Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says "Oh shit, she's awake."

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

On turning 50...

Some occasions require quiet moments of reflection.  Such is the case on the eve of my half century birthday.   So…what did I actually learn over these past 50 years?  Obviously this list could be a LOT longer, but then you would all get bored, or think I was Dali Llama or something (joking, I'm not that deep.)  Anyway, here is my top 50...

  1. High school sucks.  Don’t let anyone ever tell you “they are the best years of your life.”  They are full of shit…fact.
  2. You are going to make stupid mistakes.  Accept them. Own them, then move on.  Your past is your past for a reason.
  3. The person in the room with the biggest ego and/or mouth is usually the one who is most insecure.
  4. Shoulder pads are a bad idea.  Always.  So are leg warmers unless you are a dancer.
  5. The older you get, the dumber everyone younger than you looks.  You’re not smarter, but you sure the hell are wiser.  Give them a break. They just haven’t caught up with you yet.
  6. Your twenties are amazing.  You will do things you should have been dead for doing.  You will drink too much and never have a hangover.  You will be shameless AND thoughtless in your actions – all at the same time.  Your twenties are your wreckless years, and you pretty much get a pass, so enjoy them.  Two words...NO REGRETS.  (By the way, after 30, hangovers SUCK.)
  7. You never forget your first love, especially if he is worth remembering.
  8. Take care of your health.  Your body will thank you later.
  9. Drinking and horsebacking riding simultaneously is a really bad idea. Speaking from experience here.
  10. Some men are just assholes.  They will break your heart with total disregard.  Stay away from these losers.  They are so not worth your time.
  11. Procrastination just makes the inevitable more painful.  Knock it out, get it done, and then relax. 
  12. Your mother was right.  Pretty much about everything.
  13. No one will ever take the place of your parents.  They are and always have been your biggest champions.  P.S.  The older you get, the more you realize they were never dumb.  You were just an asshole.
  14. If you are lucky, your siblings will be among your best friends.  I am blessed.  My two brothers and sister are amazing.
  15. There is a time and a place for everything.  Wearing a bikini to the beach (or anywhere for that matter) when you have clearly packed on ten pounds over the winter is never the time or the place.  There will be photos. You will hate them.
  16. Remember when you thought you were butt ugly in high school, and you would never have a boyfriend?  You weren’t ugly, and you will have a boyfriend eventually. Hopefully he won’t be an asshole (please see #10.)   So, for the love God, quit worrying.
  17. Pick a profession you love.  You will have to go to work every day for a VERY long time.  There is nothing worse than having to go to a job you hate.
  18. There is always one person at work who will march right over you to get ahead.  Watch your back.
  19. Everyone picks their nose in their car.  Remember, you’re not invisible.
  20. If a guy puts up with your shit, and is still smiling at the end of the day, he’s a keeper.
  21. Get a college education.  You may think you can slide by without one, but getting your degree will make things easier.
  22. On the same note, study HARD, do your best, but always leave a little time for fun. 
  23. The color orange looks good on very few people.  You are probably not one of them.
  24. Be thoughtful.  Keep a calendar with your family and friend’s birthdays.  Send a card…not a facebook message, not a text…A CARD, by U.S. Postal Service.  Everyone loves getting cards.  P.S. always keep stamps on hand.
  25. Hanging out in your pajamas and drinking coffee on Sunday morning is one of life’s little pleasures.  So is eating takeout chinese food naked in bed after sex.
  26. Save for vacations.  Travel.  See the world.  In spite of all the crap that happens, it’s still a beautiful and magical place, this big blue marble of ours.
  27. Animals love you unconditionally and ask for nothing in return.  So always be responsible for your pets.  They really are family.
  28. As you age, current songs on the radio sound like crap (except for Bruno Mars - he will always be awesome.)  I will forever be a child of the 70’s and 80’s music scenes.  Don’t even get me started on rap or hip hop. 
  29. The drunker you get, the more you think you are the world’s greatest dancer.
  30. Only marry for love.  Marrying for anything else is not an option.  It took me three tries, but I finally got it right.  I love you to the moon and back, Bill Tucker.
  31. It is ok if you don’t want to procreate.  Kids aren’t for everyone.  But, if you do have children, they will be your greatest joy and accomplishment…and your biggest pain in the ass.
  32. I should have recorded every sermon my mother ever gave me.  Now that I have my own daughter, I sound just like my mother, and I mean JUST LIKE HER.
  33. No good comes from gossip.  You’re going to do it.  Everyone does.  But honestly, nothing good ever comes from rumors and innuendo, and in the end, someone usually gets hurt.
  34. New York City is the greatest city on earth. Period.  If you don’t like NYC, then obviously your time there was poorly planned.  And if you can, take the train.  It’s really the only way to travel.
  35. Taking the time to put on makeup before you go to the grocery store is a good idea.  You never know who you will run into while you’re in the produce section.
  36. Just because someone does not agree with you does not mean they are wrong.  Let it go.  You’re never going to change their mind anyway.
  37. Never underestimate the value of your girlfriends.  They will always help you through the hard times, and celebrate your happy times.
  38. You CAN be too old to wear a miniskirt, no matter how rockin’ your body is.  By the way, same rule goes for yoga pants that say “Luscious” or “Juicy” across the butt.  As a matter of fact, NEVER wear those.
  39. Have the courage to stand up for your convictions.  You will sleep better at night if you know at the very least you were true to your own heart. Screw everyone else who told you otherwise.
  40. Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a nice car to sit in while you are busy being miserable.  Along those lines, while it is true that money can be dangerous, people get “drunk” more quickly on power.
  41. Never underestimate to pure deliciousness of cheesecake, pie, cookies, cake and ice cream...and chocolate.
  42. Real Christmas trees smell great but you’ll be picking needles out of your carpeting for six months out of the year.
  43. When in doubt, order a martini.  Likewise, life is too short to drink cheap wine.
  44. Be kind to people, always.  People always remember kindness… BUT
  45. Don’t be a doormat.  People will happily wipe their boots on you as long as you let them. People just suck that way.  It's usually not intentional, it's just human nature.
  46. Always take time for yourself – no matter how busy you are.  The kids, the job, the husband, the obligations...they will always be there, waiting, but clearly your sanity will leave you completely if you don’t take a moment to be your own best company.  
  47. A clean house is not the most important thing in the world. If you don’t dust for two weeks, really, who cares?  The flip side of that coin is that no one likes a slob or a hoarder.  Pretty soon you're on an episode of TLC's "Hoarders" and your friends and family are mortified.  It's OK to throw shit out...I promise.  You won't even miss it.  If you haven't looked at it in two years, DITCH IT.
  48. Nothing comes before family. Nothing.  That being said, there is absolutely no reason why your best friends can’t be considered family as well.
  49. Growing old is not the worst thing.  Being dead…that is the worst thing.
  50. Life is short, too short.  The older you get the faster the years go by, and I mean exponentially.  People will move far away.  People will die.  So always remember to say I love you.  You never know when it will be your last chance.  Cherish and treasure those who are close to you.  Every moment counts.

One of my favorite quotes is from the late, great Nora Ephram, who said “In fact, looking back, it seems to me I was clueless until I was about 50 years old.” As for me, can totally relate to that.  I feel a whole lot smarter now than I did 25 years ago, even ten years ago.  I see the world differently, but I have always tried to look at it with wonder and a sense of humor.  It helps a lot, especially when you start to lose faith in humanity.

My other favorite quote is "Life should be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved boy, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOOHOO what a ride!"  That is how I live my life. Every. Single. Day.  I turned out ok (although there were moments when it was a bit iffy) so no reason to stop now.  So for those of you who plan on being with me for the next fifty years…hold on tight, and we can enjoy the ride together.

I love you all so very much.  For those who have been in my life through good times, and bad times, too, thanks for the memories.  You've made life that much sweeter.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Never forget...for Patricia...

I hate September 11th but I am writing this for my 14 year old daughter who is blessed to not have been old enough to remember that day.  But it is important to explain, to pass along the stories, the emotions, the tears and the loss.  It is important that we never forget.

No matter how many years go by, it is still always the most vivid, gutwrenching and sickening feeling that surrounds me when 9/11 rolls around.  Thirteen years seems like it should be a long time.  To me, it’s yesterday, as it is to so very many.

Everyone has their “where were you” moment on that morning.  For me, it was an incredibly beautiful sunny day, just me and my two year old daughter out in the back yard of our Alexandria home.  I was clipping herbs to take to a new neighbor whom I was meeting for coffee at her house around 10am.  I’ll never forget how beautiful the sky was that day.  Perfect really.

Out of nowhere, I heard the loud rumbling of thunder, really really loud.  “Weird” I thought to myself.  Seriously not a cloud in the sky.  It never even occurred to me that it wasn’t thunder. 

I gathered the child, gathered my herb basket, and headed to Jackie’s house.  She had the TV going and was glued to it.  By this time, the third plane had hit the Pentagon, 9:37am, and the first tower had just fallen, 9:59am.  Then the plane crash in Shanksville, 10:03am.  There was so much all at one time, and I couldn’t even comprehend what was happening. It didn’t seem real, more like a movie. The two of us just sat there, tears running down our faces.  Jackie’s husband was on Capitol Hill and couldn’t get out of the city. Rumors of another plane headed for D.C. were being tossed around.  My cell phone rang. It was Gary.  He was supposed to have been at a meeting in the wing of the Pentagon where the plane hit, but it was moved at the last minute.  He was driving on 395 not a mile from the Pentagon when the plane slammed into the building.  Suddenly the thunder made sense.  It wasn’t thunder at all.  My heart was in my throat.  Then cell service shut down. Jackie couldn’t reach her husband.  We sat there together, in silence as we continued to see the news reports roll in.  The second tower collapsed, 10:28am. I felt physically sick.  All of those people, their children, wives, husbands, parents, sisters, brothers.  Cameras rolling.  That awful “tweeting noise” breaking the silence of the streets of NY.  It was the radios of the firemen and police officers.  I can still hear that tweeting noise when I close my eyes and think of that day.

Jackie’s husband did come home, as did Gary.  It was actually Gary’s birthday but there was no celebration.  We just watched the news reports roll in, the footage of the injured, the horrible gray dust that covered everything and anything.  The gaping hole in the side of the Pentagon…the field in Shanksville where it seemed the plane itself had turned to dust when it hit the ground with such unbelievable force.  I didn’t sleep for days, I just watched the news, all the news, any news I could find on the tv.  It was the early days of the 24 hour news cycle, and I believe that after that day, none of us ever watched the news in the same way again.

The following weekend I had plans to see an old high school friend in Caldwell, NJ, just across the river from the downtown Manhattan skyline.  That Sunday morning before I left, she and I drove to a park that overlooked the river and the devastation.  We stood there and cried as we watched the billowing smoke, still rising from the ruins, on the other side of the water. The Towers, where I had been many times to meet up with a banker I dated a long long time ago when everything seemed easy and fun. Happy memories, good times.  All gone.

Everything changed. Everything.  We all, collectively as a nation, wrapped our arms around each other, and tried to make sense of it all.  There was no sense to be made. None. It still doesn’t make sense.  The loss of life, the terror that we all felt for such a long time afterwards…no one felt safe, only incredibly vulnerable.  Honestly, I still feel vulnerable.

But out of the madness emerged something good…so many acts of selflessness, courage,compassion and humanity. People helping people, helping families find their loved ones, helping recover the smallest of personal items of those that had perished.  Everything had meaning and importance, because there was so little left to even show that those who perished had even been there on that morning.  Everything was dust, everything.

Twice I have had the privilege and honor to visit what has come be known as Ground Zero since 9/11.  I have driven past the Pentagon on many many occasions, and in fact saw the Phoenix rise from the ashes and rubble, like it had never happened, save for a beautiful memorial park where there is an empty seat under an individual tree for each person who lost their life.  I have not had the opportunity to visit Shanksville, but I would like to one day.  I should, everyone should.  So brave were the souls on that plane who gave their own lives to keep pure evil from flying that plane into the White House or Capitol.  Were it not for so many acts of courage on that day, so many more lives would have been lost.

And those who, without hesitation, signed up for the military after 9/11, how special they all are.  They loved their country so much that they did not even hesitate to die for it is bravery beyond compare.  They go and fight so we can live our lives under the flag of a free nation.  Even on our worst days, America is good.  I know there are many who no longer believe that, but look around.  There really is still so much good in the world.  I am thankful every day to call the United States my home.

God bless the souls lost on 9/11, and subsequently those fighting to make sure that history does not repeat itself. God bless the firefighters and police who worked tirelessly to bring home those who were lost, so that every family could at least find some measure of closure.  They still suffer from the effects of the conditions they worked under…cancer, respiratory problems, other diseases that cause them suffering every single day.  God bless them all.

And God bless the United States of America.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Yes I have a potty mouth. No, I don't give a f*ck if you care.

Lots of people dying lately…

And here I am, looking 50 right in the kisser.  If my math is correct (and we have a 50/50 shot at that since I can't add my way out of a paper bag) that means I have 30 years til I hit the age that is definitely on the precipice of "the big dirt nap".  I thought I would be upset about it, but as it turns out the only thing I am really worried about is how long will it be before I have to switch from botox to fillers.  Vanity, as you know, is one of the seven deadly sins, and apparently I wear that bitch like I own it (because I do.)  There are worse things than being vain. A LOT worse things.

This morning, as my daughter and I were watching the Today Show and their coverage of Joan Rivers’ passing, she turned to me as said “I hope you look hot when you’re 81.”  I fell on the floor laughing.  I didn’t even know she cared.  I promised her I would do my best not to look hideous.  She was good with that, and promised she would make sure I was buried in black because we all know it's an instant ten pounds off your ass.  Actually, Joan would have appreciated that statement from my daughter. Love her or hate her, Joan was a broad who was unabashedly unapologetic and made no excuses for who she was.  Didn’t like her humor?  Get in line, a lot of people didn’t.  Thought she was the poster child for plastic surgery?  She was happy to admit that too.  She lived her life on her terms, every day, and in the end I think a lot of people respected that about her, even if they didn't like her. I know I did.  Love her or hate her, at least she inspired an opinion. I try to live my life under very similar circumstances.  I have a crapload of people who adore me, and probably just as many, if not more, who think I’m a pain in the ass, or a bitch, or [fill in the blank with your own colorful descriptive term.]  I’d rather inspire a strong opinion than no opinion.  That would be boring, and I never want to be thought of as a boring wallflower.  I’m a loudmouth, a smartass, a shameless broad who curses too much and is prone to inserting my foot in my mouth.  I love to laugh – sometimes too loudly, and I have a caustic sense of humor which is often misunderstood. And honestly, my favorite thing to laugh at is myself, so it’s not like I don’t allow myself to be fair game.  If we can’t laugh at ourselves, we are missing the very best jokes.  Love me or hate me, at least I gave you something to think about.  And admit it, you did think about it.

Part of the reason I live my life on my terms without apologies is that I want my daughter to realize that she is JUST FINE the way she is.  If people don’t like you? Fuck ‘em.  In ten years you won’t remember them. For a long time I really did give a rat’s ass what people thought of me.  What a waste of frigging time that was.  I want my daughter to realize that in the end it just doesn’t matter.  Life is a grand illusion, a very very long epic movie. We spend far too much time worrying about people and things that will have no bearing on how we lived, or how we died.  If life is about the journey, then make damn sure the journey is interesting.  She’s starting to get it.  Sometimes she makes a comment that makes me smile, because I realize she is a lot stronger and a lot less fragile, than I was at her age.

So to you, Joan, I tip my hat. I hope they plant your ass in that Valentino gown, and I sure the hell hope your daughter makes sure your makeup is flawless.  Thank you for living your life with grace, and a delishly cruel sense of humor that many times left me in tears laughing.  Because let’s be honest, we all love to laugh…really really laugh.

And if you don’t like this blog?  Well, screw you, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Monday, June 2, 2014

When Good Girls Go Too Short...

I am a self-professed short skirt/dress junkie.  I always have been to be honest. I have good legs and I don’t mind putting them on display as anyone who knows me would tell you.  Mind you, I don’t go for the “micro mini” anymore – I left that behind along with my twenties, where it belongs. But still, I have no problem wearing things that are “above the knee” even though I am quickly approaching the big Five OHHHHH.  The countdown has begun and we are down to 8 months.  And after Saturday evening I have been compelled to rethink my wardrobe strategy entirely.

That was when Bill and I happily hauled ourselves to one of our favorite watering holes for something slightly stronger than water. Ok, a lot stronger than water.  We have just come off a ridiculously stressful year and a half, and we were in the mood to celebrate.  I opted for pants and a funky shirt – age appropriate – brightly colored to match my happy mood.  We laughed, ran into some friends, and indulged our need for alcohol.  And that, folks, was when I saw her.  As I turned around from the bar to take a look around the room I noticed a woman standing with her back to me.  She was in a pair of impossibly high heels, a snug fitting shirt, and a skin tight skirt that was short enough to make you wonder if it was immune to the laws of gravity. It was no less than five inches above the knee so we are talking SHORT.  I hoped she was wearing underwear for obvious reasons.  She had a great figure, and for a moment I thought “damn, wish I looked like that in a tight miniskirt and heels.”  Then…then she turned around, and my jaw hit the floor.  Was she 50? Ummmm…no.  Was she 55?  Nope, keep going…was she 60?  If she was 60 she really needed to consider some Juvaderm and maybe a micro peel.  No, she was definitely more than a couple of years beyond 60.  That was when I realized you can DEFINITELY be too old to wear ANYTHING really really short.  Yes, from the back she was a knockout.  From the front, it was like looking at your grandmother wearing something that she was sure would make her look hot.  First of all, I don’t EVER want to think of my grandmother, or anyone else’s grandmother, as being hot.  When I am in my sixties, I can only hope that there are a variety of more desirable terms used to describe me.  Hot? Nope. Pass. I’m shooting for “lovely”, “elegant” or “classic beauty”.  That does not mean I don’t want to look drop dead gorgeous, but I don’t want to do it in something that is clearly meant for someone at least 20 years younger than me. 

In that moment, as I looked at her, I felt a pang of sympathy.  She wasn’t giving off that vibe of an incredibly confident older woman who didn’t give a crap what other people thought.  And that would have been just fine in my book.  She seemed to be that woman who was struggling with growing old gracefully and was grasping onto her younger years with both hands as time dragged her down the road, kicking and screaming.  She looked uncomfortable, maybe even just a touch paranoid that people were looking at her.  I bet she wished she was home in her yoga pants having a glass of wine trying to catch up on episodes of Mad Men on Netflix.  I know that would be been my thought. There is nothing worse than standing in the middle of a crowded room when clearly you are not feeling your finest.  And with that, I picked my jaw up off the floor and stopped staring.  I know, bad form on my part but the whole thing was kind of like watching a train wreck. 

So yesterday I went through my closet and packed up the last of my miniskirts and dresses.  It was like packing up my youth in a way, not that I feel old. I just don’t feel like “that girl” anymore.  I wouldn’t call my wardrobe boring.  In fact, I usually gravitate towards the “eclectic”, but I am definitely not interested in wearing anything that looks like I am trying to recapture my youth. Those days are thankfully behind me, which is good because quite frankly they were exhausting.  An inch or two above the knee?  I can deal with that.  Anything more than that?  No freaking way.

And for those who are wondering, no I am not “letting myself go.”  I’m still ridiculously vein.  I never miss my botox appointment, and I spend way too much on skincare.  But I do feel as though I have crossed over to the other side.  And honestly, it feels fabulous, so I’m to go with it.  But if I do lapse and wear something meant for the younger set, I can only hope my friends will hit me upside the head and drag me home to change into something more appropriate.  Because THAT is what friends are for.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Confessions of a 49 year old control freak...

So I submit to you, in all humility – yes, I am a control freak.  I’m not as bad as I once was, but there is still a lot of work to do in this particular category of my life.  Along with patience, it is probably my life lesson.  This past weekend was yet another example of how I can let my controlling tendencies get the best of me, and sometimes hurt other people in the process.  I’m not proud of that.  But I am a work in progress.  I figure as long as I am at least learning from my mistakes, there is something positive born out of a bad situation.

I’m not quite sure when I decided that my ability to keep track of everything and everyone around me was “the right way.”  And truly, a lot of my “knowing how this is going to turn out” comes from my own stupid mistakes.  I’ve been there, I’ve tested that hypotheses, and the outcome stinks.  Two failed marriages, countless bad relationships, and a generally bad track record when it comes to love and life decisions pretty much sealed the deal for me.  I got lucky though.  I finally stopped trying to control that part of my life.  I met Bill and he was the best thing to ever happen to me.  But still, I watch the people around me, people I love, and I can’t help but feel the need to tell them how to avoid the stupid mistakes in life, especially the ones in which I have lots of experience.  The problem is that unless you make those mistakes on your own, you never get the benefit of learning firsthand how to not fuck up.  I can’t protect everyone, as much as I would like to, it’s flat out impossible.  That little voice in my head keeps saying “they need to walk their own path.”  My heart keeps saying “you know, you could just drag them kicking and screaming down the right path and you would save them the trouble.”  I know I know…control issues.  But really?  Is it so bad to want to save your loved ones from heartbreak?  Well in theory, no, but in the end it just causes a lot of stress that no one really wanted in the first place, and then those very same people start to view you as the world’s biggest pain in the ass.  Guilty as charged, and I have the big ass to prove it.  Again, luck is in my corner though.  Usually those very same people recognize that I am a recovering control freak and they forgive quickly.  I always appreciate someone who can see me for my faults as well as my fabulousness.  Truly, it is all meant with the best of intentions, just sometimes I have really bad delivery.

I do reserve the right to exercise a fair amount of control in my daughter’s life, although I am inclined to sugar coat it so it’s not so annoying for her.  She gets it, and for right now, she deals with it like a champ.  That, of course, is always subject to change when dealing with a teenager, so I will hold out hope that things continue to be awesome around my house.  I also know there are no guarantees.  I’m never going to get Mother of the Year, but hopefully I won’t screw her up permanently.  I am positive I still have those discount coupons for therapy that I was given at the hospital the day she was born.  “Here, these are for your daughter.  She’s going to need these someday.”  Damn that hospital staff for seeing right through me.  I guess control freaks are easy to spot.  I should upgrade my “mom camouflage.”

So, I just felt it necessary to throw myself on my sword and shout out “mea culpa” to my always patient possé of family and friends.  If I push too hard, if I become too insistent, please know it’s only because I care so deeply.  Then feel free to tell me to shut the fuck up.  I promise I will stop trying to screw with your gps in life so you can walk your path without obstacles and wrong turns, at least any caused by me.  The rest of them…well, you’re on your own. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Butterflies would be better in a cage...or a convent...

My 13 year old daughter, Patricia, has really blossomed this year.  It’s been a joy to watch, until today.  Now, I am thinking a convent might be an appropriate learning institution for her until she’s - oh let’s pick a number – 30 years old.  Thirty is good, a nice round number. She’ll still have a lot of good years left and I will have survived what every parent fears, your teenage daughter dating.

It hasn’t begun yet, mind you.  In fact, she lamented to me over the summer that “all the other girls in school have boys that like them, but not me.”  My heart broke for her.  I told her I didn’t have a boyfriend until late in high school, and that teenage boys are nothing to brag about anyway.  (Generally speaking they are a pile of braces, bad jokes, awkwardness, and Axe body spray.) I told her they were too stupid to realize how funny, beautiful, intelligent and amazing she is.  My words fell on deaf ears.  The summer went on, and somewhere between swim team and the end of August, the caterpillar turned into a butterfly.  She went to school with an incredible sense of herself, a boatload of confidence, and a totally hot new school wardrobe which left a gaping hole in my checking account.  I was proud of her, happy for her.  I looked back on my days in 8th grade and shuddered.  She was definitely on track to a better 8th grade year than mine had been.

So last night, when she bounced onto my bed during the Monday football game, she was all smiles. To anyone with a teenage daughter, smiles are always good because if they aren’t smiling then that usually means drama.  Anyway, apparently, some boy (who shall remain nameless) who she found to be cute, walked up to her in the hallway and told her “Wow, Patricia you really look great this year.”  She was elated.  Suddenly all her hard work getting healthy and happy over the summer had paid off.  She felt…HOT.  I was elated for her as well…until I started to think about it for a bit.  Then suddenly my overriding thought was how can I find this brazen little prick, who obviously had ill-conceived designs for my daughter, so I could punch him in the face and threaten him within an inch of his awkward, smelly life.  My father hated teenage boys.  Now I get it.  Dad was right.  I didn’t say anything to her.  I just smiled, and a little something inside me died. She wasn’t a kid anymore.  She’d always be my baby, but the kid was definitely out the door.  I wanted to cry, but I didn’t.  I wanted to lock her in her room for a VERY long time, but I didn’t.  I just sat there, feeling like nothing would ever be the same again.  I hate it when that shit happens.

I mentioned it to Bill this morning, who was quick to remind me that he does, in fact, own a pump action shotgun which he would be happy to clean at the dining room table on any evening when some Axe-laden teenage predator came by to see her.  I laughed, but knew he was only half kidding.  He told me that the sound of that pump action is something many teenage boys have nightmares about.  I considered making it my new doorbell sound.  Inside I promised myself I would pull the trigger myself if any of these miscreants touched my girl.  I knew it was hardly the case, but a mother can dream.

So one more milestone down and many more to go.  She turns fourteen in October.  Next year she will be a freshman, and not too far down the road, she will be getting her driver’s license.  There will be “boy/girl” parties, and dating, and proms. What happens when she falls in love and gets her heart broken?  What happens when she leaves for college?  Ok, not thinking about those moments, it makes me teary-eyed and pathetic.  I know she is a smart kid who is far beyond her years when it comes to maturity, but I’d still like to shield her from all those awful moments when you think your world is ending and nothing will ever be the same. 

I’m lucky in the fact that she talks to me without any reservations because she knows there is absolutely nothing she can tell me that will shock or surprise me.  My teens and twenties were filled with all those memorable moments, both good and bad.  I’m not THAT old. I still remember them all, some with great fondness, and some with a cringe.

Ahhhh, to be young again.  I know that I’m not. I am however, considering getting my concealed carry permit.  And you're never too old to learn how to clean a pump action shotgun.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Down the rabbit hole, hope I don't spill my martini...

There is little in this world that drags me down more than one of my now infrequent bouts with depression.  Over the years I’ve been able to keep myself on a pretty even keel, thus not falling down that nasty little rabbit hole that can quite often seem bottomless.  I take my meds religiously, try to keep a positive attitude, exercise regularly and eat right – all the things “they” tell you to do in order to maintain the “emotional buffet” while navigating through life.  But sometimes, there is that moment when no matter how you look at a situation, it makes you want to crawl under the covers and hide, or in my case, hide in the closet with a martini…or five.

So, it would seem that this is one of those times when everything is towering over me, insurmountable situations that aren’t even really fully in my control.  Bill being laid off from his job after nearly 33 years is a big part of it, but not all of it. Yes, I am nervous about being the only breadwinner until Bill finds a new line of employment, but we have planned for it, and I can certainly keep us comfortable on my salary. Still, nerve-wrecking though.  But this time, most of my looming downward spiral revolves around family relationships, manipulation, lies and drama – all of which I cannot become truly involved in, because it’s not my side of the family. Trust me, this is not about an argument between family at the Thanksgiving table.  I’ve been dismissed, told I “don’t know anything about it”, and asked to step back.  I’ve watched these mini-soap operas grow into full length movies, complete with underlying plots…emotional rollercoasters that bring you to the top of a hopeful situation, only to mercilessly push you over the other side, and all you can do is watch and try to keep from screaming.

Anyone who knows me will tell you in a heartbeat that my tolerance for bullshit is at a level somewhere below zero.  For some reason this strikes fear in the hearts of some, but usually only those who are trying to pull the wool over my eyes.  That’s a really tough thing to do. But when the situation involves people that you have no power to say what is on your mind, then it turns into something akin to emotional paralysis.  On the inside, my mind is screaming “are you people fucking stupid???” and on the outside, I am forced to stand on the sidelines, knowing what the final chapter will be – utter disappointment and complete betrayal.   I used to be hopeful, but that ship has sailed. I don’t fault those involved for trying.  Family is family and when it is yours, you will do anything to save those involved. I get that.  But when you constantly beat your head against a wall, only to get the same response from the one you are trying to save, then it turns into an act of desperation.  I’ve made my opinion known the few times I have been asked how things should be handled, and every time my response has been the same. “You cannot save someone who has no desire or intention of saving themselves, I don’t care how good a game they talk.”  Actions speak louder than any spoken word and when they say one thing then do the exact opposite, it’s time to step back and let that person, no matter how much you love them, find their own bottom.  Their bottom is their determination, not those who are trying to help.  What may seem like the bottom to you may be nowhere near the bottom for the person in question.  Interventions only work when the person being intervened on is absolutely willing to take the steps to do the hard work to get better.  Otherwise, it’s like spinning your wheels in the sand.  You just get sucked in deeper.  When you have to witness a significant other or partner get sucked into that hole by the person they are trying to save, it is gutwrenching and heartbreaking.  But there is nothing you can do but be there for him.  I’m trying to remember that, I really am.

So this nightmare scenario, along other life-altering melodramas, has me wishing I was anywhere but along the sidelines watching it all go down. I am trying to see the bright side of things, and tell myself “It will all be just fine. It always is” but I am wondering at whose expense.  I’m not sure I can watch, so that rabbit hole is looking mighty inviting.  I bet there is room for my martini glass and maybe even a bag of Grandma Utz’s potato chips.  I can hide in there, pretend the outside world doesn’t exist, sleep as much as I want, and generally forget all about the fact that my home, and my loved ones, are about to fall apart like a house of cards…in my home, right in front of my eyes. I know it. I can feel it. But I am helpless to do anything about it.  To those who think that my life is always sunshine and lollipops, glitter and butterflies, it most certainly is not.  Today…today it pretty much sucks, and it will probably suck tomorrow.

I’m going to try to ignore that cozy rabbit hole for now.  It might be time to up my meds I’m thinking. I really need to call my damn doctor about that. I’m going to march on, smile on my face, with my wit and sarcasm to sustain me as I watch the idiocy of the world go by.  I know there are people who are in far worse situations, but right now, at this moment this is my albatross, my hell.  Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer. Wish me luck.  And if you see me around, just give me a smile and a nod.  I’ll know you “get it.”  Trust me, I will appreciate it more than you could even know.