Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pros Only

Winters can be hard. Winters can be really hard as a single person. It's cold, the holidays happen, etc. It can suck.

So the Wife and I thought we'd make a list to make ourselves feel better about being single. Like a Gratitude List only for being single. The things we appreciate about being single. It was supposed to make us feel less sad, but it's had kind of the opposite effect. I don't feel less sad. I feel more happy. I feel really appreciative. At first it was just little things. But then it was just an overall feeling of, "I am really okay. Really." As in, I actually prefer this life. For now. I don't know what will come later, but I am really good right now. Without any convincing, I'm good. I'm good with me. I'm good with Now.

If you're not okay, or you need a little reminder that you are, here is a little list of some of the things we've come up with. We add to it regularly.

I can go home when I want. I have nobody to answer to.
I can flirt whenever I want with whoever I want. Everyone is fair game and so am I.
I can complain about being fat while stuffing my face with apple pizza and there isn't anybody to judge me.
My relationship with my kid is mine. Right or wrong, we will figure it out together.
The possibility still exists. I'm not stuck. Hope is good.
My future is mine. It is limitless.
The mistakes I make are mine and I only have to answer to myself.
I can set the heater at whatever temperature I want.
There is no video game talk in my house.
I can watch whatever, whenever I want on T.V.
My dogs sleep with me and I don't have to explain that.
No sports. I only watch the Kentucky Derby and the Super Bowl, and the latter for the commercials only.

If I get too cold, I have two very willing puppies to snuggle with.
Life is good.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Here We Go.....

Senior year. I have had thoughts about this year since D was born. There are emotions and stresses and all of that blah, blah, blah. Etc., etc, etcetera! The things is, shit's getting real, ya'll.

This week was kind of major. Not in a really life-altering way, more of a reminder of what's coming up. To-do list check-offs. We ordered her cap and gown. She thinks it's funny to tease me and said, "Are you ready to cry?" as she handed me the order form. As if. I don't cry when I have to shell out money. Okay, I do, but for different reasons. Last night we chose her senior pictures. Also last night, for the first time ever, she came home at 2:00 in the morning by herself. (Catching Fire premiere. Very important stuff.) And then she got up early and went to school. Like an "adult."

See? It's not that big of a deal. And yet it is. Every step takes us closer to the End. The end of childhood. The end of my days as a "mommy." It's terrifying, and heartbreaking and freeing. All at the same time. I'm glad there are these little steps to inure me to the idea that my little girl is going to go away soon. If we had to jump off the cliff all at once, I don't think my heart could take it. I know my sanity couldn't.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How to Tell if Your Dog is Losing Her Freaking Mind

The carbon monoxide detector starts beeping at 4:30 in the morning because its battery is low. Like smoke detectors, these things only happen during the hours you should be fast asleep. You know that it's beeping, not because it wakes you up, but because your dog is clawing at your face to tell you that it's beeping.

You get up, unplug the damn thing, throw it in the coat closet, and head back to bed. Since both dogs are up, you let them out to potty and then call everyone back to bed. You think that you still have plenty of time to get a decent amount of sleep before you have to get up for work.

You are wrong.

The boy dog never realized that there was pre-sunrise drama, so he settles back down to sleep like a Good Boy. The girl dog thinks that the beeping signaled the end of the world and she wants to you stay up and freak out with her until that happens.

You pet her and tell her it's okay. That's not enough and she continues to pant as if the bed were on fire. You try to pull her close to you to reassure her. She pants her bad doggy breath right into your nostrils. She won't stop shaking. You try to ignore her and turn to the other side. She walks across your head, pulling your hair out along the way, so that her breath can be directly fanning your face again. You pull the covers over your head, thinking she'll eventually give up. No. She starts to walk in circles over you, walking across your head, your side, your head, your hip, circling faster and more frantically each time.

After about 30 minutes, she finally gives in and lays next to you. Only you can feel her staring at you because her face is half an inch away from yours. It's like her line of sight is boring into your cheekbone. At this point you are starting the countdown until your alarm will go off so you close your eyes and hope for the best.

You never go back to sleep.

When you get out of bed to take a shower, she goes with you. At this point the boy dog thinks it's just time to get up so you let them outside one more time but inform them there is no breakfast until after your shower. For which they follow you into the bathroom. Both of them. When you get out, you have to avoid stepping on dogs. One of which is perpetually ravenously hungry and the other of which is still shaking and insists on walking between your feet. For the rest of the morning. You nearly kill yourself tripping over her a dozen or so times and you would throttle her if she didn't have such big, sad eyes that look at you with absolute trust that you will make her world right again.

You sigh. You crate them both before leaving and just hope that your neurotic dog doesn't give herself a stroke while you're at work. And that she will allow you to nap when you get home.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

When Good Friends Go Bad

Last week, at book club, the subject of age came up. With the exception of one, we are all over the age of 40. A couple of us were talking about how our eyesight has changed just over the last couple of years. The skin under my eyes has gotten thinner this year. We are noticing small changes that amount to our impending mortality.

I shared a story from my late teenage years. I worked at a Hallmark, where I rang up many, many old women. Old women are always buying cards. Or at least they were back in the day before they started costing upwards of $4.00. I digress. I would hold my hands on the counter, watching them write their checks, comparing my smooth skin with their wrinkles and age spots, their gnarled knuckles. My hands became a source of pride, a symbol of my youth and vitality. And, because of this foolish pride, I have watched my hands age over the years with growing sadness.

After telling this story, M asked if that was really such a difference. I had her lay her hand down flat on the table and laid mine next to hers. "See how I have more wrinkles?" She looked down and gasped, exclaiming loudly, "Oh, WOW!!!" Um, okay. They're not that bad. It's not like they're all shriveled into dry tree branches. Plus, the weather here is very drying and I hadn't recently moisturized. No need to make me cry!!

I think I'm just going to wear gloves around her from now on.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Teaching the Birds and the Bees

Note: This isn't going to be very interesting, I just had sort of a random memory the other day that led to other thoughts and this is just how my brain works.

I learned where babies come because my sister was born when I was seven. I thought it was pretty disgusting. Once, when shopping with my mom, she asked me what I thought about black bras. Who asks a nine-year-old this question? My mom, apparently. I told her I thought it would make her a slut. She didn't buy it.

One day, when my sister was five, she came into my room, dropped to all fours on my bed, and started humping the air. "I'm making babies!" This is what happens when you take your five-year-old with you to breed your dog. Any time she wanted to annoy me from then on, she would hump the air on her hands and knees.

Because my mom had been so open about sex, I wanted to be that way with D. Except I didn't feel open and I was never really prepared. One night, when she was four and taking a bath, she asked me the dreaded question. "Where do babies come from?" I tried to answer as calmly and as simply as I could.

Me: Well, the man has a sperm and the woman has an egg. When the sperm meets the egg......
D: Ha ha ha ha..... The sperm meets the egg!! Say it again!!
Me: The sperm meets the egg.
D: hee hee hee, ha ha ha..... Say it again!!!

Yes, hilarity ensued. That was the end of that.

When she was nine, I was slightly concerned that she hadn't asked again. She had a friend who recently gained a baby sister. Concerned she might get wrong information from friends, I asked if she had any questions about that baby or birth and told her that she could ask me anything, secretly hoping that she wouldn't. We happened to be out at lunch and she said a quick okay, then took a bite of food. I thought that was it until she said, "Okay. So how does it happen? That thing, sex." Again, I explained as simply as I could using the physical description of the act rather than the "when a mommy and a daddy love each other" bullshit. She just sat there, staring at me. Finally she said, "Okay. That is even grosser than I thought." Which was the end of the conversation.

Over time, I did get used to talking about the subject. Mostly because I'm a smart ass and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. D thought she could embarrass me one night. While she had a friend over.

D: What is 69?
Me: It'a a number.
D: But what is it?
Me: A number between 68 and 70.
D: But what else? (while giggling and looking at her friend.)
(Oh, we're going to play that game are we?)
Me: It's a sexual position.
D: That's what I thought.
Me: Would you like me to draw you a picture? Are you sure you know? Maybe I need to make it really clear for you.
D: Ew, gross! No!! Mom, you're sick!!!

At least she left me in peace and went to her room.

Monday, November 11, 2013

I Guess I Can Try the New Beehive Hairstyle Now

J: Do you have aerosol hairspray?
Me: No.
J: Why not? How can you not have aerosol hairspray?
Me: Because I care about the environment. Besides, I don't use that much hairspray. Also - I'm not my grandma.
J: I can't believe you don't have aerosol hairspray. Everybody has aerosol hairspray.
Me: Apparently not everyone.
J: I can't believe you. Seriously.

A couple of days later:

Me: What is the deal with stupid aerosol hairspray anyway?
W: I have some. It's different now, it's not like it was in the 70's.
Me: Oh. Nobody told me that.
W: Yeah, you can join the 21st century now.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Excuse Me, What?

This conversation happened between D and me this morning. Please note that she asked me to make her breakfast before this conversation took place.

D: Does it seem crazy to you how grown up I am?
Me: How what you are?
D: Grown up.
Me: Um.
D: .......
Me: When was the last time you made a grilled cheese by yourself?
D: At E's house. It took us like half an hour and we burned the first one.
Me: Yeah. So what were you asking me? 

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Red Lipstick

When I was in college, I had a particularly difficult class with a particularly difficult professor. The only way to write a paper that would pass would be to write the paper that he would have written. In other words, I had to read his mind, which was nearly impossible as I am not someone who enjoys spending large quantities of time with lab rats. I did spend many hours sitting outside his office waiting to review papers before I turned them in. I spent hours inside his office while he scribbled red marks all over what I had already painstakingly written. Only to repeat the process.

The weeks spent in that class resulted in a few nightmares. It was my waking life, however, that became really bizarre. Any time that I couldn't get past a paragraph or a sentence for any paper I was writing for this class, I would go clean something. The bathroom I shared. Another roommate's dishes. The kitchen sink. My closest. Myself. I was taking up to three showers a day that I didn't need. My roommates loved me. My developing OCD would have frightened me had I been able to take a step back and see how crazy I looked from the outside. Instead, I was tunnel-visioned and head-down until the class was over and I was able to return to a state of normalcy.

The recent experiences with D and her (fucking) depression have brought some of that back. I don't have the energy to scrub my toilet four times a day, but I have made the effort to return to my former Self. The Self I was before I was aware of my own depression and before I lost myself in the Bad Relationship. This Self paid bills on time (with less money than I have now), made and cooked weekly menus with groceries bought specifically for that purpose, and generally had her shit together. She even invited other small children over to bake and decorate cookies, something this current Self would run shrieking from.

I still am not about to invite small children mess into my home, but I have started picking my clothes up off the floor more than bi-monthly. I washed sheets and put them back on my bed in the same day. I planned a week of meals and bought the necessary groceries. On a Sunday no less, instead of lying on the couch alternating between napping and watching other people cook on Chopped.

Finally, in order to complete the transformation of this New Self, I made a small purchase. The Old Self, while she had her shit together, did not pay much attention to her own appearance. She went days without putting on a spot of makeup. She expunged most semblances of femininity in favor of raising a daughter who valued her internal worth over her outward appearance. (Which, by the way, was completely futile as my offspring has always been the girliest girl she could ever be.)

My New Self, as she grows older, embraces her femininity. Her shoe collection alone can attest to this fact. She understands that she can be both strong and fallible whether she's wearing a dress and heels or going out as Plain Jane. She's a woman and she enjoys it.

To that end, I attended a lipstick party over the weekend with the sole intention of finding the perfect shade of Red Lipstick. I've tried to wear red before, because I think it's powerful and sexy, but never quite thought I could pull it off. Any red I attempted I immediately covered up with lip gloss to tame it down, silly it up, dilute the power, erase the real woman I wanted to be.

Don't misunderstand; I don't think that Real Women are defined by something as superficial and trivial as their lipstick. Or their hairstyle. Or their professions, their relationships, or their parental status. For me, this is my symbol of the woman I want to be. Put together. Strong. Capable. It's my new cape, the symbol of the hero I want to be for my daughter and for myself. It's smaller than a breadbox and will melt in the sun, but it represents more to me than just a stick of what is, essentially, colored wax.

My red lipstick is the detail that reminds me to pay attention to the details. It's the personal touch that tells the world I'm ready. And, more importantly, that I got this.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Not Today

“There is only one god and his name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: “Not today.” 
― George R.R. MartinA Game of Thrones

I love this quote. I think it is my favorite line from this whole series and, if you're watching it, you know there are some really, really excellent lines. Like anything that comes out of Tyrion's mouth.

So this may be disjointed because there are things I feel and there are things I want so say and there are things I can't say and they're all competing in my head. The main thought and concern is how desperately, painfully unhappy my Bugabooga has been. Depression is a motherfucker and it has a tight grip on her at this point in time and I hate it more than anything else. More than snow and the inventor of Crocs, more than people who hurt animals and even more than 50 Shades of Grey. But you know what? Depression doesn't give a shit. It's nastier than Honey Badger, who at least offers some entertainment and inspiration to be a Bad Ass. Depression just takes over and ignores all attempts to thwart it.

What depression is really good at is creating barriers between the depressed person and anyone who cares about her. This is what it has done with D. No matter what I say, or how hard I try, or how much I will her to be better, none of that gets through. She's under the invisible shield of depression. Except it doesn't work the way that a shield should, it doesn't protect her. It hurts her. It lies to her. It tells her she's worthless and useless and dumb and a waste. None of which is even remotely true. She's beautiful and talented and wonderful. She's loving and sensitive and this is how it takes advantage of her. Damn it.

And then there is my own depression, which acts more like a door. It shuts me in, and turns down the blinds and makes it darker for a while. Only doors can be opened, even if I have to pick at the lock for a while to get out. I think, however, that it relishes in the fact that it takes me away from her for a little bit, that it uses up the energy I need to help her. I hate it for that.

If the universe worked in the way that it should, D would feel better because of the simple fact that I love her enough to make it so. I'm the mommy, I'm supposed to make the boo-boos go away. I lost that power a long time ago and I desperately want it back. It's my right and privilege as a mother to make my child's life better.

But here is the thing I have learned, which was reinforced yesterday. We are not alone. If you are reading this, and can relate to what I am saying at all, and if you take nothing else away from my rambling, know that you are not alone. You are not alone in how you feel and you are not alone in that you have to go through this on your own. The thing is, that when you ask for help, you get it. I can ask for a million dollars or a pony until I'm blue in the face and it isn't going to happen but if I ask for help, it's there. It just is. In the form of friends, family, discovering that other people feel this way or have felt this way, or those who can't even comprehend what you're trying to say but still care and want to help and offer to help and do help.

I think D feels like she is the only one affected by her depression. She's not. It breaks me into a thousand pieces on a nearly daily basis knowing that she is so miserable and I can't change it. And then I feel like since I'm her mom, that it's up to me and me alone to Fix It and help her but that gets overwhelming and I get tired and I want to stop even though I know I can't. So I ask for help. She asks for help. And what an hour ago seemed insurmountable suddenly feels a little more manageable. Even if it's just for a little while. An hour, a day. It's enough to keep me going. It helps her stop crying for a little while.

It helps us say, in the loudest voice we can manage in that moment, Not today.

The Martini Chronicles. Design by Exotic Mommie. Illustraion By DaPino