This is me today

This morning I walked into a store to buy a coffee.  I smelled you.  I looked everywhere but you were not there.  14 years and it hit me like a punch in the gut.  I saw a man in a car today.  I thought it was you.  It was not.  I think I’m going to see you soon.  I feel it.  And it doesn’t really matter.  I’m OK.  You’re not OK.  My version of the book.

I'm_OK-_You're_OK

NOT.

I am moving soon.  It is a difficult thing to do.  The packing and selling and organizing.  Selling some of the stuff in my parents’ house so I can get my stuff out of here and in there.  Log jam!  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed.  And other times I feel like – I’ve got this.  I’m a frigging production manager.

moving

My father had his shoulder replaced last week.  He looked so awful afterward in the hospital, he scared me.  And I don’t scare easily.  He will be 81 on March 30.  He has been in rehab since Friday.  He is himself again.  If he wasn’t sitting around in jammies and wearing a sling, you’d never know.  Yay!

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I have a new job.  Driving an escort car for oversize loads.  I love love love love love it.  If I have my way, I will never ever sit in an office again.  Unless it is volunteer work of some kind.

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The other day I was escorting a guy whose handle was Big Daddy.  I kid you not.  But I did kid him about it; oh yes I did.  So we’re coming over 691 and I said, “Big Daddy.  See that tower up there?”  He said yes.  I said, “When I was in high school, I used to go up there with my friends and smoke the wacky.”  He laughed and said, “Me too.”  Turns out, Big Daddy went to high school in Connecticut, as did I.  We graduated in the same year.  I met Big Daddy in person at the end of the run.  He looked like my ex.  A little taller and his Buddha was a little smaller.  He had a shaved head complete with baseball cap, bright blue eyes and the same hands.  I said, “Big Daddy.  You look like my ex.  Hey!  You could be my next ex.”  He rolled his eyes.  I get a lot of that.

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I have this dog Dante.  He is some kind of freaky critter.  He is not my Mikey.  This doesn’t mean I don’t love him.  Maybe I feel about Dante how mothers feel about their kids.  You love them all but you love them different?  First I had Dave and he was my baby.  No doubt about it.  Then I had Mike and he was my BFF.  I loved him with my heart.  I still do.  We got each other.  Now I have Dante.  A rescue.  I had the others from puppy stage.  Dante has issues.  He is needy.  He cries and barks.  But he is sweet.  He stares at me all the time.  And he loves me.  And he is playful.  He worries.  I can tell.  He paws at me if I don’t touch him enough, which for him is most of the time.  He throws himself at me.  He tries to sit or lie on my lap.  He weighs 55 pounds.  He hogs the bed.  I have to fight for space.  But I’m a dog person/poodle mama.  I love his screwed-up little self.  But I think I might miss Mike every day for the rest of my life.

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Never heard of Pharrell Williams till the song “Happy” came out.  I freaking love it.  I wish I had written it.  But I never would have worn shorts to the Academy Awards.

Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

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Today, I am happy too.

happy day

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My life in Haiku

I do hate housework
I try to make myself clean
Vacuuming is awful

vacuum

I miss him a lot
My dog Mike with his brown eyes
I will not forget

Mike

Once I lost a job
A man who had small fingers
Were other things small

Was crazy in love
He said I’ll never leave you
Who tells lies like that

Ann Coulter faking
But people believe in her
She laughs all the time

ann-coulter

Looking at hairdo’s
I have been struck blind often
Need a mirror, Girl

bad hair

Thinking in Haiku
It’s funny and makes me laugh
You should try it too

haiku

Stop licking my pit
My dog loves deodorant
Dante’s a weirdo

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Candy Crush Saga
I am so addicted now
Candy Crack Saga

candy crack

I am fucking broke
Twenty two months not full time
But love not working

no_money

Love NCIS
Isn’t Gibbs really handsome
Why did Ziva leave

ziva

I am getting old
Arthritis hurts my poor toes
And the rest of me

toe

I’m a love cynic
Now I protect my poor heart
It is easier

heart

Not superstitious
Only a dummy would be
Knock knock knock knock wood

knock wood

Word I never heard
Disambiguation – huh?
Love dictionaries

dictionary

I called you Pumpkin
You called me your Pussy Cat
You were full of shit

pumpkinpussy cat

My heat isn’t on
I’m waiting for Thanksgiving
Colleen needs the warmth

fire

The end. For now.

My electric frying pan. And weddings, marriage, love, vows and faith.

I put my electric frying pan away this morning and sat down and started writing.

Back in 1980, I made a bad decision and married a man who was not nice.  I knew it when I did it.  It was an immature decision that lead to humiliation, punching and divorce.  But this story is not really about that chapter in my life.

It is about weddings, marriage, love, vows, faith and my electric frying pan.

A friend of a certain age, my age, just decided to get married.  What a leap of faith.  I admire that.  My friend is a good-hearted, solid, caring, thinking person of above-average intelligence.  She and her intended have children and grandkids.  Like most of us, they are working their way through life trying to be happy and do the right things.

So they decided to get married and all at once, in about 5 minutes, things started to go awry.  It was no big deal and nothing bad happened but things got a little off.  What I liked was her reaction.  She told me she was considering buying three sweatshirts – one that says bride, one that says groom, one that says minister and go stand by a tree and get married.  I loved this.

Because I really don’t like big, ornate weddings.  For me.  I understand many people love them.  I understand many little girls, and big girls too, dream of this day when they will perform this ritual in the long white dress.

But here is how it has always looked in my mind.

She dons the long, virginal, white dress with the veil over her head – like a cow going to slaughter – and is led down a long, white aisle by one man and is handed over to another man.  I remember when I was a little girl and my friends used to put towels over their heads like veils and play bride.  I would like to add here that I never did that.  Even as a small child I knew this was not for me.  I was just trying to figure out if I could have a baby without getting married.  This was the 60’s after all.  And I wanted to be a mother.  A real mother, not a mother to a life-size, rubber, baby doll with a hole in its painted pink lips into which one forced water and then squeezed it out the hole in the hiney.

She stood in the back of the church clutching her father’s arm.  She said Dad I don’t think I can do this.  Move your ass he said.  And they walked.

The bride, the groom, their families pay an inordinate amount of money for a party that lasts for part of one day.  This money could be used to make a down payment on a house or a condo.  To buy a car.  To pay off student loans.  Or to spend months in France and Italy.  It could be given to charity – there are so many needy people in this world.

And a lot of the time, this party does not make a lot of people happy.  The in-laws want to control the “bride’s day”.  The girlfriends don’t like the dress because they feel it makes them look like Little Bo Peep.  Not a lot of Little Bo Peep these days, but lots of unattractive because many are squeezed into tight, strapless gowns with fat back and tattoos showing.  And oftentimes, boobs way too big for strapless.  The girls need a home.  And the pressure to spend enough on a gift or give enough cash to pay for your attendance at this “wedding” is just not a good thing.  When did going to a wedding become paying for yourself to go to a party?  A long time ago now I’m afraid.

(And to my friends – please do not not invite me to your kids weddings now.  I love your children and I can go with the flow.  I am a card-carrying, dues-paying member of this civilized society and I want to be there.)

And since the majority of marriages end in divorce, this huge ceremony seems to me not a realistic way to spend one’s time, emotional energy, money.

And this ritual is so impersonal.  For what is more personal than standing up with someone you love and looking them in the eye and promising to try.  I do not like the word vows.  Merriam-Webster defines vows as “a solemn promise or assertion; specifically : one by which a person is bound to an act, service, or condition”.  This circus that a marriage ceremony has become is everything but personal.

Marriage today is not the same as marriage 50 or 100 or 200 or 500 years ago.  Not all of us need a man, or a mate for that matter, to have a life.  Marriage was invented back in the day when two people were needed to keep a family/household going.  People had to grow their food.  They had to plant and weed and harvest.  They had milk to the cows and feed the chickens and slop the hogs.  Food prep took all day.  Someone had to watch the kids while someone worked the crops.  There was canning to be done.  Meat had to be slaughtered and dried.  And plucked and skinned.  Now we have Stop & Shop.

For should not marriage or whatever word we use to describe it be a grown and mature union?  Where you stand up and look your partner/beloved in the eye and say something like this.

I love you.  Against all odds, I will try to do that forever.  Even on the days when I want to bop you.  During our bad days, I will try to remember our good times.  I hope you will help me with this.  I will try to have a sense of humor every single day because what other thing helps us get by more than that.  I hope you will help me remember that.  I promise that I will try to count to 10 before I open my mouth when you annoy me.  I promise I will try to look straight into your eyes every morning and remember why I stood here and said these words.  I hope when I draw my last breath or you draw yours, the thing we both know is that every day we tried to love each other best.

This exchange of verbal hope is personal.  Private.  Real.  This does not require an audience.  It does not need big expensive gifts.  It does not need a piece of paper.  It does not need a minister.  It does not need a $5000 dress.  It does not need arguments with your mother and your new in-laws.  It does not need sunny weather.  It does not need an expensive vacation.  It does not need a new house.  It does not need a long white dress.  It does not need a $45,000 budget.  It does not need a $20,000 budget.  It does not need a $1000 budget.

So back when I got married in 1980, there were I think five people in attendance besides the bride, groom and the minister – none of whom were dressed in sweatshirts.  The bride wore a knee-length yellow dress with white trim and some nice shoes.  The groom wore a pair of dress pants and a nice shirt.

The marriage didn’t last.  It was over in the blink of an eye.

At this time, I know 4 people, two couples – all people between the ages of 50 and 70 who are planning on getting married.  And the mathematical joy of it all – one for the first time, one for the second, one for the third, and one for the fourth.  Do I think they’re all nuts?  Yup.  Do I envy them their faith?  Yup.  Their hope?  Yup.  Their optimism in the face of all evidence to the contrary?  Yup.  Do I hope they are truly happy together and that when they draw their last breath, the thing they both know is that every day they tried to love each other best?  Yup.

One of those five in attendance at that small wedding in Florida 32 years ago was a woman whom I loved very much.  We are still in touch through the magic of Facebook.  I think it would be safe to say we probably do not agree on much political or religious.  I’ll double-check with her but I know the answer.  And I didn’t want a big wedding.  But I wanted to try.  And she wanted to be there when I said I would.  I was naïve.  I thought it might be forever.  My friend gave me an electric frying pan for a wedding present.  Back when we gave we each other things to help “set up house”.  Or usually apartment.  She gave me a gift I wanted and a gift she could afford.

I have that same electric frying pan still.  I use it all the time.  It’s banged and bent and beat up.  And still working.  Like me.  It’s outlasted all the men.

P.S.  If you’re looking for an electric frying pan that will last forever, go with West Bend.

On being single

I got married for the first time when I was 24.  I did this because my friends were doing it and I felt like I needed to get it out of the way.  Also, his parents said if we lived together, they would disown him.  And it was 1980 and more than anything in the world, I wanted children.  He treated me terribly but I married him anyway.

So after about 8 or 9 months of marriage, he stood up in our dining room where six people were sitting around the table eating and getting pleasantly smashed, and hit me over the head with a beer bottle.  And you know what?  I didn’t leave him.  I didn’t leave him the next week either when he got up first thing in the morning and shoved me into the bedroom wall and onto the floor.  Instead I pulled myself up and heaved his sorry butt into the closet.  I’m ashamed to say it took 7 or 8 times before I left him.  I was embarrassed.  I thought his treatment of me proved that I was unlovable and I didn’t want anyone to know that about me.

I moved back in with my parents for a few months and then got an apartment.  And in 1985, in order to prove that I could do this marriage thing right, I said “I do” to another terrible choice.  This one wasn’t bad or not nice.  He just wasn’t the right guy for me.  And when I felt it all coming unglued after about five years, I talked him into buying a very expensive house so we would have to stay together in order to afford it.

So anyhow.  Marriage – not a fan.  I know many more married people than I do unmarried and I don’t see a lot of relationships that I would find acceptable for me.  Actually none.

I have spent the majority of my adult life in an unmarried state.  I am a survivor of the heterosexual wars.  And I wish it didn’t have to be a war – but it certainly appears to be.

This is who I want.

Someone who is smart, funny, strong enough to not be afraid of me, self-assured and self-sufficient, someone with kids would be nice, someone who does not feel for any reason that he should ever tell me what to do, a man who loves sex, employed or retired with enough money.  Doesn’t have to be a lot, but enough.  And someone who loves my dog.  A man who reads books and can hold up his end of a lively debate.  A man with intellectual curiosity.  A man who can lift heavy stuff would be good.  Someone who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty.  Maybe a nice Italian guy who grows his own tomatoes and basil…

These are things that attract me – physically.

Baldness, crinkly smiley eyes, height, a man who smells good.

None of these physical characteristics are a deal-breaker for me but its what I notice first.  Just sayin’.

I am a happy person.  I will be happy whether or not I find my dream guy.  I think of this man like frosting on my cupcake.  My cupcake is good but it would be better with chocolate heart attack frosting.  If you need this recipe, let me know.  It is delicious and rich and creamy and very high in cholesterol.  You probably shouldn’t eat it very often, but you can if you want to.  If I don’t want my man telling me what to do, I’m sure not going to give orders to anyone else.   If you really want the honking frosting, then eat it.  I won’t tell you no.

If you are reading this, you probably know me.  Consider this a singles ad.  HAH!

You’re so vain

Remember when

we danced in the kitchen?

we did it on Amtrak? and not in a sleeper car?

we moved the ottoman over in front of the couch, stretched out our legs, and sat there night after night with the blanket covering us?

you said I was born to be with you?

you held my hand when my best friend’s father died?

you pulled up the leg of my jeans and stuck your finger in the top of my sock because it was winter and we were dressed like Eskimos and it was the most easily available bit of my skin for you to touch?

we sat in the kitchen of my third floor apartment on top of the hill and smoked a joint and ate Subway and watched the blizzard out that huge old window?

my dog died?

we both had insomnia and so we passed Bartlett’s back and forth and quizzed each other half the night?

I had cancer and was afraid to get out of bed and you pulled me out and helped me?

you walked me to my car and wrapped me in your coat and kissed me good night and we turned around and went back inside and got in bed?

I read biographies out loud to you in the car to pass the time on long trips?

we were flat on our backs in the pitch dark looking for constellations?

I put my nose in the middle of your chest and smelled you?

we chopped together and made really good things to eat?

our hair froze in the hot tub during a snow storm?

we first met and I sat on my hands so I wouldn’t touch you?

that one persistent seagull kept dive-bombing my head and you had to fight him off? My hero!

we did the crossword Sunday mornings and you never left until we had every square filled in?

I got a new puppy and you came in and said how are we ever going to have sex with that nut around so I shoved peanut butter and broken dog cookies in his toy and you said you should contact those Kong people I see a new advertising campaign in their future?

we did it in your truck at lunch? 25 times?

I called you and said its going to storm come and be snowbound with me?

you said you’d never leave me?

Me too.