trying to find myself and humor in life

Archive for the tag “University of Delaware”

Belated birthday thoughts

As some of you know, I went to college at the University of Delaware WAY back in the early 1990s (gasp!!). I started off my college career as a very shy, homesick  girl with HUGE “jersey” hair in a “triple” (3 girls crammed into a dorm room made for 2) on the first floor of the Russell A dorm.

While I can not remember the names of all the 40+ kids that lived on that floor in the fall of 1990, I can actually remember a few.

There were my neighbors, Paul and Dan who were a little OCD with Taco Bell.  Julie and Dawn who lived down the hall, the annoying sorority girls who lived across from me and this tall, lanky kid from NY named Jeff.

Whereas I tended to hide in my room, Jeff was a fixture in the hallways talking to everyone and anyone. He was sarcastic and loved to do this joke about Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog.

Over the years I would see Jeff on campus and we would chat. He was a writer for Delaware’s newspaper The Review and by senior year he was the editor.

After college we exchanged some letters (yes, we had to write letters and mail them with a stamp) before losing touch.

Life went on, I got married, had some kids and then came Facebook.

Voila there was Jeff after all these years.

Jeff Pearlman was now a “famous” author AND writer for Sports Illustrated. He was married to a woman he completely adored and had 2 beautiful kids.

Over the years, we exchanged messages and I read Jeff’s posts and blogs on Facebook. While I couldn’t always relate to the political or sports-related ones I could always relate to his blogs on family and kids.

This past April, Jeff did a blog in honor of his 41st birthday here. He reminisced about celebrating his 21st birthday 20 years earlier at the Stone Balloon in Newark, DE.

After reading it I was instantly transported to my own 21st birthday also spent at the Stone Balloon.

May 20, 1993 was the series finale of the beloved NBC sitcom Cheers and I remember cramming in the Cristina Towers lounge with friends watching the finale and saying farewell to Sam, Norm, Cliff, Woody and Carla.

Afterwards, my roommate and walked to the Stone Balloon and took our place in line with some friends. I was holding my ID tight anxiously waiting my turn to get inside.

When we walked in, I felt disappointed or let down. The inside of the famed Balloon looked like the basement of a fraternity house not the mecca I had heard about for years on campus.

It was hot and dimly lit packed with co-eds drinking beer. The music was blasting and I happily downed any shot given to me.  Finally I was 21!!

Funny, I can’t remember what I wore yesterday but somehow I can remember a drunken night 20 years ago.

That YOUNG, drunk girl had no idea that 20 years later she would be a mom to 4 boys living in suburbia and driving a mini-van.

Young Me had no clue about “life.” That it a mixture of joy/sadness/humor and strength.

The good eventually outweighs the bad and everything happens for a reason – even if that reason isn’t always clear.

I won’t lie, there are times I wish I could go back in time and be that young, naïve 21yo again – except with the knowledge I have now.

I would tell her to loosen up, follow your dreams, never give up and most importantly be happy.

Stop comparing yourself to others, appreciate your true friends and family and all the little things in life. And know that you are not as bad as you think you are (lol).

Thank you Jeff for this little trip down memory lane and for allowing me the use of your blog.

Thanks for reading, enjoy your Tuesday.


Fairy GodMother 911

Growing up I never  thought I would be dependant on anyone, especially a man. My mom was a single, working mother (back when it was not really “in vogue”) so I assumed that it was just “normal” to work, take care of the kids and manage a household without a man.

My Prince!!

While my father contributed some support and paid for school (with the help of my stepmother – a woman), Mom was the one who made sure we had food, clothes and all the other necessary amenities (i.e. cable, Atari and summer vacations).

It was not always easy, but it was not always hard either. My brother and I “survived” and each went on to graduate from high school (catholic no less) and the University of Delaware (Go Hens!). We both have “careers” and are married with families of our own.

It was just a given that I would work, have bills to pay and shop the sale racks. I figured I would be happy and fulfilled and always desire the expensive, black leather boots at Nordstrom.

Everything was going according to plan and then life happened. Damn it, don’t you hate when that happens?!

Now there were 4 kids to clothe, feed and pay health benefits for. A mortgage and home equity loan on a townhouse that won’t sell (don’t even get me started on the Home Owner’s Association fees) and new tires and/or brakes on a minivan and Ford Expedition.

This coupled with all the other “stuff” going on my life made me take a step back and realize Holy Crap!! I am NOT the independent woman I thought I would be!

The realization was like walking into a brick wall. WTF, when did this happen????? Better yet, why did this happen??

I feel like I am stuck in purgatory with no chance of escape  – or even an escape route in the distance.

I have tried to be somewhat proactive, I talked to some people and solicited advice. However, all of it was pretty much the same. Nicole…you need a plan.


A plan? Umm, I was thinking more along the lines of a bail-out or a free pass. A plan will require me to think and come up with idea and for lack of a better word plan!

I am NOT a planner, my mom will attest to this (as will by brother, SIL, aunts and cousin). That is not to say that I am a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of gal (can you name the movie this line is from???) either.

It’s just that planning makes me nervous and gives me stress.

It is stressful to me to 1) come up with a plan from scratch (if there were a template or a sample it would be SO much easier); 2) hope the plan is ok (again, guidelines would be helpful here); 3) execute the plan (yikes!) and 4) move forward to end result (way too scary).

You know what would be better for me? If someone could just rescue me and make it all better.

Why can’t there be a prince on a white horse who comes to my rescue??? It worked for Snow White, Cinderella and Fiona (ok, he turned out to be an ogre but you get my point).

I get it, being “rescued” is not a very, independent, feminist way of thinking but it is WAY more practical.

I know, I know, if someone rescues me they are doing all the work and not me. How can I expect to be able to care for me and my family (i.e. be a grown up) if I am not willing or able to take care of my own problems?

As my friend L eloquently said last night, You need to be your own prince…because ultimately you will end of caring the prince’s kids, mom, dog, etc”

L makes a VERY valid point but still, a rescue does have its appeal.

It’s romantic and easy and safe. There is no chance of error because the rescuer (prince, sugar daddy, etc.) will have thought of everything. He will have drafted THE perfect plan complete with all the  pros, cons and solutions for same. The end result will be amazing and surely lead to a  “happily ever after.”

And now I am going to do what I should have done years ago, I am going to reach out to my Fairy Godmother and issue a 911 alert!

Fairy Godmother, if you are listening, PLEASE help me. PLEASE (pretty please with sugar on top)  rescue me (or send someone to do it for you) and help me find my way. I promise to behave and make you proud but I just need a little push to get me started. FG this is a 911 call for help STAT!!

** Rider: Said Rescuer shall have no “baggage” (i.e. dog, unstable mother, etc. and he must be able to cook, clean, do laundry and food shop without prompting**

Thank you and I look forward to a response – or a visitor on a horse 🙂

My Past May Enter My Present….

English: Image from Univ of Delaware's Campus

English: Image from Univ of Delaware’s Campus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was not a serial dater in my youth. If anything, I was the constant “wing-man” for my friends through out high school and college. I was the sorta-cute, shy friend who accompanied my friend (usually D) to meet whatever guy she was dating/hooking up with at the time.  

The “guy” usually brought along a  friend or 2 with him so the “wing-men” were responsible for entertaining each other.   

sometimes it was great and the friend would be cute and drive a nice car (R the Fed-Ex man from Bayonne who drove an Acura). Sometimes it was not so great (A the uber-Italian from Hoboken with ZERO kissing skills).

Once I even lucked out and got a pseudo boyfriend out of the deal for a whole 2 weeks. C was a college-bound, red-head who dedicated the Phil Collins song “Groovy Kind of Love” to me on the radio and bought me an East Strasburg University t-shirt.

I did a little better in college (well not really) and managed to get dates to most of my sorority’s hayrides and formals – the majority of these dates were blind dates but that’s irrelevant.

As in my wing-man days, sometimes these “dates” were a disaster  – D the U of D cheerleader who was nowhere near as smitten with me as I was with him; P the fraternity brother of someone’s boyfriend who had yet to come out of the closet; or R who was sick and sniffled the entire date party before passing out on the bus.

However, there was a time or 2 when I hit the jack pot  – B the cute, shy blond guy from Hockessin, DE who was my first “college boyfriend” before we parted ways  he dumped me over the phone

Time moved on, I grew up, found my “style” and eventually got married (having met the husband on a blind date I guess some things never change).

Sometimes I would find myself daydreaming about an ex or talking about a former crush with my girlfriends –  Do you think he is married? I bet his wife is gorgeous. I wonder if he still has that great hair? I bet he is still as cute as he was in xxxx!

It was all pretty safe and innocent since the chances of me and any of these people’s paths crossing was slim to none. That is until Facebook.

Facebook opened up a whole, new, HUGE cyber-world where suddenly, people from your past were requesting to be your friend and posting pictures of themselves and their families. Now you could innocently “stalk” an old flame or crush and see exactly what they had been up to all these years (i.e. if they were still as hot as you had remembered).

It was fun in the beginning and very controlled. I only posted “good” pictures of myself, ones that showed me looking my best with make-up and even the occasional blow-out – a far cry from my usual, everyday harried self.

This insured that people from my past would surely regret the day they dumped/ignored/rejected me – at least this is what I told myself.

Immature and petty yes, but hey, it made me feel better. Heck sometimes it even worked. There have been a couple of times that I have actually received a random message/post from an ex or old friend.

We have exchanged pleasantries, complemented each other on how neither of us had changed and told one another what cute kids we each had.

Again, it was safe and controlled. But what if you actually see someone from your past, in person?? There is nowhere to hide if you are standing face to face with someone you havent seen in 20 years??!

In a couple of weeks, Mrs. Jeter and I are taking a road trip to U of Delaware for a weekend. We are going to pretend we are 21 again and drink and hang out at our old haunts.  The plan is to drink a lot and sleep late and take pictures in front of our old dorms.

It’s a pretty tame for a road trip, but we are excited nonetheless. Mrs. Jeter and I told friends that we will be in town so there is a chance we will see people neither of us have seen in 20+ years. This scares the crap out of me, especially since one of the people  I mentioned the trip to was B the boy from Hockessin, DE (see above).

The last time I saw B, I was 19yo and living in Pencader A up near the Towers. I had a bad perm (don’t ask) and wore my jeans pegged with a braided belt (it was 1992).

In 1992, B was tall and lanky and wore clothes from the Gap with maybe a J Crew Barn Jacket (I might be wrong on this but EVERYONE wore a barn jacket at U of D).

We connected on Facebook a few years ago and exchange posts every once in a while. B is happily married with 2 kids living in the suburbs and, based on their recent family photo shoot, his family is SUPER cute.

B and his wife are going to meet me and Mrs. Jeter for dinner when we are in Delaware. We are supposed to go to the Deer Park (Jeter has VERY fond memories of the DP) and I am a nervous wreck.

Twenty years is a LOOOOOONNNNG time. What will B and his wife think of me? Will they like me or will they make an excuse and leave after one drink?

Yesterday I was actually shopping for a shirt to wear to the Deer Park. This is INSANE especially if you have been to the Deer Park.

I have no idea what I am afraid of.  An old friend doesn’t care if you have gained or lost 20lbs or if your hair is a little bit gray. Heck, they probably don’t care if you bought a new outfit either. Hopefully they want to see you – the good and the bad.

WIth Mrs. Jeter by my side, I will approach these friends with a smile and a big hug and fingers crossed no one will run out of the Deer Park screaming. Besides, after a couple of drinks I doubt anyone will care right and me and Mrs. Jeter are VERY fun 🙂

Who knows, maybe B is worried about seeing me too. Maybe his hair is streaked with grey and his belly won’t be as flat as it used to be. I guess only time will tell! Stay tuned.

ps – I did buy a cute, black shirt in The Loft 🙂

Blue with HENvy

Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens football

Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens football (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My firm is in the middle of a major computer changeover – the entire firm is switching to Windows 2010. Thrilling right? This week is Princeton’s changeover so there have been random IT people roaming the halls training, installing and troubleshooting.

I’ve had the opportunity to interact with a couple of the IT crew this week and they are all cut out of the same mold – the arrogant/sarcastic mold. I actually asked the IT Manager if there is a sarcasm class they are required to take (he said yes by the way).

Anyway, the other day my computer acted up and the only person available was Patrick, aka “IT Kid” (he looks 19). He was nice enough but not very helpful (he told me I didn’t need a database that wouldn’t open). However, he was cute and dressed like he was straight out of a JCrew catalog, a rarity in my office, so I was fine if he had to hand around a little while.

I was listening to Pandora and reviewing documents when I head IT Kid flirting chatting with one of the secretaries. He was telling her all about his baby niece and his brothers and how he had gone to school in Delaware. Delaware? Did he just say Delaware? I went to Delaware! I needed to investigate.

Casually I left my cube and attempted to get myself into their conversation. I waited for an opening and blurted out Hey, did you go to University of Delaware? IT Kid turned to me,  with his HUGE blue eyes, and said Yes, I JUST graduated in May.

O-M-G he was 23 years old and freshly graduated! Ahhhhhhhh!!

Before I knew it we were talking about Kate’s and Deer Park and how the Stone Balloon was no more. I asked him what fraternities/sororities were still on campus and if anyone lived in The Towers anymore. IT Kid’s face lit up when he talked about bar tending at Grotto’s and his upcoming visit to Delaware to see some friends.

Heck, he even offered to get me a t-shirt at the 5&10 next time he was there. And when I said to get a large he said nah, no way you are a large – cute right???? Hey, I take a compliment when I can get it.

As I was talking with IT Kid it hit me, like a ton of bricks, how truly old I was. I graduated from U of D in 1994 (holy crap) and here was this child who had just thrown his cap in the air a couple of months ago. I could be his mom, or maybe an older sibling or cousin and all at once I was envious, sad and shocked.

Envious of his youth and all he had ahead of him. He is 23yo and ready to take on the world. No responsibilities except maybe rent and where to go out on Friday night. His entire life is before him like a blank canvas. Remember those days?? Oh my how youth is wasted on the young!!

IT Kid has no idea how good he has it. He can hook up with whoever he wants, dabble in different careers (and girls) to see what “type” he actually finds enjoyable. He can come and go as he pleases because his life is his own and he can make of it whatever he wants.

The Kid talked about being a “god damn independent” (in terms of greek life) and moving to “the city” into his first apartment and it made me sad. Oh the things I would do differently at 23  if I knew then what I know now!

When I started college I was shy, awkward and homesick. I cried for ours on my bed wishing I could go home. OMG what a waste!!  Sure, I eventually outgrew my home-sickness, joined a sorority and made friends but still, there is so much I wish I could have, would have done.

I would have gone on spring break, had at least one one-night stand and I sure as hell would have done a keg stand!

I hope I don’t come across as a Debbie Downer, I am happy. I’m married and a mom to 4 amazing boys. Heck, there are even times I am proud of how much I have grown up since the days of crying in my cramped dorm room.

It took me awhile but I learned what a real friend is, how to trust people and most of all, to trust myself.

Sure I am alittle sad that I am 40 and not a kid anymore but life is a journey right? Maybe my once-in-a-lifetime is just around the corner waiting for me to find it and make it mine.

I hope IT Kid appreciates how lucky he is and takes full advantage of what life has to offer (something tells me he does and will). For now if I start to feel a little down, I will just call my brother (also a Delaware alumni) and torment him since he is old too!

Go Hens!!

ps – Thank you Mrs. Jeter (another Delaware alum) for the title 🙂

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: