Saturday, July 31, 2010

My dogs admire my conversational skills

Kevin's coming over in about an hour because I made a booty call. Kidding! No, he's DJing a wedding tonight and left his outfit here. I wonder whether he'll notice how much better the art room and garage look? I've spent a lot of time this week cleaning both, and when I finish, I'm smudging the hell out of both rooms with sage. If nothing else, it will get rid of the cigar smell.

Daniel came over for lunch today. He was going to cut my grass, but of course it rained this morning. He decided he still wanted his "reward" lunch of a grilled PB&J sandwich, and we watched a Deep Space Nine episode ("Little Green Men," for you other geeks out there). It reminded me of when he was little and we watched Star Trek: Next Generation together, in the Pre-Kevin Days. He had such odd taste in TV shows back then. One of his favorite shows was Murphy Brown. I don't know what a kid his age would have seen in that show, but Murphy getting grumpy and snapping at people cracked him up.

We were both much more relaxed without Kevin around. Before, when Daniel came over for a meal, he'd eat and then make some excuse about why he had to leave immediately. I loved having him hang out for a while today. We had a good talk about his plans for the coming school year, and then we went through some stuff he has stored here to cull items for a garage sale I'm planning to have in a few weeks.

I'm feeling a little antsy about tonight. I've spent a lot of Saturday nights alone the past few years, with Kevin away at DJ jobs or art fairs, so I don't know why it's bothering me. I've been alone all week, and I haven't fallen apart yet. The dogs are wondering why I've gotten so chatty with them, but I haven't been all that weirded out. It started creeping up on me last night, however, and to be honest, I'm kind of dreading tonight. I could go to a movie, but going alone on Saturday night? I might as well just wear a sign saying "Look at me! I'm by myself on Saturday night!" Also, I tend to become a weirdo magnet when I go out by myself at night. Any conspiracy theorists or students at clown schools in the vicinity? They're compelled to strike up a conversation with me.

A bubble bath and a book are sounding much better by comparison--and probably a lot safer.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Insert Title Here

I'm getting the hang of cooking for one. (Making coffee for one? Still a work in progress.) As Greg pointed out, leftovers are the answer. Last night I made the usual two servings of rice and combined one serving with the leftover stir-fry. Ta-da! Dinner for tonight or tomorrow is done. Sasha, I like your idea of roasting a chicken--or for me, chicken breasts, as I don't care for drumsticks and other dark meat--because I can dice up the leftovers into a salad (Celeste's idea). To be honest, I'm not a big fan of all-vegetable salad as a main course; it leaves me feeling dissatisfied. Greg, your "Salad is what food eats" cracked me up. Even considering the Leftovers Plan, if I make too much of a dish, I do know a young man who adores my cooking and lives only 5 minutes away. After intense negotiations, Daniel agreed to cut my grass in exchange for a home-cooked meal.

I made another discovery about the depths of Kevin's laziness. Monday I asked him whether recycling goes out this week, as it's picked up every other week. He all but whistled and looked at the ceiling and muttered, "Oh, I just check whether the neighbors have put their recycling bins out." I didn't have to rely on my status as a part-time PI to know something was up and finally extracted the story from him. The recycling bins blew away in a storm SIX MONTHS ago. Did he get replacements? Why, no! That would involve all the effort of picking up the phone and making a call. So for the past six months, I've been dutifully putting recyclable items in the basket I keep in the pantry for that purpose, and he's been pretending to carry them out to the recycling bin in the garage, and then putting them in the trash. I don't go in the garage much, so I didn't notice, but I assumed he was keeping the bins in an odd place, such as the shed. Yesterday I called the city's recycling department, and new bins are being delivered today. The entire "effort," from start to finish, took approximately 1.45 minutes. Oy.

My mom keeps moaning that "both [her] girls are single now." Did I mention my sister got divorced? Long story that I'm too lazy to type now, but her husband committed one minor indiscretion, and she cut him (and his balls) off at dizzying speed. I haven't figured out yet how to tell my parents about Ed. Of course, they'd be delighted with anyone who's not Kevin, but from their perspective, the news is going to come out of the blue. When Ed and I first started e-mailing, I told my mom because I was so excited to hear from him. As usual, she listened with only half an ear. She's really not interested in what's going on with me; she calls me frequently so that she can complain about her illnesses, gossip about people I don't remember or barely know, and tell me how wonderful my sister is. I've mentioned Ed a few times since then, but again: half an ear. In addition, her memory has gotten much worse the past couple of years, so I suspect she remembers maybe a third of what I tell her--that is, a third of what she actually hears. Therefore, if she's shocked when I finally break the news, too bad. If she'd been paying attention, it wouldn't be a complete surprise. Also? I'm 50 damn years old, and I don't need her approval or permission. As for my dad, I think he'll be satisfied knowing I'm happy. Maybe the conversation will be easier than I'm anticipating. My dad will be happy for me, and my mom will be over the moon to hear further proof that my sister is far more sensible and perfect in every way than I am.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Coffee talk with Lisa

A very old, skinny man, pushing a baby in a stroller, just walked by my house. He was trudging along so slowly that I suspect the baby could have gotten out and walked faster.

Holly the Boneheaded Beagle pulled quite a stunt. Well, it was partly my fault. When I take her out at night for her last pee, often I have to put her leash on and pull a little while coaxing her. Her arthritis has gotten so bad that she's reluctant to get up and make the walk outside. Until she can figure out how to sit on the toilet, however, out she goes. Last night, while I was standing in the yard admiring the full moon and waiting for Holly to finish, I heard her leash hit against something metallic. A second later, CRASH! Instead of turning around and walking directly back to the patio, she had walked in a circle, wrapped her leash around a wrought-iron plant stand holding four clay and ceramic pots, and brought the whole caboodle down. Charlie jumped straight up in the air when he heard the crash and did a rather impressive leap over the debris. Miraculously, only two pots broke, but I had one hell of a mess to clean up this morning. I still need to sweep up a pile of dirt. Mental note: Save the moon-gazing for when I'm outside BY MYSELF, with no spazzing dogs.

I finished my purple variegated socks. Here's a blurry, crappy photo that will give you only a vague idea of what the socks look like, but feel free to humor me and exclaim over their beauteousness:

The Room Formerly Known as Kevin's Man Cave is looking better. I finished vacuuming and sweeping away cobwebs, stacked all my art supplies on an empty bookcase he left, and hung a few pictures I'd stored because I had no wall space left to hang them. I have a folding table in the garage that I'm going to set up for a temporary workspace, and I'm going to try to set aside some time to do a little collaging and rubberstamping. With all Kevin's stuff scattered around, I never had room to get my art supplies out and do anything with them.

Weird, this burst of energy I'm having, but I guess it's caused by a major source of stress being removed. I don't know how long it will last, but I'm enjoying it while it does. I'm even going to cook a nice dinner for myself. Last night, I was too exhausted to make more than a bowl of cereal, but tonight, I'm stir-frying chicken, broccoli, and almonds. I think I'll skip the rice because I don't know how to make just one serving in my rice cooker. I've almost forgotten how to cook for one (AND make coffee for one, so I had too much this morning). Any tips?

Monday, July 26, 2010

He's left the building

It was over before I knew it. He picked the truck up at 11, loaded it, and said good-bye at 2. He got very emotional when he was saying his good-byes, and I thought, for a moment, I was going to cry. Mostly a knee-jerk reaction to another's tears--like Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias, I have a strict policy about no one crying alone in my presence. I "womanned up," however, and stayed strong. Well, one benefit of things getting so bad the past few years is that I was less likely to dissolve in a puddle of sentiment, right? He said a lot of sweet things to me, but I couldn't help thinking, "Too little, too late." I'll give him credit for this: He taught me to pay more attention to actions. That's one lesson I won't have to learn again and again and again, as I have with so many other lessons.

Strange that there are so few reminders of him left. He slept mostly in the guest room, so there won't be any noticeable absence when I go to bed at night. Some dust bunnies and a few pieces of furniture in the art room that he didn't have room for--and that's about it. Don't most people leave more of a physical imprint? I feel as though I've been living with the chalk outline of a person, and a strong wind just blew the outline away. I can still see a faint ghost of it, but one hard rain, and even that will disappear.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Gearing up for Man Child's exit

I shouldn't complain because I HAVE work, which is more than a lot of people can say, but I will, anyway. The problem is that I took on extra projects a few months ago because my finances were in terrible shape, thanks to Man Child. Now that he's leaving Monday (whoo hooo!), I'm not going to need the additional income as desperately, but I'm stuck with the projects. Oy. Well, I do have an expensive move coming up soon.

Being busy has the benefit of keeping me too occupied to dream about eating chocolate. I haven't lost more pounds recently, but I must be getting smaller somehow because I'm fitting into clothes I couldn't wear a few months ago. My big news is that I bought a pair of boots the other day that I can actually ZIP. With my short, German milkmaid calves (TM Sasha), finding knee-high boots I could zip was difficult. These boots are black leather and bad-ass--well, as bad-ass as I'M capable of being. I'd post the picture I took, but Ed seems to think it's risque and is probably dubious about me posting it on the Innerwebs for the *gasp* public to see (not that hordes of people are eager to see my short middle-aged legs in a pair of boots).

I've been busy this week catching up on grooming that I was too broke to afford while waiting for checks to come in. My eyebrows, for example, were a shanda. I've been getting them threaded for a while, so I've lost my tweezing skills, I'm afraid, and the little Indian lady does a MUCH better job than I could ever do. Wednesday, I stopped in to get my eyebrows back in shape, and I noticed she uses plain old sewing thread. All this time, I thought she used special eyebrow thread or something--and in my imagination, it was imported from India and very expensive. What a letdown!

Next up is my damn hair. Ever since I got it cut extremely short, it's been growing like the weeds in my flower beds (which are flourishing, thankyouverymuch). I feel slightly ridiculous saying "It's too long!" but it is. Another thing I love about Ed is that he adores my cropped hair. Other men I've known have been fans of long hair and were always urging me to grow mine longer. I don't think they believed me when I explained that curly hair grows OUT, not DOWN. No more struggling with longish hair for me. My "styling" process consists of getting out the shower and running my fingers through my hair, and the lazy girl in me loves that.

I'm taking a break from work to watch another episode of True Blood. Good show, great sex scenes (one of the advantages of shows on HBO).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Killer Ballerinas

Don't let ballerinas fool you, with their wispy bodies and tranquil faces. They're tough as nails and are out to hurt you--that is, if you're foolish enough to think you, a mere mortal, can keep up with their workout. Yes, I tried the NYC Ballet workout last night, and Oh. My. God. I made it about two-thirds of the way through it, which isn't bad, I guess. All the graceful arm movements and pointed toes make the moves look effortless, but that's misleading. These moves are work, and by the end, I was sweating like a chocoholic touring Willy Wonka's factory. The exercise that finished me off involved lying on my stomach (a challenge right there, as my front side is not completely flat) and lifting my legs. The instructor said, with a hint of a sneer, "You shouldn't feel this in your lower back at all." I hollered, "Oh, but I DO!" and had to curl up in the fetal position. I might have whimpered a little--but with a tranquil look and graceful arm movements.

Seinfeld fans, take note: The Soup Nazi is back!

From the Department of Good News: Finally, I got a check yesterday. I've never been so happy to pay bills before. Being broke makes me feel powerless, but now, I have ze power again. I'd like to use it to get Accounts Payable Guy fired, but I'm trying to remember to use my power for good, not evil.

From the Department of Even Better News: Kevin's going to be OUTTA HERE next Monday. Apparently all Dramatic Sam's ditherings about his family objecting to Kevin's presence were simply manufactured melodrama. His family is thrilled and urged him to have Kevin move in earlier than August 7. Remind me to send flowers to DS's family, would you?

Now that I know when Kevin's leaving, I can make other plans. Barring unforeseen complications, I should be in Georgia some time in September, if Ed doesn't get sick of me before then or if the killer ballerinas haven't left me a weeping wreck huddled on the floor. That gives me some time to get ahead on work and pack. I just realized I'm going to be living alone for the first time in many years, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I used to like living alone, but back then, I didn't know the love of my life was waiting for me. Makes a big difference, you know?

Monday, July 19, 2010

29 hours, and oh, how about a few more just for fun?

Bad Energy Company has quite the sense of humor! Saturday at 7 p.m., a horrendous storm knocked out power for almost 5,000 people here in College Town. Good thing I buy candles like a crazy survivalist. I lit candles all over the house, and the storm had chased away the humidity, so the evening was rather pleasant. I'd just charged my cell phone, so I chatted on the phone with a couple of friends, took a candlelit bubble bath with the hot water remaining in the tank, and read by candlelight, which appealed to the Amish woman who lives inside me. Bad Energy Company's hotline estimated the power would be back on by 10 p.m. Piece of cake! I can stand anything for three hours.

Except the hotline LIED. The estimate changed to midnight, and then noon Sunday. So I woke up Sunday to the horror of no coffee. I threw on some clothes, and I might have brushed my hair but who knows, and went to the grocery store, which has a little coffee station. I bought two huge cups and promptly spilled half of one down the front of my shirt. I don't recommend this technique as a way to wake up. I refilled the spilled cup and bought some ice for the cooler.

Sunday was, of course, hot and humid. By noon, there was no sign of Bad Company's trucks, so I went to the library. I browsed around and found a few exercise DVDs; one's a workout from the New York City Ballet. I took ballet lessons when I was little, and when I see professional ballet dancers, I still get tutu-and-leotard yearnings. Of course, I had no way to play the DVD at the moment, but I assumed my power would be back on when I got home.

The AC in the library wasn't much cooler than the AC outdoors (which is to say NONE), so I went to the mall and wandered around. I don't particularly enjoy malls--at least not often--but it was cool, and I was grateful for the respite from sweating. A tiny Chinese man was offering free massage "samples" and coaxed me into his massage chair. Kevin offered to hold my glasses, but Massage Man glared at him and insisted he would take care of them. Heh. His hands were so warm and felt great. He hit a tight spot on my back and said, "Ooooh, many knots. Very tense, right?" RIGHT.

When I got home, still no power. Bad Company's hotline estimated restoring power at 8 p.m. FINE. I took a cold shower, and let me just say that I can see why it's recommended as a libido-killing method. I continued reading (I finished an entire book) and sweating and peering down the street for a sign of Bad Company's trucks. Meanwhile, the city sent out trucks to pick up tree branches piled in front of every house, but no Bad Company trucks. Finally, at 10 p.m., Bad Company arrived. The workers stood out on the street and, as I believe they're contracted to do, laughed and joked and wasted time while I glared at them through my window like Gladys Kravitz in the throes of a hot flash.

Finally, at midnight, the power was back on! I fired up my computer--my sweet baby, how I missed you--and answered a few e-mails, joyously proclaiming the Return of Electricity, but 45 minutes later, boom! The power was out again. Ha ha, Bad Company! Stellar practical joke! I sat here in total blackness, stunned. I groped around for the flashlight, found my cell phone, and called Bad Company's hotline for the 3,897th time. Estimate: noon Monday. I threw my phone across the room and stomped off to bed.

At 3:00 a.m., power was restored. I got up, closed the windows, turned on the AC again, and went back to sleep, muttering dark curses aimed at Bad Company. I suspect I wasn't the only one.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't be bellowing a line from a Mel Gibson movie, given his inability to keep his trap shut. Nevertheless, I do feel almost giddy with freedom. Kevin left yesterday morning to take some boxes up to his cousin's and won't be back until this afternoon. Wheeee! Amazing how relaxed and happy I am when he's not around. The dogs seem bewildered, however. Eh, they'll adapt.

I finally downloaded some pictures from my camera, so I can tell you about having lunch with Celeste and include a picture. We'd planned to meet at a Greek restaurant near campus, but to my dismay, I discovered the restaurant had closed, after 30-some years in business. We decided to go to Five Guys, which is nearby, and get a burger. Sign of the 21st century: We discussed this change of plans via cell phone WHILE we were in the same parking lot. Hee! I had a great time with Celeste, and two hours just flew by. She's so funny and warm, and as I said to her, why the hell do all the people I like the most live so far away? I did my very first first bump with her, too, and I assume I looked very cool doing it. (Hush, I can hear you snorting.) After lunch, I remembered I'd brought my camera, so I was trying to take a picture of us together. We have an extreme height differential, so poor Celeste obligingly hunched over so that our heads could be in the same photo. A nice young man passing by (that description makes me sound ancient, no?) offered to take a picture for us and didn't even run off with the camera afterward! Awwwww. Here it is:

As part of my Freedom Celebration, I went out to dinner with Daniel last night. He's been so excited for me about Ed and asked me a lot of questions about my plans. I just love that kid, even if he doesn't shave as often as he should. Also? He's incapable of being on time--at least when he's meeting ME. I think he manages to make it to work and classes on time. Hmmmph! I'd put my camera in my purse so that I could get a picture of us together and took a few of myself to while away the time waiting for me. Here I'm concealing my impatience rather successfully, I think:

After three attempts, I finally got a picture of us together in which Daniel wasn't closing his eyes or making a hideous face:

My baby's all grown up, isn't he?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Exercising my patience

Since the weather has turned sauna-like lately, I've been looking for exercise I can do indoors. I like walking, when the weather's bearable, and I even started "faux" hiking at a nearby park with slightly hilly trails. I just can't get myself moving early enough in the morning to walk before it gets too hot, however.

The other day, Kevin was cleaning out an old steamer trunk I fixed up a few years ago and found several videotapes I'd stored in there. Most were taped performances of plays I did with the theater group in Mayberry, and I'll hang on to them, in case I need to be amused by bad amateur theater some day. One was a jazzercise tape I used to do when Daniel was little. I popped it in the VCR and started giggling almost immediately. The tape is from 1986, and the instructor and all the women in the class are festooned in headbands, leg warmers, and neon leotards. I haven't seen so much '80s exercise wear since Flashdance. And the music, oh, my God. Tres cheesy.

I've been sticking with it because the routine is short enough that I don't collapse, and it does get my heart rate up. That damn instructor is so perky that I want to strangle her with fluorescent green leg warmers, however. At one point, she actually says, "Are you smiling?? If you're smiling, I know you're breathing!" I'm not admitting anything, but I MIGHT have snapped, "No, I'm holding my breath just to be ornery and frowning at your insanely cheerful squirrel face." I don't handle perkiness well when I'm at my best, so you can imagine my reaction to it when I'm sweating in contorted positions.

I'm determined to keep exercising, mostly because I'm getting positive results, and it helps with stress. A tiny part of my determination is also fueled by proving my mother wrong. About a month ago, I told her I was taking several pairs of pants to my church's clothing drive because they were falling off me. She said (and I'm still angry about this), "Oh, don't get rid of your big clothes! You'll need them when you gain the weight back." Oh, yes. She DID.

A couple of days ago, I told her I'd lost 5 more pounds, for a total of 55. Today I got a big envelope in the mail from her, containing articles she clipped from her "lady magazines"--you know, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, etc., etc. Help me decipher my mom's mixed messages, would you? She attached a note to the articles, saying "So proud of you, and you are so pretty," meaning, I'm assuming, I wasn't pretty before. Fine, but I'm choosing to believe her note was largely positive. OK, partially. Now get this: The first article is about "diet derailers." Let me quote the opener for you: "You've been dieting for a few months and have dropped some weight. You're feeling pretty good about your progress and then--bam!--something gets in the way to land you back where you started."

That woman isn't going to be happy until I gain every pound back. Well, I hate to disappoint her, but I'm going to disappoint her.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nothing like finding out just how stupid you are, especially on a hellishly hot day. I've had a headache all afternoon, and not even the Ibuprofen God is touching it.

I wanted to get out of the house this afternoon, so I went down to Mayberry to visit Jon and Suzie, my friends who run the secondhand bookstore there. After hugs from both and being plyed with coffee, I told them I'd broken up with Kevin. Yes, you guessed it: They weren't surprised. Then Jon said "Getting high shouldn't be a lifestyle," and I was surprised. I was aware Kevin did occasionally, but he knew I wasn't crazy about it, and when he was unemployed, I informed him he'd better not use my money for it. He agreed--or so I thought. I was SO fucking naive. I'll just say that he bought frequently, and with guess whose money? No wonder he never had the incentive to look for a job.

My head is pounding, and I don't know whether it's still the headache or a combination of fury and embarrassment. If I have to interact with Kevin, I might wind up running him through with the bread knife. I should just go back to bed, huh?


For the past few weeks, I've been dreaming about old boyfriends. No, no, not like that. I've never had dreams like these before. They're an abbreviated form of the entire relationship, almost like looking through a kaleidoscope and seeing bits and pieces in a colorful jumble. At the end, the break-up, I summarize what went wrong in one brilliant, concise statement (definitely the stuff of dreams there) and say exactly what I wanted and meant to say--but didn't at the time.

They're the most satisfying dreams I've ever had.

I won't describe every one; I'm too lazy to type all that, and who the hell wants to read about a series of dreams? The dream I had tonight, which was so vivid it woke me up, was about my ex-husband. Trust me, it doesn't take a Freud to figure out the symbolism. I'll skip past the parts representing our relationship to the last "scene." We'd been at a party with a lot of his family and old friends from theater days. The Ex was in his element: He talked to everyone and wound up being the center of attention, holding court while he told jokes and stories. I noticed a lonely-looking teenage boy sitting in the corner; he was around 17 or 18 and clearly miserable. I worked my way over to him and sat down. I attempted a little chit-chat, he responded well, and soon we were talking away a mile a minute. He turned out to be very sweet, sensitive, and smart, with a surprisingly quick wit. We made smart-ass comments about other people in the room and sent each other into fits of giggles. I spent the rest of the party talking to him.

The Ex seemed to be in a good mood on the way home, but as we were getting ready for bed, he turned on me, as he so often did. Now, are you ready for the surreal part? In my dream, I was a real, flesh-and-blood woman, and he was a plastic, life-sized doll. So as he was screaming at me about flirting with someone at the party (yes, the teenage boy, which is exactly as irrational as he was in real life) and embarrassing him, his creepy glass doll's eyes were rolling around. Instead of feeling scared, the way I usually did, I started laughing because he looked so ridiculous. I said, "You put on this charming, caring act with everyone else, and they think you're such a great guy. To me, though? You're cold and unfeeling and cruel, just like the doll you are. I'd like to push your stupid plastic doll's face in!" And then I proceeded to do just that.

I woke up smiling.

I've been puzzling over why I'm having these dreams now, and I've come to this conclusion: It's my brain's way of sorting and summarizing what happened in past relationships so that I don't make the same mistakes again. I've started what I intend to be the last romantic relationship I ever have with a man, and I'll be damned if it's going to end because of my stupidity or his. These dreams are certainly cheaper and more efficient than psychoanalysis; however, I could schedule therapy sessions to not wake me up at 1:00 a.m. Oh, well, there's a trade-off in everything, right?

I'm going back to bed. I wonder who's next in my dreams?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Accounts "payable"? Riiiiiiiiight.

What's the best way to get back at an accountant? No, it's not the start of a joke. I'd REALLY like to know. Sneak into his office and steal all the lead from his mechanical pencils? Reset his calculator to flash "H E L L O" with upside-down numbers whenever he hits the add button? I found out today that a guy in accounts payable has been sitting on checks for invoices from the entire month of June because, as he snapped to an assistant inquiring about payment for a broke editor in Indiana, he was "too busy" to sign them.

TOO BUSY. Why, what a brilliant and reasonable excuse! The next time I have a deadline, I'll just explain that I'm TOO BUSY to meet it. I'm sure everyone will understand, and it's not as though me missing a little ol' deadline will affect anyone else. The next time my water bill is due, I'll just drop the water company a note and say I'm TOO BUSY to pay my bill. Shouldn't be a problem.

TOO BUSY, my ass. Harrumph!

Let's see, what else is chapping my hide lately? Oh. Last night, Kevin complimented my appearance, and I said "Thanks" politely and tried to change the subject. Awkward, right? Apparently not awkward enough, as he went on to say he's accepted that he's "entering a period of celibacy." 1) That's related how, exactly? and b) Am I supposed to apologize? I pointed out that he could certainly date, and he said, "Anyone else is going to be substandard compared to you." What utter hooey. Also, I have no idea how to respond to that comment, and given the situation, I don't see how I could have felt anything but uncomfortable. But wait! There's more! He remarked, "It's going to be a lot easier for you. You could just throw a rock out the door and hit someone better than me."

Ah, the time-honored tradition of stoning the object of your affections to get his attention. Good idea! Also? The man has a point, but I was too nice to say so. I tried to laugh it off with a joke about trying it on the strange elderly man who walks his chihuahua past the house every day and coos baby-talk to his dog and added, "Hey, you know I've had my eye on him for ages!"

How long is it until the first weekend in August??

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Greg, WordPad is much better--thanks! I guess Blogger has decided it hates .doc files now.

Yes, I had too much caffeine Friday night. I never thought I'd say "too much" and "caffeine" together in the same sentence, but I think I'm going to have to switch to decaffeinated for making iced tea. I cannot tell you how much I hate admitting that I can't handle mass quantities of caffeine as easily as I used to. I can still ingest more than the average bear but not nearly as much as in the past. When I get over my limit, not only do I type very, very fast, but also my heart starts pounding. I almost typed "I start getting heart palpitations," but Jebus, that makes me sound frail and old. Anyway, after finally getting my heart rate to a reasonable level after last year's scary high, I should endeavor to keep it there, right?

Good news: Kevin's been moving stuff to the storage unit he rented last week, and his scary man-cave is starting to empty out. Here's the even better news: He told me this morning that he'll be out the first weekend in August. His family reunion is that weekend, so he plans to take everything that's going in the truck up that Friday--and he's not coming back at the end of the reunion. Did I hear a collective sigh of relief?

He thinks I'm being generous by giving him so much furniture and other stuff (including a TV and DVD player), but I don't need to correct his impression by telling him I'm not that freakin' generous; I just want to get rid of a lot before I move. Integrating my crap and Ed's stuff is going to be enough of a challenge without me bringing along tons o' things I don't need. I'm a little nervous about how this "Yours, Mine, and Ours" thing is going to work. I told Ed the other day that I've never lived with anyone who already had all his stuff in place. I keep thinking of that scene in When Harry Met Sally, when Carrie Fisher is arguing with Bruno Kirby about whether his wagon-wheel coffee table stays. I'm a little worried that EVERYthing is going to be a wagon-wheel coffee table. Anyone ever been in this situation before? I could use some advice--or just tell me to calm the hell down.

Friday, July 9, 2010

I'm feeling much too scattered tonight to relate any sort of coherent story, so I'm just putting down some random thoughts. Anyone who makes it to the end of this entry gets a MAJOR PRIZE labeled "Fra-gee-lay."

I've been knitting a lot the past few years and have been on a sock kick for a while. I like knitting socks because I can finish them quickly, and sock yarn is bee-yoo-ti-ful. I have about a dozen pairs now in a variety of colors and patterns, and I love 'em. A little while ago, I was working on a sock in subtle variegated shades of violet and remembered a remark Celeste made about not having to deal with snow after I move to Georgia. Suddenly, I thought, "What the HELL am I going to do with handknit socks in an almost tropical climate??" It might get cold-ish there, but cold enough for wool socks? Gah, maybe I should raffle off all my socks. Oh, and Ed doesn't live in Savannah; he's about an hour away. I can't tell you exactly where he lives because then I'd have to kill you, and let's face it: I'm too lazy to do that.

You know the woman in the Columbia Pictures logo, at the beginning of movies? She looks just like Annette Bening. Go look, if you don't believe me.

Why won't Blogger accept entries I write in Word anymore? I tried pasting in a Word file, and Blogger just about had a hissy fit, flagging every other line as "invalid HTML," which kind of hurt my feelings. Now I have to write entries in Notepad, and I loathe Notepad. The lines wrap oddly, and the font is too tiny for my geezer eyes.

Today the rental inspector came over. I decided Kevin could deal with her and escaped to the grocery store because it makes me uncomfortable to have a strange woman poking around my house. I feel compelled to follow her around in case she gets the notion to inspect my unmentionables, too. When I got home, Kevin had to report in exhaustive detail everything she said, including numerous stories about her bazillion dogs. When he got to the story about her Pomeranian's eye POPPING OUT of its socket and the vet shoving it back in, I finally rebelled and said, "No more dog stories!" Jesus Christ, I did not need to know about that poor dog's eye.

Hey, I just figured out how to make the font bigger in Notepad. I'm SUCH a genius.

A few weeks ago, I had to get my new glasses adjusted because they kept slipping down my nose. I've never had that problem before because I have a freakishly large head. I mentioned this fact to the woman adjusting my glasses, and she asked whether I'd lost weight recently. I said yes, and she said, "Well, you know people lose weight from the top down, so maybe your head is smaller now." OK, first, who are these freaks who lose weight in their HEADS? And second, I don't think her theory is right. If it is, it's not working on me. I went down a half shoe size before my waist got smaller, and the last time I checked, my feet are below my waist. Also, I'm still wearing the same cup size in bras, so my boobs haven't gotten the memo about the top-down strategy, either.

Funniest typo ever (seen in a comment on a blog): "triads" for "tirades." Now three times as indignant! I like it.

I didn't get a lot of pictures while I was in Savannah because I kept forgetting to take my camera with me. Someone (ahem) did manage to get one picture of me early enough in the day that I wasn't too hot and sweaty yet, so I'm slapping it up and calling this an entry. It was taken in Monterey Square, where Mercer House is. No laughing at my freakishly large head!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What's Going On (with apologies to Marvin Gaye)

So where was I before I got caught up in all this kissing folderol? Something about explaining my current situation, reactions to it, and so forth. I've said, I think, that the breakup with Kevin has been coming on for years. It took me a long time to realize I was unhappy. When you're so unhappy for so long, however, I think remembering what happiness feels like is hard. Realizing I didn't respect Kevin anymore took me even longer; as a matter of fact, it wasn't until I typed those words--"I don't respect him anymore"--in an e-mail to a friend that it really hit me. How could I have any respect for a man who sat around all day watching the Weather Channel and porn while I worked 10 to 12 hours every day--EVERY GODDAMN DAY--trying to keep things afloat? Sure, he had occasional DJ gigs and art fairs, but most of what little money he made went to sporadic child support payments. Not that I didn't want his kids to get the money, but I desperately needed a little support (financial and emotional), too, and I sure as hell wasn't getting any.

Lest it sound as though all my concerns were financial, his lack of employment was only a small part of the picture. What bothered me more was his complete lack of interest in me. If someone held a gun to his head, he wouldn't be able to recall the name of a single author or co-worker I talked about or describe what I do for a living, other than "edit books." He knew nothing about what worried me, what I dreamed of for the future, what memories haunted me--and he never asked. Conversations with him--or rather, attempts at conversations--were the oddest experiences I've ever had. I'd try to tell him something, and it was like shouting into a vacuum. Nothing. No response, no follow-up questions, no facial expression. Just... blankness. The only time he got animated in conversations was when he was holding forth on a topic: relating in excruciating detail something he read, reporting what he saw on the news, and the like. He didn't want to hear what I thought, either; actually, he got irritated if I "interrupted" with my reaction or opinion. I don't know whether it was self-centeredness, a complete lack of curiosity in other people, or just ME. Whatever it was, it got worse and more frustrating to deal with.

I mentioned his increasingly bad temper a few entries ago, but I can't pinpoint when it started getting worse. I always knew he had a short fuse, but his fits of temper got more intense, and trying to predict what would set them off became almost impossible. His rage was almost always completely out of proportion to the situation. The screaming, stomping around, and throwing things were bad enough, but when his rage was more directed at me, it was terrifying. I'm too embarrassed to list the names he called me and the hurtful things he said to me, but I'll never forget them or the more physical expressions of his anger.

You're probably wondering how I got into this situation. I claim to be a smart woman, so what's my problem? All I can say is that no one sets out to be treated this way. No one wakes up one morning and thinks, "Hey, today I'd like someone to shatter my self-esteem!" No one wants to be called hateful names or have their feelings ignored. When changes are gradual, they're harder to notice, and then one day you're being knocked across the garage, and when you land, you think, "How the hell did THAT happen?"

When I told Kevin I wanted to break up, my first words were "I can't do this anymore." I talked for a long time about how I'd been feeling and tried to explain the depth of my exhaustion and frustration. His first reaction? "So you're kicking me out? Where am I supposed to go?" Self-centered to the very end! He's nothing if not consistent. I suggested a few possibilities: his sister, his mother (who's in her 80s and alone and really needs someone living with her), a nearby friend who's looking for a roommate. He was furious that I mentioned his sister and mother and accused me of trying to get him out of town. Yeah, AND?

I might have known he'd have little trouble finding someone else to leech on to. He's moving in with his cousin, who lives about 45 minutes away. (So I am getting him out of town! Whoo!) His cousin, Dramatic Sam (DS), is ill and needs a live-in caregiver as well as help running an educational foundation he started. The plan is that he'll pay Kevin for his help, and because Kevin won't have living expenses, he'll be able to save money and look for a full-time job. That's the theory, anyway. Kevin informed me that he and DS had decided he'd move up there in October. OCTOBER. I was stunned and knew there was no way in hell I'd make it through FOUR MORE MONTHS of living with him. DS's brother, who doesn't like Kevin, is doing some repairs on DS's house, and DS has worked up a melodramatic scenario in which his brother finds out Kevin's moving in there and refuses to do the repairs. Whatever. NOT MY PROBLEM. I finally extracted from Kevin the information that the repairs are being done in July, and then stated he could be out in August, and I wasn't in the mood to grant any extensions.

Of course, this conversation was replete with screaming and name-calling and making threats, but through it all, I kept repeating, "You have to be out of here in August." I sounded like a broken record. (Ancient reference. For you kids, records were what music came on before CDs and MP3s, and sometimes.... Oh, never mind. Google it, you young'uns.)

I'd been hoping to have a month or two here to myself to pack and just enjoy the peace and quiet, but that's not likely to happen now. I haven't quite figured out what to do about the packing timeline; it's not going to be the organized, somewhat leisurely affair I'd hoped for. I'm juggling an insane workload right now, too, so I guess I'm going to wind up tossing things into boxes willy-nilly a few days before the actual moving day. I suppose I could start packing now, but Kevin doesn't know about Ed or my move, and I think it's prudent to maintain his "in the dark" state for now. I'm rather fond of my own delicate, Southern belle hide and would like to keep it intact. Both Daniel and Ed have offered to give Kevin a smackdown, and much as I'd love to watch that with a big bowl of popcorn in my lap, I like both of 'em too much to want them to wind up in jail for assault. On the other hand, I could make a boatload of money selling tickets for admission, couldn't I?

Oh, one thing (besides Ed, of course) that's been keeping my spirits up this week: I'm having lunch with Celeste next Tuesday! I could use a good, healthy dose of Funny Lady, and she's just the woman to deliver it. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Kiss Isn't Always Just a Kiss

In my previous entry, I promised to tell Ed's version of our first kiss. I'm a little reluctant to do so because it will ruin my reputation as a good girl and an arbiter of morality and... *snort*. Yeah, okay. Who am I kidding? However, keep in mind that at the time, I was very inexperienced and innocent. My dating/kissing experiences before that time consisted of 1) an older boy of 16 who tried to ram his tongue down my throat at a church sleep-over for the youth group when I was 13, 2) the editor of the school newspaper, a senior and, therefore, impressive to a sophomore, who invited me to a movie and attempted to climb on top of me in his car right in front of the theater, and 3) another senior from a nearby school who took me to see The Tamarind Seed and kept trying to stick his tongue in my ear and his hand up my shirt when all I wanted to do was sigh dreamily over Omar Sharif. So I was dubious about this kissing thang and a little wary, especially of Older Men.

Now, I didn't remember this story AT ALL, but one of the things I adore about Ed is that he remembers exactly what I was like as a teenager. Talking to him after all these years has been like getting little pieces of my history back. All right, I've delayed long enough. Our first kiss went like this: We'd skated for a while and were sitting and talking. Ed claims I moved in for a kiss, but he'd recently gotten over mono and was worried about passing it on to me, so he pulled back. Yes, the dreaded Pull-Back. We talked a little more, and I repeated the move, with the same result. (I have to state, for the record, that I'm shocked--shocked, I tell you--that I made not one move, but TWO.) Ed was worried about what I was might be thinking about his avoidance tactics, so he confessed that he'd had mono. Without missing a beat or batting an eyelash, I blurted out, "Oh, it's all right. I've already had mono."

TOTAL LIE. I'm afraid that I was not only a complete and utter hussy, but also a little liar lips. Hey, it worked, though. Ed wasted no time in testing my theory on immunity and repeating the test several times to ensure valid results. Scientific method, you know. I changed my opinion about kissing and decided it was my new favorite activity. That experience also showed me that older men could be a lot of fun, especially when they had a little finesse about the whole thing.

Of course, I was mortified when Ed told me this story. I'm still bewildered by my forwardness. I'd NEVER acted that way before, and I don't think I've ever been that forward with anyone else since. Ed says he loved it, though, and I have to say, he did respond rather favorably to it. Even now, I'm a lot bolder with him than I usually am with men. I'm not sure why, but I think it has something to do with trust. Well, and people are more likely to repeat behavior when they get a positive reaction, and Ed's downright delighted when I'm forward.

At 15, I thought he was the best kisser in the world, and over the years, other kisses never quite measured up to my memories of him. I kept telling myself that was silly, and I was remembering him through a romantic haze and all that. I tried to be sensible and realistic. When we were making plans to meet in Savannah, I couldn't help thinking about it, however. The entire, seemingly endless day of flying to Charlotte, waiting through a two-hour layover, and finally flying to Savannah, I kept wondering whether I'd feel the same way when he kissed me again. When he finally did, all the wondering was over: I did feel the same way. After thirty-five years, that seems like a miracle to me. I wish I could explain it better, but the best I can do is to say his lips fit mine perfectly, and I'd be happy to never kiss any lips but those for the rest of my life.

I'd planned to write more about Daniel's reaction to all this and what the current situation with Kevin's living arrangements are and try to answer questions some people had in the comments, but clearly I have kissing on the brain tonight, and that's about all I can focus on. I'll get to the practical stuff in the next entry. Oh, and I'm also thinking I should change the name of this blog to reflect the apparent loss of my sarcasm. What can I say? I'm too happy to be cynical! How about "Finding Love at Fifty: All Sentimental Hoo-ha, All the Time"? OK, maybe I haven't completely lost my edge. :)

What I've Been Up To: Part II

Now for the happy part: I'm in love, and I'm moving to Georgia. It's a rather long story, but I'll try to condense it for you. In March, I had a sudden urge to look up my first boyfriend, Ed. I dated him in 1975 and 1976, when I was 15 and 16. For those of you who can do math, that was thirty-five years ago. Yes, I yam old. While we were dating, he went into the Army; we wrote lots of letters because, you know, no e-mail back then (gasp). Eventually, we drifted apart, but there was never a definitive break-up, no bitterness, no hard feelings. As a matter of fact, I thought of him often and fondly. Every time I saw a guy with strawberry-blond hair wearing a plaid flannel shirt, my heart beat a little faster.

I met him at a roller-skating rink in February, 1975, when he asked me out for a moonlight skate. He was one of the cool guys who could actually skate backward, and my little 15-year-old self was thrilled. Hard as it might be to believe, I was rather shy back then, but I had no trouble talking to him. Later, we wound up making out in his car in the parking lot, until my mommy came to pick me up. Talk about humiliating! I was sure I'd never hear from him again because he was cool and 19, but I did. I'd kissed a few boys before that, and had a few dates with guys who did an excellent impression of an octopus, but I'd never felt like that before. The minute he put his arms around me, I felt as though I'd come home, after being away for a long, long time. As new-agey as it sounds, I even felt as though I recognized him. (Ed has a slightly different memory of our first kiss that I'll write about in my next entry; I'm a little embarrassed because it shows what a complete hussy I was with him.)

Memories can be deceiving, I know, but I never did find anyone who had all the qualities I loved in Ed. Some had his intelligence, some had his wit, some had his initiative, some had his playfulness, but none were Ed. Quite simply, I never fell out of love with him. Near the end of my marriage, when things got so bad, thinking about him gave me the guts I needed to tell The Ex "I'm done." So one night back in March, I tried to look him up on Google. The only link that had possibilities was at, and I left a message with my e-mail address for him there. I wasn't sure he'd remember me, however.

He did. Two days later, I got an e-mail, starting with "Lisa, Lisa, Lisa," which is the way he used to start so many of his letters to me. Even better, there were no misspellings, no mistakes in grammar or punctuation. Most of you will realize how much that meant to me. I tell you, my heart fluttered with joy. Hey, I have my priorities! We started e-mailing regularly, once a day at first, but soon two or three times a day. I think we made an honest attempt at keeping things friendly, but it was clear pretty fast that we both still had feelings for each other. After a few weeks, we talked on the phone, and although I was so nervous I could hardly breathe, I calmed down right away when I heard his voice. It was a little deeper than I remembered, but in so many ways, he still sounded like the Ed I remembered. My Ed. I don't normally like chatting on the phone very much, but with him, I could talk easily and, apparently, forever. Two hours on the phone with him seemed like only minutes.

Before I make you all hurl by waxing eloquent about how wonderful he is (see how considerate I am? but he is wonderful and sweet and sexy), I'll fast-forward to June 18, when I met him in Savannah for a four-day weekend. I was taking a chance because I'm not immune to the allure of all the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil atmosphere; Savannah's a beautiful city and one of the most romantic places I've ever seen. I could have been in Peoria and still been as happy, however.

A few years ago, I read that when you see people you knew many years ago, after the initial surprise of realizing they've gotten older, you stop seeing the changes and see the people you used to know. Whoever wrote that was describing a high school reunion, but I had the same reaction. Of course Ed's older. I do know that, and hell, I'VE certainly gotten older. None of it mattered. I still saw my Ed: my first love, the man I never got over. In all the important ways, he's the same, and the ways in which he's changed are for the better. He still makes me feel loved and cherished in a way no one else has ever come close to.

I considered writing about how Ed is an improvement over Kevin, but that's not the real (or only) reason I love him. It's enough to say that they're so different they could be entirely separate species. Making occasional comparisons is inevitable and natural, but I'd rather not focus on them. Yes, I believe Ed's a better person, but more important, he's better for me.

To make a long story short (or as short as I'm capable of, being a long-winded girl), I'm moving to Georgia soon, where he lives now. No, he can't move here because he has a J-O-B, unlike some men who shall rename nameless. Ahem. My job's extremely portable. Yep, I'm going to be rash and impulsive and imprudent and all that, but it feels more right than anything I've ever done. Despite the frustration and annoyance and occasional fear going on while Kevin's here, I'm happier and more hopeful than I've been in what seems like forever. About damn time, huh?

Monday, July 5, 2010

What I've Been Up To: Part I

Not to sound melodramatic (although I am dabbing my forehead delicately with a lavender-scented handkerchief), but writing this entry on the Fourth of July (yeah, and posting it on the 5th because I procrastinate) is fitting because I've declared myself free of Kevin's attempts to drain the life out of me. Being Peter Pan's girlfriend got old years ago, but I loathe confrontation almost as much as I do Michelle Bachman. However, the past couple of years have been leading inexorably to this point, and I finally overcame my fear of The Unpleasantness. I can't keep living with someone I don't love and respect. As Gloria Gaynor said, "Enough is enough is enough." (Gloria, right? Whatever. Some disco queen, which is probably a poor source of wise quotes. I'm too exhausted to look up a pithy saying by Emerson, however.)

Everyone I've told has been encouraging and supportive and has said in one way or another "About damn time." Daniel summed it up succinctly by saying, "Mom, he's mooched off you long enough." Yes, he has. He hasn't been employed full-time since we moved here, a little over two years ago, and has made only a few attempts to look for a job (and none at all for the past year). Enough, indeed. About a year ago, I paid more than $2000 to keep him out of jail for not paying child support. Go ahead, say it: Dumbest. Move. Ever. Yes, I was a sap.

To make all the financial woes even more delightful, his temper has gotten increasingly worse. I realized several months ago that I'd stopped sleeping well because I was constantly tense. I lost my appetite--which is QUITE the symptom of being upset for me--and started having recurring stomach problems. I started walking to get out of the house (in other words, away from the source of my tension) and help me deal with stress. It did help, and as a result, I've lost a little over 50 pounds. About damn time for that, too, but I don't recommend living with a crazy person as a weight-loss method.

Well, there's more to this story, including a very happy ending, but I'm going to save it for another entry. I'm out of practice and need to work up to writing again. To my steadfast friends who have listened to me moan and kvetch and whine and offered insight, humor, and righteous indignation on my behalf, I love you, and you've made all this easier to bear.