Welcome to my world!

My life's been crazy since my Daddy moved in with me immediately after my mother's death in October 2010. My one and only kiddo headed to college at Carolina at the end of August. So...I lived on my own, for the first time in my life, for a total of a blissful six weeks. Then, I started the parenting gig with my dad. He's a combination of a grouchy old man, a surly teenager and a temperamental toddler. Needless to say, I get very close to the brink of insanity sometimes. I get through life by finding the humor in difficult circumstances. And for some reason, I wind up in the weirdest situations. I couldn't make this stuff up. So I wind up having lots and lots crazy adventures which make great stories to share with my friends. Writing about my life is so therapeutic. My ramblings range from funny to sad to angry (full of cuss words) to sweet. While my focus is dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a parent to my Daddy, I have lots of random, totally unrelated posts. Whatever's on my mind. I love to make people laugh, and I'm happy to think my readers will get my strange sense of humor. And maybe, people who are in my situation will be encouraged. That's all I can hope for...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Seeking Solace

That's what I did this afternoon. After a difficult morning, I decided to shrug my shoulders and take care of myself for a change.

About the morning. I woke up at 4:00. Got some good work done, but not enough. At 7:45, I realized that MLGW was coming to the new house between 8 and 10. Threw on some clothes and headed over there. Of course, they didn't show up until 9:50. Then the locksmith, who said he'd be there by 9:30, showed up around 10:15. At least he threw in 8 free keys ($16 value) for being late. Now I have 15 keys which fit every single lock. And no crackheads or loser tenants or weird church janitors have a key. I gave Sarita her very own key (I'd run out of them here) and she put it on my Pebbles keychain. She found it in my toolbox. I love the Flintstones.

Mr. Key Man was taking forever, so I headed back to the Ponderosa to do some work. Had to go to church client to pay bills. I was going to pick up Taco Bell on my way home, but totally forgot. When I got home, I just couldn't summon the strength to go back out. So I called Sarita and she happily agreed to go. The D will eat tacos - thank god. Sarita and I sat at the kitchen table and ate. She could tell I wasn't myself. I was so quiet all morning. She's never seen me like that. I just felt exhausted.

I headed to client and paid some bills. Decided to go back tomorrow. Or Monday. Checked the due dates. Nothing urgent.

I left there and came home. Sarita and I loaded up some boxes and I took my favorite shower gel and some comfy clothes to change into at the new house. I wanted a hot shower. Hopefully, the hot water heater would've had time to do its thing. When she left, I got in the shower. Showered, shampood, and shaved. Took my time. Felt good. Put on my fav jeans and the most incredible peasant shirt in the world. Never mind that it has a rip in it and the two buttons at the neckline are missing. It's soft thin cotton with cool embroidery and it's loose and comfy and sexy (with the missing buttons, anyway.) It feels like I'm wearing nothing.

And here I sit. Blogging. I made a good dinner for The D - parmesan crusted tilapia and steamed broccoli - and feel good about that. I'm gonna try to accomplish some things, and if I do, I'll indulge my urge to blog. But for now, I'm feeling content. That's a very nice feeling.

A Better Day...

...I hope.

I'll be stuck at the new house from 8:00 to 10:00, waiting for MLGW. The locksmith is coming around 9:30. I might dispatch Sarita to hang out there and call me when they come. It takes me two minutes to get there, so it should be fine. Or I might figure out some work to take. It's just so frickin' cold - 43 degrees right now. So the house will be frigid, since there's no heat.

Speaking of the weather, the last few days have been miserable. Overcast, cold, drizzling rain. So hard to take after the warm spells. To quote T.S. Eliot in The Waste Land, "April is the cruellest month." Actually, I'd say it's February, at least for our weather, but when you add in the tax deadline, April can be pretty shitty. Oh, it's still March.

I did my usual stupid thing last night: Fell asleep on the sofa at 9:30 and woke up at 4:00 a.m. Maybe I should move my bed into the den. I refuse to have a tv in my bedroom. The best solution might be to brush my teeth and wash my face before I hit the sofa. Get my cotton sheets and a real pillow. Maybe I'll get a better routine in my new house. Get a netbook for my bedroom and blog before I go to sleep. Better yet, get back to my old routine of reading in bed. The talk radio is adding to my stress. The other night, it was all about zombies. There are experts on this subject and apparently, quite a few people actually believe them. The solution, it appears, is cremation. Go figure. My point is that my subconscious is being filled with all kinds of strange things between the time I go to sleep and the sleep timer runs out. But I just can't turn off my mind without the distraction of late night talk radio. I should try doing my yoga DVD before bed.

I'm watching Squawk Box at the moment, and several of my stocks are front and center today. Too bad I won't have time to watch the market. I should just turn off the tv and listen to some music. Close my Fidelity streaming software. Crank out two partnership returns. And forget my troubles.

Maybe I'll take a quick bubble bath instead of my usual speed shower. If I can relax, maybe I'll be able to focus better.

Wish I could think of something funny to blog about, but nothing comes to mind. I can't even think of a good picture to post. Maybe tonight, my sense of humor will return. Let's hope.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sigh of Relief

I solved some problems this morning so thought I'd take a well-deserved blog break. I called MLGW to try again and decided to wait until tomorrow. Since it's not the same day I call, they gave me a two-hour window. So between 8 - 10 tomorrow morning, I should have my power restored. I decided to schedule the locksmith for the same time slot. And I called my insurance agent to be sure that my homeowner's insurance is in force. And it is. Whew...

I bought The D McDonald's for lunch - so far he's not tired of it. He's been hard to please lately. Oh, since I haven't given a poop-update lately, I'll tell you that it's been better. Yesterday he asked me where I'd put the Miralax. I asked him if he was having trouble again and he said he hadn't, but the poop had been hard. He said the Miralax helps. Never mind all the fruits and veggies I've been slicing up.

The stock market's up. Two that I'm into heavily, Amazon and Rackspace, are on a roll. AMZN's up 3.5% and RAX is up 7.25%. That translates into some sweet gains for me. I think I'm back ahead of where I was when the market dropped in response to the horrible disasters in Japan and the mess in Libya. That's reassuring.


Well, I've spent the day dealing with personal biz so now I need to shift gears and focus on client work. And I'm not gonna budge...

I Give Up


Whoa, last night was a cluster fuck. I called yesterday morning to change the utilities at my new house and they'd been cut off because stupid MLGW wouldn't change them Friday because I told them I wouldn't close on the house until later that day. What the fuck difference does it make? So I forgot. Until yesterday. When I called to change them to my name, I was told they'd been cut off a few hours early. Which meant they had to come to my house and it would cost me $55. And I had to meet them there. Sometime between 3pm (when I called) and 11pm. Great. I guess I had to be there to pay them the $55 bucks. I'm pretty sure they don't have to go in the house to turn on the utilities.

I started getting cold so I headed upstairs and got under the covers in my great big new bed. Big mistake. I guess getting up at 4:30 in the morning caught up with me and I passed out. Woke up at 10:30. They'd come at 8:30 and left a little door hanger. It didn't help that the doorbell was out. Wait, I don't think there's a doorbell.

Major problem with the zillion keys that seem to go to nothing and the front door lock (which is totally fucked up). On top of that, the back door knob (which only has a lock on the inside) got locked and I couldn't get the door open. Even from the inside. It's fucked up. None of the 6 door locks works with the same key. At first I thought I was locked in. Claustrophobia set in, but I finally got the front door open.

So today, I have to fuck with MLGW again, call the locksmith, and make sure my homeowners insurance is in force. Better get started...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wisteria Lane

My buddy JoJo and I hit the GreenLine yesterday afternoon. It was perfect. A little chilly, not too crowded, and the wisteria was in full bloom. We got a good hour and 20 minutes of walking and running in (probably six miles). This was just my second time on the GL since before Mother got so sick in September. Jo is the perfect exercise partner. And it's soooo much more fun when you can blab the whole way.

I left my new house and she left hers and we met in the middle. Then we headed back to her house. Hydrated ourselves. Hung out with her BF for a little while and then she drove me back to my new house. I puttered around a little before heading back home. I'm gradually moving things there, but won't move furniture until afer tax day. I opened the closet in my new bedroom and noticed the Sprite can tucked in the corner. I guess some painter or repair man left it there and I've been meaning to pitch it. So I grabbed it, and noticed something very strange. There were little holes punched in a circle on the side, and it was was burned around the holes.
I called a friend who said it was probably a crack pipe. Needless to say, it totally creeped me out. I'm going to get the locks changed.

Another strange thing. Remember my letter to the funeral home? The one where I ranted about the cluster fuck of Mother's funeral and burial. I sent it to the executive office a month or so ago. After that, I received an acknowledgement of a donation to St. Jude in memory of Mother. I suppose that's because my letter mentioned that the obituary failed to mention the charities I specified. Then, the other day, I got an overnight letter from the funeral home. It contained ten original death certificates. I'd already paid for and received ten copies right after Mother died. So I guess this was a little peace offering. No note enclosed - just the certificates. Weird.

In the afternoon, for some reason, I took a look at The D's FaceBook page. My little propaganda machine. I started looking at the pictures I'd posted there.
I noticed that this picture was dated October 28. Exactly one week after Mother died. Those feelings all came flooding back. How sick Daddy was with his shingles. How very, very sad he was. How winter was setting in. How overwhelmed, sad, lonely and scared I was.

I've been so busy with work, the new house and so much more, that I haven't thought much about how awful it was. Plus, six months later, The D and I are doing so much better. The spring is beautiful. It seems appropriate that the dead of winter is over and the earth is springing to life. So I guess I was overdue for a good cry. I went to my bedroom and curled up under my comforter and remembered Mother. It's the first time I've done this, but I talked to her. Just said that I missed her and loved her. About that time, a good friend called to say hi, and the timing was perfect. I felt much better.

Maybe you can tell by the lack of direction of this post - I'm suffering from writer's block. I'm tempted to just delete the whole thing. I had trouble with the title, but I think it fits. The Desperate Housewives live on Wisteria Lane. One of my favorite tv shows. It's funny and strange and sweet. A little like my life.

So I'll close now. Hopefully, my next post will be more cohesive. And fun...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dammit...


I'm ready for baseball season. 'Nuf said.

Carolina on my mind...


UNC plays KY in the Final Four in just a little bit. Kiddo goes to UNC and every one in Memphis (especially me) hates Kentucky's head coach (evil satanic miscreant head coach - "he who must not be named").



That reminds me. Jolynna and I have a former mutual friend whom we refer to as He-Who. I might explain sometime. If I'm completely at a loss for a blog topic. Or not. He's not worthy. Not angry. Just don't give a shit about duplicitous people.

Speaking of JoJo, I need to head to the hacienda. She's gonna bring her lover boy by to see it. I fixed The D an incredible lunch. It was "Pretty Good." I knocked it outta the park. That reminds me - opening day is just FIVE days away! It always sneaks up on me.

Ok, gonna head out. The D's tummy is full, I didn't scare the dude, yesterday's face plant (I'll explain later) didn't give me a black eye. All's right with the world. Hope that's true for you, too...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Stars are Aligned

Wow. Could it be any better? When I saw my therapist Thursday, I said, "I'm glad I didn't kill myself." 17 years ago, I suffered from serious clinical depression. A hell job, miserable marriage and trying to be a good mother to a toddler. That's when I started seeing Dr. V. She's amazing. She knows me better than anyone on earth. So her reply was, "I'm glad you didn't kill yourself, too."

Funny thing. Up until last month, I always sat in the very same place and she sat across from me. Two sessions ago, I decided to change it up. I laid down on the sofa, so she sat in a different chair. The next time, I laid on the other end of the sofa, and she sat in a different chair. Thursday, I asked her to lie on the sofa and I'd sit in the chair. She was happy to plop down on the sofa and tuck her feet under her. I asked her to recline and she said, I can do that, but I'll fall asleep. Funny.

This might seem silly, but it's a good example of how I'm determined to challenge tradition. Take risks. Try new things. And I've been taking some major, but calculated, risks lately.

My biz for one. Boy, that's paid off. I'm flyin' by the seat of my pants, but so far, I've been successful beyond my wildest dreams.

Then there's my new friend. I go back and forth about whether I should go public on my silly blog. I'd hate to get publicly dumped. But hell. If Jolynna can do it on her blog, I can too.

I don't think it's gonna happen, though. He reads my silly blog. And likes me in spite of it. Or maybe because of it. The story of how we met is very convoluted, and therefore, extremely interesting. All I'll explain right now is that we've been emailing and talking for six weeks or so. We've never met face to face. He lives in Tallahassee but grew up here and his lovely parents live here. He's planning to pay me a visit on April 15th, the tax deadline. I'll be able to take some time off. And spend some time with him.

I'll tell you the top three reasons I'm crazy about him, and leave it at that. He's smart (as in brilliant), funny, and so, so sweet. Bonuses are: great family (his parents love me), no ex-wives or manipulative children, he's in my target age range, he's an accomplished professional, and best of all, he's fearless. Must be if I haven't scared him off.



He reads my blog and loves my crazy stories and my ability to put it out there. Bare my soul. And most of all, he gets my off-beat sense of humor.

Sooo, I'm head over heels. I've already proposed. Planned the wedding. And better than that, our honeymoon! I think it'll be the thing he loves the most. Eastern Carribean. Rent a boat. Island hop. Relax.

Back to reality. I met the movers at my parents' house this morning. Moved lots of furniture and their fridge. Now I have a king sized bed in my enchanted aerie. And Mother's chest of drawers. Bed and fridge - all I need.

I'm at home now. Washing one and only set of king sized sheets and mattress pad. Fed The D lunch. Packed up more stuff to take. Blogging. And as soon as the laundry is done, I'm gonna head back over.

My fantasy fiancee said he'd call me later. Can't wait. He's amazing. Sweet. So I'll close with his very sweet comment to my recent post about my new house. Here goes:

Congrats!
May you have warm words
on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
And the road downhill
all the way to your door.
(Irish blessing)
I'll bring some:
Bread - that this house may never know hunger.
Salt - that life may always have flavor.
Wine - that joy and prosperity may reign forever.


Can you see why I'm crazy about him?

Friday, March 25, 2011

My New House

It's official. I've got a new crib. The closing went off without a hitch. Thanks to the one and only non-evil realtor in the world. Seriously, I used to think all realtors were greedy, pushy, snotty and nosy creatures. At one point, I had three realtor neighbors. Nest door, across the street and behind me. The one next door wasn't so bad.
But along came my girl JoJo. There's a very strange story about how we met. I'll have to blog about it soon. No time now. Client meeting at noon, and as usual, I've procrassed and there's so much to do.

After my meeting, I'll take The D over to take another look. I might take him to Lowe's to buy some plants for the barren flower beds. It's too early to plant tomatoes, so that'll have to wait. He's gonna love the new crib. I think he already does.

I'm thinking of having a few friends over tonight to see it. I can crank up the radio on the way cool, very retro intercom system. I can turn it up in any room in the house. Maybe I can get a geek friend to hook up a cd player. Add sub woofers. I could add a disco ball and strobe lights. That reminds me of another strange story. For later.

But I really should get busy. I'm sure I'll have lots more to tell and I'm so behind on my blogging. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Productive Procrastination...

...as defined by UrbanDictionary.com:
n. Doing stuff to keep busy while avoiding what really needs doing. When all is said and done, your room is clean, your laundry is folded -- but you haven't started your English paper.
I should really do my program. But instead, I think it's time for some productive procrastination... Where's the mop??



Damn. I've had a bad case of it today. I'm DROWNING in client work with serious deadlines, and I've done a little here and there, but here's how I've spent the better part of my day so far, in no particular order:
1) Wasted first 45 minutes Sheila (my housekeeper) regaling her with my silly little adventures. I listened a little bit, too, about her husband's permanent disability and their dilemma with health insurance and some other insignificant crap. I might sound insensitive, but she IS on the clock, after all. Ok, I hope you know I'm kidding about this. By the way, if you know anyone who needs the best, hardest-working, sweetest, most trustworthy and reliable housekeeper in the world, let me know. Just don't even think about trying to get her on Wednesday mornings!

2) Helped Sheila go through my closets showing her which clothes to pack in preparation for my move.

3) Sat at the kitchen table and had a sandwich with Sheila and actually listened to her this time.

4) Went on a walk with The D. Undid the faucet covers outside, hooked up the hose and watered the pansies.

5) Made a beautiful, artistic fruit salad for The D, complete with multicolored sprinkles. Took a picture of it.

6) Emailed Jolynna about the huge broken, dangling limbs in the tree at new house. She said the realtor said they'd picked up all the limbs in the yard. Damn. I coulda done that. They were WAY UP in the tree and could fall and kill or maim someone.

7) Emailed Jolynna about new blog idea (top secret).

8) Read Jolynna's blog post about getting into bikini shape. We have plans to walk on the GreenLine this evening, and she said she was going to make me run. So I had to come up with a smart-ass comment.

9) Sold a couple stocks.

10) Answered some client emails.

11) Looked at Amazon's Deal of the Day.

12) Talked to Kiddo twice about funding his big trip to Africa this summer. Told him to send our Private Banker his wiring instructions and to make sure he had enough in his checking account. And to let me know which of his stocks he wants to sell, or if he wants me to pick.

13) Went on the Sherwin Williams site to experiment with paint colors for the shutters and door of my new house.

14) And of course, this long and winding blogging session.

Fuck. This is horrible. And Jo just called and said she'd meet me at six at the GreenLine. I'm gonna walk there (takes me about 20 minutes), so I'd better high tail it outta here.

More later, I'm sure...

Monday, March 21, 2011

High Finance

Oh...My...God...


I'm a CPA and I can't even add five numbers together and get the right total. No biggie. I was just off $10,000. Damn. I knew it was too good to be true. That I had WAY more money than I needed for my loan closing Thursday. A very nice cushion. But it turns out that I'm actually short about $7k. I have enough in my brokerage account, but I was hoping I could leave it there and use it to gamble invest. Which reminds me. My stocks were up huge today. The Dow & S&P were up 1.5% but I was up 3%. Hot damn. Get this. My biggest holding was up 6.82%. In one day. Since I have about a fourth of my portfolio in it, it translated into a very nice gain. Some investment advisers would think I'm reckless, but I'm not worried. I believe in this company. Ok, I'm sure I'm boring everyone.

Let's get to the fun stuff. I spent the afternoon visiting my favorite bankers. Making deposits. For clients, The D and me. My first stop was my favorite bank. They're always so sweet to me. I feel like a big deal there. Truth is, they just put up with me because I brought them a very nice client. It's a small boutique bank, and just like Cheers, everybody knows my name. Even poor Tripp, whom I always call Trey. And there's Welby, the sweet, sweet receptionist. She's adorable and pretty and has such a cool name. If I go late on a Friday, she gets me a beer and we hang out in the conference room. I don't think she drinks, but I'm not above drinking alone.

Today, Sabra had some cashier's checks for me. So cool. I email at 7 in the morning and they're ready for me at 10. She has the longest eyelashes in the world. I couldn't stop myself from asking her if they were real. So rude. They were. And she doesn't use that new eyelash grower stuff. When I finally exhausted that subject, I bade farewell. Sabra asked me if I wanted a drink for the road. So I headed to the little fridge for VIP clients. OMG, they had great stuff. Perrier, exotic fruit juices - it looked like the beverage case at Whole Foods. Except for the Sugar Free Red Bull. My favorite! Cool. I skipped the truffles and caviar. Grabbed the Red Bull and headed to the next bank.

I took my hefty checks and happily deposited them. I asked the teller if she had any spare paper clips. Hint - never buy paper clips again. The tellers are swimming in them. See, everyone uses paper clips to make deposits. So she found a ziploc leftover from her lunch, and loaded me up. Even put them in an envelope in case the ziploc didn't hold. Cool.

On to the next bank. Not my favorite, but The D's account is there. I was lucky to get the amazing lady who saved me from a major reality break a year ago last September. I won't go into the details except to say it's a big bank and she had to call some drone in India who had a script and couldn't handle anything out of the ordinary. Plus, she had to call the same fuckin' 800 number as I did. I wound up calling the executive offices and ranting. I told them how wonderful Ruby was and that she was the only reason I didn't pull all my clients' biz from their impersonal, inept bank, which was doomed for failure if they didn't get their shit together. Oh, just remembered. I own stock in said bank, and used my never-fail approach - called Investor Relations. Anything to get outta the customer (dis)service loop.

So I was very excited to see Ruby. I had two checks to cash and she didn't even ask me for my ID. Because she knew me. Imagine that.

I headed home with my deposit slips, paper clips and Red Bull. Happy as a clam. Until I discovered my little math error. But it's no big deal.

I've spent way too much time on this fuckin loan. Gonna hop on client work now. I see an all-nighter or two in my future. First, though, I'm gonna figure out something for The D's supper. I think I'll listen to my handy-dandy MP3 so I won't have to hear his bitching. He's impossible to please lately.

Oh, I went for a good run. Did so much better than last time. My legs are sore, but my muffin-top's feelin' a little smaller. It's all good...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Girl JoJo

Her birthday was Thursday. St. Paddy's Day. Since she has a good friend who shares the same b-day, and since Thursdays are always crunch time for me, we decided to wait until today to celebrate. So, as soon as she finishes showing the 150th house to her client, she'll call me and I'll head over to her house. I tease her that her commission on my new house will be easy money. We only looked at two others. I pretty much know what I want when I see it. I'm very decisive about big things. It's the small things that give me trouble.


But there's still lots of work involved in the realtor biz. Especially since she has a full-time job and just does this on the side. So many details to tend to, and everything's a big rush. I can't believe that I'll own my new house in just five short days. Can't wait. The D and I won't move until after tax day, but I'm hoping I'll have time to choose some paint colors and have a few drunken paint parties before moving day. Strange to think I'll be living in a church parsonage.

Ok, JoJo just called and said she's on her way home, so I'd better close now. Lots more to tell about The D (he's been extra crabby lately), but that'll have to wait. I'm off to celebrate with J!


Oh, one more thing. This is totally random, but while I was doing a google image search for naughty realtors, I came across this totally unrelated gem. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Random Things

I'm drawing a blank for how to label this post. Maybe I should've called it Fuck II. But it's not so bad.

I did my usual Saturday morning, pre-client-meeting miracle. I came up with an estimate of taxes due (with so many qualifiers). It was better than my stab in the dark three months ago (very high, just in case), but still conservative. I'm so far behind, but that's normal for this time of year when income tax returns take priority. On top of that, their VISA card got lost, so a new one was issued, and I've morphed into a fraud auditor. Major matchin' o' receipts - one of my least favorite, and therefore, most neglected, tasks. Still, an obvious value-add, so there's a percentage in it.


After the meeting, Deb and I did a major, marathon, Walgreens trip. I had at least 18 prescriptions to pick up, and we did a serious couponing maneuver. Crazy. It sends me into Attention Deficit Disorder Delusions. We came home with enough deodorant, conditioner, Venus razors, Irish Spring body wash, and Revlon makeup to last a millenium. Bottom line: We paid $102 for $258 worth of crap. Thank god I'll have room to put all this shit in the new house. Oh, in case you don't know, this picture shows couponers gone wild in their pursuit of coupons, of course. Deb has discussed dumpster diving for coupons with me. I discouraged it. I might need to arrange an intervention. But that's another post.

We stopped by Dryve cleaners to pick up The D's suit for church tomorrow. We got there right at 5:00. Drove up and dude came out to say they were closed. I told him that it was imperative that I get my clothes. He said he'd already closed out the register. I played the dead mother/grouchy displaced daddy/martyr daughter on the verge of suicide card. Plus I threw in that Mother's birthday was Tuesday and Daddy wanted his suit to wear to church because we'd bought altar flowers in Mother's memory. I said I'd pay cash and he could ring it up Monday. Only problem was the order totalled $30 something. I don't carry cash lately. While he was retrieving my cleaning, I was scrounging through my purse. I came up with $12 and Deb had $3. No cigar. I teared up and he begrudgingly agreed to reopen the register and run my credit card. I gave him a $5 tip. Well worth it.

Then we headed home and Deb wanted to order Steak Out. Even though I had a fridge full of venison chili, beef stew, mushroom burgers, Hebrew National hot dogs, fruit, veggies... The D hadn't eaten lunch. I swear to god, if I don't plop it in his lap, he won't eat. Fuck. So I gave him the other half of the fruit salad I'd made this morning. To tide him over. Deb ordered Steak Out. Medium-well ribeye for The D. Which he pronounced as tasting like shoe leather.

Then her whiny 14 year old daughter (my former niece) complained of being sick to her stomach. I gave her a leftover homemade french fry from last night, and she looked at it like it was a chicken liver or something. I swear, I cannot tolerate picky eaters - want to slap the shit out of them. I was blessed with a kiddo who's adventurous when it comes to food. I'm talkin' anchovies, goat cheese, artichokes, oysters. You name it.

Dammit. I think she has an eating disorder. But I'd never tell Deb that. She wants to be a model. OMG. I'd encourage my child to model if I wanted her to be anorexic, addicted to heroin, and a vapid, narcissistic idiot. But I bite my tongue. I've given up advising parents on child-rearing. I hope Deb skips this post. Not a problem. She spends all her time catering to coupons and kids. No time to read my blog, even though she's a major character.

I made her help me dispense 210 pills for The D's pill box for the next two weeks. She was in her coupon freak mode and tried to tell me how to do it and I said, "Hey, this ain't coupons. It's meds. How many times have you done it?" She said, "Once." Twice when she contradicted me, I explained the complexities. And I said, "You need to understand this in case something happens to me." She didn't seem concerned.


Oh. When we got back, The D came running to show me his bloody thumb. The bulimic cat (who happens to be licking her asshole right now) bit him. Fuck. I've debated for weeks. She's bulimic and therefore, binges and purges. The purging isn't that big of a problem with hardwood floors, but since my new house has light beige carpet, it matters. And it didn't help that I stepped in cat vomit twice today. And that The D was bitching about it. I go round and round about what to do. Run an ad. Give her to Sarita to find a home in the Hood (where cat will no doubt be devoured by a pit bull). Take her to the vet and pay $65 to put her down for some contrived. Or driving down a country road and pitching her out the car window. Anything but take her to the god-forsaken hell hole of a city pound run by miscreants.

Shit. It's a no-win situation. I could probably give her to my country neighbor and he'd turn her into fertilizer for his vegetable garden, but at least I wouldn't know. I have a good story about a frozen chipmunk. But that's for later.

Well, I could go on and on. But now that I have a minute to breathe, I think I'll crank up Evanescence and do something productive. Like read my InStyle magazine, or research stocks, or finish up my February billing. I might need the $$ when I write a check for a 20% down payment Friday...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fuck!

The Tigers just lost to AZ. I watched the last 2:48 of the game. Major nail-biter. Poor Daddy. I was screaming. Thank god he's hard of hearing. I think I said a few choice cuss words, too. Just shit and damn. I think. Oh, well. What's he gonna do? Wash my mouth out with soap? Give me a switch-whippin'? I swear, I never got switch-whipped until we moved to Memphis. The Air Force life is much more civilized than the South. Wait, I should qualify that. More civilized than my redneck extended family. Yup. The very same ones who ostracized me after Mother died. Fuck them.

I have to tell this story. I'll never forget riding in the car with my cousin and her parents, right after we moved to Memphis, when she hollered, "Mama, are we in N-----Town?" The N word was profanity to us. I remember once, Mother soaped the mouth of whichever one of us who called the other "N". Surely not me.

But don't think we were enlightened and P.C. No, indeed. My sibs called me "Jap" (I was born in Japan). Now, they got in trouble for that, not because it was a racial slur, but because it was a slur against me. To my parents' credit, it was just 16 years or so after the end of WWII. Not to make excuses.

The military is very egalitarian. At least as far as cultural differences. Except for Japs after WWII, I suppose. But don't forget, RHIP (Rank Has Its Privileges). I think it's sweet, though, that they refer to the lower ranks as NCO's. Non-commissioned officers. But officers got better housing than NCO's. And their own Officers' Club. There was a separate NCO club. We played lots of bingo and drank gobs of Shirley Temples with Mother there. Fond memories. I'll have to do a whole post on that.

Back to the switch-whippin's. They're painful beyond belief. It stings. Especially if you've been washing the family car and sliding down the windshield and your legs are wet. I think it must be like prison caning in Singapore, except without the medical clearance. And follow up exam.

I have to say that more switch-whippin's were inflicted on me by my cousin's diddy (I swear - that's what she called him - way before Sean Combs, aka P-Diddy, came along) than by The D. Mother never used the switch. She employed guilt - much more effective. I'll never forget dragging in at 5:30 in the morning when I was in college. Mother was already up, ironing. She looked at me and said, "I'm disappointed in you." I'd rather have had a switch-whippin'.

That's enough of the serious stuff. This blog has been accused described as being my sacred space. Serious isn't fun. In the immortal words of Sheryl Crow, "All I wanna do is have some fun before I die." "Soak up the sun." I sat on my back steps in my shorts and tank top and soaked up some sun. I'm ghastly pale. I can feel the sunburn now, after 15 whole minutes, no less. And the vitamin D surging through my veins.

Great segue into my feeble attempt at going for a run this afternoon. It's been a beautiful day. 80 degrees. Sunny. Orgasmic. I haven't run, walked or ridden my bicycle since September, when my mother went into the hospital. Back when Jolynna and I were footloose and fancy-free. We were going to the GreenLine two or three times a week to run or walk or ride bikes. Then real life intruded. She took a nine-to-five job in lieu of her real estate biz. My mother died and The D became my roommate. Then in December, I got a great new client and had more work than I could handle. This was a good thing, but it left me even less time, on top of all the things I had to do to handle D's move, Mother's estate, and the million things involved in that. And of course, the fuckin' holidays. I would've skipped them except for Daddy. I wanted to make it special for him. Bearable, at least. And then there was Deb, prodding me into roasting turkeys, making cookies and mashed potatoes and stuffed celery - you name it. I did this while she came over and mixed confectioner's sugar with butter and milk to make icing for her sugar cookies. Then she artfully added food coloring and sprinkles. God, it makes me sick just thinking about it. Hypoglycemic, remember?

But I did anything I could for her. Especially since she had the opportunity to flee to Oklahoma with her children for the holidays but instead, stayed here with D and me. I shudder to think how it would've been without her. The D loves her so much. She's the littlest, after all.

Just getting through Thanksgiving and Christmas was huge. And now, we've made it through the winter.

Oh, back to my (attempted) run. It felt good for the first 20 seconds (except for major booty jiggle - where'd that come from?). Then I hit the wall. Damn. I guess all my push-ups and sit-ups haven't helped my legs much. To think I could do two miles just six months ago. Fuck. I've got to get in shape before prospective husband comes to town. Not much time left. I suppose I could wear my torture compression garment, I mean body smoother or whatever the hell it's called. I bought it at Victoria's Secret for my one and only holiday gala event. I had to get the sales clerk to help me get out of it. The plus side of wearing it when I meet dude in person for the first time is that my virtue will stay intact. Modern day chastity belt. That reminds me. When one of my many Desoto County cousins got married, the ceremony included a chastity cord which was presented to the groom. Wonder if they waved the bloody sheets out the window on the morning after their wedding night? To prove that her hymen had been intact.

I hate that I missed the wedding. I must've been in New Orleans being less than chaste that weekend. I got the blow-by-blow from Deb. She said Chaste Cousin's little sister threw up on the alter. I would've, too. Her husband was a freak. He worked at Pizza Hut while he was in seminary and he proudly regaled us with stories of "withnessing" to his co-workers, complete with threats of fire and brimstone and eternal flames. Wonder why he couldn't hold a job.

Believe it or not, that holy union didn't last. Her second husband is some kind of Rush Limbaugh wanna-be. Ugh. Crazy FaceBook posts about terrorists burning in hell. Don't misunderstand. I unfriended him when things got crazy, but I friended him on Daddy's FaceBook. Which is just a propaganda machine for me. I just make posts about his wonderful middle daughter and all the ways she makes him happy. Complete with pic's of roasted Thanksgiving turkeys and mounds of Christmas packages.

Oh, my. I need to get back to work. I'm meeting with my number one client tomorrow and as usual, I've procrassed. I wanna call dude and try to be cute with my stupid attempts at Polish, but will try not to give into that impulse. On the other hand, his birthday is tomorrow, so that would be a good excuse to call. Or not.

He might have plans. Unlike me. Sitting home. On a Friday night. Blogging and smelling the skunk chair and listening to McCoy Tyner. That's a long story.

But it's almost 5:30 and I told The D that I'd make Swiss and Mushroom burgers tonight. So I should get started.

A Perfect St. Patrick's Day

Wow. Things went swimmingly yesterday. I'm way overdue for a cluster fuck day. Not that I'm complaining. It's just more fun to blog about.

I forgot to wear green. The only person who pinched me was a minister. The pastor at my church client. Completely innocent, though - just my arm. Besides being a preacher and a client, he and his wife are my good friends. I reminded him that the three of us met for happy hour at Dan McGuiness two years ago. In fact, I blurted out, "Call Linda and y'all come meet me for green beer!" I wasn't using my inside voice. Oops - I hope none of his parishoners were within earshot. At least not the conservative ones. But Methodists, unlike Baptists, are cool. Praise the Lord, I saw the light and jumped ship.

The church treasurer was there, and he jumped my case about all current year bills being in a big pile, unfiled. I was so relieved to show him the plastic file bin I'd schlepped with me that very day. Told him I would have everything in place next week. One time he told me to clean off my desk. It hurt my feelings, but I complied. He doesn't show it, but he really likes me. Sometimes, I even make him smile. He gets my silly sense of humor. He's pretty funny, too. I think he was grouchy because LSU didn't make it into the NCAA tourney.

I unloaded the fudge sheet cake left over from Mother's birthday celebration. It's like crack to me and I'm hypoglycemic - bad combo. Paid Terminix rodent bill. I'd shredded it because I confused it with the spider bill, which is way more than the regular bug bill. Go figure. What ever happened to D-con? But no. They are so reactionary. When the Swine Flu was scaring the shit out of everyone, they wanted to sign a contract with a company which would "give" us a bunch of touchless dispensers for hand sanitizer. As long as we bought all the hand sanitizer from them. Hmmm. Was this such a great deal? I don't think so. Ever heard of the Razor-Razorblade Model? Here's investopedia.com's explanation: If you've ever purchased razors and their replacement blades, you know this business method well. The razors are practically free, but the replacement blades are extremely expensive.

Random thought. Iodine. Who ever knew it could prevent radiation poisoning. Can I just eat lots of salt? I always get the iodized kind.

Ok, I'll try not to be so acerbic. Back to the good things. I'll fast forward past the $5 wireless mouses I bought at Office Depot and my futile attempt to buy adding machine tape that would fit in the adding machines they sell (I bought a printer for which they didn't sell toner cartridges - fuck - what idiots.)

While I was in the checkout line, I noticed a strange guy with a green Irish Yoga t-shirt. I couldn't make out the words, and while I was squinting in a futile attemept to read it, dude turned his head and looked at me. I whipped my head away. See, I figured it said something sexual because I thought the cartoon drawings were of people in some sort of Irish sexual positions. When I got home and googled Irish Yoga, I realized that the picture involved drunk people passed out in yoga-like positions. Damn. I have got to start wearing my glasses. But that would probably be worse since I have to roll my head around to focus since I'm not used to bifocals.

I tried to talk The D into going to the Senior Center for lunch for corned beef and cabbage, but he refused. He ate my niece's venison chili - he loves it. For dinner, I was thinking of making stew. Right about that time, my friend Ruth called to invite The D and me over for brisket and cabbage. I twisted Daddy's arm and he agreed. I cut some of my rabid rosemary for Ruth. It smells so good and it has little purple flowers at the moment. Then we stopped by Kroger and picked out three kinds of ice cream - triple chocolate, mint chocolate chip and butter pecan.

When Ruth called, she told me that she dropped two of the beers I'd taken the last time we went over. So she had sent Jerry to buy "a double pack of Light Bud". Imagine her saying this with her beautiful Polish accent. So sweet. Now I have two friends keeping their fridges stocked with beer, just for me. How great is that? Our dinner was delish. With the brisket, we had the best cabbage I've ever eaten. Yummy mashed potatoes (Ruth uses cream cheese in hers). Beer, of course. And lots of ice cream. We decided to go get Jerry's sister. She lives around the corner. She was delightful, too.

Daddy retired to their den to watch TV and I held court in the kitchen. We laughed about my silly plans to snag their son for my husband. They're completely on board. Hopefully, not just because he might come to town more often. He lives in Florida. We've never met in person, but we've had lots of great telephone convo's.

Ok, funny/strange thing. Just this moment, while I'm writing about trying to find a man, a commercial came on for a dating website called ChristianMingle.com. It helps singles find God's choice for their future spouse. Wow. God's using the internet now. It reminds me of that song called Hotline to Jesus.

Back to Ruth and Jerry. They gave me my second Polish lesson. My favorite new phrase is i mozna ciebie tolerowac. I can tolerate you. To use when I talk to their son. It sounds nothing like it looks. Listen to it on Google Translate and you'll see what I mean. I think Polish is harder than Portuguese. I had to say it a bazillion times and still didn't get it right. They're very patient with me.

I'd better get busy now. Fridays are precarious for me. Milego dnia!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bittersweet St. Patrick's Day

I thought I'd do a cute little post today. But then I remembered of one of my favorite songs. I haven't listened to it in a long time. It used to make me think of my kiddo. But when I looked at the lyrics just now, it made me think of my own mother. I think you'll see why.

An Irish Lullaby

Over in Killarney
Many years ago,
Me Mither sang a song to me
In tones so sweet and low.
Just a simple little ditty,
In her good ould Irish way,
And I'd give the world if she could sing
That song to me this day.

"Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, hush now, don't you cry!
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,
Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, that's an Irish lullaby."

Oft in dreams I wander
To that cot again,
I feel her arms a-huggin' me
As when she held me then.
And I hear her voice a -hummin'
To me as in days of yore,
When she used to rock me fast asleep
Outside the cabin door.


In addition to missing my mother, I've been so sad over the terrible events in Japan. I was born there. At Johnson Air Force Base. I found this picture when I was looking through my mother's scrapbooks last weekend.


So when I was looking for a good version of The Irish Lullaby on YouTube, I ran across this. A beautiful rendition in Japanese. I think it's a perfect way to honor the beautiful Japanese people.

鮫島有美子 アイルランドの子守歌


Life is filled with joy and sadness. Sweetness and sorrow. Pleasure and pain. It seems I've experienced so much of these lately. And as hard as it can be, the bad things make the good things that much better. The best I can hope for is some sort of balance. The titles of these last two posts include the word I think best describes my life these days. Bittersweet...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bittersweet Birthday

Wow. I surprise myself sometimes. Somehow, I managed to pull off a little birthday party in honor of Mother last night. I couldn't have done it without Shernitra, though. She stayed late (without my asking) to clear out the dining room - no small feat. We set the table with my china and crystal. She bought groceries and we made a chocolate buttermilk sheet cake with yummy fudge frosting. She peeled potatoes. Cleaned up my cake-baking mess. And best of all, she was just there. Her companionship is balm for my soul. Working from home can be isolating but when Shernitra's here, I never feel lonely. And The D likes her, too. He'd never say it, but he does. The other day, he was heading out for his walk and I heard him ask her if she wanted to go. Whoa. I'd thought he was just tolerating her. Turns out, he always asks her. So sweet. That makes me happy.

I've walked with him a couple times, but the truth is, he walks too slowly for me. I guess since I'm always in a hurry these days, I just can't bring myself to slow down. And I run out of things to talk about. Shernitra says he talks up a storm with her. He's been telling her about the trees and flowers that are starting to bloom. Complaining about the windows in the new house. Making observations about the neighbors and their pets.

Back to the party. The last time I orchestrated a real meal was at Thanksgiving. And that was just Daddy, Deb and me. Last night, we had eight adults and two little ones. A crowd, in my book. We managed to fit everyone around the table for dinner. And everything turned out perfectly. I made pork tenderloin for the first time in forever. I have a great recipe for a sweet, tangy sauce - apple jelly, chili powder, vinegar and catsup - so easy. Mashed potatoes, asparagus, green beans and Sister Schubert rolls rounded it out.

But the best part was the company. I had called our new friends, Ruth and Jerry, with a last minute invitation and happily, they were able to come. They were the first to arrive, with a bottle of wine and a beautiful bouquet of exquisite daffodils. My sister-in-law and niece and her family came next and having two little ones livened things up. The D has always loved his grandchildren (and now, great-grandchildren). He's just an overgrown kid, himself. I got Kiddo's Brio wooden train tracks out of the attic and that was a big hit. I love those things.

Just as we were sitting down to eat, the phone rang. It was Deb. She was at mother's grave. She was pretty hysterical. I asked her if she wanted me to come get her. I finally convinced her to come over. I knew it would be good for her. And it was. It was good for all of us. I can't imagine our family without her. She's so sweet and funny and tender-hearted.

After dinner, we lit the candles on the cake, sang happy birthday to Mother, and Daddy and the kiddos blew out the candles. Perfect. We had vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, sprinkles and cherries to go on top. And more candles.

When things were winding down, BFF Angela stopped by. She's always so happy. She has a contagious laugh. I'm smiling just thinking about it.

When everyone left, I retired to the den, burrowed under a down comforter and gabbed on the phone. I heard The D taking the dirty dishes from the dining room to the kitchen. He poked his head in the den to give me his good night salute and told me to put the cake up.

When I went to bed, I felt content and happy, with just a little bit of sadness mixed in. And I have a feeling Daddy felt that way, too...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Ides of March

This is the day Caesar was murdered by Brutus. The soothsayer warned, "Beware the Ides of March."

It's feeling ominous today. I woke up to see that the futures indicated a huge drop on market open. And they were right. The events in Japan are affecting the markets all over the world. Investors are scared. I'm going to put my head in the sand and close my Fidelity software, and turn off CNBC and play some Enya or Allison Krauss. Something soothing.

The reason I remembered today is the Ides of March is that it's my mother's birthday. She told me that. It also used to be the individual income tax deadline, way back when. I didn't think I'd feel so sad today, but when I woke up and realized it, my heart was heavy.

My brother died May 1st. 12 years ago. It sneaks up on me every year. You know how on the first day of every month, you say, "Wow, I can't believe last month's over already."? Every May, when I have that moment of realization, I also realize it's May Day. The joyous celebration of spring with dancing around the Maypole. And then I think of the distress signal: Mayday, Mayday, Mayday. That's how it felt when my phone rang in the early morning hours. Before I answered it, I knew. My mother's voice on the other end, relaying the terrible news. As much as my heart was breaking, I couldn't imagine the despair my mother was experiencing. She wasn't the same after that. Every year, I'd call her on that terrible anniversary, to tell her how much I loved her and how much I missed David. She struggled so much with that loss. It was hard for The D, too, but he couldn't express it.

My strategy to get through the day is to celebrate my mother's life. To remember the ways she demonstrated unconditional love for me. Her great sense of humor. Her strength and independence. These are just a few of the legacies she left me.

I want to make the day special for Daddy. So I've invited some sweet family members over for dinner. My niece and her husband and two precious children. Her little boy looks so much like my brother (his grandfather) when he was that age. And like me, too, lucky kid. And my sweet sister-in-law. Not sure Deb can make it. She's under the weather.

Happy birthday, Mother. We miss you...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Oysters

Here I go. Off to JoJo's. On a Monday night, no less. Living dangerously.

Lots to celebrate. Love. Birthdays. Mothers. Homes. And The D. Not that he's invited.

I'm all gussied up. Happy as a clam.

Full report tomorrow...

Oh Shit!

I dodged a bullet. It was all my fault. I was leaving a VM for JoJo about her oyster party tonight. Next thing I knew, a big-ass SUV was ten feet away from T-Boning me. On my side. Shit. I slammed on my brakes (it was raining, but I think my AWD and anti-lock brakes saved the day), and the other guy did some great maneuver to avoid my dumb ass. I think he must've been one of those professional drivers who avoids dumb ass drivers on a closed course.

Poor JoJo. My VM went something like this: "Hey girlie. Let me know what to bring tonight. How's my beer supply? Text me when...SHIT..." At the next stoplight, I put my phone on airplane mode, and when I got to my client's office, I had a missed J-call. Texted her that I'd call when I left client's.

I'm a dumb-ass. I could blame it on my ADD, but that's all the more reason I need to remove distractions. I had two wrecks while my mother was in the hospital. I rear-ended a car at a stoplight. And slammed into a parked car at Laurelwood. My victims were very sweet, and the first one let me write a check instead of filing an insurance claim. It's a damn shame that my insurance premium is probably gonna be higher than my 19 year old kiddo's. Oh, well.

The cluster-fuck continued. One of those days. Nothing worked. Thank God Mikie was there to save the day. She wound up telling me to get the hell out and she'd do my job. I'm obsolete. Client loves it. Partly because her billing rate is lower. I need to get that non-compete done. So I left after a totally unproductive hour and a half.

Stopped at Rafferty's and got The D chicken tenders with a baked sweet potato. He loves it. Bartender gave me the NCAA brackets and I did my random selection. He wasn't around when I left so I'm $5 richer. Or less poor.

Now I'm going to try to redeem my wasted morning. Crank out some work before the oyster-fest. I think I'll just eat crab dip instead. You know what they say about oysters. That they can harbor dangerous toxins...

I have a feeling I'll have some good blog fodder for my next post.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

About Last Night

So much fun at my BFF Angela's house. I lucked into steaks on the barbie. Tucked into my beer supply. Spent quality time with my sweet "niece." Talked about all the fun we'll have since we'll be even closer and she can pop over any time. When I'm at their house, I seem to morph into a 14 year old. We look at gossip magazines. I grill my girl about boys and school.

In the summer, we go out to the pool and crank up her juke box and dance around to Ke$ha, Lady GaGa and Katy Perry. Her mom joins in and we just laugh and laugh. Her dad looks on and I wonder what he thinks of me. I always tell niece not to drink like Aunt Carol. Or cuss. I frequently let some bad ones slip. I tell her not to talk like that either.

We always go out to the pool house to visit with Mimi, Angie's mother, and she's usually happy to see me. She has Alzheimers (way harder to deal with than The D's stuff), and she thinks of me as a daughter, too. I couldn't have made it through the last few months without my dear friend. No one can understand unless they've been through it.

And that's part of why I started this blog. See, it's not just a narcissistic, attention seeking device for me. It's therapeutic, for sure. But I also like the idea of finding readers who are in the same spot and might enjoy my silly, irreverant, rambling attempts at finding humor and joy in a difficult situation. One day, I did a google search for similar blogs. All I could find were serious ones. Written by social workers. Very clinical. WebMD-ish. Too bad. But it's nice to know my blog might be one of a kind. Like me.

Back to my outing last night. I crashed on their sofa. Had a nice visit with Angie over coffee this morning. Apologized for telling her to go get me ice cream last night. I heard her say, in a not-so-happy tone of voice, "I guess I'm going to the grocery store for ice cream." I said, "Oh, forget the ice cream." I probably would've been asleep by the time she got back. What's amazing is that she didn't tell me to fuck off. Because she's so incredibly sweet to me. She's been there for me through thick and thin. Richer or poorer. Sickness and health. And she loves, honors and cherishes me. It's nice to feel cherished. Unfortunately, that was missing from my marriage. And I cherish her, too. I couldn't have made it through the last 25 years without her. I think her husband tolerates me, and I'm happy with that. And of course, her girl loves me.

So, here I am. It's already after 2:00 (lost the damn hour, but it'll be nice to have the extra daylight). Kiddo's back at Chapel Hill. And now I need to get my ass in gear and act like a grown-up again. No easy feat for silly me...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Love is Where You Find It

Serendipity. Kismet. Karma. I love this woman. She's so sweet to me. We met at the senior center. We live fewer than two miles away. Her husband's great, too. And they've produced some quality offspring. I'm embarrassed to admit it publicly, but I've developed a school girl crush on their son. Crazy thing is that we grew up not far from each other. He went to the Catholic high school and I went to Whitehaven. He is six years older. Same age as the evil former sister. He said he remembered her. That she was narcissistic, evil, ugly and scary. That "The Exorcist" was based on her. He was messin' wid me. And of course, I knew it.

He's funny and smart. And irreverant. An asshole when it comes to politics. Left winger. Natch. Tries to bait me into arguing. I tell him I'm a member of the IDGAF party. He lives in Florida. We haven't discussed whether his chad was hanging in 2000.

I like the idea of a long-distance relationship. Just a little fantasy world. So far he seems to like it, too. If dude would learn to text and Skype, it could be even more fun. He's waiting for his contract to renew to get a smart phone. If he were here, I'd smack him.

But I'm in a cell phone glass house. Mine is on its last legs. No time to shop for a new one. I'll have to wait until after April 15 when I can deal with switching from my beloved Palm Pre. I don't need one more ounce of stress and I have to stay accessible to my clients. And The D.

Ok, gonna close now. BFF Angela will be here any minute. We'll take a dip in the hot tub and I'll regale her with my latest crazy adventures. I'm so happy that I'll be a tenth of a mile from her when I move next month. And my sweet surrogate daughter. And their amazing hot tub. Swimming pool. And the fridge stocked with beer. For me.

Wow. I feel lucky to have such amazing people in my life. And I keep adding to my collection. There are plenty of gems out there.

Flowers and Thorns

I took The D to his and mother's house today. It was great to see all his beautiful plants coming to life. Irises, roses, peonies. And flowering quince. I took it upon myself to cut some branches to bring home and put in vases, just like they do in Southern Living. I had to climb down a slippery slope, ankle deep in dead leaves, to get to the flowers. Later he told me there were snakes down there and that he'd killed a big one with a garden hoe. Oh, well. After the stupid feral cat darted out of his greenhouse and scared the shit out of me, it didn't seem like such a big deal. So I took his pruning shears and cut to my heart's content. And then the thorn. Damn, it was an inch long. Went an inch into my finger. Right under my fingernail. Luckily, The D was waiting in the car, safe from poisonous reptiles and feral cats, so he didn't hear me say "Fuck, fuck, fuck..." Oh, that reminds me. In The King's Speech, Berty (King George IV) would get frustrated and say some of my favorite words over and over. Fuck. Shit. And Bugger. I loved it. It relieved his anxiety. Imagine that.

Back to the thorns. Isn't that like life? Full of tradeoffs. Pleasure and pain. Hidden dangers we don't think about when we're in pursuit of beauty. Miraculous new medicines and dangerous side effects. And love.

According to Alfred Lord Tennyson, "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." Or Lady Antebellum, "Guess I'd rather hurt than feel nothin' at all." I don't know if I believe it. But I do believe what I learned in Microeconomics. So goes risk, so goes return. And lately, I've been taking risks. Sometimes calculated. Sometimes reckless. But I haven't regretted any of them. Including my ill-fated investment in IndyMac - the largest bank in U.S. history to go belly-up. Every day when I look at my stock portfolio, I'm reminded of it. I'd sell it if the brokerage commission weren't more than what it's worth. Or if I could deduct the loss on my return. But since it's in my IRA, it's no use to me. So I choose to see it as a reminder. Tuition. That's why I don't regret it. I think it's paid off a hundred-fold - I'm a much better investor now. I'm happy to report that I have plenty more wins than losses. Better than the benchmarks - the true test. I've developed my own style. I'm a contrarian, but I'm all about the fundamentals. Each time I miss, I perform an autopsy and figure out how I went wrong. Buying on impulse from a hot tip from a fellow investor or a stupid analyst on CNBC saying it's a sure thing.

I could write a whole blog about how investing is like life. Unfortunately, no time for that. I'll just say that the way I see it is that there are four major components to how well a stock does: the psychology of the market; the financial strength of the company; the quality of management; and the value of their product.

Soooo, after playing it safe for so long, it feels good to take chances. Now that I have kiddo raised and off to college (he's going back tomorrow morning, by the way), I'm not afraid. Which is why I went out on a limb and bought a new house without selling my old one. And started my own business. Hired my first employee.

And started this blog. At first, I was way out of my comfort zone with so much self-disclosure. But I had that epiphany I blogged about. That my life was my own. I embraced myself for who I am. Tossed convention to the curb. And basically said "Fuck you" to my haters. It was so freeing.

It feels good to be fearless for a change. So free. Like Janis said. Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose. I have lots to lose, but none of it is worth as much as the joy of living my life without boundaries.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Progress

Can't believe it's been two days since my last confession. I mean blog post. Lots has happened. Mostly good. It seems like there was something ridiculously frustrating, and that's always fun to write about, but I can't think of it right now.

Since I'm under the gun with client deadlines, I'll hit the highlights and elaborate later.

I saw The King's Speech Wednesday night. Loved it. I couldn't remember which Academy Awards it won (I fell asleep during the show), so I asked the drone who sold me the ticket, and he said he didn't know. Said he didn't watch awards shows. Wow, and he works for a movie theater! Of course, it did win best picture and Colin Firth won best actor. I can see why. It was so good. It made me think of The D. He struggles to get his words out. I'm pretty good at reading his mind and he's developed his own sign language, so that helps. When he tells me about his constipation, he uses his fingers to show me how many days it's been. Luckily, that hasn't been an issue. I've been buying lots of fruit and of course, the veggies, and that's made a big difference. Thank God. And he loves the fruit.

The home inspector did his thing at the new house yesterday. There were some plumbing issues, so I need to get my plumber out there to take a look. Other than that, nothing major.

My regular Friday and Saturday client meetings have been postponed, so I'm breathing a sigh of relief. One of my sweet girlfriends is coming over for a drink after work tonight. I haven't seen her in ages. Can't wait to catch up.

Kiddo's actually been nice to me. He's leaving Sunday morning, so hopefully we can have a nice dinner or lunch out with his dad tomorrow. I'm sure The D will want to come, too. He loves my boy.

Oh, biggest thing of all. I finally got my hair done. It's been five months since I've had it cut and colored. I got highlights this time. I'm looking a little too blond. I figure since hair stylists charge by the foil, they're motivated to use lots of them. I like it though. I'm not one of those women who get all stressed out over their hair. The only time I've had to go back and get it fixed was the time I got an inverted bob. I loved it. Unfortunately, the Willie Wonka movie with Johnny Depp had just come out.
And it was the first day of school and I had to take Kiddo to Office Depot for school supplies. When I picked him up, he said, "You look like Willy Wonka." Oh, shit. He was right. Throngs of his classmates were at Office Depot, and I was told more than once that I looked like Willy. I got home and called my hairdresser and told him I had to get it fixed. Only me.

Here I go, meandering again. Better get busy and make some money. More later...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hard to Please

That's The D. At least when it comes to me. Kiddo can do no wrong.

We ventured out in the rain to Panera Bread for dinner. Kiddo drove. Once or twice, he had to brake hard (following too close for comfort), and I told him he was gonna scare Daddy, and The D said, "He's doin' all right." This from the man who accused me of driving on the wrong side of the road (I wasn't) and who starts telling me where to turn a quarter mile before we get there.

So we got to Panera and I helped Daddy settle on a tuna salad sandwich and a cup of creamy tomato soup. Ordered his usual unsweetened tea. After I paid, I was walking past the serving counter and they had his soup and sandwich and my asian chicken salad ready. So I started to pick the plates up, and dude morphed into the Soup Nazi. He told me they would buzz the thingy when it was ready. I said, "This part is ready." He repeated himself. Before I had a chance to get pissed off, The D appeared and said he wanted lemon with his tea. So I headed to the drink station with him, and there was a bucket of lemon slices. But no fork or tongs. So I went back to rude dude and told him this. He said, "There should be something out there." I said, "Well, there's not." He looked at me like I had failed a polygraph and begrudgingly handed me a plastic fork.

The D was waiting for me at the lemons and I gave him the fork. He said
"I'm not eating those things. They're garbage." I have to admit, they looked pretty bad - brown and smushed. So I dug around and found two slices that didn't look like they'd been squeezed and retrieved from someone's tea. He refused them.

So I walked past rude dude to the front and before I could ask for the manager, I was intercepted by someone with something about training on his badge. Trainer, trainee? Not sure. Told him about the lemon problem. He said he'd handle it. Rude dude came running over saying something, but I just walked away. Maybe he thought I was telling on him. Which I was.

So I sat down with Kiddo and Daddy and his lemon-less tea. Our food came then (RD probably spit in mine). I was waiting for Trainer/ee to bring fresh lemons to our table as I'd requested, but he didn't show. Kiddo had pushed the tables closer so I had to squeeze through without getting my ass in the soup or knocking over the damn tea. Lemonhead had arrived with a new pot of lemons. He probably just stirred them up so the less brown ones were on top. He even had a fork in there. So I got a couple great looking slices for The D and delivered them to him on a cup lid. He squinted at them. I told him they were new. He said, "I need some..." I said, "Sweet & Low?" He said, "Yea." Since I'd just squeezed my ass between the tables again, I said, "You'll have to go get it yourself." Damn.

He got back and fixed his tea. I asked him how his tuna sandwich was and he looked at Kiddo, grinned and said, "It's a tuna sandwich." I said, "How's your tomato soup?" "It's all right."

We finished eating and Kiddo got a go box for my excess salad. I asked Daddy if he wanted to take his bread and he picked it up and dropped it on the plate (it sounded like a rock) and said, "It's hard." I'd asked for something less crusty and the girl said the honey wheat was soft. Wrong.

So we trudged to the car and I told Kiddo to take us to Ben & Jerry's. Traffic was bad so we had to take some short-cuts. When we were almost there, I asked The D if he knew where we were going and he said, "In circles."



We went in and there were hoards of Hebrew-speaking people around the counters, so I had to crane my neck to read the names of the ice creams. Plus, it was like translating Hebrew to put the stupid B&J ice cream names into words The D could understand. I slowed down at Butter Pecan and two labels later, he decided on the BP. I knew he would. He got it in a cone. I got chocolate peanut butter swirl in a cone. Kiddo had Cherry Garcia in a cup. Funny, the grownups eating their ice cream from cones. It's better that way. I told about how, when I was a kid, Daddy would lick the drips from my ice cream cones. Sweet memory.

Then D asked Kiddo when he was going back to school. After K said "Sunday" three times, The D hollered, "Sunday?" with a look of shock on his face. I said, "Yes, Daddy, this is just spring break." Kiddo said he'd be back for Easter. That was news to me.

Oh, my. All of a sudden I'm exhausted. I have work to do, but I think I'm going to curl up on the sofa under a warm blanket and watch tv until I fall asleep. The bulimic cat is waiting for me...

March Birthdays

Shernitra's birthday is today. Love that girl. It turned out that my day was open after 11:30, so we went out for lunch. Salsa. Yum. It's been a long time since I've been. I shamelessly asked the waiter if they gave free desserts for birthdays, but they didn't. He came back with spinach/cheese dip, on the house. We were happy.


Then I drove to the nail salon. Didn't tell her where we were going. She was surprised. She got a mani and I got a pedi. I was so overdue. We sat in the great big massaging chairs until our nails dried and left feeling so relaxed and happy. She's so very sweet - don't know how I'd survive without her.

Speaking of people who make me happy, and March birthdays, several come to mind. Mother was born on the 15th. She'd be 76 years old this year. Same as Elvis. I think I'll try to have a little family celebration in her honor.

My girl Jo's birthday is on the 17th. Yup. St. Paddy's Day. I've already given her two early b-day gifts. Kitchen and bath towels with shamrocks on them. She probably has a million Irish themed gifts and hates them, but she's too sweet to say. I have a couple other things (without shamrocks, and not even green), so we'll have a little celebration next week.

I have a new friend with a birthday on the 19th and my baby-daddy's is on the 21st. We get along so well. Much better now that we're not married. I have the utmost respect for him and he's a great person. We're just not great together. We're both much happier now.

July is also rife with natal days. Kiddo's on the 17th, Daddio's on the 19th, and mine on the 31st. All three of our ages will end in zero. We're 30 years apart. Cool, huh? Might try to have a big party for The D.

Speaking of my birthday, which I will be doing frequently between now and July 31st, President Obama will celebrate his four days after mine. We were born in the same year. So that means the president is younger than me. When I first realized that, it made me feel old. At least I'll be in good company with my Semicentennial! When I mentioned to my new (argumentative) friend that I couldn't be president because I was born in Japan (The D was stationed there at the time), and mentioned the controversy over our Prez's birthplace, he called me a "Birther." I hadn't heard that term. He's a left-winger and I'm a don't-give-a-shitter. Needless to say, being called a Birther isn't a compliment. At least by a liberal. Even though I don't care much about politics, I do vote, and if I had to describe my views, I'd say I'm a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. Maybe even liberal. But I'm all over the place. I don't stick to party lines. I couldn't resist telling dude I'd voted R in the last prez election and he asked me why. I said I liked Sarah Palin's hair. Truthfully, I hated it at first, but the party stylist polished her up, and who doesn't love a makeover?

Ok, here I go meandering when I should be working. Might take Daddy and Kiddo to dinner tonight. It's supposed to rain. I could really go for a nap. Over and out...

Writer's Block...

...it's the only downside of things going well. Really and truly, I couldn't think of anything to blog about. That's not like me. So I thought I'd show you my favorite picture of The D. He's the monkey on the left.

Later...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Motherhood

Kiddo's home. It's been two months since I've seen him. And at least two weeks since I've talked to him. I still can't believe it, but I actually forget about him sometimes. That might sound terrible, but I think it's a good thing. For both of us. We're both fiercely independent. A quality I inherited from my mother.

The kiddo and I had a difficult summer. Butted heads constantly. I'm told that's normal. That kids do that to prepare themselves for the separation from their parents. And since I've always been the disciplinarian, the conflict was intensified. So I'll just put it out there. When we drove him to Chapel Hill at the end of August, I wasn't sad. I had an overwhelming sense of relief. I was excited about living on my own for the first time in my life. No longer was my primary identity that of a mother. I could eat peanut butter sandwiches every night. No one was carping at me when we were out of milk or juice.

All of a sudden, I had SO much free time. My laundry, grocery shopping, cooking and other household duties were a fraction of what they'd been. My stress level tailed off considerably. I had my life back. It was all about me for a change. And I loved it. This beautiful existence lasted about two weeks.

Then mother got sick. She called me one day and asked me to take her to the hospital. I knew it was bad. She never called me - she waited for me to call her. She always said she knew how busy I was and that she didn't want to bother me. That fierce independence. Her health had declined drastically since her diagnosis of emphysema three years earlier. But she never wanted to be a bother.

I asked her what was going on and she said had been throwing up for several days and couldn't even keep water down. She was weak and dizzy and had trouble walking without her knees buckling. She was afraid. Needed me to get her and take her to the hospital. The blood drained from my head and I asked her if she needed to call 9-1-1. She said no. I got to their house 15 minutes later and she was sitting at the kitchen table in her pajamas and robe, ready to go. Daddy and I had to practically carry her to my car. Daddy stayed home. We did the whole ER thing and spent forever waiting before we got admitted.

Fast forward one month. On October 21st, Mother died and my life drastically changed. Permanently.

All of a sudden, my I went from a happy independent woman whose world was her oyster, to being a mom again. To The D. Even though this blog focuses on Daddy's toddler tendencies, there's plenty of teenager in there, too. A wise person once told me that the toddler years are God's way of preparing you for a teenager. The struggle for independence. It's so true. And suddenly Daddy was dependent on me. Not mother. No way could I measure up. It's natural that he took his anger out on me.

But I shifted into maternal mode. I put his needs ahead of my own. I worried about him. Took him to the doctor. I fixed his meals. Put up with his temper tantrums. I don't know how I had the strength to do this, but somehow I managed. Actually, I DO know. It was because of the legacy Mother had left me. She always put our needs ahead of her own.

Add to that the fact that my husband and I had separated a year earlier and our divorce was final just a few months earlier. Talk about transitions.

So here we are, almost four months later. We made it through the dark days of winter. The horrible holidays. We survived. At times I wasn't so sure we would.

Yesterday, at the thrift store, I ran across a very used, very old, oxygen concentrator. It's a huge machine that takes in air and concentrates the oxygen. Mother had one. I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. Grief overwhelmed me. I still have miles of oxygen tubing in my laundry room. Maybe moving will force me to face these reminders of her and purge the ones that make me sad.

Then this morning when I got up, I was wearing her soft flannel nightgown. When I put my phone in the pocket, it was like a vision of mother putting something in that very pocket. Somehow, the way I moved mirrored her movements. She loved pajamas and robes with pockets. Hard to find. I wear her gowns and pajamas every night. Is that healthy? It's comforting. Maybe I'll be able to let go of that sometime soon. Not worried about it at the moment.

The D was so excited that Kiddo was coming. He ran to the back door when he and his dad arrived. Had a big smile on his face. Kiddo hugged him (I hate the whole handshake thing between men and their fathers and grandfathers.) Please. You're not a business associate.

So, for one week, I have my original kiddo back. He was good training for The D gig. But after the 30 minutes or so we spent together before he headed out to the weight room at school, he wasn't my kid anymore. He asked me what groceries I needed and said he'd stop on the way home for the things I'd forgotten to get. I asked him to get his dirty clothes together and he said they were clean. He told me the house looked nice. He liked the skunk chair, but I don't think he got a whiff of it.

He asked me if I'd been cooking much lately, and I told him I had, indeed. Almost every night. He asked me if I'd cook for him tonight. He asked me what I had and we settled on flounder from the freezer. He asked if I could make mashed potatoes and happily I had a big bag. Steamed broccoli. He was happy with that.

What happened to the rude, obnoxious teenager who was impossible to please? Give him two days, and he'll be back, I'm sure. But in the meantime, I'm blissfully happy. I don't expect it to last, but I'll enjoy it while it does...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Retail Therapy

Finally. Not like you think, though. I hate the mall. If I don't get my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving, it's Amazon or a check. Or nothing. I can't keep up. Here's my way. I see something that makes me think of someone I love. I buy it. I give it to them. It has nothing to do with their birthday, a holiday, anything. After all, aren't those arbitrary? Besides, if your birthday's the last day of July (that's a hint), wouldn't it be great to get a present in March? Or whenever?

I love to find cards with black and white pictures of old ladies saying irreverant things. Well, raunchy things. When it makes me think of someone, I buy it, even though it's not their birthday. Scratch out the b-day part and just say I Love You. Also, I try to find random commemorative stamps in odd denominations and plaster them to the envelope in an entirely random pattern. Put on lipstick and kiss the back flap. Doodle around their name and address. Spritz it with perfume. See why my friends love me?

People can be so serious about the mail. Not me. Screw Forever stamps. So boring. I have Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart. Jimmy Stewart. Christy Matthewson, Walter Johnson, Tris Speaker, Jackie Robinson, and the greatest man who ever walked the face of the earth, Lou Gehrig (not counting Jesus, of course. Or Abraham Lincoln). Wrigley and Fenway. John Wayne and Ronald Reagan. Alexander Calder and Frederick Law Olmstead. Ogden Nash and Dr. Suess. Snow White and Princess Diana. Elvis

Had a great meeting w/ client. Hit Ross - my favorite store (besides City Thrift). Found Lucky jeans that fit me like a glove. $24. Amazing.

I live a charmed life. Went to thrift store. Only found a couple things and on my way to the checkout, I saw the most incredible, worn, buttery leather satchel. It smelled so good. All beat up and worn. So much character. $10 bucks.
Seriously. It'll look great with my Lucky jeans.

Oh, funny story. Rewind to Ross store. Deb met me there. We shopped a little. Here's a typical exchange:
Deb - Do you think this table's worth $40? (She has this thing for little, painted occasional tables.)
Me - No.
Deb - $30?
Me - No.
Deb - No?
Me - No. You don't need another little painted table. You have furniture in storage. What are you going to do with it? Put it down and step away from it.
Deb - Awwww.
Let the record reflect that her "Awww" was not a sad expression, but rather a mix of disgust and sarcasm. It perfectly expressed what she wanted to say. Which is "Fuck you." She doesn't cuss as much as I do. Plus her 14 year old daughter was somewhere in the store.
Then we heard the sound of laughter. We usually entertain people around us. That or annoy them. The main thing is that we have fun.

After that, Deb headed to Kroger to do everyone's shopping. She's the coupon maven and she sweetly does grocery shopping for Daddy and me. In fact, she asked me what I wanted and since I hadn't made a list, she whipped out her iPhone and made a list while I dictated. I made my usual comment. "You drank the apple Kool-Aid." And she replied, "Yea. And it tastes good. You should try some."

She said she'd call me when she was finished so I could meet her in the parking lot. I was shopping contentedly when my phone rang and I heard her hysterical voice on the other end. Something about being trapped by the cart. I hauled ass to the checkout line. Next thing I know, she's leaning in the entrance to the store, waving her hands and shouting - "Come help me! I'm trapped by the cart." I had no idea what she meant. I shouted for her to just breathe and dispatched Emily to handle the situation while I finished checking out.

I found her in the parking lot chanting "I hate this Kroger! I hate this Kroger!" Finally, I understood. The last time we were there, we had a fucked up cart and the wheels totally locked up. I had to drag it with all my might across the parking lot. Keep in mind it was loaded with 300 pounds of groceries. How in hell did we get that same cart? What are the chances of that? And why didn't those cart gathering drones take that lemon out of service

So once again, I morphed into superwoman. Felt like Hercules capturing Cerberus. No, really, like 100 year old Jack LaLane (God rest his soul) pulling a tugboat with his teeth.
Managed to drag the cart to the curb and got Deb calmed down. I gave her my spontaneous gift of a cool porcelain insulated coffee cup with a silicone wrap and lid. I found it in Ross for $4 - perfect for her - she's a coffee addict. She loved it.

Got my crap in my car, sent her on her way. She reminded me 15 times to put the groceries in the fridge. I assured her that I wouldn't forget. I was getting in my car and saw the security guard blazing a trail in his Cushman. I flagged him down to ask him to make sure the defective cart got fixed. He said the wheels lock up if you go beyond some random yellow line. That solved the mystery. He said, "Didn't you read the notice at the back of the cart?" I said, "Where the glamor pics of snooty realtors usually are?"
Who ever reads those things? Who would notice a security warning on a grocery cart?

Who's ever heard of grocery carts with GPS? I guess that's a perk of shopping in the hood. Can't wait to tell all my east Memphis housewife friends about it. I'll guaran-damn-tee ya they've never heard of this. Then they'll scold me and tell me not to go to that part of town and I'll tell them I'm not afraid. I always feel so hip and urban around them. And believe me, I'm neither hip NOR urban. But it's all relative.

Ok, I've been up 293 hours, so I'll wrap it up. I'm gonna crawl into bed, snuggle up to my leather bag and Lucky jeans. Turn on talk radio and become one with George Noori (that's talk radio, not some tantric sex partner, in case you didn't already know that). And wake up tomorrow, ready to figure out how in the world I'm going to move all my crap down the road. I think my new house is symbolic for me. Not gonna wax philosophical now, though. I think I'll find something to eat. Gobble it down. Hit the sack.

The big news is that kiddo is coming home tomorrow afternoon. He's so happy at Carolina. So independent. I forget about him sometimes - so focused on The D. I'm so proud. Can't wait to see him. I think he'll like our new home.

He'll be running with his friends the whole time, but just having him here will be sweet. I know his G-pa's looking forward to it.

Life's good...