30 June 2009

Is there someone else out there?

I found another good idea from the Wishcake Blog...she suggests to go back to the beginning of your blog and choose something from the first two months that seems like it represents what your blogging is about. As I frequently discuss and dissect my relationships, I thought this was a good one to repost.


from November 9, 2005 Post #2

A few weeks ago, I had lunch with an old friend. She's been in the same kinds of relationships as me: failed marriage, lost love, and now happily married. I'm beginning to think that it's not just coincidence that we're friends with similar pasts. I think it's just the way that all human relationships must be. Everyone has heard the term "starter marriage." It seems to apply to more people than less.

Anyway, she recently came nose-to-nose with her past and had a case of the ... not quite "what-if's"...but perhaps the "what-might-have-beens." She seemed to be fighting off the "Could this be real? Have I made a huge mistake?" as well. Always fun.

As the conversation progressed the subject & existence of the Perfect Man was raised. Is there such a thing? We both don't think so.

I'm more black & white: there's no such thing as perfect. It's simply not possible. She's more along the lines of "Near-perfection."

Essentially, we both believe you can't have it all in one person.

Her example: "He's great! He just gets me. We're soulmates" versus "He's okay but the physical chemistry is HOT!"

I happen to believe that you can't find ALL of the qualities you wish for in one person, be it just a friend or a lover. It seems not possible.

We also discussed that sometimes it seems when there is great physical chemistry, the personal side of the relationship is out of balance. We've all been there, I'm supposing, where it feels great but yet, it just doesn't work, there's no connection. A similar scenario is when you get away from the "hot" relationship and think "What the hell was I doing with That Guy!?!?!"

The other side is the Friend Zone. You're great friends, you love to hang out with him but the physical side just isn't there. This, by the way, only exists in Girl World. Boys are whores and they readily admit it. (:-D

But then there's The ONE.
Does everyone have one of those? I'm assuming so.
For me, well, he shall remain nameless to protect the somewhat innocent.
For my friend it's the guy who has recently reappeared.

But there's always the one that got away, the one that does seem perfect. Everyone, woman or man, has one of those.

Another part of the discussion included this:

It can be argued that we can't POSSIBLY be happily married if we hold another man in ... special regard? (that sounds so formal, hmmm) That we're just waiting for the next best thing - or old thing, be it as it may. But I don't think so.

I think people love each person differently and each person is different in that relationship.
I was a different person with my former husband and with my former boyfriends than I am now. Would those relationships be different with this current version of me? *shiver* Let's not go there. (:-D

So, on a different plane, Kevin and I had a very similar discussion but we used the word "settling." As in, everyone settles to a certain degree, for varying reasons, good and bad. It's not necessarily a poor reflection on either mate but more of a decision to cope. I am not the leggy brunette calendar girl who cooks and he's not the one who shall remain nameless.

Everyone has an ideal but ideals are rarely attainable so it boils down to more of a "Hey, you're cute, you think I'm great, I think you're great, let's get married and see what happens."

I guess I'm just putting this out into the universe for more pondering. I would be curious to hear anyone's thoughts. Is there such a thing as a soulmate? Does everyone settle to a certain degree?

26 June 2009

T-Shirt Salesman

Late last night I was doing laundry, because that's how I roll. I was putting Kevin's shirts into the washer, checking each one for stains as he comes home pretty grubby most days.

He has those bright fluorescent shirts that you see construction workers wear, and he rocks them. But lately, he's been wearing some of his racing shirts also. This only makes me happy as he has eleventy hundred of them.

But this shirt punches me in the gut every time. I can't decide if I'm pleased that he wears it or if I want to go hide it away now that he's not home.

My friend Brad, you've heard of him before, lost his seven year old son in 2004 to a freak household accident. It was one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever experienced. There is just no way to console your friend when they have lost a child.

The last time I saw Casey was during fireworks, at the Speedway. Brad used to be a sprint car racer back in the day. While he was really, really good, I couldn't bear to watch him race. If you've ever watched circle track racing, you get an idea. Now make the cars open wheel and on clay. I was so proud of him, I just couldn't watch him race. It was too scary for me.

Brad, Casey, and his mom visited us before and after the racing and fireworks show. Brad also used to help with fireworks and has always been one of my biggest supporters. It was tradition that he would come visit after a show to see how we were doing. A show didn't feel finished until I had talked to Brad.

My brother described Casey the best: "He was like a little walking Discovery Channel." Casey was constantly talking, asking questions, posing ideas and on the move. He was such a great little guy. He was very much Brad's son. Everything that I loved about Brad was two-fold in Casey.

This was the first year that Casey was old enough to understand what he was looking at and what we had been doing with the fireworks. After satisfying his curiosity about the fireworks, Brad was telling us about how he now had t-shirts. Casey interjected that he was selling them to everyone. (as his dad shakes his head over him and mouths "No, you can have them.")

Casey had little price sheets he had written on notebook paper in pencil. He handed them to all of us and explained where we could find him later if we wanted to buy shirts. It was one of the doggone cutest things ever.

I don't know who was more proud that night, Casey of his dad or Brad of his son. When I think of Casey, I always remember that night.

My Brad shirt is in my cedar chest. It's only been worn once and that was to Casey's memorial just a few months later after that show. Meanwhile, Kevin wears his occasionally. His little nod to Casey and to Brad, I think.

23 June 2009

The Benefit of Holding a Hose for Hours

With the cool rock garden comes about an hours worth of watering. Two different hoses and only one with the cool sprayer. It's a process. I resent this process most times. Have I mentioned that I'm 5' 3" tall? and that the incline is about 10 feet above my head? So, chances of my staying dry during this process are slim and Slim left town.

The weather has been off and on, after 29.75 days of no rain so I haven't been as diligent about watering. When the flowers cursed at me as I walked by today, I figured I'd better water.

I'm standing out there watering, watering, watering. Soon my mind begins to drift and I begin to feel my body relax. Before I know it, I feel dare-I-say peaceful. The birds are singing, I can hear Kevin puttering around in his shop, Missy is sleeping on the deck and Lucky is chasing unseen intruders. It's perfectly lovely.

Sadly, I forget this every time before I water. The feeling is always forgotten by the time I have to go out again. Luckily for me, it always returns. And I always appreciate it.

We, as humans, tend to get so wrapped up in our own stuff that we forget to look around. Watering makes me take the time to look around. And it's beautiful out.

22 June 2009

An Old Man Trying to Get into Heaven Now

The dad I have now is nothing like the dad I had growing up. Having come from a dysfunctional family, I have no idea if this is normal or not. I assume so, I suppose.

I've made no illusion about my dad in the past. I've told you stories...he's an alcoholic, he doesn't necessarily like children or families. He was a mostly absent father.

The dad I have now actually holds conversations and expresses gratitude. He attends the granddaughters events without complaint. He's sober. It is as if he made a list of what he used to be and changed everything categorically.

This is, by no means, a complaint. But after 40 years of a stilted relationship at best, I'm having to rethink everything. Assumptions can no longer be made. Habits have to be broken. Defenses have to be dropped.

It hit me during Apie's graduation. He sat with my mom and the other brother in the area designated for grandparents. Kevin nudged me and gestured. "Look at your dad, he's grinning ear to ear." And he was, happily taking pictures...another thing he's never done. It was alternately heart-warming and heart-breaking.

I can appreciate the change but there is an inner adolescent that is silently shouting "Who are you and where were you twenty years ago?"

I am trying to focus on the happiness of the change. But like acknowledging it, there is also the bittersweet knowledge that this is temporary. This has only occurred because he's dying.

So, here we go. The last year can perhaps make up for the first 40 years.

20 June 2009

Four Hours and Fifteen Minutes

Today Kevin & I went to get our Enhanced Drivers Licenses. For those of you not living in Washington State, these licenses are in lieu of a passport & enables travel into Canada. We've put it off for over six months. Now Kevin is crewing on a racecar, oh, next weekend so we were working on a deadline.

We arrived at 8:15 AM, the office opens at 8:30 AM and we were about #20. YIKES. And yes, I will hear for the rest of my natural born life how Kevin was right and we should have gotten there earlier.

Kevin & I have what I call bad audience karma. We invariably sitt next to the tool that screams at the players, sings along with the band, etc. Today was no exception.

If your son is named Corbin and he's college age, overweight, with red uncut hair, apparently never showers, and has no freaking boundaries whatsoever, I'm sorry but your son is a massive TOOL.

As we are standing in line he approaches. Just on appearance alone I believe the entire group groaned "ah, feck". He makes noise so that we all realize that he's arrived.

He's with a normal appearing, quiet guy whose motives we questioned all morning.

Tool boy was in line for a minute when he says loudly "Oh my God, I don't have my paperwork!"
The friend sighs and gives him the car keys. Off he goes to the car and we remain, praying that he can't find his paperwork.
He returns, he can't find it, I do a happy dance in my head. His friend says "Check the trunk."

Sadly, his paperwork is in the trunk. We are all sorely disappointed.

The doors open and a person is directing everyone where to go. She hands everyone that is getting their EDL a sheet that very specifically and clearly details what a person needs.

The person explains to the entire crowd how the process works. Tool Boy raises his hand.
Of. Course. He. Does.

Turns out he doesn't have the proper documentation on a variety of levels. We are momentarily relieved but he decides to try it anyway. OMG.

We sit next to the wall with only one row of chairs in front of us. Tool Boy and friend sits right in front of us. Ah feck.

He can't sit still, he can't be quiet. He is That Guy, that guy who thinks he's the funniest, smartest guy in the entire state. Clearly he is not. He hasn't showered, his clothes were disheveled At Best. I don't believe he was mentally ill. I think he was truly just obnoxious.

Kevin and I quietly begin sarcastically commenting, in hopes that this will keep us from killing him. We really needed our enhanced licenses after all.

Tool Boy starts mocking the process of the Dept of Licensing. We have all done this but most of us don't do it loudly and before we've been helped. The Genius also begins throwing around words like "terrorist" "Bombing" "killing" Brilliant.

We hear him ask his friend "How many girlfriends have I had"
I reply "I'm guessing ZERO." Snickers begin.

His phone rings and he answers it. Kevin says "It has to be his mom because no one else would call that guy."

At one point he had to go out the car. We all reveled in the relative silence and stillness. Sadly, he returns. About twenty minutes later a DOL worker announces to the crowd that he found car keys in the actual car door.

Yes, you guessed it. He left the keys in the car, in a high crime neighborhood. This is the only time we saw the friend react. He was not happy.

At one point Tool Boy begins making noises for the sake of noise. I finally looked at him and said in my best teacher tone "PLEASE. STOP."
He turned, looking surprised. "I'm sorry" he says reflexively.
"Yeah." I answer, editing.

Kevin runs sees someone he knows and they chat. His friend returns to his seat and I wondered why he didn't just sit next to us. Clearly, I didn't think this through. The entire room was avoiding this guy.

Oh, the Ipod ear buds! He kept swinging them around his finger. People have glared, people have muttered, people have moved away until finally he hits about a seven-year-old boy in the head. NICE.

Kevin had a girl on his right and I had a girl on my left. Soon, all four of us are mocking him. Kevin's girl notices the ATM and says "I'm seriously considering withdrawing cash and offering it to him if he'll stand outside." We were All In on that idea.

The couple in front of us begin in our mocking of this tool. Now there are six of us commenting. I'm sure his friend could hear but none of us cared. Tool Boy became a common denominator among us and we bonded, much like hostages.

He begins making noise again and the girl to my left says "Excuse me" He turns and looks confused. "You are Really Loud." she says. "Sorry" he says, again. At this point, he actually quiets down.

One by one we all get called up for the first step of processing. One by one people begin to leave. Except Tool Boy and Friend and no one will sit next to him. Finally, a mother and teenaged son sit down next to him. We ponder how to let them know of their grave mistake because it quickly becomes apparent. Every time the teenager has an opportunity to move his chair away he takes it. The chair went from being flush to having about one feet separation. Tool Boy does not notice. And yes, he's swinging his ear buds around again.

Finally, they call him up and we all think "It's over. They're going to turn him away." A few minutes pass and he returns "We can be back in thirty minutes, let's go." And it's blissfully quiet.

But he returns. dammit. And it wasn't thirty minutes.

Kevin's friend returns and actually sits down to chat.

Just in time to see Tool Boy take a big ol' swipe at his nose. Brett is laughing uncontrollably and is making grossed out noises. Tool boy is oblivious. Kevin starts to giggle, that kind where you're not sure you're going to be able to stop.

Finally they call us for our final interview and we get to leave. As we're leaving, they recalled him. I'm hoping they deported him to somewhere. Anywhere.

Four hours fifteen minutes of our lives that we'll never get back.

But we can travel to Canada. And if there's a God, Tool Boy can't.

19 June 2009

Notes that Will Never Be Sent

Browsing through the blogroll, I came across this post:


Go read it & then come back. I'll wait............

What an amazing thing to do! Right? I am usually a lurker and rarely post comments but was tempted to do so for this post. Most of the comments were "I'm going to do this too!" So, I'm tagging along.

However, mine are going to be greeting card in length:

1. I realize now that we were never truly friends. I feel like I've wasted a lot of time. It's a relief not to be friends with you. I can understand this now only because so much time has passed.

2. I am sorry it didn't work out. I understand now that I used you on some unconscious level to get out. It wasn't intentional. But you were loved.

3. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if our relationship continued. What would my life be like now? Sadly, I know it would never have worked out as well as my life has now.

4. My mother taught me not to hate. But I hate you. There are few people that I say that about/to. There is nothing redeemable about you and I wish I hadn't met you.

5. I believe in another life, we would be together.

18 June 2009

Dirt Cup

Today would have been my 21st wedding anniversary had I stayed married to Michael. It's difficult to even imagine now, that I was ever married to anyone other than Kevin.

Watching Apie graduate from high school, I realize how young I was when I got married the first time. I was 19. At her age, I was already planning a wedding. It is simply inconceivable now.

Different memories pop up now when I think of the first marriage.

I had a roommate, Jeff, whom I adored. I still miss him. There was zero romantic interest in each other, we just were really good friends. Any of my Jeff memories are fun and funny.

When I got married, many people were not supportive of the marriage. I unfortunately didn't know this at the time because they didn't step up.

One former boyfriend, professing his undying love for me years later, said that he nearly stood up during the "Does anyone know of any reason this man or woman should not be married."
I wish he would have stood up. It probably would have stopped the wedding and WOW, wouldn't that be the best story ever?

My friend Brad was crewing on a racecar that night. He attended the wedding but only the wedding and left the moment it was over in order to get back to the racetrack. He was wearing his crew-whites (white jeans & team t-shirt) to the wedding, much to my amusement.

I was nearly late for that wedding. My BFF at the time let me sleep in...sleep late and we nearly missed the photography portion of the day. My breakfast/lunch that day was a Happy Meal. I think now that she let me sleep purposefully, hoping to stop the wedding.

I wish I had the audio to the ceremony. The videographer messed it up somehow (omen?) and there was only audio. You can hear me sing-songing my vows:
"To have and to Hold
From this day forward
forever and ever"

But the audio wouldn't pick up the frequent gestures from the Pastor to look at Michael and not him....also, not a good omen.

As a person that believes in signs, I can see PLENTY of them now. They were everywhere, but I just ignored them.

So, this weekend, I remember my wedding. Not so much the marriage but the wedding. All in all it was a fun day. I have some great pictures and my friends have some great stories.

The reason this is called Dirt Cup is that is the name of the big race Brad was crewing on that year. It's the biggest race of the year here in Washington State for open wheel Sprint car racing.
And every year, it happens this weekend.

I should have gone to Dirt Cup instead.

17 June 2009

Blogging About Not Blogging

I guess perhaps it's the weather change but I've had a bit of Not Much to Say recently. So here is a tour of my brain:

As I sit here, I'm thinking about:

I want Nathan Lane's scream in The Birdcage as my ringtone.

Or that ADD has interfered with the laundry and I stopped midway because I thought of a topic. Here is the evidence:

I could tell you about how Satan (the nieces "mother") was in a crosswalk in front of me this morning and I didn't run her over. Award, please.

Ambie graduated eighth grade today. Now it's onto high school. We met her "Boyfriend" today too. Very momentous.

(this is Brother Dear & Ambie...)

Or that my dad is having a scan tomorrow and it is perhaps the last one. This isn't good news but not unexpected news.

Or that my cousin Tracy celebrated Father's Day last Sunday and no one noticed she had the wrong day. It made me realize that it is this Sunday and I'm out of ideas for gifts. And really, what do you get a dying man? (it's okay to laugh at that question, I did)

That I forget every single year that May & June are present-heavy months as there are a lot of birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries. One would think I would figure this sh*t out.

During the plague, I lost a little weight. Explain to me why my shoes are too big and I am having issues reaching the pedals in the truck. Did I get shorter too? WTH? All of my shirts are too big also...I'm not happy. Well, happy but frustrated.

With that, I can always get clothing at work. Check out this gem:

That while I suck at Geography and Classic Literature, I can score 100% on the "How Well Do You Know Forrest Gump" trivia game on Facebook.

But it seems that I'm in the same boat as a few fellow blogger friends. So, forgive us if our posts have lapses and are less than stellar. It is summertime after all.

16 June 2009

If I had a Million Dollars = Blogger Edition

If I had a million dollars, I would:

Visit Swistle weekly.

Help Bea finish her laundry....every week.

Build Swistles BlogHer house for all of us to enjoy!

Build a giant cat condo for the cat rescue where Quinn volunteers .

Pay for Jess's new house wish list

Go volunteer regularly at Bethany's school

Visit Dyn in London and have her teach me how to cook!

Take Terry to a Cubs game

Build J her cheese dungeon (I know that's not the name of it but it sounds funny)

Just follow Bloggess around with a camera & microphone...just for the entertainment value.

So, blogger friends, what would you do with a million dollars & your blogger friends?

15 June 2009

Stay at Home Wife

Kevin and I were talking about life in general the other day and he posed the assumption that most/many women would prefer to stay home now versus ten-twenty years ago when women working was becoming mainstream. That essentially, the bloom was off the rose. I told him that I wasn't sure, I could only speak for me.

I would prefer to be home, this has been no secret. Kevin would prefer that I was home as well.
I've found that I'm nearly busier when I'm home than when I'm working. Family suddenly needs you, you see friends more regularly, hobbies reappear.

In fact, I've often questioned what the hell I was thinking when I returned to work. I still question that from time to time. Well, I was actually getting a little bored and I do have bigger goals that do require me to contribute toward their achievement.

Now that summer has returned and our lives have become busier, I'm longing for the summer I had off in 2006. Someday I will be home again. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

My BFF C is childless as well. Like me, she would rather be home. Actually, she would rather be traveling than anything else. BFF D is unemployed right now and seems in no hurry to return to work. This seems to prove Kevin's point.

When I was a teenager, I really didn't have dreams of a career. I was going to get married and be a preschool teacher. I did both of those things and now I'm wondering "Now what?" The women in my life as I was growing up were stay at home wives & mothers. I guess that's normal for me.

Wave a magic wand and I would be home full-time. That's my goal. I don't have a plan or a timeline. When it happens, it happens.

In the meanwhile, I'd rather be sitting on my deck, in the sun, with the dog and plunking away on the laptop.


11 June 2009

The Story of When I Worked with Lucifer

(and I will try very hard to not present this through the Bitter Filter)

I didn't know that I was working with Lucifer at the time. Certainly I wouldn't have continued had I fully realized that it (or she) was never going to get better. Not say that I wasn't warned...multiple times. But I was so "in it" at the time that I couldn't see it.

I began at the school as a pre-k teacher. After one year, I was surprisingly offered a position of Program Director, supervising the staff & program. I took the position reluctantly because I enjoyed teaching but like Kevin said "What? are you nuts turning down a better job?"

Sadly about six months into that position, Lucifer had to take a leave of absence as her husband was terminally ill. This will be the last time you feel badly for her. Trust me. I'm not a heartless bitch...just a bitch...sometimes.

During her leave of absence, we became friends as we hung out at her house regularly doing stuff for the school and then socially. I helped care for her youngest son, three years old at the time. I was on friendly terms with her family and friends. We exchanged gifts, emails, and did the friend thing. I helped set her up on a date with her now husband, whom I was also friends with. We were friends, beyond just co-workers.

Thrown into the water was I. I went from a pre-k teacher to running a non-profit organization & school in little over one year. This lasted for about two years. With virtually little skills but lots of stubbornness, I managed not to sink the whole thing.

Finally, Lucifer returned to the school. In ten years of our partnership, the school grew from a dumpy little daycare-like school to a nationally accredited model school.

I gave up my life for that school and not just while she was on leave. I regularly worked over 40 hours and volunteered many more. There was a never a true day off because in the age of cell phones, I was always reachable. I had all manners of telephone calls, at all hours, for all reasons. At the racetrack? Yes. During fireworks set-up? Yes. While closing my great-aunts house? Yes. While at my parents house for an event? Yes. While on vacation? Yes. While Kevin was sick & having treatment? Yes.

Once I got a call at 11:45 at night from a staff member telling me she had her period and couldn't come to work the next morning. I'm sure I could think of more instances but I'm getting irritated just remembering.

"Why did you allow this to happen?" you ask. Simple, if I didn't Lucifer would make horrible decisions that ruined my whole day, or have tantrums that I wasn't accessible at all hours.
It was actually easier for me to deal with the stupid phone calls. As time passed, everything became more & more my responsibility because she was less & less interested in working. However, things went more smoothly when she was gone so it didn't bother me much at the time.

On the school front, staff tends to cycle in groups. We were in a downward cycle of young inexperienced teachers mixed with older, "We've always done it this way" teachers. The accreditation and licensing was due for renewal, in addition to whatever crisis had beset that particular day. There was a lot going on. A lot of change. Then there was the new program director.

Young, inexperienced, attractive, and Not Bright. Lucifer hired her while I was on vacation, without my input. (nice huh?) She presented well but scratch the surface and OMG she was an idiot. She was a single mom who was used to getting her way and considered being a single mom as a Free Pass out of everything. But Lucifer defended her no matter how badly she screwed up. With retrospect, I see now that they are very similar people.

2005 was when everything started to fall apart for me on a personal level. My personal life was a melodrama like that of Erica Kane. In the mix of things, I became dis-satisfied with the job but was so in the trenches that I didn't really notice.

Through all of the drama of family & friends dying, friends in jail for heinous crimes, ill parents and husband, building a new house, my own little health crises, I still worked. Work was a constant. Did my attitude suck? Probably, most certainly. How could it not? But I did the best I could. This is where I needed Lucifer to step up. This is where it didn't happen.

During those years, I took very little time off. This was a huge mistake on my part.
I worked after having an ultrasound on my liver...effin' hurt like hell, in case you're curious...and a biopsy. I felt like I had no choice. Lucifer was fine with it. She didn't have to be there, that's all that mattered to her. A good boss - and friend - would have never allowed it.

Lucifer was great at presenting a pleasant public front. But the moment that she wasn't in the spotlight, the mask came off and Holy Hell, duck for cover. Toward the end, she spent less and less time at the school. This was actually a blessing. Things were much more pleasant without her.

Despite all of this, I loved my job. The families & kids were mostly great. The staff was mostly great. The board was a good group of people. I had good relationships with other administrators. There were connections that went back ten years that I couldn't bear to sever.

Also, there was always the dangling carrot of "more" offered. More wage, easier job, better schedule, etc. Lucifer was going to stop working soon and I knew I would have new opportunities when that time arrived. So, I white-knuckled it through.

Have I mentioned that I went three years without a raise? And that there were teachers that made more than I did? I even forfeited a raise one year so the staff could get a well deserved increase when state budgets were cut. Yeah. Nice..

But the more I gave, the more Lucifer wanted. It was simply never enough, never good enough.
Ignored was the fact that at whatever level the bar was set, we reached it. Or that she was spending less & less time at work yet everything was still running smoothly.

Surely I was thanked for my hard work, right? Um. No. Big Fat No. Hell to the No.

More, More, More she wanted. She was pissed when I wanted to go home ...thirty minutes LATE...on my 10th anniversary. Pissed when I didn't stay for a telephone training after spending the night in the ICU with my father figure when he had a stroke. These kind of examples I can list all day. Exhausting.

Meanwhile the friendship had waned. The time of being close had passed. She had remarried, had a stepdaughter and moved on.

So, with no warning, I was let go. The reason was convoluted, boiled down to attitude and the need for "change". No warning, no offer of compromise, Nothing. 12 years gone in one sentence. There was no acknowledgment of my leaving to anyone: staff or families. No opportunity for closure. Nothing. It was as if I never existed.

She, it seems, had it very tidily worked out. The cute yet stupid program director took my position after I left. She lasted SIX MONTHS. She left saying "It was really hard. Everyone hated me." Um, YEAH. Duh. It's the nature of the job, not necessarily the person.
Little Miss Thing just knew that if I was gone things would be great. Not so much.

Not to say that I was this awesome administrator with no flaws. My attitude was not at it's best, how could it be? This is where one depends on a boss - and a friend - to say "WTH is going on? How can I help?"

But I do look back and see that I have staff who still keep in contact, that I am friends with even. I still see staff and families from the school who greet me warmly. I couldn't have been so awful.

After I left the job, I would occasionally get chatty little emails from Lucifer. I deleted them without response. She acted as if nothing had happened and that as a friend, she had failed miserably. Finally, the emails stopped completely.

It's been three years and I hadn't seen her. This is quite a feat, working in a small city and working in the even smaller non-profit sector. We also have mutual friends . So, I wasn't surprised per se when she appeared here at work. I was surprised however that I didn't heave the monitor, stapler, phone, and anything else I could get my hands on at her head while cursing and name calling profusely. I was the grown-up.

And again, she acted as if nothing had ever gone wrong. As if she didn't totally bail as a friend AND as a boss. But then, she is so the person that would say "But look at you NOW." As if she did me this tremendous favor.


10 June 2009

Dear Miss Manners

A friend of mine recently asked for advice as to how to break up with a friend. YIKES.
I know this is a situation we've all had to face, including myself. I'm sure a Google Search would gather many suggestions however, this is much more fun.

And, yes, I'm assuming she's not talking about me. (:-D

Here's the original question:

OK so I have a problem. I have a friend who has pretty much veered into the passive/aggressive friend territory. As I am no longer a teenager I have no patience for passive/aggressive land. I want to break up with her but she is pretty integrated into my circle of friends and is now dating one of my friends. Suggestions?

Here was my initial suggestion:

Oh no. Breaking up with a friend is more difficult than breaking up with a boyfriend I think.

I've just faded into the woodwork in the past. Stop returning calls, being too busy for getting together until it naturally ends. Totally Ussy-Pay of me, I realize.

It sounds like a confrontation will be non-productive at best and damaging to other friendships at worst. And as much as Dear Abby et all recommend confrontation & honesty, I've found that it's not true. Most people aren't mature or open enough to deal with it.

Any help? it doesn't seem helpful. Let me think on it....

Her response was that she had already tried the disappearing tactic but it didn't work. It seems the person is someone she sees regularly while going about her normal life.

Then I said:
I guess just calling her on her sh*t when she does it. Think of something ahead of time to say when she does it. My nephew usually says an over-emphasized "WOW" when someone says something harsh. It's funny but also draws your attention to it.
Also, I have found myself saying "Oh. My. God. You did not just say that and mean it!!!!"

That was a suggestion I was given when dealing with someone I knew was flat out lying: just acknowledging it as it happens.

Either that or carry a spray bottle to spray her with whenever she does it. bwahahaaaaaa.

So, dear blogger friends, do you have any ideas or suggestions? We've all been through this, probably on both sides. How did you deal with a situation like this? Post a comment or a link to your blog!

09 June 2009

The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants

Trying to control what you feel in your heart for someone is much like trying to box water. Just when you think you've tamped it down, closed the box, and shoved it into a dark corner...The box tips over, spilling it's contents.

A few milestone dates have passed and it usually makes me a little wistful. This year has been no exception.

The thing about grief...grief as in not just loss from death but lost love or lost friendship...is that a person can never predict when it will appear. Like Sneaky Little Bastard, it sneaks up on you; staying for days, weeks or hours. Most times a person can predict a trigger. Dates and photographs seem to create struggles for me. Sometimes it just shows up unannounced.

There is no rationalization, logic, or consoling. Much like a toddler, I will want what is lost to the point of irrationality. "But I WANT it." I want the friendship. I want the intimacy, the connection. The history.
I just f&*king want it.

As much as it simply is not possible, the heart wants what the heart wants.

08 June 2009

Picture of the Day

Mt Baker from Chuckanut Drive in Bow, WA.

Quote of the Day

The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors, that
which it loves, and also that which it fears. It reaches
the height of its cherished aspirations. It falls to the
level of its unchastened desires - and circumstances
are the means by which the soul receives its own.
--James Allen, As A Man Thinketh

07 June 2009

With apologies to my Brother's Neighbors

In the theme of no good deed shall go unpunished, I offer this story:

Before going out to my parents the other night I had to stop at Brother Dear's house to pick up tickets for Apie's graduation. They have a dog that has run of the fenced backyard. I thought "I'll be nice and play ball for a minute before I go"

The freaking dog got out. She shoved her way past me and ran down the road. As Kevin says "I'm pretty sure she told you to eff off as she ran."

I followed her down the street, her ball in my hand in effort to coax her back to the house. Yeah, that so wasn't happening.

I called Brother Dear and asked for advice. It seems that the dog takes tours of the neighborhood then returns rather willingly. So I walked the U-shaped road and returned to his house to wait. About a city block in length, kind of like a cul-de-sac. I'm occasionally calling her name and trying to get her to come back to no avail. Finally, I just sat in the truck and muttered...both at myself for losing her and the dog for running.

She did come back and go into her yard without my assistance....about fifteen minutes later. Oh, I didn't mention that it was the hottest day ever, about 89 degrees.

She ran around her yard, noticed her ball that I had frustratedly thrown into the yard, then picked it up as if to say "Hey! Let's play Ball!!!!"

"NO. I. Am. Not. Playing. Ball. You. effing. Dog" I replied. Then followed up with "I apologize to any of the neighbors for the cursing...."

The "best" part? My nieces are never allowed to name a dog Ever Again. Because the dog's name?


Now re-read the story and you'll get the idea of the level of irritation AND embarrassment.

06 June 2009

Full Circle

Last night was Apie's graduation. We made it through with just brave tears and not all-out sobbing so that's good.

Kevin & I sat with Brother Dear and Satan...Apie's mom...so that was cozy. A few people away was one of Kevin's oldest & dearest friends whose daughter was also graduating so that was nice.
We all bonded together in this moment, sharing laughter & tears as we watched our kids step into adulthood.

There's nothing like going to a high school graduation for a LOST-like time warp. Flashbacks of graduations past bounced through my head all evening.

Brother Dear is ten years older than I am. He graduated in 1977 and I remember it like it was yesterday, even though I was only about seven years old then. In 1977, Queen was HUGE. They played "We Will Rock You" very loudly while the crowd & graduates stomped, clapped, and sung along. It. was. awesome.

And my dad...who Haaaaatttteeessss rock & roll music...was not amused.

Then, the actual theme song was "Do You Know Where You're Going To?" which is a perfect high school graduation song. I remember having chills listening and watching him graduate. Especially poignant knowing he was leaving for the service in two weeks for a three year tour.

The theme song for my graduation...in 1987...was "Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone." Lame.

What was I talking about? Oh, yeah.

The theme song...which Apie sung in choir during graduation...was "If You're Out There" by John Legend. Perfect.

As Apie crossed the stage we clapped and yelled and swelled with pride. "You did it." I told Brother Dear, while not making eye contact lest we begin bawling right there. "I am lucky" he replied. Well, luck only has a little to do with it.

It would be nice to bottle the excitement and enthusiasm that high school graduates emanate. We lose that so quickly as adults.

05 June 2009

Single Dad

My eldest niece is graduating this week. It is simply amazing to me how time passes. I'm having a difficult time reconciling this grown-up with the tow headed little toddler that was here just a minute ago.

Apie is going to be eighteen in a few months. She'll be graduated from high school and beginning college in the fall. She's made it this far with very few bumps along the road; no more than teenage melodrama and failing math. We are so lucky and we know it.

You see my brother is a single dad. He has raised the girls nearly on his own most of their lives.

The nicest thing I can say about their mother is that she has mental illness. Everything else is R-rated. She was married to Brother Dear for about four years. She had two young boys that my brother raised as his own at the time. (to give you a hint of who she is: their names are Stormy and Smokey. I am not kidding.)

She left my brother for someone less viable and took all of the kids, severing any contact between my brother and the boys and using the girls as pawns. Brother Dear often went for weeks with seeing - or even knowing where were - his girls.

One day we got a call from him "I have the girls." With no warning, no preparation, nothing, Satan just handed them over. She signed off custody rights and went truck driving to the deep South with her boyfriend du jour.

Apie was four and Ambie was two. Brother Dear hardly knew Ambie because he'd spent such little time with her. And the boys? Gone, sent back to their paternal grandmother even though Brother Dear offered to take them as well.

Oh the girls were a mess. I called them The Wild Things. Uncut and ratted hair that had to be cut short in order to salvage. Bad teeth, poor hygiene, little social skills. They had apparently been raised by wolves. Apie was a "little mother" as she had been in charge of Ambie for so long that she didn't even think about it. That was one of our biggest struggles with her: making her realize that she was a kid and not a mom.

Brother Dear tucked and rolled. He switched shifts at Boeing. He got insurance for them and hooked them up with all the right doctors. Apie had glasses and eventually braces while Ambie skimmed by with just having some baby teeth removed and some digestive issues that she grew out of. He took time off to get them enrolled in proper schools and get them caught up. He let them spend time with their grandparents whom they barely knew.

And now. Now!

They live in a house they own and never have to move until they marry or want to. They've gone to the same schools. They're both in choir and band and sports and clubs and church and the list goes on and on. Things happen for a reason.

Brother Dear knows their friends, knows their teachers, he is not the perfect dad but he's trying. He learned to be a dad as they learned to be daughters. He is the first one they run to when things go wrong. He bought Apie a car and he's helping pay for college. Apie wants to be a psychologist. While Ambie is a freshman in the Fall and the fun really beings. Our Melodrama Queen. She's going to give us a run for our money fo sho.

But I'm not worried really because apparently there's nothing Brother Dear can't handle. He's a single Dad of teenage girls. You can't scare him.

04 June 2009

Ghosts of Christmases Past

The month of May has been a trippy one. I am so glad it's done.

Facebook opens all kinds of doors to the past. I've seen pictures of an ex-boyfriend and the girl that Michael slept with while we were still married. One of my friends is friends with a guy from high school that left flowers & notes in my locker for two weeks straight then pulled a Martin Blank and disappeared off the face of the earth.

Yesterday I avoided an ex-boyfriend in the grocery store. It freaked me right the hell out and I'm not sure why. Although I am aware that I forgot half the things I needed because of it.

But that's not the interesting part. This is:

At work we had a United Way tour for the allocations committee last week-ish.

I was working on my computer and not paying much attention as people began to arrive. Suddenly I hear "Well Howdy Stranger"

Ah, sh*t.

I glance up to see my former boss standing there. Strangely and much to my surprise, I didn't throw office supplies or the computer monitor at her. I was able to react in a calm and non-reactive way: "Oh, hi." As if I didn't want to tell her to "Walk away. Now. No, really. Walk away."

But as J said "That would be bad. She's on the committee." But the mental image is entertaining for me so I'm keeping it.

She acted as if Nothing Bad Had Ever Happened.

I wonder what color the sky is in her world. Seriously.

She asked about Kevin and fam. I responded with benign, non-specific answers. She commented on my view from my desk. (which is pretty damn good) She chatted about how her kids are doing (whom I do miss terribly) and how her husband is (also whom I miss...we were friends)

Then she walked away. And I still didn't even throw things at her. Or make a face even. How very grown up I am.

Oh, but I thought it. I so thought it.

It's just who she is. She leaves this terrible wake in her path and has No Idea that she does it. Or chooses to have no idea, I'm not sure.

But now, I can cross that off my list. I've finally seen her and I didn't commit any crimes.


Now I'm wondering who else I might bump into from my past. Although May is now over so perhaps I'm off the hook and the Ghost of Christmases Past have wandered off to bother someone else. I surely hope so.

03 June 2009

Mocking Birds

Kevin is back to working six days a week, 10 -12 hours a day. It's been brutal.

The other night we were finishing dinner and everything was quiet. The weather has been beautiful lately so the windows and doors are all open. The birds were singing happily as the sun begins to set and it cools off.

"You hear those birds?" Kevin says. "Hear them? Bragging that they don't have to work tomorrow. Damn birds."

02 June 2009

Piece of Crap Birthday Present

I did get Kevin a birthday present, but not without drama.

It took me so long to decide what to buy that I actually left work on his birthday to go buy it. He's wanted a new weed-whacker for a few years. I went to Home Depot and bought what I thought was a good one. Although I knew we'd probably need to bring it back because I know f&*k-all about weed-whackers. It's the thought that counts after all.

Again, I had to fib about his present as he arrived home just after I did. "Your dad said something was dropped off today, did you order something?" with slight irritation in my voice.
(well done me) "No" Kevin says "You know it was them" referring the parents.

Hidden in plain sight in the tool shed that we'd just spent a few hours cleaning last weekend was his weed-whacker. "It's from me, actually."

He opened it up and so far, so good. It had the components that he wanted. He began to put it together when he notices that the trigger is broken. *insert bad words here*

We made plans to go return it the following evening after Forced Family Fun. Kevin and I went over to the parents to tell them that I had bought him a total crap birthday present.

Dinner ran late on Friday and we hurried to Home Depot to return the present. We had thirty minutes until closing. Upon walking into the Returns department, Kevin points and exclaims "You did give me a total crap birthday present!"

Sitting in a bin was not one, but two broken weed-whackers that were exactly the same as the one I'd given him. The cashier admitted that they were crap and advised us to buy the other brand. It took forever to return it because the manager was Doogie Howser and in no hurry whatsoever. "My God, he's a puppy!" I exclaimed to the cashier. "He's going to need a nap and snack after walking all that way!" The cashier's eyes got big and then she broke out laughing. "I'm going to remember that." she said.

Finally, we went and checked them out. The only one that he wanted was $75 more. His mother had given him a check for $50 so he could "upgrade" his purchase so this was no big deal. He actually had the new one in his hand when he notices that it doesn't have a feature that he MUST HAVE. We look and it's an option for $30 more. Of course it is.

He considers and wonders and considers. Finally, I just said "How about we look at Sears?"

We looked at his watch and he had ten minutes to get there before they closed. We spent a minute considering whether or not that's a good idea when we practically ran out of the store. The Sears is at the mall, nearly five minutes away.

He drove and we were stuck in traffic (okay, okay, my shortcut wasn't a good idea after all)
It's now 8:55 pm.

I planned ahead: "You pull up and run in, I'll park the truck" And he did.

By the time I got the truck parked, they locked the doors. I couldn't get in. I just giggled because I had the money. They had to let me in. But I glanced at the doors and I realized that they weren't fully locked. I pulled on the handle and it gave, so I shook it and it popped open!!

One of the cashiers turned as I was walking past and looked at me like WTF but I just smiled cheerily and kept walking.

Kevin was talking to a young girl cashier when I approached. He was just about to give up when she called over to another cashier. "I'll be right there!" we heard him call back.

Click. The first set of lights went out and we began giggling.

The other cashier came over and was super-friendly and helpful. "Well, don't buy this one because it's JUUUUNNNKKKK."

Now we hear the announcement overhead: "Sears is now closed. Please bring your purchases to the store or return tomorrow." We giggled again and Kevin offered to come back the next day.
Super Cool Cashier Guy was all "Don't worry about it."

Kevin's all ready to buy the Craftsman one when he realizes it doesn't have the feature he wanted either. The cashier explained that it was basically dead technology and none of the new ones would have that feature. Kevin persevered "Can I buy one from the catalog?"
The poor cashier rephrased the answer like three times before Kevin finally gave up.

I told him later "It was as if you were That Guy that didn't want to give up his 8-Track."

As we were paying, the second set of lights went off. These people are serious. The Store is Closed.

$100 more than the original purchase later and we're walking out the door. But not really because now we're locked in. Insert "Career Opportunities" movie references here. The cashier took us out the proper door which was on the other side of the store, making jokes the entire time.

Kudos to this guy. It was Friday night, sunny and he had every reason to tell us to piss off but he was great about the whole thing.

This is just another example of how Kevin and I shouldn't be allowed to run our own lives. $200 in less than ten minutes, $100 over the original budget and After the store closed.

01 June 2009

Hallmark Moment

Kevin's birthday was this week. He's usually kind of anti-birthday, not vain about his age, but not wanting any extra attention.

I mentioned earlier this week not to expect greatness from his birthday present because he hadn't asked/wished for anything and I don't think I could top the barbecue I gave him last year.

Wait, I have to tell you this story really quick:
Last year, before Kevin's birthday, his dad bought a new barbecue. Oh for the love of all things holy, there was whining and wistfulness over his dad's barbecue. Finally, I had Kevin's parents go down while we were at work and buy one. They brought it home and the Nephew put it together on the deck before we got home.
After work I raced home to try to get home before Kevin. I was only like one minute ahead of him which gave me no time for a bow or an idea to surprise him. I had to improvise, quickly.

He got out of his car and was dragging tired. His Dad came ambling over and Kevin asked what was going on. As he's shooing the dog away, inspiration struck. I sighed heavily "The dogs broke the screen door, I can't get it to shut." (brand new screen door, at the time.)

The Dog was lucky she'd wandered away at this point. Kevin went into his shop and grabbed some tools and went stomping toward the deck. He was actually muttering when he looked up and spotted his shiny new barbecue. "Oh....hey...." he says with reverence. Nice moment.

Okay...meanwhile....back on topic:

His parents were fussing because they couldn't think of what to get them. They gave him a card from Hallmark and said "We'll get you a gift later."

It's obvious that it's a singing card so we just knew it would be something silly.

He opens it and it plays

"Happy birthday to you" in his father's voice
"Happy birthday to you" in his mother's voice.
"Happy birthday...." father's voice
"We love you Randy..." mother's voice.
"Buh bye" ....father's voice (code: "what she said")

It was the nicest card ever. We both teared up listening.

I love to picture those two deciding what to say/sing, practicing and then recording it. Too doggone cute and sweet.

It's going to sit on the bookcase forever.