Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why can't we be friends?

**We interrupt this blog for a relocation-related rant.**

Back in November, I was chatting with my mother-in-law and one of her friends about the challenges of a big relocation. Like DH and I did in December 2002 and then again in November 2007, both of them have moved across the country. There was one thing we all agreed on: it takes a long time to build close, lasting friendships. Two years, they both asserted.

So here I am at a year and a half in. Remember being in high school, and you had "in school" friends that you only saw in class? You liked them and looked forward to seeing them, but for whatever reason neither of you took that extra step to see each other in the evenings and on weekends? Versus "out of school" friends whom you saw during the day and also hung out with at home?

I am currently stuck in that place where I really only have "in school" friends. I have met so many super cool women through the co-op preschool and MOMS Club, I've honestly been pleasantly surprised at how comfortable I feel with everyone. (That's not to say I think I'm super cool... but you know, it's nice to be in good company.) I've had smaller, personal playdates with a mom or two here and there, but by and large Bean and I only socialize during the larger group activities. I'm starting to really crave a closer, individual relationship... someone I can call during the day on one of the extremely rare occasions when it rains in Seattle and we are stuck inside, bored.

And like I said, it's not from lack of potential BFFs. The events we attend are filled with other moms that I'd love to spend more time with. But getting over that hump to a one-on-one date... that's a toughie for me. Partly a confidence issue, I'm sure, but with having the kids as an excuse to get together, that's not really a huge problem. I think it's mainly time. Seeing them enough that it's socially appropriate to make the transition.

An exception to my in-school-friends-only space is Jen, whom I "met" through blogging (almost two years ago, in fact) and now enjoy seeing in person. But she has an important day job involving cancer research, so I can't really give her a call. Well, I could, but it would go something like this.

Me: "Heeeeey Jen. Whatcha doin'?"

Jen: "Um, I'm at work right now, curing cancer."

Me: "Oh. So I guess you don't want to come over with Jillian and let the kids play while we dress up my dog in little costumes and giggle while she stands there frozen in embarrassment."

Jen: "I really can't right now."

Me: "Okay, maybe next time."

So sometimes I end up calling DH at work, just in case he wants to tell me the good news that the cleaning crew shampooed the carpets last night and now tons of people are barfing from the fumes so the boss is sending everyone home. Because that happened to me at work once. He always answers, "Hey honey! What's up?" But he says the what's up in a way that means please tell me quickly what you need because there are many men silently standing around my desk right now who are waiting to resume talking to me about our Important and Serious Work, and not in a way that means please ramble on about the contents of Bean's latest diaper and how that relates to what he's eaten in the past 24 hours. Dead end there, too.

I would ask for some advice on breaking that in-school/out-of-school barrier, but I imagine I'll get comments like, "You should call one of the moms and ask her to go to the park or something!" Which is certainly the correct answer and if I could do that, I already would. I am looking for something more like, "You should loudly mention at the next meeting that you are about to inherit ungodly sums of money from a long-lost relative, and you can't wait to take all of your friends, regardless of how long you've known them, on an all-expense-paid cruise of the Caribbean." Now that is useful advice, and I suppose if you have any suggestions along those lines, I would appreciate you sharing them.

**We now return you to your regularly scheduled post.**

Father's Day was teeeeerific. DH has been asking ever since Bean was born: "How old does he have to be before we can take him to a baseball game?" If the other families at the game on Sunday were any indication, just a few days old is sufficient. But I wanted to hold off until Bean was at least able to hold his own head up. In case he had to duck from a foul ball or something.

As a Father's Day gift to DH, I purchased tickets for us to see the Mariners. I wasn't particularly thrilled about it, as I find the game of baseball to be among the most boring pastimes in the world, up there with watching ice melt and playing Risk. But I was pleasantly surprised that this game turned out to be AWESOME! I think it helped that we arrived at the bottom of the third inning because of Bean's nap... the game didn't drag interminably like it usually does. And the ending was one of the on-the-edge-of-your-seat variety that even I can appreciate -- with a Mariners win, of course! Bean (wearing his Ichiro t-shirt) was amazed at all the new sights and sounds, and DH's grin didn't leave his face the entire day.

One Seattle baseball tradition that we did not partake in was the garlic fries they sell at the game. WHAT? you must be saying to yourself. BUT SUNNY! YOU WORSHIP THE GODS OF GARLIC! And you would be absolutely right. Before first-hand experience of these garlic fries, I would have insisted that there is no way, no how ever too much garlic on anything, ever.
But alas, I would have been wrong.
When DH went to a game with one of his friends last year, he ate a bowl of these garlic fries. They are basically your average run-of-the-mill fry covered in several pounds of that minced garlic you can buy in plastic jars at the grocery store. He came home to my waiting arms, and he STANK.
I have never in my life smelled something so offensive. No skunk, no poopy diaper, could make me gag like this did.
I made him shower, twice. I wouldn't let him put his clothes in the hamper, lest they infect all the other pants and shirts that were innocently awaiting their turn to be laundered. I made him put everything on his person, down to socks and underwear, into the washer immediately. I considered making him sleep in the guest room, but he promised to stay near the edge of his side of the bed, so I didn't push that one.
Needless to say, we skipped the garlic fries this time around. But Seattlites have my undying respect for the amount of garlic they are collectively able to consume. It's truly awe-inspiring. At the risk of offending the man sitting next to us, I snapped this picture of his empty bowl of garlic fries so you can see the carnage.

And that was Bean's first experience at the ballpark, a day that DH declared one of his favorite since we've moved to Seattle. I love getting it right.


Kristina P. said...

I have only a few girlfriends too. The weekend I found out I was moving offices and going to work the swing shift, sucked. And everyone was out of town! My husband, and all of my girlfriends! It was not fun.

GeekByMarriage said...

Yay for a great fathers day!

I'm in the same boat but I don't even have "in school friends". I only have bloggy friends who I may never meet in RL. I want friends but never really go anywhere to meet people. I'm so lonely.

Oh wait I just remembered my social anxiety. That explains a lot!

Beautiful Mess said...

I had some trouble meeting friends in the town I live in, but then I met a blogger who lives 12 houses from MY house! I totally stalked other blogs that had "Oregon" in their name. That's how desperate I was to have a friend..lol. Maybe that'll work for you! Plus having a bloggy friend is AWESOME! Nobody understand blogs like a blogger herself, ya know?

Umm the garlic in the garlic fries seems a bit much. I don't blame you for passing up on that. Glad ya'll had a good time!

lisawitt said...

Im so impressed you ventured to the ball game!! We took z last year when he was about 5months and he did great....napped, cooed, etc. Easy Peazy. I am terrified to attempt to take him anywhere that would require him to sit still for more than 5 min, LOL! What did you do to keep Danny entertained??

As for the friends, that is a toughie! Maybe pick your fav potential BFF from the moms group and start hanging with her more at the big events and that could lead to the courage to do something on a smaller scale? Good luck!

Jen said...

You're cracking me up. Curing cancer, too funny. Most of the time it feels like pulling the teeth of scientists to get them to do the administrative bullshit that they despise. But I digress...

And for the record, if it wasn't for the day job I'd totally hang out with you want watch HGTV all day long while the kids torture poor Evie.

Outside of a couple friends that don't mind my inability to get together more than once every quarter, I owe all friendships to my husband. He is the one who calls people (guy and gal friends) and keeps in touch. In fact, when I recently texted folks about a birthday party at my house, several people texted back asking who I was.

Jen said...

But on another note, you could always give Jeramy a call. I'm sure he'd be game to hang out...well minus the HGTV of course :)

MoxieMamaKC said...

That is some CRAZY garlic, but I'm intrigued all the same. I'm from Kansas City so the seasoning of choice for our fries is barbecue sauce. It's hard to make new friends, at least for me, because I'm not good at the small chit chat....hang in there, it just takes time.

Soxy Deb said...

WoooHooo! I love any post when baseball is included. And correct me if I'm wrong, but is lil man wearing an "Ichiro" shirt? I do believe he is!
Way to get him started early!! Loves it!!

Glad you all had such a great day Sunny! And I don't blame you one bit about the garlic. I love garlic and that empty paper bowl made me cringe. assalotta garlic!

Michelle said...

If you still lived here in Michigan I would be your friend IRL. I could use some right now. I too absolutely love garlic but that does sound like it was over kill. I am glad father's day was great!

Red said...

Glad you had a great fathers day (Cowboy will have to wait a while for his as we celebrate it is September in Australia).

Re: the friends issue, I found that 'out of school' friendships are a bit harder to form now that we have kids. Maybe because people are so busy fitting everything in (especially if they work away from home or have more than one kid), but a lot of people are just happy seeing each other only 'in school' (or playgroup, swimming, etc).

The idea of SAHMs all sitting around having a coffee seems a re rare occassion.

That said I do have one set of girls that meet to do just that once a week while the kids play. I met them at breastfeeding group. Do they have that in Seattle?

Nicky said...

Jen stole my suggestion: make hubby find you friends. Worked for me. I'm horrible at converting in-school friends to out-of-school friends. Really terrible at it. But my hubby is the most outgoing person ever. He'd invite total strangers over to our house if he discovered that they had one thing in common. ("You own a car? Hey, me too! Wanna have lunch together tomorrow?") He sucks at keeping in touch with people, though, so he brings people home and befriends them, then I make sure that they stay friends. Works well.

Very cute Ichiro t-shirt. We haven't ventured to baseball games yet, but can hardly wait for football season to start.

Coffeegrl said...

Hey as a fellow Seattle transplant, I know how hard it can be to make new friends here (I've been here for 8 years+ and I'm still working on it) - seems like lots of people already have very established social networks and it can be hard to break in - or else people live so far away that the distance makes it prohibitive. Whatever the reason, it can be *hard*. That said, Peanut and I would totally hang out with you :-) Leave me a comment or send me an email if you're interested!

Martha said...

Happy Father's Day to your hubby!! Your handsome fella is so cute. Garlic fries are my fav at the ballpark, yummers.
I've moved quite a bit too, it's hard to find friends when you are older. Please try and pick up the phone and call a nice mom to chat and invite her to coffee because that is a drug to all Seattle folks.

Sam said...

sounds like you had a great day!! It's never too early to introduce children to the sporting traditions!!

By the way - there's absolutely no need to feel foolish unless you like feeling foolish - you weren't to know I am deaf, after all, how can you tell just from reading a blog unless I make reference to it all the time. (and that's not how I see myself although I will be keeping people informed about the dog should I get one - waiting list is about two years long!!!)

momofonefornow said...

I hear you on the friendship thing. I have a really, really hard time with it. The only thing that has helped me build more intimate friendships is investing in what other people have going on. Not so much an invite to the park but more taking the time to recognize what people need and trying to fill the gap for them. So, is there anyone that could use a pie or a meal or babysitting or something?

That's all I got.