Approaching Last Day: My 30th Birthday …and 5th Blogiversary

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I’m pretty sure no one has used a Logan’s Run reference on their 30th birthday in the last 20 years, but it is truly one of my favorite movies. In fact, I made Jake watch it early on in our relationship, in exchange for Blazing Saddles, one of his favorites.

Jake: “Why is everyone in this movie naked?”
Me: “What? They’re not naked. They’re wearing drapery.”
Jake: “It’s see-through.”
Me: “It’s not… ooooh. How did I never notice that?”
Jake: “How many times did you say you’ve seen this movie?”

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Regardless of the fact that this is apparently just cleverly disguised porn… or not so cleverly, as it may be, for the last 10 years, I’ve planned my 30th birthday around a Logan’s Run theme. I was gonna buy brightly colored age-coordinated gauze, glue plastic jewels to hair ties, make a geodesic dome shaped cake, and hold a viewing of the movie, while my friends watched in confusion. Then reality hit.

I live in Cherokee, 45 minutes from all of my friends in Shetland.

I got married this year and have spent enough money on parties.

My new husband isn’t above “accidentally” walking into a crowded room wearing nothing but drapery.

I even had to nix the lantern release from Tangled, after Gail the Wet Blanket informed me that it was “illegal.”

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Alas, my Logan’s Run theme has turned into a t-shirt I ordered from Redbubble and an evening viewing with Jake, as I’ve compromised with a more “normal” celebration and relocated my birthday gathering to a downtown food truck site, in the hopes that people will you know… come.

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As I hear it, such is the way of growing older. Reality sets in and all those outlandish dreams you once had fall away… except in my apparent fairyland, where that’s been proven to be complete and utter hokum. That’s right, y’all. I turn 30 today, September 9th 2017, and I have accomplished very nearly everything I had hoped to accomplish… as I’ve detailed in my blog for exactly five years to the day, including annual birthday/blogiversary posts.

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giphy4It’s a big milestone, y’all and this is exactly how I dance.

Surprisingly enough, I never actually sat down and created an official list of things I hoped to accomplish by 30. I think I’ve just always known that if I wrote a goal down and never achieved it, regardless of why, I’d feel like a failure… even though, as I’ve chronicled in my beloved blog, my goals have changed in the last five years. I’ve changed… and that’s okay. I proudly consider myself a very self aware person and now that I’m here, I think it’s for the best that I didn’t make any grand declarations of what I’d achieve by the end of my twenties. That doesn’t mean I’m not really proud of some things, though. Such as…

I lost the weight. I went from “somewhere around 270,” too ashamed and miserable to know an exact number, to “somewhere around 160”, as someone who can hike up a mountain, bike 10 miles, and never receives a raised brow from her doctor.

I’m confident. I learned to apply makeup, fix my hair, and comfortably wear cute clothes, which are blessedly far more affordable than when I was morbidly obese. I owned my quirky hobbies, and fandoms, and even my general social awkardness. Even if I still occasionally miss the mark, I learned how to more accurately gauge when to tease friends and when to be kind and supportive.

I finished school. I went straight through, graduating high school in 2006, my bachelor’s in 2010, and my masters in 2013.

I got my finances under control. I paid off some debt and improved my credit score. I consolidated my student loans and entered an income-based repayment program. I enrolled in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and am eligible on 2024.

I’m a full time teen librarian. At times, I thought it would never happen, as I worked two jobs for two and half years after receiving my MLIS. Even after I got full time, I thought the ship had sailed on working with teens, but through a crazy course of events, I’m working as a teen librarian in a suburban library, while still earning the pay and benefits of a big city system.

I fell in love and got married. I unashamedly admit that being married by 30 was pivotal to my overall happiness. Bt 27 or so, I didn’t want to come home to an empty apartment and Netflix any longer. I wanted a loving husband and a family.

When I started this blog, on my 25th birthday, I probably would’ve listed owning a home and children as goals for my 30th and now, five years later, I realize that it’s all come in God’s perfect timing. Jake and I weren’t ready for each other until exactly the day we met. We weren’t ready for marriage until the day we exchanged our vows. We won’t be ready for a house until next fall, when we’ve saved the money. We’ll benefit greatly from two years alone together, learning to communicate and not strangle each other, when I passive aggressively hide the clothes he throws on the floor, before we start talking about kids. 

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People keep asking me how I’m coping with turning 30 and my response is… coping? Why would I be coping? I live in a fucking fantasy world, where life only gets better as time passes. Despite the combined efforts of the entire South, I’ve spread out the good things in life and have yet to experience the best days of my career and buying my first home and having babies and watching my children grow and settling into a comfortable and steady marriage with the love of my life. In all honesty, if I did have Logan 5’s opportunity to seek renewal on Carousel tonight, I’d only go if I could be me all over again… because I have a shit ton of good coming my way, including a lot of brightly colored cookie cake.

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Blogiversary!

So, today is not just my 26th birthday. It is also my blog’s first birthday. That’s right. One year ago, the night I turned 25, I wrote my first blog post since my Myspace years. The goal was to find something to occupy my time once I finished graduate school, but also to work toward the long-term, vague goal of maybe, possibly, becoming a writer one day. Oddly, I only really read fiction and only really write non-fiction; so I had a David Sedaris/Jenny Lawson style in mind. Over the past year, I’ve changed my blog title numerous times. There was The Babbling Bibliophile, but I was one of an apparent 80. In December, I moved to wordpress and became Atypical Aryan Librarian. Though I was referring to myself as a white chick of German origins, this name had some pretty negative connotations to it. It was eventually clear that the really cool assonance and rhyme didn’t quite combat the implied racism, particularly since Gail was no longer my only follower, as she was September through early December. Blogger sucks, by the way.

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No, no! You misunderstand! Wait!

For awhile, I was Atypical Southern Librarian, which totally ruined the rhyme scheme and was quite the mouthful, but I had to choose something besides Librarian of the Lynch Mob. I briefly wished I had the self-control or any desire to be a vegetarian, just because it would also rhyme, but that’s not even atypical of librarians. It’s an exceptionally liberal profession and vegetarians and vegans are quite common. Finally, I became Belle of the Library and even bought the domain name, developed a theme, and applied pseudonyms to every single blog entry I had written. That was a pain in the ass, by the way.

I realized that my blog wasn’t just a place to to receive feedback or “Big Girl Grades” as Gail calls it, but a space to stress and vent sarcastically and receive support and laughs. I wrote about my heartbreak after failing my graduate portfolio, my bad dates, the stress of finishing my degree, the continual recovery from my divorce, and my struggle with whopping mommy issues. I ranted about that funny sexist ad, quoted a hundred conversations with Gail, and shared my exhalation over passing my portfolio, graduating, and getting a Librarian position. It’s been a terrific year for me and for my blog. I’ve developed a unique writing style and received validation that I am, indeed, fucking hilarious as I get to discuss whatever the hell I want. In the last month, I was even Freshly Pressed and developed a goal I thought was out of reach. It didn’t matter, though, because I love goals. I wanted to get 500 followers by my birthday.

500 Followers

… and I did… just hours ago. So, in the next year, my personal goals are to get a full time Librarian position, actually have a healthy romantic relationship, and get Freshly Pressed again, ultimately increasing my readership by 1,000. I know, I know. It seems out of reach. I’m sure, however, that if I just keep trying, I will eventually date someone who is not a bag of dicks.

… and oh yeah. Remember that series I was writing? The final installment of The Week of 1004 Dates has not been forgotten. I will be posting it next.

I’m sorry I’ve misdirected my sorry: Watching my dad watch his dad die.

I stand by my dad’s work truck while he ends his phone call before our weekly lunch.
Me: “That didn’t sound fun.”
Dad: “No, it isn’t. Dad’s dyin’ and he’s just pitiful.”
I hug him and he grips just a little tighter than normal.
Me: “Love you, daddy.”
Dad: “Love you too, baby.”
Me: “So it’s bad, huh?”
Dad: “Yeah. Like I said, he’s just pitiful, but he’s been pitiful his whole damn life so it’s just pissin’ me off even more now.”
Me: “Well, I’m sure I’ll be there with mom one day.”

When I was little, my dad had two dads. One was his step-father, my Grandpa Murphy, who died of cancer when I was five. The other, we saw so little that I once introduced him to my cousin (also his granddaughter) when I was six. I can list what I know about my Grandpa Geff in bullets…

  • He went to Mass every single day of his life.
  • The few times we saw him, he made us go to Mass, but always bought us breakfast.
  • For someone so devoted to God, he completely dropped the ball on his earthly obligations, such as children.
  • He’s been a far more influential presence in my dad’s half-sister, Sarah’s, life than my dad’s or his sisters’. She’s a self-indulgent fuck-up, though, so maybe that’s a good thing.
  • For Christmas, my dad’s and his sisters’ kids got tube socks or a stuffed animal. Sarah’s son got remote control cars.

My Grandma Kay once told me that Grandpa Geff would regularly promise to take my dad out after the divorce; my dad would sit on the steps waiting for him all evening and he’d never show. After she married my Grandpa Murphy, he stopped offering to help at all and my dad quickly came to think of Grandpa Murphy as his father. Grandma Kay once explained the divorce to me, how Grandpa Geff wouldn’t let her use birth control, but wouldn’t help with the kids and wanted her to take care of him as if he were a child as well. She declared….

“I told mamma and daddy, ‘I’ve been a good girl my whole life and I’ve always done exactly what you wanted, but I will not stay married to that man. I hate him.'”

For the last few years, my dad and I have been celebrating semi-weekly Daddy Lunches. They’re one of the best parts of my generally packed schedule.

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I’m almost certain it’s more of a texting issue than a spelling issue.

For the last several weeks, though, he’s talked to me a lot about his and his sisters’ frustrations with Grandpa Geff’s cancer.

Me: “I’m kind of surprised you’re all doing so much. I mean, I know you don’t have the best relationship.”
Dad: “Well, you know, what can you do? You can’t just leave him to die.”

Me: “I feel bad, because I don’t really feel that bad, you know? I’m sorry.”
Dad: “Don’t apologize, baby. He was never around when you were growin’ up. You hardly know the man.”

Dad: “He keeps callin’ me over in the middle of the night swearin’ he’s gonna die. He’s just eatin’ up the attention.”

Dad: “He keeps tellin’ me he’s ready to go, that this is it. It’s never it. It’s not it until his body says it is.”

Dad: “Sarah keeps tellin’ the nurses not to give him pain medicine and tryin’ to bring her stupid ass preacher in to ‘pray for him.’ Fuckin’ crazy ass bitch. I’m gonna lose it on her. Dad was a devout Catholic his whole life. He is not gonna want some fuckin’ preacher prayin’ over him.”

Dad: “He won’t use the damn oxygen. He just sits there and wheezes, complainin’ about how he can’t breathe, but then he won’t use the oxygen.”

Dad: “I wouldn’t let my dog live like this. If she couldn’t walk, I’d put her down.”

I don’t want Grandpa Geff to die, but I feel worse for my dad than I do for him. Grandpa Geff’s a religious man who never pursued much in his life. He’s comfortable with death and as long as he’s medicated, his remaining days will be good. I feel so much for my dad right now, though. This is the end. He’s having to face the fact that Grandpa Geff will never come through for him…. while helping him bathe. Grandpa Geff milks the attention and drama, by refusing oxygen and calling every few hours to cry wolf that this is really the end. My dad rushes over, because it may be and then finds it’s just his usual drama. He’s relieved and regretful, feeling guilty about the latter. He doesn’t want to abandon the man, but at the same time, resents him for his own abandonment. On his death bed, he sees him coddle my dad’s forty-something half-sister like he never cared for him or his sisters, even when they were children. He’s hurt and stressed out and resentful, but still battling to carry out his dad’s wishes of using what’s left of his money to pay Sarah’s mortgage. He even fights her off when she demands to bring in her Evangelist preacher and take a sick man off his medicine. They’ve had multiple arguments about the house Grandpa Geff lives in, because ownership goes to Grandma Kay when he dies. She wants her kids to sell it and split the money, because their dad never did anything for them and Sarah is pissed. My dad’s still angry on my Grandpa Geff’s behalf, because Sarah’s taking advantage of him and has been doing so for half of her life. My daddy’s a lot of things… vulgar, loud, funny, offensive, loving, generous on his terms, but he’s not sensitive and watching him hurt… well, that fucking hurts. When he hugs me tighter than usual, says “I love you, baby” and clearly eats up being around his young and lively 25-year-old daughter, if only to discuss his pitiful and selfish dying father… I want to tear up. It’s like watching Chuck Norris weep.

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Yeah… that picture doesn’t exist. Point made.

Maybe I feel so much for him, because I will be there with my mom one day. Right now, she’s got a good 30 years to stop being who she is and apologize for what she’s torn away from me. Well, she eats a lot of mayonnaise, so maybe 20 years. When that day comes, though, and I never got another glimpse of the woman who used to put candles in my birthday pancakes? When I know it can never get better? That’s gonna hurt. When she somehow manages to dramatize death… that’s gonna piss me off. I’ll feel relieved that she’s never again going to play head games with me… and I’ll feel like shit because of it. So, I can imagine how my dad feels right now.

Then again, maybe watching my dad watch his dad die just strikes a cord with me, because I couldn’t bear to lose my daddy. Maybe that’s intensified by watching him be so good to a man who did him so wrong, despite his defensive harsh words in regards to the situation. I mean, if there’s a single person on this PLANET who can see past the offensive jokes to the goodness and the pain, it’s the girl to whom he passed the gene, amiright?

I know for certain, though, that watching a man’s family have such conflicted feelings on his death… well, that makes me want to live a good life where I care for people and keep up my end of the bargain so no one’s ever not sure if they’re sad that I’m dying.