Sunday, September 21, 2014

Reality Hits Hard

After our sickmoon (that's a thing now, remember?), Eric and I had to go back to work the very next morning. I was still sick, pretty much.

The entire week consisted of about 600 emails from my supervisor asking how many clients I admitted (it's been an hour since I got back, chill), getting started on my teaching curriculum, contacting police and a kid's mom because he was suicidal (she didn't think it was a problem...), calling DCF because a girl was in tears and physically sick with worry that her dad was going to hit her and her mom (DCF told me she's probably sick because she's pregnant...), and a mom breaking down on the phone with me because her daughter OD'd on molly at 4am and they're living in a hotel and she's doing the best she can for her kids.

I know I got in to this field to help people. I don't do this because it's easy, and I definitely don't do it for the money (there is none). I do it because I am saving people's lives.

This was just too much to handle this week.

I don't know if I can handle this kind of stuff on a regular basis anymore.

I don't think saying that makes me weak, or not good at my job. I think it's the reaction any empathetic human being would have to working in this field. I am good at what I do. I love what I do. But at the end of the day, when I get home, I am left feeling exhausted. Self-care is something they preach to counselors, because how can you help other people if you aren't okay yourself? But I'm too tired to read a book, cook dinner, play my piano, go for a run, or even talk to Eric. I just want to sleep. And then, I'm left feeling like I do nothing but work and sleep.

It's not a good cycle to create, and I'm stuck in it. It's not fair to Eric. It's not fair to myself.

The system just pisses me off. Is DCF seriously trying to tell me that the little girl is sick because she's pregnant? She's sick with anxiety, so sick that she leaves school every day to make sure she's home in case something happens to her mom. You DCF idiots. I don't trust the system because of things like this.

I try to keep things optimistic, because I learned the hard way that being negative gets you nowhere. I really do try to see the best in everything and everyone. I try to see all sides to every story, and understand why people think the way they do. Most of the time, I can stay positive.

Right now, I am having a really tough time doing that, and I'm not going to pretend otherwise. 

I am frustrated.

I am upset that the world is such a fucked up place. "But even helping one person is a success! You made a difference!" Sure I did, and thank god for that one kid I helped. I just wish I never even had to help that kid in the first place. Why do people have kids if they are going to hurt them? Do you know how difficult it is to stay calm and composed when a kid is hysterically crying in terror at their own PARENTS? Or when a mom laughs at me when I say their child is suicidal, and says, "Oh you don't need to worry about him." God, it really, really sucks, but I refuse to harden myself to it, because then I wouldn't be as good at what I do.

After this week, I was tempted to drive directly to the airport on Friday and hop on the next flight to Philly. Thank god I came from a good family. I just want a hug from my parents after weeks like this. And I miss fall weather. All I want is to curl up in a flannel with my cats, drink hot chocolate and read a book. And stuff my face with candy corn. But it's still 90 degrees here, so I have about 3 months before the 70s kick in on a regular basis...

Do you see what just happened? I am now complaining about the weather in Florida, which is EXACTLY why I moved here. Look how negative I am being! Ugh, this makes me want to punch myself in the face.

Eric and I went to see Coheed and Cambria on Friday at House of Blues in Downtown Disney. It poured the entire 3-hour drive up and back. We were soaking wet by the time we got in to the venue. There were a ton of rude kids there pushing and shoving. If you are 6'5", and a short little girl (not me) asks if she can squeeze next to you so she can see, and you say no, then you are a jerk and don't deserve to see Claudio tear it up for 2 hours. Go away. And no, I do not want to watch the entire show through your CELL PHONE because you need to record every second and not actually enjoy being there in the moment.

People make me angry. And I sound like a crotchety old woman.

Regardless, that may have been the best show I've ever seen. It was a complete 180 from the last time I saw Coheed during their Year of the Black Rainbow tour. That was the Coheed "Dark Ages." Claudio didn't say a single word to the audience the whole time. He acted like he didn't even care, and there was no passion in the performance. THIS time, it was incredible. The whole thing was just epic. I can't even describe it.

Eric and I got coffee after the show and talked the entire drive home. It was actually pretty nice, even though we were exhausted. It cheered me up :)

Other good things did happen this week. We watched Monday Night Football with Katie and Paul, and we got to see Ben and Kristin yesterday. Eric and I got some post-wedding stuff sorted out and went on a late-night WalMart shopping trip, where I found autumn-themed poptarts and pumpkin air freshener! Today, we're going to watch football with more friends.

So, while this week was not a good re-introduction to the real world, there was a silver lining in the form of friends and music and fall gimmicks. I let myself be negative for a little while, but now it is time to be positive again, because clearly, life could be much worse for me. That doesn't mean I am not allowed to think things suck sometimes. What it does mean is that, after venting, it's time to realize there are still many things to be grateful for, including my loving family, supportive friends, pumpkin pie Poptarts, and Coheed. These are the things that get me through. Especially pumpkin pie Poptarts.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Jamaica, mon! The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

We are back from our honeymoon, and oh, what a honeymoon it was.

Are you ready for this? I don't think you are ready for this. I'll try not to go in to TMI territory.

So, we went to Jamaica for our honeymoon. It was Eric's first time out of the country, and my first time going international without my parents, so it was a little daunting. The plane ride was fine, there was a long line at customs, but it was fine, and we walked over to the Sandals shuttle! Piece of cake.

Eric and I were the last people to have our bags put on the bus, so we were the last ones on. I tried to let Eric go ahead of me, because I hate picking seats, but the nice bus guy said ladies first. But really I knew he just wanted to talk to Eric about selling him weed, because Eric tends to get targeted for these things, what with the long hair and tattoos. So Eric takes about 10 seconds to get on to the bus, and I look at him, and he goes, "So, yeah, I already got offered weed." Hahahahaha welcome to Jamaica.

We got to the hotel after a 5 minute bus ride full of about 100 "Yah mon"s from the bus driver, and we were met by a few other nice Sandals staff who gave us about 100 more "Ya mon"s, along with some "One love"s and "Respect!"s.  So, if you were wondering, Jamaicans really do talk like that, and it's awesome.

We were escorted to our room by a lovely fellow, where we found a premium stocked bar that gets refilled daily and a fridge full of Red Stripe. Red Stripe was the only beer there. It's like the Coors Light of Jamaica, which is way better than actual Coors Light, thank god.

We decided to grab a couple drinks and take a look around the place. It was super duper awesome. There were a couple pools, including a swim-up bar, volleyball court, basketball, darts, pool tables, OBVIOUSLY a really nice beach, tons of water sports, and even croquet! The scenery was beautiful. The staff was super friendly.

We had a great dinner the first night, and afterwards, I fell asleep at like 7:30. I was seriously exhausted from all the craziness going on the past week. Eric was tired too, so we decided to rest up so we could enjoy the rest of the week.

The next day, we chilled on the beach, met a cool couple from Canada at the swim-up bar, played drinking games and talked hockey with them, then went to take a nap and shower before dinner.

This is where things go downhill...

We wake up a little after 4pm to get ready for our reservations at the other resort. Sandals is really awesome, and you can go to their other resorts close by for free. We wanted to eat at one of the fancy restaurants over there. Anyway, Eric wakes up, and says he doesn't feel good. Me, thinking he's just being a baby (because he really IS sometimes when he's sick), I tell him to seriously not do this right now. "You're just tired, you need to really try to wake up, you never feel good after naps in the middle of the day (which is also true), I am NOT canceling this reservation," etc. etc....


Eric never throws up, so I knew something was seriously wrong. We went to the nurse's station, but she leaves after 5pm. We canceled the reservations and decided to see how Eric made it through the night. I ordered room service dinner for myself. As for Eric, he did not fare very well that night...

The next day, we decided to try to go to the beach. Eric said he would go to the nurse if he felt worse throughout the day. Well, he couldn't keep anything down. Not food, not water, nothing. He was really out of it. After his 3498753948th trip to the bathroom, he said he thinks he has a fever and needs to go to the nurse.

So, we went. And he had a 101 degree fever, bad stomach cramping, couldn't keep anything down, and was extremely dehydrated. And we had to call a doctor in. A JAMAICAN doctor, who said "Yah mon" a lot just like everyone else in Jamaica. He prescribed Eric a lot of medicine  (not weed, sorry guys) for fever, nausea, and stomach issues. He prescribed a lot extra, just in case I got sick. But it had been a couple days, and I felt fine, so I was sure it was food poisoning and would pass soon.

Eric felt well enough to go to dinner that night, but it didn't last very long. Poor guy still couldn't eat. We took it easy that night and chilled in our room, again.

The next day, he felt better and better as the day went on. A miracle! The doctor said by 4pm this day, he should be feeling much better. That was the truth! We had a nice dinner that night, listened to a band play, hung out. He was still very, very tired, so we went to the room early to rest up for the rest of our awesome vacation.


Yes. That night I got "the sickness." IT WAS AWFUL. This is where I must avoid going in to TMI, but I will just tell you that it was literally the worst sickness I have ever had in my whole life, and I don't even blame Eric if he thought I deserved it after telling him to stop being a baby that first night before we knew what was really going on. My stomach had spasms so bad, I swear it's what contractions must feel like (and if contractions are worse, which I know they are, I am definitely never having a baby). Horrible, horrible pain, so bad I couldn't stand up. I started crying. It felt like someone was wringing out my stomach and punching me. I got dehydrated pretty fast.

Just think of the worst stomach virus anyone could possibly have. That's this.

I think it hit me harder and faster than it hit Eric, although I recovered much more quickly. It must be because I started taking the medicine immediately. I was bedridden all Friday, but I was able to keep food down for dinner. In the room, of course. We spent pretty much every night in the room, as well as a few of the days.

The next day, Saturday, our last day. We both felt okay. We took it easy on the beach and enjoyed the views. We finally went to dinner and ENJOYED it. We felt well enough to stay up and go out (without drinking, of course), but after awhile, we didn't anymore, so we went to sleep.

So, there you have it. The story of our honeymoon. It was more like a sickmoon. Is that a thing? I don't care, it is now. I was pretty depressed about the way things turned out for us. I hated not being able to call my parents. I hated being scared that we had some crazy sickness. I hated that it should have been this romantic, amazing, stress-free vacation, but it ended up being really scary and not so much fun.

But then I got a Cinnabon at the airport (because FUCK YOU, STOMACH), and had a little pity party, and got over it.

What I will say is that you do not know someone until you spend a week in a foreign country's hotel room together, taking turns running to the bathroom and dry heaving in to trashcans, wondering if you have ebola or some crazy shit. You really, really get to know someone after this kind of experience.

And what I found out is that I married the best guy ever, and we are definitely meant for each other. We took care of each other through this, managed to make the best of it, and were able to laugh about it.

Maybe one day, we will be able to take on Jamaica again and conquer it. Until then, I think we'll try to stick to more comfortable, homey locations... like Africa or the Amazon or something.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

September 5th, 2014

HI I'M A MRS.!!!!

But Eric said we can't call each other husband and wife til we're 30, cause we're not grownups yet, obviously. So maybe we'll just keep calling each other beyoncé. We liked that.

I don't even know where to begin with this. I'll start with the planning process, since I haven't gone in to much detail about it over the past year. I had originally intended this blog to be for venting about the stress, but Eric and I wanted people to be surprised by the little details. 

It was going to be a big event by default, because we have a lot of family and friends, but a big, traditional wedding just did not feel like "us," so we decided to add some music-themed things to make it feel more personal. Each table was named after a band and had an album cover and section number on it, rather than having boring regular numbers. The place cards resembled tickets, giving the name of the band, section number, and special guests Mr. and Mrs. Blah Blah. We had people "autograph" a guitar instead of signing a guest book. That way, we can hang it on our wall with our other guitars and look at it every day! The guitar case served as our card holder. I brought an Angus Young figurine, a metal Beatles lunchbox, and some music note ornaments, which went around the cake stand. Speaking of the cake, our topper said "All you need is love" :) It was enough music stuff to make it feel special to us, but not too corny.

Eric designed pretty much everything for the wedding. The website, Save the Dates, album covers, place cards, and ceremony programs were all him. Eric actually had a lot of say in the details of the wedding. I am grateful that he didn't want to be completely uninvolved. Some brides might like that, but that is way too much pressure for me. He is so talented and worked so hard over the past couple weeks to get the last-minute stuff done.

Our parents also helped out a ton. From transportation to easels for the album covers to the all-important alcohol, our parents had shit covered. We literally would not have been able to have this kind of wedding without them.

I was feeling way too stressed the past few weeks, especially the week beforehand. After a certain point, you know things are out of your control, but I still couldn't help stressing over stupid things. And I was nervous as hell about the day. I barely ate the week of the wedding, honestly. I feel sad for girls who feel the need to do crazy cleanses or starve themselves the week before their wedding, and I had no intention of being like that, especially being back in the Jerz. Pizza? Cheesesteaks? Cannolis? Good Chinese? You couldn't pay me to stay away from that stuff, even during my wedding week. But I was so anxious I just couldn't eat :(

Let me tell you something about having anxiety issues and getting ready for a huge event where EVERYONE is looking at you and listening to you. Normal people get anxious about their wedding, so try to imagine how it feels for someone who is anxious all the time. It's like the worst possible situation for someone with social anxiety. I have trouble just answering the phone sometimes, so the thought of 200 people looking at me was not exactly appealing. Eric and I decided to do a First Look to take some of the pressure off. It made us feel like we were in it together, and there wasn't a huge buildup of anxiety before the ceremony.

Although I did have a minor freakout before they opened the doors. But it was fine! I took a deep breath and held on to my dad for dear life. :)

I can't begin to tell you how amazing the entire night was. The weather held up for the ceremony. My cousin Chris did the best job officiating. Our bridal party, parents, and grandparents looked like they belonged in bridal magazines. Eric's vows made me cry. My dad, Linny, and Alex all gave toasts that made me cry. Everything made me cry! Hahahaha I was kind of a happy wreck, but that's okay.

People aren't lying when they say you won't eat, you'll get pulled in a million different directions, and the night will fly by. I swore I would sit and eat my dinner, dessert, and then go talk to people. Yeah, that didn't happen. I got through half my DELICIOUS stuffed flounder and decided I wanted to hang out with people! I don't even think I got to talk to everyone, and I feel awful about that. We really tried, but everyone was on the dance floor and moving around, so that's okay! But Eric and I did take a minute before dinner started to stand up, look around the room, and take it all in. All those people were there for US. It was overwhelming. It made me cry (surprise!).

My favorite parts of the night, if I can even choose, were:
- Seeing my dad's face when he saw me in my dress for the first time
- Seeing Eric for the first time
- The whole ceremony (sorry if that's cheating)
- Entering the reception to Thunderstruck by AC/DC
- Photobooth!
- Bacon wrapped scallops
- Dancing with everyone, especially my first dance with Eric, my dad's dance, dancing to AC/DC and KISS, Good Charlotte, Soulja Boy, the Wobble, the Mummer's strut, and Love Your Friends Die Laughing as the last song :)
- JAGERBOMBS, because a Deeg party is not a party at all without them
- Wearing my Converse Chuck Taylors with my gown (of course)
- Seeing our friends and family having a blast

The entire night was better than we ever could have imagined. When family asked us the following day what little details went wrong that guests didn't notice, we could not think of a single thing. It was literally our dream wedding. We hope everyone who came had as much fun as we did!

Here are the vendors who made it possible:

Venue: Valenzano Winery
Photography: LuRey Photography
Dress: Maggie Sottero- Blakely, from Angel Bridal
Hair: Revelations Salon
Makeup: Mostly Sunny Bell, and some myself
Flowers: Anton's Florist

Food, Planning, Decorating: Summit Catering- Maitre d' Betty
Cake: DiBartolo Bakery
Music and Photobooth: Time Productions- DJ Tom, Super Shots Photobooth
Liquor and Beer: Murphey's Market

I highly, HIGHLY recommend every single one of them. Everyone was so on top of things, so helpful, and so kind to us and our guests. Summit Catering not only does food, but helps you plan the entire day. Our maitre d', Betty, is the best person ever. She made sure everything was set up perfectly. And she's hilarious. I kind of want to be her friend. We have received so many compliments on the food, the kindness of the staff, and the talent of our DJ and photographers. Speaking of photographers, Laura and Easton of LuRey Photography are awesome and gave us a sneak peek of our photos... AT OUR DINNER TABLE. Yeah, that's right. They put up a slideshow of some pictures they had already taken. We saw it first, then they displayed it on the bar for everyone to see. Here's one they posted on Facebook already!

So, there is a very scatterbrained post about our wedding. We just finished packing for the honeymoon, and we are still running on basically no sleep, so I'm a little out of it right now. After our trip, I'll be able to show you all the wedding photos, and I'll post about the honeymoon, too!

Until then, I will be in Jamaica drinking 2945347 pina coladas with mah HUSBAND.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

One Year

Happy One Year Anniversary of moving to Florida to me!!!!

I am going to spend the day relaxing on the beach next to palm trees, swimming in the clear, blue water. Maybe go out on the boat with some friends. Pack a cooler with beer and snacks, and a Tervis cup full of vodka. You know, the usual.

... jk, I'm actually right back where I started this day a year ago: my computer chair in the Jerz. Hahahahah go figure.

But this time, I am just here as a visitor, with a job, a home, a life to go back to in Florida. Last year at this time, I had been engaged for two months, had just quit my job, and was getting ready to live as a hobo in Kristin and Ben's house. I showed up with nothing but a suitcase and an optimistic attitude. And Kristin told me she was pregnant when I got there. And now, they have little Chloe, and Eric and I are getting married in two days.

Eric recently asked me if I feel like Florida is home yet, if it feels real yet that I live there. He has adjusted much better than I have to the move, surprisingly. I have moved around so many times over the past eight years, so you would think I'd settle right in, but moving so often has actually caused the opposite to happen. I still have a hard time justifying hanging paintings on the walls of our apartment, buying cabinets for storage, and putting things away, because I feel like the past year has just been another phase of my life that will end with me moving back to Jersey.

Each phase was some sort of challenge. Each semester of college was a phase, with exams and papers. Once exams were over, I looked forward to going home for a couple months every winter and summer. Grad school was a phase, with papers and internships. I knew I never wanted to stay in Baltimore. I always thought I would move back to Jersey, and I did, for over a year. Then, Eric and I got engaged, and went to Florida for vacation, and decided to just drop everything and move there. Any vision I had for my future went completely out the window in a month's time.

So now, this phase has felt like: get engaged, move to Florida, plan a wedding from a thousand miles away, then you'll get married and things will go back to normal.

But they won't. I will get married and go back to Florida. Probably look for a house since we like it there so much. This is my new normal.

I never thought anywhere other than Jersey would be my normal.

Along with moving away from my home home, my family is also getting rid of my home away from home. The Longport house is sold. The new people make settlement September 15th. I went there this past Saturday to say my goodbyes. I am very sentimental when it comes to places (and life in general, let's be honest). I had so many good memories there: slumber parties with my cousins, riding bikes with the neighbor kids, playing in the flooded street after storms, walking to the beach and the bay, eating cotton candy on the way home from the boardwalk, hot fudge taste tests, "fancy drinks" on the porch, monkey man fan blades, molasses pops, everything Aunt Joyce, creepy dolls, walking to Maynards with friends when I got older, Eric proposing...

I still remember the first time my family pulled up to the house, and I asked if it was the white one with pink shutters. And it wasn't. It was the one with black shutters. And I got really pissed because I wanted the PINK shutters (opposite of how I am now, how silly).

Little did I know how much that place would come to mean to me and my family and friends. I will miss it more than any other place. Even more than this house where I'm sitting now, if it were to ever be sold. I will miss the Longport house most out of anywhere.

Enough of my tangents. Things change. People move on. Such is life. I am getting married to Eric in two days. We've been going nuts the past couple weeks trying to get the last details together. I have my hair trial today, and we are meeting with our day-of planner tonight to go over every detail. We are bringing all our supplies. After tonight, things are out of my hands. This is where my Type A-ness kicks in, and I truly freak out because I have no control over the situation.

BUT, if the past year has taught me anything, it's that losing control can be the best thing that happens to you in your life. It's time to sit back, relax, and go along for the ride. Good thing this particular ride includes lots of dancing and drinking :)

Okay bye, talk to you when I'm a Mrs.! Stay tuned for a picture post of my time in Jersey, the wedding, AND the honeymoon :)