Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The Time Machine in the Garage

 Greetings and happy Spring! It's finally arrived and with it came beautiful flowers and warmer (relatively) weather. I can't wait to be able to bike and play tennis outside. I'm sure you are all feeling the same. This winter certainly seemed longer for fairly logical reasons, but it's over. 

On top of that we have many of  our loved ones fully vaccinated and many of us close behind. I get my first shot on Thursday and can't wait. Will there be a happy dance, like crazy, bored Barb? Well I guess you will all have to wait and see.

The Time Machine

Some of you probably never met my ex-husband. This year marks 10 years since our divorce and I'm happy and relieved to say we now have a very friendly, cordial relationship. It's been a very long road but it feels very good to be in a better place with him. Anger requires a tremendous amount of energy. Lots of history--both good and bad--between us so it's nice that it is now easier to remember the good over the bad. 

My ex was a rocket scientist. Degree in Physics, masters degrees in Nuclear Engineering and Physics. He  works at NASA. In the early 2000s, we started our own business; he was the actual worker and I did the payroll taxes, and other back-office type of tasks. 

I must say he had a truly brilliant mind, but often the more mundane aspects of life did often elude him. I'm sure you all know examples of this type of person. Book smart, but maybe street dumb. 

As part of this NASA contract, he was designing and building a full cell ultracapacitor system. What kind you ask? Specifically, a  protron-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell prototype. Oh, you didn't know I was fluent in nerd? Well, I am. I actually used to be the editor of a fuel cell magazine, but I'm digressing per usual. I believe it was intended for use in deep space, maybe Mars. 

As part of the system, "we" (the company) leased the actual fuel cell from some company in Italy for some ungodly amount. What he was being paid to do was the systems integration of all the various components; kind of the secret sauce. I think the fuel cell costed around $80K. No company would insure us, but the initial conversations with agents were quite comical..."I'm sorry, fuel cell what? Can you spell that?" Never mind. We finally had to pay another astronomical premium to get Lloyds of London to insure it. 

After it was shipped, it required a month to clear it through customs. Once it finally arrived and he began the work of integrating it with the rest of the system in the NASA lab. Shorty after that, he called me at work. 

"Hey honey, there was a little issue in the lab. Apparently I had not filed the proper safety paperwork (I tried to feign shock at this news) so I got kicked off the lab." 

My head began to spin. 

ME: "Were you fired? Wait, they can't fire you. And, why is it so loud? I can barely hear you. Where are you?"

HIM: "The U-Haul I rented has no AC so the windows are down."

I was almost afraid to ask the next question. 

ME: "Why are you in a U-Haul?"

HIM: "I told you. I didn't have the proper paperwork to run it in the lab so I had to get the fuel cell ultracapictor out of there."

Next dreaded question: 

ME: "Where in the hell are you taking it?" 

HIM: "HOME!" 


So the rocket scientist decided that our garage is now the perfect place to house the fuel cell ultracapitor. The exactly same garage that our kids and their motley crew of friends play in, ride their bikes through, etc. The garage where we once parked our cars. Same garage. 

Now our kids, 6 and 8 at the time, must attempt to not only avoid running into this massive refrigerator-sized thing but also steer clear of the five-foot-tall tank of hydrogen that powered it that he just rolled next to the side of the garage.

One by one neighbors strolled over to inquire. Some asked if it a Time Machine, others feared it was some sort of bomb or something and just stayed clear. No one seemed convinced it was even marginally safe to have this thing in the garage. It was perfectly safe, per Paul...if he had the garage door open when he was running it, although even NASA had questioned that. 

Eventually it broke. Why? Really a head scratcher considering the perfectly pristine lab conditions. Sure, there might have been a kid or two who ran into it with their bikes. Did a little dust or dirt somehow blow into the garage and contaminate its not-so-sterile operating environment? We will never know for sure. 

So he did what he had to do. He took the fuel cell down to the local UPS to have it shipped back to Italy. He was greeted with great enthusiasm by Betsy, who immediately asked how she could help him.  He did notice she had "Trainee" on her badge, but with somewhat blind optimism, he forged on and explained his situation.

"I need to mail this PEM fuel cell back to Italy." 

Sounded simple enough. "No problem! I can do that," Betsy said. "Will you require insurance and proof of delivery?"

That's when things got sticky and Betsy went from being very confident in her ability to help him to quite grave and seemingly a little nervous as she stared down it. He explained it was worth $80,000 and it also had to clear customs, which was tricky because most customs agents have absolutely no idea what a fuel cell is. Perhaps we should have just called it a time machine.

Stuttering she manages to spit out: "Perhaps I should get my manager." And, that was the last he heard or saw of Betsy. 

I believe it eventually got back to Italy. The best news is the Time Machine was leaving my garage! The photo above is Paul on the phone explaining that it broke. 

The Parent Test

Quick love life update. I'm happy to report that Jon has overcome yet another relationship hurdle: meeting the parents. I knew my mom would like him, as their personalities are quite similar, but Dad has always been a harder sell. Fortunately he won him over as well. 



Sunday he played golf with mom. For those of you who don't know my mom. She's a pint-sized dynamo with a hell of a golf game (7 holes in one). Happy to report he held his own with the sassy senior and they clearly enjoyed playing together. The golfers in the family are happy to have another one in the group. 

Big love to you all. Hope this finds you all well. Until next time,

Barb

Miss any of my blogs? You can catch up using the links below. Happy Reading!!

It's About DamnTime: Barb's First Blog

6 Tips for Working from Home

Celebrating Love Amid Dark Days

Derelict Driving and My 15 Minutes of Fame

Pandemic Family Craziness

Are We Living Through the Greatest Depression?

Why is Mother's Day a Day and Not a Week?

No-Speed Naveed and the Joys of Urban Transport

Shapewear and The Costs of Being Female

Online Dating in Your 50s 

Golf, the Cruel Mistress of Summer

From Darkness Comes Light

2021: A New Year, a New Outlook

The Barbuda Triangle


Sunday, February 7, 2021

The Barb-buda Triangle

Greetings all fellow survivalists! Still hanging in there, I see. Vibe, as predicted, seems much improved. Sounds like vaccines are coming; my parents get their first one this week so assuming that our most-at-risk loved ones will soon have at least some protection from this viral beast. That is good news indeed. 

It sounds like it will be April-May for the rest of us in the general population (not at greater risk) so as promised, the end is finally and blessedly in sight. I want my get-out-of-jail card as soon as humanly possible, and I'm sure I'm not alone. 

These idiots who refuse to get a vaccine...good riddance. More for the rest of us. My theory is these morons will get weeded out; a thinning of the herd perhaps was in order. Darwin's theory playing out. In this case, the weak might survive but the dummies won't. Sorry if this offends anyone, but I have no sympathy or compassion for such stupidity. 


Keeping the lawn maintained        

Ok, so I'll probably be tossing in more than my fair share of euphemisms in this blog because the words I want to use might offend or embarrass some...and when I mean "some" I mean my mom. 

Many of you are aware that I was married for 21 years. I met my ex-husband when I was 19, married him at 23 and divorced at 46. So safe to say, things in the dating world changed a little during these two and a half decades. 

After my divorce, my sister and I were on vacation somewhere and as I was undressing my sister said to me, "You know Barb, you're going to have to do something about that bush. Women don't really have pubic hair anymore." What? 

I thought she was kidding me at first, but as I starting polling my girlfriends, many confirmed this horrific fact. One friend, (hey, Laura), was an ultrasound technician, and she said even pregnant woman come for their scans sans hair. I'm not even sure this part of the southern hemisphere was visible to me while I was pregnant. Hell, putting socks on was a chore. 

Initially I just tried to fil in the many blanks, like why? I'm going to assume the origins of this particular trend was porn. That or someoneprobably a hooker or stripperdecided this was a thing. Didn't French prostitutes invent pantyhose? Another bane to female existence. So then men jumped on board, and then women adopted the herd mentality and followed suit? I don't know the answer but could we have not all voted on this first? I mean because I think I could have made a pretty compelling argument against this rather drastic shift in social norms.

Regardless I was very enthusiastic about re-entering the dating world, and I certainly wanted my "den" to be warm, inviting and not at all hostile so I began to ponder my options. Googled and read just enough about the process of getting a bikini wax to nix that as an option right off the bat. Hot wax and my coochie shall never meet.



Side note: when I have envisioned how the movie about my life (blog > book > movie) would start, this is the opening scene:

I'm sitting in one of the procedure rooms of the laser hair removal center, pretty much buck-naked, wearing just a paper napkin-like panty that is supposed to be salvaging my modesty and is failing miserably. 

A stern-looking woman enters. My hand shakes as I hand her my Groupon voucher. She glances at it and then says rather dismissively, "Well this is just for one appointment; the bikini area often requires multiple visits." She then attempts to up-sell me to the "Full Monty" package (my words) for just another $1,500. Considering my initial buy-in to this adventure was only $100, I balked.

I'm so close to just bolting at this point, but considering my rather hefty investment and my outfit, or lack there of, I decide to hold my ground. This woman, who I call "the closer," then left and laser-weielding Broomhilda came in. I told her my conundrum, hoping for a little sympathy. She said that she could go higher on the setting, which might help, and then asked casually about my tolerance for pain. I said I was pretty tough, and then immediately regretted my decision and started to sweat profusely. 

Then, as she left the room, perhaps to get more gas for the laser, she asked (in an eastern European accent), "Are your Greek?" I quickly said no, hoping desperately that it was the right answer. She nodded, seeming to indicate this was welcome news. 

Panic was definitely starting to set in and the image of me running through the waiting room partially naked did flash in my mind. Always good to have a mental escape plan at the ready though.

B (we're friends now) asks what style I wanted. What style? I just stared at her. I had no idea what style I wanted. I managed to sputter out, "What are the girls getting these days?" fully realizing I'm now sounding like I'm 80. God help me. She starts listing a few, a landing strip, which sounded a bit like a Hitler mustache but on the perpendicular.  She mentioned a few others. I panicked and chose the only geometric shape I recognized: the triangle (hence the title).  

I won't lie. It was painful, and the burning smell did little to calm my nerves, but Broomhilda didn't appear to be concerned. Overall not a pleasant experience. And, the hair, of course, grew back. How can I be expected to tend my lady garden on my own? With no idea how to maintain my newly coiffed down-there hairdo, I made the executive decision that since I don't make a living as either a stripper or a hooker, permanent hair removal really wasn't necessary. 


And, due to the aforementioned fear of waxing, I turned to shaving, but let's face it: shaving is a royal pain in the ass, and the hair grows back and as it does, it itches like hell.  It's like chasing your tail. Constant maintenance. 

Fortunately I have been able to negotiate with most guys I've had longer-term relationships on the topic of lawn maintenance, and were able to come to a mutual agreement. Keep it trimmed, everyone's happy. And, on the topic of "manscaping," I think only swimmers and gay men (and only if that's their thing) should be subjected to hair removal. I mean unless it's on their backs. Ew. 

Ok, well, I'm glad I got that off my chest...or well you know.

Ciao for now,

Barb 

Miss any of my blogs? Catch up by clicking on the links below.

It's About DamnTime: Barb's First Blog

6 Tips for Working from Home

Celebrating Love Amid Dark Days

Derelict Driving and My 15 Minutes of Fame

Pandemic Family Craziness

Are We Living Through the Greatest Depression?

Why is Mother's Day a Day and Not a Week?

No-Speed Naveed and the Joys of Urban Transport

Shapewear and The Costs of Being Female

Online Dating in Your 50s 

Golf, the Cruel Mistress of Summer

From Darkness Comes Light

2021: A New Year, a New Outlook




Sunday, January 24, 2021

2021: A New Year, a New Outlook

Hello all, and welcome to 2021. Sure, it didn't get off to the greatest start with the whole attempted coup, but I have to say that things are looking up. Yes, I am about to blow some sunshine up all of your respective asses, so if you are not in the mood for some positivity, stop reading now.

So what is there to be so happy about, you ask? So many things, and thanks for asking. For one, it's not 2020 so there's literally one direction to go in and that is up. Shaky start aside, having a new administration in the White House has gone a long way to improve my mood and overall positive outlook for the rest of the year. I do believe that the entire world is taking a collective sigh of relief. 

I don't want to get overly political, but let's just say that now that we have officially flushed the orange turd, life will be better. My heart won't sink every time I hear the "Special News Announcements" on TV and I no longer feel compelled to watch the nightly news for fear of what he's done.  

A COVID vaccine is now in play, so an end to all this madness is in sight. Life will return to normal or whatever version of "normal" is possible now. I'm just hoping concerts, travel and hugging come back as I miss them all very much. I miss seeing my parents too so hoping the state of Missouri can get this shit together sooner, than later. Hopefully having a better federal plan will trickle down. Lots of "hopes" but all the signs are showing that there are reasons to be hopeful. 


Love Life Update

Yes, still dating Jon and things are still going well. We have successfully traveled together, a big milestone.  Also happy to report that I believe we are finally getting out of the infatuation phase. You know that early part when you are blind to any personality faults? I don't trust relationships until you get to this point. You can't see the forest for the trees during this intense initial period. My last several relationships died quietly, and in some cases not as quietly, once this phase fizzled out. So the fact that I  can clearly now see all his various quirks that will drive me crazy is a good thing.


Don't get me wrong. I love Jon, but he's definitely more of a "fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants" type than I am. And, time is a bit more nebulous to him. I'm a planner and he thrives on spontaneity. He's leaves my place about half the time with something left behind. The inside of his car looks like he might actually live in it, which came in handy on our second date when Bowie jumped up on the coach and stuck his tongue in his ear just as he was taking his first sip of red wine. Yep, he had a change of clothes in his car! 

Our parenting styles could not be more different. And, he has admitted that he often misses flights, possibly a consequence of the whole time vagueness thing. No worries, though. If he travels with me, he won't. Just needs that nudge. Someone to keep him on task as he gets distracted fairly easily. 

The Travel Challenge

I love to travel so being a good traveler is of paramount importance. This is true of both boyfriends and friends. You often don't see someone's true personality emerge until some travel disaster strikes, or in some cases, minor inconveniences can have the same effect. 

My last boyfriend, Dave, sadly did not weather the travel challenge. We were checking in for flight last summer, and since he had bought the cheapest possible ticket, the agent had to come and check to make sure his carry-on was an appropriate size before he could get his boarding pass. This fact really irritated him and the fact that there didn't appear any employees were around only contributed to his increasing sour mood. 

In an attempt to avoid a meltdown, I went over to the bag check counter and inquired (politely) if someone was working the kiosks. One yes, he said, he'll be right back. I conveyed this to Dave who immediately glared at the bag check guy and from across the room screamed, "What are you doing? Why don't you come help me?" Dear LORD!!! Oh...OK, you are one of those people?!? I did not know this. 

A mile-long security line did nothing to improve his mood. So I did what I had to do. I left his sulking ass in line, went over to the TSA Pre-check line, where I breezed through security, and was halfway through my glass of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc before his grumpy ass showed up at the gate. Sadly this was his swan song. RIP Dave. 

The Hater's Guide to Yoga

Dear Lord, there's a yoga update? Stop rolling your eyes. After 128 yoga classes, I still can't really touch my toes but I can go far enough to fool others, similar to doing the splits during cheerleading tryouts. No way that ever happened, but apparently no one was the wiser. Besides my body remaining stedfast in its commitment to remain unfolded, flexibility in other areas of my body are much improved.

I can't say I hate yoga anymore as it has done a lot to quiet my mind, improve my posture and increase my flexibility. All things I needed to work on, especially during our shit-ass 2020. I actually look forward to doing it now, but it didn't start out that way. I definitely count myself among the cynics when it came to yoga. 

I tried it many years ago with a much-younger ex-boyfriend (don't worry, girls; that blog is coming), but I never really bought in. I had always thought that it wasn't real exercise unless you are sweating and there was some level of intensity. And, that whole meditation part at the end, Savasana, would just send my brain spinning. I would be laying there thinking of all the things I should be doing, mentally compiling my to-do list. 

The whole breathing thing I didn't get either. I found it rather insulting that a behavior I've always thought of as being fairly involuntary, like your heart beating, would need to be practiced. What? This aspect of yoga has also taken time, but I am now understanding the reasoning behind it. I can't explain it, and I'm not here to sell you all on yoga, but it does help somehow. I can't say I have mastered meditation, but I'm open to it. Old dog, new trick. 

I still yell frequently at my computer during classes, sometimes finding these Peleton instructors hella-annoying. "Hold this very difficult posture while I acknowledge everyone's birthdays and anniversaries." How about you don't? Screw you, Anna Greenburg and your freak-show flexibility! Ok, so I might not have perfected a true Zen state but by the end of class, I feel better than when I started.

As you can see the dogs have finally stopped invading my personal space during yoga. Probably finally got tired of getting hit with a yoga block. 

Ok, I'll sign off as this is getting a big long-winded. So to summarize, 2021, is going to be a better year for us all. Trump is gone. A vaccine is coming. And, the days are getting longer. Soon spring and warm weather will emerge and things will look very different. So buckle down, folks. This crazy ride is almost over and we got this!


Namaste, bitches,

Barb

Miss any of my blogs? Catch up by clicking on the links below.

It's About DamnTime: Barb's First Blog

6 Tips for Working from Home

Celebrating Love Amid Dark Days

Derelict Driving and My 15 Minutes of Fame

Pandemic Family Craziness

Are We Living Through the Greatest Depression?

Why is Mother's Day a Day and Not a Week?

No-Speed Naveed and the Joys of Urban Transport

Shapewear and The Costs of Being Female

Online Dating in Your 50s 

Golf, the Cruel Mistress of Summer

From Darkness Comes Light




Sunday, November 15, 2020

New Beginnings: From Darkness Comes Light

Hello everyone. Yes, I'm back again, like a bad penny. Weather has sadly turned the seasonal corner (no more outdoor tennis or bike riding) and Lori Lightfoot, our COVID-fighting superhero of a mayor, has asked us to stay at home to hopefully stem the rising tide of virus infections. Silver lining: a blog from Barb. 

It's official: I'm off the market

So, I've met a boy. Now, those who know me know this isn't particularly newsworthy so let me rephrase: I have met THE ONE. I know many of you are thinking, what? Wasn't this crazy women just sifting through giant mounds of potential dates in her last blog? Answer: yes! But I found him. A great one, and I am officially off the market!

His name is Jon and while we've only been dating for a few months, he checks all the boxes. He skis, plays tennis, loves music, is funny and a travel bum. We have a ton in common. Both of our fathers were engineers who moved us frequently as kids, both spent our formative years in New England. The first time he told me he loved me, I stammered and told him to "drive safe." Ok, so I'm a bit out of practice but finding my footing.

Jon serenading me in the backyard.

Yes, some of you are thinking it's way too soon to make such a bold proclamation. It's akin to announcing you're pregnant moments after conception.  Perhaps I am a bit nutty; I doubt anyone who really knows me would question that is a possibility. But somehow I kind of know he's a keeper. 

Now is there a possibility I will writing a blog next month entitled, "6 Reasons Why He Wasn't the One?" Well, sure, but I will treasure it as long as it lasts. He might read this blog and immediately change his name and enter the witness protection program. Who knows? But again, I will enjoy it because life is short and when you find love, you hold on to it.

It also feels great to not be on the various dating apps as I was definitely suffering from Bumble fatigue. Dating is fun but exhausting and let's face it: at this age mentally trying to keep track of all the names was damn near impossible and quite stressful. I did my best to keep everyone straight but all too often I would hear, "Nope, that must be another guy." Cringe. "Are you sure your Mom doesn't live in Arizona?" 

I had a few tricks. One night Laura walked by my phone on the kitchen counter and nearly died laughing, "Mom, someone named "other Frank" just texted you." I have another guy saved in my phone as "Brian, not Joe." Don't ask. You gotta do what you gotta do. Many times I've been en route to a date and couldn't remember what his name was. 

The Online Dating Commandments

After five years and quite literally 300+ dates,  I am a literal treasure trove of dating tips so I thought I would share some now that I can say I have achieved success. No way, I'm walking off the battlefield of online dating without sharing some hard-fought, best practices to those brave souls I leave behind. Semper Fi or whatever the Marines say. Can't abandon them without some departing advice so please pass this blog along to any friends, especially women, who are still treading water in the often turbulent waters of online dating. 

Let's start with a few common words and terms you will see on profiles that might need translating.

Ethically non-monogamous = I cheat
Open marriage = I cheat on my wife
School of Hard Knocks = high school graduate
Drink frequently = alcoholic
Entrepreneur = 70% of time this means unemployed
Athletic Build = played football in high school


Another incredibly common sighting is men's profiles that state their age, but the first line of the profile is "Really 56, Bumble won't let me change." So let me translate this one: I am 56 but I want to date women at least a decade younger so I lied and set up my profile to say I am 42 and now I can't change it. This one is so common that I can't even say don't date these guys. Just proceed with an abundance of caution because you know out of the gate, they are A: a liar and B: someone who needs a younger woman to feel better about their old-ass self. 

Another one I learned the hard way: if a guy asks you to communicate through a messaging app of any kind (WhatsApp, WeChat, etc.), he's married. Period. Hard stop. Move on. 

Set the Rules and Stand by Them

This is important. I have dating rules in place and I never waver from them. Rules work multiple ways. For example, I never travel for first dates. We will meet in my neighborhood or it's not going to happen...period. Why? Well, for one I feel it lessens my chance of being murdered, dismembered and stored in large trash bags in someone's garage. I think my Mom saw this on TV once, so I made this promise to her early in the game. 

The secondary benefit of this I discovered is that it serves as an excellent "asshole" filter. If a dude puts up any kind of fuss about this, or proposes meeting halfway, he's been snared by the filter and boom, there's one less dick to deal with, literally and figuratively.

Second, drinks only on the first date. This is one I learned the hard way. Sure a free dinner is nice but if you are like me, you get a pretty good sense immediately if there's any type of connection with someone. If you don't feel it, then your inner self will want to flee. Quite badly. Kind of a fright-or-flight instinct kicks in. Commit to a meal and there's an hour (if you are lucky) of your life you won't be getting back. But a cup of coffee or a glass of wine can be consumed much faster and you're on your way. No harm, no foul. 

Third, do not give anyone your phone number until after you meet. This is another one I have made the mistake of doing before. As a result, I quite literally have hundreds of "blocked"numbers on my phone. The only downside is when I'm heading to a date and don't remember their name. 

Last one: don't give him a second chance to prove he's not interested. Again, I have broken this rule, always to my regret. Here's a common scenario: You go out on a date and it's fun, but then you don't hear anything from them. I dated someone this summer who fell into this category. Every date was fun and we both seemed to have a good time, but then crickets. Being me, of course, I refused to be ignored and wanted to know what happened. His response: I'm just not really into dating right now. As Ariana Grande says, "Thank U. Next."

Here's the thing: I'm a fucking catch and I know that. But, I was chasing. Big mistake. Don't chase men. They are biologically built to be the pursuer. If they really like you, they will call or text.  If they don't, move on. 

Talking directly to all of you ladies still in the hunt: You are great. Hard stop. You are worth being pursued. Period. I saw this meme on Instagram the other day and boy it really nails it. Enough said. 



Silver lining for 2020

Well, one of the silver linings of this shit show of a year is that we are finally riding ourselves of Donnie. The "Orange Turd" will be gone. The National Guard might have to drag his fat ass out of the White House, but his reign of terror will soon be over. 

Like him or not, Joe Biden is a good man who will do the right thing. He will surround himself with smart people who he will listen to and then he will govern. He might even be a boring president because he will most likely act...well presidential. I, for one, am looking forward to it. 

I certainly hope that things don't worsen before they improve but I think we all need to prepare for a tough end of year with this stupid virus. A vaccine is not a pipe dream though. It's real and it's coming so keep the faith everyone!

Ok, this is getting long so I'll wrap it up. I hope you are all staying safe and sane. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Barb

Miss any of my blogs? Catch up by clicking on the links below.

It's About DamnTime: Barb's First Blog

6 Tips for Working from Home

Celebrating Love Amid Dark Days

Derelict Driving and My 15 Minutes of Fame

Pandemic Family Craziness

Are We Living Through the Greatest Depression?

Why is Mother's Day a Day and Not a Week?

No-Speed Naveed and the Joys of Urban Transport

Shapewear and The Costs of Being Female

Online Dating in Your 50s 

Golf, the Cruel Mistress of Summer








    

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Golf, the Cruel Mistress of Summer, and other Dating Antics

Well, hello again. I'm back. I took a little break from blogging to actually have some fun, played a lot of tennis, conquered my fear of city bike riding, did a little traveling, and jumped back into the dating pool with unbridled enthusiasm. Surely, I'm not the only person longing for a connection after a long period of quarantine and social distancing. I really thought there would be a plethora of men ready to seek a real relationship with "cuffing" season (Google it Mom, it's not about S&M) right around corner and all. I live in a huge city with millions of men, so easy pickings, right? 

As a fan of analogies, I'll offer this one. Remember shopping at malls (hardly right?) and you would see stores, like the Limited, with end-of-season sales with huge bins filled with giant mounds of clothes, all of which were $5? 

I approach the dating pool with the same mixture of child-like enthusiasm and skepticism, filled with the excitement of possibly scoring a treasure and ready to dig in.  A seemingly never-ending supply, but you really have to dig, toss aside the ones that have been damaged by excessive try-ons and the ones that are just awful and in their rightful place. 

Sadly there's often a reason these itemsor in this case menhave found there way into the clearance  bin. Sure you're excited at the prospect, but then as you pilfer through the possibilities, often the reward often isn't worth the search. Take a look at some of the $5 sale items that have popped up in my dating bin. I know, lucky me. Not sure what message either Rob is sending, and Sam! I mean if it weren't for the toilet seat being up...and the fact that he appears to be wearing an adult diaper...or that he's obviously at the Airport Marriott...start that fire! Such a shame.




Ok, but back to my unbridled enthusiasm. Early in the summer, I met a guy, Drew, who seemed to have real potential. Checked all the boxes (my age, successful, older kids, active, smart, etc.) and owns a ski-in/out house in Mammoth Mountain, CA. Hard stop. Ok, so you have all heard of beer goggles, right? Well, the ski house has the exact same effect. I am now incapable of seeing this man's flaws. Even my normally optimistic mom said he sounded too good to be true. 


Sure there were red flags. He asked twice if I would pick him up at the airport. I assumed he was joking. When he finally asked me on a date, it was from the 7th hole and it was for dinner and drinks at the club that night with two other couples. Huh?

I politely declined that invite, but was still hopeful, even though I was now nearly blinded by my sunny, damned optimism and those stupid "ski house" goggles. Fortunately that all ended—and my full eyesight and reason magically restoredwhen his true personality was finally revealed. Please take a moment to read his text to me the day we were finally going to meet.


First of all, can we all just feign shock that Drew hasn't dated much since 2012? Drew doesn't do reservations (because I imagine he refers to himself in 3rd person). Or dates on the weekend, unless you're willing to haul your ass 40 miles out to the burbs and be his golf widow. WTF?? Wow. 

It took me a few hours to even generate some type of response; I was quite literally stunned. Ultimately I was way too nice. Probably should have fired off my initial response, which was....let's just say more colorful. I told him first off, it might have been a good idea to attempt to woe me a bit more before dropping that honesty bomb on me. And, that I had spent the last 20 years living in a golf course community and while I'm not opposed to hanging out at a country club, I moved to the city to enjoy all it has to offer and wished him luck in his search for the perfect golf widow. No response, but he did immediately "unmatch" with me on the dating app so Drew does at least keep it classy. 

You would have thought I had learned my lesson with Drew, the narcissistic golfer, but no. Started dating another golfer, the Jeff Bridges look-alike, but much the same pattern emerged. Don't want to go out on Friday night because early tee time Saturday and then golfs Saturday and Sunday all day.  I don't want to spend a Thursday drinking wine at the driving range. Sorry, guys. Sadly, golfing days are about to become few and far between so hopefully these boys enjoy cuddling up with their drivers. I'm out!

Fortunately I've managed to wrangle a few items out of that giant bin, some worth wearing for a bit. We'll see. I'll certainly keep you all posted as my love life is a constantly evolving subject. 

Today the sun has reemerged and the courts are calling but need to walk the boys first. I'll keep this blog short but will try and keep a more regular cadence with my blogging now that colder weather heads our way and this stupid virus seems to be along for the ride.

Hang in there everyone. I'll try and provide a few chuckles from time to time, even if it's at the expense of my rather humorous love life.

Namaste,

Barb





Sunday, June 21, 2020

Are We Living Through the Greatest Depression?

Hello all. As a result of improved weather, open tennis courts, and now restaurant patios open, you can see that my passion for blogging has waned slightly. I opened up my overview on the Peleton app recently and it became obvious that my commitment to working out is only equal to my commitment to eating out. Fortunately, I'm back playing tennis though so hopefully I'll have no backslide and will do yogalike bloggingwhen times allows.

Is this the big one?

I always think of Redd Foxx clutching his heart and faking a heart attack in "Sanford and Son" when I say that, but I digress. I've been thinking a lot lately about this period of time we are all going through. News seems to indicate that the virus is still around as evidenced by the uptick in cases globally.

That reality has made me wonder: Will we all brag one day to the younger generation that we lived through the "Greatest Depression?" Am I one day going to do something to embarrass my grandkids—hoarding clorox wipes and toilet paper perhapsbut then someone will pipe in, "It's just because Grandma lived through the Greatest Depression?"

Why the greatest? Well, they didn't have a pandemic at the same time, right? I don't know about you, but when I think of the Great Depression, I envision everyone living in black and white and seeming quite grim.  I would also imagine that during this time, kids definitely walked to school uphillboth ways.

I did a little research and 15 million people (20% of the population at the time) lost their jobs during the Great Depression, which started after the 1929 collapse of the stock market. Half of the nation's banks failed. It followed a robust period during which the U.S. economy boomed, not unlike what we have experienced over the last several years.

Let's face it; the stats today are in some ways equally grim. As of late May, a staggering 40 million Americans have applied for unemployment, nearly 23% of the population. Add to these rather unfortunate stats is the fact that we also have a a global pandemic going on, social unrest as a result of racial discrimination and police harassment, and then there's Trump...what's next? Locust? I heard something about Killer Hornets. Are they still coming? Will all time prior to this period be considered the "good old days?"

My intention is not to make light of what we are all going through. It's thoroughly sucks, but I still have more to be thankful for than to complain about and I would imagine many of you do too. We can all still laugh and be happy, and I am going to imagine that Americans back during the Great Depression probably smiled and laughed too. Babies were born. Flowers bloomed just like they did the previous spring. Life will go on and so will we all. Wearing masks a bit longer than we would all like. Not traveling as much as we all want to, but this too shall pass.



For all the Pappa Bears

I would be remiss not to give a shout-out to the dads today. I hope you are all having great days, doing something fun. Those of you who continue to work from home with wives and kids at home, you are are all warriors. Well done.

I love my dad and wish I could be with him today to celebrate this special day.  My relationship with my dad has come a long way, and has definitely weathered some difficult periods. As a teenager, I can honestly say I did not like him, and I'm fairly certain the feeling was mutual. How was I to know he had auditioned and won the role of "bad cop" of the parental unit? His job, therefore, was to say no, and let me say he really excelled at it.

When I went to college, I basically felt as if I had mysteriously morphed into an adult and assumed I would be treated as such when I returned home. Well, apparently my dad did NOT get that memo. I came home and the house rules were the same. What?  A curfew? What??? This basic misunderstanding led to some epic battles, most of which ended badly.


In his defense, I was the bad seed in the family so we were predestined for conflict. My super smart siblings hardly ever got in trouble. I was the one who did all the bad things in high school, and often got caught in the act of doing them. But not all of the time. Just as I hate when my own kids regal me with stories of some of the shenanigans they got away with when they were in high school, I going to proclaim that ignorance is bliss on this topic.

It really wasn't until I had children of my own that I started to understand his parenting style. There is no democracy when it comes to raising them. I'm sure it secretly made him smile seeing me deal with my own when they were in their eye-rolling, sneaky-as-shit teenaged years. Turns out, he wasn't such a bad guy after all. In fact, he's a pretty amazing guy who adores my mom, his dog and his children and grandchildren.

As an adult, I have relied on his sage advice many times. The man has experienced a lot in his life, and his ability to overcome challenges through hard work, sheer will and complete determination have and will continue to inspire me. The man is quite simply true grit personified.

So thanks, Dad. Thanks for not killing me in high school when I know you pondered it. Our journey together has not always been easy but I'm so happy we are where we are now today. I hope you are enjoying your special day and I miss you.

Love,

"Bad Seed" Barbie





Sunday, May 31, 2020

"No Speed" Naveed and the Joys of Urban Transport

Greetings again, fellow survivalists! I'm back. Last weekend it was nice out so I will admit that I played a lot and wrote not a word. I hope you all have survived the last week despite this. I'm sure it touch and go, but I'm back! Still locked down here in Chicago, but still lawlessly disregarding the "no tennis" policy and getting out and hitting balls with my friend and co-conspirator, who I just found out tested positive for the antibodies for COVID.

Interestingly enough, one of the other women I've been hanging out with in my building during the quarantine also tested positive for the antibodies so that's good news. Courts opening officially soon so that makes me very happy! Weather has been lovely. Finally got my pantry organized (see below). No, Mom, that's not really cocaine! Just me being a smartass.

I'm also damn close to touching my toes so that yoga shit must really be working! When I do, there will be video evidence. Those are my silver linings for the week. What are yours? Not easy lifting identifying the positive this week.



Appears the world is going to hell in a hand basket. City-wide curfew because of all the looting and violence overnight is now in place. Makes me sick and so mad to think that greedy opportunists have destroyed what should have been a powerful message delivered through peaceful protest. So today we all have to dig a bit deeper for those "glass half full" thoughts. They are always there though.

The logistics of moving about in the city

As I have mentioned before, one of the things I dislike most about living in the city is just the required logistics of moving from place to place. If you live in a city, you spend an inordinate amount of time and money just moving your own ass around. Cabs, parking tickets, traffic at all times of day and night, red light cameras, and of course, your city sticker   all part of the fun and expense of driving in the city.

We touched on my parallel parking phobia and my road rage-fueled potty mouth in a previous blog. City drivers really are the worst (and yes, I'm now including myself in this group). Driving in the cities isn't about being nice, it's about survival. It's war out there and blinkers are a sign of weakness.

The bottom line is that getting around any big city is a grind. It requires real effort. Public transportation is cheap and efficient, but sketchy at certain times of the night so I typically defer to ride sharing, either Uber or Lyft.

@courtesy of BoredPanda.


When I first moved here, I asked my brother-in-law about the logistics of getting to the airport since he's a consultant and travels weekly for his job. I live within a mile and a half of Wrigley so in the summer when the Cubs are in town, finding an Uber can be an issue. I liked the idea of scheduling a ride but Uber didn't have that ability at the time. He mentioned the idea of finding a driver I like from a ride share and using them as a regular driver.

"No Speed" Naveed

My first trip to the airport after I moved here, I used Uber and got a lovely Indian driver named Naveed. He was extremely polite, his car was spotless and smelled like exotic spices, and he appeared to be a calm yet confident driver, not erratic like many cab drivers. I often get car sick in cabs because of the quick starts and stops. He was married and had kids the same age as mine.

As we made our way to the highway, I asked if he had ever driven anyone outside of Uber. He said he had not. So we worked out a deal; we exchanged cell numbers and he promised to buy a Square device so I could expense my airport trips. It was a perfect situation. Until it wasn't.

Soon we got to the highway, which is about the halfway point to O'Hare. I was a bit alarmed by his merging speed, which seemed equivalent to a fast golf cart. We fortunately we able to merge in but then I noticed Naveed was topping out speed-wise around 50 MPH. Might seem wise but on a highway in Chicago where the average speed is probably around 70, this is not a wise strategy. Very old women were flying past us.

I texted my brother-in-law Greg about my current rather unfortunately situation. His response, "hahahaha, you hired "No-Speed" Naveed?" Very clever but not funny. I eventually got over his centurion driving style and just appreciated that when I had a flight, Naveed always show up on time to get me there and then come back and bring me home. I just built in the extra 10-15 minutes it took us to get there.

Looking back there were a few oddities, or red flags. One time, he picked up me and the kids after a ski trip to Colorado. He had a pretty small car so I sat in front and the kids in back. It was Christmas Eve around 9 pm and Naveed asks, "What are we feeding the children." I could see Ben's expression from the back seat, conveying confusion. I think my response was whatever had not turned ugly in the fridge while we were away. Oh no, he insisted on calling restaurants for us. No, that's not necessary, Naveed. Later he texted me and asked if I would be sharing vacation pictures. I didn't respond.

I will say Naveed never missed a holiday: Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Easter, Christmas, always thinking to text me images of flowers. It's the thought that counts, right? My kids definitely thought I needed to end my working relationship with Naveed, but it was very convenient and he was if nothing else, quite reliable.

Well, all of this came to a crashing halt one day. I had a flight to Boston for work. I came out to get in the car and first I noticed that Naveed seemed to be a bit more dressed up than usual. He jumped out to assist with my bag but then instead of opening up the back door, he opened up the passenger door. I paused for a moment, but didn't want to make it awkward so I got in. Immediately I noticed an overwhelming smell. He was burning incense that was attached to the cigarette lighter. His car smelled like a hookah bar. Signaling my dislike by frantically waving my hands in disgust, he quickly detached it.

I initiated the normal chit chat, asking him how things were going. He solemnly shook his head. Oh no. Yes, apparently he and his wife were getting divorced. Oh man, I suddenly am not liking where this is going. He then starts asking me about some type of Indian shirt, name of which I don't remember. No, I do not have a shirt like that. His next question was what size am I? Wait, no, Uber drivers don't buy their passengers things. Then he asks about some restaurant and at this point I just feign that I can't understand him. In my head, I'm starting to fight the urge to just throw myself out of the car  because let's face it; we probably were not going that fast.

As we approach the airport, he starts driving slower and slower, perhaps sensing my vibe. Cars are quite literally flying by us on all sides. I finally scream, "Naveed, you are going to get us killed if you don't speed up." He sped up a bit. When we blessedly finally arrived at my drop off, I jumped out immediately, thinking to myself, Naveed, this is the end of the line for us. Perhaps he sensed that too because when I asked for the receipt, suddenly he seemed unable, or perhaps unwilling, to produce it. He kept saying, "Don't worry, you can pay me when you come back." Nope, that's not happening. For one, I'm never getting in a car with him again, but I decided that was more than I could handle communicating at this point. I explained how I can't pay him unless I have a receipt but again, he said insisted I not worry about it.

I was just happy to be out of his car. So I go through security, board my plane and take my shitty middle seat in the back of the plane. Then my boss calls and tells me that the people I am coming to meet did not make their flight from Paris so the whole meeting was getting rescheduled. Do you have any other meetings here, she asked. After replying no, so she simply said, "get off the plane then." I didn't even know you could do that, but I had no checked luggage, so what the hell? I grabbed my bag, put it on my head and swam upstream like salmon to get off the plane. I'm sure people were speculating: panic attack? Sudden change in plans? Curiously not a single person asked why I was suddenly de-planing. Though the gate agent did shout, "what seat were you?" so they could at least fill my crappy seat.



I took a cab home. Later in the week, I started getting texts from Naveed. I knew explaining the entire scenario would be too much. When are you coming back? What time is your flight? I responded that I had not actually gone to Boston, so I would not be needing a ride home from the airport. "Oh, ok, so what time should I come?" This insane text conversation went round and round until I finally stopped responding. He just could not accept the reality: this would be the end of the road for us. He has been added to the "blocked" list on my phone, along with a hefty handful of dates that went sideways on me after I gave them my cell number.

Thanks as always for reading and I hope this finds you all well or at least surviving.

Until next time. Namaste.

Barb




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