Aug 18, 2011

Big City Life: Lesson 2

Lesson 2: Add 30 minutes to every Mapquest travel time.

Adam and I are pretty good communicators. However, when we embark on a car journey and are forced to navigate together, all of that goes out the window. Let's face it, men and women were just not meant to coexist in a car. Men think they know everything and women really do - it creates problems. I kid, I kid. In reality I think we are all born with a road trip alter ego that can't help but surface in times of great navigational stress. One minute you are holding hands singing "the wheels on the bus" in attempts to quiet your screaming two year old, and the next you are screaming even louder than the two year old because we all know the louder you talk, the more likely the other is to understand that they are a complete moron.

We have learned in our short time here that they should've just named Charlotte's highway system "divorce court". Which is where lesson number two arises - you must factor in "lost time" to every single Mapquest travel time. Now, you might be wondering to yourself, "how is it that if you guys have a GPS you still end up lost?" Well, its simple. I am directionally retarded and Adam can't follow a GPS....

Now, that's not to say that Adam isn't a good navigator. He was an Army ranger. The man could find his way out of anything; I've come the conclusion that he just harbors a deep set, psychological resentment for the GPS (affectionately known as "Victoria" - yes, we have our GPS set to the British accent). Maybe he doesn't like a woman telling him what to do. Maybe its the fact that Victoria's bossy and doesn't say "please" {Adam has brought up the fact that all GPS models should be equiped with a "polite" setting...} Either way, it's the enemy and can't be trusted.

Take our recent trip to Wal-Mart. There is a Wal-Mart a few exits down, however we learned another valuable lesson - if a Wal-Mart is equipped with 50 parking lot survelience cameras and a police watch tower with an actual cop standing post, its probably not worth the close proximity. That means that we have to drive a longer distance to the devil store and that means we have to navigate highways. Not good. Here's how it all went down

{All extremely chipper and excited to get out of the house}

(good wife): ok, I put the Wal-Mart in the GPS
(grouchy husband, hehe): K, where are we going?
GW: I dunno. Follow the GPS.
GH: Well Jess I kinda like knowing where I'm going. I don't rely on a stupid woman machinery to tell me where to go.

GW: Honey, its not hard, you just follow the red line

GH: Whatever, this thing is retarded and it tells you like 2 seconds before you're supposed to do something!

Victoria: Turn right

GH: SEE!!!!

GW: Um, Adam that red line showed us turning for like 5 minutes. Just watch the red line.

GH: I am not watching some stinking tiny TV Jessica, I am watching the road

Victoria: recalculating...

GH: (as he misses his exit) DAMN IT!

GW: laughing hysterically

GH: NOT funny Jessica...where the hell is this thing telling me to go???

GW: Honey, just watch the red line - why are you getting off at this exit?

GH: It's telling me to!!!!

GW: No, its not Adam. It just told you to stay straight

GH: What the ^%&!!!! This thing is an idiot!!!

GW: (slight laughter) Adam, I think maybe its the operator - not the machine.

Victoria: Recalculating...

GH: OH JESSICA! I know you didn't just say that... Do you not think that after Ranger school and 4 tours to Iraq and Afghanistan I don't know anything about navigation??!! Huh??!!!

GW: (mumbling) .... and after all that you can't even follow a red line....

Oops. That was obviously stated much more loudly than anticipated because after getting lost and on and off the interstate about 3 times, Adam did the pull over. That is never good. And then the question that makes all women cringe in their passenger seat... "Do YOU just want to drive??!"

As a woman, I can't say that I ever really know how to answer this question. Do you say "yes, I would like that very much considering we almost died, like, 5 times on this 3 mile road trip" or do you play the complacent 1950's housewife and lie and say "no, honey, you're doing a great job" and then vent your frustration by blogging about it to the entire world when you get home? Hm, wonder which I chose.....

When all was said and done, it took us 45 minutes to arrive at our destination. It was 4.6 miles away from our apartment. Needless to say it wasn't the most pleasant 45 minutes of either of our lives. However, that's what marriage is. A fantastically awesome road trip spotted here and there by wrong turns, flat tires, and the like. The most important thing is that we survived. We didn't kill each other (although I'm sure both of us thought about it) and we learned a valuable lesson - If Adam drives, Victoria is off. We rely on shadows and which side of the tree the moss is growing on to determine our route. Lesson learned.

***Disclaimer: I, by no means, attempt to claim complete innocence in this ordeal. I am fully aware of the fact that being directionally retarded in no way aids us in reaching our destination and only serves to hinder any efforts sweet Adam puts forth at rectifying the situation. I have a dear and intelligent husband and I can understand that questions such as "how do you know you need to go north?" and "how do you know which way is north?" might fall into the category of special needs" and will only further frustrate an already desperate man ;) Bless his heart for putting up with me.

Aug 9, 2011

Big City Life: Lesson 1

Lesson 1: "Stockpile" is as good as Greek to the Charlotte uptown-er

Have you ever gone somewhere and felt like you might as well be wearing a straw hat, fanny pack, and black socks with sandles? You felt so tourist-y that you craved an "I love NY" t-shirt so that you would at least have a visual explanation for your behavior without having to explain yourself 209 times to each person you passed by? That was me.

Its not a rarity for me to embarrass myself. It happens quite frequently actually. I've learned to live with it and my experiences usually do make for excellent party stories (or blog posts). Had I been born blonde it would probably even be considered an endearing quality. However, with my brunette locks I think it just falls into the category of "you have to be embellishing because there's no way anyone can be that stupid". Again, I'm ok with it.

As Adam and I moved to Charlotte, I was certain that "Big City Life" and I would have a few words. Oh did we. We all out brawled at the uptown Harris Teeter.

For you folks who might be unfamiliar with how things are done in the south, let me give you a brief, yet informative, summary. When you live in Mississippi, odds are you live in a neighborhood. Down the street from another neighborhood. Which is up the street from yet another. You must drive "into town" to obtain all necessities. It makes little to no sence to make this drive each day. Oh no. You face Wally World maybe twice a month. You stockpile what you need so that you DON'T drive into town a hundred times.

Not so much the case here. I found this out in probably the most difficult and embarrassing manner, but that IS the intended purpose of mistakes, right? To learn something valuable. I mean, it made sense - we went to a grocery store "in the 'burbs" recently and their prices were twice as high as the prices I found at the uptown grocery. Given that we are on a ramen-noodle-every-night budget, it seemed only practical to do my shopping at the place with the lowest prices. The fact that the store is only half a mile from our apartment also made it even more economical.

Cut to Jessica in the uptown Harris Teeter. I immediately stuck out like a sore thumb. My khaki cutoff shorts and v-neck polo t-shirt were a striking comparison to the crisp white button downs I was spotting all over the store. Yes, I had come at 5:30 when most of the uptown workers were making their daily run, but my disheveled appearance was the least of my worries.

I felt good when I left the house. I had an entire month of meals planned and a highlighted grocery list to cover the first two weeks worth. It was organized and it was perfect. Until I started my venture in locating the items on my list. My cart quickly filled and became more and more difficult to maneuver through the narrow obviously-intended-for-basket-shopping aisles. After the 12th person or so gave a very disgruntled "excuse me" as I stood cluelessly in front of the black beans, I knew this was no longer a good idea. These people ran into the store after work, grabbed their organic romain hearts, hummus and wine, and left. I was the crazy bag lady.

My fears were only later confirmed when a fellow shopper felt the need to openly comment on my new crazy bag lady stockpile..."Honey, look! Damn, we need to be going to her house!" That was the final straw. The lemon juice I had been in pursuit of for almost 30 minutes was now a distant memory. I was taking my crazy self right the checkout line and ridding my mind of this horrible place where at any moment the angry villagers would start throwing their freshly packaged caprese salads at me.

I knew the checkout line would too be an undertaking. Given I was unloading this monstronsity alone it would take time. Time I didn't have. I quickly begain placing my items on the black conveyor belt hoping the cashier would go all "Employee of the Month" on me and scan them as quickly as I put them down.

My dreams partially came true. She was quick. She even thanked me for organizing them on the belt, saying it made it so much easier for her to scan and bag them. I couldn't help but use the segway as an opportunity to explain. "Oh gosh, I usually try to organize them a lot, but I'm just trying to be quick because I know the people behind me are about to kill me! No one wants to get behind"that lady". Ya know, the one with all the groceries". The couple behind me threw out an insincere "oh, you're fine..." as I continued tossing items like a dang fire juggler. I then knew it was necessary to explain the situation to them as well... "when you have a little one its hard to make it to the grocery store a lot so you jump on the opportunity to stock up when you can!" The went on to say something about their little one but I was too focused to pay much attention. In attempts to save myself from the sneers that would surely follow upon my exit, I tried to make conversation with the cashier. I said we had just moved here and I was starting to get the impression people don't exactly "stockpile" here. She said no and talked about how she usually sees customers every day. Seems silly to me, but as Adam put it, "not every person in uptown turns their coat closet into a pantry to fit all their dang cans". Touche.

Feeling completely defeated, I slumped away to my car and began pondering how to get my massive load up to our apartment.

When I arrived back and shared my story with the hubs, he didn't fail in his usual response. Insane laughter. I knew to expect it. He loves to sugar coat it with the fact that I just tell stories so well that it makes them all the more funny. Good try my love. However, I must say that after my immediate drink, the situation was quite humorous. When I walked to the fridge for a refill and stopped to stare at my OCD meal calendar, Adam inquired "strategizing your next trip crazy bag lady?" I was all but on the floor laughing.

I might have given a few people in uptown Charlotte something to bitch about when they got home, but they gave me a hilarious story to tell my husband. And, in the midst of organizing, finding insurance policies, changing banks and all of the other fun adult duties, I'll take a laugh however I can get it.

Aug 6, 2011

Charlotte Adventure

Oh how I know you've missed me. Yes readers, I live. As you can imagine, packing and moving 600 miles away with a toddler does require a bit of a hiatus on mommy's part. Let's face it - OCD organizational tendancies override blogging any day of the week for me. However, now that the unpacking is completed and most accessories are even placed in their proper spot, blogging can commence.

I don't even really know where to begin. To be honest, the whole moving day was pretty much a blur.... pick up heavy crap, walk with heavy crap, drop heavy crap. Repeat 437 times and that was the day. Thank God we have such incredible friends and family to help us or I would've lost it. I was able to limit myself to only 4 emotional breakdowns throught the course of the 4 day event. I call that success.

The drive was actually great, however, I wasn't the one driving the 26ft Budget truck. I imagine Adam's experience of drive would vary slightly from mine. Anyway, we made it to our destination in one piece and then began the arduous task of unloading every possession we own. I have to say that the unloading process was not nearly as difficult as the loading process, and, again, we had our wonderful family and friend Oliver to help us out. (This kid literally drove 5 hours to Charlotte just to help us move - no hidden pretenses... he even VOLUNTERED. I know, he's a sick man...)

We managed to get everything unloaded fairly quickly and got to spend Saturday enjoying time with Adam's parents, my parents, and Ollie.

At this point you might be wondering how MC is doing throught this process. I feel her experience could best be conveyed through pictures so here goes...

First we took away all of her toys and left only left her with a book and boxes... she didn't seem to mind.
Then, I think she got scared she was going to be left, so she decided get a box to be packed to ensure she would be taken to NC too After we were unpacked, she got to spend some time swimming at the grandparents' hotel - the kid is obsessed with swimming and had a BLAST
We all went out to a great dinner in uptown and she got to see this (charity bike race going on outside the restaurant)

and act silly

Then we got to do some exploring in uptown after everyone left. Sweet baby had so much fun! After an hour and a half of walking, she had had enough. This was the aftermath (sidways bow, hungry, berry smoothie soaked outfit, airing out the chubs...)
After a fun day of exploring she decided it was time to party. She headed the decorations committee...
If you remember from my last post, this was definately a "camera or broom" moment. I obviously chose the camera ;)

Things are going really well and MC seems to be enjoying her new home. She even finds our new apartment especially holy... (sorry but I have to sidetrack to share the story behind this statement)

The other night I was running MC's bath with her standing beside the tub as usual. Then, all of a sudden, she leaned over the edge of the tub. I immediately grabbed her and asked what she wanted, to which she responded "hand". I figured she wanted to touch the water with her hand so I held her as she reached over the edge and dipped her fingers in the water. She the proceded to stand up, make the sign of the cross, and say "amen". Yup. I kid you not. It was one of the most hilarious and precious moments I have ever experienced. Glad to know that if she hasn't learned anything else, she's learned that being Catholic involves lots of holy water and signs of the cross so she's getting her practice in now. Oh, how I love this little girl.

As you can see, our Charlotte adventure is offically underway. I'm sure we will have many more stories to come so I hope you stay posted :) Happy Saturday!!!


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