Saturday, October 18, 2014

THE UNSHUTTABLE PIE HOLE

I took my mother to see Gone Girl yesterday. The movie definitely had a different twist to it and Ben Affleck is easy on the eyes so it was enjoyable/entertaining on a several levels.  But what I admire most about Mr. Affleck isn't the ease at which he does with any onscreen nudity or his obvious eye candy appearance, it was that he wouldn't/couldn't be filmed wearing a NY Yankees baseball cap (some things just aren't done under any circumstances especially if you're a Boston Red Sox fan).  I also admire his extensive political knowledge and wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't throw his hat into the political arena someday.  Let's face it, stranger things have happened. 

While my mother and I were at the theatre for our girls' afternoon out, we encountered what probably is a quite common problem for people attending any movie regardless of the time of day. Let me ask everyone a rhetorical question...why do people to go to the movies only to sit there and talk all the way through the movie? Furthermore, if you are going to talk all the way through the movie, why not sit up back in an almost empty theatre so you won't bother those people sitting close by with your constant talking?  Perhaps that makes too much sense for someone who obviously has a problem with playing well with others and coloring within the lines!

We had a couple behind us that drove us crazy because they wouldn't stop talking. I shushed them a few times to no avail. I guess I've gotten soft in my old age, but since you never know when you're pushing anyone too far and you can't second guess anyone's reaction to confrontation, I probably should have gone out and gotten the manager to do my bidding for me, but honestly, I didn't want to miss any of the movie. 

I really think along with the before movie announcement to turn off your cell phone, it should include an announcement about keeping your pie hole shut throughout the movie.  I know, I really need to stop being so idealistic, but hoping and dreaming seems to be part of my basic genetic make up. My idea probably wouldn't be much help because some people are just plain rude and think rules, laws and common courtesies apply to everyone else and not to them.  So where are the Duck Tape Police (DTP) when you really need them and what would Emily Post do in this situation?  Does the Emily Post Movie Etiqutte Manual have a section covering the unshuttable pie holes of the world?  If not, Ms. Post, it's time to update your material.

Friday, October 17, 2014

THE CIRCLE OF LOVE


I've been "away" for awhile and it feels like I really have come home in more ways than one. Jumping back into Words For Wednesday, the words for this week are:

insubordination


inducted
despair
plethora
museum
retribution

0r the phrase, 

coldly clinical...cunningly calculating

In lieu of my recent family drama, I felt it was appropriate to use the words to express the emotions and  journey my heart has travelled recently. 

 
 
















Was it just life’s insubordination
A lack of emotional coordination
An imbalanced heart
Caused by an unbalanced start
Love can be so tilted and twisted
We’re inducted then resisted
A plethora of our heart’s delights
At times range from despair and fright
Walls are built and become a museum
A place to observe, but never just be them
Our heart begs to think, but don’t feel
Because nothing is real
Nothing is real
Nothing is real
And then retribution
Our brain’s contribution
For love gone bad
When we’re sadly mad or madly sad
Whichever we are
Our heart’s gone too far
When that line is crossed
And our feeling are tossed
To the wind
To the wind
To the wind
Then we reset and begin
Again and
Again and
Again.
Endlessly we love
Infinitely above
My heart has endured
And my pain has been cured
Again and
Again and
Again.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

I don't really know where to start this post.  My thoughts are pretty jumbled right now.  I think it's a combination of not feeling well and being emotionally drained, so please bear with me while I stumble through writing about my latest ordeal which of course involves some rather drama-filled family issues, but aren't all family issues drama-filled? It seems to be the nature of the beast!

About 8 years ago my mother had some sort of break with reality.  It was as if aliens had swooped down and abducted the woman I had always known to be my mother and replaced her with a body double void of a mind.  She was merely an empty pod for the better part of several years.  Naturally, the specialist she had been sent to see quickly diagnosed her with Alzheimer’s and put her on meds to stabilize her condition and to slow down what he claimed would be a steady downward spiral.  I never agreed with that diagnosis for many reasons and eventually I weaned her off the meds she had been prescribed for it.  Several years later the same doctor admitted that he had been wrong and was amazed by her "recovery".  With a lot of hard work and persistence I pulled my mother back from wherever abyss she had fallen into during her breakdown. I have to admit there were times I thought I was ready for a rubber room, but I hung in there and did what I thought was right regardless of what the doctors told me.  Today, I'm glad to say my mother is thriving at the young age of 86.  The moral to this part of my story is that sometimes you have to follow what your heart and instincts say and cast aside what science and logic dictates.

I try very hard to be a good daughter.  Yes, I fall short of perfection on many levels, but there's one thing I can say with absolute certainty...my heart is always in the right place.  Because we have friends and family who live in Maine, I try to take my mother there each year so she can spend time with them.  As a person ages it becomes more important to be with all the people they love and for that reason I try to be accommodating to my mother's needs.  This year our finances didn't allow for our annual trek "home".  I felt bad about it, but if you don't have the money, you don't have the money!  It's as simple as that!

In July while visiting my Aunt Nancy she asked me why my mother and I weren't going to Maine this year.  After explaining to her why I felt we couldn't afford the trip this year, she made an incredibly generous offer by insisting that the three of us make the trip to Maine together and she'd pay all the expenses.  Because I knew how important it is to my mother to go to Maine, I agreed to let my aunt do this for us.  My aunt is like a second mother to me and after her husband died over 6 years ago, I stepped in and started doing things for her that her daughter and only living child was either unable or unwilling to do.  As a result of our increased contact we formed a very close, loving bond and she became even dearer to me than she already was.  She recently made the decision to move to Florida so she'd be closer to family so she wouldn't have to be alone any longer.  Her decision to move was something my entire family and I was looking forward to and it was a decision she knew would make it easier for all concerned when her health problems started to worsen and she'd need help.  Because I love her, I was willing to be that go-to person for her.

Let me now fast forward to our vacation from HELL! The first of two indications that the month we were supposed to spend in Maine would be anything, but paradise was upon arrival I got sick and had to eventually seek medical attention because my own efforts to nurse myself back to health didn't result in me getting better...in fact, I got worse.  And the second key indicator of what would lie ahead was when my aunt informed me that my mother and I would have to start paying our own way the first day after we arrived in Maine.  Yes, you read that last line correctly!  Paying our own way is rather difficult to do when we have very limited resources and was the reason why I had decided against a Maine trip this year.  Paying our own way wasn't what she had initially discussed when she insisted that the three of us take this trip together nor was it ever mentioned until we reached our destination.  She had offered to pay for everything and it was only because of her generous offer that we had agreed to make the trip to Maine.  After being completely blind-sided I took what little cash I had and bought groceries so we could eat while we were there.  I never expected nor wanted to eat out every night so cooking our meals and dining in was no big deal to my mother and I because it's what we do every day anyway.  My aunt on the other hand likes dining out and although she did eat the meals I prepared, she turned her nose up at the thought of having to eat leftovers and wanted me to cook a different meal each night.  Because I was sick the thought of leftovers appealed to me because I simply was worn out and didn't feel like cooking every night. 

What became glaringly apparent quickly was that my aunt is an extremely difficult person to please at times and she expects everything to be her way right down to what's watched on television and how loud the volume is.  Nothing at all seemed to please her and she had no problem with hatefully telling us that she was not satisfied with anything about the trip and wished she hadn't come. Her obvious unhappiness about the trip made both my mother and I feel bad for agreeing to let her do this for us, but we didn't know what to do to help remedy the situation and felt like we were treading on thin ice all the time. 

Our first night in Maine my aunt had a major meltdown (crying, yelling, cussing, etc.) and I expected her to ask to be taken to an airport the next day so she could fly home, but the next morning she perked up and surprised me by continuing on with our journey. Each time she expressed negative feelings it was as if all the things that troubled her from years past had just happened 5 minutes ago.  As one day slipped into the next, negative feelings seemed to be all she had and the dark cloud hanging over her seemed to darken even more.  Each time we listened to her tales of woe from her troubled childhood, I reminded her that I too had grown up in the same environment so I understood how she felt.  I encouraged her to let go of those feelings she had been harboring so she could be at peace.  And each time she raved about what a miserable marriage she had for 50 years, she never once felt any relief that she now was free of that misery.  It was as if her husband, my uncle was just in the other room and not dead for over 6 years.  It was like he still had a strong grip on every aspect of her life.  Each time she ranted I told her we'd support any decision she made and that we only wanted her to be happy. Ultimately, she needed to do whatever she thought was the right thing for her.  I guess the right thing for her was to spread as much misery as she possibly could and use my mother and I as a whipping board for all the things that had been troubling her.

All the while as we visited with people we had wanted to see while we were in Maine, she refused to allow us to include her in any of our plans.  Once when we had close family friends come to where we were staying, she went to her room and refused to come out briefly just to say hello and meet the people.  Her actions caused an awkward situation for my mother and me because we were continually put in the position of having to explain why she didn't want to meet and spend time with anyone.  Although she adamantly told me that "those people weren't her relatives and she didn't know them", at least half of them were relatives...she just obviously didn't feel the need to get to know them.  She also didn't see why I had to explain anything to anyone regarding her or her actions.  She even went as far as not being able to see that if my mother and I had done the same thing while visiting her at her house, she'd be embarrassed and probably angry at our actions.  I guess she decided right thing to do was to dowse herself in Opium perfume even after being asked nicely to spray it sparingly because it has such an overpowering scent.  I guess the right thing to do was to constantly pour chemicals like straight bleach down the drains even after just about running us outside due to the caustic fumes and being explained to about the delicate nature of a septic system.  No matter what was said about anything, she seemed to have no regard for my mother and me whereas most people automatically know strong perfume or bleach fumes in small confining spaces and people don't mix well.  She honestly seemed hell-bent on making our time in Maine as miserable as she possibly could on every level possible.

Needless to say I was confused at first by her actions and that confusion developed into disappointment and hurt.  My hurt and disappointment only developed into anger at the very end after she apparently felt no need to cut me any slack because I was sick.  All the while she refused to do anything with us; she continually talked about her other two nieces, Debbie and Peggy, my cousins and constantly critiqued my brothers as being assholes for not spending any quality time with their mother or helping me with her care.  She ranted and raved and called them everything but human, yet when she talked to my cousins on the phone honey would drip from her mouth as she told them she loved them and invited them to come see her.  Instead of telling them how she really felt she opted to go the route of being two-faced and then take her anger and resentment of them out on my mother and I.  The first week we were there my cousins didn't call her and I thought I was going to go crazy from listening to her constantly bitch about them.  I finally went to see Debbie and asked her to please call our aunt because she was sitting there feeling as if no one cared about her and quite frankly she was making us miserable because of it.  My cousin promised to call and for a moment I thought all had been righted in the universe and the planets were back in alignment when Debbie called my aunt and they made lunch plans. She actually smiled and I saw a glimmer of sunshine amongst all her darkness and gloom.   

But then something happened...all hell broke loose and it was a like a boomerang gone wild.  It came swinging back with a vengeance to blindside me with what came next.   She felt that my cousins should come visit her and not the other way around even though Peggy has lung cancer and I'm sure she isn't up to making house calls and lengthy visits.  All I listened to constantly was how neither Debbie nor Peggy ever comes to see her and how they never call her and that the phone and road runs both ways.  She carried on about how none of them even expressed their condolences when her husband died and why should she care anything about them.  Listening to her talk about them got me thinking and reality finally smacked me in the face.  Not once in the last 6 years in all the times I've ran back in forth between Florida and North Carolina to check on her, to visit her and to spend time with her so she wouldn't be so lonely and so she'd know she had people who love and care about her has she ever made a trip to see me in Florida.  The road runs both ways, does it?  It looks to me like the road only runs the way she wants it to run!  As for the telephone working both ways, she rarely called me even though I called her at  least 2 or 3 times a week unless one of my many health problems was acting up and then I'd suffer in silence because it's difficult putting on a happy face when you don't feel good.  I guess the road and phone doesn't run two ways after all and has taken me a long time to realize that.  I also have rethought my feelings about how inattentive, selfish, self-absorbed and unfeeling her daughter has been in her life.  It really makes me wonder if all the harsh, hateful things she's said about her daughter, Sharon are really accurate.  It makes me wonder where the truth really lies, but that's something I'll never know at this point.  After the meltdown about my cousins she sat in her room for the next 2 days with the door closed and she refused to speak to my mother or me.  After two days of sulking, I guess she got tired of being confined and then the sun came out once again and she brightened her disposition once again.  At that point she expected my mother and I to change gears along with her and go do what she wanted to do like look at fall foliage, visit lighthouses and basically anything that didn't involve our relatives or friends. Her final shift in gears came only after her calling the airline to find out how much it would cost to fly home.  By then my mother and I had already decided that we wanted to go home and would do so as soon as she got on an airplane.


Most people can expect to be reprimanded for being rude, but what do you do when just the opposite happens? Okay, I never claimed to be perfect and my manners probably could use some polishing, but I have to admit I was utterly astonished for being harshly reprimanded for saying "thank-you" to her at appropriate times and she declared “thank you” as a forbidden response to use ever again.  All I know is that I'm just not cut out to be anyone's whipping board especially when I'm sick.  I know I should have just left it alone when she kept at me.  I know I was rude and disrespectful by finally blowing up and telling her "I AM DONE!" I was wrong to tell her that she ruined our vacation and it was probably unnecessary to tell her that she's a miserable bitch who isn't satisfied with anything.  I can admit when I'm wrong when I am wrong, but I feel justified in standing up for my mother and me after being subjected to two weeks of non-stop agony.  I believe my aunt owes us a HUGE apology, but I can safely say that apology isn't something we'll ever get and that's okay.  I know how stubborn she is and I truly am okay with how things ended.  I gave it my all, but my all wasn't good enough.  I can accept that.  Just like I can accept that in the long run it's her loss and not ours.  Sometimes you have to cut your losses and walk away from people you love. Sure, it hurts, but time will heal the wound. 

Unfortunately, she decided against taking a plane home and we had a very unpleasant road trip back to North Carolina to drop her off.  As I drove away from her house headed towards Florida it felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders and it didn't matter that I still had 500 more miles to drive until I was home again and in my own bed so I could be sick in peace. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

THE ONLINE STALKER - STORY #2

The first story I sent him to read got the following response:

YOU WIN!!!!!


My story (stories) aren't nearly as interesting as that one.  It seems physical descriptions don't mean much online. I was on the computer working one night and got an IM. Well, being the nice person I think I am, I responded.  She told me she read my ad and saw me on line and wanted to talk. My thought was "how did she know I was online?" We chatted for a couple of hours. Needless to say I didn't finish what I was doing, but we seem to hit it off real well.

She even sent me a picture. Well, it wasn't a real clear picture and she was in a chair.  I could see a pretty smile and she looked nice. For weeks we chatted online. She even found my phone number and called (several times). After about 2 months of chatting I mentioned I was going to be at FloraBama for the Mullet toss. I told her I was there with one of my buddies from Montgomery and where we were staying. I didn't think anything about it. 

Well, my buddy and I had been at FloraBama most of the day. Needless to say we were pretty tore up. We went back to the room about midnight. At about 1 a.m. the phone rang. My buddy answered it and it was the front desk telling him someone was there to see me and wanted to talk to me. I had no clue who it was, but had no desire to talk to anyone, so I told him to find out who it was. It was her and her friend. I told my buddy to tell them I was drunk and passed out. They wanted to go out. No way I was going, so Jim said he would. He's a real trooper. 

They came up to the room to get him. It was dark and I was pretending to be asleep. My God, when she walked in she could have blocked the sun. I'm a kinda big guy, 6'3" 220#'s and I think she weighted more than me. I still pretended to be asleep and they left to go out. About 5 a.m. they stumbled back in the room. I still acted like I was passed out (wish I was). Well she proceeds to take her clothes off and climb in to bed. I didn't move. I'm not sure I even breathed. I didn't want a muscle to move. All I could feel was this big body next to me in bed.

Usually I am very friendly and a real morning person. I got up at 6:00 and couldn't think of enough excuses to get out of there. My buddy was thinking this was the funniest thing he had ever seen. He knows what type women I like and she wasn't one of them. But he kept dragging and it took forever to leave. I apologized for being "hungover" and left at about 7:30 cussing my friend as he laughed his head off. 

Well, she continued to call and email me wanting to see me again. I finally learned how to screen people. She would go to AOL profiles and see I was on line and IM me. It was like being stalked online. It has been several weeks since I last chatted with her, but she still IM's me and I ignore it. I hate doing that, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I assure you, I had NO broken heart. I was just glad I didn't get any broken bones.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

WHEN MR. PERFECT ISN'T MR. RIGHT - STORY #1

Back when online dating first became the newest craze for gluttons for punishment and eternal optimists, about every 6 months or so I'd put an ad on one of the many dating sites that promised to help a person meet their soul mate.  I used to call it "trolling" because I felt like I was dragging my line slowly through the water waiting to see what bites. Over a period of time I tried all the better known, reputable dating sites, if there really are any and probably a few of the sleazy sites as well. Each time I posted an ad what ensued was like repeatedly banging my head against a brick wall and you know what they say the definition of insanity is...doing the same thing over and over again and each time expecting a different result. Each time I posted an ad I always promised myself I'd never do it again. Ha! Isn't that what a drunk says after tying on a good one and having the hangover from Hell? Okay, so I'm insane, a psycho, a lunatic and mix that with having a very hard head what you get is an expansive list of online dating experiences.   In the process of my online search for Mr. Right many times I felt it was the technological equivalent of Looking For Mr. Goodbar. 

The next five blog posts are stories shared between a man and I as we lamented over how our respective searches never came close to getting a decent hit and if we got on base, it was only as a result of being thrown some horrible pitches or some cosmic fluke.  We chatted with each other laughing out loud on many occasions and we formed a strange bond through the stories we exchanged via email.  We never met each other...I think we wanted to keep each in a perpetual state of perfection by never meeting.  The 1st story I shared with my mystery man wasn't about someone who had responded to one of my ads, but was a man I had contacted as a result of his online ad. 
 
Internet Story #1

Actually, I responded to this gentlemen’s ad online. The words he had written tugged at my heart and I felt almost duty bound to respond. After e-mailing and talking on the phone for several weeks, one Saturday evening about 6:30 p.m. he called me and asked me out to dinner. I explained I had been cleaning house all day, hadn’t even had a shower yet and was worn out. He said it didn’t matter and to just throw a pair of jeans on and we’d have casual dinner. Although it was on the spur of the moment, I love spontaneity, so I accepted with the stipulation he had to give me at least an hour to get ready. His drive to pick me up would be at least that long, so he said that wouldn’t be a problem.

As he drove, he called me on his cell phone a few times with the last time being about 10 minutes from my house. We talked until he arrived at my place. During this last conversation he told me he was allergic to strawberries and had inadvertently consumed some in a drink the day before and had broken out in a rash. This was not a problem and I asked him out of concern about the allergy and how he treated the rash. He also, at this point mentioned that his office staff referred to him as looking like a retired football player. That certainly wasn’t a problem. That just meant he was a rugged man. Well, let me tell you that when he got out of his car I almost fell over. If it had been daylight, he would have blocked out the sun!

When Jimmy Johnson was the coach for the Dallas Cowboys, he had a thing for BIG men on his offensive line.....somewhere in the neighborhood of 350lbs each. This guy made them look tiny!!!!! Okay, I’m not into looks and knew I could handle sitting through dinner with this man so his size was unimportant, but when we went inside the restaurant and I saw his allergic reaction, I lost my appetite. I’m no doctor, but whatever was all over his skin was more than one day old. It was scaly patches covering all visible skin with some of the patches having scabs. Not to sound gross, but some patches had scabs that were open and looked like they were oozing. Now, being the type of person I am I could have handled his skin problem and the fact that anything I had done, he had done better, but as he sat through dinner telling me what I should and shouldn’t do with my poor dismal life, he suddenly transformed from a very sweet, compassionate person I had gotten to know on the phone to an overbearing, egotistical asshole.

I quickly got to the point where I just wanted to get through dinner and go home, but he had other ideas. He prolonged the agony by insisting on dessert which included showing me a portfolio of pictures of his ex-wife he still had in his wallet. He took extreme pride in pointing out how good she looked in a bikini. I sat in amazement wondering how much more I could tolerate when he started telling me he couldn’t stay out late because he had to fly out to DC early that next morning to testify before the Congress or Senate on some subject. At that point I was so tone deaf, I really couldn’t do anything more than try to imagine this HUGE OOZING male sitting in front of nation's leaders speaking about anything. I smiled and told him I'd make sure I turned my TV to CSPAN in the morning so I could watch him testify. Needless to say, he never appeared on TV and I never got asked out for a second date. As broken hearted as I was, I managed to pull myself together and struggle onward to be captivated by the next perfect man.


I waited in breathless anticipation to read his first story secretly hoping that his story would be so horrific that it'd make me forget all about my own escapades as a freak magnet.