Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dreams of dying

A couple nights ago, I had a very vivid dream about my mom dying. It was totally uncool.

It was one of those dreams that seems to go on and on and on all night. And when I woke up, I remembered it vividly. Its really rare that I dream about people I am close to - I'm more likely to dream about the kid who pulled my ponytail in 2nd grade than I am to dream about the Prof.
In the dream, my mom died fairly suddenly. Somewhere in the dream I told someone that it was cancer. I remember feeling very alone - no grandparents, and now no parents. I remember trying to get someone to feel sorry for me - I lost my dad and grandma in one week, and now my mom! I didn't go to the funeral because I had to work. At the drugstore - my high school job. Dream susan apparently thought it made total sense to go to a minimum wage job instead of to her mom's funeral.

It was so confusing and weird and disturbing. I woke up definitely feeling out of sorts, and the week hasn't been so great since. I've had some headaches, and I've been really tired.

I guess maybe, just maybe, I might be having some feelings. Some sorrow and sadness and fear about losing more people in my life. I've done a really good job of just moving on after this fall, but maybe I shouldn't have. God, I don't think I've cried since the funerals. Not once.

At any rate, my mom and I had a good conversation yesterday about how we felt sad; sad for us and sad for dad and momom. We don't often talk about feelings, so it was a little strange. But good, and I know she needs to talk about stuff and it wouldn't hurt me to talk about it.

Let's hope everyone stays alive in my brain tonite when I go to sleep.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Whose afraid of the big bad mood?

Tonight, I am in a foul, horrid mood.

I don't really know what happened. I had kind of a busy and annoying day at work. And I was finally able to put in words how work was going: I feel like I'm in charge of 5 boulders that are all rolling down the hill. I'm in charge of keeping them on the hill, so I just run from one to the other, pushing it back up, while the other ones charge down the hill. There's some biblical dude who did that, but he only had one boulder. That's easy! I have five.

I got hung up at work a little bit late taking care of random stuff, and didn't get home until 6. Not normally a problem, but my agenda for the night was: mow grass, eat dinner, pack kayaking stuff and head to Prof's for the night. Then I realized I had some school work that still had to be done. So, I was feeling stressed and pressed for time.

Then I got home. And my level of annoyance and anger just shot through the roof.

I have asshole neighbors. That's the only way I can put it. They are uneducated, inconsiderate and breed like bunnies. I can't keep track of how many people live in the house, but its at least Mom, son #1, his wife, his child and son #2, plus some random cousins and homeboys. Son #1 is like what, 24, has been in jail several times for drugs and drunk driving and, hey, imagine this, is unemployed.

So son #1 and all of his douchebag, unemployed, good for nothing friends hang out all day, all night on the front porch, which is no big deal, but their front porch is attached to MY front porch. And their back porch is 3 feet away from MY back porch. I have to wade through cigarette smoke and rap music almost every time i leave my house. And tonite, I lost it. They got to me.

I've spent the last 3 hours fuming at them. I've asked them to quiet down once, and it worked for 2.5 seconds, then they went back to it. You can't reason with people who have been drinking all day, so, kindly asking them again to shut the fuck up just isn't going to be effective.

I can't explain to you how horrible it is. I can't get away from them. The walls are thin - I can hear them in all parts of the house. And all I want to do is relax and chill and go to bed early. And all I can do is concentrate on the cursing and disrespecting and male posturing coming from 8-10 disenfranchised young men.

So, I was too stressed and angry to go to Prof's and get away from these jerks. I had a minor meltdown while i was trying to finish homework and block the sounds of idiocracy out. On the verge of tears. How can it be that noise and assholes can have such a profound impact on me and my sanity?

This is not what Friday night is supposed to be like.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Return of the Bridesmaid

David's Bridal is a horrifying place.

I swore up and down for years and years and years that I would never be a bridesmaid again. That strategy worked for years and years, for the simple reason that nobody was getting hitched. I never really stopped to consider that. "I'm off the hook! I've declared my intentions. Nobody will dare ask me now." Until I wavered, that one time, when I was asked to be a groomsman. I mean, I hadn't declared that I wouldn't be a groomsman, so I hesitated and considered, and hemmed, and hawed, and finally said no (then agreed to do a reading at the wedding (the ex-boyfriends wedding, fyi) which Kiwi ended up doing for me since I was busy burying family members that particular week).

That one moment of hesitation, shared and discussed with real friends and virtual friends, netted me a visit to David's this weekend. Kiwi knew I was weak, and she went in for the kill last summer. And now I'm a bridesmaid again.

So, Kiwi came down for the weekend and made us an appointment at David's. My response? "You need an appointment? At David's?" I just wanted to look at the horrifying dresses and make fun of them. How am I going to do that with a bridal consultant telling me about all the latest taffeta technology? Turns out I didn't really need to be that worried. Our bridal consultant (is that what they are called? I would call them unhelpful) had a neck tattoo, and tats all up and down her arms. I think she may have been loudly chomping gum too - but if she wasn't, she had that hands on hips attitude of a gum chomper.

She asked us what we were looking for (jeans, t-shirt and dress Birkenstocks?). Kiwi has declared that the only rule is that the dress has to be floor length and lapis. They can all be the same, or different. And thank god for that - certain dresses just don't work on certain people. Our bridal consultant, let's just call her Tats, pointed out that the lapis is a slightly different hue each different fabric and suggested that Kiwi pick a fabric for us to stick with. Kiwi wrinkled her nose and said "I don't care about that. They don't need to be exactly the same." Tats was horrified. Like Kiwi would regret forever mismatched lapis fabric. Please. Tats disappeared forever once we started searching the racks. So much for needing an appointment.

We tried to search the racks for dresses, but it proved to be pretty difficult given the 134,000 people that were in the store at 2pm on a rainy Saturday afternoon. If you are a people watcher, I'd highly recommend packing a camp chair and spending the afternoon. Holy Jeezus. There were 16 year olds looking for prom dresses (speaking of horrifying, check out what prom dresses look like these days); hordes of 22 year old children scurrying in and out of dressing rooms, clearly thrilled about getting to look like Cinderella for a day; older women beaming at the prospect of their 2nd, 3rd, 4th wedding; and everywhere you look, big, bouncy, fluffy, puffy dresses. And kids. Little ones I could have hidden under my big fluffy skirt. I nearly knocked several of them over. I think they were stunned into a standing coma by the colors and sparkles. Every person trying on wedding dresses had brought at least 17 people with them to ooh and ah and take up space where I needed to be.

We secured a fitting room, no thanks to Tats, and I proceeded to try on a dozen dresses or more. In and out of the dressing room, fighting my way through small children and giggling teenagers. All the dresses were basically the same; shiny and overpriced. Oh, and scratchy! And soon, I will own one. In lapis.

I'm totally wearing Birkenstocks with it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


As Prof and I come closer and closer to celebrating our year anniversary (that's right, an entire year of boring sappy blog posts. I truly can't believe that any of you are still here, reading my blabberings), stories about women doing more than their fair share, and making more sacrifices than men increasingly catch my attention. Its always interested me, and infuriated me, when I hear stories about women doing more housework than their male partners, women doing more childcare than their male partners and women still making less money than their male counterparts. I vaguely remember the days when I had a boy living with me, and I always felt that way. He would do what he pleased, and I would be holding down the fort, grumbling and cursing, but what's in the past is in the past, right?

Well, maybe, I guess. Because, if Prof and I stay together, we are eventually going to live together. And I'm going to go back to that grumbling, pissed off fort holder-downer. Its inevitable. Because that's what living with someone is like, whether real or imagined, someone always feels like their load is heavier.

So, I thought I would share this recent article with you, from PsychCentral. It basically goes like this: women still shoulder the bulk of household responsibilities. When both the wife and husband are both working professionals, if the husband works over 6o hours a week, the wife's odds of quitting her job increase by 51%; 112% if she is a mother. But if the wife works over 60 hours a week, it has no impact on whether the husband quits or not.

If you are a woman, and you work, and you work damn hard, this should piss you off! Despite 40 years of massive numbers of women in the workforce, the weight of managing the household still sits squarely on our shoulders. And when we can't keep up, we quit our careers instead of holding the guy to task.

Sure, I know, its not that simple. But it still gets my goat, and I want you to be pissed off about it too. And I want you to be mindful of it if its happening to you, or your friends. And I want you to fight it! "What do we want?" "Equality!" "When do we want it?" "Now!"

Now, I'm off to darn Prof's socks...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

House of Pain

We are rapidly approaching the 6 month anniversary of the week I lost my dad and grandmother. Its been fine, really, I have moments of sadness and moments of loss, but overall, its been ok. I tend to miss my grandmother more - we had a good time when we were together and she was a source of information for family stuff (like the names of my mom's friends who I needed to invite to her 60th birthday party. Then I found out mom was turning 59, not 60. Oops. Some birthday present it would have been to throw a 60th birthday party for someone turning 59!)

What's not fine is the state of my father's house. None of us have wanted to touch it all winter. Its a sad place, filled with old furniture and creepy old toys we never threw away. The kitchen and laundry area have been untouched since October. Dad's pills are still on the table. His watch and glasses are where he left them on the last day he walked into the house. The ritz crackers I bought for him because he was nauseous and couldn't eat anything else are still sitting on the counter. Its creepy man. Creepy.

And I just haven't felt like dealing with it.

But yesterday, I took the day off work for the express purpose of making a dent in that damn house. Mom came over to help and we spent a solid 4 hours pulling shit out of drawers, washing stuff to take to goodwill, putting stuff in bags to recycle, putting stuff out for the trash... I filled my car (filled, I tell you) with clothes and bedding too worn out to give away and took it to the fabric recycle place. Mom filled her old suburban with trash and stuff for goodwill. It was gross, dirty work. Nobody, and I mean nobody, should ever have to go through their dead father's underwear drawer.

But that's what you have to do in these situations. End of story.

We found a bag that had two party dresses that my mom wore in the 60's - hand made by my grandmother. One was horrible - picture little bo peep in aqua, with lots of frills (and matching apron. wtf?). One was awesomely beautiful. It was reddish pink shiny fabric, and a cut that wouldn't look out of place at any fancy party today. I tried it on, and discovered that while my waist matches my mother's 1968 measurements, my back/bust is WAY bigger. I wanted to keep it, but what would I do with a fancy 40 year old party dress that didn't fit? We also found her wedding dress - balled up in a bag in the corner of the closet. It was yellowed, and (don't tell her) pretty ugly. Long sleeves, lots of lace. She said she paid something like 100 dollars for it. I think that was too much. I expected Mom to want to keep them all, but she put them in a bag to give away. It was hard to do, but someone will find those party dresses at Goodwill and crap their pants with joy.

Prof unexpected stopped by (ah, the life of a college professor) and my god, was it nice to have him there for support. I made him carry a couple bags out to the car, but he didn't get roped into any real work. Why is it that some boys have the knack of showing up just when the work is ending? I was surprised at how happy I was to have him there to lean on for a few minutes. Plus, he went to go get me lunch. Bonus.

At the end of the day, I smelled bad and was coated with the kind of dust that only lives in abandoned, un-cared-for houses. But it felt really good to take that first step toward dealing with the house.

Now, if only I could get my brother over there to do some work. Did I mention that he wants to buy it? Hello, family drama! Hello, blog posts!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Down Time

I think I've gotten my schizophrenic anxiety and general worry-rat-ness under control, for now anyway. Shit is still way out of control, but its not getting to me quite as much. This weekend may have had something to do with it.

Prof and I took a much needed (maybe not deserved though) break and headed to the beach house for the long Easter weekend. It was his spring break (mine too since I'm technically a student, but spring break doesn't do much for you when you still work full time) and for some reason that I still don't understand, I get Good Friday off from work (I don't really remember why its Good biblically, but any paid Friday off is Good).

I was extra excited because the local weathermen (who are always, always, always wrong and I really should remember that) had promised a gorgeous weekend of near 80 degree temps and sunny skies. It was a gorgeous April weekend, unless of course you packed exclusively for a gorgeous August weekend. Thank god I had a fleece in the car and my rain jacket overwintered (and ripened a nice funky mold) in my kayak.

It was the second time we've got to my beach cottage. The first time was early in the relationship and we were both worried that we'd get on each other's nerves. Of course, that didn't happen. We were still in the getting to know you phase and the crush phase. Everything he said was new and interesting. Everything I suggested we do was met with enthusiasm.

This time, we are in a totally different phase of our relationship, what I would call "maintenance." Nothing is new and interesting; we are both repeating stories we've heard before. We've done everything (well, not really, but you know what I mean). Everything is a repeat. Let's go to that place we went last time. Let's do that thing we did last time. So, I was worried about this trip too, but for totally different reasons. I was worried I'd be bored.

But of course I wasn't. And the weekend was fine and great and wonderful. It was definitely different though. There was a routine, and a kind of nice familiarity with the house, the water, the restaurants, the boardwalk... We did try a couple new restaurants and went to a couple repeats. We randomly met up with some of his friends and had dinner together. Prof, who is not a big drinker, got lit sharing a giant pitcher of margaritas (I was driving, unfortunately) and I got to see him tipsy (drunk?) for the first time in our relationship. So, I guess there is still new stuff to discover.

The weekend away gave me just enough time to decompress and get a handle on things. I got a chance to breathe and reflect and have fun. I'm feeling a bit more in control, though its obvious from the state of my house and the height of the weeds that I'm not. But that's ok. For now...