there’s a silver lining buried in here somewhere

The phrase “going to Hell in a handbag.” Now that I think about it, I’m not entirely sure what it means. Sort of like the phrase “built like a brick shithouse.” I used to say that a lot until I realized that nobody I said it to seemed to have heard it before, or to know what it meant. Then I realized that I didn’t really know what it meant and that I should probably stop referring to people as shithouses (even if they were the swanky sort made from brick).

So, I may not be entirely clear on what this means, but I feel like my life for the past week has been “going to hell in a handbag.” I was plugging along so well, and suddenly, everything seems to be going not quite right. My inability to manage real life (like an adult) is mostly to blame. And, as usual, I’m free to tell you ALL about that. Some outside forces, having to do with work and/or people who may read words published on the internet are also to blame, and you will NOT be hearing about those on here. (But don’t feel too sad. Probably it’s all my fault in a roundabout sort of way anyhow. It usually is. I’m just full of excuses.)

Here’s a story to illustrate how I can’t manage my life:

ANNA ATTEMPTS TO BUY A SMARTPHONE

This is, by no means, an attempt to keep up with the rest of the world. Both of my parents already have iphones AND ipads AND laptops. I’m clearly so far behind that I will never win this race. Also, I can’t figure out how to get my current phone off of a permanent vibrate setting even though I’ve had it for four years; I will clearly never be able to use half the functions of a smartphone. I just needed to change phone plans and realized that it would be more work to cling desperately to my dumphone than to join the rest of the 21 century.

Step 1: I don’t know how to do anything with electronics, so I thought I’d go to Best Buy and make them do it for me.  I walk into the store and say, “I want to change from carrier A to carrier B and I want to buy phone X.” I had at least done some cursory research about this.

Best Buy guy says, “We don’t have phone X, but phone Y is just as good and only a little more expensive.” I waffle a little bit, but get talked into it. As he’s ringing me up, Best Buy guy informs me that he can’t actually connect the phone for me, but that it will only take me two seconds to do on my computer. I immediately forget the reason he can’t connect me, but remember that it seems legit. Then I have the panicked thought on the way out of the store that my mom is going to ask me why they couldn’t connect my phone and judge me when I can’t tell her, and I think that I should pay more attention when people talk to me.

Step 2: That night, I try to connect my phone but keep getting various error messages. I do this for an hour and a half. I hate talking on the phone, but I eventually call customer service. Apparently, they don’t answer the phone at ten thirty p.m. I give up and go to bed.

Step 3: I call customer service at SEVEN THIRTY the next night, and they answer. The guy I end up talking to is German, or possibly speaking to me from underwater. I have to ask him “WHAT?!” about 70 times. This is only compounding my hatred of talking on the phone. Mr. Marbles-in-his-mouth informs me that the Best Buy Guy has sold me a phone that does not support the carrier that I TOLD HIM I WANTED TO SWITCH TO. I’m furious. I go rant to Roomie about it, and she says, “Yeah, I thought as much when I saw the box. But I wasn’t going to say anything.” Guys, my best friend is mean and unhelpful. (Just kidding Roomie!) But really, she’s probably just trying to make me learn to do grown-up things on my own.

Step 4: I order the phone I actually wanted online, which is what I had originally planned to do before Best Buy sabotaged my life. The phone is out of stock everywhere, but I eventually track one down. After wasting another hour on the computer.

Step 5: I bring the hated OTHER phone back to return it, hoping to get the cruel person who sold it to me in trouble. There is a manager at the store who is very interested in finding out which employee was so unhelpful, but I suddenly feel guilty about incriminating anybody and give a vague description that probably fits half of the employees who work there. I don’t have to lie about not remembering his name. I’m terrible with names.

Half way through the return process I realize I can’t find the receipt. I have a distinct memory of taking it out of the bag the night before and thinking, “Good. I definitely have the receipt.” I have no memory of putting it back in the bag. Because I didn’t. I apologize to the nice manager and say I’ll come back tomorrow with the receipt. When I get home that night, I find it sitting on my desk.

Step 6: I bring back the phone the next day during my lunch break. I have B with me from work because we went to lunch together. I promise him it’ll only take a minute and that he can pretend to be my bodyguard. He says he’ll look intimidating and threaten the Best Buy employees if they give me any trouble. It ends up taking us 20 minutes because I, apparently, threw away the part of the packaging with the bar code on it. Seriously though, I don’t recall any label on that part of the box saying, “WARNING: IT WILL TAKE YOU TEN TIMES AS LONG TO RETURN THIS PHONE, WHICH YOU DIDN’T WANT IN THE FIRST PLACE, IF YOU THROW AWAY THIS BAR CODE. ALSO, YOU WILL PROBABLY BE LATE IF YOU TRY DOING THIS AT THE VERY END OF YOUR LUNCH BREAK.” So, really, how was I to know?

Step 7: I finally get my new phone in the mail and realize that I shouldn’t set up the new phone until my contacts are all on there. I also realize that I’m going to have to type them all in manually because Best Buy is useless and probably wouldn’t do it for me even if I went back there and offered them my first born child in return (whenever I have said child, that is). Also, they probably wouldn’t help me because of whatever legitimate reason they gave me in the first place for not being able to activate my new phone. Dagnabbit, I REALLY wish I could remember what it was now.

This is the night that I also realize that I don’t know how to type on a touchscreen.

I fail at technology. And remembering to put the receipt back in the bag. And noticing that the guy at Best Buy is trying to sell me a phone for the WRONG PLAN.

There. That’s one thing that happened this week. The only one I’m going to talk about.

Does anyone know what going to Hell in a handbag actually means? I think I’m using it wrong. Maybe I should just say I had a shitty week. But there’s no alliteration in that.

UPDATE: Ok, so apparently, the phrase is actually “going to Hell in a hand basket.” But, seriously, who uses a “hand basket” in this day and age? I’ve never even heard of one. Going to Hell in a handbag is much more modern.

how high does an ‘underwear intervention’ fall on the scale of things you should never mention in public?

I’m in a Monday sort of mood. I couldn’t seem to get into the swing of things today. Probably because half the office is out on vacation. Without me. What nonsense is this? I’m in the mood to write some thoughtful prose about the meaning of life and the pursuit of happiness—I haven’t written anything serious in a while. But I won’t. I’ve decided to be proactive and stamp out the melancholy with some Fall Out Boy and a story about . . .  underwear. Just in case you all haven’t heard enough about my undergarments in recent months. 

During my junior and senior year of college, I had a couple of roommates who thought wearing clothes in their own home was highly overrated.  This idea quickly spread throughout our apartment until every one of us was likely to be found lounging about in varying degrees of undress.

I will never forget the morning when M piously informed me that I the shirt I had chosen was much too low cut to wear to the office for my internship. This struck me as mildly unfair because, at the time, she had on a pink thong and nothing else. Absolutely. Nothing. Else. 

My underwear quickly gained a (somewhat deserved) reputation for less-than-sexiness. The chief complaint in this department being, if I recall correctly, “it covers your whole ass.” Well, yes. It did. But then wasn’t I eventually going to cover my ass up again with some pants? I didn’t see the problem, and for a while everyone’s underwear lived side by side in harmony. Until the tension simply became too great and required some action. My roommates carted me off to Victoria’s Secret for an “underwear intervention.”

At the time, it didn’t seem all that bizarre to me, but looking back now, I sincerely hope that the phrase “underwear intervention” was not coined because of me. Please tell me there is at least one other person to whom this has happened. Just one. Please?

In the end, I managed to choose an only slightly alarming pair that passed muster with everyone else because of their leopard print pattern and slightly scanty bum coverage. Success. Everyone went home happy. Until I actually wore the underwear and discovered that slightly less bum coverage quickly translated into no bum coverage at all as they quickly worked their way further and further UP.

So basically, I spent most of the day trying not to walk in front of people while fixing a semi-permanent wedgie. That was also a day that I had to give a tour of the school to prospective students. I usually liked this job because it paid under the table and gave me an outlet for the excessive attention whoring that theatre alone couldn’t satisfy. But THAT tour on THAT day was the LONGEST TOUR EVER. I spent the entire hour and a half debating whether or not I could get away with adjusting my underwear. And for an entire hour and a half, I couldn’t find a good time to do it, because I was either talking to an audience whose attention was entirely focused on me or I was walking in front of a group of people who all had a clear view of my behind.

Victoria’s Secret was quickly relegated to bottom-of-the-bin, only-wear-it-when-you-haven’t-done-laundry-in-a-month status.

Why, you may ask, did I feel the need to share this particularly riveting tale about my delicates? Because I am super impressed with myself: I HAVE FINALLY FOUND A USE FOR THE VICTORIA’S SECRET UNDERWEAR. That’s right. I’m just that good.

It’s now the pair of underwear that lives in the bottom of my gym bag. So when I crossfit at lunchtime, only to realize I’ve forgotten to pack an extra pair of underwear, I’m all set. I’ve ALREADY packed an extra pair, which, granted, may not be the most comfortable but are far superior to suffering in silence while the scratchy tag on the inside of my pants tortures me for the rest of the afternoon.

I’m a genius. I’ve solved two of life’s most pressing problems in one fell swoop: how to avoid going commando at work and what to do with the unbearably bothersome result of an “underwear intervention.” 

Plus, I think I’ve managed to use the word underwear about 50 times in one post. Which has to be some sort of record. Even for me.

a bad case of rambling might have taken over half way through this post

Guys, I REALLY don’t want to go back to work tomorrow. Seriously. It’s not that I don’t like my job; it just really stresses me out. Only, when I’m right in the middle of it, I don’t notice the stress. Or something. Obviously, I just need to get a job doing something less stressful. Anybody want to pay me to train horses or coach crossfit? No? Are you sure?? Maybe you all could just turn me into a famous blogger. I’m not entirely sure how one actually makes a profit bogging, but I know it happens. Occasionally. And you have to be famous to do it. So get on that.

I think I should at least get some free stuff out of this blogging thing. I have a friend who writes about being a triathlete and gets all kinds of free shit sent to her. Although maybe people don’t want you advertising their products on a blog where you say things like “free shit.” Ahem, let me try that again: athletic stuff.

It just doesn’t have the ring to it.

Plus, I strongly suspect that she is a bit better at focusing on a single topic in her blog and doesn’t go rambling off onto tangents that quickly turn into blog posts of their own. Which is totally happening right now. Again.

I meant to write about getting back from vacation because the week after vacation is when the excel spreadsheet sitting in my email inbox titled “Lizzy and Anna’s Marathon training plan” says I have to start running. And it’s got REAL numbers people. This is terrifying. I actually have mileage that I have to hit EVERY WEEK. I can’t just be like “I was out of town this weekend. I don’t need to do a long run,” or “My back hurts from doing deadlifts yesterday. Five or six miles is close enough to the ten I meant to do.”

On the bright side, L has agreed to run the thing with me (which is good, because Josh is turning out to be a much faster runner than I initially suspected), and train with me, and has written up crossfit-compatible running plan for us. AND she keeps insisting that we can finish the thing in in UNDER FOUR-AND-A-HALF HOURS. Yeah. About that. My goal was just to finish it.

I tried complaining to another friend about unreasonableness of this lofty goal (comparatively lofty—it’s a totally reasonable goal for L), and received the less than sympathetic response: “So, have you heard of this thing called ‘training’?” The idea, of course, is that if I train for a 4:30 pace, which I am aware is not exactly warp speed, I can run a 4:30 pace.

And I’m sure I can.

The problem is that I’m not really a runner anymore. Up to this point, I refused to sacrifice any crossfitting for running. I would happily do WODs at the end of the week that I knew would leave me limping and whining for my long weekend runs (whining more than usual, that is). And if I didn’t run at all during the week because I decided to go to the box eight times instead, that was fine.

My problem here is not the limited number of hours available in a day; I was a time-management rockstar in college. (Said rockstar skills may have gone downhill since then, but that’s only because I don’t need them anymore.) The problem that I didn’t foresee at the beginning of this adventure is that my body can only tolerate a certain amount of torture and still function the way I want it to.

I miss riding terribly, but when I started crossfit, I was so relieved to have found a sport I could practice AS MUCH AS I WANTED. After all, the one I came from was largely moderated by how much money you had and who you knew (both of these things translated into the number of horses you could own, beg, or borrow—which equaled hours in the saddle). So you can understand my dismay in realizing that there is, in fact, a limit to the amount of crossfit to which I can (should) subject myself.

And now I’m going to be able to crossfit EVEN LESS because of this silly race. (Of course, I know it’s not really silly, and I never would have been happy if I hadn’t signed up for it.)

Watching L train for her Iron Man has brought this point home for me. And I know I won’t have to give up half as much crossfitting as she has because the marathon is soooo very much shorter than an entire IRON MAN. But it seems to be that you can’t be really good at both. (Please don’t get offended if you are the best endurance crossfitter out there. What I really mean is that I don’t think I can do both well. Probably you can.)

So I’m going to have to cut back ever so slightly on the crossfitting for a couple of months, because now that the idea’s in my head, I REALLY want this marathon in under 4:30. But I’m starting to think I might give up distance running after this. I’ll still do the speedwork and the hills (the things I used to hate), but I’m not so sure about these long slow miles.

I don’t know. It’s just a thought.

Sorry this post was neither funny nor pretty. I just wanted to write it for myself. And since I make a habit of publishing my diary online, you all had to listen. How in the world did I con you into that? 

if you don’t know what to say, the answer is probably not an ostrich

My family is so strange. Here’s a conversation (mostly) unrelated to anything else:

Sis: “Being quirky is different from being weird. It’s just seeing things differently, like, ‘Look! I see a two legged llama.’”

I was still trying to work out some sort of context for this remark, when Roomie piped up with an answer as promptly and confidently as if she was answering a question in class.

Roomie: “Oh, like an ostrich.”

Sis: “What? No, I mean if you were looking at a cloud or something.”

Me (uncontrollable laughter): “My abs hurt!”

Roomie: “I don’t really know what I was thinking. Ostrich just seemed appropriate.”

Mum: “You know Anna’s going to write about this in her blog now.”

I’m on vacation at the beach this week. I’m working on my suntan. It’s funny how I feel like I’m being productive if I’m getting a tan. I’m not JUST lying around and reading a book; I’m ALSO getting a tan. Somehow, this line of reasoning works for me. I have no guilt. I haven’t done any writing and my leisurely three-mile run on the beach this morning was the most exercise I’ve gotten all week.

Since, as my Dad put it, I usually “need to be busy 190 percent of the time,” I’m feeling pretty accomplished with my non-guilt this week. But I’m ready to get back to my life. My complete unenthusiasm for the stress and the mess of the email inbox that awaits me at work is at least countered by the alluring torture of heavy lifting after a week of eating EVERYTHING I’m not supposed to and marathon training that has to start in earnest shortly after I get back.

And that combination of activities is what this post was really meant to be about. But now I’ve written much too much for this to just be an intro. I need to separate it into two posts. The writer in me is crying out for continuity or focus or some such nonsense, and the vacationer in me is complaining that actually FINISING a post that long is asking much too much from my water-logged brain. 

I PROMISE I will write that real post tomorrow … or sometime soon.