Saturday, January 29, 2005
Just a bit more of the heavy...
Unfortunately, all it produced in my life was pain. I didn't take what I'd learned from it and USE it to grow. To evolve into myself. What it did was make me bitter at the tender age of 25. It took me a long, long time to trust men again. And when I thought I did, what were the rewards of these scant few relationships? More pain. More misunderstanding because I didn't understand myself. I didn't GET IT. It being that I could move forward. That I could experience something good that wasn't based on the past. That I didn't fucking BREAK. I may have bent a little, and all that did was alter my perspective.
What's this all got to do with anything, you ask? I'll tell you...
I'm ready to move on. Sure, little bits o' dis and little bits o' dat are gonna follow me. They'll haunt me. But I've lived with daemons long enough to know they can't hurt me unless I let them.
Last night I had the pleasure of spending some time with a friend who talks it all black 'n white. Little did I know what a grasp she had on my bullshit. It was stunning. Heck, I thought it was all mine, that no one could possibly understand what I've lived through. In the space of one year, I had my back broken by an irate boyfriend of a woman he was beating up. I put myself in the middle of it... and would do it again. Ten months later, my boyfriend at the time, my best friend and I got the absolute SHIT kicked out of us by five wrestlers. Then I met my fiance... things were great and then they were horrible. I'm not telling you this so you feel badly for me. This is stuff that happened. This is part of my life. And I got through it. It changed me.
And now, I'm changing me. I can do any damn thing I want. It just took me this long to realize it. (Thanks for the kick in the ass, Sue).
Monday, January 24, 2005
It was 1990... I was 25 and in love. Engaged to be married to the man of my dreams... or so I thought. He was an interesting man. Intelligent, witty, incredibly romantic. He was a phenomenal cook and would delight in making special dinners for us to share. He had been a Ranger in the army, but it was a topic not broached a great deal in our home. Rarely did I see the darker side to his personality... at least in the beginning.
We met in August 1989 and within three months we were living together. Never before, and never since, have I been so thoroughly swept away with another person, or loved (and been loved) so completely. We could sit for hours and never be bored of the other. There was too much to know, too much to find out. We told each other our deepest secrets. I trusted him with my life. My. Life.
Joe and Angie at Palisades
Sunday afternoon I was cleaning out some files and ran across an envelope with pictures in it. There were two pictures of Joe as a baby and some of us together. There weren't many as I had long ago filled a box with the memories of us, but these few had somehow missed being imprisoned.
I don't know what it was about finding these again, but it brought back a thundering torrent of emotions ranging from sheer ecstasy brought on by remembering what it felt to be that in love, to annoyance over the little things (like dirty socks on the floor)... to the worst, gut-wrenchingly empty part of my soul...
One time when he went on his yearly Alaskan adventure with the boys I put on one of his dirty t-shirts to sleep in so I could keep his smell next to me.
The night we went to see 'Goodfellas' at the theater, Joe (being Italian) would try to explain points in the movie to me. While incredibly annoying, it was also utterly endearing.
Many nights I sat waiting up for him long after he'd said he would be home. The night he sat on the steps in front of the house rocking himself and crying was the hardest thing I'd ever seen.
On our anniversary he surprised me at the end of my working day by showing up in a three-piece double-breasted suit with a dozen roses. The champagne was on ice at a bar around the corner...
The night the police came to arrest him for domestic assault was, bar none, the absolute worst night of my life. And the days that followed were not much better in comparison. It was the hardest thing I have ever lived through.
All I can say is: it was another time. I was a different person. Joe was a different person. But opening that envelope and having those pictures fall out cracked some kind of floodgate in me. After 15 years, you would think the pain and the anger and the overwhelming sense of loss would be resolved. Well, I guess it's not. Because sitting here typing this, I can't stop crying. And I can't stop thinking that I will never feel that connected to another person. That every relationship since then was a pale reminder of the unconditional love and passion that I haven't felt in 15 years. That there wasn't anything I could do to make it play out a different way.
Finally, Joe... capisco.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Penis soup, that's what.
I pulled into the garage last night, schlepped my laundry into the laundry room and stepped into the kitchen. No screaming kids. No irate sister. Pure calm. Coast clear. And then I saw it. Then smelled it. IT. My intestinal nemesis... a big ol' skillet of bubbling, nasty taco meat (translate: ground beef mixed with a can o' refried beans and some Ortega hell) simmering silently whilst permeating the air with its vile essence.
"!!WAHN-UH, WAHN-UH!!" the red flashing lights located somewhere in my GI tract were screaming at me: "Your sister is about to serve you up your own ass on a tarnished silver platter!"
Fast forward to dinner time... the kids subsist (at least every time I've been there) on quesadillas (of the cheese variety with a side of sour cream), mac 'n cheese, or mystery meat (translate: hot dogs, chicken tenders or bologna). Let's at least get the two major food groups represented: Those That Bind and Those That Do Not Bind (on a dietary basis, they cancel each other out...).
Sis makes up a 'taco' for herself: soft shell laden with The Taco Gack and sprinkled with cheese, sliced green onions (white parts only, thank you very much) and salsa. I try to make a mostly cheesey taco thang with some of her 'cooking'. Tell ya whut... that damn taco meat could double as a denture fixitive. The Gack was sticking to my ORTEGA taco shell like dried boogers on nose hair. Ugh. Yeah... and then I ate it (but I wanted the kids' food). So shut up.
Bath time for the Bonzos. Aaaah yes... a blessed half hour of quiet (amidst my stomach grumblings) while the Did and the Goat play at cleaning in the jacuzzi. Sis and I are lying in the king size bed smokin' cigs and having our Grown-Up Conversation, which consisted mostly about how much we loathe our respective vehicles. She wants the new Subaru SUV that comes out in '06; I want tire cleats. And then, peace interrupted...
"Mooooommy! (The Did) jus' hit my peenits!!!!" I left 'Mommy' to smoke and went into the master bath. Never have I seen an entire tea set afloat in bath water. Amazing sight, that.
Cooter: "(Did), don't hit your brother in the penis."
Did: "But he spwashed watuh in my eyes."
Cooter: "That doesn't make it ok to hit."
Did: "Well, he onDly washes his peenits, Auntie Ang!"
At this point, the Goat proffers to me, the Cooter, a plastic bowlful of tub water.
Goat: "Andy Antchy, I made oooo sumthang!"
Cooter: "Hmm... what IS this, (Goat)?"
Goat: "Peenits soooop!!"
Kids'll say the damnedest thangs....
Fast forward. Again. Sorry (I know how much you'd all like to live vicariously through each and every second of my exciting life...)
I woke up in my sister's bed with the Did entwined around me like bittersweet on an old farm fence, snoring lightly. (I had no idea the Scooby Doo movie would bore me so righteously as to lull me into a dead-on hittin'-that-REM-funk 45-minute snooze). Stealth-like disentanglingishment, followed by creeping down the hall to the Goat's room to rouse the sis ensues. Geesh. I always forget what a chore it is to get. these. children. to. go. to. sleep. The Goat had asked me earlier, "Andy Antchy, wiwl you put me down?" I asked him, "What? Is your leg broken?" Humor is lost on the young...
The long and short (ok, mostly loooong) of it is, I got out of there at 9:20. And about two thirds of the way down Highway 6, the tacos. HIT. Discomfort is a word for prolapse. What I felt might have been akin to giving birth to septuplets THROUGH MY TEAR DUCT. Alas, I made it home. I had planned on meeting the Rog for a nightcap (in my case, a digestif), but upon unfurling my legs (and, by proxy, my lower intestine), I decided it might be a better idea to just go straight on home. To the terlet. Roger (and the bar) was spared. They owe me. Big.
So, Gentle Readers, do you think this is where the story ends? If so, you are sadly mistaken. (I'm sorry)...
After an hour or so of playing with the poog, I needed (yes, NEEDED) to go curl around some pillows. Gus got a prime rib bone. I got myself to bed.
Somewhere around half past the twitchin' hour or so, my eyes popped open. **Blink... blink** The bedside lamp was on. The latest Carl Hiaasen book was lodged firmly in my left armpit. **blink, blink** What woke me up? **sigh** Oh, wait... it's coming to me... it was...a... FART. Judging by the smell emanating from the fleecey goodness of my blankey, this puppy must've registered 'bout 5.4 on the Richter scale o' farts. Yes, it is true: My own butt rumblin' WOKE. ME. THE. FUCK. UP.
Big deal, you think. Alas, this happened again at 3:17 and at 4:42. Aftershocks, I guess. But still enough to wake me up. And once again, you think this is where the story ends. Suckas... not quite yet...
I awoke this morning full of vim and vigor. Oh wait. That's not really what it was... After the morning tenure on the porcelain goddess, I groggily looked upon my pathetic reflection in the mirror. Right eye. Check. Left eye. Check. Wait... omigod... it's all bloodshot and whiney lookin'. Holy shit... and what's that?!! A bindu? No. It's just a giant zit erupting from that lonely singular spot directly 'twixt my eyes.
Diagnosis: Extreme taco gack gaseousness trying to escape from the confines of my body (and thrice succeeding through my BUTT) took more drastic measures (aka 'The Wrong Turn at Albuquerque') and ended up in my body's equivalent of Bombay and Warangal.
Treatment: Next time, opt for the peenits soup.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Bathing sheep is a baaaaad idea...
Some people have parents who like to dabble in wine tasting, home repair, watercolor, what have you. My mom likes to dabble in nature. And by this I don't mean simple botanical feats, such as growing all 37 varieties of her hot peppers from seeds. Oh no. Mom has a green hand, to be sure, but her 'dabbling' extends to critters as well. Iff'n thar's a critter out there needin' a little dabblin', by gum, it's me mum who'll be dishin' out said dabblin'.
If you were living in east Des Moines, Iowa, between say, 1983 to 1990 and one of your dogs went missin', chances are good that my mom took it. She had neighbors across the street from whom she relieved TWO canine companions because she felt they were being abused. And, truth be told, they were. She would also come home from the grocery store at times with more than bread and milk. Once, it was with a pregnant golden retriever. Stray cats (and some not so stray) from around the neighborhood would gather on the back deck under the magnolias at twilight waiting to be fed. It was always interesting to go visit while I was in college; you never knew what was going to be living at and around La Maison de Carole. But think of this fact: she found homes for each and every stray (or stolen) animal that resided there.
***As a disclaimer, I also need to say that my mother's house on any given day is spotless. She and my stepfather do not live like the old lady with a thousand cats, nor like the tweakers Jack posts about who can't even smell dead frikkin' mice under their sofa cushions. No, no. My mom is almost obsessive with her cleanliness... which is a nice segue into the story behind the title...***
Back in 1993, a few years after my parents had moved from Des Moines to a small acreage in the country, my mom decided she'd like to get some sheep for the purpose of keeping the back pasture 'mowed'. Besides, she thought they were cute. Didn't hurt that she was getting waaay into the koziness of kountry livin'. Heck, she already had a coop full o' layin' hens complete with the world's meanest rooster, aptly dubbed Dickie the Killer Cock. The prior spring she had successfully hatched two duck eggs in a borrowed incubator and then raised them in the bathtub until they were old enough to be put on the pond (Bonnie and Clyde... their mother was unfortunately eaten by one of the meaner cooters living -- at that time -- in Warren County). It would be a few more years before she 'dabbled' in the life of Sally, a pregnant stray, who gave birth to the two cats with whom I now share air, living space and the poog.
So yeah... sheep. Seemed like a natural progression to arrive home one spring afternoon and see six sheep out in the back pasture following my mom around. Now for whatever reason, I'd taken a week off work to go home and help Mom out on The Farm. One day after mucking out the chicken coop and the sheep stall, power washing duck and geese shit from the dock and pruning the wild tangle of bittersweet, Mom decided that we desperately needed to give each of the six sheep a bath. Um, Mom? Are you serious? Damn straight she was...
It was probably close to three in the afternoon at this point; I was sweatin', I was cranky, and the last damn thing I wanted to do was go along with this hair-brained idea that these sheep needed to get gussied up. Into the dome home I went, having removed my shit-caked boots, of course. My step-dad was on the phone with a client trying to work out some software glitch and I made a bee-line for the fridge. Nothing like an ice cold beer to liven my spirits. Alas, in came the whirling dervish that is my mother. She had a coil of rope in one hand and a steel brush in the other. This was not looking good for the cud-chewers.
Mom (very businesslike): "Allen, tie a knot on the end of this rope!"
Allen (still on phone and half paying attention): "What kind of knot, Carole?"
Mom (heaving world's greatest sigh as if to say...): "It doesn't matter! Just a knot!"
My stepfather tied a knot for her. Mother then came searching for me, found me swilling a beer in the kitchen and basically told me to get the lead out. "We got some sheep to wash!" Back out to the barn we plodded...
However, once we were confronted with these 175 lb. wooly bullies, Mom's pluck flickered for just an instant. But it was in that nanosecond that I realized she had absolutely no clue how to go about accomplishing this task. She saw me smile ever so slightly, and that was the kick she needed.
Handing me the 'noose' end of the rope, she said "Ang, go over there and slip this around somebody's neck." Her idea was to then pull the unsuspecting beast over to the trough and thoroughly hose the little sucker down. Yes, she had Woolite. Still failing to see the point of all this, I did as was told, shrugged and walked over to where my mother was tugging on her end of the rope to 'help'. Neither one of us expected the sheep would drop to the ground and claw at the air with its little hooves. I ran back over to the poor thing, which was now frantically trying to right itself, and saw its poor little eyeballs rolled into the back of its head.
Yep. It didn't take long to find that Allen had tied a slip knot and my mother was, for all intents and purposes, strangling her beloved sheep. Needless to say, Mom decided that maybe the sheep really didn't need washing after all.
**Nota bene: No ovis aries were injured during the retelling of this story. At the time, only one sheep sustained minor damage to the throat and neck region, but was fully recovered by the time the lot of 'em were sold to Hormel. I always wondered what kind of meat they put in their Dinty Moore...**
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Ice, old ladies... and goulash
Last night when I got off work, I thought "Hmmm... maybe I better get thee to a pettery and purchase some kibble afore the poog gnaws off his own left foot." (It wasn't as bad as all that; little bastard'd been eatin' steak for three days). But the snow. Geesh... the SNOW. Wasn't all that bad, but on top of 1/4" of ice, well, it was a tad tweachewous.
Now, I love going to the pet store. It's an old family-owned business. I don't have a problem giving them money for non-living things. Wouldn't buy a pet there to save my life. This does not stop me from hanging out and sticking my hands into the various cages to be bitten and gnawed upon by the Schnoodles, Min Pins and assorted terriers. Doesn't stop me from having staredowns with the budgies. And then there's the time squandered in the 'treat' aisle. Gus loves his little bully sticks (dehydrated bull dicks from what I understand), greenies, and pretty much whatever I bring home (like those weird 'bone slices' filled with 'meat' that smell like plastic Gus butt).
Anyway, I digress. Fact is, it was a shitty night and I spent waaaaay too much time in the pet store. By the time I came out, it was time to scrape all the damn ice off my windshield again. Sitting in the car, waiting ever-so patiently for it to warm up, I decide it's a damn good idea to pop on over to Hy-Vee for a few things.
This is where my brain stopped functioning. And my 'do or die' attitude started kicking in. Less than 10 seconds inside the too-slow-to-open automatic doors, I was barraged with blue-haired octogenarians powering overflowing carts. Heck, I just went in for a quart of Roberts 2% and a loaf of bread. But as is my normal grocery circuit, I had to start in the produce aisle and work my way to the frozen food section... even though everything I needed was in Aisle 8 or at the end of it.
Of course, I had. to. stop. by the brussel sprouts. Love 'em. While debating whether or not I should get some (after all, when am I going to make such a feast that I'd have brussel sprouts?), I overheard a man tell his little kid, "Sorry, honey, but they're OUT of bananas." Sure 'nuff. 'They' were out of a LOT of things. I got the last quart of MY milk. There were no green peppers, so I had to get red one. All the canned goods were picked over and out of place and *dammit* I just HAD to have that last can of kidney beans.
After this, I looked inside my little basket and realized that I had the ghostly makings of goulash. Had to continue on that bent. But can I just say how daunting this task was, especially now that I needed stuff? **Get outta my way, old lady.** These brittle little people were going OUT of their way to blindside me to get to get that last baggy of dried porcinis. Did they even know what they were? Did they have any idea that MY frikkin' bones are just as brittle as theirs? Geesh.
In the end, I got out of there with my bread, my milk, and the makings for goulash which I made tonight in the most haphazard of ways. It was damn good. So I think all the new bruises I'm sporting were frikkin' worth it.