What to Expect When You’re Dating an Improviser

My Ex(es)

My Ex(es)

Long before I met Beef, I went on dates with Other People. Most were a disaster– both the boys and the dates. So let me be a friend to all of you young ladies in dating world, because friends don’t let friends date improvisers– especially in Chicago.┬áHere is something I wrote for my newest online home, The Second City Network.

You’ve heard of The Second City. It’s the famous Chicago improv farm where they grow Tina Feys, Steve Carells, Amy Poehlers and pretty much everyone who’s ever been on SNL.

The End of the Email Chain Gang

Lately I’ve been trying to set up a few group dinners with friends and old co-workers. You know those endless email chains that go like this?

“How about the 4th?”

“No good. What about the 12th or the 14th?”

“I’m out of town the 12th, but the 14th might work.”

“We have out of town guests the 14th. Also, no days that end in ‘day’ work for me. Typically.”

It sort of make you not even want to meet up with these people anymore, even if it’s for crab legs. I JUST found out there’s a better way– and it’s called Doodle.

You build an event, select a date range, and notify the rest of the group via email. Then, people just click the days they’re available, and if you’re just and fair– majority rules. NO MORE ENDLESS EMAIL CHAINS.

Why am I just finding out about this? What other websites make your life easier?

I Don’t Know You, But I Love You.

You know that Google+ commercial where the dad loses his phone with all his baby pictures on it?

Last night, that happened to me.

I was in the street– searching desperately– as the Lost Phone Panic started to wash over me, when I heard a woman’s voice.

“Did you lose a phone?”

“Yes…”

“I found it. Right there, under the tire. I tried to call your parents, but they didn’t answer. So I dropped it off at the Sprint Store. There were a lot of baby pictures on it, and your dad sent you a lot of texts– something about ‘pie?'”

I’d never met her before. She was there in the street unloading her groceries at the exact same moment I was out looking. She drove my phone to a Sprint Store. She saved my Posey Pictures.

This afternoon, I dropped off some flowers at the building I’m 95% sure is hers. I hope she got them. It’s so wonderful to know that there are people out there whose first instinct is to help out a stranger.

Thank You, Anna.

The Benefits of Having Internet Friends

Almost two years ago, I was starting the process of IVF and was feeling totally scared. I didn’t know anyone else that had ever done it, I had a million questions, and I wanted a buddy or two who knew what it was like to walk in these particular shoes. So I did something scary– I reached out.

Online.

I posted a message on babycenter.com’s message boards asking if anyone else out there was also about to begin the process. And something awesome happened: I met five other women all across the country, all in the same boat, who my husband named– in no particular order– Upper East Side, Bloomington, Texas, Oklahoma and Portland. Some of his geography was a little off, but I guess it helped him keep them straight.

We communicated daily for the next several weeks about the injections, the side effects, how our egg retrievals went, how our husbands were dealing with things, how WE were dealing with things. And then, something not-so-awesome-happened: ALL FIVE OF THEM GOT PREGNANT.

Except me.

In real life, that would have been a real friendship test. In the internet-friend world, it would have been easy for me to retreat. But it was too late. We were all in too deep and cared too much, and they knew almost exactly what I was going through. I stayed in the group. And six months later when I finally DID get pregnant after two more tries, these five women were the first people I told. After two years, they are no longer my internet friends– they’re my REAL friends (even though I’ve only met one in person).

Today marks the 1st birthday of the first babies (twins!) that were born out of our merry little band of mothers. Six women; eight babies. I was so lucky to find them, and it turns out they might have actually literally helped me get pregnant. Harvard-led research indicates that women experiencing infertility are more likely to conceive if they participate in a stress-reducing program, such as a support group.

So if you found out that having a baby is going to be tough for you, I encourage you to reach out and talk to other women in the same baby-boat. Babycenter is a great place to start; so is Resolve.

Epilogue: We’re all still very much in contact and have taken our relationship to the next level… Facebook. Happy Birthday, L & C.

Momfriends and A Grand Jimmy John’s Adventure

I recently read this good old fashioned debate about whether or not there is an underlying hostility between mom and non-moms when it comes to making and maintaining friendships.┬áSince I recently switched from one team to the other, I thought I’d weigh in. There is no denying that friendships change after a baby– and relationships basically break down into three categories:

Old Friends Who Get More Distant: It’s sad but true. Almost overnight, the girls who you would jet off to Vegas with for the weekend continue to jet off, but without you. It’s a little heartbreaking to realize that you’ve become less of a go-to for fun times, especially because free time becomes so much more precious and needed. The thing that makes it easier is to realize that instead of feeling dumped, you have to trust that the Circle of Life is constantly changing, and one day your old pal will have a Simba of her own and you’ll be back in the saddle together again instead of just the occasional dinner.

Old Friends Who Become Closer: It might seem pretty obvious that your friends with kids suddenly move up closer to the top of your rotation. What’s surprising is that you find out which ones of your no-parent friends are baby-obsessed and start calling more often. And come bearing boxes from Baby Gap.

New Friends: True, just because you both have kids doesn’t mean you’ll be besties. But at a time when convenience is crucial, there is nothing wrong with giving someone a shot. Every time I take Posey out for a walk, I fully admit that I check out everyone I see pushing a stroller to see if I might want to strike up a conversation. And I did just meet two other stay-at-homies who literally met on the street, so it happens. But it’s not just about findinging new mom friends. I recently befriended a 27-year-old single former Luvabull who was the LAST person I thought I’d hit it off with. But I think what happened is that since she didn’t know me PP (pre-Posey), in her eyes, I haven’t changed. I’m just the 33-year-old she wound up trespassing onto restricted federal airspace with while on a hunt for Jimmy John’s who happens to be a mom. And in that moment, me having a baby didn’t affect that fact that we needed a police escort out.

So…Fellow Moms– Agree or disagree? Have your friendships changed?

Wait, you’re ALL ordering the small salad?

Took the baby out to lunch today with three former co-workers, all with kids under 14 months. Being the lady that I am, I planned on ordering the chopped chicken salad (entree portion, of course). But I ordered 3rd. Behind the other two women who ordered the small version. Dressing on the side.

Crap.

I upped the ante by asking for NO dressing- don’t even bother bringing it! Take that.

Over lunch, we had a delightful conversation about our wills and who would raise our children if we weren’t around. Also, what our husbands would do without us.

Just a little pleasant salad talk.

Then I went home and ate my second lunch.