Meeting His Momma

Good thing I'm heading back to the airport today. It's been nearly two weeks since I've flown anywhere, and I was beginning to feel deprived.

But, this time it's not a work trip (yay). And, I won't be flying alone (double yay)! Carolina Man and I are heading to Alabama to spend the weekend with his mom and some of his other relatives. I haven't given the trip much thought. I've become entirely too lackadaisical about travel. If I let my usual type-A personality run amok when I was about to go somewhere, I'd never be able to accomplish anything else. For me, the thinking about a trip doesn't set in until I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to pack, which so far hasn't happened. I'm thinking I'll give myself an hour before we have to leave.

As much as Carolina Man has reassured me that his mom is thrilled to meet me, I can't help but feel somewhat anxious about it. You'll recall that I haven't exactly had the best of luck with significant others' mothers (especially when they are nosy, know-it-all bitches, not that I'm thinking of anyone in particular). And while I got along great with his dad and his brother, meeting the mom is always the scariest part about meeting someone's family.

So, I'm doing my best not to over-think it, to trust what CM has said--that his mom is laid back and easy to get along with. And I'll just do my best to be myself, flaws and all.

Carolina Man's Birthday Week Recap

Carolina Man celebrated a big birthday last week, and since it was also our first together, I decided to make his birthday extra special by making a game out of his gifts. I created my own version of Dirty Minds with each present having three dirty-sounding clues that would lead CM to his gift. Like, "Press me up against something thick and juicy" and "I love you to hold my rear end" for the tomato knife I'd gotten him. Most of the gifts were small things, but it was fun creating a game out of it. I gave him a gift a day during his birthday week, with a couple extra ones on his actual birthday.

It's amazing how having a thoughtful partner makes me want to be more thoughtful. Even more that that, knowing how appreciative he is of the effort I put into it makes me want to make every occasion that special.

There's a fine line there, though. Both CM and I tend to be others-focused. Most of the time that's a good thing. We consider what other people are feeling and experiencing. But for me, it can definitely go overboard, and it was nearing that with this birthday. I felt so much internal pressure to wow him, to make his birthday perfect that I ended up putting a financial strain on myself. I kept feeling like I could do more and more, never knowing when I'd done enough. I suppose there's still some insecurity there about this relationship being as good and solid as it feels, and so I feel the need to overcompensate.

The best part is I could tell CM all of this. We talked through it all, even going back into birthdays past and recalling the thoughtlessness of our former partners. And it created even more closeness to talk about those insecurities rather than to act as if they weren't there. I'm very grateful for that openness we share.

Ketchup and Kisses

Maybe cleaning out the fridge isn't the biggest or most accurate test of a healthy relationship, but I will say there's something to be said about pulling out umpteen bottles of salad dressing that expired in 2006 and laughing the whole time you're doing it.

I'm one of those people who ignores messes up until a certain point, but once my eyes have focused in on a particular shelf or space with a certain level of scrutiny, I can't help myself from dropping whatever I'm doing and attacking it, trash bag and paper towels in hand. For example, the other week I was getting something out of a cupboard in the kitchen when I noticed a dried glob of tomato sauce caked on there. I got out a cleaning cloth and went to town. For three hours.

The same kind of thing happened when I opened up the fridge. And then the freezer. And the pantry. CM and I started pitching stuff left and right. I can't get over how non-territorial he is with this stuff. I love that we're both anti-hoarding. There wasn't a single item that I wanted to throw out that he wanted to keep. By the end of it, all we had left were some caffeine-free Diet Cokes and some freezer pops, but that fridge looked good.

The thing is, we spend most of our lives throwing out the trash, cleaning up messes, doing the laundry. And it's fantastic that we not only the same approaches to these things, but that we find disgusting expired food products kind of hilarious. I never knew you could enjoy doing something that's kind of gross.

It's those moments of living life together that make me feel so good about my move here. It's giving us the chance to really get to know one another on a level we never would have if I'd stayed in DC. And I'm really grateful for the daily life experiences we're having together.

Living Together Separately

I've got a list of blog topics all prepared in my head, and yet the break-neck speed of the last three weeks has kept me from doing much about it. Yesterday I left NC at 6 am for a day of meetings and catching up with DC blogger amigas Date Me, D.C.! (with whom I'd just spent an awesome weekend), Sassy Marmalade, Bless Your Heart, and A Single Girl before heading back to NC at 10 pm. This morning was basically the same, only this time Carolina Man was the one heading out of town. Bleary-eyed, we did the exact same early morning kiss good-bye we'd done yesterday.

A lot of people have asked me how it's going living here. I've said that it's going really well, which it is. But I also don't feel like I have of time under my belt to say with confidence that it's going as well as I feel like it is. This has been our timeline thus far:

Aug 20--Move Day
Aug 24-28--Work trip to Ohio
Aug 31--CM's dad and brother arrive
Sept 2-4--CM, dad, and brother go to beach
Sept 6--Dad, brother go home; I go to DC
Sept 7-8--CM goes to Philadelphia

In short, we have hardly spent any time together alone at our house. Nothing about my schedule has changed, and he's just as busy as I am. I'd mapped all of this out before I moved and said, "We need to realize that just because NC will my home base doesn't mean we'll be together all the time." It's been especially tough on me when CM is gone because I haven't exactly had much time to make friends, so I end up doing a lot solo, which is tough on an extrovert like me. I know I'll make friends--I always do. But living in a new place is tough, no matter how good the circumstances are. And it's been even tougher to have spent so much of the transition apart.

In making travel plans for work, I'd never really had to consider someone else. I was fine with booking trips back-to-back, running myself into the ground repeatedly, and taking a random day off in the middle of the week to catch up on sleep. But being in a relationship is different. I've got to become more discriminating when it comes to offering up my weekends because when we miss a weekend together, there's no time to be lazy and just enjoy each other's company.

So, I can't wait for this weekend when we'll both be here and can get some quality time together. We need it.