Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Awesome Boyfriend

So first things first.  I am sorry that I've neglected in my posting.  Worse off is that I'm mad at myself for not putting my foot down earlier.  It's no excuse but the foot has become to come down like a hammer and you-know-who has been dealing with it quite well, despite his co-dependency issues.  Seriously, we've been learning A LOT about one another as of late.  It will take a few posts...

So, aside of learning to juggle a boyfriend who has a way of making me feel like utter shit and guilty if I don't want to see him, I've been juggling work.  Now, let me just say that in general Steven has been completely fabulous but we were starting to have our issues.  Or, rather, it was my issues.

Awesome Boyfriend: In April I managed and implemented the grand opening of a client's store.  She left around 5p to get her hair done and didn't show up until 7:30.  The problem: the party started at 6p.  She basically left the entire event to me and I was more than a little irritated that she was an hour and a half late to her own fucking party.  Really?  Whatever.  I have Steven, two gay bfs and my social media intern extraordinaire in tote and they rocked my world that night.  It's hard to come by good people who want to work (read: volunteer) for your success, but I had them that night and I'm super grateful.

At one point I was really becoming irritated that the client wasn't anywhere to be found and vendors, who weren't on my sheet as confirmed, were popping up.  Now this is Chicago.  Unless you're a major retailer, store fronts are pretty small.  There was limited room and I was trying to be as nice as possible, answering questions I had no answers to because THE FUCKING CLIENT WASN'T THERE!  Media were tugging on my arm "Where's the owner?" "She's on her way." Guests were asking who owned the shop.  "How much is this?" How the FUCK DO I KNOW? I am not the one who should be trying to answer this question. I have two last minute vendors asking where they can set up and Steven was already standing in the midst of the mess.  "Well, we need to move this over there, pull this out, you can go there and you right here."  Sigh.  Rock on!  I turned, feeling completely confident that it was all under control by my MAIN MAN!  Later, he took brochures outside and walked the street handing them out to people, inviting them to come in.  Many of those people did come in, and when he finally did he was drenched from the rain. What a trooper!  You're SO GETTING LAID LATER!

Finally the client shows up and everyone with me knows that I'm more than a little irritated, but you can't let your client know that.  You simply have to smile and say "it's all under control."  I was relieved and filling her in on everything until someone pulled her into her office where she remained for 30+ minutes.  Seriously?  I have vendors and media asking for you.  Get your ass out of there and participate in your event! Finally she rose from the desk and came out.  I snagged her and said "Look, a lot of people have been asking for you and we need to make rounds."  We did.  She did a couple of quick media interviews and then people started leaving.  We're outta here!  I was so annoyed, happy at the success we managed to achieve, but pissed that she wasn't even there.  I switched out of my high patent leather peep toes into galoshes (might feet literally let out a sigh) and started to help everyone tear down.  Steven helped move heavy pieces back down to the basement (my man!) and we finally said our goodbyes and walked to the car.

Sensing my stress, Steven complimented the event and told me what an awesome job I did all the way back to his house, where he poured a glass of wine (to the top, I might add) and we sat outside on the front porch talking.  It really helped me relax and come back down.  That's something I always mentioned in my dating profiles is wanting someone who can bring me down after a crazy day.  Life as an entrepreneur ain't easy and I need someone who understands that and knows me. Hell, my life, the part he doesn't know about yet, ain't easy. There is constantly shit running through my mind, keeping me from sleeping at night. Steven is such an even-keeled person.  He's easy going and takes everything in stride, hardly ever getting a feather ruffled.  He's a great complement to me.  Not saying I'm crazy, neurotic or flip out easily (any more...)...."You know, I'm so happy you were there tonight.  Not only did you take over and help make things happen but you kept me calm and relaxed.  I really needed that.  Thank you."  "You're welcome, Baby." 

Next....Bad Boyfriend, Or is it Just Me?

You are totally worthy!

Over the last couple of years, I have had many moments of big, HUGE epiphanies.  (Hence, Finding Epiphany).  One of them was my daddy issues.  Every time a client walked away or I failed to achieve for them (outside factors didn't seem to matter) I immediately thought "my father will be so disappointed in me."  See, I don't know how they did it, but my parents raised my sisters and I to be well educated, strong, independent and entirely too modest for our own good.  It has always been difficult for me to accept praise and to celebrate my achievements because there was such little emphasis put on success.  On top of it, the fear of disappointing my father was instilled early on and it was, for a lifetime, the ultimate judgement on everything accomplished. 

As I grew older I realized that instead of taking a moment to celebrate my accomplishments in work and for clients, I just shoved the elation under the rug, shrugging it off like "no big deal" and quickly moving on to the next thing.  One girlfriend finally said "E, it's amazing what you just accomplished for your client.  You should be elated!" "I know, but I just can't.  This is what I do.  It's no big deal and I need to focus on the next big get for them."  "E, I really don't think you get it.  It's not being egotistical to tout and celebrate your accomplishments.  You aren't bragging.  We all want to celebrate you, as your friends.  This is a big deal. Take a moment, accept it and revel in it."  She was SO right and ever since then I put more weight on the things I'm able to accomplish and do a little happy dance when I've scored for a client.  I've come to realize that, yes, this is what I do day in and day out, but it's still major and I need to celebrate it!

Bad Boyfriend

Utter frustration!  Steve is ALWAYS late (the honeymoon is over.  The time to impress me is over.  The respect is gone. I'm now being taken for granted.  Being on time is the ONE thing that I feel is a sign of respect of some one's life and time.  His tardiness is really starting to irritate me.  "Can't you text and let me know you're late?"  "Sorry, baby, I just got caught up in something." "All I'm asking for is a text."), he never remembers ANYTHING - even if it only matters to him (it's amazing he gets up for work every morning) and worse I feel like this entire relationship is based on what HE wants.  There's no consideration for me what's so ever.  It feels like it's totally on his terms and only on his terms.  I know he doesn't mean to do this, but boy it sure feels that way from where I'm sitting. The most annoying part? He wants me to take care of him like his mother!  Seriously?  I didn't sign up to have a child.  I want a life partner.  A bonafide grown-ass man!  Don't call me mommy.  I'm not your mommy!  "Well, don't you like taking care of me?"  "Sure, but this is what a couple does for one another.  It's because you care, not because I want to be your mother!" "Okay, Mommy."  Errrrr!  See???  Frustration!

Recently, Steve and I have been having some conversations about faith and my desire to go to church.  Just when I've reached a good point of compromise, and feel he has as well, he announces, out of the blue, while sitting on his front porch, that he can't live with a cat.  Can't have one in his house.  "Why?" "Because of all the fur and dust." Seriously?  Seriously.  That's you're reason?  "Well, unfortunately Meow Mix is part of the package with me.  Didn't you read my online profile? I was very open and honest about who I am and what I bring to the relationship.  Or did you just see some nice photos?" Actually, he probably doesn't remember what I had in my profile.  I swear he has early onset Alzheimer's.  "Yes, I read your profile." Hmmmm.  "At some point you are going to have to make compromises.  A relationship can't be on your terms only."  He said nothing and stared out to the street.

This really bothered me and I knew I had to bring it up again, but it took almost a week to find the time, alone to mention it.  So, it was, after an awesome evening running errands, talking and laughing we finally end up at his house having a late dinner.

E: "So, can I ask you something?"
S: "No.  If you're going to ask me something, do it."
E: "Okay, Let me ask you something.  We had a conversation last week that has really been weighing on me.  Are you serious about the cat thing?"
S: "Yes. I don't want all that fur and dust in my house."
E: "You realize she's part of the package?  I can't imagine anyone who loves me, cares about me or even KNOWS me would ask me to send her packing."
S: "Let me put it this way, my last girlfriend, I loved, and I wouldn't have cared if she had a cat or not."
E: Ouch! He clearly doesn't feel the same way about me that I do him.  I've been willing to make compromise and he isn't.  "You don't feel that way about me?"
S: "I'd like to get there."
E: Sigh....tears are welling up.  Time to cut this convo off.  I take one big gulp to finish my wine, set it on the table and say, "It's late, we should go to bed."

I head directly to the bathroom and let the tears go while he does dishes in the kitchen.  I cry hard and fast, wash my face, brush teeth and head to his bedroom where I changed into my t-shirt and crawled in bed.  Steve joins me about 10 minutes later.  After changing his clothes, he crawls in bed and wraps his arms around me.  I have to say it. I roll over to face him, "I would never do to you what she did to you."  "Huh?"  "Your ex who lied and cheated on you.  I would never do that." "I never thought you would."  "I guess I feel that at our age, after four months maybe you should know whether you want to be with someone or not."  Silence. Great. I roll back over my back facing him.  He removes his arms and instead pulls his legs up behind mine, spooning me.

I was SO hurt by what he said, and I KNOW that I was simply interpreting what he said as it affected me.  Steve could never say anything to purposely hurt me.  Time to call reinforcements: the BFF.

E: "So, what do you think?" after I explained the entire situation.
BFF: "Yep, that all sounds about right.  My hubby is the same.  Hell, all men are the same. But I love hubby and that's just how it is.  I've come to learn that men and women just don't think the same.  I'm always thinking of hubby.  For instance, I always turn the porch light on for him when he's out and I've gone to bed.  I used to get frustrated asking him to do the same and he never would.  Doesn't he care about me?  It's just a nice gesture.  He's never going to leave the porch light on but I know he loves me and it's not for lack of that.  He simply just doesn't think about it.  As far as the cat situation, it's clear to me that he wants to fall in love with you, he's just not there yet.  Give it some time and let it happen.  He will and the whole situation will be moot."

Sigh..she's totally right.  How nice to know I'm not alone and not crazy.  I really was beginning to question if this relationship was right for me.  With that said, another trusted friend said "E, you and I are masters of self-sabotage.  You're scared and making a mountain out of a mole hill.  I think you need to step back, not say anything any more and let your relationship happen."  Thanks, girls.  You're both totally right.

The next few days were not easy.  Typically when Steve and I are in the car, he grabs my hand.  Nada.  Not even near touching me.  In fact, he wasn't even trying to kiss me or be affectionate in general.  This is a problem.  Something is definitely up.  I keep things light and don't bring up anything!  I swear, I didn't.  Then one night we were hanging out at my house and I made my move.  Maybe we need some make up sex. And I couldn't have been more right.  A little sexual healing goes a long way and the next night when he picked me up after work, his hand reached out to mine in the car and held it the entire ride.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Unlike The Rest of Chicago, I Have Not Embraced Public Urination

I decided to take a break from work and take some things out to the trash.  I walk back to the gate from the alley, open it, close and latch it and look down my gangway to see a big white ass looking back at me.  This woman was taking a piss in my gangway! In broad daylight!  I. LOST. IT!

"Uhm, seriously white trash bitch! You are fucking disgusting.  Get the hell off my property before I call the police!"

In her Mexican accent and quickly pulling up her pants, "I sorry"

"REALLY? You FUCKING IDIOT! Go to Taco Bell! If I EVER see you on my street again I will call the police."

And this is how my day has been going so far....


Friday, May 13, 2011

Seriously Blogger?

So yesterday I wrote out two posts and one saved...or so I thought.  Blogger went down and I lost the post.  Even when I would look at it this morning it was there and now it's gone.  WTF?  I did not copy and paste it.  I've never had to before. I've never worried about Blogger screwing up my posts.

Sorry kids, but I just don't have time to rewrite it today.  I will try and post this weekend.

Good boyfriend. Bad boyfriend. Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.  I'm always wondering what he's going to bring up next that is suddenly a problem for him.  His next target is apparently Meow Mix. I don't know kids.  I just don't know where or if this is going....


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Boyfriend is Making Me Fat!

As a woman who once worshiped Glamour, and later then Vogue, I've read every article on why you should love yourself and not complain to your boyfriend that you're fat, your ass is too big, or belly not flat enough.  Bottom line was always DON'T DO IT. Love yourself cuz your man adores you the way you are.  No where in any of those thousands of Glamours read did I see anything about how to keep yourself from blowing up into a big balloon while dating someone.  Nor have I seen anything regarding how to deal with a boyfriend who complains about being fat himself.

Normally, I eat very well.  I can't afford to go out to eat often, so I cook and it's always healthy with tons of veggies and definitely includes some four buck chuck from Trader Joe's (this shit is GOOD!).  I'm also not someone who eats much.  Normally I have three meals a day - not much of a snacker - and the portions are just about right.  I don't overeat, unless I'm at a restaurant, but even then I know that there is a to-go box in my future and that means additional meals, if not one, more, for the week.  Dating Steven has been a challenge in self control and being polite.

Now let me just say one thing that Steven likes about me is that I'm kind of over the "gotta be out at the hottest places in town every night of the week".  First it's expensive, seriously, with cabs you can easily spend $250 in one night, for one person - dinner, drinks, nightclub - it's insane!  And while it is fun every now and again, I've been there, done that, and now appreciate a different lifestyle.  There's nothing out there I haven't seen before and frankly, I feel just too old to participate in that crowd any more.  When it was my time, I had a BLAST, no doubt, but now I am so happy I had my fun and can concentrate on a different kind of life.  One that doesn't include getting home at 5am, sleeping until 1p and further cocktails to assist in hastening recovery.  Recovery now lingers long past the 24 hour mark to the 72 hour mark, and frankly, there's just so many more things I want to do with my day then play the hang over march from the couch to the bathroom all day long.

So, Steven and I go out every now and again, but not to the hottest restaurants in town.  We prefer the cool hole in the wall, neighborhood joints with amazing food and even more amazing prices.  The problem is that he eats A LOT!  In some cases prompting more "immediate bathroom" situations which result purely from lack of self control and overeating on verge of exploding - literally and figuratively.  I, of course, am in tote.  Even at home, when we cook at his there is an overwhelming amount of food.  It cracks me up.  He'll prepare his plate and then mine exactly like his, as if I have a starving army in my stomach.  Out of politeness I always tried to clean my plate.  Later on in our relationship, I've begun to stop him before he dishes out extra spoonfuls on to my plate.  Often I get the "you eat like a bird".  Of which I respond, "Do you like my butt?"  "I LOVE your butt." "Well, let's keep it from getting a zip code of it's own and still feeling the love, shall we?"

The real problem is that even though I've been cutting back and putting my foot down, I have, somehow, still gained weight, and no small portion of three pounds...much MORE!  This is truly the biggest I've ever been and I feel so uncomfortable that it's making me crazy.  If it hadn't been raining here for the last, oh FOREVER, I would be working on dropping some of this arse on the lake front. However, one gay bf alerted me to the fact that it's illegal to dump biological waste in public parks.

Worse than this, is how Steven feels about himself.  Rarely do I say a WORD about how I'm feeling physically, but Steven is almost constantly saying "I'm so fat".  My response "Don't complain.  Do something about it."  Harsh, maybe, but I say it in soft voice accompanied by a smile and followed with a kiss on the cheek.  The problem is an absolute lack of motivation.  As if his stint in the hospital when his heart rate was super high along with his blood pressure didn't freak him out at all.  It's pure LAZY.  This is a problem for me.  So, I've done what I can.  He's bought new rollerblades.  I encourage him to ride his bike and, when I can afford it, plan on joining his gym.  I, of course, do all of the cooking when we do get together and it's always healthy.  I even have a PT friend willing to train him FOR FREE twice, even more, but he won't follow through.  I am not sure if it's insecurity or lack of caring.  Please, I need a man's response!  I'm at a loss!

To top it off, Steven told me last weekend about his ex-gf who was always blowing him off for work but it always came out that she'd decided to go out to the clubs instead.  So, naturally, I had a super busy week and told him I needed to concentrate on me.  He realizes I'm not going to do the same to him, but I am now wondering how he will react when I start creating time for myself to go rollerblading, etc., for me.  It's not that I'm insecure about my relationship with him.  It's that I'm seeing all of his insecurities and it's a lot to take on.  Here is this amazing, even-keeled man, who in all other totally random, and quite embarrassing moments, has all the confidence in the world and these are his road blocks.  Seriously, Steven takes the "He's Just Not That Into" test and scores 120 out 100.  I'm totally confused.  I know what I need to do and if he won't do it for him, I can't let it stop me doing it for myself.

Amongst other things, there is something that has come up that really bothers me....apparently he's more than just slightly racist.  If you know me, you know this really pisses me off, and he knows exactly where I stand.  Is it small mindedness, ignorance or a deal breaker? 

The honeymoon is over.....


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Diarrhea, Diarrhea

It was Thursday morning and Steven had the day off, as his days off run every six days and so we only have a real weekend together every six weeks, (That's like twice in our relationship, but he's a good sport knowing the rest of the world's schedule doesn't exactly jive with his.) and he decided we should go to brunch, because that's what ordinary people do with their weekends.  The problem is that most restaurants actually only have brunch on the weekends so it was one of a handful of diners always open for breakfast, The Original Pancake house, IHOP (Yes, we have a few in the city) or one of my favorite places not too far from my house.

I love Wishbone.  It's soul food at it's best but also serves enough regular menu items that appeal to everyone, especially breakfast.  After a sex marathon the night before, or what now constitutes as a sex marathon for two people no longer in their 20's, we were starving.  A quick shower and we were out the door.

It's funny how relationships move a bit faster the older you get. In the past, I would have been so concerned with looking perfect that I would lock myself in the bathroom with my clothes, shower and wash off the mascara that had run down my cheeks during sex (the big thing is washing my hair...this boy can turn it into a birds nest in NO TIME FLAT!), put on my makeup, dry my hair, all in a steamy bathroom, only to open the door and step out in a heavy midst, with some slight sweat, but looking perfectly made up and ready to go.  I would feel like Kelly LeBrock in "Wierd Science" who, after being created by a boy and his computer, seemed to appear in perfection out of a fog.

At this age, and with Steve, I wake up with raccoon eyes and he tells me I'm beautiful.  I feel so comfortable with him that showering with Steve is nothing.  He looks at me like I'm the most incredible thing he's ever seen including a light cat call whistle - jiggles, cellulite and all hanging from here and there.  Albeit, he is pretty much blind without his glasses up to about a foot away - HELPFUL!  This morning, I showered, put on just enough cover up to not look like I had only managed three hours of sleep the night before, threw on some comfy clothes and we were out the door.

Those in Chicago share a common love for Wishbone, no matter the location, although I think both the food and service are best in Lakeview.  Steve is so excited I recommended the restaurant that I think he peed himself a little.  We manage to park, pay the rip off parking fee (thank you City of Chicago for selling our parking meters and then spending the $1B, mostly on the bid for the Olympics, which we lost, leaving the tax payers, once again, holding the bag.  I thought we were Democrats!), and head off to the restaurant.  We get a good table, but not the best.  The best tables are the booths by the windows - lots of light and great people watching as people walk up and down the street.  I order coffee and Steve, obsessed with juice, orders two tall orange juices.  We sit and talk, laughing, mostly.

I love how we just harass one another.  It reminds me of who I really am.  When I was younger, this sassy-smart ass quality apparently drove guys crazy because I had them flocked around me.  It was as if I held them just far enough away to say, "I like you but you can't have me.....yet!"  This has been the element missing, amongst others, in past relationships.  You know, the "I want him to like me so much that I'm afraid to be me?"  Well, I now know if that's the case then that person is not the right one for you.

"Are you ready to order?" says the waitress. I reply "Could you give us a few minutes?"  We were so consumed with talking about nothing important.  "Yeah, a few minutes," Steve says.  "I'm too busy admiring the vision in front of me."  (Okay, we can all collectively throw up a little in our mouths). I, being conscious that I am consuming about 1,000 cals more a day (AT LEAST) dating Steve, conservatively order the egg white, spinach, mushroom and tomato omelet with tomatoes on the side (my ass doesn't need the home fries - no matter how much Steve loves "the butt").  On the other hand, Steve decides on the Red Eggs.  Hmmm...are you sure about that?  Red Eggs, beans, hot's not like we're recovering from hangover, but our age (shutup I said it and it's time I admit to the "changes") it's just not the best idea.  And it wasn't but I didn't know until we were finished.

"I have to go to the bathroom."  "Okay."  I sit, enjoy some more coffee and looking out the window to some people watching and thinking...All these people off to work, like most normal people.  I DO enjoy my lifestyle.  What kind of dollar figure would I put on it?  Well, whatever it is, I love it but I am not ready to reveal my financial truth to Steven so maybe it's time to start the hunt again.  I remember how exciting it was to get up each morning and head to my office on Michigan Avenue, even the one in the burbs...and having a car.  I do miss having a car.  Freedom.  To reach this goal I would have no choice but to reveal myself and if he doesn't kick me to the curb I could take care of it living together, but why should I EVER expect him to support me.  Damn it, E!  That's the thinking that your Dad instilled in you - strong, don't need anyone, independent - not such a bad thing, but can be.  Now it's simple embarrassment about my reality.  How the FUCK did I get here?  How did I even let it happen?  Making just enough to get by on, clients paying late, overdraft fees and sometimes bad checks that totally fuck me over...that totals an extra thousand dollars a year and then the government STILL wants money after that.  What the HELL?  I know what's held me back - daddy and male family figure's expectations of me, but isn't that just imagined.  Stop it, E, you're making yourself crazy.  But I want a nice home and life.  I should be able to have this.  How the hell do others do this?  Oh, yeah, they're married or have a trust fund.  Well you have neither so it's time to be the scrapper you were raised to be.  You're just going to have to make time and put your foot down with Steve so you can concentrate on what you need to do for YOU! "There's someone in the bathroom." "Oh."  Steve is still standing.  A bit antsy.  He then sits.  "Well, you should wait, I'm sure they won't be long." "You're right. I'll go check again."

Okay, it's official, E, you're certifiably crazy.  It's not like you're the only one who has suffered in this economy.  It's hard to do this on your own and, not to mention, you've just celebrated 10 years in business...that's a milestone.  A major one.  People WISH they could say this.  It gives you so much more credibility.  Okay, so Pittsburgh didn't work out and maybe that's because you look so young, but FUCK 'em.  You're great at what you do and it's about time you say...outloud.  Celebrate your success and show a little pride.  God won't strike you down.  He wants the best for you...."  "There's another person in the bathroom now."  For God's SAKE, I know there are multiple stalls in the women's bathroom...what's going on?  "Okay, well, we can head to mine. Why don't you check one last time."  Standing with small grimace, "Okay."  Geez, E, here is this man totally enamored of you.  But what if he finds out my truth and leaves me.  This could happen.  E!  Shutup.  Do what you gotta do until that happens.  Take it slow.  Take care of your shit as best as possible and worry about it when it comes up.  Sigh.  "Here's your bill."  "Thanks."  Not sure of the amount of money in my bank account at this very moment, I whip out my debit card with complete confidence that God will provide and pay the bill.  E, all you need is a little faith.  He will lead you.  He's never left you behind and always provided for you when you really needed it.  You'll be fine.  It's time to get your house in order. "Thanks," says the waitress.  I pay the bill and return to my internal battle.

"Uhm...they're not coming out of the bathroom," Steve says sitting.  "Okay, well we'll just head to mine." "Okay, now?  Where's the bill?"  I wink.  He smiles, "You didn't have to."  "But I did.  I can afford breakfast."  I think.  It wasn't rejected.  "Uhm, okay, we have to go RIGHT NOW." "Oh! Okay."

We head out of the restaurant, turn the corner and walk the 100 feet or so to his car.  Steve is clearly walking a few paces faster than me.  "Are you okay?" "Yep," he says shortly.  "Just need to go to the bathroom."  OH!!!!!!!!  I start to walk faster and hop in the car.  We're about 10 blocks from my house but Steve drove like the car was on fire - or rather his ass was on fire.  Poor guy, we hit every red light in those 10 blocks.  All four of them.  He was really antsy.  So much he couldn't even talk.  "How are you?"  "Need to get to your house." I smile and give a little chuckle.  "Okay." We pull up and he goes to park.  "Do you have your keys out?" "Yep." "You go ahead and I'll come up."  "Okay."  No joke.  I knew the emergency.  I saw it in his sweet brown eyes.  The feeling of dire urgency.  The kind of urgency that would leave more than skid marks in his shorts if he didn't make it to a bathroom and fast.

I run up the front stairs, unlock my door while he parks the car, run up the stairs to my apartment, I head him, now, running behind me and up the stairs.  Steve is unbuckling his pants as he runs up the stairs.  I cut the corner after opening the door and head to my office on the other side of the apartment.  Once there I turn on my computer and immediately launch Windows Media Player and blast some music. Hey, I know what it's like.  I have a fear of pooping in public bathrooms.  I totally "clam up", for lack of a better term.   I hear Steve close and lock the bathroom door and I begin to work like nothing has happened.  HELLO!  The honeymoon is over. He has diarrhea in front of you, the initial romance where you both smell like roses and have no bad faults is now over!

Eventually, the victim makes his way to the door of my office.  Looking a little worn out, a look of relieve crosses his face.  "That was a close call."  I laugh.  "Apparently!  Thank goodness we weren't head to your place." "Oh my GOSH!" he says in his Chee-ca-go accent. "No kidding.  I wouldn't have made it and you might have seen the end of me."  "Really?"  "Uhm, yeah, what man's pride can recover from shitting his pants?"  I just laugh until I cry. "Well, honey, we've all been there. Again, glad I live so close."  He sighs and laughs, "Yeah!".

So, here we are.  I joke that I feel like I have a target on me and Steve has his arrow aimed on it and it's true what people say, when it's right, it's natural and when shit happens (pun intended) you still like and want that person.  After all, eventually shit does happen and it could have been me.  So I got up and kissed him and he bid adieu so I could work and I just chuckled to myself thinking about the morning.


Friday, March 25, 2011

I'm NOT Dumping my Friends!

Okay, I know, I know, I KNOW!  Yes, the boy wants to see me daily and I'm trying to figure my financial shit out.  It's a balance that includes work in the mix.  How people do this with kids is way beyond me and I totally honor you.  I don't have enough hours in the day for ME!

I love you, miss you and haven't forgotten about you.  SO many fun stories to tell!  Let me get through the weekend and they'll start pouring out!  Hint: "Diarrhea, Diarrhea"! I know you can't WAIT!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Harry

Over the last few weeks, as I begin to slowly announce to friends that I now, officially, have "A Boyfriend", I get the same questions - What's he like? What does he look like? Tell me about him...

Fortunately, I was clever enough to save a picture from his profile before deleting my account, but that doesn't seem to suffice.  So, like any woman, I further cyber stalked him into his Facebook page.  (I know you're wondering why we aren't friends on FB yet, but it's just one of those steps we'll get around to.  I'm enjoying the pace of not rushing into anything.)  On his FB page, I am able to see all of his photos, probably because we have some friends in common.  Digging....digging.... hmmmm...blonde gal, looks ex.  I am much prettier.  HA!  I finally find the perfect picture of him at a restaurant, ready to dig into his meal and smiling.  For a moment, I think he looks like Harry from Sex & The City and then I realize, he is Harry from Sex & The City.  He's my Harry.

I always thought I wanted Smith - I've dated Smiths - but clearly they couldn't give me what I needed because, unlike Smith, they're all too in love with themselves to love anyone else.

Of course, this is all confirmed after immediately popping in the S&TC DVDs when Harry first comes on the scene.  Of course!  Hairy back, a guys' guy, a little uncouth, totally NOT what I expected (I mean completely NOT the person I expected), sometimes crass, a clown, willing to get on his knees in the middle of the grocery store to beg for a kiss, happy go lucky, he is who he is, and absolutely so sweet to Charlotte.  How could she, or I, resist?  As one website describes Harry,

"Are a smooth head and a hairy back your cup of tea? Are you looking for a man who makes you laugh but is a wildcat in the sack?"

Yep, Steven is MY Harry.  He's goofy, silly, sometimes vulgar, not accustomed to a lot of the finer things in life, which were beat into me, and always so sweet to me.  He makes it clear everyday how he feels about me.  No three words can make that any better than it already it is.  So, here's to all the Harry's.  You have so much more to offer us women than you know, and you will meet a beautiful woman who sees it and appreciates it!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Meeting Steven's Family

Not only does Steven make me laugh but he's a brat; a is, later, funny, but a source of stress as I'm so gullible that I fall right into his trap.  Apparently, family is not immune.

We decided to get together on Thursday, giving me a few days to get back into work mode - I've really been dropping the ball and lacking ALL ability to stay focused  E...get out of lala land!  - when he drops the bomb on my Wednesday night via phone that he invited his brother, sister-in-law and their two kids over for dinner.  sigh...okay...this is a logical step in our relationship.  We're moving forward and he wants me to be part of his life, instead of on the sidelines, like past flirts!  Right after that he tells me that there's a family function Sunday afternoon to celebrate his youngest brother's engagement.

E: "Oh, that's great.  It's nice your family lives so close to one another."
S: "Yeah, it is, so keep your Sunday open."
E: "Why?" snarking on the other end of the phone
S:  "What?"
E: "Oh, was there something you wanted to ask me?"
S:  Catching on and laughing "Uhm, yeah, would you please come with me Sunday and meet my family."
E: "Uuuuhhhhhhmmmmmmm.....okay."  We both laugh.

Thursday night, Steven came to pick me up and he announced we're going to the store.  I ask what he's planning to cook and, to no one's surprise, he says "My spaghetti!"  yuck "We should get some other ingredients to spice it up a bit."  "Okay."  We hit Trader Joe's and pick up some ground turkey, mushrooms, pepper, onion, bread, Parmesan and head back to his house.  I, of course, am left to cook, because apparently he doesn't know how to cook ground meat, let alone cut an onion, which I did end up showing him because I was starting to cry.  In the end, it was a good thing I was cooking because I was nervous and had idle hands.

His family showed up about a half hour late - that's fine...concentrate on the cooking.  His brother was first to come in and was on the phone.  He gave a half "hello" and walked back into the living/dining area.  Then his niece walked in and out.  Then his nephew walked in and out.  I went back to work.  They all soon made their way into the kitchen where Steven introduced me as his "roommate". What the? Uhm....What do I do, joker?  Call you out or roll with it?  I chose to roll with it because I know they came to meet me.  His brother and wife were nice, but I could feel some apprehension. We had them going for about an hour before he told them the truth.  After that, his brother became super friendly and his sister-in-law, while she had her moments of warmth, seemed reserved towards me. 

Finally, dinner was ready and served.  We sat and talked at the table, his brother asking me most of the questions.  I played finger Twister with the kids for awhile and it was time for them to head home.  I was left feeling "eh" about the whole thing.

The next day we texted and I asked if I'd passed Test 1.  He said "test passed" and we made plans for the night.  Now, my mind is whirling about know, it's been a LONG time since I've been in this place.  Maybe 15 years and even then I didn't know what a relationship could really be.  I've come to realize after my abuser, that most of my relationships were incredibly superficial and it was me who refused to open up and develop it into something more.  Well, that isn't a problem these days.

Friday and Saturday came and went.  We were together most of it including Saturday night through Monday morning, and I was working on little sleep.  I just can't sleep with him.  Sometimes I'm fine and then wake up, my mind spinning.  I just can't shut it off sometimes....I'm just a little weighed down.  Weighed down with stress that I'll screw things up with him, how I'm feeling, what I need to do for me, that I've been spending so much time with him that I'm dropping the ball in my own life.  It will make you CRAZY!

So, Sunday I'm working on about three hours of sleep and tried taking a small nap on his couch late early afternoon.  Before I know it it's time to head to my house, shower, change and get ready to meet his family.

It was a casual dinner to celebrate the engagement of Steven's youngest brother.  Going in, I knew that I would be of interest to everyone, but I didn't want to steal the thunder from the happy couple.  I walked in and was slowly introduced to everyone - father, step-mother, youngest brother and fiancee, and of course I already knew his older brother, wife and kids.  Now, Steven had prepared me for the fact that the guys in his family are jokesters, but I didn't really know what that meant until I was there, talking to his dad.

D: "So, how did you lose the lottery and get this one?"
E: "I picked the wrong numbers."  Everyone laughs.

It went on, pretty much like that for the evening.  While I tried to have fun and be myself, I also sat back.  The women were all a bit cautious and I could feel their trepidation.  Either because they are Puerto Rican, a tight-knit community, or because they've seen some women come through that door and figure I'm just another one.  Who knows, but the air was thick as mud and I just waded my way through it.  Steven was great, though.  Never once did he hesitate to kiss me in front of them, rub my back or hold my hand.

The dinner was a Smorgasbord, and being Swedish I can appreciate it.  His sister-in-law made lasagna, yummy baked chicken so tender and juicy, and red beans and rice - the best I've ever had.  It simply melted in my mouth.  After wards, we enjoyed a the best, most moist and yummy German chocolate cake EVER!  It's like crack.  I was so full from the meal, but I couldn't stop eating the crack cake.

As his sister-in-law began to clean up, I jumped out of my seat and into the kitchen to ask if I could help her.  "No, not really, but you can pick the dishes from the table."  "Great."  I walked back to the table and began picking up several plates, handling them like the expert waitress I once was, turned and headed back to the kitchen.  From behind me I hear his father say "Good work, Steve, you gotta make sure you train them early."  I stop, glance back at the "boys" at the table and say "Oh, I so heard that."  They all cracked up. 

The rest of the evening was spent talking and watching the kids play Wii.  At one point, his brother started saying something like "Oh, I thought you were talking about Steve's ex...uhm friend."  I caught it and chuckled to myself.  With a full stomach and little sleep I was starting to crash - Food Coma times 10 - and we soon headed out.  Hugs were given all around, except from the incoming sister-in-law, slightly awkward, but good, and we headed home. 

I walked away feeling that the nerves kept me from truly being myself, but also that I was sensitive to the fact that the dinner was not about meeting me, but celebrating his brother's engagement.  I was ribbed and ribbed back; I held my own.  It was fun, warm.  The one thing that I really like about the Latins is that they are close; they put family first.  His is so different from mine.  We have fun, but we're reserved.  You have to be careful of how much fun you poke because eventually someone will take something personally, and the entire mood is deflated.  I have three members of my family that make everything all about them, and my mother and I have accepted that we just have to take their shit sometimes.  His family was comfortable, fun and loving.  It was nice. 

Once in the car, my curiosity couldn't take it any longer:

E: "So what do you think they're saying right now?"
S: "Rude, unattractive, not funny or nice...." laughing
E: "I'm serious."
S: "You're good."


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stress - All Time High

Ugh...after spending nearly $500 of my own money, which I didn't have to give away, on the new business pitch trip to Pittsburgh, we find out today we didn't win.  Seriously?  How do we go from leading the pack to not winning?  It's all sssooo confusing.

I will admit that recently I've been feeling as if my young looks are going against me.  God bless my parents and the awesome genetics they handed down to their offspring, but I'm beginning to feel that gaining another 20 pounds, cutting my hair, dying it a blah brown and dressing in old woman suits would make me seem more credible in the eyes of prospective clients. I'm not kidding.  I just don't get it.

Over the years I've realized that I actually have to be a different person, professionally, with each one of my clients.  Mostly it's with men.  The women are great and love to bond on a level beyond professional, it's the men who make me feel like Cybil.

There are the men who:
  • are passive aggressive and like having a strong, bitchy woman push them around, telling them how it's going to be.
  • ignore me until I've been in the board room yapping long enough that they actually begin to listen to what I have to say.  Then they totally respect me. 
  • look at me in disbelief that I have 15 years experience, knowledge and creative ideas that will benefit them.  Mostly I feel they think I can't get it done.
  • are cool and want me to be cool like "one of the guys", so I talk to them like one of the guys, never touching on anything too personal
  • and those who want to totally and completely be "all up in my biznez", literally.  Of course I don't make it a practice to date my clients, especially when they're near dead, ask me out for drinks and then attempt to make out with me.  Eeeewww!
I'm telling you, it SUCKS!  Unfortunately, once again, I feel that this is potentially what might have occurred in this instance.  It's not the first time I've been on a pitch with this company and actually had feedback to this point.  They totally question my capabilities.  Oddly enough, when I search online later to see how things are going for them, I see nothing.  NOTHING!

The worst part is that I needed a return on my investment...I did NOT have that $500 to spend and my stress is now at an all time high.

Am I off spiritually?  Am I disconnected?  Have I been so deep in la-la land with Steven that I've simply not focused where I should?  A friend told me today that I needed the break.  I needed to mentally and spiritually get away from it all, but now I'm just left feeling like I may not accomplish what it is I want to...that the opportunities in front of me are all for not.  Certainly God wouldn't have given me more than I can handle - I do believe everything happens for a reason, but this is nuts!

How is it after everything good that's happened that I am here....once again?


Monday, February 21, 2011

Crusing Along

Steven and I have seen each other every day but one in the last 11 days.  We seem to be settling in and I can feel the connection getting stronger. It's what everyone says it is - easy.  Easy and comfortable in every way.  Long gone are any insecurities (although I still hate my bulge, bubbles and bumps).  Instead they are replaced with a peace with myself and with him.  He truly brings out the person I am, not in work, but inside.  I've never laughed with someone so much.  Steven is continuously doing something to make me laugh, always paying me a compliment and his hands are never too far away from me.

It's an interesting place to be in, for me.  After all, it's been ages since someone was this in to me in a way that is beyond just sex.  I love talking with him as we slowly peel back the layers of one another's lives.  And, it's clear that he wants to share his with me...for now (What?  Don't rush me!).  Last night we had dinner with a girlfriend and her husband at their house.  Steven announced on the way that his brother just got in engaged and asked if I would come to the family celebration, should there be one.  I may have to call in the fashion troops to help with this one!  And so it goes on just like that.

The only problem.....lack of sleep.  Steven's work schedule is killing me.  When he works I stay at his house because he gets up before, and I mean long before, sunrise.  That wouldn't be so bad if he didn't snore on top of it.  Ear plugs help, but I am having a difficult time falling to sleep to be woken up, taken home and then try to fall back asleep.  That hour break is painful and, even now, I want to crawl back in bed for some extra zzz's, but there's too much to do.  He did mention that he's going to get the surgery for his sleep apnea, but I'm not quite sure when.  Bring it!  I can't wait!  LOL

A Valentine's Day to Remember

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect for Valentine's Day, since Steven didn't formally ask me until the evening before.  But, I was thinking that everything would be booked and we'd be left with an early dinner.  Apparently, though, seems like most people celebrated Valentine's Day over the weekend.  We were lucky enough to not worry about a late night.  Steven was off work the next day and I decided to, as "the boss", to take the morning off and just enjoy our evening together.

I really didn't have too much expectation for Valentine's Day.  Figure that it's better.  Then I'm not disappointed, but always surprised.  In reality, I was hoping that this would push the Valentine's Day that was currently in first place out of the way.  That day was about six years ago.  I was seeing a handful of guys, which is the case when you join an online dating service in January when everyone makes their New Year's Resolution.   That year I got flowers from four different guys!  It was awesome, but a challenge to disguise with the one I had already agreed to go to dinner with.  That date was...okay...but I soon moved on afterwards.  He was clearly into me.  Turned out I wasn't into him.

Steven showed up at my door at 7:00p.  I opted for a brown strapless dress with small silver and black polka dots, black tights and black patent leather peep toes.  As he knocked on the door, I looked down the stairwell and gave him a "one minute" sign.  I grabbed my coat and walked down the stairs and opened the door.  Steven was casually leaning up against the door frame.

S: "Hey, gorgeous!"
E: "Hi..." I said with a smile. 
S: "You look hot!" we both laugh.  "Hey, I need to borrow your refrigerator."
E: "O-kay...."
S: "I have something I got for my mom"
E: Uhm, dude, your mom is in Puerto Rico "Uhm, sure."

I move out of the door way to allow him up the stairs and he produces a beautiful bouquet of flowers wrapped in brown paper.  He'd clearly gone to a boutique florist and not the grocery store.  I looked at it carefully and noticed Snapdragons and two lightly colored lavender roses surrounded by several other simple flowers all in the same lavender, white and fuchsia color palette. 

E: "I'm not sure those will fit in my refrigerator."
S: Laughing.  "These are for you."

I smile and invite him up.  He helps reach for a vase stored on top the entertainment center, fill it with water and plop them in - to be cut and arranged later.  I thank him and lean in for a kiss, of which he stole about 10 more.  I grabbed his hand and we were off to dinner.

The thing about a man with a plan is that you can't question or interfere with it, you just have to let him own and implement it.  Steven helped me into the car and started driving downtown.  I never asked where we're going, but just went with it.  I want him to have his plan and to surprise me.  It clearly makes him feel good, and who I am to rip that away from him?  We ended up pulling into The House of Blues complex and out of the corner of my eye I see they've opened a new Subway here, not to mention the other great restaurants here.

E: "Aw, are you taking me to Subway?"
S: Laughing.  "Yeah, well nothing but the best for you!"

The valet walks over and opens the door.  Steven meets me around the front of the car, grabs my hand and we proceed to walk into Smith & Wolensky, a steakhouse and very yummy restaurant.  We're directed down the stairs and to a table for two overlooking the Chicago River and part of downtown.  Steven puts me in the chair with the view, as that was apparently the order for the night.  As I sat down, I looked to my left and right eying the row of tables for two with couples.  Each woman was facing "the view". 

I was surprised to see how dead the restaurant was.  Literally no one was there but our row of tables for two (maybe 14 people).  "Filet and Lobster for Two?" Steven asks.  "That sounds great!".  We get a wine recommendation and have our first glass.  As per usual, and I never get tired of it, Steven slowly inched his hands across the table asking for mine.  I accommodated him.  "You're so beautiful."  I just smile.

When Steven and I are together it's like we're the only two people in the room.  Even at the grocery store, he has no bones about kissing me in the aisle or running around like a little boy at the video store only to come up behind me with a big hug.  Sitting there gazing into one anothe's' eyes, I can feel the energies of those around us but it feels like a private dinner with a waiter.  It's kind of an amazing thing to feel and something every woman dreams of "the only girl in the room."  He creates that and brings it to life.  Steven truly makes me feel incredibly special, beautiful and desired.

We finish our yummy dinner and opt for a doggy bag (the contents of which will end up in tomorrow morning's omelets - which I make, of course!).  I go to the bathroom and by the time the bill is paid, we're the only two people left in the dining room.  He gets up and helps me out of my chair.  As he does, he grabs my hand, pulls me into his arms and we begin  Steven was now making the dining room our own private dance floor as he whisked me around, kissing my cheek.  I could hear the collective sighs of the female staff behind me and one guy say "dude, that's awesome."  It was an amazing moment.

A few minutes later, we left and headed back to his house where I thanked him with some hanky panky and breakfast the next morning.  Later that day, I emailed some close friends, and my mom about my amazing night.  One gf responded "....he's in love.  Are you?"  I replied: "Still falling."  Another one of my girlfriends, who reads the blog, asked me why I am so surprised at how good he is to me.  "It's because it's been so long since someone has been this good to me.  It's what I've always wanted from a man, but they were all clearly the wrong man.  I suppose, too, I just felt that I didn't deserve it."  "Well, you do, my dear!"

Now, it's a really, really big deal that I've chosen to tell my mother about Steven.  In the past, I would tell my mom I met someone and without a doubt the whole thing was over within a week.  We've joked over the years that me telling her is like the kiss of death to the relationship.  The conversations would start "Mom, I met someone."  "I don't want to know.  Don't tell me anything."   This time I waited until it was "official".

M: "How do you know it's official?"
E: I am not going to tell you it's because we had sex "Well, he threw the 'girlfriend' word around all day Saturday."
M: "Well, yeah, that would probably mark it.  I just want you to make sure he treats you right."
E: I know she's saying this because of the abuser and the poor choices in men that followed.  "Mom, he's the best.  Treats me ssssooo good.  You would be so happy."
M: "Good.  That's all I care about."

Mom, you have no worries.  E's found a good egg this time.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's Day - Wow!

Epiphany #1 - The Gift of Receiving

In my life I've had a lot of blessings.  It's funny, though, how a few experiences can throw you off track and all of a sudden "the luckiest girl ever" isn't so much any more.  As we get older we start thinking about things.  We beat ourselves up over choices, or the fact we got drunk the night before.  You wake up saying "Ugh...What was I thinking."  It happens to the best of us.  The trick is to not let it define your life.  I was not so lucky.

I have always felt guilty about breaking up with one of the best guys ever when I hit my senior year in high school.  I wanted to be free....well, that and I thought men didn't have the same emotions that women do (Thanks Dad.)  In truth, I think the fact that he always knew who he was, what he wanted to do, where he would go to college, what job he wanted and where he lived was something I couldn't deal with.  I was a free spirit, flying by the seat of my pants and taking life as it came; always someone who did what they wanted to do because it seemed fun.  Not because it would make me popular or win me some crown.  I just had no idea where I was going in was yet to be determined, and I suppose I felt like I needed space to figure it all out.

In the end I devastated him, and in some ways I have never forgiven myself for it.  Not to mention the fact I almost immediately entered into a relationship with a guy who would turn out to abuse me - verbally, emotionally and sometimes physically.  That adds to the guilt.  I had something so special.  A one of a kind guy who thought I was the cat's meow.  There was no one else for him.  Of course, a few years ago, I paid for a background search, in hoping somehow he might take me back after all of these years, only to find out that he's married to a woman who's a runner, he has the job he always wanted and they have one child.  Chapter and book closed.  Still...I lament.  I know I shouldn't, but it's hard not to do when you aren't finding someone to spend time with; someone genuinely interested in you.  I want someone to look at me the way he did - those green eyes.....I still remember.

Over time, I began failing myself and being overwhelmed by others' expectations for me.  On my 32 birthday my aunt and uncle came to town (they once lived here while he was in medical school).  They announced their disappointment in their own children and that I was the last hope for the family name.  You have to understand that on that side of my family there is a lot of a pressure to be successful; to be or marry a lawyer, doctor, CEO, engineer, etc.  A LOT of expectation.  You can imagine my shock.  I love my cousins who are successful in their own right and married to fantastic women with beautiful children.  Mostly, I was surprised that my aunt would agree.  My uncle has always been a bear, of some sorts, just like my grandfather, who passed away before my parents were married.  In that family, men are honored and celebrated.  They're expected to be extraordinary and incredibly successful.  My mother had three daughters.  The pressure, apparently, is no less, but my Mom and Dad, due to their own circumstances, would not appeal to that "law".

I've carried that night and conversation around with me long enough.  Over the years, I've let it keep me down.  Instead I've replaced the opportunity for success with the fear of it.  Ironic since that's what I'm so stubborn and determined to achieve. That's what's fueled my fury to keep my business and to make it work.  In truth, I had to reach a point where I could let it all go and feel really good about it, before change in my life would happen.  My stubborn nature was forcing me to hold on to something entirely uncontrollable.

When my epiphany started was two years ago.  A friend I had become close to through a tragic situation repaid me for my love and also effort to help her achieve awareness for her business with a meditation class.  It taught me to let go.  To let go of others' expectations on my life.  To rid all of those people whose energy I've been carrying around with me.  Wow, what a heavy load!  My Dad, My uncle, the perfect boyfriend, the abuser, my mistakes, disappointments and stumbles through life.  I never realized how much it was affecting me.  Today, I have a better relationship with my Dad, I'm in a good place with the abuser, still miss the perfect boyfriend, and have learned to laugh or forget my mistakes and embarrassments. 

What I've come out the other side to learn is something my friend in recovery lives by: "Let go and Let God".  Nothing could be more true.  All of this time I've felt unworthy of receiving blessings and love in my life.  If only I could have been better.  Not made so many bad choices. Not gone through bouts of depression imposed by the pressure and possible disappointments the men in my life would see in me.  If only.... I've come to realize that my deciding to move to Kansas City, closer to family and a "safer", more familiar place (maybe thinking I could be a big fish in a little pond once more) was more about me letting go than actually moving.

I can tell you it's been a pretty powerful epiphany.  I see the world differently.  Instead of worrying about business, and knowing I can just give it all up for a job, business has begun to come my way.  It's coming to me in unexpected ways.  Clients may want to take a step back but all of them want to come back - a first!  And more over, past clients are coming back for smaller projects like consulting and even current clients are referring me all over the place!

When it comes to love, I became insecure.  I wanted them to like me so much; especially when I thought they were perfect - tall, good looking, successful, gregarious....- in time I simply shut down.  I shut down emotionally to the prospect of a real relationship. Maybe because they sensed my wall, maybe because they only wanted a certain thing, maybe because I felt undeserving after my poor choices, so I just made more poor choices in men.  And...there's always the defense that I knew, or believed, I would break up with them, so why move forward.

For the first time, I've allowed myself to be uncomfortable in order to explore the possibility of my heart and what God might have in store for me.  After all, He wants me to be happy and successful.  The Universe wants that for me, so why, even though I want it, did I not believe I deserved it.  Matt* was the first to treat me with respect.  He wanted to court me, taking his time to get to know me.  I still remember how it felt when we sat on the couch talking and he brushed the hair away from my face.  It was one of the sweetest acts I'd experienced in a very long time.  While it didn't work out with him because of his disease, alcoholism, I am confident it was God's way of slowly allowing me to experience how it should be.  To tell me "Hey, Idiot!  You deserve this!"  In every way, it gave me the strength to open up and receive from Steven - someone who gives me everything I need in a relationship.  This is what I've dreamt of.  If you were to ask me to make a list, everything he is would be on it.  It's not about what he looks like or the shag rug on his back, for the first time it's about who he is.  The rest was simply a defense mechanism which has kept me single for far too long.

Now that I've realized the beauty of receiving, it seems to be coming in all forms.  Today, I had lunch with a kindred spirit and the two of us immediately fell in love.  She's fantastic and I'm looking forward to working with and building a friendship with her.  We even spoke and shared about the power of opening oneself up to receive.

I am worried about my truth revealing itself to Steven.  I'm scared of what he may think and if he would leave me for it, but I can't.  Between now and the time that may happen is a lot of receiving that I can only believe will cure a number of those truths so they are no longer a factor.  He makes me feel like I can do anything and it all started with receiving him.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Steven's V-Day Text

Oh my gosh.....I don't even know what to do with myself...

"Roses are red, Violets are blue.  Sugar is sweet and so are you!  Happy Valentine's Day" - S

Breathe, E....just breathe.....


After the pitch Friday morning, my colleague drove me to the airport.  My hope was to get on an earlier flight, but no such luck.  Southwest only had two flights out that day - 11:45a (of which I would have had 10 minutes to catch) or 5:00p.  I staid on the later flight, found a bar & grill just outside of security and parked myself.  After four hours, four glasses of wine and some lunch, I had made friends.  At one point I went to the bathroom to come back to a woman sitting next to my chair.  She introduced herself and said she heard I was a Kansas girl, "I grew up in El Dorado."  "Shut up!"  And we were in love.  I got her card and plan on touching base with her this week.  Everyone has some sort of Kansas connection.  I love it. Suddenly I realize I've got to get going and, in fact, running a bit behind for my flight.

I rush through security (well, as fast as one can rush through), hop on the train and get hustle my bustle to the gate.  SURPRISE!  Delayed almost an hour.  Fantastic!  I settle into a nice chair and then start chatting with the woman next to me who is crocheting a baby blanket for her daughter.  She was adorable and we had the best time talking.  The flight continues to change and with it text messages to Steven about my arrival.

E: Flight's delayed.  Won't get in until 7p.
E: Oops, I mean 7EST/6CST
S: What's wrong with you?  Were you born yesterday?
E: LOL just a long day and I'm tired (I'm not going to mention I had FOUR glasses of wine, the last of which was picked up by the bartender)
S: Just checking! LOL See you soon!!

Finally, I'm on the plane and surprised of how many people don't check a bag.  Southwest doesn't charge for bags and yet everyone brought a bag on.  There is little room and with some negotiation and the kindness of strangers I get small, bright pink bag into the overhead bin and score a window seat.  I was sssooo excited for a nap.  And. then.....the guy behind me is talking and the direction and volume of his voice is going directly into my ear.  It was so loud I couldn't help but listen to the conversation.  Turns out a Mormon was sitting in the middle seat and the two of them had a full on conversation about God and religion, particularly Mormonism as the guy was clearly proselytizing, saying things like "Well, the Bible leaves out so much and the Book of Mormon fills in the blanks."  Really?  You really believe that the Book of Mormon is better than the Bible.  Really? "You know we have temples all over the place and we're just so much more faithful to the word than most Christians."  Okay, NOW, I am going to slap the shit out of you.  Shut. UP!  I'm trying to sleep.'re kind of ignorant.  Ugh...I mean, I don't mind it but they were both SO LOUD and I just wanted to sleep.  Not to mention the fact I could see that the two people next to me who were Jewish, were clearly uncomfortable.

I manage to get a few minutes of shut eye and still wake up completely annoyed.  Grouchy even.  I text Steven when I land.  He BETTER have parked his car, walked his ass in and is waiting to greet me at baggage claim. (See!  I'm totally grouchy!)  That doesn't turn out to be the case.  "I've got to drive around again..."  Awesome.  Thanks.  I'm hoping that now that he knows I'm into him and this relationship that the thoughtful gentleman hasn't ridden off into the sunset without me.  "K" was all I could respond.

I walk through the sliding doors and out into the cold.  Haul my ass and luggage, in my work outfit and stiletto boots, across the drives to the pick up lane.  I'm so annoyed I can't even watch for his car so I get on my phone and start reviewing email.  What? I'm tired. I get grouchy when I'm tired and I won't make any excuses for it.  It just is.  HONK! and he's right in front of me.  "Hey, baby, looking for a date?"  I look up, see him smile, smile in return, throw my bag in the back seat and climb into the warmth.  "Hey..." he says gingerly in the warm, sexy way he has.  I giggle, smile and say "Hey" in return.  He kisses me and the grouchy starts to melt away.  He asks how the trip went and I admit I'm a little grouchy.  "Well, I'm taking you for ice cream and that will make it all better."

I flew into Midway airport on the South Side of Chicago.  Conveniently, Steven is a man of both sides of town having lived on the South Side with his dad and where he went to technical college.  We drive further South. I have never been down here before.  It's funny and sad really.  Chicago is such a huge place that most of the time you just stick to your side of town.  There's really no need to go south if you don't need to.  The South Side, however, is more like suburbs than city.  There are shopping malls and parking lots everywhere.  The North Side is too crowded for much of this.

We pull into a small shopping center and I see the sign, once neon but now doesn't work, "Gerties".  "I used to work here in high school and I've been dying to come down here.  That's why I offered to pick you up so I could come down here."  "Reeaaallly, that's the only reason you offered.  Glad I could be of help!"  We both laugh.

Gertie's is a blast to the past. Red, worn velvet booths are everywhere with long slim tables in between.  Stuffed animals hang from the ceiling and a lllloonnngg counter on one wall sells candy and then ice cream.  He decides on a Banana Split.  I don't want too much and order a cup of Pistachio Almond.  Steven's hands ease across the table to grab mine.  When I look up he's looking at me.  Smiling.  His sweetness is overflowing and I can tell the time away has caused him to miss me...a lot.  "Did you miss me?"  "Oh, maybe a little.  I was just so busy this week I didn't have time to think about you."  He laughs at my sarcasm, and we are always sarcastic with one another.  "This place has changed," he says.  "It's definitely not the same place I worked at or where everyone hung out."  Our order arrives and we both dig into his Banana Split.  "Even the ice cream doesn't taste the same."  I can tell he is really bummed.  In his mind, he had probably been so excited to share this with me only to be totally disappointed.  Eventually we finish up and start the long drive back to my house.

Once in front, he decides he's gotta do the "man thing" and carve a parking spot out with his all-wheel drive car.  Even though there are like two clear one's in front.  A boy and his toys.  I will never understand.  This leaves me, again, to heaving my bags through the snow and ice in stiletto boots up to my apartment.  Ugh!  Inside, I drop the bag and immediately change my clothes.  By the time I'm done, Steven is walking in the door.  He removes his coat, comes to me, wraps his arms around me for a kiss that could light a fire of soaked wood on a rainy night in a forest.  We hug, talk and then chill on the couch.  Things lead to other things, and I'll leave it there.  We didn't really close the deal.

The next morning was a different story.  Sufficed to say, we actually were able to achieve "sealing the deal", which I was a little concerned about.  Maybe he's nervous, E.   "Gosh, I'm so nervous with you," he says as if reading my mind.  An hour later, both famished we decide on brunch.  I hopped in the shower and he left to do the same.  Within an hour he was back at my door...smiling.  "How about Dim Sum in Chinatown instead?"  "Sounds great. I've always wanted to do that and never have."  "Girl, you need to get out of your hood an explore this city!"  "Yes, I know.  Tell me about it. This will be great. I'm very excited."

In the car on the way down we talk.  Steven doesn't listen to the radio in the car, at least not when I'm in it, he doesn't own a TV.  He reads, writes and apparently is a budding entrepreneur inside.  He tells me about his "ideas" and how much he loves his job - the benefits and all - but that he doesn't do anything unless something major happens.

S: "I'd like to have a job like yours.  You think and use your mind.  I have so many ideas and things I'd like to do but don't know where to start."  When he starts talking about this, I sense an childlike shyness; an insecurity.  He's so confident in who he is, to see this shift softens my heart more.  He's being vulnerable with me.
E:"I can easily help you with that.  Tell me your ideas."  He does, and indeed he has some solid business ventures budding in his mind.
E: "You can do anything you want to do if you ask for help," I say.
S: "Awesome, my girlfriend is going to help me bring these to life!"
E: "I'm sorry what did you call me?"
S: "My girlfriend."
E: "Okay, just checking that I heard you correctly."  He smiles.  "So, my girlfriend has invited us to dinner with her husband next Sunday night.  Are you available?"
S: "Sure.....gosh it always gets so weird when people start asking what I do because I can't really say.  I'm, like, invisible."
E: "Just tell them your a federal officer and leave it at that."
S: "Yeah, I guess I could.  Then they think I'm a mall cop or security officer."
E: "Let 'em.  You can even tell them that you carry a water pistol and you got your badge on the Internet or out of a Kracker Jax Box."  He throws his head back and laughs.  I know I've made him feel better about it.  "But believe you me....I'm a journalist and sooner or later I'll put all the little tidbits you give me together to come up with the whole story."
S: "I have no doubt you will."

Dim Sum and then some! My word!  If you've never had Dim Sum, the best way to describe it is  Chinese Tapas, except there is no waiting.  You sit down at the table and the carts are there in seconds, perfect for the two of us about to gnaw an arm, or at least a finger.  Steven's eyes are clearly bigger than his stomach.  He takes six dishes from the carts as they come around.  I take one of everything and stuffed.  He continues to eat, we talk and finally I persuade him to take it home.  There's something nice about finding someone you can just be with.  Silence is golden and we just don't have to talk all the time.  I mean, we're never short on conversation, but in the car, at the restaurant, we can  Neither one if feels the need to have to keep the conversation going at all times.  Most of the time, he just sits and looks at me.  WHAT?  What is going on in that mind of yours?  I can't figure it out!  Just tell me already!  But I know he won't and I will continue to say "WHAT?" every time he does what he does.

It doesn't bother me, really.  Steven's eyes are warm and there's passion there.  I have a photo of him that I took off his profile.  It is the best representation of him.  Head tilted wearing a baseball cap with a half smile and his intense eyes looking directly into the camera.  That's him!  I saved it to my desktop so I can look at it.

In our phone conversation Wednesday night I noted that I had removed my profile from the dating site but noticed his was still up.  He laughed.  "It shouldn't come up.  I 'hid' it."  "Hmmm...well maybe it comes up for me because we had emailed."  "Maybe."  Today I said, "So you're profile still up online?"  He laughs.  "I just secured my girlfriend.  I'll work on it."  By Sunday night he announced that he's finally figured out how to delete his account.   Awesome!

After Dim Sum we walk around Chinatown popping a cooking store, where he bought several things cuz, you know, he's going to take a cooking class.  LOL I can't believe how cheap everything is down here.  Seriously, things sell for at least three times the cost in bigger retailers.  He buys me a knife sharpening block for $4, several large knives and an apron I found hilarious "Beware Man Cooking".  Then we were off to an herbal store.  This place is insane.  They have teas and supplements to cure every ill and we're in awe.

With the most confidence I've ever seen, Steven walks up to the guy at the counter and says "Do you have that herbal viagra stuff?"   

WHAT?  LMAO!  Oh. My. Gosh.  I have no idea what I've gotten myself into.  I'm going to become a sex slave that he's going to keep tied up in his house.  Later, when he's through with me, he'll chop me up in little pieces with his new knives and cleavers and then bury my remains in some remote area of the airport. And he'll get away with it because he's a cop with a sweet face and they'll never suspect him!

"Sure, we've got it.  How many packages do you want?"  "Just one for now.  How much?"  "$10."  "Wow, that's awesome."  "We have delivery too.  You just call us and we get it to you next day."  "Awesome, can I get a card?"  I'm am totally dying right now!  "Will that be all?"  "I don't know, let's ask the Missus.  Babe?"  WHAT?  Missus?  My mind is reeling.  It's been so long since I've had someone like this.  Someone who wants to be in a full fledged relationship with me and apparently is thinking LONG TERM.  The man has a plan for me. I know this is what I want, but it's just crazy now that it's staring me in the face.  The reality is somewhat frightening and then absolutely hilarious!  Not to mention the fact that I never thought I would be the kind of girl who likes to be called "Babe", but it turns out I really am.  "Uhm, no, I'm good."

We stop by a few more shops and then head back to his house to watch a movie.  The walk through the neighborhood was supposed to wake us from the food coma Dim Sum left behind, but it hadn't worked and I was fading fast.  Probably doesn't help that you don't sleep well with the freight train sawing his way through dreamland.  Anywhoo...we arrived at his, I snuggled up under the blanket on the couch.  "I'm going to make some orange juice."  "Okay".  An hour later he had two glasses of orange juice.  That's a lot of work for two glasses.  I had attempted to sleep but his tenant upstairs was blasting her music and the bass shook his apartment.  "Doesn't that drive you crazy?"  "No, not really."  "Wow, I would be banging on her door saying 'Turn that shit DOWN' in two seconds."  He just smiles and cuddles on the couch with me.  I, to no one's surprise, am still tired.  I need to get some sleep!

We enjoy the OJ, which was incredible.  I watch him play online Texas Hold 'Em in which he has won over $600,000.  No, this isn't real money.  One of his friends called and asked what we were doing for Valentine's Day, "We don't need one day. We're going to celebrate everyday."  Hmmmm...nice.  "We had a huge meal otherwise we'd be happy to meet you and your man for dinner.....okay...well have fun...."  Then we watch "The Social Network".  The movie has him thinking and he, again, starts talking about his ideas, dreams for his life.  I tell him I'm happy to help him get started and point him in the right direction, but I don't want that to become the focus of our relationship, "I don't want to be the girl you pity date because I'm helping you start a business."  "Never.  You will never be that to me, babe." Okay, we'll see.  But I am still going to tread lightly.

We went to bed and he woke me up at 4:30a freshly showered and ready to go to work. It was nice to wake up to him, his hand sweetly caressing my face, "Babe, time to get up." I got dressed and wondered out into the dining room where he was continuing to prepare for work.  Mmmmm.  I smile.  A man in uniform. Yum!   He grabbed his huge camo backpack and other bags and we were out the door.  When I came in, I fed Meow Mix, washed off in the shower and went back to sleep before church.

Steven came over on Sunday night and...WOW, is all I am going to say.  "What are you doing tomorrow night?  Want to get together for Valentine's Day?"  "Sure."  "Great, I know exactly where I want to go." "I like a man with a plan."  "Oh, I've got plans, baby!"



It was really nice to have me time during the week to prepare for Pittsburgh.  Not to mention I had other work I really needed to zero in on and accomplish without distraction (aka Steven).  Boy one kiss and I want to rip his clothes off.  How. Does. He. Do. That?  And that's exactly what I did.  I got a lot of shit done.

Over the last couple of weeks I've been bringing on interns to help out with stuff like social media and event planning, and still looking for one who can come in during the week for pitching.  It's a super big help and takes some weight off my mind.  I'm the kind of person who loves to be busy, but then, when there's so much I become paralyzed.  I don't know where to start.  At that point I give up and walk away until I get a game plan together.  It's really weird and I'm highly aware of that fact.  In some ways, I'm getting everything I want but the fear gets me.  Who is afraid of success?'s crazy!  

The other good thing about having my time is that I can do all of my secret girly stuff - olive oil treatment for my hair, getting my hair cut and highlighted, painting toe nails and of course, taking care of Aunt Flo for her monthly visit.  She decided to show up Wednesday night.  Great!  I'm going to be cramping and lightheaded for my trip which means I will not be showing up to this pitch at 100%.  More like 75%, if I'm lucky.  

I will admit I was a bit nervous for this trip, but talking with Steven on the phone for 2.5 hours Wednesday night helped me forget about it.  I am a big fan of being able to talk on the phone and feel it's important for couples to be able to express themselves in person, by letter/email or via phone.  For me, I suppose it's all those times I watched couples I admire be far apart for long periods of time due to work or family emergency.  They were forced to have a relationship by phone.  So, if a guy doesn't want to talk on the phone....well, we either have to work on it or not.  It's like hugs.  Hugs can be so incredibly intimate and yet most men are like fuck the hug.  Take off your dress.  Steven is a tremendous hugger!

Thursday arrives and my morning call was rescheduled, so I literally had the whole morning to get my shit together, but.....because of Aunt Flo I was moving slow and in a haze.  Before I knew it I was running late.  Can't take the train.  Now have to catch a $30 cab.  GREAT!  I'm bleeding money.

Once in Pittsburgh, my colleague and I rented a car.  We got in late so it was night time there.  However, there was just enough snow on the ground to reflect what little light there was from cars on the highway to allow me to get a glimpse of the terrain.  Huge bluffs everywhere.  It wasn't long before we came up on the edge of town and I could see how this city had built itself into these bluffs.  It was quite lovely.

Every time I go somewhere new I always wonder what I would be like today if I had grown up and lived in that place.  My colleague is a wealth of knowledge, or as he says "an intellectual trash can," and so he gave me some insight to my query.  Apparently Pittsburgh has it's own language called Pittsburghese.  Honestly, they have their own dialect and language that is specific to the area.  For instance, they don't say Steelers, it's pronounced "Stillers".

I quickly learned that even though I've grown a hard shell living in a big city it might be much thicker should I have grown up in Pittsburgh.  "You may know how to handle yourself in the city but you're still a Midwestern girl with heart," said my colleague.  And he's right.  Just then "You're in for a real treat, E."  Oh goodie!  I love a treat! And with that we entered the Pitt Tunnel. As we exited a mile or so later my breath caught.  My eyes were lit up with what seemed to be a hidden city tucked in among the Allegheny Mountains.  The bridge was beautiful and artistic, the lights of the city were everywhere.  They danced and reflected off the snow and river below.  It was indeed a treat and a mental picture I won't soon forget.

We got to the "hotel", or as I say the stinkiest Quality Inn I've ever been in, located in the university area - I had no idea that Carnegie Mellon and Pittsburgh were literally across the street from one another - and I dropped off my luggage while we waited for my colleague's 79-yr old sister to come pick us up.  She was a real treat.  A firecracker who gives 79 a good name.  She's independent, outliving two husbands, and has a quick wit.  I loved her.  At first I was worried that I "Pricelined" my hotel too far away from downtown (only about 2.5 miles away) but she told us later that downtown shuts down around 6:00p.m.  So my hotel was perfect.  She took us to a little place in the heart of it all on a cute street that was so steep I thought the car would tumble backwards from gravity.  But it didn't.  A couple of martinis and a burger and I was out for the night.

I didn't sleep all that great so the next morning was a struggle.  I managed to iron my clothes the night before, which was wise because I was moving slow....again.  Finally downstairs and into the Panera, located just under the hotel, a bagel and some Earl Grey tea and we were off.  I wasn't that nervous, but I was feeling a bit on edge.  Thankfully I had done my research on the players in the room.  While my colleague went to the bathroom and got some coffee, I walked in to the conference room and introduced myself.  Immediately, I noted the man from Oklahoma City and mentioned I grew up in Kansas.  Turns out that he went to K-State and Hutchinson Community College and had even lived in my hometown.  That really broke the ice and others joined in the conversation until my colleague arrived and we got started.

All in all, I feel the pitch went well.  I knew that we were in the lead going in but I didn't realize just how much they favored our direction until the Q&A began.  It was more like a planning meeting about moving forward than part of the pitch.  We shall see.  I don't want to get my hopes up but I am hopeful we'll get it.  It would be my largest client and bring in some money to help pay down my debts.  However, I have to keep thinking that if I don't get it, I will still be okay.  Everything has been changing in my life lately and it all started with opening myself up to Steven.

Over the years, I lived in my past.  I've had regrets for breaking hearts and such.  Mostly for breaking one heart for a guy who would end up abusing me.  It's as if I felt I didn't deserve God's blessings and so I blocked myself from receiving.  No more!  I am open and ready.....finally.....


Super Bowl "Party"

I was excited to meet Steven's friends at the Super Bowl "Party".  I put it in quotes because it wasn't really a party, more like some friends getting together at a bar.  Nonetheless, he wanted to introduce me to his friends.  That is a step in the right direction.

Dressing to meet someone's friends, especially when you know a lot of them are women, is tough.  We women are so critical of one another and I truly believe that on most occasions we actually dress for other women.  Ourselves, but for other women.  Women are the one's who will compliment you on how you "cute" you look or give a "I LOVE those shoes, where did you get them."  There's no better compliment.  Some guys can say it, like my gay boys, but straight boys just think you look hot and that's it.  Yeah, that always makes you feel good, but there's something about a compliment from another woman.  It's almost like jealousy!  LOL  I went for cute casual, pairing jeans with a winter white sweater with a zipper on the neck to the shoulder blade and brown boots, and decided it didn't really matter.  They're either going to like me or not.

Steven came to pick me up and we were off.  I've noticed that when I'm with him I just let go, meaning I don't ask where we're going, what we're doing or try to control his driving with directions.  I trust him and just go with the flow.  We ended up at a bar in Old Town I've never been too and proceed to get a seat.  I don't ask about his friends, but soon realize it's only a couple of us and the one woman can't come.  Soon, it's me and one of his guy friends.

This guy is interesting, I would learn.  He moved here and his gf introduced him to Steven, who took him under his wing and showed him the city.  He and I quickly have several things to talk about and decided to trade business cards. Overtime, I begin to notice that every time he and I start talking, Steven would slowly reach out to put his hand on my knee.  I really like that he's so affectionate, it's something I really need in a relationship.  Call it reassurance but I like to know my man is into me, even in public.  But this was a little different.  When I looked at his face there was an intent there as he gently touched me but his face was hard as he looked straight ahead at the TV screen.  It was serious and I believe I got a glimpse of what he would be like on the job in an urgent situation.  It was like there was some competition there....for me.  Geesh, he should just lift his leg an pee on me.  That would show the other dogs who belongs to who. We all decide to root for Green Bay, and good thing we did.

Sitting in front of us were just the kind of douche bag guys I would normally be attracted to - good looking, really fit, dressed well....HOT!  I watched them but secretly liked that I didn't have to worry about trying to catch their attention.  These are the guys I would typically date who just want you to look good and be good in bed.  They don't want to talk.  They don't want to know you, because they don't know themselves.  They're so busy trying to be cool that they only see the world in one way - they're way. Or I should say that they're living life the way they think others think they should be living life - cool, getting action and without regard to anyone else.  They were definitely in their 30's but acted like they were 24 getting completely wasted on a Sunday night and making complete fools of themselves.  It wasn't long before one of the guy's girlfriends got pissed and took off.  He went after her but she wanted nothing to do with him.  Good for her. 

The game ended and we left.  We took his friend home and Steven opened up to me about him.  Apparently he's CHEAP.  In fact, he ate and drank and then didn't offer to pay.  CHEAP! Moreover, it seems that he's not an ethical business person and has been known to rip his clients off to get more commission on what he sells.  No thank you!!!  I thanked him for telling me and that I would proceed with caution.  Furthermore, if the fact he never pays shows total disregard for Steven's friendship then the fact that he has been a "girl stealer" solidifies it.  Steven told me stories of when they would go out.  He would meet a girl and start talking to her, walk away for a second and his friend had already moved in on her.  It's like Steven was the warm up act.  I could feel the animosity towards his friend and it's like he was getting angry all over again.  Sitting there in the car, I couldn't help but wonder why he would choose to invite this friend to be the first to meet me.  Then I realized that in Steven's mind he was showing his friend that HE won in the end.  

That night we came back to my house for a bit and I told him that I wasn't going to be able to see him until Friday night.  I simply can't afford to get completely wrapped up in him, letting my mind daydream about what might come.  The focus has to remain on me getting done what I need to do for ME!  And it's quite a bit to accomplish, but winning this new piece of business would help....A LOT!

I kind of felt bad because we'd had a couple of attempts of trying to seal the deal without the desired outcome, so I didn't want him to think I was walking away, but just needed to get my own shit done.  Not to mention the fact I had just spent $500 on a trip to Pittsburgh to pitch this new business, so I'm sweating the financial situation a little.  YEAH!  I know!  It's really, REALLY rare that a company asks you to come to them to pitch and then doesn't fork over the money to get you there.  Ironically, the organization is HQ'd in Chicago.  Go figure.  In the end I resolved myself to believing that God would not give me the opportunity if I couldn't handle it....financially.

I walked him to the door.  He lingered taking every kiss he could get and then he was gone.