We are spotlighted (spotlit?) today on the Chicago Women's Funny Festival Blog! Check us out!
A few weeks ago, I found myself at a building with a very exciting name--The Reid-Murdoch Center. Do you see why it is so exciting?! REID! Whenever I find a Reid spelled my way, I feel a special kindred bond the person/place/thing. Everyone always spells our name Reed, and usually, I get called Eric a lot, too. I've spent a lot of my past being Eric Reed.
Upon entering the building, I beamed with excitement of the name recognition that was about to happen between me and the security guard. LOOK, MY NAME IS JUST LIKE THIS BUILDING! How rare and neat is that?! All a-twitter, I handed over my ID for her to copy my name down.
And she handed me back this:
Oh well, maybe next time.
Today was my 8 mile training run. I've never run so far in my life! Claire had a plan that we start at Monroe and just run home along the path. It sounded crazy, but it felt even crazier as Steve drove us downtown. Could we really do this?
I am happy and amazed to say that it was a breeze!
I am so sore and blistered, but the weather was amazing, and the run felt great. NEXT WEEK: TEN.
Before my run, with my coffee, Fuzzy noted the occasion with this:
I am super excited to be a part of a new show, Sweetie Maude--a lesbian reimagination/ pastiche of Sweeney Todd. I am going to be choreographing & coordinating movement the show, with rehearsals starting in July and the show running Sept 26-Oct 31. With the team of Sabrina, Margaret, and myself--it is going to be something special.
To help raise funds to support the show, we are having an Indiegogo campaign! Check it out, please!
Fuzzy and I have a betta fish. His name is Miles, cause he's "kind of blue." We love him. I am kind of a jerk, cause I always call him Sherman, which was the name of our betta fish before Miles. In my defense, it's always an accident, and we had Sherman for a long time. So whenever I talk about Miles, I sort of always call him "Shmiles." Which isn't really a bad name either. Let's just say it's my nickname for him.
Miles has a heater in his bowl, cause Chicago is kinda always cold even when it isn't, so the water evaporates out of his bowl pretty quickly. We keep some pre-slimed fish water in a jug near his bowl to top him off when things are getting pretty low, and when we do, we always say "Hey Shmiles, it's raaaaiiiinnnng." (only when Fuzzy does it, he calls him "Miles.")
Miles is pretty active--he made an epic bubble nest the other day, then he had some techno fog machine action going on, then the next day his water was crystal clear. But his bowl was filling up with a good deal of fish poop, so I decided it was time for a total water change and thorough cleaning.
I had been letting the water sit out all day to get to room temperature. Bettas don't do cold well and they don't like the temperature change of the water. I knew that the water might still be a little too cold, but he was only going to be in it a second before I could put the heater back in the bowl. I scooped him out in his net, put him in a smaller container of his fishbowl water, and scrubbed to bowl clean. As I was doing it, I had this visual flash of Shmiles jumping out of the net and hitting the floor. I thought to myself "that would be the WORST if he did that. Thank goodness he's never done it and it won't happen." I do this sometimes before I fall down stairs. I will see myself falling down stairs, I'll think "tisk, that's funny. I am not going to fall down these stairs." And then somehow I will fall down the stairs. Please note that this implies that there are multiple instances in which I have fallen down a flight of stairs.
I filled the bowl to the top with clean fresh water, poured Sher-Miles into his net, and tipped the net over the bowl. Only Miles didn't make it into the bowl. As I was tipping, he jumped out of the net and onto the counter. I screamed. Then he jumped again, off the counter, and onto the floor. I panicked! My tiny little precious fish, on my nasty gross kitchen floor! And imagine that fall! His tiny little fish bones must have felt such an impact!
It took me a second before I was able to pick him up off the floor. I was scared I was going to crush him, and his was slimey, and I FELT LIKE AN ASSHOLE. I held the little guy in my hand and plopped him into the water. The shockingly cold water. He darted around super quick around the bowl, and I was convinced he was going to have a heart attack. I put him back in the living room and put his heater in the bowl, and he floated down to the bottom of the bowl under his pink flowers. I dropped in a piece of food as a consolation. He didn't care.
At this point, I was trying to calm down, and I, too, was a little bit in shock. I tried to call Fuzzy. I went to check on the fish. I noticed a white patch on him that I had never seen before. And as I looked closer, I noticed that he was very slanty or maybe even UPSIDE DOWN.
A small note about my phobias: I don't have a lot of fears. This isn't true. I hate and am scared of the following things: snakes, amplified whispers, amplified heart beats, computer voices, and dead fishes in tanks. Also cancer and all that shit. But my whole life, I've wanted to have fish and look at fish, and my whole life, I've been terrified at pet stores because of seeing sometimes a fish floating upside down in a tank. It's happened more than I wish it has. One time years ago, I went to the aquarium here, and there was a dead turtle in a tank. Traumatizing. So when the possibility arose that a) there might be a dead fish in the living room b) that dead fish was MY dead fish and c) the fish was dead BECAUSE I KILLED IT, I had a total meltdown.
I finally got ahold of Fuzzy, and I proceeded to have a complete and total major sobfest to him. Lucky for me, Fuzzy is the kindest, sweetest, most loving man that has ever existed, and he calmed me down and handled the situation like a champ. I snuck into the living room to peek in the bowl, I noticed that
Sherman Miles was at the top of the bowl. WAS HE FLOATING UPSIDE DOWN? More tears. I then convinced myself that I was The Most Horrible Person That Has Ever Lived In the History of the Universe. The ultimate worse. I killed my sweet husband's beloved fish.
We were going to an event last night, so I got off the phone, washed my face and put on some make-up. I emailed my brother telling him about how terrible a person I was. I pouted. Then, I got the urge to check on Shmiles again, so I snuck into the room, peeked around the doorway, and what did I see?! SWIMMING!
MILES WAS ALIVE!
He looked like hell. He had bubbles all over him, his eyes were super droopy, and his beautiful fins looked all ripped up. But his little fins were moving, and he was swimming around and bobbing up and down! I squealed with glee! I WAS NOT A MURDERER!!!!!!!!
IT WAS A FISHMAS MIRACLE.
I picked up Fuzzy from work, and we talked about our stressful days and this that and the other. We talked about Miles and the great Floor Incident of 2013. We both determined that we needed a beer.
On our way into the event, Erica texted me to tell me that an old friend of ours had died. This friend was only in my life for a short period of time, but his impact was HUGE on me and my circle of friends at the time. Erica and I sent each other a series of text messages, laughing about old times and crying and trying to process the shock of the news. I was at my most awkward at the event. I'm awkward at events when I haven't just almost murdered my fish and found out sad news, so I was at a nice new level of awkward, I am sure to the delight of the poor folks who attempted to have a normal conversation with me. Fuzzy made sure I had food and beers and company at the party, and then lovingly made a joke about falling and hitting the floor. Jerk.
When we got home, I was nervous that maybe tiny Miles had drifted away out of exhaustion or heart-attack. Happily, he was his usual not-dead self. He still had a couple of bubbles on his cheeks, but he was looking better.
This morning, I went to feed him, and I am happy to say that he is completely fine! No bubbles, no haggard fins. I'd even say he is swimmingly good (pun intended).
I think I am going to make Fuzzy clean his bowl from here on out.
What a week!
So I ran 7 miles (what what?!) on Saturday--the furthest I have ever run! I ran with Claire and it was awesome and fun and sort of easy (except for the part where I ran out of fuel.) However, I was CRACKED THE EFF OUT the rest of the day, to the point where someone told me later I was a one woman sitcom. I was so tired and sore and miserable. Plus, I was all lady-times the next day, which makes me freaking exhausted and sore anyways. So I was a piece of work for a few days.
Cut to Monday, when I taught a wedding first dance for a couple. IT WAS AWESOME. They are an amazing couple, and they picked the dance up like a dream. The dance, however, is REALLY aerobic, and I haven't taught in ages, so it was a hard core 2 hour dance session on a concrete and linoleum floor. No big, right?
Tuesday morning, I was dead tired. I knew I had to run 5 miles so I forced myself to get up and try. It was one of the hardest "runs" of my life. I probably only ran about .5 miles, and then walked another 2.5. Once I was halfway out, I wanted to cry cause I knew the getting home was going to be really hard. I made it home, but felt like a failure. I convinced myself that at least I had tried.
Cut to Tuesday evening, 7:45. I get up to go to a meeting, and there is a searing pain in my tailbone. Cut to 8:15 at said meeting, and I am in so much pain, that I can't sit still. I try to stretch to make it stop, and there is no relief. By the time I get home, I can barely walk. The pain made me toss and turn and wince all night.
It was still intense yesterday, so much that I took ibuprofen, and it takes a LOT to get me to take any sort of drug or pain killer. I was just moving slowly all day.
Then today, it was all gone.
I was scared to make it flair up again, so I decided to take today's run easy. I did a brisk 2 mile walk and ran another mile, off and on. I am doing 8 on Saturday. For the first time, I am a little bit nervous, but I bet everything will be fine. I'll do it like a champ, then take it easy next week, then rock the hell out of that 10 miles next Saturday.
Note1: It was so hot today! I loved it. I was wearing too many clothes, though.
Note2: I took Ashley's advice and listened to comedy for most of the run. It was fun! The only problem, though, is that BEING a comedian, I had to know who each new segment was, if I couldn't tell by their voices. Therefore, every time a new clip started, I gave it a second, then unzipped my race belt, pulled out my phone, and looked. So while it was good to get my mind off of other things, it added its own layer of complications.
Friday was an epic day.
I had two meetings for Drunk Monkeys, one at 2:00 and one at 2:30. Jen asked me to meet her at a coffee shop at 1:30 so we could prep a couple things before the meetings, since we didn't know what to expect. Earlier in the day, I had eaten breakfast, but when it was approaching time to go, I wasn't hungry. Fuzzy encouraged that I have a snack, so I had an apple. My meetings were going to be short, though, and I was going to be home pretty early, and I also had early 6:00 dinner plans. I was going to be fine.
Once I arrived at the coffee shop, I ordered a tea. I had already had coffee that day, but I didn't want to sit there having not purchased anything. I sat there sipping tea and waiting, when Jen texted that she was running late. I decided to go sit in my car. Never being one to pass up a public restroom, I went to the bathroom, and then went to my car to await her arrival, me and my tea.
Jen arrived at 1:55, and we went to the first meeting. It was awesome. Plans were made. And as anyone who loves the art of alcohol is wont to do, the bartender we were meeting with pulled out an amazing rum and a delicious green chartreuse to try. Tall pours, too. We split them, thanked him, and said our goodbyes. We had to get to the next meeting.
On the way to the car, we talked about how unexpected the impromptu tasting was, and Jen even noted that she was going to have to fake her way through the next meeting cause she was a bit buzzed. Since I had not had lunch, I felt the sips more than I normally would have, but I knew I was still ok. Fortunately, the next meeting was only a 5 minute drive away.
The next meeting was also awesome. We got a tour of a facility, a history of distilling and so much information that was mind-blowing. We were there for a long time, and we loved every second of it. Just when we were about to make a date for a filming, our host says "have a seat, so you can try some things." How could we object?
Looking back, I think we tried 13-15 different things (whiskeys, liquors, etc), small pours, but these were some hearty products. I knew was driving, so I pounded 3 glasses of water while doing the tastings. It got to a point where I had to start being smart--I didn't want to turn anything down, but it was a lot of booze on an empty stomach. We said our goodbyes, hoping that we didn't make too big a fools out of ourselves. I had to pee, but decided not to ask to use their restroom, for some prideful and stupid reason.
We left, and Jen smartly determined that we needed to eat some food. We found a little coffee shop in the industrial park where we were, and I ordered a croissant and a glass of water. I asked if I could use their restroom. They said no. Weird, it being a coffee shop and all, but whatever, I was doing ok. There were others in the room when I asked, so I thought that maybe once we were the only ones there, they would make an exception for me. We talked for a while, but I realized that I wasn't paying any attention to Jen due to the rising urges in my bladder, and I also realized that there was a constant stream of people in this oasis in no-mans land. Finally, I couldn't wait any longer. I asked the barista where the closest restroom was. She didn't know. I asked again if I could use their bathroom. She said no. I looked at Jen and said "We gotta go!!" I practically ran to the car, and was miserable until I was able to find a grocery store, thankfully. Grocery stores always have a public restroom and this one was my saving grace. Crisis averted. It was 4:15.
I gave Jen a ride home, and traffic was terrible. I got her home a little before 5:00, and I looked at my GPS and the restaurant I was meeting my friend at at 6:00 was 48 minutes away. After chatting for a second, I told her that I had to go, cause I already had to pee again and I was going to swing home before heading to the southside. Remember, I had been binge drinking water and booze for 3 hours at this point. She invited me up to use hers--perfect! Then I would be able to head straight to the south and all will be well. Jen saved the day!
Instead of hitting the road right that minute, I decided to call Fuzzy and talk to him for about 10ish minutes before hitting the road. Once I got moving, I was squarely in 5:00 bumper to bumper traffic. I was driving down Foster when the feeling hit me again--my bladder was calling. I started thinking about my options--if I went home, I would be late. Do I call Noah and see if he is home? Ah! There is a McDonalds at Foster and Sheridan! And a grocery store across the street! Options! Perfect. I was going to be fine. As I approached the McDonalds, I saw that it was closed and under construction. Due to the lane I was in, and the oncoming traffic and the changing traffic light, I panicked and found myself suddenly on Lake Shore Drive, 11 miles from my destination. In 5:00 traffic. ETERNITY from my destination.
I made a series of bad decisions. I know there are gas stations off of many exits on Lake Shore Drive, but not every gas station in Chicago has public bathrooms. In fact, most don't. I zoomed passed Lawrence, I thought about Gill Park at Irving Park, but yet, drove past that. Belmont--what's there? Too late. Fullerton--time is running out cause once you are downtown you are screwed, North? Pipers Alley didn't ONCE pop into my mind. Til suddenly, I found myself on the outer of 4 lanes downtown. I was miserable and I thought I was going to pee in my pants. You don't think clearly when you are in that situation. I realized that I had passed Fuzzy's old office, which I know has a public bathroom. I started shaking. I went into crisis-prevention mode: If I couldn't get to a bathroom, what is my last ditch effort? I know!
I had had tea earlier! There is a cup in my car! I could pee in the cup! I'm a pro at peeing in cups--I've had kidney stones for years! I can do this!
Traffic slowed for a second, and I opened my car door and poured out the remaining tea that was in the cup. I didn't WANT to pee in a cup in my car while driving, but I was starting to think there was no alternative. I started wondering how I could do it: I took off my coat so I could put it over my lap so no one would see. I unbuttoned my pants. I looked in my rear-view mirror; would that guy behind me know I was peeing in a cup in the car? I looked to my left--would THAT guy know I was peeing in a cup in the car? If HE was peeing in a cup in his car, would I know? I decided to test it to see if it would work. I tipped the cup near my groin to see if it would be possible to fit the cup in my sadly-too-tight jeans. Suddenly, I felt a cold wet sensation on my lap. Did I pee myself? No, thank God--there was still a little bit of tea in the cup! And now it was now poured all over my crotch in a way that looks like I just actually DID wet myself. To add insult to injury, I realized that there was no way that the cup was going to fit inside my pants. I tried to rip some of the height of the cup off. I was unsuccessful. I was miserable.
Reminder: All of this was being done while I was driving.
Things were looking grim. I was just about to accept that I was going to pee in the seat of my new-to-me car, and I would have to call my friend and cancel. My friend that I was supposed to meet in about 5 minutes. I looked at my phone--6.8 miles away. There was no way I could make that, even though I knew that traffic was going to lighten up past Roosevelt. It was now or never. I was praying to not wet myself. I was praying to make it through each second.
I was first in line at the light at Balbo. I remembered that there is a Target on Roosevelt. I would go there. Success! The light turned green, and I punched the gas in the car so I could cut over 3 lanes of traffic to take the Roosevelt exit. Success! But once I was there, I realized that the Target was too far down. NO! I saw a beacon of light--a Subway! YES! I will turn left and go to Subway! Oh no! There is no parking! But alas! Right past it is a Jimmy Johns! With parking right in front! THIS IS MY MOMENT.
I pulled into the parking space. I buttoned up my pants and hopped out. I knew that there was no way that I was going to get a ticket in the 3 minutes I was going to be in the space, but I am a good citizen, so I paid for parking. Here in Chicago, you have to wait to get this little slip out of a machine to put on your dashboard, and when you are about to drip urine down your leg, that can take FOREVER. I got the slip, and then remembered that I have a giant pee-looking stain on my jeans. If I go walking into this fine business establishment, asking hurriedly for the bathroom with a giant pee stain on my pants, I was surely going to be denied service. So I got my coat and put it on after I was already out of the car. I was in such a rush, I put my coat on OVER my purse. Whatever, who cares. I went in, got directed to the bathroom, and finally was able to relieve my misery. GLORY.
In the bathroom stall, I was faced with a familiar cunundrum. Do I walk out confidently, head held high, thank them for the use of their facilities and breeze out the door, knowing I would never see them again? Or do I repay for their services by purchasing a sandwich? Having a small bladder and the aforementioned kidney stones, I have used many a public restroom in my life, with no intention of ever spending a dime. I'm a confident public urinater. So I decided that buying a sandwich would be silly, especially since I am trying to save money and I was on my way to dinner plans that I was currently late for. I would just waltz out. I took off my jacket, put my purse on the outside, and exited the bathroom. I made eye contact with the guy who directed me to the bathroom, and suddenly, I found myself non-chalantly browsing the sandwich options and ordering an italian sub, no big deal. Like an idiot.
From there, there was only about 5-7 minutes left in my epic journey to the South Side. I breezed through traffic, parked, and ran into the already crowded restaurant, where my friend was patiently waiting for me. I, on the other hand, was still frantic and trying to calm down-- I was shaking from trauma, hunger, and maybe even still a little hint of booze. I tried to focus on the menu, ordered the first thing that I saw, and then launched into the tale of the most epic and ridiculous 4 hours of my life.
And then we ate chicken and waffles, celebrating that I didn't have to pee in a cup in my car.
I barely touched my water.
But you know who else deserves it?...The women who don't want kids and have to listen to a bunch of bullshit about how you're only worthwhile if you've pushed a human out of your vagina. The women who miss the children they once had. The women who miss the children they lost before they ever met them. The women who gave up their children so their child could have a better life than they could provide. The women who were raised motherless, or with shitty mothers, or who have lost their mothers and are reminded of how alone they feel. Mother's Day is a confusing, weird, very-seldom-wrapped-up-with-a-nice-commercial-bow sort of day, and as for me, I salute you all - mothers or not...you're here. You're alive. You continue to survive. You are worthwhile and wonderful. Never forget that.
Happy Mother's Day to all my lady friends out there, mothers or not.
And to my own mother, who may or may not be physically able to see this, I love you. I wish you were well.