I had a big girl lunch recently with friends from my former life.
And I don’t mean it was a plus-size group of women eating together. I was downtown meeting with people I used to work with B.C. (Before Children). I term it my big girl lunch because there was no P.B. & J. to be found anywhere near me, no juice, no kids asking for cookies and I wasn’t standing at my kitchen sink finishing food the kids left on their plates.
I had a fantastic time catching up, talking about people we all collectively know (and not bad juicy gossip, like it usually is with me… or at least for the most part it wasn’t!) and eating something for lunch that I didn’t make!
But to get downtown for that lunch date was an exercise in patience and pain.
Can I give you a run down?
First I have to give you some background.
I started working downtown in 1994. It was great – long lunches, a close knit industry and great friends. I took night courses to help my progression in my job and I was okay at what I did. I didn’t live to work, I just worked to live, but I did really enjoy my job.
I stopped working downtown in 2002, right before my oldest son was born.
While I was pregnant with number two, I worked downtown again (with a year-long maternity leave on the line, I was bound and determined to earn enough hours for mat leave!).
And then I worked downtown for two months in the summertime about three years ago. I was filling in for a girl who was on maternity leave.
Major eye-opener! Not only was my brain basically mush after raising three very young boys (they would have been 3, 4 & 6 years old at that time), but everything had changed. Things that used to be done manually were now electronic and my sleep-deprived brain couldn’t comprehend that idea.
Needless to say, when the end of the summer (thankfully) arrived, I didn’t hear from that company again.
Anyway. My lunch.
I got home from the school run and immediately hopped on Facebook and my blog to see how many people have viewed my posts (it’s so addictive!).
Things might be busy around here, but an addiction is an addiction. Just ask hubby about his Blackberry. Or my kids about their video games…
Then I hopped in the shower. And while no one at the ‘Glory of India’ would be seeing my legs, I shaved.
I hopped out of the shower, all the while trying to decide what to wear. Jeans? Definitely. Things might not be totally casual downtown, but I had other things to do today.
Sweater – yes. Black – duh. What else is in my wardrobe? Black, brown, gray…
So I had the basics down, but what else would I wear?
The dreaded Spanx? Ugh…
To Spanx or not to Spanx? Because really, I’m going to lunch. And while I want to look nice, I want to be comfortable. Did I mention it is a buffet?
Then again, I want to look nice. Back to that idea. That’s why I showered and shaved! Might as well go the whole nine yards. I mean, I haven’t seen these people for three years. And they’re probably dressed in office attire. Spanx it is.
And then what? Boots? Double ugh. The boots I’m talking about are comfortable enough – they’re just those black basic ankle boots that everyone and their aunt own. And they have heels. By another woman’s standards, they’d probably be considered flats. But considering I’m a stay-at-home mom and my everyday uniform consists of hoodies, jeans and runners, this was a stretch for me.
So I applied my deodorant for the second time (because even the thought of having to find parking downtown makes me sweat – even now, my hands are sweating a little as I type just thinking about it) and hopped on the computer again. Just to see if anyone was bored at work and had emailed me or Facebooked me.
Oh! And I checked the address of the restaurant on Mapquest. It listed the place on the north side of the street at 4th Avenue and 5th Street. No worries. Got it.
That’s another thing. Should I drive and worry about sweating through my sweater looking for parking and deking out construction at the side of the road? Or should I take public transit as in the C-train? Hmmmm… but then I would have to pay for parking at the C-train station and pay the fare on top of that. Parking downtown is expensive, but I think I would still be paying less for a two hour lunch window (which I could use towards another deodorant stick!)…
So I was set. I knew what I was wearing. Even though I did waver a few times on the Spanx thing. Really, they aren’t quite the miracle workers I hoped they would be for as uncomfortable as they are. And while my jeans fit a bit better when I wear them, my back fat becomes more pronounced. The Spanx end right below my bra. Anyone hugging me would feel the bulge… hmmm… oh well, in the immortal words of Billy Chrystal – better to look good than to feel good.
Okay. I’m set. I’m driving. The Spanx are on and I decide to wear my nice jeans with stretch. Notice I don’t say the comfortable jeans, but the stretch jeans. The jeans are stretchy, you say. How can they not be comfortable, you say.
Well, they’re so stretchy they kinda ride down my butt and I have to hike them up even if I’m just standing still. Forget about sitting – unless I’m wearing a really long shirt. I’m not 18 and I’m pretty sure people would not appreciate a glimpse of my plumber butt while eating their butter chicken.
So I have to wear a belt with my stretchy nice jeans. And it must be done up tight. So really, I still end up with a bit of a muffin top.
A bit? A bit of a muffin top? That’s like hubby asking me if I’d like ‘a bit’ of wine in my glass!!!
The Spanx come off.
I put them back on.
Belt or no belt, the Spanx might not be working miracles, but they’re definitely working hard.
Spanx it is.
I head to the front door and remember I was thinking of changing my purse to something nice. I run upstairs, grab the nice knock-off Coach bag in my room. I scramble to get all the contents out of my everyday purse and into my knock-off. I go to close the zipper and it sticks.
I transfer everything back to my other purse and run downstairs to our only working bathroom (that’s right, renos are on-going and the five of us are still down to one bathroom after seven months) and apply a third coat of deodorant. I stop for a second, thinking I could probably pack that in my purse and do one more swipe before getting out of my car and then decide against it because that idea never works for me. I’ll just end up with chalky white stripes on my black sweater.
I’m ahead of the game. I’m early. I head downtown – driving. Yep. I drive. And the trip is uneventful. Until I get close to downtown and the traffic starts to build. I still have lots of time, but I start to worry just a tad because it isn’t even quite lunchtime yet and there are a bunch of cars in front of me. And then I see it. The orange flashing double arrows up ahead closing off the right lane. No worries. I’m two lanes over. I’m good. I slow to a crawl, pass the construction and keep going.
I get closer to the restaurant and while I have a pretty good idea where it is, I don’t actually SEE the spot and in a bit of a panic, I drive down the block, turn a corner and end up parking about a block and a half away.
So I’m parked. I’m semi-dry. I’m good.
But now I have a new challenge. Calgary has installed these wonderful new fangled parking thingies (and I really think that is actually the technical name) where you have to remember the number of the zone you parked in and enter it into a machine along with your license number and visa card.
Last time I went for a pedicure and lunch with the in-laws I encountered one of these and believe it or not, in my panicked state, I entered the license plate number of the previous car I owned. About six years earlier.
I got a ticket.
Remembering that experience, I almost started to wish I had braved the chance of white lines on my shirt and actually had brought the deodorant.
I wrote down my number this time – and the zone number where I parked. I inserted my card into the machine – it wasn’t accepted.
My feet were starting to hurt already.
I slid the frigging card in again. Accepted! Yay!
$8.00 later and I was set for a 1.37 hour lunch with my friends!
So I started my walk. I tried to walk without limping and without looking like those girls wearing heels that don’t’ know how to walk in heels. They walk toes first. Know who I’m talking about? Bet you’ve seen them before!
A block and a half.
By the end of the half block I didn’t care if I looked like a twelve year old walking in her mom’s shoes, I just started to hoof it. By the next half block I was tired already of sucking in my belly and decided to just wing it. Who would I see anyway that I know? It’s been almost a decade since I was down here everyday.
I can’t believe I used to do this everyday.
Then the wind picked up. So much for doing my hair and spending all that time straightening it. Sigh…
And by the way, Mapquest told me the wrong location. Again. The ‘Glory of India’ is on the south side of the street. So I had to cross the street, look for the address, double back and cross the street again. The wind tangled my hair, my feet were kinda really sore by then and I had already spent about $2.68 of my parking fee just walking to my lunch!
All in all, the wonderful lunch I had with my fabulous friends was worth all the pain and suffering of having to head downtown – and more.
Until I was driving home and got stuck in traffic because there was an accident at the side of the road. Ugh…
I seriously used to do this everyday.
I got home, stripped off the boots, threw on my comfy jeans, my hoody and put on some more deodorant.
Now that I was myself again, I could clean up a bit before I had to do the school run to pick up the boys. This is the routine I know and this is the one I like.
Sooner or later the routine will change and I’ll be back downtown. Hopefully I’ll be only working part-time when everyone is in school all day.
Until then, I’ll cherish my running shoes.