got Mr. Wonderful. She had him for two days and then got engaged. And now Mr. Wonderful has been passed on again. The current owner is a little freaked out about Mr. Wonderful and has him sitting in her closet.

I'd like to think my books are our version of Mr. Wonderful.


I'm going to miss The Rules probably most of all. What a funny, antiquated little book! I bought The Rules spring of 2001 when my first serious boyfriend broke up with me so he could go on spring break with his friends and not me. We got back together until the following summer when he wanted to spend the summer with his friends and not me. We did not get back together my senior year of college.

I tried my hardest to follow The Rules, but my collegiate butt could not do it. I even kept a journal for a year tracking my progress. I remember one of The Rules being don't talk to a man first. "Otherwise, how will you know if he spotted you first, was smitten by you and had to have you, or is just being polite?"

Because of that Rule, I didn't talk to anyone for a month. I would take my puppy (the now old Femme Fatale) to the dog park every day and not talk to a single person. Then one time my dog got away from me and was happy splashing in a muddy pond, and a guy named Leon with two Chihuahuas asked if I needed help retrieving her. He got her out of the pond for me... and never spoke to me again. The dog park was a lonely place for me.

The bit of the book I did take with me was The Rule to strive to look feminine. Find what fits and colors make you look your best and run with it. Put your best foot forward and become a creature unlike any other. Following this advice I began to feel better about myself, irrespective of a man's opinion. I still follow this Rule to this day.

This book is antiquated in that it talks about answering machines and not text messaging. It is no longer in print. It will not be real-world applicable to you. But it is a fun read, if nothing else than to giggle at some of The Rules (Rule #31: Don't Discuss The Rules with your Therapist). And who knows? Maybe one of The Rules will resound with you.

If nothing else, you can see my 2001 highlights.

Leave a comment to win a personalized copy of The Rules!

~Monday, April 15, 2013

Swan Song

I needed to choose a song about my current relationship, but I was currently irritated at my current relationship. Monday I wanted to go running because I had gained two pounds, and Abraham refused to join me. I stared at him slackjawed with just a total Do-you-not-care-about-your-health accusation on my face. Tuesday he went to play raquetball with his friend and didn't get home until late. I felt like I hadn't seen him in days. And now I was supposed to pick a song about how I felt about him. I posted the question to Twitter instead.

"You need to pick a song," he reminded me in bed that night.

"Mmm hmm."

"Is the song in that book you're reading?" he teased.

"Sure." I flipped the page.

And then I felt guilty and put my Jodi Picoult down. I scrolled through iTunes on my phone, which only has about 100 songs, with the intention of just picking one of those and being done with it.

"Oh, okay!" I said. "This one."

It wasn't a bad choice, actually. It was Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero's "Home." It was a song I liked that Abraham also tolerated. Plus it was upbeat, which you need for a sports game; mushy wouldn't do.

Abraham nodded. "I thought you would pick a worse song."

"Oh, I considered it."

The unspoken conversation we were having was that he thought I would pick a song about getting married. The truth is I've spent about every other day of the past three months talking about getting married. Not in a when-are-you-going-to-do-it way, but in an equally annoying this-is-what-we-should-do way.

Eating at our favorite restaurant: "We should have the rehearsal dinner here."

Talking to a friend: "Tell me how he proposed!" even though it was two years ago.

Talking to the friend's sister: "When do you think you will get engaged?"

Yes, I was that girl. And I fully knew how annoying I was being to a boy who told me he'd would propose within 2013. It was January and February and March. I had a ways to go. And yet, I couldn't stop talking.

"So why didn't you pick a worse song?" he asked.

"Because it would confuse people. 'Oh, you're getting married?' 'No.'"

I opened Youtube. "I was considering this one and this one and this one."

"The first two are so slow."

"I know! Not practical."

"I remember the last one though."

I previously had showed him that video several times, maybe tearing up while doing so.

Abraham went back to his laptop. I clicked on a new video and held my phone in the air.

"We're going to the chapel, and we're going to get married," the Dixie Cups crooned.

Abraham snorted. I considered that I had punished him enough with the marriage talk for one day and put my phone away. I picked up my book again and glanced at Abraham. He was downloading the Bruno Mars song.

"What are you doing?"

"Punishment song for [the guy we don't like on our team]. His girlfriend watches all the games, so this will screw him over."

"You're mean."

And then I went back to reading my book.

~Sunday, April 14, 2013


As a part of our kickball game, I was asked to pick a song that described "your current relationship or lack thereof. " I didn't put much thought into my choice. I didn't know how important that song would be.

~Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Movers and Shakers

I feel like I did back in college when I was in the middle of a semester, and I had the constant stress of the final looming over me. It would be a constant nagging in the back of my mind. Only this time, my final is my upcoming move.

I've learned over the last six months that I can get by with very little. Staying at Abraham's made me realize I only needed a handful of dresses and a few really good pairs of shoes. My everyday makeup and hair straightener. That's all I really had with me.

I've come back to my 816 square foot apartment and began packing it up. Half will go to Abraham's. The other half will go to storage at my mom's house or to a yard sale. Do I really need these DVDs I haven't watched in the last six months? The books that sat on shelves as decoration? Throw pillows! Four afghans, one for each season.

At the same time I had missed my things. Things that I picked out that would make up my home. A white porcelain peach. A photograph of a girl in a field throwing her umbrella. The candlesticks in my bathroom. I'd climb into Abraham's bed at night and say, "I miss looking at my stuff."

I've slowly been making Abraham's bedroom ours. He loves the new furniture. With it came a summer quilt from Pottery Barn. Lamps from TJMaxx. Burlap curtains from a textile store downtown.

The roommate had told us that she was moving out the day I was moving in, which turned out to be both a good and bad thing. Bad: my portion of the mortgage would be higher. Good: I could immediately take over her bedroom as storage.

She told her boyfriend of her plan to move in with him, and they got into the only fight I've ever witnessed. He said it was too soon. His house wasn't big enough. I know she's looking for a house to buy, with him to follow her, but I don't know when that will be. It could be as early as June, causing me to live without some of my things for even longer and having to rent a second moving truck within a couple of months.

This uncertainty extends beyond my move. I don't think I will feel settled until I'm fully moved in, whenever that will be. To combat it, I've hired people where I thoght it would make my life easier. I'm packing my apartment, but I have people to move it. I hired cleaners to do the final clean for me. That part of being in your thirties is awesome, being able to throw money at some of your problems.

Three more weeks.

~Wednesday, April 03, 2013


The blog has lost a second periphery character. The Boston Brother's wife, the woman who got drunk and high on the cruise ship and was found naked in the crew section of the boat, died.

The reason is not shocking. As evidenced from my only experience with her, she had destructive alcohol and prescription medication habits. It's not known for sure whether it was suicide or an accidental overdose, but those closer to the situation think it was suicide.

The Boston Brother had separated from her and moved to the city. She followed, hoping for a reconciliation. He reiterated over beers one night that he wouldn't have married her had he had friends like us sooner. But it was for naught, she showed up to their counseling appointment one night and said she was leaving him because she met her soul mate. The Boston Brother was stunned and a little hurt, but he also moved on. Both began relationships with other people.

They were still connected in an unhealthy way. One night while I was sitting in the backseat of his car, she phoned and asked for suggestions for places to take her new boyfriend's child for his birthday.

"BB, hang up the phone," I said. "This isn't your problem."

The Boston Brother's new girlfriend grabbed the phone from him. "She's not from around here. She doesn't know of any places," she consoled and then spoke to the wife.

My mouth dropped. "There is a book called Boundaries and everyone in this car needs to read it."

That was the last I heard of her before she died.

The memorial was held in the city because that's where she was living when she died. Her first husband and new fiancée were in attendance along with her son (from her first marriage) and the Boston Brother and his new girlfriend. The new boyfriend was in jail. When he called to report her missing, they arrested him for outstanding charges.

Harvey's big party was the night after the memorial. For some reason, the Boston Brother brought his ex-step son, who was still in high school. He curled up in a chair in the corner of the room, probably not too excited to be at a party with his ex-step family the same day as his mother's memorial service. She had given up custody of him when she left Boston.

Out on the dance floor the Boston Brother tongued his new girlfriend. I couldn't get over the weirdness of the whole saga: the dead wife, her son in the other room, him sticking his tongue in this other woman's mouth like the day hadn't happened.

People grieve in different ways.

I'm not big on telling stories that aren't mine, but I don't think anyone would believe me on this anyway.

~Monday, April 01, 2013


The winner is comment #4, which is incidentally also my favorite number.

Melissa, please email me so I can get your address.


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