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Confession: I hate getting attached to guys. I really, honestly do. Attachment means worrying, it means frustration and stress and over analyzing, all things that I do not like. But we talked on Tuesday, I had a twenty second flip out and then realized how crazy I sounded. “You sound like a girl,” he said, which snapped me instantly back to my normal self. We’ve been fine since. But I really am attached at this point, surprisingly attached for a relationship where we’ve probably spent more hours on the phone than physically together.

Another confession: Awkwardly lumping your thirty-something interviewer into the “forty-year olds” group mightnot get you a job. I was emailed a few weeks ago by a private corporation who loosely had ties to an operation I’d been working on, asking me to interview with their intelligence department. Private corporations are the way to go right now- they have the money and the resources for high level training and for technology. It may not be my dream job, but it’s the perfect job for me right now. Health benefits, high pay, close to my graduate school, amazing training… I couldn’t say no to an interview. I went in on Wednesday, showed up a bit frazzled as I’d gotten lost on the way there (Mapquest told me to take a u-turn in the middle of the road…wtf?) I am usually a phenomenal interviewer. This time? Not so much. He asked me what I would change about my prior operation and office, and I mentioned that the office was a much older office, which I described as “forty and above”, meaning that they didn’t necessarily have the technological expertise of a younger office. “Oh, so forty is old?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. I stumbled, replied that I didn’t mean he was old at all. “Oh, so you think I’m forty then?” The other interviewer was laughing so hard that people outside of our room were coming to the window to see what had happened. I don’t think I’ll be getting this job.

Other various Caitlyn Confessions:

Obama makes me giddy.
-I hate dishwashers. I’d rather wash a roomful of dishes by hand.
-I’m severely allergic to latex. The other day, my dentist used latex gloves and for the rest of the day I -looked like Angelina Jolie. A less-hot version, at least.
-I was actually excited to go to the dentist yesterday. I asked to hold a mirror so I could watch the process of fixing my cracked tooth.
-I already have a list of things that I want to buy if I get this job.
-I am extremely weird about eating. I hate watching other people eat until I get to know them, and I hate eating in front of people that I’m not comfortable with. I also eat very little, which makes people think I’ve problems. I don’t.
-I don’t really like talking on phones, with the exception of my core girlfriends.

I really forgot how hard relationships can actually be, especially those in which the people are three-hundred miles apart. Actually, I’ve never had experience in the latter part of that; I’m a bit inexperienced when it comes to these long-distance relationships.

Pittsburgh Boy and I had our first fight on Sunday night. I am not a good fighter, not in relationships at least. My first instinct is just to end the relationship, rather than try to talk things out. He said something, and my reaction was, “I need to hang up now. We’ll talk tomorrow. Bye.” After I hung up, I forgot everything good about the past two months and was thinking break up, break up, break up!

On Monday, I talked it over with a few friends. They all seemed to have the same opinion: I was being rash, I was panicking, I would be throwing away a perfectly good relationship. Ian said it best:

well all i’m saying is that you need to be honest with yourself about everything, and not to be constantly on the lookout for exit strategies, you know? it’s one thing to be careful, another to alway be ready to abandon ship. because if you really do care about him then it can be worth it to have problems at the beginning.

I know he’s right. I think I got used to looking for exits in relationships, mostly because it’s easier to break up with someone than be broken up with. But also because, for the past few years at least, I would be able to jump back into my comfortable cycle with Pete.

Now it doesn’t help that Pittsburgh Boy didn’t call last night like he said he would. Last night was the first night since we’ve met that we haven’t talked. He emailed with some excuse about falling asleep early. I sat in bed last night trying to get my head off of it by watching a movie, then going for a run when I couldn’t calm down, then coming back to bed when I couldn’t even concentrate during my run. Ultimately, I think I hate being in relationships because they make you feel this vulnerable.

Ian ended our conversation yesterday with a bit that I hope comes through today:

it’s a give and take, and in the end you just have to weigh everything against your desire to be with him. it’s easy to get mad, it’s hard to forgive. but forgiving is ultimately more important.

I want to put a quick note in on an article my uncle wrote this past week, a eulogy of sorts regarding his friend Sheila. My uncle lives the perfect life: a great home in Key West with his loving and intelligent wife, a great dog, and amazing friends. He works as a birder, writing a birding column as a supplement. Last week he was up in New Jersey to visit and happened to mention that his good friend Shiela was dying. I’ve heard much about her through his stories, but this piece that he wrote for his column says everything. I think we’ve all had someone relatively close to us die, and I guess that his words really filled a great gap that I’ve felt lately.

Cursing a good life: Remembering a close friend

Sheila called about three weeks ago. She wanted to know how much money was in the poker beer kitty. She said someone had burgled her house the night before and emptied out a few drawers, but the only thing missing was the money we all pitched in to keep our game supplied with Beck’s and Corona. (Sheila never played. Bill did. But she tolerated our presence around her table every week and maybe even encouraged it.)

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Pittsburgh, Part One

It’s only been two months and I’ve already come to realize the worst part about long-distance relationships: the ride home. I hated this morning, hearing Pittsburgh Boy’s alarm go off and feel his legs untangle from mine. It was only 4:30 in the morning and I pretended to be asleep as he picked his way through the hotel room to the sink. I hate the horrible goodbyes, knowing that you’re dissecting every bit of your schedule to find the next available weekend, the next hotel room. Feeling the stress of looking at jobs around the country and wondering if it’s even going to work anyway, and then spending more time looking at the placements in his area.

The ride out there was intense enough, and I feel like that should be a whole post upon itself. I’d spent all night awake after getting to help on a major operation at work. And then, to made a long, convuluted story short, a huge accident happened in front of my car on the way out and I did CPR on the driver of the one car until the ambulance arrived. By the time I reached Pittsburgh, I was worn and exhausted, stripped to my camisole and skirt and holding my blood-stained blouse. He arrived soon after, and it was such a strong feeling of relief. We drove over to his newly-married friends’ house for an out door dinner (which I should mention was a bit awkward as they’d only gotten ribs, until I told them that my diet is steadily based upon beer anyway). Back at the hotel that evening we could hardly sleep, both of us so giddy to be back together. We curled up in the hot tub, his fingers twisting around mine, and I caught myself thinking that I wished this could be every night instead of once or twice a month.

In the morning, we woke to have a breakfast of ommelettes, toast, and potatoes at his favorite diner, followed by a long walk along the river.

     

We stopped by an old ice cream shop for root beer floats, and then went to the Pittsburgh History Museum.

For dinner, he took me to this amazing church-turned-brewery. The old altar was converted to display the giant tanks of brewed beer:

We sat outside in the garden, sharing cherry-puree beer and spinach, feta, and gouda dip. His kobe beef salad and my couscous salad were literally works of art. Everything was so mellow, enchanting. Of course this is when I ask if we can go visit College Roomie…

How very like me to run away from the blog for a week when things get stressful. You’d think my life would be easy seeing as how it’s summer, I don’t have a REAL job…

For starters, I think my partner is trying to sabotage me at work. I wrote last week about how he deleted the entirely of the major analytical project that we had at work. I finally redid the entire thing, met with one of the heads of intelligence of the corporation we’ve been working with, and presented the entire project. Everyone was impressed, I got major kudos from all of the sergeants. Today I went to make more copies of the folder…and one of the parts had been deleted. I’m not a complete computer whiz, but I know how to check when documents were altered. This one was altered on Monday, when he was in work and sitting at the very computer all of the documents were on. I took a few hours to retype everything, made up four copies of the new folder, sent everything in an email to three of the heads of the operation, and then wrote four copies onto CD-Rs.

And then there’s the bit about how my college ruined my financial aid again. If you’ve been a longtime reader, you’ll remember my frustrations in the winter when they basically “lost” all of my information. We sorted it all out, I thought it was safe. I’m taking out loans to pay for graduate school and working quite a bit to help pay for it (three jobs!). Well, they did it again. I tried to help out the payment by paying partially for the classes out of my own account. The school? Tried to pay for allof the classes out of my account. Try stopping at an atm for cash and realizing that your account is empty. And getting an email that your attempt to reserve a hotel room in Pittsburgh for the weekend has been denied because said account is now empty. It took me three days to sort out, during which time almost every hotel has reserved out, leaving me with either the 175/night room with a hot tub or the 60/night flea ridden disaster.

That brings me to Pittsburgh boy. Things were really great, up until he went to a wedding this weekend and to make things short, had made drama with his ex-girlfriend. I guess I handled all of it really well though, talked him through everything, discussed how he needed to cut her out of his life. A few nights ago he got a bit drunk and called me at one am. In his drunken flirting, he kept telling me that he wanted to freak me out. “I know how to do it,” he slurred. “I love you. I love you. I love you.” Actually, he said it about twenty times. He knows that even cuddling and hand-holding makes me have a panic attack, so this was kind of the nail in the coffin. He called me a few hours later after he’d sobered up a bit and laughed at it. “But really though, what would you say if I told you I was falling for you?” I didn’t tell him this, but I believe it. It’s heading in that direction with the exception of a few hiccups (his ex-girlfriend, the distance, my lack of a hotel room).

So me seeing him this weekend (and clearing the air on all of this “love” bit) kind of depends on whether or not my school gets my funds back into my account by today. If it does, I’ll be in Pittsburgh all weekend, maybe in a hot tub with that sexy boy and a bottle of champagne. Hopefully not in the flea-ridden hotel.

See the original post here, and feel free to add your own anonymous venting in the comments. It is seriously refreshing.

-The few emails aren’t enough. I miss being able to walk across campus to your dorm room and climb in bed. I miss the times we watched movies and snuggled, I miss the times we cried over boys. When I think of college, I always think of the moments with you. I know you’re going through some confusing times and there’s nothing more that I want than to be able to fly around the world to be with you. It scares me to think that we won’t ever have that proximity again.

-I can’t really imagine my life without you in it, but I don’t know exactly how you’re supposed to fit into my life now. How do we go from what we were to just being friends? When things happen in my day, when I hear a good song, when I read a good book- you’re always the person I want to tell about it. Maybe it’s just comfort, maybe I got too used to having you around in one way or another. I’m always going to love you, but you’ll never care enough to actually make things work.  

-You annoy the living crap out of me. I cringe every day coming to work knowing that I have to deal with you. I hate the fact that we both share the same title, but I put in thousands of times more effort than you. The other day? When you lost two weeks worth of data after reformatting our disk? And then stood behind me crunching Doritos while the tech guy and I furiously tried to save the information? And even THEN sitting with your feet up on the desk while I spent 12 hours retyping the information and coming in on my day off? I hated you with every single cell in my body. I used to wonder why you couldn’t get hired with two Masters degrees, but now I know.

-I know I act like a tough girl, but you see past that. The other night, when he said those things to me, I felt protected by every word that you said in response to him. When you asked me out earlier this year, I didn’t take you seriously- you come across as egotistical and pretentious. But the other night on the phone you brought up the homeland security class in which we had watched videos of toxic chemicals being used on bunnies. You brought up exactly what I was wearing that evening, how I tilted my head to the side and looked away from the screen, how you saw me on the verge of crying. You said that I was beautiful then, and that you loved ever single one of my crazy quirks. Then you told me that you regretted never having a real chance to show me that. Part of me really wishes that we’d had that chance.

-It scares the living hell out of me that you’re slipping back into depression. In high school, I could never understand why I couldn’t make you happy. I understand now that it’s chemical, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. All of those corny commercials about depression affecting everyone are actually right. I want you to never hurt, to never be sad. But I’ll be with you through everything again.

-I haven’t felt this way about someone ever and it scares me. I know I’m getting attached, but I have a terrible history of attachment leading to disappointment. I am absolutely terrified of falling for you because, in all honesty, the odds are against us. You’re everything I could ever want in a guy, and I know that I’m going to be head over heels if we keep this up. I’ve never been able to connect with a guy on every level the way that I do with you.  I keep trying to sabotage what we have, to detach myself. Make excuses for why I can’t see you, act like I don’t care as much as I do. But really, I’m praying that everything with us works out.

-It’s been three years since your death, and every day I think of you. I heard a laugh last week that sounded just like yours and I really thought for a moment that you were there. I’m writing this with your ring around my finger, wrapped in your blanket. Your life is still very much a part of mine. Life will never be as beautiful without you in it.

-I get it, you’re famous. You have a website, you have thousands of fans. I’ve known you since we were young, before things were like this. Part of me likes the fact that people scrambling for your autograph see you leaving with me. Or that people recognize you when we’re out. But I also can’t stand the inflated ego, which I guess comes with the territory. I miss the kid I used to tease and dunk in the lake, I miss the boy who tried to kiss me when we were drunk in the cabin in the Alps. I miss the guy who used to make time to see me and didn’t care whether he had matching monogrammed wine glasses and a Rolex.

I got to the boathouse early the other morning, early enough for me to pace in the boat bays nervously. The girls in my boat arrived shortly after, and we sat around on the upstairs deck talking about the impending race. One of the women introduced herself and I knew the name instantly- she was on the list of people leaving for the Olympics next month. I asked about it, and she smiled and proudly verified that she would be racing in the Olympics. I had an Olympian in my boat: add another ten points to my nerve scale.

We pulled our boat down and I checked the riggers, the steering, the footstretchers, and the tracks. Everything seemed to be perfect. When huddled on the dock for a bit, reviewed race strategy, and then walked the boat down to the water while all of the onlookers cheered from the deck. Within twenty strokes off the dock I’d lost every bit of nerve- the girls in my boat felt perfect and strong, the steering was direct, and the water was glass. We rowed the few miles from the boathouse up to the starting line and I had no problem getting into the stakeboats and getting a point. I looked over at lanes 1, 2, and 3 and knew that they’d be no problem- we’d get them early out of the gate. The boat on my right in lane 5 would be our main competition. They were young and muscular, just like my boat. The coxswain and I caught each others eyes and glared for a moment just as the judge announced our teams. I heard the “Attention…” and tensed, grasped the steering rod, and told my girls to breathe. A second later we were off.

With rowing, the start is essential. Our start was fast, and we flicked ahead of most of the other boats just as I knew we would. Lane five pulled ahead of us, and I could see the eyes of their stroke seat. We held tight to their stern, went stroke for stroke with them through the majority of the race. With five hundred meters left I got pissed.  We took a power ten and immediately walked on their boat and I never let the pressure off. Each stroke grew stronger, we inched through their boat. I caught their coxswain’s eyes again. “Fuck this,” I said, “We have a fucking Olympian in our boat. Let’s get them NOW.” From what I heard after the finish, this is where our stroke seat looked over at them, raised her eyebrow and said, “tata!” as we darted past them. I knew then, with 250 meters left, that we’d won. I heard our coach from the stands as we hit our sprint, bumped us up two beats and finished the stretch. The buzzer went on, and my bow seat screamed. We’d won.

We paddled it past the bridge and congratulated the other boats as they finished. They all turned and headed back up the river, the rowing version of the walk of shame. We paddled over the awards dock. My proudest moment was watching my coach in the stands. He wasn’t jumping up and shouting as some coaches do- he expected it. He told us later that the other teams practice six days a week in those boats, whereas this had been our first time ever rowing together.

I sang the majority of the row back to our boathouse, and we laughed over the “tata!” story. It felt so good to dock at the boathouse and have everyone cheer when we held up our awards. The awards, by the way, were ceramic beer steins, which we filled immediately at the boathouse bar after putting the boat away.

The rest of the day was spent celebrating with two of the girls from the boat- filling our beer mugs and getting down to the stands to cheer on the rest of our boats while drinking.

 

The view I get every day from our boathouse. Aren’t you a bit jealous?

Celebrating afterwards. My bow seat and I found this body suit (which is something that coaches wear for REALLY cold weather) hidden away in the boathouse. I swear I don’t normally dress like that.

I’ve got a race in a few hours, and I’m going to be honest: I’m dead nervous. It’s not that I’ve been in hundreds of races, both rowing and coxing. I’ve raced national teams, club teams, international teams. I’ve raced all across this country, out of this country. I’ve won and I’ve lost.

The thing is, I’ve just started coxing for this team. My dream team, actually. I grew up near the Cooper River which, if you don’t know, is a hot spot for this sport. I grew up watching races and knowing that I wanted to do this sport. I remember my first day on the water, on a freezing February day, and coming home to find ice between my toes. I remember my first race, and how my stomach jolted the entire row up the Schuylkill. We won that race, and I remember the first hug my coach gave me on the shore.

I remember being 12 and watching this team race, seeing the letter on their backs. When they won, their coaches didn’t hug them- they expected it. The only visible emotion was disappointment when they lost races, always by a few inches. I’ve wanted to be on this team since that moment, have tried for years. This summer I finally got a try out and made the team. Today is my first race with them.

I’ve relished every moment of waking up at 4 am to drive to Boathouse Row, loved shoving from the dock onto perfect glassy water. I’ve even loved gliding under the bridges and steering around trees that wash into the water after storms.

I have a bunch of pre-race rituals that I always do- short runs, listening to certain songs, watching a particular clip from Every Given Sunday (hence the title), and watching rowing videos. It’s like I have to completely smother myself in rowing in preparation. I realize that a lot of people don’t know much about what I do, so I’m posting a couple of videos. The first is the Athens Olympics Mens 8+ Final, and the second an awesome commercial out of Germany. So enjoy, cross your fingers for me, and hope that I don’t have a heart attack on the line.