Me? A Morning Person?

As many of my regular readers probably already know… I am NOT a morning person. In fact, I am not even really an “awake” person. I love sleep. I adore sleep. I like falling asleep, staying asleep, going back to sleep, talking about sleep, writing about sleep, planning for my next sleep and finding extra time in my schedule for… you guessed it… sleep.

But, you see… I started something this week. It was kind of an accident and now it has snowballed into this whole “morning person” thing. And well, let’s be honest… mornings interfere with sleep… So I have what you might call a bit of a dilemma on my hands.

While trying to make an important deadline for work, I stayed up one night until I just hit the wall. It was only midnight, but I could go no further. So… as much as I HATED the thought of it… I had but one choice. Go to bed right then, set the alarm for an hour and a half earlier and get up and go to the office in the wee hours so as to meet said deadline.

And you know what? I got up, I ate a healthier, low-calorie breakfast, I encountered little traffic on my commute and the time alone at my desk proved to be quite productive. By the time my co-workers began to arrive, my early-morning-I-hate-everyone-and-am-bitter-because-I-am-awake fog had begun to lift. I felt alert and ready to tackle whatever challenges the day had to offer.

However, as with anything worthwhile… there is a price. By 5 p.m., though there was definitely still work to be done, I was done. I could work no more. I was tired and cranky and ready to hit the couch in my favorite baggy t-shirt and sweats. Well, I thought… I guess I’ll get up early again tomorrow and finish up this work before the real day begins.

This time, I went to bed one hour earlier and set the alarm for two hours earlier than usual. I got up, ate the healthy, fiber-packed breakfast, sped to work like a demon, got the best parking spot and finished several projects before anyone else dared darken the doorway.

By today—the third day—co-workers and Facebook friends have begun to wonder what the hell I’m doing up so early. (Like I’m not wondering the same exact thing…) “What are you doing up so early? What are you doing up so early?” everyone keeps asking me. And I tell them that I’ve just been finding the mornings to be a great time to get work done…

Not to mention that (as an aside) I’m secretly hoping the uber-early, super-healthy, low-calorie breakfast of champions combined with multiple cups of coffee may help me shed these unwanted pounds in time to break out my sweater dresses. Because, let’s face it… no amount of Spanx or control-top panty hose is going to hide an extra 10 pounds when it comes to body-hugging knits.

Anyway… back to mornings. So I guess what I’m saying is that there may be hope for me yet. Perhaps I can finally make peace with my alarm clock and stop abusing the snooze button after all. Maybe I can be a morning person! Maybe one day I’ll even get up and do one of the five different yoga DVDs currently collecting dust in a basket by my bed! Or go for a walk in the brisk, morning air… or take up kickboxing again…

But hear this… Morning person or no morning person… Nothing… and NO ONE is going to TOUCH my 12-hours-at-a-time-weekend-sleep-marathons.

Snooze Addiction

Sleep is like crack to me. I love it, I can’t live without it and I’ll do whatever it takes to get it. However, I do have a job and for this reason and this reason only I cannot sleep as often as I would like.

I manage to tear myself from between the sheets long enough to make it through the day. Coffee helps. Much of the time the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is the prospect of a good healthy slumber later that night.

Having no offspring allows me to indulge in this unhealthy behavior. No one relies on me, save for my co-workers and occasionally my family. The cat requires that I slop a little brown goo into his bowl that he believes tastes like salmon and fill his water dish a few times a day… Toss a felt mouse in the air, rub some catnip into the carpet and let him chase my toes now and then… and he is a happy camper. All the rest of the time he is… sleeping. Usually right next to me.

I come from a long line of “sleepers.” I am told that my grandparents were big on naps and so are my parents. Though my parents somehow manage to nap AND sleep until 11 a.m. most days so… I definitely came by this honestly.

Trying to explain to those closest to me how much sleep I require can occasionally prove quite challenging. I have always needed a lot of sleep and I really, honestly cannot function without it. I’m not just saying that. Have you SEEN the Incredible Hulk? Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? NOW you’re gettin’ the idea.

As is common with most addicts, one addiction can give way to another. And I am afraid that within the last year, I have developed a new addiction. To the snooze button. No matter how much sleep I get… if the alarm is set,  I hit the snooze button like it’s my JOB.

Initially, my use of the snooze was occasional and harmless. You know, a type of recreational snoozing if you will. 7 to 14 minutes, 21 minutes TOPS…  However, something seems to have changed and I am ashamed to admit that I am spiraling steadily downward into an abyss of flashing and glowing green digits and bad early-morning radio shows.

As shocking as it may seem… I now snooze for 60 minutes! I know… the mind reels that one could SNOOZE for such a very long time. And to think… entire, irretrievable hours of my life are now being spent in some dark, sleep-Katy-Perry-Onerepublic-crime-spree-account-Bruno-Mars-Adele-weather-and-traffic-report-awful-DJ-rants-and-jokes-Nicki-Minaj-splintered haze. I would be better off sleeping soundly for 30 of those minutes and just hauling my ass out of bed after the 2nd warning.

Perhaps, starting Monday I will try that and see what happens. If I break this cycle of addiction it could mean a whole new life! And if all else fails… There’s this…

Supernormal?

I am not this woman. Nor will I ever be. I could torture myself for not having her 5’11’’ willowy frame or for the daylight that cannot be seen streaming between my thighs when I walk. I could curse my reflection for a lack of sinewy arms and a concave stomach. I could beat myself bloody for the dewy, pore-less skin and silky, disgustingly thick hair that I’ll never have. I could pout endlessly that I am not a supermodel…

OR…

I could accept that I was born a normal girl to a normal middle-class family in the middle of normal America. It was not my lot in life to strut down catwalks in the latest fashions, party like a rock star drinking champagne until 3 a.m. and sleep past noon for that necessary “beauty rest.” Personal trainers, chefs, estheticians, dieticians and all kinds of other “ticians” are not at my beckon call.

It was my lot in life to go to college, get an 8 to 5 job, slurp my coffee from a travel mug given to me by the bank when I opened my meager account, grab Subway on the go for my “power lunch” and watch episodes of The Office while folding laundry in my modest 2 bed/2 bath house. This was my lot… just like the other 90% of America. OK, I don’t honestly know the actual statistics. But there is some kind of ridiculous majority out there living exactly like I do.

Our idea of a good time is tailgating before watching a baseball or football game and eating pizza and drinking beer with our equally normal friends after its over. If we’re fortunate, the occasional tropical, exotic or adventurous escape is something to enjoy and forever cherish… all the while knowing—as we sit at that charming café or under that umbrella at the beach—that this is, in fact, NOT OUR REALITY. Our reality is lurking just around the corner… waiting to kick our ass upon our immediate return.

But it’s not all bad. I get to exist on more than egg whites and sugar free Red Bull for a daily diet. There is no punishment or excommunication for gaining 5 pounds while on vacation and not taking it off for another 6 months. There is no paparazzi camped outside my home waiting to snap a picture of my all-of-the-sudden-suspiciously-fat butt or catch me in some compromising situation. And no one looks at me cross-eyed for sporting last year’s trends.

I don’t know why we as women are so hard on ourselves for not looking like we stepped from between the pages of Vogue. No one asks us to. No one expects us to. We do it to ourselves. Maybe some of us do it to each other. But really… It is NOT our job. Our job is just to be “normal” so that they can be “super” — and what in the world could be wrong with that?

Now… would I trade places with her if given the chance by my fairy godmother? Probably. But until then… I’ll just get the towels out of the dryer and reach for another slice of pizza… and the remote.

"Normal" me... in a "normal" seat... at a "normal" Red Sox game.

 

Domain Thing

It wasn’t that long ago I didn’t even know what a domain name was. I avoided the whole technology thing for awhile… Or at least longer than many of my peers. I put off getting a cell phone for a LONG time until it became necessary. I told people it was because I quote: “Did not want to be that accessible.”

Amazing how time changes things. It’s almost impossible to remember life before email or the internet, isn’t it? Then a few years ago it was Facebook. Sometimes I literally sit and hurt my head trying to recall what life was like Pre-FB. What in the hell did I do with all of that extra time? I don’t think I read more books. I don’t think I exercised more. I certainly didn’t bake, crochet, cook or clean. Maybe I just watched more CSI and Survivor.

So now I find it extremely curious that 2 days ago I broke down and bought and registered my own domain name: womaninthrisis.com. That’s right. I’ve become one of “those people” that I swore I thought I’d never become. I own a website. I am a blogger. And it’s a little unsettling.

Back in the CSI and Survivor days, bloggers and people with their own websites were (to me) nerds who never saw the light of day. They were spindly with translucent skin and bloodshot eyes. They slept all day and stayed up all night in their dark little caves, stabbing away at the keyboard with great gusto illuminated by the other-worldly glow of the monitor. They wrote about conspiracy theories, dark matter, worm holes and absolute zero.

While I, with my expensive, fake tan, french manicure and well-toned muscles did “normal” things like sit on my ass all day at Starbucks drinking iced-caramel machiattos and people-watching… Or perfecting my downward-facing dog, warrior and sun salutation in the mornings and paying $50 a month to literally get the crap beat out of me by my kickboxing instructor every other night.

My, my, my how things have changed. See, the thing is… I love to write. I have ALWAYS loved to write. Except that now I have discovered there is this amazing community of people all over the world just like me who enjoy sitting down at the computer, basking in it’s other-worldly glow and pecking away at the keyboard sharing thoughts, ideas, observations and inspirations about day-to-day life… And anything and everything from conspiracy theories to the perfect french manicure. And I have found it to be fascinating and fun.

Though, I do have just one question…

Do my eyes look bloodshot to you? Maybe it’s time to drag out the yoga mat… Or hit the gym. UGH. As the proud, sole owner and proprietor of  Woman In Thrisis, who has time for all of that now anyway? Soooo… make my caramel mach a double, please. And where’s the number for that tanning salon?

Saints and Spaghetti Throwers

No one knows you quite like your sister does. Especially if she’s the big sis’ and you’re the lil’ one. Older sisters not only know you but with their level-headed sensibility, they somehow manage to love you despite all of your crazy-little-sister, attention-seeking idiosyncrasies anyway.

My sister and I could not be more different. She is only three years my senior but the age gap may as well be 30. She is far more mature and “grown-up” than I am. She is raising seven children and acting out the part of the dutiful, loving wife and little-league-wrestling-basketball-band-choir-soccer-mom like a champ.

My sister is also a saint. She assists in the day-to-day operation of my brother-in-law’s business, works a part-time job, does the laundry, cooks the meals, drives random neighborhood kids (as well as her own) all over God’s green earth, does the household shopping, plants flowers in her yard, hangs little, cutesy, seasonal, artsy-craftsy things on her front door and runs the church nursery. I honestly do not know how she does it. As far as I know… she does not take drugs… So I’m just assuming that she is some sort of non-human, pod-person. It’s either that or she never sleeps.

I, on the other hand, am a spoiled brat. I become completely overwhelmed at the thought of feeding myself, emptying the dishwasher and doing laundry in the same evening. When I’m not at the office, I like to sleep or lounge around watching countless hours of Seinfeld re-runs, Hoarders, cheesy rom-coms or mafia movies while eating food that I did not make.

I enjoy being “Crazy and Fun Aunt JoJo” to my nieces and nephews, getting HER kids so riled up that she has trouble getting them to go to bed. They are teenagers… yes, I said teenagersS-E-V-E-N of them. In fact, she has more kids than there are letters in the WORD “seven.” I know. It is mind-blowing. And I—having no children of my own and even less responsibility—love to teach them things that will annoy her.

Once when she and my brother-in-law were going out for the evening and she asked me to come by and “help” the kids with their dinner, I thought it would be much more fun to teach them how to tell when the spaghetti was done by throwing it against the walls of her kitchen. We had a blast. And the kids, in turn, thought it would be fun to teach me the “Target Denim Song” in order to further irritate their mother because they of course knew that I would sing it… incessantly. You know the song… the one that goes: Denim. Graphic Tees, leggings and tunics. Well denim, backpacks, headphones, hair-ge-e-el. Denim. Shaun White hoodies and denim… Something like that anyway.

Good times.

But here’s the kicker… I am the one who is an emotional mess. I am the nervous wreck. I always have been. I am the one with all kinds of time and freedom and zero tax-deductions and I’m the one taking meds! It boggles the mind how two people, born of the same parents and raised under the very same roof could wind up so completely different. But what I love, what I LOVE about my sister more than anything is that even though we could not be more different… she GETS me. She gets me and she loves me anyway.

The sign hanging above my stove is a recent gift from my sister “just because.” Does she know me or what?

5 Signs I Should Have Had Decaf

Standing in the long line at Subway for lunch yesterday it began to dawn on me that perhaps decaf would have been the wiser choice of java that morning… Why did I suspect this? 

  1. The man immediately in front of me, pacing, dancing around and grabbing / eating bags of chips from the front of the counter—that he hadn’t even paid for yet—was so jumpy and jittery that he began to make me nervous.
  2. The man standing in front of him had a tag sticking out of the back of his shirt and I had an overwhelming compulsion to violently rip it from his collar.
  3. The woman seated to my left was laughing so loudly and so obnoxiously that her shrill joviality made the concept of chewing glass an attractive option.
  4. The couple standing in the middle of the restaurant yelling to an acquaintance (who was standing RIGHT BESIDE THEM by the way) about their newly-rented, 10-bedroom condo in the Outer Banks incited such extreme annoyance that I felt the sudden urge to throw my purse at them while simultaneously yelling: “NOBODY IN THIS RESTAURANT CARES HOW MANY BATHROOMS IT HAS!”
  5. I honest-to-goodness imagined yanking the cell phone from the hands of the girl behind me and tossing it into the cucumber bin simply because I hated her ring tone.

Somehow, while all of these crazy imaginings and urges were flashing across my mind, I managed to look calmly out the window and settle my gaze upon a lovely maple tree that was just beginning to blush with the colors of fall. That is until my attention was diverted from the tree to the photograph hanging on my right. It was of a local high-school cheerleader—whose big hair and ridiculously-happy smile—made me want to slap her.

See, I told you… decaf.

Vices

So I’m beginning to wonder how healthy my occasional formula for surviving-a-busy-day-while-still-being-able-to-enjoy-the-evening really is. Let’s see… I roll out of bed (usually exhausted), and drag my ass through the early morning routine of showering, eating, facebooking, blog-posting, news-watching, makeup, hair, heels, commute. And by the time I sit down in my office chair, I’m even more exhausted.

I reach for the faithful friend that is a big, fat, coffee mug and I head across the hall toward the office fuel pump… Or rather, the Keurig coffee maker in the break room. One cup starts to perk me up and makes me feel like perhaps I will NOT flop my forehead onto the keyboard and drool all over the space bar as initially feared.

Two cups make me feel like I can begin to pick up the pace. I can actually comprehend my email and voicemail messages. I can focus long enough on my tasks at hand and begin to feel like I am climbing on top of the To-Do list, rather than lying prostrate beneath the weight of it.

Three cups enable me to operate under the assumption that I can take on the world! I am returning emails, answering the phone and taking notes while performing Photoshop miracles. I can whip out an ad layout standing on my head with my hands tied behind my back. And I am greeting everyone who walks into my office with the loudest, cheeriest and most hyper “HELLO!” that they run scared in the opposite direction.

However, by the time I get home and it is finally time to unwind and relax… I wonder why I am so keyed up. Perhaps a nice glass of wine will calm me down and ease me into the evening so that I can eventually drift off to dreamland peacefully and soundly.

So… I reach for the faithful friend that is the corkscrew. I nearly shatter my sparkling-clean wine glasses as I reach for one since my hands are shaking like mad from all the caffeine I’ve ingested throughout the course of the day. One glass starts to enable me to take deeper breaths as warmth and calm gradually spread through my limbs. I think that perhaps I will NOT bite the head off of the first person that speaks to me as initially feared.

Two glasses allow me to feel like I can begin to cope with the reality that I will have to do this all over again tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. I can relax and focus long enough on an exchange with my boyfriend / mother / father / sister / niece / nephew / neighbor / friend so that they will believe I am happy, engaged and perfectly willing to handle whatever it is they say to or ask of me without “losing it” because I am “overwhelmed” or “stressed.”

Three glasses enable me to operate under the assumption that I can take on the world! And just as I attempt to take on the world… my forehead flops onto the keyboard of my laptop and I begin to drool all over the space bar.