I let some of the crazy out ... again

I think I promised to post a picture of my new hair cut/color last week, but I was lazy and forgot. That, and I never put on enough make-up to warrant me stepping out in public, let alone cheesing it up for a camera.

And now that I look at the photo, I realize my hair looks virtually no different than it has in the past 6 months. But I promise, it's not the same. The cruddy camera on my iPod just can't capture it. The color is richer and it was trimmed shorter and ...

... no wonder Clayton never notices when I get my hair done.

So honey, if you're reading this, all is forgiven.

Yesterday I was MIA from blogging because frankly, I had a horrible day. And blogging in a bad mood (or when I'm "on one" as Clayton has so lovingly referrs to it), doesn't make for such a great post. I won't bore you with the details, but I was PMSing feeling blue and was reduced to tears and had to have a come-to-Jesus talk with Clayton in the backyard.

All things considered, yesterday should have been an awesome. I had database training in the morning up in Indy, and my boss gave me the afternoon off (with pay!) because he felt bad that I had to drive up there at the buttcrack of dawn. I assured him I'm that I'm no stranger to driving to Indy early in the morning for work, but he insisted I take the rest of the day for myself.

So I went to the mall, naturally.

Strolling around Circle Centre Mall solo was euphoric. I love my husband and I love my friends, but there is something to be said for shopping alone. It's one of my favorite ways to spend time with myself.

But despite the dazzle and allure of my beloved H&M and Forever 21, this trip had to remain mostly window shopping. Clay and I have had some obnoxious bills tossed our way lately, so we're on a pretty tight shoe-string budget for the next several weeks. However, I am in dire need of pants (that sounds strange), so I went to the big city mall looking for the incredibly elusive non-skinny khakis. (If I show up to work in skinny dress pants, I should be rightfully fired on the spot. It's a place of business ... not cankles on parade.)

No such luck.

After almost 2 hours of walking and browsing, I left the mall virtually empty-handed except for a new white undershirt. When I handed the boring, plain shirt over to a very hipster-looking cashier at H&M, he raised an eyebrow at me. "I just started a new job and I'm a little hard up for business clothes," I explained, always feeling the need to justify every single thing I do ... even to total strangers.

"Here," he said boredly, tossing a few black cards my way. "These are $5 gift cards. Use them and buy yourself some better stuff." As he took 10 years to ring up my one item, he suddenly felt chatty. "So, what's the new job?"

"I work in HR," I said, smiling at the sound of my new life.

Without looking up from his register, he replied, "That's sounds terrible."

I have no idea why, but I let his thoughtless comment make me feel incredibly insecure. Who is he to judge my career choices? Just because I work in an office and not under the fluorescent lights of a cheap department store doesn't mean I have a boring career.

But there was no use retaliating. Mr. Tattoo Sleeves began to regale me with stories about his old job back in L.A. at an unnamed record label, and he didn't fail to mention loud enough for everyone within earshot to hear that his buddy "just laid down a track with Justin Bieber". I'm sorry, but does that make you a big deal? I'd rather admit that I was a professional underwater basket weaver than tell people I was working with "The Biebs". And if you had such an exciting, lucrative career working with famous musicians and music execs in Los Angeles, why the heck did you move to Indiana?

Apparently I must have said that last part out loud because Mr. Tattoo Sleeves rolled his eyes and said, "For a girl." He handed me my bag and looked at me expectantly.

"That sounds terrible," I said as I turned and walked out of the store.

On my way back to town, my car suddenly started making a terrible crackling noise that almost sounded like flames popping in a campfire. After I determined it wasn't the stereo speakers going out, I decided there must be a crack in my windshield and it was only a matter of time before it shattered and I got hit in the face with glass flying at 65 mph (my mind goes to weird places). The noise only occurs when I'm on the highway and it sounds like it's coming from directly behind my steering wheel and instrument panel. I entertained myself the rest of the ride home by thinking of how much yet another repair was going to cost us.

Needless to say, I was a bit cranky by the time I came home to my darling husband who was getting ready to leave for his first day of class. Instead of an online course, Clay opted to take Anatomy in an actual lecture so he could have face time with the professor. Before he left, he dropped the bomb on me that his books are going to cost $300.

So I decided to calm my frustrations by going outside to ride my bike for a few miles. I unlocked my bike from the patio and looked down at my back tire that suddenly seemed to no longer be on speaking terms with the rest of the bike. The tire's rubber hung lifelessly to the side of the wheel's frame.

That's when I started bawling.

I don't know why. I was stressed from that jerk at H&M, tired from walking around the mall and driving all day, I was worried about how many surprise bills had popped up this summer, and I have the absolute worst luck with bicycles. I was hormonal, emotional, and completely overreacted. And of course, I took anything comforting Clayton said as direct attack on me and all of womankind (When it's my "special lady time", I have an amazing capability of twisting any and everything to be something it clearly isn't. Mountains out of molehills, that's PMSing Courtney).

After chewing Clay's ear off about goodness knows what I was trying to convince myself of, I stormed back onto the patio and slammed the glass door in an effort to show him I meant serious business. Then I realized my mistake:

"Um, can you please reheat dinner?" I said timidly, sticking my head through the sliding glass door.

"Yes," he replied, clearly fed with my Jekyll and Hyde routine.

"Thank you." I said, starting to shut the door again. I paused for a second and then popped my head back in through the small opening. "And um, I'm still really mad and stuff."

Clay eventually came out to the patio (my plan worked!), took me into his arms and wrapped me in a giant hug. Then he said all of the perfect Clayton Things that always make everything better and I promise you, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that this bearded, patient hunk was made specifically for me and all of my crazy. As I sniffled into his shoulder and looked out at the sun setting over the field in our backyard, I almost started laughing at how cheesy and picturesque it all was. I'm not a mushy romantic by any stretch of the imagination, but just feeling the warmth of another human who in your corner no matter what is the most peaceful, comforting feeling in the whole world. It's moments like those that I feel completely, irreversibly complete.

I think Clayton should start listing "Crazy Wrangler" on his resume under his special skills.