Monthly Archives: July 2015

Hello, my name is Jackass….

ever have those moments when you realize what a jackass you’ve been? 

i have been so wrapped up in my self that I’ve let down so many people. 

two years ago, I was better at juggling things- better at saying, “no….” and truth be told, my life was waaaaay easier….that was when i saw the kid on weekends, as opposed to pretty much raising her; and when i wasn’t daily thinking about my parents’ needs, such as what to cook for them to ensure they eat. seriously, if i weren’t here, the ‘rents would live on fiber bars….add chocolate and diet cokes for mom. 

two years ago, I’d never been to a PTO meeting, much less chair the school’s annual fundraiser. 

two years ago, i was someone you’d want to be friends with….

But, I forget. i forget that things have changed and that even the act of committing can be overwhelming. and that i let people down. 

i don’t think i’ve been like this until recently….it’s a coping mechanism to prioritize and i don’t realize i do it….but, yeah, I’ve closed down shop even though the sign says open. 

so, if you hear I’m a jerk, yeah, maybe I am….but, I think the really stand-up person just lost her way for a moment, so please give me a little time….

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My Most Recent Application of those Hard-earned MBA Skills

If, while interviewing for a certain new position, I’m asked what I’ve been doing this summer, I’ve made a crib sheet:

Life Lessons Accumulated from Studying Online Mahjong

  • Hesitation is brutal. 
  • Sometimes it’s best not to worry so much.
  • As soon as you think you’ve got it, the game changes. Fuckers.
  • Sometimes things seem more difficult than they are.
  • Even the easiest task deserves the same attention as the most difficult…you might be surprised.
  • Before you know it, time’s run out.
  • It’s more fun if you’re well-prepared.
  • No one’s keeping count but you. 
  • Look for repeat history to help you move forward; likewise, learn from your mistakes.
  • Sometimes you have it say, “Screw it; it’s just a game.”

   

 

Sea World

Sea World  

 has now been added so that the kid can pet a dolphin. Because at Disney: A) she’s one day shy of the magic age of 13; B) between busses, early arrival, and the three hour ‘event,’ that’s just taking up too much of our valuable time (like six prime Disney hours); and C) I’m not paying something like $500 for this. Just, NO. Priorities, people.

Sea World should take less time to get to if we take a cab, B) I have free entrance tix thanks to another fabulous friend, and C) the actual event is less than half-price of Disney and a waaaaaaaay shorter time frame.

I have now decided to make a binder for the damn trip. I have three apps on my phone; in addition to paying for a service which is tracking down Be Our Guest reservations. I’ve started a “stuff to buy and pack vs. stuff to have delivered via a grocery service.” 

Don’t judge.

For a moment tonight, The Kid didn’t want to go in the trip. We passed The Point of No Return two weeks ago, so this news was received and mulled upon. 

I finally (coolly) said, “I understand, but you don’t mind if I go on and go, do you? After all, I’d hate for all of this fabulousness go to waste.”

She came around shortly after that, thank you, Sweet Jesus. 

After the mini-crisis was averted, Mother said, “We really should have gone to Dollywood….I’ve heard a lot of people prefer it to Disney.”

I just LOOKED at her. 

I’ve heard Dollywood’s awesome (it’s on my bucket list for the next 12 months), but umm, that would been a nice decision to make uh, 98 days ago, and counting. 

Disney is going to kill me….

  
last fall, my mother had breast cancer. she told The Kid that once she was completely well, she’d start planning a trip to Disney. 

as pretty much always happens in this unusual family unit, “she” planning a trip  actually meant me. 

to be perfectly honest, I’m going on the trip and wouldn’t leave the planning to anyone else. i can be an OCD planner, and I’m damn proud of it….it’s how i’ved chaired three-day conferences that looked seamless. hell yes, it was seamless, i worked on that sucker for TWO years.

but Disney, Disney, you’re gonna do me in. we’re 90 days out and I’d guesstimate I’ve spent at least 50 hours scheduling, reserving, ordering, clarifying, canceling, and cajoling for this trip. 

here’s the scariest part: the kid is more of a finicky eater than I’d like. she’d eat chick-fil-a every day of her life, if possible (I know you reading this are all like, “well, hell yeah, I’d eat it every day, too,” but really, would you really?). 

if you haven’t been to Disney in a while, let explain why this is a problem: if staying at a resort, you can buy a dining plan….there are several, and can be the best thing ever or a really bad idea, depending on how often you eat and which restaurants are important to you. reservations are available 180 (!) days out, and seriously, you’d better be online at midnight at day -180 or you could be screwed. 

I was 178 days out and missed the top two of our choices. I haven’t given up on snagging a reservation, but I’m not holding my breath. 

Disney has no Chick-Fil-A, so the kid is going to have to make due….and I have a feeling we’ll just order pizza a few nights. 

in 30 days, I get to reserve our fast pass choices. I’ve already planned which parks we’re in on which days, due to traffic estimates. the restaurant reservations are booked accordingly; also making sure we don’t have two big meals scheduled closely together. 

the magic express is tagged for our airport pickup, and lists have been made as to what I must buy pre-trip and pack- example: moleskin for blisters; dollar-tree rain ponchos for the water rides; and costumes for a Halloween party.

90 days out, God help me. 

 

Eight is great

  
the stepson of my stepfather and his family visited two weeks ago. they live out of state and when they come into town, they’re usually here for several days. I like them, but truth be told, I don’t know them very well. The stepson is at least 15 years older than me, and our parents married when I’d just graduated from college, so there’s really not a huge bond; not like my step siblings on my father’s side, who I’ve known since I was five.

The Kid calls the stepson and his family, “newspaper people,” as she says their reasoning is very black and white, whereas we (my mother’s line) are extremely colorful. I couldn’t agree more. 

My stepfather is a lovely man, perhaps the most honorable human being I have ever had the privilege of knowing. At 85, his health is waning and his lung cancer has returned. He adds a very vital and interesting dynamic in this household, well-loved by all of us, and deservedly well respected.

I managed to lay low while the step-fam was in town, partially because I wanted them to have their time, and partially because I was at the end of a slew of medical tests and the last ones had made me sick as a dog. 

However, the day they were leaving, the wife of my stepfather’s stepson found me, huddled under blankets, in the den and sat down to chat.

Her: how’ve you been?

Me: fabulous! Thanks! (with a slight note of sarcasm)

Her: (grasping for a conversation starter) so, what do you do for fun these days?

Me: drink.

(Pause…………)

Her: (shifting uncomfortably, as only a Southern Baptist in this situation can do….) uh…. oh! Uh, what do you drink? Wine?

Me: (finally giving it up) actually, I don’t  really drink, I was just kidding with you.

(Okay, I do drink, but I consider it seldom enough to count. I talk more about wanting to drink than I ever do.)

A few hours later, after the step-fam has left, I’m in the kitchen with my stepfather. 

I clearly looked like hell, as the test I’d had the day before was the most excruciating thing I’ve ever physically experienced. I’d been in bed that weekend, too, with exception of seeing my stepfather’s stepson’s wife.

SF (stepfather): how are you feeling?

Me: just great, thanks.

(Big pause………)

Him: uh, are you on narcotics?

I stop in my tracks, wondering where this had come from and then realize that the step-fam misinterpreted my lying around for drugs. This was a little disconcerting, but very amusing.

Me: uh, nope. 

(I wait a beat…..)

Me: why, do you have some?

Some people just don’t get my sense of humor…..

; )

Seven heaven

i was six and he was, i had decided, a younger man….although his birthday was a day before mine, he was in kindergarten, not first grade like me. 

he sat behind me on the little school bus, and he was blonde….and cute.

i suppose my mother arranged a play date at our house- so he came home with me after school and we went to my room to play. 

soon, i cajoled him into the dark walk-in closet, a favorite hiding place when my parents fought and i was scared. the closet was a safe place. i wanted to show it to him. so, i led and he followed, until we were deep into the clothes, but not too far to see the light from the slightly opened door. 

and i kissed him. 

and i kissed him again.

and then, i heard my mother as she opened the door.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“We’re hiding from xx (my brother). i don’t want him to play with us,” i said.

my mother was upset that i’d intentionally left my brother out, so we were marched to his room, us toting Legos.

three big things happened that day: i had my first kiss (although i don’t officially count it as my first kiss, cause uh, I was SIX), and i lied to my mother for the first time….and she believed me.

all because of a boy.

  

  

Six

the day i met her was the day i fell in love. my entire life changed within an instant. and i knew it; I knew my life would never be the same. and i didn’t care.

the day we lost her was like nothing i would wish on anyone. it was a cold tuesday in January, and i was driving home when the phone call came. I pulled to the side of the road and vomited, dry heaved, and cried for more than hour. a family member had to come pick me up and deliver me home.

afterwards, as the days passed, i became aware of how my body had naturally taken over for my soul….although i no longer wanted to go on, my body would carry me until my spirit could catch back up. 

she was five when it happened, and although she is now with me again, the loss of a child, for any reason, is difficult to put into words.

simple things- like my circle of friends- soon were no longer existent….for those friends were at a loss of what to say. holidays were unbearable- i limped through Easter and then called my father- i’d make it through the little holidays, but he was going to have to come up with a solution for thanksgiving, because i was unable to do it for myself. he rose to the occasion, thankfully.

in March, i was in DC for my youngest brother’s wedding, and my stepsister asked a casual question about the child. we were in the restaurant restroom, and i crumpled to the floor, my cheek resting on the cold, hopefully clean, white marble.

As mentioned, she’s now home, and she complains i hug her too hard. yes, i’m sure i do.

  

Jiving Five

living with my parents has been quite the adjustment. there is a give-take involved that we are all still getting used to….

my stepfather, age 85, has been to the ER five times since October. i’ve either taken him or followed afterwards. i simply call ahead now and tell the hospital we’re on the way, and someone is waiting outside with a wheelchair. it’s rather like fast food for the infirmed….also, one of the benefits of living in a small town. it’s gotten to the point that often I’ll order a pizza for us in triage, and an extra for the ER staff….they like the vegetarian with extra black olives. 

in between these ER visits, i came home one night to find my stepfather on the floor in the kitchen. the following conversation ensued:

Me: what happened??!

Him: clearly, i fell.

Me: yes, but, what happened? 

Him: i was letting the dog in.

Me: well, gosh, don’t let the dog out anymore. she’ll be fine until we get home.

Him: i didn’t let her OUT, i let her IN.

Me: okay, well, who let her out?

Him: oh, i did that, too.

  
Me: (takes a deep breath in)….so, uh, where’s that, “Help me, I can’t get up,” necklace thing you’re supposed to wear?

Him: it’s in my room.

Me: why?

Him: i don’t need it.

Me: this is the third time you’ve fallen, you do need it.

Him: yes, but it’s only the FIRST time since i got the necklace.

my mother, too, is having some growing pains with the fact they may actually need me in the house. example A:

Her: you know, I’ve been thinking….perhaps you didn’t get that job A because you’re living with us and it looks like you’re not as responsible as they’d like.

Me: (nodding head slowly and waiting a beat for timing)….yeah, yeah, that could be it. OR, perhaps I didn’t get it because they already had someone in mind. cause I’m betting I look like a daughter who’s moved in to help out her elderly parents. 

note to readers: that did not go over well.

my mother is an artist and grocery shopping is the farthest thing from her mind, unless she’s buying rotisserie chicken or cigarettes. on the flip side, my stepfather uses those caveman-hunting skills to snag the best bargain ever. forget that none of us will eat/use the product, it was on sale, damn it. currently, he has more than 15 new packages of razors in his sock drawer. yes, i counted. yes, i took some and are now using them to shave my legs, sue me.

it is practically slaying the man that I am now the one doing the shopping. it is practically slaying me, as well. 

Him: where are you going?

Me: i’m running to Kroger to get some cilantro.

Him: i need you to pick up a few things…hold on a moment.

a half an hour later, he hands me a list with, i kid you not, twenty items listed. he then must review the list with me to ensure i have the proper understanding of this week’s savings, and he requests that i pick up the flyer to read before i start the shopping process. 

last week, i scored $58 in savings in one visit. yay me! however, i didn’t receive the $1 off coupon savings i’d handed them, so he sent me back to the store to request it for him. once again, i kid you not…..but i did it, and he received that dollar savings.

: )