Sunday, July 27, 2014

Finally Hitting Bottom

Our den has never looked so beautiful to me.
It's actually a relief because there's nowhere to go but up from here.  Besides, it's not like I haven't been here before.  I manage to meander my way down this round about twice a year. 
For some reason this time around I didn't see it coming.  The descent down wasn't as rapid and dramatic as it normally is.  That's a good thing, I'm learning!  Maybe it's because I'm handling stress better?  Or maybe I'm better able to self regulate?  I don't know, what I do know though is that I still don't know how to take care of myself well enough to prevent this from happening in the first place.  The crash landing is getting less turbulent, but it's still a crash landing.   

I guess I should back up and explain what hitting bottom means for me.  It means that I've managed to get myself to the point where I have a hard time functioning in my day to day.  I still do it, I just have a hard time, a really hard time.  It means that I'm over thinking everything, which means that I have an exhausted and overworked mind.  It means there's lots of self doubt and feelings of inadequacy.  It means withdrawing.  It means drinking too much.  Worst of all it means being way too hard on myself.  I start to think "what's wrong with you, why can't you handle this". 

These are the things I know prompt the downward spiral:  

1.  Taking on too much professionally.  "Yes, I can do that".  "Okay, I'll come in on Saturday." etc. etc. etc.  I've mentioned before that my work ethic largely defines me.  Work is important, it's how I pay my bills and it's what's going to allow me to retire at 50.  I don't need to be an "exceptional" employee to do those things though.  I can be an "exceeds expectations" or god forbid even a "meets expectations" employee at this point.  I've climbed the latter.  In my head I'm okay with where I am professionally but something always keeps me going.  Habit maybe? 

To stop the madness I took Thursday and Friday off.  I wish I could say I wasn't online (but I was) and that I didn't think about work (but I did).  At least I was home though right?  That's a start.   

2.  Over extending in my social life.  This space has opened me up and made me so much more aware of myself.  I know for a fact that my social life is thriving because of that.  I can't explain it exactly but over the course of the last 4 months I've met and connected with so many new people (irl) because of my blogging.  There have been trips to the gym, happy hours, parties, weddings, weekend visits etc.  I don't think I've had any downtime since before the 4th of July.  That's fantastic, but there's got to be balance.

As much as I hated to do it, I had to cancel my plans for this weekend in pursuit of some "stay at home and do nothing time" (see the photo above).  I've been listening to Pandora, trying like hell to avoid tv and social media, cooking (3 days in a row bitches) and sleeping a ton.  I don't feel completely rested, but I'm getting there.     

3.  Being too wrapped up in my iphone, ipad, tv etc.  I mean think about it, when you're perusing the internet for hours on end your brain is hopping from one thing to the next in a matter of minutes.  Shopping online, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, constant movement, constant stimulation.  When you start taking your phone to the bathroom with you so that you can browse IG, you've got issues.

On Friday and again today I will not touch my phone or the ipad.  I don't want to be connected to anything but me.  And no more taking my phone to the bathroom #ridiculous.

4.  Looking back.  There are times I think I'm petty for not putting aside my feelings and pursuing relationships I use to value.  It gets to the point where I'm about to reach out and then something happens and I'm reminded of why I stay away.  The thing is there's always going to be "something", some kind of drama and for someone who takes things in as much as I do, it's too much to deal with.  I don't stay away because I don't love these people.  I stay away because I love myself more.  Even cracking the door to the possibility of a relationship leaves me reeling. 

The thing is, life is a never ending cycle of ups and downs.  There's nothing to say that you won't relearn the same lessons over and over again.  What's important is that you try your darnedest to improve these areas of your life and that you take the steps you can to make the landing a little smoother each time around.

That's it for today.  

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hertz Don't It

I wish like hell I had had the foresight to take more pictures.  You know, pictures of the people laying on the ground with their luggage because they had been waiting for a car for over 2.5 hours.  Or a picture of the 20 people sitting around outside waiting for their names to be called so that they could finally hit the road to wherever it was they were going.  

Some video of the people on their phones explaining to their families or friends that they were going to miss the fireworks (on the 4th of July), or the wedding rehearsal they were in town for. 

I did however manage to snap a picture of our ridiculously large car rental bill.

See the $600 line item for "Additional Products"?  We'll that's what it took to get the hell out the door.

I seriously feel like we were duped.  I mean, what's the point in making a reservation if you're not going to have a car for me when I arrive.  And not just me, like 20 other people too, maybe more.  It was evident from the moment the Hertz shuttle pulled into the lot to drop us off that there was a shortage of cars.  

After an hour and a half in line D finally made it up to an agent who was kind enough to offer him a "Dream Car".  

Bare in mind, I've been outside feverishly looking for someone smoking (I never found anyone) and calling every car service/rental company within a 30 mile radius for the last hour.  No cars available anywhere!  I'm hangry, the Hertz is starting to look like they're gonna need FEMA to come in and it's almost dark.  

I text D letting him know that he better not come out without a car, so he does, with the only class of car they have.   

Now seriously, I don't know about you, but if this is my business, I'm going to admit I oversold and then I'm going to do whatever I can to make it right.  I'm going to give you whatever car I do have no matter what the difference in cost is because I f*cked up.  If I have nothing to give you, I'm going to find you another car with another agency.  If that doesn't pan out, I'm going to pay for your cab ride to wherever it is you're meant to be going.  Hertz did none of that.  Instead they thought it wise to up-sell us by $600 for a less than 48 hour rental.  

At this point you're probably wondering when the life lessons are going to come in.  Well here they are.  

1. Despite Hertz overselling, driving an hour and a half in the dark to a location we had never been to, completely missing 4th of July fireworks and not arriving at our hotel until 11PM, we had an amazing trip.  Don't let one setback screw up an entire getaway.  

It's safe to say our first 5 hours in Colorado were a bit rough but I'm happy to report that we turned things around after arriving at our hotel.  Dar's jaw was killing him (stress) and my stomach was eating itself so the first order of business was food/booze.  Thanks to the valet guys at our hotel we found the coolest little underground restaurant/bar which happened to be open late and serving dinner until midnight! 

We stayed in a great hotel with lots of history.  I've never stayed at a Wyndham property previously, but I'll absolutely consider them going forward.  The Mining Exchange was right up there with the Wynn Las Vegas and any Four Seasons in the service department.  Like in, I know I just valeted my car 5 minutes ago, but I left a bag in the back seat and now I need you to run however many blocks away my car is at 11:00PM on the forth of July to get it for me.  Which was done with a smile and was no problem at all.  Additionally, ya'll know I love me some good room service, my bedside breakfast did not disappoint. 

We had a blast on Saturday exploring the Broadmoor.  My god, what a beautiful property.  

I'd fly all the way back to Colorado just for the snacks and amazing cocktail I had at the bar!  Whiskey, lime and mint.  YUM, I mean how have I never had this drink before?

After gorging and relaxing for a few hours, we headed back to our hotel for the main event, the wedding.  We had the best time, met some amazing new friends, wished the bride and groom well, danced like we were 19 again, got silly drunk and laughed like crazy.

Lesson 2, Go hard and don't give up.  Even after you've hit a few road blocks.

I left any feelings of ill will towards Hertz in the gutter until we returned home.  Then it was GO time.  I spent Monday trying to dispute the "Additional Purchase" charges with Hertz billing.  The agent I was speaking with had no interest (or maybe it was no power) in helping me so she passed me off to the Hertz location we had a reservation with.  

I immediately asked for a manager and was given nothing but tude right out of the gate.  He said and I quote "well you took the car didn't you". Why yes sir, I did take the car.  I'm mean I'm sorry but I wasn't about to spend the night in a Hertz waiting for YOU to make things right.  Fifteen minutes later he offers me a $100 credit towards my next rental with Hertz.  At this rate there will not be a next time.  I graciously decline, hang up the phone and start screaming F*CK YOU internally.  

I take the next day to regroup and then I call Hertz' corporate office on Wednesday (thank you GOOGLE, no more of this 1-800 bull for me).  After explaining the issue and requesting a refund for the "Additional Purchase" charges to the 3rd person, I finally achieve some success.  While they won't refund me the full amount, they've credited me back 50% of the total charges.

Do not give up my friends.  I know dealing with sh*t that is not your fault sucks, but preserver,  I feel like I'm owed pain and suffering for having to waste my time calling around to make someone do the right thing.  I mean geez.  Is Customer Service dead?  I know it's not, but god, Hertz you need to go back to the drawing board.
The School of Life

Friday, July 4, 2014

What I've Learned About Living With A Homebody

I've previously mentioned (in this post) that Dar is a bit of a homebody and that I have a love/hate relationship with that part of him.  On one hand I'm incredibly grateful that my man loves our home as much as he does.  I don't have to worry about him ditching me on a Friday night to hang with the boys.  Our time together at home after a long work week is perfection.

There's a flip side though.  I crave adventure.  I love to go explore new places and get out into the sunshine to enjoy the fresh air.  Being home for too many weekends in a row makes me cranky!  For 10 years now this gypsy has lived with a homebody.

Dar at home with his fellow homebodies.
 I've learned a thing or two I think some of you might be able to benefit from.

1. First and foremost you should know that being a homebody doesn't make you lazy.  Dar has a very stressful job and he works his ass off 50+ hours a week.  Not to mention the work he does around our home.  It just so happens that one of the downsides of that (IMO) is that when the weekend rolls around, more often than not, he wants to avoid people at all costs and not go or do anything.

2,  You should also know that your man will tag along when it's really important to you.  With that said, pick and chose carefully and don't pull the "it's really important to me" card unless it is in fact really important to you.  

3.  This one is crucial, you've got to give your homebody ample notice when there's an event/outing you want them to attend.  When Dar and I have plans (really it's me with the plans telling him it's really important to me that he be there) I make sure to let him know about them a month or so in advance.  Then between the time I tell him and the actual event, I'll remind him weekly so that he doesn't feel thrown off guard when the event actually rolls around.

4.  Make the outing as easy as possible on your homebody.  Have the address for your destination plugged into the GPS.  If it's a night out where there's drinking involved, take a cab or get a hotel room so that there are no worries about over doing it :).  A plan in place will help your homebody feel like the "situation" is under control.  Most homebodies are homebodies because they feel safe and in control at home.  Try to replicate that feeling as much as possible while your out.

5.  It's ok to go it alone.  Early in our relationship if Dar wanted to stay home, I'd stay home too.  I worried about what people would say or think if I showed up to an event without him.  "Oh god, they must be having marital problems".  "He's never here with her".  Etc. etc.  I missed events/outings I wanted to attend which left me feeling annoyed with Darren for not going with me.  Ultimately I ended up mad at myself because I mean how stupid.  Anyways, years later I now have no problem hoping in the car and flying solo.  In the end it save us both a lot of grief.

6.  Like with everything else in life, balance is key.  At this point in our marriage we're in a pretty good groove and we both understand what the other needs to be happy.  I'm more than ok staying home with my homebody a couple weekends out of the month but the rest of the time I need to be doing something.  Whether it's a breakfast out, a walk on the beach or a night away, I've got to make it happen so that I feel like I'm fully living life.

Are you a homebody?  Is your partner?  What tips do you have to share about being/living with a homebody?

The School of Life

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The School of Life, Week 8

The School of Life

Happy Sunday!  Boy am I late to the party today :)  I hope you're all enjoying an amazing weekend.  If you've got some free time, link up with Mariah, Miriam and I for some schooling.  I think this week is a good one for me.  Lots of life lessons all about relationships.  Let's get started shall we.

1. It's so freeing to just be yourself and let people see the real you.  Sure, it's scary at first, but in the long run, it's the only way to go when forming new relationships.  I use to mold yourself into who I thought I should be in this crowd or in that crowd, but god, that's exhausting and ultimately unfulfilling.  We all do it though, no?  Last August (probably before any of you were here) I wrote about feeling unsatisfied with existing friendships.  Since then building real friendships has jumped to the top of my priority list and made me rethink how I go about things. 

Last night Dar and I attended a party hosted by some new friends.  This was our first time being invited to their home.  As we pulled into their neighborhood the street was lined full of cars, party goers.  It's normally a bit intimidating walking into a place with 60 people you don't know, last night wasn't like that at all though.  Everyone was so welcoming, so open minded, so tolerant.  Dar even played a Slayer song on the world coolest jute box.  I believe Slayer was followed by some Snoop and then the Village People. 

I came home on an absolute high and in complete ahhhh of the friendships that these new friends have built over the years.  Young, old, married, single, employed, unemployed, tall, short, all done up, in tee shirts and jeans, wild and crazy, calm, rich, not rich.  It was so refreshing to just be me and not worry about what anyone was thinking of me.  That happened only because everyone else there was doing the same.  Lose the facade my friends. 

2. Old friendships with people who knew you before you were anything will put the biggest smile on your face.  Clearly I'm not talking about being famous, rich or powerful when I say "knew you before you were anything".  What I mean by that is, when you're in college/high school, you really know little to nothing about yourself.  At least I didn't.  It was a carefree time, a time where I wasn't bound by self inflicted rules, I went wherever the wind blew me, whenever the wind blew me.  I'm not stupid though.  I know that for every morsel of wonderful that time in my life brought, it also brought complete and utter confusion, epic mistakes, and feelings of being out of control.

With all of that said, there's something about spending time with people who knew me back when that just puts a smile on my face.  It takes me back to all the good that was that time in my life, all the bad is gone though because I'm older/wiser now.  Thirty two more days until I meet Yo in San Francisco! 

3. Sometimes you just have to duke it out.  Every once in a while things will come to blows in the Kerns house.  We'll have to get into a knock down, drag out fight to get all the ugly out before we can move forward.  Marriage isn't always easy folks.  Anyone who's ever been married will tell you that.  What I do know however is that nothing worth having in this life is easy.  Stick it out.   

And now, just a random question before I go.  Do you think it's inappropriate to wear a white dress to a wedding?  Is white reserved strictly for the bride?  What if it's the bride's second wedding?  And what about red?  Is red too much for a wedding?  I'm trying to avoid buying a new dress for the wedding D and I will be attending next week and my two best options are white and red.  Let me know your thoughts.  Until next time.  Love to all.