Apr 27, 2012

Confessional Time

Because, at heart, I'm basically an honest person (although not everybody appreciates my version of honesty), I can't let the sham continue. I'm going to let you, Dear Reader, in on a little secret:

Despite what Facebook said to the contrary -- I was NOT in New York on Tuesday.  Neither was Peter.  I also did not make a grand tour of bars on Wednesday.  And, Peter and I most definitely did not take a quick trip to the wedding chapel in Vegas with Quinn and Claire on Thursday. 

To my complete and utter disappointment -- I did not get to meet Big Ang, see Times Square, stay at Trump Soho, or any of the other fun things we said we did on our New York Adventure.

I didn't get squat from Tiffany's -- obviously.  Although I'm thinking that pink ring I picked out on their website would make a nice Mother's Day gift.

If I started drinking at noon, I would be in bed by 3PM.  I'm 42, not 21, and I just lack the interest, and the capacity to booze it up like that.

And Peter and I are doing just fine as things are -- without wedding chapel complications.

Nope.  We were home, the whole time.  You were right, Trish. Our "big adventure" was indeed a "big" line of *%&#($*#.  :-)

On Tuesday, I spent my day on a conference call with a client, working, picked both kids up from school, took her royal beauty queen to get her hair did at Mane Street Moxie, and then took both kids to dinner at House of Flavors.  Peter spent the morning feeling icky, and then went to night class in the afternoon.

Wednesday I had my follow up doctor's appointment, took a nap, had a burger at Bud's, helped a friend with some computer issues, and did some work at home.

Thursday I did a conference call with a client, worked, and Peter went to Chem class.  Later we were at the Mason County Courthouse.  Both kids were in school all day. 

I haven't left the state since I picked up my kids in Illinois at the end of March.  Been right here the whole time.

So why the subterfuge, you ask?

Well, #1 -- Because it was fun. And funny. And it was a hoax planned out by more than just Peter and I. We had numerous co-conspirators (who shall, for their own protection, remain anonymous).

#2 -- Because we could.  We didn't realize you could "check in" anyplace in the world from the comfort of your own living room.  Technology is an interesting and pliable thing.

#3 -- Because we needed to prove a point.  For the past several years, certain unknown individuals, at the behest of a certain unnamed individual, have reported on everything we do on our Facebook pages.

At first this was plain annoying. And then it was mildly disturbing. And then it was justifiably angering.  I've blogged about this before and don't want to repeat myself (too much) but... just because something is on Facebook, doesn't mean it's fact.  It's a SOCIAL media outlet, which means pretty much everything is open to people's interpretations.  MY reality may differ significantly from YOUR reality. It's why police witness statements can vary widely -- everyone views things differently.

The second part about this that's, well, just fucking weird is... said unnamed individual blocked us from Facebook.  Blocking on Facebook means you allegedly don't WANT to see anything by a certain individual.  It prevents you from viewing their profile (and them viewing yours), any ties you have with that person will be broken and, essentially, you stop existing to each other.  You become invisible to one another.

Which is fine. I mean -- if you're so bitter and angry that you have to behave like a three year old pouting in the corner -- so be it.  But then why (and the "in the hell" is implied) would you ask people to screen shot what we're doing?

This is small, close-knit community.  Everyone pretty much knows everyone (and what they're doing).  Peter and I share 175 friends -- which is more than half my friend list -- on Facebook.  If we were to end our relationship tomorrow and block each other on Facebook, that would sever our ties with each other -- but it wouldn't sever our ties with the 175 friends that we share.

Thus, while I would not be able to see what's going on with a person I've blocked on Facebook, that doesn't mean all my shared friends wouldn't be able to see what's going on.  And, in typical gossipmonger fashion, many could tell me everything my blockee was doing.  Not that they should.

Which is pretty much exactly what's been going on.  In typical shadenfreude fashion, someone has been "reporting" our check ins at local bars and restaurants to the unnamed individual.  And that person has been requesting people screen shot what we've been doing and where we've been going as "evidence" of some sort. Of what exactly, we've been unable to puzzle that one out.

So, as the song says, Peter decided, "let's give them something to talk about."  Hence, Andrea and Peter's Big Adventure.

It started out being pretty fun, to be honest.  We had about 25 people who knew what was going on (outside of our families -- who we told what we were up to lest they be concerned).  We plotted out our imaginary itinerary.  Happy trails to us!

We used Google images and photos from Flickr as vacation photos. We researched timelines to make things more believable.  It took forever for me to find a good Times Square picture. I had to find one that had people dressed for the right kind of weather, and didn't show too much (like, say, a play on Broadway that stopped showing two years ago).

Being an avid Internet researcher, I had a lot of fun creating a believable "story".

And then... something happened.  We started getting "Likes" and genuinely kind and excited comments from friends and family who were not in on the prank.  Peter got a restaurant recommendation from his aunt (we're sorry to be the ones to inform you Lesa -- that restaurant is closed. We looked it up on Google. We were going to "go" there.)  My friend from high school, Gabe, who LOVES New York City, was willing to play virtual tour guide (not realizing how virtual we actually were).

It started to feel like we were scamming a lot of people. The more likes and comments we received, the more Peter and I started to feel less like pranksters, and more like big, fat liars.  It started feeling really icky.

Three people affected us the most.  First, Peter's cousin Karen approached me as I was signing Quinn up for baseball after I picked him from school.  "Having fun in New York," she asked?  I just sort of shrugged sheepishly. 

She explained that she had believed us, so much so she called a mutual friend to find out how we had made it to Newark so quickly (she'd seen Peter when he dropped the kids off at school at 730AM Tuesday morning).  I explained the whole ruse as well as the reasons behind it.  She laughed -- but it didn't feel good as I walked out the door.

As I returned home, I saw that my favorite teacher had written a lovely comment on one of "our" pictures.  Okay. That felt really bad.  Lying to an elder (albeit indirectly), especially one whom I like and respect as much as I do, felt like I was lying to my Dad.

The last straw was a beautiful post from our friend Alisun:  "You two deserve the best. You have been to Hell and back this year. Accept you're beautiful and loved. Let the man treat you to the royal treatment."

Okay. Wow. That's so nice. And sweet. And sincere. And we're sitting home orchestrating our own episode of Punk'd.  Very, VERY icky.

We considered just leaving things with our "trip" to New York.  But, after much discussion, we realized we needed to remain committed to our plan at least through Thursday (we had our reasons).  However, Tuesday night I started writing this confessional. It made me feel better about our duplicity.

For the record, Peter and I have been making goofy claims on our Facebook pages for over two years.  First it was changing our relationship status (for the same reason -- our pages were being stalked).  It's in our schedules to change our relationship once a month.  We've been through them all: married, single, it's complicated, domestic partnership.  We've skipped widowed (for now... maybe for Halloween).

At first, people believed us when we said we were married.  Again, we received congratulatory messages and one friend actually messaged me to ask for my address to send us a card.  I never responded because I couldn't explain at the time what we were up to. (So sorry Michelle.  Please know that Peter and I were enormously touched that you would even consider such a thing!)

When we said we were "complicated" we both received a lot of supportive and encouraging messages.  Surprisingly (and thankfully) neither of us received an "oh my gosh I'm so glad I always thought you two sucked together s/he is SUCH an idiot you are so much better off without them" comment.  That would've been awkward.

People started to catch on to the joke by the time we got to "in a domestic partnership".  So we felt it was time to hit the big one: in an open relationship.  Yep. That one was the doozy.  We actually received an email from a certain unnamed individual instructing us that we had better be only indulging our "inappropriate relationship" out of view of the children.

Oh. My. God.

My email response was, "You are the stupidest person I have ever met. I am in awe of your stupidity. You make people with single digit IQs feel like Albert Einstein. Other stupid people bow before your superior stupidity. Congratulations on being the Queen of Ignorance... you must be so proud."

Okay, no. It wasn't. It was something more like: "Making comments as to what you have "heard" about our Facebook posts and responding to this gossip as if it were factual calls your mental health into question. Because the fact that you are taking seriously that which everyone else knows is a joke is insane."

Frankly, I think the first response would have been better. 

So, this is our confession.  While we fully intended to confuse, confound, irritate, and aggravate a certain unnamed individual, we NEVER intended to deceive the myriad of others who fell victim to our scheme.  When I confided to Alisun on Wednesday night that this whole thing was a ruse, she told me she felt dumb at first for falling for it.  That made me feel awful.  More than just icky.  Truly horrible.

So, to anyone who may feel silly, or stupid, or bad for believing our little adventure... please, PLEASE don't.  This was planned, and plotted, and researched, and... well... I can't help it if I'm an evil genius mastermind. (Insert maniacal laughter here.)

Instead, just think of our Facebook pages as a scripted reality show.  They're not really real all the time.  It's probably better that way.

Apr 23, 2012

I Love You Because...

I have heard people often wonder why Peter and I are together. Ours is a relationship that other people just don't understand, for a variety of meaningless "reasons".  Frankly, for the most part, I don't care that "they" don't understand -- it's not their relationship after all.  But I realized recently, this kind of questioning is hurtful to Peter (he's a sensitive type -- unlike me), and that's just not something I will tolerate.

So, to Peter...

  • I love you because you are kind to me. 
  • I love you because I don't have to worry about getting bloodied, bruised, or broken with you. 
  • I love that you were good to my mother, are good to my father, and are learning patience with my children, whom adore you. 
  • I love that you make me laugh with ridiculous interpretive song and dance. 
  • I love that you can finally admit you are defeated by Minute Rice.
  • I love you because you are trying
  • I love you because you treat me with respect.
  • I love you because I will never have to worry about you putting me down or insulting me in front of others.
  • I love you because you stick up for me -- even to my parents -- which could not have been easy.
  • I love you because it gave my mother comfort to know I was with you when she died.
  • I love you because you insist I am beautiful, even though I don't feel like I am, or ever have been.
  • I love you because you knew exactly the right time to throw a hissy fit.
  • I love you because you let me know it was okay to not be strong all the time.  And that I can trust you with my weaknesses.
Those are just some of the reasons. There are many others. They are private.

To "them"...

I don't care what kind of car Peter drives, or how much money he makes.  Those are not the things that are important. Neither are fashion choices or looks.  I happen to think Peter is beautiful.  Beauty, to me, is who you are, not just what you look like.  I know a lot of people who are very pretty on the outside, and very ugly on the inside.  I care about what's on the inside a whole helluva lot more.

To me, Peter is rich in all the things that matter.  How lucky am I?

Apr 19, 2012


I haven't written in eight months. Well, that's not really true. I write all the time. I write stuff on Facebook (although I'm really trying to stick to my resolution to stop fighting on other people's walls), I write notes to Peter, I write in notebooks, and on the backs of envelopes, and on my iPad, and on any of the myriad of notepads I have stashed all over.  I even contributed an article to our local newspaper.  But I haven't written in months.  I find that I have run out of words, and have too many words, all at the same time.  Too much has happened in too short of a time, and I've lost my ability to deal.  I'm... empty.

In these past eight months, lots of things have happened.  In December, my mother and best friend finally lost her 5-year-long battle with pulmonary fibrosis.  It is a loss I feel every day.  There are no words for it.  I talked to my mom nearly every day for 25 years.  When she started to get really sick, we talked less, but still very often.  I wonder sometimes if that slowing down in our talking was the universe's way of preparing me for the time when we could no longer speak to one another.  I miss her voice.  I miss her laugh.  I miss the sound of humor and disgust she made when I'd done something particularly outrageous.  I miss my Mom -- you are never old enough to be motherless.  Never.

In January, I celebrated my one-year anniversary since I had the heart cath in Grand Rapids, and in February my heart started fucking up again.

In March, my friends Thomas and Erin's son, Willem, lost his battle with HLH.  The next day I turned 42.  I have never cared less about a birthday than I did this one.  My heart breaks for this beautiful couple and their unbearable loss every. single. day.  This child, who inspired so many, is gone and I, who can't even inspire myself, am still here.  Life is not fair.

April has brought with it a rainstorm of doctor's appointments and ER visits as the professionals try to "fix" what I have avoided or ignored for over 5 years.  It's a daunting task and one, quite frankly, I'm not up for.  I have not treated my body with the respect it may have deserved and we're having a mutiny. Everyone keeps telling me that I didn't break myself in 2 weeks, therefore I'm not going to fix myself in two weeks. To them I say, pffffffttttttt.  I have no patience for this shit and I'd like to be better NOW please.  But I will follow the doctor's orders (maybe) and I will do what they tell me (possibly) and things will get better (hopefully) or not (probably).

I've discovered I have a pretty great boyfriend in Peter, even if sometimes he annoys the hell out of me.  But I guess that's true love, sticking with each other even when that person deserves a rusty fork jammed in his eye.  Thank you, thank you... a million times, thank you.  For putting up with me, my kids, my friends, and my family, for all these months.  You have been my rock and I could not have done a thing without you.  You deserve respect and praise for all you have done.  You also deserve a kick in the ass for all the stupid stuff you have NOT done, but that's a post for another day.

Anyway... this is my reboot.  I'm going to try to find my words.  They may not always be good ones.  The may often be the dirty, naughty, expletive kind.  But they will be my words and I will write them, say them, and feel better for it.