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, June 30, 2011

Finding Bliss, Again

I've used the title Finding Bliss before. January 30th, to be precise. I just read it. Wow. I was good. I haven't taken time to look back over my older posts. I didn't even realize I started in January. I've come so far since then.

Six months ago, I was drowning in grief and anger, intensified exponentially by family betrayals. I was overwhelmed with the responsibility of caring for The Daddler. Keeping my promises to my mother. Bearing the brunt of his pain. Finding the strength to understand that he lashed out at me because I was safe. Like a toddler with his mother.

But here I am. I've survived. Thrived, even. Surprised myself with how strong I am. I wouldn't have dreamed I could manage this daunting responsibility. When I feel like giving up, I remember Mother. Holding her in my arms. She became my child and I, her mother. I told her not to cry. That I'd take care of her. And Daddy. Not to worry. It would be ok. I would see to it.

And I have.

Finally, I'm finding time for myself. Getting some balance in my life. Fresh back from a wonderful trip to Boston.

Speaking of balance reminds me of something. Wednesday, FF and I visited the USS Constitution Museum. We were two happy guinea pigs for a prototype of an interactive game. It involved stacking wooden blocks on a small model ship suspended from strings. The goal was to stack the blocks on the deck, keep it balanced and not tip it over. Now, Mr. Man and I are extremely competitive. We're constantly playing one-upmanship with each other. I think I surprise him when I hold my own. He's really, really smart.

We took turns carefully and strategically placing the blocks when I had the brilliant idea of making a wager. Loser buys lunch. Then it got really fun. Of course, right after that, I tipped the boat, the blocks fell off, and I lost the bet, but he does have the advantage of being a sailor. So we spouted ideas to the two sweet interns (did you know there's a graduate program in Museum Studies?), and I started stacking the blocks. On the table this time, not the tipsy ship. I got no fewer than 25 stacked, then dared FF to put the little wooden man on top without tipping. He tried. But no cigar. Unfortunately, I didn't think to challenge him to double or nothing. Not that he'd have gone for it.

It reminded me of Kiddo's toddler years. I'd stack wooden blocks and he'd knock them down. He never got tired of this. Even with all his elaborate toys, the bright wooden blocks were the best.

Playing like kids was just what we needed. So much togetherness after so much apartness (550 miles worth), was too much at times. We'd had a rough patch and decided to put it aside and enjoy the last day of our trip. Which turned out to be the best. We're still just getting to know each other. Slowly and carefully. Which is not a bad thing. I'm still healing, with a very long way to go. But I think this thing with Dude is speeding up the process a little. Or a lot. Still, it's scary. Complicated. Exciting, frustrating, challenging, crazy-making. Uncharted territory for both of us, I think. We're so much alike, but at the same time, incredibly different.

But whatever happens, I'm better for it. I hope he feels the same way.

So here I sit. Missing that man more than I'd like to admit. But I'm settling in, facing mountains of laundry and emails and paper. Enjoying The Daddler, Kiddo and Bulimic Cat. My Enchanted Aerie. My books and magazines. My guitar and computer. All the comforts of home.

Friday, June 24, 2011

O. M. G.

Look at what I just found.

Located in the historic Back Bay, at 100 Huntington Ave, Boston MA 02116, Copley Place is Boston's most distinctive shopping destination with 75 fabulous stores including Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York, Tiffany & Co., Jimmy Choo, Intimacy, Tourneau, Salvatore Ferragamo, Porsche Design, David Yurman, A|X Armani Exchange, Louis Vuitton, Emporio Armani, Christian Dior, Burberry, and BCBGMAXAZRIA. A dazzling mixed-use complex, Copley Place is a concept unlike any other in the Boston area. Located on a 9.5-acre site, the upscale center includes two levels of shopping, restaurants, four office buildings, 1,400 parking spaces and two hotels, The Westin Hotel and The Boston Marriott Copley Place.

And guess where I'll be staying. Wow. How lucky is that? When I looked at the hotel website last night, I noticed Tiffany's in the photos. I figured that would be good to tease FF about. After my honeymoon suite comment. Pending age and health-insurance related deadlines. I wonder if he's figured out that I'm not kidding. That, or he really is fearless, because I should've scared him off by now.

So, when I woke up at 1:30, too excited to sleep, I thought I'd see exactly where that Tiffany's was. Now I know. And I'll never get back to sleep.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not one to hang out at the mall. In fact, I get downright phobic of it between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Wolfchase Galleria any time of the year. When it comes to malls, I'm kind of like a man. I just go in to buy what I need and then get the hell out. Except times like this. Nothing is more fun than going to a great mall in a new city with lots of stores I've never seen before. Looks like I've hit pay dirt! Damn. Right there by the hotel. So I can go as much as I want. Maybe I should check two bags!

Actually, I have a rare ability to spend two hours in a mall (that's about my limit) and leave without having bought a thing. This is on the rare occasion when I'm not in my man-on-a-quest mode. Sometimes it's just fun to look. Or just too hard to decide what to buy. So I buy nothing. Actually, I procrastinate and think I'll come back for something and then I hit saturation point and getting out seems more important than whatever it was I was thinking about. So there is an upside to this anxiety thing, I guess.

In addition to all the great stores, Copley Place has Legal Sea Foods and Au Bon Pain. Yum. I had crabcakes at LSF in Baltimore with my girl Mel. That was a great mall, too. It's a good thing I'll be doing lots of walking so I can eat like a field hand. And I'm glad I splurged on my new Taos sandals with a contoured footbed with metatarsal support. I can't go clomping around Michael Kors in my Brooks. As a matter of fact, I need to think about how one should dress for shopping in New England. I'd hate to look out of place. But then, I guess that would be easily remedied, with the mall there and all!

Really, though, I doubt I'll spend much time shopping. I haven't figured it out, but I think we'll be close to Boston Common, Beacon Hill, Fenway Park, the Museum of Fine Art, and lots of other amazing places. Plus, the weather's gonna be crazy good. Highs in the 70s. I. Cannot. Wait.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Everything's Fine

The D's test results from the urologist were negative. Which is positive. I've always thought that was confusing.

I'm getting excited about my trip to Boston. Lots to do before I go, but I always manage.

The ironing board fell on me last night (don't ask), but luckily I didn't have any trouble running today. On the bright side, I'll have a nice, new colorful bruise on my leg to take the place of the one I had in Florida three weeks ago. At least this one's in the back. I wish I had a graceful bone in my body. My girl Jo is just as bad. I call her Divot-Head. She tripped and fell over her dog or something and is permanently scarred right in the middle of her forehead. But then I have the big scars on my chin and shoulder and knee from my face-plant on the Green Line last summer. We're dangerous.

My kitchen sink got invaded by ants. Luckily I was able to find the bug spray. Ick. It makes me itch just thinking about it.

I can't wait to see FF. I get there about 30 minutes before he does so we'll meet at the baggage claim. I'll never hear the end of checking a bag. I usually don't, but I'll need more than shorts and swimsuits this time. He was relieved when I told him that the BoSox don't have any home games while we're there. What a curmudgeon. There's something about him that makes me want to rough him up. Wrestle him to the ground. I can't explain it. The only thing I can figure is that when I'm around him, I feel like a goofy kid. Probably because he's goofier. In fact, it's a fierce competition to see who can be smarter and funnier and sillier. I'm smiling just thinking about it.

On that note, I'm gonna call it a day. I need to get my rest so I can be in top form in Boston.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On the Brink.

I spent all morning and part of the afternoon at the urologist. Doc said symptoms sound like bladder cancer. Decided to scope him. I had 30 minutes of major panic. Bro, sis and mother all had cancer. Doc did scope and said he was 99% sure no cancer. Just big ole' enlarged doughnut of a prostate.

Got some kinda samples. Go back in three weeks. They did a biopsy of bladder tissue. Cauterized it. Pee will look like tomato juice for three weeks.

Went to drugstore and bought male pee-pee pads. Not diapers. Just like maxi-pads for men. D seemed ok with it.


A friend called to ask me out for pizza. Good timing. Not that I'm hungry. Just wanna change of scenery. Tomorrow gotta focus on client work and packing for Boston. Begged hairdresser to work me in for a trim. That's at 6:45. Even if he just cuts my bangs, I'll be happy.

Gotta run.

High Anxiety

I woke up with it. My first thought was this morning's appointment with the urologist. I'm anxious on at least two levels. Mostly, I'm afraid The D might have prostate cancer. As I understand it, it's almost inevitable if a man lives long enough. But I also understand it's very treatable and slow-growing. Still. After my brother's fatal sarcoma at age 41, my sister's breast cancer at 40 (she's fine after 6 years), and Mother's pancreatic cancer, it scares the shit out of me.

My other, much less dire, worry is talking about my father's reproductive organs. I suppose I'll just turn my head during the exam. I can handle hearing questions about urination (The D and I have already discussed that, and I'm sure I'll have to translate for him), but I'll die if questions about erections or ejaculation or libido ensue. After hearing Mother tell the nurse that she was sexually active, though, I'll survive.

Ok, I'm on the verge of hyperventilating, so I'm gonna hit the shower. I need to figure out how to get to the urology clinic, what to wear, etc. It's times like this when I get paralyzed by small decisions, like what to wear, whether I have time to shave my legs and if they need it. The D, however, enjoys his doctor visits. He's dressed and ready and reeking of Old Spice. Deb buys him gallons of it. It's not helping my nausea.

I hope we don't have to wait forever. I'll try to figure out some work to take. I think I'm gonna buy a netbook for times like this. I think they're incredibly cheap now, thanks to the invasion of the tablets. For today, though, I'll just grab some magazines, because I'm sure the waiting room won't have Glamour or Oprah. Probably just Field & Stream, Travel & Leisure and the ubiquitous WebMD magazines. And lots of pamphlets on prostates. I'll try to resist the urge to read those. Maybe I'll be in luck and they'll have Garden & Gun...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fuck the Napkin

Oh my god. I just outdid myself. I worked like a dog in the yard. Came in the house and realized that it was time for The D's din din. Heated up homemade soup. And buttermilk cornbread. Fixed a bowl of fresh blueberries and sliced some strawberries. Microwaved some leftover, homemade mashed potatoes. Put it on the tray. Asked if he wanted milk. He always does.

I put the milk away and checked on him. He was agitated. He needed a napkin. I can't even go there.

Nothing is good enough. Ever. I am so ready for five blissful days away from this purgatory of my life. Sure, he's 79 years old. Lost his wife 8 months ago. But I lost my mother. And I'm stuck with my dad. And he's not the nicest person in the world. But I owe my genetic makeup to him. And that makes me patient. Because, ultimately, I like my genes. He's smart, but uneducated. He never had a chance. I don't want to get into details, but he didn't have a childhood.

That's enough. He's a child now. I'm his parent. I'm a much better mother than the one who pushed him out of her birth canal. I comfort myself with that. I fail kiddo. But there's redemption with The Daddler. If only because I honor my mother every time I'm tempted to retaliate but I resist.

Time for a shower. I miss Dude. But I have too much to do between now and Saturday morning. I need to avoid distraction. And he distracts me. He's smart that way. But I'm smarter. He'll figure that out one day.

I'm gonna check on The D. Run a hot bath. Paint my toe nails. Practice my guitar. Read my book. Do some watercoler. Or talk trash to FF. If he's lucky...

Filthy Dirty

That's me. After my excessively cerebral day, I had a little excess energy. Threw on my latest workout clothes - major City Thrift windfall yesterday. Including today's outfit. Surfer shorts that fit just right, and tiny Carolina Blue basketball jersey with my second favorite number - 8. Don't tell Dude, but I found some really cute stuff. If he's sweet, I'll do my best to look cute in Boston. And since I've decided to check a bag, I'll have lots more options. Like more than two pairs of shoes. Maybe some bubble bath. A book or two, besides my airplane reading. Plus, I can shop. While he's in CLE. Bless his pea-pickin' heart. So glad I let my stupid CPA license go inactive. I have a feeling that texting could relieve the sting of continuing professional education. But dude says, and I quote, "Homey don't text." I almost ditched him right then and there. Not just for the refusal to text, but for the hokey comment.

But what he lacks in hipness (as far as pop-culture is concerned), he makes up in other areas. And I cut him a little slack for his advanced age.

Ok, my work here is done. I'm gonna wash this grime off my sweaty body. And make my packing list. As soon as I feed The Daddler...

Oh. My. God.

I just spent a fuckin' hour on the phone with someone in the Georgia Department of Revenue. She was brilliant. And patient.

I have a client who sold some stuff to a client in Atlanta. They also installed this stuff. Well, I'm sure you'll find this fascinating: some states charge sales tax on services. We charge the sales tax on the goods we sell, but since we also charge to install these goods, we have to collect and remit sales tax if they apply. And every single fucking state and municipality is different.

Now, Atlanta is special. Four Georgia counties have Atlanta addresses. Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton and Cobb. Only Fulton and DeKalb have areas within the Atlanta city limits. Parts of Fulton and DeKalb are outside the city limits. Clayton and Cobb counties could have Atlanta addresses, but those are unincorporated.

So, here's how it goes. Georgia charges 4% sales tax on goods and freight. But not professional fees. By the way, Georgia non-profits are NOT exempt from sales tax. Unless they have a Letter of Authorization from the Office of Tax Policy. Only qualified organizations are exempt. And there's a list of those. But that's neither here nor there.

Now, in addition to the state tax, there's a county tax and city tax if the services are provided within the city limits. Fulton and DeKalb charge 3%, Clayton charges 3% (but is not in the city limits even though the address says Atlanta), and Cobb charges 2% (same re city limits as Clayton.)

If the customer is in Atlanta city limits, there's a 1% municipality tax. In order to find out if they're in city limits, you have to go to a special website and type in the address. The name only in the address slot. In the address type, use the drop down box to choose street, road, place, avenue...

Then you have to go to the USPS website and type in the address (complete with street, road, place...) to get the zip code. That will tell you which county it's in.

I asked sweet sales tax lady if we have to file every month even though we might never sell in Georgia again. She directed me to a special form for one time only events.

So here's the deal. I did the calculation. We should pay $17.50 to the Great State of Georgia. There's no de minimus provision. I'm going to punt. Or not. I figure if we don't collect it from the customer, the worst that could happen is that they'd come back and make us pay, including interest and penalties. If we collect and don't remit, we'll go to jail.

Now my big dilemma is whether to explain this conundrum to my client or just tell her we're fine. Of course I'll tell her. Because she needs to understand how complicated this is.

I left a message telling her to go ahead and bill our client in unincorporated Fulton County, and not to worry about sales tax. That I'd explain later. And that I would tackle Beverly Hills, Manhattan and D.C. tomorrow.

Shit. I'm so ready to go to work on an Alaskan fishing vessel for the rest of the summer. I hear they have good cooks. And I'm sure the weather's cool.

Actually, I'm jonesin' for Boston. And I'm checking my bag. Maybe two. Or a steamer trunk.

For now, I've got to tackle the lawn. Put on my MP3 and hope those nasty Led Zeppelin lyrics clear my head. Maybe I should try some Enya instead...

Surreal Sunday

Yesterday was Father's Day. I was feeling magnanimous, so decided to do the whole church enchilada with The Daddler. Sunday School and worship service. I dressed up. He wore a suit. I considered running to Kroger to get him a boutonniere, but ran out of time.

He's been going to church next door every single week, but this was his first time to go to Sunday School. The first hint of weirdness was when I said I'd go to The D's class, but I was informed that the classes are segregated between men and women. But they'd make an exception for me. I declined. The quintessential church lady, Mary Alice, snapped me up for her class. I asked if the cool lady who's within 10 years of my age was in M.A.'s class. No, cool lady kept the nursery. Which was comprised of her two precious granddaughters.

Not a pot of coffee in sight, dammit. One think I love about Hope Pres is the great coffee bar - lots of versions of Seattle's best coffee. You can even take it into the sanctuary. Crazy, huh? Maybe that's why they have 10 bazillion members. Wonder what would happen if they served mimosas and bloody marys. Hey, that's a novel idea! Just think, if it worked like drunk tips, the offerings would increase exponentially. I really am a genius. In my own mind, anyway.

I walked across the hall to say hello to cool lady and cute little girls. The preacher walked by and they discussed a member who's grandaughter was found dead of a gunshot wound the day before. Then a discussion ensued of which of the member's seven daughters was the mother of this poor dead girl. Then the convo segued into the new baby someone had. Not sure it it was a member's baby or grandbaby. Hopefully, the parents of the baby are members. That would lower the median age of the congregation considerably. Cool lady tried to pull up a picture of the baby on her phone but it took forever to load.

The preacher's wife happened along and said she was on her way to teach Sunday School. I asked her what age she taught and she said they were the older ladies. Whoa, older than M.A.! Could that be possible? So I faced the inevitable. I was a little worried when I walked into the SS room and saw a biblical map. Thank god it was old testament. I detest the travels of Paul. Talk about a weird misanthrope.

It was just me and M.A. until a lady named Jeptha walked in. I said that sounded like a biblical name. It was, but it was a man's name. J was probably within 20 years of my age. Small talk ensued. M.A. proceeded to model her new dress and asked us to guess how much it cost. We had no idea. She said $15 at Ross (one of my favorite stores, by the way.) The dress was interesting - perfect for a church lady, I suppose. It was all white with an eyelet neckline, pleated and elasticized waistband, and a full skirt emblazoned with embroidery and sequins and beads. Thank god they were all white so it was kinda subtle. Jep and I ooh'ed and ahh'ed over it and M.A. was beaming. Finally M.A. asked Jep to pray. Specifically for poor dead grandaughter. M.A. said she'd died in her bed in her sleep. Jep corrected her. They seemed so matter of fact about it. I started feeling sick.

Finally, Jep started praying. I swear, it went on forever. Not only did she pray for dead girl and dead girl's grandparents and family, but she rattled off about 20 other people with no explanation of what was wrong with them. At least she stopped short of the flooding, our troops and the situation in the middle east, Japan, our missionaries... She thanked God for our visitor (me). And finally said amen.

M.A. jumped into the lesson. She asked me to read verse after verse. I wonder i Jep was a slow reader or if M.A. was just trying to get me involved. She'd already told me I could join her SS class even though I'm a Methodist. Wow - hard to resist! Then in comes a lady named Linda. I thought she had her iPod buds in her ears. Thought that was a great idea. Then upon the introduction and her nonsensical answer when I told her I was The D's daughter and we lived in the parsonage, I realized she was deaf. So I repeated myself in a very loud voice. Like I have to do with The Daddler.

M.A. started back in on my bible reading. Thankfully, I know the order of the books of the bible so I was able to find the verses without help. About that time, I started feeling intense pressure in my chest. It hurt like hell and felt really weird. The muscles under my chin were tight, too. And I felt nauseated. Classic heart attack symptoms. This happened to me once before. I was studying for my anatomy and physiology test when I went back to school 4 years ago to get that course as a prerequisite for my stupid idea of going into Health Information Management. I have a feeling that would've been worse than public accounting. I loved the physiology part of it, but the anatomy is just a bunch of memorization - not my strongest suit. One time, the night before a test, I was perched at my computer doing the thousandth question on my practice quizzes when I was stricken with this intense pain. It went all the way through my back. Luckily it passed. I figured it was anxiety and I was right.

Once, when my brother was dying of cancer, my parents showed up at my door one Sunday night. Mother was having chest pains. I rushed her to the hospital. They did a battery of tests and found nothing wrong. It was anxiety.

Since I woke up yesterday dreaming of formatting an Excel spreadsheet, I knew I was already anxious. And since I haven't been to a Baptist Sunday School class in a very, very long time, I'm sure that exacerbated the sitch. So I excused myself saying I was sick to my stomach and that I was going home to lie down. I got the hell out and had walked halfway home (not far since the church is next door) when I realized I didn't have a key. The D had locked up and I'd left mine on the kitchen table. So I had to turn around and go back. I headed to the men's SS class and cracked the door and tried to get The D's attention, but he was looking down at his bible. I motioned to the man next to him to get D to look at me, to no avail. There were about 20 men in there and everything came to a screeching halt. When D finally looked up, I crooked my finger to say "come here" and he made an awful, irritated face at me. So I had to walk across the room, with all eyes on me. I apologized profusely. And since The D is hard of hearing, I had to announce for all to hear that I had a stomach ache and I needed his keys. Three times. Finally, he got the message and turned over the keys. Needless to say, this added to my anxiety.

This time I walked across the baseball field, wondering what would happen if I had to go to the E.R. Should I just put a post-it note for D on the door? Should I drive myself there? The hospital's two minutes away, but it would probably be stupid to drive if I were in the throes of a heart attack. If I dropped dead, what would happen to The Daddler? Of course, all these crazy thoughts escalated my anxiety into a full blown panic attack.

Luckily, I had the presence of mind to know if that's all it was, I could put a xanax under my tongue (it's absorbed more quickly that way), and the pain would subside. But I had to climb the stairs to get to the xanax. So I did. Then headed to the sofa and laid down. Couldn't find The D's blood pressure machine which also takes heart rate, so just checked my pulse with my watch. Low 80's. High for me, but considering the anxiety and pain, not too bad. Within 10 minutes, I was ok.

Then I headed back, just in time for the worship service. More strangeness ensued. We were personally welcomed by the pastor at the beginning. He talked about the suicide (which I thought was a little tasteless). Then prayed. Music followed. Apparently the pianist also played in cabarets. I'm not kidding. The preacher even commented on it - something about the casino. Strange.

Finally the sermon began. Here's where it gets really surreal. I have never in my life had a full-fledged convo with the pastor as part of the sermon. He was talking about the trouble they'd been having with ne'er do wells vandalizing the church around back. Tearing up downspouts, littering with whisky bottles and beer cans, (he left out the part about used condoms, but I'd already learned that on the QT). Then he looked at me and said, "Carol, this has stopped since you and your daddy moved into the parsonage. Have you had any problems?" I responded in the negative. He replied, "God's hand is on you." Whoa.

Apparently, God was blessing me because I was a good daughter, and was honoring my father as commanded on the stone tablets. Then he asked me about my siblings. I told him about my younger sister and my deceased brother and the bitch from hell older former sister. I left out the adjectives, of course. Started not to mention her at all. Then, get this. He asked me if I was married. I answerd with a simple "no." So here I am, being interviewd by the preacher right in the middle of the sermon. Go figure.

Finally it ended and thankfully, we only sang one stanza of the invitational hymn. Then D and I high-tailed it home. Deb came and took him to lunch. I headed over to FF's parents to take mangoes to his dad for F-Day. I was in the mood to paint, so I talked his mom into sitting for me so I could finish the family portrait. This was my third session, I think. Finally I was kinda satisfied, so I'm done. The colors are weird, but actually, that's my favorite part of it.

Then I headed to my holiest of holies. The thrift store. OMG, they had so much good stuff. I got some great things for my trip to Boston. I am, however, going to have to check a bag. Broke the news to FF this morning. He told me I'd have to schlep it. I told him, no, he'd have to schlep it. At least on arrival. I'm on my own when I leave since he's staying an extra day. I can handle it. He doesn't understand. It's like Sophie's Choice for a woman to decide what clothes to bring. Especially since I don't know what the weather will be like or if we'll be going to some nice restaurants. He said we'd work out in the hotel gym, and my running shoes take up half my carry-on bag.

Oh, well. It'll be fine. It'll be wonderful, in fact. Better run. Lots to do before I go. And client meeting at 1:00 to get ready for...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

To Love and Be Loved

Dude was making fun of me today. I asked for it, though. Said I'm sure they'd have little wifey things to do while the attorneys attended to business. The Ladies' Auxillary. He said they'd have quilting bees and cross stitch sessions. Times, they are a' changin'.

Actually, I'm hoping to get to Fenway. The man isn't into baseball, so I won't expect a game (besides - the BoSox are on a roll - tix might be scarce), but I'd love to go to the park before they rip it down and build a new one. I like that FF isn't into sports, but I think he'd like baseball. It's like nothing else. So many layers. A very subtle game. Football fans think it's boring. But football is stupid. Think about it. All a blocker has to know is how to block. A tackle, to tackle. The quarterback is the only smart one, but that's because he has to think fast to keep from getting sacked. Which is another word for fired. And how many football coaches get sacked every year? I hate to offend, but the few football coaches I've met are idiots. They spout meaningless platitudes like "Winners never quit, quitters never win." I prefer the Kenny Rogers philosophy. Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em.

Baseball players have to know every single possible play. That's where the error comes in. Fuck up, like throw wide or don't cover your base, and there's a major ding. That's why baseball players are the best. It's a team effort. It's a humble game with an unwritten code of etiquette. I think the greatest players are the Lou Gehrigs and the Roger Maris'. They unselfishly supported the stars. Babe and Mickey. And that's why they were a team. There was no competition.

I think about friends I've had and men I've dated. Sometimes I feel like I'm just a moon in their orbit. I'm the Lou in their Babe shadow. Don't get me wrong. It's a magnetic attraction. But sometimes I get eclipsed. Lately, I find myself coming into my own. Started taking care of myself. Attracting male attention. I'm not used to it. And I'm very cynical. I wonder about the men I've dated. If I gained 20 lbs., would they still be into me? Of course, men are visual. And I like to dress like a girly-girl. Be complimented on my appearance. The problem is when they miss my essence. Which, at the risk of sounding conceited, I'll say is my brains and my heart and my courage. Like Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion. They had what they wanted all along. They just didn't know it.

With my GF's, it's easy to retreat when they launch into bossy-sister mode. I just back off a little while, and they're always there when I'm ready to hang with them again. Sans advice. With men, though, it isn't that simple. For some reason, the men I've met tend to be extremely confident and self-assured. Which is great. Except for the other side of the coin. I can get overwhelmed.

I'm there with Mr. Man a little right now. His strong opinions and the way he expresses them so passionately can feel like he's being bossy. Controlling, even. I'm sure he doesn't intend it that way, but that's how it feels. But I've learned to choose my battles. And when I do, I stand firm. He respects me for that when I can get him to listen. He's humble enough to apologize. And I think he processes what I say and makes adjustments. And that's why I'm hopeful about things with him. But this is way too private for this venue. Or not. I'm an open book.

Ok, for some reason, I'm in a foul mood. That's why I've turned off my phone. I'm rearranging furniture, hanging pictures, and catching up on laundry. I made The D some buttermilk cornbread in a cast iron skillet tonight, but Deb took him to his fav BBQ place for an early dinner, so I'm good. I should go mow the lawn, but not sure I'm up for it.

So, as for the title of this post. Dude's joke about the cross stitch sessions reminded me of my very favorite sampler. I did it way back when, before I married. It's too bad that I never really felt loved. It wasn't a two way street. One thing I know for sure, I'll never settle for less than I deserve. The sampler says it all.

Life is Good

I got through my client meeting this afternoon. Passed with flying colors. Had good news re tax return - I found some money we'd have left on the table. More work to do, but I'm close. Gave him some great reports he's been wanting. I think I've restored his confidence.

I broke the news about my upcoming trip to Boston. With Mr. Man. We don't talk much about my personal life. It's a professional relationship, but there's a friendship of sorts. I'm crazy about his wife and since I go to their house most Saturdays, I get to see her. And I know his sweet family. Including the precious grandchildren. As it happens, my car is identical to their daughter-in-law's, so when kiddos see me drive up, they get excited, then confused to see someone else emerge from their mama's car.

They've been so understanding about my sitch with The D. They've been through it with their parents.

And it turns out that the timing of my trip to Bean Town is perfect because client has huge deadline the day I return. Maybe I should tell Dude that I can never go anywhere during the first half of the month. This worked out perfectly.

This morning, we talked about what to bring. We discussed computers. We decided we'd go commando. But then I realized that I need to check investments, bank balances, etc. I had the bright idea of transferring a chunka change so I'd have a cushion for anything unexpected. Client was agreeable.

Still. It's been so very long since I've been totally disconnected from everything. I remember our cruise to the eastern Caribbean, getting so frustrated with the very expensive, very slow internet service. And that was in the middle of the financial collapse. I detoxed after two days.

I have a feeling Dude won't have much patience with me in this department. On the other hand, while he's in CLE (all three hours of it), he won't know what I'm up to. Unless he reads my blog.

And I have to blog.

Deb took The D to his favorite BBQ place today. I guess he shrugged off Dr. Oz's advice about the evils of pork BBQ. She took him for a haircut. Now they're at Sam's. He loves going there. He buys muffins. Thank god I don't have to fix breakfast. I am, however, overdue to make french toast for him.

I just planted some green onions - the white part with the roots. Dude grows them in his office. He's such a weirdo. In a good way. I poked a few navy beans in the dirt with the onions. It'll be interesting to see if they sprout. I'm going to plant beans all around the miles of chain link fence. They are so fun. I swear, they grow six inches in one day. And it's so much fun to see their little tendrils curl around anything they can.

Ok, I'm gonna look for a hammer and start hanging things on the wall. I'm in a nesting mood.

But I have laundry to do. If I'm not careful, The D will run out of underwear. He needs new hankies. Wish I could make it to Sears.

My girl Jo is out of town, so no where to go on a Saturday night. Just as well. After getting up at the crack of dawn and doing intense accountanty work, I'm pretty exhausted. So the idea of staying in is a good one. I see a hot bath and a self-inflicted pedicure in my future.

Not bad...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Not a Genius...

Client's tax accountant called to say my idea was good, but wouldn't work. But I tried. I've been going through things with a fine-tooth comb, looking for deductions. I've actually done pretty well. I swear, though, there's SOOOO much detail. I'm going to ask for a reprieve. Gotta figure out the best way to do this. Since I'm going to Boston a week from tomorrow, it'll be a couple weeks between meetings. Client's really busy with work, though (huge June 30 deadline), so I have a feeling he'll be ok with waiting to reconvene. I think I've improved my credibility. Plus, I'm going to tell him that I'm forsaking all others. Clients, that is. That should count for something. Which reminds me. I need to prepare my May invoice. Since I waived April, I could be agressive on May, but I'm thinking I need to wait until I Add The Value. I know, it's a cliche, but that really is what it's about.

The D is having a pee-pee problem. Made an appointment with the urologist today. I sweet-talked the receptionist and managed to get in Tuesday. That's a miracle for a new patient. Wanted to see the doc who's the brother of The D's cardio doc. Mentioned the whole UNC connection and how much we like bro and that he's one of the rare doc's who gives me his cell #. Then, somehow, found out that she has a little boy - 16 months old - and I milked that. Of course, any new mom loves to talk about her perfect child. He's a wild man, climbs everything, has an Irish name (Irish dad), red curly hair and beautiful blue eyes. Like me, she has dark hair and brown eyes, so people wonder where the boy came from. I stopped short of sharing childbirth stories. She had to put me on hold no fewer than five times, and apologized each time. Sweet. I'm shameless, I know.

She asked me if he had leakage. I said I hadn't seen stains on his undies. He just said he has problems cutting it off at the end. So weird to talk about that with one's father. I prefer the poop convo's. No burning or pain, so that's good. He's probably overdue for a PSA.

Ok, I'd better get back to the grind. Or not. Angela's gonna call me when she's headed home. I think I'll walk to her house and hang out at the pool. Oh, just realized I need to feed The D.

I think I'm gonna call it a day and just plan to get up early for my 1:30p meeting.

Oh. One last thing. I told my client's tax accountant about the mother-fucker mailman thing, and he said I shouldn't worry. That the IRS had loosened up and he'd even sent his the day after, with no penalties. Good to know. I've resisted running out and chewing idiot postal worker's ass when I see him. Probably for the best.

All for now...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'm a Genius

I figured out a way to save major tax dollars for my most important client. I did a little research, then called his CPA to run the idea by him. It's a long shot, but if it pays off, I'll make major points. I already added huge value with another creative idea. But I've been slacking off. This could make a difference.

See, I'm no accountant. Used to be. And that's not a bad thing. My crazy, creative brain seems to take the years of compliance work and convert it into crazy good ideas to find money in the form of tax savings, better interest rates, insurance premiums, etc. Clients love that. Don't get me wrong. I only work with completely honest people. I don't take stupid risks (except when it comes to men). I cover my bases and hedge my bets.

All of a sudden, I'm at a loss for words. I'm distracted by the thunder. Grateful for the rain. And relief from the heat.

I feel quiet. Peaceful. In a state of inertia. And for me, that's a good place to be.

I Miss Her

I took The Daddler to the senior center for lunch today. I stayed and ate, too. I headed down to the guitar session after lunch - I was impressed with all the talented people. The leader was very sweet. He gave me his guitar to practice with. Turns out it's a slim neck guitar and that made it much easier for my short fingers to reach the strings. While I was in Florida visiting Dude, he told me to try one of his with a narrower neck, but for some reason, I never did.

Even though I'm too young to join the senior center (only by five years), I think I could crash the guitar lessons. There were at least 10 people. Only one other woman. They all seemed happy to see me and sad to see me go. Maybe I could find a sugar daddy in there. Could I qualify for spousal coverage under medicare? I'm running out of time. And I'm not expecting Mr. Man to accept my repeated proposals of marriage before my COBRA expires.

Back to the title of this post. It's been almost eight months since Mother died. The D wanted to stop by the cemetery on the way home. So we did. He brushed the twigs and grass off her headstone. My brother's, too. It's a beautiful thing to see. After he did that, he just stood there a few minutes and then was ready to leave. My heart breaks every time we go there. I look at the blank spot where he'll go, and I just can't fathom that. The thought of losing him is unbearable. How long before I recover from my mother's death?

I suppose it'll be like it was with her. I'll just do what I have to do. I was surprised by how strong I was. And I keep getting stronger.

My heart is heavy now, but I'm going to follow the good advice of my good friend. Live in the moment. I'll get back on my client work and that'll take my mind off it. Later I'll run and swing. Such good therapy. Even though it'll be in the upper 90s, I'll be fine. I'm a lizard, remember.

On that note, I'll sign off. Over and out...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Long Overdue Rant, or Going Postal

Here goes. Today, June 15th, is the deadline for the second quarter federal income tax estimated payment. I did my thing this morning. Figured out how much I needed to send and compared it with how much I could send. Happily, the former was less than the latter. So I transferred cash from my biz account to my personal, wrote the check, tore off the 1040 ES voucher, put it in the envelope and adhered a stamp, and gave it to The Daddler to put in the mailbox. He loves doing that.

The mail is a big thing to him. He sees everything that goes on from the window in the living room. And as soon as the mailman comes, he high-tails it out there, and if I'm home, he brings it to me. Today, I was in the kitchen, peeling potatoes, when he came in and told me they didn't pick up the mail. Shit. I asked him if they'd left anything. Negative. We always get mail. So I jumped in the car in search of the mail truck. No luck. I was cussing the whole way. Fuck that mother fucker. Of all days to be a douche bag. I'm sure by the time I circled 10 blocks, I could've made it to the post office, but the problem is that you have to have the mail in by 5 or so. Because god forbid, the lazy bureaucrats could stay late. The problem was that it was 5:50.

So I called the number in the phone book. A local number. It had a message referring me to an 800 number. Which I called. After getting through four branches of the phone tree, a bureaucrat came on the line. I explained my dilemma. She asked my zip code. Then she told me I could go to the Germantown post office. It would be open 10 more minutes. Fuck this shit. I unloaded. Told her to call the dispatcher to send idiot mail carrier back to get my payment. She said they couldn't do that. I started ranting, sans cuss words, and in the middle of it all, I heard the dial tone. She'd hung up on me. And I hadn't even threatened to strap a bomb to my chest and find her. I said that to my doc about United Healthcare once and he said he'd go with me. Of course, for the record, I'd never commit an act of violence. In fact, I'm a pacifist. Kinda. At least I think Ghandi was a good guy. In spite of my Republican tendancies. I have a feeling FF and I are going to butt heads over the election. Which should be interesting. He starts on these rants and I just sing a song in my head until he finishes. Then I tell him a dirty joke to distract him. It works every time.

I hope he doesn't call tonight. Because if he does, I'm going to start in about our fucked up government. How labor unions are not only unnecessary but destructive to the economy. That the death penalty should be enforced within a week of sentencing. Particularly for monsters who make their twelve-year old daughters help them cut their mother up into little pieces. After years of molesting said daughters. And blaming the murder on the child. Saying he was just trying to cover it up to protect her. Damn, what a loving father. I swear, I'd like to flip the switch, pull the hatch, shoot the gun or plunge the needle. And I hate that my tax dollars (which will be late thanks to the fuckin' idiots we call civil servants) are wasted on feeding, clothing, educating, heating and cooling these scumbags.

Given the way I feel now, maybe I should join the Tea Party. I have a feeling that would be a deal breaker with Dude. And that's why I hope he doesn't call tonight. Because I do have a scintilla of hope that he's The One. Not gonna bet the house on it, though.

Ok, I feel better. I hope Homeland Security doesn't see the "strap a bomb to my chest" thing and come arrest me.

On a lighter note, that reminds me. My sweet girlfriend, Melanie (the Jewish Carol), called today and told me she'd been arrested. Her husband is an attorney, so I didn't panic. Turns out, it was one of those silly fundraiser things. She wanted $5. I gave her $50. She rang the bell. I love her. She said she wants us to get together this summer. It's been well over a year since I went to Hagerstown to see her and Roger. I swear, he and Dude are so much alike, it's scary. But then, she and I are kindred spirits, too.

I love that girl. She's amazing. Humble beginnings, but forged an incredible path. She's a pediatric dentist - how cool is that?

Ok, gotta run. Need to sublimate. Or something...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

But I've decided it's time. See, I've been sleeping with several men. It all started about three years ago when I had a horrific case of insomnia. It went on and on for weeks. I was on the verge of insanity. Nothing worked. I read all about sleep hygiene and did everything I could to fix it. But the harder I tried, the worse it got. Back then, I'd read at night. I usually didn't make it long before the book fell in my face. I'd turn out the light and go to sleep. For some reason, I've never liked to just get in the bed and turn out the light. I guess I need some sort of transition or something to occupy my mind before I can relax and go to sleep.

When the insomnia set in, the book would still fall in my face, but it was like turning the light switch off turned my brain back on. I'd get up and go to another room, but that didn't help. I'd go to the sofa in the den and turn on the tv, and that was about the most sleep I got. And that wasn't quality sleep. It was very fitful.

Then one night, I remembered talk radio. I used to listen to CBS Radio Mystery Theater at night when I was a kid. My little sis is still a big late night talk radio fan. So is The D. I'd forgotten that. It took me a while to find the one and only talk radio station that wasn't all about sports or politics or religion. And that, my friend, is an a.m. station featuring a nightly program called Coast to Coast A.M. It was the answer to my problems. And that's when I started sleeping with George Noory and Ian Punnett and anyone else who came along.

I think my brain is changing, though. Maybe it's all this healthiness. For the last week or so, I seem to wake up during the night and if the sleep timer's gone off, I turn it back on. It's like I can't sleep without the radio. All night long my brain is filled with thoughts of shadow people and zombies and alien abductions and electromagnetic waves. And my men leave me at 4:00.

So last night, I decided it was time to end the affairs. I'd retrieved the book I'd lent Jolynna before I read it. The Help. In hardback. She'd wrecked it by reading it in the bathtub and spilling red wine on the pages. Oh, well. It's just a book. I was going to save it for the plane on my next little trip, but I couldn't wait. It's been a long time since I've read any fiction. I've had trouble with the old attention span. But last night, it felt so good to settle back into a comfortable routine. Nothing better than taking a warm shower to wash away all the dried sweat on a summer night, turning the A/C down really cold, getting in bed with wet hair, covered up in just sheets and a cotton blanket. With a brand new book.

And sure enough, the book hit me in the face. And I turned off the light and went to sleep. I still woke up several times, missing the voices of my faithful companions, but I suppose it'll just take time.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


My girl Jo and I decided to hit the GreenLine yesterday. She's a late sleeper and she was detained by a drop-in guest when she was leaving her house, so it was after 11 before we got started. Which means it was hot. Lately, I've been under the influence of a friend who's really into healthy shit. Like water (drunk out of non-BSP contaminated containers - glass is best), ground golden flax seed, yogurt... You get the idea. So I've started this major cleanse/detox thing this week. I've been running and sweating and hydrating like crazy. I've scaled way back on my beer consumption, given up Diet Cokes (oddly, they don't even taste good to me now), switched to Stevia from Splenda in my organic and freshly ground coffee, and done some other crazy things, like putting Greek yogurt in The D's banana pudding.

Now, I don't want to give this homeopathic friend all the credit. My bone density test was borderline. I've been throwing back lots of supplements - calcium, vitamin D3, B12. I was doing this for a while but got out of the habit lately. I forgot how many I'm supposed to take and I've been just popping two or three, but I need to figure it out so I can do it right. Don't worry, these are water-soluble vitamins and minerals, so any excess is excreted. You have to be careful with the ones that aren't, like vitamin A, I think. Again, I need to research it. That reminds me. I need to order some fish oil. You have to get pharmaceutical grade, because the cheap stuff can have mercury or lead in it, which is the last thing I need. It's hard to find and more expensive, but worth it. It's good for your brain and heart and all that ails you. A panacea of sorts. But it does make me bruise more easily, if that's possible. When I asked the doc about it when I had my checkup, he said I'm bruising easily because I'm getting older. He's such an asshole. I asked him how old he was and guessed 60. He was offended. Said he was 54. He's had some kind of makeover and is using hair gel - so passe. But he is verging on being cute. I think I'm going to have to switch to a woman doc. Oh, never mind. When my COBRA runs out next month, I'll be going to the free clinic.

Back to the water. I've been slugging back lots of it. Oh, by the way, I've lost a good five pounds this week! Didn't expect that. Not complaining, though. Before losing these five, I'd gained about ten pounds since last summer, so there are a few of my fun summer clothes I can't fit into. Like my favorite pair of shorts. Maybe by the time I head out of town on my next adventure (to be announced) in a couple weeks, I'll be in them. According to Oprah, ten pounds equals one dress size. Who knew?

Now, the GreenLine. The heat's never bothered me to start with. Years of roasting in the broiling heat all weekend long for kiddo's interminable baseball tournaments has probably helped. But the truth is, I'm just a lizard when it comes to the heat. Which means I'm a poikilotherm. JoJo, on the other hand, is a delicate Southern flower. She wilts in the heat. Which means the GreenLine isn't great when it's in the upper nineties. Because it's a line. When we start at the entrance near me, we usually go all the way to Shelby Farms so Miss Thimble Bladder can hit the Visitor Center's restroom and we can refill our water bottles. It's a pretty good distance. She said six miles, but I think it's more like four or five. Still. So, yesterday, after we hit the point of no return where we were closer to the Visitor Center than our starting place, she started getting overheated. We didn't have a choice but to keep going. She started getting chills and I started getting worried. I finally convinced her to sit down in the shade for a few minutes while we figured out someone to pick us up at the park. Luckily, I had my phone. I never go without it in case The D needs me. We made a few calls and it turned out that my ex was home. He lives about a mile from me, and even closer to the GreenLine entrance, so I asked him to come get us. I had to argue with Jo about it. She'd never met him. People don't understand that we get along so well. Our divorce really was very amicable. He's always there for me in a crisis. Like my mother's death. He even took a day off work to stay with The D while I did all the funeral planning shit. He's a mensch.

By the time we got to the VC, J was looking pretty rough. The park rangers had a cool pack thing for her wrists and that did the trick. Mensch was there waiting with a bottle of Gatorade, even. G2 - the low calorie kind. It was perfect. I sounded like my healthy friend, harping at her to hydrate.

We got her back, safe and sound, and I sent her home to cool off so we could hit the golf tourney and get hot all over again. If I hadn't had my primo clubhouse tix, I couldn't have talked her into going. But she agreed. She'd never been. I told her it would be like old home week and we'd see lots of people we knew. We got there and headed straight for the clubhouse to eat. We shared an amazing chicken wrap, complete with dried cranberries. Then we headed out. By then it was 4:30 or so. Still hot as hell. Since I have no clue about golf, we just started walking. We happened upon a huge crowd gathered around, watching the golfers putting on the green. Where else would you putt, though? The CBS Sports camera was there, so we figured that was the place to be. It did turn out to be the leader. Karlsson. We acted like we were interested. Had our cell phones on silent, clapped politely when the rest of the crowd did. Spoke in whispers. When the last putt was sunk, the crowd started moving. Like lemmings, we joined right in. For some reason, I was in a big hurry to get there. JoJo, not so much. We kept walking and walking, way past our primo parking spot. At some point, we decided we didn't want to go so we turned back. Then we were like salmon swimming upstream. Didn't see a soul we knew. But we did see George Klein in the clubhouse. We talked about all the Georges we knew. Way too many. Especially since we both wince when our mutual G's name comes up. Luckily that doesn't happen much any more. All ties are severed. Still, he's a mover and shaker and a publicity hound and consequently, there are reminders.

JoJo started getting overheated again, so we high-tailed it back to the clubhouse. The bar had closed. Some kinda PGA rule - last call is 30 minutes after the last tee-off or something. We debated going somewhere else, but finally settled on stopping by Fresh Market and getting something good to fix at Jo's house. Which turned out to be the most incredible crostini in the world. She had the great idea of getting muffaletta spread (cheaper than tapenade, and it turned out, better), and we got goat cheese and tomatoes and a baguette. Oh, and artichoke hearts and olives stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes from the antipasto bar. She had fresh basil in her garden - that was the key. Yum.

While the crostini was in the oven, we sat outside. A storm blew up and the wind was blowing and it actually started to feel cool. It started lightning and the redneck kids in the yard behind us were still in their pool. We laughed about natural selection. Not that we were any smarter being out there. When huge raindrops started kerplunking on our heads, we grabbed everything and ran inside. We were grateful for the water. Our yards needed hydrating. After such a wet spring, it's turned into a dustbowl.

The rain was so cleansing, too. It cleared some of the haze hovering over our city. And washed all the bird poop off my car. I've been parking under the tree at the end of my driveway. I need to shuffle the cars around and get back under the carport.

We had a nice time, just chillaxin'. I headed home kinda early when she and BF settled in to watch some little foreign film. That reminds me. There was that really popular movie called The Postman. Italian with English subtitles, I think. I tried to watch it several times and could never stay awake more than halfway through. So I never understood the big fuss about it.

Back to the water. It's cooling, cleansing, and crucial for life. And we don't fully appreciate how blessed we are to be able to turn on our faucets and drink pure, cheap water from artesian wells. Out of glass. Without BSPs. Memphis is known for good water.

This is from water.org:

Today’s water crisis is not an issue of scarcity, but of access. More people in the world own cell phones than have access to a toilet. And as cities and slums grow at increasing rates, the situation worsens. Every day, lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills thousands, leaving others with reduced quality of life.

Kiddo's in Tanzania right now. I have a feeling he'll have first-hand knowledge of that. That he'll come back with a new appreciation for just how rich we are in the whole scheme of things.

So today, when I hydrate, I'll stop and think, try to be in the moment, and be thankful for all the good things I have, not the least of which is pure, clean, refreshing water.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Serenity Now!

My little sis, Deb, told me she was going boating with some relatives today. They just bought a boat and named it Serenity Now. Apparently, I missed that episode of Seinfeld. I just watched a couple clips from YouTube, and those were hilarious, so hopefully, I'll get a chance to watch it online this weekend. I think I can do that on the TBS website.

Here's the gist of it, according to Wikipedia:

Frank Costanza is advised to say "serenity now" aloud every time his blood pressure is in danger of going up, but he yells it instead.

This episode's plot was inspired by real-life events in the life of writer Steve Koren. While driving with his arguing parents, Koren was bewildered to hear his father shout "Serenity now!" at the top of his lungs as part of a rage controlling exercise and questioned whether or not the phrase was meant to be screamed.

Maybe I should try "serenity now" instead of "fuck this shit." Hopefully, I won't need either one this weekend. I certainly used it plenty yesterday after dealing with too much shit. In the form of asshats I've been dealing with. But I figured out some solutions and I'm feeling much more in control. Significantly less anxious. Maybe even serene.

Friday, June 10, 2011

You Need Kool-Aid

I went for my two mile run around 5. I felt like I was in quicksand. It wasn't the heat. For some reason, that doesn't bother me. It was probably because I was out last night from after work until sundown. I got kinda lost in my neighborhood toward the end so I covered even more territory than I intended. I got lost because my friends J & J (who live a few streets over) texted to ask if I wanted to go for a walk and I had so much to catch them up on that I walked/talked them home and I had to go the long way home because there are too many streets that circle around. The D got mad at me once when we were in the car and I got lost. I need to study the map. Even so, every single fuckin' street name starts with an "M". Seriously. What were they thinking?

Last night, when it was getting dark and I was almost home, I had a sweet little flashback of hearing my mother do that two-fingered whistle thing she did to call us home in the summer when it was getting dark. I can't whistle. At all. Fingers or no. FF tried to teach me. Without success.

It was sweet coming home at dusk. It's the first time I've noticed the fireflies this year. It made me fall in love with my neighborhood even more.

In between my 5:00 run yesterday and coming home, I walked to the little park and swung (swang?) on the swingset, talked on the phone to my one and only employee to tell her she was fired since she never worked for me - just for my client - and that they would hire her. Thank god I never got around to getting my LLC set up with the state. I never want to have an employee. Not to get into details, but when I met with my client and their new employee, everyone was thrilled with my brilliant plan. I called the payroll service guy to come give his schpiel at the last minute and he wowed them, and better yet, made me look good (even though I had to prompt him to tell them how much of a discount I'd negotiated). I'd just called him at the last minute 45 minutes earlier for an impromptu meeting with treasurer of another client (he'd already done the proposal, but I hadn't gotten around to setting up the meeting), and I'm certain they're in the bag, too. The treasurer smiled before he said he'd get back to him. That's rare.

Wow, here I go, getting off track again. My whole point was that between running and swinging and talking and walking and running more, my legs were probably just too tired from yesterday to make it the whole two miles without stopping tonight. Oh, I made J & J swing, too. I told them how it really works your muscles. Quads and inner thighs, and your guns, too, if you lean way back. Probably some ab action, too. But mainly the quads. In fact, tonight when I was doing my post-run swing, I noticed how incredibly hulkish my quads looked. I guess between the running and swinging and running up and down the stairs to my enchanted aerie a hundred times a day, that's unavoidable. So I had this crazy thought of challenging FF to a leg wrestling contest. I think I'd stand a chance of winning. But we'll have to adjust the wager since he has a natural advantage, based on his gender and all. A point spread of sorts. However that works.

Ok, back to the Kool-Aid reference. I've talked about discovering Led Zeppelin on my MP3 player and how it really energized my run. And I mentioned listening to it in the car with FF last weekend. He'd read my blog, I suppose and made a point of playing it for me. The song is Whole Lotta Love, of course. The one and only one of theirs I know. And that's because my older sister (who just happens to be the same age as FF, which is six years older than me), would play it full blast every morning while we were getting ready for school. I hated that song. It was either Whole Lotta Love or Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac. Over and over and over again. And that is just part of the reason I could never have voted for Bill Clinton. But that's neither here nor there.

Back to Whole Lotta Love. If you're familiar with it, you might realize that it isn't a sweet little ballad. And that all those sounds he makes midway aren't just simulating a stifled sneeze. In fact, during that part in Dude's car, he looked at me and asked me if it was simulating some other physical, ummm, reaction, but not a sneeze. I tried my best to look innocently puzzled and said, "I never thought of it that way, but now that you mention it..." He likes to try to make me blush, but really, the only thing he does that embarrasses me is to tell those stupid limericks. And then, I'm just embarrassed for him.

After all, I've pooted in front of the man. What could be more embarrassing than that?

Ok, now I'll explain the title of this post and then I'm gonna close up shop. Since I was just about eight years old when this song was big, I really just thought the guy was falling down a well or something. It seemed kinda scary. But it wasn't until tonight, when I was running and listening to it that I realized what the first line of the song really said. Which is, I think, "You need coolin'". I like my version better.


I did not really think FF was a serial killer. In case you haven't noticed, I have a flair for the dramatic. See my previous post, My Vivid Imagination, in case you don't know what I mean.

Now that I think about it, part of what made him so angry was that he wanted me to experience his little piece of heaven on earth (maybe even impress me?), and it was spoiled with the intrusion of the ubiquitous redneck. For him, not for me.

I've had a day. And I'll have a rant later on. Not about The D for a change. For now, I've gotta run. Literally. It's hot as hell but I won't have a bit of trouble doing my long route. Clocked it and it's actually two whole miles. That oughta take the edge off. We'll see...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Vivid Imagination

Let's start by saying that before I headed to Sunny Florida to see my Fantasy Fiance on his turf for the first time last weekend, I questioned the wisdom of going. Several of my friends did, too. One of them asked me if I should get a GPS chip implanted so they could find me if I didn't come back. There was some mention of looking for body parts, too. I reassured them that I knew Dude's parents and that we'd known each other almost four months, even though we'd only met in person a month before. And that I'd googled him. That his face was plastered in the right spot on his employer's website and everything matched up. After all, it was my fancy detective work that got me into this thing to start with. Still, though, there was just a tiny little bit of anxiety about embarking on my latest adventure.

When I got to the Panama City airport Friday, it was around 5:30 Central time. Which means it was 6:30 his time. The time zone changes when you cross the Bay/Gulf county line between Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe. Add another 45 minutes because he got stuck in traffic and was late picking me up. He was very apologetic, but I didn't mind a bit because it gave me time to sit in the airport bar and drink a cold beer while I applied a second coat of Cute as a Button nail polish over the Gorilla Glue basecoat. I know, I know. I broke the rules with the public grooming thing. But the airport is dinky and there was hardly anyone there, and the bar was more like the food court at the mall than a restaurant. And it was the Florida coast, after all. Aren't the rules more relaxed at the beach?

Wow, if I could stay on track for a change. Let's see. Where was I going with this? Oh, the time. If we'd driven straight back, the drive would've been another two hours or so. But we stopped along the way and walked on the beach for a few minutes. Joked about how hokey that was. And that I'd be sure to blog about holding hands on romantic moonlit walks along the beach. We stopped at the gas station, too. And once more to put the top down. In other words, we took our sweet time. Which was really nice to do. So by the time we had our oysters and beer and arrived at his house, it was pretty late. And very dark. No street lights there. Which makes it nice because when you look up at the sky, there are so many more stars. Beautiful. But not so nice when you're a major clutz and have a little night blindness. And since the house is on the water, there are steep stairs to climb. But we made it up safe and sound. It felt good to walk in and look around and see and smell and feel the place I was going to spend the next three days.

I was pleasantly surprised. I'd asked FF to describe his decorating style and he said it was something like medieval-meets-frat-house. And his mother had told me it needed "a woman's touch." But I thought it was pretty perfect. Rustic, in a good way. Comfortable. Filled with lots of interesting things to see and touch. Like the Japanese glass fishing float - a beautiful cloudy smooth green sphere encased in a net of rough rope. His guitar. Maps and interesting art. A neon palm tree. Thinking back, it was a perfect reflection of his personality. And it was a huge relief to see that it didn't look like something out of House & Garden. Because when it comes to housekeeping, I have some frat boy tendencies, too. And that could be a problem for some people.

By the time we got settled in, it was around 1:00 a.m. I was tired but still keyed up. I was just starting to relax when he asked me if we'd turned off the stereo. I told him I'd turned it down when I played the guitar, but not off. He went to check, and then came back in and stood there. Then said, "Did you hear that?" I guess I heard a little something that sounded like a radio going somewhere. He started marching around the house. I heard doors and windows open and close. He went outside and came back in. Clearly agitated. And here's where it got a little scary.

He was stomping around shouting, and I quote, "Move bitch, get out da way." Over and over.

So when you mix in the ominous warnings from my friends, mild sleep deprivation and the dark, steep steps that made me wish I'd never watched Silence of the Lambs, I could've easily flown into a complete panic.

But it turned out, he was just repeating the crazy rap lyrics from next door. And Mr. Man wasn't just angry about the noise. He was angry about the stupid, misogynistic words, too. He's very evolved when it comes to women. Gotta love that. It really is hard to believe your ears with some of that shit. As a matter of fact, I wondered if I'd be able to find that "song" on YouTube, thinking it might be fun to put a link to it so everyone could see just how awful it was. It wasn't hard to find at all. I only had to type "rap lyrics move bitch" and I saw that it was indeed real, was performed by Ludacris, and judging from the search results, was very popular. I clicked on the YouTube link and I couldn't watch it past the first two repeats of "Move bitch, get out da way." No way could I put a link to that. It's sick.

Ok, I think I've made my point. Which is to say things aren't always what they seem. And that my imagination causes problems for me sometimes. But I don't mind because it makes things more interesting. Otherwise, how would I have so much to blog about?

Speaking of blogging so much, there's lots more to the story, but that'll have to be a Part II post. Because right now, I'm gonna go see if I can find my coffee grinder and make some good strong coffee. Dude ruined me for bad coffee. So hopefully, in just a few minutes, I'll start my day with strong, hot coffee in my beautiful new coffee mug and relish that memory before I get into the moment.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Dude called this afternoon. Said he liked today's post. Affirming. I live for that. I told him I didn't understand his profound comment to said post. That Google Translate didn't work well on Latin, and the only Latin I understood was "Carpe Diem." Which I think was apropos. Somehow. He explained, but it's beyond me. Damn, I hate it when a guy is smarter than me. Luckily, that doesn't happen often.

Funny thing is that he called right when I flushed the toilet. After the whole Blue Moon Poot thing, I decided I should answer. The bloom is off. No illusions. WYSIWYG. Or, in the immortal words of my favorite philosopher, Popeye the Sailor Man, I yam what I yam.

Hey, I just realized how poetic "Blue Moon Poot" sounds. If I were going to start a band, that's what I'd call it. But I'm sure it's already been done. Wait - Google search didn't yield a single BMP result! Lotsa Blue Moon Pools, but no Poots. Wow. I had an original idea. I should buy the URL. Or not. My DellHell.com thing didn't pay off. No more speculating in clever URLs for me.

But I should give credit to FF. There's this crazy energy with him. Not to be confused with "chemistry." That stupid idea is just another way of saying someone looks hot. As in, "Yea, dude, she was dead behind the eyes on the phone, but when I saw her rack, there was major chemistry."

Energy. Once, someone told me I had good energy. I took that as a major compliment. She was some 12 year-old hippie-wanna-be, but still. Affirmation. I live for it.

And if Mr. Man ever figures that out, save the day. Actually, don't. We won't be sending "Save the Day" cards or bridal shower or wedding invitations. He's decisive. I am, too. About big things. Not little things. Don't ask me if I want mustard on my cheeseburger. That's impossible to decide. Let me get a divorce, send my one and only kiddo to college, lose my mother and move my daddy in with me within the course of five months, and I'm good.

So here's the deal. He's amazing. I'm still head over heels. Shouldn't it be heels over head, though? I've been wrong before. More than once. So here's my plan.

Let Dude figure out what he wants. If he thinks it's me, be sure he understands what that involves. Refrain from any persuasive techniques, like being coy or elusive or traditional. I'm terrible at those anyway.

Be sure I can overpower him physically. Or at least, wriggle out of his goofy wrestling moves. Set him straight on a few basics. Like opening the car door for me. Pretending he doesn't hear me poot. Letting me do stuff wrong and waiting until I ask for help before rescuing me from myself.

I'm not in a list-making mood, but if I were, I think his plusses might outweigh his minuses. Hate to admit he's not perfect, but since I think perfection is boring, that's a good thing. Which brings me back to the point of this post. Scars.

I'm proud of mine. Each one has a story. The ones on my chin and shoulder and knee from my face plant on the Green Line last August. More recently, the nip from friends' dog on my leg. The major hematoma on my shin from trying to climb onto the boat out of the cleansing sandboil after the visqueena-eradicating exercise. An unidentified one on my inner thigh. Probably from wriggling out of some silly wrestling maneuver.

But the most beautiful scars belong to the manatee. Three perfectly parallel lines. I imagined her swimming along, living in the moment, when the rigid metal propellers sliced into her back. How painful that must have been. But it made her more special. Recognizeable. Unique. And strong.

I take The D for a blood test every other week or so. It checks his clotting factor. Which is a way of measuring his ability to heal. We adjust his medicine accordingly and somehow, it all balances out. I wonder what the results would be if there were a test for my ability to heal. I have a feeling it wouldn't be far from that beautiful manatee's.

Post Vacation Blues...

...I've got 'em. But since I'm trying to embrace this "Live in the Moment" thing, I'll just take a few minutes to list some of the things I want to come back to. In the meantime, I have to figure out how relishing pleasant memories figures into my new philosophy.

So here are some things that come to mind about my three amazing days in Florida. Boiled peanuts. That gray-green color of the ocean, and the smell and the sound of it. Palmettos. Oysters. Sandboils. Blazing heat. Cool water. Pink tan lines. Crazy loud rap music blaring next door at 1:00 in the morning. Remembering and repeating crazy stupid rap lyrics all weekend long. Laughing about the look on face the ne'er-do-well loser (who no doubt borrowed the house for the weekend) when Mr. Man walked over and shone the flashlight in his eyes and told him to turn it down. Joe Cocker. Holding hands and walking on the beach. Long, meandering talks. Companionable silence. Listening to Led Zeppelin on the car stereo. Riding with the top down. Getting lost on the way back to the airport and almost wishing I'd miss my plane. Best omelet of my life. Tomatoes sliced and prepared Polish style. Walking to the end of the boat dock and watching the storm in the distance. Bay leaves. Abalone earrings. Iron mermaid bottle opener. Japanese glass fishing floats. Juicy oranges and dark, sweet cherries. Strong, strong coffee. Gathering pieces of bark and twigs covered with lichen. Lying on the floor, looking up through the wall of windows and sketching the branches of the pine trees with all their weird twists and angles. Being guided up the steps to the house the first time in the dark. Walking in and smelling that rustic, wood lodge scent.Being told "Don't hurt yourself." More than once. And saying it. Both in the literal and figurative (funny) senses. Testing each other's vocabularies. Farther v. further. Worm in hot ashes. Waking up from a very long nap with chenille imprinted on my legs. Blue Moon beer with orange slices. Laughing so hard that a poot slipped out. Blaming the poot on the Blue Moon beer. Arranging our food in suggestive positions. Dude poking his finger in my mouth every time I yawned. Trying not to yawn. Making new friends. My beautiful pottery coffee mug. The beautiful soul who gave it to me just because I admired it. Helping her roll up miles of visqueen plastic left on a sandy hill - no doubt an abandoned redneck slip & slide. Getting so hot and dirty doing it but feeling good about getting rid of the ugly plastic. Getting in the cool water at the sandboil to clean off. Daring dude to get in, too, even though he didn't have a swimsuit. Knowing he'd take my dare to drop trou. And that his friends wouldn't bat an eye. Really good homemade gumbo.

I could go on and on, but I'll close now with an image so beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes. The sweet manatee who swam right up to our boat. So close that we could see the propeller scars on her back. It took my breathe away. Still does.

He loves me...

The Daddler does. Crazy, huh? I had a blissful, long weekend away from every single responsibility I have. As you might know, I went to see FF in Florida. Lots to tell about my time with him, but for now, I want to focus on The D.

My girl JoJo picked me up at the airport. We stopped by Half Shell on the way home. We bellied up to the bar and I ordered a beer and she ordered a glass of wine. We talked about appetizers. Choices were: seafood nachos (I had them there once and they were hideous), "Maryland (right) Crabcakes", and oysters on the half shell. Not sure about eating raw oysters in a month with no R, in this landlocked town, but it seemed like the least of three evils, so I plunged in. I told J about my magical night at the oyster bar with Mr. Man. How he showed me the way to eat oysters. It wasn't much different from the way I did it back in the day, but like everything with Dude, it had a little twist.

So J and I had a little debriefing over our oysters and drinks, and then headed home. It was time to transition from Fantasy Land to Reality. We pulled in the driveway, and there was The D. Standing there in his blue shirt with his white hair, waiting for me. Big smile on his face. Wow.

Told me he'd watered the plants and flowers. He counted on his fingers to show me he'd pooped five times today. I asked him if it was diarrhea, soft stools, hard, or what. He was happy to tell me about it. And the strange thing is that I wanted to know. Just like I did when Kiddo was little. When I picked him up at daycare, I'd carefully review the daily report of what and how much he'd eaten, slept and pooped.

Now that I think about it, those are pretty good barometers of a person's health. So even though it might seem weird that I devote so much attention to The Daddler's poop habits, I guess it's actually a good thing.

Coming home was nothing like I'd expected. See, after about 12 hours in Florida, I forgot all my worries. For the first time in a very long time, I was able to live in the moment. That seems to be Dude's mantra. And it's a great one. Not hard to do when you're suspended in a state of bliss. The only tricky part was not letting myself get sad about the idea of leaving.

So here I am. I learned a lot about myself this weekend. And of course, so much more about FF than I knew before. What I didn't expect, though, was to discover that Daddy loves me. Before today, I'd have said I knew he loved me even though he couldn't show it. But today, I saw the love in his eyes when he looked at me. And for that, I'm so grateful.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Deep Breath...

Got The D packed up and shipped out. It felt exactly the way it did when we dropped Kiddo off at summer camp. And I think he was just as excited as Kiddo was.

I'm really, really excited about my trip, too. I'm so overdue to get away. And I love, love, love the ocean. It is so incredibly calming to me. I have a feeling I'll be a different person when I get back. Maybe I'll start tracking the number of times the word "fuck" appears in a post. I think it would be a pretty good barometer of my stress level.

Right now, I'm so nervous, though. I made the mistake of trying to paint my fingernails to cover the patches of Gorilla Glue I can't get off. Given the fact that my hands are shaky and really sweaty, there's Cute as a Button nail polish going way outside the lines. Is it rude to work on your nails at the airport? At finishing school, they taught us that other than applying lipstick and powdering your nose, all other forms of grooming are strictly forbidden. Too bad men don't know that. How many times have you been in a business meeting and a guy pulled out nail clippers and started clicking away? It's been too many for me. I once had a boss who would take an Acco fastener and dig wax out of his ear. No, I am not making that up. But then, I worked with a bunch of accountants.

Oh, that reminds me of a really yucky story. I had another boss who used Skoal during tax season. One day I was standing by his desk while he went over some of his review notes with me. I bumped his Coke can with my butt and it spilled. Of course, I started to run to get paper towels to clean it up and he told me he'd take care of it. And then I realized that it wasn't Coke. Ick.

That reminds me of another story. Once I was flying on one of those dinky planes (like the one today, I'm sure) and along came a grubby looking guy down the aisle, and the seat next to me was empty, natch. He was wearing a black t-shirt with the arm holes cut out. Don'tcha just love seeing hairy pits? He did not smell good. I didn't make eye contact. He had a plastic Pepsi bottle - half full. After we took off, I heard a scraping sound. Like a fingernail on cardboard. I couldn't figure out what it was so I glanced over. He was opening a brand new can of Skoal. Great. It smelled so strong. And then the spitting commenced. I talked the flight attendant into giving me the one empty seat in the plane - the microscopic one at the very back next to the bathroom. I decided that claustrophobia was better than nausea. Thank god it was a short flight.

Hopefully, today's will be more pleasant. However it goes, I'm sure I'll forget all about it when I see Mr. Man. I can't wait for him to wink at me with his blue eyes. He's one of those people who can do it without scrunching up his face. Like me. I've been practicing, though. In fact, I've been practicing lots of new things. Playing the guitar, speaking Polish, and making cabbage and Kielbasa soup, to name a few.

Ok, I'd better run. It's time to head to the airport. Over and out...

Thursday, June 2, 2011


...the cure for all ills. I love that word. I even had an idea about a company once, and called it that. I have a folder on my computer with that name. Turns out, Dude has a house there.

It's been crazy, trying to get ready to go. And for some reason, when I did my online flight check-in, I broke into a sweat. Why am I so nervous?

I guess because Easter was kinda low-key. No pressure. Separate quarters. I loved hanging out with Dude and his parents. We had fun when we spent time alone, but that wasn't much, and there was always the excuse of tending to parents if we hated each other. Which we DEFINITELY did not. Still.

I think the reason I'm so anxious, though, is because FF has been elusive. Probably because of some of my stupid, exhibitionistic blog posts. He mentioned "not the only game in town." Which was my silly, insecure attempt at seeming breezy and care-free. At the moment, that was how I felt. I considered redacting it, but decided against it. And yes, FF does have a little competition, but don't tell him, he really doesn't. Unlike real estate, with me it's not Location, Location, Location. See, the whole long-distance thing could be considered a major disadvantage. But I don't see it that way.

I think it forces us to take our time. And enjoy our time together. As in REALLY enjoy. Anticipate. Cherish. Remember. Value.

It's so easy to get into a rut. To take each other for granted. After all, how long does the average courtship last? FF and I first encountered each other three months ago. And it feels like a first date. But a little less scary. One thing I'm sure of is that the minute I see him at the airport, it'll feel easy.

I'm sure I've blogged about this before, but when I picked him up at our airport, Easter weekend, we stood there with stupid grins on our faces. My stupid attempt at breaking the ice (laying a big wet kiss on him) failed miserably (for me, at least). Or not.

Still, the weekend was magical. Hanging out at his parents' house. Flirting and teasing. Slapping his hand when he pulled up my skirt.

There was a little drama (it's me, after all), but we settled in. We talked about living in the moment (foreign concept to me). He helped me with learning the guitar. Sang a song he'd written for me in Polish. It made me blush when his dad interpreted it.

He had the option to leave Monday or Tuesday. He decided to wait until Tuesday. Which I took as a good sign. Parting was such sweet sorrow. Wow. Great kiss. Who ever kisses at the airport any more?

I did my best not to cry on my way home. I'm sure I headed straight to a client's office or The Daddler's lunch or something. Or over-analyzed the situation. Tried to do the whole risk-benefit analysis.

I'm not gonna do that tomorrow, though. I promise. I'm just gonna go figure out what to pack. Paint my toenails and hope I can cover my Gorilla Glue encrusted fingernails. And think about what it'll be like when I see him at the airport. Maybe he'll surprise me with a kiss even better than mine...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


...doesn't that require a miracle? If The Daddler ever says something is great, wonderful, or just plain ole' good, as opposed to "pretty good", please nominate me.

i swear, he makes me crazy.

I'm sick of this shit. Good thing about Good House is that I have the whole upstairs to myself. And The D doesn't venture up. Also, I can play my angst-ridden cd's as loud as I want, do my stupid dancing around to them, or talk trash with FF, and I don't worry about The D one bit.

Or play Evanescence and get all Emo and try to duplicate Amy Lee eyeliner.

Sleep naked. I still keep a robe at the foot of my bed in case of a fire.

Practice my guitar. I have three chords and I can play Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star with fewer than five mistakes. FF was very transparent when he asked me if I'd had musical training after I surprised him with it. He must've wanted in my pants.

Men. Hard to believe that I'll be hangin' wid dude in a couple days. Let's hope he measures up. Because he's not the only game in town. But at the moment, he's my favorite...