Well, my weekend got off to a nice, shitty start when I got a message from a former coworker about, uh…let’s just say something that attracted his attention while he was with the company. He framed it as the inspiration for a screenplay and was asking my opinion on the matter, but frankly, it seemed to me that it was a hell of a lot more likely that he just wanted to make sure I was aware that he was, say, looking at me in a certain way and for specific reasons. I’ve written a post about it, but for now, I’m sitting on it since it deals with work–I don’t want to risk it becoming bigger than it needs to be at the moment, but rest assured that when I feel I can, I’ll post it. And you can be even more sure that if I hear so much as a rumble of this screenplay actually coming into fruition, I will put this motherfucker on blast and shout from the rooftops of Pittsburgh about how creepy and gross he apparently is.

I will say, though, that now that I’ve had a couple days to think about it and calm down–because when I first read the message, I was so angry that I was shaking and I eventually woke Paul up because I didn’t know what to do and needed to talk to someone–I’ve come to a couple conclusions, mostly about his possible intentions. First and foremost, I honestly think this guy thought I’d take it as a compliment, but that’s exactly part of what makes it so inappropriate. I also think that because there’s at least a few years’ age difference between us–though I don’t know for sure–there may be an element here of an older man counting on a younger woman to be easily flattered and naive, almost like a sort of power thing. I think it’s pretty clear that he didn’t expect me to respond negatively, and respond negatively I did. Granted, I also blocked him from Twitter and I don’t know what impact, if any, that might have on whether or not he got my reply, but I made it very clear that he was disrespectful and disgusting and that he’d crossed a line. I thought about saying, “Guess you didn’t notice my engagement ring,” but it’s also pretty clear that he was, uh, looking elsewhere.

The silver lining? Just about every single person I told was shocked and said something like, “What the hell/fuck?” But the sad part is that when Paul told his tai chi class, the women started swapping stories about similar experiences, with some even sharing stories of being followed. It’s a sad reflection of what women have to deal with. As my mom said, you never know who’s gonna say or do something like this. This former coworker was someone I never really socialized with while he was still there, and we’d only exchanged a few Twitter messages after he left. In fact, I’m even wondering if he wasn’t intending on saying this to me back then when he first contacted me.

Unfortunately, it marred what should’ve been an exciting day–not that it wasn’t, because it’s not like it ruined my whole day, but it was definitely not how I thought I’d be starting it.

I had my first fitting for my wedding dress, which was pretty great. I had some anxiety about fitting into the thing since I really thought my efforts to lose weight would’ve seen faster, more noticeable results, and while it is a little snug, I can get into it, and I’m gonna keep working. It doesn’t need a lot of alteration, and the alterations it does need were pretty predictable for me–it’s too big in the chest and too long. But it was prettier than I remembered, and I think I love it even more than when I first tried it on.

My mom came out for the fitting, so Paul met us for lunch, and in the afternoon, after a change in plans, we went to the South Hills to get his tux rental taken care of. We’re gonna look good.

Sunday brought the church music meeting, where we had to pick out all the music we want played for the ceremony and choose cantors. We decided to spring for the choir–we have a lot more money in our bank accounts right now than I thought we would and we’re coming in under budget on most of what we’ve already done, plus I was afraid we’d regret it. Every time we hear the choir sing in church, we’re impressed, and I’ve said more than once now I’d pay for them to sing at the wedding without realizing I actually could. I figured that the first mass we went to with the choir after the wedding, we’d immediately regret not having them, and as we’re now three months and a few days away from the wedding and everything is coming together, there’s not a whole hell of a lot I’m looking at and wanting to change. That’s good, obviously, but I don’t want the music to be an exception. So we’re going for it. We’ll slip into church next month, when the choir performs at two weddings, both for fellow choir members, to listen to how it sounds since it could impact our song selections, but I can’t imagine we’ll come out of it saying, “Nah, let’s not do that.”

So aside from some other downtime, it was all wedding all weekend, and I’m expecting that to happen more and more over the summer. Except this coming weekend. We’re heading off to Erie to visit Paul’s sisters.

Well, I’d say it was a successful Mother’s Day.

Paul’s mom was hard to shop for, as always, but we managed with trusty Harry & David gift sets and some neat warming coasters we found at the gift shop at Phipps when we were there a few weeks ago taking advantage of the membership we got for free when we switched to an energy-efficient electric company on a prior visit early in the year. As for my mom, we got some charms for her Snoopy bracelet, some Lush bath bombs and bubble bars, and a Snoopy cup we found grocery shopping this morning. Obviously, can’t go wrong with Snoopy with her.

I’d wanted to go to Phipps Saturday to see their blooming corpse flower, but Paul had plans with a friend and I spent the day doing some wedding planning and playing Skyrim. We went to Primanti’s to watch the Pens game in the evening, and I kind of lucked out when Paul talked to his dad about Mother’s Day plans–they were going to Phipps in the morning, and as long as they made it there by 11 to make it worth the trip for us before we had to meet my parents for lunch, we were going. And we made it, despite some traffic and delays because of a relay in that area that had streets closed. Having been there a few weeks prior was kind of an advantage, because we weren’t focused on taking our time going through and instead were able to catch up to his parents and enjoy the things that had changed in that brief time, like large glass sculptures. And enjoy things that were the most enjoyable about the last visit, like the butterfly garden. It’s kind of neat to see so many butterflies flying around freely. And of course, we got to see the blooming corpse flower, which is apparently a pretty rare event. And then I bought myself pretty things in the gift shop.

We ended up running a bit late for lunch. We left later than we’d wanted and would’ve been on track to make it on time anyway if not for a bridge being out and delaying traffic at the other bridges. But we had a nice mid-afternoon at a restaurant in Washington, Palazzo, and then stopped by the apartment to grab my mom’s gift before making a brief stop at the outlets. We owe Paul’s sister Julie a birthday present when we visit her in a couple weeks, but unfortunately, we didn’t have much success–even her live-in boyfriend struggled with what to get her this year and couldn’t help us much. We found a necklace with her birthstone, at least, and will hopefully find a couple other little things before we head up.

Next weekend, it’s all wedding stuff all weekend, which to me means shit is getting real. I have my dress fitting Saturday, then a meeting at church about music Sunday. I’m getting more excited and the few things I did get done this weekend made me feel a little less overwhelmed, but we’re now just over three months out and I don’t know how the time went so fast.

New Year’s Resolutions, Only Five Months Late

Yeah, guess who realized she never did her usual post assessing how New Year’s resolutions went?

  • Do no harm, but take no shit. It’s a work in progress–I know I’m not perfect, but I certainly don’t intentionally hurt people. I didn’t have much cause to whip out the “take not shit” bit, but that does still need some work. I can be too much of a pushover sometimes.
  • Eat healthier and cook more. Done, and I found two brands of vegetarian meat replacements that help with this.
  • Get more active–daily walks when weather permits, yoga when it doesn’t. Done, and I took it farther by the end of the year than I’d initially intended by actually getting a gym membership.
  • Plan as much of my wedding as I reasonably can. If I’m honest, I probably could’ve done more, but hey, it’s all details at this point.
  • Save money… It’s a toss-up. Planning a wedding made it tough, but that means…
  • …but invest in myself. Buy those apps for writing, buy things that make me happy. …I did this, and I count throwing a wedding I’ll remember forever as part of this. I’ve been super practical about it for the most part, saving money where I can and choosing certain things based on price, but I’ve also not really hesitated to get the things I really want that will make it fun and memorable for both of us. Wedding aside, I did buy that writing app, and I’ve bought plenty of clothes and books and other things I like, but not so much that it’s excessive.
  • Make more money at writing–sure, I’m doing pretty well with three side jobs bringing in extra income, but I’d like to add more to that. Ideally, I’d add something that pays better than one of the three and phase the one out that pays the least. Done. In 2016, I made enough money on my side writing that I had to claim it on my taxes, which included paying local and state taxes on it. Examiner ended up shutting down, which wasn’t much of a disappointment. I didn’t add a higher-paying one like I wanted, though, although I also never actually found one that I liked.
  • Get a new job. Didn’t happen, but planning a wedding did push it to the very bottom of the to-do list.
  • Get more pieces published. So in 2016, aside from some other unpaid projects I took on, I believe I only had one. But like job hunting, I prioritized wedding planning, so this got pushed aside.
  • Clean more. Eh…if I’m honest, this is probably a no.
  • Get organized, including buying any shelving I need or any other organizational gadgets I have room for and can use. This also counts as investing in myself. Kind of! Definitely not as much as I could have, but we put up a wall-mounted coat rack and mail holder, which helped a lot with not having, well, coats and mail everywhere.
  • Travel. Just a little–Paul and I took a long weekend in State College and Altoona, I went to Philadelphia to see Stevie Nicks, and that’s about it.
  • Continue to be a more proactive friend–don’t be afraid to reach out, make the first move, initiate conversations and plans. Still a work in progress, although perhaps for different reasons than before–it’s now more a matter of having time than anything.
  • Do something that scares the shit out of me in a good way. Could be as simple as a public reading. I did do a reading! I read at my alma mater. I was scared shitless, but it went well.
  • Declutter. Still needs work. I don’t have a problem parting with things and donating or selling them as needed, but I don’t set aside time like I probably should to go through things and organize.
  • Pay off at least one credit card, ideally two. Kind of–I did a balance transfer, which didn’t pay them off but got them all on one interest-free balance, saving me money in the long run and hypothetically making them easier to pay off. The one downside is because it’s such a high balance, my credit score took a hit.
  • Play guitar. Nope.
  • Start private stream-of-counscious journaling again. I’ll be honest, I forget I even wanted to do this.
  • Continue to weed out toxic people, even though at this point that’s mostly just my future mother-in-law. Pray for me, guys. I mean, like I said, there’s not much to do here, although I will say I don’t do things or spend time with people I don’t want to.
  • Continue to spend money on experiences–concerts, travel, whatever. That’s how I spend most of my money anymore, really.
  • Start sending some fucking birthday, anniversary, and Christmas cards, you bitch. BIGGEST FAILURE OF THE YEAR.
  • Use the cork board in the kitchen more. You bought it for reminders and such, and you found some little pins for it. Use them all. Yes! It’s actually pretty full right now. We pin up stuff like cards and things we get, plus I use it to keep track of what bills need paid. It’s also an easy, useful home for address labels and stamps.
  • Enjoy the year! Enjoy the upcoming weddings, enjoy planning my own as much as I can, enjoy the people I have around me. I did! Looked, 2016 sucked a bag of dicks for almost everyone I know, but I did have a good one.

So after a fun-filled weekend, Paul and I have decided that we really need to hang out with our friends more often. Problem is we’re at least an hour away from all of them and our weekends are usually busy, and when they aren’t, we want to stay in. Dilemmas.

Meri came home for the weekend since Adam and his wife are expecting a baby and had a baby shower, so Friday night, we met her, Emily, Emily’s boyfriend Davon, and their daughter for dinner…at a Mexican restaurant on Cinco de Mayo. Meri got their early and got a table, but Emily was gonna be a little late because of work and Paul and I ended up late due to a combination of work and having to pick up a gift for said baby shower that I’d had sent to Target. I knew better than to think we’d be back before Target closed to get it, and he’d already forgotten it when he was actually in Target the day before, so Target was threatening to cancel the order if we didn’t get it by end of day Friday.

So we were about an hour late for dinner, which was awesome.

Unsurprisingly, it was also super crowded–even Adam and Ashley were there–and we talked about the hypocrisy of Trump voters celebrating Cinco de Mayo, as though white people celebrating it isn’t bad enough.

Our food took over an hour, the crowd never really died down, and I have no idea what time it was when we finally left, but hey, BOGO margaritas. From there, we went to Emily and Davon’s, where we mostly spent the evening playing games and dicking around until 3 in the morning, but it was a real good time.

Now, I did some social-media purging back in the aftermath of everything that happened, so every time I’ve seen Emily since, I’ve felt weird. I have a plan to sort of rectify that, especially now that everyone’s sort of patching things up, so we’ll see how that goes.

There were more festivities in Dunbar the next day followed by an invitation to Nolan and Brett’s new house, and I planned on going until I saw it would be an hour-and-a-half drive for me, coming after getting home at 4 in the morning the night before and before a hour-long drive the next day to the baby shower. So I decided to try to get shit done instead, to varied results. I took a nap at some point, so I guess my productivity level depends on how high you rank the importance of weekend naps. I also tried to find a large gift bag for said baby-shower gift and came home with Rita’s Italian ice instead. I did get a gift back when Paul came home with his Target card, at least, and also found some shoes I like for the wedding, so there’s that.

I slept as long as possible Sunday, we went to church, and I had a good time at the baby shower. I got some laundry done at my parents’, too, then headed to Sarah’s for a little bit while Meri was over, where we played some fun rounds of Clue with her family. I’m way out of practice, and her sister loves saying misleading things to trick people. It was good fun.

And somehow, I ended up going into the work week with sinus pain and pressure on one side of my face that’s much better than it was yesterday but still a pain in my ass.

At this point, Jukebox the Ghost coming to Pittsburgh is pretty much an annual thing, at least for the past few years. I was starting to think that their work on a new album this spring would keep them away, but nope–they took a break for a short stint on the road, which included a Pittsburgh stop.

Last year, Paul and I declared that Emily was gonna come with us, but turns out the timing of this one was too close to the end of her semester. So it was just Paul and I–and he came down with a bad cold that week. He was actually unsure about going, but I kind of talked him into it, and I think he’s probably glad I did. Not only was it a good show, but rather than stand on the floor the whole night, we decided to look into the venue’s balcony seating. The way it works is it’s essentially an upgrade where what you pay is put towards a food tab. It’s kind of not worth it in that regard, but if you think of it as food plus balcony seating of your choice, that helps. I don’t know that I’d do it again for that much money unless the circumstances, like congestion, made it really that much more appealing, but it was nice for the night.

It was a great concert from them, as usual, but I wasn’t able to get the next day off–the request list was full and we were too busy–so I had to suffer through a tired Friday.

And when the weekend hit, I got a much-needed haircut, we went to Rita’s, and started exploring some of the local trails I didn’t know we even had. I knew the Montour Trail ran up around Pittsburgh, but until Kelly posted pictures from a leg not far from us, I didn’t realize we could be there in a 20-minute drive. So a couple weeks in a row we went to different trail access points and walked it, and it’s been nice to get out now that it’s generally warm enough to do it. As good as I’m sure the gym is for me, I much prefer walking outside like that, and we’re not doing too bad distance-wise considering we didn’t do it all winter.

To (almost) close out the semester, Emily had one more play at school, so Paul squeezed it in at the most logical time–right at the end of an already packed weekend. After a quick trip to the mall to visit the only place, aside from Pittsburgh, I can still buy CDs.

The play was funny and we had a good time, even though Emily’s role was tiny, but she’s a freshman, Hopefully, we’ll see more of her in the future. Afterwards, we went to a hibachi place behind the mall for dinner.

We had another attempt at taking Terra to get her license a few days later with no success.

By the following weekend, Julie was in town. Originally, we were going to meet up with her on Sunday before she went back up to Erie, but staying with her parents was getting to her after a whopping day, so she decided to cut the visit short. Fortunately, we were still able to squeeze in dinner, so we took her to Presidents Pub, one of our favorite local spots, and had a nice dinner. We offered to let her stay with us next time she’s in town for the sake of her sanity, and it could actually work pretty well–it’s a straight shot down the interstate from Erie, and close enough that she can visit their parents in whatever smaller doses are better. In the meantime, she’ll be making at least some of our wedding favors.

Not too long after we saw Stevie Nicks in Philadelphia, she extended her tour and announced a Pittsburgh date. I was leaning towards not going, mostly because it was so soon after, but my mom talked me into it.

The day of managed to be this perfect mess of things that lead to the most pain-in-the-ass commute to a concert I’ve ever had without actually being late. It was supposed to work out great–my mom had to be in nearby Coal Center for work, so she’d come right over to my apartment when she was done. I ended up working a little late and was relieved when I hadn’t heard from her by the time I left because it meant she wouldn’t have to wait for me.

As it turned out, she was stuck in traffic. There had been not one but two accidents on the same interstate in the same area that day, and although that’s not the route she was taking, she did happen to be on a possible detour, along with everybody else trying to reroute. Meanwhile, I had to stop for gas, and out GetGo is in a real shitty location and is almost always busy, and someone was pulled in waiting for a pump in such a way that I couldn’t go around him and I couldn’t see around him, either, and make the left I needed to. So I decided to take a chance on going right, which I know from past experience isn’t a clean-cut, easily maneuverable block. I pretty much just guessed my way home, taking residential streets and making turns that felt right until I saw areas I recognized. It was a delay, but not a big deal.

We got in my building to find my key was getting stuck in the lock. Paul, who was taking Terra to what was ultimately a failed driver’s test, had fallen in mud on his way out and stuck his muddy key in the lock, which must’ve caused enough trouble to make it a real bitch for me to get my key in and unlock the door. After some trouble, I did manage to get it and Mom and I changed into lace clothes, the only appropriate attire for a Stevie Nicks concert.

She wanted to get into the city as soon as possible, so we were out the door and on our way. And then we hit traffic on a separate interstate that almost never has any trouble, and we sat in the usual parkway traffic, then the usual event traffic, finally making it to a restaurant across the street. It’s kind of a good thing we’d seen the tour before–we didn’t really care about seeing The Pretenders, so that gave us some time to meet up with Nolan and Brett and eat. How neither of us was in a cranky, hangry rage is kind of a miracle.

Fortunately, though, the saga ends there. We timed it well enough to get to our seats a little bit before Stevie took the stage, and she was great, as usual. Another bonus to going twice–she did “Landslide,” which she hadn’t done in Philly.

Mom decided to spend the night at my place, so we came back, had a snack, and went right to bed…because I had to work the next morning.

It’s just kind of one of those things that just didn’t work out great. It was my last Saturday on weekend rotation for March, and normally, since Saturdays are much more relaxed, I can choose my own hours and would’ve just gone in an hour or so later. But Stephanie’s baby shower was that same day at 2 an hour away, and I refused to miss it. My original plan was just to switch someone days to make my life easier, but when I ended up needing to do that at the beginning of the month for Pap Pap’s funeral, I decided against doing it a second time. It seemed silly to do it twice in one month. So instead, I worked with what I had. I knew it would be a pain in the ass, but I decided that the best thing to do was to go in early–I figured that way, I’d be leaving when it started and I’d be fashionably late but wouldn’t miss too much. So I slept for about four hours, then went to work, got out about when I planned, had a pretty easy drive, and made it to the shower about an hour in and fortunately had not missed anything other than snacks and mingling, which I made up for plenty after the gifts were all opened.

It was a nice shower, and I was glad I made it work. Some of the old crew was there and we all seemed to have a pretty good time talking and hanging out like we used to, which was nice, too. I hung around a little bit longer than the others since I’d been late, and Steph and I spent a decent bit of time bullshitting, the way ya do when you don’t see people often and they live an hour away.

So I was satisfied but, in the end, pretty fucking exhausted. It was a very distinct kind of tired, too–I’ve had days where I’ve gone into work after not sleeping well and end up struggling to stay awake if I’m not engaged in what I’m working on, but this was an entirely different thing where my eyes felt heavy the whole day and I couldn’t wait to crawl into bed at the end of the day, yet I was functioning fine.

Still, I was pretty happy to see my bed and not have to set an alarm for the next day.