My Mental Exercises Should Be Sponsored By Mountain Dew

I’m evidently in a fasten-your-seatbelts-and-keep-your-arms-and-legs-inside-the-mindfuck-at-all-times kind of phase.

Most of you are familiar with the sagas of my mental musings… the stalker and the parents and the Jack and the Rick. It would not seem that they should all blend together and then get lumped in with my job, but somehow the elements of my life keep doing tricks worthy of X-Games entry and I’m all, “Oh! Well isn’t this an interesting development! Where’s the vodka?”

We had a staff meeting at work the other day to talk about some divisional goals. One of my boss’s suggestions was to increase awareness of our department and what we do by posting photos of ourselves, along with our names, professional contact information and a summary of our jobs, on one of the university’s websites.

Perfectly reasonable, really. As is legend for academic types, one must knock on their door, hand them a cup of coffee and personally tell them about everything, or they’ll never know, because apparently doing field-specific research renders them otherwise incapable of reading emails, looking at the front page of a university website or getting a text message to inform them of things like, “Yes, it snowed a little, but you have to work today.” So if you want to tell them what you do for them, you have to shove it under their noses and point their heads down.

I personally think it’s just smart not to circulate one’s name, workplace and photo around on the internet in general, if one is merely an ordinary citizen. But I blog anonymously, so of course I feel that way. My natural inclination these days is to tense up at the suggestion of my photo, name and location of employment being so easily available in a handy package, but I know there’s a degree to my sensitivity that’s largely unique because I’m the only real-life person I know who has had a stalker who went to prison for his actions and is now out. I don’t wish to inflict my sensitivities on others to a degree that might seem too far, in their minds. It’s actually a detriment, in business, to refuse this kind of PR. Still, when my boss, who knew nothing about my experience, made the suggestion, he happened to glance at me. He saw my reaction and I saw it register on his face.

So then I had to go into his office after the meeting and explain: he didn’t see me disagreeing with the idea or being critical of him. He saw my visceral reaction because I had a stalker.

Hate that guy. Keeps meddling in my affairs. Keeps making me feel like an over-sensitive attention whore who doesn’t want the attention. Very confusing.

So then what did I want to do? Well, I wanted to stop having a minor anxiety attack, for one. My anxiety level always goes up a little when I have to confront the stalker thing in any way, but the problem here wasn’t that; it was having to tell my boss a little bit about it so he would understand my response to his suggestion.

The other problem was this: I also wanted to tell Rick what had just happened. Not helpful. I’ve been telling myself and telling myself that I need to maintain a professional relationship with Rick and that’s all, not talking even a little bit about anything that pertains to personal lives. He asks me about how my weekend was and I’m like, Don’t ask him about his weekend. We don’t care about his weekend. That’s my intellectual awareness. My emotional awareness differs. Because of things like Jack’s engagement and my parents’ ignorance of why maybe my feelings about the stalker situation count more than theirs, I’ve found myself wanting to seek comfort from Rick. After all, this is the man I couldn’t help but like. This is the man who kissed like a dream and spent eight hours on dates. This is the man who sat with me for six hours in an emergency room, starving and covering me with cold compresses when I nearly passed out. This is the man who made my call for help for victims of crime a personal crusade.

Today, though, he made it the butt of a joke.

I had stopped into his office to talk with him about something that had come up in a meeting. He wound up bridging the conversation into whether I’d heard from his former boss, the state senator, to whom I’ve wanted to speak for seven months about further legislative proposals for victims’ rights. The senator, knowing he’d ignored several phone and email messages, had approached me after running into me at an event about helping him out with something in exchange for his willingness to listen to my ideas (though that’s not how he worded it, obviously). I made myself available. He hasn’t followed up. Rick wasn’t surprised and advised me on some other legislators I should approach.

He also, while conveying a story about something the senator had said, referred to his girlfriend.

Ah. Confirmation. He’s back with her.

Well, I had assumed that, hadn’t I? Yes. Yes, since the week before Mother’s Day when he made reference to going to see his mom, I had assumed that the reason he was no longer staying with his parents was because he was back with his girlfriend. This was the first official confirmation that I was right.

Dashed some of my hopes, though. I won’t lie. But it’s alright. I needed to know this for sure, and I needed  not to be the person who brought it up. I needed to be the person who didn’t react at all when he said the word “girlfriend.” With hesitation.

Yep. He hesitated. Don’t think I didn’t notice.

And then, minutes later, on another floor of the building, I nearly literally ran into him, and he said this:

“What are you, stalking me? You know there’s a bill about that in the senate.”

I think the look I gave him could have melted steel. “You should know better than to ever joke with me about that,” I said.

The apology landed in my email inbox two minutes later, sent from his phone before he even got back to his office.

Still, it felt like a betrayal of sorts. I mean, of course it wasn’t, but here I’d felt for two years like this man was my ally who understood. I never thought he’d make a joke about it.

Eh. Men are stupid.

When I replied to his apology, I made a point to say “thanks” instead of “it’s okay.” Because it wasn’t okay. But then I wound up mitigating my stern disapproval by saying that it’s already a touchy subject presently made touchier by recent repercussions.

He replied by urging me not to hesitate to let him know if I needed to vent.

You know what? No. You don’t get to do that. You don’t get to try to be my friend after making an insensitive joke just to try to make yourself feel better. I don’t want to be your friend. I don’t want to lean on you if all it does is massage your ego before you go home to your girlfriend. You don’t get to feel reassured that I still like you.

In case you’re wondering, the insurance issues have been worked out and I’m going back to see Ali Velshi tomorrow evening.

Bleach, Water and Hope

If you inhale aerosolized viral particles, and then you inhale aerosolized bleach particles from cleaning up… does the latter kill the former?

Please say yes.

Sister 3 and her boyfriend came to visit this weekend. We had spent about two hours hanging out downtown on Saturday when it became pretty clear that the energy level was low between the three of us. I could have been up for something else, but they seemed kind of meh, so we went home for a refreshing nosh before deciding whether to head out to another local event. Unfortunately, the bf started feeling sick as soon as we got home. He said he’d gotten really tired while we were downtown, and I figured something wasn’t right when he didn’t eat a single bite of the delectables I’d put out when we got back. I’d handed him a bottle of cold water right away when we walked in, but he was already behind the curve.

It started with the lower GI. Eventually (when we got past the politeness of not acknowledging the problem aloud), I pulled out all the home remedies I could think of: rice, oyster crackers, Pepto Bismol. I suggested miso soup, which he poo-pooed. (Haha. I made a joke.)  He kept trying the water. But it moved quickly and mercilessly to the upper GI. By 9:30pm, he was miserable, my plumbing and sewer lines were being tested, and I was heading to the grocery store for those familiar staples of stomach illness: Gatorade, ginger ale, saltines and toilet paper.

Sister 3 felt bad. Initially when she told me he really wasn’t feeling well (which was around 6:30), she said they might not be able to stay the night. But it was clear he wasn’t going to tolerate a road trip home, so he had to tough it out at my house.

He had a rough night – Sister 3 and I were treated to the sounds all the way on the top floor of the house from the basement. I’m glad I went for the Gatorade, because apparently he wound up with terrible leg cramps from dehydration. (“I had a charley horse and a hamstring cramp in the same leg at the same time,” he said later, “so I just had to scream into my pillow.”) The cramps, he said, eased when he – bravely, I think – forced the juice. Sister 3 cleaned both of my bathrooms. Twice, I believe. But I wasn’t so sure it would be enough. So as soon as they left, out came the bleach and bleach-containing cleansers for the fourth scrub in 48 hours (one was in anticipation of their arrival).

I’ll spare you too many details but give you just enough to say that the red colored Gatorade made it easy to know the basement bathroom floor needed to be washed with bleach and water. Sister 3 had already appropriated all the sheets and blankets for washing, as well as some other bathroom textiles. I just went ahead and grabbed the rest. If I could have put the couch in the washer, I would have. I had begun to suspect that this was norovirus, and when I looked up the length of time it can survive outside the body, I was delighted to learn it lives for up to 12 days on fabric.

So there’s a loveseat I shan’t be using for two weeks.

I scrubbed every non-porous surface that would tolerate the chemicals: faucet handles, doorknobs, places other than the doorknob where I imagined he (or my sister, who I’m sure will get it, too) might have touched. I washed my hands so many times that the skin is stretching to allow me to type. My lungs are a little scratchy from the cleaning solvent. I find myself wishing I’d bought a can of Lysol at the store last night – or this morning after church, when my sister and I went to pick up more Gatorade and some Greek yogurt to put those live active cultures to work in the boy’s gut.

I’m eyeing the remote controls for the TV and Blu-Ray player suspiciously. The boy never touched them, but my sister did. Again I wish I’d bought some Lysol.

The incubation period for norovirus is 24-48 hours from first exposure. Fingers crossed I’m still sitting up and taking nourishment this time Tuesday. Because Tuesday I’m scheduled to finally get back to seeing Ali Velshi (not really Ali Velshi, former CNN newsman turned Al-Jazeera America newsman… my therapist, who reminds me of AV).

Because my head needs to be scrubbed, too.

Standing My Ground

I was just thinking the other day about how nice it was that my dad hadn’t started any conversations with the phrase “your mother…” in a long time. I was thinking it was nice that he had either stopped acting as her enabling emissary or I hadn’t done anything worthy of passive-aggressive anger in a while.

Then we had Sunday.

The day had been lovely. The whole family was at the shore house for the weekend and we had spent several hours in the sand before throwing in the beach towel due to wind. As we were coming off the beach, Dad said to me, “You know, your mother…”

Oh, come on. 

Apparently Mom had been nursing a grudge over something I said to my sister on Facebook about her posting a picture of herself in which her house number is visible. I didn’t remember doing it, so I looked it up. What I said was “have you gotten any messages about the visible house number?” It was a perhaps not-so-oblique reference to my mother messaging me and lecturing me about my house number in a photo. Mind you, I was not in the photo and the photo did not show what my house looked like. Unlike my sister’s post.

My father wanted to tell me that I should be more considerate of my mother’s feelings given what I went through with my stalker.

Um… I’m sorry, what?

“Let me put it this way,” he said. “Think about how you would feel if someone you loved went through something like what you went through.”

Are you serious right now?

I had zero patience for this exchange because hi. I’m the one who actually had the stalker. I’m the one who lives with that every day. I’m the one looking around every time I enter or leave my house or my car or whatever. I’m the one who is always aware. I went out of my way, in spite of my own feelings, to make sure all the ducks were in a row before I even told my mother about it so that she would worry as little as possible about my safety. I did as she asked and texted her every blessed morning for three weeks to let her know I was still alive (not kidding – she made me text her every morning so she knew I was still alive) after he had been arrested and before I could move to another place.  And though it was a wake-up-and-this-is-what-I-have-to-think-about-first reminder of what I was dealing with, I understood and did it. I was very open about everything that happened so my  mother would never feel that she was being left out. I didn’t love the idea of her coming to court because it would upset her, but I knew she needed to be there for herself, so fine. And I didn’t want her to come to the governor’s award luncheon because I was concerned that hearing the story and its impact again would bother her. But she pushed and pushed and I couldn’t tell her why I didn’t want her to come, so I got tickets for them. That was the day I got my job offer, and she refused to have a drink with me to celebrate. I don’t recall her so much as getting off the couch to celebrate the announcement.

So if I can get a break for five minutes from considering my mother’s feelings about my stalker, and considering what might happen at any given time as a result of any one of my actions, I’d like to enjoy that sweet freedom without my  mother putting the thought of that situation back in my head. Thanks.

Nope. Apparently not.

But as I tried to explain my feelings in this regard, he cut me off and told me to meet him halfway – he understood my point about it being unfair to put her worries on me. Then he said he thought I should think more about her feelings because he’s starting to see more and more of my grandmother coming out in my mother.

At this point, my nephew came running up to hold my hand as we walked to the house and effectively ended the conversation.

My grandmother was a very fearful person. She wasn’t a bad person and she wasn’t totally crazy like my aunt, but she did have some phobias – by definition, irrational concerns. They governed her behaviors. And that’s what my dad was referring to.

Well… here’s the thing: I’m not going to enable or indulge those fears or concerns. It will not help my mother, and it will only hurt the rest of us. She knows, and Dad knows, what it was like to cope with my grandmother’s tendencies. So if she’s getting that way, then Dad, you need to get her some help.

But since he had shut me down and my nephew had clinched it, I couldn’t say that.

Yet, the next day, it was all still bothering me, and I didn’t appreciate having been silenced by an “end of discussion” admonishment. He was the one who brought it up, after all. So I emailed him, choosing my words carefully but standing firm in my feelings. I let him know that I was upset that they thought I didn’t consider her feelings, given all of the ways I had. And I told him that if he really feels that her tendencies are similar to my grandmother’s and that they’re unhealthy, then she should get help, and that though it may sound harsh, I would not enable or indulge the behavior.

Then my anxiety level ratcheted up another notch as I waited for his reply.

It came several hours later, and consisted of telling me that my mother was fine at the award luncheon and only wanted to recognize what I had accomplished, and that he would NEVER (his caps) bring up what he was seeing in similarities between my mother and grandmother again, and that when it comes to health issues, THEY will decide what to do.

And then he told me these kinds of conversations should be face-to-face. Which I would have done if he hadn’t shut me down.

I’m sorry he feels that way. I think he’s wrong to imply that his daughters shall have no say in whether our mother, who we all know has struggled with mental health issues, should get help. I think he’s wrong to try to make me feel bad about telling him what I think, since he brought it up.

And I feel like shit, because I’m the daughter and my dad is mad at me.

Thirty-six years old and I’m still here. Coming home from a beach on a day when I had gone to a gray mood in my head during Mass because of Jack, but hidden it. Disallowed to tell my father how I feel about what he’s approaching me for, and in addition, deprived of any credit for consideration of my mother’s feelings, and faulted for my own.

Turns out, one of the lessons I’ve learned from the situation with Jack will be applied to areas other than my love life. I will not be made to feel guilty for standing up for myself and my feelings.



What Women Want

This week I spent a workday at a conference for women leaders. They fed us twice and also gave us wine and goodie bags – and I don’t mean crap, I mean free makeup. We’re going to sort of blow by the fact that never in my previous 16-year-long career would anything like this ever have been encouraged, let alone funded at employer expense, and move straight on to how I pissed myself off.

So I go to this conference, at the invitation of my boss, who’s awesome, and along with several other women from the office. Lovely. We’re all divvied up so nobody is sitting at a table with anyone else from their respective organization/office. Fine. Except I realize very soon after I sit down that I’m judging. Not only am I judging the other women; I’m judging myself in comparison to them. This apparently NEVER ends in life. There was one woman at my table who I hated within two minutes of sitting down, even though she had not yet so much as moved by that point. Otherwise I was looking at clothes and jewelry and feeling frumpy (my wardrobe choice was sub-par even by my own standards) and cheap (said wardrobe came partially from Target – handed up from my sister – and my accessories were plastic).

The first problem, if I’m being honest, was location. The host site was very near Jack’s place. I generally try to avoid that whole area now because it’s an old haunt for me, and his ghost (and corporal being, as far as I know) is there. Gag. So already that’s in my subconscious. Like, as I was driving, I quietly thought that if I saw him running down the road, I might run him over. You know. Accidentally.

In addition, there were two women at my table (of eight) who were engaged and talking weddings. During the first discussion session right before lunch, the discussion leader (a fellow academic admin employee, but from another school) commented to the chick I hated that her being from a tiny town in Montana must have made it hard to find a future husband. WTF. Is that really what we’re talking about here? Wedding plans and lack of potential for mates in freaking high school? At a women’s leadership conference? Have we not evolved AT ALL?

From time to time, I was checking various things via my phone, as were all attendees. At one point I posted something to my Twitter page, which I only use for work-related stuff. While there, I quickly scrolled through the tweets from people I follow to see if anyone else was discussing the event, or anything related to where I work. Somehow, Jack showed up in the list. I don’t follow him; he must have referenced someone I do follow – I didn’t read his tweet, just scrolled quickly past when I saw his face and wondered how he got there. Then I wondered if I could block him from ever showing up again.

However, in my defense, I feel my instincts about the chick I hated were correct. To wit:
1. She was wearing a knit dress with horizontal stripes and didn’t look fat, so I’m pretty sure she was showing off.
2. She emptied the table’s water pitcher so as to fill her own Nalgene bottle from its empty status.
3. Twice.
4. During a presentation by a major player at a Fortune 100 company, she loudly demanded that he show the full Old Spice buff guy commercial instead of just the photo, and then muttered that one of their upcoming ad campaigns “sounds dumb.”
5. When the host started playing a Shakira song and told the room to close our eyes and dance like no one was watching, she did. Unabashedly. Mostly with her ass.
6. She chewed with her mouth open.
7. She reminded me slightly of Gwyneth. In that she was blonde with blue eyes and young.
8. She rolled her eyes a lot.
9. She laughed loudly at weird times.

So I’m completely justified, yes?

It’s frustrating, you know? Ironically, during the wrap-up, as moderators were working their way around the room asking representatives from each table to share what had been discussed between tablemates, my boss stood up and said that they’d talked about how nasty women are to other women. Yet another demonstration of how like-minded my boss and I are: I’ve been saying that for years – that women are who get in the way of women now. Yet I had spent the day judging, hating and feeling emo. And wondering whether any other women were doing the same thing.

I have to believe they were.

Because I’m crazy, but I’m not the only one.

I got a lot out of the conference, actually. Besides the psychological un-fun-ness of being in Jack’s neighborhood sitting at a table with a woman who reminded me of Gwyneth while listening to two other women talk about weddings and seeing Jack pop up randomly in my Twitter feed.

That was just a bonus.

Stereotypita. Opa!

It’s probably telling that, as I wandered around a Greek festival this weekend, the thought that kept popping into my head was, “So many Greek people!” I don’t know what I was expecting. But in the two hours I spent there, I learned a lot about what an ignorant asshole I am.

First of all, I realized that, if it weren’t for the fact that I knew I was at a Greek festival, I would have thought a lot of the traditional clothing and music was something else. Turkish or Albanian or Egyptian or something like that. As I sat listening to an all-black-clad, accessorized, slick-haired young man sing in Greek (and watching the keyboardist, who looked a lot like Chris Christie, make faces that seemed to say, “Seriously with this guy?”), I realized there was probably an excusable reason for that: it’s all Mediterranean.

Then I looked up a map of the Mediterranean region. It’s big, guys. I’m ashamed that I didn’t realize it was more inclusive than I thought. I had it in my head as southern Italy, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey and Greece. What was I thinking? Had I never seen a map before? Apparently I had forgotten about Spain, southern France, Croatia, Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Not to mention Libya and Tunisia, Cyprus (duh), Albania, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Malta, Montenegro and Slovenia. 


Most of the people I saw were undeniably Greek, to my sensibilities. There are real characteristics of Greek facial features, and I find it fascinating. I feel lucky that I can look at people and often pin down their heritage. And then I realize that might not be lucky so much as presumptuous. 

I could, however, immediately identify the three guys who sat down in front of me who most definitely were not Greek. 

I mean, I’m Irish and German, and the friend I was with is, too, so it’s not like we thought everyone who was going to be there had to be Greek as a price of admission. But you know when you’re looking at someone who’s not Greek. Is what I’m saying.

I wrestled with the stereotypes. I mean, sure, the food is freaking awesome. I had to limit myself to chicken souvlaki and a baklava sundae (I know). And I was disappointed in the tzatziki. Well… did that mean all the tzatziki I had ever had (including from the Greek restaurants) was inauthentic? Or had they just forgotten the garlic when they made the batch I ate from? 

Here were the stereotypes I found to match:
The men are hairy.
There are distinct noses.
The complexion and coloring is consistently olive and dark.
Thick, curly hair is dominant.
The dances all look the same to an outsider.

But really, how many of those can be claimed as strictly Greek? Any Mediterranean heritage can be included in that. I watched a young dancer, who looked not at all excited to be there, and joked to my friend that she must be thinking, “I’m not even Greek. I’m Albanian. Eff this.”

Maybe I was right.

I’m not much for Greek or otherwise Mediterranean music. I find it charming for a song or two and then rather relentlessly overly Baroque (and I’m not a fan of Baroque). So that wasn’t going to be my favorite experience of the night. But if I put the food aside, what I liked most about the festival was that there is such a collective pride in this heritage. I watched the non-Greek spouses and wondered what it was like for them to join these families – as if it’s not hard to join anyone’s family culture (my Irish side being legendary). What I liked least was how the cheapest elements of stereotypes got equal representation – the gaudy and low-class trinkets and tchotchkes. (What’s Greek for “tchotchke?” Do I have to switch it if Israel is also Mediterranean?) I lingered over the authentic organic food products for sale at one of the tents because it seemed so lovely in comparison. If I’d had the cash on me, I probably would have bought an item or two because I believed the quality was there, as opposed to mocking the foot-tall metal representations of Greek gods and goddesses that I joked I would put in the front window of my house – except for the one of Icarus and his chariot, which can’t get too close to the sun. (He sat, anecdotally, just down the street from a great restaurant named for him.)

I do wish I’d gotten some tiropita, though.

Close Encounters Of the Turd Kind

I am in a fight with automatic flush toilets.

Why do we need these things? Are we really so lazy as not to be able to lift a finger (or a foot) to flush after we’ve managed to wipe? (I hope.) Information Overload Alert: I don’t always sit, okay? If I’m willing to work my quads for a squat, I think I can handle the minimal effort required to dispose of the contents of the bowl.

Here’s my problem: they flush at the wrong times.

Say you’re sitting – or squatting – or taking a wide stance like former Senator Larry Craig. And for no real reason other than a possibly small, save-you-from-a-fall-or-from-peeing-on-the-seat shift of weight, the damned toilet erupts like a whirlpool. This is powerful momentum, y’all. You get splashed.

I’m not even kidding. You get splashed. I can’t figure out, from an engineering perspective, why the function that is meant to draw all bowl contents down somehow manages to propel a good portion of it up. At your ass.

That doesn’t happen when you flush the thing yourself.

Worse yet: this happens before you’re finished. Sometimes before you’ve even started.

And then you know what happens?

It doesn’t flush when you’re done.

So now you’ve gone and relieved yourself, gotten your backside bathed against its will and become That Person who leaves the stall with your DNA still populating the porcelain.

And don’t think you can trigger it to flush somehow when it really matters, like you can sometimes manage to get an automatic sink faucet or towel dispenser to work if you wave at it just right, stand on one leg and turn around. You can’t. I’ve tried several times. The toilets at work are automated. At least three times in the last month, I’ve gotten an unwarranted ass-bath and then done some sort of ridiculous dance in front of whatever sensor there might be (I still can’t find it) to try to trip the mechanism. Even duplicating your initial movements won’t do it. It’s completely unpredictable. It’s like nothing else I’ve ever encountered. Heaven forbid someone come into the bathroom and go doubling over to look for a stall not occupied by a pair of feet. They’re certain to see you doing some sort of Toilet Two-Step just to get the coast to clear.

It’s like they don’t want to be toilets. They want to be bidets.

Which I also do not enjoy.

And don’t try to tell me the automated toilet is meant to save water. It’s not possible. It doesn’t make any sense. A flush is a flush is a flush. No, in fact these sudden sprayers do nothing but waste water.

Get it? Waste water?

And there’s no solution. There’s no non-sensor version in a nearby stall. There’s  no way to avoid this fickle flusher unless you spend an entire workday holding it in. Nope. You’re doomed to wag your backside around, lift a leg like a dog, flap your hands, shimmy and sway side-to-side, only to emerge flustered and red-faced to fight with the damned automatic faucet and squirt your pantleg with foam soap.

You know what? The woods and some carefully examined leaves.

Season of Gross

I have spent a significant portion of the last week being gross. It’s summer on the East Coast, and that means one thing: heat and humidity.

Oh. That’s two things. But not really. They’re basically one word around here. Heatandhumidity.

My new gig at the university meant several days of outdoor events recently, and they were perfectly enjoyable and successful (there are few things in life as tangentially joyous as college commencement ceremonies, for example). But running around at commencement carrying ish and taking photos and performing strategery in your head makes you very sweaty.

That was also the case at a major event last week involving every VIP client I have. Said event was seven years of headaches, setbacks and political shenanigans in the making. It was outdoors. On a construction site. In 90+ degree heat. What, then, to wear? The outfit needed to say “big deal.” It needed to be professional. It needed to reflect the awareness that lawmakers and higher-ups in education would be present. It needed to allow me to wear flats. Ideally, it needed to be school colors. And I needed to look gooood. Because this was Rick’s event, and if I can’t have him, well… I might as well make him wish he could have me.

Rick, in a shirt and tie, told me he couldn’t believe I was wearing the very lightweight 3/4 sleeve cover I had over my black sleeveless dress. I told him the truth: it’s partly so I don’t get sunburn and partly to absorb the sweat. (I did not go with the ultimate truth, which was that it was also meant to cover the sweat stains that I’m sure had spread on the back of my dress. Which I had to peel off my body when I got home. Did I mention this outfit also involved Spanx?) This was when I realized the benefit to wearing a suit jacket if you’re a man: you’re going to sweat through your shirt, regardless. You might as well wear something that makes you look good and will cover the embarrassing stains at the same time.

You know those women who just glisten and gleam in hot weather? I’m not one of them. I don’t get dewy with perspiration. I sweat like a whore in an Alabama church right before a thunderstorm. Also? I get sort of splotchy and slouchy and a little grumpy. So I spent the whole event trying to look professional and sophisticated (and desirable) while feeling the sweat run in rivulets down my torso, arms and legs, and praying my spray-on tan didn’t run with it.

Rick said at the end of the event that he needed a shower, but he didn’t look the slightest bit ruffled or wilted. Whereas I’m pretty sure my face had melted off.


Yesterday, I headed to Philly to spend some time with my people. Both sides of my family have started a new tradition of getting together as one big mob to tailgate, walk over to a Phillies game, and then do a little post-gaming. We all bring food and beverages and whatnot, and someone schleps a grill, and we eat and drink and are merry. And then we sit in the stands and yell at the Phils. Well, yesterday was about eleventy-two degrees. It wasn’t quite so awful while we were tailgating, but in the stadium, if you had drawn a line from the ball of fire that lights the earth to the stands, it would have hit us. We could not possibly have been more in the sun.

A bunch of Irish sitting in the sun.


I stood up after three innings and I swear to you, it looked as though I had peed my pants. I was sweating that profusely. It was basically like spending several hours on the inside of a Crock Pot. Even my undies were wet. Ew. Plus I was covered in two liberal coats of spray sunscreen, which makes me look like a glazed Krispy Kreme donut to begin with. It was in my hair, which had acquired a lovely crunchiness. By the time I left to head home after eight hours of summertime fun, I was officially disgusting. I stank of musky sweat and sunscreen. I couldn’t stand myself on the drive.

By the way, the Phils struggled in the heat, too. Lost 4-3 to the Brewers after a late-game rally that died when a pitcher got tagged out trying to steal third. Because pitchers don’t run so fast.

Not nearly as fast as the sweat down my body.