Saturday, September 6, 2014

Things No One Tells You About Living in an Apartment (When You're an Adult and You Start Giving a Shit)

Living in an apartment when you're an adult is not so bad.

Except when you have a job you must get up for, kids who must go to school in the morning, or when you wish for a modicum of privacy.

No one tells you that your neighbors will cook foods with smells that defy the laws of physics and displace the oxygen in your stairwell with the scent of burnt curry.

No one tells you that while you thought you had heard a lot of bad pop music, you haven't really experienced it until you've heard it blared from a teenage girls slumber party, replete with the background squeals of... teenage girls.
At one in the morning.

No one tells you that it will become your habit to lock everything, all the time, because the little bastard who lives in the next row will steal... anything-your daughter's gardening tools-for sheer spite.

No one tells you that your neighbors will have finely tuned the art of waiting for you to move your car so that thirty of their very closest friends and family members can park right in front of your apartment.
Seriously, you were only gone for 15 minutes to get a damned gallon of milk.

No one tells you, but everyone knows, that your postal worker is literally certifiably insane, but they still aren't going to give you your mail when it comes to their house by mistake. It's every man for himself out here in the 'hood.

No one tells you about the weird pinwheel flower memorial in the flowerbed for the one woman that everyone liked. (Surely there isn't a new tenant already? They NEVER move anyone in that fast.)

No one tells you that you will start to hope that you are the "loud sex neighbor" because you don't want any of the other available labels.

No one tells you that you will have a flower pot burial for your pet rat because there's nowhere else to put him and tossing him in the dumpster will upset your kids,
and just feels wrong anyway.

No one tells you this shit, because no one in their right mind would believe it.

RIP Sandy, you were one of the good ones.


Friday, July 18, 2014

The Missing Link

I've been angry.
So, so angry.
Beating my head against the wall and wondering why it wasn't hurting any less.

I was married.
If you don't know about that, you've come too far. Turn around and read the rest of the blog.
I'm not married anymore,
and as good as that feels, it has also been frustrating.


It's not (not anymore, anyway) that I wasn't important, that despite all his begging and pleading and plotting and arm-twisting, when I didn't come back,

I was almost instantly replaced, like a set of fucking steak knives.

It's not the name he foisted on me that I hated, although I didn't waste any time giving it back.
It's not the money I've lost or the opportunities I've lost or the (questionable) friends I've lost
or the credit that is now forever in the garbage
-I'm in the 22% APR circle of Hell for all eternity-
or even my long-term affair with anxiety, low self-esteem, and gut-wrenching poverty.

(Because, it seems, being not wrong also entitles you to not pay court-ordered child support.)

It's that he will never, EVER, be sorry.
He will never, ever admit to being wrong.
He will never regret anything he did while we were married,
or in the name of getting me back, and then later to keep me away.
He has told his story so often and so vehemently that he believes it himself,
and he
will ne
ver change.

Because he's a brute.
For all his need and his cunning and his inability to lick his own nutsack,
he's an animal.

Realizing that he won't get it,
I mean really knowing it,
has helped a little.
It doesn't change anything but my perspective, but that's the last thing, I think.
That's what is restoring that last little bit of sanity that I'm going to get back.
Knowing that he can't get it, and not only is it not my fault,
but it's not my responsibility to fix it, or live with it.

I don't even CARE if it gets fixed now.
He's wife number TWO's problem,
and gooooood fucking luck to her.

I'm good, now.

Becoming successful and wealthy beyond my wildest dreams, just out of his reach, however, wouldn't hurt either.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Things You Should Know Before You Bring Home a Cat

Leave nothing that you love on the floor.
Or the table. Or out at all.

If your cat is a jerk,
No, wait...
WHEN your cat is a jerk (this will be nearly all the time)
he or she, or it (does the spawn of Satan have a gender?)
will be in your clothes basket, on your work table, chewing on your eyebrow (not even kidding) standing on your nipple...

There will be hair.
On everything. In everything.

Your cat will attempt to taste test your tea after stirring your toilet water,
lay on your keyboard, stick its butt in your face, knock over your
house of cards (literally and metaphorically speaking) and pee in places you didn't think likely or possible

(really, they can pee straight out, parallel to the floor-not just the boys)
and use everything as a scratching post.
Except the scratching post.
This same rule will apply, albeit arbitrarity, to the "cat" furniture, dish, toy, food...
anything you bring home that is specific to the cat.

They will show you the soft, furry, underbelly, but you will learn not to touch it.
Your inner Admiral Ackbar will warn you, "It's a trap."

A cat will teach you all about catch-22's and circular problems,
sometimes by destroying something, but usually by being sick,
when you can least afford it.
If you get the broken cat from the litter, this will be all the time.
You will not be able to afford another trip to the vet because the cat will always be sick,
and the cat will always be sick because you can't afford another trip to the vet.

But they are cute and furry and entertaining and suspiciously nice to you when you are sick.
Maybe because they know if you die no one else will ever put up with them.

So of course, I got three.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Being Poor: Part 1, 137

I used to be a right-wing conservative.
Twenty years ago I'm not sure that was the term, but that's what I was.
Then I married an abusive idiot.
(Of COURSE I didn't know he was an abusive idiot at the time.
What kind of question IS that?)

Then I got poor. Really poor.
Too poor to get out, poor.
So poor, I woke up one morning to go to my two jobs to find that a correlating number of my tires had gone flat overnight.
Worn to the belts.

Literally too broke to go to work, now there's irony for you.

There's more, and if you know me you know a lot of it.
If you don't know me, the story is too long. I cannot sum up.

Read the rest of the blog, some of it is there.
But I wasn't lazy, or uneducated. I wasn't raised in the system.
My parents were upstanding, responsible members of the community.
My childhood was awesome.
Fucking awesome.
Amaze. Balls.

And I realized the difference between me and most of the people I grew up with.
I got poor, and they did not. I won't say they didn't have their rough patches or their financial woes, but I will say that a rough patch or a financial upset is not the same thing as


Being poor is like being in a boot camp only it's your life.
Everything revolves around it and there is no time limit.
It's not a sixteen week course. There's no end date.

You are broken and, if you're strong enough, rebuilt,
but you are not the same as you were before.
Your skin is thicker and your attitude a little tougher,

and you probably swear a lot.

your heart is kinder,
and you don't think the way you used to.
You see the human element in every person,
and you are stunned by the inhuman elements in other people
your brain is wired differently now.

There is no point, here.
I can't demand that everyone spend a certain amount of time poor.
I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.
I mean that.
I'm just saying you'll never get it.
Maybe it's because you can't.

Just don't let it be because you won't.

Friday, May 23, 2014

OPP (Other People's Parents)

The flyer for the TAG (the gifted program for our school district) picnic looked innocuous enough,

For the students in the gifted program...

so I thought, "Sure, we'll go to the park, and I'll suck it up long enough to make small talk with the other parents while the kids play catch or get their faces painted or build bottle rockets or something.
Why not."

Well, I will tell you why not:
Eleventy billion people.
Inadequate parking.
Nowhere to put down the covered dish I was asked to bring.
No obvious place to put the toiletry donations I was asked to bring.
No one I could see to collect the dollar I was asked to bring.
I also forgot (a second time) to grab a blanket to sit on after I angrily trudged my deviled eggs back to the car.

 At least I knew where my towel was.

Okay, the blanket was on me,
but did I mention the pollen count?
And the eleventy billion people?

The event was an organizational disaster.
The phrase "monkey fucking a football" comes to mind.
Not exactly what I expected from
the people leading our county's best and brightest...

Eventually, and by eventually I mean approximately eight minutes, my daughter found me, declared that she only found two people she knew and that the ant colony of kids on the play equipment made it impossible to actually play and that she wanted some deviled eggs. So she and I went to the car where she ate them while we debated whether we should go back into the fray for a drink or call it a day.

Bet you can't guess what we did.

The convenience store we stopped at on our way home had peach Nehi,
which made up for a lot.

Monday, April 28, 2014

To All You Normal Guys

The other day I was getting ready to run some errands of the sort that require real, grownup clothes, and as I moved a computer chair (not mine) to lean over a laundry basket (not mine) and a coffee table (mine, but full of stuff that is not mine) to slide open the closet door, an effort further hindered by the dress shirts (not mine) hanging from the sliding-door track, I pulled out an acceptable three-quarter sleeve mom-top, and
I realized I didn't care.

I. Didn't. Care.

I didn't care that my delicate fucking sense of order was disturbed by random stuff.
I didn't care that I was going to have to lean over all of it again to put clean stuff away,

(I hate putting the clean stuff away.)

Anyway, yeah, the house is a hodgepodge of mismatched shelves crammed with all manner of books, games, music and knick-knacks I have been lugging around since childhood,
but damn it, those things have their place.
The only thing stopping me cordoning off the area and labeling them all is that I already know where they go.

So in the midst of the casual arrangement of... of...
of empty Excedrin bottles and torn envelopes and winter hats piled, essentially, in a room where there is
"a place for everything (except my own clean laundry basket) and everything in its place,"
not caring is a huge deal.

Anyway, All of You Normal Guys...

Okay, yeah, you're cute, and goofy, and smart, and fun.
The kind of guy we should have dated except when we were young

we didn't know any better,
but also...

You don't lose your nut when we forget the Horsey Sauce. You don't tell us we're incompetent when we drive by the post office twice in one day and don't check the mail. You don't insinuate we cannot do things because we are women, but sometimes you do those things for us anyway because you are nice and have a little spare time.

You don't have a creepy dynamic with your mother.
Love her, hate her, you've picked one.

Hopefully the first one, but points for consistency either way.

You don't freak out over words like "forgot," "lost," "broken," "cat puke," "male friends" (any friends) or "electric bill."
You don't automatically accuse us of having an affair with the drive-through bank teller or the guy at Subway when we've been out twenty minutes longer than expected.

(Seriously. The guy at Subway. Because you went to get the sandwiches that CAPTAIN CRAZY ASKED YOU FOR.)

You don't insist that you want us to be stay-at-home moms while simultaneously being angry with us for being unemployed.
You don't beat up the cat.
Or the dog.
Or the refrigerator.

You don't question when we hold back a little because we still have that murky reservoir of fear.

You bring us flowers and listen when we ask you to not put our favorite mug in the dishwasher. You smack our asses AND treat us like we're interesting. You give great hugs and wash your own laundry and watch The Princess Bride with us at least once and are nice to our families and understand that we might want to see Counting Crows and Toad the Wet Sprocket in concert even if you don't.


and you wash the dishes.
DAMN that's sexy.

No, we're not twenty, and we're in piles of debt, and we might be a little reactive...
and trying to squelch it.
Not well.
But we love you.
So all that normal stuff?
Keep that shit up.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Part V - About Leaving

Ellie Goulding is singing on my Spotify station, "This love will be your downfall," and I wonder aloud back to Ellie, "Oh, Ellie, where in the Hell were YOU 18 years ago?"

My Achilles heel (and, apparently, Ellie's) thinking that I can pacify the disturbed and soothe the needy, and that I reflexively feel that is something I should have to do.

That's what really got me in trouble, because the worst thing about dealing with someone who's emotionally crippled is how they think they need you, and how they convince you of the same thing.

And they really do think they need you when what they need is:
a parent
a cheerleader
a cook, maid, secretary, financial adviser...

But they don't need YOU.
They don't care that you're smart or an artist or that you're good with dogs or that you know how to use a level and you're really good with a power drill or that you can locate the alternator on your Japanese car and that you're a damn fine customer service rep with a knack for explaining the concept of "proportion" to little old ladies who are frustrated with the copy machine.
That you are three quarters of the way to two college degrees. (No, that scares them.)
Not unless it's a bragging point for them.
Not unless it comes in handy for them.

They don't need YOU, because "You" come with feelings and friends and a family and needs of your own, and so they systematically strip the part of you that makes you... you until all that's left is a weird, compartmentalized shell that houses:

A driver (someone has to pick up the auto parts)
A scapegoat (for when someone has ordered the wrong auto parts)
A verbal punching bag because now the store is closed and they still don't have their auto parts. Or door hinges. Sanding belts. Enough ranch dressing for their fries. Whatever.

You are introduced as "the wife" when you are introduced at all.
You become sort of an extension of his body that just so happens to walk and drive to the parts store independently of his body when it needs to be done.

Eventually, if you have a good friend, or you had a good upbringing, or you see those hokey public service announcements in the year-old Woman's Day magazine in the doctor's office, or maybe you are just strong enough to be holding on to some vestige of your self-worth,
you'll hear a familiar voice that whispers to you when it's quiet,
"This feels wrong."

You'll discredit that voice for a while,
until you realize it's yours,
and it's right.

Hopefully, you leave.

Later it will seem so obvious that you weren't the problem.

I mean, it's just sense,you can't make someone happy who is clinging to the boat anchor instead of the life raft.
They're Hell-bent on going down, and they'll think nothing of taking you down with them,

and they won't even be grateful for the company.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Bookshelf

This past week I was driving to the grocery store and just inside my periphery I saw it,
the propped door and the lit "Open" sign, right beside the paper ones announcing "Going out of business."

I had thought The Bookshelf to be closed for weeks, and indeed, it would have been better for my bank account had it been true, but it turns out they were operating on another of a series of extensions to clear out the store and make just a few more dollars before boxing up the rest of the stock and leaving the building empty for the next small business that couldn't quite swing the within-city-limits tax rates.

The sign made me feel happy, sad, and guilty and all before I could even turn the car around.
I was glad that by chance they were still open, but I knew it couldn't be for much longer and that I should have stopped in earlier. I know those people, I have talked to those people, and boy, have I unloaded a lot of used books on those people.
Also, boy, have I purchased a lot of used books from those people.

And it's a nice place.
Not nice in the pristine, shiny coffee-bar type way, but nice in a homey way. It's clean, but with the dust and smell of thousands of books in the air. Neat, but in a clutter-y way, with boxes of unsorted books stacked in the corners. Well lit, but not with that obnoxious bright fluorescent assault lighting. Sure, there are a few fixtures, but the natural light coming in the windows makes all the difference. Quiet, except for the conversation if Jim happens to be working.
And Jim is an interesting guy.
He wears shorts to work in March and speaks snippets of other languages (learned from books) and torments your children (but only a little) and makes good recommendations if you ask and knows the location of almost any book you like in a store that changes by the day.

Julian is more reserved. Helpful, and he'll talk to you if you really are a book person and not a "tourist" in the store. He's got a lanky kid who hangs around the store sometimes and is also helpful when called upon to lift boxes of books in or out of a car trunk. There are other employees and volunteers who pop in and out to help with stocking the shelves and moving things around.

And books, of course, thousands of them. All genres, ages, and conditions. On shelves and counters, in stacks and boxes, piled in corners. Yellowed Louis L'Amour and Agatha Christie just around the corner from Marion Zimmer Bradley and Douglas Adams, and throughout, hundreds of obscure authors with big dreams who just didn't quite make enough noise to get noticed in all the chaos.

Kind of like The Bookshelf.
I'm glad to hear there's been a low roar at word of the closing that indicates some people are paying attention and are displeased. I wonder where they've been all this time and if they have money and hope they really will step up to the plate now.
I mean, The Bookshelf, in it's current state, is on its way out, but there is already talk of re-opening it in another location, jazzing it up and adding a record section and forcing it into the social media spotlight because, well, facts are facts, now you need coffee and seating and hipsters to keep something like this alive. Unless you want another Sheetz down the street from the Sheetz or a third Panera or yet another damned college bar.

So, anyway, if you think that, just maybe, a college town ought to have a local bookstore, get out to Greenbag Road this week and add your name to the email notification list, cross your fingers, and hope for the best. And while you're in there, buy a book.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Today: February 26


It is two weeks until I am out of my terrible job.


I should have had a job interview, but as is the habit of the universe it was rescheduled just as I was completely prepared for it.

That interview is now in two and a half weeks, on the day I am scheduled to start the new job I don't want.

This new job is a job of desperation, which is what most of my job offers are for,
and I wonder if accepting it was the right thing to do, or if I should have held out for the customer service position that was also a compromise, but a compromise with a chair and a better paycheck.

It seems I am always in this position,
and I always take what is offered "now" rather than waiting
and am left wondering "what if" I had waited.
Taking the offerings of "Now" is what put me here, in a fast food restaurant instead of the temp pool at the university. Money and position now instead of the gamble for better later.

Granted, the last time I had fewer options, with a checking and a savings bled dry,
and two kids to support with sketchy financial assistance.
The financial assistance was a cruel joke, then, and little more than a memory now,
but now I am in a better place. I have a paycheck or two coming, money in the bank, and a few more interviews lined up.
I still have those two kids though, and they need stuff. Pretty soon my daughter will be borrowing my jeans, but until then I have to do something about the plumbers crack exposed by hers.
So I took the sure thing.

I will go to the second job interview anyway. It is at least at a different time.
It can't hurt, right?


I medicated a rat. Again. Not a euphemism.


Arin and I turned "Bob" the tiger moth loose today.
Bob, who has twice convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt he was dead.
Bob, who has laid eggs in the glass bowl without the aid of a mate.
Bob, the mystery.


I went underwear shopping without leaving my apartment.
Assuming Victoria hasn't played musical sizes with my favorites again I will have new cheek-hugging cotton comfort within the week. The standards and then a couple with stripes, just because.


I brought home the gift from the foreign student at work.
She is one of my favorites, and I wish she had a better grasp on English, or I had a better grasp on Thai.
It is a tote bag she brought back from Thailand because I admired hers a couple of years ago.

Hers was baby blue with cowboys and bucking broncos on it, and she said she couldn't get the same pattern, and I said she didn't have to get me anything at all but she insisted, and when she went home over the winter break she remembered.
She was right. It isn't the same. It is pink and slick and shiny and has frothy coffee drinks advertised on the outside and looks like it is made of candy.
It is nothing at all like I'd ever have purchased for myself,
and I love it.
It is one of the hundred ways the foreign students have extracted me from my comfortable place.
It is a reminder that if I just go of certain expectations I might invite brighter, shinier things.
Even if they are pink.


I am sipping Earl Grey and dodging phone calls and wondering how to become independently wealthy when I'm not cleaning hospital water fountains. I would like to think I have the skill, but when I look at so many of my truly talented artist friends who work hard at their craft and still struggle, I don't merely entertain my doubts, I stand on my head and juggle for them.
I mean, I think maybe I could do it if I could find a niche, but the world is pretty well explored and I fear I don't have much that is new to give.

I will have to be brilliant.
More than brilliant, I will have to be lucky and blessed
and hope it is my time.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Part IV - The Worst Part is the Silence

"I guess we just don't have anything left.

Huh. No, I guess we don't.

Then comes the silence,
but this time the silence is your ally.
It's the silence that allows you to accept what has just happened.
It is silence in the face of the panicked ringing of the phone that's still in your hand.
It is a silence that seems like hours instead of seconds, and you are afraid to break it because you can't be sure this is real and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if it is, this is the easy part.

At first you don't trust the silence because it has not always been kind.
This all started with silence, remember?
First came the subtle discrediting of your inner voice, that took the things you knew as wrong and made them right, or maybe it was the other way around. You're not sure, anymore. Your inner voice could try to talk sense to you, but nothing you had to say worked on him. Those aren't arguments, they're discussions; no one is yelling, right? You aren't wrong, you are a liar. You didn't make a mistake, you're incompetent. You can't defend your point because your point is indefensible and not just because you don't like to...
"discuss" things.
You can't even be sorry because that's not acceptable either.

If you were really sorry, you wouldn't have done...
whatEVER the hell it was you did
in the first place.

Your silence became your best back-handed defense,
when you would have preferred a baseball bat.

The silence of his voice,
that was the calm before the storm.
Sometimes it meant that he was content, full of cheeseburgers and curly fries and ranch dressing, watching while John Wayne just "Pilgrim'd" the shit out of everyone, spanked his woman and started another bar fight at top volume on that huge. fucking. TV.
Other times it meant that he was watching you, and he was thinking, and the more he would think the more COMPLETE INSANITY he would think OF and the angrier he would become before you even knew what was happening.

There is the silence of people who are going through it just like you.
They are women who went to school with you, women who went to church with you, women who worked with you. You bump into each other at the grocery store and on the internet, but you are alone and they are alone, all of you and your muffled inner voices.
You can't help them or they you because no one believes this could be happening to anyone else. You won't know about them until much later. The strong ones who manage to get themselves out, and you will wonder how many more haven't made it, yet.

You do not know now that for months you will bounce from couch to couch and spare room to spare room, that you will borrow money from your parents for a deposit on a miniscule apartment, or that you will have to give up your job and most of your "friends."
You do not know the lengths to which he will go to get you back.
You do not know he will play your family (or he will try) against you,
and then he will use you against them.
You don't know how low he will sink.

And it is low.

You don't know, and it is better that way, because what you haven't gotten yet that is that living with HIM...
has made you tougher than you know.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Part III - How Do Women Stay Married to Jerks?

"You bide your time.
You have to."

You realize, now, you are married to a jerk.
You've known it for some time, but you've just come to grips with it,
so what do you do?

I mean, you've tried to obey "the rules" but the rules always change.
You've talked about counseling. You've even scheduled the appointments,
but as he's mentioned, you'll be the only one going because you're the problem.
You're out of ideas, hope, and quite frankly, not only do you not love him anymore,
you've stopped giving a shit.

For a while, escape is a fantasy, and you fantasize a LOT.
None of the scenarios are particularly appealing, but some are slightly less...
than others.
The least awful is the hope that your spouse will leave you.
You hope that they will fall out of love with you.
Little do you know that this has already happened
and they're still around because, well, you're reliable.

You plan, and "one day" becomes your favorite time.
You make plans while you wash the dishes, while you weedeat the yard,
while you're stuck with him on the couch watching another fucking John Wayne movie.

Your spouse loves John Wayne.
You have learned to think of John Wayne as the root of all evil.
You begin to wish posthumous harm on John Wayne, his entire family and all of his fans.
You want him to come back to life so you can push him in front of a bus because if you have to watch one more gods damned John Wayne movie and listen to your spouse go on about how much he'd love to live in "those times" (presumably those times being the ones when you could spank your woman for talking back to you and then go off and start a bar fight for, well, for no real reason at all) and then watch him hunch up his shoulders and do that stupid walk and laugh that stupid laugh and talk through that unlit cigarette (and you just now realized that he probably unintentionally as much as intentionally modeled his every move on stupidJohnWayneandhowdidyounotseeitBEFORE!?)
and where was I... ?

John. Irritating. Fucking. Wayne.
Is probably a whole separate post.

So. You make your plans. You will get the two of you out of this hole because he's not going to do it.

Except that since the reason you're in the hole is he won't hold down a job and is always around.
You're spending too much time putting out fires to properly fix the wiring.
Your plans become for YOU to leave.
But not now.
When the kids are older, that's when you'll do it.
Or when your grandma is too senile to realize you're getting a divorce
or when he finally does something in front of someone that you can take to the police.
When you can put a little money away (hahahahahahahaha....) for gas and an apartment.

You finish your college degree. In between jobs. In between kids. In between crises.
You fight and scrap for it, too, because he will think of every reason for you to not do it.
You will tolerate his suggestions that you are not really going to classes but are instead having a torrid affair, like you do when you go to the Hardee's drive through window (at his request to get his food) or out to pay the phone bill or to the library or anytime you are out of his sight for more than five minutes.
You fight until you can't. You start agreeing to things you don't agree with just so he will shut the fuck up for a minute and let you get on with things. You apologize for things you aren't sorry for. You learn to say the right words and dance the right steps.
You do what you must.
Until one day.
You have.
The thought.

The thought that you've had a thousand times except this time it's real. 

You've kind of shocked yourself with this truth.
You really ARE going to leave.
It really IS a matter of time.
It's going to happen.
You just don't know how, or when.
You aren't ready for active participation yet.

I don't know how it works for everyone, but I had that "last straw" moment.
I mean, I'd kind of checked out of the marriage already anyway. I kept going through the motions because I didn't know what else to do. I had helped him, pushed him, into another job that he hadn't yet managed
(but was trying like hell) to get fired from
and I will remember for as long as I live,
that long distance cell phone call,
when, from over two thousand miles away,
I heard the words that were designed to guilt me into apologizing for being in the bathroom or whatever when the phone rang, when I wasn't sorry that I was still in the bathroom when he called three more times in the next two minutes,

"I guess we just don't have anything left."

Huh. No, I guess we don't.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Blergh. Morning.

6:06 am:
There's already an epic battle for the universe going on in my living room. Or honor, or tiny animals in plastic eggs, or whatever it is anime characters are fight about these days.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Part II - Why do Women Stay Married to Jerks?

"...By the time you figure it out, by the time the vitriol has been turned on you,
it is often too late. You have kids. Or aging parents. Three quarters of a college degree.

A shared livelihood. Whatever. You are in a compromised position where his entire social network overwhelms yours because he has slowly but very systematically cut you off from your friends, family, co-workers and replaced them with... him.

Maybe you believe that he will change. He did promise...."

But that's not all.

There's the "shame." You that wonder if it's your fault, especially when you have someone telling you it's your fault, and so there is the anvil of failure just hanging there, over your head, waiting for you to lose your grip on the rope.

You think you're too far in. You have been part of a pair, and never mind you're the stronger half of a broken, limping, barely breathing pair, there is the part of you that wonders how you will do it all by yourself. Where will you live, how will you pay the bills? (Yes, you know they aren't being paid now, but that's going to change any minute now. It WILL, this time.)
How will you extricate yourself from his family, his remaining friend, your joint checking account?

What about the dog?
The emotional toll of just thinking about it is costly.

Then there's the paperwork.
You can't afford a lawyer.
Hell, you can't afford either of your mortgages or your electric payment,
how do you expect to pay for legal representation? 

There is the part of you that wonders if you will be that one case in a hundred where the court sides with your awful ex.
Not so farfetched a theory as One. Might. Think...

You don't want to go crawling back.
To your friends.
Let's face it, you've treated them badly.
Yeah, you've done it out of cowardice with a touch of altruism.

You know you can't keep a rein on his mouth, you know how he is, and you don't want to subject people you like to that.
You don't want to have to be apologetic on his behalf later, so you don't go anywhere with him,
and God knows you can't go anywhere without him.
So you just stop seeing people you care about, with a lot of excuses and little explanation.
Sooner or later they stop calling.

Then there's your family...
Your "normal" family.
And by normal I mean your dad.

Mr. Calm, Cool and Collected, even when you wreck the car. Okay, not so much when he's fixing the toilet, but no one's perfect.
Your mom. The sweetest woman you know. She loves British humor and introduced you to Billy Joel. She is nice to everyone and will offer you tea and sandwiches Until. You. Crack.
Your sister. Even though you tried to kill each other on a fairly regular basis during your childhood, she's okay now. You share a love of heavy sarcasm and Joss Whedon and chocolate. She's got good kids. Your brother-in-law is not too bad, either. He makes a mean sausage-gravy-and-biscuit breakfast.
Your "little" brother. You used to smack him on the head and how he's a foot taller than you, but instead of getting revenge he talks to you about nerd stuff. Batman is the tie that binds.

You don't want them to worry. You don't want them to interfere. You don't want your ex to drag them down to his level. That's his specialty, but you won't let him turn your family into a pack of snarling, howling, revenge-bent werewolves.
You have enough to deal with without having to sneak them handcuff keys in their prison birthday cupcakes.

You bide your time.
You have to.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Part I - Why Do Women Marry Jerks?

I have been asked how girls fall for the wrong guy,

or, more specifically, how I fell for the wrong guy.

I wrote a blog post about it. Liketohearit?Hereitgo... (Only works in David Alan Grier's voice.)

An asshole will be nice to you. At first.
His asshole-y actions?
They will be directed at people you don't really know, they will involve family or friend dynamics you don't truly understand,
they will be muted or even seem somewhat justified at the time.
(It takes all kinds, right? This is how they handle things? I guess?)

It is only years later when his family stops talking to him and friends get fed up and stop coming around that you realize that, no, it wasn't your imagination, he really was being a hateful prick.

Your parents were normal.
And by normal I mean they weren't always sniping at each other and making each other feel horrible.
Talking meant talking. There were no volleys of insults or subtle degradations. No one needed thick skin. They were nice to each others friends and families. They surrounded you with love and other people who loved you.
You were raised in THAT.

You cannot believe such people as your new guy and his lot exist outside of Lifetime TV or episodes of COPS. 

By the time you figure it out, by the time the vitriol has been turned on you,
it is often too late. You have kids. Or aging parents. Three quarters of a college degree.

A shared livelihood. Whatever. You are in a compromised position where his entire social network overwhelms yours because he has slowly but very systematically cut you off from your friends, family, co-workers and replaced them with... him.

Maybe you believe that he will change. He did promise.

Other stuff.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Are You Chicken?

My neighbors have been cackling for two hours.

Like, if Popeye had decided against being a sailor and had instead gone into chicken farming, and he lived next door with his (loud) chickens, and he thought his chickens were really hilarious,

that is what it would sound like.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The TARDIS and the Tomato Sauce

I'd decided on a day of relaxation. Not the one where you're supposed to be doing stuff but you screw off instead and feel guilty about it later, but the one where you give permission to self to not do anything except eat and watch "Scrubs" reruns with your good-lookin' boyfriend and watch some Adobe tutorials on the internet.
In your TARDIS pajamas.

(Day One: Our protagonist is wearing TARDIS pajamas. No related blog post, though.)

Day Two:

Our heroine returns, boosted by the self-confidence that only several Facebook-likes of a footie pajamas selfie can give,
ready to tackle the world of relaxation, Netflix, and homemade chili.

The ingredients are all there, the hamburger browned the night before.
The cookware is clean.
The comfy TARDIS pajamas are on.

She gathers the onion, the black beans, the tomato juice, the various and assorted spices.
She pulls the recipe card out. She slices, she dices, she chops.
She goes to put the tomato juice in...

Now, our girl is not one to have extra kitchen devices. She won't buy an electric can opener. No, she has the hand crank model.
One in a long line, as she has broken many of them.
The hand crank model, staple of camping and bomb-shelter kits.
The stuff of our forefathers, who valued hard work and scorned convenience for scorning convenience's sake.
She scorns the them because they hog counter space and waste electricity.

... and the hand crank model, as so many before it, latches and slips with the first turn.
And the second, and the third, and the fourth. Eventually, though, the can opener is coaxed into perforating enough metal that the can should yield its contents with one simple push on the top of the can...

Yeah, you see it coming, now.

... and the contents explode.
Not literally, as they are not volatile compounds, mostly just tomato and water, but they exit the can with such force that they coat the counter and the wall, they run onto the floor, they splatter our heroine's feet (because she unzipped and removed the feet of her footie pajamas when traction became an issue)
and her TARDIS pajamas.

There is lots of swearing as she hurriedly exits the kitchen, while the good-lookin' boyfriend (GLB) says something about skunks which our heroine does not fully hear because all she can see is red
-probably from the tomato product in her eyes-
and she is busy stripping off pajamas on the way to the washing machine...
where she finds that the load she put in before is still spinning.
A new plan is formulated and the TARDIS is hastily thrown under the spigot in the bathtub where
(oh thank GOD) the tomato sauce rinses out of the bright white of the police public call box windows.

After a quick pj and foot rinse the washing machine is ready to tackle its next challenge,
and so she starts the new load (cold water and a little extra soap) and heads upstairs for the very fuzzy, very comfortable,
very purple pajamas of a Christmas long past.

Upon her return to the kitchen, GLB is hard at work wiping the counter, the candy dish, the side of the refrigerator, the floor, and who knows what else,
because he is awesome.
A thousand times better than footie TARDIS pajamas.
And that is a lot.