Monthly Archives: October 2012

Two important Halloween lessons

I was 24 the first time I felt like a real actual grown-up on Halloween.

My then-boyfriend (now husband) and I had just moved in to our first real actual house in a real actual neighborhood. As the end of October drew near, it occurred to me that we might be visited by real actual trick-or-treaters.

I had never hosted a trick-or-treat before. I’d always lived in apartment buildings where the corridors teemed with drunk twenty-somethings on Halloween rather than candy-seeking tots. So when the big day came around, I went to Costco and bought what seemed like a ludicrously large bag of candy…

…and emptied it into a bucket. Excited, we poured glasses of wine and waited.

With the first few rings of the doorbell, we jumped up from the couch, ran to the porch, and cooed at the cute little kids in their costumes before generously offering up multiple treats. After all, who wants to be that stingy house that only gives out one thing? We were young, we were cool, we were only, oh, a decade or so removed from the trick-or-treat experience ourselves! We did not want to be that house.

 Things were going great for about an hour.

And then we saw the buses.

As we soon learned, the next neighborhood over had a Halloween tradition that involved bussing its kids into our neighborhood (which was, admittedly, more affluent and probably safer) for trick-or-treating. Which would have been fine, except…

our candy situation. It was dire. Our generous payout policy had left us nearly bankrupt.

As the school buses disgorged hundreds (literally) of tiny pirates and zombies and fairy princesses, my husband carefully rationed our dwindling treat supply while I crashed around the kitchen, searching for anything that could be construed as an appropriate offering.

A half bag of Hershey’s Kisses and a box of granola bars bought us about five minutes. At which point we began to discuss how we were going to shut things down in a tactful manner. There was no ebb in the tide of children pouring on to our porch. It was inevitably going to be awkward.

Then I had an idea, and fetched our bucket of spare change.

Word spread quickly, and before long we had an actual line at our door.. As it turned out, these kids were way more excited about nickels and dimes than they were about Butterfingers and Snickers. Gasps and shrieks of excitement echoed around the porch as we doled out coins.

I don’t even know how much money was in the change bucket. Probably a decent amount. We’d been planning to eventually cash it in and spend it on something fun. Which, actually, we totally did.

And it was a small price to pay for two important lessons:

(1) There is nothing wrong with being that stingy house; and

(2) When it comes to Halloween Candy, always buy MORE. (There’s only upside!)

It’s been eight years since we lived in that first real actual grown-up house. We’re in a different neighborhood in a different state in a different time zone now, looking forward to another first trick-or-treat experience. I have no idea how many kids we will get tonight, but if a busload shows up, I am ready.

Happy Halloween!

Some of us are happier than others.

WTF is this? A straitjacket?

Lady, you have ruined my fourth afternoon nap.

We are never, ever, ever, ever getting back together.


What I have been doing for the last month

Yeah, I know. It’s been a while.

Here are some of the things I wish I could say I’ve been doing for the last month:

Gallivanting around a foreign country, eating and drinking fabulous local things and speaking the language flawlessly because a month is totally enough time to learn to do that! 

Unfortunately not. Except for a two-day trip to DC earlier this month, I’ve stayed firmly planted here in Atlanta. (Which actually isn’t a horrible thing, because weather-wise, October is clearly the best month of the year here.)


…bravely battling an invasion of zombies, and singlehandedly saving humanity from an all-out Zombie War. You’re welcome!

Can’t say this has happened yet…but considering that I am convinced there are bodies buried in my backyard and Halloween is rapidly approaching, it’s a real possibility.

And I wasn’t, like, serving my community either. Although I probably should have been. Certainly I could have been:

Helping people and shit.

Putting on to-do list: find volunteer opportunities.

Anyway, what have I been doing? Mostly, something that looks like this:

 …or if you want the whole picture…

Wallowing, moping, being a piece of crap. I don’t know what’s been with me lately but I’ve just been…I don’t even know. But one day I woke up and the very idea of the internet just seemed horrible.




So I didn’t. And I did some other stuff instead. I finished building this shelving unit that had been sitting, in the form of a pile of pine boards, in the garage for weeks. I read some books. I cooked. I ran a little, and lifted a little, and thought about how nice it was to do those things privately, without putting pressure on myself to share them with all of the internets.

It’s been three years since I started this blog. At that time, I’d just moved to New York City with my husband so that he could pursue a postgraduate fellowship there. I’d quit my consulting job; it was a job that I liked, but required a ton of travel and I wanted to actually experience NYC while we were there. I freelanced a little; I worked part-time for a start-up; I worked at a running store; I joined a competitive running club and ran hard for the first time in a few years. After a too-short twelve months, my husband’s fellowship ended and we moved on, to North Carolina. And then, a year later, Georgia.

In Georgia, we bought a house. The house had been vacant for a year, was littered with shoddy upgrades by the previous owner, and was generally kind of a shit-show. I spent the summer playing general contractor and interior decorator, which kept me surprisingly busy and was actually pretty fun.

But most of the house work is done now. (Well…we hope.)

I am officially bored. And I think that’s why I’ve been in such a funk lately.

Well, get a damn job already, I tell myself. Get on that whole grad school thing, I scold. Just do…something.

It’s a conversation I have with myself every day. And sometimes I get motivated. But then, inevitably, I get, like…stuck. And I make no progress.

So, I need to work on that.

I hope you all can hold me accountable?

Because I also need to work on this tendency of mine to just avoid. And a prime example of that is my avoiding all of you when I started feeling all shitty.

TL;DR: I didn’t stop posting because I was doing something exotic, heroic, or humanitarian.  I just felt like crap and said FUCK THE INTERNETS for a while. Which is fine, but let’s be honest: by and large, my friends live in my computer. This is a place I need and want to be. So I’m back.

This is not going as planned

When August turned to September, I was all set to increase my mileage. November Half Marathon! 40 and 50 mile weeks! OMG!

That hasn’t happened.

I seem to be stuck at 20-something miles a week. Sure, there are reasons: busy weekends, a streak of poor sleep, those pesky “funjuries.”  But at the end of the day, if I wanted to run more, I would have. Because even with those minor setbacks, I certainly could have.

Here was two weeks ago (which I never posted because look how much it, with the exception of that track workout, sucks):

Partying it up at a music festival was more fun than going running.

Last week:

After five days off, my shins were feeling better (no more pain walking around) so I tried an easy run. That went well, so I jumped into a 10-miler with my running group on Saturday. Although it was sucky to get out of bed in the dark (and I almost bailed), I was so glad I went.

Looking back, it wasn’t like it was a horrible week of working out. It’s not like I spent the week on the couch or something. I just have a hard time getting over the fact that I only ran 21 miles.

For the last few years, my “low” weeks have generally been around 40 – not 20 – miles. After my last marathon last April, I deliberately decreased my running for a few months. 20 miles a week (along with lots of cross training and strength training) became the new normal, which was fine.

But I assumed it would feel easy and natural to bring the mileage back up once fall hit. For whatever reason, it hasn’t.

I’m not really worried about my short term plans. The Atlanta Half Marathon is still 8 weeks away, and although I want to run hard, I’ve never had my sights on a PR there. The course is hilly and, realistically, I’m NOT going to be drinking wine while prepping Thanksgiving goodies the night before? Unlikely. I’m running it because it’s supposed to be a fun race and to give myself something to focus on this fall.

And also to motivate myself to build up my base so I’m in a good spot going in to spring marathon training.

THAT is what I’m more worried about with this whole, “Oh, I’m running 25 miles a week but I feel like I’m in good shape and it’s fiiiiiiiiiine….” attitude.

An attitude adjustment will be needed. At some point. I’m not going to force it quite yet though. I’m still hoping it will happen on its own, especially as it starts to actually feel like fall. (We are still having highs in the 80s down here.)

Blah. Running is hard and all of that.

Anyway, since this post has been nothing but me whining about my lack of motivation, I’ll leave you with a picture of  my newest subcontractor:

Our concrete patching project is currently on hold due to rain. Sub is napping on a fleecy blanket. I hope she doesn’t think she’s getting paid for today.