Monday, April 21, 2014

The Drugs Helped ...

Well, I got up the courage to call.

Sigh.  No ... if I'm being honest?  I took a Vicodin.  I relaxed.  And then I called.

I think I threw her off her game.  She said hello and I lightheartedly said, "Well ... you still love me?"  She paused a heartbeat before saying, "Of course I still love you."  I responded, "Want to yell at me anymore?  I'm in a better place now ... so if you've still got things to say, I'm good ... hit me with it."

She laughed ... and then uneasily said, "No ... I don't want to yell." 

She halfheartedly started talking about Easter ... asking, "Why would you say you hate Easter?  I know you don't."  I sighed ... and said, "Honestly?  I don't care for holidays.  They're a burden and don't look forward to any of them."

Pause this story ... what I didn't say ... is that she is most of the reason I don't like holidays.  Between her and my ex-husband?  I dread almost all of them.  The two of them used to argue and fight ... and no matter what, someone would be unhappy ... and the two of them would, in turn, make me unhappy.  If I included her?  My ex was angry.  If I didn't include her?  She was angry.  Even though he is out of the picture?  Holidays still depress me.

But I didn't say any of that.

I just told her what I said above ... and she proceeded to tell me that she understood because she hated holidays that required presents.  I listened ... and after awhile we had a long conversation about my brother.  I told her why we will never be close ... and I told her it was not her fault.

In the end?

She apologized and said, "I'm sorry.  I shouldn't have said things the way I did."

I apologized ... and said, "I'm sorry.  I shouldn't have lost my temper."

It might've been perfect ... had the conversation ended right there.

But then she told me, as she has so many times before, that I didn't really lose my temper.  I got upset ... because I'm just like my Dad.  She told me how she put up with anything and everything with my Dad ... because it was easier than trying to talk to him.  She said he did not like confrontations ... and I inherited that from him.

Sigh ...

For peace?  Fine.  I'll accept that. 

For what it's worth?  My Dad wasn't perfect.  He had a hundred flaws ... including being a male-chauvinist pig who thought women should be happiest in the kitchen.  But he was a Marine.  He flew with the President.  His dream was to be a drill Sargent.  A drill Sargent who avoided all confrontations, huh?  Sure he did.

It's fine ... because in the end, as I said yesterday, I just want some goddamned peace and quiet.  And if that means eating ham on Easter next year?  I will dig a pit in the backyard with my bare hands and cook a whole fucking hog in it. 

Seriously.  Goddamned ... peace ... and ... quiet ...

Let me tell you now
Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
Revolution, Evolution, Masturbation
 Flagellation, Regulation,
Integrations, meditations,
United Nations, congratulations
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

John Lennon - Give Peace a Chance

The House of Lannister ...

Fundamentally, I'm like my Dad.  I'm a diplomat.  I like peace.  To quote Cards Against Humanity?  All I want is some goddamned peace and quiet.

Mom, on the other hand, is fine with confrontation.   Years and years ago, Dad told me that Mom liked being angry ... that she wasn't happy unless she was angry with someone.   In fact, at one point, she was upset at my brother about something ... and my Dad and I privately agreed that we were glad she was mad at him ... because it meant she wasn't mad at us.

But now ...

Now Dad is gone ... so she can't get angry with him.  My brother lives three states away ... so she won't get angry with him.  She's pulled away from her group of friends ... she rarely sees the three women that used to form her clique.  Her sister, my favorite aunt, is like me.  She simply doesn't do drama.  Mom wouldn't dream of yelling at her sister because she would completely withdraw if Mom did.  And her brother?  I don't think it would cross her mind to yell at him.  He doesn't take shit from anyone ... I can't even imagine what she'd get if she tried.

So that leaves ... me.  When she's spoiling for a fight?  I'm the only one left.  She's like a Klingon ... she's a warrior ... and the fact that I don't want to argue isn't a virtue.  It's a sign of weakness.

It's not that I don't want her around ... it's that I want peace.   Arguing is mother's milk for her ... she thrives. For me ... it saps me.  It drains all my energy and it depresses me to the point I can't hardly function.   If I were at my old job?  I would've called in today. I would've stayed in bed and slept or cried. 

The worst part of it ... is that it isn't over.  I'll sit here all day, sick to my stomach, dwelling on the fact that I have to call her ... and hear the disappointment and disapproval in her voice.  Yesterday, at the end of the phone call, I apologized.  I said, "I'm sorry."  She said, "I'm sorry too."  Only her tone of voice didn't say, "I'm sorry too."  Her tone of voice said, "I'm sorry too ... because you are such a disappointment." 

So the next time we talk, even if she's friendly, she'll say something hurtful.  She'll say something offhand like, "It's okay ... you're just like your father ..."   She'll never genuinely say I'm sorry ... and leave it.  It's always followed by the dig.   "I'm sorry ... I should've known I can't talk to you about some things."

I know that a big part of it is my fault.  I don't like to argue ... I don't enjoy debating uncomfortable topics.  I'm sure I do things that disappoint her ... because she does things that disappoint me.  We all do things sometimes that disappoints or irritates someone else.  But that's life ... and I don't know why we can't just understand that and write it off and move on without listing our grievances as if it's Festivus.

It doesn't matter ... in the end, she didn't get her way.  I didn't agree to go to Easter and I didn't ask her to come over for Thanksgiving and she feels slighted.   So I'm going to pay ... it's just a matter of how long she wants to make me miserable before the debt is paid in full ...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

I Saw It Coming ...

I knew it was coming.  I knew it all day long. When my Mom isn't happy about something, it hangs over me like a cloud.

I knew when I stood my ground two weeks ago and told her I was not going to Easter at anyone's house ... I knew right then and there that this would blow up in my face.   When she picks a battle ... and chews on a subject like a bone ... it's better, in the long run, to just give in.  But I didn't ... and I knew I was going to have to pay the price.

Usually, she gets on the phone to tell me I've slighted her.  Once or twice she's sent a hurtful e-mail.  Once, in a spectacularly shitty mood, she got on Facebook to tell the world her feelings were hurt.  She wrote it in a vague passive-aggressive away ... but everyone still knew it was about me.

I can't tell you how soul-crushingly awful it is to always be the child that lets your parent down.  I have a cousin who is a crackhead ... my brother, at one time, was a drug addict who stole our grandmother's wallet.  But hey ... I still get notified on a fairly regular basis that I'm consistently disappointing.

Most of the times, I let my Mom say her peace.  I suck it up and sit quietly while she tells me what I've done wrong.  Today ... I lost it a little.  Sigh ... I might've lost it a lot.

Today's (expected) list of grievances included:  I didn't go to Easter ... I didn't invite her for Thanksgiving ... I don't invite her to go dinner with Stoney and I when we go ... I'm not taking care of my responsibilities ... and that I'm punishing her for being alive because Dad and K died.

I sat quietly ... like normal.

I apologized ... like normal ... and told her I didn't want her to feel that way ... that I didn't mean to hurt her.  But she kept going.   She kept pushing ...

Let's see ... what else?  Her mother never spent a holiday alone.  I ignore her because I have a man ... I'm spending time with his family and not her.  She thought it was my ex-husband who didn't want her around but it must've been me.  I obviously didn't want her around ... but now I have responsibilities.

So much of what she said is simply ... not ... true.   The last time I saw his parents was at Christmas.  The last time I saw my mom?  Thursday.  We don't invite her to join us when we go out to dinner?  Because we rarely go out to dinner.  I work until 5:30 every night ... by the time I leave the office, I'm too tired to go out to dinner ... with anyone.

By the time I broke in ... I was crying.   I told her when she was feeling ignored and abused, she should think about the fact that I call her every single day.  I check in on her multiple times a day.  I go to dinner with her every couple weeks.  I take her surprises by her apartment ... in fact just last week when she had an eye appointment, I took her chicken wings and jelly beans ... two things she loves.  But I guess that doesn't matter.

Two weeks ago, I spent two separate evenings fixing her laptop ... after working all day ... and I didn't complain.  I was cheerful and told her the whole time it was fine ... that we would get her fixed up.  But I guess that doesn't matter either.

I told her she spent Easter at her brother's house ... because they celebrate Easter.  I don't.  She has never spent a holiday alone and I wasn't worried about her at Thanksgiving because she was already planning on going to her sister's house.

The longer I talked ... the angrier I got ... and the harder I cried.  I told her ... that's fine.  I'll fix it all.  She's going to get what she wants.  Next year I'll go to Easter.  I'll hate it ... but I'll smile.   And no one will know ... but she will know.   She will know that I'll resent every minute I'm there.

I told her ... through gritted teeth ... to think about how her son calls her once a week ... when it's convenient for him.  That is his contribution.  Oh, but he's great!  He doesn't get calls like this.  More was said ... although I can't remember what.  The bottom line is that I'm beyond hurt.   I try to be a good daughter.   But whatever I do ... it isn't enough.  

I had such a great weekend ... such a happy weekend ... but, once again, she managed to ruin it and make me miserable.  Thanks, Mom ... happy Easter.

You could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
If I could start again
A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

Nine Inch Nails - Hurt

Friday, April 18, 2014

Groceries As Crack ...

Do you remember back in the 80's when we used to hear horror stories about the Soviet Union?  Remember how everything was supposedly rationed?   Remember hearing about people having to stand in line for hours to get a single roll of toilet paper?

I don't know if those stories were true ... but, even if they weren't, they still have an effect on me to this very day.

I used to hate shopping ... I hated it with the heat of a thousand suns.  Then, a couple years ago, I found out that, assuming I'm in the right frame of mind, I love shopping.   I love shoes ... love clothes ... love love love jewelry.  But my biggest guilty pleasure?  Grocery shopping.

I don't know if it's because of those old stories?  Maybe I lived in fear of growing up and having to stand in line a couple hours to buy toilet paper ... but I love grocery shopping.  Think about it.  When it comes to our pantries, we're like robber barons.  We're like the Vanderbilts.  Hell, we're like the fucking Lannisters!

Would you like milk?  Sure ... what kind?  Whole?  Two percent?  Skim?  Chocolate?  Strawberry?  Almond?  Soy?   What's for dinner?  How about beef?  What kind?  There's hamburger or a half dozen cuts of steak or another half dozen types of roast.  Hungry for breakfast?  Do you prefer ham or bacon or sausage?

Walking through a grocery store is the closest most of us will ever get to feeling rich ... to feeling like the world is our oyster and all we have to do is think of a thing for it to be ours.  There's an entire aisle dedicated to soda ... another aisle dedicate to bread.   It truly is an embarrassment of riches.

I ran to the market at lunch.  I wanted to pick up a couple odd things for this weekend ... we're having friends over for a game night ... and I genuinely thought it would be a fifteen minute trip.  I ended up spending nearly the entire hour walking aisle by aisle.  I'd see one thing and think ... "I could make that for breakfast tomorrow morning ..."  Then I'd see something else and think, "Hey, I could make that too!"

What started off as me going to Stoney's tonight with a roast and a box of strawberries has turned into an almost obscene amount of bags in the trunk of my car.   I have special rolls for tomorrow night ... french bread ... peaches and strawberries ... a peach pie ... various seasonings ... sugar and flour ... ugh.   I've missed cooking these last couple years.  Now it's like I walk into a grocery store and something just ... short circuits. 

I'm going to have to try to sneak some of it in while he sleeps tonight.  Surely he won't notice when he wakes up that his fridge is suddenly stuffed full.  Right?  Hmmmm .... is there such a thing as a grocery fairy? 

There is now ...

Food, glorious food!
Hot sausage and mustard!
While we're in the mood --
Cold jelly and custard!
Pease pudding and saveloys!
What next is the question?
Rich gentlemen have it, boys --

Oliver - Food Glorius Food

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Procrastination 101 ...

What I should be doing? 

Taking a shower.  Starting a load of laundry.  Folding the laundry in the dryer.  Organizing supplies for Saturday's dinner.  Putting together a change of clothes for the weekend.  Taking the garbage out.   Shredding some of my junk mail.

What I am doing?

Watching Big Bang Theory ... eating cheese and crackers ... thinking about how much I'd like to blow everything off and get under the covers.

Oh well ... want in one hand ... poop in the other.   Time to get something done ...

When taters need sprayin', I bet you keep prayin'
The bugs'll fall off of the vine
And when you go fishin' I bet you keep wishin'
Them fish don't grab your line

Louis Armstrong - Lazy Bones

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Yaaaaaaaawn ...

I'm tired.  I don't know what my problem is ... I just can't seem to get enough sleep lately.  

The last few days have been a struggle.   It's hard to get up ... and after I leave the office, I come home and I'm just ... sapped.   I'm supposed to stop by the lab and get my blood work done sometime this week ... so I suppose I'll know how I'm doing soon enough.

I'm taking my vitamins.   Gummy vitamins are vitamins, I assure you.  I've started taking vitamin D again ... since the doctors all claim I'm so terribly low.   No, I haven't been taking the calcium I'm supposed to ... but that's because the calcium pills are nearly as big as my fist.  I just don't have the heart to gag them down.

Plus ... last night I couldn't help myself.  There were two bottles of liquid sunshine in my fridge ... and I had to have a glass.  So ... the march of orange juice continues ... whatever is going on, I'm craving it terribly.  

I dropped off a few groceries at Stoney's house after work ... and took him two different bottles.  I decided the ones in my fridge are all mine.  I might be yawning?  But I'll be full of juice ...

Watch the sunrise on a tropic isle
See the pyramids along the Nile
Just remember darlin', all the while
You belong to me

Dean Martin - You Belong To Me

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Teachable Moments ...

Isn't it weird how after you're with someone for awhile, you start picking up on little clues?  Or maybe after awhile we just become comfortable enough with one another to let our guards down.

I spent most of this weekend over at Stoney's house ... and I noticed something really adorable.   When I'm doing something he finds annoying, he tries really hard to be polite.   Whatever he's saying, he says it lovingly ... but there's this little undertone that lets you know, "Woman, you are starting to bounce on my last nerve ..."

The first time I noticed it was when we were driving around Saturday after the movie.  He had the sunroof open and I was goofing off.  I was sticking my hands out the roof ... and he very nicely said, "Would you please put your hands back inside?"  Then later that afternoon, I was precariously leaning off the couch.  I was trying to grab at his feet and he kept warning me I was going to fall off and get hurt ... and he finally said, "Would you please stop hanging off the couch, sweetheart?"

It was so adorable ... and I know how wrong it is to say that ... considering I was irritating him.  I know it's not good ... but it was just so damned cute!   And it's not like I was trying to get on his nerves ... but I guess if you're around someone long enough, it's just bound to happen.  I stopped wiggling my fingers out the sunroof ... and I stopped hanging off the furniture ... so ... baby steps! 

He's doing a damned fine job of putting up with my flakiness.  Hell, I drank half his orange juice in twenty four hours and he didn't get mad ... so that's a pretty good sign!  

I've already bought groceries to restock his kitchen ... as soon as he isn't sick, I'll replace everything.   I hope he gets well soon ... cause I'm starting to crave orange juice again ... and that Simply Orange in my fridge is looking mighty tasty!

And constant
Has always

K.D. Lang -
Constant Craving

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's Not Even Gone ... But I Already Miss It ...

Well ... fuckity fuck fuck fuck.   I put it off until the last possible moment ... but you can only drag your feet so long.

I filed my taxes tonight.  Technically I suppose I could've waited until tomorrow ... but I had visions of my internet going down or my laptop freezing up. I've known I was going to owe since last fall.  And even though I did the paperwork back in January, I held off pushing the button.  I figured the money could sit in my bank just as easily as it could sit in theirs.

But tonight I came home ... fired up the laptop ... and sent everything in.  What I owe to the feds will come out of my checking account ... what I'm getting back from the state will be deposited into the same account.  It wish it was a push ... but it's not even close.

It's nine o'clock ... I still have to e-mail my contractor ... take a shower ... and work on shredding a little of this mail I've accumulated.   I probably should've done those things before the taxes ... because now I just want to go to bed ... and forget that I basically just handed over an entire paycheck to Uncle Sam.

Sigh ... am I independently wealthy yet?  No?  I didn't think so ...

Oh, with you by my side
This world can't keep us down
Together we can make it baby
From the poor side of town

Johnny Rivers - The Poor Side of Town

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Dwarf, the Cripple, and the Mother of Madness ...

Have you watched tonight's episode of Game of Thrones?  No ... then leave here immediately.  Leave, I say!

Because we are about to say our final goodbyes ... to that psychopathic little fuck weasel, King Joffrey.   Do not let the door hit your ass on the way out, assclown.

When I asked Stoney if I could watch Game of Thrones with him tonight, I made the rather unfortunate mistake of saying it was because "something big was going to happen."  I owe him an apology ... I shouldn't have said that.   No, not because it was a spoiler ... although it kinda was ... but ... now whenever I ask, "Hey, can I hang out over at your house tonight and watch GoT," he's going to assume someone is going to bite it.  Sorry, hon ...

Joffrey's long-awaited painful death was the bright red cherry on top of an amazing weekend.   It started when we went to see Oculus Saturday morning.  I might write a review of it tomorrow ... but for now let me just share these three words ... aw, hell no.

After the movie, we shopped at Menard's for some house stuff I need.  If I ever want to put this house on the market, I'm going to have to start working on it.  So ... we picked out a front door and some paint swatches.  We headed back to his house for awhile ... then went out for Chinese later.

This morning I make breakfast (meh ... sausage works better than bacon but it was passable) ... then we just hung out ... watching some stuff on the DVR ... just relaxing.   I made steak fried rice for dinner ... nothing special ... but it was comfort food.   I need to replace some groceries ... between the various meals I made, I used all his eggs and almost all of his rice.  We don't even want to talk about the juice situation.  I don't know what came over me ... but I drank a barrel of orange juice this weekend.  It was not normal ...

Oh ... and ... Stoney and I put slips in to win an Easter Basket that weekend we spent in St. Louis?  He won!!  More on that later.  For now ... I'm going to sleep ... a little sloshy with juice ... but happy.

Candy girl
All I want to say
I need your love
Each and everyday

New Edition - Candy Girl

Friday, April 11, 2014

Blast From the Past ...

Thursday was another food day at my work ... I swear we have more food days than St. John's Bread Line.   On that same day, Stoney's team was celebrating their teammate winning employee of the month.   So ... to the kitchen we both headed.

He made a delicious dinner ... then I took out the pans and started making candied bacon.  I'd bought two pounds ... and, by the way, I've found the perfect bacon for that project.  If you're interested?  Cracker Barrel thick-cut bacon ... it's at County Market ... look it up.

Anyhow ... as I'm elbow deep in brown sugar and maple syrup, Stoney was keeping us entertained.  He decided to go back and read the old posts on this blog ... reading backwards ... each post going further and further back.   Good lord ... listening to him read was hilarious ... and embarrassing.   So many things I'd forgotten about ... so many things I hadn't.

There were points that he was laughing so hard he was almost crying ... and that made me smile.  I can be funny.   Most of the time, I'm not ... but I can be.   Mostly when I'm angry.  I think I'm like a much-much-less-talented Louis Black.  I do my best work when I'm frothing.

When the evening was over, we had two pounds of candy bacon ... a crock of sausage dip ... and two very sleepy ... but very happy ... people.  Not sure if the rest of the world liked the results of our evening's work ... but I did. 

Thanks, Stoney ... you made the night a blast ...

You don't know how you met me
You don't know why
You can't turn around and say goodbye
All you know is when I'm with you
I make you free
And swim through your veins
Like a fish in the sea

Uncle Kracker - Follow Me

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Boom Goes The Dynamite ...

I had a breakthrough today!   The old ThirtyWhat is still here ... kicking around in my head.

I was never a high-end IT employee.  Despite being a LAN Administrator, I didn't do anything insanely complicated ... I didn't even program.   My strengths were in customer service ... problem solving.  People came to me all day with little problems ... and I fixed them.  Sometimes it was teaching them how to run a script from within Excel ... sometimes it was showing them how to embed video or sound into PowerPoint ... sometimes it was something simple like replacing hardware like a DVD drive or a video card.

Over the last six months, I started to get down on myself.  I didn't have a degree ... so what did all those years of work with the feds really mean?  Who cares that I replaced RAID drives?  Who cares that I encrypted laptops or ran AV equipment?  I took a steep cut in pay that I'm never going to get back ... because nobody is going to pay me to do what I used to do.  I think that's part of what's really depressed me down about the whole job situation.

Well ... today ... a little bit of the old me came out.  And boy ... have I missed her.

There was an unbelievably ancient procedure at my new job ... and it really grated my ass. 

When we needed to order a specific type of document, I was trained to take two pieces of paper ... which I'd already run through a copier earlier ... and then use carbon paper ... to hand write out the order.  A couple months ago, I got up the nerve to ask, "Why the hell are we doing it this way??  Who uses carbon paper??  What year is this?"  One of my co-workers icily gave me a dozen reasons why it couldn't change ... why it had to be done the way we were doing it ... why it was silly to try to do anything different.

I wasn't buying it ...

Today ... I created four fillable Adobe PDF documents.   I created required fields ... set the fonts and the field types ... and saved those documents.  I then showed my co-workers how to send a document to the printer and have the printer hold the document.  At that point, you simply walk up with the colored paper you need, put it in the bypass tray, click on the job ... and it prints.

I almost danced when I finished.   In fact, I'm pretty sure I was dancing.  This will save bucket loads of time ... supplies ... mess ... and eliminate errors because we're copying and pasting directly from the order to the PDF.


I did this kind of simple shit all ... day ... long at my old job.  It wasn't anything special or magical or hard.  It was simply fixing a problem.  You don't have to pre-copy two hundred forms on special colors and keep a supply of them at your desk to hand write orders.  Welcome to the new millennium.  If you think there might be an easier way to do something?  There is.

This was the best afternoon I've had at work in six months ... and this was an easy fix.  Can you imagine if I did something valuable???

The new millennium
Yo excuse me Willennium
It can't get thicker than this
Slick like Rick I can't miss
And we gonna party like it's 19 ...
Hold up it is

Will Smith - Will2K

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A Birthday Wish ...

Today would've been my Dad's 69th birthday.   I started this blog ten years ago to help me deal with the aftermath of his heart attack.   The eight months following his collapse were quite literally hell on Earth.   The drive from Litchfield to Memorial was the beginning of the longest night of my life.  He had already flat lined three times and hadn't regained consciousness.  The cardiologist told us if he survived the night, they would do surgery ... but since he'd smoked for nearly 40 years, the chance of his survival was slim to none.  When the doctor said that, I saw my mom sob for the first time in my life ... and it scared the hell out of me.

She wouldn't leave Dad's bedside.  She sat next to him without sleeping all night.  My brother fell asleep on a couch in a conference room off the Cardiology ICU waiting room.  Which left me ... by myself.  My ex-husband wouldn't have anything to do with my family.  Despite my calls ... and the fact that we lived six blocks from the hospital ... he refused to come up.   So I spent the night walking the halls ... and staring up at the night sky.

I prayed ... hard ... and I made a deal with God that night.  I told him ... if you have to take Dad ... take him tonight.  Don't make him suffer.  I can take the loss ... but don't make him hurt.

The night passed ... and the next morning Dad had eight by-passes.   He flat lined again ... more than once ... and we found out several weeks later that he had a stroke on the table.   He came in and out of consciousness ... his kidneys were failing.  We called the family ... he was dying.  My sister-in-law came up from Tennessee.  And ... I was still alone.  

We found out he had contracted a staff infection in the operating room.  The staff infection was inside his heart incision ... and it was eating away his sternum.   His incision literally burst open in front of Mom.  She'd rarely left the hospital other than to go home and take a shower every few days ... and this was almost too much for her.  They rushed him back into surgery ... cleaned out the infection ... cut away the dead bone ... and reconnected his ribcage.

I was taking a networking class at the community college when all this was going on ... balancing my full time job plus the courses required for my recent promotion at work.  They interrupted the class to tell me I needed to go to hospital immediately.  

When I wasn't taking leave or at class, I was working like a dog ... carrying my school books to the hospital every night after work ... staying until ten or eleven.  I rarely got to see the girls.  One of the things I regret about that time is missing most of College's One's senior year of high school.  Dad was in hospice and had only a few days left ... and Mom made me leave his bed and go to College One's graduation.  She said I'd never forgive myself if I missed it ... and she was right.

He would be a little better ... and then his blood pressure would drop.  He would be a little better ... and then the doctors would tell us to call the family.  This went on from October to June ... the constant, never-ending roller coaster.   He died on June 13th ... and I was angry.

I was so ... so ... angry.   I'd made a deal with God ... and he reneged.   I told him that he could take Dad that night ... and he didn't.   So why did we have eight months of so much pain?  So much constant sorrow?

I'm better now ... now that I'm removed from it, I see those eight months as a gift.  I had eight months to say goodbye to him.  I had eight months to hold his hand and talk to him ... he told me stories about Viet Nam ... he told me about his friends that died ... stories I'd never heard.   I'm past the anger ... and most of the grief.

Mainly the grief I feel these days is that he isn't here to see my life now.   He would be so damned happy.   I like to think my Dad was there to meet my best friend when she died ... and I guarantee you, she told him about the one man she approved of ... and I bet they both had a good laugh at how much I wanted that cookie ...

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all
Your Christmases be white

Bing Crosby - White Christmas

Monday, April 07, 2014

Hi Ho Hi Ho ...

I had a marvelous weekend ... capped off by a birthday party for the little girl of a friend of ours.  A birthday cake with a layer of chocolate mousse ... a houseful of babies toddling around ... lots of adorable moments and smiles and love.

Today it was back to the grind ... another long day at a job I really don't enjoy.   I need to stay until October so my cousin gets her referral bonus ... but I'm not sure if I'll be at this company for the long haul.  The people I work with are nice enough ... but it's just so much busy work.

Plus I have a fundamental problem with the work.  They've changed our review so that a fairly large percentage of our score is based on work we do for other teams.  They highly value cross-training ... and are constantly asking, "What have you done for other groups?"

Here's the problem with that ... all that accomplishes is a great shuffling of work.  This team needs help and so that team does some of their billing.  That team is now running behind so they ask another team to help them.   This trickles down and down ... until I'm stuck trying to clean our queue out because my team-member is helping someone else ... who wouldn't need our help if they were concentrating on their own projects.

It's maddening.  Every week we're asked to provide numbers ... how much and what kind of work we've done for other groups.  My problem is that I don't want to work in other groups ... I want to do my work.  If we're slow?  I'll ask!  I'll happily offer to help ... but this constant movement is unproductive.   Being cross-trained is supposed to add "value" to us as employees ... and I totally get that.  But when I'm busy doing my job?  Interrupting me to ask if I've done anything for other teams is frustrating ... and not the least bit helpful.

Maybe this is a private industry thing.  Maybe I have a government-employee's mindset and this is something that I need to change.  I have seven more months of indentured servitude ... I guess we'll find out.

I'm a fool to do your dirty work
Oh yeah
I don't want to do your dirty work
No more
I'm a fool to do your dirty work
Oh yeah

Steely Dan - Dirty Work

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Friday Five: Usage

I've spent the afternoon dozing.  You know how we joke about those "30 minute naps" that really last two hours?  Hah ... I'm not even going to say how long I slept this afternoon because it's embarrassing.  We stayed up a little late talking ... and we woke up kind of early?  I guess I must've been really tired. 

But ... I'm up now.  I cleaned the kitchen ... straightened up my bedroom ... and have Bolivia's gift bag ready for tomorrow.  It's been a pretty wonderful weekend so far ... I've seen two fun movies ... one stretched out on a comfy couch and another at the theater cuddled next to Stoney with popcorn and a frozen Coke.  Seriously?  What more could a girl ask for?  Bring on the birthday cake!

The Friday 5 

1. What was the occasion that called for your most recent use of a power tool? - I'm afraid I'm not one for power tools.  The only power tool I even own right now is a cordless drill.  I've hung new mini-blinds using it ... but that's about the most I'll ever be able to brag about.  Me with a power saw?  Hah!! God help us all!

2. What was the occasion that called for your most recent use of a postage stamp? - I bought a postage stamp from one of my co-workers recently.  I used it to mail a birthday card to my Mom ... so that would've been ... what?  Back in January?  Between my bank's bill pay option and websites in general?  I mainly use postage stamps for Christmas cards.  It's no wonder the USPS is going under ... I'm certainly not helping the situation.

3. What was the occasion that called for your most recent use of a threatening word or gesture? - I shake my first at Stoney now and then ... but despite my best squinty-eyed scowl, I don't think it's very threatening.

4. What was the occasion that called for your most recent use of some transparent tape? - Wrapping Christmas presents, I suppose.  Or wait, no!  Wrapping Stoney's birthday presents.  No wait ... wrapping Valentine's day presents.  Oh hell ... let's just say "wrapping gifts" in general and call it good, kay?

5. What was the occasion that called for your most recent use of Wikipedia? - Tonight ... I was re-watching the Game of Thrones marathon on HBO and wondered ... scientifically were dragons possible?   Sure, they're stuff of myths and legends ... but were dragons possible?   I don't know if I'm a bigger idiot or nerd ... but it was a fun read.

I'm waking up to ash and dust
I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust
I'm breathing in the chemicals

Imagine Dragons - Radioactive

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Five Months Ago ...

Five months ago today, my beautiful friend, Sunny, lost her battle with breast cancer.   I've never met a stronger woman.   She endured round after round of chemotherapy ... radiation ... surgery ... all with the same same exuberant smile and infectious laugh. 

She lost her long, gorgeous auburn hair to the treatments.  When it grew back in, it was grey and thin ... but she didn't complain.  Like my best friend, K, Sunny was someone I could count on to be brutally honest ... whether it hurt or not.  If you asked her a question you didn't want the answer to ... she would smile a rather sad smile ... then tell it to you straight.

The last evening we spent alone was shortly before Christmas in 2012 ... it was the last time she was strong enough to go on a road trip.  We spent the trip talking about fun things like which CD's she'd recently bought.  We talked about sad things like her cancer.  We talked about silly, stupid things like her favorite sub shop and which brand of lube she preferred.

I didn't see her very often.  Sunny had dozens of friends ... maybe hundreds.   But every so often, on a Sunday, she would call out of the blue and say, "Do you have plans?  I wanna meet for lunch!"   About once a month, I'd get an envelope addressed from her ... stuffed full of odd coupons and a note that said, "I'm thinking about you!"  There's not a day that I don't open my mailbox still expecting to see one of those envelopes ...

Miss you, Sunny.   Yes, I know ... I know.  I promised.  And if I know you?  You're making the angels laugh right now ...

Pictures of you
They're still on my mind
You had the smile
That could light up the world

Slaughter - Fly to the Angels

Peditto - #3

Cop car peditto - infinity win!

Peddito - #2

Slugbug peditto ... double win!


Race car peditto ... I win!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

A Small Phobia ...

NOTE:  I tried to do a Google
Image Search on the word
"Spider" ... so I could
put a picture here.  However,
I just saw a picture of something
called a camel spider ...
and I am now SO disturbed that
not only will there not be a picture?
I will not be sleeping tonight.

I was sitting at my desk today ... when I noticed something crawling across my locker out of the corner of my eye.  At first I thought it was a cockroach ... but then, as it came closer I saw the truth.   It was a spider.

I'd love to exaggerate and tell you it was enormous ... but it was probably only as wide as the tip of your little finger.  But that's what was so bad.  It wasn't big  ... but it was hairy ... and it was fast.

I quickly shoved my chair away from my desk ... sounding an awful lot like Tina Belcher moaning ... "Mmmmmmm ... Mmmmmm ... Mmmmmmm ..."

My teammate, the hipster kid, looked up and said, "Hey, is it that spider I saw earlier???"  He hopped up, walked to my area ... and pounded it with his palm.  It started to crawl away?  And he smooshed it again ... with his bare hand.

I was so grossed out ... and embarrassed.  Last year, I joked with one of my friends that we are the cool kids ... but I was not remotely cool today.   In fact, pick a word that is the complete opposite of cool?  That was me ...

The entire episode gave me a headache ... which I carried on through the evening fixing Mom's computer.  She wanted to go to dinner afterwards to thank me ... and I appreciate it so much ... but it's been a long, long day.

I hate spiders ... so much ...

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

My Confession ...

I am not a fan of April Fool's Day.  I know that probably makes me a wet blanket ... but I figure it's best to be comfortable with who you are.  It's not that I don't like fun ... not at all.  I'm always making jokes and laughing and cracking wise.  But I don't get any pleasure from making other people feel stupid ... and I certainly don't like people making me feel stupid.  So April Fool's Day?  Not up my alley ...

I'm okay with little jokes on April 1st ... gags I guess.  My biggest pet peeve is the "tell someone you've been in an accident" shtick ... not funny.   A woman I work with was bragging that she told someone she'd hurt her arm ... then when they expressed concern, she said, "You must be a fish ... cause I got you hook, line and sinker!"  Wow ... frightening a loved one, eh?  Such wit!

Years (and years) ago, I was dating a guy ... someone my best friend did not approve of ... strongly.  We dated a month or two ... not long.  It might've been longer had we not been seeing each other on April Fool's Day.

I was at work.  It was my first job ... told you it was years ago.  I was just a kid ... only twenty years old ... working ten hour days at a bank.  I was stressed and exhausted as hell.   We weren't really supposed to get phone calls.  There was a "group phone" at the front desk ... and we had to take all incoming calls standing there three feet from our supervisor.

Someone yelled to the back, "Hey, ThirtyWhat ... phone call for you."  I walked up front and it was this guy.  He was panting ... "ThirtyWhat ... I need help ..."  I instantly panicked ... "What's wrong??  What happened??  Where are you??"   He gasped for breath and said, "I fell down the attic stairs.  I had to crawl to the phone in the kitchen.  I think I broke my legs."

I am so shocked I can't hardly breathe.  I said, "Listen, calm down.  Lay very still.  I'm going to call 911 ... I'm leaving here right now and I'll be at your house in ..."

And at that moment, while I'm talking, I hear him snort ... and giggle ... and then start laughing as if someone was tickling his ass with a feather.   I paused ... confused ... and asked, "Wh ... what's going on?"  Between gales of laughter, he says, "April Fool's!"

I was so angry ... angry at him and angry at myself because I couldn't keep from crying.  "Why would you DO that??  That's not remotely funny."  He was still laughing and said, "Sure it is ... it's funny ... AND I got to see how you'd react if I DID get hurt."

I hung up on him.  Everyone in my office had stood up from their desk and was staring at me.  I'd just stood there ... first saying I was going to call 911 ... then yelling ... then slamming the phone down.  It was humiliating ... and I walked out and spent the next 30 minutes in the bathroom hiding from everyone.  Yeah, K was right ... he was a complete ass.

I have a sense of humor ... I really do.  But April Fool's Day isn't my idea of a fun time.  Well, other than ThinkGeek.  I loved their "Mr. Beard" product this morning. They do April 1st the right way ... it's funny ... and nobody feels like an ass at the end of the day. 

It's not that funny is it
When you don't know what it is
But you can't get enough of it
It's not that funny is it?
Don't blame me!
Please, please, please!
I didn't wanna bleed so
I didn't wanna be this late
So don't make me wait!

Fleetwood Mac - It's Not That Funny

Monday, March 31, 2014


Note:  I was nearly finished writing a blog post about my Mom and her computer buying habits ... but then this happened ...

Fuck you, "How I Met Your Mother."  Fuck you ... hard.

I hate to cry ... I worse I hate to admit to crying ... but here's the honest truth.

The last five minutes of the finale ... I sat here sobbing.  Thank God I was alone ... because the last thing I'd want is someone seeing me clutching my blanket crying, "No!" at a television screen.  I was heartbroken ... and sickened ... and I know I'm projecting and I don't care. 

We spent the entire season waiting breathlessly to finally meet the mother ... and to see this epic love story.   To see how he finally met the woman of his dreams.  And in the last five minutes, we learn ... a) she got sick, b) she died, c) he's going to date Robin, and d) her children are delightfully pleased about it.

I can't be objective.  I can't see outside this hole.  I can't tell if this was a good episode or not ... because all I see is hurt.  There should've been a trigger warning.

Whoever wrote this ... can go fuck himself.  I don't want to believe that someone can love someone so much ... but hey ... when they're gone?   They'll just pick up where they left off .  Robin and Barney?  Nope ... fuck them!  Lily and Marshall?  Whatever.  Dead mother?  Who cares!  

Ted is a piece of shit ... know why?  Because for some bizarre hurtful reason, even though he met the "love of his life" ... he kept that blue fucking french horn ... from a first date with another woman.  Because hey ... you know ... wanna make sure all the bases are covered, right?

I need to take a hot shower and a Tylenol ... and forget I ever saw this.

I don't have a song for this ...
the only song I can thing of
is "Everybody Hurts" ...
and now I associate that with poo.
So fuck music and fuck this show ...
and fuck HIMYM for telling me
love is worth waiting for ...
because they lied.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Post #2

Sometimes I really do sit back and think ... I'm the luckiest girl alive.

This weekend, Stoney and I went to St. Louis ... and I don't know how to talk about this without either gushing or sounding like a travelogue.

I love hotels ... I really do.   There's something about it ... going in and discovering a brand new space ... a big comfy bed ... everything clean and neat.   He got us a room at a hotel called The Moonrise ... I love this hotel.  Besides the fact it is right down from the Pageant, it was the definition of cool.
Everything was moon themed ... our room was retro and hip.

We walked a couple blocks to a place called Vintage Vinyl ... which was like walking into a scene out of Empire Records or High Fidelity.  I didn't know stores like that existed anymore.  It was both fascinating and a little disquieting all at the same time.

On the walk back, we found a little candy shop that had delicious chocolate ... including ... chocolate covered bacon.  Now wait ... I know you're thinking it sounds nasty.  But ... there aren't any words for how delicious it was.  The bacon was thick and so crispy ... and the chocolate was smooth and rich.  It's not like I'd want it on a regular basis?  But if I die tomorrow, I'll be happy knowing I got to taste it.

The reason we traveled south was to see the Drive By Truckers.  A good friend of Stoney's has ALS ... and they know the band.  So we not only went to the show ... but we got to show some love and support to some great people.   They hosted a dinner at a nice restaurant called Pi ... and the guys came across the street and ate with us.  Everyone was friendly and gracious ... they gave us wrist bands to sit in their reserved VIP area.   It was a fantastic evening ...

Then on top of it ... this morning we woke up and Stoney took me to a place called Strange Donuts where I had a maple-glazed doughnut that was topped with crispy bacon.  I know ... it sounds like the theme of this weekend was bacon, doesn't it?   Afterwards, drove over to Alton to try a place called Fast Eddies Bon Air for lunch.   Try it sometime ... the food is really, really good and the prices are crazy cheap.

I am tired ... bone tired ... but so very happy.  I had a fantastic weekend ... with a tall, handsome man.  I ate some delicious pizza ... and decadent chocolate ... and stayed in a hotel that was classy and hip.  I saw a great band ... we had a fun ride home ... and I had the sweetest kiss goodbye.

Seriously ... not sure what else is left to write except ... thank you.   The chocolate bacon was mind blowing ... but you ... are what made the weekend awesome ...

I find I spend my time
Waiting on your call,
How can I tell you, baby
My back's against the wall
I need you by my side
To tell me it's alright,
'Cos I don't think I can take anymore

Whitesnake - Is This Love

Post #1

The first of two posts for this wonderful weekend.  Post one:

An open letter to the three inconsiderate, douchebag twats
sitting behind us at the concert Saturday night

Dear Gaping Assholes ...

Yes, I know why you went to the concert.  You were supporting someone and that is admirable.  I don't personally know you ... but I assume your presence meant a lot to the group.  So kudos on your gesture of love and support, brah ...

Having gotten that out of the way ...

If you hated the band that much, why not step back about 25 feet to the bar area and have your conversation back there?  What in the name of great blue fuck made you think it was cool to sit three feet behind us ... and yell ... at the top of your lungs ... for an hour???  

Know how you were having to yell to hear one another?  I'm not sure if you noticed, but there was a band playing.  Those guys who came to eat dinner with us?  The ones everybody kinda fawned over?  Yeah, those guys.  They were performing ... and most of us were there to hear them play.
No one came hear about your Disney trip ... or listen to your inebriated definition of the word encore.  Guess what, genius?  Everyone knows what an encore is.   The band coming back out for a few more songs was neither a surprise nor proof or your clairvoyance.

You fucktards were rude and inconsiderate ... and I promise you ... if you weren't loved ones of our gracious hosts, I would've happily handed you a five and invited you to go next door and have a hot, steaming cup of go-fuck-yourself on me.

For the record, this post would've been much more colorful had I had my laptop last night.  I laid my head on the pillow ... foul words running through my head like a river.  Trust me ... this post is like Jayne Eyre in comparison to what I would've typed last night.

So ... in conclusion ... don't be a douchecanoe ... go to the bar or shut the fuck up.  The choice is entirely up to you ... because life is all about choices.

Your friendly neighborhood ThirtyWhat

Friday, March 28, 2014

And Bells on Her Toes ...

I'm not terribly vain ... or at least I don't think I am.  I don't spend hours in front of the mirror.  I don't color my hair ... in fact, I'm kind of fond of my natural color.   I don't spend an exorbitant amount of clothes ... although I am a fan of shoes.   Worst of all?  The only shape I'm in ... is round.

I do have one girly weakness ... pedicures.

I've always had my toes painted ... always.  For years I did them myself ... always the same color of red.   Then a couple years ago, Idiots Anonymous got me going to the spa with her almost monthly.   A bunch of us would meet, get pedicures, and go out for margaritas.  It was so fun ... and really helped me out of  the funk I was in at the time.

It's something that has just stuck with me.  There's basically nothing on my body that I like ... but I do like my feet.  And pedicures make me feel girly ... and even a little pretty.

The last pedicure I had was just a day or so before Christmas.  Yes ... I'm perfectly aware how silly it is to get your toes done when there is snow on the ground.  But I was able to wake up Christmas morning and see bright red polish with little silver snowflakes on my feet ... it was like a tiny present to me.

So ... three months later, nearly all the polish was gone ... had been trimmed off.  My heels were a little rough .... and I wanted ... no, I needed a pedicure.

Yesterday I stopped at Payless and picked up my first pair of sandals for the summer ... and drove directly to the nail salon I always used last summer.  It was closed.  I went to another salon that I'd heard good things about ... and they were closed.  I finally gave up and drove home at seven o'clock last night ... frustrated and tired.

Tonight ... I didn't bother trying my end of town ... I headed west.  It ... was ... heaven.  I feel like me again!

My feet are back in their typical summer condition.  My toes are red ... my feet are soft.  It will be too cold to wear sandals this weekend ... but that's alright.  I'll know under my socks ... inside my boots ... my toes will be tapping to some great music ... and my toes ... will be cute.

Nope ... I'm not vain.  But my toes are.

Now I gotta cut loose, footloose
Kick off the Sunday shoes
Please, Louise, pull me off of my knees
Jack, get Mack, come on before we crack
Lose your blues
Everybody cut footloose

Kenny Loggins - Footloose

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why Do I Ask?

I've come to expect so little of our friend, J.  I honestly thought there was no situation where he could surprise me at this point.   I was, sadly, wrong.

He's dating ... or should I say seeing ... or should I say talking to ... what ... five women now?   T-Gear ... HHP ... the chick with five kids and a great dane ... the chick from Chatham ... and tonight I find out there's another from Petersburg. 

Tonight he had the unmitigated gall to complain that HHP was "guarded" this time.  I pointed out that he was, in fact, dating several women ... so yeah ... yeah, she should be guarded.  He gave the douchiest of all bro-dude answers to that statement. 

"Yeah, I am.  Trying to learn something through my experiences with each of them."

I'll admit it ... I don't have the capacity to understand this kind of thinking.  What is there to learn?  If you're a good person ... a friendly and kind person ... if you're giving and you're loving ... what is it that you need to learn?

I am with someone ... who is friendly and kind.  Someone who is giving and funny and smart.  Someone who has friends who like him and family who love him.  If we're to believe what J is saying?  To become the good person that he is?   Stoney must've dated a legion of women ... he must've spent every waking moment wooing anyone and everyone with boobs.

I would respect J a thousand percent more if he simply said ... "I'm lonely."  After being married twenty years, I would understand that.  And I would commiserate ... because I'm lonely without her too.   But to craft an excuse that basically says you're using a dating service as a self-help community college ... it's mind boggling.

Honey I know, I know
I know times are changing
It's time we all reach out 4 something new
That means u 2
U say u want a leader
But u can't seem 2 make up your mind
I think u better close it
And let me guide u 2 the purple rain

Prince - Purple Rain

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I Loved Those Pretzels ...

I went home early today. 

I was sitting at my desk eating a pretzel crisp ... when the pretzel in my mouth became ... I don't know how to describe it.  Goo?   I was chewing goo ... and it was nearly impossible to swallow.  What I swallowed was caught in my throat ... and my stomach was turning over.

I took a drink of ice-cold Cherry Coke ... and it made my stomach lurch.  My favorite drink had turned against me.

I went to the bathroom ... thinking I was about to hurl.  Nothing happened ... but primarily because there were people in the bathroom ... and no matter how nauseous I am, I can't get sick when other people can hear me.  I have issues.

I walked back to my desk ... thinking of one thing ... my bed.  My nice ... big ... bed.  It's not as comfy as New Bed over at Stoney's ... but my bed would do.   I asked my boss if I could go home.  He nicely said, "Hey, do what you have to do ..."   Not exactly a warm response ... but fuck it.

I came home ... and tried to sleep.   I think I managed to doze for maybe 30 minutes ... but all in all, I accomplished nothing.  I've watched a couple old movies ... but ... nada.   I still feel ... iffy?  Not praying to the porcelain god ... but not awesome.

I had such plans for tonight.  I was going to get a pedicure ... make my feet all soft and pretty for this weekend.  I was going to go shopping ... maybe buy some cute pj's?  Nope ... all I have is a half-eaten plate of watermelon and a glass of peach tea.

Today ... is the definition of fail ...

Sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Everything around you's growin' old.
The days drag on, the nights last forever,
Every day's tougher just to keep it together.
Forget everything you've ever known,
Except for home.

Cross Canadian Ragweed - Sick and Tired

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Goose Chases - Vol. 1

A friend of mine read one of my posts this weekend ... and e-mailed to ask what kind of goose chases I was referring to ... because they sounded like a barrel of fun.  Hah ... I wish! 

So, I thought I'd share a story ...

I was always coming up with some kind of hair-brained plan ... some of which worked out fabulously ... others ... not so much.   K was usually amenable.  She would listen and, nine times out of ten, would sigh and agree to go along.

When I was a senior in high school, I was the lead in our school play.  I developed a crush on a boy, Simon, who was also one of the leads.  The problem was that I was a senior ... and he was a sophomore.  Senior girls just did not date sophomores.  Oh, but I liked him ... and he liked me.  We spent time together ... but in the end, I was too hung up on the age difference.

Fast forward ... about five years.  I was in my early 20's ... K and I were driving in her car around killing time.  We were cruising around the small town that contained our high school ... when my crush happened to cross my mind.  "What ever happened to Simon?"  I asked.   K said she didn't know ... she thought he was still living with his parents.  I asked, "Where do they live?"

And we were off ... on another goose chase.

We found the house easy enough.  We drove down the alley and saw, what she told me, was his car.  It was parked next to the garage.  We drove around the block ... and I said, "Pull back in the alley ... I want to leave a note on his car!"   K again sighed ... put up a small argument ... and gave in, pulling  into the alley.

I took slip of paper and wrote something simple and cheesy like, "Call me!"  She pulled beside his Camaro and turned off her headlights.  It was pitch black.  I opened the passenger's door and walked the short distance.  Meanwhile, K got out and leaned against her open door waiting for me.

As I walked up and leaned over to place my note, the back door FLEW open ... and Simon was standing on his back porch yelling, "HEY!  Who the hell is messing with my CAR?!"  Then a pause ... "Huh?  K??  Is that you?"

I was so mortified, I wanted to die.  I have no idea how embarrassed K was ... considering this wasn't even her idea.  She yelled back, "Hey, Simon ... how goes it?"   He comically cocked his head to the side and said, "ThirtyWhat???"  "Yup ... its me.  Hey, Simon ..."  "What are you two doing?" 

I sighed, "It's kind of a long story."  It wasn't ... it was a short story.  A short, humiliating story.  He said, "Well, come inside and you can tell it to me!"

K looked at me ... and, best friends or not, if looks could kill, I would've never lived long enough to be called ThirtyWhat.   We walked up to the house ... and he lead us down to the basement to his room.

Whatever charm he used to have in high school?  Was gone.  His room was a dark, foreboding dungeon ... he didn't offer to turn on a light.  There was a water bed and a video camera set up on a tri-pod.  I don't even wanna guess what that was about.  He had an old beta-max video recorder and was taping black and white Twilight Zones off a small television.  The atmosphere was ... disturbing ... and the room smelled like ancient, stale beer.  

I tried to joke in a light-hearted way ... "I was thinking of you ... and thought I'd leave you a note."  He looked puzzled and said, "You couldn't just pick up the phone and call?"  K and Simon talked for a bit ... and finally she said, "Well, we need to get going ..."  

As we drove away, I told K ... "I am so sorry ... I will never get us into a mess like that again!"  She just looked at me ... raised her eyebrows ... and said, "Mmmm hmmmm ...."

Yeah ... I did ...

Girls will keep the secrets
So long as boys make a noise
Fools run rings to break up
Something they'll never destroy

Duran Duran - Notorious

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Long Post For a Monday ...

(Note:  This is a long, long post.  You won't hurt my feelings
if you skip today.   Tomorrow will be a short, happy post, I promise ...
full of  pictures of puppies and kittens and unicorns farting rainbows.
Sorry ... sometimes we just gotta get out the bad
to move onto the good ... )

Now that the storm is over ... now that I can talk about it without wanting to cry or set things on fire ... I guess I can finally write about my weekend.

Let's go back a week to where this nightmare started ...

One evening, Stoney and I were sitting around having a relaxing dinner ... just hanging out and talking about our days ... when my phone vibrated with an odd ringtone that I'd never heard before.  It was my ex-husband.  He sent a condescending text message asking why an insurance company was calling him about homeowner's insurance.  Was he still on the policy?

Ugh ... my bad. 

Two years ago ... before my divorce was finalized ... I sat with my Mom and we made list of every company that had to be changed or notified.   Bank accounts ... social security ... cable ... phone ... gas ... electric ... driver's license ... garbage ... you name it.   In fact, I took an entire day off work and literally spent the entire day driving around the city with a copy of my divorce papers changing my name and contact information.  Honestly, it was a fantastic feeling ... if we could bottle it and sell it, we'd be millionaires.

Anyhow ... a month or so after I cleaned house, so to speak ... I had to take a quit claim deed to the county building and have it registered.  Once I got the registered copy back in the mail, I faxed it to the mortgage company ... then I took the second quit claim deed to the secretary of state's office and had the title on my car and my license plates changed.   It took a year or so ... but a few months ago I paid off the loan for my divorce settlement ... and when I wrote that massive check, I breathed a sigh of relief.  I was done. I'd taken care of everything.

Not quite. 

I'd forgotten to fax the quit claim deed to my insurance company and change the homeowner's insurance.   So yes ... when they needed to call someone and talk about changes to the policy ... they contacted my ex.  My bad ... my fault completely.   I called them the next morning, faxed in the quit claim deed and a copy of the divorce papers and had him removed.   They let me know that they were no longer doing business in Illinois ... so I had until September to get new homeowner's insurance ... and July to get the car moved over as well.  Easy peasy ... I could do that.

Back to present day ...

Saturday evening I got back from going to dinner with Mom and found a letter in my mailbox from my mortgage company.   The homeowner's insurance had been switched to a new company.   The old company would've  issued a refund check and it was my job to sign the check over to the new company.   The new company hadn't been paid and it was my job to make sure they were reimbursed so my policy wouldn't lapse.

I thought I was going to throw up.  Who authorized this???  Who had the check???

I was in tears and found myself with a sick headache.  The phone rang ... it was mom calling to share some gossip.   My voice was shaking ... if they couldn't stop the check on Monday ... if it had already been cashed ... I would have to contact the State's Attorney's office.   How did this get so screwed up?  

She told me it would be alright ... to relax ... and call the insurance company on Monday and find out who had the check and what had happened.   She said to take it all one step at at time.

I stayed in bed most of the day on Sunday.  I was upset ... depressed.  My head hurt terribly.  I thought I was done with all this nonsense and now I was neck-deep in it.  I thought about texting my ex to find out if he'd gotten the refund check ... but I didn't have it in me to confront him ... having to communicate with him was more than I could bear.  I was sick about the whole mess.

So this morning, I got to work and immediately called the insurance company ... ready to hear the worst.  What did I learn?

There was no missing check. 

This new insurance company has upset a lot of people by trying to take over policies without getting anyone's approval or waiting until the old policy expires.  I still have insurance ... it's still with the original company ... and my ex is no longer on the policy.  The original company will happily keep my business until September ... and I am only one of many, many angry customers calling.

They told me to call the mortgage company and tell them to switch the homeowner's policy info back the way it was.  I can go with this new company if I'd like ... or I can go with anyone else.  It's up to me.  The representative apologized profusely.  They'd been on the phone with customers all morning ... there was no reason for this to happen.

So ... the second half of my weekend was ruined for nothing.  I still have an active homeowner's policy that is completely paid for ... and no one stole anything.   Yes ... I assumed the worst of my ex.  Although let's be fair ... I have lots of reasons to ... about three thousand reasons to. 

Everything is fine for now.  I'll have to find a new insurance company ... since I sure as hell won't be using these assholes.   But I have until mid-summer.  And who knows ... maybe by then I'll have relaxed a little. 

For now, my head still hurts and I'm wound tighter than a frog's ass ...

Sigh ... seriously ... I need a vacation ...

You don't know how to play the game
And you cheat, you lie
You don't even know how to say goodbye
You make me wanna cry
You don't know

Godley and Creme - Cry

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Random Thought On a Sunday ...

I was raised Roman Catholic ... so we don't believe in reincarnation.  Of course we also don't believe in birth control ... and I decided that dogma was a load of horse shit moments after I first heard the word episiotomy.

No ... years of catechism aside, I'd like to believe there is such a thing as reincarnation.  There's so much to do in this world ... how could anyone do it all in one lifetime?   Even if you spent every hour working and studying and traveling ... you couldn't experience everything.

I love my life.  I believe each day is a gift.  But it's wonderful to think that maybe in my next life I could be a chef who creates mouth-watering sauces and desserts and meals ... or maybe an author who writes books that are loved the world over ... or a seamstress who was so talented she could sew a wedding dress ... or a photographer who travels the world taking beautiful pictures.

It comforts me to think I could do all those things ... or maybe I have done those things.   Maybe I've been a musician?  Maybe I've been a pilot and seen the world from above the clouds?   Isn't it comforting to think that the ones we've lost are still with us somewhere on this Earth ... beginning a brand new adventure?  Running and laughing and playing?

Who knows ... maybe in one of my next lives, I'll get to be someone who understands math.  That would be a refreshing change of pace ...

Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
'Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are

Cat Stevens -
If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Warm Thoughts On a Cold Day ...

Late yesterday afternoon, I was driving home from work and found myself sitting at a stoplight.  I looked to my right and saw the hospital where my best friend died in June.  In the two minutes I sat  there waiting on the light to change, I remembered every moment of the two days we spent there.

I still have texts from her on my phone ... I've read them a hundred times.  In the last one, I told her I was worried about her ... that she'd been feeling sick for too long.  She told me that she would be fine ... not to worry about her.

I miss her so much.  Sometimes that grief gets lost ... it's buried deep under the weight of everyday life.  It's buried under the stress of the new job ... under tedious chores like paying bills or doing laundry or grocery shopping ... under happy moments with Stoney or the girls or my mom ... under the ever-present anger I feel towards her husband.

But sometimes it comes back ... so strong it's like a physical blow.   In those moments, it doesn't seem real.   How could she be gone?  How??

I see friends on Facebook who post things like, "Had lunch with my bestie!" or "Nothing like a girl's day out!" and I can I feel the hole where she used to be.

One time, in our early 20's, we went to see a band playing at this hole-in-the-wall place out in the country.  A guy we knew from high school ... a guy she'd always had a crush on ... would be singing and she wanted so badly to see them play.  She put it up with so much of my nonsense ... going on wild goose chases with me ... that I owed her this.  So in a rainstorm, we drove out there.  I pulled into the grassy field they used for a parking lot and we walked up to the dilapidated, old mansion.

When we came out a couple hours later, it was still raining ... and my Rabbit was stuck in the mud.  We tried rocking it ... she tried pushing it.   She couldn't drive stick so we were in a bind.   We were both covered in mud from head to toe in a matter of minutes.  And who should come walking along?  The singer ... the guy from high school that she had crushed on for so many years.

He ran and got the guys from the band ... and they all pushed the Rabbit out ... like it was the easiest thing they'd ever done.   I thanked them ... shook his hand and said I owed him a beer.  He hugged K ... their families knew each other and he'd always treated her like a little sister ... and he hugged her in a bear hug that must've hurt her ribs.

She glowed on the way home ... practically glowed.  

Fast forward twenty years.  We saw him sing again a couple months after my separation.  Her husband drove us to this small bar to see him sing ... and on a break he sat at our table.  I bought him a beer ... the one I owed him from all those years ago.  I brought up that rainy night ... about his friends and K pushing the Rabbit out of the mud ... and we all laughed.

He came to her funeral.  He cried ... and I was tempted to tell him, "You know, she always loved you ..." but I didn't have the heart to add more hurt to someone who was already in pain.

It's almost spring.  As soon as the weather's warmer, I'll take her flowers and sit awhile on that marble bench ... thinking about all those goose chases and all the times we laughed.  I miss you, K ... I hope you're still with me.

If only the world wouldn't get in the way
If only people would just let you play
They say you're both being fools
You're breaking all the rules
They can't understand
The magic of your wonderland

Fox and the Hound - Best of Friends

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Five: Nature

Thanks, Jesus!  This fish on Friday thing is really putting a kink into my evening.  I stopped at County Market hoping they would have something I could eat for dinner that wouldn't make baby Jesus cry ... and sure enough, they had whole catfish in the deli.  Yay, me, right? 

Wrong ... I ate less than half of one side and I feel horrible.  My stomach is doing some kind of churning, gurgling, groaning thing ... this just can't end well.  I've taken three Pepto pills.  I'd say they aren't helping but Heaven knows what would be going on if I hadn't taken them!   Best not to even speak of it ...

The Friday 5 

1.  When did you most recently feel like a salmon swimming upstream? - My mom's friend used to say, "If you feel like you're swimming upstream, then you're going the wrong way."  This week ... when I was dropping everything and nothing was working?  I was swimming upstream ... and it was exhausting.  Not sure what I did to fix it ... but by lunch I felt like I was back in the zone.  It's a horrible feeling.

2.  When did you most recently feel like a sheep following the herd? - I usually have that feeling at work.  Everyone is donating towards this or that.  Everyone is going here or going there.  I didn't realize how independent I was at my last job ... until I came to this one.  It's a little disheartening, to be honest.  I miss my quiet office ... and I miss my independence.

3.  When did you most recently feel like a dog whose bark is worse than its bite? - I had to stand up to a couple CSRs this week ... which is hard because I have no authority.  I can tell someone they need to dial it back?  But if they don't, I'm pretty much screwed.  Sigh ... I need a new job ...

4.  When did you most recently feel like the cat whom curiosity killed? - This last week, I was coming home from Stoney's a little late.  Not terribly late ... probably nine thirty or ten?  In any case, I drove into the driveway, got out of my car, and heard something.  I walked around to the front of the house ... then walked around to the other side to see what might being going on between the two houses.  Only when I got inside did it hit me ... that was an incredibly stupid thing to do.  In my neighborhood?  In the dark?  At ten o'clock at night?  No ... I need to get my silly ass indoors and not be walking around in the dark following strange sounds.  Luckily I think it was just a cat ... but still ... it scared the tar out of me ...

5.  When did you last keep the hours of a night owl? - Hmmmmm ... I can't even remember.  I don't stay up terribly late these days.  I guess when I was unemployed?  I was only unemployed for five or six weeks ... but it got bad for awhile.  I was staying up until three a.m. ... then sleeping until eleven or twelve.  Thank God I got a job ... I was well on my way towards being a bum!

I won't pay, I won't pay ya, no way
na-na, Why don't you get a job?
Say no way, say no way ya, no way
na-na, why don't you get a job?

The Offspring - Why Don't You Get a Job

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happiness Is Contagious ...

What a different 12 hours can make.   Seven hundred and twenty minutes ... to go from wanting to scream ... to being sublimely happy.

Last night I slept for eight hours without getting up once ... a feat that I'd been dreaming of for weeks.  Sure, it took two Tylenol PM to accomplish it ... but it happened.  Unfortunately, probably because of the sleeping aid, I woke up terribly disoriented.  I woke up hearing wind chimes ... and it took a good minute or two to fully understand that I was hearing my phone alarm and not actual wind chimes.

It was an unpleasant feeling ... had I slept the night through?  My throat was bone dry ... I hadn't drank any water all night ... my bladder was bursting ... I was hungover from the sleep aid ... and yes, I was irritable.   All of this seemed to combine to make for a morning from hell.

I fell back asleep and forgot to hit the snooze.  When I woke up 30 minutes later, I was panicked ... I would be late for work ... I had to hurry.   Everything I touched, I dropped.  I picked up my diamond earrings to put them in ... and dropped them.   I picked up my jeans and the change fell out and rolled under the bed.  I picked up the hairbrush to fix my hair ... and fumbled it and dropped it into the toilet.

I drove to work ... nearly hitting a guy on a bicycle who was too busy wearing earbuds and looking at his phone to notice the car he almost swerved into.   I got to work and my seat belt wouldn't retract ... I ended up with what looked like 50 feet of fabric laying in a puddle on my front seat.  I felt worn down by the world ... nothing had gone right.

Slowly but surely ... my day began to turn around.   Sure, we were busy ... but I was able to handle everything.  I spoke to several CSR's about rush orders and everyone was friendly and polite.  I ran to Walmart at lunch and picked up fiber fill for a sock monkey I'm making and found a few other things to go with it.

I had a marvelous evening ... a birthday dinner with Miniature Moose and Idiot's Anonymous, College One and her husband, and their mom.  We all laughed and had a delicious dinner.   They got to sit on the birthday saddles and everyone sang to them.  We really have to get together more often.

Heck, I even dropped off dinner for Stoney and the boys before meeting everyone at Texas Roadhouse ... so I go to see him for just a minute.  Seriously ... the difference between the way my day started versus the way it's ending?  It's a happy miracle ...

So I'm going to bed with a smile tonight ... because I'm happy.   Night all!

Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

Pharrell Williams - Happy