Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The High and Low of It


Harry Burns:
There are two kinds of women: high maintenance and low maintenance.

Sally Albright: Which one am I?
Harry Burns: You're the worst kind. You're high maintenance but you think you're low maintenance.
Sally Albright: I don't see that.
Harry Burns: You don't see that? Waiter, I'll begin with a house salad, but I don't want the regular dressing. I'll have the balsamic vinegar and oil, but on the side. And then the salmon with the mustard sauce, but I want the mustard sauce on the side. "On the side" is a very big thing for you.
Sally Albright: Well, I just want it the way I want it.
Harry Burns: I know; high maintenance.
(from When Harry met Sally)

I, like Sally Albright, was "the worst kind of woman"; I was a high maintenance gal who believed she was low maintenance.

In some superficial ways, I am low maintenance. For example, I joked about getting a vacuum cleaner for Mother's Day. In the first place, let me just say that in my opinion, the fact that this scenario involving the vacuum cleaner actually happened, clearly indicates that I have arrived. I mean is that not just the quintessential Mom story or what? It makes me a little proud because it seems like something that would be given to to June Cleaver or Laura Petrie as a gift and they'd be super excited. Also, as I've said before, we are just not huge into giving each other gifts at the typical times. I have a couple of "big" things I want (a sewing machine and a good camera) but I want to hold out awhile on those. I couldn't really think of anything else I wanted- usually if there is something I want, I just use my "spending" money and that's that.

Also,while my sister drives a super nice SVU, I was very content with my used 4 Runner. In fact, I was more than content; I loved that car. Content is a word I would use to describe my current vehicle status, as the proud owner of a Buick. I am the only one from my original family unit that has never had a luxury vehicle. And I don't really care.

I never really felt like I needed a Kate Spade handbag or a coach wallet. I was happy to find my purses and billfolds at Target. Not that I ever turned down any high end hand me downs from the Cookiekins.

[Notice I stopped short of saying I did not share her lust for designer jeans. Because my Seven A-Pockets are life changing.]

Although I enjoy a juicy steak from Shapley's, there are many, many days that find me just as satisfied with a meatball sub from Subway.

While several of my friends got "push presents", Peyton told me in no uncertain terms that the baby was the present. I'm kind of exaggerating; he did buy me some really nice perfume at Belk, but some wedding credit we had left covered most of the purchase.

Someone was telling me recently how much fun it would be to take Ann Peyton to get a "mani" and a "pedi" one day. I've had a professional manicure maybe three times in my life and in my opinion, it's just not all it's cracked up to me. I do long for the day when I will paint her fingernails and toenails myself for the first time, though, just like my mom did.

Nothing is wrong with any of those things; they just don't mean anything to me. Yes, there are certain things I care about enough to spend money on. Like jeans. Like baby clothes. Like a nice piece of furniture. And I will freely admit that the quantity of stuff I have accumulated over the years is a bit embarrassing. But, in many ways, I did think of myself as "low-maintence".

Well, after we got married, Peyton let me know real quick that I was anything but. When he worked at Rite Aid I would call the pharmacy multiple times a day with some "issue" I needed help with (a clogged potty, a dead bird the cat brought it, a heartbreaking blog I allowed myself to read). I never wanted to drive myself anywhere and I truly disliked cooking. Emotionally, I don't know that it gets anymore high maintenance than me this side of clinical diagnosis. I hate to label myself as "needy", but for a long time I was.

Also, like Sally said, "I just like things the way I like them". If you've never watched the movie, Sally is your classic type-A, got to have a plan, often inflexible woman. That resonates, friends. The way she dictates a novel when ordering her sandwich is SO me ("I'd like the chef salad with the oil and vinegar on the side ....I'd like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it, if not then no ice cream, just whipped cream"). There was a time that if there wasn't a grilled cheese on the menu I wasn't going. As I got older I kind of grew more flexible. And by "got older" I mean went to college and by "grew more flexible" I mean I'd tolerate a cheeseburger. Even though I was the oldest, my sister told me shortly after AP was born that she was glad I had finally gotten over myself and stopped being such a baby.

And she was right. I would "fret" so much if things didn't go the way I planned. Food has always been an issue. But there are many other things, too. For example, when I was pregnant over a year ago I went with my parents to Oxford. Something didn't go the way I wanted it to and I huffed and puffed the whole day in the Grove. I ruined the trip for everyone. I used to seriously not be able to take a trip with other people unless I said to myself "I am not planning anything", so that I wouldn't be disappointed.

My sister got me a pillow a few years ago that said "Grow up and put your big girl panties on". Two things have helped me to do that this year. One of them is obvious; it's actually not a "thing" but a "her". There is nothing like motherhood to help you realize it's not all about you, anymore.

The other thing is Peyton's job change. He's just not in a position where he can talk me through eleventy five crises a day from work anymore. And that has been so good for me. And for our marriage. I knew these two things had really helped me to grow.

Still, imagine my surprise awhile back when something unexpected arose and he said "Sweetie, you have gotten SO low maintenance".


Sarah Broadus said...

Burkes in Clinton had Seven jeans a few months ago. I bought 3 pair. Life changing. Good post!

Morgan said...

Sarah Denley, I am very proud of you! You look so cute driving your babykins in your Buick! Isn't it so freeing when we are no longer slaves to ridiculous stuff?! (And free from being self-conscious about what we have/don't have.) I am feeling a little liberated from my former high "maintanism" myself. (Of course, I'm sure Haydn would say I'm a lil like Sally too. . . . so I guess I should watch my pride a bit.)

Ellis said...

Yeah. The fact I still have a girlfriend who wasn't harassed out of my life within a month by you is a testament to your growing up.

Good work?

No, about damn time.