As Above, So Below
As Within, So Without
And It Harm None, Do As Ye Will
So Say I, So Mote It Be
A New Chapter
It's been awhile.
Or maybe, more accurately, a long time in coming.
I decided last time I wrote that enough was enough. No more whining here. I can't stand the sound of it in my own head anymore, so I won't inflict it on anyone else anymore.
Today, I did something I've wanted to do, meant to do, but didn't do for a very long time.
I took several very scary, very positive steps forward into the future. Now, all I have to do is take it one day at a time. One simple, positive step at a time.
I WILL - I CAN - I DO
These are my new mantra.
What have I done? Let me tell you.
1) I finally, finally decided to take control of my finances and joined a debt service. They are, even as we speak, in control of my fucking huge ass credit card bills and negotiating them down to a reasonable amount. If all goes well, I should be able to pay them off within two years, if not sooner. My goal is sooner. A LOT sooner.
Do I feel guilty about not paying the whole bill? I mean, I did spend all that money, right?
Ummm, WRONG - Half the amount on my cards is from hidden fees the credit card comps charge, huge interest, and "fancy" services I didn't want but was too stupid to remove.
And then I will move on to my student loans, and just keep paying what I'm paying for this toward getting those paid off. It will almost double that amount, which means It will get paid off twice as fast.
Debt free, people. FREE! A worthy goal, don't you think? Any tips would be greatly appreciated. I plan on having a huge "Monopoly" themed party at the end of all this, and I'll come as the "Get Out of Jail Free" card. You're welcome to join me.
2) I forced myself, weak knees and weak bank account and all, into my local YMCA and joined. Forty-five minutes later, after a tour with the DIRECTOR himself (A gorgeous mid-forties black man in a sweet suit & power tie) and several loud CHEERS from the ridiculously friendly and happy staff, I am a certified Health Club member.
I'm still a little freaked out.
OK, A Lot freaked out. Yeah, it's a good freaked out, but still I feel a little shaky, even though I didn't actually do anything today other than hand over my credit card and sign stuff.
I have an appointment next Monday afternoon with a trainer named Jason who's going to get me set up and work on my goal setting.
Honestly? I think that's probably going to be my biggest hurdle.
I suck at goal setting. And no, that's not whining. Just fact. But it is a truth that has the potential to change, just like me.
What do I want as my ulitmate goal? I'm aiming for 140 pounds. Yeah. That's a BIG goal. That's why I call it my ULTIMATE goal.
In the short run, I want to find a few activities that I really enjoy and can stick with. I'm aiming for two to three pounds a week.
I'm realistic. I know this is going to take a long time and a lot of hard work. At times, it's going to fucking hurt. I know this. KNOW it.
But it can't possibly hurt worse that my spirit has all these years.
I want to meet that woman inside me. I want her to see the sun, be free, be accepted, be happy. She's a warrior, and I'm asking my Goddess to help me set her free.
So, my friends in the dark. Here begins a New Chapter in
I feel like screaming. Or whimpering. Or maybe just throwing an old-fashioned snot-soaked, fist-pounding, wall-punching temper tantrum.
For fuck's sake! Seriously, when will the stupid shit stop happening?
In the last few months:
I have had my car towed out of an EMPTY restaurant lot after midnight. That cost me $300.00 and two hours worth of missed work while I retrieved the damn thing. Because, naturally, I didn't know it had been towed until I needed it.
And here's the real kicker, insult to injury, and all that - there's a sign up at the Tow Yard that says "Please do not be mad at us or yell at us for towing your car. You parked illegally and caused the inconvenience. We do not enjoy towing your car, regardless of what you think." Or something along those lines. Did I mention the part about it being an empty god damned parking lot at a restaurant? What if I'd had too much to drink, and chose to be responsible and take a cab home? Shit like that would seriously discourage me from doing it again, and just trying to drive home anyway.
Said car has developed a mysterious illness.... Either that or she really, really hates winter as much as I do. Three times this winter my "Check Engine" light came on, and stayed on for about a week. Then, just turned itself off, for no apparent reason. Always when the temperature was particularly frigid. The engine guys have no idea... But that doesn't stop them from taking my money, does it?
I filed my taxes as soon as I got my W-2s this year, because clearly I need every cent I can get my hands on, right? Somehow, I managed to make less money this year than last year, but still got more back on my taxes. Not that that equals all that much, but yeah! This year, I wanted to save at least part of my refund to fund next year's trip to Mexico for my brother's wedding (they're doing the Destination thing at an all-inclusive resort, which will be super cool, but expensive). TurboTax had a new program where you could put your refund on a Prepaid Reloadable Credit Card, which I thought was the perfect solution. I could put it somewhere secure and easy to get ahold of when I needed it.
But here's the rub with the card - they're fucking Thieves! Unless you make 30 or more transactions every month - yeah, three-oh, every month - they deduct $5.95 off the card. For what? Storage fees? Like it costs them $6 to watch money? I canceled the card as soon as I found out, so I kept my full tax refund. They had a little "comment" box asking why I was canceling the card. I said, "How dare you? All I wanted was to put my money somewhere safe until I needed it for my brother's wedding next year. Seriously, $6.00 unless I use it 30 times in one month? You ought to be ashamed of yourselves."
Yeah - Like they careabout my pissed off opinion? How many of their customers/victims won't pay any attention to that little detail? I'll bet you millions of people opted to put a ortion of their refunds, if not the whole thing, onto that card. And if even one million of those people don't cancel the card until the second month, that's $5.95 million in Visa's pocket. For doing nothing. <snort> Must be rough. Bastards...
I got two parking tickets for having expired tabs on my license plates. Two fucking tickets! One on a Friday, and one the following Monday. They usually send out notices a month in advance letting you know it's time to reorder, but I got nothing. And I've only had the damned car for a year, so I didn't even know what damned month to watch for anyway. And you could argue that I could have gotten them renewed before the second ticket, but you must note the days. One on a Friday, and one on a Monday. The damned DMV isn't open on the weekends! That's another $212 down the drain. Grrrr.....
I almost got flattened by a hay bale falling off the back of a truck on Highway 35 while going to work. I think I may have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating because I should have known it heralded a long string of weird stupid shit.
The laundry machines have been acting weird - twince I went downstairs, payed the machine to dry my clothes only to find that it had gotten hot, but not actually tumbled anything. Just hot air blowing across the top of my sodden bundle of laundry.
They finally fixed that by buying a brand new machine, which I now get the privilege of paying more to use than the old one that ate three loads of laundry worth of qaurters.
Today, I went down to do my weekly load of laundry, and discovered someone had stolen my entire mostly new bottle of laundry detergent. Stolen it! Poof, just gone. They left behind my bleach, my liquid fabric softener, my downy ball, my dryer sheets. But they took my detergent... As guilty as I felt, I still had laundry to do and it's 9 pm, I stole a couple cups of laundry detergent from a couple other bottles to get my two loads done.
Somehow, my rental company managed to cash my rent check twice in February. Which I didn't know about until I got an overdraft fee from my bank in March. But that's really the middle of that story. Here it is from the beginning:
I mailed my Feb. rent check on Feb. 1st. The post office usually takes a day or two to get stuff to its destination, so figure it finally should have been cashed on or about Feb. 5 or 6. I found a note from my rental company on the floor - outside my door, not under it like they usually do - dated Feb. 7 or 8, but that I didn't get until Feb. 12 (which was a Friday), that stated my check had bounced, and to send a new one with a $20 late fee. A day later, I got a letter from my rental company stating that if I didn't send them the money by the 18th, they would start legal proceedings to have me evicted. That weekend was President's Day weekend, which meant a Banker's Holiday, which meant no postal service on Sunday and Monday, which meant I could even mail the new check until Tuesday the 16th!
I called to tell them the check was on it's way, and how mystified that the check would have bounced, because there was money in the account. I'd checked the minute I got the letter in my hand, you know, like you do when serious shit like that happens. My rental company called on the 18th to let me know they got the new check, and all was well. They tacked on a little side note in the message, stating that my original check hadn't bounced, exactly, just been returned stamped as "account not available." Mysterious? Uh, yeah.
Now, I realize it may have been a little lazy of me not to check into it. But so much weird shit that is almost completely my own damn stubborn fault, with a hint of just plain rotten bad luck, has been happening that I figured it was only $20 and not worth the hassle. How the hell do I prove a negative? I can almost hear the conversation with my bank. They'd say they never got the first check back from the rental company to cash it. And how could I prove it wasn't true? There's no way.
So, for better or worse, I let it go. Hah! Idiot.
A week later, my bank let the Original check go through, in effect paying my rent twice (more than twice, really, what with the $20 extra) for February. I had no idea this had occured until I got an overdraft notice on March 12th from my bank. My March rent check had bounced like a big, red bouncy rubber ball - and no wonder, right? About the only good thing TCF does is cover your check, and then charge you an overdraft fee. Which was another reason, incidentally, that I was so surprised by the first check being denied the first time in February.
When I called my rental company to find out what happened, they were mystified. They had no record of depositing the check more than just the once, and after a conversation with their bank, there was no record of my money being deposited in their account at all. Which effectively threw the ball back in my court. I called my bank. They unhelpfully said the proof was in the check that I had in my online statement. Other than that, they didn't even offer to call US Bank for me.
Thankfully, she was right, there is a digital copy of every check I write attached to my online statement. But I knew that already. I had attached a copy of the check to the e-mail I sent my rental company owner. So I had proof that I had been charged twice. Now they had to make their bank go hunting for it. The operative word here being make. They did fuck-all the first time the rental company called to see what happened.
In the meantime, there are questions flying left and right. What if my money had been stolen by a nefarious employee? What if the rental company couldn't find it? How did the damn thing even get cashed if they had the returned check still in my file stating "account not available?"
God, it's exhausting just writing about it. The what-if's alone were worth several hours of unproductive stress and worry, and innumerable imaginary (and real, once they god-damned answered the phone) conversations detailing what to say and to whom to get the most effective and satisfactory help.
In the end, their bank found my money sitting in a miscellaneous pile of "mistakes" that no one was quite sure what to do with. It took the right person calling another person who had heard about this mysterious check that had just appeared, and was very glad to know who was looking for it and that it had a home. Who knew banks had a "Lost and Found" department for random misfiled and misdirected deposits? How can that possibly be necessary when the check is clearly labeled with the name of the intended recipient, the bank routing number that it came from is clearly labeled, the deposit stamp from the rental company is in the endorsing box, the rental company account number is digitally stamped across the back, and my address and phone number are listed in the address portion of the check? And still, no one seems to know how it got cashed at all or why it got misfiled.
Who knows how long it might have sat there, unclaimed, if I hadn't noticed it was missing? Not that that was ever very likely, considering my constantly precarious financial position, but I could have been anyone, it seems. Would someone with thousands of dollars in their account have noticed its absence?
And then there are the thousand other stupid shit irritations that happen every day, big and small, that pile up and pile up until I feel like I've been buried alive.
And to top it all off, I've noticed myself becoming ever more cynical and sarcastic. I don't like being a whiner. I don't want to be that person. I want to be able to laugh about this crap.
I want so damned much to have someone I can count on, who'll be there beside me, guarding my back, laughing with me, outraged on my behalf. A Dragon Slayer who doesn't mind sharing his sword if I should want to borrow it. But I've never had that before, so I can't imagine why I should think tomorrow will be any different.
Cynical. Defeatist. Whiner.
Get over yourself, Jinx, and move on.
Keep moving. Keep swimming. Keep going. This too, as they say, shall pass.
Well, I'm tired. I ache all over from the stress and my biggest fantasy is a strong pair of hands to knead the knots out of my back. But it will have to remain a fantasy, because no one touches me. Not voluntarily. My fault, again. Somehow my body and subconscious have teamed up against me. Better to not be touched at all that to get a little taste and lose it again, because if I know nothing else about my life, it's that no one stays.
How ironic that I'm currently reading a book about the greatest Untouchable of them all, 1930's FBI & Treasury agent Elliot Ness.
Well, that about does it after 5 months of silence, don't you think? I can't believe you're even still reading after all that swill. I almost stopped writing, myself. Can't stand the dreck, anymore. But as I've always said, better out than in. And I've let things go too long.
God, I was hoping all this venting would at least make me cry, just to dump some of this god-awful tension, but it seems I can't even access that much emotion anymore.
Whatever. Going to bed now.
A Paralyzing Thought
Having spent the last few years psychoanalyzing myself, in lieu of actual therapy, have I learned anything? Have I done myself any good? Am I a less tortured soul, more in balance with the universe, more focused toward the destiny that fate planned out for me?
My need to post my innermost thoughts here, where anybody might see them (and who knows where that particular twisted need came from), has clearly been considerably reduced. I've averaged a new post about once every month for awhile now.
So, I'd have to say the answer to the above queries is mostly, yes. A few demons have been exorcised. Kaput. Poof. See you in hell, baby. So that's all to the good.
Perfection is a long, long way away. But things are definitely better. So much better, in fact, that most of the flashbacks are gone.
You know how it is when you've been ill, or injured, and when it's over the sheer relief of the lack of pain is so huge that the whole world seems brighter and just that much easier to deal with?
It's like that.
I don't know what to do with myself anymore.
Somehow, I left that girl behind, in the past, where she belongs. But I haven't replaced her with a truly new person. I haven't given the new me a direction, a goal, a passion, and the drifting from one same old-same old day to the next is wearing thin.
It's like floating in the middle of an ocean. The bouyancy of the newly calm, blue salt water cradles your body as you gaze up into the heavens. Your muscles can still feel the burn from the long, dark struggle through storm-tossed waves that battered and bruised and did their damndest to drag you kicking to the bottom of the briny depths. But the storm has passed, calm restored, for now. Only for now.
Having weathered one storm, you know there will be another, maybe larger one sooner or later.
Better watch out from below. Not all dangers are easily spotted on the horizon, the tell-tale mountains of clouds heralded by a stiff breeze and a ripple of air on the water. There are sharks in this ocean, sharks and angel fish and leviathan and minnows, and you never know which will find your toes tasty treats. Better keep moving, just in case.
If the battle just waged against the elements has taught you nothing else, its that you can't stop moving. Drifting with the current is a fool's game. Stop swimming now, give up now, rest now, while the going is easiest, and the game is over.
My problem, I guess, is I've never known which direction to swim to find land. Or a boat. Or, hell, even a fucking dinghy. I'd take a dinghy if it was paddled by a buff seaman... Preferably one who knows how to use his harpoon...
Anywho, back to my amateur pschoanalysis gig.
I've thought about this a lot. What do I want out of life? I know I've asked this question before, many times, and still haven't some up with a good answer. Which is ridiculous, I know, since if I don't know, how are you going to know?
I think, maybe, I've been cheated by fate. I have just enough brains to slide by easily in most situations, which means that I haven't had to fight that hard to get the things I really want. And I am by nature a fairly lazy person, so I cop out with the attitude that if something is that hard to get, do I really want it that badly?
Also, I tend to overthink things. And fear is a huge factor in my life. Let me restate that a little. Fear is a HUGE factor in my life.
I am afraid of just about everything that means anything.
And here's the biggie, the one that really, really makes my life stupidly difficult to manage properly.
I am so afraid to make the wrong decision, that I don't make any decision, and take no action to achieve the goal I haven't set for myself, but know that I should, which leads me back to the fear of making the wrong decision.
"What-fucking-If?" is a game I play with myself constantly.
Change is action-oriented. I know that.
Change is hard. Painful. Fraught with danger and anticipation and nerves and wonders beyond imagination.
Does change always require a catalyst? An epiphany? A kick in the ass?
I think it does.
Courage does not come naturally to me. Which is why I admire it in others, so much.
Integrity, honesty, passion, drive, ambition, bravery, creativity, honor, humor, intelligence, character - all these are qualities I admire in my heroes, whether real or fictional, and qualities I can only hope to achieve every day in my own life.
One of the quotes that I keep on my bulletin board goes like this:
"The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out." - Thomas Babington McCauley, author & statesman
I try to remind myself of that every time I'm faced with a moral or ethical dilemma. To my eternal discredit, I am not always successful. Why is that? Why am I afraid to fail? To appear human? To actually be human?
So, now that one battle is over, the next is gathering on the horizon, rising up from the deep, and safety appears as elusive as she ever did.
The luckiest among us are given the luxury of choosing which battles we will fight. Most of us have battles we would never choose thrust upon us.
I know it wasn't meant to be as frightening as it is, more a hopeful and wise bit of advice meant to comfort a weary adventurer in the midst of his own heroic quest, but I've always found it terrifying.
Frodo: "I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened."
A wise old man telling a very young one that he is not the first to see such times, nor will he be the last. He is not unique in his quest, only his choices determine his fate.
I only wish, and even that is terrifying to tempt the fates with, that I had as clear a goal as Frodo. A purpose. A quest. A driving ambition. A calling.
But somehow I can't stop my brain from running ahead to see the end result, as if I had the power to tell my own future. In considering all the possiblilities, the choices I could make, I can't stop myself from seeing, from wondering, if I will be satisified, be happy, or even want what I get at the end of the journey.
They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. But what happens if the end of the journey isn't worth the previous thousand miles of effort?
A paralyzing thought, that.
And it's why I keep asking myself who do I want to be? What do I want?
And it's why I never get a satisfactory answer.
I imagine myself a succesful professional, only to wonder if I would be happier as a penniless artist.
I imagine myself a loving wife and mother, only to see my children grow and leave, and my husband find himself a mid-life-crisis mistress.
I imagine, and then I imagine the end result, and I never come up with a happy ending. My subconsious is a bitch. She's a sadistic dominatrix who likes to keep me submissive and in chains, but refuses to share her secrets for turning the tables. She's not a teacher, that woman. I need a warrior to come whup her ass. Or, better yet, a warrior to teach me how to kick her ass myself.
So, there it is. A midnight ramble through the depths.
Don't forget, my lovelies, watch out for sharks.
Rearranging the Furniture
Reorganizing my apartment was pretty much an exercise in futility.
I spent two days a couple weeks ago on some weird cleaning, rearranging, purging frenzy.
I woke up on a Sunday morning, a bright, shiny, start-of-the-weekend kind of morning, and went to make coffee.
And was disgusted by the pile of dishes I had just been stockpiling on my kitchen counter like some redneck who's never seen a bottle of dish soap.
So I did the dishes, mostly just so I could get to the coffee pot.
And by the time the coffee was done, I had moved on to cleaning the kitchen floor, because I could no longer tell what color the rug in front of my sink was, anymore. Turns out it's red. Who knew?
I got out the vacuum to suck up the crumbs, and proceeded into the hallway, which was lined along the walls with bags of clothes and books and knick-knacks and records and my old TV that I had decided to give away to the Goodwill, but never managed to get into the car to take there.
So half the bags landed on my bed, so they'd be out of the way while I vacuumed the hallway.
I picked up all my shoes, and stored away all the sandals that can't be worn again this year. (Did you know it fucking snowed here last week? A couple fucking inches? God damn, I hate winter.)
Somehow, I ended up vacuuming in all the corners, and getting out the wand attachment to clean in all the little corners and against the baseboards. I discovered that my old-fashioned radiators were literally inches deep in dust on the insides, so I spent some time jury-rigging a swiffer pad on an old plastic venetian blind wand with duct tape (every homeowner's bestest friend) to get inside the crevices. By the end of that project, I'm sure I'd inhaled 50 year's worth of history. If it had been allowed to settle anymore, you could have launched an archaeological expedition with government approved funding. You never see Indiana Jones sneezing when he's on a mission, but I sure did.
I cleaned off all the venetian blinds in my apartment, or at least the ones that I leave down on a regular basis. Turns out they're white! I thought they were beige...
I finished making my new bedroom curtains to match my new bedspread, that I also made. Very pretty floral tapestry on one side, and a red, gold and green stripe on the other. Sort of English country, if you can imagine it. The curtains and bed skirt are an olive green embroidered silk. Mmmm, shiny...
And all that was just on Sunday.
On Monday, you'd think I would have run out of steam. But no...
Monday involved clearing out my adorable little sunroom, which is hands down the reason I rented this apartment in the first place. I mean, come on. How many places come equiped with a sunroom? And I haven't spent any time in it, except as a storage facility.
I'd been thinking about doing something different for a long time, I just couldn't decide if it would be worth the effort to do it. And I had to plan the logistics of the procedure, because without careful planning and determination, I might end up with it only half done. Not acceptable.
At any rate, after having that window open all summer, the floor was absolutely filthy with road dust. So I cleared off the tables, adding more stuff to the give-away pile, putting some stuff away, filing paperwork that had accumulated, cleaning off my bookshelves, recycling paperwork from college classes that I kept who-knows-why, but will never look at again.
I hand mopped the floor, and went through like 6 buckets of water. Eeewww...
I got out an old holey sock and damp-dusted off all my plants (you should do that every once in awhile, so they can breath properly - after all, that's why everything looks so happy after it rains. Who doesn't feel better after a bath?)
And after all that, then came the real project. The reason the whole project began, from the moment I woke up on Sunday and decided to make coffee. The great flip-flop.
I never use my little sun porch. I love it, but there is never a reason to be in there. I hardly ever sit on my sofa, because my big, comfy chair is the best seat in the house. I never use my desk, because it's always buried in crap that I never bother to find a home for.
So, my theory was if I switch things around, mabe I'll get more use out of both pieces of furniture, right?
I took the desk, and moved it into the living room where the sofa was, and took the sofa and moved it into the sun porch where the desk used to be (which was not as easy to do as it is to write, believe me. There was some cursing involved, and a few bruises, and a whole plant repotting thing - Don't ask...) And voila', what do you know, I do actually spend some time out there!
When the sun is shining, it's like being a cat and just basking in the glow. When it's raining, it has the best view of the show. It even made watching it snow (damn it, three weeks earlier than last year) an almost pleasant experience.
The whole time, I listened to my record collection. I went through all of my movie soundtrack albums, Footloose, Purple Rain, Grease, The Electric Horseman, An Officer and a Gentleman, etc., then an entire 6 record set of songs from the forties, followed by an entire 8 record set of Johnny Cash's greatest hits, with Jeannie C. Reilly on the flip side. I listened to my Scary Stories record, with stories like "The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allen Poe. Vincent Price read one of the stories, and he truly is a master of the spoken word, especially if the goal is to scare you silly. I do love my record player.
I love how it turned out. Anyone who's ever rearranged their furniture knows the feeling you get, like you've suddenly moved to a whole new place, or you rediscovered some random thing you'd forgotten you even had, and everything just feels better. I don't know, maybe it's the lack of dust and dirt and the shinyness of it all.
Also, anyone who's ever taken something apart to fix or clean it, and then had leftover parts after reassembling it will understand what I mean when I say that I still have things left over that fit just fine before. I got rid of stuff, even, so why doesn't it fit now? Mystery...
Truly, the real goal of that mad scramble was to try to reorganize my inner thoughts, bring some order to my messy mental landscape. Can't say how successful I was, really.
This is the reason I don't think moving would do any good. The idea of finding something better elsewhere is an old, romantic notion that suckers a lot of people. But I know better. No matter where I go, I'm still going to be there, and most of the time, I'm pretty much a fuck-up. I fake being fabulous some of the time, but not so much to myself. So, as appealing as living where the sun shines more often sounds, it won't do me any good until I can learn to bring that sunshine with me even when it's fucking snowing outside.
Life's a slog and a half, as they say. Worth it? Probably. Some days. Here's hoping one of those days comes along real soon.
So, to begin I'd just like to say that my friend J is a bastard. Doesn't call. Doesn't write. B. A. S. T. A. R. D. 'Nuff said.
You know who you are, and presumably, also know what you're doing. Consider the consequences here, my friend. Of all the people in my life I will take shit from, you are not one of them.
From your continued lack of response, I can only come to these conclusions:
1) You are a Lazy Bastard who just hasn't gotten around to sending me a message letting me know you're alive.
2) You are trying to send me a message - perhaps along the lines of "You don't really need me anymore, so I'm going to give you the cold shoulder and see how long it takes for you to get the brush-off vibe and go away" - in which case you are a Bastard.
3) You are actually not being a Bastard, and really want to send me a message, but have been captured by aliens who want you to star in their next reality TV show - "Hot Gay Boys on Mars: Queer Eye for the Extraterrestrial Guy" - and have been transported to a spaceship which has super sucky cell transmission back to Earth. In which case you are still a Bastard, because you should know I would totally find a farmer with a rocket hidden in his barn and go into space to get you back. Or be your Earth-Girl Fag Hag Groupie, if you decided to stay.
4) You have decided I'm not worth the hassle of intra-continental communication, and simply don't care enough to make the effort to let me down easy. After all, how do you tell a girl you've known for nearly two decades that "You're Just Not That Into Her" anymore? With 5,000 miles between you, the passive aggressive strategy of ignoring the problem must be pretty tempting. Bastard.
Well, time will tell, I suppose.
I always knew that someday the boy would break my heart. He is a heart-breaker, after all.
Even his other friends know it. His best friend JH told me as much when he was here a year or so ago.
I suppose what this blog entry is all about is that I'm tired of waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. I can't take the not knowing. Not from him. I've let too many others, who I thought were friends, just walk away without knowing the why of it. Without fighting for it.
I told J that I would fight for him, if I had to. All he has to do is tell me where the ring is, what the rules are, and I will strap on my gloves and knock some sense into him.
Fucking call me.
I miss you.
A Drive Down Memory Lane
I went on a road trip on Sunday evening. At quarter to 5, I got up and put on my shoes, filled my water bottle, and got in my car, turned on the radio and flipped stations until I found one with loud enough music to drown out the fucking loud voices in my head, and just drove.
I drove and drove and drove for hours. The day was almost as gloomy as I was, threatening to rain, but not really caring enough to do more than spit dispiritedly at the ground. Not even hard enough for it to matter that I had my window open all the way so I could feel the wind in my hair and smell that wicked sweet dusty smell of just dampened pavement.
There was no particular destination in mind. No place I had to be, or even really wanted to be. Still, the car pointed itself southeast, down Highway 61, through miles and miles of cornfields and small towns with more interesting histories than I will ever have, past the greatest river in the history of the planet, the mighty Mississippi (and I can say that with complete assurance, because the damn thing is the only reason the US is the powerhouse nation that it is today), through the growing small lake town my father and grandparents and great grandparents called home for over a century. Did you know Water Skiing was invented in Lake City, MN? Probably by some idiot guy who wanted to impress his girlfriend by strapping boards on his feet and getting towed behind his daddy's new speed boat. I'll bet money changed hands that he would either drown or break his neck. Who knew it would actually catch on and become a worldwide vacation activity phenomenon? Idiot + Hormones = Synchronized Water Ski Team. Weird.
I thought about driving past the little house my grandmother lived in for 60 years. The house she raised four kids in. Laughed in. Loved in. Sheltered friends in. Had family flock to for every major occasion from Christmas to birthdays. I miss my grandma. She is not gone, this I know, because she shows up all the time. In little ways, I always know she's still there. But I miss her anyway. And for some reason, my drive on Sunday was to go visit her.
Funny, she's buried there, up on the hill behind town with a view of the valley and the bluffs, sheltered by a giant old oak tree, but it never even occurred to me until just now to go to her grave to pay my respects. No, when I think of revisiting my memories of my grandma, it's always her house that I remember. She isn't buried under 6 feet of soil, locked inside a metal box, waiting for time to wreak its bloody, gruesome revenge. She's still there, in that pretty little white house on the corner of Oak & Madison in Lake City, MN, tending to her garden and making clothes and toys for all her grandkids.
I made it all the way to Wabasha, 20 miles south of Lake City before I turned around to go back home. I turned the radio up loud, and fucking cried while I sang along to the lyrics of "Living on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi. Dumb ass. Me, I mean, not Jon. That is a really good song, you know? It came out the year I was in 5th grade, and the class bad boy, Tori, convinced our teacher to let us play the album while we did art projects and stuff. I always think of Tori when I hear that song, because he didn't make it to 20. He killed himself with a gun to his head, and I always regretted that I never got the chance to know him better, to tell him I always liked him. Maybe because he was a bad boy. Fearless, I always thought. Turns out he was afraid almost all the time, I guess.
That was a long time ago, and my road trip wasn't meant to dredge up memories of the people I've lost and the regrets I've piled up, but to help orient me toward the things I have hope for yet, the things I still want to do. I needed to waste 180 miles worth of gas (pretty much a half a tank) in mindless miles of highway, both to get the hell away for a little while, and to still come back again, anyway.
I decided if I'm going to spend this much time living inside my own head, that I would put it all to good use and start writing again. When I was a girl, I wrote all the time. Stupid stories that had no point and no plot and no real beginning and no end. Truly exercises in mental masturbation, really. But all my personal heroes are authors. The people who can tell a story so potent with rich character detail and bold worlds so intricately drawn that I will stay up late, late at night to see what happens next, and be there in the checkout line on the day their latest book hits the shelves because I can't wait to dive into that world again.
I aspire to be a writer just like that, someone who can sit down at a desk with a cup of coffee and a laptop and spin spiderwebs of thought into moonbeams and dragon dreams. I always have.
Sometimes I fear that I'm just too shallow, too detached from the real world to delve that deep into the phsyche of a character and drag them through their own personal hell in a believable way. Then I think, screw that. I have a fucking kick ass imagination. And a boatload of personal angst to share with the reading public. I just need to practice. And as all my favorite authors will say, the key to good storytelling is discipline. Like Michael Jordan says, "Just Do It." Every day.
Another author said that finishing the first draft of a new novel is one of the best days ever. I aim to find out if that's true.
No one writes a masterpiece every time. Or even the first time. Harper Lee only ever wrote the one truly great novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird," and even that she wrote three times before she got it right. And since I don't aspire to be anything like the literary genius that Ms. Lee was, in fact, would rather write something with a lot more explosions, guns, sex, and violence, then I guess I'll have a hell of a lot of fun just practicing.
I always read the author's bio on the back cover of a book, to see what they have to say about their lives. Some are circumspect, and only mention that they live in Whats-a-whosit, Wherever with their dog and three kids and husband (sometimes in that order, even). But others offer a spice to that little blurb that entices me to learn more about them. Emma Holly's says she lives in Minnesota, and believes that spandex bike shorts are god's gift to women. Amen, sister, I say.
Sometimes I wonder what mine would say. Do they let you write your own?
Well, it's time for this budding author-let to go to bed. Until I can sell my first novel for a bundle of cash and quit my job, I have to go to bed so I can get up tomorrow morning and call the recruiters back who want to invite me for an interview for a new job.
Booyah! Made you wait through all that hoopla (most of which I really mean, honest), and now am really going to go to bed just to be a fucking tease.
Hot Pursuit: A Novel
By Suzanne Brockmann
Today I applied for two jobs. I applied online, rather than send in an application and resume by snail mail. We'll see what comes of it, despite the fact that my luck with applying for anything online has a dismal failure rate.
Actually, my rate probably isn't any worse than anyone else's when applying via a web browser. When job hunting, your success rate goes way up when you use the networking principal. It's always who you know, isn't it?
Still, if I get a call back from either one it might be fun to go, just to see what they have to offer. It can't be worse that the dead-end rut I'm trapped in right now.
Now, most of the time, I don't mind my job that much. Particularly when I'm doing it. You know how it is. When your mind is active and engaged, you don't have time to realize that you're only making about half what you're worth, and you have absolutely no chance of ever getting ahead at it.
But every once in awhile, someone asks me, "Do you like working here?" And I always stumble over the answer. Because unless I do absolutely love what I do, my honest nature won't let me lie about it. Without at least a token struggle between my brain and my lips, anyway.
My head says, "I can't tell them the truth. I don't make anywhere near what I'm really worth. That my boss doesn't really appreciate me, and in fact, thinks I'm uppity and too confident and opinionated. God forbid I should have a brain and choose to exercise it. That half the time people who should know better ask me the same damn questions over and over and over. That no matter how hard I work, I will never be more or make more than I do right now as long as I work there."
My mouth says, "Most of the time." And leaves it at that, because it covers a multitude of sins and satisfies my inner need to be at least partially honest.
I'm sure you're dying to know what two jobs piqued my interest enough to spend some time polishing my resume and clicking those "APPLY NOW" buttons.
The first is a sales position at a remodeling and construction company. Technically, I found it under roofing sales, but I figure it's like anything. If I can just get in the door, we might all discover there's another position entirely that's more my speed. It is in my field, after all. The only drawback is the business is almost 20 miles away.
The second is a "Set Dresser" position for ShopNBC. Weird, huh? Still, getting in the door there, the job says it could lead to a producer position. And how funky would that be, to someday be able to say I'm a television producer?
Best not to jump the gun. Like I said, e-applications have a notoriously small call-back rate.
Still, if I don't hear from them in a couple days, I'll call them myself. All they can do is say no, the position is filled, right?
So, that's what I did today.
Last night, I went out for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory and a long walk around Centennial Lakes Park (like 3-1/2 miles long) with Amber, who I last saw in the spring. We met at just after 5 pm, and couldn't stop talking until 10 pm. Somehow, we ended up walking around the lake (entirely man-made in the middle of a suburban business center, so landscaped to within an inch of its life, but still very pretty) two and a half times. She's saving to buy her first house, too. She figures she'll be ready to start looking in about 6 to 9 months. Cool!
My friend Sandy called this evening with an update on the painting status of her new townhome. All the ceilings have been getting patched and spackled over the last week, and should be ready for primer in the next day or so. Poor kid is getting twitchy and ready to be done and moved in. I don't blame her. If I had a new house but couldn't move in because it was a construction zone, I'd be twitchy too. Don't anybody mention that it's her own fault, because the project she chose to undertake is completely cosmetic and will not affect the overall value of the place one iota. After all, that's the beauty of home ownership. You get to do crap like that that they don't let you do in apartments.
And there it is. Enough for tonight. I'm thirsty. Maybe I'll find more jobs to apply for tomorrow, no?
Ok, so the funniest thing I've heard in weeks was a facebook entry I just read from my cousin, whom I haven't seen since we were really young kids a looonngg time ago.
He says - "I just got kicked out of Borders for putting all the Bibles in the fiction section." 12:24 p.m. 7/7/09
God, I'm still giggling. Even if it isn't true that he actually did that, it still tickles me, because I would TOTALLY love to do that myself.
Maybe what made me laugh so hard was the unexpectedness of it. I was not expecting the same boy who usually has something goofy or sexual to say (he had a whole entry about the merits of back seat car sex, and whether it should be reserved for holidays and birthdays and the like), would at random come out with something that smacks of a thoughtful, intelligent rebel. I might actually like Adam, and who knew? Like I said, I haven't seen him for years. And he's younger than me, about my brother's age, so I probably ignored him anyway.
On another topic entirely, I spent my 4th of July holiday weekend helping my best friend Sandy scrape the acoustic popcorn off the ceilings in her new town home. If you can think of a messier, harder job, I'd like to see you try it.
The walls and floors had to be completely shrouded in plastic sheeting, and still we were neck deep in slimy white goop. Because the only way to get the stuff off the ceiling is to spray it really well with lots of water, then take a flat edge and scrape it off. To minimize the mess, you need to hold a bucket underneath the area where you're scraping. So not only are you up on a ladder, you must become an expert at what I have termed the "demolition ballet." This consists of gracefully and carefully balancing (because you cannot also hold on to the ladder while also holding a scraper and a bucket) on a slippery ladder rung (plaster + water + gravity = slippery everything) while attempting to scrape as much goop off the ceiling (while not also scraping off the essential mud over the drywall seams, as well) before having to climb down and move said slippery ladder. This set-up could be the downfall of an overly ambitious person, because the temptation to get just that one more inch, even though you're already leaning waaaayyyyy over, could result in broken bones and concussions, and possibly death. God help you if you find a particularly stubborn spot, because then you have to go over the same damn spot three, four, five damn times. And you better pray that the fools who put up the acoustic crap in the first place didn't paint over it in their pre-sale beautification attempts, because then it doesn't matter how much water you shoot at the ceiling to loosen it ahead of time, it ain't coming off except in really small bits, when what you want is big, wet sloppy sheets at a time. If you're unlucky enough to discover they did indeed paint, then when you spray water on it, all you have is a type of musty, damp rain falling on your head and dripping in your eyes because you have to look up to see what you're spraying, even though it isn't doing any good. Thankfully, I am not overly ambitious and survived with a minimal amount of damage, though I do expect a seat of high honor at the Best Friend Hall of Fame Banquet. Or a glass of wine, at the very least.
The worst I got were some sore calves and a really big bruise on my right shin from kicking the ladder rung one too many times while climbing off. <Note To Self - Pay Attention! Don't Miss The Last Rung. It Hurts.>
And on another completely different topic, we got a new employee at work this week. They've hired another flooring specialist, because it became glaringly obvious to the powers that be that while I am very, very good at my job, I cannot be everywhere at once and the other guy they had helping in the flooring department is an idiot half the time.
I haven't actually gotten to eat lunch for over two weeks now. Now, being the truely honest person that I am, I will admit that I could take one if I wanted and just walked off the floor. But I would then not get done everything I need to do to be the superstar that I am.
But it still means that they laid off one too many people, doesn't it? Did they mean for that to happen? Did they want to get rid of Justina? Or was it a mistake, that they then had to fix and start over with a whole new person? Why didn't they call Justina and ask her if she wanted to come back?
Well, that's all the news that's fit to print today.
The love that dare not speak its name
The love that dare not speak its name...
OK, OK, so I don't love him, and his name is Justin...
I wrote this blog yesterday, but somehow accidentally erased it when it was almost done. Pissed me off at the time, but perhaps it was fortuitous. Maybe an extra day of perspective will add something that was lacking in the previous entry.
If you don't know who Justin is, let me remind you. He worked with me until about a year and a half ago, and I had the most wicked crush on him, and then he was let go and I was sure I'd never hear from him again.
Well, as fate would have it, he popped in to work on Friday afternoon, just to say hi.
It almost didn't happen. I was just sitting at the reception desk for a few minutes while our receptionist was off to lunch. Something I very seldom do. My time is valuable when I'm at work. More often than not, I just don't have time to sit up there and waste a half hour babysitting the front desk.
But there I was, laughing with a member while we chatted about a project she has going on, when I looked up expecting to see another member who needed to be checked in... and completely lost my cool.
He just stood there, grinning at me, with his gorgeuos smile and deeply dimpled chin that just begs me to lick it to see how deep it really is, and for about a half a second I had no idea who he was. And then I couldn't stop myself from grinning right back at him and practically shrieking his name in welcome.
Goddess, he looked good. I'd finally, almost, had myself convinced that he couldn't possibly be as beautiful as I remember.
He's a full-fledged fireman now, just off his probationary period, and looks to be in line for full time status if, as he says it, he can avoid the budget cuts. He was just passing by on his way to Lifetime Fitness gym, and decided to pay a visit.
I'd only ever seen him in his work clothes, dress shirts and slacks, and i had to force myself not to touch him back then. But if I had ever seen him back then in his tight, black t-shirt and shorts, it would have been impossible. Wide shoulders, sculpted chest, twinkling blue eyes - bad boy eyes. Goddess, I wish he'd invite me along for some trouble.
No, I have no illusions that he came to visit me on Friday. Of course bloody not. When we wroked together, I was merely there to talk to, an easy distraction who stroked his ego and listened. But I wasn't a draw back then, and I'm certainly not now. I think what he really wanted was to see if there was the possibilty of getting his old job back, just part time, to fill the considerable down time of a fireman's life. And maybe to see a couple of the other sales directors, who he worked much more closely with.
He was only there for maybe 10 minutes, and I could not stop smiling and staring at him the whole time. I knew I was doing it, knew I was making myself look like a besotted idiot, but I couldn't stop it. What is it about him that makes me lose about 50 I.Q. points just by being in the same room with him?
Honestly, if there hadn't been a desk between us, I may have thrown all my cautions to the wind and jumped him, I was that happy to see him. Him, a guy I have never had more than a 10 minute conversation with, who has never given me any kind of encouragement, and who I will probably never see again. Fuck me, I was better off not knowing that he still lives in my neighborhood, that he did manage to achive his dream of becoming a fireman, that he still makes my whole body vibrate.
You know that hay bale I drove through a few weeks ago? Well, according to the reaction I had after he left, this one landed right on top of me. Flattened me.
What are the fates playing at? Are they trying to tell me something? I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with this information.
Absence doesn't really make the heart grow fonder, but he has been on my mind for the last year and half, off and on.
Fuck it. He doesn't want me. I know that. I'm not stupid. I can read some signals pretty well, despite the lost brain function when he's around. There's no point in wasting time wishing things were different.
I know what the fates were saying, and they're right, the bitches. I had my chance to be ready when he came back, and I missed it.
So I guess that makes me the bitch, doesn't it?
Out of the City
Tonight I'm house-sitting for my friend Anna - well, really I'm dog-sitting for her wire-haired terrier Daisy - the house pretty much takes care of itself.
The house is in Brooklyn Park -so basically suburban hell. But it's not as bad as it could be. There's lots of space, there's a cuddly-ish little dog to play with, Anna made me a tuna pasta salad for dinner, and supplied me with my very own bottle of Windsor Whiskey and lemon sour so I can make my favorite drink - a Brandy Manhattan.
Ha! Caught that, did you?
Obviously, I have already had at least one Whiskey Sour. Daisy and I spent the afternoon tanning on the deck reading a very racy romance novel and chasing tiny baby bunny rabbits. Maybe you can guess about the division of labor there. Really, Daisy should be in the Guinness Book of World Records, she's that talented at not catching anything. Her stubby little tail, however, should win awards for giving her away when she's trying to hide in the bushes while stalking her prey.
She and I have plans to watch the movie "Must Love Dogs" tonight in honor of our one night stand.
Other than that, I've been enjoying my weekend. Anna has a record player, and right now I have Abba's Greatest Hits playing on their surround sound system. I learned not so long ago that Abba hit the world stage for real in 1974 on the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Waterloo." I wouldn't have any idea what the Eurovision Song Contest was if it weren't for my friend J, who is probably still a rabid fan. I think it may be time to go pick a new record, since it suddenly stopped playing a second ago. This may be the only drawback to records. They only last about 20 to 30 minutes per side and then they require attention like a jealous toddler. "Pick me up!" & "Turn me over" pretty much have the same ring. Although records won't give you a hernia if you lift wrong.
It is also time to refill the whiskey sour - be right back...
Ahhh... Simon & Garfunkle's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and a new drink.
And the knowledge that there are ice cream cone drummies in the freezer, near the ice cubes. Mmmmm... Dessert. Or maybe dinner. I haven't decided yet.
I don't really have anything else worthwhile to say tonight.
It may be time to go have dinner and a movie, and watch the dog pace from window to door to bed. Typical terrier, always on guard and twitchy.
Guardian: The Time Hunters
By Angela Knight