Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My Sun and Stars ...

Nothing comes from nothing
Never ever could
So somewhere in my youth
Or childhood
I must've done something good

If the song is right, I'm not sure what I did in my childhood ... but it must've been spectacular. Because one week ago yesterday, Stoney made me the happiest girl in the world when he asked me to marry him.

We were texting at the end of the day on August 11th, when he asked if I wanted to go to dinner.  It was a Tuesday ... which used to be "Tuesday Date Night" when we first started dating ... and he suggested Red Lobster. Do I wanna go to Red Lobster?  Common ... who doesn't want cheddar biscuits and shrimp scampi?  We had a delicious, if slightly unorganized, dinner ... and rode home together laughing about everything from the flaky waitress who kept disappearing to my refusal to park more than 50 feet from the door of my office.

Once we got home, he said he needed to use the bathroom.  Meanwhile, I wandered around the kitchen doing this or that.  At this point, I should tell you ... we have a smallish white board hanging in the bathroom. I like to leave Stoney little notes or doodles on it.

So anyhow ... as I'm standing at the table with my back to the hallway, I hear Stoney say, "The white board in the bathroom fell down."  I didn't turn around but answered, "Aw, that sucks ... now I can't leave you messages."  He said, "Yeah, it fell ... so ... look at it ..." and I turned around to see ...

Stoney standing holding the white board.  He'd taken the markers and written, "Will you marry me?" on it ... and was holding out a ring box with a beautiful ring inside.  I stared at the white board and said, "Really?  Really?  SERIOUSLY?!"  

I hugged him and he handed me the ring box.  I slid the ring on ... which fit perfectly ... and then threw myself at him again.  After a minute or two, he said, "Um, technically, you haven't said yes ..." I corrected the situation by saying yes many, many times!

Everyone has been so excited for us ... everyone wanting to know a date ... some wanting to know where we'll register ... the girls cheering us on and wanting to know if we'll be going to next year's bridal expos ... and one friend even wanting to know what color of dress she'll be wearing.

We were both so busy with work last week that there wasn't a lot of time to relax and celebrate ... but I've tried to take a minute to stop every night and thank him for my ring and tell him how happy I am.

I don't have enough words to say how lucky I feel.  Lucky that I met him ... lucky that he asked me to that Springsteen concert ... lucky that he didn't see the basement in my house and run screaming for the hills ... just lucky that he chose me.

I love you, hon ... and I know this is Ben and Becca's song ... but I'm borrowing it because it couldn't be more true.

I don't get many things right the first time
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns the stumbles
And falls brought me here
And where was I before the day
That I first saw your lovely face
Now I see it every day
And I know
That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

Ben Folds - The Luckiest

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Learning To Fly ...

I had a realization last night.  Most everything I fear right now is about me.  It's a problem with me.  Not with the world ... or my Mom ... or Stoney.

Just me.

So here's the thing ... at this very moment, Stoney is on his way to a job interview.  The details don't matter ... I'll just say that it's five hours away and with a prestigious company.  When all of these opportunities started coming up a month or so ago, he asked if I would move with him and I said yes.  And I meant it.

But, honestly, I was sick with worry.  We have to finish selling my house.  We'd have to sell his.  I'd have to get a new job there because I need health insurance.  On top of all that ... I'd be leaving my mom.  She's seventy two ... and just the fact that I'd be leaving her weighed a lot on my mind.

But last night it came to me.  I get it.

The fears I have are deeper than that.  That stuff above is all surface stuff.  What I'm scared of is what's underneath.  This situation requires trust.  Not just trust that we'll be a good team and be happy together in another state.  That's not an issue.  We're good together and I enjoy just being around him.

No ... it's trusting that I won't be the only one working.  That I won't feel alone all the time.  It's trusting that I can depend on him ... because the bottom line is that we'll be depending on each other a lot more there.  Last night it came to me that I'm hauling around a lot of baggage.  Baggage that has taught me that when someone says, "Trust me, I'll take care of you ..." that when you desperately need them?  That person will be gone.

So yes ... I am worried about my house.  I am worried about money because I've just about spent all mine trying to get it ready to sell.  I'm worried about selling his house.  And yes, I'm worried about my mom.  We talked about it tonight and she knows what is going on.  She says she's alright with it ... but I know she's scared too.

All of that is true.  But my trust issues?  That's on me.  That's something I have to fix.  Years ago, when I was scared to even ask Stoney to go out with me, K told me, "Fix this shit."  And she might as well have been sitting with me ... because I heard her voice telling me, "Fix this shit."

My cousin, T ... whom I've written about many, many times ... loved adventure.  And if he were here, he'd be telling me to GO ... have FUN ... make this an ADVENTURE.  Before he died, T told me not to make Stoney pay for the things someone else did that hurt me.  And I'm thinking this trust issue?  Is doing just that ... and it's not fair.

I'm feeling better about the whole thing; although, I'm not trying to make this about me.  This is a huge thing for Stoney.  He's on his adventure right now.  But he's smart and amazing ... he'll do great at the interview, there's no doubt about it.  So if it's meant to be ... it's meant to be.  I love him.  And I'll love him in Illinois or Ohio or Iowa ... anywhere.

Good luck, baby ... although I know you don't need it.

Into the distance a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction holding me fast how
Can I escape this irresistible grasp?
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue tied and twisted Just an earth bound misfit I

Pink Floyd - Learning To Fly

Friday, June 26, 2015

Seriously Ask Yourself ... How's It Hurting YOU?

Years ago, it used to be common to hear me ask, "How's it hurting you?"

It was my go-to response whenever anyone was complaining about a situation.  I would say, "Seriously ... HOW is it hurting you?"  If it's not actively harming you or affecting your life?  Shut up about it.

Today, I'm reading all the responses on Facebook about the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage and I can't help wanting to open my window and shout to the world, "HOW IS IT HURTING YOU?"

As far as I know, George Takei isn't advocating the creation of a task force made of gay people whose only job is to go door to door and force you to marry someone your own sex. 

Seriously ... don't agree with gay marriage?  Don't marry someone your own sex

Problem solved!

To any men upset with this ruling:  The Supreme Court didn't make it mandatory for you to suck a dick.

To any women upset with this ruling:  No one will force you to eat anyone out ... I promise.

All today's ruling means is that gay people will now get to do what you, as a citizen, have always been able to do.  See how ridiculous that sounds?

Think back to when it was illegal to marry outside your race.  Could you imagine someone telling you, "You're not allowed to marry her ... she's black!"  Of course not ... that sounds barbaric.  Hopefully fifty years from now, this will seem just as ludicrous. 

"Wait ... Adam is marrying Steve?  Big fucking deal."

I don't know if I'm ever going to get married again ... but you know what?  That's an option for us.  No one will judge us whether we get married or whether we don't.  That choice is completely up to us.  But what makes me elated is that there's a couple ... somewhere out there tonight ... who is  overjoyed because they can now make a choice ... a choice that I take for granted.

Sometimes we do something right.  Today, we ... as a people ... did something right.  There are historic records of people saying that interracial marriage was a sign of the downfall of our nation.  Do you want to be that person?  The person our grandchildren and great grandchildren look back at with shame?

I deeply love someone ... and I would never deny someone else the happiness I feel. 

So ask yourself ... how is this hurting you?  

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Belated Updates ...

Hey there, team.  Long time, no see.

I've been gone almost two months.  Sigh ...

I wish I could tell you that I've been on exciting adventures.  That I've traveled.  Or that I have amazing news that involves a new job.  Or maybe that I've won the lottery.

I want to be funny ... I want to be my best, wittiest self and write something that will make you laugh or smile.

What I don't want to do is get on here and be a downer ... to use my blog to whine or complain.  These last two months, if I haven't written, its because I haven't had anything positive to add to the discourse.  Dozens of times I've looked at my laptop, almost picked it up, and turned away thinking, "Why bother?"

So ...

Six months ago, my kidney function was at 24% ... which wasn't awesome ... but I thought I could live on that for years.   I took a five percent dip to 19% right before my hernia repair ... but I didn't panic.  My doctors thought the drop could be a combination of pain and the injury itself ... and we all thought it would bounce back after the surgery.

Then the last three or four weeks, things began to get worse.  I was nauseous ... my head hurt ... my appetite decreased ... and most of all ... I was tired.  Bone tired.   I called my nephrologist ... whose staff told me to call my family doctor ... who checked for infection and such.  Bottom line is that I took another dip.  I'm now down to 14% kidney function.

So ... once you get under 20%, you're supposed to start taking workshops ... learning about dialysis options and possibly getting the transplant process started.  The first time I was under 20% was in December ... and we honestly thought it would bounce back.  So I haven't taken any classes, talked to a nutritionist, or done any research.  I thought I had time.

Under 10%, you're eligible for dialysis ... some people start at 15%.  It all depends on how sick you feel.  At 14%, I'm struggling with work ... struggling with vomiting ... struggling with finding words.  A couple weeks ago, I couldn't remember the word "rug" ... and last week, during a Game of Thrones discussion, I couldn't keep Theon and Ramsey straight.  I knew who I meant when I spoke a sentence ... but I kept saying the wrong names.  But brain fog is a symptom of ESRD ... as is nausea and fatigue ... so none of this should be a surprise.

Friday night, I tried researching ... reading about hemodialysis versus peritoneal dialysis ... learning  about nocturnal options.  It was so mindnumbingly overwhelming.  I don't know how I would've handled it if I'd been alone ... but Stoney was here.  He hugged me and held me ... and told me no matter what type I chose or what came next ... we would do it together.

Stoney's going to my nephrologist's appointment with me on Monday ... to which I'm so very grateful.   Hopefully between the two of us, we'll ask all the right questions.  It's not the end of the world ... it's just a new normal.  I have worries ... things I need to make this work.  I saw what chronic illness did to my friend's marriage.  Although her situation was much different than mine ... I want Stoney to be my partner ... not my caregiver.  I saw what that does to a relationship ... and it's bad.  But ... if I can learn from her situation ... maybe something good can from it.

In any case ... I'm babbling.  I apologize for being away for so long.  This is why I haven't been posting ... and why I probably won't be posting as much as I used to.  At least for awhile.  Monday we'll talk to the doctor ... and find out where we go from here.   Say a prayer ... keep us in your thoughts ... and I'll come here and write when I can.

There is freedom within
There is freedom without
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
There's a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But you'll never see the end of the road
While you're traveling with me

Crowded House - Don't Dream It's Over

Friday, April 03, 2015

The Walkabout ...

So to understand how I found myself sitting on our kitchen floor at one a.m. surrounded by dozens of randomly scattered blueberries, you have to understand the concept of "The Walkabout."

I have a tendency to go on walkabouts.  This usually results in Stoney waking up in the morning to find me sleeping on the couch.  Or on the guest bed.  Or on the floor.  Basically it starts simply enough with an urge to use the bathroom in the middle of the night ... and ends with the odd sleep-induced compulsion to eat, drink, or sleep somewhere unusual.

I know what I'm doing.  But I can't necessarily explain why.  Answers to the inevitable questions usually include, "well, the spare bed looked comfy" or "I was peckish" or "my feet were cramping."   But last night's comedy of misfortune all began with the thought, "I am so thirsty."  It was one o'clock when I woke up and needed to use the bathroom.   I'd been sleeping pretty deeply ... and one o'clock was a pretty good stretch considering I'd fallen asleep before nine o'clock.

On the way to the bathroom ...

And I should pause the story at this point to explain that everything is on one level in Stoney's house.  The bedrooms, kitchen, laundry, two bathrooms ... no stairs are involved.

On the way to the bathroom, I think, "I am so thirsty."  And with that thought, I had that immediate need to get something to drink.  You know that feeling where you throat feels like a desert?  I had that ... and so I altered my shuffling flight path from the bathroom to the kitchen.

The six pack of Black Cherry Propel was still wrapped in plastic.  So I began struggling with the package.  I tried to pull a bottle out with one hand ... all while three quarters asleep, holding myself up with the other hand ... one eye closed, and the other only partially open.  I didn't feel myself bump anything.  I heard ... something?  But the only real sign that something was horribly amiss was when I stepped backward trying to wedge this damned Propel out of the plastic ... only to feel my foot squish something.

We don't own a dog (yet) ... so the sensation of that squish was alarming.  It wasn't furry.  It can't be a mouse.  Was it a spider?  Jesus, don't let it be a spider.  It's cold.  Why is it cold?  And wet.  Why is it wet?

I looked down and for a moment or two ... I literally couldn't understand what I was seeing.  I didn't have my glasses on ... so all I could wrap my head around was that there were dozens of little black dots all over the kitchen floor.  What the sweet fuck?

I looked down at my foot and saw a pool of smeared, purple goo and realized the dots were blueberries.  Dozens of blueberries.  In my futile attempt to pry out that Propel, I'd bumped the blueberry carton and dozens of Wish Farms' finest were scattered over the ceramic tiles.

Shit.  Tile.  Blueberries stain.

It's almost ten past one, the kitchen floor is covered with blueberries, I am still thirsty, and I haven't even peed yet.  The situation is getting exponentially worst by the moment.  I stood there for a minute and prioritized.

I can't lie.  For a split second, I thought about leaving them.  I thought about going to the bathroom and just going to bed.  I thought about the conversation that would ensure.

Stoney:  ThirtyWhat, wake up!
Me:  Huh?
Stoney:  Wake up.  Why are there blueberries all over the kitchen floor?
Me:  What the what??  Blueberries?  Someone must've broken in the house and randomly scattered fruit all over our nice tile floor!  What a bastard!!!

No ... he wouldn't buy that.  I'd have to pick them up.

And so, after wiping the blueberry remains off my foot and off the tile, I carefully tiptoed through the minefield of berries and made my way to the bathroom.  I did my business and made my way back to the edge of the kitchen, got on my hands and knees, and began tossing the blueberries into a pile.  Blueberry by the garbage can ... toss.  Blueberry under the kitchen chair ... toss.  Blueberry next to the recycle bin ... toss.   Blueberry by the china hutch ... toss.

This went on for ten or fifteen minutes until there was a large pile of pitched blueberries.  I slowly scooted over to the fridge like some demented, sleep-deprived toddler and sat on the floor ... gathering the berries back into the carton.  We're clean people, mind you ... but there was no way we were going to be able to eat any of these.  They were ruined.

I tossed the carton in the garbage and went back to bed.  It was one thirty by then ... and I was wide awake.  So I lay in bed ... tired ... angry ... thirsty ... and smelling blueberries.

I found my thrill
On Blueberry Hill
On Blueberry Hill
When I found you

Fats Domino - Blueberry Hill

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Every Day Another Step ...

Today is a momentous day.

(No, honey ... I still haven't called Direct TV ... but soon.  Soon ...)

No ... today I left our house for the first time since my surgery.  I drove over to my house and picked up the mail, drove to my mom's house to get her mail, and went to County Market to pick up a few things.  Nothing extraordinary or Earth shaking.  But it was something.

This week I tried to do little things to keep moving forward.  One day I put on makeup.  One day I got dressed.  Yesterday, I picked up around the house and made dinner.   Okay, fine ... I "heated up" dinner.  First Wife actually made two dinners for us ... but I put the chicken and macaroni and cheese in the oven ... and I made some biscuits ... so I get partial credit, right?

Unfortunately, the cold that started tormenting Stoney last week has now taken up residence in my head.  I'm congested and snoggily and coughing ... my stomach is aching and I am bone tired.

So bottom line ... right now, I can't tell if the pain I'm feeling is because I pushed myself too hard and did too much today?  Or if it's just part of the healing process?  Or maybe it's just the head cold that's making me so achy and tired?

Probably a little of all three ...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Hugs and Cookies and Soup ...

Well, I had hernia repair surgery on Wednesday.  Sometimes it feels like weeks ago ... sometimes it feels like hours.  Thursday and Friday were bad.  For three solid days, I couldn't stand up ... or roll over ... or walk to the bathroom.  Basically, I couldn't do anything without Stoney's help.   

For three days, Stoney made bowl after bowl of chicken noodle soup.  He brought me cold ginger ale and chocolate pudding and a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  Despite his ever-worsening head cold, Stoney didn't quit ... even getting up in the middle of the night several times to help me walk to the bathroom.  He was amazing and I'll never be able to thank him enough for everything he did.

So ... I woke up this morning and actually felt halfway normal.  I had energy.  I felt sore ... but good.  I could get out of bed myself ... I could stand up and sit down unassisted ... and I was able to go ten hours between pain pills.  I felt strong ... I felt invincible.

However, as I've been getting stronger, Stoney has been getting sicker.  The DayQuil and Mucinex  supplies in our house are sharply in decline.   And so this morning I thought, "I can make us breakfast!"  It wasn't just a randomly passing thought ... it was an imperative.  Stoney is sick ... he has done everything for me since Wednesday afternoon ... I am making Sunday breakfast for us!

So I shuffled into the kitchen.   I baked a few biscuits ... made a pan of maple bacon ... scrambled a few eggs ... and put them together to make breakfast sliders.  Were they good?  I don't know .. my taste buds are still completely out of whack and nothing tastes right.  My biscuit was warm ... it was edible.  That's about the most I can hope for at this point.

Stoney's fever is down ... so that's a good thing, although he's still coughing and snoggily.  My stomach muscles ache from making breakfast ... you'd think I was doing pushups instead of moving a pan of biscuits from one spot to another.

Time for another nap ... and hopefully it won't be so long between posts next time.

Monday, March 02, 2015

More and More and More and More ...

In grade school, I had a teacher who would be instantly infuriated whenever she heard a student say, "I'm starving."

"Are you starving?" she would begin. "Are you really? Do you know what starving even means?" she would continue as we would cringe and pray that the floor would swallow us whole. "Children in Africa are starving. YOU, however ..." and at this point she would coldly look us up and down with the kind of look which instantaneously spawns eating disorders ... "You MIGHT be peckish.  At best.  But you are no where near starving."

Since meeting this teacher, I have always been keenly aware of hyperbole ... fixedly aware of exaggeration.

I say this to make it perfectly clear ... that when I say, "I am exhausted ..." I mean that I am literally, by definition, completely and utterly exhausted.

I spent last week alternating between feeling like I needed to sit down and have a good cry ... and wanting to curl up in our big, comfy bed and sleep for 24 hours straight.  We went from a perfectly stable, quiet life ... to the wheels falling off the train.  My train is now sitting in a field, miles away from tracks of any kind.

After an ER trip that confirmed the hernia in my stomach, Stoney and I went to the surgeon's office to learn about treatment and recovery options.  It was the first time he'd accompanied me to a doctor's appointment ... and it was both new ... and wonderfully comforting.  We left the office with a tentative surgery date and a plan.  He'd already scheduled PTO in March so he could stay home and watch the NCAA tournament ... now I'd just be a (hopefully) small part of those plans.

We parted with a kiss in the frosty parking garage and I headed off to work, happily believing that things were well in hand.  Less than two hours later, I got a text from my aunt.  My mom had fallen and hurt her ankle.  They were on their way to the ER.  I asked if I should meet them ... and she said Mom said no ... wait until after work.  Okay ... mom fell and sprained her ankle.  This is a manageable calamity.

An hour passed before I texted my aunt again.  Were they in a room yet?  Had mom been x-rayed?  My aunt sent a short, cryptic text.  It said something about them being in the back, mom getting an IV and, what concerned me most, that she was "finally" being given a shot of morphine.  My chest tightened with panic.  Morphine?  For a sprained ankle?  What was going on?

What was going on was a lot more than a sprain.

Mom fell ... and managed to not only break all three bones in her ankle ... she dislocated the bone.  She was in excruciating pain and the foot was hanging there ... loose.  I drove to the hospital and sat by her side while we waited for the orthopedic specialist.  Her ankle was as big as a softball ... and approximately the same hue as an eggplant.  The morphine wasn't helping and she was nauseous from the pain.

The specialist pulled me outside mom's room and told me privately that, due to her age, she couldn't just have the bone set normally.  He said, when treating younger people, they would usually just set the bone and let the patient "scream it out" ... but the risk was too high that mom would go into shock from the pain.

So ... I was asked to take a walk.  I sat in the waiting room while they knocked her out.  They gave her Propofol, reset the bone back in the socket, and put a cast on her leg ... all in the smallest emergency room cubicle imaginable.

Her surgery is day after tomorrow ... two weeks to the day before mine.  They are putting a plate on the ankle to hold the bones together.  It took two days ... but she finally agreed to move in with her brother and sister-in-law until she can put weight on her foot.  It was a rough 48 hours for all of us ... very little food ... even less sleep.

As if all this drama wasn't enough, we think Stoney might have torn his meniscus moving things out of the house.  His knee has been causing him a lot of pain and his doctor is having him take medicine, wear a brace, and ice his knee regularly.  When it rains ... it pours.

So ... if I don't write a lot here in the near future, it's because I'm balancing my time between my job, working on my house, checking my mom's apartment, and checking on her.  I slept a lot this weekend ... but it wasn't enough.  I feel like I could sleep right now.   Is there such a thing as trauma-induced narcolepsy?  Can someone look into this?  I would ... but I'm too busy teaching myself how to sleep with my eyes open ...

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Cookie Correlation ...

I love cookies ... but then, who doesn't love cookies?  Everyone with a pulse loves cookies.  So that should've been our first clue that there was a problem ...

I've been having problems eating for the last week or two.  My stomach just hurts.  It hurts when I eat or when I drink.  Anytime I reach anything near "full," I feel achy and bad.  One night last week, Stoney and I decided to have popcorn ... but after I popped one bag, I gave the bowl to him and passed on any for me.  Just smelling it made me nauseous.

Then came the red flag.  It's Girl Scout Cookie season ... and, even though we're trying to lose weight, you just can't pass up on something that comes around once a year.  So last Thursday, Stoney stood up and said, "I'm getting myself a couple cookies.  Do you want me to get you some?"  I shook my head no.  "How about one cookie?  Wouldn't you like one cookie?"  "No thank you."

Red flag.

I don't turn down cookies ... especially Girl Scout Lemonades.  Cookies are a sign that God loves us and wants us to be happy.  So we should've known something was rotten in the state of Denmark.

Friday night, I was getting ready for bed ... and I felt a lump.  It was above my belly button ... to the right an inch or two.  It was hard.   So I went to Stoney and said, "This is going to sound crazy ... but feel this."  The left side of my belly was soft as usual ... but the right side was hard and painful.  He said he could feel it ... and told me to call the doctor.

Well, it was Friday night.  What are you going to do?  I didn't think my life was in danger ... so I waited to call the doctor's office until they opened on Monday morning.  All weekend my stomach hurt ... and by Sunday, when I took a shower, I could look down and see a rise on the right side of my abdomen.

I called my kidney specialist this morning ... who told me to call my primary doctor since they didn't believe a cyst would get that big.  I called my primary doctor ... who told me that even if they could fit me in, I needed to get a CT scan and I needed it quick.  They said, at best, they wouldn't be able to get me scanned for a few days ... and if I could see and feel the lump?  I needed to go to the ER immediately.

I drove over to the emergency room and Stoney met me in the parking lot.  They took blood and did a CT scan ... and then we sat.  We sat for almost six hours.  Now keep in mind that we hadn't had breakfast ... we hadn't had lunch ... and the nurse said I couldn't have food or water ... I couldn't have  anything until the results were back.  So we sat there.  Tired and worried and starving.   We heard the nurse call down to radiology every 20 minutes ... with no positive results.

And so as we sat there, I began to get punch drunk and irrational.  I wanted a chicken sandwich.  I wanted Stoney to go to the cafeteria and smuggle me up a chicken sandwich.  I wanted him to go to the cafeteria, buy a chicken sandwich, put it in his cheeks like a chipmunk, and bring me a chicken sandwich.   I wanted him to sneak down to the cafeteria with me and get me a chicken sandwich.  He said no to all these options ... but did sneak me a couple ice chips just to keep me from attempting a violent coup, which I was threatening if that damned blood pressure cuff went off one more time.

In the end, I have a Supra Umbilical Hernia.  It's not life threatening ... just uncomfortable.  They sent my results to a surgeon ... and I have to call him in a day or two to see what he thinks about the images.  He'll decide if this is something we need to fix immediately ... or if we can wait and see.  I don't want surgery ... however, I can't lie ... the stomach hurting thing is getting old.

We'll see.  At the moment?  I'm just tired.  I came home and took a two hour nap ... and I'm still tired.  The hospital says my kidney function is down to 18% ... although the calculator I use said 20%.  So I don't know if the fatigue is from the low function ... or stress ... or the lack of chicken sandwich.

All of those things are possible ... well, except for the chicken sandwich bit.  On the drive back, Stoney stopped at McDonald's and brought home the ultimate get-well food ... chicken nuggets.   So my chicken craving has been assuaged.   I'm going to snuggle with him while he watches the Sportyball Combine ... I'm going to read my new book ... and I'm going to try to not worry about the future.  It's worked out alright so far.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mega Winterpocalyps Snowmaggedon Killstorm 2015 ...

So Stoney and I were having a discussion this morning about how we all have this inherent tendency to mis-remember our childhoods.  We have these epic memories of events ... and the majority of these memories are inaccurate at best ... and Victoria Jackson-esque crazy at worst.

Everyone exaggerates the past.  I'm guilty of it.

Like take yesterday morning.  We were watching the morning news while an annoyingly perky anchor was listing off school closings.  I looked at the list scrolling by on the television and said, "What a bunch of bullshit.  I sure as hell didn't get a day off school just because it was cold."

Is that true?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I went to a rural school that relied on school buses to deliver ninety-five percent of the student body.  So if the wind chill was 20 below?  We probably got the day off.  Maybe.  Fuck, if I know.

What I do know is that I have memories that I know are faulty.  I'll give you one as an example.

When I was about three, my Mom was raising me alone while my Dad was in Viet Nam.  It was winter and we lived in a rental home that didn't have a driveway or garage.  We had to park on the street ... which wasn't a problem until it snowed.  And we live in Illinois so it snowed.  A lot.

So one day, Mom needed to go shovel the walk ... so she could then attempt to shovel the car out.  She couldn't leave me alone in the house because I had a habit of eating sticks of butter if I wasn't being watched continuously.  (Note:  Don't ask ... I liked butter.  My mom spent two years finding sticks of butter with tiny teeth prints on them.  I was a three year old with a high probability of atherosclerosis in my future.)

Aaaaanyway ...

She bundled me up and we went outside.  She shoveled a couple feet of space off the walk ... and then put a two step step-stool on the cement.  She brought me down and told me, "Stand on this step stool.  That way you can watch what I'm doing.  Whatever you do, do not leave this step-stool."

She shoveled.  I watched ... probably day dreaming about delicious, un-guarded sticks of butter.  When I got the most marvelous idea.  I climbed to the top of the step-stool ... and ... I jumped.

I jumped into the snow drift ... snow filled the air ... and I immediately sank down until the drift until the snow was higher than my head.  I started shrieking like a three year old, butter-junkie, banshee ... and my mother, I imagine after considering for a split-second how much easier her life would be if she just left me and my poor life choices in the goddamned drift, came and rescued me.

Now my memory of this day is how much fucking snow there was.  It was over my head.  Snow was everywhere ... as far as I could see.   There was so much snow that I almost drowned in it.

But that's not true, is it?

I was three years old.  It probably snowed what?  A foot or two?  After all, I didn't just jump into the snow ... I jumped into a drift.  So even though I'm sure it was an enormous pain in the ass for my mom to shovel all that snow with a butter-burgling toddler trying to commit hare-kari ... this wasn't a storm of the century for Christ's sake.

My point is that memories are faulty.   There wasn't that much snow that day.   Things haven't changed that much for most of us.  There are, statistically speaking, about as many snow days now as there were twenty years ago.  And it's okay to bitch about the cold ... because we basically live on the outskirts of the the Snow Miser's asshole over here ... but try not to make the past quite so epic.  Because it wasn't.

I need you
I need you
More than anyone, darlin'
You know that I have from the start
So build me up
Build me up
Don't break my heart

The Foundations -
Build Me Up Buttercup

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Today's Pet Peeve ... Pennies ... Again ...

I hate pennies.  I hate pennies with an illogical hate that most people reserve for things like world hunger and elder abuse.  I hate pennies.  I don't understand why they exist.  How are pennies still a thing?

Did you know there used to be half pennies?   Because there were things that cost less than a penny.

"Here you go, that will be two and a half cents."
"Thank you, my good man ... here is three cents."
"Thank you, good sir, and here is your half penny in change."

That was a thing.  I get that.

It's 2015.  Are we, as a society, not able to round up?  Seriously.  If I'm expected to pay five bucks for a grilled chicken sandwich, could we maybe not make it five bucks and seven cents?    Yes, I'm sure there was someone back in 1857 who said, "But we can't get rid of the half penny!  Do you realize how much those fuckers will over-charge us when they round up?"

Alright ... they wouldn't have said that.  They would've said, "Soft!  Wherefore should we forsake this coin?  Methinks our churlish foes will hoodwink us by our trusting nature!  They shall purloin our tuppence!"

Okay well ... that's ridiculous.  They wouldn't say that either.  I have no idea what anyone was saying in 1857.   But I do know what people in 2015 are saying.   Why the fuck do pennies still exist?

When Stoney is leaving for work and says, "Hey, hon?  I'm going to run by County Market on the way home.  Do we need anything?"  I don't say, "Um, sure. We need a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk ... oh, and can you pick up a jar of leeches?  I haven't been feeling very well lately?  I don't know ... I think my blood is thick or something?  Yeah, grab some leeches.  Extra strength leeches if they have them!"

Leeches were a thing.  Pennies were a thing.  

Basically, what I'm saying is ... for the love of all that is holy, stop giving me pennies.  They weigh a goddamn ton and I can't pick up my purse anymore.  Charge me a nickle and stop this copper-colored madness ...   

Penny lover, my love's on fire
Penny lover, you're my one desire
Tell me baby could this be true
That I could need someone, like I need you

Lionel Richie - Penny Lover

Friday, February 13, 2015

Even the Smallest Thing ...

It's weird to feel ... safe.   It's a completely alien feeling to realize ... it's okay to ask for help.  In fact, it's not just okay ... it's no big deal.  The only person who thinks it's a big deal ... is me.

I got home last night to find two dozen gorgeous roses on the coffee table.  Next to the roses were four, huge chocolate-covered strawberries ... and a beautiful card ... all early Valentine's Day gifts.  Tomorrow  afternoon, he's having Giordano's pizza delivered to our house ... a gift that's too extravagant ... but one that, honestly, I cannot wait to arrive!

And all these things are wonderful.  I appreciate every petal on every rose ... every bite of every strawberry ... every piece of sausage and each pound of cheese that's gonna be on that pizza.  I appreciate it all.  But that isn't what makes me love him.

What makes me love him is every little thing that he takes for granted.

He makes dinner most nights because he gets home from work first ... and I love him.  When I'm stressed and trying to work on getting my house ready to sell, he offers to do a load of my laundry ... and I love him.  He offers to run by the store and pick up gummy vitamins ... and I love him.  I love that he wakes me up so we can talk for a few minutes before he leaves for work in the morning.  I love that he lets me sleep in on the weekends.  I love that he warms the pancake syrup.

When we started, I didn't feel comfortable letting him do things for me.  I didn't invite him to go along most places because I always expected to hear him say "no."   But ... I'm better now. 

Yes, I still have irrational fears, which he teases me about.  Every time I take another step, I ask him if he wants to change his mind.  "They're delivering my piano tomorrow.  There's still time to change your mind."  "They're picking up the bed at my house tomorrow.  So ... I won't have a bed after tomorrow.  There's still time to change your mind."

He hasn't changed his mind. 

And I appreciate everything.

On a night when bad
Dreams become a screamer
When they're messin' with a dreamer
I can laugh it in the face
Twist and shout my way out
And wrap yourself around me
'Cause I ain't the way you found me
And I'll never be the same
Oh yeah
Well 'cause you
You make my dreams come true

Hall and Oats -
You Make My Dreams Come True

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Relax! It's Paid ...

So ... I paid my mortgage today.  

It's due on the 1st ... but, in my defense, my coupon book says something about paying before the 16th to avoid late charges. 

So ... I always make sure to pay it before the 16th.

Copacetic, right?


I got a call today from my mortgage provider.  They were extremely unfriendly. 

This is a call to collect a debt.
You are?  Wow ... um ... okay.  Is this about my February mortgage payment?
Yes.  Why haven't you paid?
Because my coupon book says I have until the 16th.
It does ... but anytime after the 1st, it's late.
Oh ... okay.
Well, when are you going to pay?
Before the 16th.
Would you like to make the payment over the phone?
Well how are you planning on paying?
On the website. Like I have been. Every month. For the last three years.
I can take your payment over the phone.
I prefer to make it on your website.
We also take payments by Western Union.
Um, is your website down?
Okay, then I'll pay by website.
Alright. When?
Before the 16th.
Okay.  Will you be paying with income from your job?
Pardon me?
Your job. Will you be paying with income from your job?
Um ... how else would I pay?
Well, are you paying with a disability payment? Or a settlement?
How is any of that your business?
I'm just making sure that we get our money.
You always do. I don't understand why you're calling me.
Because it's after the 1st.
I've always paid sometime between the 1st and the 16th.  Look at my account.
I can't see your account, ma'am.
You can't?
No. This is a robo call center. Your name just came up.
So, I have you down as making a promise to pay by the 16th.
And you're going to pay by the 16th?
I always do.
Ma'am, you're late.
I'm not late ... it's the 12th.
Any day after the 1st is late.
I think we covered this.
Do you need assistance?  Illinois has a mortgage assistance program.
No.  I'm good.
And you're keeping the house?
No.  I'm going to sell it.
You are?  Okay, I'll make a note of that.
Alright, and I have a promise from you to pay by the 16th?
(Bangs head on desk) ...

Jesus Christ.  I haven't had a collection call in years ... decades even ... and I sure wasn't expecting this one.  The money is in my account.  In fact, as soon as I hung up, I went to the website and made the mortgage payment.  I just have a bad habit of procrastinating.

Yes, I put it off ... but I always make sure to make the payment before the 16th so I don't accrue late charges.  Apparently that doesn't matter.  It's after the 1st.  So ... fine.  I'm taking steps to sell it ... in the meantime, I will stop procrastinating, and just pay the damned mortgage payment earlier.

I feel irritated.  And stupid.  But mostly irritated.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Presents and Presence ...

This weekend was the perfect blend of fun and relaxation ... combined with a healthy dose of sweat and hard work.  Sometimes work isn't so bad when you've just given yourself a day off.

Saturday, Stoney and I drove out to College One's house and we had our (very) belated family Christmas.  Miniature Moose couldn't join us ... she asked for the day off work but there were too many in line before her.  But thanks to the magic of Apple FaceTime, we were still together.

Idiot's Anonymous is walking!  She's using a cane and is getting around wonderfully.  I didn't get to talk with her as much as I'd like ... as soon as this damned house is done, life will get back to normal and we go can go to dinners and movies again.  I miss my normal life.

Anyhow ... back to the good times.  We spent the day snacking and opening presents ... just talking and laughing.  I played with Sophie and tried to rub as much glitter on their cat as possible.  It was a good day ... and I'm proud of all of us considering we've already scheduled the 2015 Christmas celebration ... so there's no chance of us being six weeks late this Christmas!

Sunday, it was back to work.  And I really have to thank Stoney for this ... because I was really dragging my feet.  I wanted to work on my house about as much as I wanted an ass beating.  I moped around the house ... making excuses, "I'll leave right after I eat something" ... "I'll leave right after this show" ... "I'll leave in another 15 minutes."  He finally got me going by promising to make us a dinner of grilled, BBQ chicken wings ... my all time favorite.  So ... begrudging ... I went.

And here's where I can't lie.  I went to my house and sat at the kitchen table ... primarily because that's literally the only place left to sit in the house ... and I played with my phone.  I sat there a good 20 minutes or so ... feeling sorry for myself.  When finally, my mood broke.  I started working.

Two or three hours later, I had everything moved downstairs.  The suitcase and three bags of clothing ... in the car.  The two old CPUs to be recycled ... in the car.  The two boxes of boxes and keepsakes I wanted are in the dining room.  The small bookcase is in the dining room as well.   I vacuumed the upstairs carpets and swept the twin's room.   The only things left is two or three tubs of photos that I need to sort and bring downstairs ... and with that, the upstairs will be completely done.

I came home to delicious, perfect, crispy, bbq chicken wings ... and, much more importantly, an abundance of hugs and love.  In the end, there's still a lot for me to do ... and a lot I'm going to have to pay someone else to do.  But it's progress.

Thank you Stoney for being patient with me when I'm dragging my feet and being unmotivated ... thank you College One and Mr. College One for hosting last weekend's activities ... and thank you girls for a very merry Christmas. 

I promise this house nonsense will be done soon ... and then I'm taking us all to lunch.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Just a Little Further ...

So I feel a little better. 

Not ... "Wow! I'm getting this done!" better.  But ... "In the end, maybe this will be alright." better.

I spent part of the evening yesterday with College One.  She met me at the house and we filled her car with tubs full of books, big baskets for her and her sister, and a dozen other other odd items.  After we filled her car, she helped me carry all the electronics down.  We filled my backseat to the roof with old DVD players and VCRs and speakers.

But that isn't what made me feel better ...

What made me feel better about it all was her expression when we walked upstairs.  She looked around and said something like, "Wow!  It's so CLEAN up here!  You've done SO much work!"  She's the first person who has seen the upstairs since I started really throwing everything out. 

See ... last week, Stoney was with me almost every night.  He helped me each night after work ... until he hurt his knee moving the heaviest stuff downstairs for me.  We've ordered a knee brace for him ... and hopefully nothing is permanently damaged.  But since he's been hurt, it's just been me ... sorting and bagging ... cleaning and pitching.

So to hear someone else say that I've done a lot ... that helps.

I called this morning to have the sanitation company come get their dumpster ... and I can say that I have a plan.   I have a list of things that need done ... and I am ready to start calling contractors and handymen to do odd jobs.  College One is coming back in a couple weeks to go through a few more things with me ... and her mom is coming to get a bed frame at some point.

While I schedule carpet cleaners and plumbers, there's still lots for me to do.  I can work on cleaning out the fridge and scrubbing the floors.  There is still several things I need to take to Stoney's ... and I'll do that in the next week or two as well.  My new goal is the end of February.  It will take a lot of work, but I think it's do-able ...

In the meantime, I'm going to have to start being a little more careful with myself.  I can't keep pushing so hard.  I went to the recycling center and dropped all the electronics off.  Good news, right?  Except that I had to carry it all in myself.  For liability reasons, the employees can't help you bring anything onto the property.  So I carried a couple hundred pounds of electronics ... one arm full at a time.

I'm proud that I got it done ... but I think I broke a cyst in my right kidney.  When I picked up the last item in the backseat (a large, heavy sub-woofer) I felt a sharp pain on my right side.  There's blood in my urine again ... so I'm going to have to take it easy this weekend.   I've got to be careful ... if I get a kidney infection, I'll really miss my February deadline.

Baby steps, people ... it's all about baby steps.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Uncle ...

So I took the day off work yesterday ... one last gasping attempt to get my house ready to sell.   I feel defeated.  I feel like each attempt I make puts me further away from my goal.  Although I can give you a list of tasks I completed yesterday ... and every other day I've worked ... I still drove away feeling overwhelmed and upset.  I spent six hours at my house yesterday ... six hours ... and yet I still haven't been down in the basement.  Each task I do just seems to highlight all the tasks left to do

Yesterday's goal was to finish the second floor.  I think I came close.  I would like to say I accomplished the goal ... but after six hours, I hit a physical and emotional wall.

My bedroom and walk in closet are empty.  The bathroom is empty.  College One's bedroom is empty.  The twin's room ... sigh.  It's not.  I'm admitting that I need help.  People have offered and I've always said no ... but I surrender.  This is no longer something I can do on my own.

Upstairs I still have six or eight or ten electronic components (old VCRs, DVD players, speakers, etc.) that I need to carry downstairs and take to the recycling center.  I have three tubs of books for College One and a basket and tub for Miniature Moose ... items that I was simply too weak to carry downstairs.  I also have a large suitcase and three garbage bags ... each one full of clothes that I need to bring over here ... but I couldn't lift them.  Did I mention I was exhausted?

I called a shredding service yesterday.  I have one extremely large cardboard box full of old insurance forms ... it must weight several hundred pounds ... and a garbage bag full of cancelled checks, old bills, etc.   I was working on shredding them last week ... but I burned the motor out in my shredder.   So rather than risk using Stoney's equipment, I found a company willing to help.  For $35, they will come to my house, carry my papers to their truck, and shred everything in front of me.  The cost isn't much ... but it doesn't matter. It would be a bargain at any cost just to be rid of the whole mess.

A couple years ago, a good friend of mine (the mother of my two god-children) sat me down and told me, "There will come a point in your divorce when you will agree to anything just to make it end.  It won't be fair ... you'll be screwed over ... but you will agree to chewing off an arm if you can just make it all go away."

She was right.  

Come to find out, that philosophy applies to other situations ... like this house.  I just want it to be over.  It's a financial drain.  It's a physical drain.  It's mental torture.  I'm tired of driving home crying because I've pushed myself to the point of exhaustion. 

I'll be calling the garbage haulers soon ... I'm raising the white flag.

I'm looking for attention
Not another question
Should you stay or should you go?
Well, if you don't have the answer
Why are you still standin' here?
Hey, hey, hey, hey
Just walk away
Just walk away
Just walk away

Kelly Clarkson - Just Walk Away

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Live Blogging the 2015 Super Bowl - The Second Half

The Second Half ... let's do this!


Clash of Titans - A - The Premise?  Liam Neeson plays Clash of Clans and is seeking revenge.  That. Was. Epic.


Dodge - C - the Premise?  Elderly people tell you what they've learned.  For the first 15 seconds, I was going to write and tell you how touching this commercial was ... live life to the fullest ... don't cheat ... life is good.  Then they used that good will ... to sell me a car.  Sigh ... someone's been watching the Don Draper/Kodak Carousel scene a few too many times.


Toenail Fungus - Jublia - D - An animated toe (with fungus) plays football?  Stone is in the other room insisting this is a joke.  Sadly?  I don't think so.

Okay, so here's the thing.  The second half sucks ... at least as far as commercials go.  I'm just quitting.  It's boring at this point.  I'd much rather lay down and read ... or look at Facebook.  Anything that doesn't involve advertisements involving toenail fungus.

If you're into sportyball, maybe it's good?  The Seahawks are up ... 24 to 14.  Is that a lot?  Is that close?  I don't have any idea.  But you know what I do know?

My team won donuts because of some pool score thing ... and a trip to the vending machine.  So ... Yay donuts!

The winner of this half?
The sequel to Ted ...
 and anyone who doesn't
have toenail fungus. 

Live Blogging the 2015 Super Bowl - The First Half

My first year live blogging the Super Bowl with Stoney!  Woot!  And guess what?  This year I actually know who is playing!  Seattle and the Patriots.  Where are the Patriots from?  I don't know ... but Markey Mark was on the pre-game show wearing one of their hats so ... um ... Boston?

Last year, we had a Super Bowl party ... so I didn't blog.  This year, Stoney was inviting to another party ... but his knee is all messed up.  As one of our friends put it?  He has a hitch in his giddy-up.  So ... he's stuck with me.  I have wings baking in the oven and three different finishing sauces ... so ... it can't be all bad?

Side note:  The Patriots came out to Ozzy and Crazy Train.  Seattle came out to The Verve and Bittersweet Symphony.  Um ... one of these things is not like the other?  Confused.

First Break (Pre Game)

Reebok/Crossfit - C - Okay ... so ... I'm conflicted.  On one hand, I'm in awe of these people and what they do. After all, Crossfit is something I will NEVER be able to participate in.  It hurts my kidneys to pick up a six pack of Propel ... that's not a joke ... they impress me!  On the other hand, I have a sneaky suspicion that these people are going to rise up and kill us fatties in our sleep.

Pizza Hut - Crust - Okay so I don't want to talk about the commercial.  I want to talk about the steaming bucket of shit that is Pizza Hut.  I don't care what kind of crust they invent.  Asiago and Parmesan?  Pretzel?  It's all Toe Jam and Ear Wax to me.

Spongebob Movie - Omigod!  I love this!  This is gonna be so ... wait ... what?  This isn't Hot Tub Time Machine?  It's not 2002?  Ohhhhh, okay ... this is gonna suck balls.  Gotcha!

Chevy Trucks - D - The premise?  Women love guys in trucks.  Ugh.  No, we don't.  If you put a douche into a truck?  He's a douche ... in a truck.  Congratulations, Chevy ... you're going to have showroom full of douches there to buy a truck ... fully believing it will make women like them.  Hey, girls?  Know how to avoid dating a douche?  Start avoiding all guys driving a 2015 Chevy.

McDonalds - New Form of Payment - A - Or as we like to call it ... Big Macs for BJs!  Hey ... it gives all new meaning to the Happy Meal!  I'm only giving this commercial an A because I look forward to watching hundreds of teenagers paying for their meals with hugs and all the awkward boners that are guaranteed to follow.  (Side note:  Wouldn't Awkward Boner be a great band name?)

Jurasic Park - This isn't a product ... but wow!  That looks fun!  Chris Pratt is my new actor crush ... I'm kinda hoping, at some point in the movie,  he inexplicably picks up a guitar and belts out a verse of  "Bye Bye Lil' Sebastian!"

Chevy Colorado - D - The Premise?  What if your TV went out?  Fuck you Chevy.  I thought there was snow on the dish again.  Not funny.  Although ... wifi in your vehicle?  Hmmm ... the geek in me is intrigued.

Esurance - B - The premise?  Lindsay Lohan is "close" to your mom.  It's kind of sad when an actress falls to the point she makes money by making fun of herself.  Also ... she's starting to sound like Clint Eastwood.  Please, Lindsay ... stop with the Marlboro Reds.

Toyota Camry - Legless Woman - D - What in great green fuck does this woman have to do with owning a Toyota?  Sure ... she's impressive as hell?  But will owning a Camry empower me to do a fraction of what she does?  No.  I'm doing good to make chicken wings.  Mmmmm ... chicken wings.  I need to check on the chicken wings.

Turbo Tax - Tea Party - C - The premise?  If we could've filed our taxes for free, we wouldn't have fought the British.  Cute enough ... I guess.  This commercial did not involve a puppy ... or a donkey ... or a Clydesdale so ... I'm giving it a C.

Game of War - D - Um ... have you played a game on your phone?  Have you bought one of these apps?  There are no stunning graphics.  There are no tits.  Please, please believe me, teenage boys ... there are no tits.

Tomorrowland - This isn't a product ... but Jesus!  Is it possible for a movie suck harder than a Dyson?  It's a movie about an area of Disneyland.  That's it.  Just the name.  Hey, here's a thought ... let's make a movie called, "Produce Aisle" ... doesn't that sound awesome?!  No ... it doesn't.

BMW - A - The Premise?  Bryant Gumble and Katie Couric don't understand technology ... again.  Damn, that was cute!!  Adorable!   


Snickers - A++ - Brady Bunch -The premise?  When Marsha is hungry, she becomes Danny Trejo ... and Jan becomes Steve Bucemi.  GODDAMN ... that was awesome!  That's easily in the running for the best commercial of this game.

Carnival Cruise Lines - F - John F. Kennedy - Seriously.  SERIOUSLY.  You're going to sell my tickets to a cruise by using John F. Kennedy?  Why don't you sell me a Mercedes Benz using Janis  Joplin?  Oh wait?  You have.  Goddamned soulless marketing assholes. 

Skittles - B - Let's Settle This the Usual Way - The premise?  Everyone from the elderly to babies settle disputes by arm wrestling.  It's creepy ... as most Skittle commercials are?  But oddly fun too.  Also ... um ... can somebody front me some Skittles?  I'll totally pay you back tomorrow.

T-Mobile - F - Kim Kardashian - Save the Data - Fuck you, Kim.  If the only use America has for its data is look at Kim Kardashian's ass?  Take our iPhones.  Take them all.  We're better off without them.

Budweiser - A - OMIGOD ... I LOVE THAT PUPPY!!!

Side Note - I took a break at this point to eat copious amounts of chicken wings.  Were there commercials?  Yes.  Did I blog them?  No ... because my fingers were coated with an array of num num sauces.  So, to wrap this up ... I'm back ... although I'm food drunk and, to be brutally honest, uncomfortably full. This will probably affect the grading curve.  

Nationwide Insurance - F - Dead Kid - The premise?  Kids die.  Did you know that?  Kids die.  In horrible, horrible ways.  Let Nationwide show you a few scenarios.  See?  They die!  Wanna pay for the funeral?  Get Nationwide.  I guess?

Esurance - A - Say My Name.  The Premise?  Walter White is "Almost Greg" ... that was dark ... and awesome.  Not as dark as, "Hey, your child is gonna die" ... but we call can't be manic-depressive goth teenagers disguised as advertising execs.

Side Note - At some point, they played a domestic violence ad that was, no lie, disturbing as fuck.  Disturbing.  Horrible.  Between the dead kids, the domestic violence, and the "Daddy" ads, I think we can safely call this the "2015 Prozak Super Bowl!"

Half Time Show
Hey, everybody!  It's Katy Perry in the Pepsi Halftime Show!  Wouldn't it be great if her backup dancers were called the "Awkward Boners"?!  See, America ... told ya that would work!

First thoughts on the show?  Who put the acid in my chicken wings?  Damnit, Stoney ... there are smiling palm trees and singing beach balls!  Dancing sharks?!  Who gave me acid?!

Stoney just pointed out Katy has a Wii strap on her microphone.  Safety!  Way to go, Katy!

Also?  Before we start the second half? 

Always Panty Liners just commanded us to empower women to have more self esteem.  Know what would give me more self esteem as a woman?  Not having to watch tampon commercials.  Please, corporate America ... stop ... for the love of all that's holy ... stop.

Winner of the 2015 Super Bowl First Half?
Danny Trejo in Marsha Marsha Marsha!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

It's Just a CARD ...

So I'm standing at Walgreens the other day ... perusing the Hallmark aisle.  I was looking for several cards ... one for my mom's birthday ... another for Stoney's dad's birthday ... another for our friend's housewarming.   And I noticed the large (large) section of Valentine's Day cards.

Technically, I still have several unused Valentine's Day cards at my house ... ones that I bought for Stoney then decided not to use.  The first year was extremely hard on me ... I think I ended up buying three cards.  One was too romantic.  One wasn't romantic enough.  One was, as Goldilocks would say, just right.   The next year, true to form, I bought two or three ... and jumped through the same mental hoops ... is this too wordy ... this one is too funny ... this one isn't wordy enough.

Okay.  Yes ... I over think things.  Yes ... I put way too much thought into a damned card.

Our first Valentine's, there was almost no writing on my card ... although I put a lot of thought into his gift.  Last year there was more writing.  I guess I was a little more secure in the whole thing.  This year, I'm once again pressuring myself to find the perfect card.  

So ... back to Walgreens.  I stood there ... picking each one up ... reading it ... then discarding it.

"Dear Valentine ... although we've been married for twenty years ..."
"Dearest Valentine ... even though we've cried a lot this year ..."
Hmmm ... no.
"To my outdoorsman who loves hunting ..."
Christ, no.
"To the greatest husband and dad ..."
Well, we do have a fish ...

This went on for twenty or thirty minutes.  I finally walked away without buying one.

I do need to go back before they're picked over ... but I decided I needed to be more relaxed.   I won't be spending much on Valentine's this year ... we need to save for a new roof.  But damnit ... I want the card to be just right.

Is everyone this neurotic about something as silly as a card?

No, I don't know the name
Of the band, but they're good
Aren't they?
Would you like to dance?
Yeah, I like this song too,
It reminds me of you and me, baby
Do you think there's a chance
That later on I could drive you home?
No, I don't mind at all
Oh, I like you too
And to tell you the truth
That wasn't my chair after all
George Straight - The Chair

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Work ... Work ... and More Work ...

So ... today's earlier post was basically a moment of zen ... a moment of much-needed calm ... in a weekend of back-breaking labor.

The goal was to get the house ready to go on the market by the end of the month.  Okay ... so that goal might've been a little over-optimistic.  But still ... the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step ... 

It started Friday.  I had a dumpster delivered and took the day off work.  I spent seven hours filling garbage bags, walking to the edge of the porch, and pitching them about three or four feet into the dumpster.   The first day I cleaned out most of the kitchen cabinets and all of the pantry.  I threw away everything in the back room ... and the rest of the items in the closet in the dining room.  I finished the day by going upstairs and making sure the headboard was cleared off and everything was neat ... because ...

Saturday, Stoney and I went to the house first thing in the morning and met College One and her Mom and Step-Dad.  The five of us moved the couch and coffee table out ... then we went upstairs and moved out the king size bed, box springs, frame, and headboard.  They helped me do a few odd things ... like moving down the queen size mattress and putting it in the dumpster ... then left to go unload while Stoney and I continued our day.  He went to the store and ran errands while I continued cleaning and pitching.

Today I got up early, headed over to the house, for day three of my dumpster rental.  My old bedroom is completely empty.  I also finished probably 2/3rds of the twin's room.  There's still a lot to do in there ... but Stoney offered to help me with it tomorrow.   While I fill a couple tubs with pics from my Dad's family, and fill a few more garbage bags, Stoney is going to take apart the queen size box springs.  It won't fit down the stairs ... so we're having to actually break it apart to get it out of the house.

There's still a lot of odd things left to do ... a handful of kitchen cabinets still to clear ... the twin's closet ... things like that.  Then there's one big ... big ... thing left.  The basement.  It's bad.  Really bad.  I lived with someone who had hoarder tendencies ... and the basement was his domain.  Now ... now it's my domain.  And I don't want it.   This is where things have become difficult ...

A lot of people have offered to help ... First Wife ... my Mom ... Stoney.  So many people have offered to help me clean this house out ... and I just can't do it.  There's so much clutter ... so much junk that needs to be pitched.  And I don't feel right about having anyone else come in to do it.  It stresses me out to the point I can't function. 

In a perfect world, I would've taken this whole week off work and used the entire week to pitch and clean.  But ... it's not a perfect world.

Because that's the thing ... after all this dumping is done?  THAT is not the end.  I still have to clean.  The refrigerator is filthy ... and I can't blame that one on anyone but me.  I have everything cleaned out ... but I'm going to have to take the shelves out and scrub them ... all of it.  It's just a mess.   The kitchen floor?  That needs a lot of cleaning.  The living room carpet is going to need a professional cleaning ... as will the back room.  Oh and I also need to have someone pour new front steps.

Yes ...  January 30th was overly optimistic.  But ... I'm getting there.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It's a pin prick .... but it's there.

Oh, kiss me beneath the milky twilight
Lead me out on the moonlit floor
Lift your open hand
Strike up the band and
Make the fireflies dance
Silver moon's sparkling
So kiss me

Sixpence None the Richer - Kiss Me

A Moment of Zen ...

I hate these steps
And I hate that swing
I hate this house
The whole damned thing
I hate that door
I hate this room
I hate this vacuum
And this fucking broom
I hate that carpet
I hate that wall
And those goddamned holes
Both big and small
I hate those stairs
And the basement too
I hate it the most
If we're telling the truth
I hate every inch
Every foot every yard
This house can go fuck itself
And fuck itself hard

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Death and Taxes ...

So I was listening to This American Life today ... that's my new thing ... and I came across an episode called "Death and Taxes."  The theme of the episode was dealing with things that are inevitable ... i.e., death and taxes.

There was a story in the episode about a woman who was dealing with the death of her step-father ... who she helped take care of through home hospice.  She ended up going to a hospice center to talk to the nurses to try to get closure about the experience and to find out if her experience was the norm.

Listening to it was hard.  So much of the story shadowed my own.  Sitting with someone during their last days ... listening to their worries ... trying to make them comfortable.  And listening to the nurses and their stories, I found myself remembering our hospice nurse, Billy.  He was just so ... kind.  He didn't lie ... he didn't sugar coat ... but even so, he was kind.

My strongest memory of Billy is probably the last day he came to the house.  He and Dad were siting in the living room and I was standing at the breakfast bar in the kitchen.  They could see me ... and I could see them ... but I was very much "outside" their conversation, if that makes sense.  Billy was taking Dad's vitals ... and they were just talking small talk.  Nothing important or notable ...

Until Dad said, "What if I don't die?"  Billy looked up from the blood pressure cuff and looked a little startled.  "What do you mean?"  "What if I don't die like you expect me to.  Everyone is expecting me to die ... what happens when I prove you wrong and I don't die?"  Billy smiled ... it wasn't condescending or mean.  I suppose it was a little sad ... although maybe I'm projecting my emotions into it. 

But he smiled and said, "Well, Sarge ... in you're still with us in six months, we re-evaluate your case.  They'd probably do more tests ... see if your heart function has improved.  But ... you know that's not going to happen ... right?"  My Dad teared up.  My Dad ... the ex-Marine ... teared up and said, "I'm not ready to go."  Billy nodded.

I felt embarrassed ... like I was eavesdropping on a private conversation that I was never supposed to hear.   Part of me wanted to walk in and lie and hug Dad and tell him everything was going to be alright.  Part of me wanted to stand there quietly and let Billy fix everything.   I'm a coward ... I did the latter.

Billy said everything he should say ... comforting things like everyone has their time ... and Dad wouldn't go until it was his time ... and maybe Dad would be there in six months ... maybe he wouldn't ... but he would be there to make sure Dad wasn't hurting.

That was on a Friday afternoon.  Sad died Sunday night.  There was a different hospice nurse on call that weekend ... and I talked to her a half dozen times ... asking what medicines to give him and how to handle different things.  She was so kind and sweet ... and her voice and confident instruction was probably the only thing that kept me sane those 48 hours.

Billy never got to come back.   I wish I'd had the chance to thank him for that day ... the day he comforted Dad.  So since I can't tell it to him ... I'll just say thank you to all the hospice nurses out there.  You're doing a job that's incredibly hard and incredibly important ... and you're very, very appreciated.

Monday, January 12, 2015

We've Reached Acceptance ...

We've discussed this many, many times.  I'm not a sports fan.  I will admit that I've caught on a little ... I found myself terribly disturbed this morning when, in a meeting, I was able to follow ... and actually understand ... a conversation my co-workers were having about whether or not there was a catch during last night's Cowboys/Green Bay game.  Someone spoke the words, "the ground cannot cause a fumble" ... and I shuddered as I realized that I both understood and had an opinion about this statement.

But I'm getting ahead of myself ...

So last night, the Cowboys played Green Bay.   Since I know little to nothing about football ... this was just another Sunday.   While Stoney watched, I ran to Walgreens and Lowe's ... then ran to my house to do a little packing and cleaning.  

By the time I made it back home, there wasn't much of the game left ... and Stoney was in a great mood.  The Cowboys had been in the lead most of the game and, while the score was close, it looked like they would be advancing to whatever happens next in the never ending playoff season.

I was relaxing on the couch scrolling through Facebook ... glancing up now and then when Stoney reacted to the game ... when he began hooting with joy.  One of the Cowboys made a play which, even with my untrained, uninterested eyes, still looked pretty impressive.  But a minute or two later, they reversed the call ... which caused ... a ... response.

A response that I only imagine he would make if I were to come home from work and casually say, "Hey, honey ... when I was pulling into the garage, I rammed into the back of your car.  Annnnyway, what's for dinner?"

Denial.  Anger.  Bargaining.  Depression.  I was watching the whole grief process right there in the living room.

He finally got up and began working through his frustration.  He cleaned off the ceiling fans.  He then cleaned out the fish tank.  He then scrubbed off the glass top on the stove.  I was so conflicted.  I felt so bad for him ... and wanted to say something to make it better.  On the other hand, we were on point to have the cleanest house in town.  So ...

I've experienced a hard sporty ball loss.   It wasn't the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup or whatever the basketball equivalent of that is ... but it was still pretty heartbreaking.   I'm sorry, hon ... as a Cub fan, my I offer you my sincerest, "There's always next year ..."

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Can I Have Your Pudding Cup?

When you're little, you think grown-ups have it made.  Nobody's telling them when to go to bed.  Nobody is telling them to eat their peas.  Nobody is telling them to stop making fart noises with their mouth.

When you're little, you have no idea how horribly wrong you are.

When you're little, you have no concept of mortgages or bills.  No concept of jobs or deadlines or stress.  No concept of fashion or weight or health or growing old.   Stress is an unexpected spelling worksheet.  Happiness is an extra pudding cup.

Come to think of it ... even as an adult, happiness is an extra pudding cup.

No ... we adults are constantly doing things we would rather not do.  I'd rather not sleep with a CPAP ... but I'd also rather not stop breathing at night and die.   I'd rather not go to work every day ... but I'd also rather not live in a cardboard box under a viaduct.   Life is full of choices ... and the choices almost always involve choosing the lesser of two evils.

Let's take for instance this weekend.   Last night I got a text asking if I wanted to go see "Into the Woods" with a group of friends this weekend.   Flash answer?  No.  For several reasons.  Reasons such as ... I like the musical and I doubt the movie will live up to my expectations ... or ... I should be going to my house this weekend and finish getting it ready to put on the market ... or, most honestly ... I really just want to relax and watch a movie at home in my yoga pants.

But kids ... here's the problem with being an adult.  If you're honest with yourself, you make decisions that are the right decisions ... for the right reasons.  Even if those reasons hurt.

A year or so ago, my life drastically changed.  I lost K ... and that was hard.  Then it got harder.  I had friendships with daily contact ... friendships that I'd had for decades ... that literally disappeared in a matter of weeks.  My office closed and women I dearly loved ... women I considered my tribe ... they moved states away.

When you're a child, it's easy to make friends.  You have SO much in common.  "You go to first grade?  Hey, I go to first grade TOO!" or "Hey, you like Scooby Doo?  Hey, I like Scooby Doo TOO!"  As we get older, we gain experience ... we gain hobbies ... and people who we're compatible with slowly start to whittle down.  Education and work ... books and music ... all the things that make us who we are ... it's harder to find people we "click" with.

And so ... it would be easy to turn down the invitation ... to stay at home this weekend while Stoney goes to his fantasy football meeting.  To put on my yoga pants and watch some cheesy movie and be by myself for awhile.  That would be easy.   But I need to keep these new friends ... to stay in touch ... to spend an afternoon with them laughing and talking.  It's not the easier thing to do ... but it's the better thing to do.

Being adult isn't all it's cracked up to be.  I think I'm going to go home tonight ... maybe make fart noises with my mouth ... and have an extra pudding cup.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

I Need To Start Making Plans ...

When things were starting to get serious with Stoney, my mom sat me down and said she wanted to give me some advice.  I was convinced it was going to be some kind of awkward, painful discussion of my failed marriage ... it's breakdown ... and warnings of getting too close to Stoney or any man for that matter.

Silly me.   What was I thinking?  She loves him.

No ... Mom sat me down and told me that, for the first time, I was dating a sports fan.  And not just a regular sports fan ... a real sports fan ... someone who loved sports.   She told me that I had to remember that sports were a part of him ... part of the person I fell in love with.   She told me not to get frustrated or feel neglected when he wanted to watch the game and not be interrupted.  She told me to always stay independent enough that I could entertainment myself.

I told her not to worry ... after being with someone who had no hobbies, I loved that Stoney was a sports fan.  I loved that he has friends and I loved that the guys came over to watch games with him.  I told her I'm perfectly capable of entertaining myself ... but if a Sunday came and I was bored or lonely, she'd be the first person I called to do lunch or go to the casino.

Fast forward a year or so.

I'm living with Stoney for the most part ... and I've spent most of the 2014 football season at his house.  I've been here when the guys come over ... been here when his team won ... been here when they lost.   I don't think there's been any shocking discoveries.  I can't tell you, "Oh, my God ... I never expected such and such!"  Most of the time, I hang out in the bedroom binge watching Netflix or leave for awhile and run errands.

Today ... today was something special though.   He's a Cowboys fan ... and they played in their first playoffs game today.  He was super excited for the game ... and, once again, I gave him space.  I laid on the bed and watched most of last season's America's Worst Cook on the Food Network.   But I was on the same floor as him ... so I could hear his reactions to the game.

"Are you kidding me?!"
"GODDAMIT ... seriously?!"

I'm not sure why someone would love something that stresses them out so much!  In the end, the Cowboys won ... and I even went out and sat in the living room and watched the last five minutes or so of the game with him.   He's happy ... deliriously happy ... relieved ... almost exhausted just from the stress of watching the Cowboys fighting from behind for most of the game.

So I'm not supposed to jinx anything by talking about it ... but if ... you know ... if they make it to the game on February 1st?  Yeah ... I think I'll be driving up North.

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys
Don't let 'em pick guitars and drive them old trucks
Make 'em be doctors and lawyers and such

Willie Nelson - Mamma Don't Let
Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys

Friday, January 02, 2015

A Roll of Toilet Paper and A Christmas Tree ...

It's 2015 ... a brand new year.   The toilet paper analogy is right ... life goes quicker the closer you are to the end.  I mean ... think about when you were young.  Remember how those three month summer vacations felt like they lasted years?  Remember looking at a calendar and feeling like it was taking forever for Christmas to get here?  As Van Halen told us all those years ago ... it always felt like the clock was slow

But you get older and your whole perception of time shifts dramatically.  It feels like just yesterday that we brought the tree up from the basement ... and we're taking it back down this weekend.   I don't even remember summer.  Did we even have summer this year?

Stoney normally saves his last two weeks of vacation to take at the end of the year.  Today is his last vacation day ... and he goes back to work on Monday.  This morning, we were laying in bed and he said, "Where did those two weeks go?  What did I do for two weeks?"  And, working backwards, we tried to reconstruct the time. 

So all day, I've been pondering ... how time just speeds by now.  And considering how it feels now, what will it feel like in ten years?

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with

Jim Croce - Time in a Bottle