Wednesday, February 27, 2013

living in limbo

My March calendar is busy, Busy, BUSY!!!!  I hate busy months.  Erin and Emily have something every weekend, something involving me to attend or me to take them to.  Nearly everything is out of town.  I’m grateful they are successful and have all these opportunities, but with all these events and everything that’s going on at work, it seems like my life is not mine.  Maybe it never was and it’s only a false expectation that my time should really be mine.  I suppose it could be mine if I shirked all responsibilities and promises...but then I’d be a great disappointment to everyone and to myself. 

Speaking of dissertation is ready to submit to the board (in my opinion), but I still need one of my committee members to give me feedback.  I sent it to him Valentine’s Day, then actually called and spoke to him a few days after.  He promised to look it over right away.  Well...WELL????   He never replied to me, doesn’t answer emails, never answers his phone or text messages, and never returns my calls.  Is he dead?  Has he left the country?  Did he forget about me?  I’ll have to Google him, figure out where he works, and track him down indirectly.  Committee-man has become a considerable disappointment lately; actually, he’s been a disappointment ever since the first time I asked him for help.    

I’m scheduled (i.e. payed nonrefundable money) to submit my dissertation to the board on March 5th...the date was not flexible.   If Committee-man and Chairman don’t give approval by then, I’m screwed.   Committee-woman gave approval a week ago.  I wish I’d had foresight to pick a chairwoman and 2 committee-ladies.  I’d have been done last year. 

Believe it or not, when I was a young girl, I used to wish I’d wake up one morning and be a boy.  I envied my brothers – they could be Boy Scouts and play Little League baseball.  Boy Scouts got to camp in tents, hike in the woods at night, build fires and bird houses, and learn to tie knots.  Girl Scouts did lame stuff and there were no organized sports for girls back then.  Girl scouts rarely camped, and when we did, we had to stay in cabins.  No tents, fires, knots, or archery for us.  We baked cookies, sewed, did crafts, and learned to set a table properly.  I wasn’t very successful in collecting badges because I really didn’t have much enthusiasm for Girl Scout activities.  Thank heavens we don’t really get most of what we wish for.  Really, if I were a man, I’d be a huge disappointment to myself and everyone else....and all those man parts would be a nuisance.      

March 5th is also an important day because it’s Sarah’s birthday!!!  She has already told me she wants no items for her birthday, only money.  Of course, I’ll bake her a cherry pie and find some little something, and wrap it up pretty so she’ll at least have some sort of birthday surprise.  If I had unlimited money, I’d buy her a giant chunk of land with a large lake fed by a delightful creek.  We’d have a gigantic rose garden, huge orchard with all sorts of trees growing just because we like them, not because we expect them to bare any fruit.  We’d have a big grove of chestnut trees, a field of zinnias, and lilac bushes everywhere.  Best of all, a gigantic pumpkin patch.  Well...maybe that’s more my dream than hers.  Maybe she just wants pastures of horses and sheep. 

Things have gone to hell at work.   I’ve been put in the middle of a pissing contest; it’s become a political battlefield.  To make matters worse, my supervisor has decided to bury his head in the sand because it’s too complicated and either way it goes, it’s going to make him look bad.  It’s probably going to wind up causing me lots of travel, either way it goes.  Retirement is looking better every day.  It’s time to take a serious look at the  numbers and see when (if) I can afford to leave. 


Wednesday, February 20, 2013


My goodness, I’m a new woman today. I’ve had a headache for the past two days that just wouldn’t quit. Last night, I went to a retirement dinner for a lady from my office. It was fun to sit and rehash old stories from the days when people smoked and drank in the office, and it was acceptable for people to harass, be bullies, and be prejudiced bigots. It makes for interesting stories, but I'm glad those days are gone.  So last night, I doped up with lots of ibuprofen so my head wouldn’t hurt so bad. I was determined to enjoy the evening (and mostly, I did). We met at a swanky Italian restaurant, food was excellent, and most everyone was drinking wine. Not me, wine is a for-sure migraine trigger. Even so, by the time I left, my head was pounding. The ibuprofen messed up my stomach - it felt like I’d swallowed a watermelon whole even though I took most of my dinner home in a box.

I got home around 9 PM and went straight to bed. It’s times like this that makes my bed the best place on earth. I said to Gracie (because of course she was waiting for me to get home and went to bed early too), “This feels so good, it must be wrong.” I slept all night like a corpse.

Today, I feel like a spring chicken. Hopefully the headache doesn’t return.

Speaking of spring, we had a warm evening Monday, so I started trimming one of our apple trees. The last two years, we’ve had nothing but little, knobby, wormy apples. The last time I trimmed the trees, the fruit was much bigger and prettier.  Trimming the trees will be an ongoing effort on warmish evenings or weekend days, but I want to get it done before leaves start to bud. It’s past time for tree maintenance, and perhaps I’ll go buy some fertilizer stakes for them too. I love spring!!! It's time to start paging through the seed catalogs and dreaming of a new flower bed.

Freakin’ at the Freaker’s Ball….Dr. Hook    (visit the link if you want to really hear it)

Well there's gonna be a freaker's ball (ha ha)
Tonight at the Freaker's Hall
And you know you're invited one and all
Uh oh

Come on babies grease your lips
Grab your hats and swing your hips
And don't forget to bring your whips
We're going to the freaker's ball (yes)

Blow your whistle, and bang your gong
Roll up something to take along
It feels so good, it must be wrong
We're freakin' at the freaker's ball

Well all the fags and the dykes they're boogie-in' together
The leather freaks are dressed in all kinds of leather
The greatest of the sadists and the masochists too
Screaming please hit me and I'll hit you

The FBI is dancin' with the junkies
All the straights, swingin' with the funkies
Across the floor and up the wall
We're freakin' at the freaker's ball, y'all
We're freakin' at the freaker's ball

Everybody's kissing each other
Brother on sister, son on mother
Smear my body up with butter
And take me to the freaker's ball

Pass that roach please, and pour the wine
I'll kiss yours if you'll kiss mine
I'm gonna boogie 'til I go blind
Freakin' at the freaker's ball

White ones, black ones, yellow ones, red ones
Necrophiliacs looking for dead ones
The greatest of the sadists and the masochists too
Screaming please hit me and I'll hit you

Everybody ballin' in batches
Pyromaniacs strikin' matches
I'm gonna itch me where it scratches
Freakin' at the freaker's ball, y'all
We're freakin' at the freaker's ball

We're at a ball
We're freakin' at the freaker's ball

(I used to listen to this kind of crap back when I really was a spring chicken.  As Emily would say it, Dr. Hook was the "").

Monday, February 18, 2013

waste not

I cleaned a large, walk-in closet this weekend, and what a glorious adventure that was! With everything reorganized, junk discarded, things sorted and arranged on shelves, we can now actually walk into our walk-in closet. And best of all, I found two unspent $25 Amazon gift cards (bought them as gifts, lost them somehow in the closet, and forgot about them). Also, we have enough ribbon, gift boxes, drain opener, and granola bars to last the rest of our lives. And…my lost hairdryer was found buried under a mountain of toilet paper and paper towels.

Someone tends to be a hoarder and stockpiles items that we use a lot of. With teenage girls and their friends in the house, you can’t begin to imagine how much toilet paper we use. When my girls were younger, I use to lecture them about wasting and making messes. It has all fallen on deaf ears. I often joke with them that after they move into homes of their own, I’m going to come visit and paint my nails and eat soup on their nice furniture (spilling a bit, of course). I’ll stick my chewed gum down in between the couch cushions, and set my drinks on the floor and kick them over on the carpet. I should be so lucky to have that opportunity! Some children never move out, but I intend to make my kids so miserable they will be eager to go. They are pretty tired of me already :) Sarah left ASAP and never offered to move back. She was messy, but not really wasteful like her younger sisters.

When Sarah was still living at home, she called Someone by his first name. She was eight years old when we  married, and her dad was still living then. She was in awe of how much food Someone ate. In particular, she was amazed that he ate entire apples and pears, including the cores of them (everything but the stems). One time I was driving Sarah somewhere (she was about 10 years old) and she was eating a banana. When she finished it, she casually dropped the banana peel on the floor under her feet. “Don’t litter my car like that,” I scolded her. She looked at me very matter-of-factly and said, “Someone will eat it the next time he gets in your car. I’m just leaving it for him.”  Someone doesn’t eat banana peels (as far as I know), but her comment struck me as quite funny at the time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

sentimental journey

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, but yesterday, I thought today was Valentine’s Day.  I raced out on my lunch break and bought a card for Someone and a package of his favorite candy – Almond Joy candy bars.  I’m not sure if almonds bring joy, but perhaps they do when surrounded with coconut and milk chocolate.  I’ll surprise him with these items tomorrow morning. He’ll be surprised because I forget what day it is most of the time.  

I hope Someone doesn’t give me any candy; probably he won’t. Instead, he’ll buy me a sickeningly sentimental card (because that’s the kind he always picks out) and take me to his favorite restaurant where he will order a huge slab of cow carcass (a.k.a. steak), and eat a dozen dinner rolls slathered in butter. Someone is definitely a creature of habit, but I suppose we all are to some degree.

I met Someone in February about a week after Valentine’s Day, 19 years ago.  I worked with a man who played on Someone’s tennis league.  He knew we were both single and the same age, and offered to introduce us.  I’d been single for 7 years, so the prospect of another blind date was nothing to get excited over.  Nevertheless, I wrote my name and number on a slip of paper and the man gave it to Someone.  Someone must have had a similar opinion about blind dates, because he waited a few weeks before calling me.  We talked on the phone a few times and then finally agreed to meet face-to-face for a beer after work one evening.  It was not love at first sight for me, but he looked very handsome in his suit, he was witty, and he was easy to talk to…meaning he liked to talk and I really didn’t have to say much.  Someone doesn’t drink so after he drank a Coke and I drank a beer, we went for a long walk in the park.

We went on a few more dates, but when late-March came and the weather warmed up, golf fever set in. I told Someone that unless he came to the golf course, he wouldn’t be seeing me much.  He immediately took up golf and actually became fairly decent at it.  In the big picture of things, I created a monster.

So, here we are, still together. Thanks to the intervention of a mutual acquaintance, me and Someone got married, merged our daughters from prior marriages into one family, and added twins to the menagerie.  We have a gaggle of girls.  I’m such a lucky woman to have it all in this life.

Hmmm….maybe I’m becoming sentimental in my old age.  "To my husband with love on Valentine's Day"'s pretty generic, isn't it?  Sentimental....not so much. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

morning exorcism

Things are just nuts at work (have I been repeating myself a lot lately??).  Scheduling for a big important event fell through the cracks today and landed in my lap. This event concerns a huge, multi-million dollar, enterprise-wide project for which I am just one of several lowly, sub-project managers. The primary project manager is busy on another humongous project and he dropped the ball on planning for this event. So today, I looked at what has transpired from his point of view, and made an executive-like decision (for him) to postpone the big event that was supposed to happen next week. It seemed like the most rational thing to do given the circumstances and uncertainty surrounding the hoopla happening this week that might extend into the upcoming weeks. Right or wrong, the decision and actions I took today have far-reaching implications. It made me feel POWERFUL to handle it. I kind of like having control of things, especially when I’m not responsible for consequences.

Emily is as quiet as a church mouse in the mornings, and sometimes I’m not sure if she’s up and getting ready for school when she's supposed to be. She sleeps in her bedroom with the door shut, gets up, dresses, and puts on makeup before she ever emerges from her room. So this morning, it was later than usual and I became concerned that she might have overslept. I opened her door and stepped into the dark room. It was so cold, I could see my breath. Not only did she have the windows open, she had a fan blowing on her. In the dim light, I could see a mound of blankets and comforter.  I wasn’t sure if my daughter was in the pile, so I started to walk toward the bed but stepped on the cat’s tail or paw…or some body part. The cat screamed and scrambled away, scaring the bejeezus out of me, but no movement or sound came from the blanket pile.  Just as I neared the bed, her alarm went off. She popped up, saw me standing there, and shrieked - apparently she didn’t hear the cat and thought something horrible was stalking her. The cold dark room reminded me of the scene from The Exorcist, where the priest and sitter go into Regan’s room when she’s sleeping.

Quite the opposite of her sister, Erin is noisy in the mornings. Emily takes a shower at night whereas Erin takes a shower every morning.  The bathroom is right next to my bedroom so it's hard not to hear everything that goes on in there.  When Erin is getting ready for school, there’s all sorts of banging and thumping that goes on. Sometimes I hear moaning, whining, and grumbling if the morning ritual is not going well. When she is through in the bathroom and I go in for my shower, there is usually water all over the floor, hair all over the sink, and sometimes towels and paper towels scattered about. I sometimes think an exorcism has just taken place…perhaps it has.