Other Peoples’ Kids

When I told Husband I wanted to get back into acting, I don’t think he (or even I, really) realized that would lead to 2014 being The Year of the Neverending Rehearsals. I was cast in a show early on in the year, beginning rehearsals in February, and damned if I haven’t actually had a break from rehearsals since then (three shows later, and no, there haven’t been breaks for performances because all three shows have overlapped because life). I begin new rehearsals at the end of this month, only two weeks after my current shows closes.

Because choosing the arts means a lifestyle change. Because artists are passionate and fickle and obsessive and so self-conscious that it would make even a tween cringe inside.

And it’s been crazy and fun and so anxiety-inducing that I’ve forgotten how to sleep or frankly what sleep is, instead opting to lay in bed, with the puppy snoring at my side, wondering just how we’re going to get ten clown characters in and out and back into their clown makeup with five minute breaks between scenes, one makeup palette between the entire group, and the utter idiocy of some certified makeup artist insisting upon basic corrective otherwise (oh wait, that would be me, and I’m mad at myself). [It’s my blog, I’ll run-on sentence if I want to.]

Community theatre is a weird animal. I’m just going to go ahead and say that with no segue because it’s a standalone statement that will forever and ever be true, amen. First of all, it’s entirely volunteer-based, and if it’s a city, chances are the money for set builders and stage crew and painters are extremely low, which leads to a bunch of artsy fartsy people getting together and trying to use tools and, like, measure stuff.

Barnum stage

Laughable, by the way.

But it’s rewarding in a way that semi-professional or professional theatre simply is not; you build this rapport with your fellow castmates you couldn’t have otherwise because you were hunched over a platform for several hours in the blistering heat painting everything black, because you hauled props from literally every random place props could possibly be to an outdoor theatre space,  because one night at rehearsal things were abruptly ended because the rare but indomitable Utah monsoon hit and your lights and mics went out. You went through stuff.

Because I am Lucy IRL.

Because I am Lucy IRL.

It also carries with it challenges that make you want to gouge your eyes out. See also: other peoples’ kids.

Having done two shows thus far that involved only adults and being cast in another that’s the same, I’d kind of forgotten what it was like to perform with a bunch of little humans who 1. you can’t swear in front of and 2. want to know why you’re doing what you’re doing and 3. occasionally carry with them stinky attitudes.

Scratch that — who always carry with them stinky attitudes.

The thing about theatre of any kind is that no one’s really above it. And if someone thinks he/she is above it, then either he/she is Idina Menzel or hasn’t bothered auditioning for any shows or roles deemed unworthy because ain’t nobody got time for that. And yet you get those brilliant kidlets who, for whatever reason, determine at some point during the rehearsal process that they have somehow been duped into the whole ordeal. That their initial decision (by their own volition) to audition was actually forced upon them because NO WAY would they stoop so low as to perform in the ensemble of a community theatre production.

Or maybe that’s not what they think. Maybe they think something entirely different but lack the human capabilities to express anything other than that sentiment because they’re like puppies or babies, unable to intimate their feelings, so instead they whine and cry.

My current director tells us all the time that we’re “always auditioning,” even through the rehearsal and performance process. The kidlets remain unphased. She calls them out during scenes because they’re talking or giggling or touching their hair or breaking character. They smile and keep on keeping on. They even decide to make snide comments to those around them (including me, which, go ahead honey because I can be snide all day erry day, and if you ask me “Is your cat dead yet?” one more time I WILL CUT YOU, and for pete’s sakes leave the other kids alone when their faces get red during the dance numbers because sometimes faces get red during dance numbers), and the littles take note of it. It’s like we’re breeding a generation of Regina Georges in the theatre community.

Regina George

And it gets tricky for a person like me who is child-free but still a full-fledged adult. Because do you say something? Do you just let it go? What about the underdogs who can’t stand up for themselves against kids like that? Do you just stand back and watch it happen and feel bad about the world? I know some parents who say, “I’d want to know if my child were acting like that,” but would you really, guys? I don’t think you actually would, especially from a person who refers to her cat and puppy as her children.

Other peoples’ kids, man. Other peoples’ kids.

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On Getting Older

There will come, at some point in your still relatively young life, when you will inexplicably become a “ma’am.” This is devastating, trust me, and there’s little you can do to stop it. After all, you’re apparently older than all the people, and if you’re married, that really seals the deal. Obviously all the married women are “ma’am”s because what else could we possibly be? YOU COULDN’T USE OUR NAMES OR ANYTHING.

I just found out tonight, for example, that Tom from “The Blacklist” IS ACTUALLY YOUNGER THAN ME IN THE REAL LIFE. How did that happen? How did actors portraying grown up adult characters become younger than moi? When was it that actors in my age demographic started pushing eye cream in commercials? What’s next — Depends? Poise pads for those little leaks?

I don’t want to talk about it.

I mean, don’t get me wrong — there are some definite benefits to getting older. You’re completely content sitting in the back of a concert, for example, and enjoying the music from afar while wearing earplugs. You finally feel comfortable in your own skin, and you care very little about what other people might be thinking about you (this occurred for me in the last year, and it’s been thrilling). People stop carding you at bars (which I realize is pretty moot for me since I always order virgin beverages … if I even order anything fancier than, say, flavored lemonade, but still. It’s nice). It’s okay for you to not have a completely flat stomach because the vast majority of society accepts that, barring the circumstances of you having a personal trainer and nutritionist because you’re famous and always on screen, you’d have to do unthinkable things every day to maintain such a physique. You know, like giving up bread or exercising multiple hours a week. Hours without bread. I mean, that’s just the worst ever. So a little bit of softness is acceptable.

But then the cons are pretty obvious — you can’t eat fast food at midnight and not suffer really terrible consequences the next day (and the next day and the next day and the next day). You can actually somehow gain five pounds in a week just like dark magic. You can run for three miles a day a few times a week and your ankles will get a little thinner. And you tell yourself it’s okay that you have a soft middle because society accepts it. You even write it in your blog like maybe it’s actually the truth.

Your body will start to degenerate in an alarmingly quick fashion, and you’ll be like, “Holy crap when did I become my parents?” Your knees will just never be the same, you guys. And also, it’s amazing the number of pills you can ingest over the course of a day. You look at your grandparents’ prescription stash with shock and awe, but let me tell you, that’s just around the corner for you. I have a flipping pharmacy in my house. And sometimes I actually find pins on Pinterest about great ways to store medications in the bathroom closet, and I RE-PIN THEM. Whatever, it’s cool.

But this getting older business: it appears that almost everyone does it. The (un)funny part about it is that no one makes it out alive (#tastelessjoke), either.

A Message to the Girls of the World

I’m thirty, which to some of you is painfully old (like your parents) and to some not too bad. But one thing is certain: I’ve experienced a lot of stuff in these thirty years, despite you thinking perhaps we old folk don’t get it (we do).

Being a grown up is both enjoyable and adversely terrible. Like, you can take naps, but it’s kind of frowned upon by some, and if you take one too late or too long, your body clock is thusly screwed up for the next month. And you have to pay for everything, which let me tell you is a mega bummer. Your mom isn’t around to clean the house, so unless you’re fine with living in squalor, you have to clean it. Every week. Dishes: the bane of our existence. Even with a dishwasher, trust me. They’re just always there no matter what.

PAP smears suck about as much as you assume they do. The key is never have sex and then you can get one every three years (I’m kind of kidding but also kind of not because seriously no one likes to go to the OB/GYN). Sometimes you just don’t want to wear a bra, in which case don’t. You’ll find that home becomes wherever the pants aren’t — they’re the first thing to come off, and I don’t say that in a crude, sexual manner. I mean it in an “Adults hate to wear pants” way.

Don’t let yourself go when you get married. I’m not sure if this is a myth or reality, but it seems to happen all the time (I started to let myself go on the honeymoon, which God bless my husband for sticking around this long). I don’t mean to stress about your weight or your hair or your makeup or your clothes, but trust me: you feel better about yourself and your day when you’re clean and are wearing real clothes rather than sweats. Leggings are real clothes, I kid you not. Invest in several pairs because they’re like sweats but not. If you find a guy who wants you to always have long hair, ditch him.

Image  courtesy of pinterest.com

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

I’ve put Husband through the ringer with all my many hairstyles, and there have definitely been some he hated. Guess what: he didn’t divorce me, and he still kissed me when he got home from work. We may have come to an agreement that such hairstyles won’t make an appearance again forever awhile, but in all reality, I wasn’t particularly crazy about them either (don’t tell him. He’ll get a big head.)

If you find a man who makes you forget yourself, tells you what to do, makes you feel lonely, hates the things you love to do, doesn’t support every single hobby you ever try out, even the lame ones everybody knows won’t work out — if he seems to only love you conditionally, if you can’t fart in front of him, if you’re worried about what he’ll think when you take off your makeup and slide in your night guard, HE. IS. NOT. THE. ONE. Look, I get it, you’re hardwired and built to have a companion all the days of your eternity, so you just wanna be with someone all the time and snuggle. I got married about six years later than I thought I might in high school (high school Mary was really eager and hopeful), and I’m glad I had to wait. It helped me weed out the idiots and hone in on exactly what I didn’t want, so when I met Husband, it was quick and painless.

Men can still be as awful as boys and teenagers, and there’s something inherently worse about that because they’re grown ups, so they should know better. Chances are, they were raised by their mothers to become gentlemen, and they just missed the mark. Heartbreak is inevitable.

Enjoy making out now because when you get married, it’s basically never going to happen.

If you want the cookie, eat the damn cookie. I went a stretch counting calories and measuring my food, and sure the end results were freakin awesome, but I was truly miserable the entire thing. Just remember: portion control. Eat what you want, just a little less of it as you get older. Because trust me when I say you’ll turn 23, and your metabolism rate will give up the ghost. Exercise in the way you want to — if you hate running, then seriously don’t run. I mean, really. Life is way too short to spend a portion of your day in the gym doing something that makes you unhappy (even if it’s making you chemically overjoyed. Endorphins aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.)

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

Money will get tight at some point in your life, unless you marry an heir/heiress who is just independently wealthy. Being forced to live budget-friendly will help you out for the rest of your life, even though it feels awful at the time, but DO NOT under any circumstances, buy store brand cheese. You can save money elsewhere — cheese is not the place to do it. Same goes for butter, unless, I suppose, you’re allergic to lactose. I’m so, so, so sorry. Cheese is what will get you through every single hard time, so splurge a little. Buy the Tillamook.

Even when you’re a grown up, you’ll be able to sense when people don’t like you. Don’t let this deter you — be nice, always, and surround yourself with people who think you’re as great as you think they are. Find others who laugh at all your jokes, like all your Facebook status updates, and go to all the movies your husband won’t (chick flicks, documentaries, based on true stories, dramas, Jane Austen, etc. If it doesn’t blow up, he’s not going to want any part of it.) Sometimes adults form mini cliques. It’s just a human thing.

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

This will become easier the older you get. I promise.

Despite what a lot of people say (and I assume they do this to snow themselves and everyone around them), sometimes people have pretty perfect lives. Their houses are big and clean, their cars are nice, their kids are well-behaved, their marriages are great. Don’t let anyone else’s life affect yours. It’s an attitude thing, you get me? If you want a happy life, be happy, and things will work themselves out. You might be thirty years old, living in a condo you’re renting that has mold along some of the windows and an upstairs neighbor who floods your laundry room and entryway. You might really suck at vacuuming and dusting, and you might drive modest cars because that’s what you can afford. Doesn’t mean your life is any less perfect than someone else’s. So applaud the frenemy who started her own blog, the one who got married at a big venue, the one whose husband makes $150k/year. We all need to stick together and help a sister out. It’s cool if their lives are different from yours. Different never means better or worse. Ever.

And remember:

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

Hell Week

Hell week: The week leading up the opening night of a theatrical performance. (source: urbandictionary.com)

I’ve been through several hell weeks as a performer. Hell week is aptly named because it’s, you know, hell. You’re opening in a week, your set is finally finished, you’re in costume, you’re obviously off book, you’re running the show and running the show and running the show and running the show, and it hasn’t even opened to the general public.

We complain about hell week, but we love it.

But I had a very special type of hell week beginning this Monday that was completely unrelated to performing, and I have not loved it, not one bit. It started early Monday morning, when I woke up with Husband (for whatever reason) and decided to watch a little TV. I heard what sounded like water rushing down the pipes, but I didn’t think much about it because often when the upstairs neighbor showers, we hear it. But it sounded pretty loud, and that perturbed me, especially after looking out the window and seeing nothing but sun and blue skies. I walked into the laundry room, where I heard the pitter patter of small water droplets hitting the dryer, creating a small pool of water on the linoleum. But it was louder than just that, and I turned with trepidation towards the closet housing our water heater and furnace.

It's raining all up in here.

It’s raining all up in here.

This picture doesn’t really do justice to the horror I was met with, but I can’t upload video. Suffice it to say … it sounded like I was in a rainforest. Except I was in my condo.

Obviously I ran upstairs and banged on the neighbor’s door and rang her bell ad nauseum, but she was gone, and I was left with a lake seeping out her door and building up in my own condo. Long story short, I called the landlord, I called the Husband, we had a party, and things are getting back to normal.

Good.

Good.

The thing about getting a flood fixed is that it’s about as inconvenient as the flood itself. Because they have to do things like rip up your carpet and remove the soaked padding and take off all the baseboards and vent covers and move your washer and dryer (and potentially dent it during the process) and drill holes in your wall and ceiling and then remove the drywall and place industrial-sized fans all over the entryway, hallway, and guest bath that will literally drive you crazy. The dehumidifier will make your house freakishly hot. The cat will be unhappy. And it’ll last a few days — it will. It’ll be Thursday, and they’ll just be starting on replacing your wall, and you’ll probably hate life.

My questions are: will they clean up the dust and mess all over everything? And will they fill the holes?

My questions are: will they clean up the dust and mess all over everything? And will they fill the holes?

So that happened.

And then on Tuesday morning around 1:00 am, Husband woke me up from my fantastically deep sleep (thank God for sleep aids) because sweet, old, deaf, blind kitty had a seizure. I’m not really equipped for things like that, just fyi, and my anxiety and depression kicked into full throttle. I’m pleased to report she’s doing better and hasn’t relapsed since, but that hasn’t really stopped me from being on edge, worried that something else might happen.

Kitten face. She has a kitten face, you guys.

Kitten face. She has a kitten face, you guys.

We knew when we adopted a 15+ year old cat that things could happen. But I was living in blissful fantasy, assuming she’d magically regain her vision and hearing and live another ten years, knowing all the while that we just love her to death.

Also, weight gain like I’m preparing to hibernate for the winter.