Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's a Major Award!!!

My Notie Kari at Know-It-Not-So-Much is pretty special, and not in a short-bus way.  She's funny and spunky and sincere and kind.  She's a voracious reader, and one heck of book-reviewer, too.  She takes and shares the prettiest pictures.  Her daughter is so adorable, I just want to squeeze her little cheeks.  She paints pictures of her world with her words, and I love catching up on her life in California (it always sounds so much sunnier than Kentucky!), and I can't wait to read all about her newest bundle of joy, due to arrive in a few short months.  I love ya, Notie!

Kari has bestowed upon me a very special honor -

Whoa.  This means I'm the boss of everything.  I get to make three rules, any three rules I want, no matter what.

(Minute Man's Wife, who bestowed the award on Kari, she made a rule that everyone who eats at a restaurant that uses real silverware must add an extra dollar to their final bill, and that dollar goes to the local food bank to help feed someone in need.  If the restaurant uses cloth napkins, $2 is added.  I love this rule so much I'm trying to come up with a way to get a movement started here in Louisville.  I mean, seriously, what a freaking brilliant idea!  Ixy at Illusion made a rule that ice cream calories evaporate overnight and never cause any ill-effects.  I need that to be true.)

Okay, effective immediately, here are my rules:

1.  For the next 30 days, without telling anyone, we're going to completely re-write our system of doing things here in the good ol' U S of A.  All of a sudden, today, everyone who lives in the United States is a citizen.  Okay?  We're starting fresh.  Oh, and we all have equal rights and shit too, like we're taught to believe when we're little kids.  Maybe this way our children won't grow up and have that "what in the FUCK?!" moment we all did when we realized that "land of the free" thing mostly only applied to rich white men.  All those immigrants in town to pick the avocados we all want to buy at the grocery for less than $2 each (which, by the way, we're able to do because those fellas (and women, and children) are willing to work their asses off for near-slave-labor wages, but whatever), they all are now, immediately, a full fledged member of this American Dream.  I find this only appropriate, seeing as how they're only here because they're trying to live that Dream we all keep talking about while we're sitting on our fat asses watching Real Housewives of Bitchville and Jersey Shore.  And gays can vote and get married and have jobs, too.  And we're going to go back to that "freedom of religion" thing and make sure that Separation of Church and State thing is adhered to.  The laws of the land will be based on values such as "not being a dick" and held to such moral tests as "will this help or harm my fellow man?"  We're waving our magic wand and all of a sudden the Middle East is calm and collected and our troops are coming home and we're funneling all those extra billions toward schools and the underprivileged and our smallest debts first, then the next one, then the next one, just like Dave Ramsey says and we're going to fix our credit rating and Save Teh Babbies too!   You with me so far?

2.  (Okay, so number one may have technically counted as at least three rules, but I'm making the rules here, so shut it.)  You know the war on drugs?  We're de-funding that shit.  We're refocusing that money and we're calling it the "War on Cancer" and we're going to eradicate that fucking bastard.

3.  Wait!  Hear me out - it's totally okay to de-fund the war on drugs because we've legalized the good shit and convinced everyone how awful the bad shit is and the people who were addicted have been through  treatment programs that made them realize they have better options and everyone lives in a world full of kittens and rainbows and unicorns.

There.  Those are my rules.  Today.  I'll change my rules and come up with better ones as soon as I hit "Publish Post", but whatev.

And now to pass the power along...

To Kimmie at Nothing To See Here.  I work with her.  She's my of my nearest and dearest BFFs.  She gave me a place to live when I didn't have anywhere but Momma & Daddy's to go.  And she's just recently started blogging and needs some new friends.  And she needs to make some rules.

To Kiley at We Were Going to be Queens.  Go back and read forward - it's like watching her become who she is.  I don't know her, but I'm a total blog-stalking fan.

To Eliza R. Snitch at, well, Eliza R. Snitch.  She's one of my favorite used-to-be Mormons.

To Chubby McGee, because I love her and it's totally her turn to make some rules up in here.  The universe owes her.  

To Patty at Another Cookie, Please!.  She's smart and sassy and I think I could live in a world where she's makin' the rules.

To Carlia at The Stork Drop Zone.  She'll use her power for good and make the world better for us all, I can feel it!

To Sushigirl at Just us and the cat, because in a world full of things she can't control, here's something that she can.  :)

Happy Thursday, people!  (Is it Friday yet?)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wah wah wat wha wah

The world ended last night.  And I'm pretty sure I made out with some scrawny pirate-looking dude, but it's okay, because later I killed him.

We were at a party, and the world shifted.  We didn't know what had happened, or how, only that all of a sudden, everything was different and we were no longer enjoying the party, we were trying to decide who we could trust so we could make our escape and try to get to safety.  From the second-floor veranda, we could see smoke from fires in the distance.  The roads were choked, traffic lights out, but not as many people were wandering the streets as you'd expect - we guessed the ones we didn't see were probably dead.

Pirate man was some sort of boss, and he'd been making eyes at me all night.  After the shit hit the fan, I had to employ whatever tactics necessary to get us out of there safely, so I did what any reasonably creative chick would do - I made him think I was going to have sex with him and then I killed him instead.  I didn't get any weapons from him, but his death made our escape possible, and before we knew it, we were on our way home. I haven't told Jimi yet, but I'm confident he'll understand.

I can't remember where we got the plane or what we did with the car, but none of that really matters now as they're both useless - the car was out of gas, and the plane...well, we ditched the plane into the river to get a closer look at this factory.  There were hills and shit all around us anyhow - we were going to find ourselves with empty tanks before we found a flat place to land.  I must say, when my ex-husband was teaching me how to fly his dad's plane, I thought it was just a novelty - I never realized it would one day help save my life.  And water landings aren't nearly as scary as they look if you're expecting it.  The hardest part was accepting that I'd probably killed a few innocents, but dammit, if one of us has to die, I'd rather it be them than me.  What are all these people doing in the water, anyhow?  It's like a lazy river up in here, people floating by in giant tubes and rafts and on doors and shit.  Where are the boats and canoes and kayaks?  How did people manage to get their floats blown up?  All the electricity is out.

The hole in the foundation of the building told us it probably had been abandoned for a while, and we were right - it had been claimed as shelter by few guys and a gal who had an awesome stock of emergency and survival equipment.  I'm not sure why they took a liking to us and let us stay, but when that flotilla of strapped-together rowboats crept by, the didn't slit our throats when we took defensive positions and readied our weapons to fight along side them.  A chunky girl who was probably 35 but looked 20, with short brown curls that clung close to her long, rectangular head, appeared in the hole where a window used to be - she was out of the boats and on the ledge.  She wore a yellow dress covered with small pink flowers, and her double chin hung down so low it rested on her chest.  She disappeared from the window, acting as if she'd not seen us, but I knew she had, and I crept along the wall, just on the opposite side from her, and when she turned to enter the doorway, i drove that battery-powered drill bit up through that double chin, through the roof of her mouth, and into her brain.  She was not going to ruin my day.  The floating caravan continued upriver, uncaring that they'd lost one of their own, or unwilling to risk their own hides to check on her.  We continued organizing the well-stocked supplies our new-found friends were generously offering to share.

And then I woke up.

Pretty sure I can blame this on the fact that I'm currently reading "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies".  Almost certain.

Jimi's reading it too; I hope he got enough sleep last night to have dreams.  (I doubt it, though - his shoulder has been hurting him something awful, and he woke me up screaming at 3 a.m. because he'd gone to roll over and had somehow tweaked it the wrong way.  Poor guy.  It's not bad enough for surgery, but PT and cortisone haven't helped.  Boo.)

My week's been pretty fantastic so far.  No plans for that to change any time soon.  It's almost the weekend - and a long weekend at that.  YAY!  Looks like we're camping.  I love that, except for the getting-ready, packing-up, loading-up, assembling, taking-down, packing-up, unpacking, washing-everything-again parts.  The part in the middle, where we're camping and doing nothing, that part is awesome and fantastic and ALMOST worth the trouble of all the rest.

I ate an avocado for the first time yesterday.  Well, it wasn't the first time I've ever had avocado, but it was the first time I've cut one in half, removed the pit, and sat down with a spoon to eat one.  I loved it!  I want more!  I went to Valu Market last night and was going to buy some more...but they were, I shit you not, $2.69 each.  Holy shit, $2.69 for an avocado?!  I read a blog post just the other day wherein one of my bloggy friends bemoaned the fact that her man eats a $2 avocado every day.  I can't remember what I paid for the one I bought, but I promise it wasn't $2.69.  I hate Valu Market.  Highway robbery.  It's some bullshit.  Know what makes me maddest?  The neighborhood served by that market is mostly made up of recent immigrants - I feel like they're being taken advantage of.  $0.69 bananas, $3.50 gallons of milk, $3.69 taco kits.  I hate that store, and I just decided I'll never shop there again.  (Unless I just need beer or water chestnuts or baby corns - their prices on beer and canned Asian vegetables are pretty reasonable.)

Do you dream?  Do you remember details of your dreams?  Do your dreams have recurring themes?  What did you dream about last night?    Talk to me, people!

Oh, and Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The crazy, I has it. Bad. Well, not SO bad...

I'm proud of myself and feeling a little less crazy today - I've managed, for the first time in 9 months, to go through an entire cycle without over-analyzing everything my body's doing and wondering "Am I Pregnant?!"  I didn't even pee on a stick this month, guys.  That's sort of a big deal.  Maybe my hormones are back to normal? Maybe I'm starting to not be quite so obsessive?  Maybe I'm not quite so crazy?

I still think about having a baby and getting pregnant every single day, but now the thoughts lean more toward "It's probably better if we don't have children" and "Think about all the fun things we can do now that we wouldn't be able to do if we did have a baby..." and "If we saved up for the next year what we would've spent in daycare costs, we could go on the most awesome European adventure next summer!"  These thoughts feel more hopeful and optimistic, and not so narrow and focused and do-or-die as the "MUST HAVE A BABY" thoughts from just a few short months back.  These thoughts feel wide open with endless possibilities - those thoughts felt obsessive and all-encompassing and so fixed, set, unmoving.  Then, there was only one option for happily ever after - now, I'm remembering that I'm right in the fucking middle of my happily ever after and I should enjoy it and not waste it away wishing for something more.  

Yes, of course I realize I'm totally faking myself out.  Kinda.  I guess.  Am I?  I'm starting to wonder.  I always wanted to be a mom because, well, that's what girls do, isn't it?  We grow up, we get married, we have babies...right?  What if I'm realizing that maybe I don't think cleaning up after someone else's messes and losing sleep and worrying constantly sounds like it fits with my definition of awesome?  And life right now?  It's pretty awesome.  

God.  Whatever.  No one cares.  I don't even care.  It's not even worth writing about.  It's just the crazy that is in my head all the time, trying to justify my choice either way, assuming, of course, as always, that it is a choice I actually have.  

Kimmie got her treadmill last night, so tonight begins our "walk 30 minutes a day" challenge.  I'm not sure how we're going to make this work beyond pure guilt and competition, but whatever, I need motivation however I can get it.  And I'm feeling particularly fat today, so it couldn't happen at a better time.  

Oh, and I've managed to keep the kitchen clean for two whole days.  I even cooked in there and everything!  I'll keep you updated on my progress.  (Let's not discuss the state of the laundry, the litterbox, or the vacuuming.)  

Back to work. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Making Monday My Bitch

I want to write "Today is going to be a great day", but Kimmie says I fuck myself every time I say that and a previously nice day goes straight to hell.

Fuck it.

Today is going to be a great day.

I've got yummy good-for-me things to eat.  My kitchen is clean.  My favorite shirt is getting the wrinkles knocked out in the dryer AS WE SPEAK.  The bossman is on vacation, so Finn gets to go to work!  YAY!

It's going to be an awesome day.

Please tell me you're going to have an awesome day too.  What's on your agenda?  What's making you smile already?

Let's do this thing.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mostly about a park

So far, my weekend's been exactly what I wanted - full of nothing.  YAY!  I was looking forward to a birthday gathering last night, but by the time 7 o'clock rolled around, I was tired from the grocery shopping we'd done and the idea of worrying about clothes and makeup and whatnot just seemed like too much.  So I sat on my butt and played on the computer some more.

Yesterday was sunny and not too hot and gorgeous - probably one of the nicest days we've had this year.  Finn and I took a long walk through the park right after we got up - one of these days I'm going to take my camera with me when we go over there so I can show you how awesome this park is.  It's green and leafy and full of walking paths - broken concrete paths through the shaded open spaces, gravel paths through the woods, a road blocked to car traffic that goes all the way around the hill and then up to the top, where there's a lookout from which you can see downtown.  This park has memories going back to my early childhood - the year Daddy took us to the top to watch Thunder Over Louisville, the world's largest fireworks display that kicks off the Derby festivities each year; hiking to the top in the dark with David one night during a full moon - he took his shirt off and laid in the middle of the road and said he was working on his moontan; the time I picked up the Girls and we  took the long way to the top, complete with a box cutter and a screwdriver as protection (just in case), and then nearly had a gun pulled on us when we arrived back at our car - the cops must've thought we 4 girls looked pretty dangerous, coming out of the woods at 2 a.m.  (Kat threw the box cutter - she had a government security clearance and was afraid a weapon could make things worse if the cop decided to be a dick and take us to jail for trespassing.)  Steve Burcham introduced my teenage mind to tales of satanic rituals and sacrifices made in the woods, stories of bodies being abandoned along the side of the road to be found by joggers and bikers the next day.

This park is one of those places that is ingrained into me - it's a part of my formative years and memories made there will follow me forever - even if Daddy is the only one who ever went there with me who's still a part of my life.  It was unbelievable when I discovered the house we were looking at buying, the one I loved so much, was right across the street from this magical, mystical place from my past.  And it's so much cooler now!  There's an amphitheater that hosts concerts during the summer - like REO Speedwagon and Sublime - concerts that can be heard from my front porch.  (Or, if I want to hear from even closer, I can walk into the park, stand outside next to the amphitheater, and get the full sound effect - that's my plan for the Sublime concert, FYI.  Is that considered theft?  Please say no.)  On Monday nights, the theater hosts Monday Night Movies - this week it's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  There are pavilions with picnic tables and grills that can be reserved for $25, or they're available on a first come, first serve basis if they're not reserved.  There's a huge playground complete with splash park that makes me jealous I'm not a little girl anymore - the fun I could've had there!!!  There's a disc golf course that brings in weed smokers disc golfers from all over the region.

Of course, Finn and I only use the park for walking.  Well, I rode my bike around the hill once, but I thought I might die when I finished and while I swore I'd keep doing it until it was easy...well, I've only done it once.  The park is too hilly for bike riding; at least for me - I'll leave it to those guys with really skinny tires and spandex.  It's a great place for walking, though - there are so many trees, and you know what that means, right?  SQUIRRELS!!  They're everywhere, and they're a little more brave in the park than they are even in our yard - Finn almost catches one every time.  (But still hasn't gotten that first one, for which I'm glad, because what in the hell do you do with a squirrel once your dog gets a hold of it?  Can't even fathom.)

I'd like to walk again today, but it's rainy and yucky outside and so I guess I'll spend my day cleaning my yucky house.  Bleh, housework.  Oh well - the sun will be out again soon enough.

Happy Sunday, Friends!

Friday, June 24, 2011

I'm scared for us all.

"You should be proud of being white."

Because I worked so hard for it, right?

I'm not sure I have the words to adequately express how strongly these words make my blood boil.  I'm not sure I can explain how disappointed I was to hear them coming from the lips of a person I love and respect.

I almost told family to leave my home tonight.  I held my tongue, but just barely.  When my arguments became shrill, Jimi called me on it and I felt betrayed, as if his pointing out my hysteria somehow invalidated the point I was trying so passionately to make.

Oh, how do we live in a world so colored by hate of the unknown, the misunderstood, the different?  It hurts my heart; it cuts me deep.  It makes me sad, it disappoints me, it makes me refocus the lens through which I view my world.

Dammit, I like my kaleidoscope of colors - I like the players in my world to come in different shapes and sizes, with different backgrounds and experiences.  I can't imagine how dull the world would be if it were filled only with white conservative Christians - not that they don't have their place, they do; but the world needs variety and flavor.  We need to be exposed to people who are not like us so that we may learn to appreciate the beauty that is found within our differences.  I want to learn from people who are not like me; I want to teach them what my world is like.

Please don't be scared.  Please don't hate because you don't understand.  Please don't judge because they're not the same.

We're all the same.

I'm not a punk, I'm a realist.

I was invited to attend a gathering of brilliant, artistic, wildly fun women.  I was excited about it.  And then I backed out.

Not because I suddenly had better things to do, or because I decided I didn't feel like it - I rescinded my RSVP because one of those women attending?  She doesn't like me.  She doesn't like me a lot - to the point where she completely ignores my presence at social gatherings; to the point where she'll squeeze between a me and the kitchen island to say goodbye to someone, yet won't acknowledge me or excuse her fat ass for invading my personal bubble.

I get that we don't all have to be friends.  I get that in this lifetime I'm going to come across some people who just plain don't like me.  I get that not everyone needs to have a conversation with me to decide that I'm an idiot with no depth or character or value to contribute.  Whatever.  I don't get flat out bad manners, though.  I don't get the need to be a completely rude bitch.  (You guys remember the chick I mentioned a few weeks back who wouldn't stop yelling about her vagina at the birthday party?  Yeah.  Same chick.  As you can tell, I'm devastated we're not BFFs.)

I considered going to the party anyhow, to play the "I don't see you!" game and ignore her right back, to laugh and carry on with the women who do like me, who will acknowledge my presence.  But there were only a handful of confirmed guests, and she knows them all better than I do.  Were there more women in attendance, the party would spread out as little social bubbles formed - in that scenario, it's easy to have a good time and pretend I'm not being slighted consciously, obviously, rudely.  But with small crowds, I can't take the awkwardness or disappointment that surely I'd come home feeling.

Oh well.  There will be other parties.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

O Hai

Lots and lots of storms rolled through last night, tornado warning sirens blaring over and over again.  I grabbed the important things - my beer, our cell phones, **** - and went to the front porch to watch.  That's how I roll.  I never saw any rotation, but the area around Churchill Downs was apparently hit.  That's right close to work.  Fingers crossed there's no damage.

I'm skipping out on a family camping trip this weekend to sit on my ass at home, blog, play Sims, read, do laundry, plant those lilies I've never gotten into the ground.  I'm tired; it feels like we haven't had a weekend to ourselves in weeks; I don't want to mess with all the work that's involved with camping; I'm tired - these are the excuses I fed my mother, hoping she understands.  I think she does.  I've promised to think about maybe riding down on Saturday to spend the day with them; right now, at this very moment, that sounds like a no-go.  I'm so tired.

I don't think the work-folk read the blog.  If they did, no one said anything, and that would be unusual in our little work family.  Safe for now!  I should maybe think about that some more and figure something out.

I'm hungry.  What's for breakfast?  First instinct is pancakes and bacon - I could get that at McDonald's, but everything there is so bad for you.  I'll probably just have oatmeal (1/2 sugar oatmeal, at that) once I get to work.  When did I become so fucking responsible?

I really need to work on my language.  I don't want to forever be the chick with the dirty mouth.  My love for the word fuck, though, is strong and our history goes back 20 years.  Sixth grade was pretty fucking miserable - that's the year that punkass 13 year old boy (who was in my 6th grade class with we 11 year olds, go figure) brought the gun to school and showed it to me in his locker.  I told on him.  I almost didn't, because some of the other kids really liked him and thought he was cool and there was a rumor that he had already had sex with like 5 girls, maybe even one or two in our grade, and I kinda wanted to know more about what was up with that - I was very curious about the actual goings-on involved in sexual intercourse; the book Mom & Dad had given me in lieu of "the talk" had left me fascinated and intrigued - and perhaps I thought for a minute if I befriended him rather than tattle, maybe he'd tell me exactly how it all worked and which girls had put out.  No way I was going to do anything with him - I was 11! -  but I wanted to know the dirt.  In the end, though, my need to do the right thing won out and I went to the principal's office and ratted ol' boy out.  He got sent away, of course.  And everyone knew I told, of course.  And, of course, any tenuous grasp I had on friendships with the cool kids at the beginning of the school year was lost.  But I still felt cool when peppered my language with f-bombs.  And oh what a versatile word!  I even almost slipped once at home, when Brother was into my stuff and I just couldn't take it anymore.  Momma heard me, but she didn't beat me or anything, as one would've expected.

Oops....I got carried away - I'm gonna be late for work.  So much for responsible.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Do. Over.

I'm doing this all wrong.

Concerned my buddy's facebook link last night outed my blog at work.  (If I work with you, please don't read my blog.  This is supposed to be my safe place and I'll probably say things I don't want you to read.  Don't worry, though, I promise I'll never use your names or work's name or customers' names.  It's all good.  Let's still be friends, just not here.)

Want to bitch about things - like 6 a.m. text messages and bad life choices - but can't because I don't really want to hurt anyone's feelings and no one likes to be bitched about in a blog entry.

Anonymous is the way to go, I'm seeing that now.  Then I can be catty AND still have friends and a job.


I'm doing something all wrong.  Just not exactly sure which part.

Monday, June 20, 2011


We need six women, came the announcement.  It was stated quietly, but it clanged in my head and knocked the air from my lungs.  I forced my way through the crowd, looking for Jimi.  There he was, wearing his blue shirt.  I squeezed his hand and told him what I'd heard.  That look in his eyes - what was it?  Explosive anger is what I expected - Protect me!!!- but that look, it was something different.  Resignation?  The look of being beaten?

I huddled in with a group, as if keeping the announcers from seeing my face could keep them from seeing my name on their list.  The men, the ones the women would "keep company", they were already on the bus, ready for their adventure to begin.  I wanted to disappear into Jimi's arms, where I was safe before this moment.  I wondered if we could run.

They called the first name.  Mine was sixth.  They must've decided on more than six, because my name was not the last.  Out of all these women, they had to choose me?  I knew they would, though.  I'd felt it.  My eyes, full of panic and the reality of the situation, found Jimi...

and then I woke up.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day, of course

He'd get down on all fours and let me climb on his back and ride him around the living room.

He picked me up every time I asked, until that one time when he said I was too big.

He stayed up till after 2 a.m. that time I was in the fourth grade advanced program, trying to figure out that "new math" math problem.

He spanked me with a plank of wood when I was six and changed my conduct grade from a "U" to "O" (using the wrong shade ink - d'oh!).

He grounded me from the radio for 9 weeks when I failed every class the first grading period of sixth grade.  I was a week shy of the end of that banishment, lying on the floor of my bedroom, working on my science fair three-fold poster-board, singing along with the newest New Kids On The Block tape (which Momma had bought for me as some sort of reward I didn't really deserve), when he came in, pointed at the stereo and said "I thought I was clear?", meaning "What the fuck are you doing listening to the stereo when I clearly grounded you from that shit for 9 weeks and we're only eight weeks into it, young lady?!"

He taught me to love Rock -n Roll; specifically, The Beatles.  I'll never hear a Beatles tune without thinking "I love ya, Daddy."

When he turned 37, he said, "My dad died when he was 36.  I always wondered if I'd make it to 37."

When I was 16, my oldest cousin on his side of the family got married.  He took me on a drive and told me how his dad had died saving his life.  I said, "Does Momma know?"  "Natalie, I've been blessed to have a lot of great friends in my life, but your mother is the best friend I could ever hope for, and the best friend I'll ever have.  I tell her everything.  I can tell her anything."

He taught me what love is supposed to look like.

He showed me how love is supposed to feel.

He was downsized from his job as a corporate executive at Black & Decker and took a job delivering newspapers to stay busy while hunting for full-time work.  At a family gathering, I described him as a "paper-boy".  He held his tongue until we were on our way home.  I'm still ashamed of the way my words made him feel that day.  I'm still proud of the fact that he respected himself enough to share with me the way my words made him feel.

I was 20 and Momma wanted an electric knife for Christmas.  The only one I could find was made by Black & Decker.  I told Daddy, on Christmas Eve, and he was aghast.  "Seven years ago, do you know what that company did to this family?  They pulled me into a boardroom the day before Christmas Eve and told me I could either resign my position or I'd be terminated. They replaced me with two 21 year olds with college degrees.  You have to take that knife back."  And that's how I found myself scouring every Meijer and Walmart and Target within a 30-mile radius for an electric knife on Christmas Eve 2000.  For the record, I found a non-Black&Decker one and the holiday was saved.

I was 21 and back home after a brief stint as a "grown-up".  I stayed out all night, arriving home at 7:30 or so to take my morning shower and head to work.  He met me at the front door; Momma was already gone for the day.  "Don't you ever do that to your mother again.  She was up all night worried about you."  He was genuinely pissed that I'd hurt his wife.  I don't know if I've ever felt so small or put in my place.

I'm a teenager, smart as hell but too smart for school, failing every class even though I've got the highest test scores; I'm sitting at the breakfast bar, he's standing across from me.  "I'm just so disappointed, Natalie.  I work to give you every opportunity - what else do I need to do for you, to make you try?"  Fuck, I was such an asshole.

The day before my driving test, I've had my permit for 6 months.  After a 20 minute tutorial in my high school's parking lot, he takes me to Bob & Cindy's hood in the Highlands (where the hippies live).  The homes all have street parking, no driveways.  He directs me to an open spot between a Mercedes and a BMW and reminds me to turn the wheel when the side mirrors line up with the taillights - and I nail it.  The next day, he parks the van and says "It'd be a shame to have come all the way out here for nothing..." and I sign up for my exam.  I ace it - no points missed on parallel parking, I note specifically.

He holds my hand as we walk into my 3rd grade classroom - all I can see are the cursive alphabet letters crawling across the top of the walls.  OMG, I don't even recognize the letters!!!  "Daddy, I don't think I can do this..." I whisper up to him.  He's so tall, so strong.  He squeezes my little hand and whispers back, leaning in toward me, "Yes, you can."  He was right.  I did.

Michigan, May 2002 -"Mom, we want to get married June 15.  I know it's just a few weeks, but it's the only weekend that works before his sister leaves for Europe."  "Well, I don't think your Dad will be able to get off work."  Que waterworks/hysteria.  I called Daddy - "Daddy, we want to get married June 15th and Momma says you won't be able to get off work but it's the only day that works and I can't get married without you!!!"  "Natalie, do you think I'd miss my baby girl's wedding?  You pick whatever date works for you, and I'll be there, don't you worry, sweetheart."  Of course he was.

Phoenix, February 2006 - "Daddy, I'm so sorry.  I feel like I've let you down, I'm so sorry."  "Sweetheart, stop that.  I'm just so sorry you're having to go through this, and we just can't wait to have you back home.  I love you."

July 2006 - "What are you doing with yourself, Natalie?"

April 2010 - "I worried about you, if you'd find your way.  But you have, and I'm so proud of you."

Some words are worth waiting a lifetime to hear.

God, I hope I've made him proud.  I'll never have the words to express how much he means to me, or how much better my world his because he's my Daddy.  I just hope he knows I love him.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I'm not getting on a soapbox today. Promise.

Saturday morning.  It's pouring rain outside.  We're attending a wedding at 2 p.m.; a Catholic wedding - only my second ever Catholic wedding.  At least I won't be quite so lost this time; I've attended two Catholic services so far this year, I'm becoming an old pro.  I have nothing to wear, so I'm going shopping this morning to find something.  Cross your fingers and say a little prayer that no one gets killed in this process, will you?  I'm not a good clothes shopper.  I hate clothes shopping, and I usually come home hating myself.

I'm pretty excited about this wedding, strangely enough; I haven't cared much for weddings since my divorce, sort of the way baby showers are off limits since my miscarriage.  But this wedding, this is a wedding I'm looking forward to because the party is going to be kick-rockin'-awesome.  The bride is the daughter of a man and woman my Daddy's known since the late seventies; he was roommates with both of them when he got out of the Army and came back to Kentucky.  (That's the part of the story that always made me go "huh?  why was a girl living with you?"  I hope you're there with me, because I'm going to tell you...)

Daddy was living in a house in Taylorsville with several other guys, three or four, and one of them, Gary, was dating a girl named Tina.  Tina lived in an apartment upstairs from a funeral home.  She was smart and spunky and skinny and completely belonged in the seventies, with her flipped back hair and itty bitty bikini.  One sunny afternoon, Tina decided she was going to sunbathe.  On the front lawn.  Of the funeral home.  During a wake.  (There's a chance I made that "during a wake" part up, but it makes the story funnier, doesn't it?)  Tina was asked to vacate her apartment, which she came to understand when her belongings were thrown out on the front lawn.  When she showed up on their doorstep with all her things and a sob story about no place to go, the guys couldn't send her away.  That's how she came to live with a bunch of dudes.

Tina and Gary eventually married and moved to the Highlands in Louisville.  (That's where the hippies live.)  They had a house that was, in my childhood eyes, huge and open and eccentric and colorful and awesome; I think it was the first house I was ever in that had 10-foot ceilings, and I'm sure that detail influenced my opinion greatly.  There was one big living room downstairs full of bookshelves and knick-knacks (I've mentioned my love of all things clutter, I believe?)  The kitchen was off to the left, with white cabinets and white appliances and a white tile floor.  The stairs were on the far right of the living room, and there was no handrail; I remember clinging to the far wall on my way upstairs, knowing if I got too close to the right I'd fall onto the bookcases below.  At the top of the stairs was Caitlin's bedroom, and then Tina & Gary's room beyond that; I remember thinking I wouldn't want my parents to traipse through my bedroom every morning and night.

I loved going to Tina & Gary's house.  Tina talked to me like I was a grown-up and I liked that.  I remember when Caitlin was born - I remember holding her when she was teeny and new and bundled in a blanket; it's my first memory of holding a baby.  Caitlin and I became friends, even though we didn't see each other often; they were zoo members and would often invite Momma and I to join them for the day.  I spent the night at their house, and from one of those visits comes my most vivid memory of Tina, the one that defines her in my mind as being a free spirit:

It was morning.  Caitlin and I were eating cereal or waffles or something at the little table in the kitchen; Tina came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her...mostly.  I diverted my eyes; nakedness wasn't something you frequently saw in my household.  I mean, there was that one time when I had that awful nightmare and woke up screaming and Momma came running into my bedroom in her panties and nothing else, and there was Daddy right behind her in his tighty-whities; but that was a pretty isolated event.  We weren't prudes, we just kept ourselves clothed most of the time.  Anyhow, Tina noticed my embarrassment, and she called me on it:

"What's wrong, Nat?"  She flung open her towel and shook it from side to side, as if she were trying to dry off her back, her large breasts swaying from side to side, her belly jiggling - "They're just BOOBIES!!!"  Caitlin jumped up and yelled "Boobies!!!"  and ran over and grabbed Tina's right breast and bounced it up and down a couple times.  They were laughing hysterically.  I was too, in a nervous 'what the fuck just happened' sort of way.  Tina closed up her towel and went on to explain how nudity is nothing to be ashamed of, we're all made of the same parts.

A few years later, Tina decided she wanted to be a doctor, so, at 35, she went back to school and did just that.  She thrilled me with stories of Gross Anatomy and disgusted me with tales from her residency (like the one about the lady who had a horrible smell coming from her girl parts and couldn't figure out why, for weeks, until she saw Tina and Tina discovered a three-week-old forgotten tampon that was mouldering in the lady's vag.  I understand if you need a moment to puke now.  I'm sorry.)  She promised to deliver my first-born child free of charge, so long as I was married and a college graduate.

They moved to Ohio, and our visits stopped for years.  We went to see them once; they owned a farm and horses.  Gary let me ride, but put me bareback on a horse that hadn't been ridden in weeks, and I was immediately thrown.  It was my first time on a horse.  I got back on, with a saddle, but my opinion of horses was forever changed.  I was 13.  Caitlin was away at school.

I tried to find Tina a few times over the years, but I never knew where she was living.  I'd heard she was working at Bellevue in New York, after deciding medicine wasn't for her and psychiatry was where it was at; I heard she had a private practice down near Mammoth Cave, KY.  She popped up again a few years back, showing up on Momma & Daddy's doorstep unannounced, like a surprise party wrapped up in one person.  We connected a few months later and had dinner and shared a joint, talking of our lives and how they're nothing like we'd pictured 20 years ago, but I've not seen her since.

Today will be good.  I've not seen Caitlin since before we hit puberty.  Many of Momma & Daddy's friends will be there, and that guarantees a good time will be had by all.  And if I don't leave right now to go shopping, I'm not going to have anything to wear and there will be a major clothing-crisis-meltdown, so I'd better go.

Happy Saturday, Friends!  I hope it's sunny where you are, even if only in your heart.  :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Let's chat.

I'm sitting here trying to find words to type and I don't have any.  So I went to read the words my friends wrote, and Notie Kari said "Let's Chat", so, okay, let's do:

I went to bed before dark last night.  Before 9 p.m.  I took a sleeping pill (to help me stay asleep), and off I went.  The plan was to be up at 5 and to work by 6, but it's after 7 and I'm here typing, so that's not really working out as planned.

Rick Santorum is a cockbag.  Please don't vote for him.  "Blah blah blah, abortion is wrong in every circumstance, even in the instance of rape or molestation or if the pregnant person is eleven years old - unless it's my wife, in which case it was medically necessary and if she hadn't done it it would've left her children without a mother."  Um.  Well.  See?  That's why we need to keep in place laws that allow each individual woman to make those decisions - because circumstances that lead to abortion do not all fit into neat little boxes of "didn't practice safe sex" and "had it coming to her", as Rick would have us believe.  I wonder if he really feels that a girl who is raped and impregnated should be forced to carry that pregnancy to term?  I wonder if he would feel that way if he had a daughter in that situation?  If so, he's heartless.  At best, he's a hypocrite.

Honestly?  I won't vote for anyone who makes abortion a strong part of their platform in an election.  Allowing abortion rights to become part of the discussion as if the topic is anywhere close to being one of the major threats to our nation today, well, I think it's all a bunch of smoke and mirrors and nothing more than a way to get the devoutly religious to vote for you.  Kat, my former BFF of yore, she told me once, in the midst of her Mormon years, that she could never vote for a candidate that supported legalized abortion.  People, that scared me.  It scared me because she's smart, and she could see and freely admit her candidate had some nasty flaws, but the abortion issue trumped all others - even if it meant war and reductions in our freedoms.

What I don't understand is why people worry so much about abortion, when there are real live people next door who need food and help paying their electric bills?  That lady you're yelling at on the sidewalk while she makes her way to the clinic?  She's aborting because she can't afford to feed the kids she already has, and you already say horrible things about her because she survives with the help of WIC and food stamps - now you're saying "Let us help you!  We can help your baby!"  You don't care about her baby - you won't help her with midnight feedings and 2 a.m. diaperings.  You won't be around to explain to the other kids why they're having cereal for dinner again tonight, or why the lights got turned off for a week last month.

I've got an idea.  I suggest we take all the money and effort and man-hours the devoutly religious put into anti-abortion protests and legislation - let's take all that money and put it toward public service programs that educate women about reproductive health and safety.  Hand out condoms.  Offer low-cost birth-control options for women.  Set up food banks that feed local needy families.  Set up neighborhood volunteer child-care programs to give people who can't afford day-care an opportunity to find outside-the-home work and maybe start to make better lives for themselves and their children.  I propose that if we, as a people, put our efforts into lifting up the people in our communities that need help, we'd see abortion numbers drop.  Not go away completely, that will never happen so long as women are getting pregnant.  But the "i can't afford to have this kid" or "i didn't know i could get pregnant when i was on my period" abortions would decline.  I'll bet ya five dollars.

Well, so much for a chat.  Fucking soapbox - excuse me, I'm going to go put this away now.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I went to Chicago today, what did you do?

And can I just say, 4:30 is way too fucking early to wake up.  (Unless you're just waking up to pee and can go straight back to sleep, that's okay.)

I wore the wrong shoes.  WAY wrong.  Knee-high boots with a 4 inch heel wrong.  Fuck me, what was I thinking?  I've not flown since January 2006, and I managed to forget in 5 years that the concourses between gate and parking garage are 5 miles long.   It wasn't bad the first five miles, in Louisville - my feet were still sleeping, I think; after all, it was only 5:30 in the morning.  But when we landed at Midway, and I was chasing behind my 6'5" bossman, I started to feel the burn - felt like the balls of my feet were being poked with hundreds of hot needles every step I took.  I started hoping our appointments wouldn't require facility tours.

We got our rental and quickly realized our first appointment wasn't an hour north of the airport as bossman had believed - it was "15" minutes away in downtown Chicago.  Our appointment was set for 10 a.m.; current local time was 6:50 a.m.  We had time for breakfast.  (And a lot of time to kill, but I was hungry, so breakfast was my only real concern, other than the ache that was starting in the arch of my left foot.)

Bossman has been to Chicago a lot, and as we approached the city he talked of its history and distinctiveness with the familiarity of one who knows his way around.  But, I soon learned, there was a kink in the system - the GPS Lady.  She got us to the heart of the city via whatever expressway that was, but once we were among the tall tall buildings, she lost her triangulated satellite signals and, thus, lost her reliability. Bossman, however, is apparently a very trusting soul - as demonstrated by him circling our destination no less than three times, spewing a steady stream of curses toward GPS Lady as she shouted back "RECALCULATING! RECALCULATING!"  My favorite circle, though, was the last one - we realized our error and KNEW we needed to take the next three rights and we'd arrive at our destination.  As we approached the second turn (Wacker Avenue, for the record), GPS Lady suddenly barks "RECALCULATING!" and changes the purple line we're supposed to be following right onto Wacker into a straight line across Wacker.  Bossman screams "FUCK!  WHAT THE FUCK!  IT JUST CHANGED!!!  DID YOU SEE THAT?  IT CHANGED!!!" as he drives straight across Wacker, as per the new, unreliable, non-triangulated instructions from that lying bitch GPS Lady.


"What the fuck, Bossman?!," I ask politely as my stomach finishes eating its own lining in protest of the fact that we've just, again, extended our hunt for food.  "You KNEW you needed to go right!  Why did you stay straight?  YOU KNOW SHE'S A LYING BITCH!!!"

"Don't tell my wife," was his laughing response.  "She gets so mad at me."   Yeah.  I'll bet.

GPS Lady there in the lower left corner

Chicago has lots of tall buildings.

We did not eat here. No WiFi.

We did eventually find our destination, and secure parking, and feed my belly.  And then we sat there bullshitting for an hour and a half while we waited for 9:45 to arrive so we could go upstairs and present ourselves to our potential customer.  That hour and a half gave me a good opportunity to question my right to call myself a woman, as women who exuded sexy and class and style traipsed past me in their sharp heels and powerful business suits.  I really need to learn to dress better, is what I kept thinking.  I need to try harder.  I felt frumpy.  Blech.

Our meeting went well after a rocky start - you could tell she wasn't excited to see us, but she warmed up eventually.  Afterward, we had hours before our next appointment - Bossman offered to drive around the city a bit and show me a few sights.  We briefly discussed lunch, but breakfast hadn't been too long before and neither of us was hungry just yet.  We drove uptown and then down Michigan Avenue, over to Lake Shore Drive, and decided to stop and talk a short walk along Navy Pier.  Walking, you say?  But Natalie, I thought you said your feet hurt?  Why yes, yes I did say that didn't I?  I remembered, Bossman did not.  I didn't want to be a spoil sport, and I wanted to see the sights, and I figured surely someone would be selling flip flops near the we parked the car and off we went.

As Seen On Married With Children:

Look!  Another Tall Building!

Pirates!!! Arrggg!

Bob Newhart and I discussed my Frump.  
He was nice about it.  

Hi Chicago!!!

If you ever find yourself in Chicago, in horribly uncomfortable shoes, with someone who suggests a walk on Navy Pier, and you think "Hmm...I'll bet they sell comfortable shoes right there at the entrance to Navy Pier" before you say "Sure, let's go for a walk", well, let me save you some trouble - they don't sell shoes at the entrance of the Navy Pier.  And you need to look closely into the dark windows of the building on the left - there are shops in there and two of them sell shoes - but the store at the end of the Pier that I went into first because I didn't see the other two stores, that one doesn't sell flip flops.  The point of the story is that I did eventually find a pair of flip flops, and they are cute, as they have a pirate theme to them.  The point is most definitely not that I paid $20 for a pair of pirate flip flops.

I got to wear the flip flops from about the middle of Navy Pier back to the rental car, and then for the half hour drive to our next appointment - but then the boots of torture were back on the scene.  "If they offer us a tour, can we please politely decline?," I inquired of bossman as I zipped up my hooker boots in the customer's parking lot.  "They're probably going to want to give us a tour," was his reply.  "Fuck" was all I had to say about that.

There was a tour.  A long one, with big stabby needles digging into me every step of the way.  But it eventually ended, and it was over, and Pirate Flops were back in business.  I didn't even care that my gets-a-pedicure-every-three-weeks bossman was now witnessing my chipped-pink-polish toes - fuck appearances, this was a medical emergency.

We headed back in the direction of Midway at 3 p.m. - our flight was scheduled to leave at 4:45.  "I've been worried about time since we were about halfway down the Pier," bossman confesses.  "It'll be fine," I say in that annoyingly positive attitude of mine.  Then we followed a curve in the road and found the traffic and came to a dead stop.  It was 3:20 and we had five miles before our exit.  "There's no way we're going to make it unless our flight's delayed," said bossman.  "I'm sure they'll hold the flight for us," I replied as I pulled my Blackberry from my purse.  Sure as shit, our flight status was delayed.  Hot dog.  "It's all going to be fine," I grinned.

It says:  

We got off at the next exit and dutifully followed GPS Lady's recalculated directions, which were accurate right up until the end, when she directed us down a residential street for 2 miles when we really should've gone straight and turned directly into the airport.  But we made it with an hour to spare before boarding, and we were convinced we were home free...

And then Homeland Security had to go and get involved.  Have you ever flown from Midway?  There is a wall of people waiting to have their shoes and laptops and purses x-rayed, their bewbies and junk felt with the back of a stranger's hand.  And the line bossman picks is always the slowest - those are his words, not mine.  For some reason, I left the line I chose to get into the line he picked...and for the next half hour, we watched every other line move forward while our line stood still.  Our TSA guy, I'm pretty sure it was his first day.  That, or he let a terrorist on a flight last week and now they're watching him super close.  This is how it went going from our line to the actual screening area:

Hand TSA dude ID and boarding pass.
He stares at ID for a full three seconds.
Looks at you.
Pause for a full second.
"How are you today?"
searches your eyes for some hidden message that says "I'm going to blow up a plane today!",
doesn't find it,
looks back ID for full three seconds.
Looks over to the boarding pass.
Back at you with a look that says "I didn't catch you this time, but one of these days..." while his mouth says "have a nice flight".

It was a little creepy.  And did you know Homeland Security wants us to buy shoes from Zappo's?  It's true.  The advertisements in the bottom of the stuff-to-be-x-rayed trays told me so.

We made it to our gate, found our spot in line near the appropriately numbered pole (in the front, thanks to bossman ponying up the extra $15 per ticket), and promptly, as if they really had been awaiting our arrival, they announced our flight was ready to board.  How's that for timing?

Bye Chicago!!!

Our return flight was uneventful, and I was back in baby's arms before 8 o'clock.  And my feet hurt so bad, but I'm soaking them in hot water in a big ol' gray rubbermaid tote because I ain't got one of them faincy foot bath thingamabobbers and Jimi swears this will make them all better and Jimi's usually right about everything and it feels so good so I'm going with it.  Did I mention I got up at 4:30?  I'm so tired.

G'night friends.  Sweet dreams.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wait, is that a soapbox I'm standing on? My bad.

I like to think that if I'd been alive in the 1860s, I would've done something to get involved in the abolitionist movement. I most definitely wouldn't have "owned" slaves...right?  I say now, from a 21st century perspective, that I never would've participated in such a ghastly practice, but would I have?  If all my friends did?  Or maybe I would've just sat back and made noises about how slavery is wrong the way they do it in the DEEP south but had at my disposal a dozen excuses for why it was okay for me because I was kinder and more humane.  Or maybe I would've not held any slaves due to my location or position, but would've thought it was perfectly normal and acceptable.  Or maybe I would've been anti-slavery, but in talking points at parties only - you know, the sort that agrees that slavery is a bad thing, but wouldn't dream of actually doing anything about it because of the risks associated with such a movement.

I tell myself that if I'd come of age during the Civil Rights Movement, I would've sat at lunch counters with black friends in protest of laws that said they were equal but not.  I would've marched on Washington...surely I would've.  Right?  Or would I have been too into free love and drugs and rock'n'roll to notice that I didn't have any black friends because we were kept apart in all ways?

There are some things going down right now in this great nation of ours that strike me as being nearly as turning-point, monumental, huge as those two things were.  It feels like we're standing on an edge, and I'm scared to see which way we're going to fall.

Here are some things I was taught to believe about why America is the greatest nation in the world:

1.  Freedom.  Just in general, freedom.  Here, everyone is free to do as they please, provided they're not hurting someone else in the process.  This lesson was taught with a hint that, anywhere else in the world, you'd get arrested for small infractions like talking without raising your hand.
2.  Prosperity.  Here, everyone has enough and there is plenty for everyone.  We're the richest nation in the world!  There are hungry people out there, but they're not here.
3.  Freedom of religion - believe whatever you want!  It's why the Pilgrims came here, after all.
4.  Opportunity - you can be whomever or whatever you wish, if you're willing to work hard enough.
5.  Separation of Church and State, Separation of Government Powers, Checks and Balances, Justice is Blind.

Part of me, the child who loved fireworks and singing The Star Spangled Banner and saying the Pledge of Allegiance each morning and raising the school's stars and stripes, part of me still can feel the pride swell up  the way it did when I used to believe in those things.  Once upon a time, I knew those things to be truths the way I knew my name was Natalie.  That childhood/adolescent patriotism has been replaced by cynicism and doubt and mistrust in a system I thought was designed to protect the least of those among us.  What happened to the American Dream?  Is it just growing up that takes away all the shiny and replaces it with stark reality?  Or have things really gotten that bad?

Our elected officials lie to us about pictures they send on the internet, and we think they're going to tell us the truth about where our tax dollars are going?  The corporations that threw the world's economy into a tailspin get billions in government bailouts, but we're told pensions for firefighters and policemen and teachers are bankrupting us?  Our politicians are fucking us six ways to Sunday while they whisper sweet nothings in our ears, like how Planned Parenthood is the devil because they provide abortions and pap smears and condoms to women without medical insurance.  Oh my God, and whatever you do, don't let gay people get married because it'll be the end of the world as we know it - there will be donkey shows on Main Street at 3:00 and 4:30 every afternoon, your husband will suddenly need 2 more wives, and little Johnny will start humping the family dog.

What the fuck, America?  Are we that lazy and dumb that we're just going to sit here and watch while stupid takes over our nation?

I've got to do something.  I don't know what, but I'm going to figure something out.  I'll write a letter or hold a sign or get sprayed by a firehose or something - I just can't take sitting here and watching this country I grew up loving go all to shit.

Why is the American public suffering while Wall Street laughs all the way to the bank?  Why are we allowing our elected officials to attack the ones who are supposed to educate and protect us?  Why are we trying to strip medical access from the poor?  Why are we treating people like they're second class citizens because of who they want to fuck?  (Hello, Congress, I'm talking to you, you scandalous cretins - you should be the first ones on the "don't judge me for my sexual behaviors" bandwagon.)

I just can't take the hypocrisy.  I can't stand the dumb.  How do I fix it?  Where do I start?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday always comes with a side of guilt.

I walked the dog and mowed the back yard before 11 this morning.  Jimi made us an awesome breakfast of ham & egg croissant sammiches.  We loaded Finn into the truck and explored Jefferson Memorial Forrest. We made a healthy dinner and ate not-so-healthy ice cream for dessert.  I stripped the bed and washed the sheets and blanket and Jimi made the bed once those things came from the dryer.  I swept the kitchen floor and washed the rugs.  I ran the dishwasher, Jimi unloaded and reloaded it.  We carted the week's dirty clothes downstairs, sorted them into piles, and started the laundering.

So much got done today; I should feel a sense of accomplishment.

All I feel is guilt; I didn't go see Brother this weekend.  I worry I've let him down.

He sent me a letter.  I've not yet sent one in return.  I'm bad about letters...I start them, but I never finish them, never send them.  In this letter, he included a list of music he wants me to find and burn onto discs for him.  A page of names and words I don't recognize,

lol Boosie - Incarcerated
lil Boosie - Bad Azz Vol 1 & 2
lil Boosie - Superbad
Yo Gotti - Cocaine Music
Lil Wayne - No Ceilings
Gucci Mane - Guccimerica
Camron - Killa Cam
Young Jeezy - Trappin' Ain't Dead

What is this shit?  In the days of Napster or Limewire, I would've had it covered, but I don't know how to get music these days without paying money for it, and I'm not paying money for this music.  

I'm going to write a letter.  And send it.  Tomorrow.  I double dog dare myself.  

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dirty Panties

Fuck.  Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.


I'm wearing dirty panties.  How does this happen?! 

Well, I know how it happened.  Our bag of clean clothes left over from our camping trip is still in the middle of the dining room floor.  Trying to avoid another trip to the basement this morning, I rummaged through the bag in search of clean underoos.  In the dark.  I assumed everything in the bag was clean.  I was wrong.


Oh well.  I was debating if I should go home for lunch today or not - guess now I have my answer. 

Happy Friday!

Look, dude. I TOLD you. Don't call me, I'll call YOU!

Another call at 6:49 this morning.  Enough.

"I'm not sure if you're aware, but the number you're reaching me on is my cell phone.  Is it possible for you to call the office and leave a message if you're trying to reach me before 8?"  That's not unreasonable, is it?

"Oh.  I thought this was your work phone, your work cell," came his country reply.

"It is.  That's doesn't fucking mean you can call me at all hours of the day and night.  How about you give me your cell phone number and I'll call you at (what time do you get up?  5?)  4:45 every morning for the next week?  Oh, and let me know when you're on vacation next so I can call you three times each day then, too, like you did to me last week.  Cocksucker."  That's what I wanted to say.

"It is.  I have to sleep with my phone in case drivers have trouble during the night, but I don't get into the office until 8, and if you call me before then, my husband is being woken up and he likes to sleep too."  That's what I said.

Yes, I'm in a position where I need to be available for my customers.  But the sort of things he's calling about?  Not critical things that can't wait until 8:05 when I'm at my desk.

Am I being unreasonable?  Is it unprofessional to ask my customer to wait until normal business hours to call my cell phone with business questions?  If I go to work this morning and tell my boss this story is he going to look at me like I've grown a second head and give me a lesson on customer service?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I changed my comment system.

BlogHer told me to.  Well, not the actual BlogHer, but some chick who they think is awesomer than me who writes for them (and she obviously is awesomer than me, because she understands how to do this blog thing whereas I am simply practicing typographical diarrhea over here).

Anyhow.  Comment System - I changed mine to Disqus.  I'm not really sure what all that means just yet, but I know that now I can reply to your individual comments in a way that doesn't make me feel awkward and weird and uncomfortable the way I feel when I go back after 5 of you have said something and I'm all "Yeah, I like that too; no, that wasn't so bad; sure, I'll send you the recipe" all in one little comment box -  That's what leads to me not replying to comments at all and then feeling like an asshole for ignoring comments and then I get all froze up and worry that no one will ever like me because I'M NOT DOING IT RIGHT!!!

What were we talking about?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Things I remember better than what I did yesterday...

...The time my Momma's Oldsmobile was hit by that lady who ran the stop sign.  It was 1983; I was three and seat belt laws didn't exist yet.  I think car seats were optional for toddlers.  I was in my car seat, with its brown padded bar that came down over my head to form a sort of tray in front of me - I loved to beat my hands on that, I still remember the way it felt and sounded - but the bar wasn't there that day.  We weren't going far, so Momma had put me in the car seat, but I wasn't buckled or fastened in any way.  I was just hangin' out.  And then the car lurched and I somersaulted from my car seat in the back over the middle console and came to rest with my back to the dash and my legs over my head.  I was confused - what just happened? - and I looked up and over at my Momma.  Her forehead was full of blood; the windshield was cracked.  I have fuzzy memories of an ambulance arriving to take Momma to the hospital, and Granny staying behind with me; I wasn't hurt, just confused.  

...Running down the short hallway of our apartment to greet Daddy at the door when he came home from work. Many days, he was carrying a 40 oz. beer, usually a Budweiser.  I'd beg for a sip and he'd give in - it was the nastiest taste ever, but Daddy liked it so I wanted some.  I was 4.

...Wearing my Momma's bowling shoes and trying to imagine a day when I'd be able to lift that big heavy ball.  

...The feeling of terror and incompetence that came over me the first time I walked into my 3rd grade classroom and saw a cursive alphabet circling the room.  My Daddy was holding my hand, and I looked up at him and whispered, "Daddy, I don't think I can do this."  "Yes you can," he whispered back.  He was right.

...That time in 4th grade when we were saving cans to recycle to earn money for our class trip - we poured out bags and bags full of cans on the concrete basketball courts outside the school and had a can-crushing party.  I'd worn sandals that day - cheap one made of white fake-leather laces - and a can I was trying to crush cut my instep deeply.  I didn't tell anyone because the other kids made fun of me enough as it was, and I worried for days about the possibility of infection.  

...That time in 5th grade when Wendy Wilson pushed me into a table while Ms. Dixon was out of the room.  I was the class tattle-tale, and Wendy didn't care that I'd been left in charge as room monitor.  I remember her pushing me, I remember falling into the table, I remember knocking things over with my flailing arms, I remember feeling embarrassed and wanting to cry but not quite daring to - but I can't remember if I told on her.  I don't think I did.  

(In response to RemembeRED - because I read Ixy's and Katie's and they're brilliant and they inspired me to remember.)

Don't call me, I'll call you.

"I'm sorry to call you so late..."  He trailed off.  He was waiting for my response, my polite "Oh, that's okay" or "No big deal".  I could hear him breathing on the other end of the line, waiting for my assurance that him calling on my cell phone for the seventh time today (3rd time outside of business hours - the first call came at 6:50 this morning) was quite alright and perfectly acceptable.  

I said nothing.  I waited for him to continue with the reason for his call, and when he didn't, I asked (in my "I hate you but I'm going to be very nice to you because you're my customer but if I could punch you in the dick right now, I would" voice), "How can I help you?"

He didn't need much.  The call ended within moments.  That's not the point.

I hate my cell phone.  HATE.  Loathe.  Carrying this torture device is a requirement of my job, and so is sleeping with the fucker.  Thanks to my first harrowing six months in this position, I have physical reaction to the sound of my ringtone - my heart rate jumps as my stomach falls with that sickening "I'm in trouble/something bad just happened" feeling (you know the one I mean, right?).   I feel put out and put upon and bothered and annoyed by the fact of someone demanding my attention for work-related matters when I'm supposed to be on my own time.  

My boss says "When you are in a position such as ours, you're never completely 'off'" with a little grin and a chuckle, as he calls me on weekends or during vacations.  I laugh and say "I know" in my "I hate you but I'm going to be very nice to you because you're my boss but if I could punch you in the dick right now, I would" voice.

A friend told me this weekend of a job opening with a national employer - similar pay, different perks, a mega-shit-ton less stress.  They swear I'd be a shoo-in.  No more phone calls at 3 a.m.?  An opportunity to take a vacation without fear of crying non-stop for two weeks after while I try to catch up?  Free booze and cab fare?  (One of the 'different' perks)  Of course I considered it.  

But I've been here for 4 years - thanks to the moving I did in my 20s, that's a personal best.  And I've got security that's unheard of in today's economy.  And if I want to double my salary in the next 5 years, I can make it happen.  And I get a big fat bonus each year.  And my boss loves me.  And I can take my dog to work.  And I can wear jeans every day.  And I can say "fuck" a lot.  

And if I'm honest with myself, a lot of the stress that comes from my job could be remedied with longer hours spent at the office.  If I spent more time now, getting things in better order and more organized and with better processes and procedures, a lot of the awfulness could be alleviated for the long term.  That's probably what I need to do, right?  

I've gone in early the last two days.  I'll do it the next two days, too.  I'm going to beat this - I'm going to make this job my bitch.  Meanwhile, I guess a few before- and after-hours phone calls aren't such a bad trade-off for everything I'm getting in return.  

But that doesn't mean I won't continue to perfect my various work-safe ways to say "fuck off".

Sunday, June 5, 2011

It's important to me that I record this, and I don't know why.

We have the same arms.

No really.  Look!
Our skin tone, our freckles - they are the same.  

Jimi was my hero this weekend.
In more ways than one.  
(More about that later, I just really needed to point out the same-arm thing.)

My weekend was...


And I'm so glad to be home.  And to have clean feet again.

How was your weekend?


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