Monday, July 27, 2009

Madison's Ridiculous Alcohol Sales

"Should I run out before 9:00 to get some wine?" I thought to myself between 7:33 and 8:15 PM this evening. Knowing I was going to have to do a little work on the laptop, I thought a glass of wine may be relaxing. So I put a sweatshirt on over my braless tank top and went across the street before the registers no longer allow you to purchase alcohol.

The first time I learned about this ridiculous law, (after all, this is Wisconsin... where I am pretty sure I am always in a conversation about who is a better drunk driver - don't worry - I don't drink and drive because I walk everywhere...) I learned the hard way. Having just moved down town, I invited my now boyfriend over. Well, actually, my girlfriend texted him the invitation. "Do you have beer?" he asked? "Of course!" I texted him back. I dashed into the shower, threw on some clothes and ran across the street, passing him on his bike along the way, as he was locking it up outside my lobby door. "Where are you going?" "Oh - I have to grab something at the store! Watch my dog!" I hand him my dog, and off I go running through the grocery across the street. "Where is your beer?!" I bark at the cashier. She says, "We don't sell beer after 9:00 PM." I am shocked. I had no idea. Distraught, I yell, "Where is your wine, then???!!!" She says, "Lady, we don't sell alcohol after 9 PM!" Crap - I told him I had beer....

I ran back out and he was standing, across the street, dog in hand, looking very confused. "What are you doing?" he asked me. " I just needed something, I told him. We go into my place and I tell him I must have run out and I offered him whatever alcohol I must have had at that moment. Maybe it was rubbing - I don't really remember.

Of all places, I cannot believe that there is this stupid law in Madison, where patients may very well have cheese curds and beer on an IV drip at the local hospital while watching a game of football.

So I figured tonight that I should just stock up in the event that I decide after 9:00 that I want a drink before bed time.

And if you do want a drink before bedtime and don't have anything, there is a lovely option: The neighborhood bar. My boyfriend and I live about a mile apart. Sometimes around 9:30, we decide to have a beer. He has his joint near his house and I have mine. They are cash only, regulars look like their asses have been on the bar stools since we left for work in the morning, and it is cheap. We are talking PBRs for $1.50. Sort of reminds me of those shady bars in Wooster.

Am I an alcoholic? No, sir. But I do like an occasional beverage like the person next to me. So when the stores don't sell after a rather early hour, I don't like that one bit. And if I am alone in my jammies, I don't feel like walking the one block to sit at the local pub with the inebriated regulars who are going to want to talk to me.

Maybe I should bite the bullet and buy a case of wine. That will do the trick. I also got cable back and started brewing my own coffee..... Is the cable worth it? Yes. But still no tv in the bedroom.....

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Is Everyone too Busy?

I moved 500 miles away and it seems that every time I turn around, I am with family of some sort. Sitting on the love seat at the end of my aunt and uncle's bed the other night, my aunt in her nightgown, I said "I received a phone call from so and so in Cleveland. All that time I lived there, and I probably saw them six times a year...." It's odd, isn't it?

As an adult, I feel that the relationship with family changes. I know for some people, they have the tie to their parent, grandparent or sibling. The text/phone/e-mail all of the time type of connection. I guess I never got that before.

But when you all live within about four miles of each other, it is easy to "drop in." And in Madison, people still do drop in on each other.

I recently had a conversation with someone about overbooked children. I said, "What kid just sits on the grass and looks at the sky these days?" They are busy, busy, busy. But then, I pictured the neighborhood kids in Madison. In their bare feet, stopping by the neighbor boy's house to see if he can come out and play with squirt guns. It reminded me very much of how I grew up in the mid eighties - fond, fond memories.

And then I started to think about how often I see my family here. Or how I can't get a moment to myself when I want to at times, because someone is at my door unexpectedly (part of the reason I try to always keep everything clean).... These are things of the past that still go on in Madison.

If I am in the neighborhood, I am stopping by. And you can, too. Sometimes I have the door open to my "french balcony," and I just hear familiar voices. That's all you need to hear and you have evening plans.

None of the excuse of "I have eight million things going on." Yes, we do. We are busy people. But it is too easy to not see each other in this condensed city with a million different activites to choose from - most of them walking or running distance.

The 1950s, "open door" policy still exists in Madison, Wisconsin. In fact, my neighbor just asked me to let their dog out, as they left their door unlocked and to "help yourself to any beer" - as I sit here drinking a beer and having squeaky cheese curds from the Coop. Ahhh.. Wisconsin....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Putting Things into Perspective

I had a horrible week. I spoke too soon in my last post. And how do I deal with a horrible week? I talk about it with anyone who will listen. This has always been the way for me to cope with my problems.

Yesterday, my nephew started to cry. He was holding his toy in one hand and had his milk, and he was a disaster. (I took him out of the crib too soon....) I looked at him and thought, "He thinks he has problems?" He is probably sad because he wants his favorite toy or he knows his parents are going to go out without him or something stupid like that! And his parents - they have it bad. A two year old and a four month old and full time jobs and no sleep and constant crying simultaneously and non-stop diaper changes and thirty minutes just to get in the car. So now I don't feel so bad about my problems....

And then I went to talk to someone about my problems and they were upset about a major family issue involving insane false accusations and then I realized that I was happy because at least I don't have family drama remotely close to that.

There are four aspects of life at this point: Work, Relationship, Family & Friends/Hobbies. And I want them all to align all of the time...

But when they are not all aligned properly, the best thing to do is to put things into perspective. This is so hard - much easier said than done. Someone can tell you to focus on the positives which can be difficult. Talk to your friends. Talk through your problems. It amazes me how many people bury their issues. I am not capable of this.

As I have talked with each person about my crappy week, I have really, really tried to take the time to ask them about them and how they are doing. And knowing that nobody's stars are aligning all of the time can really make you feel like you are simply living life. And you are not alone.... Everyone goes through difficult weeks.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The "Real" Desperate Housewife

I don't know what it's like to be a mother or a father. I can only tell you what I know from a weekend of babysitting. Or a full day of childcare, for that matter. My boyfriend completely devalued my responsibilities one morning, when I told him I had to run out the door to spend the day looking after my one year old nephew. Now that he always accompanies me to do things like that, I think he appreciates and understands how much work it is.

So when I met his sister and her husband, I told them that if they ever wanted to go away for a weekend, we would watch the two and four year old. For those of you who know me, you know I detest diaper changes and ignore babies, for the most part. But I am growing. And when we were taken up on our offer, we went from being "two teens in love" to becoming a family of four.

At the zoo, I was even mistaken for being the toddler's mom, while the zoo lady said, "Would you like it if your mom put the stamp on you instead?" "I'm not his mom!" I snapped. And because they are his nephews, I felt they were slightly more his responsibility. And when I went to the bathroom and told him where to meet me, he was freaking out about having two kids and the childless stroller. And then they woke us up at 6:30 AM. No matter how hard we tried to tell them to close their eyes and that it was still the middle of the night. And the final diaper change was a two person job. And neither of us really "do" diapers.

He was exhausted afterwards. He said to me, "How do single parents do it?" He finally got how hard the job is. And I only can vouch from my babysitting experience. But I feel bad for parents when I can leave. I try not to tell them I am tired. Because that's the last thing they would want to hear from a single 29 year old woman who lives on her own with a dog.

And last night, after the children were put to bed (they actually requested to go to sleep, as we were trying to keep them up so they would sleep in a little), I may have requested a vasectomy several times. And then I decided maybe one child when I am forty. And today, I mentioned the vasectomy again.

But now that we got a 24 hour period of being parents, I think we both have a new found appreciation for the hard work that parents do. And mine always made it look easy.
Is this always going to be an issue? Feeling that you can't compromise? If both work and one makes more, it will be a problem. In fact, the a man just told me that his wife makes a lot less, so he makes the mortgage payments. Therefore, it is his house. Does marriage have equality? I ain't seeing it.

And it's no surprise that in this liberal city, my other two families have two husbands/dads who comfort each other in knowing that they have been the victims of reverse sexism.

And after experiencing this weekend and knowing how hard a stay at home parent's job is, I hope every person who makes money and accuses their partner of living in their house or driving a car they bought knows that these stay at home parents deserve an award. Because I would rather go to an office during the week than do what I did this weekend.

Bravo, Housewives & Househusbands!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Night in the Life

I know I haven't posted in a while. I guess it's most likely because I haven't done anything new and my family, work, friend and relationship issues are all just fine. Which is really nice. And I try not to ever talk about work on here because I think it is important to keep work separate.

I suppose I could be blogging about the Western part of the state that I am learning through my work. It is really nice to get to know these areas. I also have the benefit of meeting people from each place I visit.

The newest cities I have been to are Eau Claire and La Crosse. I couldn't get a real feel for Eau Claire - although it was hilly and pretty. One stop I made - to a VFW bar (not to drink), overlooked a lake. As I parked the car, I took a moment to walk over to take in the view. When I walked into the bar, I saw they have a scenic window of the water. I must admit, I stuck out like a sore thumb. As I was clearly the only non-regular there. And I was in business attire.

La Crosse has a great little down town area. I am really looking forward to going back there. It is also known for having great hiking and I was able to squeeze in a delicious lunch at Hackberry's Bistro, above the Coop. I was also excited to see that the La Crosse Coop has my favorite wine. (Which I happen to be sipping on now).

I was sort of mad when I scheduled a meeting during the concert on the square, for tonight, but it ended up being a fantastic meeting. And when I returned, the concert was just ending. So, I took my dog around the square. I think of the square as my back yard. Here is my stream of consciousness from out my door, around and back:

-A homeless man.... or was he a hippie from the 60s? Unclear....
-A group of french speaking people taking money out at the ATM.
-My dog started to eat a trail of popcorn.
-A couple stopped to pet my dog. Told me they have a 15 year old golden at home.
-I started to look at all of the people who hadn't cleared from the square yet. Still drinking their wine and beer. I wondered if my friends went?
-I saw a couple photographing each other in front of the capitol.
-I saw some musicians walking home (or to their cars).
-One guy had a cart of all of his lawn chairs. Like he moved onto the square for the afternoon.
-I picked up after my dog and saw a couple embracing in a car, unaware that I could see them kissing. I wondered how often people see me doing that?
-I walked by a little girl named "Emma" who was itching to pet my dog. "Do you want to pet her?" I asked... She nodded bashfully and started petting her. My dog obeyed pretty well. (Unusual, might I add?) "C'mon, Emma" the kids yelled - not noticing that Emma had fallen for a dog.
-Then, I passed 2 girls having a dramatic discussion about how "He didn't mean it! How did he say it?"
-I moved on, and a group of guys were saying, "You should know better than to joke about that. She didn't think it was funny."
-I heard a girl scream just then. I looked over and a raccoon was running by.
-I walked up to my condo and saw a rabbit in the dog run.
-I brushed my dog for about five minutes, while 2 girls about my age stopped outside my building and one asked the other if she wanted to come in. They talked out there for a while and I went inside to "de hair" my condo. (The dog sheds)
-I went out to my "french balcony" to beat a blanket free of hair, and they were still out there, talking.
-About twenty minutes after that, I went out to my "french balcony" to beat some pillows free of dog hair, after vacuuming, and they were still out there talking.
-Then I thought to myself

"Why didn't the girl take up the other girl's offer to go inside? They have been out there for 45 minutes."
Then I thought

"If they were paying attention to all of my activities, they would notice that I have been de hairing golden retriever hair for 45 minutes. And I do this about three times a week. Why do I want another golden again?"

And that is a night in the life.............