Wherein I Meet a Girl at a Bar and She Calls My Employer the Next Morning

The last 24 hours are dumb.

Yesterday, though, was going pretty good. I woke up in the morning under 200 lbs for the first time in about five or six years. The work week was going by quickly, and I was just leaving the gym early because the old pair of shorts I’d packed in kept falling on me when got going on the treadmill. That’s a cool feeling.

Feeling like I deserved a really dope meal I stopped at my favorite local restaurant and picked up an order to go. In came in an acquaintance I hadn’t seen since last summer looking to do the same thing so we decided to have drinks and just eat there.

She’s cute. Really, ridiculously cute. I may have had bit of thing for her in 2013 when we first met. My town is small and in the past 15 months she’s been one of only two or three really cool ladies I’ve met. So when she remarked about how toned up I was looking and how she was glad I wasn’t with the girl she met over the summer anymore and how she was moving to Chippewa Falls, I was feeling good about getting a future date out of this run-in.

I told her I was thinking about moving back to Eau Claire, that I missed Phoenix Park, the place you go to for concerts and biking and farmer’s markets and the best bars. She agreed and bemoaned the fact that the only thing to do in Chippewa Falls is drink.

Something she couldn’t do now that she was pregnant.

Me, basically.

She’s back with her ex after this little surprise and I couldn’t be happier for her. But our talk for the rest of the dinner turned to how sick she’s been and then my little niece and other babies in our families and soon dinner was done. It had been cool to catch up, but there was still a bit of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  in that dinner.

The night was just getting started. I was going to feel like that because of women a couple more times.

I went home to watch the premiere of Archer, wishing I had some absynth and milk for the occasion. The show has still got it.

But an IM conversation with a friend of mine turned hella awkward for about ten minutes because I’m an oblivious idiot. [if you’re reading this, Hi! I was still laughing over my overall dopiness this morning :D] 

After our conversation I wanted a drink. I was laughing about it and not sleepy and maybe I’d tell someone about how I had been an idiot and get a laugh. Not at my usual spot, which was dead, but a different one I hadn’t been to in at least 10 months. I sat down anyway and ordered an old fashioned.

“Beam rye, sweet and no fruit?” the bartender asked.

“Uh, yea. Wow. How’d you know that.” I said. Everyone in Chippewa Falls orders their with fucking brandy. Many include shit like olives. My town is weird.

“Because I’ve heard about a tall bald guy in town who orders beam old fashioneds, sweet with no fruit.”

My town is small.

A girl sitting a few stools down got up to come and sit by me. “How did you order that? I’ve never heard of a rye old fashioned before.”

She was cute. Stocking cap still on because it was about -10 last night. Tall, probably my age or a bit younger. I thought I recognized everyone in this town but I’d never seen her before.

“The original. Rye, sugar, bitters and club soda. Try it” and she  did.

For the next hour we talked drinks, work, music, where I’ve lived and how it wasn’t possible (according to her) that I’ve lived in this town for over a year and she’d never seen me before. This was a common theme, kinda. She seemed to think I was bullshitting her for most of the night. Like I was married or from out of town. At some point she casually dropped some knowledge that she’s got a boyfriend. She said this, facing me, sitting inches away while her legs we in between mine. She found reasons to laugh and touch my arm. As far as overt flirts go I’ve met she’s up there.

I didn’t know how to process the whole flirting with me thing while also having a boyfriend, but I didn’t stick around much longer to find out. She was a cool chick and it was nice getting that kind of attention, but I had to work the next day and it was getting late and if I think I’m making a good impression on someone my move is to leave while I’m ahead. So I got up from my stool, put my jacket on, smiled, told her to have a lovely evening and maybe I’d run into again sometime.

“How about tomorrow? Rusted Root is playing in town this weekend. I’ll be there.” she said.

“Well I mean if you’re gonna be there…”

“See you this weekend!”

Within 20 minutes I was in bed, still feeling like I should just laugh the night off and forget about it.

This morning I was playing hurt from last night’s red wine, Elijah Craig, old fashioneds and about four hours of sleep.

My quasi-work-wife J stopped into my office and sat down. She had a look on her face. She said she didn’t really want to get into my personal life but she needed to ask me a question.

“So did you meet someone last night?” she said.

“Yea. Why?”

The story I heard was…weird.

A co-worker I barely know got a call from one of her girlfriends. This girlfriend tells my co-worker she met a guy she thinks was probably lying to her but she wants to find out anyway. She describes me, gives my co-worker my first name and describes what I do at my company. She says this guy was “impossibly sweet and charming”*. This co-worker calls J, someone in my immediate department because she said that sounded like me but wanted to be sure. J hears this description of a guy and agrees. It was me. Co-worker with the girlfriend asks my friend what I’m like, that her girlfriend really wants to know. I’ll spare you the details, but my tires were sufficiently pumped. It was pretty flattering to hear this from J. J is awesome.

*well, yea.

J then tells me that this co-worker called back ten minutes later.

“Is he seeing anyone?” she asks.

“I don’t think so. I know he was dating someone really tall and blond and beautiful earlier in the year but it didn’t work out.”

“I’ll pass that along!”

I wish I could say I was really processing any of this but I didn’t sleep much and was caffeine deprived and I’d been concentrating on something work related like 90 seconds earlier. J was excited. She wanted to know details about this girl I met. I didn’t have any I wanted to give but I said thanks for the tire pumping. She gave me a high five.

So that’s what I’ve been thinking about tonight. A girl who told me she was in a relationship called my place of employment the next morning wanting to find out about me. Is that a thing? Like is that normal?

Anyway, Wiggins vs Giannis is on. Go Bucks.

This is what a post on one hour of sleep looks like.

This is me, checking in like I said I would. I made it through Hell Week with my health relatively intact, but my brain isn’t functioning on any kind of acceptable level, very much sleep deprived as my body tries to adjust to being back to work regularly after being off for 11 of the previous 16 days.

2014 was a was a dumpster fire for society, but pretty awesome for me personally. Later this week I’ll write about some of what made last year so dope.

I can’t do that today. One hour of sleep is a bit too much to overcome. All I want to do is get through work, run a bit, do laundry, and fall right the hell to sleep around 9.

Oh god sleep sounds good right now.

It’s the last week of the 2014…post.

Thing that has always seemed interesting and worthwhile that was a massive letdown: chicken mole. It was sitting in the cooker for six hours before I tried it out and…not so great. If anyone has a recipe they swear by, though, let me know.

Not gonna check in every night with updates on my workouts or diet anymore. I will every Sunday or Monday though, in some form or another. I’ve realized this is going to be a marathon and not a sprint. Obsessing over day to day numbers on a scale did me good for a month, but it isn’t a long term strategy. Just working out regularly and eating smart is. I still have the same goals that I did when I started, I just know that accomplishing them is something that will happen over the coming months, not weeks. I’m good with that. That said, if anyone reading this wants to see some startling results in a very short period, go cold turkey on sugar. Because holy shit.

One more week in Hell Month. A birthday party, belated Christmas celebration and New Years eve is on-tap. There will be booze.

Thing that is undisputedly better than sex.

It’s 10:50 am. I just got home after spending the night with family at my folks’ place. We were supposed to have the traditional Christmas eve dinner and gift opening and drinking and cards and such. Mostly it didn’t happen. My brother has the flu and didn’t travel, meaning the little baby wasn’t gonna be in attendance. That’s a blow too big to recover from so we’re delaying Christmas a week and trying again next Wednesday night.

No big deal.

But anyway, there was still a little traveling involved and spending the night on a coach and not my bed and since I was only gonna be gone about 20 hours I didn’t even pack a bag or change of clothes.

I got back to my apartment just now and like any normal person would do I put on my sweats and most comfortable tee and hopped on the couch and for some reason I was immediately reminded of a passage from the Chuck Palahniuk novel, Choke: 

The problem with sex is the same as with any addiction. You’re always recovering. You’re always backsliding. Acting out. Until you find something to fight for, you settle for something to fight against. All these people who say they want a life free from sexual compulsion, I mean forget it. I mean, what could ever be better than sex?

For sure, even the worst blow job is better than, say, sniffing the best rose . . . watching the greatest sunset. Hearing children laugh.

I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a hot-gushing, butt-cramping, gut-hosing orgasm.

Painting a picture, composing an opera, that’s just something you do until you find the next willing piece of ass.

The minute something better than sex comes along, you call me. Have me paged.

This. This is better than sex. Or an amazing meal. Or seeing the ocean for the first time after a long drive. Or anything, really.

Getting home after holiday traveling, almost regardless of distance or time away, putting on comfortable clothes and gearing up for a day of not dealing with anything holiday related is literally the best.

Day 3

**I’m working on getting healthy and developing better habits in life. This is my public effort to do so. Doin’ it for me.

Weight: 202 lbs
Waist: 34″
Breakfast: Coffee
Lunch: Beef stew
Snacks: Chips and dip
Dinner: Cheeseburger
Workout: Lower body weight lifting
Alcohol: Bloody mary and the Glenlivet 15
In bed by: No idea
Asleep by: Same

The Good: Re-stocked my closet with new fitting shit. EXTRA SLIM FIT MOTHERFUCKER.

21 day experiment was up today. I had carbs and they were dope.

The Meh: Dinner was a cheeseburger. I mean, it was a good ass cheeseburger, but it’s Christmas eve.

The Bad: Brother has the flu, which means no baby’s first Christmas, which means everything was a bust. Postponing everything Christmas related until New Years eve.

Gym is closed tomorrow.

Day 2

**I’m working on getting healthy and developing better habits in life. This is my public effort to do so. Doin’ it for me.

Weight: 203 lbs
Waist: 34″
Breakfast: Coffee
Lunch: Beef stew
Snacks: None
Dinner: Ahi tuna, risotto, wilted spinach and bacon
Workout: 2 mile sprints, core
Alcohol: Bourbon. An as yet to be determined amount.
In bed by: TBD
Asleep by: No idea

The Good: This is gonna have to be finished tomorrow. This is getting done from my phone.

The Meh:

The Bad:

In the last three weeks I’ve lost 16 lbs and my dignity. Fun!

Your boy’s had a pretty rough 48 hours or so. Let’s get caught up on the train wreck, from the way back in the beginning:

1 – I broke up with a someone earlier in the fall. It was overdue when it happened and I was confident I was doing the right thing. She showed her ass with a mountain of texts and unanswered phone calls, but I wasn’t having any of it*. It wasn’t working for us and we were over.

The breakup lasted a few weeks before we got back together, because of course. There was still some nagging doubt in my mind when she showed up at my place late one night and we talked it out. I thought maybe the breakup was too hasty. Maybe this could actually work. Five days later I walked out on the relationship again. If there had been any doubt after the first breakup, it was nuked the second time around. I drove home with a smile on my face.

*Let’s keep that point in mind. It’s going to come back to bite me in the ass.

2 – Yay freedom! MLB playoffs, the NFL in full swing, all-day college football Saturdays with my brother, late season golf, hanging out with friends at the bar. Because fuck it, no obligations anymore, right?

The breakup was super easy to rationalize. We didn’t have much of anything in common and we didn’t enjoy doing the same things. To this day I couldn’t tell you one of her hobbies. She has a young child and it meant we couldn’t do normal couple things like movies or nights out or travel. There were legit personality conflicts between us. I was legit in love with her but at some point I thought that the person you’re with has to be more like your best friend, not just someone you’re attracted to.

But file it under Learning Experiences. I’d know what to look for the next time around.

3 – Fast forward a month. She wasn’t on my mind, at all. I was doing all the things I missed when I was with her and life was perfectly fine.

One night I was out with friends when I got a text. It was the first communication from her since the moment I’d walked out. It was a screenshot of something I’d written online not 30 minutes before. She was critiquing my lack of an Oxford comma. I responded with a short, “Fuck the Oxford comma”. She made an analogy about the use of the Oxford comma and having high standards in life (yea I still don’t know), and that was that. Resume the communications ban.

The thing is this: she absolutely wrecked me with that text. My night, my weekend, the rest of my month.

My face got red, and I couldn’t think about anything other than WHAT IN THE HELL IS SHE DOING. I left the bar and fired off a midnight text to my friend:


My friend wasn’t a ton of help at the time.

On Monday, after checking her texts, it apparently hit my friend what I’d sent on Friday night:


I still don’t know why that one single text triggered everything, but I was a mess for weeks. I couldn’t understand it: why is she still checking in on me? How was that even remotely a good idea? I was moving on and she was a memory, but that text changed it all. Now she was literally all I could think about. Was there some kind of hidden meaning? What in the goddamn hell was she doing reading my blog at 11:00 pm on a Friday night? Did she do that often? Was she regularly creeping my Twitter? I obsessed over the questions that wouldn’t go away. She was officially in my head. All this over a stupid fucking text.

4 – When I pulled myself out of two weeks worth of destructive self-loathing I formed a plan to get her out of my head: diet, exercise, work, projects, no drinking. I was going to be a better person, and honestly, I’m feeling good about a lot that I’ve accomplished thus far. I feel better than I have in a decade and I’m not close to done. I’m hoping I’m never done trying to improve.

5 – But it didn’t help get her out of my head. It only got worse.

Motivation, I learned, is a double-edged sword. I wanted to get better: look better, feel better, develop better habits, etc. The nexus of all this was her. She’d sent me spiraling down the hole I was in and I wanted out of it as a way of showing her, hey, fuck you I’m gonna be just fine.

It turns out that you can’t really turn that thought off, though. It’s one thing when you’re at the gym and you’re grinding out another mile. Or you get home from work and you’re tired and you just want to collapse but you don’t because you need to accomplish this goal you have. It’s easy to make a healthy meal or keep the bottle put away if you think it’s helping you win some kind of imaginary war. But the impetus for everything never really leaves your head and you start to wonder about things that should have stayed dead and buried.

6 – The more I worked on myself the more I started considering how big a failure the relationship with her was. Did we meet at the wrong time, were we victims of circumstance? Was I totally unrealistic in what I was looking for in a relationship? Just how important is going to the movies or taking drives on the weekend, anyway? Sure, we had arguments but find me a couple that doesn’t have arguments. I’ve seen fights between couples that I would have ended a relationship over be forgiven a day later and things worked out just fine for them. What if this was the perfect person for you and you threw it away because you were an asshole that wanted space? The ultimatums and the temper and the manipulation that caused the first breakup? Eh, you could deal with all that this time because you know what to look for. 

I thought back to the highs and wanted them again. The lows were long forgotten and dismissed.

7 – By last Saturday night I was done fighting this internal battle. I wanted her back. I was sick of being miserable and I thought if I laid everything out I’d at least be able to put these questions to bed, one way or another.

I bought a card, some stationary, and wrote a letter. And holy hell if I didn’t show my ass. Apologized for the guy I was, told her how much I still loved her, how I wanted another chance. Sealed it and left it for her to read.

I expected the worst, in some form or another. Maybe she’d decide not to read it and I’d get a photo of the unopened envelope in the trash with a “Fuck You”. Maybe she’d read it and I’d get a short and sweet “Nope.” Maybe I’d get nothing at all (this was the most preferable of the negative reactions).

Or maybe she was like me and still had feelings. Maybe this would be the first step towards getting back together. Maybe I was getting the second chance I wanted.

8 – Remember when I mentioned how she showed her ass with the texts and phone calls when we first broke up, and I wasn’t having any of it? It was her turn this morning to kick my heart in the ass.

It was very quickly apparent she was over us in a way I most certainly wasn’t. There was no room for discussion, and when I provided the slightest bit of push back she took the dagger and dug it in further.

That was that. The book was closed, and I deserved the blow I got. At least she was drunk when she tried to get me back. I didn’t even have that excuse.

9 – I wasn’t going to tell my friend what I’d done this weekend. Even when I was in the relationship she was the one telling me to cut bait and get the hell out. She definitely didn’t like that I got back together the first time and was quick with an I Told You So when we broke up.

But I needed a scolding this morning. My temporary insanity demanded it.


10 – I wasn’t kidding about needing to hear it from her. I’m mortified and embarrassed and when I took my lunch break I was letting out a consistent stream of fucks and shits and oh-god-what-were-you-thinking…but I’m gonna be better tonight.

Closure came way later for me than it should have, but it got here. That’s really all that counts anymore. The motivation for being better no longer has to be an ex. It’ll just be for the sake of me.

That’s good enough.

Day 1

**I’m working on getting healthy and developing better habits in life. This is my public effort to do so. Doin’ it for me. 

Weight: 204 lbs
Waist: 34″
Breakfast: Coffee
Lunch: Nothing
Snacks: Nuts
Dinner: Beef stew
Workout: Upper body, half mile sprints
Alcohol: Glass of red wine, manhattan
In bed by: Not late
Asleep by: Soon after

The Good: Um, the reality of your situation from when you wake up to when you go to bed can be wildly different. That’s cool, right?

The Meh: Workout was terrible tonight. I didn’t sleep last night and was up by 5:00 am. Didn’t eat anything the entire day so I was working out on an empty stomach. That wasn’t intentional…today was just crappy. I haven’t lifted since last February and the results were embarrassing. It’s gonna be a bitch of a road back to below average, much less respectability.

I’m invoking the rule of extenuating circumstances for drinking a tall glass of wine and having a manhattan tonight. I feel good, don’t get me wrong, maybe more better than I have in weeks. But there’s still that thing where…ugh, you know.

The Bad: Nothing.  Looking forward to tomorrow.

Day 27

**I’m working on getting healthy and developing better habits in life. This is my public effort to do so. The why is here.**

Weight: 204 lbs
Waist: 34″
Breakfast: Coffee
Lunch: Almond milk shake
Snacks: Green apple and almond butter
Dinner: Beef stew
Workout: Nope
Alcohol: Glass of red wine
In bed by: As soon as the Arizona/Seattle game is final
Asleep by: Soon after

The Good: The smell from my kitchen all afternoon. Slow cooked beef stew is dope as hell.

The Packers making the playoffs.

Three day work weeks.



The Meh: Waiting six hours for beef stew.

The Bad: Relying on Ryan Lindley.

Ryan Lindley.

Day 26

**I’m working on getting healthy and developing better habits in life. This is my public effort to do so. The why is here.**

Weight: 206 lbs
Waist: 34″
Breakfast: None
Lunch: Bacon and eggs
Snacks: Almond milk shake
Dinner: Stuffed chicken breast with veggies
Workout: 1.5 miles running, 3 biking
Alcohol: Nope
In bed by: Midnight, maybe.
Asleep by: Soon after

The Good: Nothing. According to Twitter the world is ending or something. I dunno I haven’t been online today.

The Meh: The weather. Look, I hate snow and ice. I’m not upset that we’re getting 30ish weather lately. But fuck, man. Can we get some sun?

The Bad: West coast road trips.