Yesterday Cary over at LOTD asked us about our phobias which triggered a conversation with a friend regarding my own personal demon: spiders. I have a lifelong aversion to spiders, and the mere sight of even a spindly Daddy Long Legs makes my blood run cold and sends shivers down my spine. Many times I've tried (and failed) to pinpoint when and why I became so phobic of a creature that is largely harmless to humans here in the northeast. I did come up with two possible explanations:
a. In large part it was the disgusting fat-bodied gray barn spiders that populated my mother's horse barn when I was a kid. The place had a low-ceiling and she wasn't bothered by the fly-eating arachnids so she never swept down their webs. As a horse-obsessed child, this provided a terrible conundrum: enter the barn to feed and care for the horses with her and risk walking into a web or worse - having one unexpectedly drop down onto my hair! - or stay out of the barn and not pet the pretty horsies. Obviously, I chose the former and still bear the emotional scars caused by the staring of so many beady eyes.
b. In a past life I may or may not have been buried alive. Perhaps my final conscious thoughts consisted of the horrifying realization that I was covered in disgusting scuttling spiders in my dark, cavernous grave? Just a theory.
Suffice to say, I hate spiders. Other kinds of bugs don't faze me one little bit, even the ones that resemble spiders. Show me a spider of any variety, from tarantulas (GAG) to those itty bitty black fast little suckers that come out in the spring, and all I want to do is squish it and squish it fast. Frankly, I prefer it if someone else squishes them, especially if the creepy-crawly is on the ceiling or anywhere that they could move quickly and fall into my hair! My husband and close friends understand this about me and oblige because they love me and really, I don't ask for much.
Relocating the spider won't satisfy me; I am not satisfied until that spider is a smear on the wall and can never, ever touch me. Irrational? Yeah, probably, but that is one of my very few demands and step 1 of THE CARE AND FEEDING OF BEV.
I have a few other requirements as well.
2. Feed me in a timely manner.
Why? Because if I don't eat regularly I get cranky. Really cranky. Bite your fucking head off cranky. Trust me, you wouldn't like me when I'm cranky.
Mala likes to remind me that one of the first things I ever said to her when we were getting to know each other at the TV station where we worked was, "Hi, I'm Bev. I hope we have a dinner break soon because I get really cranky and mean when I'm hungry! If I'm ever mean to you, I'm probably just hungry." One thing about my smart BFF Mala: you only have to tell her once. To this day she makes sure I get my snacky-poos and in the 12+ years we've been friends we have never had a fight, ever. Coincidence? I think not.
My husband and family are the same way. It's very rare that I am snippy, so if I get sharp with them they look alarmed, then mildly amused, then they ask me if I'm hungry.
3. I'm a pretty smart chick, but I have my "dumb blond" moments like anybody else. When I have them, please don't rub it in.
It's just that simple. My husband defers to me on just about everything really important: I run the house, pay the bills, keep the kids clean and fed, and arrange the social calendar. I decide when the mortgage needs refinancing and make it happen while my husband sits there shell-shocked and lets the "grown-ups" hash out the details. When I decide we need life insurance or 529 plans, I tell him where to sign. That's just how we roll.
But every so often I will do or say something so idiotic that even I am appalled, like on NYE when I thought I'd just keep the ham warm in the oven, so I started to pop it in there on a thick plastic cutting board. Thank goodness Jim was on the ball and stopped me before I had a melted plastic ham-splosion coating my oven! Oh, the smell that would have produced, not to mention ruining a beautiful honey-glazed spiral ham. Egads.
Now that's pretty dumb, but my loved ones didn't rub my nose in my idiocy because they know it's not the norm. They know I've got a lot on my mind these days. They merely chuckled and proceeded to get me drunk, which is what good friends do.
4. I am forgiving, but you can only push me so far.
I will forgive my friends for just about anything; last year three different close friends did the following: one got wasted on dirty martinis and pulled me over backwards, breaking my molar, one stalked off in a huff in the middle of Boston at midnight, leaving me in tears, and one grabbed my ass/hit on me. Was I angry? Sure, but I got over it. I get bent out of shape and it takes me approximately 2 days before I am over it and ready to move on. I don't forget about it, but I have a very high tolerance for friend faux-pas. Heck, I'm sure I've said and done shitty things to friends and I'd like to be forgiven if that is the case, so who am I to judge?
That being said, I do tell them that it hurt me, and they usually apologize and that's all I need. I'm not a doormat, I just like my peeps and I can overlook those "oops" moments a little more willingly than most. But if you do it repeatedly or do other things that make me believe that you're just a "taker," that's it. It's deep-freeze time. Quid pro quo, Clarice. I have my limits.
5. Know this: I need "me" time. Make sure I get it.
I love my kids, but they sometimes drive me insane. As much as I dream of being able to stay home and write and still earn a living, I know I'm just not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom. I love my children with a fierceness that sometimes surprises and scares me, but most days I really don't mind dropping their little tushes off at school and going my merry way to work. Jim gets it and willingly watches the kids while I go to concerts or distant cities every so often, and I reciprocate with an "open-ski" policy all winter long. It works out well and neither of us ends up feeling too burned out with the child-rearing. Most days.
I am their mother first, however I am still me and I refuse to give up my "non-mother" identity.
I think that one of the reasons why I detest my crap job so much is that no one here ever leaves me alone. I really need more autonomy in my workplace, and this job has effectively ruined me for office jobs. All I think about is escaping to a place where no one bugs me about stupid shit, where the phone rings and I don't have to get it, and where I only have to worry about my work and how it benefits me & my family, not someone else. Dream on, right?
So there you have it - 5 simple tips for creating a happy Bev. Not so daunting, eh? Feel free to print these out. You know, just in case. ;-)