Tag: acceptance

Mr G-uno, And I Have A Thing Going On (G-uno)

Anyone who’s been in a long term- relationship can tell you that nothing’s perfect, and if they do admit that to you they are probably in a really good one. For some love is not enough to glue two people together for a lifetime. Then for others a lifetime would not be long enough. In spite of all the trials & tribulations that come with sticking to a commitment you once made when your heart was overflowing with love, and stars danced in your eyes. I like the quote that says a good marriage is just two people who have decided to love each other no matter what. I know that’s not exactly the wording, but you get the point.

Thirty-three years ago Mr G-uno, and I said I do in his grandmother’s little church in front of 200 guests. Only one family member was actually mine, but the truth is that to this very day all I remember is the way he looked at me as we said our I do’s. We were late getting to the church because we decided to wake up early, and go to the beach before the actual ceremony. We laughed, and played in the sand until we finally realized we only had an hour to get ready.

So with one quick shower together, no hair stylist, or makeup I marched down the aisle to begin a life I could never have anticipated. There have been moments when I could actually have floated above the ground with happiness. There have been moments when I could have gotten in my car, and drove away never looking back. It has never been perfection, unless you can appreciate the grandness of two people holding on to each other just to be able to wake up next to each other for one more morning. For me that is as close to perfection as a marriage can be.

Knowing that no matter how good, or how bad things may be you’ve built a life that would never mean as much to you if it had not been shared with the other. ūüėČ

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.

I love you straightforwardly without complexities, or pride;

so I love you because I know no other way than this:

where I does not exist, nor you,

so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,

so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.”

Pablo Neruda

 

Why Is It That No Matter How Old We Get We Still Want Our Mom? (G-uno)

In this life some people are like shooting stars, they light the sky more brightly than the others, but for a much shorter time. While they shine they burn with such beauty, and intensity that they can never be forgotten. I woke up today the same way I do every June 24th wanting to be with my Mom just one more time. Today would have been her 73rd birthday, but in this life she only made it to her 25th birthday.

I still remember how she looked when she smiled, and the sound of her laugh. My own daughter is just a little older than my mother was when she passed. As a child she seemed older, and now I realize just how very young she was. I think about how brave she was facing her immortality while leaving her four year-old child behind. I think about her incredible strength as she laid in her bed reading me fairy tales because her frail body was too weak to stand.

Every day as the light from within her slowly dimmed she remained my mother. The truth is if she had lived even until today our time together would not have been enough for me. When I miss my mother I don’t have to look any further than my own daughter to see her again. Her namesake smiles her beautiful smile, laughs her wonderful laugh. They walk the same way, and they love all the same things.

I know that she lives on in me, and in her grandchildren. I know that I was incredibly blessed to have been her daughter. I have carried her with me to every  important milestone in my life in some small way. Yet every year when her birthday comes I still want my mother.

kicking diabetes ass: week 2, day 6… as long as you feel ok, keep doing what you’re doing (g2)

My doctor’s visit was yesterday and that’s what they said after I got done with my long diatribe.

Spawn got their vaccine(s) and was given the final verdict that they were “disgustingly healthy.” We thought they were only getting one shot, but it ended up being 2 shots and a fingerstick hemoglobin test. I’m sure because my iron is still low, I’m also at fault for that one. My kid ended up with two Daffy Duck and one Tasmanian Devil band-aids, so overall I think it was a win.

My bloodwork in March determined that my A1C was down to 6.3 from 7.3 in January. I brought it down a full point in 3 months and this is before the insanity diet started.

I also dropped 20 lbs since I came in last. That was more reassuring than I thought it would be. Sure, you always hope for more no matter what amount, but when you have a ton to lose, you don’t see it until its a massive amount. It kind of felt like justification that what I was doing was a good idea.

The only measurement I’ve done at home, and only after I’d been doing this for a week, was measuring my midsection. That too has lost 4 inches in a week.

I was excited by this and felt the need share the good news with diet buddy. I don’t think they took it too well though. I have a feeling I might have to stage an intervention at some point so they don’t get disappointed and start using more excuses to end it. Their kids are going overseas for a few weeks this summer, so their excuses will be gone too.

With that said, I, like the planner I’m not, forgot to print out all the crap I was going to bring in hand for my doctor to review. I had to give the reader’s digest super-condensed version of what I read, what the study’s¬†goals were and what I was trying to emulate. I at least had my app out and let my doc peruse the information I did have logged and how I was tracking my nutrition as well.

My doctor countered with starvation mode and the vices of that. I countered that I was only intending on doing this for 8 weeks, not forever and would be gradually increasing to a more reasonable level after. The goal being to shock the system into burning its own fat, especially in the pancreas. I told them about my carb goals, and how that had been working out. I told them I had cake on my birthday, so I added an extra day. They said “you can have cake on your birthday.”

They asked questions about how I’d been feeling, if I’d added any exercise and how my digestive system had been doing. I told my doc fine, no and actually pretty good. I said I had only had issues when I hadn’t had enough water, and I got a headache once from not enough salt, but otherwise I’d been feeling pretty good.

I also said that regardless of how well I did on this, I still wanted surgery if I ever got the option because I simply didn’t want to deal with this ever again. Doc said they’d write the referral as soon as I had the coverage.

Sometimes it just nice to know 1, you’re doing ok, and 2. you got someone in your corner.

Goggles For The Broken (G-uno)

The room was clamoring with all the familiar sounds of the first day of class, summer as always had been way too short. I would love to tell you that I was the kind of student who went to school eager to soak up every bit of knowledge my brain could squeeze in, but that would be such a load of crap. My father retired in a sleepy little southern town where everyone understood who belonged, and even more clearly who didn’t. I didn’t belong, so I adjusted my broken goggles to see who else didn’t belong.

I had made a lot of friends in the short two years I had been there, but most of my friends were never placed into my classes. I was the odd girl who partied with the other heads, who for some unexplainable reason found school to be quite easy. Unfortunately I was much more interested in the social side of school, but my test scores always seem to land me in the middle of the classrooms full of students who’s parents were raising future doctors, lawyers, and socialites. Even though there were only a few others like me, we always managed to find one another.

There was an unspoken understanding that this is who were academically, but outside of the classroom seemed to be where we really belonged. Then he fluttered into the room. His nose crinkled as he disdainfully surveyed his new surroundings. We made eye contact, and he fluttered his way over to the desk next to me. Looked me straight in the face, and said “Oh God just shoot me now!” Then he leaned over brushing my bangs from my face, and said “We will work on this hair later.”

It was the beginning of one of one of the closest friendships I would ever have, and I was completely unaware of it at that time. According to Sam I wasn’t a “fag hag” since I didn’t exclusively hang out with only gay men. He did however point out that if he wasn’t the only openly gay man in this state I might be. I liked to point out to Sam that it was he who fluttered over to me.

In that classroom it was not just Sam and I who were wearing “broken goggles.” Every student in that room wore a pair.The truth is that in this life everyone wears a pair of goggles. Your particular pair of googles have the unique ability to see others who are like you in some way that’s sometimes obscure to other people. Sam and I, happened to wear a pair of “broken goggles,” the ones with the ability to see those who have been broken. ūüėČ

Betty Davis’s Daughter (G-uno)

Dealing with the family members of dying clients is like walking a circus tightrope. One has to be very careful with their choice of wording. Families are under extreme pressure trying to maintain their daily lives while dealing with a dying loved one. Yesterday was Betty Davis’s 6 month evaluation with Hospice. Her daughter came home from work early to be there with mom.

Betty’s daughter is like a blonde Liza Minnelli in appearance so we will call her Liza. I don’t deal with her very often in person. We mostly communicate through notes to each other. She is usually at work when I arrive so I meet every morning with her husband. This is Liza’s third marriage (her husband’s too), but they have been married now for 13 years. I’m not sure who the drinker is in this house, but based on the amount of Captain Morgan on hand I’m guessing both.

Both Betty, and Liza were worried that Betty would be removed from Hospice’s care. They were both equally anxious about the possibility. I tried to reassure them both that this would not be the case as gently as possible, but Liza persisted until I had to explain in the most honest way I could. The problem here is that the truth is quite brutal, and I don’t know Liza well enough to know the best way to deal with her. So I began with “Mom’s condition continues to decline, and Hospice will view this as reason enough to keep Mom under their care.”

Liza snapped back “What do you mean? Mom is not declining, have you noticed a decline since you started working here?” Now in my line of work every alarm in my head is sounding off “DANGER G-uno Danger!” So I pulled out two bar stools motioning for us both to sit (somehow sitting seems less harsh) then I softly say “Yes Liza Mom is declining.” She is still on defense mode, and says “How do you know this, why are you saying this?” So I softly say ” There are physical signs that begin to occur when someone with Mom’s illness begins to decline.”

At this point I am silently begging “The Universe” to let this be enough for Liza to let this subject rest, and of course no such luck. Liza grabs my hand, and pleads with me to just tell her what I see. Then I could feel the tears welling in my eyes, and I’m pretty sure she could hear the sound of my heart cracking. I place my other hand on top of her’s, and I say “Mom’s breathing is becoming increasingly more labored. I ask her if she noticed that Mom’s hands were changing in any ways that she may have noticed.” She said “No!” ( I want to kick “The Universe”in the balls now!) So I softly say Mom’s hands are darkening now because her lungs & heart are having a more difficult time delivering oxygen to them.”

I can see at this point that she is breakable. I hug Liza, and I tell her that she is an amazing daughter. I tell her that I am overwhelmed by her love for Mom. She began to cry she is bothered by the fact that her Mom tells me more regarding her thoughts, and health concerns. She wants to share this with her mother. She feels like my bond with her mother is becoming stronger than theirs.

I am in agony at this point, but then I know what needs to be said (Sorry “Universe” lost my faith there for a moment) so I place both hands on the sides of Liza’s face. Then looking her directly in the eyes I tell her “Your Mom is still your Mom, and she will try to protect you no matter what. She does not share these things with me out of love, I am her caregiver. She is not concerned about my feelings in this capacity. You are her world! She loves you more than life itself, and this is momma bear’s way of shielding the one she does love, and trust more than anyone else in the world.”

I saw both heartbreak, and relief in Liza’s eyes. Sometimes the truth is the only way to go. ūüėČ

Never Could Read One Book At A Time (G-uno)

It occurs to me that I live my life the same way I read books. I have never been able to read just one book at a time. In the insect world I would be a butterfly. Not because I am extraordinarily beautiful, but because I go through life fluttering from flower to flower. I’m not sure if this a form of attention deficit, but I do know that I enjoy never being stuck onto just one flower.

In my career I have chosen a job that let’s me flutter into someone else’s garden where I have a front row seat to a person’s entire lifetime. I come in just long enough to be able to read their life’s story, and in doing so I become a part of their final chapter. Jane once asked me how I could take losing so many in a life time? The answer to that question is easy for me. I have the privilege of being there at a point in a person’s life where they are reviewing every single moment of what was important to them in this life.

It’s a lot like walking down a beautiful stretch of the beach. Each memory is a shell that we stop to examine. Some of the shells are exquisitely beautiful memories. Some of them are not so beautiful, they are broken from the harsher moments in time. Others are beautiful shells that went unnoticed at the time they surfaced, but became easily recognized later on when they were given a second look. Make no mistake each shell is of equal importance along this walk in time.

Maybe it goes back to having to have dealt with so much death so early on in my life. I have always been fascinated with all the unanswered questions of our existence. I’ve come to accept the fact that there are so many things that we have no control over in this life. I find that strangely comforting. Being a part of each of my client’s journey makes me feel like I have a more useful existence. I can comfort them. I can make them laugh. I do a lot of listening, and the common thread with each, and every one of them is that life is a complicated journey.

I am the same with my family, and my friendships. There are so many different flowers in my garden, and I flutter back & forth between them all. I savor the sweetness of each one. I enjoy their unique differences. Somewhere in the back of my mind remains the thought that someday when I approach my final final chapters it might just make a great story for someone else’s book. ūüėČ

secrets you keep from kids: the pseudofriend (g2)

A friend of mine from high school died a few years ago and left a young kid behind. I didn’t know until their mom popped up on Facebook, even though I’d heard through the grapevine that we ended up coming back sort of near our hometown, at least within 50 miles of one another. I quietly ignored this for years.

Their kid is steamrolling into their teens, is of course adorable and even seems¬†like someone I would thoroughly enjoy chatting with. They friended me on facebook after my friend’s mother, their grandmother, posted some pics of our high school days and referred to me as “their best friend.”

It was news to me. What I remember about this person is that during high school, I got into trouble a lot because they were constantly putting me in situations where I was covering for them. I also remember they cried when I gave them a haircut once. It was the grunge area, but do you have to be that emotionally attached to something that is essentially bodily waste?

They wanted to go out with someone they weren’t allowed to? They told their mom they would be at my house spending the night. I was the one who got busted with my family and got in trouble for it.

I got¬†wrangled into a blind double date when they wanted to go out with an older person, which their mom only allowed if I would go too. I got stuck with their stinky sibling. Seriously, I don’t know how¬†they managed it, but they looked both wet from some sort of contact with soap but moist and slick from sweat too. I spent a lot of time looking down thinking any moment they would start dripping. I tried my best to stay out of arm’s reach, with my head near open windows.

Another time, I’d invited them to go with a couple of us to the nearest and much larger city where there was more to do, common for our area. They had somehow hijacked the evening and we ended up where I wasn’t supposed to be with a bunch of people I didn’t know doing a lot of stuff that I’m sure would be objectionable. If any attention were directed at me, my friend would get pissed and go out of their way¬†to recapture it.

Whenever they were around, I remember a lot of potentially cool but only barely started conversations with the copious amounts of people they wanted to surround themselves with, but only if the attention was completely on them. This is often what I think of when I think of their behavior.

 

 

Yes, this person wanted all the limelight, gender didn’t matter but opposite sex was preferred.¬†I wasn’t in awe of them, I wasn’t chasing them either, so I was either a friend, a rival or their tool, depending on the situation.

Not even my full collection of Depeche Mode was safe. They borrowed them, then completely destroyed them. Fucker.

With that said, we did sometimes manage to have real bonding conversations, but there could not be anyone around and no prospect of anyone being there at any point in a 24 hour period.

We became better friends when we both married. They became the only married friends we’d had. I married young so finding people who were also married and relatable was tough. It made for casual weekends playing RPGs (the dice-rolling, tabletop kind, kids) that were actually enjoyable. I liked their spouse a lot and being with them seemed to settle that need to constantly have attention. They loved my friend, but they didn’t dote and gush either. They were a realistic slap, gently, to how things should be more equal.

It didn’t last long, one was in the military and the orders to ship out came soon after they married, but it was wonderful when a couple years later, they called and told us they were having their first kid. I hadn’t thought of them much after that, but hoped things had worked out.

But they didn’t. They split up and my friend ended up with an aggressive brain tumor that killed them. BFG and I have speculated a lot on whether this caused a lot of the bizarre behavior we’d come to know over the years, but at this point its rather pointless.

Now there’s a kid who has friended me on Facebook and any other social media we both use and I know the questions are there. They’re coming. It’s what I would have done if I knew my mom’s classmates. It’s what I imagine Spawn would do if this were us and not them.

The thought terrifies me.

None of this is anything I would ever tell this kid. Maybe that really does make me their best friend. They may not be mine, but I have and will keep their secrets. I guess that’s what a best friend is supposed to do.

my employer: fat people are fat because they eat crap all day and sit on their ass (g2)

So the quest in gastric bypass came to an abrupt halt, at least for now. My doc was on board with idea and just said, “get with your insurance and find out what we need to do.”

My insurance said “Ha hahahah, Nope! Have a nice day!”

Not giving up, but I don’t exactly have 20k+ to spend. ¬†My insurance is through work and apparently the only justification they feel people would want this kind of surgery¬†is because they lay around eating cheeseburgers all day.

They offer a discount for Jenny Craig, though! ….What bullshit. I’ve never understood why in hell people pay money to learn a different numbering system than the one you can do for free. Is it for the oddly colored pedometers or the gimmicky foodstuffs?

It was depressing. I wanted off the roller coaster, and this seemed the best way to make sure I would get off and stay off.

When I was diagnosed, I had an A1C of 8.5 and a sugar level of 235. It freaked me out. My normal blood sugar, since a child, usually lingered around 80. I had dizzy spells a lot because it would suddenly drop. Since the diagnoses, it was 7.3 in January and I’m still waiting for the latest now. I’m headed in the right direction, but it is sooooo sloooooooow.

So while I’m having the tete a tete with my insurance and/or considering supplemental insurance of some sort (or hey, a new job), I had the thought of… what if I ate what a post-op patient would eat, or something similar? I log my progress, and if things still aren’t where they should be, that¬†would at least put some due diligence down on paper and through blood tests. If it actually kind of short-circuited my system into finally behaving normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with that either.

I hate the counting again, I hated it from the start, it took up so much of my time. But from what I can tell, I read up on one study that essentially put diabetes patients on a 800 calorie diet of 3 nutritional shakes (meh) at 600 calories and 200 calories of vegetables for 8 weeks and for many, it knocked out the diabetes.

Sure, its boring but who cares. It’s certainly easier to count than homemade recipes were and this is a start.

The only thing causing me stress is coffee. I like cream and sugar in my coffee, not a lot of options there. So it sounds like I will have nix that too. I’ve been drinking coffee since I was 10, it will be hard as a junkie. It may be decaf, but its always coffee.

Of course, some in the study went back to old and bad habits, but the majority managed to eliminate the diabetes and its baggage, for good by forcing the body to burn fat deposits in the pancreas. The study was limited to those who’d only been diagnosed in four years or less, but I remember Grand a lot when I think of old dogs and some new tricks.

It’s drastic as hell, but I’m there. I’m at drastic. I’m all over drastic. Hell, this is the first time I’ve been able to get my brain to even completely engage in any sort of real action or thought process to tackling this bitch. I’ve been in a mental fog so long, its jarring how much I’ve probably missed just from not being able to mentally process things as well as I used to. Does diabetes do this too? I don’t remember that in the list.

I even mentioned it to a diabetic buddy of mine to get their thoughts and they were onboard to trying it with me. Social eating problem solved!

They actually had been logging their food, put more salads on the menu, added a lot more veg, cut out a lot of starch, took it to their doc and their A1C had gone up since their last visit. Their doc just flat out didn’t believe them and came short of calling them a liar when they tried to show them their log. They had gone from hopeful to heartbroken in seconds. They have no interest in surgery but are definitely at the desperate and drastic stage too.

If by any change some¬†of you are struggling, or know someone struggling and looking for drastic, here’s some links. They are just a drop in the bucket of what I’ve read, but they seemed to be the two most pointed with information that isn’t so “over the head” of us laymen. I have a limit of how much medicalese I can understand and this was all pretty digestible (pun intended):

sjh20newcastle20diet20booklet2012

http://www.ncl.ac.uk/magres/research/diabetes/

considering surgery (g2)

I’m not sure anymore how much detail I’ve gone into, I’m too lazy to go look at any prior posts of mine about health. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, just like Grand. Unlike Grand though, I don’t hide twinkies and say I bought them “for the kids” or a 10 lb bag of oranges and eat them over a few days because I’m too lazy to cook for one.

I do however, have an intense love of chocolate and had (my meds make me crave meat now, go figure) a sweet tooth so fierce I’d make myself sick. I could never understand why, but my doc said that since I’d always ran a low sugar until now, I would of course crave it. I used to have a blood sugar of ¬†about 74 shortly after eating. I know only because I had a type 1 boss who would stick you anytime you alluded to¬†not feeling perfect.

I’m on a pill twice a day. I’m thankful I don’t have to use insulin, for now. I’m also glad I’m not having to stick myself, for now. My numbers have been getting better minisculely, not rapid enough for the instant gratification loving person than I am. I know that this is a process, but the process, to me should be faster than 10 lbs in three months.

Walking… hurts right now. But I do as much as I can. I would love to swim, but have no access to such in a reasonable time frame or distance. If I tried to do yoga, I’d fall and hurt myself. My body is not fully under my control right now.

I’ve always berated myself for being a food-addicted by-product of bad genes and a worse upbringing, but I don’t think that is the whole story.


I distinctly remember crying over a plate of food because I couldn’t eat anymore and I thought I would be in trouble. Grand always fixed our plates¬†for a 300 lb grown man and then demanded that we eat everything. My mom tossed the plate I was crying over in the trash and spent the next hour trying to de-program a short lifetime of conditioning.

I was suicidal by age seven, depression came on pretty hard when the hormones did in my preteens, and so did about 10 or so extra pounds. At that point, I didn’t have any major body issues, I figured my next growth spurt would probably iron it all out, as I was still a kid.

That is, of course, until I sent to my Aunt from Hell’s house for the summer. She promptly slapped me on the Atkin’s diet, droned on about “ketosis” and fed me shitty unsweetened yogurt and unripe blueberries. It would be twenty years before I would ever willingly taste another blueberry.

I had one friend I made¬†that summer and was thrilled when they invited me over for a sleepover. Anything to get out of that bitch’s house. Their dad made homemade vanilla ice cream, a treat I’d never had in my life. I ate one small scoop, since I was trying to keep to the Fuhrer’s strict rules.

I was subsequently screamed at for an hour when they found out.

Years later, when same aunt was giving me advice about the “delicate psyche” of children before Spawn was born, I brought up this small page in our history. I also told her I used to find her terrifying.

her:”…………….I’m….. I’m so sorry”

me:”kind of fucking late to regret now, isn’t it?”

I think that was the only time I ever heard that woman apologise for anything. She is Grand’s twin in many ways.


My twenties, I ended up with the marital fluff that comes from too much indifference and entirely too much meat and potato-based meals. When we split, I’d put on 30 or so lbs. I lost any taste for soft drinks and spent the first month or so gorging on as many raw vegetables as I could get my hands on. Not because I was dieting, but because I craved them. I didn’t count anything, didn’t weigh anything, I ate what I was in the mood for, including a 3 scoop variety bowl of ice cream with all the crap on it. I took up yoga, I loved it. I felt centered for the first time in my life.

I did weigh myself though. I had a mental number I wanted to reach and when I was within five pounds of it, I decided to take up a judo class. The first month, I instead gained five pounds but had dropped a pant size. It was my first epiphany in how little numbers mean.

The second was with a friend of mine who also had the desire to lean down, while¬†we were at a pub crawl (I did mention I gave up nothing, right?). We were on bar three and moving to bar four. It was probably just a couple blocks to the next one and my friend and I were chatting and laughing and outpacing everyone. We passed two individuals who represented everything we were trying to achieve, size-wise. As we passed, we heard one complain about being exhausted and their feet hurting. The other responded in agreement. My friend and I looked at one another and I simply said “maybe we need to rethink our¬†priorities…,” they simply responded¬†“indeed.”


When Spawn was known but in the works, I ended up taking care of Grand, a noncompliant diabetic. I never understood what Grand thought they were accomplishing by not checking their sugar and lying about what they ate. They lost their eyesight and their independance, and its by sheer miracle they didn’t lose an appendage or have to go on dialysis.

While they were under my care, they dropped about 9 sizes. I cleaned out all the garbage and started cooking my normal jive. Grand was a shopping junkie, so I took them grocery shopping about three times a week. It seems excessive but I refused to keep any mass quantities of fruit (their main addiction) and Grand always had to walk down every aisle each visit.

Let me repeat that…. they had to walk down every aisle each and every time. Even if nothing had changed, nothing moved, nothing.

I played a game of trying to find the biggest grocery stores I could that still kept only within the food range. Wal-Mart was off-limits except for only special trips (moments I wouldn’t go postal¬†spending days in a store). With Grand’s macular degeneration, they would obsessively grab shit and put it in their cart and I would¬†pull it out of the other side and put it back. I tried to keep the splurge tab in the 10-15 range so the high could be obtained without the expenditure. Grand was a junkie when it came to shopping, folks. I would bribe anyone of you to do my shopping for me.

Grand:”I could have sworn I got more than this…”

Me:”hmmm, nope… you were a bit picky today.”

With¬†Grand getting exercise on these trips, so I enforced the rule of only 2-3 pieces of fruit and each had to be a different color (probably the only thing they could see anyway) under the agreement we would come back when they ran out. When I refused to allow them the 10 lb bag of oranges, I got a call from one of her children about how I wasn’t feeding Grand. The 9 pant sizes and the elimination of two of their medications for sugar (there were four) seemed to support this. I did mention I was the evil black sheep of the family right? I fed Grand how I liked to eat, they had 3 squares and 2 snacks a day, and it worked.


My thirties, the weight crawled on while taking care of Spawn. Getting 2-3 hours of sleep a night with absolutely no break, full-time work and a kid who would scream if they had to consume anything besides chicken nuggets and french fries all summed up to a good 80 or more lbs. I responded the way I had in the past but with prepackaged salads, cooking mass quantities of meals and shoving them in the freezer (the first time around I had more than me to cook for with friends, roommates and my mom around all the time).

I tried to involve Spawn in my yoga. It didn’t go well and I wasn’t able to focus on it like I had when I could do it by myself, so I scheduled it when they were asleep. The weight also wasn’t budging either, even reviving the old habits. But this was a decade later.

I started counting calories for the first time. I hated it. I was hungry all the time and it felt like a full time job.¬†I tried several calculations and set an amount that would hit a 2 lb weight loss a week, and it still didn’t budge much. I would knock off another 100 calories until I started losing again, but I was so damn hungry.

I started walking every other day. I found out one of my blocks was about 2 miles around, the other almost 3, so I walked both each time.¬†BFG bought me some walking sticks because we had read it could help with strength training and your posture so you could walk faster. I didn’t even care if I looked stupid. I read so much material on nutrition and weight and exercise that, just like parental advice, it began to contradict each other.

I managed to knock off about half the weight. I’d had to give up caffeine due to an ulcer, and my last vice was smoking. When my cholesterol came back elevated, that went too. I was ok about it when¬†I gained 12 lbs from quitting. I thought it’d be more. But I still had 30+ lbs left to go and it refused to budge.


Then I came home one day and my legs ached when I walked, my arms ached, I couldn’t get a full breathe, my brain ached. I was so mentally drained I felt like I’d been trying to do calculus without paper. I felt like I’d run a marathon and every bit of liquid I’d had in my body was focused completely around my legs like a pair of saline pants I couldn’t remove. I moved like Grand at 80, the 50 yards to the bed felt like Mount Saint Helen, so I crashed on the couch most of the time.

I ¬†slept at least a dozen hours every time I could, more on the weekend. It was insanely difficult to get up in the morning. I was always stiff,¬†always tired, always hurting. I had donned a gorilla costume the Halloween before and chased Spawn for hours while they knocked on door after door and now I had no chance in hell of¬†standing at a stove for thirty minutes to cook anything. I couldn’t stand five minutes without whimpering.

My doc tried upping my anti-depressants, my cholesterol problem magically disappeared but my blood pressure was elevated, no that’s no longer a problem but your triglycerides are weird, nope, now its your thyroid. No wait…. DIABETES!

It stayed like that for almost six years now, and over 100 lbs this time. On a scale of 1 to 10, I was sitting at 11 in misery. Of course, over those 6 years I felt like cooking very little, drive-throughs often providing our only major meals. This pleased Spawn, but not me. Crap makes you feel like crap, but I wanted hot meals and had no desire to make anything. I could stare at a full fridge and could not come up with a single thing to make. I felt like I was dead.

I still pretty much feel dead, maybe a zombie walker? My last visit we talked while I was getting checked out for a¬†sinus infection (before the nurse told me to bend over). Cooking at home is now outweighing how much we grab. “Grabbing” dinner involves salads and lean meals at least half the time when I can find places that serve good food. I’m beginning to feel like I am at 8, sometimes 7¬†on good days. I’d lost 10 lbs… but in 3 months. It only took 6 months for that 100+ lbs to slam itself on and at that point, I was sleeping more than I was doing anything else. I even slowly weaned myself off the anti-depressant to see if maybe I wasn’t having some weird reaction to them.


So I’m at the point where I’m considering gastric bypass. I feel like I will continue to lose this battle with my own body unless I do something drastic. I have no intention of losing the war. I just need better artillery and the older I get, the harder this battle¬†is getting.

I have read something about transfer addiction, and I used to think I had an addictive personality, but when I’ve set my mind to toss something out, I don’t go back. Chantix starts you out with 3 months, I quit in one, I kept another week of the pills to help with situations of temptation and donated the rest to a fellow smoker looking to quit. I’ve never looked back. I felt pretty smug sitting at an outdoor table with a pack of chain smokers with¬†no desire to join them. I knew then I was done for good.

If I get my emotional brain to shut up, my logical brain tells me “remember that time you refused to drop the calculus class with the Russian professor you could never understand? It’s like that and it’s time to ask for help.”

Have you guys ever considered or done anything this drastic? I know I’m tired of just existing and now that Spawn is older, this is not at all the way I want them to remember me. I want to go on trips now, to experience now, to live NOW. Six years¬†was too much already.

Talking With Tarzan (G-uno)

Talking to Tarzan was like talking to an old friend from way back in the day. He, and I are not old friends. Tarzan, Jane, and her Ex-hubby were friends before I met Jane. Tarzan knows a very much younger Jane, and Ex-hubby, while I know the older version of them. Both he, and I were very curious about what they were like when each of us knew them. This was actually the first length of time we have been alone for a longer period of time, and before you ask yes he was dressed.

He invited me in to wait for Jane. He knows we tell each other most everything so it must be a little weird for him, but he didn’t behave in a way that would have indicated it at all. He started out by joking about being a fly on the wall at our little luncheons. I joked back saying that I wasn’t sure any male could enjoy that much time with all of us together. He asked me if it’s weird for me since I had been so close to both Jane, and her Ex-hubby. I told him yes it was extremely weird for me. The I asked him the very same question back.

He told me that over time he had gotten over missing his friendship with Ex-hubby, but certain memories would take him back to a time when neither of them could have imagined their friendship would of ended because of loving the same girl. He said he, and Ex-hubby had very different tastes up to that point. Their friendship started long before Jane came into the picture. I saw some regret in his eyes. I appreciated the fact that he chose to speak about Ex-hubby from a place of fondness rather than where their friendship actually ended. I know lately Ex-hubby has been quite the ass hat, but I still love my friend. I told Tarzan that he, and I had that in common as well.

I asked him how different was Jane now compared to then. He smiled, and told me she was surprisingly calmer now. This made me laugh because ever since Thanksgiving she was not the calm Jane I had been accustomed to. Then he asked me if I trusted him with Jane? I looked at him, I paused, and then I told him I had once trusted Ex-hubby with Jane. Then I followed by saying and we see how that worked out for me. He laughed, but he understood my worry.

Then we found our common ground that had nothing to do with Jane. Tarzan, and I are gardeners. We are both extremely green thumbed! So from then on until Jane arrived it was a nonstop trading ¬†of secret gardening tips. By the time Jane arrived Tarzan, and I were removing her ferns from her front flower beds. I will drop off the Amarillos this weekend. There was only one condition. That was to not let Jane black thumb murder my babies. ūüėČ

Working On My Fluff & Other Stuff (G-uno)

It occurs to me that I probably should have started putting some shame in my game months ago rather than two weeks before our daughters wedding. I actually didn’t even come up with that notion on my own. Jane, and the other other girls in my circle highlighted that with me at our last luncheon together snickering in a way that let’s me know they find my march to a different drum to be quite amusing.

Jane was the first to say she admires my ability to live in denial, that it’s part of my charm. I of course deny that analysis, and quickly point out they are jealous of my bold personal confidence. ūüėČ This brought them all to tears and laughter. Since I’m the only one in this little circle who has not made working out a priority after turning forty I am now the great source of kidding & laughter. With our daughter’s wedding being eight short days away, even I get the hilarity of my off sense of timing for working on shedding my fluff.

On another note let me just say that I have shed a grand total of five pounds since my last post “No Shame In My Game.” I called my sister right after I wrote that last post. I asked her for her old Weight Watchers paperwork, and the sliding scale to help determine the amount of points I would be eating on a daily basis. Yes, I know that’s not the proper way to approach this program, but I am making it work. I have also added walking 30 minutes a day to this new founded effort to try to address my cardio issue.

I know that this is just a start, but in all fairness I am trying to get over a wicked bout of flu, work a full time job, and keep up with all the wedding details so I’m pretty pleased with myself. In addition to all of that I did actually have a whole hour of personal talk time with “Tarzan” while I was waiting on Jane to get home to go to lunch. I will try to write ¬†that post after work today. I have to say it was a really good talk, and the first actual conversation that I’ve had with him where I ¬†wasn’t just trying to figure out what his intentions were with our “Jane.” ūüėČ

No Shame In My Game (G-uno)

You know how some women look in the mirror, and manage to see every single flaw? Well I’m not that woman. I think it’s because my bathroom mirror only let’s me see myself from the cleavage up. I’m not completely oblivious, but I’m not completely aware either. There’s no shame in my game. I eat a really healthy diet the majority of the time, but if I want something sinfully delicious I will have that too. It doesn’t help that I have some awesome blood work numbers, because that allows me to live under the false impression that I’m more healthy than I actually should be.

I tried to run around the block a few afternoons ago, and much to my surprise it was pretty difficult to do. Mr G-uno is no help because he tells me I’m as beautiful as always. Which leads me to believe his eyesight may be in as bad a shape as my cardio abilities. My doctor on the other hand told me to start losing some of my fluff. She’s been my doc since I was twenty so my rather fluffy chart is matching my rather fluffy backside these days. A good shot of vanity would be very advantageous. The problem is that I’m comfortable with the way I look.

No, I’m not rocking the size 7 body I use to have, but I’m a long way from being twenty. For the most part I like who I am. What I didn’t like was how I felt when I tried to make that short run. I need to follow the lead of some of my smarter fellow bloggers, and make more effort to exercise for my physical well being. I keep thinking about Jane, and my other friends. They all make a great deal of effort to maintain their figures for varied reasons. Jane especially now that she spends so much time with Tarzan who spends very little time in clothing.

Maybe I should try to convince Mr. G-uno to become a nudist. Afterall to be successful a girl needs a little proper motivation. If he doesn’t agree then maybe some full length mirrors might do the trick. ūüėČ

Ellie May’s Death (G-uno)

I walked into her dimly lit room. Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” was softly playing on the C.D. player on the night stand next to her bed. I walked over to her bed to say good morning ¬†just as I have every morning for the past four months. As I approached her I realized that she was gone. I checked for a pulse (an automatic response), her tiny wrist was still warm to the touch.Overcome with emotion I knelt beside her, and wept. It’s funny how something can shock you even though you are expecting it to happen.

I called her oldest daughter. I told her that Mom was gone. She is the strongest of Ellie May’s children, and unlike the others she has the ability to hide her emotions. This time she was unable to hide them. She began to cry, and panic about what needed to be done. She blurted out a stream of questions without a single pause. Just like me, she was in shock even though she knew this moment would come. I told her not to worry I would handle all of the necessary calls. That the only thing she needed to do was call Dad, and her siblings. I tried to further reassure her that I would not leave Mom before they arrived.

After letting the facility staff, and Hospice know that Ellie May had passed I began to give her one last bed bath. In her life Ellie May was meticulous about her appearance. I knew how important it would be to her to look a certain way when her family arrived. I bathed her tiny body. Brushed her teeth, and fixed her hair. Her hair was her signature trademark, it needed to be right. I removed the hospital gown, and dressed her in her own gown. It was pink with tiny flowers on it, one of her favorites. I quickly straightened her room in a way that would let her family feel that everything was cared for in a loving way.

As crazy as it sounds, I spoke to Ellie May as I gently prepared her to see her her family. I thanked her for allowing me to be a part of her life story. I told her how much our time together had meant to me. Once I had finished with all the tiny details I stepped back to survey the room, then finally Ellie May. She was beautiful. Ellie May chose to leave this life in the same strong dignified, private way she had lived. ¬†I walked ¬†back over to her bedside. I leaned down, and kissed her little cheek. I told her the exact same thing I have told all the many others who have gone before. “See you on the other side.” ūüėČ

2015 The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly (G-uno)

My Sister, and I are extremely close. She knows me in the way that only a person who has shared the same childhood can know you. Our childhood like so many of others out there was not the childhood famously captured in a Norman Rockwell painting. Ours was filled with dark secrets of violence, abuse, and scattered moments of average family life. There was love, closeness, and some extremely happy times, but the darkness always held the power to overshadow all of that with very little warning. Every year we share the tradition of spending New Years Eve together.

New Years Eve happens to be Mr G-uno’s birthday. He, and the little G-unos are camping deep in the woods which is their tradition. I don’t have an ounce of pioneer blood coursing through my veins. They will ride their dirt bikes, shoot their guns, and sit around campfires with a few others who share their love of camping.

My sister, and I will have a quiet dinner together. Then we will make our way to curl up on the couch in our jamies to begin our own personal recall of the past year. We usually give the passing year an overname. I plan to dub 2015 “The Year of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.” For me the year has absolutely been a wild ride. I’ve been hired, and fired! I’ve lost loved ones, and welcomed new ones. I had a front row seat to engagements, and weddings. I’ve also see longtime marriages come to a bitter end.

I have experienced great love, and extraordinary moments of happiness. I have also seen sickness, and great depression. It’s been a wild ride for sure. We have endured the good, the bad, and a great deal of ugly, and in spite of it all I feel like the good has significantly outweighed the bad. My sister would probably tell you that seeing the good over the bad has been my personal survival tactic from very early on in this life. She’s a very reliable source, but I prefer to let the good things in my life prevail over the bad things. There is always so much to be grateful for.

I hope the New Year will bring you all the very best! ¬†If it does bring you some of the bad, or the more difficult things in life, my wish is that you learn from the things that you encounter, and always know we are all in this together. Happy New Year! ¬† P.S. I can’t wait to hear my sister’s overname for this year. ūüėČ

how the hell did i spend that much money on a holiday i get no credit for? (g2)

Anyone else notice it’s Christmas? yeah… you can ignore it? Shut up, I’m not talking to you since I don’t get that luxury.

Those of us with children in the Santa range, it’s the time of year when you have to juggle sanity with the intense desire to make the MOST PERFECT FUCKING CHRISTMAS EVER!!!!!!!!

Which means you spend WAY more than you should.

Always.

Every.single.fucking.year.

I use a revolving credit line for Spawn’s xmas every year. No seriously, I do. I exploit those 6 months 0% things and they exploit me by raising my credit line.

This year was no different, in fact my hunger to buy was worse than it’s ever been. Spawn is at that age where gadgets are king and…. I … LOVE… GADGETS!

After 6 years of being on the list,¬†a particular gaming console came up as the centerpiece this year because I talked to the two console junkies I know and they both said this one was best if you liked supporting indie games. Considering 99.9% of the reason Spawn wanted the console was for one particular indie game, it won. An open box sale later, and it’s done.

Spawn has also been getting heavy into instruments. At school, they take cello, a guitar the last two years through camp¬†and now they have been trying to teach themselves piano (and Japanese) from their phone. I’m not sure if this instrument addiction is channeling their inner me or if maybe they want to see if they can learn more instruments than I did (5, if you want to know).

Considering Spawn rejected the idea of learning German like me, I’m guessing¬†it’s just the prior. Fine then, see if i’m going to stop cussing if I can do it in a language they don’t understand!!!

I don’t know why i seem to go crazy this time of year. Perhaps I’m getting possessed by both of Spawn’s dead grandmothers. Perhaps it’s guilt over the ones passed away or that I’m an only child, or for having such a bad connection with the little family¬†I do have.

I’m not like this on birthdays, in fact Spawn point blank would not give me any idea of anything they wanted for their birthday this past year, so they didn’t get much of anything. I’ve used that too as justification for my spending bullshit.

It actually took me forcing Spawn to a table and we brainstormed their Santa list this year, but it wasn’t until I forced them to do it.

I used to have a 10 item limit when Spawn would list lame shit like “pens” or “paper”. The last three or four items were almost always buzzwords they heard at daycare. Now they are older this has decreased to 5. They are more able to understand the concept of a wish list and it also keeps them from going crazy. Though Spawn still lists lame shit. When “drafting/art table” hit the wish list one year, Spawn made sure to list the stool upon which to sit at it separately.

Almost every year too, regardless of anything on Spawn’s list, it is generally some lame BS item that I tossed in as an afterthought that Spawn just ends up going nuts over. Or if BFH sends something, I’ve been upstaged by the godparent more than I will admit.

Ok dish, what’s been the worst you’ve ever done¬†for the holiday?

I think I might be hitting about 500+. It may be worse and I’m just forgetting, but that would cover the bulk. I use to try to keep it around 250 or less. I get for some of you that may not seem like a lot but understand I’m a single parent, that changes a lot. Christmas used to his 1k easy when I was married, and that was with no kids.¬†For some of you, it may seem insane I would spend so much, and to you I say… when can you move in and start budgeting my shit?

I hated the Fat man getting more credit than I did on birthdays. I’m losing bad now though.

how to you keep fighting the onslaught of santa disbelief? suggestions pleaded for…NSFC (Not safe for children) (g2)

Spawn is getting to the age of doubt about the whole fat guy thing. I’m a huge proponent of them believing in magic and Santa until they die of old age and as long as I’m alive, I’m going to do my best to do my part to ensure their believe and faith in magic.

Unfortunately, I’m unable to beat the living shit out of other’s people’s children, as much as the idea of snapping them in half by their head and ankles makes me giddy.

The little shits loudly proclaim the fat man false and I loudly counter they must be off the list then, good job, I’d crap in your stocking too with such a positive ‘tude.

It’s amazing I have a mature kid, I’m aware.

I don’t get it. If you no longer wish to believe in Santa, what right does that give you to shit on everyone else? Do they feel they are unveiling some grand conspiracy?

Mind you, I ran into Santa at the ripe old age of… two. Yes, two years old, it is indeed my earliest memory. I fell asleep in a corner hidden behind a violin case and woke up to the noise of Santa. I admit it was jarring, here I’d just barely gotten down the idea of some stranger being in our house only to find out the unique truth to that almost immediately after, but I’m an only child. I was ok with the idea I didn’t have to share Santa.

With Spawn, I’ve had to be realistic early. With an observant older cousin and a wise soul, I’ve had to be quick on the draw about a lot of things:

  1. Why do some kids have so much less/more than I do?
    • Because as parents, we get a bill from Santa. He makes the magic and we provide the resources. Not all parents have the same resources. Not all kids want the same things. Some don’t want Santa at all.
  2. Why do some kids get nothing?
    • Like all resources, even Santa has a limit. He gets to as many children as much as he can. Grown-ups try to help where they can as well and step in sometimes where Santa just cannot reach, but there will always be some that are missed, so matter how hard we try. Maybe one day we can say every kid who wishes for Santa will have him.
  3. My friend Muhammed al Hinkerschmidtbach says Santa never visits him, why not? Whose Saint Nick? Whose Kristkind? Whose Krampus?
    • He doesn’t visit every child, he visits those who believe in him and wish for him, i.e. Jewish and many other religions do not welcome Santa. He also exists in different forms based on location. Krampus is a scary fucker and why I will not be moving to Germany, like ever. Be glad you’re a good kid and shut up about that one or he might show up like Bloody Mary.¬†Who suddenly wants to binge watch some Netflix?
  4. Waaaaaahhh! I can’t go to sleep! Santa is going to skip over me!!!!
    • No worries, he actually texted and said he was held up with Ming-Lau over in China, you have some time to get drowsy,¬†let’s¬†make some¬†cocoa.
  5. Isn’t this the wrapping paper Santa used on my gifts last year?
    • Well that fat bastard! Why the hell should I have to clean up after his ass. (Spawn’s response: “Guess I know why you don’t get visits from Santa…”)

Spawn writes long notes to the tooth fairy and gets pissed when she doesn’t write back. Spawn has done the same with Santa for ages. I dutifully mail Santa letters off to North Pole, AK every year but Spawn likes to cut it very close and too often their wish list is left out with the cookies. I’ve had to explain on more than one occasion that if I wasn’t emailing updates they wouldn’t have gotten anything. It doesn’t seem to phase them. It’s like there is an unwavering faith at the same time there is doubt.

This year, Spawn’s philosophical question to Santa this year is:

“When do kids not get stuff from you anymore, what’s the limit? Adults still want things, but they are too old.”

Suggestions on how to respond?

Also, and possibly my favorite part of the letter:

“I want to wish you and everyone else on this planet Merry Christmas, whether they are old, young, poor, rich, nice or mean. Remember to wish them that when you stop by.”

i know it’s thanksgiving, but i’d just like to leave early because i don’t like you. (g2)

Well, per usual I spent Thanksgiving with my cousin’s family. If you have been confused with my family dynamic…. well, join the club. Why should I be the only one? As far as my cousins and I have been able to discern from our earlier generations…

Great Great and Great-grandparents = Embodied heavenly creatures brought forth to make entire childhoods more epic and special than even the most tear-jerking of xmas films. At least per Grand and her kids to some extent.

Dead grandparent = At least somewhat beloved by all four children, especially my mother. Despised by spouse, based on how they were mentioned our entire lives. Only one cousin remembers this person and yes, fondly.

Grand = one of the single most psychotic creatures I have ever had the misfortune to meet, let alone be raised by. When spouse died within a month of their father dying, Grand snapped and seemed to spend their life devoted to the sole destruction of their own family. Their children remember them mostly as “typical” but not “involved.”

Grand and spouse’s four children = four of the most worthless fucking parents, and sometimes people, the world has ever had the disgrace to have on the planet. Not one, as a parent, has been worth a shit. Yes, including my mother. For their children, this ranged from present but withholds love and pride in exchange for preferential¬†treatment (especially competing with their daughter-in-law), too busy picking out the next ex-Mrs. to be bothered being a parent, too busy partying and trying to find Mr. Right in all the Mr. Wrongs, to I’d rather raise the other kids I made instead of my first born¬†but only if it doesn’t interfere with my drinking.

Cousins = the group in which I am in…. we have families, good ones and good friends. For the most part, we all have our heads on pretty solid in spite of at least half of our genetic makeup. However, we are all such different people that had we not shared genetics in even the most minor of way, we’d never speak.

I used to say I was visiting “my closest cousin” or “the cousin to whom I was closest.” I realized over the years that not only was this strictly relative in comparing my relationship with my other cousins, but completely untrue.

We are maybe the two people¬†who might have had more than a passing conversation if we’d met in a waiting room or similar since we are techies. In my family, that’s close. We also have seven years difference in age. He’s the child of the eldest, I’m the child of the youngest. They had 12 years difference.

My cousin and his wife¬†have an awesome kid who is eerily similar to Spawn, interests-wise, despite their six years difference in age.¬†Sadly, they don’t talk to one another. They will both contentedly sit in the same room and play on their phone, computer or draw and not say a word for hours. This makes me sad, but I understand if it doesn’t happen naturally on its own, it will backfire.

My cousin and his wife do very well. They travel quite a bit, spoil their kid rotten and just generally get to do a lot together. I think it’s awesome. Comparatively, I probably make less than a fourth of what they do and we struggle quite a bit. I’m ok with that. The only time I’m not ok with that is when I feel like I’m getting graded for it. This only occurs when I’m visiting them. “Well, you know… you could do X if you just sock a little aside…” Um, no actually¬†I can’t, that ends up lumped into groceries and we need those.

I also get graded on my parenting. Spawn has my level of stubborn when it comes to something they don’t want to do and for the longest time, this mostly focused on putting anything in their mouth that wasn’t pizza, chicken nuggets or french fries. I blame daycare, since they considered mashed potatoes and rice balanced side dishes when served together. Spawn is older now, has made and tasted a quickie version of kimchi even, but if they don’t like it, they’re still not eating it. I don’t have a problem with this.

My cousin’s wife is an awesome cook and I would use these as good reasons for Spawn to try something they “thought” they hated. Spawn would dig in their heels about it not being on that very short list in their head and instead of letting the parent handle it, both my cousin and his wife would gang up on my kid to make them try it. My knee jerk reaction was to do the opposite and let Spawn escape the onslaught.

They didn’t see they were doing anything wrong, but¬†more than once I would have to point out, “I would never have to audacity to parent your kid, it’s not my place. So remember that when the urge strikes you to parent mine.”

The sad thing is this hasn’t happened with just them among my family. It really breaks down your own self worth when you¬†are overstepped because someone thinks they can “handle” your kid better. Is it due to family persistently thinking you are forever 13? Or do they actually see you’re an adult but just think you’re that incompetent?

The whole reason I ever came to this area… I blame first on my mom’s death, the holidays, or those fucking Budweiser holiday commercials… not sure. I sure as hell wasn’t remembering my actual blood relatives when I came up with this idea.

I had a kid on the way and suddenly family took on a very intense meaning. My family was all over 3k miles away, Grand was getting on in years and none of their kids wanted to deal with them.

I would. I’d dealt with their crazy shit most of my life, another 10 years would be nothing to get them out of the solitude they were currently living in. It would give my kid exposure to at least one member of their own family. I was hell bent on making Grand’s twilight years an epic adventure as I learned what it meant to be a parent.

It wasn’t¬†long before, due to Grand and her minions (the three surviving children) I was soundly ousted from that scenario. Grand was packed up and moved off into a house with a friend of the eldest and not long after…. an assisted living facility and then state-funded type you die in.

I’d managed to get some weight and blood sugar meds off Grand just long enough for the eldest to stuff them¬†on a shelf where they put that and more back on. The degeneration was rapid… so so rapid. Within one year there was a walker… and a diaper.

Greed had always been a driving factor for Grand and her eldest was no different… eerily so. The best I could figure is they were under some assumption I had come back to take advantage of Grand and the… wealth? Grand has social security and a mortgage still, in their 80’s. They had lent 25k to the pathetic piece of shit of their youngest son. The same son who told me during that time period “Family decisions will be made by the family… not you.”

Those were our last words.

Example, I took Grand to the grocery store about 2-3 times a week. Grand was addicted to shopping and I noticed they would go up each and every aisle no matter how much they really needed to get. Did you know just doing that, Grand dropped a couple pant sizes in no time?

Grand had an almost desperate need to shove stuff in their cart. Macular degeneration helped a lot during this time period as Grand would focus on one side, while I pulled things out of the cart from the other and put it back. I always made sure there was at least something there to buy for their fix, but it had to stay under 10 bucks total.

With us grocery shopping so often, the food was fresher. Grand loved fruit and I only allowed 3 servings at most per trip, and all had to be different colors. Grand got pissed at me when I wouldn’t let them buy¬†a 10lb bag of oranges (did I mention Grand was diabetic?). I got calls later that I was accused of not feeding Grand.

Whenever I did something that Grand didn’t like, they would start some shit with their kids in order to bully me, I guess? I would take the infant Spawn to visit their other and only living grandmother. Grand told anyone who would listen I was running around with various people, the allusion was that was sleeping around.

I remember one night I had just gotten back to Grand’s about midnight, Spawn conked out in my arms and Grand was rocking away, arms folded, look of disgust mounted on their face. I asked what was wrong. I was told that someone had called Grand to say I’d been out with some member of the opposite sex.

I’d heard shit like this my entire life. I would tell Grand where I was going and give a number, I would come back accused of all sorts of atrocities. This was before caller id, so I had no reason to believe it was wasn’t true. I just could never figure out who the hell looked like me enough or if their friends were just blind and stupid. I didn’t know how to not be defensive growing up, and always felt guilty for nothing.

I quietly walked over to the caller id when Grand refused to tell me who called… there’d been no calls in 27 hours. I asked Grand why they had spent my entire life sitting in that fucking chair coming up with bullshit lies to sling at me for no other reason than their own twisted amusement.

Then I sat down just opposite Grand, got close and said…”If I want to fuck half a dozen people of both genders in front of my infant kid, I’m almost thirty and you cannot do a damn thing to stop it as that is none of your fucking business. Are we understood?”

Grand was pissed, but a small nod told me what I needed. I rose and as I headed to bed I just said “You know, even if that were some sort of weekend hobby I decided to adopt, I still don’t think it would ever make me as shitty a parent as you.”

As time wore on, Grand tried various bullshit in order to regain “control.” With Grand, that’s all it was really about.¬†I wasn’t letting Grand do what they wanted, or control me, so I needed to be disciplined and put in my place.

Thing is, I was the grandchild. Hearing enough various awful things I was apparently doing to Grand was enough to make her surviving children, at least two of them, wonder what the deal was.

The original plan was that Grand and I would me moving in together but there was no way I was moving back to Grand’s house. So in the midst of all of this, on the weekend I was to be moving into the new place (we got Grand up there in advance), I showed up with van full of stuff and find some friend of Grand’s eldest is already living there. I call my cousin to ask what is going on. They have no idea.

I get back in my van, and I head back to Grand’s old house. In three days, I’ve moved to my own place in the next city and I haven’t given anyone the address. I cut off all contact Grand’s kids in the area.

I get calls from Grand begging me to come get them. My paranoid mind is telling me the eldest is recording all of Grand’s conversations, but my logical mind is telling me not even they are that crazy.

They are that crazy.

The eldest proudly declares this when describing a conversation where Grand called their youngest to check on me and then called me to tell me to call the police if they showed up. Seriously.

I tell Grand that they were the catalyst for 99% of this. It sucks that their kids are as stupid and mean as they are, but they should be proud they’d done so well turning them into exactly what they wanted. That being jobless, homeless with an infant was the last situation I wanted to be in and be surrounded by that goon squad. That I didn’t want a damn thing from any of them and I sure as hell wasn’t telling them where I was.

This is also shortly after hearing about how Grand had enlisted the help of their eldest son to take me away from my mom almost 30 years ago. The one time I remember coming near Grand Jr aka the eldest is to pick up the rest of my things that actually did make it up (there’s still more), Spawn is staying with a friend of mine for the day as I will not have them around my kid in case anyone gets any wild ideas for a do-over.

Fast forward to this past holiday. This eldest child of Grand’s I’m civil to out of respect for my cousin. This is the only family he has to invite aside from me and he loves his parent. I get all that. I loved Grand even though I didn’t like them. Unfortunately, the eldest is hellbent on trying to delve right into the past slew of shit I’ve managed to dodge the past ten years.

I don’t want to hear it. I don’t care anymore. Grand had a shitty final ten years and that is on Grand and their kids. I did my best and like all of my life I have never felt a part of this family. I was the unwanted runt Grand brought home, put on a pedestal and proceeded to sink every dime into buying truckloads of unnecessary shit for, making it obvious to every other member of the family who the favored child was, most especially among other grandchildren. Doesn’t help any bonding with your family peers, I can tell you that. I grew up feeling like there was always going to be a sizable bill at the end. That I was expected to make a large income that would enable Grand to have a life they intended to become accustomed.

What a disappointment I must have been.

This eldest went on about how that friend was only staying there until I got there. This stunned me. They asked why I didn’t ask. I told them I did ask, I asked Grand, I asked my cousin when they weren’t available and they were all as clueless as I was.

I was accused of being insanely picky about everything I wanted down to the minor details. I told them that was ridiculous. Sure, I had a lot of things I liked, everybody does, but I wasn’t allowed to be involved in any of the decision-making enough to be accused of being picky. That the entire time any of this was going on, I saw one realtor, who showed us a bunch of overpriced insane shit and next thing I know there just is a place, it’s purchased and their friend is living in it. What I thought didn’t matter and no one asked.

To some degree, it kind of felt like an act and in some other, it seemed like the eldest kind of figured out where they fucked up. I’m sure, if they are like Grand, this will be rewritten in their mind in about a week, much like the “insane demands” I apparently made about… spigots, tiles? I remember a conversation once about things I thought were cool in kitchens. This is the only reference material I can recall on this and it had nothing to do with any places we’d seen. I want a completely stainless steel kitchen with sealed cabinets, a pressure washer and a drain in the floor… because I’m fucking lazy and that sounds awesome. I also want a more awesome chest and thicker hair.

My cousin’s wife… I’m not sure if she was trying to be comforting, but it really just pissed me off more. They were saying that not having someone as venomous as Grand around Spawn is something I should be thankful for. That I should be grateful to the their kids for all of it since it meant I was free of it.

But I’m not. They fucking meddled and pushed me to the side and instead of discussing anything with me, they just meddled more and dealt with Grand like baggage. There is no way NOW of knowing how any of it would have turned out. Grand might still be here, as cantankerous and shitty as ever, but on less meds and less weight and busy… I just wanted them busy and active and not sitting in that stupid rocker all day brooding over who they would fuck with next. Sure, it would have been trying for both me and Spawn, but maybe not as much as it was at the start had we all been allies versus enemies. We were just NEVER given that chance.

All of this BS aside, it shit on so many relationships with my family as well, I have nothing but bad¬†feelings from all of that. If I’d known that then what would have occurred, before coming back to this area, I would have never come and probably headed further west and away from them.

THAT I could have been truly thankful for.

mom died over a dozen years ago today…but it still seems so very recent (g2)

Over a dozen years ago today I was working a double shift at a telecommunications center that was trying to ramp up for holiday volume. My mom and I were instant messaging back and forth about plans for the upcoming holiday well into midnight. We said our “I love you’s” and “good night’s,” her very last message being how her boyfriend would be coming down.

I didn’t like how my mother behaved around the men she was dating, and this one was no different. This was the first one that wasn’t married, a junkie, a drunk, a loser, or some variation thereof and I could tell she was pretty serious about him. I didn’t dislike him either. I truly felt my mom deserved someone good for a change.

However, I hated how she spoke higher and more sing-songy when he was around. How her very quick and sharp wit was dulled and muted¬†in order to keep the spotlight on her man. My mom was the type of person you’d want to have your back in a beer brawl. Her Mrs. Cleaver act around guys just pissed me off.

I sent a final message opting out of spending the holiday with her, using work as an excuse, and wishing her a good time with the boyfriend.

I cannot express enough the relief when I found that message unread two days later.

When my message arrived, my mom had dozed off in front of the TV, and in less than an hour a blood clot traveled to her lungs and suffocated her in her sleep. She never reached fifty years of age.

A little over a day later, her boyfriend would be the one to find her still on the couch.

I’m sitting at work, on a Saturday, working another double shift with a hundred¬†pairs of eyes on me while a coroner calls me to tell me casually my mother is dead and how by the decomposition and smell of the body, how he managed to estimate the time of death.

I’m also pissed that this man dares to fuck with me over such a thing. There is no way my hiking, fishing, outdoorsy loving mother would be dead.

I put the call on hold and walk to a back office. I have no clue what my face shows at this point, only that all one hundred sets of those eyes are watching me in shock.

When I pick up this call, I start tearing into this man for the shitty human being he is, how my mother would kick his ass if she knew what he was trying to pull. He never responded, except to give me his number and I hang up on him.

It wasn’t until my friend Cris calls me on my cellphone and tells me that she is with my mom’s boyfriend and they are there to pick me up that the weight of it hits me as truth.

Cris was close to my mom, but she’d never met the boyfriend. If she was with him, it was because she is one of those on a short list of emergency numbers my mom keeps of people who know how to find me.

I feel like a building just fell on my chest, I don’t really remember breathing. It gets worse when I see Cris, the boyfriend standing behind and off to the side with downcast eyes as though he somehow doesn’t have the right to be there.

This puzzles me.

I suddenly feel very sorry for him when¬†I realize he has to be one who found her. I also realize I don’t… I don’t want to see her at all.

I also realize this is one of the few people who might actually be hurting as much as I am.

I realize that if I don’t make any other calls, I do need to call Grand and tell them their baby is dead. I’m still at work when I find an empty office and give them the news. It galls me the first response Grand has is “are you ok?”

Cris deals with most of it. I don’t remember much of anything except that it isn’t long later when Cris and another one of my close friends are with me at home. I’ve not cried, I doubt I’ve expressed much of anything. They intermittently ask me if I want anything. I finally tell my friends I love them and appreciate what they are trying to do but I really need them to get the fuck out.

I stared in the dark in my quiet little house for only a little while before I got in the car and headed to my mom’s.

I had my own set of keys to her house, as she did to mine.

I suddenly remember my last text message blowing her off for the holiday. GUILT. It’s blinking unread in her notifications. *SIGH*

I read an email she sent to her boyfriend where she mentioned being just a little disappointed that there had not been any grandchildren from my failed marriage. GUILT.

I curled up into a ball on the couch she died in and for a long time… I cried.

I cried over the fact that the only thing my mom ever wanted from life was the whole marriage and happy home bit. The closest she ever got was the engagement she hadn’t told me about yet to the current boyfriend. He let it slip in the chaos and I’d yet to process it.

I cried over the fact that in all of my almost thirty years on earth, if you took the years that were robbed by Grand, my former spouse and my own stubborn anger… my mom and I had only have seven years of time together. SEVEN.

I was an orphan. I’d long been abandoned by one parent and had spent most of my life feeling like¬†the other one was just half-assing the same. It would be a few more weeks before I would find out just how much of a lie that was, and I would grieve even more.

I stayed on that couch for days.

Then I buried myself in work, and when it came time to leave work, I hit the bars. I had a precarious balance between burying myself in work and inebriation.

I volunteered to train classes at other centers when I couldn’t deal with the fact my co-workers knew about it. When I had to have paperwork notarized, it was a branch manager at another center who did it. They just asked “Why are you even here?”

Grand and my closest cousin came to help clear out paperwork and see if we could find a will. I opted to cremate her, requested a lock of her hair. I’d never done funeral things and we weren’t members of a church. We were outsiders to the area we lived really. I drug my cousin along on my alcohol binges when we had decided to cease and desist in the evening. To this day, we don’t talk about it. He¬†took on the mantra Nevada did… “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” kind of thing. For me that kind of wildness was pretty normal, for him the¬†family man, it was very eye-opening.

By the time I could tolerate other people and could host a wake, only her boyfriend and a few of my friends had come. I had just waited too long for people to keep an eye out for it. I just did everything wrong. MORE GUILT.

I know deep down my mom would never stress about that kind of shit and she would likely make fun of me for doing so. Unfortunately, logic doesn’t seem to have a lot of pull over emotions. It’s sucks like that.

I know my mom would feel bad to know that the holiday season is very bittersweet for me. She was such a massive kid about the holidays, she loved them all and was excited about them and ran at them with wide open arms. It would kill her to know that losing her makes me want to curl back up on that couch every holiday season until its over.

So I don’t.

I try to channel my mom in spite of the scroogy spirit that I have. I realize now I started doing it for Grand’s benefit right after losing my mom and I’ve been doing it for someone’s benefit ever since. Thank goodness it only took a couple years before Spawn came along, since now I don’t have to work to find a focal point.

I try my best to give my kid the kind of holiday environment that would make the grandmother they never knew proud. It’s the least I can do.

ever had someone tell you more about yourself than you realized? (g2)

I guess having someone make an observation about you that¬†confuses you might actually be very common. Self-awareness isn’t exactly common. Considering I spend quite a large amount of time trying to assess my mental standing on an ongoing basis, I tend to be a little more surprised than normal, especially when I seem to be¬†way off.

I’ve been struggling lately with the desire to blog being beaten down by the desire to bitch. Not that I have a big issue with bitching, but I like it to be riddled with enough humor that is kind of muddled down to an “awww, ain’t it cute” level. I don’t like when all I want to do is rage and I don’t feel it’s constructive to share that. I hate it when I cannot convince my own mind to let go of the anger, I hate it even more if I drag someone else into it with me.

Now if I was having a turf war with my posse that’d be one thing, but this is mostly me latching onto unnecessary crap that goes against my philosophy of “indifference is the best revenge.”¬†Lately, and for many months, what has been consuming me has been a large volume of petty little shit, stuff that usually doesn’t bother me.

My computer died. Some of the hardware I ordered was bad. I procrastinated on sending it back and apparently, even though it was not on, it decided to have a mini-fireworks display of a short out of the blue, effectively frying the bad parts further as well as possibly taking out some of the good. Now I cannot send it back.

I have discovered some bugs in the house and want to set it on fire and move. I know the winter is some of the¬†influence as they migrate to warm areas and finding the occasional forgotten lunch nugget under a pile of old homework a’la Spawn isn’t helping.¬†I miss living in the frozen desert of the west because it was too cold for this crap. Roaches can survive a nuclear war, but they cannot survive in the upper midwest of the US. Think on that.

I am hating the company I work for. Over a year of nonstop¬†stress over stuff that I have to shoulder the blame for internally and externally in spite of my having nothing to do with it,¬†my annual review being completely ignored all compiles to more than I am willing to take, especially considering my take home is less than my last job. With Spawn’s sights on a school in the upper part of the state in a few years (an expensive one), I’m thinking that will be a good direction. I also want to head out west soon after.

I’m also feeling choked by clutter and want to sell, trash or give away almost everything I own. I lived with the packrat that was Grand, so I short circuit when it gets too much.

Yesterday, I get a call from one of my fellow parent buds. They needed to pick up their car and needed a ride. Although I sincerely did¬†not want to, I wanted to contemplate¬†my next actions on my freshly revamped, cleaned and heavily modded installation of Skyrim that I plan on burying myself in when I could¬†confiscate Spawn’s computer for a few hours.

I agreed to giving them a ride because… karma. Spawn had¬†a ton of homework, so I suggested ditching the kids together so they can finish while we get the vehicle. My friend grabbed¬†pizza for the kids and we go figure out what to eat that we know they’d hate. Seafood ended up being the answer.

We talk, we gripe, we trade advice, we vent, we laugh, we joke, we eat ourselves sick. I contemplate whether I still have the drinking skills to take out a massive margarita and still drive straight. I opt not. It’s dark, raining, it’s been over 10 years since I’ve had any copious amount of alcohol and I live in the state with the highest percentage of bad drivers already.

My buddy remarked that they were happy to see the edge¬†was off me that day. I’m pretty sure I looked like a dog when it perks its ears and cocks its head to the side. My face went dead and I just asked “huh?” They said I seem to have less stress and mental weight on me that day¬†than I have had in a long while. I was absolutely puzzled. Was I this good an actor? Was I secretly in a good mood and hadn’t noticed? Was I not still pissed about the same stuff that I’d been pissed about for months? Well, yeah I was still pissed about it.

Was there anything about today that was brighter, more special or good? Nah. I was being fed the same line of shit at work of “It’s ok, in about a month this will get SO much better and we’ll be back on track” that I’ve been hearing since I started there a few¬†years ago. It’s a bad record I stopped acknowledging a long time ago.

To be honest, I don’t know. Perhaps in the back of my mind, I’m slowly embracing¬†the indifference I have been longing for the past several months over the stupid stuff I can’t change and shouldn’t matter. Maybe deciding¬†to look for a new job was enough to make me feel better. Maybe fantasizing about setting the house on fire is the positive imagery I was needing. Maybe I’m just excited that Santa is coming.

Well Now The Monkees Aren’t The Only Believers (G-uno)

I suspect that my daughter has always been a believer in signs somewhere deep inside. After years of living with me it’s only natural that some of it should rub off, I am a believer of “signs.” Yes, I know there are a lot of you out there who don’t, but some things in this life can not be dismissed by even the world’s biggest “Doubting Thomas.”

We lost or loved one after a long four-year struggle in July. He was not a believer in signs, but at his funeral he sent what I believe to have been one of the best signs ever sent to grieving loved ones. A beautiful green, and yellow parakeet showed up at his grave site after his internment ceremony. It landed in front of us, and even let us hold him. If your curious about that story you can read my post “Signs From The Universe.” I will try to stay on track here with today’s post. ūüėČ

Our family surrounded our loved one as he left this world behind. It was hands down one of the most difficult moments in our lives. As we sat with him waiting for the funeral home to arrive my brother-in-law softly played quiet music that reminded him of our loved one. Then he looked up at me, and asked what my song was. Mine was “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole. So that’s what he played. Well as a private tribute myself, and other family members post this song on FB whenever we find ourselves missing him. This song gets played a lot.

Last week my daughter who is employed by the same long-term facility that our loved one lived the last four years of his life happen to be sitting in the dinning room where she, and her grandfather sat many times together for lunch feeding another resident. Another coworker sat beside her also feeding a resident. She told me she was overwhelmed with emotion as she sat in this dinning room for the first time since his passing.

Then all of a sudden the C.D. player cut on, and the song that played was Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable!” Our daughter who inherited her father’s “Doubting Thomas”gene found herself open to the possibility that she may share a few genes from her mother’s genetic pool. ūüėČ