Archives for July 2013

Bodily Functions, Traveling with the Opposite Sex, and Other Potentially Embarrassing Subjects – Part 3

Part 3:
Everybody Poops

 

I began to wonder: Does this happen to other couples, and if so, what do they do? How do they handle this potentially awkward situation that screams, “Because we have only been dating a short time, and every time I have used the bathroom when we are together, you are miles away on the other side of the house, in a different room, with several doors and walls separating us, and maybe even the TV volume drowning out any sounds you may incorrectly think you hear coming from the bathroom. But now, you are on the other side of this flimsy Plexiglas unit that is posing as a door, and I don’t know how I am going to accomplish this very personal task without you totally getting to know me on a much more intimate level than I ever imagined you would at this point in our relationship!”

Granted, this is not even close to the same scenario as when I had food poisoning. This is worse. Because everyone understands that when you have food poisoning, you have absolutely no control over what is exiting your body, or from where and when it will be exiting. So in a way, you have total license to make whatever sounds you need to make in order to feel better. Such is not the case when you are not sick. Maybe under normal circumstances, for everything to happen as smoothly as possible, you even have an intricate routine to which you must carefully adhere.

“There’s a whole production that takes place involving magazines, my iPad and at least 20 minutes,” declared one of my male friends when I inquired if he would be embarrassed in a similar situation. “But, I mean, we’re all human. What’s that book you give to little kids? Everybody Poops, or something like that? Maybe you should just take a copy of that with you next time you go out of town.” This is good advice. (The book is called, Everyone Poops, by Taro Gomi, for those of you wishing to purchase a copy. Click on the link to purchase this book right now.)

Ultimately, we did not have any embarrassing moments on our last-minute, three-day trip to the beach (praise Jesus!). Instead, after a couple glasses of wine, we talked about everything and laughed ourselves silly over the absurdity of worrying about it. I mean, we are adults. In our forties. We have kids. We have pretty much seen, heard, and cleaned up all of it.

Taking your relationship to the next level can be wonderfully rewarding and unexpected. Next time you decide to embark on that journey, be prepared. Talking openly about how and when you might accomplish “personal tasks” while traveling together can certainly help lessen the anxiety you may both be feeling. And, if that doesn’t work, you can suddenly get a case of food poisoning…that only lasts 20 minutes.

Bodily Functions, Traveling with the Opposite Sex, and Other Potentially Embarrassing Subjects: Part 2

Shanty outhousePart 2:
Traveling with the Opposite Sex

 

Even as mature adults, beyond having the right outfits to wear on your romantic getaway, sometimes taking your relationship to the next level means coming face to face with things you have not yet begun to discuss or experience together. It means you are going to have do things in front of this other person, or at the home of his or her relatives, that you normally only do in the comfort of your own home, or in the case of an emergency, at a gas station off a major interstate.

Not long ago, I took a trip to the beach with a guy I had been dating for about a month at the time. The trip was amazing. The beach was one of the most beautiful ones I have ever been to. The whole experience was a new adventure for the two of us that ultimately took our relationship to the next level – in ways that neither of us could have imagined. Once again, an unfamiliar bathroom became my nemesis.

After a very brief discussion, as in…

Him: “Hey, we should totally go to the beach this weekend!”

Me: “Yes! I love the beach! Let’s go!”

…we took the fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants approach. We packed our bags – him: one less shirt than he needed for three days; me: eight shirts, two pairs of pants and a skirt I never even took out of the suitcase – and set out for the coast. Several hours later, after backing up on the highway because we were talking and missed our exit (twice), then stopping traffic to rescue a small turtle that was attempting to cross a busy road, we arrived in a charming South Carolina beach town.

“I want to stay at an Old South-style bed and breakfast,” my travel companion announced on Saturday night at 7:30 pm. “You know, the ones with a big porch and old trees with Spanish moss hanging down?” He thought for a moment. “Do you think they are all booked?”

Indeed they were, but the nice woman on the phone recommended we contact the one hotel in town that still had two rooms available. After squeezing into a parking space that wasn’t really a parking space (as in the front tires of four bicycles mounted to the car next to us sounded like they might become unmounted as they rubbed along the side of our Jeep), we unloaded our belongings and went inside this very contemporary, very eclectic, very open floor plan of a room that was the complete antithesis of an Old South-style bed and breakfast.

“This is cool,” I commented as I perused the room. “There is a TV in the bathroom.” Then I noticed the bathroom door. And when I say, “door,” I use the term loosely. It was a frosted, Plexiglas sliding unit that didn’t lock or block out anything – visually, audibly, or anything else you can think of that you might want to block out between a bathroom and a bedroom in which you are staying with someone you have never spent three days. I flipped switches on the bathroom wall. There was a fan. That was a plus.

We went to dinner, we drank wine, we walked along the beach – it was all very romantic. The next day though, I began to wonder what would happen if either one of us had to use this bathroom – I mean really use this bathroom – with the door that didn’t leave anything to the imagination. I secretly hoped he would need to use it before I did. That way, he could break the ice, thus making it easier for me should the occasion arise.

Akin to imagining potential evacuation routes in the event of a tornado, I began devising elaborate alternative options to our hotel bathroom. Maybe I could use the bathroom at a restaurant, or the nearby coffee shop, or the public restrooms at the beach. Maybe I could suggest that he go out to the little market down the street to get some random item that I had forgotten to pack. Maybe I could get up in the middle of the night, or very early in the morning, while he was still sound asleep, and sneak into the bathroom, without turning on any lights so as to draw attention to myself.

Then horror struck. What if he woke up while I was in there? What if he suddenly began dreaming about wandering through a sulfurous swamp, only to discover that the smell in his dream was actually coming from our hotel bathroom and I was in it?!

This is Part 2 of a 3-part series. Please click Everybody Poops and Other Embarrassing Subjects to continue reading Part 3.

Bodily Functions, Traveling with the Opposite Sex, and Other Potentially Embarrassing Subjects: Part 1

His & Hers luggagePart 1:
Bodily Functions

 

Sometimes taking your relationship to the next level means going out of town with the new man or woman in your life. It means going to the beach for a long weekend and staying at a cozy, little bed & breakfast. It means getting invited to a family gathering a few hours away and staying in somebody’s guest room with your new love. It means having a new experience together, away from home, where maybe you feel most comfortable. It means growing closer to each other in so many ways – ways you’ve never even imagined.

Many years ago, when I was meeting my boyfriend’s family for the first time, I was invited to spend Thanksgiving with him, his parents, and 27 of his closest relatives. On the four-hour drive to his parents’ house, I ate some bad fast-food chicken. In the middle of the night, in a guest room I had never before slept in, with a bathroom located somewhere down a hall I had never before walked down, it hit me.

Without warning, there I was in the middle of a situation in which I originally believed that what I was going to wear for Thanksgiving dinner would be my biggest concern. Instead, I was experiencing the most severe case of food poisoning I have ever had in my life, in a house full of people I had never met. Fortunately, my boyfriend’s mother was a nurse, so she was extremely accommodating and sympathetic in between entertaining guests and basting her Thanksgiving turkey.

This is, by far, a worst-case scenario. If you make it through this miserable experience together, your relationship jumps up about six levels. Your boyfriend has now seen (or at least heard) you puking your guts out multiple times, and looking as if you just filmed a scene as an extra in a zombie movie. After that, you’ve pretty much got nothing to hide in terms of bodily functions. It’s out there and you can’t take it back.

With that traumatic experience neatly tucked into my past, today when I am invited out of town to spend a few days with the man in my life, all I can think about is how much fun we will have, and how I need to prepare. First, I begin the daunting task of shaving and waxing. Next, I pack a suitcase full of enough clothes, shoes and accessories that in the case of an un-forecasted hurricane, I will have outfits for the next seven to 10 days while we are stranded. If the hurricane does not strike, I will say enthusiastically, as we are packing to go home after our three-day weekend, “Look, sweetie! I still have eight shirts, two pairs of pants and a skirt I haven’t even worn yet.”

This is Part 1 of a 3-part series. Please click Traveling with the Opposite Sex to continue reading Part 2.

How Listening to Your Inner Voice Can Make You Slap Someone You Love

Theresa and me a couple years ago. We're still friends.

Theresa and me a couple years ago. We’re still friends, even after the incident.

Sometimes the best advice comes in unexpected ways. Like the fortune cookie I recently opened that proclaimed:

There are lessons to be learned by listening to others.

I made a mental note to myself to listen more closely to others because obviously, the universe (or God) was trying to communicate with me, and today it was through my fortune cookie. Since I have learned never to ignore divine messages, regardless of their delivery method, I began paying closer attention to what other people were saying, as I was instructed. But, what I discovered was that I really just need to listen to myself, and other people need to listen to me.

It isn’t so much that other people drone on about mostly useless drivel 90 percent of the time, but rather that I came to realize we all have this profound inner voice that always knows what to do. I mean always. And, it is never wrong. Like the time when I was 16 years old sailing my father’s 17-foot sailboat – all by myself for the very first time, with my friend Theresa, who panicked that we were going to flip over.

We were in the middle of the lake when the winds picked up and Theresa stood up in the boat and began screaming that we were going to drown. I really just needed her to loosen the jib and sit down so I could swing the mainsail and we could come about and head toward shore. I tried to convey this to her calmly, yet firmly, but she continued to stand in the boat and scream. In a split second, as the captain of the ship sensing an ensuing crisis, I listened to my inner voice and knew exactly what to do.

I left my position at the tiller, walked calmly across the boat to Theresa, and slapped her across the face. “You need to calm down,” I told her. “I need you to listen to me so we can sail this boat back to shore.” (It is occurring to me now that if Theresa had read the message in my fortune cookie that day, she totally could have avoided being slapped.)

The slap accomplished exactly what I needed it to: Theresa was stunned and immediately stopped screaming. “OK,” she said, staring at me in total disbelief. “Did you just slap me?”

“Yes. Yes, I did,” said my confident self. “It was my only option. I need you to listen to me so we can get safely back to the Yacht Club.”

“OK,” said my best friend. “Thank you.”

“Anytime.”

Clearly, in this situation, it was listening to myself instead of others that taught me a valuable lesson: when faced with an impending crisis, be authoritative and confident in your actions for the benefit and safety of everyone around you.

Instead of drowning, we made it back to the dock a short time later and Theresa apologized for flipping out. “I’m sorry,” she said, hugging me. “I was scared and I didn’t know how we were going to make it back in one piece.”

“It happens to the best of us,” I told her. “Next time, just listen to me. I promise you, I know what to do.”

Author’s note: When I asked Theresa if I could use her real name in this story, she said, “Absolutely! I know this event happened because you love to tell the slap story! But I really don’t remember it. Maybe I was in shock or something.”

Saying No is Easy…You Just Need to Practice

A perspective on wine

Lots of wine barrels.

A few days ago, my friend Shannon texted me while I was freaking out about meeting all my work deadlines and other various projects I had committed to, which all seemed to be culminating at once. Shannon was watching a remodeling show on TV and saw a room that made her think of me.

“I’m watching Room Crashers,” said her text. “They are designing a room that is so you! The floors are from wine barrels. The chandelier is IN a wine barrel. It is so Tuscan. It reminds me of your style.”

Wow! I thought. I wish I lived in a house that had floors made from wine barrels – preferably ones from which I had consumed the contents. Shannon urged me to turn on my TV and check it out. “I wish I could,” I lamented in my text back to her. “Stressed with work today! I have too many irons in the fire. Need to learn to say no!” 😛

Shannon, my dear friend who always helps me see a different perspective, and can creative problem solve my life’s crises on the fly, responded immediately with, “Practice: Karla do you want to rob a bank?”

Me:      Um…not today, but can I let you know if I have room in my schedule tomorrow?

S:        Do you want to dye your hair gray?

K:        (That last answer was wrong, wasn’t it?)… NO!!!

S:        Do you want to gain a hundred pounds?

Do you want to be single forever?

Do you want sextuplets?

K:        No!!! Especially NO to sextuplets!!!

S:        Do you want to drive a bus full of middle schoolers?

Do you want to pull weeds?

K:        God No! No! NO!!!!!

S:        You’re getting better 😉

That little exchange between us had me laughing and marveling at how quickly my perspective changed from one of stress and feeling overwhelmed to one of amusement and the realization that I really did have the power to say no whenever I needed to take back control of my time. Shannon easily helped me see that with a few quick-witted texts. Suddenly the absurdity of what I was stressed about faded away. I would meet all my deadlines. I would get done exactly what needed to get done.

“This is why I love you!” I texted back to my friend. “You know all the right questions to ask me to help me grow! See how awesome you are?” 🙂

“Did you turn on the TV yet?” said the next text.

“No. I wish I could, but I will have to look it up online later,” I replied.

“See?” wrote Shannon. “And you thought you couldn’t say no.”