Happy belated birthday – I’m looking at you, Pusser.

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I’ve been reminded, lately, of this story from my wedding. It always comes up when brides ask how we move about during the ceremony, but somehow the mid-meeting telling seems oversharey and inappropriate. So from now on, I can direct them to this blog post instead.

So it’s March 2007. I’m in the white dress and Katsumi, miraculously, has trimmed his beard. We’re kneeling on the altar of the Catholic church I’ve attended since childhood, and I’m struggling to understand the West African priest who is presiding over the ceremony. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I spy something large and spidery clambering across the floor with a videocamera in its hand. It’s Pusser, who you might remember from my many misadventures in North Dakota. By the time we parted ways he’d have been my boss for nearly ten years, although I didn’t know it at the time, and I had specifically NOT asked him to shoot my wedding. But shoot it he would, apparently, because there he was, crawling one-handed across the altar, like it was the most normal thing in the world.

“PUSSER!!” I hissed, gesturing furiously in the direction of the baptismal font. “MOVE!!” I didn’t dare to glance back at my mother.

The priest looked down and stared bemusedly at Pusser,who shrugged and slunk away.

Some minutes later, there was a bang and a LOUD crash, which would later be reported to me as the landing of the same unabashed would-be videographer after he tripped mightily over several pews trying to get a canted angle of my bridesmaids. “He was like, literally AIRBORNE,” I’d hear later, during cocktail hour. “Unreal!”

I stopped working with him rather abruptly in 2009, The Year of Trouble, just three months before my marriage officially dissolved. But I still love this story, and so many other things about my wedding day! And despite all the cringeworthy moments, I’m so glad to have it on video. Well – most of it, anyway.


Free Advice: if you don’t know, probably just don’t ask.

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It’s no secret that I’ve gained some weight since B! moved out here. All told, there’s around a 35 pounds from lowest to highest. And, you know, I’m not in love with it, but it’s not like it’s wrecking all my time. I just ate a fro-yo cone with sprinkles. So, there.

But it’s gotten a little awkward lately. More specifically, people have started asking me if I’m pregnant. And I’m not talking like “that random stranger this one time”, I’m talking PEOPLE. Like, best friend people. Like, coworker people. People people. More than a handful. And it’s never just like, oh are you pregnant? It’s always like:

“Boy or girl?”

“When’s the due date?”

“I hope she has your hair!”

For any readers who may themselves have asked the burning question in question: it’s not the asking that bothers me. I’m well aware that I’m no longer the lithe sprite of yesteryear, but I’m also no longer smashing dishes or throwing glasses of wine at things. My eating disorder is in remission. I have a full set of dinner dishes. Weight gain is a small price to pay for sanity, I think, although it’s not always appropriate to say in the moment.

What bothers me is the whole awkwardness of the situation. Like, they say it, and then I have to say, you know, “no”, and then they get all flustered and I just laugh and smile because really – REALLY? It’s funny. Come on, you know it is.

That said, I’m still thinking of getting a couple T-shirts made that say “NOT PREGNANT, JUST FAT”. It’s summertime now. Anything goes.


Free Advice: Pinterest edition

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I have this picture of how I used to look. I’m wearing cutoff jeans, a sports bra, and a bike helmet, and I’m fist-pounding the sky on a bridge over Storrow Drive. You can see each and every one of my ribs. It’s online somewhere I’m sure, but I’m too lazy to go find. Anyway, this look is probably not healthy. It’s probably what the tabloids like to call “scary skinny”. But I didn’t WORK for that body – I just purged myself into it. It actually got awkward – people would see me eating whatever I was eating and ask me how I did it, how did I stay so thin? “Bulimia” was always on the tip of my tongue as an answer (I’m nothing if not direct) but a polite smile and a nod would usually suffice.

These days, nobody’s asking me how I did it.

And so I’m going to the gym.

I was kind of all whatever about having to actually EXERCISE my way into a body that didn’t make me want to self-immolate, until I saw this image on Pinterest. “YOU EARN YOUR BODY”, it says, in boldface white-on-black, and underneath are a series of resolutions ending with the vow: “I will earn my body”. And this? This totally threw me.

I realized, suddenly, that this body has always been a “thing” to me, something Other, and whatever it looked like was not good enough. Whatever it FELT like was not good enough. In fact, whatever it felt like was usually pretty bad. But now, now that I’ve kind of made this commitment to work myself back, I wonder if maybe, finally, I’ll feel at home in this body. I wonder if one day I’ll have a body I’m proud to earn.


OHAI

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What’s up? Oh, nothing. Just working and stuff, doing all that.

Yup, I’ve been good.

Yup, B!’s good too, we’re good. He’s cooking a lot lately, which is nice, and we went apple picking last weekend. I took some pictures.

Yeah, for sure, nice to catch up! Oh, hey, before I let you go, I do have this one story – the other weekend? I shot an S&M Wedding.

Yeah, seriously, like, the bride wore black.

YES it was a dress! I mean, it was kind of see-through, but – what? YES the groom was dressed too.

NO, not in a dress!

It was seriously amazing. Yeah. And, like, weirdly COMFORTABLE. Like, they were all really good people. I actually had an awesome time. Something about being free, being real and honest – like, there was no bullsh*t with them, you know? Even at the after-reception reception, where there were like, people being whipped and stuff. What?

Yes, WHIPPED. Like, with a WHIP.

What?

NO, no, I DID NOT get WHIPPED.

No, I’d totally recommend it to anyone. The party, not the whipping. Like, keep an open mind, you never know what might come your way. You know? Hahahaha, yeah. OK. Later.


Loves thisiht

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Best moment of today, which B! and I spent on a Real Live Video Shoot:

One of the extras: So, are you guys married?

ErinirE and B! (in unison): No.

All of the extras: *laughs*

ErinirE: Well, actually, I am married. Just not to him.

All of the extras: *is confused and awkward*

ErinirE and B!: *grins*

 

It’s so bad. But I just can’t help it.

 


A short list of things that are Extremely Worth It:

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  • The glass deductible rider on your car insurance policy. I’ve had like, 6 windshields over the years, honest to God.
  • MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Foundation. Two words: Seriously Amazing. The other afternoon, my boss went out for lunch. While he was gone I applied my daily dose, and, upon his return, he kind of did a double-take and asked me if I had changed, somehow. PEOPLE, my (male) BOSS noticed. It’s that good. It is not sticky, it is not greasy, and it does not look like makeup. In short: it is everything you want out of life.
  • Mark Bittman’s cookbooks. That one and this one. I read them like novels. I mean, I’ll be honest, some of the recipes are not that great, but if you need to know how to debone a chicken, make DIY buttermilk, or create awesome 15-minute Kung Pao chicken, this guy is your man.
  • The BlacX Duet. I just purchased their single-drive model, and am kicking myself all the way down the street for not just spending the extra money and getting the full package. The potential for 4 live terabytes of storage with a price tag under $100. It makes me dizzy.

If you have a hard drive fetish, if you like to cook, if you like to look fantastic all the time, or if you like to not spend money on stupid crap, trust me here. I wouldn’t steer you wrong.


How Not To Spend Your Time: Pt 1

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B! and I went down to see my parents the other Saturday. Seeing the wretched state of my forearms, covered, as they were, in tiny red bumps, my mom gently steered me to the Minute Clinic at CVS. Together we waited there for about 40 minutes, observing the vast and varied pharmacy clientele, and were finally seen by a very nice Nurse Practitioner. After tallying off my boutique of psychoactive medications, she silently added “anxiety disorder” to my profile and then asked, in a very matter-of-fact way, if I was depressed.

“I think I might have mono,” I told the nurse.

The nurse produced a large binder from somewhere behind her computer, and flipped over to a page tabbed with “INFECTIOUS MONONUCLEOSIS”. It had more pictures than text. This did not instill confidence.

“We’ll do a test,” she said.

To me it seemed like spending a hundred dollars on nothing at all – there’s no cure for mono except just chilling out, and, realistically, I can’t afford to just chill out right now. But my mother persisted, and I gave in.

Carefully, with the air of a new hire navigating the supply closet, the nurse brought down a box labeled “MONO TEST” and began to read the printed directions. There was a needle, a vial, and three glass jars involved. She seemed a little confused.

“Um,” she said, squeezing dryly at the eyedropper bottle, and kind of trailed off. Turns out, they had run out of the solution that tests for mono, and so she couldn’t tell me anything at all.

Free advice: if you have a mysterious rash covering your entire body, are fairly sure you don’t have measles, and would like medical validation for why you’ve been sleeping 10 hours a day, don’t bother going to the Minute Clinic in my parents’ town. It’s totally not worth it.


Microsoft Word could save you a lot of headaches.

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From Boston Craigslist, 3/1/11:

“Seeking Entertainment photographer to part of our Staff. seeking creative person to shoot live performances, still shots black/white and color to document our activities. interestred persons should leave infomation we will get back to you.

Free advice – when posting a help wanted ad, maybe think about using verbs. And spell check. And punctuation.


If everyone did their job this well, we’d still be beating our dinner with clubs.

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I usually pick up my prescriptions at CVS. In fact, I’ll usually take any excuse to pick up anything at all at CVS. I love CVS. Except for their piped-in music, which makes me want to throw railroad nails. Anyway, I went to CVS the other day and tried to fill my prescriptions, but their system was down. I went to another CVS to fill my prescriptions, and their system was down too. Apparently, it was a  bad day for CVS.

I’ve also filled scrips at Target, which seems like a great idea considering you have the whole sales floor to entertain you while you wait. Unfortunately, their pill bottles are these horrid, cone-shaped, red things that make me feel like some kind of pariah every time I reach for an Effexor. So no more Target pharmacy for me.

It was this confluence of circumstance that drove me to refill at Stop & Shop pharmacy. I mean, I didn’t even realize that Stop & Shop HAD a pharmacy, but hey, I mean, pills are pills, right? They had all the usual trouble with my out-of-state health insurance, so I left them with my card and headed home with the plan to pick up my meds the following morning.

Next morning, I get there, and it’s too early to fill two of the prescriptions. Fine, that’s cool, I’ll just take the one. Except for how they only have ten pills in stock. So I get a partial. Weird but whatever, right? It’s just Stop & Shop.

Time comes to fill the other two prescriptions, and I show up at the counter, and the pharmacist informs me that they haven’t been able to get shipments of the one medication for over a month. They’re still out of Effexor. And they’ve also lost my insurance card.

“We don’t keep insurance cards,” he tells me, before poking lazily around and happening on a stack of – oh what – insurance cards. “Are any of these yours?”

So at this point I’m pretty annoyed. I mean, they’ve had my information for over a week, knowing full well the whole time that they wouldn’t be able to fill the scrip, and nobody even bothered to CALL me. I mean, CVS would have called me. CVS would have had my medication in the first place. And CVS wouldn’t have lost my insurance card.

Free Advice: If you have a prescription, and every CVS nationwide has fallen prey to some kind of server crash, suck it up and drive the extra mile to Walgreen’s. It’ll be worth it in the end.

 

 


In college, I just ran the waffle machine in the dining hall. That was OK.

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Tuesday was the kind of day that made me glad to have weekly therapy sessions. I’ve gone off the Abilify again, bolstered now by an extra 75mg of Effexor, so I don’t know if it was that or just the whim of the wind that swayed me from “great” to “feh”. Either way, I arrived home from work feeling very out of sorts. The dinner I’d planned involved a lot of chopping, and I used the time like a meditation on life. Asparagus cut into perfect 1-inch segments on the bias. All cannot be lost. We ate dinner around 8:30pm, and, just as I was finishing up, my phone started buzzing.

“Hello, this is Erin,” I answered, as always.

“Hi Erin, this is Natalie, I’m a freshman at Syracuse University,” replied a cheerful, carefully scripted voice.

OK. It’s like, I know where she’s going. I know they want money. And we all know I don’t have money. But I don’t want to be rude to the poor girl. So I let her go on. She told me all about some new website the University has for alumni networking, and a way for me to “stay in touch with what’s going on at SU”, as though that’s some kind of top priority for me. And as she’s yambling on, I’m thinking about what *I* was up to at 8:30pm on any given Tuesday as a college freshman, and how it sure as hell wasn’t working some targeted telemarketing gig on work study. I felt bad for her, actually, and wanted to tell her so.

Until her script got awkward. “Another reason why we’re calling is just to catch up on what you’ve been up to since graduation…!” she read, with awkward inflection. “So, what have you been up to since graduation?”

I graduated college in 2001. And what’s happened since then defies description. Like, I’ve been sitting here for ten minutes trying to come up with something, but I just can’t. Part of me really wanted to give it to her: the cold, hard truth about how life just turns around and slaps you in the face. How you really can work yourself to death, even if you love your job. How you can go from being a happily married woman with a nice, comfortable life to an unemployed would-be divorcee in what seems like the blink of an eye. How you can rise up again, in spite of it all.

All these thoughts vectored like time-lapse in my brain, until, after a slightly uncomfortable pause, I laughed. “A lot has happened since graduation,” I said. “A lot. Right now I work as project manager for a nonprofit company. Before that I worked in documentary film.” I left out the mental institution, I left out the complicated divorce, I left out how, at 26 years old, my name appeared on screens nationwide as co producer of a major PBS documentary. I left out how I can teach myself anything, how I HAVE taught myself everything, how, when *I* was a freshman in college, I had no idea what I was in for.

In the end, she asked me for $150, and I said no, sorry, I can’t afford that, but the five minutes I spent on the phone with her really made me think. I’ve done a lot since 2001. And that’s pretty cool.

 


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