Tag Archives: adulting

When your online life is a hot mess

You know, it used to be back in my day (oh yes, I’m officially old enough to use that phrase unironically now) that you were only in charge of keeping one life in order. Or at least keeping it from turning into a major dumpster fire. All you had to do was keep a roof over your head (with only small-to-medium leaks tops), food in your fridge (30 plus containers of old takeout completely qualifying) and a little bit of money in the bank (at least $4) after paying all your assorted bills.

Beyond that, if you really wanted to get fancy with your adulting, you just needed health insurance, a pet (or kids, or anything that looks cute in a tiny sweater) and a close circle of family and friends you saw in person from time to time.

And I was doing a fairly decent job at keeping this one life in order. I had kept my kids alive, had a non-expired driver’s license (I think…?) and even paid taxes that one time.

But now? Pffft. Now we all have two lives.

Two.

Two lives we are in charge of keeping from imploding. And I don’t know about you but I was barely keeping afloat with the one involving the ancient lo mein noodles I just ate for breakfast.

My online life is a hot mess. Just completely in shambles. If it were a house, it’d be featured on an episode of “Hoarders.” If it were a TV character, it’d be Liz Lemon. If it were a celebrity breakdown, it’d be 2007 Britney Spears and 2013 Amanda Bynes COMBINED.

Take, for example, the fact I have multiple e-mail accounts, all of which have thousands of unread e-mails because does anyone check their e-mail anymore? And on the extremely rare occasion when I do check them, all the thousands of unread e-mails stress me out so I immediately log off and pretend it doesn’t exist. Until I get an alert that someone has hacked my e-mail, in which case I will spend 25 frustrating minutes trying to change the password, only to finally be successful and then immediately forget the new password. And some of these e-mail accounts have my maiden name and some have my married name and since I go by my maiden name it’s extremely confusing to everyone and the whole thing makes me want to cry into a pile of stamps while venting my frustrations to that Nigerian prince who is just super understanding.

I have roughly 500,000 photos languishing in folders across 23 different devices (some of these devices dating back to almost 20 years because, again, I is old). All of which I am likely never to see again (and if I ever do, the bulk will be pictures of cheese and extreme close-ups of my toddler’s nostrils).

In a similar vein, every piece of writing I’ve ever done since high school is also spending time in technology purgatory, trapped forever on old computers that belong in a sad, old person museum instead of the corner of my attic.

I have three Skype accounts. Three. Because I kept forgetting what I put as my username (unicornglitter_96? mermaidsugarpants?) and it was just easier to start a new account than trying to hack into my old account. Added bonus, if you held a gun to my head right now and asked for just one of my Skype usernames, I’d be dead instantly (joel_mchales_wife321?).

I have ancient accounts on MySpace and LinkedIn and Tumblr and Pinterest and Path and Vine that I haven’t deleted yet because frankly, I don’t know how nor care to learn.

Even watching TV now requires a password thanks to Hulu and Netflix and HBO Go (HBO Now? HBO I’m only here for “Game of Thrones”?). Passwords I never, ever remember. Nor does my husband. Leaving us both to look franticly for that Post-It I wrote down all the passwords on which we can never, ever find.

Instagram. Amazon. Twitter. Snapchat. Facebook (which guilt trips me into wishing 1,378 people I don’t know a happy birthday!!!!!! Emoji cake! Emoji martini! Emoji poop!).

All a mess.

Sigh.

And the hackers. Oh, the hackers. They love me. Because I am the perfect combination of lazy and technologically incompetent. At this point, I am on a first name basis with Todd, the dude in charge of identity theft at my credit card company.

In my defense, it is fairly easy to let your online life get out of control considering it’s out there floating in Internet space or whatever and not in your fridge gathering mold and possibly a conscience. Out of sight, out of mind and whatnot.

But I really should try to get my technology house in order. And I will. Right after I find that stupid Post-It with all the passwords on it.

 

 

 

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Mama said there’ll be days like this

Now before I say what I’m getting ready to say, let me say first that I realize I am hardly the first person to ever say this. Thousands, or hell, probably even millions of other people have not only said this, but said it much more eloquently and with far less booger jokes than I ever could. But after the week I had, I feel one more time is absolutely necessary. So, here it goes.

This stage of life is hard.

Oh, so hard.

Not that all stages of life don’t have their hard parts. They do. I remember the hard days possibly even more clearly than the not-hard-days of my carefree childhood. Because even in the happiest of childhoods, there are still monsters under the bed and playground bullies and a big, big scary world to navigate while only having a waist-high view of the big picture.

But this particular stage…oof. It can feel like a battle. A battle that you aren’t even trying to win anymore but just trying to summon up the will to show up for day in and day out.

War may be hell but raising small children is setting up permanent residence there.

OK, OK, yeah, that one went too far. Sorry. I love my life and my children and could not have engineered a more picturesque family life if I tried. Most days I look around and can’t believe my incredible luck that I get to be surrounded daily by the most amazing people to ever walk this planet.

I’m just so tired, you guys. Oh, so tired. And no matter how great your life is, there are bound to be bad days. And sometimes those bad days stretch out for an entire week. And all this week I’ve been dealing with a sick baby and a sick toddler and a partially incapacitated husband who was trying his best but was also sick and still trying to do his job and work on a freelance project in his spare time. To top it all off, my stupid dog is getting old and was diagnosed with a heart murmur and arthritis and I love my stupid dog so much and if anything ever happened to him I would DIE.

Again, sorry. As you can tell, I tend to get dramatic when I’m tired. No, YOU need to tone it down, missy!

There were doctor appointments and vet appointments and a million miles walked around the house in the middle of the night trying to soothe a miserable infant. There were too many tantrums to count and too many meals that had to be made and too many arguments about stupid, little things and too many loads of laundry and dishes and too many boogers being wiped on my jeans (fine, mustard-stained sweatpants).

There were just too many tiny creatures needing tender, loving care and not enough of me to go around.

And it all culminated on Friday afternoon when I had to pick the dog up from the vet but since we only have the one car, I had to walk there with one kid strapped to my chest and pushing the other one in the stroller. The dog was straining with all his might against the leash and the baby was crying again and I was unsuccessfully trying to steer the stroller with one hand and the diaper bag weighed a million pounds and my back was aching from the dog’s constant pulling and then the dog zigged when I zagged and I dropped the leash and he took off running and it was the ultimate nightmare scenario. I’m trying to chase him beside the incredibly busy road while also trying not to jostle my 4-month-old too much or tipping over my toddler in the stroller. Meanwhile, visions of my stupid dog as bloody roadkill kept flashing before my eyes.

Long story short, I finally do catch the dog. And then I just stand there. And cry.

And cry and cry and cry.

Cars zooming past, baby still crying, dog still straining, toddler asking repeatedly “what’s wrong, Momma?”

And yet, all I can do is stand there and cry.

So, why do I bother sharing this horrible moment in my life? Simply to remind those of you who are in a similar boat, who are juggling kids and stupid, beloved pets and jobs and obligations and deadlines and aging parents and house buying and internal demons and external hazards and an aching back and a budget that never seems to stretch enough while in the background a steady hum of news reports declaring the end of the world is nigh plays continuously, that you are not alone.

This part is hard. But you showed up for today. You may or may not be wearing pants, but hey, you showed up. Better yet, you managed to sneak in some snuggles and a game of tickle monster and an almost coherent conversation about dinosaurs riding in rocket ships.

We’re going to get through this. Just like how I eventually wiped away my tears and continued on my way home, we’ll all eventually dust ourselves off and keep going.

And in the meantime, let’s all take a moment to breathe deep and look around and soak it in. Because one day all the noise will stop. All the chaos will stop. All the craziness will stop. And we’re going to miss it. You know we will. And we will wonder what we were ever complaining about in the first place.

 

Just call me Adulty McAdultface

You guys, I gotta be honest. I never thought I’d live to see this day. I was mentally prepared for World War III breaking out, or a zombie apocalypse, or Kim Kardashian becoming Vice President.

But not this.

Never this.

There I was sitting at the table, filling out Mother’s Day cards, when I realized that not only was I filling out holiday cards on time for the first time in history, but that I also, for the first time in history, had stamps on hand. Not only that, but I had enough stamps on hand to even cover the extra postage required for the extra weight the two tons of glitter that covers every Mother’s Day card added.

This foreign and unnatural act was then followed by paying our bills online. And by paying our bills, I mean just that. Going to each website, seeing how much was owed, typing in that amount, and hitting the “submit payment” button. There wasn’t one single instance of juggling, or robbing Peter to pay Paul, or digging for spare change in the gross crevices of our ancient couch, or awkward text messages to my husband asking “hey, would you rather go three days without electricity or five days without cell phone service?” followed by a gun emoji.

And in perhaps the most convincing sign of the End Times, I sent out the rent check. On time. Early even. With an actual check in the envelope. A check filled out properly instead of “accidentally” putting the date where the amount should go in a desperate bid to buy myself another week and a half.

But it was when I glanced over my To-Do (Hopefully-But-Probably-Not-Before-I-Die) List and realized it was almost empty that the full impact of what was happening hit me. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, and please excuse my language, but I think my husband and I might actually have our shit together.

Yeah. I think that’s what this strange feeling is. It’s having your shit together. I mean, just look at the evidence.

Everyone in my family has had their doctor appointment and are up-to-date on their shots. Even the dog. Speaking of which, the dog has tick repellent on him at a seasonably appropriate time and my husband trimmed his puppy nails before he even got close to the Edward Scissorhands phase.

Our car has been inspected BEFORE the expiration sticker expired. Our driver’s licenses currently coincide with the actual U.S. state we are living in. There was an error with our taxes and my husband called immediately and dealt with it calmly and efficiently. There was an error with our insurance and I called immediately and dealt with it while hollering over a screaming toddler and a barking dog. But still, efficiently nonetheless.

We took our vitamins this morning, we have a surplus of toilet paper in the bathroom, we have fresh fruit and at least one vegetable in the fridge. We have an actual friggin’ savings account. We bought sturdy wood bookshelves from a grown-up furniture store to replace our cheap death trap bookshelves made mostly of dust and cobwebs. And on any given day our house is clean-ish enough that I don’t have to hide in the bathroom every time the doorbell rings because it’s too embarrassing to even let the UPS dude glimpse at the unholy mess awaiting inside.

I mean, sure, I’ve been adulting for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve adulted so adulty-like. For instance, let’s compare today with a similar day seven years ago.

My mom wouldn’t get her Mother’s Day card until Halloween and only then because I delivered it in person because I never did get around to buying stamps. And mostly I never got around to buying stamps because I really needed the $8 to go instead toward the overdraft fee our bank charged us because I made a student loan payment and bought a Big Mac with super-sized fries that week. Naturally, all the financial stress would wreak havoc with my health but instead of going to a human doctor, I would just Google “weird rash on shoulder that looks like Abe Lincoln” and put some expired yogurt on it because hey, homeopathy is cheap and also I haven’t cleaned out the fridge in three years.

The only time we ever did get our vehicle inspected or make sure our driver’s licenses were up-to-date or that literally anything about our mode of transportation was legal was when we got a friendly reminder in ticket form from our helpful neighborhood policeman. And even then, it took no less than a minimum of five tickets to get our asses in gear. Taxes were attempted at 11:30 p.m. on April 14 and any letters dealing with any kind of insurance or other scary adult stuff were put in the ever-growing “don’t throw away but don’t open” mail pile. Which wasn’t a problem because the pile could never be found because we never cleaned unless someone who had better adult credentials than we did was coming over for a visit. In which case, most of our possessions were just thrown into the tub and we frantically dusted with an old T-shirt while tripping over our dog who looked like a scary homeless mutt on stilts because we never seemed to have time to groom him.

I gotta admit, it’s a great feeling. This shit-having-togetherness. And I look forward to sailing this sea of grown-up tranquility for the next two months. All the way up until my second child is born and everything falls apart again in the savage vortex that is newborn baby caretaking.

Ah, but it was nice while it lasted.

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Adulting: When stuff turns into a whole, like, thing

I should have known better. As soon as I walked in, I had a bad feeling. This was going to turn into a THING. It always does.

“Hi. I just need to get new eyeglasses. I have my old prescription right here.”

“OK, when was your last eye exam?”

“Honestly, I just need new glasses. No need for an exam.”

“Ma’am, I need to know the date of your last eye exam.”

“Um…sigh…five years ago, I think.”

You would have thought I told them I pluck out the eyeballs of orphans every week and used those in lieu of contacts.

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Even better yet, I’m lying. It was seven years ago.

“But, I mean, how have you been getting eye contacts?”

“I-800-CONTACTS.”

You would have thought I told them I also kick baby goats in the groin after stealing little orphan children’s eyeballs.

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“Oh, that’s so bad. You shouldn’t do that. I can’t believe 1-800-CONTACTS lets you do that.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell them that getting contacts using an ancient prescription via the Internet is literally one of the easiest things in the world to do. The only thing easier, of course, being ordering a hooker online who also brings you a bagful of heroin and curly fries.

So instead I just shrugged.

And this is why I hate adulting. I’m just so bad at it. See, in my mind, if I need new glasses I should just be able to walk into this strip mall eye place with my ancient prescription, pick out some Zooey Deschanel wannabe frames and haul my adorkable ass home in time for lunch. And, as long as I can still kinda, sorta see with my current prescription, also keep ordering contacts from the Internet until the day I die.

But instead, I get busted by THE MAN and I’m now stuck filling out a mountain of paperwork, answering questions about insurance with a blank, vapid stare and getting the third degree about leaving the space marked PHYSICIAN’S NAME blank.

“You don’t have a regular doctor?”

“No. I have an OB-GYN. Does she count?”

“What do you do when you get sick?”

“Mix Nyquil with wine and shop online for secondhand books.”

And as if all that wasn’t bad enough, I was then informed I was legally obligated (yes, legally obligated in my state) to get professionally fitted for contacts by their office within 90 days of this initial exam. Which seems like a special sort of anal bureaucratic overreach.

“But I just want new glasses.”

“Would you like to schedule that today?”

“Um…how much does that cost?”

“$95.”

“With my insurance?”

“Yes.”

“Yeah. I’ll wait.”

“OK, but remember, you only have 90 days and if you try ordering from 1-800-CONTACTS again, they’ll have to verify your prescription through us now, which we can’t do until you get fitted.”

“Son of a …”

See? What did I say? It totally turned into a THING. All those years in school wasted on advanced math classes when I should have been studying up on how to handle stuff that turns into a whole THING without rolling my eyes.

Why do these seemingly simple things always get so complicated? I just want new glasses, but suddenly half my day is gone and my wallet is empty. I just want a teeth cleaning, suddenly I’m scheduling surgery to rip out my wisdom teeth. I just want a regular checkup, suddenly I’m being lectured that mixing Nyquil and wine is not medically advisable and here, call this specialist about that mole that is probably nothing but will most definitely kill you if you don’t see him.

Ugh. These medical professionals and their obsession with my health.

And, let me stop you right there. Because I know what you’re going to say. That now that I’m a mom, it’s my duty to make sure I’m healthy and will live forever so I can smother my grandbabies with love and sausage and slip them $20 when no one is looking even when they’re in their 30’s like my grandma did. I’m well aware of that, which is why I now exercise on a regular basis and eat fruits and vegetables on purpose and not just when they’re garnish for my cocktail.

So, I’m slowly trying to get my adulting act together.

Just don’t rush me. I’ll get fitted for my contacts and find a regular doctor and even schedule a teeth cleaning right after I renew my recently invalid driver’s license. And fix the mysterious clangy noise on the car. And call the handy man about that tiny large-ish leak in the middle of the ceiling. And buy underwear with actual working elastic. And…