Grown Up Activities

I have no clue what to write about.  The last like three posts have had me sitting around wondering and then eventually I blurble something onto the page.

I mostly feel like there isn’t a lot going on in my life.  I’m not like bored, sad, or depressed.  Just in a groove, ya know?  I work, I go home, I cook, I clean, I sit on the couch, I play some video games.  I sleep.

So what do I write about?  I definitely don’t have enough money to have- oh I don’t know, any hobbies.

So its Thursday night and I don’t know what to write about and I definitely have to write a post.  So what does any person do when they have to procrastinate?

You start furiously cleaning.

My kitchen is fucking spotless right now.

I did part of the bathroom for good measure.

lysol-multi-purpose-cleaner-with-hydrogen-peroxide

I fucking snort this shit.

The thing is though: I genuinely like cleaning.  It’s really satisfying to me to wipe down a surface and watch it become clean and shiny.  There is something so cathartic when I’m done cooking and I look at the stove like, “Aww I’mma clean the hell outta this.”

Speaking of which- when did I start to love cooking.  Mom never like, officially taught me how to cook.  I just had to experiment.  I could cook a few things assuming the box has directions, but now that I’m the one who cleans and dirties the kitchen I’m a lot more invested.

My buddy Kyle came over one day and taught me how to massacre a chicken body and cook like eighty different meals.  Now I cook chicken all the time.  I used to hate having so many dishes to clean, but now I walk through kitchen stores and wish that I had so much more money.

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“Do you have a house?”  “No, I have a pan.”

I recently spent the last of my money getting a 12″ cast iron pan.  I got the nice oil to season it with.  I care for that thing better than I care for myself.  I know its schedule.  I know its hopes and dreams, and what its perfect date night is.

I make my fucking bed now.  Some mornings are better than others but generally I like to at least smooth out the sheets.  Not always- but more than I ever have before.  I dunno, having my own apartment is like a symbol of pride.

Vacuuming my carpet is almost pornographic.  Watching all of the fuzzes get sucked up and listening to the crackle of dirt being sucked away is just the best.  Looking at the carpet and making the lines all go the same way when I’m done is so good.  I enjoy mopping.  We have a Swiffer, but its essentially the same thing.

I love cleaning and thinking like, “I won’t make a big deal about it, but I need to invite my friends over and somehow draw attention to how fucking clean everything is.”

I mean- a lot of this probably has to do with how I feel less impotent cleaning now.  Living with mom and dad was a crazy money saver, but as you know our nephew also lives there.  The last like four times I’ve been over its been a catastrophe.  One time I found a body.  Like a dead one.  Just laying in the powder-ized Goldfish crackers.

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See?

I have a strong opinion on which garbage bags people should get.  I judge my brooms effectiveness.  I’ll spend two times as much money on the correct candle.  There absolutely a correct answer to, “Which cleaner should we get?”

I have fucking pants now Emily.  Pants.  I spent my own money on pants, for me.  I also bought fancy adidas boxer briefs because this is what I do for fun.

I go buy things for my cat because I’m worried she’s bored.  We’ve had long discussions about what we think her favorite treats are.  I’ve seriously debated buying a brush so I can maintain her.  I wanna brush her really well and be like, “I won’t make a big deal about it, but I need to invite my friends over and somehow draw attention to how fucking brushed she is.”

Its weird to think that this is the stuff I enjoy doing now.  I’m constantly trying to find  a new hobby to consume my time.  I’ve currently got a PS2 hooked up.  I own a bunch of movies and games.  I could be doing this stuff but its just not holding my attention like when I was young.  I have games I haven’t played yet!  I need to play them!

But nah, I’m busy sweeping the laundry nook.

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My Perception of Myself

Remember how awesome it was going to “Aunt Lynn and Uncle Tims?”

For one weekend we’d party it up with Adam and Ashley and it was great.  We were freakin’ young.  Staying up all night was a breeze.  Give me one cookie and I’ll be awake for days.

Remember moving to Washington?  Those long as car rides in the cars packed with luggage like we were trying to become a living Tetris game?  It was hot, crowded, and most disastrously- I ran out of batteries for my Gameboy™.

Remember being at the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince midnight release?  That was fun.  We met your husband for the first time!  We were planning to put on leather underwear and form a phalanx to stop the people from stampeding us.

I’ve been focusing my speculations as of late inwardly.  Evaluating myself, what makes me happy, what drives me.  Who am I?  Those sorts of things that let me feel profound at 3 a.m.  Or when I’m drunk.

In each of those memories that you summoned, how old did you picture yourself?  What were you wearing?  What were you even doing at that point in your life?

To my, my mind doesn’t do a check against my age and body when I’m remembering.  I just remember being there and experiencing it.  But it occurred to me as of late that my perception of myself has changed.  I started to explore my lifetime to try and narrow down when these changes to my internal perception changed.

We went to Aunt Lynn and Uncle Tims essentially throughout our childhood.  They were a semi-monthly staple.  We had great memories there every time we visited.  So why do I always envision myself as 10 years old?  My first memory is that of being like- 7 and playing with Adams chemistry set with him and talking about dinosaurs.

Moving to Washington when we were 12 right up until I went full goth (approximately 16) is a different period.  My memories of middle school and the early part of high school are all a different Daniel.  I was shorter (than I am now), had tightly cropped spiked hair, and wore a black wind breaker and black jeans.  Its the only version of myself I can conjure up.  I don’t even remember what my wardrobe looked like.

High school is a little closer but even then I can’t remember exactly who I was.  I remember “tropes” of myself.  I had incredible, spiky hair.  I had hot topic shirts and fishnet undershirts.  I had a trench coat.  But that’s all.  My image of myself from almost 17 to 24 is the same.  All of my memories are just a string bean version of myself wearing that one outfit.

Here’s the thing that’s becoming interesting.  I know I had different trends in my clothing, hair, and size.  Yet when I think back to those time periods I naturally fall back into that vision of myself.  When I worked at Chuck E. Cheese, the free cheesy bread sticks caused me to balloon to 300 lbs!  Yet, when I think back to living with my girlfriend and best friend during that the time, I don’t remember being heavy.  I don’t remember my clothes or what I was up to at the time.  I remember that specific version of my that my mind conjures up.

What’s been making me think about this is the fact that I believe I am currently in another shift to my mind perceiving me as a different version.  Recently there was a work party where I had to race on a bike.  And I could barely keep it together.  Muay Thai was brutally hard on my body because I’m not young and relatively fit as I was.  My body and mind are beginning to understand that I’m much older than I was.  So I’m finally seeing myself as the monochrome clothed, heavy person I am now instead of a young, vibrant clothed idiot.

Its weird how time and memory interact.  You mentioned recently that we’ve been doing this blog thing for more than a year now.  Which is fucking absurd.  Didn’t we just start?  I’ve only done like 4 posts and 8 of them were about Batman.

Even when I think back to those times my memories of other people are also type-cast.  You will only have long, blonde hair.  Deal with it.  Sara will always be accompanied by one of her various friends.  Mom and Dad haven’t ever changed.

It’s probably why its really jarring when you encounter someone after so long and they totally clash with how you remember them.  When we saw Aunt Lynn and Uncle Tim recently they didn’t match my memories at all.  Or when we went to Wisconsin.  Brett and Casey are goddamn adults now.  Our “cousin” Jenny is married and blonde.

WHAT IS HAPPENING.  TIME IS TOO BIG.

Fuck.  I wish I had been an avid journal-er.  A chronicle of my time alive so I could compare and contrast notes.  Where did I think I was going to be?  What was my vision back then?  Would reading all of that or writing all of that change how I remember things?

Growing up is weird.  But man does it keep me up at night sometimes.

-DTM

I’m Mostly Made of Coffee and Self Doubt

I can’t say I watch too many sitcoms nowadays. I have cable at my apartment, but most of the time I use it to watch SyFy original movies, dramas, and reality shows about animals. I absolutely love Dr. K’s Exotic Animal Vet on NatGeo, even if it gives me a mini-panic attack every time they have a ferret patient.

Anyway, I do remember watching a lot of How I Met Your Mother, My Wife and Kids, and According to Jim when we were younger. I also watch a lot of Big Bang Theory whenever I’m visiting the parents’ house, so I know exactly what you’re talking about. So many sitcoms use super dysfunctional relationships as a source of humor and it drives me up the wall. It sounds like Mike and Molly is the same way.

These last few weeks at work have been busy, so recently I’ve been watching even less television. What I have been doing is drinking a ton of coffee and taking quick naps whenever I can find the time. Nowadays I’m mostly living off of coffee, black tea, and stress, which got me thinking about how much has changed about me since I was in school.

In middle school I absolutely HATED coffee. I just hated the taste. I remember one time when I went to the mall with my friend Crystal I bought myself a vanilla frappuccino, the farthest away from coffee you can get at Starbucks, and I ended up throwing it away because it tasted too much like coffee. That’s how much I hated it. Nowadays, I can still barely finish a frappucino, but now it’s because they’re too sweet. When given the option, I go for black coffee these days. When did that change?

Oh yeah, it changed my senior year of high school when I decided to take two AP classes, I was the section leader for the trombone section in marching band, and I was in the middle of my high school exit project. That year was when I really started having late nights and that’s when I really started needing caffeine.

Previously, when I needed caffeine, I would drink Monsters, but Monsters are expensive and in between five hour band practices and massive study sessions I didn’t have the time to go to the store and buy energy drinks. But you know what was always readily available in our childhood home? Coffee.

Coffee was convenient and I just couldn’t pass it up. I would load it down with creamer and sugar so that it barely tasted like coffee, but the flavor was still there. I needed the caffeine badly so I just had to suck it up. Without coffee, I’m not sure I would’ve survived my senior year to be completely honest.

As you probably remember, I spent my first year of college living at home to save money. Well that I meant I could continue to load my coffee with the expensive creamers mom used to buy.  Creamer is so expensive! Six dollars a bottle? No thank you!

Well I finally had to address my creamer-addiction when I moved out. When I moved to Pullman, I had to foot the grocery bill and, as you probably know, food is also expensive. One of the first things to go was the expensive creamer. I decided I could make due with milk and sugar.

Over the last six years, the amount of milk and sugar I put in my coffee has dwindled. Michael and I eat too much cereal to waste milk in coffee and I’ve recently started baking so sugar has become a sacred thing. To save money and time, I just drink my coffee black. And, get this, I actually like it. There’s nothing quite like a cup of black coffee in the morning. 

It weird how much things can change. When I was little I hated coffee and beer was gross and the idea of going to bed early was repugnant. Now, those are three of my favorite things.

It’s just weird to think about, isn’t it?

-EMS  

My Definition of a Home

Our childhood home was a house in a rural neighborhood outside of Tomah, Wisconsin.  We grew up there, and while it wasn’t wildly populated, busy, or sprawling, it seemed like it encompassed my entire world.  That is why it was particularly painful for me to have to move early in the year 2000.

Until that point, my idea of a home had been “the only place I’ve ever known.”  Our home had my stuff, it had my memories, my few friends were nearby.  We grew up there, I honestly had never considered that things could possibly be different.

Living in Washington was so different I almost experienced culture shock.  Not trying to say things were harder for me than anyone else (it probably wasn’t hard for dad, he located a bowling alley the first day), but I also had to deal with a transition from elementary school to middle school.

During this time I didn’t really think of our new house as a home.  It was our house.  My home was left behind, and I’ve become some weird mullet-ed nomad (NOTE: I had a mullet).

During high school, and after I’d acclimated some to this weird crowd of kids, I had a new definition for my home.  It was my home base, my return trip, “my grand intersection in my life”.  I was busy with school, friends, clubs, girlfriends, and sometimes dealing with my sisters.  I was comfortable at my place but my new definition for home was the place that I always returned to at the end of the day.  It was my finish line.

After graduating high school I moved out with my girlfriend at the time.  We had an apartment and it was pretty cool.  I felt like a grown up.  I was paying some bills, working my job, and asking my parents to fill up my gas tank.  I mean, I was a pretty sophisticated adult.

During this period my home had become “the place I lived in.”  It was as simple as that.  My parents place was still a big intersection for the parts of my life, but now I lived elsewhere.  I had my own place, so that must be my home.

My girlfriend at the time was that type of girlfriend where she kinda, sorta, maybe made me a worse person.  She was very negative, and this negativity spilled over into my personality.  This caused me to get into a fight with our room mate.

One day while I was hard at work, because of our fight, he had his family come over and remove all of the furniture from the common areas of the apartment.  In his defense it did belong to him.

I then learned that my concept of a home could be violated.  My concept of a home could be torn down by something external.  The remainder of the time I lived there I didn’t feel safe, secure, or even comfortable because my angry roommate decided that scorched earth was better than being adult.  He had effectively come into my safe zone, and stole my soundness of mind from me.

After my girlfriend became tired with me, I had to move back into our parents house.  But I didn’t immediately become my new home.  It felt alien and cold.  I was pointedly moving back into my parents house.  I had given up my room to go have my own place.  I had established a home, and it was violated.  Its a feeling I’ll never, ever forget.

Luckily I was distracted with college.  I had classes to slack off in, and tests to ace.  My teachers were frustrated.  I was pumped.  During this time I also worked, hung out with buddies, and had another bitch girlfriend.  I still lived with the parents, and I became more comfortable.  At this time in my life my home was my “retreat.”  When I was tired, overwhelmed, stressed, mad, or sad, I could fall back to my safe zone.  I could pull back from the front lines of my life and feel like I was in a place unassailable by the world.

Right now I’m in another transition.  Things have changed.  I do not currently have a definition of home.  I would not confidently say that I have a place I call home.  This isn’t a bad thing, but for me home is a place that has been left behind, taken from me, and violated.  I’ll have to find somewhere that can be all of the previous things, but with something new.

I’m sure my next definition will have to be “where I have built my life.”

-DTM