This weekend marked the sixth and final consecutive weekend that I was away from my apartment, following the trips to CT and Texas, and two weekends helping out friends by watching their dogs while they had fun somewhere else. My lovely friend M, her N, my partner-in-crime R and her Scot H were lucky enough to have tickets for Lolla in Chicago this weekend, and asked me months ago if I wouldn’t mind camping at M and N’s for a few days to watch their dogs. At the time, I had no idea the insanity of travel that my July would become, so I quickly agreed. I have to admit, as I left the office for M’s place on Thursday, I was feeling a little defeated. I missed my apartment. I missed little miss. And much as I love their dogs, I really, really just wanted some time to myself.
People keep asking me if I’m getting paid for helping out all these weekends and weekdays, since it seems all I do is dogsit lately. I wouldn’t dream of asking or wanting D&D, M or R to pay me for doing them a favor. First, they’re all fantastic about stocking the fridge, and everyone buys me Salsa Sun Chips, which is enough to keep me happy for the 45 minutes it takes to inhale the entire bag. And taking a few days to take care of my fur nieces and nephew is so much fun. I love walking around with the dogs, snuggling with them at night, and giving them all the love they wouldn’t get if they only had a dog walker stop by twice a day. Beyond that, I like to think I’m the type of person who would do anything for my friends. I’m not selfless per se, as anyone who’s met me knows I have a tendency to interrupt stories with off-topic musings, and will ask repeatedly if someone thinks I look cute, especially when I already know that I do. But I would do anything for my friends if they needed me to, from booking a waxing appointment on-the-go when the other can’t get into the UniK mobile site, to sacrificing a weekend making bad decisions to stay home with the pups.
It’s a strength and a weakness that I have a hard time saying no to people. Along with the standard pros/cons of being a “yes” person, like taking initiative vs. taking on more than you can handle, this particular personality trait means I’m almost always willing to give someone a second chance, wanting to believe all the “this time” promises, a big Yes to a new beginning. It’s part of who I am, that I don’t want to give up on people, want to see and believe the best of the words that can seduce me with a single syllable. Yet it puts me in compromising positions from time to time, like agreeing to attend more than one birthday party on a Saturday and believing my landlord when he promises “this time” he’ll fix the door properly (STILL BROKEN). As seen the past few weekends, saying yes all the time can be overwhelming and exhausting; memories of lazy Sunday afternoons sleeping on my couch and cleaning while catching up on Netflix seem distant. I wouldn’t change my past six weekends for anything, but the self-inflicted burden of being a Yes Girl can weigh heavily after enough time.
Sunday morning in M’s apartment I was roaming the living room for a laundry card when I came across a thick envelope. Curious, and obviously nosy, I turned it over to see “For LB – don’t open till Sunday, k? Love R&H and M&N.” I probably would have ripped it open if I’d found it Friday (sorry guys, but… I mean come on), so I loved that I didn’t know it existed until they wanted me to. Inside was a gift certificate for a day at a beautiful Midtown spa, a treat I never would have purchased for myself but desperately, desperately need. I started to tear up a little, so shocked by the gesture that was completely unnecessary but so thoughtful. I didn’t need, or expect, or even want anything from them, save for that extra bag of Sun Chips and a thank you, but the little recognition was such a huge way to start the month. It’s exhausting to be the Yes Girl, the default dogsitter, the backup babysitter and the one who wants to believe that This Time is the last. But looking forward to four blissful weekends of me time, it feels worth it after all.