Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Tea Kettle

I’m all about modern appliances. I am a creature of efficiency; I have much to do, and I like moving quickly. I like it even more when life provides me with the tools to move quickly. One of the places where I most enjoy modern appliances is in the kitchen. I work long days, up early and home late. Therefore, I like to be able to prepare things speedily. Toaster? Great. Blender? Awesome. Keurig? Perfection. But there’s one thing in my kitchen that I just won’t let go of: my tea kettle.

The tea kettle was a staple in my house growing up. Its whistle blew every weekend morning and afternoon, if not every weeknight as well. The tea kettle whistle served much like the historical lunch bell, calling us all from our nooks in the house to join around the table like farmers coming in for a midday break from the fields.

We didn’t have a tea kettle in college. For me, that was extremely strange. Tea pretty much became absent from my life. Yes, I knew that I could heat water up in a pan or in the microwave, but it wasn’t the same. The pan just bubbled and the microwave beeped; neither whistled.

I didn’t have a tea kettle in the first apartment that my husband and I shared together, either. We lived in the desert. The need for hot beverages was rare. Time passed, weekends were spent drinking coffee (usually iced). And then we registered for our wedding. A tea kettle was one of the first items I added to our registry.

We were gifted the tea kettle, and my home felt complete. I don’t care that we live in the desert—I just crank up the AC and pretend it is cold outside. Coffee is drunk on the weekdays, but tea is reserved for Sundays (I’m out the door too early on Saturdays for work to take the time). I love hearing my tea kettle whistle on a Sunday morning, secretly gleeful that it’s waking up my husband and pulling him out of bed. It’s the perfect start to a perfect day.

Did I mention that Sunday is my favorite day?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

“I’ve got a perfect body, but sometimes I forget/I’ve got a perfect body, because my eyelashes catch my sweat.” –Regina Spektor

Sometimes, I forget that my body does not solely pertain to my stomach (which is not flat), my thighs (which are not slim), my arms (which are not toned), and my chest (no complaints there). I forget that my body encompasses everything. And for that, it is perfect. I have a mind that thinks, eyes that see, a nose that smells, teeth that chew, a tongue that tastes, lips that smile. Lungs that breathe, a heart that beats, a stomach that fills. I have arms that can hold and fingers that can write. Legs that can walk and feet that can dance. I’ve got it all, really.

So, why has it taken me this long to realize it? My body is perfect. It does everything that I want it to. It gives me everything so I can do everything that I want to do. Is it today’s society that I can lay blame on for finding my body to be inadequate at times? Is the media at fault for getting us down on ourselves by constantly displaying skinny girls on television, in magazines, lying across billboards?

Yes, today’s media and society do have some pull over body image—but haven’t they always? I mean, look at this vintage ad:


Come on! “Men wouldn’t look at me when I was skinny, but since I gained 10 pounds this new, easy way I have all the dates I want.” Women of 2012, isn’t that what you all want to hear? Wouldn’t you rather open up a magazine and see that clipping, instead of this? :



So, which is it? Fat or thin? Curvy or straight? Here’s my point: the media can stuff it. Sixty years ago, they wanted us to gain weight. Now, they want us to lose it (and lose it, and lose it, and then lose some more). Society just can’t make up its mind; however, I’ve made up mine. It’s taken me 23 years to bite my thumb at images of skinny girls dancing around my head (no, not in my head). Now I decide how I want to look, and I decide what look makes me feel good.
I’ve been the same height since I was about 13 years old: 5’7” (and ¾”…but I usually keep that part out). I have not, however, been the same weight. While remaining at five feet and seven inches tall, my boobs have grown, my hips have rounded, and my thighs have filled. I have fluctuated 25 pounds. I remained the same weight throughout high school (except for my failed attempt at starving myself. I tried to live off of 1000 calories a day while going to school, playing field hockey, and riding my horse. I only lost about 3 pounds, and gained a mean attitude. Let’s just say that didn’t last very long) and gradually gained 10 pounds over college. There was one year of college where I hit that 10 pound mark and kept going, for almost another 10 pounds. Let’s just say that didn’t last very long, either. Nowhere in that 25 pound range was I actually fat, although I felt it at times. I remember my future mother-in-law buying me a size large shirt for Christmas the year of college that I kept on…growing…and I was not happy. I may have packed on a few, I thought to myself, but I am not a size large!
I look back on that Christmas shirt memory and grimace. She never knew how I felt about it, for which I’m glad. But I feel silly now, having fretted over a size large. Ladies, sizes are not true these days. I’ll admit it—when I’m feeling down, I like to shop at J.Crew (regrettably the sale section only) because I’m a size 2 in their clothing. I have not been a size 2 since my oh-so-failed-starvation attempt in high school. Generally, I’m a size 6, which isn’t even that much of a difference. I can’t really explain it, though; sometimes wearing a tag (that nobody else will see) that reads size 2 just feels oh so good. But here’s the thing—while I pride myself in wearing a size 2 in J.Crew, I’ll admit that I opt for a size 8 or 10 at H&M. Sure, I could squeeze into a size 6 at H&M, but I wouldn’t look good. I’d be muffin-topping all over those skinny jeans. What I’m trying to say here is: how can I buy a size 2 skirt at J.Crew, walk across the mall, and buy a size 10 pair of pants at H&M, all in the same day? I didn’t gain any weight in that walk across the mall, even if I did grab a soft pretzel from Auntie Annie’s along the way.

I lived alone with my husband for about a year and a half before we got married. In that time, I shed my label awareness and, more importantly, my self-consciousness. My husband thinks that I am beautiful and therefore, I am beautiful. He likes grabbing onto my hips, likes laughing when I make my thighs and butt jiggle for him. I like the way that he laughs, too. Being around my husband has made me appreciate my body in ways that I never thought I could. In retrospect I found out that I was constantly comparing myself to the other women I was constantly surrounded by before I committed to living in sin: friends growing up, field hockey and lacrosse teammates, and college roommates. I am still surrounded by women: my friends, sisters, and coworkers, but I think that because I come home to a house that I share with a man who thinks I am always beautiful, I am much more secure.
I like my naked body. No, I wouldn’t share it with everyone; it’s for me and my husband. But I like my boobs, my round hips, my full thighs. Sure, I might resent the stick figure in the bathing suit next to me at the pool from time to time, but I bet that she didn’t just eat the same delectable cheeseburger that I did 10 minutes prior.
It’s taken me 23 years and a good man’s love to appreciate the body that I have. I’m glad that I took those 23 years to grow and I look forward to meeting the challenge of my body's changes ahead of me. Because now I know that I can meet, and beat, those challenges head on. All because my eyelashes catch my sweat.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Out of Order: Broken by the UPS Man

Let me start with describing our UPS man to you. He is tall, brown hair, tanned skin, mid-30's, married. Common and undistinguishable, except for the fact that he makes my skin crawl. He's inappropriate and, for loss of a better word, a creep. He delivers packages almost daily to our business, and always hits a shelved Staples button that calls out "that was easy" after dropping the boxes off. I've since reacted to that button like Pavlov's dogs when a fellow co-worker hit it as a joke, with unwelcome chills climbing up my spine. I did not find it funny. I hid the button. Our UPS driver noticed it was gone after about a week. He asked where it went. We shrugged our shoulders.

He hits on the female staff. "Your hair looks nice today", or "are you wearing something different?" Eiw. Gross. I stopped responding to him. I don't even make eye contact. I am simply unamused. Deliver your packages and go.

Oh, but he doesn't just deliver his packages and go. He delivers the packages and makes a pit stop in our bathroom, at least once a week. The bathroom is located just off of the lobby; in the lobby, really. He spends a lot of time in there--we started counting the minutes. Sometimes, he makes phone calls. But, worst of all--worse than his creepy remarks, worse than him hitting the “that was easy”button--worst of all is that he NEVER flushes the toilet. Ever. Ok. I understand if you reallyhave to go to the bathroom. Sure, use our toilet. But a) don't make a habit of it and b) flush. the. damn. thing.

On his first offense, I noticed that the lobby kind of smelled a couple of minutes after he left. Hm, that's strange, I thought to myself. I started walking toward the bathroom and the smell got stronger. Oh no, it couldn't be. Oh yes, it was. He took a huge dump in our toilet and didn't even bother flushing. It wasn't like he tried to flush, failed, and moved on, no. He didn't even try. I vomited a little bit in my mouth, plugged my nose, and pushed down the flusher with the tip of my foot.

Unluckily for us, he has been a repeat offender. He even had the audacity to come up to the desk and tell my co-worker that a part of the toilet was broken; he recommended we repair it as it was a cheap and easy fix. If he would have said that to me, I would have recommended that he stopped shitting in our toilet.

Luckily for us, he drives a big, brown, conspicuous UPS truck...and that means one thing. We know when he's coming. When I see him coming, I've taken to running to the bathroom, turning the light and fan on, and shutting the door. He's hesitated outside of it a time or two, and then moved on. This has become a small victory in my eyes; victorious because it has thrown him off course, small because it only works if I see him coming. If I’m distracted, he swoops in and attacks, dropping a bomb and leaving utter destruction in its wake.

He has since come in to solely use our bathroom, sans packages to deliver. He was in there for 6 minutes and 27 seconds. He made, and ended, a phone call whilst polluting our toilet. He did not flush.

My next plan of attack? I’ve made a sign that reads “Out of Order: Broken by the UPS Man”. I’m still working up the courage to put it up. You see, if he sees the sign, he is bound to comment on it. And I really, really don’t want to talk to him. He has already contaminated my senses with his indecency and I’d rather not be brought further down by his unintelligent attempt at conversing. This man is a disgrace to all mankind, and I wish he would stop disgracing my place of business.

Hope floats, I guess.