Thursday, June 27, 2013

Life advice from my mechanic

"Listen. Here's what you got to do. You only got, what, July, August left that it will be hard with no air conditioner. Those months, you just got to bring a change of clothes with you when you go somewhere. Then, you get sweaty, you change your clothes when you get there. You really want, I try to fix your air conditioner, but I don't really think it's worth it."

"You got some work that needs done. But it's not a rush. You just spent lot of money! Wait two, three, four months. When you got some extra cash, you come see me. We take care of it."

"What you want with a car? The bike brings you everywhere! Never needs new belts, new battery, nothing. Never runs into traffic. Just get rid of your car and use the bike!"

I heart my mechanic.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Goin' steady

A few weeks ago, I laid out the three phases of dating for Theradate. I felt like he needed some ground rules to help him understand my expectations for how he should behave, as well as how I was interpreting his behavior. Specifically, I told him that I thought he wanted some of the emotional benefits of Phase 2 without taking on the responsibilities that go along with those benefits. Or, as Slinky has succinctly put it more than once, "I'm just amazed by how clueless he is sometimes." Indeed.

Phase 1: The "casual dating" phase. You are probably both going out with other people, and you're not sleeping together (at least, that's MY rule -- obviously, different people have very different rules about this). You're figuring out whether you like each other, and probably seeing each other once or twice a week. This phase usually lasts a month or two.

Phase 2: Once you've decided that you like each other and are ready to move to the next level, you progress to phase 2, the "trying the relationship on for size and seeing how well it fits" phase. You have a conversation about being exclusive. You meet each others' friends. Your dates start to occasionally last more than 24 hours and involve weekends away together. A lot of relationships meet their demise a month or two into Phase 2 when it become apparent that it's just not a match.  If all goes well, after four or five months you slide naturally into Phase 3, no conversation necessary.

Phase 3: Phase 3 is exactly like Phase 2 but more permanent. Eventually, it leads to marriage, babies, a mortgage, and of course eternal happiness.

My sister has always said that she loves Phase 1. She thinks it's fun to kiss without it leading to anything more, and go on fun dates, and get to know the person. I, personally, find Phase 1 to be torturous. There's just so much uncertainty involved. You have no idea if the person you're seeing is dating other people they like; you really don't have any clue whatsoever where you stand with them. During Phase 1 with Theradate there were stretches when we had to schedule a new Diff Con every single week. It was exhausting. (In fairness, before it sounds like I was horribly miserable during this entire time I should add that while I did feel a lot of anxiety during Phase 1, I also had many, many moments of feeling happy and excited.)

Granted, there's still plenty of uncertainty involved in Phase 2. And granted, Theradate and I have only been in Phase 2 for about 24 hours, so it's a little bit hard to know yet what it'll be like, or how many Diff Cons it will involve. But I have high hopes :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Missed connections

Slinky reminded me last night of a small incident that I had almost forgotten about that occurred a couple of weeks ago at Theradate's chocolate party. Actually, it was before the chocolate party; he had asked me to come down early and spend some time with him before the guests arrived.

We were nibbling on snacks in the kitchen, double checking to make sure that everything was ready. After a while I suggested we move to the couch and relax for the last half hour or so before the guests arrived; Theradate agreed.

I headed off toward the couch and Theradate went in the opposite direction, to go to the bathroom or do some last-minute preparation, I assumed. I sat down in the sun, looking out at the amazing view of his city, feeling relaxed and happy, and waited for him to come join me. And waited. And waited. I started to feel less relaxed and happy. After ten minutes, I thought, this is really weird. Why did he even invite me here if it was to sit on the couch by myself? What is WITH this guy?

"Heathen?!" came Theradate's voice from the other room, then his head popped in. "You're in HERE? I was on the other couch! I thought you were going to the bathroom." He had been sitting on the couch in the living room for the past ten minutes, patiently waiting for me to come join him. Thoughtfully, we had both headed to each others' favorite couch -- he went to the cozy one in the living room that I like better; I went to his preferred couch, the one with the huge windows and incredible view.

*Sigh*. Maybe relationships are just like that sometimes. You both have good intentions and are thinking of the other person. And yet somehow, you just end up in different rooms, on different couches, by yourselves -- until you figure things out and remedy the matter. Which we promptly did.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Signing on the dotted line

Last week was contract time at my school. June is late to be signing contracts, and people were beginning to get nervous.

"What's that you're holding? A CONTRACT?" snapped one co-worker as I walked down the hallway a couple of weeks ago holding a report I was getting ready to photocopy.

When my principal called me into her office, I gave myself a little pep talk. "Heathen, when she tells you you're not getting a contract, take it like a woman. No crying. You can handle this." There was no reason to think I wouldn't get a contract; my performance review had been very positive. But I have PTSD from horrible work experiences, so anytime I hear the words, "Come in here, I'd like to have a word with you," my stomach drops.

Most people were not happy with their contracts. Their hours had not been increased, or they did not get as much of a pay raise as they were hoping. There's been a lot of griping the past few days. Me, I was thrilled.

"You can take it with you and think about it for a few days if you want," my principal told me. "No rush."

"I'm ready to sign," I replied without hesitation, grabbing the pen from her hand. "Just show me the dotted line."

And now, I'm ready for my FIRST carefree, fun summer off. It starts in 64 hours. If anyone's looking for me after that, I'll probably be at the beach.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


My friends are the best. They are the most supportive, fun, wise group of people one could possibly ask for.

Everyone has been asking me lots about Theradate, and everyone has advice. I realized this weekend, though, why the advice sometimes feels contradictory and less than helpful: Everyone perceives relationships through the lens of their own experiences. And I do that, too: when I have a bad experience, I vow never to repeat it -- like, when I swore to myself I would never date another European after La Moustache and I broke up.

But the thing is, there are lots of great Europeans out there. The fact that he is European wasn't the problem. And, while it can be helpful to think of people as types, the reality is that people AREN'T types. All men are complicated in their own unique ways -- and so am I.

Here's a sampling of the comments I've gotten:

"I worry that he is unclear in his communication. He reminds me of my ex, who is a few years older, like Theradate. It was so confusing to date him."

"I find it really concerning that he is moving so slow physically. I mean, is he attracted to you?? That's just like my ex who turned out to have major intimacy issues."

"I think he might be a drama queen. The type to get carried away by his emotions and love the initial excitement of a relationship, but not have the ability to stick it out through a REAL relationship. Like that guy in New York I had a fling with a few years ago."

"When I'm dating someone who I am worried may hurt me, I take it REALLY slow. That's what I would do if I were you. Remember that guy who broke my heart last year? I tried to do that with him because I liked him so much."

I talked to Theradate yesterday about my fears. My biggest fear is that he says and does lots of sweet things but they don't have much substance behind them. I also told him that I realize that there's no way he will respond to that by saying, "You're right, I'm a huge flirt and it's only superficial," so therefore the only way for me to figure out whether my fears are justified or not is for us to spend time together and figure out whether we are compatible. He told me that he really likes me, but that he recognizes that sometimes people get hurt even when both people are trying their best to be careful and considerate of each other. Rightly or wrongly, I trust him -- to at least try his hardest not to let that happen. I'll try my hardest, too, and that's really all we can do.

So, I'm going down south today to see him. He's making me dinner -- the first time he's cooked since 2005. I'm excited.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Emotional insurance

Theradate does not have renter's insurance, which shocks me. I don't have renter's insurance, either, but it's different because a) I'm going to get it soon (July 15 is the deadline my financial planner gave me), b) I don't have anywhere near as much nice stuff as Theradate, and c) the few valuable possessions I do have were mostly cleaned out by the thieves that broke into my place in February. Also, about a thousand people in the New England area know where Theradate keeps his spare keys. I don't even HAVE spare keys.

I gave Theradate many, many reasons why he absolutely has to get renter's insurance. He sighed.

"If only I could get emotional renter's insurance," he said. "That's the only part I care about."

TOTALLY. The check for $250 I got last week from my roommate's insurance company is a pittance compared to the emotional damage wreaked by the thieves. It feels like such a violation to have someone come into your home and comb through your possessions.

I wish I could get emotional insurance, too. And not just for my apartment -- I can think of tons of things I need emotional insurance for.

Not the least of which, at this particular moment in time, is Theradate. He confused me yesterday. Since I don't have emotional insurance, I did the next best thing and put him in texting purgatory. He's not allowed to text me for 48 hours so I can clear my head.

But really, someone should figure out a way to sell emotional insurance. I would be your first client.