Tuesday, December 09, 2014

I Ask For So Little ...

I want to talk about what I don't like about my job.

Let's discuss this in a vague, non-specific way ... so as not to offend any one person or persons.  I'm not complaining about any one person ... just a way in which things seem to work.  In fact, this is really not a criticism of anyone ... other than myself.  Because by writing this, I'm highlighting a huge character flaw of mine ... a complete and utter lack of patience.

So ... here's my bitch.

If you came to me and said, "ThirtyWhat, I'm hungry.  I want a box of macaroni and cheese ... but I've never made it before.  Will you show me how?"  I'm all over that shit.  I'll walk you through it.  Although, to be brutally honest, I'll be thinking to myself, "The directions are on the side of the box, numb nuts" and I'll be judging the shit out of you.   But nonetheless, I will help.

Likewise, if you came to me and said, "ThirtyWhat ... I'm making this box of macaroni and cheese ... but I can't remember how long to cook the noodles.  Do you remember?"  Again, that's reasonable.  I'm all over that shit.  Seven minutes ... spoon out a noodle to see if it's soft enough for you.  Bam. Noodles. Done.

Or how about "ThirtyWhat ... I'm making this box of macaroni and cheese ... but I can't remember ... do I use any butter when I add the packet of cheese?"  Yet another valid question.  

I have no problem with any of these scenarios.

Here's what I have a problem with ...

"Hey, ThirtyWhat ... I know I've made 
macaroni and cheese a dozen
times now ... but I don't remember ...
I boil the water, right?"


"Okay, so ... the water is boiling ... 
I put the noodles in the water, right?"
Sigh ... yes.

"Okay, so ... I drain the water, right?  
Is that okay?  That I drained the water?"
Ugh ... yes.

"Okay, so ... is okay that I put the empty box 
in the garbage? I mean, it's empty so ... 
do I need to do something with it?  
Or can I throw it away."
(Sound of my head exploding)

I don't mind answering valid, reasonable questions.  That's the foundation of a good working relationship ... that we can come to each other with our issues.  I get that.  But if you interrupt my work flow to say, "This order says I need to mail a hard copy.  So, am I supposed to print off a copy and mail it to them?"

No.  Not at all.  You're supposed to choreograph an interpretative dance describing the contents of the legal documents ... then videotape yourself performing said interpretative dance ... then mail them a DVD of this same dance.

Jesus H. Christ on a rubber tipped crutch.  Where's the Tylenol.

Round and round,
But the conversation always ends where it began.
Round and round,
And I need a vacation.
I got a headache from you

Kelly Osbourne - Shut Up

Monday, December 08, 2014

Shake It Off ...

I think I might be crazy.

Not people in black cars are following me.  Not that kind of crazy.  But ... definitely not right in the head crazy.

So after a wonderful day of relaxation and fun on Saturday, I had to buckle down and get a few things down at the old homestead on Sunday.  After all, I need to get the place sold.  So I drove over and went to work on the upstairs bathroom.

I threw away a black garbage bag full of half-empty hairspray cans ... eye shadows I used once and hated ... an old makeup box that was full of lipstick and foundations that I would never use ... not in a million years.  After I cleared everything out, I scrubbed down the vanity and the floor and the toilet.  I still need to scrub down the bathtub ... but from the hallway, the bathroom looks completely sparse and clean.

It was at that point, that I started having trouble breathing.  It was probably the cleaning products.  In retrospect, I should've opened a window.  But I heard whistling and realized it was me.  I was wheezing badly.  I went downstairs, dug in my purse, found my inhaler, and had a seat in the kitchen ... just waiting for the medicine to kick in.

And looking around ... that's when everything seemed so overwhelming.  There's so much I need to do.  Stuff I can get done in one weekend ... okay, maybe two ... if I just put my head down and push through it.  But still ... so goddamn much.

I started crying.  I know part of it was self pity ... because I wound up being the only one responsible for someone else's debt and stuck with a house that badly needs upkeep.  It's an immature, selfish thought ... but I can't help wishing *I* could've just walked away from it all.  Part of the outburst was from frustration.  I can't find my grandmother's recipes or my dad's letters from Viet Nam.  For years I kept them in a special box beside my bed and now that box is gone.

I should've worked the rest of the day ... at least for a couple more hours.  But instead I did something completely un-helpful.  I picked up the bag of bathroom junk, put it in the garbage bin outside, locked up the house, and I left.   I spent the next hour or two driving around.  I went to an office store and bought some markers.  I went to Michaels and bought more markers.

It's true.  When I'm stressed, I buy art supplies.

My hands were shaking from the asthma medicine ... so I drove through Chi-Town and got a Cherry Coke ... another un-helpful action since I spent the next 12 hours peeing every 45 minutes.

I went to two Walgreens and picked up three prescriptions.  I went to County Market and got a rotisserie chicken.  I went to Joanne's Fabrics and immediately left.  They were having a sale and the checkout line weaved around the store like a sweaty, irritable snake.  I drove around looking for the Hallmark Store and discovered it had gone out of business.

I just drove ... listening to a podcast called Serial Serial.  Yes ... I was so desperate for entertainment that I was listening to a podcast about a podcast.   I think I spent close to $50 in this rambling quest for who knows what before I decided I needed three things.  I needed to cook, I needed to draw, and, most of all, I needed Stoney. 

So I headed for my new home ... where I made Christmas cards ... listened to more of the podcast ... ate a delicious dinner that Stoney made for us ... and watched Christmas Vacation with him.  He made it better ... he made me better.

Nothing is fixed.  I still have to finish cleaning out the house.  I've come to the decision that no one is going to buy a house right before Christmas.  But I think if I work hard, I could get this ready to go by January 1st.  That seems like a reasonable, attainable goal.   I need to just go in ... work through whatever anger or resentment I have ... and remember that the harder I work ... the quicker I get this behind me.

But I keep cruising
Can't stop, won't stop moving
It's like I got this music
In my mind
Saying, "It's gonna be alright."

Taylor Swift - Shake It Off

Saturday, December 06, 2014

The Happiest Kind of Tired ...

After a four day weekend, you would think it would be nice to get back to work, wouldn't you?  It was kind of the opposite.  The week was long and grueling ... despite the work load being no worse or better than any other week.

I have plenty to say about what frustrates me about my job ... but instead ... let's focus on something else.  Let's focus on today.

Today made up for that entire week.

Last week, Stoney asked if I'd like to go to Peoria today.  He suggested a day trip ... we'd see a movie, maybe go to our favorite bar-b-que joint, and end the day with the East Peoria festival of Christmas lights.  I couldn't wait.  I thought about it all week.  Quite frankly, the thought of going on this road trip probably kept me from going postal more than once.

I woke up about 8:30.   Stoney was, as usual, already wide awake in the living room.  I decided to start the day by texting him from the bedroom.  I sent him, what I consider to be, a hilarious joke ...

"Have you heard about that new movie, "Constipation?"
"Of course you haven't.  It hasn't come out yet!"

That last line ended with a poop emoji.

Omigod ... I laughed until I cried.   He laughed ... but I think he was laughing at me laughing.  He tolerates my odd sense of humor.  But I got out of bed ... curled up in his big recliner and woke up slowly by watching American Horror, and then we got on the road.

I enjoy going to Peoria with him.  He points out all sorts of places ... he worked down that road ... his brother works down that way ... just memories he has.   We stopped at the comic book store he used to go to years ago.  It was still open and was quirky and odd like all comic book stores seem to be.

Mockingjay was good.  Very good, in fact.  What I find frustrating, as a book reader, is that it's a two-part movie ... made out of one book.  So you knew that the story was going to stop mid-way through. 

Side note ... you don't realize how badly AMC sucks balls until you see a movie at a Carmike theater.  Holy crap ... the aisles were wide ... the seats were so comfy and reclined back ... the arm rests pulled up so you could cuddle while you watched.  And it was cheaper.  Take note AMC ... cause I'm considering driving up north to give my money to Carmike.

After the movie, we had dinner with Stoney's parents.  They're friendly and funny ... I was glad they met us.   Dinner was so delicious ... a literal feast of bar-b-que.  A full rack of ribs, a whole smoked chicken, pulled pork, brisket, corn on the cob, coleslaw, baked beans, french fries, and the sweetest corn muffins in the world.   All four of us ate until we were full ... and we still brought home two to-go boxes full.

I've only been to the Christmas light festival one other time.  K, J, Stoney, and I went up two years ago.  Last year, we talked about it.   We really wanted to go ... but between bouts of illness ... and typical winter weather, it just didn't happen.   This year, it was cold ... but not ridiculously cold.  No snow.  Nice enough to open the windows and take pictures.  We drove through the park, listening to Christmas music, and watching the twinkling lights.  It was beautiful.

We drove back to town and had enough energy to get groceries before heading home.  We're both beyond tired ... but it's a good tired.  A happy tired.

Tomorrow will be a busy day.  I have a lot of things I need to get done.  But today was nice ... it was fun and relaxing ... I couldn't have asked for a better day.   I might have even wound up with a little Christmas spirit.   Thanks, sweetie ... I appreciate everything!

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, December 01, 2014

I Am the Luckiest ...

Happy Anniversary, world.  My first post was November 19, 2004 ... my last post was November 18, 2014.   I've been blogging for ten years. We should throw some kind of cyber party ... crepe paper and balloons and confetti.

It is true ... happiness writes white.

I think about posting almost every day ... but I'm usually beyond tired at the end of each day.   Sure, there's the simple, everyday tasks like working and doing laundry ... but add to that packing and cleaning ... transferring things carload by carload ... working with repairmen and movers.  Most nights I crawl into bed and Stoney says, "You should write a blog post!" and I say (with all sincerity), "I really should!"  But after a hot shower, I'm already mentally shutting down.

This isn't to complain, mind you.  What I do is a just a small piece of the proverbial pie.

If it weren't for Stoney, I'm not sure what kind of Thanksgiving we would have had.  I probably would've bought two pounds of deli turkey, a loaf of that amazing, crusty bread from Hy-Vee, a half dozen Hostess apple pies ... and told people to make themselves a sandwich because I was going to take a nap.

Stoney was on vacation and spent the week prepping the house and the turkey.  Our Thanksgiving was amazing ... so full of family and friends and the most delicious food ... and you can pretty much put that accomplishment on his shoulders.  That clean fish tank?  That's him.  The groceries in the fridge?  That's him.  Aside from dusting and running the vacuum cleaner?  That was all him.

And as if that accomplishment wasn't enough ... he keeps me sane.

I spent this weekend working like a rented mule ... moving things from my house to my mom's apartment on both Saturday and Sunday.  I also met with our good friend on Saturday morning and helped her pick up a few things from my house.  By Sunday evening, I'd completely passed being tired and moved into some kind of agitated fugue.  I didn't even eat dinner.  I couldn't ... I was wound far too tight.  While Stoney had fajitas, I sat there ... alternating between ranting like a Tourette's patient and banging my head silently on the table.

And so, after he ate, he said, "Come with me."  We laid down on the bed and he stroked my hair and kissed my forehead ... and we just relaxed.  For the first time in days ... we relaxed.  I stopped ranting ... finally ... and just let go ...

And so if I haven't told him enough ...

Thank you for making it a wonderful Thanksgiving ... thank you for moving my china hutch and my table ... thank you for waiting on me to put up the Christmas tree ... thank you for listening to me this weekend ... thank you for everything.

I try to put it into words
But the words just sound like mistakes
I try to find a set of chords
But you know how long that takes me
I don't trust my fingers
I don't trust my tongue
The work is too important
And we're no longer young, after all.
When I consider what you put up with
I'm amazed you still have skin
When I consider what you mean to me, 
It's everything.
It's e-ve-ry-thing.

Harvey Danger - Happiness Writes White

PS - I have a lot of things to catch up on, having been away for two weeks.  Idiot's anonymous is out of the hospital and slowly, but surely, healing.   My piano is relocated ... along with my china hutch and my oak table.  All the electronics are out of the house.  So much has been accomplished and yet so much more to do ... in any case, as Arnold said so many years ago ... I'll be back.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hug Your Loved Ones ...

Never, ever forget ... life is short.   In the blink of an eye, your world can change.  I learned that ten years ago when Dad had his heart attack.  And I learned that again this weekend.

Saturday morning, Stoney and I went to a funeral of a dear friend of ours.  He had cancer and had fought the good fight for years ... but eventually we lost him.  The funeral was heart wrenching and by the end, everyone was teary eyed.

After the funeral, we came home and started cooking.  I baked two pans of yeast rolls and Stoney made some delicious scalloped corn.   Saturday night, College One hosted the second annual Goobly Goobly Day ... a Thanksgiving/Birthday extravaganza that is beloved by all.  There are four birthdays ... her, her husband, her step-dad, and I ... all within two weeks.  So given that it's November, she bakes a turkey and we all bring sides.  It was a fun night ... full of laughter and stories and love.

But it was cold and snowing and sleeting.  

The drive out to their house is dark and winding ... and I woke up to the news that Idiot's Anonymous had gotten in a wreck.   Someone hit a patch of ice and slid around into her lane.  The State Patrol said she did everything right ... but there was no way to avoid the other vehicle.

Idiot's Anonymous is lucky to be alive.  I mean that with all my heart.  When you see the pictures of her car and the pictures of the van she hit ... and both drivers are blessed to be alive.  It's going to be a long road to recovery.   She had reconstructive surgery today on her hip and pelvis.  She'll walk.  She's a smart, strong, determined woman ... and she'll be fine.  It's just going to take a lot of hard work.

Just like that ... we went from being a happy, whole family ... to being a family in crisis.   You never know what life has in store.  Hug your loved ones ...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Walk Down Memory Lane ...

I was going to write a blog post tonight ... but after reading Stephalopolis's comment about a possible lead on my hallucinated cheese fever dream ... I fell in a hole.

I spent the evening looking at discontinued food on the Internet with Stoney.  Time just slipped away as we were remembering TMNT Pudding Pies, Chocodiles, and Aquafina.

So ... I'm going to sign off and get some sleep.  But if you have some time to kill ... check it out yourself!

30 Discontinued Foods We Sort of Miss

Monday, November 10, 2014

Calling All Children of the 80's ...

Okay ... so .... I'm calling out to all my faithful readers ... all twelve or so of you ... to help me with a conundrum.

I have a memory.  It may be false.  I have problems with the logic of this memory ... but there are a lot of details surrounding it that seem real.  So I'm asking if anyone else can throw in some facts and verify whether or not this existed.

I have a distinct memory of there being a product at the grocery store.  It was sliced cheese.  I think it was flavored (pizza maybe?) ... and the point of this cheese was that you were supposed to put a slice of it on a piece of bread (toast?), put it in the oven, and it would melt into this "pizza bread" of sorts.

I remember it tasting delicious.  I remember it was one of the few things that my mom allowed me to make for myself.  I remember that my mom stopped buying it because I was a heavy little kid with impulse control issues and I was eating a half dozen of these things at one sitting.

Now ... here are the issues.  I asked Stoney and he has no memory of this type of product.  I Googled and came up with nothing.  I asked Mom and she has no idea what I'm talking about.

Bigger issues?  How would I have made this?  Toast the bread first?  Okay but then how would you melt the cheese?  Microwave?  That would make sliced bread rubbery.   If I put it in the oven, did I broil it?   For me to remember this being something unique because mom would let me cook it, then I had to be young.  She didn't let me just play with the oven for fun.   We didn't own a toaster oven.  So how was the bread not a soggy mess under this slice of cheese?

Did I hallucinate this???

So I'm wondering ... any of you 80's babies out there ... does anyone else remember this?  Sliced, flavored cheese ... meant to go on top of bread and be melted.

Anyone have any ideas?  Anybody?

Fortune, fame
Mirror vain
Gone insane
But the memory remains

Metallica - The Memory Remains

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Miss Me?

Last summer, after we'd come home from his friend's wake ... the night before his funeral ... Stoney and I laid in bed listening to the "One Night Only for Terry Pace" concert that was streaming from the Shoals Theatre in Florance, Alabama. 

We missed the first few minutes ... but we caught most of the music and it was an incredible show.   I won't speak for Stoney ... but I listened to most of the show crying ... partially because it had been such a sad day ... and partially because the friend that had died loved this music and would've loved to have heard it.

Anyhow ... during the concert, Jason Isbell was talking about being in love ... being happy ... and why he stopped writing music for awhile.
"When I’m happy I don’t want to write a damn song … I want to keep on doing whatever it was that made me happy … I know it wasn’t writing a song."
I share that particular anecdote with you because it explains why, in a nutshell, I haven't written anything since October 27th.  After a year of almost writing a post daily, I haven't opened my laptop for nearly two weeks.

My mom complains because I'm not like my brother.   If you knew him, you'd know how ironic ... and misguided ... this belief is.  When he's sad or upset or down, his first thought is to drive back to Illinois and spend time with Mom.  Conversely, when I'm sad or upset, I don't communicate.  I shut down and just stay inside my head.  Talking is the last thing I want to do.

However, Mom would be overjoyed to know that, when it comes to my blog, I am like my brother.  After my separation, all I wanted to do was come here and write every day.  My posts weren't anything brilliant or inspiring or even lucid some days ... but writing was an outlet.   It made me feel better ... like I was accomplishing something in a world where I was accomplishing almost nothing ... where everything I'd come to depend on was crumbling to dust.

Now ... two years later ... that world is gone.

But, in its place, is a new, happy world that I didn't know existed.  A world where the house is bright and sunny ... where friends stop by with their kids on Halloween ... where the house is full of laughter and friends for cookouts and game nights ... where I relax and watch Shameless while Stoney watches football with the guys.

I feel happy ... I feel loved ... and, as Jason Isbell said that night, I want to keep doing on doing whatever it is that makes me happy.   I'll be better about the blog from now on ... hopefully.  I've brought my laptop to Stoney's so there's no excuse not to pick it up and write something ...

Whether it's something worth reading?  That is up for debate ...

So girl leave your boots by the bed
We ain't leavin' this room
Til someone needs medical help
Or the magnolias bloom
It's cold in this house
And I ain't goin' out to chop wood
So cover me up and know you're enough
To use me for good

Jason Isbell - Cover Me Up

Monday, October 27, 2014

So Pack Faster ...

Well, it finally happened.  Everything is upside down now. 

Tonight is the first time that I feel lonely ... and I don't like being in my own house.   I've been writing here about the slow transition ... from feeling like a guest at Stoney's house ... to feeling like a visitor ... to feeling comfortable.

Don't get me wrong, it still feels like I'm using his things and cooking in his kitchen and what not.  And that's the way it should be because it is his house.  But being there feels good.  Doing laundry at his house ... watching Shameless while I'm folding clothes on the bed ... cleaning up the dinner mess ... painting the mailbox ... whatever.  It feels good.

So ... after work, there I was ... driving back to my house.  One of our friends is back in town for a few days, so Stoney had the guys all over for football tonight ... and I have lots of work left to do over here.  So we decided this week I'd just concentrate on my house, getting boxes packed, and getting things ready to move.

Ugh, but I can't lie ... coming back here was depressing.  The house is lonely and quiet ... the night breezes carry the sound of drunks screaming at one another.  His neighborhood is peaceful and his neighbors are friendly.  Everybody's walking dogs or bicycling or planning community garage sales.  Over here, they're standing on porches yelling over who owes who money ... and who should go on the next beer run.

I've got to wrap everything up here so I can be done with it.   I miss him ... but that's alright.  Because if I miss him?  That just means I'll pack faster.

Every time I think of you
I always catch my breath
And I'm still standing here
And you're miles away
And I'm wonderin' why you left
And there's a storm that's raging
Through my frozen heart tonight

John Waite - Missing You

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yeah, I'm Tired ... But I'm Happy ...

So I'm back at my house.  Going through drawers and filling garbage bags with things I know I won't need.  Old phone books for instance.  Or a year's worth of Entertainment Weekly.  Things that can just be pitched.

Stoney helped me so much this week.  He stepped in and contacted our friend to set up dinner with her and her husband.   He helped remind me of several things I need to get done ... and sometimes a little prompting makes all the difference in the world.  I called the doctor's office and got the missing doctor's reported faxed over to Memorial.  I called again today and got an appointment scheduled on the 31st with Memorial.  All good things!

The one thing I forgot to do today ... I forgot to call Toyota to see if I could get in this Saturday to have my car looked over and have the oil changed.  I'll call first thing in the morning to get that done.  If I can get it in?  Breakfast at IHOP!  Winning!

I've called two contractors to get someone to put the finishing on my front door.  One guy can't get back to me until next week.  One hasn't returned my call yet.  So ... fingers crossed.

All in all ... it's good.  Work is still crazy ... I left the office with a full queue ... and nine or ten orders sitting on my desk to be processed first thing in the morning.  But I have to take it a day at a time.  No sense in getting worked up about something I can't change.

For tonight, I'm going to take a hot shower and look forward to tomorrow night ... when I'll spend a wonderful evening with the man I love ... a couple we both love hanging out with ... and their adorable little girl.  I feel happy.  I feel loved.  I feel blessed.

Oh sweet darlin'
You get the best of my love
Oh sweet darlin'
You get the best of my love

The Eagles - The Best of My Love

Monday, October 20, 2014

Shake It Off ...

Does anyone want to buy my house?  Two stories.  Three bedrooms.  One full and one half bath.  It's two stories with central air and heating.  It also has a detached garage ... although the garage is currently inhabited by a race of advanced spiders who are in the process of planing world domination.  No, I don't have any solid proof about the world domination plans ... but they're overtaking my property one out-building at a time.  I'm sure there's a big picture involved somehow.

I need to call a realtor and get the ball rolling.  But first I need to call someone to empty out the basement and garage.  Quite frankly, the list of things I need to do is so overwhelming that I basically shut down every time I try to think of it.

Along with calling a realtor, I need to ...

Call my doctor and remind them they must fax that medical report to Memorial Home Healthcare as soon as possible.  I need to call a handyman to do the finish work on my front door.  I need to call a plumber about my kitchen sink.  I need to go to Comcast and return one or both of my DVRs and downgrade my service.  And, as of this morning, I need to take my car into the shop and find out why it randomly didn't want to start this morning.  It's working fine now ... but it's better to have it looked over now than to go out some morning and find it dead again.

My workload is so insanely heavy that there were over 100 unfinished orders when I left the office today.  In almost a year, I have never left work with that kind of unfinished business.  So adding that on top of tomorrow's work?  I won't have time to breathe ... let alone take a potty break.

I need to text the girls back ... Miniature Moose has texted me twice about Walking Dead and I haven't had a chance to write her.   College One is planning the Thanksgiving/Birthdaypalooza and I still haven't had a chance to talk to her yet.   And I wrote Baby Z's mom today to schedule dinner this week ... and had to tell her I'd write her later when work became too busy to even have a conversation.

I got home late tonight, as usual ... I balanced my account and ate a small dinner ... and now I'm going to take a hot shower and try to relax even if it's only for an hour or so before I fall asleep.   Say a prayer for me.  Tomorrow is going to be tough.  No joking ... I'm going to be busier than a mosquito at a nudist colony.

'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

Taylor Swift - Shake It Off

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pictures ... Old and New ...

Everyone changes over time.  The person we were when we turned twenty one is a far cry from the person we are when we turn thirty ... and even different still than the person we are when we turn forty.

If you take your high school yearbook out and look at the kids we were back then, you'll see a lot of young faces and bright smiles.  Over the years some of us grew taller.  Some grew gray.  Most grew fatter. Most got married. Some have kids.  Some have grand-kids.  Some got sick.  Some died.

Today on Facebook, one of my friends posted a picture of herself and her husband at Disney World.  I knew him long before I knew her ... but only in a distant, "circle of friends" kind of way.  He was always at our parties ... at weddings ... at gatherings.  My best friend married his best friend ... and I invited him and his girlfriend (the woman who would eventually be his wife) to a wedding shower/pizza party/blowout  at my apartment. 

I have a picture on my headboard of him that I found a month or two ago.  It's from that party. He looks silly.  He looks happy.  He looks drunk, if I'm being honest.  He was tall ... and he was chunky  ... and he was lovable. 

That goofy picture ... that is how I remember him.

The picture his wife posted on Facebook took my breath away.  He has stage four cancer and he is so thin.  So terribly, terribly thin.  He's smiling ... but all the pictures of him smiling now are different.  They look ... forced.  If you saw the picture from the party, he is ... smirking.  That's how he smiled ... or at least it's how I remember him smiling back then.

I know I don't look anything like I did at that party.  I'm fifty pounds heavier.  I find the occasional white strand in my red hair.   I don't look anything like the blurry-eyed girl who is hugging the stuffed, pink pig in the picture.   J doesn't look anything like he did ... and hell ... K is gone.  So I shouldn't hold my friend to any different standard.  If there were a reunion, none of us would look the same.

But still ... it's hard not to be sad.  For all of us.

Going round and round
'Cause you can't get on your feet
Going round and round
Still taking all the heat
Going round and round
Never touching down

The Cars - I'm Not The One

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Putting It All Togther ...

Okay ... there are a few things I have to get together.

First ... my laptop.

I've had a wonderful few days.  Steak fried rice one night ... pork chops another.  A Blu-Ray of Cabin in the Woods and shared popcorn one night ... shopping for groceries and an evening with First Wife on another.

I've been at Stoney's since Tuesday.  Which means ... I haven't had my laptop since Tuesday.  He graciously offered to let me borrow his ... which I appreciate very, very much.  He has a very nice laptop ... same brand and similar to mine but with a much, much larger screen.  His offer was tempting ... and it would've taken care of the blogging issue. 

Unfortunately for me ... fortunately for him ... he's a math whiz.  He has no use for Quicken ... which is the digital equivalent of "Balancing Your Checkbook For Dummies."  It keeps me square to the penny though ... and I love it.

And so ....  without Quicken, I haven't balanced my account since Tuesday.  Not a terribly big deal ... I have a nice cushion in the account.  But since the severance from my old job stopped last month, I no longer have the financial freedom I used to enjoy.  No more wild spending sprees ... and I haven't had a pedicure in at least six weeks!

In any case, balancing is a little more important now.  So I'm going to have to remember to throw it in a bag and take it with me if I'm going to spend any time at his house.

There were several times I wanted to blog about ... some happy ... some sad.  Let's see ...

I wanted to blog about the amazing chicken and noodles that Stoney makes ... so buttery and delicious.  That was happy.  I wanted to blog about the amazing candles we got at Bath & Body Works last month ... pumpkin pecan waffles ... they make the house smell like a Heavenly IHOP.  That was happy.  I wanted to blog about how we spent the evening with our friend and her baby daughter last week ... and how much it hurts to be around a baby knowing there's no chance to ever have our own.  That was sad.

I also considered writing about a nightmare I had that involved a basement full of spiders ... and how I woke up screaming ... and how Stoney hugged me and talked to me and kissed my head until I was calm enough to fall back to sleep.  Not a great topic for a blog post ... but in the end it didn't matter because I didn't have my laptop.

So ... let's add my laptop to the list of things I need to take to Stoney's house.  That list includes more clothes, my piano, china hutch, oak table ... and my old heating blanket since he seems rather taken with the one I bought this weekend.

I'm coming out
I want the world to know
Got to let it show
I'm coming out
I want the world to know
I got to let it show

Diana Ross - I'm Coming Out

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

EVERY Win Counts ...

It's good to have a partner who is supportive.  Sometimes I make things that are a hit ... other times ... they're a miss.   I tried a new recipe for homemade biscuits this weekend that was alright.  Not jaw droppingly awesome, but alright.   I followed it up with some BBQ chicken for dinner that I thought was pretty tasty.  Likewise, I made some of this new french onion rice for Stoney tonight that I like ... but the pork chops I made to go with them were disappointing.

I guess that's just life.  You don't know whether something will be good until you try it.   I think the biscuits will be better next time ... I just need to make them thicker ... and put less sausage in the gravy.   Everything new is an experiment ... and I'm blessed to have someone who is cheerful about testing everything new with me.

I'm so hungry.   I just didn't care for the pork chops and I was too tired to make anything different.  Plus we're both trying to eat healthier and I didn't think stopping to pick up a taco on the drive across town was a healthy choice.  So ... I ate a handful of grapes when I got back to the house ... and I'm calling it a day.

I didn't exercise ... I probably didn't drink as much water as I should ... but I didn't have a taco.  So ... I'm going to call that a win.

And hey ... even the small wins count ...

I'm winning
I'm winning
I'm winning
And I don't intend on losing again

Santana - I'm Winning

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Like a Room Without a Roof ...

I try not to get all gooey here about my relationship.  I don't want Stoney to feel weird about it ... like I'm just over here gushing about him.  He knows I love him ... and I try to look at it like that's enough?  But tonight, I want to gush ... just a little.

So, for the longest time, Stoney and I have been talking about me moving in with him.  For most of this year, I think?  We talked about whether I'd be moved in by the end of the summer ... or by the start of football season ... or by the time cold weather hit.  We even had our "test week" earlier this year ... and it went really well.

It isn't that I'm dragging my feet.  I'm just so overwhelmed with the mess of the house ... everything my ex left piled in the basement ... the spare bedroom that needs to be cleaned and everything that needs to be pitched.  I would work on it for awhile and then basically I'd mentally shut down.  It was too much to think about ... so ... I wouldn't.

But this last week, I've been boxing and packing and cleaning.   I measured the piano and china hutch so we could figure out where to put things at his house.  This weekend we're planning on me taking boxes over and basically getting the process started.

He talked to his parents tonight and they were both so positive.  His mom said something like, "It's about time!"  And this is all on me.  The first time she asked about me moving in with him ages ago, I put it all on him.  I told her he needed time to get used to the idea ... and when he was ready, I'd be good with it.  Well ... now ... it's on me.  I need to finish cleaning things out, work with the girls to get them their things, fix the couple things that I'm going to fix, and call a realtor.

I'm happy.  I have a lot to do ... but I'm so lucky ... and I'm so happy.

Okay ... time to pack some more ...

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Fears ... Both Rational and Irrational ...

Today has been ... better!  My garbage bin was (finally) delivered ... and my doctor's office called to let me know they faxed in the order for my CPAP.

Last night was weird and rough ... I packed and cleaned until I dozed off around 9:30.  Then I woke up at eleven and threw up my dinner.  I have no idea what that was about.  I didn't eat anything heavy or spicy ... just half of a turkey sandwich.  So I was tired this morning ... and felt weak most of the day.

Hopefully in the next day or two, I'll get my CPAP and maybe sleep better?  I'm terribly nervous.  I'm afraid of suffocating.  I'm afraid of having those big, ugly, red marks on my face the next morning.  I'm afraid of looking stupid every night.  It's not that I'm shallow ... but I don't have that much going for me as it is.  I can't have permanent red marks on my face ... and I don't want to look any stupider than I already do.

But bottom line ... I'm exhausted.  I've gotta try something.  Ugh ... CPAP ... here I come.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Random Thoughts On a Monday ...

I think maybe I need therapy. Not like in a, "That bitch is crazy" kind of way. Just in an, "I need to get over this" kind of way.

Stoney's friend passed away from ALS a few months ago and today his wife posted an update to his Caring Bridge website. It was a heartfelt note, written to let their family and friends know that they hadn't forgotten about them. They have two younger sons and it sounds as if his wife is struggling to deal with her grief ... along with trying to help two sons who are dealing with the heartbreaking reality that they'll grow up without their dad.

Reading her note brought tears to my eyes. You could just FEEL the grief and frustration in her words. She begged everyone to understand that they needed time and space ... and to remember that everyone grieves in their own way.

This immediately made me feel guilty for everything I've felt about J this last year.  I want to understand that people grieve different.  But I honestly don't feel like I can forgive him for writing me about another woman a week after we'd buried my best friend. 

That sounds like an exaggeration or a lie ... and I'll be the first to admit that I'll exaggerate on occasion if it makes for a funny story.  My dog obviously didn't talk to me the day of that snow storm.  But it made it a lot funnier to tell the story as if he had.  But my posts about J were never an exaggeration.  The week after her funeral, he was telling me about stopping by the bank branch his wife worked at because one young woman was giving him lots of attention, hugging him, texting him, asking if he needed anything.

In the months following all that, I got in an argument with one of our friends over all this. I said something in passing about him having a date two weeks after the funeral. She sharply corrected me and said, "It WASN'T a date." I angrily retorted, "No, but he THOUGHT it was, he WANTED it to be, and he was UPSET when he found out she had a boyfriend."

And that, my friends, is why I need therapy.

Who fucking cares?  I mean ... really?  Who CARES?

So he's an asshole?  So he's a thoughtless fuck who felt like he won the lottery when his wife died. So he's an unfeeling prick who flashed his bank balance (literally) in front of us.  So he's a greedy son of a bitch who bragged about the tax break he got from donating his dead wife's wheelchair?

What difference does it make now?  Why does it still hurt so damned bad? 

I can't think of anything that would help.  I've asked myself ... what do I want?  For him to apologize?  To break down, cry, and say he was wrong?  No.  Because, as frustrating as it is, part of me understands. 

She was difficult to deal with sometimes.  She was in a wheelchair and he was her sole caregiver. They'd lived paycheck to paycheck their whole life.  So why wouldn't he be happy to suddenly have lots of money?  Why wouldn't he be happy to not have to dress and bathe someone?

I understand all that ... I just don't understand why he couldn't see everyone grieving around him.  It's like from the night we stood at her bed in the middle of the night and said goodbye to her ... it's like at that very minute he decided everything was about him ... and no one else mattered.  Not me ... not Stoney ... not her brothers or her nieces ... not his sister or mother ...no one.

I just need to get to a point of forgiveness, I suppose.   It's just hard to believe that one friend is sadly asking her friends to understand why she's taking "so long" to grieve ... while another is angry that people didn't understand his need to avoid grieving all together.

Thoughts in my head. 

Meanwhile ... I pack.

How do I say goodbye to what we had?
The good times that made us laugh
Outweigh the bad.
I thought we'd get to see forever
But forever's gone away
It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

Boys II Men -
It's So Hard to Say Goodbye To Yesterday

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Not Like I Couldn't Afford To Miss a Meal ...

I am depressed.  And puzzled.

So I haven't had much of an appetite for the last couple weeks.  I know ... no big loss.  The best thing in the world that could happen is for me to lose my appetite for about a year.  But ... I digress ...

I haven't had much of an appetite since I came down sick after the DBT concert.  I've forced myself to stop and get breakfast most mornings, but only because I discovered that taking levaquin on an empty stomach is a terrible, terrible thing to do. 

I haven't had lunch in two weeks.  Dinner is usually a little bit of whatever I normally have ... a little pasta one night ... a taco the next.  The night I took some Gabatoni's pizza to Stoney's was the most I'd eaten in days.

In any case ... fast forward to this weekend.   I made my favorite rice.  Normally I don't even like rice ... but this stuff is the bomb.  So I made it yesterday ... thinking how wonderful it would be to have comfort food.  I didn't even make any meat ... just the rice.  But it tasted ... off.  Burnt?  I don't know ... it just wasn't awesome.  It made my throat feel raw when I ate it, although I know that sounds bizarre. I thought maybe I cooked it too long.  Or maybe the can of beef broth I used had been old?

Fast forward to tonight.  I made a couple thin pork chops ... nothing special ... just coated them in oven fry and fifteen minutes later I had a crispy little pork chop.   I heated up some nibblets in butter sauce ... and I thought ... for a simple, no-work meal, this should be pretty tasty, right?

Wrong.  The pork chop hurt my throat ... it burned going down.  Not "too hot from the oven" ... just ... a burned, raw feeling.  It hit me that this was the same feeling I had eating my rice.  Ugh.  Two comfort meals that I didn't even finish.

I am depressed.  I love food ... as you can tell from my ample ass.  And to have nothing taste good?  Well ... wait ... that's not true.  Stoney made us grilled cheese for lunch today ... and it was really good.  No kidding ... I only ate half but it was buttery and so delicious.  So what was the difference?  The cheese?  The butter?   I honestly don't know.  I can't have him make every meal I eat ... hell, he doesn't feel any better that I do right now.

So ... I've given up.  I put the leftovers in a Tupperware container for work tomorrow.  Maybe by tomorrow it will be better. In the meantime, I can thank my guardian angel (who must be Richard Simmons in disguise) for helping me eat less.   Better living through illness?  As long as it hurts to eat, I guess I'll ride this train.

Love hurts, love scars, love wounds
And mars, any heart
Not tough or strong enough
To take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain
Love is like a cloud
Holds a lot of rain
Love hurts......ooh, ooh love hurts

Nazareth - Love Hurts

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Men Alone 2 - The KY Connection ...

Let me take you back in time.  It was 1994.  I was a young ThirtyWhat.  The worst of the drinking days had passed.  My co-ringleader had joined the Navy ... and so the weekly parties and binge-fests  had trickled down to getting spectacularly liquored up only on special occasions like New Year's Eve and weekends.

I was dating the on again/off again guy.  I spent two years in a constantly alternating state of bliss ... and utter misery.   It was a completely fucked up situation ... and to this day, I wonder if he gets what a complete mind fuck the whole business was.  Every breakup spurred an escalation of the relationship.

We dated normally for a three months.  Nothing serious just ... dates.  He broke it up because he said we were too close and he needed his space.  A month later he called and asked me to dinner.  This time we dated for six months ... and to prove his commitment he took me to meet his mother in southern Illinois and his father in Indiana.  We even drove to New York to meet his sister.  He broke it off saying he felt like we were getting too close and he needed his space.  A week later he called and told me he'd made a terrible mistake ... and to prove his commitment we started looking at houses together.

That last time was disastrous.   After several months, he told me he wanted to see other people and me at the same time.  He thought it was only fair that he got to "evaluate his options" before choosing someone to settle down with.  And hey ... I should date other people too!

It was awful.  I'd try to date someone else and he would immediately start showing me attention.  When he knew I was hooked ... only seeing him ... he would back off and again tell me I didn't own him ... that we needed to see other people.

During this period, I tried dating this guy ... we'll call him The Hoarder.  He wasn't a hoarder at the time (much) ... but he is now.   He's the only guy I dreaded telling Stoney about ... only because he was still loosely part of the group my best friend hung out with.  But leave it up to J to blurt it out in the middle of Buffalo Wild Wings.  Thanks, ass.  Um ... I digress.

I was dating the Hoarder.  We were both working at Suncoast.  I took random part times jobs around this time because I was bored and lonely.  I knew on/off guy was out with someone else and sitting around my house just depressed the hell out of me.  So I was working at Suncoast, a video store at the mall.   The people I met out there ... it was insane.  There were two guys who regularly came in dressed as Klingons.  There was another guy who asked me on a date ... and told me he'd pick me up in his space ship.  There were constant conversations that went something like this ...

I'm looking for a movie with that guy.
What guy?
You know ... that GUY.
What guys?
That guy ... he dances?
Gregory Hines?
No.  He's white.
Patrick Swaze?
No.  Older.
Gene Kelly?
No.  Ummmm ...
Fred Astair?
No.  Ummmm ...
Danny Kaye?

That ... was an ACTUAL conversation I had.  Word for word.

Anyhow ... I was working one day and the Hoarder came in for his shift and gushed that I needed to watch this new movie called Clerks.  Everyone who worked there was knowledgeable about movies.  We were supposed to watch movies.  Knowing trivia and actors and release dates was part of the job.  So hearing someone say, "You HAVE to watch such and such ..." was common ... and I ignored him.

He kept nagging me about Clerks and one day he begged me to stay late after my shift and watch it.   He told me he'd rig it up so I could watch it on one of the video surveillance monitors in the back office.  He explained the movie was in black and white ... and so the color and quality didn't matter.  I don't know if I was tired of hearing him nag ... or if I just didn't want to go home to an empty, depressing apartment ... but in the end I agreed to stay.

I loved it.  I loved it so damned much.

Fast forward twenty years ... and I'm sitting here on my big ol' bed watching Clerks.  I honestly love it just as much today as I did then.  Dante and Randall ... Jay and Silent Bob ... Veronica and Caitlin.  The best people I've ever known are the people who laugh anytime they hear the words, "Try not to suck any dick on the way through the parking lot."

It's odd how much life changes ... how we change.  But some things stay the same.   Chewbacca ... what a wookie!

I may never get what I want
But I'm happy just to die trying
And I hope I ain't done nobody wrong
But I miss you smiling
And I'm looking for a cure
Cause I'm bored to tears
And I'm stuck in here
Stuck out here, stuck in here

Soul Asylum - Can't Even Tell

Baby Steps ... Baby Steps ...

A week later ... and I think I might live.   If I'd still worked at my old job, I would've taken most of the week off ... staying in bed and getting better.  But if wishes were fishes ... we'd all be at Red Lobster eating unlimited shrimp scampi.   I don't have six weeks of leave saved up at this job ... and so I went in ... coughing and feverish.

Stoney's been sick.  He missed three days of work and has felt like hell.  After work, I took dinner over to eat with him a couple times.   It was nice to spend that time with him ... see how he was doing and take care of him just a little.   Once we're living together it will be easier to take care of each other ... but ... in the meantime ...

I haven't accomplished anything this week.  Well, aside from crocheting.  I haven't packed a single box or cleaned out a single room.  I worked ... and then came home and crawled into bed.  I don't have an appetite and didn't eat lunch all week.  I only ate breakfast because I needed something on my stomach to take my levaquin.  I'd probably have lost a lot of weight if not for my love of IBC cream soda.  I'm trying to drink water ... but that cream soda feels so good on my throat ... so very good.

One night this week, in the middle of the night, I woke up feverish and sick.  I got up to go to the bathroom and my mind was racing.  I would never be able to move in with Stoney if I didn't get this house finished.  I started thinking of what all I needed to do ... buy more garbage bags ... get the 2nd spare room cleaned out ... clean out the basement ... get the front door trimmed ... rent a dumpster.  I finally had to lay down and take deep breaths and tell myself that I would work on it this weekend.

So today ... the plan is to pack and clean.  I have boxes ... I have packing tape ... it's time to get this stuff moving.   I can't lie ... I really want to lay down and sleep some more.  But if I work in shifts ... clean and rest ... clean and rest ... I think I'll be alright.

I'm alright
Nobody worry 'bout me
Why you got to gimme a fight
Can't you just let it be

Kenny Loggins - I'm Alright

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Not Well But Better ...

It's odd how your perceptions change.   For the longest time, whenever I went to Stoney's, it felt like staying at a nice hotel.   You know ... everything is pretty and new ... and not yours.   I'd always ask to stay over because I didn't want to feel like I was overstaying my welcome.   More than once I'd ask and he'd say, "Well, I was assuming you would ..." but ... I still asked.

Last Monday, I remember putting everything together to head back over here and for the first time it felt weird.  It felt weird leaving ... and that was new.  Then today, for the first time, it felt weird bringing groceries into my house.  I stopped to get pineapple juice and some cheese and pepperoni and crackers ... nothing huge.  But it just felt weird coming home.   I guess our perceptions change ... and that's life.

In other news ... I've been on antibiotics since last Wednesday.  Nevertheless, I was still sick as a dog on Friday.  We had a dinner to go to Friday night ... so I drugged it up and went.  But Saturday I woke up feeling absolutely wretched.  There were moments I literally felt like I was drowning in snot.  I spent the day either in bed or on the couch.

Later that evening, I was laying on the bed watching Orange is the New Black ... and I wondered, "What is that annoying sound?"  I could hear this ... scratchy whine.  The windows were open and I thought maybe a tree branch was scraping the house?  Then I wondered if something was wrong with the television ... so I paused the show to listen.

It was me.  What I was hearing was the rattle and wheeze in my chest.

Ugh ... that is never a good sign.  So ... I went to sleep worrying.  I knew that rattle ... I've had pneumonia quite a few times ... so I dozed off thinking that I might have to go back to Prompt Care the next day when I left Stoney's.  But in the end, I'm blessed ... because miracles do happen.  I woke up this morning and, while I still feel rough, I think I've turned the corner.  I have a wet cough that hurts like hell and takes all my energy ... but ... all in all ... I'm better.

Stoney took such good care of me.  He got up Saturday morning, went to the grocery store,  brought back donuts and chocolate milk, and put a pork roast and all the fixin's in the crockpot for dinner.  He gave me ibuprofen to knock my fever down.  He checked on me and brought me ice water ... oh ... and he showed me how to use the Xbox in the bedroom to connect to Netflix so I didn't have to watch Crazy Eyes on my phone. 

Thank you, baby, for keeping me alive ... again.  I'm probably gonna sleep off and on today ... but I think I'm making progress.  Viva la vida!

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"

Coldplay - Viva La Vida

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Outbreak ... Day Two ...

So I woke up this morning to hear the first alarm of the morning chime ... and immediately realized  that I hadn't swallowed in over six hours.  My throat felt like it had been lined with #30 sandpaper.  I got up, used the bathroom, and tried to carefully sip a glass of water.  This worked about as well as attempting to drink sulfuric acid.  I gave up and walked back to the bedroom with tears rolling down my cheeks and the front of my t-shirt covered in the water which dribbled out of my dry, dry mouth.

I tried using the lidocaine solution they prescribed ... and I could successfully drink a glass of water.  I decided work was out of the question, so I dozed for awhile until I could get in touch with my boss and call in.  He didn't seem overly pleased ... but since I was contagious and it still felt as though I'd gargled with ground glass I didn't see an alternative.

By ten o'clock I was genuinely hungry.  So I had the brilliant idea to bake a Tombstone pizza.  Don't judge me ... classic sausage is one of my favorite guilty pleasures.  I hadn't had anything to eat in 24 hours ... so you can't blame me for fantasizing about melty cheese.

As a fantasy?  It was heaven.  In reality?  I had to swallow the lidocaine solution just to be able to eat ... and, with my mouth and tongue and throat completely numb, I was basically eating jagged pieces of hard, tasteless cardboard. 

I slept off and on all day.  And I think I feel better?   It no longer feels like knives in my throat ... it's painful ... but better.   I want bacon ... so that has to mean I'm better!   Tomorrow night I have a dinner party to go to ... so fingers crossed.  I've missed our friends and I can't wait to spend an evening with them.  Time to drink more orange juice ...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

In Which I Am a Germ Farm ...

We got back to town on Monday and boy ... did I feel run down.  Heck, we were both run down.  I took a three hour nap once we got back ... and then, a little later, he laid down and took a short nap as well.  I played Diablo III while he napped ... and my eyes would not stop watering.  When he woke up, he found me sitting cross legged on the couch ... playing the game ... tears streaming down my face.  That was my first clue.

Yesterday I felt tired and achy.  But common ... when do I not feel tired and achy?   My ears felt ticklish ... and I just felt ... beat.

This morning though ... I woke up and couldn't swallow.  It felt like there were knives in my throat.  I assumed I just snored a lot ... dry throat.  It happens.  So I went to work and drank some ice water ... thinking it would pass.

It didn't.

By lunch, I couldn't even drink water.  So I drove down to Prompt Care hoping I'd get something to help my throat.  The doctor who saw me was dismissive at first.  "Everyone who comes in here says the same thing ... their throat is coated in glass.  It's a virus.  I'll look you over ... but bottom line I can't do anything to help you." She checked my lungs ... my ears ... my eyes ... and everything pointed to me wasting $25.

Until she looked at my throat.

She stepped back and said, "Wow.  That's bad."  I asked, "Can you see anything?"  "Yes, you have pus pockets."  "Pus pockets?  What the hell is that?"  "That ... is strep throat."

She swabbed my throat and sent it off ... and in the end I wound up with ten day's worth of antibiotics and a bottle of lidocaine to swish and swallow just so I can get water down and stay hydrated.  I texted my boss from Walgreens with the bad news ... and to ask if he wanted me to come back in to the office.  He told me I could go home if I needed to ... but mentioned how busy we were.  So ... strep or not ... I went back and finished the day. 

I am tired and worn down.  I am just ... beyond beat.

Stoney said I should go to his house after work so he could take care of me ... and I know a time is coming soon when we'll live together and I can't protect him from my germs ... but for now I still can.   I love him ... and this blows.  I'm not giving him strep throat if I can help it.

So we'll see what tomorrow brings.  Right now I need a hot shower ... and with a little luck ... tomorrow will be better.

Your love is like bad madicine
Bad medicine is what I need
Shake it up, just like bad madicine
There ain't no doctor that can
Cure my disease

Bon Jovi - Bad Medicine

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Closing Those Loopholes ...

Last weekend, Stoney and I were laying in bed talking.  I mused aloud something along the lines of wishing I could find a genie in a lamp ... because I would wish to be the weight I was in high school.  Stoney said he thought most of us would wish the same thing ... because we felt like we were chunky in high school ... but now wish we could be that weight again.

I've been thinking about that wish off and on all weekend.

It wouldn't be enough to wish to return to my high school weight.   Wishing is tricky.   That kind of wish would only lead to some kind of fucked up monkey's paw situation ... where you suddenly lose an Olsen Twin's worth of weight ... but find yourself with so much loose skin you look like a human shar pei.   Or ... I'd suddenly be thin ... but find myself still carrying these enormous kidneys and spend the rest of my life looking perpetually nine months pregnant.

So ... we have to be smart about this.

I think the only way to make this work would be to wish "for the physical body I had in high school."   That way the clock rewinds ... my hair would become the waist-length red mane I had at seventeen ... I'd be thinner ... not thin by any stretch but tiny compared to now ... my boobs would no longer be acquainted with gravity ... and best of all ... my kidneys would go back to 100% function.

I'd have to specify the word "physical" in my wish ... otherwise I'd lose whatever maturity I've gained and end up drinking straight tequila like it was water again.  And as much as I'd love to have a big ol' peach margarita tonight ... wait ... let me clarify that ... as much as I'd looooove to be drinking a peach margarita tonight in a glass so big it would easily house a school of gold fish?  I would pass ... because if I had a do-over, I'd take care of my kidneys like they were made of spun glass from day one.

So ... I think I have this wishing thing figured out.  You know ... in case anyone has a spare genie lamp they aren't using?  Anyone?  Anyone?

Wish me love a wishing well
To kiss and tell
A wishing well of butterfly tears
Wish me love a wishing well
To kiss and tell
A wishing well of crocodile tears

\ Terence Trent Darby - Wishing Well

Monday, September 15, 2014

Look At That Adorable Lil' Face ...

So my nickname has been "bear" since I was a baby.  My family calls me Bear ... it generally helps to identify me in a conversation ... separate me from my aunt ... since we share the same name.  My ex made a point of "outting" my nickname on the Internet ... as if Bear was something humiliating.  Fuck that noise.  My Dad called me Bear.  It's a good memory ...

In any case ... the point is that I've always known I'm a bear ... I just never knew what kind.  I thought it might've been a polar bear?  Until this weekend ...

There's a commercial on television that shows an adorable little koala sleeping in a tree ... with text beneath it that says, "Koalas sleep between 18 and 22 hours a day." 

When I saw this commercial, I looked at Stoney and happily exclaimed ... "I'm a koalaAnd I'm undersleeping!"

This is a bit of a joke because, left to my own devices, I'd sleep upwards of ten hours a day.  Easily.  If I'm worn down or sick?  We could stretch that to eleven or twelve.  Easily.   Heck, when we got back from Champaign this morning, I curled up on our big bed to take a nap ... and fell into a deep hole for about three hours.

Yes ... three hours is a nap in my world.  Yup ... I'm a koala ...

Some folks say that bears go around smelling bad
Others say that a bear is honey sweet
Some folks say this bear's the best I ever had
Some folks got a bear beneath their feet

Lyle Lovett - Bears

ThirtyWhat Travel Agency Epic Fail ...

So ... let me tell you about my travel agent skills.  Because they are legendary.

Several months ago, we went to St. Louis to see the Drive by Truckers.  Right next door to the Pageant is a hotel called the Moon Rise.  It is a hip, quirky boutique hotel ... and it ... is ... nice.   Everything about it was classy ... from the lighted staircase in the lobby ... to the rooftop club with a moonlight view.   Our room wasn't huge ... but it was plush ... with an overstuffed chaise lounge and a huge, comfy bed.   When the concert was over, we literally walked next door from the club and into our hotel.  Stoney arranged that.  Those are his skills.

Now let's talk about my skills.

This weekend we went to Champaign to see the Drive by Truckers.  (Side note ... yes, we have other interests.  We have seen other performers besides DBT ... this was just a special show.  It meant a lot since it was the first one after our friend passed away.)  Anyhow ... I offered to get us a room ... since he did that for us last time.  Since neither of us had spent the night in Champaign/Urbana, we didn't have a preference for a hotel ... and he told me whatever I booked would be fine.

Hah ... shows him.

I went online ... and saw that the Canopy Club was located in Urbana.  Okay ... to start I would find a hotel "near" the venue.  I did the Google map thing ... marking locations and searching outward.  Since the club was practically on campus, a lot of the lodging options were bed and breakfast type places or student hostel type places.   I neither wanted to bunk with a bunch of kids ... nor did I want to rent someone's spare room.  So ... I expanded the search.

I found a place called Eastland Suites.  Their website was impressive.  Pictures of suites with full kitchens ... fire places ... jacuzzi tubs.   I wanted to impress Stoney.  He'd done such an amazing job in St. Louis that I wanted to be able to give him that kind of night.  Trip Advisor gave Eastland Suites four and a half out of five stars .. and an award of some type ... and so I called to make a reservation.

For the record?   After this, Trip Advisor can suck a bag of dicks.  They could suggest chemo to a cancer patient and I would still tell you they're full of shit.

Anyhow ... I should've known there was an issue when I called and told them I wanted the fireplace suite.  I wanted the big one ... the honeymoon one ... the one on the website.  The man on the phone seemed confused as to what a webpage was ... and told me they had two of the large honeymoon suites ... both of which were not available because they were being repaired.

"Um ... yes."
"Both of them?"
"Um ... yes."
"What's wrong with them?"
"... ... ... maintenance issues."

In retrospect, I think "maintenance issues" is code for "hobo squatters."

I stayed optimistic ... "Okay then, give me the nicest room you have.  Seriously ... whatever the highest end room you have?  THAT is the one I want."  

I now imagine the man on the phone silently laughing ... tears running down his face ... as he heard the word "high end" in regards to his employer.  It must've been the highlight of his day, quite frankly.   He hesitated ... but gave me a room ... a room he assured me was their "nicest." 

And life is an adventure after all ... and so Sunday we drove to our hotel.   I was giddy ... I couldn't wait for Stoney to see the plus room I'd arranged for us.  I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that from the road you knew this place was questionable.  It was obviously a converted travel lodge ... separate buildings ... each of the suites in a block of four separate studio apartments.

When I walked in the lobby to check us in, Jesse Pinkman's doppleganger was at the desk ... complaining about how bad the wifi had been last time they had stayed.  He was wearing a highway worker's fluorescent yellow vest ... and, staring at the black widow tat on his neck, it concerned me that the Eastland Suites hadn't met his standards.

I got the key and we drove to the back.  Now I'll admit here that there weren't any hookers ... nobody sitting on their porches.  It was more deserted than anything.  But when we opened the door, it was breathtaking.   Long, stretching water stains on the ceiling.  Carpeting from the Eisenhower administration.   The television in the "suite" was on the far end of the room ... making it postage stamp size when laying in bed. 

The bare light bulb with a pull string in the closet was a nice touch.  Unfortunately that amenity didn't make up for the fan in the bathroom that literally sounded like a small aircraft taking off.  I think I felt the floor vibrate when Stoney flipped it on.   To be fair?  I didn't see any bugs.  However, there was something on the sliding door curtain that might have been blood spatter.   I tried not to think about it.

Stoney was incredibly sweet about the whole thing.   He hugged me and said that life's an adventure ... and we'd have a great story to tell.   Honestly, we decided the hotel was just part of the theme of this weekend.   The hotel was shady ... Murphy's, the pub where we met our friends before the show, looked rode hard and put away wet ... and the venue itself was uncomfortable, at best.   The band, as usual was awesome ... but we were happy to head home this morning.

So ... since we've only traveled twice ... Stoney arranging a stay at the Moon Rise ... me arranging a stay at the Bates Motel.  He is batting a thousand ... and I am batting zero.   He says he'll get the next room ... which, given his record, sounds wonderful.   Although to be fair, I've set the bar so low that he could get us a room at the Red Roof Inn and it would seem like the Crown Plaza.

If the saying is true ... and it's not about the destination ... it's about the journey ... then this weekend was a success.  Because our journey was a blast.  Stoney is fun and easy to travel with ... and he made the weekend wonderful.  I'm the luckiest koala ... er ... girl ... that I know. 

I've seen the world, been to many places
Made lots of friends, many different races
I've had such fun around the world it's true
African skies with a Nairobi mood
I fell asleep in Tuscany and dreamed
The one thing missing was you

Janet Jackson - Runaway

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Frustrations and Cravings ...

I want to put this in perspective for you.   Let's say this conversation happened:

How does nuclear fission work?
I don't know. I will have to Google it later tonight and find out.
But how does it work?
I don't know.  I'll Google it later and find out.
Do you think it's alien technology?
Um, no ... but I'll Google it later and find out.
Do you think it's magic?
No.  It's not magic.  But I'll research it later and find out.
Well I don't know ... I'm just guessing.
I don't know either.  I told you ... I have to Google it.
Well ... fine.


While I might not know the ins and outs of nuclear fission, I know it doesn't involve aliens or magic.  Likewise, I didn't know the answer to someone's question, so I was honest and said, "I don't know ... but I'll Google it and find out."  That is your answer.  There's no sense in discussing and debating ... might it be this?  Might it be that?  Because ... I  ... do ... not ... know.

Sure enough ... I Googled it ... and found the answer.  I found out how to force a certain install and fix a certain error.  I'm sorry.  I couldn't research it at work today.  I was stupid busy ... and I had to have my home owner's insurance moved by midnight tonight.  I was a little overwhelmed ... again, I'm sorry.

I know this person is frustrated with me ... and I'm genuinely sorry.   I'll fix it tomorrow ... or try.  I have a sleep study tomorrow night ... but I'll add this to my plate.

Sigh.  I need a nap.

... and a piece of cake.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Need Help? Too fucking Bad ...

I'm a woman.  And I like to think I can do just about anything I put my mind to.   I take on most projects with a zest and a confidence that I can finish it.  Sometimes it isn't as successful as I'd like ... such as the infamous "Night of a Thousand Juices" ... but most of the time I can pull victory from the jaws of defeat.

Sometimes though, I find myself someplace where I feel like a fish out of water.  Tonight ... that place was Lowe's.

I needed to pick up a new doorknob and lock set to go with my new front door.  Everything will be installed in the next day or two and I'd waited until literally the last possible moment to get this last piece of the puzzle.   Stoney and I talked about me painting his mailbox now that the weather has gotten nice ... and so I'd planned to pick up the necessary supplies for that project as well.

So far so good, right?

I parked at the end closest to the locks, as Stoney suggested, and sure enough, everything I needed was very close.  I picked out my new door hardware ... and then started on the mailbox supplies.  This isn't hard.  I knew what I needed.  I needed sandpaper to sand off the rust on the top of the box ... I needed a rust-inhibiting primer ... I needed a silver-colored enamel to finish ... I needed a few drop clothes ... and several foam brushes.

(Shut up ... I like cheap foam brushes.  They work nicely and you can pitch a $0.99 brush a whole lot easier than you can clean a $8.99 brush.)

I found everything I wanted easily ... except the sandpaper.  I wanted the kind that would fit Stoney's sanding block.  I needed the kind with the special backing that works with velcro.  I stood there for at least ten minutes ... starting at the sandpaper like a monkey looking at a math problem.  I felt the backs of all of them ... and they were all paper.  They had sanding blocks ... and the paper to fit them ... but none of them were like the kind Stoney has.

So, I walked up to the two guys hanging out in the paint department ... and my existence and use of their air immediately pissed them off.   I showed them the used piece I'd brought with me ... and asked if they carried this type.

In the same tone of voice you'd use to speak with the mentally challenged, the older gentleman with the longer, graying hair said, "Yeeeeees.  We dooooooo carry this kind.  But this ... this is a special kind.  This is for a power tool.  You have to look in the power tool section to buy power tool sandpaper."

I raised my eyebrow and looked at him ... the sweat trickling down the back of my neck, reminding me that I was both tired and hot ... and I politely said, "This is for a hand sanding block.  Not a power tool.  We took it off the block so I could bring it here."

"Sure you did," he interrupted me.  "You want the power tool supplies right up there, honey.  Go that direction."

I was so fucking mad there aren't words.

Yes ... that's where this particular sandpaper was.  Right next to the identical sanding block that Stoney owns.  Same brand, same color, same everything.   Why do you have sanding blocks back by the paint ... and other sanding blocks up by the power tools?

And, more importantly, why do you have to be an asshole about it?

Fuck you, Lowe's.  Menards is getting my money from now on.  And fuck you paint section dude.  You know that much?  You're that cool?   You bet you are ... so goddamned cool in that red vest.  You're a super cool dude, yes you are.

Everybody knows that you're just an asshole
Everywhere that you go, people wanna go
"Oh, everyone knows"
Everybody knows, so don't pretend to be nice
There's no place you can hide
You are just an asshole
Everyone knows, everyone knows

Eminem - Asshole

Sunday, September 07, 2014

I Can't Even ...

I love books.  I have an audible account that has thirty four books that I've listened to in the last few months.   There are several that I'm proud to have read ... the majority are pretty mainstream and common ... and there are a few that make me pray no one ever gets into my account.

Last week I finished Brave New World and Flowers for Algernon ... both books I read way back in school and thought it would be fun to hear again.  Then I started Orange is the New Black ... the book that the Netflix series is based on.  It's alright ... a bit of a drudge, but I assume that's because it's not nearly as gripping as the television show.

I started reading Gone Girl several months ago but got distracted.  I'm thinking about picking that up on Audible next week and making that my new work companion.  I don't know.  I'm just so tired.  It's hard to get enjoyment out of a new book ... or out of just about anything when all I can think about is that big, new bed of ours and my heavenly new blanket.

We'll see what happens this week ... my second sleep study is Thursday.  I hope something comes of it ... because I'm too tired to write much these days.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Like a Boss ...

I have three special women in my life.  They are sisters ... I am their step-mom ... and each one of them is so special to me.  Each one is beautiful.  Each one is funny.  Each one is smart.   Both together and individually, they have made me a better person.

One of my girls is changing and growing ... and I am so proud of her.  It's hard to take risks in life ... and she is willing to take the risks you have to take to achieve your goals.  How can you not admire that?

We had a delicious dinner out last night ... and afterwards she came over and we hung out.  She helped me go through some stuff that needed sorting.  It was happy timing ... we loaded her car with an assortment of things that she needed ... and the house is one step closer to being cleaned out.

I love you, hon.  You are kind ... you are smart ... you are important.  The world is your oyster ... and I am proud to part of your world.

Many precede and many will follow
A young girl's dream no longer hollow
It takes the shape of a place out west
But what it holds for her
She hasn't yet guessed

Dixie Chicks - Wide Open Spaces

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Why You Gotta Be So Mean?

Okay ... so I am going to feel sorry for myself for just a moment.  Please bare with me while I hang the crepe paper and balloons and throw myself a small pity party.

I work with a guy who is ... ahem ... different?  He is around my age ... married ... very loud and outspoken ... and very ... um ... how to put this ... in a politically correct ... um ... effeminate?   If you met him on the street, you would swear he was gay.  I'm not judging ... I don't care.  It's just bizarre to have someone who looks and talks exactly like Harvey Fierstein say, "I told my wife, Linda, last night ... I said ... Linda!  Don't put my pants in the dryer!  Cotton SHRINKS!"

I've spoken with him once or twice ... never more than a word or two.  He's very eclectic ... he's fun in an "odd" sort of way.   But we aren't remotely friends.  He knows my name ... but that's about as much as he knows about me.  So I don't know why ...

We were both walking to the copier/printer at the same moment ... both coming from opposite directions.  He had a thick sheaf of paper to copy ... I had a print job on hold waiting there.  I said, "You go right ahead.  I'm not in a hurry."  "Are you sure?  The copier around the hall keeps jamming.  I'm just so frustrated."  I smiled and said, "Aw, I'm sorry.  That's the worst."

He started copying ... looking down at the machine ... and I said, "I'm not in any hurry.  This has to go to the State and you know they don't make another run for two hours ..." and as I speak the word "hours" he says (over the top of me talking) ...

"I'm not remotely interested."

I looked taken aback.  "What?" 

"I'm not interested."

My internal filter failed me ... and I said, "Well ... screw you, buddy ..." and at that point he burst out in a loud, gregarious laugh.  "I was kidding, obviously ..."

At that exact moment, the copier jammed and one of his papers became wadded inside the feeder.  He loudly swore, "DAMMIT."  A girl who sits right next the copier said, "Well, that's what you get.  Isn't karma a bitch?" and was mirthfully laughing at him.

I smiled at the both of them and went back to my desk ... really on the verge of tears.  I just got done saying last night how much I missed my old job and my friends ... and today this flaming asshole does this whole "kidding/not kidding" thing that pisses me off.  Why be so hateful?  And rude??

He was angry ... both at the copier for damaging his document and my teammate for laughing at his misfortune.  You'd think I would've jumped up and pulled my job off the printer ... but I didn't.  I just sat there and listened to my book on tape.

Sigh ... I keep telling myself ... every office has assholes.  My last office did ... why should this company be any different?    I keep telling myself tomorrow will be better.  But I'm starting to dread going in.  I'm just getting weary ...

Someday I'll be living in a big ol' city
And all you're ever gonna be is mean
Someday I'll be big enough so you can't hit me
And all you're ever gonna be is mean
Why you gotta be so mean?

Taylor Swift - Mean