Saturday, April 23, 2011

Livin' in L.A

Now that I have lived in L.A. for almost 10 years, I am even more certain that everyone needs to spend time living on the East Coast. The East Coast is where you can get a real education, make life long friends, and learn that life, nor the weather, is always 70 degrees and sunny. The East Coast builds character, gives you confidence, and teaches you how to be normal. There is so much I miss about it…normal girls, size A breasts and most importantly, Chick-Filet. But despite all of this, I love living in LA.

To help you understand where I started, you need to know the girl I used to be. For most of my life, my “look” consisted of my hair in a high bun, grey XL sweatpants, and Old Navy flip-flops. My only make-up was maroon lipstick (exact shade - Revlon ‘Wine with Everything’), which I first picked up in 7th grade at Rite Aid. I never really cared about how I looked and believed life was about competing, winning, and getting ahead. I am the type of girl who needed a few years in LA…just like the girls from Orange County need a summer at Dartmouth or Brown. Sometimes you just need to stretch yourself.

Ten years into my life in L.A., everything has changed. I no longer find it strange that my friends take their trash out (here we call it recycling) while wearing a push up bra, fake eyelashes, and 6-inch wedge sandals. To be honest, the garbage men out here expect it and nobody wants to let them down. When I first moved here, I was appalled by the fact that so many women had fake, size C, Barbie doll boobs. Now after two kids, numerous La Leche League meetings, and the fact that I have recently begun to turn myself off during sex, I have started to consider my options. Getting your boobs done in Southern California is just like getting braces in the South…it's the thing to do. The truth is that I would be under the knife right now if I wasn’t afraid of two things:

1. That I could die during surgery and leave my kids motherless…simply because I wanted to fill out the top of my new Target bathing suit.

2. My husband would want to have more sex with me.

Number two is the one that keeps me up at night. If you don’t know my husband, let me explain. He is a very special man…he always tells me he loves me and makes me feel beautiful each day. The other night I asked him, “Hey Honey, do you think I should get my boobs done?” He looked me right in the eyes and said, “No baby, you are beautiful just the way you are.” I felt so loved. I gave him a hug and started to walk out the room. As I was about to close the door, he gently touched my arm and quickly said “But if YOU want to do it, I ABSOLUTELY understand. I think what is most important is that I am completely supportive of you. Do you need me to wire the money or should I just write you a check?”

At this point we are at a stand still with that surgery…but it hasn’t stopped me from looking into other shallow, unnecessary procedures. After recently looking at my face in the mirror, (which is highly encouraged in LA… self obsession is considered healthy here) I realized the years of baking in the Florida sun while spraying Sun-in on my hair have caused some problems. So I talked to my friend, who sell lasers to dermatologists, and asked him what I could do. He told me he thought I could benefit from an IPL laser treatment. When I asked whom I should go see he said, “Why would you pay a dermatologist $1200 for the treatments? I can just do it for you in our garage.” The other benefit of living in L.A. is that everyone is in sales, and whatever they are selling, they are happy to share. So I put aside the fact he had been selling sofas and Ottomans’ a year ago, and trusted that his two week training (where he was most likely drunk for 80% of the time) would give him the skills he needed to make me beautiful.

Let me begin by saying that I do not have a high pain tolerance, especially when it comes to beauty procedures. I can barely stand to have my eyebrows waxed and once left a Brazilian Bikini wax with only one side completed. But I tried to be brave and trust that the pain wouldn’t last forever.

So last Wednesday night, with Scotty McCreery singing in the background, I walked into their garage, stepped over some wet laundry and took a seat on a hard, paint-splattered wooden chair. They charged up the laser, handed me some eye protectors, and rubbed cold gel on my face. After twenty minutes of experiencing what can only be described as intermittently holding a July 4th sparkler to your face, they were finished. I looked in the mirror and my face was still there, my skin wasn’t burned, and the dark spots I had been noticing where lightening. My friend and his wife looked over their work, studied my face, and didn’t say a word. Eventually they smiled at one another, looked at me and said, “Okay, not bad. I’m pretty sure those settings were right. Don’t worry we’ll know more in a few days.” Some people just know how to make you feel safe...

So it’s official, for good or for bad, I am starting to become an L.A. girl…a bit shallow, self-consumed, and now totally (and thankfully) aware of the fact that sun damage is bad, blonde is good, and wearing Khakis is a crime. And even though I miss the East Coast terribly, it seems like L.A is home. I have so many great friends, we love our community, and there's a rumor that they may be building a Chick-Filet nearby very soon...somedays life just can't get any better.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sports: The Silent Killer

When the Super Bowl ended last February, I found myself crying, feeling deeply emotional at the end of the game. Some people shed tears of joy because the Packers brought the Super Bowl Trophy home, while others shed tears because the people of Pittsburg were once again left disappointed. Yet my tears came from another place, and I believe those same tears were shed in homes all over America. My tears weren’t about a team winning or losing, who won the Fantasy Football league, or the fact that Christina Aguilera butchered the lines to God Bless America. Instead my tears were tears of relief…relief that I had somehow survived another football season without killing my husband.

At the time, I was sure the worst was over. Yet now, as the Final Four tournament comes to a close, I realize it may never end. I am filled with false hope that there may be light at the end of the tunnel. That one day soon, I might have my husband back. But then I remember, the Yankees season is about to start, and with 162 games ahead of me…things are not looking up.

Here’s the thing…I used to enjoy sports. In college, I loved putting on my best Old Navy jeans, a Carolina Blue t-shirt, and heading to the game with two airplane bottles of Jack Daniels stuffed in my bra. I loved the feel of the stadium, the roar of the crowd, and the cheesy music the band always played. After college, and even when we were first married, I loved watching sports, drinking Bloody Mary’s, and spending time with friends. But now that has all changed and there are a few things my friends and I need to understand.

Let’s title this section “Is it Okay?”

1. Is it okay to for a man to sit on a couch for 6 hours on a beautiful, sunny day, and watch grown men chase a ball while his wife cleans, cooks (not saying I cook but just in case there are women that do) and cares for his children…just like she did the other 5 days that week?

2. Is it okay for the T.V. volume in your home to be SO LOUD that you think your children may need to wear earphones in order to protect their ears from permanent and lasting damage?

3. Is it okay for your husband to go into a deep depression and be in a bad mood all week simply because his favorite team lost or his favorite wide receiver got injured during a game? (Remember: Husband’s ankle is fine...guy he has never met who makes 20 million a year, simply has a sprain.)

4. Is it okay that I feel guilty for taking a 30-minute walk by myself on a Saturday but husband feels fine about leaving for 6 hours because “This game is really important.” (What does really important mean? And just a reminder, you don’t watch only the championship games, you watch them all.)

5. Is it okay for a husband, who is now in trouble for not being with the kids, to say the following…“Hey Honey, why don’t you take a break, relax a little. I am going to take the kids (ages 3 and 5) to a bar to watch the game. Don’t worry, it’s early in the day and people won’t be wasted yet.” (Nate Chittick, March 26th 2011 – UNC vs. Kentucky)

6. Is it okay for a man to turn on multiple T.V.s at 9am (living on the west coast is great, waking up to football analysis each morning…not so great) and say the reason he needs to watch is because it looks like he could win $300 in his Fantasy League? (Let’s be clear, he had a chance at winning $300 in the beginning...but after the $287 he spent in trades this season, his total possible earnings are more like $13).

7. Is it okay to watch an entire game which has been recorded, rewinded, and reviewed the whole time, and then WATCH ANOTHER FOUR HOURS OF SPORTS CENTER WHILE THEY DISCUSS THE EXACT SAME GAME YOU JUST WATCHED?

And the last and final question I have is the one I believe is most important:

8. Is it okay if I told my husband that The Bachelor was going to be on EVERY weekend from August to April. Each of those weekends, my friends were going to come over, drink cosmos, and squeal from 10 am to 7pm. I would tell him that each week is EXTREMELY important because you never know who is going to stay and who is going to go, it’s totally up in the air this year. Plus, we have a Fantasy Bachelor pool where each of us puts in $100 and bets on who we think will end up staying the longest (Obviously we also have a teaser worth over $500 if he actually proposes to your girl.) After each show, we will call, text, and Facebook each other about what happened on the show. There is so much to discuss...who kissed who, what they were wearing, and what crazy thing could happen next. Unfortunately when our girl doesn’t get picked or doesn’t get a date, we are not going to be able to have sex, clean, or do the laundry…only because we are terribly sad and depressed. Hopefully he will understand, because like his teams, we really love these girls and have been fans of theirs for a long time. Although we love our kids, we can’t really take care of them when the show is on because every date and rose ceremony is critical. If he wouldn’t mind taking the children outside or at least keeping them quiet so we could concentrate, it would be greatly appreciated. Lastly, when The Bachelor is over and he thinks I am done watching this craziness, I hope he remembers…The Bachelorette starts in 2 weeks and it will all begin again.

DISCLAIMER: (he makes me do this part) This blog is not JUST about my husband. There were other wives who had questions that needed answers. After reading this blog, my husband wants it to be clear, and I quote, "That other than taking the kids to the bar to watch our Alma Mater, where I graduated with honors, I will not accept responsibility for the character that has been painted. I love sports but I love my family more. Also, I would never make trades that cost me that much profit, I am a better business man than that." (Nate Chittick, April 4 2011 - Returning home at 11pm after watching the Final Four)