Why I Suck at Being Surprised

I'm probably the last person on earth to have a surprise party. Why? Because I suck at being surprised. I'm suspicious and snoopy, qualities I inherited from my mother. As a kid, I took my annual sneak peek tour of  my Christmas gifts in my mom's messy closet, and of course denied it every single time. I perfected my  pretend look of surprise when I'd open a gift that I knew I was getting.

As much as I think surprises in the abstract are fun, I really don't like them all that much when I know one is coming.  It's impossible for me to say, "Oh, a surprise! How fun. I guess I'll wait around and see what it is." My desire to figure it out ahead of time turns into a psychosis.

One Christmas I suspected my mom had gotten me a puppy (she had), and everyone in my family was in on it, except for me. I hated that feeling of being left out, even though a totally awesome thing was waiting on the other side. It's probably in part a function of being the youngest and only girl, but I hate feeling left out of whatever is going on, even if it's for me.

Weird, huh? I can manage to complain about having someone plan me something awesome. I'm such a jerk sometimes.

Needless to say, this time of the year is the WORST for someone with my snooping tendencies because now that I'm no longer five-years-old, it seems completely unacceptable to snoop around the house, looking for gifts. It doesn't mean I don't want to; it's just that now I feel totally ashamed of myself and the guilt keeps me from doing so...most of the time.

Not only do I have Christmas gifts just sitting there under the tree, taunting me, but I also have a late January surprise weekend that Carolina Man is planning. He told me about it at the end of November, and now I'm driving both him and me batty with questions about it. Sometimes he just says, "If you really want to know, I'll tell you," to which I respond with a whiny, "Noooooo! I want it to be a surprise."

Seriously, you can't please this girl.

I'll just have to suck it up, wait a few more days (or weeks), and realize that the wait will be worth it.

A Cure for the (nearly almost over) Holiday Blues

I'm not sure how it's possible that my favorite day of the year is during the absolute worst time of the year. Seriously, last night I fell asleep at 8 pm with the lights still on because apparently my body begins shutting down at promptly 5:45 pm when the sun has ditched us for the day. Bastard sun.

I have to face the fact that as much as I love "the holidays," they really consist of a bunch of normal days where it's cold and dark and there are no presents to be opened. And this year, a lot of "the holidays" will be spent driving up and down I-95. And then what's after the holidays? The most godawful months of the year: January, the absolute worst month of the year, followed by the runner up for "Worst Month of the Year," February.

Are you ready for me to STFU yet? I am. And what better way to STFU about the post-holiday blues than a trip to...

Playa del Carmen, Mexico!!!

Yep, Feb. 13-18th Carolina Man and I will be frying our skin and gorging ourselves on all-you-can-eat-and-drink buffets.

The best part is that summer clothes are SUPER ON SALE right now. Below are just a few items I've purchased this week, all for less than $225 total.

Things I'm Glad Weren't True

As my relationship with Carolina Man continues to grow better and better each day, I've been thinking about the advice, concerns, and questions I got from the people in my life--the ones who love me the most and the ones who just like to give unsolicited advice about relationships, which includes pretty much everyone and I put myself in that category as well.

From the well-meaning to the mean-spirited, I've gotten a lot of advice about how to do all of this, and while some of it was helpful, a lot of it turned out to be mostly untrue. I'm not saying that these snippets of advice are untrue for everyone, but they weren't true for me and they may not be true for you either. 

1. You'll find love when you're not looking for it. 
Finding a partner was something I felt like I was always doing, almost in an OCD way at times. It seemed like every attractive man I passed was a potential date, and I started looking for wedding bands right away. It was a pretty strange way of experiencing the world, mostly because it made me feel insane. 

When I met Carolina Man, my ring-finger obsession had waned a bit, but I was still very much thinking about my life and how I wanted a partner. Being crystal clear about my wants and desires actually was part of what attracted CM to me in the first place. 

My truth: I found love where I wasn't expecting it. 

2. You need to be ok with being alone before you're ready for a relationship. 
Looking for love and being happy with yourself are not mutually exclusive. Self-acceptance is about being satisfied with who you are, not necessarily your circumstances. In fact, it's in part about being able to discern the two. As in, just because life's shitty at times doesn't make me a shitty person. The problem comes when you want any relationship just for the sake of having one rather than one that's a good fit. 

When I met CM, I was taking good care of myself and working on the inner critic bullshit. That upped my self-awareness and helped me be in tune with what was going on internally. 

My truth: I needed to be self-aware of my feelings and desires before I was ready for a relationship. 

3. Don't date more than 10 years older.
Confession: no one said this to me. I said it to myself! I set up this arbitrary decade limit for how old I'd date. I thought there would be no way I could relate to someone older than my oldest brother who's 37. When I was online dating, I immediately eliminated anyone older than that. 

But CM is hardly an old man! I do have fun picking at him that when he graduated high school I was just going into kindergarten, but in all honesty, he's young at heart, goofy, and keeps me laughing. That's way more important than how many birthdays he's had. 

My truth: Don't make age a non-negotiable. 

Life is unpredictable. We can go through it trying to avoid hardship and heartache, but in the end, we get hurt anyway. So, why not just take the chance? 

Sick Central

Oh, the beauty of a relationship. You share everything, including your germs. We've been quarantined since last Thursday when I returned from my final (!!!!!) work trip of the year with a killer cold. Not anything spectacular or exotic; just an asshole of a cold that knocked me on my butt big time. Carolina Man was still on work travel himself when my throat started getting that nasty swollen feeling and I knew I was down for the count. In a totally uncharacteristic move, I cancelled my weekend gig in Oklahoma, and holed up in our house, Kleenex in hand.

I have to say, it's pretty damn nice to have someone there to take care of you when you're sick. I wouldn't say I'm an overly demanding patient--I don't need lots of stuff, like homemade soup or a particular kind of cough drop. I just need sympathy. A lot of it. And Carolina Man did not disappoint on that front.

But wouldn't you know it, I passed along my crud to my lovely partner, and now he's sick with bronchitis for the second time in two months. Poor thing! He totally wins the "Who's cough is the phlegmiest " contest. In fact, he's still asleep right now.

Thank God we can just stay home and watch Christmas specials for as long as we need to until the holidays really kick in. As unpleasant as it's been to be sick, it's definitely a lot better being sick together.