Saturday, May 30, 2009

Silly Cat Post

Have you ever seen a cat as fat as my fat-boy?

Look, even the dog is laughing at him.

The dog is laughing because fat-boy always fails to realize he is bigger than the dog is, and only occasionally takes a little swipe at the dog when she goes over the line. Which she does by sticking her nose up the cat's asses multiple times a day. Thank goodness for fat-boy's lack of short term memory.

Every day is a new day in this house!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dear Jon Stories, part 8

For part 7, click here.

As I said, I stupidly forgave Jon for fucking up my 30th birthday party. A week later was Christmas. His wife took their children down south to visit her sister, and Jon was devastated by this. He was already the kind of person who didn't deal with Christmas well, he apparently had moped before and after the holiday for years. I'm assuming it was something like what we all felt when we didn't believe in Santa any longer - too old for toys, too young to enjoy the spirit of the season. Except he never got over that anticlimactic feeling. I don't know if he thought I was going to magically make it all better, but I couldn't.

We made it through Christmas Eve with my extended family okay, but Christmas morning Jon was a basket case. I tried to buy him quirky, thoughtful gifts that I thought would make him happy, but I failed miserably. On the bright side, I had much better luck with my son! And that should have been what I was focusing on. After we finished opening presents, I started cleaning up and preparing for my family to come at noon for brunch. Jon had decided to go back to New Jersey to spend Christmas day with his parents, and I assumed he was upstairs getting ready.

I went up to check on him when I realized I hadn't heard the shower running or any noise from him in a little while, and found him curled up in the fetal position on my bed crying. My heart was broken for him because he was so sad, so I curled up around him and held him for as long as I could. I finally had to say, "I have to get moving, I have my parents and sisters and nieces coming in an hour." He convinced me to take a shower with him, and I felt so bad, I couldn't say no. Needless to say, when my family arrived there was basically no food ready for the brunch buffet.

That was always how it went with Jon. I felt like I wanted to please him so badly that nothing else mattered. No matter what it was that he wanted, I almost never said no to anything. I don't understand how he functioned on as little sleep as he did, either. Sometimes he showed at midnight and woke me up, and then he would set the alarm for an hour before we actually had to get up for work. Sleep deprivation is a torture technique used for keeping people disoriented, and I swear it started taking its toll on me after a while.

We settled in to a routine, as I had mentioned before, of him spending many nights every week at the family house, and a night here or there at my place. This never changed for the duration of our relationship, by the way. No matter where he was living, and he finally ended up moving back in with his parents, he could not ever justify having the kids over to stay with him. He always went there.

At the end of that December, he changed jobs, hoping to alleviate the strain on our work relationship. Lily had started leaving messages on the main work number's general mailbox like "Fancy Schmancy is a fucking cunt!" among other things. Jon thought the new job would actually make him more money, and ease my boss's angst about our personal relationship interfering with his office.

Over the months that followed, I tried really hard to put the work in to what I thought was our relationship, and I thought I was being supportive. I kept drinking more and more, so in retrospect what I thought was being supportive at the time was really just numbing myself in an effort to not pick fights with him over what I knew was not right.

I took him away for his birthday at the end of March, 2001 to Newport, RI. I spent a small fortune on that weekend that I didn't have, and found out two weeks later from Lily that he had been trying to get busy with her again. The main reason I knew for certain that they hadn't actually done the deed was because I knew she would have told me about it. Jon admitted to getting too friendly with Lily on a couple of occasions but swore to me that he was committed to making things work with me.

Like a fool, I believed him. I begged him to stay away from her, make new arrangements where he took the kids outside the house to help out with them. He kept saying that the best way he could still be a good father was to be there in the house to help out with them. It was too soon, he argued. It's been six months, I argued. Not to mention, how could Lily possibly have any time to get over him when he was in her fucking face in their house every night least 4 times a week?!

Remember when I said that in the beginning, every step I took backward made him come rushing forward, and every time I got complacent was when he "fell back in love" with his wife. I still felt that pressure, and so did Lily. He was playing us both. And we both fell for it. I found out after that for every bad thing he told me about Lily and their relationship, he was confiding in her all the bad things about me and our relationship.

The therapist that had been giving them marriage counseling had agreed to treat Jon alone when they split. The therapist flat out told him that he needed to give up both of us for a while and work on himself before he could commit to either of us. Needless to say, he promptly gave up therapy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dear Jon Stories, part 7

For part 6, click here.

Where I left off last, Jon had technically left his wife. He spent that whole first weekend at my house, and Lily called his cell phone constantly. There were a lot of issues that needed to be worked out, but mostly she just wanted to scream at him. A lot.

Lily worked part time as a teacher's aid, there was no money for Jon to get an apartment of his own. She absolutely refused to go back to work full time - they had an agreement that their children would never go to daycare so she was going to be there for them before and after school. She rationalized that since none of this was her fault, she and the children should not have to suffer for his mistakes. He couldn't just come live with me full time as she needed him to be there to help take care of his children.

That weekend, Jon called one of his friends who lived in the same area of New Jersey. He had a house with extra bedrooms which Jon asked if he could crash in for a little while until he got things under control. His friend had just gotten engaged, so it was only a temporary solution.

Sunday night, I asked him how things were going to work out, if there was going to be a specific schedule, but he just didn't know at that point. Monday morning as we were both getting ready for work, I turned to him and asked, "Are you going to come back to me?". He promised he would, and he did.

There never was any specific schedule made, and Lily expected Jon to be at her beck and call at all times. I think the worst part of that time was when Lily sat the kids down in front of Jon that Monday to tell them he wouldn't be living there any longer. She told them that he didn't love "them" any more and a mean, evil lady had stolen him away from them. I was horrified.

From pretty much the moment he left my house that Monday morning, her phone calls to me started again. She would leave messages at my house when Jon wasn't with me, voice mails at my work when he was. When he was with me she called his cell phone constantly, he always answered. At one point it was 11pm. We were getting intimate and he answered the fucking call. I was furious. He tried to rationalize that there might have been an emergency that involved his kids. I responded that she knew my home number - if it had been an emergency she would have called that if he didn't answer his cell. He was totally torn, and didn't have a clue of how to handle it. I knew for a fact by then that he didn't have a pair of his own, but I still loved and wanted to be with him, and I really empathized with his need to protect and take care of his kids.

Not having a schedule meant that I never knew when I could make plans, or what we were going to be doing at any given time. Jon and Lily settled into a routine where he would go to their house and help out with the kids a few nights a week, then spend a night with me. When I say help out with the kids, I mean he went there straight after work, they all had dinner together, he helped with homework, he helped with dishes, he helped with laundry, he helped put them to bed and he stayed there until the kids were asleep. His kids didn't fall asleep right away so most nights he was there past 10pm. Which is about my bed time. He expected me to be awake to take his phone calls when he left there, and was upset when I wasn't. He even continued to do all the yard work on the weekends. I tried to explain that this whole situation wasn't normal.

I mean, where do I begin that this wasn't normal? I was so torn between feeling he should be there for his kids to help make this transition easier, and the fact that when couples separate, there should be some kind of separation. I argued that Lily only worked part time, why would she need so much help with the cooking and dishes and laundry. I was a single mother who worked full time, I got it all done on my own, including my own yard work. I was obviously extremely biased and judgmental at the time. Like I have said before, I had developed an unhealthy hatred toward this woman. I couldn't understand why she still needed her husband for all these things because it was getting in the way of MY relationship with him.

Lily said to me at one point, "just because your son has never grown up with a father doesn't mean my children have to". That floored me, because it was true. Jon tried to rationalize the time he spent in their home as being a good father, because that was also true. He said that doing the dishes and laundry was helping take care of his responsibility of what his children used and needed. That was also true. But it still wasn't normal.

I was having a really hard time wrapping my head around what role I was supposed to be playing. For a while, I played the supportive girlfriend role, taking whatever I could get and being happy for it. That lasted a couple of months. We spent Thanksgiving of 2000 together with my family. If I recall correctly, Lily threatened to put the kids in her minivan that weekend and drive them up to CT so they could witness their mother kicking that mean, evil lady's ass. She never showed up.

That December, Lily upped her game. She announced that she was taking the kids down south to visit her sister for Christmas, and Jon couldn't do a damn thing to stop her. In the meantime, she had starting working evenings at a local home goods type store, so Jon had to be there to watch the kids while she worked. She made sure she was on the schedule every Thursday-Friday-Saturday for the month before she left. Obviously, they needed the money, but she made sure to go out with her girlfriends on Friday and Saturday long after the store closed. That meant that if Jon wanted to come up and see me, sometimes he couldn't even start to make the hour and a half drive until after 2am.

This all came to a head the weekend of my 30th birthday. My older sister had made plans with me and Jon to go out for my birthday the Saturday before Christmas. I had a sitter, and Jon had made certain in advance to tell Lily that that day was off limits. She not only scheduled herself to work that day, but made sure to call me and taunt me about it. She called my answering machine at home and told me that she had every intention of ruining my "surprise" 30th birthday party as my being in her life had ruined her 40th birthday that past summer. Shortly after, Jon called to tell me that he had to bow out of our plans that night.

I asked him, "Jon, are they throwing a surprise party for me tonight?". He admitted that there was a party, but he couldn't be there. He swore up and down that there was no one else who could babysit his kids that night, he begged me to forgive him in advance. Dumbass that I was, I did forgive him. I forgave him for telling Lily about the party so she could ruin my surprise, I forgave him for not showing up to the party, and I forgave him for not showing up at my house until 4:30am. Lily had stayed out as long as possible without pulling an all-nighter.

I forgave him. This and so much more. These are the things that I think about when I ask myself, "what was I thinking?". "How did I not see the signs?" "Why did I keep going back for more?" "What was wrong with me?"

Wordless Wednesday - Flowers

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dear Jon Stories, Part 6

For part 5, click here.

I'm having trouble writing this next installment, and I'm not sure why. I've been putting it off, but I guess the only thing I can do is jump in and start writing, and sort it all out after.

I left off around the end of August, 2000. They both pretty much left me alone for a while, but Jon was always kind of around the edges, looking for a way back in. He was having an early mid-life crisis, and I was the fuel feeding it. He eventually came to realize that his rich fantasies of me and the reality of me didn't mesh. At the time, however, I was still forbidden fruit, ripe for the picking.

As time wore on, I grew less furious, and started taking his calls at work, although I would have nothing to do with him otherwise. I kept our calls strictly professional, although sometimes I would intentionally taunt him by telling him I had started dating again. I was seeing two men at the same time, casually. I also made sure to tell him about the awesome Halloween party I had for my son's entire class. Especially the part about how I dressed up as Cleopatra for the party. Cleopatra was a nickname he had given me because of my dark eyes and "mysterious aura". But I wouldn't let him talk to me about anything personal on his end.

Even though I was not even remotely over him, still totally in love with him, I wasn't even really trying. Apparently not caring about him or his life had some magic effect on him. Two weeks after Halloween, his wife called me on a Friday afternoon at work. I was shocked, and had no idea what to say. "Lily, why are you calling me at work?". My pod-mate (who it turns out also knew what was going on) graciously put her phone on unavailable and left the pod so I could have some privacy.

Lily told me to cut the bull, she was sure Jon had already filled me in that things were less than perfect in their relationship. I truthfully assured her that was not the case. I told her that other than a few professionalish phone calls recently, I had had nothing to do with her husband for months. While she seemed to believe me, she told me it was over. She was sick of him moping around and not even pretending to make an effort to fix things with her anymore. She told me she washed her hands of him, she was done and I could have him. As a matter of fact, he was standing right there listening to her.

I had no idea what had led up to these events, but I wasn't about to be tricked again. I asked, "Are you sure this time, Lily?". She assured me that she was, and handed Jon the phone. He sheepishly asked if he could come up and take me out to dinner. Before my brain could think rationally, I told him I would make him dinner, instead. But he had to promise me he wouldn't go running home the next day if she changed her mind. This had to be it, he either had to leave her for good, or leave me alone.

He promised me on the phone, in front of her, that he was leaving her and their family and their home for good. And I believed him. I didn't understand at the time the differences between what that meant to me and what that meant to him.

I thought I was so in love with him, and he was so in love with me, that we could make anything work. I didn't foresee problems with his wife, complications with children, the long distance factor, our families, work, etc.. I wasn't looking at any of that. Even if I had been, I would have had no way of knowing how we eventually tried to deal with it, or didn't deal with it at all.

All I knew was that I loved him more than I had ever loved any other man. I put my blinders on, and I recklessly plunged forward. I opened myself up to that love, and I made myself incredibly vulnerable by doing so. Have you ever heard Anita Baker's song, "Body and Soul"? When you naively attach yourself to a tragic song like this before the relationship has even taken off the ground, you should probably know in advance that it doesn't have wings strong enough to fly.

Monday, May 25, 2009

This is why I avoid my mother's phone calls

My mother calls me at least once a week. I hate to have to say that I avoid her calls like the plague. I almost never call her first, almost never pick up when she calls, and sometimes it takes me days to call her back. I often have to be in the right frame of mind to actually have a conversation with her. I will sometimes call her back from work while on a cigarette break so I can use that as an excuse for the limit of time she has to get to the point before I get off the phone.

She left a message on my machine Thursday night, and I waited until about an hour ago to return her call. Her message indicated that she wanted to talk about flights in and out to visit this coming summer. I called her back to get an idea of her travel dates, which were wacky. She might want to come in the first week in July and leave at the end of the first week of August. Which was not cool with me, but before I had a chance to say so, she said that she didn't think that would work after all. Maybe she would come in for the month of August. But maybe she would fly in the last week of July to Buffalo, and have her relatives from Ontario cross the border and pick her up and spend a week there.

I told her I would check her flight options for all those possible scenarios and let her know. BUT, was my sister Shouf (who technically lives with me), going to be a part of all of those flights? Shouf has special needs, and cannot, will not travel alone. Mother hemmed and hawed, until I picked up on the fact that she could not talk freely. Mom, can you leave the room so you can talk more? No. Okay, that didn't make sense. Is Shouf going to stay with Bouf for the summer or something? I can't say right now. This guess and non-answer thing went about two more rounds before I lost my patience.

Okay, I'm going to change the subject because this has become way too cryptic for me to handle. How is "85 year old boyfriend with his returning lung cancer"? Well he was sitting right next to her, so she told him that I asked about him, and he flashed the "V" for victory. I told her to send him my love, and asked about his treatment. Only 2 more chemo/radiation sessions left for next week! Good for him! Of course, she responded negatively to this because she is a drama queen, and that is what she does. Then she started chattering on about how she had the nerve to complain about something she was going through, but BoyFriend doesn't ever complain, yada, yada, yada. "Do you, Honey-Bunny? A-Han-han-ha...." Crap, she pulled out the fake, phoney-baloney laugh.

There is nothing I hate more than trying to have a phone conversation with someone who is putting on a show for another person in the actual room with them. If you are on the phone with me, give me your attention, or tell me you are too busy to talk and call me another time. I absolutely abhor talking on the phone in the first place. I didn't even realize this was what was happening, at first.

So, my mother tried to continue the conversation by saying she couldn't wait to find out what was going on with me. I started talking about planting the vegetable garden, but before I got very far she asked me about my cousin's new baby. Okay, I'll talk about that instead. As I started talking, I got off on a tangent about something else very personal. While I was talking about that part of my life, she actually responded in a way that I thought meant she was interested in hearing more about it. But as I started talking more, she interrupted me mid-sentence with "okay". "Boyfriend told me to tell your son he said hello". "Okay, mom, I will." Then she let loose with her fake, phoney-baloney laugh, and I knew the conversation was over. "Okay, honey, so call me again soon and let me know about those flights." "Okay, Mom, I love you, bye-bye."

She dismissed me mid-sentence. I didn't even want to call her back, and when I did I ended up feeling like I was only convenient as long as I was part of the show she was putting on - on her end of the phone call. I don't understand how Boyfriend hasn't seen through her act after all of these years. And I don't understand why I have put up with the act for all the years that I have been a part of it.

Thank God the weekend's over

I've been waiting for the perfect weekend to plant my little vegetable garden, and this was finally it! We've literally still had frost warnings up through last week, and we might again this week, but the plants are in for better or worse.

This is what the area looked like in March.

This is what it looked like Saturday morning.

Son of a bitch, Douchey was right about the poison ivy. It wasn't in the spot he thought it was in, but it was coming out from behind the shed and that and something similar to bittersweet were choking the lilac bushes.

I worked much of the day Saturday clearing that crap and starting to turn the soil and get rid of the grass and weeds in the space itself. I gave up when my back couldn't take anymore, but got right back out there Sunday morning. I finished removing the crap, turned the soil, and added about 125 pounds of compost/peat moss/cow poop.

I could hear the thunder for over an hour before the storm actually hit. It was a weird storm, it moved almost all the way around us without actually hitting. The sky was black and we could see lighting all around us, but then it seemed to move off, so I started planting. And had to stop.

This is what the final product looks like. I don't know how people do this by hand with bigger gardens. My back doesn't hurt so much today, but quite a few of my unused muscles are protesting, and my hands are swollen to twice their normal size (damn carpal tunnel). I put a lot into a small space.

There are tomato plants, beans, burpless cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, eggplant, zuccinni, summer squash and carrots. I also have lettuce growing in a box on the porch, and a small herb garden with dill, cilantro, chives, basil, oregano and parsley.

The hard part is over, although I still have to make and put up trellisses. I can't wait to make eggplant parm with my own fresh sauce, rattatoulie straight from my garden, and my own pickles! My mother shared her recipe with me a couple of years ago that came from her father's Jewish side of the family from Russia. They are awesome!

On a weird note, Douchey came over and patted me on the back when I was done yesterday. He told me I had done and good job and he was proud of me. I don't know why he was proud of me, but I'll take it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dear Jon Stories - part 5

For part 4, click here.

I got home from my family reunion probably around 6 or 7 pm. Not only was Jon not waiting in my driveway for me, there were no messages on my answering machine at home, no messages on my voice mail at work, and no emails from him all day. The lack of emails tipped me off. He often sent me emails all day long as they couldn't be traced, he could do it right under his wife's nose. He had multiple secret email accounts that she never knew about.

I started leaving voice mails for him at work, and emails, but got no response until late in the evening on Sunday when he called me at home. This was completely out of the norm. His first words were, "My wife is letting me call you."... Let that soak in for a minute. I knew this was going to be bad if his wife not only knew he was calling me, but was "letting" him.

He told me about how he and his wife had gotten a babysitter and went to the city (NYC) for the day and evening on Saturday. They had a really great time and he thought he had fallen in love with her all over again. They were really going to try to make it work this time. He couldn't explain it, but there it was. Remarkably, I didn't flip out. I wished them well. I really only wanted for him to be happy, and if he was going to be happier with his family, then good luck to them. Of course, I didn't really feel that way completely. No one is that magnanimous except when it's a really cheesy chick flick.

But wait, there was more.

He told me that she had been after him for months to find out my full name and where I worked. As a gesture of good faith to prove to her that he meant it this time, he totally and completely threw me under the bus. He told her every single little detail that she wanted to know about me, right down to what school my kid went to. That's when I lost it. He had told me stories about how kooky she could be, and I knew I was in for a shit storm in retaliation. I'm now certain I deserved all that I got and much more, but at the time I was naive.

I told him I didn't care whether they made it work or not, I wanted nothing to do with him ever again. He was not to call me at work for any reason or I would let everyone, and I meant everyone, know about us. No phone calls or emails when he changed his mind, nothing ever again.

So instead of him calling me, his wife started. I didn't pick up my phone at home, and she would leave me messages until she ran out of space on my machine. When she ran out of space, she would start leaving messages at work. She would sometimes leave 2-3 long drawn out messages every night. I don't know where she found all those words to say, but it would go on forever with barely a pause for breath. About how perfect they were for each other, how they listened to and loved all the same music, how they read the same books, how they had never had a fight in 13 years before this. None of that was true except the never fighting part, which still doesn't seem natural to me.

I sometimes
think she was trying to talk herself into believing that they were going to make things work. She also threatened that if I ever got between her and her husband again, she was going to come to CT and kick my ass. She swore she would make my life a living hell, including but not limited to calling my son's Catholic school and telling anyone who answered the phone that his mother was having an affair with a married man. She had kinda gone off the deep end, just a little. Not that I blame her, now. She needed an outlet for all those angry feelings and she wanted to keep her husband. She couldn't direct those feelings at him for fear of driving him away, again.

Around the same time, my boss called me into his office and told me that he knew Jon and I were having an affair. Apparently the same cell phone bill Jon had worried that his wife would find was eventually submitted to the company on his expense account. The expense bills went through my boss before they went to corporate. While Jon paid for his personal calls off the bill, my boss happened to notice that a lot of calls after business hours had a CT area code. Nosy bastard that he was, he looked up the number. Lo and behold it was one of his employee's home numbers. He told me that my personal life was my own, but it was not to interfere with his office. If Jon showed up in the office for any reason, I was to tell him that he was not allowed to sit in my "pod" (Pussy boss couldn't even tell Jon himself. Believe when I say pussy boss shows up again later in this story.).

Without confirming or denying anything, I assured him that I would remain professional at all times. My boss told me that the only reason he thought to look at the phone records was because he already suspected something was going on. My curiosity got the better of me, and I asked why. He said, "because your faces both light up every time you look at each other". Sigh. At that point, I told him it had been over for weeks. He asked, "Then why is our voice mail system still getting several calls a night from New Jersey?". I promised him I would take care of it.

After work that day I called Jon on his cell phone. He was surprised to hear from me, he wanted to start talking about everything, telling me how wonderful it was to hear my voice, blah, blah, blah. I cut him short by telling him I had a few things to say to him and that was it. I told him what my boss had said, and again that he was not to call me at work for any reason. I told him to give his wife my email address and that she was to stop calling me at work unless she wanted me to smear her husband's "good name" through out the company. I knew she wasn't very computer literate and the emails would be much harder for her to send me than the rambling voice messages she left me.

I had never responded to any of her voice messages, even I knew at the time that she needed to get it out. I masochistically saved all of them and replayed them over and over because I knew I deserved everything she said to me. It was like pouring salt into my own wounds - I thought it would make me stronger, make me get over him sooner. I didn't realize I was deliberately hurting myself, nor did I realize I was only prolonging getting over him by doing so.

I ended the phone call by asking him to tell his wife two things for me. The first was that if she actually did come up to CT to try to kick my ass, I would defend myself. I was 10 years younger than she was and I took Cardio Kick Boxing three times a week - she should expect that I wasn't going to slap and pull hair. The second was that she could threaten all she wanted, but if she ever did anything to hurt my child, I would come looking for her instead.

They actually both left me alone for about 2 months that time.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dear Jon Stories - part 4

For part 3, click here.

For a couple of weeks after Jon's visit, I successfully ignored his emails and calls to my home, but I couldn't avoid him at work. It would have been too obvious, so he made sure he called me every day, at least once a day, even when he had no work related reasons. Sometimes he just made shit up. I remember telling him something ridiculous like that I had given him up for Lent. Secretly his persistence pleased me.

Ror 40 days I pretended to ignore him. I wouldn't answer his calls at my home, and I didn't directly respond to his emails. I would, however, respond to some of his emails with a quote or poem from an angst-filled poetess. Again, hind-sight is 20/20 and now I know I was just playing along with his games.

The Monday after Easter he asked if I would take the next day off work and spend it with him and I agreed. After that, I just stopped pretending that I was anything more than "The Other Woman". I really thought that Jon and I were best friends, we told each other everything. Everything included all the intimate details of his marriage, and I developed an unhealthy hatred toward his wife. More than that, I developed an unhealthy level of what I thought was love for this man that bordered more upon obsession.

When he was in town, I often spent nights in his hotel with him. Listening to him say goodnight to his kids was tough, but having to hear him say "I love you" to his wife would infuriate me. For months the poor woman thought that he was really trying to make things work with her while he was still carrying on with me behind her back. He would make sure he was home in the afternoon on the days that he thought his cell phone bill would come in the mail so she wouldn't find it. It was awful.

I can say it was awful now because I realize that the reason I developed that hatred for her was self-preservation. I took every negative thing he said about her and their marriage and spun it into a way for me to be able to look at myself in the mirror every morning. If I let myself think of her as a human, a wife and a mother who was innocent in all this, the shame would have killed me. I didn't know that shame and self-loathing were eating away at me, anyway - I was just using alcohol more and more as a way of dulling it.

Come summer, we eased up a little bit. It was harder for him to get away, the wife worked at a school so she and the kids were home 24/7 and he didn't have as much free time. Free time that he previously used to call and/or email me. Vacations also kept us away from each other and we used the voice mail system at work to leave messages when we couldn't call each other.

During the summer, he would call me at work on a Friday and kind of put me on alert that "this" might be the weekend when he would come clean and end it with her. For almost 2 months I spent every weekend waiting for him to call me and tell me he was on his way. And for weeks, every Monday morning was a let down. There was always some reason, someone's birthday, an anniversary, something coming up that he didn't want to ruin by leaving his family.

That was the summer of his wife's 40th birthday, when she bravely threw herself a party because he didn't do anything for her. He didn't even buy her a present. I realize now that he was provoking her with hope that she would throw him out again, as he was too passive-aggressive to make a decision on his own and follow through with it. That was the summer they finally started going to counseling together.

As the summer progressed, the Monday morning calls at work were always dreadful, and I would have to sit there listening to his reasoning and excuses without being able to say a word. I was at work, surrounded by people. So he did what he always did best and talked my ear off not caring what I had to say and telling me every little detail of what he and his family did that weekend. "Did I tell you about how my wife was upset about our last counseling session, so while I was mowing the lawn she filled a bucket with water and threw it at me while she was screaming at me on the front lawn?" No, you didn't tell me that part, it sounds awful. "Actually, I found it endearing."

Why the fuck would he tell me that? I don't know if he was intentionally torturing me, but that's what it felt like.

The last time I let it happen that summer was the third weekend in August. I know for certain it was that date because my family reunion is always the third Saturday in August. I left it early because I thought for sure he might be on his way to my house. As I didn't have a cell phone, I didn't want him waiting for me in my driveway for too long before I got home. He had made it pretty clear to me the day before that "this" really was finally the weekend. He was going to do it. There were no more birthdays or anniversaries or anything else in the way, he couldn't pretend with his wife anymore, this was it.

Look what I found!

Minding my own business today, I happened to notice some money that came into my hands had writing on it. I don't know if it's some kind of code, but I intend to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. I think the best way to do this would be to Google the term as instructed.

I was especially shocked at the blasphemy that follows. What is this, some sort of cult? Is Zibbs a man, or perhaps a God in his own right? If he is a mere mortal, I wonder if his first name is Jim, just like Jim Jones. Perhaps there is a Zibbsville, and this Zibbs has a special recipe for kool-aid.

Whatever the case may be, I know defaced currency is illegal, so I will be certain to get it out of my possession as quickly as possible. I wonder how many people in Connecticut will also search for answers in the strange term, "Google: That Blue Yak"?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dear Jon stories - part 3

For part 2, click here.

Before I continue the story, I have to say a couple of things. I didn't say up front that I knew he was married, and had children, because I was trying to ease into the story, feel it out. I can admit that I am scared of what people are going to think of me, and I have to warn you that it is going to get a lot worse. The red flag thing I keep throwing in is my hind-sight having 20/20 vision. I should never have allowed it to go beyond a friendship, and I should have seen the guy for who and what he was by the warning signs he was giving off. I would like to say I was young and stupid, but I was just stupid. He was a smooth-talking charmer selling snake oil and I bought his whole supply of it. When I pulled back, he pursued. When I needed him, he retreated.

This story is going to be very long, and I can only write little bits of it at a time. I'm trying to remember it, process it, purge the poison, and let it go. It's extremely painful, and I'm going to try to be extremely honest. It's going to be difficult, but it's something I need to do.

Jon showed up on my doorstep on a Saturday night in February, 2000 and we talked long into the night. The next day was a brunch for my Grandma's birthday and I left him at my house while I attended. He was feeling pretty badly about the whole situation, I could tell, and I felt badly for him. He suggested that when I returned, we would go rent a movie for after dinner. Unfortunately, his plans changed.

His exact words were, "my wife has been lobbying pretty hard for me to go back home". Apparently, when she kicked him out, she didn't think that he would actually leave. She had been leaving him messages all night on his cell phone that he ignored, and then she got his parents involved. While I had been at brunch, he had spoken with his wife, his mother and his father multiple times. He was just waiting for me to return so he could tell me he was leaving.

I sat my son down in front of the television and Jon and I went outside. I remember him talking incessantly about nothing for what seemed like an hour while I stayed mute and numb. Numb from my feelings and his words and the cold February wind which he didn't even seem to notice. He was all bundled up and ready to go and I didn't even have a coat on. My God, how that man loved to hear the sound of his own voice. I can't even remember what he could have possibly had to say, but when he was done I told him, "Go home to your wife and your children. Don't half-ass this, either make it work, or leave on your own. Please don't ever contact me again unless you are free to pursue a relationship with me."

After he left, I made sure my son was still happy watching a video and went upstairs to the bathroom. I shut the door and turned on the exhaust fan, then sat on the floor and cried my heart out. When I was done, I went back down to the living room and asked my son to sit on the couch with me so we could finish watching his video together. He was 5-1/2 at the time. After a little while, he turned to me and asked, "Momma, are you sad 'cause your friend left?". I said, "yeah, baby, I am". He took one of my hands in between his two little ones, patting it while he said, "I know, Momma, I liked him, too". Such a sweet little boy.

Within 2 weeks I had let the bastard suck me in, again.

Wordless Wednesday - Leapin' Lizards

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dear Jon stories, part 2

For part 1, please click here.

Jon and I continued to converse through email, the occasional lunch and once in a while dinner together through the early fall of 1999. By early winter we had started talking on the phone at home in the evening once or twice a week. He took me for lunch on my birthday in mid-December of that year, and I thanked him with an awkward one-armed hug. I wasn't very touchy-feely with my coworkers, and that was how I thought of it. He was still one of my coworkers.

By early January, I had started to fall for him. For the first time, I allowed him to come to my house to pick me up for dinner at his insistence, instead of meeting him at a restaurant. Shortly after that, we had our first kiss. But we still kept our distance, still tried to pretend this was a professional friendship. A long-distance friendship, even though we both knew we were falling for each other. And we both knew there were many reasons why we couldn't take this friendship further. So we restrained ourselves as much as we could, and tried to take a cool approach to things.

On Valentine's day of that year, he asked me if I would see him. I said no. When I got home from work that day there was a single red rose and a CD I had been coveting waiting for me in my back mudroom, obviously hand delivered. I emailed him a thank you, and continued to try to play it cool. That was not a tactic or a ploy, I just knew that I couldn't send him any more signals that I was interested in him. Even though I was. For right or wrong, come Hell or High Water, I had fallen for him.

Two weeks later, on a Saturday night, I went to a party for my cousin's birthday with one of my sisters (Kouf), while another of my sisters (Shouf) babysat for me. We should have stayed over with my cousin at the motel, because I had no business driving in the condition I was in. But, I didn't want to leave my other sister in the lurch babysitting my child at my house. So I drove home and I thank the Heavens that I didn't hurt anyone. I could barely see straight, could barely even stand and walk, I was so drunk and stoned.

I walked in the house around 11:30 and my sister Shouf immediately told me that there had been a firestorm on my answering machine! Not only had some guy named Jon been leaving me messages every 10-15 minutes for the past four hours, but our mother and other sister, Bouf, had called saying that he had also called them looking for me! (That should have been another red flag right there. Anyone willing to call strangers living in the same town who have the same last name as you, looking for you on a Saturday night when you have the nerve to not be home waiting for them, is not right in their head.)

Before I got a chance to figure out what was going on, or listen to the messages, the phone rang. I picked it up, and it was Jon. I said, "what the hell is going on?" He said, "come outside". I put the phone down and stumbled outside in the rain, and there he was in my driveway. I walked up to him and put my arms around him to keep from falling, and we kissed against the side of his very wet car. He said, "I've been circling the neighborhood for hours waiting for you to come home". At the time, I actually thought that was romantic. I asked, "what happened?".

He said, "I told my wife about us and she kicked me out. Can I stay here?"

Seeing things

I know some of you are questioning my sanity about seeing things in the picture I posted over the weekend.

So here is my lame attempt at pointing out the face, click on the picture to enlarge it. Apparently Jodi came closest when she guessed I was hallucinating the Virgin Mary! Sorry, Jodi, you don't win anything.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dear Jon Stories

I once worked for a metalworking tool company for 7-1/2 years as a customer service rep. The office was a horrifically hostile environment for the most part, but I enjoyed the job and the pay and benefits were great. Being a single mother, that went a long way toward the reason I stayed there so long.

One of the bright sides were our sales reps in the field. Our call center supported New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The office was divided up into groups, "pods" that supported a specific area, it's customers and it's sales reps. The group that I was in for the majority of time supported New York and New Jersey. When you talk to specific customers and sales reps on the phone on a daily basis, you develop beneficial business relationships with them. Sometimes these business relationships lead to friendships, also.

Three to four times a year, each sales group would hold a meeting in the office, and the office workers of that group were invited to participate. These included obviously the sales meetings and in-office lunches, but also the out of the office cocktails and dinners. We all for the most part enjoyed each other's company, and looked forward to having fun outside of the office.

When one of the guys that I was particularly close to, Jon from New Jersey, took a different position within the company, it seemed only natural that we would continue our business relationship. Especially as his territory now covered the entire territory our office supported. I was doing the same work for him as before, just in a much larger area. It didn't seem odd that he was still calling me even though he had a different office staff in the home office he could have been calling, although that probably should have been a red flag. He and I had an established business relationship and already had a flow of working with each other. Technically, there was nothing wrong with him still calling me and asking me to do work for him. We enjoyed joking and bantering with each other.

As Jon's sales territory had expanded, so did his need to travel. He probably traveled beyond his home range in New Jersey three out of five days a week. In the beginning, if he happened to be in the Connecticut area, he'd ask me and my "pod-mates" out to lunch, his treat, every once in a while. Most often my "pod-mates" would decline because of prior commitments, and just Jon and I would lunch together. I'm not one to turn down a free lunch, and quite honestly I enjoyed his company. We talked a lot about work, we talked about how horrible the office itself was, and we started talking more freely about our personal lives.

As Jon happened to be in Connecticut more often on business, the more often we went out to lunch together, until it started being almost a regular thing, as often as once every week or two. Our friendship started becoming less work related, also. We started opening up to each other more. When he asked me for my personal email address, it again seemed natural. We had started talking to each other about our personal lives. Things that probably shouldn't go through the work email. That should have been red flag number two.

The first time Jon stayed over in Connecticut and asked my "pod-mates" and I to dinner, they again all said no. I asked one woman to please go with me, as I wanted to go but felt it would be awkward. She told me that she had a husband and step-children at home waiting for dinner. I wish she had said what she really had been thinking, but I don't know if I would have listened to her. I agreed to meet him for dinner, and it was just he and I and we had a really great evening.

He emailed me at my personal address shortly after to tell me what a great time he had at dinner. He told me that he could talk to me as a friend, and he really enjoyed and valued our friendship. He also told me about how, in the past, he had stared at my hands, and my eyes, during the sales meetings in the office. How he often thought of me when he was no where near me. How he thought of me often.

And I liked it. I liked this man who was charming and intelligent and funny and handsome. I liked the suits and ties he wore. I liked the way he smelled. I liked that he was much older than me but didn't patronize me. I liked that he valued my opinion of things professionally, that he thought I was undervalued at the job that I did, that he thought I was also intelligent, and funny, and dare I say it, sexy.

To be continued...

Tarot card reading, part the last

This is the last part of my long distance tarot card reading. Instead of focusing on the past, it focuses on the present and possibly near future. It's at least something to think about. If you missed the other parts, and care to read them, here are 1, 2 and 3.

Someone has recently entered your life or will soon enter your life that you feel a real connection with for an experience here on the earth plane. It deals with something on the material/job type experience and you complement each other very well. You more or less both share the same plate as far as interests, hopes, aspirations or something along that line. This is not emotionally or romantically oriented but more progress oriented in a materialistic way in job, creating something or new ideas for something as far as a new approach to something.

On a spiritual plane there is an aspiration/desire coming to you that will bring about change in your life. The importance of knowing it comes from a spiritual plane is because this comes from your heart and soul. It is a desire within your being. As you proceed with meeting the goal of this you will see changes coming about in your life here on the earth plane/material plane. It is something that you’ve considered various times and felt that would be wonderful but there was no way to do it or accomplish it. However, at this point in your life it can be considered and you can begin to proceed with it. You’ve reached other aspirations successfully and this one will also bring success.

A few things come to my mind when I speak of this aspiration and I’ll share them with you. All the areas I see have care in common - nursing, foster care, stray animal care, humane society activities, and things along caring and giving love. Whether any of these are your aspiration I do strongly think caring love will be a component of it.

In closing, maintain balance in life and a sunny, bright attitude; allow any setback to be repositioning for the next breeze to move you three steps forward; simply be willing to allow things to fall in line by doing your part and letting the rest take place - the give it to God thing after doing your part.

Now, while I definitely have a thing for animals, I gave up on the idea of being able to work with them long ago. I also am not particularly fond of other people's children. In addition, while I once thought about going into nursing/EMT, I now have no desire to be in that field. The only thing that really rocks my world right now is photography. Unless I won the lottery, I doubt that would be something I would pursue as a career, either. I guess I will just have to be patient, work on continuing to heal my broken psyche, and be open to suggestions.

It sounds interesting, whatever it is!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Free your mind and your eyes will follow

I took this picture last August of an overgrown flower garden in the park where we had our family reunion. It was one of my favorites and has been my desktop wall paper since then.

I don't spend a whole lot of time staring at it on my desktop, however, as I usually have something else to do on my computer. My old and ridiculously slow computer. Which I have been having trouble with for the last week or so. So, while the computer is thinking about what I have been asking it to do, I've noticed something about the picture that has been nibbling at me.

It finally hit me. Check the bottom right of the picture (click it to make it huge!), where the shadows and the wood of the fence come together. Do you see it? Or should I say, her?

Here's a close up. Is it just me, or is there something beautiful there?

Happy Saturday!

And thank your lucky stars you are not this stupid. The up side is that it is permanent. Perhaps she could have an "L" tattooed on her forehead, next.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tarot reading, part 3

Here's the next part of the long distance tarot card reading I received. If you missed parts one and two, and care to, clicky the linkies.

The tarot cards have cards dealing with things on the earth/material plane, the emotional plane, the
spiritual plane and the mental plane. In addition there are major arcana cards dealing with deep characteristics/traits we build upon. Your reading continues with a major arcana card which is the emperor card. This deals with a trait that is at your foundation in which you have a deep belief/connection to/from childhood and which you have built upon during your life. This character trait developed in childhood from your emotional feelings and it’s important to know it came from an emotional basis.

The trait contained within the emperor card is one of having the ability/drive to develop and maintain your empire. What I get is that this for you means the development of your life concerning home, finances, safety, security and growth. Many times emotions experienced in your childhood told you not to depend on someone else to help you do this or to supply it for you. So you moved ahead in adult life knowing you would supply shelter, food and clothing along with security, safety and an atmosphere conducive for growth for yourself and those in your family. It is something that adds to a great deal of strength/need for independence. This is a male energy trait and exists well with your female energy traits of giving and receiving compassion and love.

Wow, this is dead on accurate. You may have heard me say that I was raised by wolves. It's not far from the truth. I have major issues from my childhood, as do most people. I can recognize that certain behaviors of mine stem from certain circumstances surrounding my upbringing, and I'm pretty much okay with that. I'm a firm believer that at some point as an adult you have to stand up and take responsibility for yourself and your actions, and I do try to do that. But I have issues with myself that I'm unable to resolve. How can I be so fiercely independent, and still feel so very needy? Why can't I be less territorial? I'm awful about my personal space/stuff/emotion and you need to back the hell away from what is MINE. And don't get me started on my mother. Why can I not let my issues with my mother go? I still get
seethingly furious when I remember some stuff, and I can't seem to get past it. I feel emotionally stunted. I'm terrified that I'm making some of the same mistakes with my own child that my mother made with me. Some days I think there isn't enough therapy in the world for me...

However, I continue to hear that during the development of this trait two ideas/thoughts got connected in your mind and heart which are not necessarily related or connected to each other. I’ll be blunt because I don’t know how else to put what I keep receiving. Men can’t be depended upon because they are not emotionally present on a consistent basis. The two separate thoughts are that some men can’t be depended upon and some men are not emotionally present on a consistent basis. Putting both together as one belief/thought may be what you have felt but it is not a logical given belief or thought. There is nothing that says you can’t simply keep this belief/thought and there is nothing that requires you to change it.

Changing it would require a willingness to open yourself to heal some feelings from your childhood. If desiring to do so remain very creative on the mental plane in the process. Revisiting feelings must be done creatively so knowing it is simply a VISIT and not moving in with these feelings. The knowledge must be maintained that the VISIT may be stopped at any time and be creative in developing a manner in which you stop the revisiting whenever you want. As an adult you will be quickly able to see what is related to each other and what is not as you revisit your childhood. Give feelings their real names and give ownership of behaviors to the people who should own them.

Here is where I get confused. I obviously have issues with men - I have sworn off them altogether because my choices are so bad. But does it really stem from my childhood? Granted, my father was a nasty drunk; verbally, emotionally and physically abusive. But lots of people can move past their past and have happy lives and successful relationships. My last therapist suggested that I deliberately pick people to be in my life that will disappoint me. (The scary part about that is he and I never even got into my relationships with men.)

I've noticed a pattern that I affectionately dub the stray kitten effect.
Subconsciously, I seem to be attracted to men who are broken in some way. I don't know if I need to be needed, or I need to give comfort, or what, but I'm going to start exploring it more thoroughly.

I haven't talked much about my relationships on this blog for many reasons. I'm scared, and it hurts. But as suggested above, maybe this is how I can creatively explore it, purge it, expel the poison, and let it go. Another reason is that I've gotten to know some of you people who read me, and I'm very afraid of how you will feel about me after you've read some of the things that I feel like I have to write. I'm not proud of the way I have behaved in the past, but I've learned from it. Some of my actions were despicable. As much as I can "give feelings their real names and give ownership of behaviors to the people who should own them", I am also going to have to own and acknowledge the things that I have done before I am going to be able to move on.

Care to join me on a journey? If not, that's going to have to be okay, too.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bird, bird, bird

One of my favorite Disney movies is Bambi. And probably my favorite part of that movie is when Bambi learns his first word, "bird, bird, bird".

If you haven't figured it out by now, I love taking pictures. So here are some of my bird favorites.

Hawks circling:

Great Blue Heron being extremely patient with the lady taking 785 pictures of him:

Extremely friendly bird who was looking for a hand-out at a rest area along Alligator Alley:

Not your average sea bird, Manasota Key, very early in the morning:

Another sea bird, Venice Fishing Pier:

Brown Pelican, coming in for a landing and looking like a Pterodactyl, Venice Fishing Pier:

Brown Pelicans, fighting over a fish, Venice Fishing Pier:

Florida, Cheers!

Someone, *cough Zibbs cough*, complained that I was still posting about Florida in the comments section of my Wordless Wednesday post. His exact words were, "I haven't heard someone talk about Florida this much since Cliff Claven."

I would have him know that I am nothing like Cliff Clavin. Note the spelling. I would also have him know that if anything, I am probably what the love child between Cliff and Norm would be.

Haiyeva, since Zibbsy Baby was so magnanamous as to mention fellow bloggers on his post today, and ask that we all do the same, especially with him, I have decided to help him out with his efforts at link love.

"Here are some random things about some bloggers that read my blog. Maybe I'll make this a regular feature. Please visit their blogs and tell them Zibbs sent you. Remember, the more we mention each other's blogs, the more popular our blogs become. But of course it makes much more sense to mention a blog like mine - because it's a famous one. Choose wisely."

I know all 41 of my followers are going to make a huge difference by going to visit Zibbs at his website, Total World Domination. You have to understand that Zibbs needs love. The way a vampire needs blood. The way Napoleon needed to make up for his shortness, or possibly a small penis. Whatever.

Please go give love and comments, and maybe become a follower. Because that is what Bloggy Peer Pressure is all about.

This concludes my public service announcement about pacifying one blogger before he shoots up a crowd of people at the West Chester, PA Saturday Morning Farmer's Market.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Long distance Tarot reading, part 2

I'm going to skip around the reading because, although I know that he wrote it in the order of the cards, certain paragraphs belong together, and certain paragraphs are just too large for one post. Sorry if this little epic becomes too much or too deep for you. Feel free to come back another time to look at pretty pictures, or be bored by me writing about my kid.

I happen to really like this paragraph, even though I'm having trouble making any sense of it.

In all of your experiences be very aware and knowing that your being offers a very deep aspect of compassion and healing. With this hand of compassion and healing you must always touch yourself first and care for and love yourself before you move on to others. You can not give what you do not first experience and therefore the compassion you feel and the healing you have must precede moving on to doing or giving to others. When we try to do for others first most disappointments not only arise but often move in for extended periods of time. So therefore self caring is foremost in importance. This spiritual level ability/gift reaches out to others in building/rebuilding bridges of harmony in lives and experiences. The orchestra that couldn’t create song now plays in harmony with your touch of compassion and healing. You can and do create rainbows.

I can and do create rainbows? I understand what he's saying about trying to heal myself. I'm pretty broken, but not as broken as I was. I don't see myself as compassionate, at all. I'm exceedingly selfish, and most of the time I'm just not a very nice person. I'm impatient, I'm angry, I'm negative, and I just don't care. Maybe that's it, what I need to work on. I remember someone once telling me that in order to have a better attitude, and be a positive person, I needed to concentrate more on only having a positive attitude and positive thoughts. And I remember thinking, "Fuck That".

Maybe I just give up and give in too easily, because it's easier to be negative and nasty. Is it easier to be that way because that is who I truly am? Can people change? Can I change? Do I want to? Do I even care?

I remember a time when I used to think so. I remember a time when I used to think that God would not ever give me more than I could handle. That was before I started thinking that maybe God hated me, that I had done something so grievous in a previous life that God was making me suffer in this life for it. I remember a time when I thought the world could be made better one person at a time, and I would be one of those people. I remember my family rolling their eyes at me every time I said, "be kind", like it was my mantra. I remember a time that I thought I could create rainbows, but I don't remember the exact point where I let the world start beating me into the cynic that I am now.

So very much to think about, and I haven't even gotten to the meat of the email, yet.

Long distance Tarot reading, part 1

I recently wrote about my mom's friend who is a psychic that I met when I was in Florida. He agreed to do a tarot card reading for me and email it. I got it yesterday, and it floored me. It's extremely personal and intense, and I'm still trying to make sense of it. Since I'm all about using this blog as free therapy, I'm going to share some of it on here. The more I think about this guy's words and the way that he read the cards for me, the more scared I've been getting. But he's extremely reassuring and I feel like maybe this is going to be a big step for me to get rid of some baggage.

Your reading begins with the dealing with what we call disappointments on an emotional level. I say what we call because these are actually simple appointments that have not been kept for whatever reason. Just as we forget an item at the grocery store or an appointment with a doctor, so are these emotional disappointments. It is our own being that places such an emphasis on these when in actuality they are things that the person, place or thing simply did not do or keep. Perhaps they are not able to be who we want or need but it is definitely no reflection on you or any judgment with you. Allow it to belong to the other person, place or thing and continue growing and progressing within and of yourself. Other’s behaviors belong to them. This is followed with the creative card on the mental plane and is very appropriate to follow the emotional disappointment card. Creatively use your mind to concentrate on the positive aspects of yourself when disappointments come knocking at the door. Yes, you need to open the door and see what/who is there but you do not have to invite anything into your being. You can simply acknowledge what was there and move on. If it is someone or something you need to allow in remember not to have it move in for any period of time. It does not belong to you but has simply shown up for your information so you can proceed onward and upward without it.

He pegged me right in the first paragraph. I have a tendency to be oversensitive to what I consider slights. Then I have a tendency to overreact. Then I feel badly for overreacting, and wonder if I should have behaved better. Then I start to question myself for even feeling badly in the first place. NO! I have a right to my feelings. That person should have behaved better! Then I just hope it all goes away, all the while stewing on what happened. And then I file it in my victim folder and shove it down deep until the next time something happens. The problem is, the victim folder needs to be purged for it is overloaded and I'm too tired emotionally for any drama in my life. I don't yet know how to do this, but I would like to learn. I would love to believe it is as simple as what he is telling me, but I have not figured it out, yet.

Any suggestions?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Post Mother's Day post

I skipped out on you all this weekend cause I was trying to be all productive and shit. A belated happy happy to all you mothers out there. Yes, I mean you, too. In the double entendre kind of way. Subtle, aren't I? And original, too. I know.

Saturday I had another tag sale, which went horribly wrong, pretty much. As soon as the weather on the local station showed that the rain showers had moved out of the area, I woke the boy up and we started bringing out stuff left over from last weekend. We also brought More stuff out of the attic and basement. As soon as we had stuff set up on the tables, it started raining again. I thought, well it must just be a left over sprinkle. Nope, it poured down for another 40 minutes or so. Luckily I was able to get any pictures and electronics back on the porch before they were ruined. But the rest of the day just kind of sucked.

On the up side, I was able to get rid of some stuff, and made some money to live on for the rest of the week. On the other side, I still have a porch full of crap that I don't want to drag back into the attic or basement. And the living room and dining room are covered in crap, also. I don't want to give it all away when I can make some much needed money off it, but I also don't want to have a tag sale every weekend for the rest of my life, either. It's not so much the getting up early and setting things up as it is the packing it up and putting it away at the end of the day that's the problem. Decisions, decisions.

Sunday morning I got up early and finished a wonderful book that I had been reading. That was a really nice start to my day as I don't often just squander 3 hours away reading. By the time I had taken a shower and was ready to go grocery shopping, the boy had awakened and gave me this great card. Which is spot on me, down to the purple shirt.

I don't care if it's my kid or a stranger in the front seat, if I'm stopping fast, I always do that! Obviously, I'm not the only one!

When I got home from the grocery store, the boy was ready to go with me on our second annual Mother's Day outing tradition. I pick out flowers to plant and he pays for them. The yard supports planters with Petunias and Impatiens, and he helps me pick out the colors. It's a nice tradition for me, because instead of a bouquet that dies quickly (and the cat will tear to shreds), I will look at them and think of him all summer long. He rolls his eyes and gets a queasy stomach every time I say that.

Bonus, he even cleaned the bathroom for me while I was outside planting. I tried to get him to vacuum the downstairs and fold my laundry for me, but he wasn't succumbing to any of my Jedi mind tricks.

After planting the flowers, and part of my herb garden, I made myself a lovely seafood dinner with a white wine, lemon, butter, garlic sauce over pasta, and then I went to bed early. I was pretty tired, because I'm anciently old and physical activity obviously wears me out. When I'm really tired like that, I get kooky. And I sleep-walk with no recollection of what is going on around me. I can have a full conversation with people and they think I'm perfectly normal, but I will not remember it.

Apparently I slept-walked into a wall/doorway last night trying to get to the bathroom. I vaguely remember thinking, "ow, that hurt, I wonder if I broke my nose?", and being too tired to go get ice for it. Probably for the best as getting ice would have required me going up and down stairs, which have never been my friend under the best of circumstances. When I woke up this morning, my nose was in a serious world of hurt, and blood was all over my sleep shirt.

It's not so very bad to look at, and I'm not blowing blood out of the inside of my nose, so I figure it's probably not broken. It's not like they can do much for it even if it was, so I didn't bother going to a doctor. It's just a little bruised and swollen, and my eyes aren't really blackening up much, just a little at the corners that I was able to cover up. I'm just thankful I didn't have my glasses on when it happened, or I would probably be out of luck right now.

But, boy did I get razzed at work today...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Class rings already?

My son is in his freshman year at high school. Catholic high school. As some of you may know, I've been extremely lucky along the way of what I have considered to be his best educational opportunities in the town we live in.

But the school just asks too much, sometimes. It's almost like they forget there are people like me struggling tooth and nail to make ends meet. Even though they have been helping me with financial aid for tuition and books, I feel like they are hitting me constantly with fees for almost required activities, whether my son wants to participate or not. The latest example is school rings for the freshmen.

I have to admit that I came from a background where you got a few new outfits for the school year, and that was pretty much it. A class ring in high school was out of the question, I wasn't even able to buy a yearbook the year I was supposed to graduate. But then again, I didn't have any school spirit and at the time I didn't want any of those things, anyway.

The "activity fees" they charge every year include the yearbook, at least. I should probably be grateful for that, because this is what I have wanted for my son. I wanted him to be in the same school from Kindergarten through 8th grade. I want for him to graduate high school with the same kids he has known all of his life. I want more for him than what I had, always being the new kid, never having many friends, and when I finally made friends, we moved away.

So I reached way above where we should be living, and I carved out a dream for my kid. And I pushed and I pushed until I made it his dream, too. And now I'm complaining about all of the silly stuff that goes along with it that I'm having a hard time affording. If you're reading along and nodding, "Silly Bitch", yes I deserve that. But I feel that my kid deserves so much more.

I feel my kid deserves the education that so many other people's kids are getting. I honestly feel all kids deserve this same education, but I haven't found a way to make it happen for anyone other than my son. Please believe me when I say I am doing everything I can to pay these bills even with the help that I'm getting. And I'm going to complain and bitch and moan about it for the next few years. Because that is what I do.

I got this post card in the mail the other day. I didn't think I had to worry about this anytime soon, my kid being a Freshman and all...

Right now, I'm worrying about winter protection being over for the electricity, the gas bill coming due, paying the rent on time, and spending money on a vacation we had no business taking. Why the hell do I have to worry about a class ring right now? The kid is a freshman. At what point does a freshman have to worry about a class ring?

I know the boy will maybe want to remember his high school. But what if his memories fade? He only had school spirit for the K-8 school the last month around graduation. Will he really remember his high school with so much fondness after he leaves and goes to college? My kid doesn't even wear jewelry. What the hell?

So I asked him (obviously biased), "J, do you even want a ring?" That has to be ordered out of no where in the next week with an $80.00 deposit?

His response, "Um, mom, they actually have a ring ceremony for the Sophomores. How am I not supposed to be a part of that?" Shit, I had forgotten, they not only have a full freakin' mass, they also have a dance that weekend for only the Sophomores called the Ring Dance.

I'm wondering how much the ring company kicks back to the school for this racket. I know, bitch, bitch, bitch...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What Gwennie wants, Gwennie gets!

When Gwennie says, "jump!" I say, "how high, SIR?", um, "M'AM!". Those military terms confuse me.

Anyway, the sweet, lovely, generous, beautiful, funny as hell Gwen over at Everything I like causes cancer has just celebrated her 600th post! Congrats! And slow the hell down. You're making the rest of us look bad!

On her 600th post, she told us about her pajama top: I love it because my mom gave it to me. I love it because it has rubbed against and been removed by every man I have ever seriously loved. I love it because it's comfortable. It never stays in my dresser very long because it's always my first choice. Apologies to all my other pajama tops, but this one is my favorite.

I suspect everyone has at least one piece of clothing like my pajama top: that pair of shoes you can't seem to throw in the trash despite them being broken down and sole less; that ratty-ass three-quarter-sleeve tee-shirt from the 1986 AC/DC Fly on The Wall tour that is covered in paint stains the same color as your second bathroom; that pair of jeans you finally had to make into cut-off shorts and now you can't get rid of the shorts even though your ass hangs out the bottom like a $2 hooker.

She asked her followers, read loyal servants, to celebrate with her by taking pictures and posting "your clothing/footwear/accessory equivalent of my pajama top and take a picture of the revered item" (check the whole post HERE).

Here you go, Gwendolyn.

This pair of shorts belonged to the last man I officially lived with, the one who gave me a beautiful engagement ring with an amethyst surrounded by diamond chips in an antique setting. I took the ring and the shorts with me when I left him - almost exactly 10 years ago to the day, coincidentally. I've obviously painted quite a few rooms in them, and somehow they have managed to stretch and grow with me. They are my go to pajamas/bum shorts in the summer. (note, this was not the guy that almost ended up killing me - I threw almost everything from him away!)

I bought this tank top because it looked really cute over a navy blue sports bra and bike shorts when I used to take kick-boxing. I doubt I'll ever see those bike shorts again, but the tank top, again, has managed to stretch and grow with me. Like the shorts, it's my go to pajama/bum shirt in the summer. As a matter of fact, I'm wearing it right now.

In the winter, these pants are a favorite. Ask anyone who knows me - if I'm home and don't have anywhere else to go that night, I'm probably wearing these. They are warm and soft and huge and comfy. I found them at Fashion Bug 3 Christmases ago, bought them and told my son to wrap them up and give them to me. Best $7 clearance special ever!

Here's where I'm going to get weird, because that is what I do. I know the spirit of Gwen's post was not just pajamas. It was about a soft sentimental item that you love because of nostalgia, sweetness, even poignancy. I'm going to let you in on a secret of mine that not too many people outside of my immediate family know about. (Here's the secret you asked for on Facebook, Cora.)

Some people have a lucky talisman, or an object that brings them comfort. Along those lines, I have Winslow. Winslow is a stuffed dog that was given to me by my brother, Jimmy, while I was in a hospital when I was 15. That silly little stuffed animal brought me much needed comfort at that time, and many times after. I have to admit that it has probably been held in a hug almost every time I have cried since then, for almost a quarter of a century. After my brother died 16 years ago, it took on an extra special meaning to me. As you can tell from the following pictures, I have almost worn the poor thing out.

His shirt used to say, "Winslow loves you".

And he used to have a tail. Repeated washing has lead to the use of safety pins, as I'm obviously much too lazy to sew him back up and sew his tail back on.

So, what do you think, TMI? Consider yourselves lucky, I didn't even tell you the whole stories. There are at least 4 more blog posts I could spin off from this one.

p.s. Gwennie, I may have been in a weird place last night when I offered to take off the actual tank top and send you a picture of it, and me NOT wearing it. If you're still interested *call me*. ;)