October 2011


It’s a consistant discussion between The Roommate and I about how difficult it is to make friends as an adult. When you’re in school, whether grade-school or college, you’re constantly in class with people and there is an air of “let’s all be friends and hang out,” so making friends is pretty seamless.

However, when you reach adulthood and start working 8-5 in some corporate job, friends just aren’t as easy to come by. Most people go to work, go home and don’t spend much time away from either of those places. Yes, you can meet and spend time with coworkers, but building a friend base outside of work is a lot more difficult.

It’s situations like this where I envy my sister the most. She seems to have an endless supply of friends and people to spend the evening with. She and I differ in the quality vs. quantity view of friendships, but at least she’s not sitting at home on a Friday night alone because all 3 of her friends are busy…

My friend who ran the Warrior Dash with me  moved to Phoenix for 3 months and it’s bringing to light just how few friends I spend time with on a regular basis. It’s nights like this last Saturday night that really motivate me to go out and make more friends. I have a core group of extremely close, “I know they’ll be there when I need it because they’ve proven that they will” friends, but I can’t rely on them to be my entire social life. I fear to be like Amy Farrah Fowler on “Big Bang Theory” a few weeks ago– begging Penny to not make her leave because Amy’s entire social life is dependent on Penny.

I’m a social person and I love planning events and get-togethers, but actually finding the people to spend time with can sometimes be the hindrance to a fun(er) night. But when I can’t find people to hang out with, nothing motivates me more to actually read the emails coming from meetup.com and go to networking happy hours.

I guess I get down about my friends every once in a while because I have a very different version of what I want my life and friends look like in my head than it is like in reality. I wish my phone was ringing off the hook with invitiations from people to hang out or a calendar full of social engagements that I didn’t have to plan all of. I love my current friends and when I actually go out and meet new people, it can be really fun. I just wish it was as seamless as it is in elementary school to make friends.

I guess I just have to take my own advice and step out of my comfort zone and continue to try and make new friends just like I keep going out to find dates. Wish me luck!

It surprises people when I tell them that, although I am comfortable in a familiar situation or with familiar people, I am incredibly shy.

Paralyzingly shy.

Most people are unaware of this fact because as soon as I find someone I know or I finally relax, I turn into a chatty-Cathy. I pride myself on a pretty good conversationalist, so once I relax enough to talk to you, you’d never know my initial hesitation to approach you.

Let me give you an example: If I go to a networking happy hour, I spend the first 10-15 minutes standing awkwardly by the bar watching (and envying) groups of people who know each other, or are at least more at ease in these situations, chat and have a great time.

Only after a while do I start to relax or do I finally muster up the courage to talk to someone standing near me. Once I have that person I’m comfortable with, I spend the rest of the evening chatting with everyone, no hesitation present.

Even with my initial shyness (which = dread), I continue to go to these networking happy hours. Not only do they potentially help me in my career, they push me completely out of my comfort zone.

And for some bizarre reason, putting myself into situations that are scary, comfort zone-shattering, and awkward really empowers me.

That probably explains why I went to Spain all by myself. And why I go to these happy hours by myself. And why I move every year.

Beyond the empowering feeling, I’ve been trying to figure out the underlying WHY I do this to myself.  I mean, besides the fact that I’ve been able to meet some incredible people, do amazing things,  see things I’d never imagined I would see, and learn things I would never have learned otherwise.

Why do I not just stay in my comfort zone where it’s safe, protected, and predictable?

It’s safe there. It’s predictable. There’s nothing to fear, and…

It’s boring!

I fear becoming complacent, which might be an issue in and of itself, but I think it’s my true motivator. I want to be a dynamic person. I love being busy and doing lots of different things and if that involves putting myself out there, then so be it.

I’m a huge fan of meetup.com and all the different groups you can join. When I was first single, I went to a bunch of the events planned. I met a lot of people and went and experienced parts of Denver I never knew about before.

I love pushing myself and trying new things. If I were to sit at home and watch tv and movies all day, I would have hardly anything to bring to the table– except for a memorization of the tv guide.

Going new places, trying new things, meeting new people– that seems like the perfect life. If that involves moving to another city/state/country, changing jobs, joining new groups– bring it on!

I have a personal motto that revolves around the idea of never saying no to something new. It has helped immensely in my dating life, because I’ve gotten many a free meal from saying yes to any date. But I’ve also met an array of different people because of that. But it can even be as simple as trying new foods– escargot, anyone?

If you push yourself to do something that scares you, you grow as a person and you also walk away from the situation knowing you did something new. Challenging yourself in ways that you never have before changes you–how could you not want that?

I love change and I love trying new things. If I don’t change, I’ll never know the immense world I’m missing!

The Roommate found a blog or article (I don’t know the source) of someone who made a dining room table from an old door. Since The Roommate and I have attempted to be creative in ways to decorate our house, we lept at the opportunity to try it.

Because we found the idea via a blog, I will post a how-to for how we did it. Enjoy!

If you’re going to also embark on this crazy project here are some things you will need:

1) Someone who owns a lot of tools– saws, drills, paint brushes, gloves, safety goggles, etc.

– Bonus points if the person knows how to use said tools and can show you how to use them as well.

2) A LOT of patience

3) Enough space to sand, stain, cut and screw (hahaha)

4) A knack for catching opportunities to say: “that’s what she said”

5) Creative problem-solving skills for any/all problems that arise

Not knowing we’d need all that before we started, here’s what we did:

We researched architectural salvage places in Denver, which there are only 2, and went and got a door. We found one that had glass panes in it, so it was lighter and the glass looked cool in the center(ish) of the table. But come to find out, that also makes it a lot weaker and not as sturdy.

The door we got was an old patio door, so it was covered in paint. We wanted to have a natural-colored table, so now we had to use stripper to take it all off.

And scraped gently… Do not get that stuff on your skin.

After 3 rounds of stripper, and thousands of “that’s what she said” jokes, we could finally sand the door… Even if there was still snow outside (welcome to Colorado).

Make sure to get face masks– sawdust gets everywhere!

Once the door had been sanded and we told a thousand more “that’s what she said” jokes, we went to Home Depot and get 4 table legs. Strangely enough, when table legs aren’t attached to a table, they seem really short.

Anyway, we sanded those as well.

I just have to say, working with power-tools is so much fun! How come it’s only boys who are encouraged to use them? I think I might add a drill to my Christmas list…

After all of those had been sanded, it was time to stain. After testing different stains, we realized we liked the natural look of finishing, so we didn’t stain it at all.

We then mounted the legs onto the table (thanks dad!).

Be sure to not drill through the table… (*whew* that was one mistake we managed not to make!)

Once the legs are mounted, the table was usable.

What we thought was the last thing we had to do was put putty in all the windows since we scraped most of it out when we were stripping (hehehe) the table.

I had every intention of ordering glass to put over the table, but I kept putting it off. So we just had to get clever about where to put our plates and glasses.

After more than one dinner where I gave my dad the evil-eye for leaning too much on the table (meaning he was barely touching it), we realized we needed to add supports to the table. It would bow with the smallest amount of weight.

We had to brainstorm ways to mount 1×3’s to the table with brackets holding the table legs. It was helpful that my career involves working with numerous engineers– a couple of them gave me some great pointers. After a lot of measuring and routing, we got the 1×3’s ready to be mounted to the table and flush with the legs and each other.

After measuring out each side so the screws don’t hit (a lot harder than it sounds…), drill into the legs. This requires a lot more upper-body strength than I possess. We used a spade bit so we could cover the screw heads with “buttons” when we were done.

Next we drilled up through the board into the table. Again, don’t drill through the table!

It was amazing how much sturdier the table felt with the 1×3’s! And how much you can tell that the door and the 1×3’s are completely different wood… Oh well. As we’ve said throughout this whole process, it just adds more character.

The one good thing that came out of my brief relationship with A was that he “knows a guy” who sells glass for way cheaper than I was finding. Thankfully, after an awkward text messaging exchange with A’s dad, we got our glass delivered to our house. So if you have a way of finding cheaper glass, I highly recommend it! Dating cowards not recommended.

Once the screws were all tightened and the table was ready to go, we unwrapped the glass and gently placed the glass on the table. We put down rubber mounts so it doesn’t sit right on the wood.

We then put in “buttons” over the holes. We “stained” them with the same kind of finisher we used on the rest of the table.

And with that, we were done!

A HUGE thank you goes out to my dad, who, without his help and encouragement and teaching (and upper body strength), this table would still just be a door.

 

**Updated: If you would like to see all the pictures we took while making the door, go here. Enjoy!

I have an official announcement to make:

The majority of men are cowards.

Even at the age of 36, a man can still treat the end of a relationship like some awkward 16 year-old. Seriously, A? Stopping talking is your M.O.? I would have thought after all this time you would have come up with some new strategy that isn’t popular with teenagers the world over… but being 36 and single–never married or engaged (and possibly never even lived with someone)– should have told me that one…

Also, I think I  have a case of the jinx.

Next time I start going on and on about a new relationship and how this one is different than all the others that have preceded it… stop me.

The minute I start talking about how great a guy is, what potential he has, he goes and does the exact opposite of what I’ve been talking about and proves, yet again, that I talked too soon.

Sigh.

On to the next.