Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

October 29, 2007

Fermenting a Relationship

So, our first road trip is now behind us. Although it was good overall, I will have to say it probably wasn't the fairest test of our ability to travel together since I had to work for most of the trip. Hardly a romantic getaway when I spend my days dressed like a news anchor (his description) and schmoozing while he meanders around town taking long frequent breaks to read his book in various scenic locations. Yes, I was jealous.

It wasn't until later Saturday afternoon when I could flip the switch to "weekend away together," and by then I was pretty well worn out. Nevertheless we were in wine country (the "Sideways" variety) so I managed to make the best of it.

I was a bit nervous that I would be left in the dust with the wine tasting since, well, he is called Wine Guy for a reason. I've learned to appreciate wine more since we've started dating, but I just can't get quite as excited about it as he and his friends do. But give me a kiwi infused vodka martini (which I had on Thursday night, his was jalapeno infused and spicy!) and I'm in heaven.

Anyway we were visiting one of Wine Guy's friends who's working "the harvest" at a local winery. I was prepared for lots of in-the-know wine chat and thought I'd find it interesting enough, though not my first choice of a vacation. I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed the experience -and the wine. At one of her friend's wineries, we got a private tasting and tour and even got to sip partially fermented grenache right out of the tank! Pretty cool. It's amazing how much you learn without even trying. But, then again, I suppose your tongue really is doing all the work.

Enough of the travel log. I'm sure you want to know the dirt - did we get on each other's nerves or what? The answer: Sometimes. Which is about what you should expect. But there were two outstanding realizations I had that are worth sharing with the world as they further cemented in my mind just how lucky I am to have found this person. Here they are:

1) He not only doesn't hate that I sing along loudly and poorly to cheezy music in the car, but he even sings along with me. I brought my iPod, which is full of every awful song I know every word to (I admit I am anything but a music snob). With every new song I chose, I pushed the envelope a little further to see when he would draw the line. Any second I was expecting to hear, "That's it! I refuse to allow Bon Jovi!" But he indulged me, though he did request a few of his favorites which I was unable to provide. I thought for sure I would get nixed at the Carpenters. But when "Top of the World" came on he hushed me, saying, "I love this song." We arrived at the winery in mid-duet and let the car run while we sat in the parking lot belting out the song at the top of our lungs. Our friends following behind us in another car finally walked up to our car to see what was keeping us. When they opened my door and heard the 70's extravaganza coming from inside, I heard, 'you gotta be kidding me!" followed by a slammed door. We laughed but didn't miss a word til the song reached its sappy conclusion.

2) I've told you this before: when tired and undernourished, I can be quite a handful (see Dating on an Empty Stomach if you haven't already). The word is "hangry" if you recall. This happened a couple of times over the four days we travelled together. It got to the point when I'm sure Wine Guy would have been happy to pull over to the side of road and leave me there, pouting. But he didn't. He didn't let me walk all over him either, which in hindsight I appreciate. But he also didn't lose his temper and let it spiral out of control either. He just let it ride. Perfect response. Later, when my blood sugar was back to normal and I apologized (yet again) he responded, "That's OK. I actually think it's kind of funny when you get mad." Hey, whatever gets him through it (and keeps him still wanting to be with me). God bless the fates that brought me this man.

Oh, and trust me, I put up with plenty from him too. I just vowed that this blog was not going to be a bitch session about my boyfriend since that wouldn't be all that fair now, would it? Wine Guy thinks I'm painting him as too perfect and perhaps romanticized. So feel free to project whatever annoying habits you expect from a man on to Wine Guy. I'm sure he will appreciate it :-)

Dismissed.

October 27, 2007

A Dubious Legacy

One of my favorite things to do on a slow day is visit my site tracker stats and see how people are finding my blog, including the different Google word searches that lead to my various posts. I've been doing this long enough now that I've noticed a few patterns - one inspires me and another, well, I can't decide if I should be proud or terribly embarrassed. I'll leave that up to you to decide.

We'll start with the first one. The typical keyword search is something like this:
"guy disappears after three months of dating."

I can't tell you how many variations on this I have seen so far.
"guy stops calling"
"guy blows me off"
"he won't call me back"

I know from my own experiences how common themale disappearing act is and I've shared these experiences with you before (see the Invisible Man and the terrible tale of Naval A-hole). Which is why these sad, desperate Google searches are leading women to my blog. I can so easily picture the woman sitting at her computer, tears welling up in her eyes, phone sitting silently beside her as she kills time online in search of some words of comfort. It was going so well, wasn't it? What did I do to scare him off? I know he's busy, but if he really wanted to talk to me, he'd find the time to call, right?

I know you've been there. It sucks. My friend Mendoza Line came up with the perfect term for this: The Sucking Vortex. I can just picture the guy in question desperately trying to get to the phone to call me. But he can't because he's trapped inside this beast, this sucking vortex -- where he can stay forever as far as I'm concerned. Judging from my research so far, he certainly has plenty of company in that cozy little vortex.

When I think of how these women are finding my blog, I feel somewhat inspired. Perhaps reading about my similar experiences helps them put their misery in perspective. Perhaps not, but I like to think so. Of course, every time I see another one of these search terms on my stat report, I also lose a little faith in men too.

OK, on to the second pattern that leaves me a little less inspired. The search terms go something like this:
"Dating she farted"
"my date has lactose intolerance and farts"
"farting in my sleep"

The frequency of this genre of search terms is astounding, so clearly the public outing of my humiliation (see Night of Terror) is meeting some need. In my experience, getting that awful gaseous moment out of the way in a relationship is about as significant as having "the talk." Hopefully it's a moment that inspires laughter. But I suspect for many it is mortifying. so I'm glad that my writing is helping ease some of that pain.

But really, is this my legacy?
Really?
Oy.

Dismissed.

October 24, 2007

Our First Disaster

The eerie Santa Ana winds are dying down and so is the sense of doom they seem to carry. The fires still burn, but the spread has slowed, my mom is back in her home, and the local news is actually signing off to allow for primetime network television (God forbid we miss our "So You Think You Can Dance"). I even went in to work for a few hours today, though I was the only one in the building. But don't get me wrong - things here will probably never get back to "normal" again.

Wine Guy and I are heading out of town tomorrow, making our way up to California's Central Coast. An amazing place and one that actually isn't on fire (that I know of anyway). I have to work the first 2 days but then the two of us will get to do something we've never done before as a couple - enjoy a weekend away together.

Under normal non-fire circumstances, this trip would have warranted a speculative blog entry about what we might learn about each other on this significant relationship "first." Traveling with someone for the first time is always a milestone, whether it's a friend or romantic partner. You know, those little stresses that reveal a new (usually undesirable) character trait, a partner's tendency to overpack, another's unacceptable preferences for road trip "munchies" (When I road tripped with Mendoza Line for the first time, I was deeply wounded when she forbid me from bringing beef jerky into the car. A road trip without jerky? Are you kidding me??).

I'm sure Wine Guy and I will have all of these little experiences together this weekend, but they will just seem so small compared to what what we've just experienced - our first disaster.

It was reassuring when I realized early on this week that Wine Guy was as deeply affected as I with all that has been going on. Sure, everyone is feeling this tragedy on some level, but some differently than others. Instead of being near each other during all of this, we were with each other. Does that make sense?

And not only is it nice when your partner shares your vibe during a disaster, but it doesn't hurt when he feeds you as well. Yes, the quickest way to my heart is, without a doubt, through my stomach.

The other night as Mendoza, Gouda and Scotty were arriving for an evening of blowing off some steam, Wine Guy walked through the front door weighed down with Trader Joe's grocery bags. When he went back to the car to get the next load, I peeked in to see carne asada for grilling, guacamole, pita and hummus, wine, beer and bars of dark chocolate. I popped my head up out the bag, turned to Mendoza who was standing beside me and boldly stated, "THIS is why I love him."

I hadn't "declared our love" (ugh) in front of anyone but Wine Guy yet. But this time was a no-brainer.

Hope everyone is safe, sound and eating well too.

Dismissed.

October 22, 2007

World on Fire

I'm sure you heard that Southern California is ablaze. From where I sit here in San Diego, it might as well be the entire world.

I'm safe and my loved ones are safe, though I already know two people who've lost everything. I can't imagine how many more times I will hear this awful news in the coming days. This thing is far from over.

It's hard to believe I flew to Northern California just this morning for a work trip. It wasn't easy to leave my community behind while it burned and, by the time I arrived at the Bay Area office, the situation had worsened. My mom was evacuated (she and her house are fine) and making her way to my brother's house on the coast.

Even if there were no fires, today was promising to be a dark day for my family. My mom was supposed to take our beloved 18 year old cat to the veterinarian to be euthanized (she's been on her last legs and suffering for months). But the vet - along with everyone else - couldn't get to work, so poor skin-and-bones kitty was whisked away in my mom's car amidst the evacuation frenzy.

When word spread to my Bay Area colleagues what was going on in my home town, I was sent back to the airport. Within two hours of landing in Oakland, I was in flight and headed home to the brown-orange skies of San Diego.

I drove straight to Wine Guy's place. His office was shut down, along with everyone else's, and he was home experimenting with cookie recipes (seriously) and listening to the worsening news. We embraced and commiserated and then I started dialing.

First I made sure my mom was safe and then contacted another friend to make sure she and her family got out of Rancho Bernardo in one piece (they did and were readying themselves for a restless night in the Miramar military barracks).

After those pressing calls, I finally had time to think about my own situation. I was safe physically, but I was scared (hey, I still am). Everyone I knew was safely ensconced with their families. Now it was time to get my family together.

It didn't occur to me until later tonight, after my friends left the impromptu party at my house, that the "family" I selected in this situation happened to be my unmarried friends.

I've always said, "My friends are my family." But over the last few years, that statement started to sting a bit as many of my dearest friends got married and started growing their own families. As much as they still loved me, I simply wasn't their family anymore.

With disaster all around and the knowledge that our world here will be forever changed once this horrible week (or more?) is over, I instinctively reached out to my unmarried friends. I couldn't bear the thought of Mendoza, Gouda, Scotty -- all with immediate family far away --going through this without a familial safe zone around them.

So tonight we gathered at my place to drink, eat and watch the world burn on TV. The news grew unbearable, so we turned it off for awhile and sat on my patio sipping wine, eating tasty carne asada burritos prepared by (who else?) Wine Guy, taking self-timer pictures and loving on Mendoza's dog. For a few hours, this impromptu "family" found comfort (and many drinks) with each other. I think I even managed a few carefree giggles.

About an hour ago I popped inside for a bathroom break and made the mistake of flicking on the TV and seeing that the news had grown even worse. Evacuations at the coast. Precautionary, but still scary as hell. I even saw the words "Camp Pendleton" and "evacuation" scroll across the bottom of the screen. Not good since my mom and brother's family are in nearby Oceanside. I'll just hope that is precautionary too. Because every time I see the maps on the news with the growing number of cute little flame logos spread across all corners of the screen, I'm just start to feel, well, trapped.

Work is closed again tomorrow (and likely Wednesday), so I think I might just keep drinking. Wish us luck. Dismissed.

October 21, 2007

Mom Imposter

I'm sure many of you can relate to this. After the frenzy of everyone else's engagement parties, bridal showers and weddings in your 20s and 30s, you become inundated with baby showers, birth announcements and emails with photos of shrivelled alien frog babies attached. I've gotten used to these life passages that have passed me by and have managed to find peace with the limited time I now get with my new mom friends. We keep in touch with emails, occasional phone calls when they have a free moment in the car, and planned far in advance lunch outings. And with the rest of my free time, I went out and found new single friends.

Now I'm getting old enough to have friends with multiple children. This means they have even less time for me. The upside is, when they do manage it, they are so much less uptight as they've gotten used to the mom gig and actually appreciate a break from the kids when a friend comes to visit.

So yesterday I drove to the 'burbs of Orange County to visit two of my girlfriends from my 20-something L.A. days -- Mrs. Clever and StyleMom. Clever, who is about a year and a half younger than me, just gave birth to her fourth child, and she is the only person I know who could handle such a brood with grace and enthusiasm. I'm pretty sure she and Mr. Clever are trying to raise their own soccer team.

StyleMom has a two year old girl and, being that she works in fashion, looks as put together and serene as she did pre-child. I can't imagine her with spit-up or food stains on her wrinkle-free blouse.

And then there's me.

I admit I usually get a bit depressed after I spend time with them. Nothing personal. It's just that 90% of the conversation is about children, husbands, in-laws and new life experiences I have only dared to imagine for myself on really good days. I end up feeling, well, insignificant in these conversations, despite their good faith efforts to include me (really, there's only so many ways to answer the question, "How is your cat these days?").

But this time I didn't get depressed. Probably because I'm happy and in a relationship with some wonderful lifelong potential (shh...don't tell fate I just said that). But also because I missed Clever and Style a great deal. It feels wonderful to be with old friends again.

After a three hour lunch of catching up and way too many iced tea refills, the ladies when to the bathroom and left me with the one kid that was allowed to come along, Clever's two week old baby. There we stood just inside the front door of the busy restaurant, BabyClever quietly ensconced in her carriage while I stood looking over her - frozen. Me, the baby. Alone. Staring at each other.

There was a good deal of foot traffic as people entered and exited the restaurant. As each one brushed past us, my mind raced with questions. Would any of these people mistake me for a mom? Do I wear my inexperience like a tattoo on my forehead? I felt like a poser. But it was intriguing. Could I pass?

Two women entered the restaurant and I knew immediately they were going to test me on this.

"Awwww, what a sweet little baby!" They stopped in their tracks behind me and peered over my shoulder. I continued to stare at BabyClever.

The other one cooed, "She's so little. What a cutie!"

I was as still as a statue, my eyes locked on BabyClever who did nothing to help me. Was I supposed to say something back? Should I let them think it's mine? Would they know right away I was faking it? I broke out into a bit of a cold sweat as the pause lengthened and the women refused to budge.

I'm not one for awkward pauses. In fact, I usually make them worse. This was no exception. I blurted out, "Uh, she's not mine."

Pause.

"Her mom's in there, " I said, jabbing my finger at the bathroom door.

Predictably, I rambled on. "I, uh, don't have any kids. So I don't know what to say when someone says something about the baby." I laughed like an idiot, hoping that maybe they might understand my position. They didn't.

They replied with awkward courtesy laughs and I finally forced myself to turn around to face them.

The older of the two women persisted, clearly enjoying this torture. "How old is she?"

Shit. Mom-types are always so damn specific with this kind of answer. "Oh, she's 24 days, 5 hours and twelve minutes. I had no freakin' idea. She's new goddammit - just look at her for God's sake! That's all I could remember at the moment. But this woman expected some sort of answer.
I resigned myself to failing the test and answered with a shrug, "A couple weeks?"

Judging from the older woman's look of quizzical concern, this was clearly an unacceptable answer. They mercifully decided to give up and made their way to the hostess stand. I'm sure they considered placing a surreptitious call to Child Protective Services since someone had clearly left a newborn baby with an incompetent moron.

Finally alone again with BabyClever, I exhaled with relief as I leaned over the carriage to pretend I was fussing with her blanket. When we locked eyes again something happened. I burst out laughing. I couldn't wait for Clever and Style to come out of the bathroom so I could share this interaction with them.

I guarantee if this same thing happened a few months ago, I would have kept it to myself and went home feeling sad, isolated, lonely and ashamed. Convinced there would never be a time or a place when someone out there would look at me and think, "That woman is a mother." I would always be an outsider in this world.

But this time was different. All I could do was laugh. It was just damn funny. Who I am right now is who I am. Where I am in my life is where I'm at. And there's nothing I can do but live my life, enjoy my friends, and laugh.

Clever and Style came out of the bathroom a few minutes later and I told them the story with an odd sort of pride. Even if I am an outsider, at least my own inside jokes keep me pretty damn entertained.

Dismissed.

October 20, 2007

Overheard in Bed #5


Saturday Morning
Around 8am


"We should make a matzah pizza! It should have pruscuitto and cheese and we'll call it the YHWH!"
"Uh, that's not really kosher."

October 17, 2007

It's an Unjust World

You know, sometimes life would be easier if Wine Guy didn't have so much damn integrity.

Back in August, Wine Guy showed his true colors while house sitting for me during the Alaskan cruise I took with my mom. During this trip, my mom's car got towed away while it was parked outside my place. It was totally unfair and nobody's fault but the a-hole construction company working on the house across the street that posted no signage until after the car was towed. It's been almost two months since the incident and we've been waiting to hear back from the city with a response to Wine Guy's claim for reimbursement for the towing and storage charges of $500.

Wine Guy's been on edge since he filed the claim, as have I - but for entirely different reasons. It all came to a head tonight when the city's denial of his claim finally arrived in the mail.

He was upset, understandably. I was upset because he was upset. I insisted that my mom will pay him back ASAP and that he please, please, please stop worrying about it. My mom and I would take over the claim and take that son of a bitch contractor to small claims court. Not Wine Guy's problem at all.

He resisted. In fact, the more I insisted that he no longer needed to deal with it, the worse I seemed to make the situation. I just wanted to jump into his brain and erase the whole episode. It wasn't his fault. He sort of got stuck "car sitting" when he was only really asked to watch my cat. I felt like my mom and I were a burden that he did not need to take on.

He refused and frankly seemed offended at this suggestion. I told my mom a little about how upset he was and, being the level-headed shrink she is asked, "What exactly is he upset about? The money?"

"No.....I don't think it's the money."

"Well, then is it the injustice?"

"That might be it. And maybe guilt too? I don't know!"

"Well, you should find out what exactly he's upset about."

Achieve clarity. The shrink's favorite Step 1.

So I asked him. And you now what? That damn clarity thing works! The answer didn't surprise me. But I guess the act of actually asking the straightforward question and getting the answer helped clarify it for me - not really for him.

Turns out, it is mostly the injustice that gets him. Which makes sense now that I think about his obsessive daily scouring of Talking Points Memo, looking for the latest injustice perpetrated by the Bush administration. But he admitted to some guilt too for not taking perfect care of my mom's car.

The money? Yeah, the $500 sucks. But that's not the crux of it. And he shared with me that the more I focused on my "solution" to the problem - paying him back so he wouldn't have to worry about it anymore - the worse I made him feel because the money was precisely not what was upsetting him.

So, I think small claims court is the next step. Hopefully Wine Guy (and my mom) will get some justice. And hopefully I'll have learned my lesson of just what gets my man so upset.

Dismissed.

October 14, 2007

Fool in Love

After all my agonizing (see here), this was how Wine Guy said he loved me -- inside this card that came accompanied by a bouquet of tulips on our 6 month anniversary. Apparently he got my not-so-subtle message about what I really wanted - to know how he felt.

From this message on the front of the card, I still wasn't quite sure what to make of it. With him looking on, I opened the card to see that he had signed it "Love, [Wine Guy]."

If he hadn't jumped in with the statement I will share with you momentarily, I'm sure I would have soon started agonizing over if he meant "Love" or just signed off "love" like you would "sincerely yours." But before I could close the card he said with a laugh in his voice, "See? If I didn't love you I would have certainly killed you by now!"

Still trying to figure out whether to laugh, cry or fear for my life, I leaned in and said, "So are you saying what I think you're saying?"

"Yes, I love you."

And that was that. Phew. Check that off the list. Now it's down to day-to-day relationship business. Whatever that means.

Oh, and I said it back, of course.

Yes, this is an unusual way to express such a significant affection. And Wine Guy did ask me later if the card was "too flip." I insisted it wasn't and the more I look at it, the more I adore it. It's different and memorable. Just like us.

Dismissed.

October 9, 2007

Free Milk?

Every time Wine Guy and I make plans, we end up with the same annoying question. "Who's apartment are we staying at?" Even though we live about 2 miles apart, this seemingly small issue causes a heck of a lot of annoyance. After six months of dating, with things moving along nicely, I'm starting to wonder, at what point are you supposed to just say, "Screw it. Let's live together."

I know co-habitation is a big deal. I've done it before and it didn't go all that well. As a result, I vowed I would not do it again unless there was solid proof of an impending marriage. Sounds old fashioned I know, but I've seen the whole "Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?" scenario play out too many times with the girl on the losing end.

But as this apartment shuffle grows more irritating, I'm starting to look at the other side of the equation and remembering all of my friends who've lived with their significant others and had it turn out beautifully in the end. I should know, I bought them all wedding gifts.

If any of you are Dr. Laura listeners (or like me, you "love to hate her" and guiltily tune in from time to time), you might be thinking, "Shacking up with some guy is a bad move." Well, it's not like Wine Guy and I have talked about it. OK, we've hinted around at it in a playful way ("If we lived together, would you want that couch in our living room?", stuff like that). But it hasn't come up in any serious way. And it won't and shouldn't until the whole "I love you" thing is sorted out (see this entry if you want to catch up).

But here's the thing. I've been quite careful to not leave things at his place. I pack a bag when I go over there and make sure I bring it and all of its contents back when I come home. Yes, I have my own supply of beauty products and feminine type things there, but for the most part, I live at my place.

On the other hand, my little apartment is quickly filling up with his stuff. Granted, most of it is kitchenware since we do most of the cooking at my place (I have a nice outdoor patio to dine on) and I have no kitchen supplies that any serious cook would deign to use. So those things stay here and I don't mind since they help to create mouthwatering meals that bring him joy to cook and me joy to eat.

Then there's the clothes he leaves. Again a reason - I have a washer/dryer which is easy and free. Whereas his place requires lots of quarters and a schlep up and down stars, around the corner, etc. So now our laundry gets mixed.

And let's not forget about the toothbrushes! Why he needs so many, I have no clue. But I now have more brushes at my place than I do holes in my toothbrush holder.

I don't mind. I like having his presence here even when he's not. The problem is I have no room for his belongings. My place is so small and every nook is filled, so it all sits out in a temporary eyesore of a pile. Every time he leaves, I'm always shoving his arms full of stuff to take home. I'm sure he feels like I'm kicking him out. But I'm just trying to keep the place livable.

What it feels like now is just one big temporary housing situation. I do not do well with words like temporary, unstable, uncertain - especially when it comes to my love life. Stuff is constantly being packed, unpacked, piled up, shuttled back and forth in cars. It just seems, well, inefficient and jumbled. Hardly a reason to make such a big leap, I know. Honestly, I love living alone and the thought of having a co-habitation situation (no matter how much love we're in) scares me.

I guess I should just take a deep breathe, exercise patience and remember that Wine Guy and I are only six months into this thing. We should still be enjoying the process of getting to know each other (in addition to packing bags every day or two). So now that I've written this, I think I'll shelve this concern and go back to worrying about the whole I Love You thing. (I'm sort of kidding...I promise I don't spend all my time worrying. Just enough to keep me on-the-edge neurotic. Hey, that's my nature and I've learned to embrace it.)

Dismissed.

October 7, 2007

The Effin' Bee

Normally I write off Friday nights as not much more than a Netflix movie, a glass of wine and a good night's sleep. But the FNB changed all of that. What's the FNB? It stands for "Friday Night Book," the name Wine Guy and I gave the little black book that sits on my desk, waiting for the next item to be entered. If you recall, Wine Guy and I enjoy a Friday night ritual of strolling the neighborhood (usually with a good buzz) and exploring new streets, architecture, and occasional innocent voyeurism as we peek into the lighted windows of the many rich people that live around our respective apartment buildings.

The FNB took this pastime to the next level. Now lovingly called "The Effin' Bee," the black journal is quickly filling up with the essence of what makes our relationship so, well, uniquely ours.

For Wine Guy's birthday in June, I bought him (and us) several Moleskine journals. He'd mentioned wanting one and we'd talked about having a place to write down the many plans we would talk about in our frantic "getting to know you" first few months of dating. So I bought each of us a small notebook (customized with our initials) and then a larger journal where we could record the adventures we actually pulled off.

For awhile, the journals sat admired but unused. Then the Friday night walks became a ritual. Our conversations on these walks were so full of inspiring ideas and plans that we decided it was time to record them for future reference.

As we started writing, more ideas would come. But not just the "Take a trip to wine country" or "Eat at that new Indian restaurant" kind of ideas. These ideas were so diverse (and often ridiculously hilarious) that we found the need to start a fresh page for each new category we started: movies to see, cool gift ideas, silly band names, business ideas, websites worth starting, nicknames, funny things we've overheard, phony fundraising drives, interesting dichotomies. We even have a page called "Bad Ideas" (so far the entries are "Join the Marines" and "Get [Dating Trooper] really hungry and then annoy her" -- see this entry for why this last one is such a bad idea).

This past Friday night we broke the tradition by actually going out to see a band. It was kind of nice to do something different to cap off the work week and we were both looking forward to mixing with other people without having to peep into their windows from a darkened street. We had a great time and surprised ourselves by staying out past 2am.

Despite the change in our Friday night plans, The Effin' Bee still thrived in spirit. In line at the club, we started one of our conversational idea riffs. I always know when we hit on a good/bad idea worth recording because I start itching for the book. Except this time we were about to get our IDs checked and the book was safe and sound on my desk at home. Concerned I would forget the idea before we got home, I frantically grabbed my cell phone and texted Wine Guy the three new page-starting ideas.

By Sunday afternoon I had long forgotten this inspiration. But when Wine Guy checked his phone and reminded me about the texts on his phone, it all came flooding back. I grabbed the Effin' Bee and scribbled them down, to be remembered for days, weeks, years (?) to come.

True, when I flip through the pages of the Effin' Bee, most ideas elicit a perplexed "What the heck were we talking about?" But from time to time I hit on one that brings back the memory of the conversation and makes me smile. In fact, there are quite a few that allow me to look forward to what I hope will be a future of many more Friday nights to come.

I guess the Effin' Bee has transformed from a simple, black journal to a relationship state of mind.

Dismissed.

October 3, 2007

My Gut Just Might Be Useless

Wine Guy and I will hit our six month "anniversary" one week from tomorrow. I can already feel myself having a nervous breakdown - just like I did right before our three month mark.

Apparently, relationship milestones scare the crap out of me. I think it's that whole "how things are supposed to be" versus how they actually are. I must have read too many Cosmo relationship columns when I was a preteen or something because no matter how realistic (sometimes cynical) I am when it comes to my love life, I still deep down think that someday it will be all roses and valentines. And when it inevitably isn't, I jump to the most immediate conclusion - this relationship must be over.

At our three month mark, I was dealing with the "are we right for each other" doubts because I must have read somewhere that, by this point, you should know if you're compatible enough to continue dating.

Thank God we survived that bout of bickering, caused mostly by my hyper-focused analyses of our every interaction. Since then it's been pretty much smooth sailing. We are growing closer, learning more about each other (the good and the bad) and even making plans as far ahead as New Year's Eve (we're taking a 10-day holiday road trip to visit his older sister and parents).

All was fine in reality and in my head (what an accomplishment, I know). Fine, that is, until I realized that our six month mark was approaching and we still haven't said "I love you."

Several friends I've shared this news with were quite surprised. Frankly, I'm surprised too. It's not that we haven't discussed it in a semi-ridiculous roundabout way, because we have. He knows I have issues with saying it first after getting burned doing just that in my past two relationships. This time around I want the guy to be the one who is so inspired by his feelings that he must confess his love.

That's certainly how I felt in the past when I uttered those words for the first time. It's an almost overwhelming, unstoppable sensation. Like the words must be spoken or you'll die. This can be wonderful and exciting if you are confident the other person will say it back.

I've had this overwhelming sensation to say these words to Wine Guy for the past two months. But unlike my previous relationships, this time I held my tongue. I want to know that he's not saying it back just to be polite.

He knows all of this. And he still hasn't said it.

What is my gut telling me? Well, if it could talk it would say, "Of course he loves you, idiot! He's pretty much said so. He's just toying with you because he knows you're waiting for it. You know how much he loves to tease you!" (He does love to tease me, as do many of my friends. I am apparently very fun to tease because, like a typical youngest child, I get easily riled up. Annoying.)

For the last three months I've been quietly accepting my gut's opinions. But with this next milestone approaching, I'm remembering something. My gut has the worst instincts on the planet. It's been wrong several times before and, frankly, I'm still kind of pissed at it.

So now what? Is he waiting for the right moment to declare his love when I'd least expect it? Or is he just stalling because he still doesn't know how he feels about me? If it's the former then he's just being a pain in the ass and obviously doesn't understand how important this is for me. If it's the latter, well, then we need to have a serious talk because, according to the relationship guide that is mysteriously implanted in my head, at six months you should know. Especially when you are 34 years old and hearing that damn maternal clock ticking away every second.

But things don't seem that ominous, at least at the moment. We just got off the phone and he's ridiculously excited about our big holiday road trip to see his family - three and half months from now. He's already mapped out the route, calculated the cost of gas, and decided what wines he'll bring for Christmas dinner. Doesn't that say something?

If only my gut had a better track record.

Dismissed.