Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Often I give myself homework. Often I say "I know this will piss me off but I should read it/see it/do it. I just might learn something." Such was my idea behind watching The Woodsman. I thought it would push me a little too close to the edge but I thought I might also learn from it.
Which I did.
The movie centers around a pedophile getting out of prison and his attempts at reintegration into society.
In all honesty, there have been times when I have been so financially stressed that I just sat down and though "Hmmm. All he ever did was sit on his ass. How is doing that exact same thing in prison any kind of punishment?" Hey, he's even going to get tips on how to write out a job application and a resume which will allow him to list the prison system as his EMPLOYER while he's inside working for a buck-o-five an hour.
He will also never have a single obligation ever again for the kids. Life will proceed for him just like it always has...everything will be about him and him alone.
One time during our marriage, he told me he could never handle the thought of ever losing me. If something were to happen to our kids on the other hand, he could handle that...just not something happening to me.
Thankfully, I believe I responded to that statement with "What the fuck????"
So, I'm still trying to understand the idea of punishment.
He will only be able to live in certain places.
He will only be able to hold certain jobs.
Hmmm. Once again... how is this any different from the life he chose for himself before prison? He stayed in jobs that caused him to chafe and bitch at every human interaction. Unless he held a job that was just about him doing solitary tasks, he would never stop complaining.
My only two glimmering lights are that he will have to report to a parole officer. He will have someone who is in charge of him. He will have someone that knows his history and won't take his bullshit.
The other glimmer is that, as a convicted felon, he will never be able to vote again.
As someone who would often spout paranoid drival reguritated by the latest nutcase that he had listened to, voting was something very important to him.
Voting was a hell of a lot more important than his wife or kids.
I guess it's the little things that count.
Friday, December 18, 2009
A year ago, my doc gave me this prescription to help me through the madness. He warned me that they can be addictive and that I should only take them when I REALLY NEEDED THEM.
Well, on the first anniversary of the two anniversaries over these next two days, I'm still on that original prescription.
There were a couple professionals that tried to get me to take anti-depressants instead but the last thing that I thought I needed was to feel numb, no matter how much I really wanted it.
Walking into the courthouse? Yep. I was medicated. It's a good thing that I was drugged at the attempted name change because it slowed me down a bit when I ran screaming after him at the elevator. Had it not been for the intervention of chemistry, I very well might have leaped onto his jugular and feasted on the refuse of humanity. I am, after all, a Krillitane.
So, I guess the medical community and the criminal justice community can stand down. I'm not addicted to their pills and I didn't act upon the darker impulses in my heart.
Now if I could just kick that black tar heroin habit, I'll be golden.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Like, your brain surgeon.
or perhaps, your lawyer.
Since my lawyer gave his lawyer all the paperwork and said "just fix the typos and submit it to the courts" and he did, I received a cc'd letter from my lawyer to his lawyer telling him there were still minor errors that needed to be corrected. Nothing earth shattering, nothing that changes any legalese in the document, just a couple of formatting issues basically.
The thing is, it was already submitted to the court.
And as I reread her letter this morning, I noted that in paragraph two? There is a typo.
Is it possible to have two lawyers that have graduated last in their class at lawyering school on the same case?
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I am not a fan.
Your snowbanks are ever so high and as you can see, my legs are ever so short. The phrase for the season? Frozen balls.
The dumb one? Yeah, Shuggie?...he doesn't seem to mind your evil machinations. He's also got the benefit of being fat and furry whereas I am sleek, sveldt, built for speed and picking up sophisticated chicks at jazz clubs in Harlem.
In other words, I am not built for winter.
See what I mean? Look at this picture! He's packed with insulating fat! He's probably contemplating how he can lure me away from my bowl and eat all my food.
He does that.
And he sticks his entire head in the snow when we go outside. I just look at him and wonder how he is allowed to go outside without his helmet and ticket for the short bus.
He just doesn't get it.
When the owner takes us on our walk, he doesn't protest at all. He just barrels ahead with his empty head and his enormous stomach.
I, on the other hand, let my displeasure be known. I will walk one block and one block only and then I sit down.
This is the signal that the owner needs to call me a cab. I am through.
Winter? You will not defeat me. And I'll be damned if I'd be caught dead in those nerdy dog bootie things. I have my pride.
I am currently investigating whether or not Petco offers a taxi service.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
This last year has been one long experience in perpetually slipping on the ice and trying to find my feet.
It comes down to the fact of finding “the new normal”.
The “new normal” is the daily struggle of not thinking about what happened right off the bat in the morning. I’m not asking to be oblivious; I’m not asking to forget. I’m just asking my brain to let me get to at least ten am before I feel the weight of it all.
The “new normal” involves watching every single parent-child interaction in public with suspicion.
The “new normal” involves walking through my neighborhood and thinking about all the awful things that are probably going on behind all those closed doors.
The “new normal” involves not speaking his name. A name gives a person power. That is what I have learned over the past year. That is why he has fought our name change so vehemently. Even as a convicted pedophile, he thought he still had power over us by denying our name change. By forcing the kids to keep his name, he was exercising his power over them, even after doing everything, by his choices, to destroy them. One day, when our name change actually happens, we will exercise our power, the power to say “no”. In the mean time, he will remain nameless.
This has caused some interesting verbal exchanges: sentences are left hanging, the air thick with pain and discomfort. “Well, we did it that way because your f…….well, we did it differently back then…we’re going to do it this way now…” It’s a dance. A dance around the center which is filled with so much darkness.
The “new normal” involves scribbling my still legal last name illegibly every time I am forced to write it. It involves repeating it in quiet tones when forced to say it.
The “new normal” involves seeing the humor in my kids as they combine their last names to be “Sharkness”. It’s the one gray area that I can appreciate.
The “new normal” involves seeing a lot of empty cupboard space. Mother Hubbard had nothing on us. I think I could develop a career on the food network sort of like Rachel Ray except my tag line will be “how to pull dinner for two out of your ass when you only have three food-like ingredients in the house.”
The “new normal” means that when I am feeling unsure if I am up to a certain task, I look back on the last year and say to myself “If I could make it through that, I can do anything.”
The "new normal" is at times terrifying, heart wrenching, and wonderful.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Hey Look! Mittens! The pattern is Bella's Mittens here.
No, they are not knit because I like Twilight. The whole phenomenon makes me want to vomit. The last thing I need is a bunch of screaming fan girls swooning over teen age angst, and their daughters are really annoying too.
I knit them because I like a long cuff. And I had the yarn in my stash.
And because my sweater is in time out. I screwed up two inches into the ribbing.
I have been knitting for 31 years.
For non knitters, screwing up a knit 2 purl 2 ribbing is like Danica Patrick failing drivers ed.
It's like Magic Johnson missing a slam dunk on a Little Tyke's basketball hoop.
It's like Tiger Woods being dateless on a Friday night.
I thought I could live with the indiscretion. I thought the sweater and I could come to a mutual understanding and I would recognize that yes, it had its faults but we could always call that part of the sweater the back and no one would know.
No one except me that is.
Yeah, the counseling didn't go well. I tore it back and now it's sitting on the naughty step.
But hey, look!
In retrospect, it feels like a horrible Dr. Seuss book that never quite got published: "Oh What A Year You've Had!"
Complete with Trompsnuzzles and Wangdoodles and they all either end up going to prison or to the poorhouse.
Yeah, we'll call that Dr. Seuss's blue period.
All I can say is that I've never had a more life altering year. For someone stuck in a horrible rut, this last year has been dynamite.
It makes me wonder if people in prison actually wake up in their cell with thoughts such as "Hey, ten years ago, I killed my next door neighbor with an ax! How 'bout cake???"
Do anniversaries count when you're in prison? And if so, what is the typical Miss Manners gift agenda for prison? Does it follow traditional guide for the folks on the "outside"?
1st WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
Traditional Anniversary Gift: Paper
Prison Anniversary Gift: Toilet Paper
2nd WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
Traditional Anniversary Gift: Cotton
3rd WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
Traditional Anniversary Gift: Leather
4th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
Traditional Anniversary Gift: Flowers
5th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
Traditional Anniversary Gift: Wood
Prison Anniversary Gift: It's the gift that keeps on giving, just ask your cell mate.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
The little tree in the living room is covered with red and white lights which match our new paint job with an appallingly Martha Stewartesque charm. After the Great Purge, I saved about ten tree ornaments, all of which have something to do with the kids: Baby's First Christmas, handmade ornaments from preschool, et cetera. In other words, the little tree is a concentrated bolus of holiday cheer.
The concern with such a small tree and two very active dogs was of course, canine holiday annihilation.
Thing is? The dogs are supremely unconcerned.
Thing is? It has become a feline jungle gym.
I remember when I was a kid and we had a tall tree and one of our cats decided to climb it. It was at least possible to extract the cat from the branches with relatively little harm. In this instance though, the cat is fat and the tree is small.
It started with ornament hide and seek. The first few days of having the tree up resulted in finding ornaments in strange places, behind the sofa, under the table. I'd walk into the living room to find the knitted Santa that I made years ago lying splayed on the floor like a victim on "Christmas CSI".
The thing is, I'd never catch him at it. I would be upstairs and I'd hear ornaments being battered around but the second I came downstairs, he would vanish.
Cats are like Baptists. They raise hell but you can never catch them at it.
But yesterday morning was a little different. I came downstairs to discover the entire tree on its side with the ornaments all over the living room and the cat lying directly on the tree in an intoxicated state of misbehaving bliss.
He looked up at me and meowed happily. He was very proud of his achievement, why, he had even eaten a glittered pine cone that was probably fifteen years old! Delicious!
I figure it will at least make cleaning the litter box interesting in the next couple of days.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
And now I'm listening to my rock star neighbor.
By rock star, I'm referring to the throbbing synthetic beat that comes pulsing through our house every evening as he practices on whatever type of drum set that he recently acquired. He has yet to entertain scantily clad groupies or pass out on his front lawn after baying at the moon until 2 a.m, but if that starts to happen, I'm going to investigate. The music might be horrible but hey, perhaps a few proffered beers could keep me from calling the cops?
I feel like I'm in a gay club on Fire Island in the 80's...
And the ambiance of our neighborhood is certainly down with a rockin' club with an ever so white 30-something skinny boy laying down the beats. I know he appreciates the fact that I do my best in getting funky; why just a half an hour ago I walked the dogs half way around the block before I realized I had my pajamas on.
Perhaps I'll gather a posse of women in black suits with ear pieces and Matrix sunglasses and we'll put up a velvet rope in front of his house.
If you're on the list? You're golden!
And if you're out walking your dog with your pajamas on? Keep moving baby...
Friday, December 11, 2009
I used to have a lot of books but now? Not so much. I recycle books. I find them in odd places and pass them along when I'm done.
Except for a few. The books that I have kept are littered with marginalia and underlined passages. I have a couple of index card files filled with quotes that I have copied down, words and phrases that roll around in my head and heart.
I never realized that The Disappearance had a subtitle until I pulled it off the shelf yesterday. "A Primer of Loss".
Sometimes, the things we need most are right there in our hands.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I need a little help and I'm thinking that only you will understand.
See, I'm getting close to calling my remodeling project good. It's been a really long and awful year and this place? This place is a different place than it was last December. This place has been reclaimed. This place has been renamed. This place has been turned upside down, shaken, stirred, fluffed, and straightened.
And even though it doesn't mean anything to anyone but me, once the paint is dry and the carpet is down on the stairs, I will be performing a smudging ceremony. This goes down a lot easier with my hippie bon vivant than getting a priest in here for an exorcism. (Then again, having a priest in here might add a little nom to the larder.)
But Tukufu? I want to add a little something for the next people that live here. Or perhaps the next, next, next people that live here. Something that might not be discovered for a long time but would be neat to find when you're remodeling a house.
That's where your expertise comes into play. Out of all of the History Detectives, I think you and I would come up with similar ideas. Elyse? I think Elyse would stand in our house and be quietly judgemental. She would be all smiling and charming and in the back of her mind, she would be thinking "I'll bet they got those drapes at a two for one sale at Wal-Mart." Wes? Wes and his lisp would try to find something from the Civil War in my attic, all the while I'd be offering up feeble protests that really Wes? This house isn't THAT old. And Gwen? I would have to offer Gwen some calcium supplements and a glass of milk before I could even begin to listen to her theories on how a gang of drunken monkeys managed to build this house. I could snap Gwen like a twig (and I will if I'm ever forced to).
But you Tukufu? You would come into my house in your fabulous hat, with your gentleman's swagger and you would look me in the eye as I told you my story. When I wrapped it up, you would shake your head and say softly, "Maaaaaaaaan. That is screwed up!"
And then you would come up with some beautiful quote or great story and you would scribble it down on a sheet of paper and we would slip it under the carpet runner on the stairs.
Just a little note for posterity. Just a little wave from the past.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Myself can be quite the handful.
I need to finish painting the actual stairs (as opposed to the abstract stairs???).
It wouldn't take too long and I'd really like to be able to lay the carpet runner this weekend, it's just that I have zero tolerance for much of anything once I get home from work. Dinner? Dogs? Vegetating on the sofa? Check.
Anything productive? Uncheck.
So I'm going to tell myself that I'm going to meet a friend and go to Bentleyville on Thursday night. I really do want to go and she has a small child. Holiday lights are no fun unless seen through the unjaded eyes of a child. Me? I would no doubt spend two seconds admiring the lights and two hours wondering just how many hours you need to burn those lights to hasten the utter destruction of the habitat of the polar bears.
"See that cute light display with the funny polar bears Johnny? Well, admire them now cuz the real ones are drowning as we speak!"
Yeah, I can be rented out to kids parties to tone down any level of frivolity. I do believe I am known as a "wet blanket".
But if I go with a child I'll keep my damn mouth shut. I'll be able to see the lights as they were intended. My sarcasm will be held in check.
In other words, I will behave.
AND it will force me to realize that if I don't paint the stairs tonight, I won't be able to do it again until Friday and that is when I need to do the final touch ups with the other color on the stairs.
I am holding myself up against the wall and shaking a finger in my face.
PAINT, DAMN YOU! PAINT TONIGHT!
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
There are usually ten or so that come nearly every Sunday and as one person noted last Sunday, "I don't come here for the knitting."
During the last year, I had many individual friends that helped me through the worst year of my life. A couple even knew the code phrase that I would occasionally force myself to admit "I need to be among the living today."
I'm not one to run around and threaten to blow my brains out and be the drama queen. I'm not one to look another person in the eye and say "Please hold my hands for the next five minutes so that I won't do something to hurt myself." I had my code phrase and there were a couple people who knew exactly what I meant.
There were times when going out on a Sunday was a chore. It would have been easier to crawl back in bed. It would have been easier to have a pity party. But I knew what I needed in my heart of hearts. I needed to be in a crowd of people that talked about their kids and their spouses (although that was always a painful thing) and their jobs and the reasons why they got out of bed everyday. I needed to stand next to their bright glow and try to feel a little warmth.
There were times when I didn't even knit. Having whatever causes my joints to be stiff and painful usually only allows me to knit a couple times a week and if I was having a bad hand day, I would go to just sit. There were times when I was glad that I didn't have to contribute to the conversation because I would have just started to cry like a baby.
I just needed to recharge my batteries with the wonderful women who perhaps don't even know how wonderful they are.
Many of them showed up to the sentencing and I think a couple might have even had their knitting out. (For all her faults, Madame DeFarge has always been my secret fascination.)
The knitting part of my brain has been in such a fog for such a long time that whenever I do knit, it is brainless scarves and simple sweaters. Certainly nothing that requires an ounce of gray matter.
But Sunday? Sunday I went in and saw the "retro" Dale of Norway trunk show. (For the non-knitters here, a trunk show is a bunch of knitted up items from an artist or a company and they are usually trying to entice you to buy their patterns or yarn or whatever.) They even have a book out of "retro" patterns that is beautiful.
But there are a few hitches here.
I've been knitting out of my tiny little stash for nearly a year now. The yarn that I have purchased for a sweater has been the less than stellar stuff but I'm ok with that. I wasn't looking for a sweater, I was looking for something that I could make for myself, something to comfort myself. It is the fiber equivalent of a chocolate sundae. I made the sweater and everything worked out just fine.
The retro book is full of patterns that I actually have equivalents at home in the "original" books. I just need to rewrite them a little to make them more "convenient".
The yarn? As much as I love Dale of Norway sweaters, I hate their yarn! A big part of yarn for me is how it feels in my hands when I'm using it and their yarn is "squeaky".
Don't ask. I can't explain.
So on Sunday, I splurged and bought a couple skeins of the cheapest yarn there. It is not all wool but I can make it work.
And I looked at the retro book.
And I looked at the sweaters.
And something in my brain went, "hmmmmmm. I can do that!"
So now I have cast on for a sweater that I'm writing half the pattern for and using a couple other patterns from a book from 1946 for ideas.
Maybe, just maybe, the fog is starting to lift.
Monday, December 07, 2009
Well somebody needs to sprinkle that fairy dust around this place because someone has failed to tell the pets.
The dogs are having a snit with each other, the cats are having a snit with each other and occasionally a dog/cat combination will have words. Thankfully, both dogs don't throw their weight around when it comes to the cats, they just look at them in puzzlement as the cats hiss and slap them across the face.
Perhaps it was the full moon last week?
I'm working with my "personal dog trainer" (Hey Amy, it makes BOTH of us sound posh!) on the Shuggie issue.
Problem: Dog has been a rat bastard.
More complete problem: Dog has become possessive of his food and will lash out at Kirby if Kirby gets too close while he is eating. While they romp and play rough, I can always tell that they are playing. This though? This is wild eyes and snapping teeth and growling.
Last night though, in the midst of their running around the house and playing, Kirby jumped on Shuggie's back and how shall I say it? "Assumed the position"?
Shuggie might be acting like a rat bastard but Kirby has always been the "cool jazz"dog that will quietly make his point.
I had a mental image of a hillbilly prison guard with a billy club, entering the cell of a non compliant inmate: "You wanna screw with muh food boyh? Let me tell you what we do with your kind around here..."
Yeah, I've got the house all spiffed up and pretty, just in time for it all to go prison gay.
And the cats? The scrawny cat whom we affectionately refer to as Gollum cannot enter a room without walking up to the fluffy fat cat and hissing and smacking him upside the head. Of course, that just makes the fluffy cat roll over on his stomach and give his best "But really? How can you hate something as ADORABLE as me????" Gollum also goes into high end hissy fit anytime she walks into any room and finds that she is not the only pet.
Can you guess which pet in this house used to be an only pet?
So, I started taking steps to alleviate the food issues this morning. I moved the dog bowls further apart and stayed in the kitchen to monitor the "mess hall" during breakfast. If needed, I will bring my sidearm and my kung fu moves.
And perhaps, just perhaps, a little of the testosterone was drained away last night for Kirby (unfortunately NOT the one who needs it most). As we went for our evening walk, we passed a neighbor's house who has a lit up animatronic reindeer. Kirby was extremely wary of it as we started to walk by, growling just a little bit, sticking right by my side...and then it moved.
The hardest thing was getting him to actually keep walking as he was having an absolutely hysterical shit fit and I was laughing so hard I almost peed my pants.
Shuggie just watched us and wondered to himself "And these are the idiots who are trying to steal my food????"
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Painted in the bathroom Friday night.
Painting in the living room Saturday.
Painting will be done soon.
Send cheese and Triscuts.
And perhaps another bottle of wine.
Friday, December 04, 2009
I tell the college that I am disabled somehow. Probably deaf as the fact that I drove there to sign up for classes yesterday was a dead giveaway that I can see.
So, I tell them that I am deaf and thus need to bring a translator with me to my one class that I am taking on campus: Algebra.
I then bring my son to every class with me.
My son that gets straight A's in everything.
The benefits will be twofold: I won't have to answer any questions in class because I will be sure to lay the gutteral utterances on especially thick, and I will have a human powered calculator sitting next to me who will not only be able to answer my questions RIGHT NOW but who will also be able to load up the blow gun and shoot me in the jugular with curare if I get too out of hand.
So, if you think this is a good idea, make sure to start talking to me in a most animated way, gesture a lot, and play it reeeeaaaaaallll cool.
I'm thinking I'd better brush up on my sign language though. The only communication I know how to do with my hands involves the middle finger and I'm thinking I shouldn't flash that on the first night of class.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
I can sense it. It is getting closer and closer.
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and he will be pulled in his sleigh by eight lawyers. The team will be led by a red nosed judge, lighting the way through the fog of legalese.
The biggest holiday gift would be a divorce by December 19th, the anniversary of the beginning of the end. I’d also happily accept a divorce by Christmas.
You know, cuz I have so much SAY in the matter.
It’s kind of interesting though. I find myself surrounded by many people who have been commenting on the current Tiger Woods drama and they all seem to be of the mind that “Of course he’s cheating. When you marry a celebrity and you live in the big house with all the diamonds and riches, infidelity is the price you pay for living the high life.”
So, I’m wondering what their excuse is when a normal average joe/jane cheats? When a person isn’t surrounded by beautiful people telling them that they walk on water and there are no crowds of people throwing themselves at the person, when it is an anonymous act of infidelity, is that ok with them too?
I’m really not the person to lay that out on the table as I’m trying not to let the freak flag fly too high. What I feel and frankly, what they feel, is irrelevant. Infidelity comes down to the three (or four or ten or two hundred) people involved.
But my ideas on fidelity seem to be old fashioned. You’re married? Screw away! Chase the skirts, chase the suits, chase any willing human being down and screw them till your blind because being married DOESN’T MATTER.
So then, I propose (pardon the pun), why get married in the first place?
Speaking from the other side, from someone who doesn’t subscribe to the whole infidelity schtick, why would someone put up with a spouse that is unfaithful? I can’t wrap my head around one slip up but I know that perhaps, just perhaps, I’m a bit out of the norm there. OK, your spouse cheated on you and you took them back. Did you at least go to counseling? Did you at least try to figure out why? Or did you just push it under the rug and pretend that it didn’t happen. When you lie in bed with your spouse, do you feel like you’re sharing it with all their recent conquests?
But then, they cheat again. And you take them back. Again.
Now I’m getting really confused.
I just don’t understand the mentality.
But then again? I’d be the screaming meemie swinging the golf club at 2 a.m.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Pardon me but I didn't get the memo, you know, the one that told your customers that you were offering a new service? I'd like to personally thank you for wiping my 80 gig Ipod when I synched it last night. I understand that you must hold a great concern for those 399 podcasts that were cluttering up my device and yes, I guess I really didn't need those movies, especially the ones that I purchased from Itunes. Thanks for having my back!
Your Customer With A Very Expensive Doorstop
Dear waiter at the Duluth restaurant with the great steak fries:
Sweetheart, I have no idea what the heck your gig was tonight but just because I was dining alone doesn't mean I was lonely. I timed you. Coming up to check on me every 4.5 minutes was a bit excessive. Standing guard across the dining room and boring holes into my forehead with your attentively creepy stare was a bit trying as well. And at the end of the meal? When you told me "My night was far more interesting since you were here", I actually stopped in my tracks and gave you my best "perplexed vulcan with one raised eyebrow" look. Since you didn't even look old enough to be working at a bar I very nearly reached over and patted you on top of the head and asked you about your Lego collection. Allow me to introduce myself...I was the half of the equation that DIDN'T get off on children.
So Not A Cougar
Dear WDSE (PBS Duluth) :
It must be pledge week! All the shittiest of shows are on.
Frankly, I think you owe me money.
Dear Woman I Ate Lunch With:
Really? So, any intelligent woman would know that her husband is a cheater before they got married?
I very nearly blurted out "And does that go for pedophilia too?"
But we were at a full table and I thought that might be a bit of a conversation stopper.
Actually, I thought it might be a bit of a conversation starter...and you would tell me how stupid I was...and then I'd have to take you out to the parking lot where you would proceed to whip my ass seven ways till Sunday.
Yeah. I kept all niiiiiiice and quiet.
Your silent companion
I apologize for saying hello this morning at 5:20 a.m.
It didn't occur to me that you were trying to be covert. It didn't even dawn on me that a person lurking in the shadows of her own house in her housecoat, waiting for the dog to do her business, wouldn't want to carry on a conversation with yours truly.
I am, after all, at my most charming in the wee hours of the morning.
Charming, but a bit thick.
You really needn't run in the opposite direction or clutch the neck of your robe in fright.
I promise, I'll never speak to you in the morning again.
Your Two Inch Tall Neighbor
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
I mean, why would one expect that when their windows are "finished" and the guy hands you the tube from the caulk gun and says "there's still some left so you might as well have this", I mean, why would I assume that was code talk for "I caulked one side of the window and now it's late and I'm really done here so if you want to finish off that 1/2 gap that goes all around your window? Use this caulk."
So after coming home with a migraine a little early yesterday and getting just a little toasted on headache drugs, I proceeded to finish off the window after the window guy left. Needless to say, this morning dawned to the apparent evidence that my second career as a window finisher might not be the best option. Was it a bad thing that I used a half a tube of toothpaste when I ran out of caulk? It was the kind that sparkles! (When it comes to home decoration, I am ON FIRE!)
Also? My career as a curtain hanger might not be the best choice either. I did hang a set of curtains in the window of my kitchen that has not had a set of curtains since we moved here fifteen some odd years ago. It had a shade. An awful shade.
The shades in this house came in three different categories: Awful, dreadful, and DEAR SWEET JESUS WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?????
Anyway, not having a drill makes hanging curtains a challenge. Oh, STBX had a drill but it was sitting with his other tools, in a puddle of water in the garage, totally rusted out and disgusting.
This means that I end up putting the screws in the wall by hand. It involves the liberal application of profanity and hand strength, only one of which I have in abundance. (If you guessed hand strength, you haven't been around here much, have you?)
After fighting with the screws for awhile, then the hammer comes out. Very little in life can't be mitigated by the application of a hammer. It's good at making pilot holes, it's good at getting attention when you're drunk at a party, and it's good at breaking down the skull bones when you are desperately trying to hide a human head .
But I digress.
So my kitchen now has a real curtain. Unfortunately, I need to return the curtains and get shorter ones for the bedroom as I was sort of guestimating at their length. (Rumor has it, there are these highly sophisticated instruments called "measuring tapes" that "professionals" use to actually find out the length of whatever they need.
Yeah, sounds like voodoo to me to. I think it's a right wing conspiracy to make us hippies out to be inept at home repair or something.
Monday, November 30, 2009
If you were to poll my neighbors, I'm guessing that they would feel the same way.
Since Home Depot, in its infinite wisdom, failed to dot all their I's on the work order for my window, the window guy needs to come back today and finish the job. Thus, I am waiting on hanging my curtains.
As a matter of fact, the shades that once hung in my bedroom (circa 1970?) no longer fit the window. DAMN! And they looked so "retro" and "cool".
Jinkies Thelma! I'm thinking Old Man Hanson needs to get some new curtains!
As I was moving my bed away from the window and taking down the shades for the window guys to come, I looked down to find the hopefully last bastion of anything to do with STBX. His dusty dress shoes that were tucked under the bed.
I threw them, along with the old shades, onto the floor and proceeded to have a lengthy conversation with all three of them. I stopped when I realized the cat was staring at me with all the wisdom that cats have. Yes, he finally realized his owner was insane.
If talking to the shoes weren't bad enough, I've also taken to slinking around the house, trying to duck down low enough so that I'm not on display for all the neighbors to see.
Not being normally paranoid, I spent yesterday painting in my living room with all of the curtains taken down in there as well. As night fell and I finally stopped painting, I went upstairs to take a shower and had to beware of that window. I then went into my bedroom and flicked the light on long enough to orient myself and then flicked it off so I wouldn't feel like the Old North Church.
Then when I went downstairs in the morning, I stood in the middle of the living room again and finally resigned myself to feeling like an animal in the zoo.
All I know is that I have developed a decided hunch in my back from trying to go undetected around here.
Tonight? There will be curtains. Tomorrow? Perhaps a visit to the chiropractor.
Friday, November 27, 2009
I went directly from the shelter to Petco to outfit him with a new leash and a bowl and as we wandered the aisles, he started wheezing with a noise I can only equate to a constipated elephant trying to, how shall I put this delicately, clear the chute?
The leash from the shelter was basically the cheapest form of clothes line and I can’t begin to tell you the self esteem boost I got when I was walking around Petco with my wheezing dog on a white trash clothes line.
“Hey lady, I think you need a better leash,” was the verbatim sentence I got from three different customers.
I fought the urge to say “No shit Sherlock, I’ll bet you work for CSI Duluth.” I explained that we were fresh from the shelter and I was at Petco precisely for that purpose.
The thing is, he wasn’t really straining against the leash. He just started making the horrible constipated elephant sound as we were walking around. He didn’t stop in his tracks, he didn’t act distressed, he just kept on going. He was the elderly male neighbor that comes out onto his porch every morning with that hacking smokers cough that you desperately wish would JUST WEAR A SASH ON THAT HOUSECOAT! Either that, or realize that a ratty old housecoat over your naked withered body that is allowed to flap in the breeze is what is known as BEING A FLASHER.
In other words, he was seemingly oblivious.
I mentioned the elephantine condition to the vet when I took him in for his post-shelter visit and she looked him over and said that yes, perhaps he has some sort of respiratory spasms but since he looked healthy and sounded good, it probably wasn’t anything to worry about.
Since then, he has only had a couple incidences of the wheezing, both times when straining on his leash.
Until about 3 a.m this morning that is.
That’s when I was awoken by the elephantine ruckus directly in my right ear.
He usually sleeps next to me and I’m assuming that’s where he was all night but for some reason, he became discombobulated during the night. Perhaps he was sleeping with his head in an unusual position but after he calmed down and stopped wheezing, he started again when we went on our morning walk.
It didn’t last for more than a minute but I’m finding it troubling. Even if I could afford a vet visit, if he isn’t actively wheezing, what are they going to do? X-rays? Bronchoscope? Nebulizer treatment with a big cone shaped mask?
So far I’m just going with the good old treatment of calmly rubbing his throat and snuggling with him when it happens. I suppose I can run a hot steamy shower if it gets too prolonged and have him rest in the closed off bathroom.
I’m hoping that it’s just a passing thing but any other “natural” treatment ideas would be appreciated.
*Added Later: I just found out what it is! Thanks be to the interweb! It is called "reverse sneezing" but really is just a laryngospasm. It's more common in Corgis and Beagles and rubbing the throat is one of the cures!
I'll be jiggered.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I believe it is human nature to formulate and perpetuate whichever myths support your personal outlook on the world.
I believe my myths are neither superior nor inferior to the myths I am surrounded by.
I believe some people call them myths, I believe some people call them religions.
I believe that some people call them shit.
I believe that none of us really know now, do we?
I believe that the concept of unknowing makes a lot of people uncomfortable.
I believe people that are strident and militant in their beliefs make me uncomfortable.
I believe I have been here before.
I believe I will be here again.
I believe that when we die, for a brief and shining moment, we know all the answers in the universe.
I believe we will understand the reason for the existence of the cockroach.
I believe we will understand the depth and breadth of the suffering and the goodness that exists in every person.
And then, I believe, that knowledge is taken from us.
If you have led a noble life, a good life, you will be granted access to that knowledge. It will be lurking beneath your spleen, playing peek-a-boo behind your liver and common bile duct. It will exists within you and you will, at some point, realize it. You will have the ability to quiet your mind and listen to the voices of the universe. You will realize that it is more important to be still than to shout. You will realize that the universe is very large and you are very tiny. You will realize that there are so many things to learn and never enough lifetimes to remember it all.
If your existence has been more like the wake of a hurricane and, as you look over your shoulder you see the wreckage that you have left by the machinations of your choices, you will lose all that knowledge when you come around again. You will live your next life like you lived your last life. There will be pain and turmoil and you will be screaming at the blackened cosmos, all alone.
It is the examined life that breaks the cycle. It is the realization that we are but pebbles being thrown into a pond. You ripple back to me, I ripple back to you.
I believe I have been here before. I believe I will be here again.
I am thankful for the ability to listen, learn, love, hope, and trust.
And I am thankful for all my other pebbles in the pond.
They are all so beautiful.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Stop it. Just stop it.
Stop with all the automatic recommendations!
While you may think that you are being helpful, you are not.
Yes, I did order that Harry Potter book in Spanish five hundred years ago.
Yes, I do check out your low low prices on knitting books.
Yes, I did order that book on “keeping your shit together when you are a non offending parent”
Yes, I did order that book on sexual addiction.
But STOP WITH THE RECOMMENDATIONS ALREADY!
I am not interested in knitting books for incarcerated offenders with sex addiction problems written in Spanish!
Completely low maintenance.
Then I decided to splurge on a chicken from the Farmer's Market. Roasted paprika chicken with Parmesan potato rounds is always a favorite.
And the boy asked for pie. It is the ONLY time of year when the boy wants pie.
Little did he know, I am a former test pilot for Sara Lee.
Sara Lee pumpkin pie it is. For him and only him.
Then I realized how much I enjoy cranberry orange relish. I wish I could buy 40 individual cranberries because I am the only one who will eat it.
Me. Only me.
That's a lot of relish.
After going to the farmers market and grocery store, I ducked into the bottle shop because I wanted to treat myself to a bottle of wine for the mini festivities.
The best thing that the booze emporium does is to have a dude standing there behind the mobile mini bar with open bottles of wine.
One of my favorite indulgences is to flip on the radio early in the morning on the weekend and listen to The Splendid Table. I will listen to the wine guy and I will make a groggy note on his "cheap but good" picks and then I will go to the booze emporium and stand bewildered.
I will then pick out the wine with the most entertaining label or the funniest name cuz who has the brain space to remember all that expert advice shit?
That is why I love the wine dude at the booze emporium. I can give him my robotic answers and he will let me taste the wine of the day.
One of these days I will just go through the whole line and do shooters of wine and then leave without buying anything. Kind of like visiting my expensive perfume.
But not this time. He asked all the right questions to determine that yes, I was trailer trash with a very unrefined palate and I would be totally happy with purple kool aid spiked with vodka.
He then let me sample my sweet fruity wine.
I agreed that it was delicious and said "GIMME A BOTTLE".
He then paused and asked if I would be offended by the name
He quickly flashed me the label.
"Damn son!" I informed him. "That's what I get called on a good day!"
The bottle was for Thanksgiving.
Unfortunately, the bottle is now gone.
Thankfully, I did realize that a bottle of wine does not have to be considered "single serving size".
That's why it took me two whole nights to finish it.
Now I need to figure out what to drink with my chicken on Thanksgiving Day.
Got any purple kool aid and vodka?
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
That is my mantra right now.
Just because we had our new dining room table for less than 24 hours before the dogs gnawed on the base, that is no reason to pin them up by their ears.
No matter how good it would feel.
Step away from the pets...
Monday, November 23, 2009
On this most auspicious day, which will no longer be celebrated as our wedding day, I would like to discuss what I have learned about myself in nearly eleven months.
I have learned that we were perfect for each other, in the sickest sense of the phrase.
The last eleven months have made me examine what makes me tick. I have tried to figure out your clockwork mechanisms as well, but that only leads me down blind alley after blind alley.
I only have control over me. I only have control over the few square inches inside my skull. Everything else is a tangle of darkness.
I was the perfect person for you from the time I was three or four years old. I remember thinking the disordered and disjointed thoughts that every child of that age thinks. There has to be reasons for why things happen. Small children don't understand adult problems. When they are given away for their own safety and well being, they don't, on average, go into the entire socioeconomic and psychological benefits that they stand to gain by such an arrangement.
All they know is that they were given away. People give things away that they don't want. Things that are broken. Things that are damaged.
Correct thinking? Not for an adult it isn't. For a small child trying to make sense of the world? Perhaps.
I also remember, as a small child, coming to the realization that if you can give a kid away once, you can do it again.
Would I have ever been given away again? No. Did my child's mind realize that? No.
I remember being consciously aware of being a "good girl" before I even went to kindergarten. Not because I was afraid of being beaten or anything but for the simple fact that, if I was a bad kid I would be sent away.
Here is my foundation, laid bare. I was the kid in school that could be utterly gutted by a look from a teacher. If I didn't get a sticker on my paper in kindergarten and the kid next to me did, I would spend the rest of the day wondering what I had done wrong. (Do kids ever realize that maybe, just maybe, the teacher ran out of stickers?)
And it was always that... "what did I do wrong?"
Kids always place themselves at the center of the universe, that's what being a kid is. Now, place an incredibly insecure kid at the center of the universe and you will note that they will not feel that the sun rises and sets just for them. They will feel that if they don't do every single thing right and take on all the responsibility of the milky way, that everything will go horribly wrong and it will be because they are a screw up.
Yeah. Now flash forward a few years. As the child racked with insecurities and anxieties, I was the perfect mark for the pedophile disguised as my aunt's boyfriend. He was a predator and I knew that he had hurt other girls as well. I was just another in a long line but hey, I kept my mouth shut and I learned to stuff it all down inside of me so far that it only came out at night. Night time was when the monsters came whether real or in my head.
It pretty much sealed the deal on the whole anxiety/insecurity/self-esteem thing when I went to college and fell apart so badly that I ended up coming home at the end of the year and disclosing to my aunt.
When she called me a whore and said it was all my fault, it simply proved my hypothesis: I didn't matter.
Now, all of this boo-hooing and navel gazing can be very self indulgent. If I had the chance to go back in time and meet my "inner child", I would no doubt give her a swift slap upside the head. But as I have said, kids and teenagers have their own way of thinking. I don't come to my realizations lightly or with a song in my heart.
I come to my truths as a way of understanding how I could have endured seventeen years with you.
I learned to stuff my feelings from the time that I learned to walk.
Conflict is bad. Disagreements are bad. Having a voice is bad. And standing up on your own two legs when they've both been shattered is impossible.
See, I was the perfect girl for you.
For at least fifteen years of our marriage I put up with it. I put up with doing everything and I let you do nothing. Why? It didn't take many times of being called a bitch or a nag before I reverted back to my mantra: Conflict is bad. Disagreements are bad. Having a voice is bad.
You were the kindergarten teacher giving me the stink eye and I put my head down and said nothing.
You told me that I had no right to be upset about our marriage because you didn't beat me.
And I agreed. And I raised our children and I made our home and you never lifted a finger and you only told us how much we were an annoyance to you.
But I have to agree, you didn't beat me. I guess that means we had a happy marriage by your terms, right? I guess learning about you using a belt on our son after you left was supposed to make me realize what a great dad you were as well. Top that off with molestation and physically pushing your daughter around and I'm thinking that all that means is that you believe you were an absolutely stellar human being.
The last wedding anniversary that we spent together laid bare what I was planning. When I started to take control of my life and myself and lose weight and gain back my self esteem, I knew that I had to leave you. You were nothing but toxic. The kids asked why I stayed and beyond being scared of being homeless, I didn't have a reason.
So I started making plans in my head. Plans that kept me sane when I had to walk into this house and sense your presence like a noxious miasma. There were times when I would stand behind you and fantasize about bringing my cast iron skillet down on the back of your head but frankly, I wouldn't want to chance damaging the skillet.
That's where my head was on our last anniversary together. You suggested we go out for dinner at Blackwoods and you kept asking me what was wrong. The most hilarious thing, in hind sight, is that I'm sure you were trying to figure out if I knew you were cheating on me. Of course I didn't know you were cheating me. If I had, I would have whooped for joy and handed you a suitcase.
Hooray! There are other stupid insecure fucked up women in this world! Go exploit them and leave me alone!
But all I could do was sit there and look off into the distance and dream about a day when I wouldn't have to be around you.
I could have told you a lot of things that day. I could have told you how I hated coming home and existing in the same space as you. I could have told you how I wondered what my reaction would be if you got in a horrible car crash and died. Would I be able to pull of a proper grief reaction when the police came to my door? Or would I be honest for the first time and acknowledge to another human being "Good! I hope he rots in hell."
And to think, this was my story before I ever learned about your true nature. This was my story when all I knew was that you didn't take "no" for an answer at times, which worked out really well for you since abuse survivors have a tendency to freeze and not fight back. That was the story of our first sexual encounter as I recall.
And that is what being an abuse survivor can do to you. Hmmmm. I told him no and he didn't listen and I froze and I just pretended that it didn't happen and then I made the ever so intelligent move of marrying the bastard.
I have had eleven months to rake over these coals and recognize my many failures. I feel alternately like a fool, an idiot, and a dupe.
But I also feel like a survivor. I have learned so much about myself. I am stronger than I ever knew. I am surrounded by people I love and who love me. Life is alternately terrifying and exhilarating and to top it all off, I have the most wonderful kids in the universe.
We're not divorced yet but we will be soon. Since I learned that our paperwork is where it needs to be, finally, the gray fog has lifted from my soul.
In the most sincerest of ironies, the happiest time in all of my eighteen years of marriage to you have been the last eleven months when your absence has been the greatest gift of all.
I hope you're enjoying this day as much as I am!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Let me repeat that.
THERE ARE HOUSES IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD THAT ALREADY HAVE CHRISTMAS TREES UP!!!!
There are lights and baby Jesus' and an all to premature feeling of peace on earth.
It's bad enough that retailers are pulling this crap. Are these neighbors trying to sell me something???
I spent yesterday painting for ten frickin' hours, painting over the stairs with a five foot pole that looked like a whale proctology tool. I then uncrimped my back and shoulders and took the dogs out for a walk and discovered that yes, unto this day a child was born. Should I ever find that I can no longer afford my house, it's obvious to me that there is a kind hearted neighbor that is willing to go the extra mile and even before the Thanksgiving turkey is carved, he will pimp out a manger and take in any chick knocked up by a deity.
Now I just need to start tarting myself up for God.
Yeah, that last sentence is a sure fire trip to hell...I'm ok with that. It's where all my friends will be!
The Christmas thing is coming man...I can sense it in the air, I can taste it on the wind, and I can hear it on the damn radio with their crazy assed carols already.
I realized yesterday that I'm playing into the whole holiday thing and I didn't even realize it. Some people lose their socks to the dryer monster, we seem to be losing our spoons. A few months ago, I realized that our forks seemed to be disappearing. Now? Spoons. They are not lodged in the dishwasher. They are not lost in the back of the silverware drawer. They have simply disappeared.
So around here, we are reliving the Night Before Christmas. Not a creature is stirring.
Not stirring our coffee.
Not stirring our soup.
Not stirring our cereal.
We are all very still at the moment.
Friday, November 20, 2009
The story on chocolate no bakes? Back when I was in second or third grade one of my friends brought chocolate no bakes to school for her birthday or something (yes children, there once was a time when we were actually allowed to bring homemade food to school) and I had never had chocolate no bakes.
It was like CRACK! I know I had to have made an absolute ass of myself. Sorry Roxanne, I know it was your birthday but your cookies were just REALLY REALLY GOOD. I believe I followed the teacher around like a lost puppy dog, asking every three seconds "Did everyone get one yet???? Are there seconds????"
In other words, I was the kid that, if I were to meet myself in some horrifying parallel universe in which I am forced to look at the elementary aged me and see just how funny my mother dressed me, I would no doubt shoot out my hand and strangle myself right then and there. "NO YOU CANNOT HAVE ANY MORE FRICKIN' COOKIES!!!!"
And then I would disappear in a puff of smoke and it would all turn into an awful sci-fi cliche.
Damn, I just got tangent-sickness...
Anyway, I went home and trumpeted these cookies. They were like heaven! They were wonderful! OM MY GOD!
Then I went back to school and badgered my friend for the recipe.
Yes, just visualize this: Small child, ugly, ugly glasses, probably plaid pants, thick awful hair that always looked like a mongoose tried to mate with an ostrich, asking my very cool classmate for a recipe.
a recipe for craaaaaaaack!
But within a couple days she handed it to me, no doubt to get me the hell away from her.
My little fingers were trembling with anticipation. I had received manna from heaven! I actually remember being distracted in school that day because I was so excited to get home and GET MORE COOKIES!
When I finally got home and handed my mom the recipe she took one look at it and shrugged her shoulders "They're just no bakes..." She opened her recipe book and there, right there before my eyes, was THE SAME RECIPE.
I was stunned. It was like I didn't even know her. She had been collecting food stamps, all the while secreting the Hope Diamond in the bottom of her purse!
She had access to the Holy of Holies and she acted like IT WAS NO BIG DEAL.
She made me cookies.
And it was aaaaaaaaaalllllll better.
I still have her cookbook and that page is delightfully smudged.
For your consideration, I give you my childhood recipe for crack:
Chocolate No Bake Cookies
2 C. sugar
1/4 C. cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 stick butter
1/2 C. milk
2 1/4 C. Minute Oats
1/2 C. peanut butter (crunchy kind is great here)
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix sugar, cocoa, and salt in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan. Add butter and milk, bring to a boil. Boil for 1.5 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, add remaining ingredients. Mix for 1 minute. Drop by spoonsfuls onto wax paper. Chill until firm.
And when you're done with the saucepan? Don't share it with ANYONE! Take it into another room and lock the door behind you.
You're gonna need a little time alone.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Yeah, I didn't have to take a math placement test for college since I actually have college math credits (Twenty years ago, scratching sums in the dirt with a stick. Kinda like public schools today in Alabama.)
But since I was ready to resign myself to mouth-breather math class, it was recommended that I volunteer to take the math placement test just to be sure.
When the first algebra question popped up it was kind of like someone holding a gun to my head and demanding "Flirgurtimkiii Myefoootikilgului???"
I ended up guessing on half of them. My score was 56%. Does that mean I'm really good at guessing or really bad?
I was going to hold off and not take a math class the first semester but since it will take me three successful semesters of math (notice the qualifier) to get where I need to be and since I really only need two semesters of classes to get everything else, it would behoove me to suck it up and start taking math right off the bat.
It was rather weird though, taking a test with a bunch of much younger people. Since I only had to take the math portion and everyone else had to take math and English, I got done very quickly.
Well, guessing on half of the questions is also a great time saver.
But standing up and leaving the computer lab was a little like doing the walk of shame.
"That's right bitches! I'm re-tah-ded!"