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Weather Check

Yesterday marked one-month since we arrived in Los Angeles and started living with my parents. One month with all of our belongings in boxes in their garage. One month of shared dinners and shared errands and shared Sundays. One month of little dogs with muddy feet on white linen slacks, one month of cats leaping from dark bookcase corners.

My parents are incredibly gracious. They even seem to enjoy having us here, and thank goodness, because being able to land here, with them, to have a home base while we gather ourselves together and get ready to move on to the next phase in our life has been invaluable. And wonderful.

Friends keep asking how the apartment hunt is going, but we haven’t even started looking. For one thing, I’ve been too busy at work to do anything else, and as long as Mike is still looking for an apartment manager job, why should we sign a lease? In the meantime we’re enjoying the shared dinners and shared errands and shared Sundays. Mike’s been wonderful about chipping in with chores and cooking, and I’m trying too. The dogs are enjoying the backyard and the cats are taking full advantage of sharing a room with us. They spend their nights tracing our faces with their whiskers, leaping back and forth from our bellies to our pillows and back again.

I’m sure it’s not easy for my parents to share their home with another family, especially one that consists of so many animals. But every time I ask them if we’re driving them crazy yet, they just laugh and insist that Mike’s cooking is worth it. And honestly? I’m a little surprised at how easy it’s been for Mike and me to adjust to sharing our life with another family. Granted the other family is our family too, but I was a little worried that we wouldn’t have enough privacy, or we’d impede on their privacy, or Theo would pee all over the garden furniture and drive my mother nuts, but so far it’s been fine.

Mike and I started running in the mornings, and since he started a part-time job our run has become our one chance to touch base during the day. He’s working nights, I’m working days, so it’s morning runs or nuthin’. As close as we are, it’s become really important for us to have the opportunity, every day, to clue each other in as to how we’re feeling, what’s going on, and where our heads are at. I’ve found that when we miss that hour alone together too many days in a row, I end up feeling disconnected, insecure, and uneasy. Then when we  run we get awkward. We trot side by side, talking small about the weather, our plans for the day. But by the end, sweaty and out of breath, we’re excited and talking about our future, the fixer-upper we hope to buy, the trip to Nepal, the degree Mike will earn, the family we hope to begin.

Do a “weather” check during the day Call your partner at home or at work to see how his or her day is going. This is a great way to adjust expectations so that you’re more in sync when you connect after work. For instance, if your partner is having an awful day, it might be unreasonable to expect him or her to be enthusiastic about something good that happened to you. — From 10 Tips for Happy Couples, by Dr. Mark Goulston.

Mike’s working in a restaurant, so calling him at work is out of the question. And I really don’t feel comfortable taking personal calls while I’m working, because they distract me too much. But the idea is what’s important, and for us, the hour of running is what is keeping us in tune. So what about you? What do you do to stay connected to your partner? Do you have a weekly date night? Do you share a daily meal? How do you manage sharing a life with opposite schedules?

Not to put too fine a point on it

once upon a time

Soon we will be once upon a time…*

Yesterday Adam picked me up in his little blue bug and we  drove down to SoHo to go to this little shop that he’s been dying to take me to, and that I’ve been dying to visit since I read about it three years ago. It’s called Evolution and they sell taxidermied animals and human fetal skeletons and cheese-dusted grasshoppers for eating. It’s amazing. I bought myself a pair of earrings made from the wings of jewel beetles. They are so fabulous I wasn’t going to buy them because I didn’t think I could pull them off, but Adam talked me into it and I’m really glad he did. It didn’t occur to me until afterwards that maybe the wings aren’t responsibly collected and that I’ve ignorantly supported an ecologically unsound endeavor, but Mike insists that beetles are beetles and they way outnumber humans and always will, and I did a Google search and couldn’t find any information leading to the devestation of jewel beetle colonies, so I think I’m in the clear. In any case, I’m going to wear them and love them and give praise to the spirits of all the little dead beetles, for I have the most fabulous earrings in all the land, thanks to them.

Afterwards we headed back to Adam’s where we listened to Audra Mae’s new album, which is incredible, and which led to us having one of those weighty heart-to-hearts that is the verbal equivalent of looking at your vagina in a hand mirror while sitting in a circle with other women who are also looking at their vaginas with hand mirrors, whilst everyone talks about their feelings. Sorry for that visual, I suppose I could have likened our conversation to belly-button-contemplation, but whatever you want to call it, it helped me realize why I‘ve been in such a funk lately. And I feel so much better now. Once the monster is out in full view, it’s not nearly as scary.

Mike and I are about to completely change our lives. Again. We’ve finally gotten comfortable in New York and now we’re turning everything upside down. And it’s wonderful, and it’s what we want, and we’re really excited, but it’s a big hassle and there are a lot of unknowns and  we are going to miss this life we worked so hard to build. On top of all of that, there is the fact that we are moving to Los Angeles to settle down and start a family and I am acutely aware that if things go according to plan, and yes, I know how often things go according to plan, but if they do, this is the last year of our childless life. And I can’t wait to have a child, I am so excited to meet the person who is an extraordinary 50/50 combination of Mike and me, but I am mourning the nearing end of my sleep-late-on-Sundays, stay-up-late-talking-over-glasses-of-wine, run-out-for-icecream-at-midnight life. I mean, if I think I’m busy now, what is my life going to look like when I’m living with someone who depends on me to wipe their ass for them?

Then I think about what it was like to play with Olivia, my cousin’s two-year-old daughter, and the wash of love that swept over my heart so that I felt I’d never loved anyone as much in my entire life, and I am overcome with thrilled anticipation to watch my own children grow, to help them discover the world, to teach them and care for them and love them forever.  I know it will be awful sometimes and I know I will have days when I’ll dream of running away and days when I’ll secretly wonder WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING, because that’s life. That’s life no matter what we do. But the rest of the time? I am really excited about that.

Of course, I’m getting way ahead of myself. We’re at least a year away from even attempting to conceive, so what I should be worrying about is moving across the country in five weeks, not what our life might be like two years from now. It’s time for us to start packing, we need to reserve the moving truck, we need to get our ducks in a row so we can make a clean break. We’re nervous and we’re sad but mostly we’re so excited we can’t believe it’s really happening. And I think now that I can admit it, now that I can say out loud what we are knowingly giving up, it will be easier to roll with the punches and land in L.A. with our feet first and our hearts open wide. Keep your fingers crossed. It’s going to be an interesting ride.

*photo by Christine Lindebak