Tag Archives: blogging

A night that wasn’t in the cards

Remember MySpace? I can’t even type that with a straight face. Well, embarrassingly to say, MySpace was the forum used to create my first blog. This blog, sandwiched between creative selfies and Kanye West’s song, Heartless (not really building a case for myself here, am I?), contained one shining and brilliant moment of self-discovery. As brilliant a moment of self-discovery can be at the ripe age of 20, anyway.

In it, I professed my hatred for card games (obviously not classics like Go Fish and Old Maid; I’m not a monster), but especially my extreme loathing of pitch. Not even when I was 80, not even when all my friends – well, those who were left – invited me to play, not even if it was a choice between playing pitch or getting pitched from the game of life would I partake in this ludicrous activity.

My mind was firmly made up.

I hadn’t thought about that blog until recently. You see, I woke up last Sunday with a terrible hangover headache. Everything was a blur – and then – fuzzy recollections of the night before began to enter my brain.

My stomach lurched violently as I began to experience panic mixed with deep regret and shame.

What have I done? I thought, as I sat up straight in bed, rocking back and forth. Shivering, I wrapped my arms tighter around me.

The night had started out innocently enough. Clayton and I were visiting friends out of town, and our plans were to attend the Do the Brew beer sampling event later that afternoon. After sampling countless amounts of ales, blondes and stouts, I’ll admit my standards went down a bit. I wasn’t thinking clearly. A carefree, reckless attitude was certainly present.

After the event, our friends asked if we wanted to go back to their place to, you know, grab some pizza. Have a few more drinks. Just talk.

“Sure,” I naively said. “That sounds great!”

Before I knew what was happening, a pack of cards was placed in front of me on the table, and the suggestion to play pitch hung in the air like a wet blanket on a clothesline.

I shouldn’t. It’s late. I have to work really early tomorrow morning. Is that my phone ringing?

You can only prolong the inevitable so long, and my excuses were falling on deaf ears. Tipsy, deaf ears. The worst ears for declining pitch: the state game of Nebraska.

“I told myself I would never learn…,” I said feebly.

“Come oooon. Just play! It can be our little secret,” they cajoled.

Before I knew what was happening, cards were being dealt in my general direction. Ew. Ick. I tried to brush them away with a shudder, thinking of the people I would disappoint and hurt if I irresponsibly continued this heinous act.

It was all for naught.

I attempted to eject myself from the game with all the effort of someone who tries to politely refuse the last piece of apple pie, even though they secretly, desperately crave it. I couldn’t possibly.

Then,

Oh, no. It’s happening. Just close your eyes.

I played my first hand, letting the cards of failure fall where they may. Then, the thrill of the chase after almost nine years of painstakingly abstaining from the game took over. I felt … liberated.

Sure, I didn’t played my cards right – specifically, because I ended up playing cards, but also because I didn’t yet know all the rules. But the sense of camaraderie I felt, as well as the various card strategies and lingo learned, welcomed me into adulthood. I came out of the whole thing feeling more experienced. More mature. More worldly.

And so, so dirty.

Back to Sunday morning.

You see, my friends had encouraged me to play this game for more than nine years. With love, persistence and plenty of peer pressure, they offered to teach me more times than I can remember. Year after year, I never gave in.

Now I had to tell those very friends the ugly truth that I had learned to play pitch, and that I had learned it without them. I took to Facebook, and was met with the disapproval I expected, but lots of cyber slaps on the back. Following are some of the responses:

1. Yaayyyy for you! 
2. I feel so cheated on.
3. And you don’t regret it either, do you?!
4. Boo!!

I may have lost respect from my best friend and others, but regardless, the training wheels are off. Like it or not, I’m a full grown woman now; well, despite my love of animated movies and staying up past my bedtime.

My friends may be able to forgive me for my shameless behavior in time. Whether I’ll be able to forgive myself is still up in the air, seeing as my careless actions now guarantee myself a spot at the card table whenever the occasion arises.

It’s too soon to tell if pitch is “the one” for me in terms of card games. So far, it’s been a tumultuous love-hate relationship. I guess all I can do is keep testing the waters and keep things casual in case I end up liking another card game more. After all, it’s way too soon to settle down with just one game for the rest of my life.

Spades, anyone?

Marriage is like a deck of cards. In the beginning all you need are two hearts and a diamond. By the end, you wish you had a club and a spade.

To read or not to read … that is the question

Clayton and I (mostly Clayton) recently came to the realization we watch a lot of TV. Granted, it’s winter in Nebraska, which means we’re stuck indoors for the better part of the year, but I’m fairly certain some days the heat radiating from our perpetually turned on TV(s) was keeping the house warm instead of our HVAC system. Not good. And while I’m not keen on admitting it, for two weeks straight, my heroine was Karen from Will and Grace. Looking back, I see now where he may have thought we (mostly me) were on a downward spiral.

So, we sat down a few nights ago with a bit of ole-fashioned resolve to have a good read. Clayton already had his book picked out. He had chosen Rome Sweet Home, a stimulating, non-fiction piece about a former Protestant couple turned Catholic. Powerful stuff. It was a paperback, too, as if he wasn’t already one-upping me with his life-transforming content. My mind instantly went to people who still read newspapers, ink permeating their fingertips, instead of searching for news online, only a few years away from disabling carpal tunnel like the rest of us. If a study was done, I bet we’d find those reading tangible publications would be categorized as more respected, learned or sophisticated. Likewise, I think there’s deeper appreciation for the history of and life led by paperback books – unless I’m the only one who loves the musty smell of old library books and that makes me a huge weirdo. Because I’m totally not.

Of course, this was a brand new book, so I was still able to glance at him sideways in a slightly smug manner.  

For about two minutes, I stared pitifully at my dead Kindle, a slave to technology, between trading inquisitive, hopeful looks with the darkened TV (which just consisted of me making faces at myself in the TV’s reflection.) Presumably, because the massive appliance was off, it was ice cold in the room, and I couldn’t bear the thought of getting out of the protective bed covers to plug in the device.

With what I imagine was a barely audible sigh, Clayton read my mind and grabbed my charger, handing it to me before settling back in. My body half out of bed as I stubbornly pulled the covers with me, I stretched toward the outlet about three feet away from the bed, my dignity diminishing as blatantly as the comforter covering Clayton. Out of breath from the catastrophic act of laziness, I uprighted myself, avoiding eye contact by pretending to be overly indignant the Kindle still displayed the lightning bolt/plug icon and nothing else after a solid minute of charging.

Having already improved his quality of life through 10 minutes of almost undistracted mental exercise, Clayton quietly read on. Meanwhile, I stared at my phone’s Kindle app, feeling bored with content already in its library, wondering what book I would even buy, and vehemently hoping Clayton was too absorbed in his own reading to realize I was, indeed, even thinking of purchasing a book.

That I had somehow found a way to shop online instead of read at this point in our venture was an accomplishment of its own to me, proving just how tenacious my skill (problem?) for shopping is. Because of the Antarctic conditions of the house, however, I justified buying a novel was a safer route than risking my life by journeying downstairs to pick one from the bookcase, of which I would have had to climb shelves to even reach reading material based on my short stature. In slippers half a size too big for my clumsy self. Without contacts. Because it seems natural selection missed the boat with me.

Ongoing bullet points are usually how I make my case for shopping. Is it working yet?

I stealthily googled away.

Now, throughout the last couple months, I had read my fair share of humoristic literature. Jim Gaffigan’s book, Dad is Fat. Mindy Kaling’s book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Deciding to continue my education in hilarity, I purchased Allie Brosh’s new book, Hyperbole and a Half.

So, here we are. Clayton’s enlightening himself, well on his way with a faith-filled couple on a religious journey, and I have chosen a book that, quite honestly, has way too many pictures for my age. A book with stories based largely on running around naked, finding loopholes to becoming a better person and neuroticism. Stories that frequently star the f word. To be fair, the pictures are truly charming.

We’re epic proof opposites attract.

I read the entire thing in less than a day, and I was not shortchanged by the amount of guffaws radiating from deep within my diaphragm. My abs were making a solid case for themselves (pun intended), and I was delighted to find reading could actually double as a secondary workout plan. Everything was coming up Milhouse!

However, reading about someone else’s hilarious take on life is nowhere as satisfying as writing stories about my own experiences. That’s when I realized exactly how lazy I was being by taking the easy way out.

To read or not to read? That’s my yin and yang – I can’t be a writer and avid book lover and have one without the other. Balance is a struggle for me. I’m very clumsy, like I said. But also when it comes to everything in my life. One day I must clean the entire house, giving myself an hour to do so. The next moment, I realize how impossible that is and go on one of my Will and Grace binges. Still seconds later, I’m falling apart in guilt, sobs wracking my body when I could have just done the damn dishes, watched one episode of Will and Grace and been well on my way to not being a crazy person.

The conclusion is this: I will continue to read about the fascinating endeavors of my peers, while spending quality time writing instead of raging with misplaced jealousy that they are writing and I am not. All with the balance of the tumbler I used to be when I was five.

I missed you guys. I’m glad to be back.

Ass-out cyber hugs (let’s keep it professional),

The newly Mrs. Rief

Why I haven’t been blogging?