Jagged Little Key

Hi! It's been three whole weeks since I've blogged and it feels good to be back.

I was going to write a blog post today about all of our adventures in Sweden and the ridiculous things that happened while we were there. Oh my goodness, did ridiculous things happen.... 

But.... then Tuesday happened. So Sweden stories are going to have to wait. 

Let me start with before we left for our trip. We were doing a thing that most people do before leaving for vacation: packing. And it was actually going great! I was organized and we used those cute little packing cube things to keep all our clothes contained and sorted properly so as to maximize space. It all felt very grown up and very different from the glory days of just opening a suitcase and throwing crumpled up piles of shirts and underwear and pants inside before zipping it all up to be dealt with when we got to wherever we were going. The Mr has really made a difference in my life, I must say.

And one of the last things I had left to do was to get my purse together. I started emptying it to make sure that I wasn't going to accidentally try boarding a plane with a steak knife or something (before you ask, yes, I have found mysterious steak knives in my purse before and I think it's best if we all just move on because I don't even fully believe the story with that one...), and when I found the key to the bookshop (where I work), I was all "Oh, I would hate to lose this while we're in Sweden," so I removed it from my purse and very responsibly hung the key in our key box where we keep all keys.

At least... that's what I remembered happening. 

Fast forward to Tuesday, when I was scheduled to open the store - specifically to 8:25am, five minutes before I should be leaving my house. I put on my shoes, grabbed my purse and recalled my very responsible key management skills, and walked over to the key box only to see no store key hanging there. 

CUE THE PANIC. 

The Mr and I naturally began searching high and low throughout the entire at-the-time-but-quickly-becoming-no-longer clean apartment. We turned bags inside out, we checked coat pockets, we went back through the same bags over and over and over again, I checked under the car seats, in desk drawers.... the key was nowhere. 

At 8:40am, I frantically texted my former co-worker who now has a business next door to the bookshop to ask if she happened to still have her key and if she was going to be there before 9. She said yes, and The Mr and I raced out the door without even saying goodbye to the dogs, and resolving to find the key and clean our now disastrous apartment when we got home. 

Now, there are some things to note here: 

  • The Mr and I share a car, so he gives me a ride to work and home every morning. We usually take the dogs with us, but this morning we just didn't have time to get them all leashed up and into the car, so we didn't. 
  • Our dogs are anxious creatures, so when we leave the house without them, we have a routine that we do the same way every time so that they are emotionally prepared for being alone. It's not that weird. 
  • If we don't do that routine and if we, say, race out the door in a panic, they are prone to thinking that something is wrong and in their stress they will destroy something. One time, Gio ripped open and pulled all of the stuffing out of my mattress. 
  • It takes less than 20 minutes for The Mr to drive me to work and get home again. 

So I opened the store only 5 minutes late, and luckily, with it being a Tuesday, no customers were kept waiting or anything, so work-wise, this wasn't a huge deal. After things got rolling, I was feeling fine about the whole day. I knew my store key was somewhere, and I wasn't going to be the one opening the store again until Saturday, so I had plenty of time to find it. With the comfort of this thought, I went about the rest of my work day with ease. 

And then The Mr picked me up.

Me: Hey, hey! How was your day?

The Mr: Well.... fine.

Me: What happened?

The Mr: Well.... I have some bad news.

Me: Uh oh.... how bad?

The Mr: It's pretty bad.

Me: ....

The Mr: You know how we tore the house apart looking for your key and then just left in a rush this morning?

Me: Oh no... what did Aloy destroy this time?

Me: My PASSPORT?!?! 

The Mr: And weirdly, this is the only thing she decided to chew up. Actually, no there was also some gum that she was chewing on. Did you have gum in your purse, too?

Me: ....I haven't bought gum in years.... 

The Mr:  Huh.

So... the good news is that this happened after we returned from our international travels and not right before.

The weird thing is that this is the second time a dog has chewed up my passport (the last time was the week before I moved to England for a year) 

And for those of you who are dying to know... I did find my store key. I woke up suddenly at 5:45 in the morning on Thursday with the very clear realization that I hadn't been bringing my purse with me to work for a few weeks before our trip because I had been bringing my crochet project with me to work on during lunch, and in order to do that, I had been throwing everything into my Harry Potter tote bag. I sat up, got out of bed, and walked over to my closet, where I had neatly hung the Harry Potter tote bag on a hook inside the closet door. I reached in and my fingers closed around that unmistakable cold, jagged little steak knife of a key that is now preventing me from boarding any international flights in the near future. 

 

 

What's the opposite of drowning?

Okay, so. Update on the whole water thing: It's not going great. 

And I don't know what is wrong with me because I've been bring my water bottle with me everywhere I go, but I just... don't use it? 

In fact, I will actively be holding my water bottle, set it down, and pour myself a cup of coffee instead. 

Because COFFEE. 

I was at the chiropractor's office (side note: The Mr refers to my chiropractor as my crack dealer and it brings me SO MUCH JOY) earlier this week and there was a counter in the waiting room with a full pot of coffee and a water cooler. Guess which one I chose... 

I love coffee so much that it evokes an actual emotional response from me every time I drink it. I get excited thinking about ordering coffee at the cafe next to where I work... and then every time I realize that I have completed a task at my job at the bookshop, I go "Yay! Now I can go in the back room and enjoy a sip of coffee!" 

It's like how dogs react to treats. Cups of coffee are my mlikbones. 

You know how I react when someone is all "Would you like some water?" 

And that's only because I'm being polite and I don't want that person to think I'm a freak who doesn't drink water. I don't want them to know the truth. But now, by offering me water, they've put me in this awful position of having to accept the thing we all know I should be consuming, but if we're being honest, will just sit there ignored on the table. All of my friends will be happily taking sips from their waters, feeling hydrated, while my water glass starts to create little beads of condensation, like tears of loneliness. 

But I'm trying to change. As I have heard that this beverage has all sorts of benefits. 

Afterall, Narwhals drink it constantly, and they're basically unicorns, so.... if it's good enough for them, it should be good enough for me, right? 

Mind Over Bladder.

Customers often come into the bookshop asking to order a book they just heard about on NPR or on TV, and because our job is to sell stories, we often end up in long conversations with these customers about the things we've read or learned. 

And sometimes I walk away from these conversations unable to stop thinking about them.

Or really having to pee. 

Yesterday a woman came in after having heard about a study that a group from a prestigious university about the differences between European brains and American brains and apparently they found that European brains are way healthier and way less likely to develop alzheimers or dementia. 

I feel like at this point I should tell you two things:

  1. I was not actually a participant in this conversation. I just eavesdropped on it from my desk about 25 feet away. 
  2. I did absolutely ZERO research to find out if what this woman was saying was correct, but she was mega confident, friends, so... I went with it. 

Okay, so now that that's been covered, here's the rest of the story...

The other customer that my co-worker was chatting with asked if this study mentioned what they thought the cause was.

Study Lady: Well, yeah, diet. Mainly their water intake. 

Lady 2 + Co-worker: Mmmm yessss of course.

Study Lady: They actually drink the amount of water that we're supposed to be drinking and most Americans barely drink any water in comparison. When you think about it, you don't just need to hydrate your body, but you need to hydrate your brain, too... and most people don't realize that caffeine actually dehydrates you, so tea or coffee doesn't count.

Lady 2 + Co-worker: Well, of course. 

Me: 

Y'all. I drink almost exclusively COFFEE. 

And before you freak out, I'm not an idiot. I knew before this moment that wasn't the best health choice in the world, but I was always defending it because it helped me be me. It kept my energy up and made me all sunshiny and happy. In other words, IT WAS GOOD FOR MY BRAIN. 

And if there's one thing that terrifies me, it's losing control of my mind. 

So, without hesitating, I went into the back room, grabbed the water bottle that I bring with me to work to pretend I'm a healthy person, but never actually used, and STARTED CHUGGING. 

And I continued to drink water (in addition to coffee - I'm not a monster) all day. 

Which means that I had to pee. 


ALL.

DAY.

At this point, my memory will be amazing, but it will ONLY CONSIST OF BATHROOMS. 

But still, I'm determined to better myself based on this anecdotal evidence that water will keep me from scrambling my brain. 

I'm not giving up coffee - as I said, I'm not a monster - but I am going to legitimately try and consume at least 64oz of water a day. 

And who knows? Maybe this means I'll have a strong mind... and an even stronger bladder? 

Plus, this could turn into a whole travel blog series: Bathrooms Critiques by Emelie. After all, I'll be spending most of my time in them now. 

What about you? Do you feel like you drink enough water? Do you make major life changes based on information you overheard someone who probably has no qualifications or scientific background say? 

Tell me in the comments below, because I really have to pee, so I need to stop writing this blog post! 

My sister is so much better than me.

My sister possesses a quality that I do not. 

I was chatting with her the other day about the fact that she's leaving her job for a new one and how awkward and uncomfortable things can be in a work environment after you've put in your two weeks. She was telling me that everyone's actually been really sweet, but there's one girl who works under my sister that has always just been... not nice?

I don't know the situation well enough to say that this girl was mean, necessarily, but the impression I got was that my sister gets a pretty clear "I don't like you" vibe from this chick.

Me: That sucks. 

Her: I know! So I asked her if we could get coffee on Thursday.

Me: ....WHY? 

Her: Because if I don't know why she doesn't like me it will bother me for years! 

There is no way that I would ever be okay with this situation, but I ALSO WOULD NEVER JUST RUN INTO THE FIRE TO ASK WHY IT'S BURNING ME. Especially if I was in a situation where I would probably never encounter that fire again. 

There is a level of bravery and honor there that I will never understand. 

Because my tactic is a little bit more like this:

Oh, you don't like me? BUT I'M DELIGHTFUL. I WILL JUST BE SO NICE TO YOU UNTIL YOU ARE FORCED TO REALIZE HOW LOVELY I AM.

But I don't think I would ever willingly sit down with someone and try and unpack all of the reasons why they don't. Eventually my denial would kick in and be all "Hey, big buddy.... you've done everything you can, and we all know how delightful you are, so... obviously something is wrong with that person. I feel bad for them, don't you?" 

And I would say "You are so right, self! That poor person just doesn't know love even when it bites them in the armpit."

...I should clarify that one of my ways of trying to be nice to people does NOT include biting them in the armpit. Or biting them anywhere, really. Who came up with that expression? 

Anyway, back to my sister...

Her: Emelie, what if it's something I've done? What if it's something about my management style that I should change?

Me: Doesn't the fact that everyone else in the office is sad about your departure disprove that theory?

Her: I don't know! That's why I need to talk to her! Maybe I did something to make her uncomfortable in some way and since I didn't realize it, I never apologized and now she thinks that I'm the jerk. 

Me

In all honesty, though, this is something about my sister that I absolutely adore: she doesn't ignore splinters, she goes after them and does her best to heal them. She thinks of each person individually and her first reaction to any problem is "What can I do?"

I run away. 

And because I love a good awkward conversation, for the rest of the week I kept asking my sister "Have you had coffee with the girl who hates you yet?" or "Are you still planning on having that super uncomfortable coffee date with that girl that hates you?" 

I wish I could end this blog post by saying that she had that coffee date and learned a really important lesson and in turn I, too, learned to face my awkward social fears, but here's what actually happened:

My sister had coffee with a different girl from the office who does like her instead, and that girl was all "Hey, you know <girl who doesn't like my sister>? I feel like she hates me." 

But my sister was already committed, So NOW she had to have coffee with a girl who just doesn't like people.

And this is why I never confront my problems. Sure, I might be living in denial for the rest of my life about whether or not people enjoy being around me, therefore never taking opportunities to better myself or improve my social life, but THAT'S WHAT PERSONAL BLOGS ARE FOR! 


SPEAKING OF AMAZING SISTERS.... 

My bestbian and her sister just launched two amazing things this week!

My bestbian has moved back to Ohio from Boston and she's started a blog about the process! You should go read it here

AND THEN you should go buy her sister Hanna's BOOK. It's the first in a fantasy series and it involves tarot cards and everything that Hanna creates is AMAZING, so go get it on Kindle right now and make your life better. 

Recalibrating

Hi! Remember me? I used to blog here on a pretty regular basis. 

Last week I was going to write a blog post all about how everything went wrong one morning (I dropped my curling iron on the back of my neck, I almost burned down my kitchen by heating up some water, I completely forgot to cut out some lily pads for a birthday party... it was a whole thing), and then that day just kept getting more and more ridiculous and I was like "MAN, this is going to make a great blog post later." 

And then, for some reason, I never wrote it.

It wasn't intentional. I think that after finishing this last round of edits and delivering copies of the manuscript to my beta readers, my body and subconscious teamed up and were just like "You know what? No." 

And it wasn't just the blog that stopped getting my attention - it was everything internet related. I stopped Instagramming as much, my patreon page had tumbleweeds blowing all over the place, emails have gone unanswered, and I haven't even gotten a chance to read the blogs that I enjoy reading. I barely even cracked the spine of a book over the past two weeks. 

I started to feel guilty about all of this a few days ago, but then I realized something: this was good. 

I think it's good for us to be forced to walk away from our work sometimes and to just recalibrate. The truth of the matter is that what I do is small potatoes. My blog following is decent, but not monumental enough for people to freak out if I miss a post (although my ego did appreciate the few messages I did receive), and if missing two posts in a row means that I actually got some sleep or had one less thing to stress about, I think it's pretty worth it. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that showing up is important, but sometimes not showing up is just as good. 

Don't get me wrong: my blogging schedule isn't about to fall apart. I will be here every Friday and Monday with ridiculous stories about my accidental arsonist ways, weird dogs, and tolerant husband. 

But sometimes I might miss a day because I need to recalibrate. And that will be okay. 

Or it means I've finally died in a fire of my own making.


Hey, are you interested in hearing more ridiculous stories or getting silly photos of my dogs? What about a monthly crocheted critter from me in the mail? No joke! I make things and mail them to my Patreon subscribers - which could be you! Head to Patreon.com/AwkwardlyAlive to sign up now and start receiving perks next week! 

Busy.

I woke up this morning and felt like doing... almost nothing. 

And for the first time in a while, that was an option. The house was clean, I had nowhere to be, and the one person I was planning on hanging out with in the morning texted me to ask if we could meet this afternoon instead. 

So I pulled out my laptop, poured a cup of coffee and started a Golden Girls marathon. 

And, you know what? It feels so good to just do nothing every now and then. I spend a lot of time running around, getting stuff done, and making things. I write stories, I crochet, I bake, I make laundry detergent, all of our cleaning products, and even most of my beauty products at this point - and that's on top of working one full-time job and another part-time job. 

So today, I rolled over, and for once the dogs were both still sleeping next to me. It was like even they were thinking "let's just not today."

I think we all need days like these, but I also think it's easy to feel guilty about them. If I'm sitting around "doing nothing," it's hard for me to say yes when someone asks me if I'm busy. But I am busy. I'm busy relaxing and keeping my anxiety levels down. I'm busy giving my body a break from all the running around that it does. I'm busy stocking up on more pop culture references by watching endless hours of television or reading more books. I'm busy with me. And that's okay. 

I don't know if you're like me, but if you are, I hope you know that it's okay for you to get busy doing nothing too. 

And maybe the idea of laying on the couch all day doesn't sound relaxing to you. That's okay, too! Bake something, get out in your garden, do some crafting or writing. Whatever works. Just know that doing something for you counts as busy. And you don't have to justify that to anyone. 

Secrets secrets are no fun...

WARNING: I'm about to reveal a plot twist from the latest New Girl episode so.... SPOILER ALERT and all that. 

The Mr and I were watching New Girl the other night and a moment occurred when Nick was all “Jess, I love that you never keep secrets,” and then Jess was all “I KILLED THE CAT.”

It was hilarious and delightful as New Girl always is.

And then, because I’m stable, I decided to insert this into our actual lives:

Me: Do you keep secrets?

The Mr: …no.

Me: Me neither.

The Mr: I know.

Me: What do you mean “you know?” I could have secrets.

The Mr: No, you couldn’t.

Me

The Mr: Fine… Do you have secrets?

Me: …no…. I sometimes tell myself that I’m not going to tell you something and then as soon as I see you I can’t contain myself and I’m all “OH MY GOODNESS I HAVE TO TELL YOU THIS THING,” which is why I’ll never be able to have an affair.

The Mr: What?

Me: It’s true. I couldn’t do it even if I tried. I would see you and be like “I met the nicest guy today!” and then the whole jig would be up before it even started.

But, friends... I have a confession.

In that moment that The Mr was all “you don’t have secrets” I was contemplating a haircut, and so just to have some fun, I decided to challenge myself and not tell him.

I live in a small town with not a lot to do.

Anyway, I texted the girl who cuts my hair. Earlier that day, she had tagged me in a photo on Instagram and said that she wanted to style my hair that way next time I got it cut. For the sake of this post, we’ll say her name is Susan… and we’ll say that the friend who I grab breakfast with every Friday morning is also named Susan, because in real life the girl who cuts my hair and my friend do have the same name. This is important, I promise.

Me: LET’S DO IT.

Her: Yay! How does Friday sound?

Me: Done.

The Mr: Who are you talking to?

Me: ...Susan.

The Mr: Oh, are you getting breakfast with her on Friday?

Me:… yes. [NOT A LIE. TECHNICALLY.]

This is where things get masterful on my part.

I had already made plans to meet another friend (we’ll call him Steve) for a writing session on Friday. Steve just so happens to live in the same town as my salon.

Me: I’m going to be gone for most of the day on Friday.

The Mr: Okay. Anything fun?

Me:  I’m getting breakfast with Susan and then I have my chiropractor appointment at noon and then I’m heading Southbury and Steve and I are going to get some writing done.

SEE? I AM A MASTER AT SECRETS. They always say that the best secrets are the ones you don’t tell, right? Wait…  no that’s lies. AND I WASN’T LYING. I WAS WINNING. The Mr thought he knew me so well…

The sad part is that I have been getting such a thrill out of this. I even wore big sunglasses today – sure, for eye protection, but also just for the general badass feeling they gave me.

I’ll have to be careful, though. I hear that it can be slippery slope. One day it’s haircuts… then, a few months from now when the thrill has worn off from sneaky salon visits, it’ll be a new tattoo…. And then BAM: A guy named Julio.

I don’t want to go down that road! I can’t be that girl! The guilt of the potential torrid affair with Julio is already too much! How will I ever live with myself? Julio will never love me like The Mr does! THE THRILL ISN’T WORTH IT!

You know, I’m not going to wait until I get home. I’m just going to go FaceTime The Mr right now and get this confession over with…

The Mr: Hello?

Me


P.S. Thanks to everyone who applied to be a beta reader (see previous post)! I'm reviewing applications and will be in touch with those of you I've selected by Monday! 

Hello, Vulnerability? My name is Emelie. Please don't hurt me?

So if you read my last post, you know that I just finished a round of edits on my novel and this is where a new phase of scary begins: I need beta readers. 

Here's what you need to know: 

The book is a contemporary YA novel about four teenagers set in small town USA. Here is a quick little synopsis:

Zak is Sara's best friend and he's always told her that he would do anything for her. When Sara starts behaving strangely, however, Zak is forced to team up with her other friends Lucy and Dean to figure out what the hell is going on with the person that they all claim to care about more than anything in the world. 

He said would do anything for her, but Zak is about to learn how dangerous some promises can be to keep. 

If you read YA and you're interested in beta reading this very imperfect manuscript for me, please click on this link to apply:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd1ZWwWwDQZjNe_O4n2kDS8g0raU3JMzLlYKpJSGmUiFn346A/viewform

I will be picking my Beta Readers on Friday, May 11th and I'll be keeping it to around 10 people. If I get that many applications, I will be floored. Like wow. That's 10 times more judgement than I am prepared for, but also it would be super flattering? Or you all are like "FINALLY MY CHANCE TO TELL HER HOW WORTHLESS HER WORDS ARE YAY!"

If you're not interested, that's cool too! This book is very different from what I write here on the blog, so I won't be offended if you're all "Pass. Thanks."

But think of it this way: you can tell people that you're reading an unpublished manuscript, which makes you sound very important. Just sayin'.

Relief.

Friends.

The edits on my novel are finally done.

At least with this round of edits.... There is still so much work to be done, and now the truly terrifying part begins... Now is time for putting in front of others and getting... opinions. 

So... I will be making a public call for Beta Readers soon, but in the meantime... I'm just going to sit back, relax and soak in this sweet relief. 

via GIPHY

Perfect May the 4th Relaxation Gif? I think so.

What major goal are you working toward? Tell me in the comments below! YOU CAN DO IT! 

Plant Drama

The Mr and I decided to plant a vegetable garden this year. 

We think about doing this every year, but usually late in the summer when everyone else's gardens are providing them with food and we're all "HEY WE WANT THAT," but then nature is all "WELL MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF THAT A FEW MONTHS AGO, IDIOTS." 

Nature can be a real B sometimes that way. 

But this year? This year we are on top of things. We are ORGANIZED. And I am learning A LOT:

For example: Certain plants like each other and certain plants don't. They're sort of like middle school cliques in that way. Tomatoes and basil love each other, but don't you dare plant your tomatoes next to the beets. Apparently the beets said something about the tomatoes looking a little plump one year and it's been a drama-fest ever since. The basil doesn't really like drama, though, so Basil will hang out with anyone. Basil is like that guy at the party who wears those "Life is Good" shirts. He just smiles and nods at people and everyone is like "Oh heyyyy, Basil - what's up?" and Basil usually just responds with words like "Cool." 

I know what you're thinking: Emelie, what you described is totally the marijuana plant. 

But this is when I disagree, because have you ever looked at a marijuana plant? They're so loud looking - and very temperamental. They act like they're all chill, but really, marijuana plants are needy AF, so every other plant is like "Ugh, marijuana is here... great. Let's just get what we need from him and then someone else call his phone and tell him his heat lamp exploded at his house or whatever so that he leaves."

Which is just one reason why I won't be planting any marijuana plants in my veggie garden. I don't need that energy there. The other reason is that I don't smoke weed. Oh, and it's still illegal. 

Where was I? Oh right, so plants are very tribal, apparently, so now I have charts and graphs all over my apartment while I try and figure out who can sit next to who, which is hilarious given the fact that we didn't even have seating charts at our wedding because our families didn't even have this much drama. I feel like I need a mediator for my plants! 

OH, and then there was the moment when we realized that our garden was twice as large as we initially calculated because apparently MATH ISN'T OUR THING, so now we have to introduce a whole bunch of new plants into this middle school of a dirt mound and I'm just a little worried that our current plants are going to pull some serious pranks. 

Maybe I should give them a talking-to first? 

If you have any great tips or resources for vegetable gardening, I would love the help. Leave links or advice in the comments below! 


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Hey, have you become an Awkward Ambassador on Patreon yet? Now is the perfect time to sign up so that you can start getting rewards in May! 'What kind of rewards?" you ask? Stuff like cute pictures and videos of my dogs thanking you personally, book recs from me, exclusive content, and even crocheted critters handmade by yours truly. It's a great way to help me keep this blog ad-free, and therefore way less annoying. What's not to love? Click here to sign up!