Happy New Year?

If you’ve followed my blog for over a year, you know that I love New Year’s… and I’m fully aware that no one loves New Year’s. When I was a little kid, I was always confused as to how this was a holiday. There were no presents and we didn’t see my extended family. We just… stayed up late and the next day was no different than the one before. New Year’s paled in comparison to Christmas and Thanksgiving and Halloween. Why were we celebrating this? How was this celebrating?

As an adult, I tried my hand at many different types of New Year’s Eve celebrations. There was the night I went downtown, stayed with a friend and a handful of people I’d never met in some guy’s apartment… who wasn’t actually present. Huh. That might not have been entirely on the up-and-up. It was the first time I almost got my ass kicked in a public restroom… got thrown out of a bar for napping… nearly got my friend in legal trouble by screaming “I can’t do coke, I’m a librarian!” on a city street… the first time I got high… the night I realized I was definitely straight, when a woman kissed me. It was that crazy night I felt I had to have, but knew I’d never want to relive… and I was right.

The next New Year’s Eve, I rented a room at a casino with a friend and had some less crazy fun, with low stakes gambling and bar food, ending the night in a less than luxurious bed that had at least a 50% chance of not having been the site of a rape at one point.

In the years that followed, I learned the best New Year’s celebrations involved small gatherings, with food and alcohol. As I got older, I nixed the alcohol, preferring to start a new year hangover free. In what now seems no time at all, I’ve come full circle from watching the girl who played Mary in our Sunday school play, dance naked in some guy’s apartment, to spending New Year’s Eve with my husband and our favorite junk food. That’s been just fine with me, as we’ve spent every December 31st since we got engaged, celebrating Jake’s dad’s birthday, in his home town. At most, we’ve gone to see some of his high school friends, but overall, we’re boring thirty-somethings, whose children will one day look at our celebration and declare “Why are we celebrating this? How is this celebrating?”

As for New Years Day, now that’s always been a time of reflection and goal setting. I’m pretty sure I’ve written a post for every new year since I turned 25 and started this blog, highlighting my accomplishments from the previous year and declaring what the next one’s will look like, because I love New Year’s resolutions… and I’m fully aware that no one loves New Year’s resolutions. In fact, I didn’t just make a list of 2020 goals last year. I cited goals for the next ten years by opening the decade with a post on how I wanted Belle of 2030’s life to look and well… I think I can safely say that she’ll declare 2020 took a lot out of her, to put it simply.

I posted a little less last year, even taking a five month hiatus at one point, and while I plan to give some more details as to why later, I’m pretty grateful that last year’s New Year’s post gave me ten years to work on said goals, because I’m not sure very many of them were accomplished. I know 2020 was rough on pretty much everyone and I was no exception. There were days when I didn’t get out of bed, weeks when I barely ate, hours of watching the same show or movie on loop, because I found something that wouldn’t upset me. It was a difficult time and honestly, I think my biggest accomplishment of 2020 was getting through it. One thing I can certainly tell January 2020 Belle, is that I do love Jake just as much now as I did then, maybe even more so, because he was there during one of the most difficult times in my life, when I quite frankly wasn’t able to hold it together. He was the string to my kite, y’all.

I cautiously say that things have begun to look up, not just in my personal life, but globally. Covid-19 has multiple vaccines and my being phase two in my state gives me hope that I’ll be able to get it in the next month or two. The divisive election is over, where ever one may stand. Cases aren’t going down, but there’s hope that they will soon. That dim grey lining leaves a pretty bleak outlook on the New Year’s resolutions front, but I’ll give it a go:

  1. Be healthy. Stay healthy, mentally and physically.
  2. Get the Covid-19 vaccine, as soon as possible.
  3. Keep your job. Do well at it. Save your money and put any stimulus money toward debt.
  4. Call family.
  5. Go back to church, when it’s safe.

That’s all I’ve got, folks. I’m so grateful that I finished 2020, I can’t really muster up any more than that for 2021… not even me. So, on January 28th, I say… happy new year? I hope.

Belle of 2030

Happy new year! We’re officially past the verbal awkwardness we’ve experienced since the 90s, with our inability to clearly indicate the current decade. It’s “the 20s” now and it’s only a matter of time before my library teens start telling me that with just a dash of snark, reminiscent of Cher Horowitz and Zach Morris.


If you’re a longtime follower, you know how much I love New Year’s and that’s only amplified in a milestone year, such as 2020. This isn’t just a continuation of the… the teens (see what I mean?!?!). It’s a new chapter of my life! Perhaps it’s because I was born so close to a decade marker, at the tail end of 87, but celebrating 2020 feels almost as big as celebrating my thirtieth birthday.

You see, as 2019 came to a close, I read of lot of news articles and Reddit posts emphasizing reflection on where you were 10 years ago and while I think that is so important, to help us grow as people, I don’t want to think about where I was at the start of 2010, because I’m pretty sure I was literally cutting myself or couldn’t get out of bed.


Debilitating depression is so much cuter in GIF form.

Y’all twenty-two-year-old Belle was not doing well. She needed a hug… and a divorce decree… and a job… and to lose 100 pounds.. and therapy. While every other year, I enjoy reflecting on the past, 2020 is a time to look to the future, to plan… and I love to plan, not just for the next year, but the next ten. So, instead of writing a pep talk to 2010 Belle, that she can’t read, I’m going to write to 2030 Belle, who likely can, because this blog is already seven years old. She won’t have to ask herself where she was at the end of 2019/beginning of 2020 or what she wanted for her life, because it’s all here.


Belle of 2030,

It’s 2020 and I hope that you’re as in love with Jake in 2030 as I am now. He’s infuriating and stubborn and bossy. He always makes me watch dude shows and ignores me at rodeos and thinks $20 spent on whiskey is somehow wiser than $20 spent on Kindle books. He also takes me exactly as I am, whether it’s crying hysterically because an animal died in a book, binge-watching teen shows, ranting at a pitch only dogs can hear, giggling while trying to sexually role play Carl Jung, or single-mindedly obsessing over some new craft/book series/ blogger/self-improvement project. He is my favorite person in the whole world and I never thought marriage could be so wonderful. I hope you still feel that way. I hope both of you still laugh uncontrollably during foreplay, ruining the moment entirely. I hope you still cook together and clean together. I hope you still drive with the radio off and talk. I hope you’re nice to each other and communicate better. I hope you’re still best friends, after twelve and a half years of marriage.

I’m trying to get pregnant right now. Though it’s only been a few months, I pray you’re a mom in 2030… that you have healthy children and you don’t take the years for granted. Naturally, I have ideas on a perfect family size and how I’ll parent, but however many you have, I pray you can afford to send them to Catholic school, that you emphasize family and time together over things, that you practice what you preach as best you can, that you and Jake parent as a team, not as opponents. I pray you’ve broken some cycles and that you’re proud of yourself.

Gramma is probably gone in 2030. I can’t imagine how the world will crumble when she goes, because she’s been the foundation of my entire life, the house that built me. I tell her about the fights Jake and I have and get frustrated with her when she takes his side… which is always. I’m excited for the day I get to tell her she’s getting more great-grandchildren and I’m pressuring her to move into assisted living nearby with the emotional bribery of being able to see them more. I don’t call her as much as I should and I’m sure you’ll hate me for that, when you’d give anything to do so. Sometimes I call her and she hangs up on me, because her football team lost and I can’t talk to her for a couple of days. I hope you remember her laugh. She was the original light in your world and I pray she got the chance to hold your children, to know another namesake.

I’m building good friendships, with people who make me a better person: a harder worker, a better friend, neighbor, coworker, a better Christian, a better wife. I’m avoiding relationships that center around gossip and vitriol and learning to balance standing up for my beliefs with kindness and tolerance. I pray you still appreciate the differences in people, their worldviews and backgrounds and the way they think, that you don’t isolate yourself in an echo chamber of like minds, as tempting as it may be in tense social and political times. I hope you’ve grown closer to family and formed lasting bonds with your steps and in-laws, with Jake’s family. I hope your children are close to them. I hope you see your brother Bo more… or ever.

I’m a teen librarian now and I love my job. I’ve just started playing role-play games with my teens and public and home school kids alike are thrilled by the low-tech, low-cost fun. As happy as I am, I sometimes consider going into teaching, particularly at a private school, when my student loans are forgiven, so I can have more family time. However it may work out, I hope you’re still championing teenagers, giving them a safe place, an adult on their side. I hope you’re making a difference in the world. I didn’t care how naive that sounded at 22 and I don’t care now.

It’s 2020 and I obsess about my weight just as much as I did 10 years ago, though I’m 100 pounds lighter. You probably look at pictures and wish you were this size again… but I hope not. I hope you’re kinder to yourself than I am, that your inner-dialogue is less hateful. Jake and I cook healthy meals nearly every night and if I can convince him, we go on walks together. I hope you still do both. God willing, you have children, but I pray you still make time to read, to crochet and sew, to write. We paid off my private student loans last year and I’m depending on my Public Service Loan Forgiveness going through in 2024. We’re doing well financially and I hope you spend your money well, that you have little debt, that the house is ten years closer to being paid off, that you and Jake don’t have that stress in your lives.

If 2010 is anything to go by, you’re a completely different person now and I hope it’s for the better. I pray you’re happy, that some of these things, if not all, are true for you. I hope you’re still keeping this blog, so 2040 Belle can read your thoughts, because this is the closest you’re ever going to get to time travel.


I LOVE New Year’s.

As a society, we have a tendency to mock the mainstream, be it Taylor Swift, Uggs, Gilmore Girls, and of course… New Years Resolutions. Personally, I care so little about whether or not I’m considered “basic”, that I had to Google “things basic girls like” to construct the previous sentence. I admit, without shame, that I can rock out to some T Swift, relish the few days when the weather’s cold enough for Uggs, and am currently on season 4 of my big GG rewatch, but I must say that I love New Year’s. 


For many, New Year’s is the consolation to the holiday season. The presents have been unwrapped, the food has been eaten, the decorations are coming down, so here’s one last hurrah.


For me? New Year’s is a celebration all in itself. I get to reflect on the last year and assess all I’ve been through and all I’ve accomplished. Essentially, I get to grade myself and if you followed this blog when I was a grad student, you’ll recall that grades have always been one of my favorite things. I’m proud of 2017 Belle, because in 2017, I achieved a lot. In fact, it seems lazy to call 2017 transitional, because it’s just so darn accurate. In 2017, I…

  • started a new job
  • moved to a new city and said goodbye to my single girl apartment
  • planned a wedding
  • got married
  • moved in with a boy
  • went on my honeymoon
  • worked at three different libraries through my system’s grassroots restructuring
  • changed job titles
  • saw my best friend get married
  • moved on from unhealthy friendships
  • reconnected with old friends
  • ended my relationship with social media

Zetus lapetus, y’all, 2017 was exhausting. In hindsight, the year was good to me, but it was intensely stressful all the time. If I was shocked by what a disgusting boy Jake can be, he had to have been shocked by what a total basket case I could be.


2017 in a gif

2017 was a time for change, but New Year’s doesn’t just offer the opportunity to look back. It gives me the chance to look forward, to plan. If there’s anything I like more than grading myself, it’s planning. The aspect of New Year’s that has the rest of society rolling their eyes, is what I love best. I love the positivity that comes with a new year. I love the fact that we change a single digit and the world is full of hope. I get to realign my ambitions, who I want to be and what I want to achieve. Sure, I can do that any time of year, but there’s something about the first of January that wipes the slate clean. We can all start over with a new marker for our success and we can do it together. There’s a sense of community in the new year, a fellowship of people ready and willing to encourage each other to do their best. How can I not love that?!?!

Where 2017 was transitional and life altering, I aim for 2018 to be settled and comfortable. In 2018, I hope to:

  • swear less
  • buy a home
  • save for a car
  • use my time for things I truly enjoy
  • read more
  • lose weight

I also have more abstract aspirations, such as being:

  • physically healthy, by exercising more consistently and eating right
  • emotionally healthy, by managing stress better and building up my healthier friendships
  • a good friend, through genuine kindness, affection, and follow-through
  • a good wife, offering my support and love and making the most of our time together, while it’s just the two of us
  • a good daughter and granddaughter, by initiating more contact
  • a good Catholic, by going to Mass and practicing what’s preached

I know there are a lot of curmudgeons out there, scoffing at the New Year and everyone’s resolutions, declaring these things will never happen, but I can honestly say that I accomplished more in 2017 than I thought I would on January 1st, so I have every confidence that I can do the same in 2018. At the very least, there’s hope and effort. So here’s to 2018, a hopefully less exciting year than 2017!


2016 Was NOT the Worst Year Ever

With only two more days left in 2016, ’tis the season for everyone to bitch about how awful this year has been… and I do mean everyone. Whether you bought your first home, got your dream job, or finally conceived a child after struggling with infertility for years, social media dictates that you must spend the next two days wailing about the cruelty of 2016, usually in conjunction with the death of a long forgotten celebrity.


I, however, love New Year’s. Like birthdays, New Year’s provides an opportunity for reflection… which is basically receiving a grade, and that’s my favorite.


A year ago, I had been dating Jake for six months, was excitedly preparing for my first day as a supervisory librarian at the Northside Library and dreaming of getting a cat after  I moved from Shetland to be closer to work. I was struggling financially, having worked as a half time librarian while substitute teaching for so long, and was still relying on the health insurance that is prayer. I was excited about all the major life changes that would come in 2016… and change things did. While I’m not so heartbroken by the death of Debbie Reynolds and Prince as to lament of the despair of this past year, I will admit that the amount of change has been a bit… overwhelming.

It all started with my new job and its surprise levels of management. As I adjusted to the demands of full time supervisory work in a new library with new people, Jake worked two weeks on and two weeks off… and then two weeks on and one week off. We made the best of the time we had together, going skiing and seeing movies… growing closer and beginning to discuss marriage. When I realized moving wouldn’t be worth the time it would save, my commute increased to about 35 minutes each way… but I still got my kitten. Thackery Binx weighed a half pound the day he joined the family and he has brought nothing but joy. Jude loves the company of his brother and even Jake likes him. Though he won’t openly admit it, I’m pretty sure he wants several more.


By fall, I’d decided to step down from management and Jake had agreed to quit oil. I never saw him. He’d been demoted and his pay had been cut numerous times. I wasn’t game for being the oil wife, enjoying manicures and designer handbags to take her mind off the fact that she’s mostly alone. So, as the holidays neared, I chased a new dream and worked to control my nerves over Jake’s unemployment, reminding myself that he’s hard working and good and not my ex-husband who refused to hold a job for four years. In the meantime, Jake spent his weekdays on the Granger Ranch, working cattle for $100 a day and I spent mine crying in my office over how much I hated my job… simultaneously counting the days until the weekend, when I could see Jake again.

Despite all this upheaval, on November 20th, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, Jake asked me to marry him, just days after I’d accepted a voluntary demotion and transfer to the Jackson Library. We could’ve waited until Jake had the perfect position and we’d relocated to Jackson, but why waste time, when we could move forward with our lives? We enjoyed our first Thanksgiving and Christmas together, since we refused to join our holidays until we were committed.

For me, this was my last Single Girl Christmas. I’ll say goodbye to my pink tree and purple glitter bulbs forever, when I put all my décor away in a few short hours. It’ll be the first of many bittersweet goodbyes as I bind my life to Jake’s on May 6, 2017. I’ll leave my little apartment, the first place I ever felt truly safe as an adult… my hometown of Shetland, where I spent my teenage nights driving around with Gaily… my maiden name and my identity as Just Belle… the time in my life where the only decisions that effected me were my own. While 2016 has been a year of change, 2017 will put it to shame as I become Belle Granger, wife of Jake, and resident of Jackson. I’ll celebrate my 30th birthday, and happily so, having accomplished nearly everything I’d planned by such a big date.

So for me, 2016 was a stepping stone to all the great things 2017 will bring… and I am so excited.




Looking Back: The Men I Didn’t Date in 2013

Today, my Facebook newsfeed, like many others’, is equally filled with photos of newly healthy meals and bitching because the gyms are crowded. I, myself, am a goal-oriented person. I set goals weekly, so it would just be poor characterization if I missed an opportunity to set them annually. This year, I’m keeping it simple with the following five:

1. Perform more service work. Dedicate a minimum of one day, per month, to helping someone else.
2. Attend church more consistently… and punctually.
3. Swear less… or more creatively, by cutting back on the more universally unacceptable words.
4. Lose twenty pounds… because it’s New Year’s and you have to choose a cliche.

and finally…

5. Put some actual and legitimate effort into dating.

Numbers 1, 2, and 4 have clear guidelines. They’re pretty attainable. Let’s face it though; in regards to number 3, “suck my dick” is a pretty universally unacceptable phrase, from a woman. It’s likelier that I’ll lose twenty pounds by next Tuesday than it is that I’ll suddenly be a Sesame Street extra. I do, however, tend to mix dorky Disney-worthy swears with the worst ones in my vocabulary.

Me: “Zetus lapetus! Fuck. Do you think it’s been long enough since Zenon: Girl of the Twenty-First Century for me to use that?”

So, I’m half there. Which brings me to number 5.

2013 was a year of sporadic dating, vacillating between the two extremes of “I CAN FEEL MY EGGS ROTTING INSIDE OF ME!” to “My next wedding will take place ON A SNOW-COVERED MOUNTAINTOP IN HELL!”

burning wedding dress

Before I got my promotion to librarian, I really hadn’t been dating at all. Sure, I claimed to be putting in effort, but I just didn’t have the time, between finishing graduate school and rocking in a corner, chewing on my own hair. I went on a couple of dates, but that’s about it. So, this year, I’m going for consistency. For the past couple of months, I’ve really had no interest in meeting anyone, because the holidays are busy for losers who crochet their own Christmas presents; and every single guy who tells me Christmas Vacation is hilarious, is just plain wrong. I feel like, if I’d hit the dating scene with half the vigor I hit that bottle of bourbon on New Year’s Eve with Gail and Terry, I’d be madly in love in no time.

::drunkenly discussing Charlie Hunnam::
Terry: “He’s okay looking, I guess. He looks like…”
Me: “Like he fell from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? I know. I would give that man a rim job in front of my grandma. Admit it. You would totally go gay for him.”

Facebook status New Year’s Eve 2013:
Let’s get CRUNK! It stands for crocheting while drunk. 

Note to self: don’t drink on any future dates.

In my defense, however, it’s not like the prospects have been great, lately. In fact, I’ll treat you to some of the guys I didn’t date this year.

I’ve briefly mentioned Aerospace in previous entries. He was 27, educated, enjoyed his big boy job, and never sent me a penis picture. He seemed promising through text message… for six weeks. After three, even I had decided it was time to be a little forward. I mean, I didn’t actually ask him to meet me, because I don’t posses my very own set of testicles, but I did ask what his normal time constraints were. When Aerospace said he usually talks to someone for about a month, before meeting, I decided to give it a bit longer. He regularly messaged first and encouraged conversation. He seemed interested. During week six, however, I was just tired of receiving news of how his day went, when I’d never even met him and he was showing no inclination to change that. If I’m not worth meeting, fine. Find someone who is, because I’m not looking for a fucking pen pal. I’m not your chat buddy, when there’s nothing on TV. Suck my big fat furry dick.

There goes number 3.

Clingy Catholic Engineer… because there was already a Catholic Engineer
If Jane were not an engineer, I would seriously be judging this entire profession. It seems every engineer I’ve dated is batshit. CCE was a year or so younger than I, and after having discussed that issue with Jane, I decided to give him a chance. We messaged for a couple of days online, before trading numbers. The next day, after quite a bit of text messaging, I didn’t respond after work, because I was working out. We’d been texting all day, and I’d messaged on my break, to tell him why I couldn’t talk, so I figured that was fair. The next morning, I woke up at seven o’clock to…

I hope I didn’t do anything wrong. 

The voice of Gail sounded in my head and it was stronger than my fight or flight response, so I kept chatting with him. At one point, he asked me to send him pictures. I wasn’t sure what kind he meant, and I’m thinking that was the point, to allow for my own creativity. I told him there were current photos online and I wasn’t sending more, but I was a little creeped out by the vague request, coupled with his… enthusiasm. Then, the next evening I got home from work, after having traded a few messages…

CCE: You make it home okay?
Me: Yeah. I have a friend coming over. We’re going to hang out and watch Netflix.
CCE: Ah. Sounds fun.
CCE: You still want to talk, right?
Me: Sure. Just not right now, since I’m about to have company.
:: two hours later ::
CCE: Watching the game?
Me: Nope. Watching Netflix with a friend.
CCE: Oh. A marathon. Cool! Watcha watchin?

First, aside from the obvious issue of clinginess, who has someone over for less than two hours? That’s not a thing. Second, “Nope. Watching Netflix with a friend.” was a nice way of saying I was busy, he knew that, and he needed to leave me alone. That was his chance to feign forgetfulness and apologize. Still, I heard Gail telling me to give him a chance… until the next night.

CCE: You wanna watch the game and maybe have dinner tomorrow night? 
– dude, you’re coming on strong right now and that’s several hours together, making it super awkward if I’m still not feeling it –
Me: I’m cool with meeting, but why don’t we do something low-key, like coffee?
CCE: Coffee Sunday sounds great!
– okay, he’s receptive to just coffee; good sign –
Me: How about Monday, since the weather is supposed to be bad on Sunday?
CCE: Sure. We can work out the details then.
– whew… I really was reading into things –
Me: I’m disappointed by the weather. I really don’t want to miss Mass again.
CCE: Oh! We could go to Mass together. 

… aaaaand scene. I tried. I did. But the guy asked me to meet him at the chapel. Fine. I’m intentionally wording it dramatically, but we had only been chatting for a few days and he wanted to meet at church, after I’d told him dinner was too much? Dude, calm down, you are making women uncomfortable. I sent him a text telling him that he seemed to want something much more serious, much more quickly and that I wasn’t interested in meeting. Then I spammed his number. Later, I saw he’d responded, but didn’t read it past the “Okaaay. You said…” There was nothing to say. He made me uncomfortable. It wasn’t happening. A week later, I got a “Hey, how are you?” message in my inbox, like we’d never had the “thanks, but no thanks” conversation at all. Um… no.

Kinda Sorta Catholic
KSC and I had been messaging on and off for awhile. I don’t think either one of us saw the other as a real prospect, but we couldn’t pinpoint a reason to blow each other off. We’d each send an “Oh, sorry I didn’t get back to you… blah, blah, blah” type of message every 10 days or so and try to pick things up again, over the course of a couple of months. He had a real job and his profile said he was Catholic, so despite the mutual lack of interest, I decided to give him a chance when he gave me his number. Naturally, since his common religion was a main appeal, I brought it up.

KSC: I’m Catholic because my dad was. The topic of religion is a fun one for me, but I’m not sure where I stand. I think it’s really personal and those beliefs are private.

Um… well, for one, if you’re Catholic, because your dad is, you’re not really Catholic. Unless you go to Mass and receive Reconciliation and Communion and all that jazz, the Catholic Church does not consider you a practicing Catholic. That’s fine and all, but know where you stand. Two, if we’re talking about dating, I think it’s a fair question to ask what someone’s general beliefs are. I didn’t sick the Quizmaster on the guy. Finally, if this is a “fun” topic for you, why are you being such a little bitch about it?

The Quizmaster. My dated references are downright nostalgic.

We continued to chat, and KSC asked to meet at the cowboy bar the next night. Okay, I’ve told ya’ll stories about the cowboy bar. One involved Gaily nearly being dragged forcibly to the parking lot and the other involved damned near nudity on the Saturday before Halloween. This bar can be fun in the summer, with the right crowd and attitude, but it’s pretty sketchy. I told my dad that I’d let Woody Harrelson “stick it in my ear” and he laughed, but the man doesn’t want to hear stories about the cowboy bar. People get raped there.

Me: I really don’t like the cowboy bar.
KSC: 😦 Oh. Well, what do you like, then?
Me: It’s not even that I don’t like the cowboy bar, really, but that I just feel like it’s a really sketchy place for a first meeting.
KSC: Oh. Well, I see it differently, but that’s okay.
Me: I’m also a woman. I have to be more careful.

We made vague plans to meet for coffee and then neither of us ever talked to the other again. That’s fine by me. If Jesus gives you the heebie jeebies, but meeting a stranger at a place I recently described as “a little rapey” doesn’t, this is what I picture…

Just… ew. 
I opened the new year with this gem, from a guy I messaged a few weeks ago, but who didn’t really return a lot of interest.

Ew: I’m gonna throw this out there and hope I don’t scare you off. Would you be interested in coming over to my place and having some fun? I guarantee you will have fun.
Me: If you’re “looking for a real relationship,” you should probably keep the hook-up pleas to a minimum.
Ew: I am looking for a real relationship. I still would like to have fun though. I’m not a bad dude I just figured I’d take a chance and ask you.

Um… no. You’re not looking for a real relationship if you’re comfortable with being seen as that guy who begs for sex online, because no one looking for a real relationship will respond. His profile opened with talk about wanting to settle down. If that’s how he puts up a white picket fence, I’ll pass.

Holy shit, we’re grown-ups.

This New Year’s Eve, Gail and I rented a motel room in a town about an hour away, took a cab to one of the many popular casinos in the state, gambled the penny slots all night, lost more money than we made, ate quesadillas as the clock struck midnight, drank too much, and took a cab back to the motel.

Me: “‘Motel 6: We’ll leave the light on for you… but that’s about it.'”
Gail: looking around at the sketchy parking lot “‘Motel 6: It’s well lit… thankfully.’ We probably shouldn’t keep insulting it once they can hear us.”

motel 6 room

Me: “Ew. Someone’s been raped in this room.”


Pre-drinking Smirnoff Apple and orange soda.

“Gail, the phrase is ‘apples and oranges’, because they don’t go together. This tastes like acid and urine.”

Throughout the night, as we gambled and drank, I recorded the quotes that made us giggle like maniacs in my phone.

My drunken lamenting over not understanding the appeal of gambling:
Me: “Gambling is gay.”
Gail: “You probably shouldn’t use that as an insult in public.”
Me: “It’s not my fault they’re gambling.”
Gail: “That’s not…”

Gail drunkenly complaining that we had to wait for the cab instead of being able to take the shuttle:
Gail: “We should’ve stayed at the Holiday Inn. They have a… a… thing.”
Me: “That’s great. You should be their spokesperson.”

I have no idea.
Me: “He could’ve gone home, looked in the mirror, and preened like a peacock.”

In the night, we slept on the Flinstone beds (slabs of rock) with our own personal blankets, because motel blankets are covered in semen and tears. I woke several times to down water and ibuprofen and call the desk to ask what time we had to be out, not that there was a credit card on file, because we paid in cash… like hookers.

Gail: “You know what’s awesome? We used our own money, rented a motel room out of town, took a cab to the casino, and gambled all night.”

I was more blunt with the same sentiment as I did my makeup.

Me: “Holy shit, we’re grown-ups.”

When Gail and I became friends, we were 15-year-old virgins, who couldn’t drive, or hold jobs, had never had a date or a first kiss. She used to make fun of me for loving the show Lizzie Maguire while we played old school Super Nintendo in her little sister’s bedroom floor. Growing up, everyone acts like you’ll just become an adult at a specific age or a particular milestone. So Gail and I each turned 18, moved out of our parents’ houses, got married, got pregnant… and it still never happened. Maybe that’s because we sucked at all of those things, constantly struggling. Three years ago, I was living in a motel, imagining the death of my ex-husband, through no intervention of my own, because that would allow me to be free of him. Gail was pretty much doing the same thing, only the sweeter version where he just leaves. Being an adult, or at least our version of it, sucked and we just felt like abandoned children, both having had no choice but to strike out on our own the second we graduated high school.

Then, we sold our wedding rings together, started dating, rented our first places of our very own with no one else’s name on the lease, put the bills in our own names, started our careers at entry level positions and…

holy shit, we’re grown-ups.

Being an adult is awesome now. My childhood wasn’t all that glamorous before my sucky early twenties. But now, no one hits me or manipulates me or steals from me. I don’t have to lie to my family to defend anyone and when I come home and the place is a mess, it’s my mess. I only have to feed me and if that means cereal, sweet potato fries, and orange juice for dinner, that’s my right.

I don’t always feel like an adult, however, even now. When I call my Gramma crying, because my mother’s acting like a lunatic again, I feel like the 14-year-old kid I once was. When I open a DVD and see the case is charred from a house fire he started, I’m 19 and my pets are dead on the lawn. When I call the credit agency to ask what this charge is for and they tell me it’s from the phone company when I was married at 21, I feel like the scared 23-year-old in the judge’s office, praying he’ll sign the papers. We were mislead as children. You don’t just suddenly feel like an adult. It comes in phases, like when I take a trip with my best friend. I don’t have to answer to anyone. I pay with my own money. I wake up and go shopping all day with my own money. I don’t wonder where that missing hundred is. I go home and have soup and pears for dinner and…

holy shit, I’m a grown-up.

“Such a pretty, pretty mermaid”: A Misguided New Year…


Last New Year’s Eve was important to me. It was my first divorced New Year and I wanted to do something fun. The boys were busy with family and my dear bestie (I use this term ironically, because it’s awful) is a killjoy who was, literally, asleep by 8:00. So that left me with two choices: crafting in my underwear… or Malik.

Malik is a friend from high school, who’s really always been closer to Gail. We initially all bonded over the fact that we wore targets on our backs through the halls of our small town high school. Gail wore the same gray sweatpants and oversized t-shirts every day of 10th grade. I wore ribbons in my combat boots with overalls, a turtleneck, and black-rimmed glasses. Malik was fabulously burnt-orange-scarf-gay. As we grew as people, Gail and I chose destructive marriages, while Malik chose felony larceny, cocaine, meth, that orgy that one time… and that other time. You get the idea. So… I knew he’d be up for New Year’s Eve fun.

The guys were over at my apartment as I dressed to go out with Malik. They disapproved of my company, frankly, for damned good reason after the last time had involved my getting punched in the chest by Malik’s angry ex-lover, on whom he had a restraining order.

Jay: “I thought you said you were never going out with him again?”
Chad: “Didn’t he steal from you?” Yes. Indeed, he did.
Jay: “Are you gonna blame us for not hanging out with you, when you get raped tonight?”

I rolled my eyes, assuring them it wasn’t a guilt trip. I was just going to have fun, with or without them. They called me an idiot. I knew even  then that they were right.

The night started off as expected. We made our way Downtown to some guy’s apartment as I explained my parameters to Malik.

Me: “I don’t care if there’s pot, but nothing harder. I’m not leaving my car anywhere or driving drunk.”

That is super fucking lenient for me. That’s as party animal as I get, so Malik agreed.

So we got to Stranger’s apartment (I think it was someone’s ex-roommate, who was out of town) and pre-drank while we waited for the cab. I’d bought a plastic bottle of vodka for $4, because I was on a budget and had refused to buy any drinks at the bar. Malik had told me he’d cover one. The night went on in one of those party montages with the song “We Are Young” playing. There were lots of cover charges and tons of pricey drinks on Malik. I drunkenly informed a bouncer of the following:

“You are a very handsome black man! I don’t even find black men attractive, but you’re really good looking! I’m from the suburbs. There are only 77 black people in my hometown according to the 2003 census!” Yes. I drunkenly quoted the census report.

There was dancing and peeing in a single bathroom with a girl I’ve known since we were literally infants, T. In a different bathroom, I drunkenly referred to a woman as Mexican, which infuriated her. I didn’t understand why and said so, explaining

“What?!?! I said Mexican. You are Mexican. It’s not like I said Mexicunt. What? I said it’s not like I said that. It’s not my fault you…”

I’m pretty sure T yanked me out of the bathroom at this point. Then, I fell asleep in the bar. You get kicked out for that… even if you explain that you weren’t passed out, you were just napping. Luckily, T ran out with me and we sat on the curb until Malik and company came out, which was only a few minutes later. By this time, I was drunk; I didn’t know these people; I was exhausted and cold; I’d called Jay and Chad at least twice to scream “HAPPY NEW YEAR! I LOVE YOU!” I’d explained multiple times that my normal idea of fun was XBOX with my boys. In short, I was done and it was closing time. Then I overheard the following:

Malik: “Get a hold of Keyshond. If he comes through, I’m in for a hundred.”
Me: “Wait. What? What are we talking about?!?!”
Malik: “We’re gonna get some coke.”
Me: “I’m guessing you don’t mean the kind with the cute polar bears?”
Malik: laughing “You’re adorable.”
Me: “I’m not doing coke, Malik.”
Malik: “You’ll just try it. Just a little bit.”

As Gail put it later, you don’t just “try a little bit” of coke. You just do coke. Malik and company continued to try to get hold of Keyshond and I texted Chad to ask if coke really wasn’t a big deal and was just like smoking pot, as Malik had insisted. Chad told me that was crap and he’d be terribly disappointed if I tried coke. At some point, I started drunkenly shouting “I CAN’T DO COKE! I’M A LIBRARIAN!” and “I AM NOT A POLAR BEAR!” which got the attention of some friendly officers, so Malik called a cab… quickly. Despite this, the night had gone well enough and we’d even gotten Malik’s brother’s girlfriend (Crazychick) to get up and into the cab. I’m paranoid and insane and had swiped some mail from Stranger and taken a picture, which is the only reason anyone had the address to get back. Points for being such a party animal. So we drove back to the apartment while Crazychick got progressively angrier. I don’t think anyone ever figured out why she was so upset, but she was loud and violent and we were all drunk, so we sort of just let her hit Malik’s brother.

Not my problem. I don’t even fucking know these people.

I was tired, but curious about pot and Malik started rolling a joint. It took awhile, so I decided to just go to sleep. As I drifted off, however, I was hoisted up and heard Malik say “No. You’re trying it. Breathe in. Don’t spit this out and cough everywhere.” The last order referred to my earlier cigarette mishap. Pathetic, I know. I don’t really remember much after that, so I assume I slept. The night had been good and just far enough out of my element that I felt I’d done something new while I was still young enough to do that stupid shit. Then, I woke up.

Why is everyone naked? Is everyone seriously naked? Shit. What did I take? Is there some kind of drug that makes you want to get naked. I’M not naked. Thank God. Why can’t I move?

I have no idea why everyone’s arguing for the legalization of marijuana, because it was fucking terrible. My whole body felt like lead. I signaled for T’s help and she quickly dressed and came to check on me. Really, she was quite sweet the whole night, even if I do know more about her pubic grooming than I should.

Me: “Did I take something?”
T: “No. You didn’t do any drugs. Don’t worry.”

Even drunk and high, I could tell that she meant I didn’t do anything besides pot, because she was one of those “If it grows in the ground, it’s not a drug” hippie types.

Me: “Can you help me take my boots off?”
T: “Of course.”
Crazychick: crawling on top of me naked “Ooooh. Are we undressing her?”

Crazychick then started talking about stripping me and leaving me in Stranger’s bed as a gift. It was a terrifying thought even when I couldn’t bring myself to care that a naked woman was crawling on me, likely dripping some kind of venereal disease over my sweater dress. As the night wore on, however, I stayed clothed, save for the stockings I’d worn and ripped when I got up to pee. T took her clothes off again and she and Crazychick danced naked.

“Let’s do more shots!”
“We can’t! We did all the shots!”
“We did all the shots?!?!”

“You’d make such a beautiful mermaid. Such a pretty, pretty mermaid.”

T’s fully clothed husband sat on the couch next to me and watched his wife, the girl who played the Virgin Mary in the Christmas play when we were 7, perform oral on her mermaid. I was too high to care and ate most of a box of Reese Puffs that I had found in the cabinet in an attempt to sober up. At one point, Crazychick crawled on top of me and asked:

Crazychick: “Have you ever kissed a woman?”
Me: “I don’t care.”
Crazychick: “Do you want to kiss a woman?”
Me: “I don’t care.”

Seriously, what is the appeal of pot? Or kissing women? Their mouths are way too soft. It’s like swallowing not-yet-set Jello.

So, in summary, I got kissed by a woman, got to see the Virgin Mary all grown up and performing some girl on girl action with a complete nutcase, and had a nice chat with T’s husband about how it doesn’t bother him to watch his wife go at it with a woman, because he can’t offer her that anyway. Then Malik’s brother came out and saw his girlfriend under someone else and it was just about time to go. All the while, Malik slept in the chair next to me until I felt I had enough Reese Puffs to absorb the liquor and drive him to work sober. I got home, vomited, went to sleep and once again vowed never to party with Malik.