File this under: Reasons I’m going to hell

I think that some people assume that I am different around different people.  That would be a big, fat no.  Never.  I am who I am who I am.  I knew a girl, once, who was like tofu.  I swear to you, I could almost watch her personality shift as she glommed onto new people who came into the room.  I resolved to never be different people in different situations.  I am real.  And true to myself.  I mean, I know when to stay quiet (although I kinda still suck at that), and generally speaking, I know time and place.  I try not to swear in front of children.  I try to speak, in difficult situations, in a way that is productive.  I try to be supportive, but firm.  I’m not always successful at this.  Hence, today’s post:

My daddy is a wonderful man and I love him dearly.  He can be, though, a little on the needy side.  There are three things that he has to have all. the. time.  Soda (Pepsi, in particular), cigarettes (he’s been smoking for, like, 58 years.  No joke), and beer (Budlight).  And when any one of these run out, it’s like the end of the universe.  He will call, over and over and over again, until he reaches me and I take him to the store.

Yesterday, I was busy.  Not just busy, like I have things to do like everyone does.  I mean, swamped.  Buried, if you will.  And, seriously, he calls no less than 9 times in an hour.  No message.  Just call after call.  I figure that it must be a fake emergency, because when it is a real emergency (death and/or destruction), he leaves messages.

Finally, I answer and he tells me the news: he’s out of cigarettes.  *gasp* (That was a sarcastic gasp.  Just wanted to make sure you read it correctly).  So I tell him I will pick him up around noon and we’ll go.  I ask him, “Is there anywhere else you need to go?”  He says no.  But lo and behold, when I pick him up… he needs to go, not only to get smokes, but also beer.  Oh, and KFC.  I couldn’t even stop myself and I say:

SONOFAMOTHERFUCKING BITCH!  Are you KIDDING me?  I asked you not even *2* hours ago if you had anywhere else to go!

He looks at me, at that moment, like I was going to catch on fire and physically moves his boy as far from me as possible, while I am driving 35 miles an hour.  I am flustered.  And suddenly I realize that I am a horrible daughter.

I take a deep breath and sigh.  “I’m sorry, dad.  I’ll take you. I’m sorry if I make you feel bad.  I’m just swamped at work right now.”  And I did take him.

But, just so you know: my inappropriateness knows no bounds.  I’m a lot of things, but a fake isn’t one of them.  I say nothing I don’t mean.  To a fault.

Yesterday, though, the devil put a little notch next to my name.

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What a tangled web

It was several years ago when the hubs left for a business trip. Truth be told, I never enjoyed it when he left on trips. I don’t imagine I ever will. This time, I was so sad. Without him there to do all the little things that guys do, how was I to fend for myself? Plus….I sorta love the guy. A lot.

He was in California. Compton, to be exact. You don’t know this, but my husband = the whitest guy I know (almost). At least visually. So the thought of him in Compton sorta cracked me up.

But I digress.

He was away. I was on my way to work on the first day without him for the week. I head out to get in my car and I notice there are weird spider webs on the car door and near the door lock. I brush them away with my purse and key, and get in my car. (**Side note. I freakin’ HATE spiders. Actually, I hate all insects. They freak me out. I’m itching just thinking about them. Ugh….)

So there I am, driving. I’m driving west, so the sun is behind me. I have my radio up, and life is good. I turn the corner, onto a busy street, facing south now and I see it. And by it, I mean them. Hundreds of thin threads of silk spun from every corner of my windshield onto the dashboard. Instantly, I am losing. my. mind. This is the most horrifying thing I can imagine. I’m scratching and basically driving from as far back in my seat as I can be. I’d drive from the backseat, if I could. I’m *freaking out* in a way that you can’t imagine. Except, I am driving about 40 miles an hour in rush hour traffic. I can’t afford to crash my car into a fiery blaze, or I would. So I haul ass to get to work.

I jump out. There are literally HUNDREDS of webs. But I can’t see any spider. I begin to think, Okay. Maybe it was there and then crawled out. So I go inside to work and grab the duster and Lysol and I bomb the fuck out of my car. Dusting and spraying like I am trying to fog this damn thing straight out of my car. Feeling satisfied, and now out of an entire can of disinfectant, I go inside and work my day’s work.

That night, I had plans to meet my girlfriends for a movie. I open my car door and look in, like I expect the damn bug to be sitting in the passenger seat. It’s not there. I sigh and climb in, knowing that I don’t have an out. The hubs, who isn’t afraid of anything, would gladly have scoured my car to quell my fears by now. In a panic, I call him. I tell him the story.

Him: So… you know it’s probably still in there, right?
Me: What in the hell are you talking about? I sprayed everything with Lysol.
Him: And? He probably crawled inside the dash. (I’m agitated because now he is giving this disgusting arachnid personal characteristics. “He?” How does he know it’s a “he”?)
Me: (whining) Aaaaaaahhhhhhh…. you’re not helping.
Him: What do you want me to do?
Me: I want you to tell me it’s gone and that I’m worried for nothing so I can drive to this damn movie and go on with my life.
Him: (clearly pacifying me) It’s nothing. He’s gone. You’re worried for no reason. Go on with your life.
Me: (sighing) Sheesh… was that so hard?

I go on to tell him that I miss and love him, blah blah blah.

I drive for about 45 minutes to the theater, thinking constantly about this bug and how it’s probably still with me. But trying to be a big girl and get over the whole stupid thing.

I am incredibly itchy. And every time my hair moves or my skirt brushes my leg or the fabric of my shirt adjusts I quickly brush my skin, all the while, telling myself that I am crazy and overreacting.

I have dinner. I see the movie. I’m headed home. No traffic now, and I’m blazing down the highway toward my house and I feel this tickle across my legs. I am trying to be nonchalant about it. But I feel it again. I brush my legs. There it is, again. And again. Finally, I can’t stop myself and I look down in just enough time to see it. This enormous hairy spider building a new life near my feet. (**Side note, it wasn’t that big. Actually, it was a tiny green spider that I saw running around my ankle.)

Nonetheless, I almost wrap my car around a light post. I brush my ankle and make a new course for the most well-lit location I can get to. That night, it was a gas station. I am not even at a complete stop before I hop out of the car and dance around like my clothes are on fire. I’m literally having a mental break next to Pump 4. It’s probably 9pm and the clerk is inside looking at me like he isn’t sure if this is some sort of mental illness ritual or if he needs to notify the authorities. I’m not sure, either, at this point. If he would’ve asked, I would have demanded a fire truck and possibly hazmat. He doesn’t ask. Probably better for all involved.

I am staring at my phone in the passenger seat. I need to call my husband. What am I going to do? I get on my knees (yes, I am still dressed professionally from work), and peer into the darkness to see if I can see it. I spend about 15 minutes looking. I go around to the other side of the car and open the door, half-expecting it to jump onto my face and bite me and my skin to begin decomposing. Seriously. I’m freaking out. I do this same on-my-knees inspection. I see nothing. I grab my phone and quickly slam the door to prevent Mr. Spider from coming out of its clever hiding spot to kill me. I know my husband will laugh at me, so I call the next best person: my daddy.

This is why I love my daddy. He’s already in bed, but listens, and calmly instructs me to get into my car and drive home (which is 5 blocks away). He will leave a can of bug spray out on his balcony for me (he lives next door), and I can spray my car and that will take care of it.

I take a deep breath and jump in my car and take off. I get home, jump out of the car and, lights on and everything, run to my daddy’s balcony to get the spray. This time, it’s no holds barred. I am spraying every surface of this vehicle like I’m washing it with Raid. I throw the can into the car, slam the door, lock it and run into my house where I proceed to strip out of every fiber of clothing on my way to the shower and spend an inordinate amount of time scrubbing my entire body. I wonder if I shouldn’t be spraying raid on my legs, too.

The next day, nothing. He’s either gone, or dead. But, after that little experience, I’ve never had a web or a bug inside my car. There must be legends in the spider world about this woman and a can of Raid.

The moral of the story?
#1 – I can survive a few days without the hubs.
B) Spiders have no chance against me.
And lastly…Start with Raid and you’ll never have a problem again.

Letters of love

I told you, in another post, how much I love reading letters.  I love reading letters.  I love writing letters.  I love getting letters.  Always.  I’d rather get a letter than a card.  I’d rather get something handwritten or hand-typed than something that is canned.  There is something wonderful and moving about the truth in words.

I love giving letters to people.  It is one of my favorite things.  It’s possible that the people I have given letters to haven’t read them.  It’s also possible that they didn’t give a crap about what I said in them.  However, most of the time these days, letters are written because there is something that needs to be said.  It isn’t always easy or convenient to say it to someone in person.  Sometimes, it’s the only way you can get through.  And, for me and my soul, I have to say it, once I think it.
(**Side note: I will add a bit of bitterness here.  If you do get a letter from someone, know that they wrote it with an open heart.  I think that it’s near impossible to fill words on a screen or on a page without inserting true honest emotion there.  So, if you get a letter, read it and tell them that you read it.  It will make them happy.)

At any rate, I stumbled upon this website and it made an impact on me:  Letters of Note.  You should check it out.  Really.  It’s lovely.

That is all for today.  Carry on.

How sweet it is

My daughter turns 16 years old today.  Wow….. I am somewhat at a loss for words.

But, wait…. that never lasts long.

I was going to write all of these flowery things about parenthood and the glory of it… but I decided against it.  Instead, I’m going to tell you about the first diaper I ever changed:

It was the day after I delivered.  I was rested (for the first time in months), after getting an almost full night’s rest on my tummy (which is how I sleep).  They brought her to me.  I was all refreshed and ready to tackle motherhood (like it was an inbox full of paperwork). They were so excited and said, “She had her first bowel movement!  So we wanted you to have the opportunity to change it!”  I’m smiling like it’s Christmas morning.
(*Side note: I was also loaded on drugs from a rather difficult delivery.  So, in hindsight, the fact that I was excited to see poop should have been my first clue that something was very wrong with this situation.)
They lay her down on the bed and I stand before her, looking like I am about to unwrap the present of my dreams.  Should you be interested in knowing, a baby’s first bowel movement is described in the books as different from any other time in their life.  …. But nothing could have prepared me.

I took her out of her blanket, undid the little diaper with the cute little bunnies on it, and saw a type of unspeakable horror that cannot be  unseen.  It. Was. Awful.  I gasped and stood there, dumbfounded, while this sweet little child wiggled around below me.  It didn’t make sense.  How could something that…that… horrible come from this adorable little thing?

I must have looked like a truck was about to run over me.  I was, incidentally, rooming with another woman who had just delivered her fifth child.  She saw me, standing there, mouth agape, and came and stood next to me.  She said, “Oh… first baby?”  I think I nodded and stammered something about the smell.  She said, “Let me help you.”  And there you go.  God sent me a sweet angel to change my baby’s first diaper.

Remember that, moms-and-dads-to-be.  First diaper of their little lives = horror.  I don’t care how stupid excited they are to bring the baby to you, it’s gross.  And I think they laugh about it later.  Like, “Hey… did you see her face?!?!  She actually had to have someone *else* change the diaper!”  I’m sure it’s a story they tell over cocktails at a party.

But…. all that aside…. she’s 16 now.

It has been a lot of ups and downs.  Thinking back, I can say, with assurance, that we did things the best way we could.  It has *not* been easy.  But it has been wonderful.  And my sweet little girl, who 16 years ago had the nastiest, smelliest, most horrifying thing come out of her, is a fantastic human being.  And I love her.

It isn’t enough just to turn on your porch light

Trust me, I do have some lighter posts coming, but I postponed their publish date so I could vent about this.

I’ll join the Caylee Anthony/ Casey Anthony commentary (along with thousands of other bloggers), and say this: the saddest part about the whole thing isn’t the lack of justice.  It’s that a little girl lost her life – regardless of who did it.  I wasn’t glued to the TV, watching the trial.  To be honest with you, I don’t feel like the cameras should even be in the courtroom. (Hello?  Does anyone remember OJ Simpson?) One lady said she spent $3,000 over the course of the trial to camp out and stand in line to get her place in the courtroom 15 times.  Here’s the thing – I have a life.  I have a job.  I can’t afford to spend hours a day watching the trial.  I barely get time to watch my favorite TV show every week.

But even if I did have the time, I still don’t know that I would.  Sure, I read the articles on Yahoo and in the newspaper.  I heard what people were saying.  My opinion is that this woman was a terrible parent.  She was neglectful and self-absorbed and shouldn’t have had a child.

I don’t know if she killed her.  I wasn’t on the jury.  And neither were the “rest of us”.  It is crazy to me how pissed off at the system people are because the verdict wasn’t what the “rest of us” thought.  Guess what?  That is how the system works!  If it was a public trial and we could all call in our votes like American Idol, maybe things would have been different.  But that doesn’t mean it would have been right.  Justice is as justice does.  Her true judgement comes, not from her peers, but before God.  Her role in her child’s life and death will be handled by Him.

That isn’t even the thing that really lights my ass up.  The thing that has me really flaming pissed is the same passive approach people have about child abuse or rape or domestic violence.  We’ll all light our candles or turn on our porch lights “in remembrance of Caylee” but I’ll be damned if a fraction of a percent of these people actually go out and make a real difference.  You want to turn on your porch light?  Great.  How about you stand up to a parent who is screaming at their child in the parking lot of the grocery store?  How about volunteering with at risk youth or teen parent programs?  How about making a charitable donation to a child abuse awareness charity?  How about spending time with new/young mothers and mentor them?  How about writing to your congressman and asking for stricter standards on welfare and government support for families with children?

Or…. turn on your porch light.  And then, tomorrow, when you have the opportunity to invoke real change and make a real difference, you can absolve yourself of responsibility by saying, “Well, I turned on my porch light.”

Yep.  I’m super fired up about this.

I lived in situations that were horrible, so I have a very specific opinion about this.  My mother beat me.  She neglected me.  She verbally abused me.  She ruined my childhood.  You know how many people turned their eyes from it?  You know how many people ignored the writing on the wall?  Lots and lots and lots.  Only one person stepped out of their box and helped me out of that situation and saved my life.  Only one.

So, attention all of you whiners: get over it.  The justice system does exactly what it is supposed to.  Don’t bitch the next time you have jury duty, because there’s a chance that it might be *you* in that box making the decisions about a case like this.  Until then, I hope you do turn on your porch lights.  In the same way that I hope people keep wearing pink ribbons to promote Breast Cancer awareness.

But at the end of the day: fuck awareness.  Try making a change that will make a difference.

And you can quote me on that.