I’ve decided that I’m a faux rock climber.

Faux in that the rocks I climb are plastic.

Faux in that I suck, that I can’t actually climb well, that I wouldn’t consider myself a climber of rocks.

A faux rock climber. That’s me.

We joined the climbing gym, which you maybe already know if you read yesterday’s post. But yesterday was all about the house (still no decision) and today will be all about the plastic rocks.

I don’t do everything Allan does. I don’t play soccer, I won’t pee outside, I won’t wade 20 feet into the Atlantic. I have no interest in hiking the Appalachian Trail nor do I want to make it to the top of Half Dome.

Allan doesn’t like to read. He doesn’t get giddy over puppies, he doesn’t feel the urge to volunteer. He doesn’t obsess over Etsy or take photos of everything that comes into view.

So I didn’t join the climbing gym for him. Or just for him, anyway. It’s good for us, doing this thing. Aside from Big Picture stuff, we don’t actually have much in common, so it’s good to share this.

I joined for me.

Yes, for me.

I’m terrified of heights. When I get more than five feet from the ground, my chest constricts, my palms sweat and my heart pounds. And the vast majority of my time in the gym is spent more than five feet from the ground. I get to nearly 30 feet off of the ground if I make it to the top of a route, whether it be rainbow or a solid color. Every single time I put my foot in a hold and reach up to grab the next, I am scared shitless. But I do it anyway. I chip away at my fear. And I’m proud of myself.

I feel like I’m using my body when I’m there. I believe my body – as imperfect as it is – can do more than sit on the couch and leisurely walk the dog. My body was made to move, to push, to pull, to stretch, to reach. And when I’m at the gym, I’m doing all of that and more. I’m using this amazing, fully-functional body that I was given. It’s a waste not to. I’ve been wasting my body. And I can’t imagine an exercise that forces me to use all the different muscles and each of my limbs the way climbing does. Every bump, every bruise, every scrape, every trickle of blood is proof that my body is in motion, that it’s working.

To do this thing, to climb these plastic rocks, I have to use my head and my body in a way that I’ve never done before. And when I make it to the top, when I’ve conquered my fears, when I’ve pushed my body to the limit only to learn that my limits are expanding with each hold, it’s exhilarating. It’s a surge of adrenaline that I have rarely experienced in my 32 years on this planet.

That’s why I joined the climbing gym.

I looked over this morning and saw Allan laughing at a commercial, which made my day.

Seeing him happy makes me happier than anything else. I mean, HELLO, I joined a climbing gym for the boy! Don’t get me wrong, I really like diamonds and chocolate and sapphires and fancy lenses and my dog and stuff, but ultimately, seeing Allan happy is better than anything.

Which is partially why I feel like I’m in a twisted, gut-wrenching episode of House Hunters. What makes me happiest and what makes Allan happiest in terms of houses is different.

So, if you’ve watched House Hunters you’re familiar with how it goes: a couple looks for homes, they see three, and then the couple has to choose between them.

We narrowed it down to two.

House number one is within two miles of where we live now, so the neighborhood and all we are familiar with will remain the same. The house has a beautiful brick exterior, a big, fantastic, landscaped yard and a great neighborhood. The house itself, the interior, is eh. Just eh. It’s perfectly fine. Nothing WOW about it. It’s a bit on the small side, doesn’t have the number of bedrooms I was hoping for, but it’s fine.

House number two is 13 miles from where we currently live. It’s a brand new community and the yards are eh. Just eh. Not big at all. But the house is fantastic, it knocks our socks off. And because it’s new construction, we’d get to pick all the details for the house from the exterior stone and color to the interior cabinets, granite and hard wood.

But the thing is, we want the great house and the great yard. And we can’t find that combo. Even if we jack our price range up by $100k, we don’t have a whole lot of options. I think I’ve said this before, but where we live, you either get great house or great yard. We could have both if we move really far from Raleigh, but neither of us want to do that.

So here we sit – we have a house with a fantastic yard that would make Allan SO HAPPY. And we have a fantastic house that would make me SO HAPPY.

We don’t know what to do because each of us wants to be happy, but we both want the other to be happy, too.

Stay tuned because we have to make a decision (about the new construction, at least) before Saturday.

So, I finally got around to booking our hotel for our one-night stay on the Las Vegas strip, and I couldn’t be more excited! We were planning on staying at the Bellagio basically because I knew it existed, but when I looked around, I found a hotel I liked better, and for $10 less, we’re able to get a suite! A suite on the strip at the Palazzo!


At this point I want to be like screw Utah! Let’s stay on the strip the whole time! We can can’t buy Christian Louboutin shoes! We can can’t test drive Lamborghinis! We can go on gondola rides!

Did you know I was going to Utah? Did I already tell you? I can’t remember. Let me go back and search through this here blog…

It appears as though I have not discussed Utah. Well, I’m going there next month!

Thanks to vouchers from Delta, and a free room at Gregory’s, we’re going to be taking a very cheap vacation clear across the continent. First we’re going to spend three solid days with my brother and his family. We’re going to spend quality time with Kamryn, we’re going to meet their dogs and see their new house.

Then we’re going to drive eight hours (no, seriously) to Moab. While in Moab, we’re going to tour the area, visit Arches National Park and stay in a crummy little hotel.

Then we’re going to drive five hours (no, seriously) back in the direction of Vegas to stay at Zion National Park and hike The Narrows (and stay in a crummy little hotel).

Then we’re going to drive two and a half hours back to Vegas and camp out in a suite at the Palazzo for a night (which I think is approximately the same price as the crummy hotels).

Then we’re going to go home.

It’s going to be jam-packed with family and outdoor adventures. While I’m not really an outdoorsy kind of person, I’m married to one. And I love the desert and am really excited to see a new state, new landscapes and have new experiences. And I’m especially excited to spend more time with Kamryn.

But I hope for our vacation next year, we go on a cruise and lay on the beach.

My weekend was insufficiently awesome. That’s a phrase my team at work likes to use – insufficiently awesome. It makes us laugh. But it’s a telling statement, right? Like, there’s some awesome there, but not enough. An insufficient amount, if you will.

But I’ll focus on the positives.

The positives included a sunset walk on the beach with my honey, during which he took what has now become my most favorite photo of us ever. EVER. I can’t quite put my finger on why I love it, I just do.

The colors of the sunset that night were exquisite. So bright and bold. At one point, the sky over the intra-coastal waterway was straight-up magenta. A magenta more intense than in any crayon, any marker, any piece of stained-glass. I made Allan pull the car over so I could take a photo, then another photo, then more and more photos, but of course, none captured the incredible hue.

I think if I managed to capture the color and showcase the photo, people would think it was Photoshopped.

Umm, what else was good? Well, I got a blue raspberry Italian ice at Rita’s, which is my favorite. I learned that every Sunday, a whole rotisserie chicken at Harris-Teeter is $4.99 (guess what’s for dinner tonight). I had some baby corns in my salad, which I think are so fun to eat. I started reading a new book by an author I really like. Her books are so popular, they’re hard to find in the library, so it was a total win. I talked to my grandpap for longer than 10 minutes, which is like a marathon for him. He’s usually done chatting in about four minutes.

Aaannnd, um, that’s about it.

Oh, man. There’s a song they recently started playing on the radio and it sticks in my head like no other.

On Tuesday night we were in the car driving to the climbing gym and it came on. And I was like OH NO! It’s going to be stuck in my head ALL NIGHT LONG! So then we get into the climbing gym and, of course, it started playing just as soon as we hit the first rock wall. And it stayed in my head ALL NIGHT LONG!

Then last night while I was getting settled into bed – no matter that I didn’t hear the song at all that day – tiiitttaaaaaannniiiuuummmm started a continuous loop around my brain. Tiiitttaaaaaannniiiuuuuummmmmm!

So, the climbing gym.

We’re not quite sure what to do about it. We have a week left on our trial membership and so far we’re really enjoying it. And we go with friends, which makes it even better. But our friends challenge Allan and I do not. So if they don’t join the gym, Allan will be stuck climbing with just me. And I only do the rainbow routes while he does routes of the 5.7-5.10 variety.

What are rainbow routes, you ask?

They’re cheater routes. They’re routes that aren’t actually routes. What I do is grab a hold of anything I see, put my foot on anything that looks wider than a paperclip and haul myself up all 28 feet of plastic rock until I tap the ceiling and beg to be belayed down to earth. What you’re really supposed to do is only grab onto/step onto holds of the same color. They’re designated routes of varying difficulty levels.

On Tuesday night I did my first non-rainbow route. It was all yellow, which is the easiest color. A 5.5. And I think it was probably the easiest 5.5 in the whole building because the top of the route leaned in, thus allowing me to NOT use much upper body strength, which was convenient because I don’t have much upper body strength.

When I got to the ground after doing the easiest and cheesiest of all the 5.5s, I felt triumphant. I clapped my hands, I smiled, I squealed, I was pretty damn pleased with myself.

I am not a rock climbing winner.

I have a mega laptop at work. A massive, super huge, giant, 500lb laptop. It’s a new model, but it has a wide screen to facilitate my Photoshop work (actions, people, actions) and the width of the machine makes it incredibly heavy.

When my company gave me a choice of which laptop bag to get, I didn’t realize the true size of my computer or the ramifications of my decision. I picked the cute bag. When I carry the monster laptop in its cute, purse-like bag, no joke, it cuts off circulation.

I learned the enormity of my mistake on my first business trip. On my second – and consecutive – trips, I borrowed Allan’s North Face Borealis bag. The shoulder straps were comfortable, the interior was roomy and it held my mega lappy.

Today, when picking up our free socks from the North Face store (that’s a whole other story), I noticed their row of bags. I looked at them longingly, tried them on, selected colors, gasped at their price tags.

Approximately $100.

My favorite was the Borealis, just like Allan’s. My favorite color was the navy. Allan’s is red and gray.

I started thinking about how nice it would be to have my very own bag and how practical it would be to take a functional bag to Utah.

But again, $100.

When I got home, I did some digging and found the bag – in the color I want – for $57.95. It was on sale and the shipping was free.

When I looked at my PayPal account – my Allie Fun Money account – it had $58.55.

I got the bag!

Last night, after seeing Allan for the first time since Monday, I was in bed at 9:30. No hanky-panky. No hours on the couch talking about our week. No nice, relaxing dinner.

I went upstairs and went to sleep.

Oh, you didn’t know Allan was out of town? It wasn’t mentioned on here or on Twitter or on Facebook? Yeeaaahhh. I never mention it because I’m afraid some deranged ax murderer is going to find out about his absence and, well, do what ax murderers do.

My anxiety levels are THROUGH THE ROOF when Allan’s not here. I don’t sleep well at all. Like, I average between four to five hours a night. I’m just not comfortable. I’m actually pretty terrified.

I know it’s irrational, but I can’t help it. I make this house as safe as I possibly can, but I never relax. I can’t breathe easy.

Did I mention that Raleigh is incredibly safe? And that I have an alarm system? And a really big, fierce looking (and sounding dog)? I do. I have all of that. I have everything except for peace of mind.

But, he’s back. He’s home from Oklahoma and he’s sitting next to me, watching hockey. And last night I actually fell asleep. I think I passed out, to be honest. I rolled over on my side to see the television from a different angle, and next thing I know it’s 6am. Usually I have some recollection of preparing to fall asleep, but last night I prepared to watch more tv and the rest is history.

In addition to being scared out of my tiny little brain, I’m also lonely as hell when Allan’s not here.

Look, I live with my best friend. It’s as lucky a situation as these things get. Every single day, I get to hang out with my favorite person on the planet. I get to kiss him, too! When he’s not here, the void is enormous and I miss him something awful.

I’m entirely too attached to that kid.

Speaking of my honey, I think I’ve mentioned that he likes to climb rocks, right? Well, in an attempt to be a good, supportive wife, I agreed to take a rock climbing class with him at an indoor gym in the area. It was some Living Social deal, and it was for two people, and though he didn’t need the lesson, I surely did.

We took the class today. No joke, right now I’m having a hard time typing because my forearms and hands are so weak. And my ass hurts like crazy. I made it to the top of a 28 foot route three times and I survived. However, on the decent from one of them, I was a bit out of control on the auto-belayer and I slammed, right ass-cheek first, into some holds. When I stand, I can barely put one foot in front of the other. That’s how deep and large the bruise is.

Despite the fact that I couldn’t make it to the top on a route by itself (I had to incorporate holds from other routes to make it to the top) and despite my crash belay, I had fun. I was able to – momentarily – overcome my intense fear of heights (I’m afraid of everything, yo) and push my mental, physical and emotional boundaries.

Not bad for a Saturday afternoon.

Our class came with a two-week trial membership, so I suspect we’ll be there at least four or five more times in the next 14 days. We’ll see how many body parts are still at functioning levels at the end of June. I’ll keep you posted.