Monday, June 29, 2009

Pinch Me, I Must Be Dreaming

I have gone to the land of CountryTime Lemonade. I swear, small town Americana truly exists! I was in the Walmart yesterday getting my tire fixed and an old man just started talking to me telling me about being married to his wife for 60 years. He was wearing a WWII Pacific Theater hat and we had a nice little chat. A total stranger took the time to talk to me?!

Then I took E to the movies today. I paid a whopping THREE dollars for a matinee ticket. THREE DOLLARS? I haven't paid that since 1988! And, the man taking the cash (because cash is all they take) was the owner of the theater. A customer walked up to the window, called the owner by name and asked if he could drop his kids off to watch the movie while he ran an errand. He said he'd be back in about 20minutes (because that's all it takes to go to the end of town and back.) The owner said sure and in walked 4 kids between the age of 10 and 4. WHO DOES THAT IN THIS WORLD!?

On a bad note, we were all exposed to swine flu about 3 weeks ago and now E has a really deep chest cough. I didn't think the incubation period took that long, but I am wondering if she is coming down with it. Not that I am worried, it's just a flu, but still, we don't have a pediatrician or tv to keep her occupied if she becomes sicker.

Oh well, off to make dinner in my kitchen with a total of two drawers and 3 feet of counter space. Wish me luck.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lost in Time

I'm sorry I have been absent. We only got internet access late last night. We still don't have tv so it took me a day and a half to hear Michael Jackson died. I swear, I feel like I have stepped back in time.

The new town we live in is like something directly out of a southern gothic novel. Our new city has rows and rows of old victorians and smaller, mill town-like houses. We bike ride through the quiet streets to get to the downtown, passing old oaks and tall pines. We live on the water, but not on the coast, so after every rainfall the intersections flood until the water can evaporate. There's not a lot of paid admission stuff to do here, but we spend our days walking around the multiple farmer's markets, going to the Y or, today, we were at one of our church member's house on the river and E had her first taste of river swimming. It's like the old lemonade commercials, I swear!

I have been fairly overwhelmed by strangers trying to make me feel welcome. I tried very hard to be friendly and gracious without losing sight of the fact that I am really very shy and don't want to give anyone a false impression about who I am. I haven't volunteered for anything, although I have been asked and I haven't offended anyone (at least, not that I know of).

Our new house is small, but the church put a lot of time into cleaning it and fixing it up. It sounds as if the last pastoral family really fell behind in keeping it clean. I have also been hearing whispers of displeasure about the last pastor. That's pretty standard, but I'm trying to keep my ears open without adding any flames to the fire. I will say, I keep finding kitchen cabinets open, even when I KNOW I have closed them. Spooky.

I have not had a chance to look for a job, but everyone knows everyone else here. And a lot of our church members are big wigs in the community. I have a feeling once I decide what I want to do with my life, I will have someone who can set me up.

Other than that, I'm still trying to sort through life right now. The women's circle had taken me out for lunch and they were all sitting around laughing and talking like women who had known each other 20 years (which they have) and for the first time I felt sad. No one here is the Assassin or Charlitan. No on is R or D or J. I'm sure in time some of them will become my good friends and we will laugh and talk like old buddies, but for now, I am just a little lost...and lonely.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An Update on Dionne and Others

A while back I wrote about a young man from our church named Dionne has been in jail since that post and is only now seeing progress on his case. But I wanted to share what he has been doing in jail.

Jail, although a horrible and depressing place, has actually been good for him. He is finally getting enough to eat and a set routine, something he has never had. He is getting his GED and leading a bible study on his cell block. He has plans to marry his girlfriend, who has been visiting him every week since his incarceration. I never thought I would say this, but for the first time since I have known him, he is thriving.

Hubby was asked to write a letter of reference for Dionne because he is finally getting a bond hearing. I don't know if this is part of due process or his case has changed, but we are hopeful that this means things might turn in his favor. We still don't know what his part in the murder was, but maybe, just maybe, he left the person to die out of fear for his family's safety and not just cruel disregard to human life. I've never had to live my life in abject poverty so I can not judge his life choices. But I am hoping...

In other news, I am free from my horrible boss. I walked out on Friday never to have to see her face or hear her voice again. Although, amazingly enough, she gave me a great letter of reference. I was shocked, to say the least.

My mom is doing a little better. She had her first shot and found out she only has to have one more. The pain is subsiding and she is driving her self around if only to the store, but that's a start. She is still taking the ativan, but her GP is making her see her every 2 weeks until she starts to climb out of the depression. She held it together when I said goodbye as I left for our new location, so I am hopeful that she is going to rise.

We haven't gotten into our new house yet (they are still doing repairs from the last pastor) but I am amazed by our new little town. It's hard to believe that coastal towns can be so different. The accent is a little different and the air feels less humid. It's almost like stepping back in time here. In a good way.

I'm going to stop here for now. I'm feeling a little like Doogie Howser writing his journal at the end of his show. Nothing exciting to post, but I felt like I needed to let you all know that I am doing okay.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Woman Scorned Returns

Guess who reared her ugly head? Take a minute, go read this and come on back for the follow-up. I'll wait. (If this link doesn't work, can someone please tell me what I am doing wrong?)

This woman actually sent my husband a long email today. We haven't heard a peep from her since he told her to call her at home. In her email she said she "doesn't have the courage" to do that. But she sure had the courage to write him and berate him.

I'm just flabbergasted. It's been 15 years...FIFTEEN and she's still holding a grudge about the way they broke up. Not only is she holding a grudge about that, she's mad that he tried to apologize! In her email she talked about being hurt that he sent her an apology as a part of his Lenten observation. She was so bitter about that that she made it sound as if he was taking part in some sort of 12 step process. There have been many times when I felt that his calling was more of an addiction, but really...it was just an apology. She has read so much into it.

Her letter states that if he really wants to make amends, he needs to call her and talk to her "in his own voice." Give me a frigging break! She just wants to have a chance to "hear" his voice. The sad thing is, this woman is married and has a really good career. She has an important job in the world of literature. If you google her, her name pops up over and over again. Someone has published a poem about her! She has a life...but now it seems, she wants mine.

I really despise people who try to play mental games. And that's what she's trying to do. I'm staying out of what my husband does about this. Really. I'm so mentally tired I can't add one more pebble to my load. But if push comes to shove, she's a tiny 5'0", 98 pounds-wet kind of girl looking at the face of a big red-neck Gretchen Wilson kind of girl. Do you remember Faith Hill's response to the fan who grabbed Tim McGraw's privates? That ain't nothing! Let me tell you!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Question of the Day

I am mentally, emotionally and physically on autopilot about to crash and burn. I just don't have the ability to process a coherent thought for a proper post. My boss hasn't shown up the past two days to close the classroom, so I have been doing it by myself, plus boxing up my own house, plus taking care of my mom...you see where I am going with this?

Anywho, since I can't post properly, I thought I would ask a question that gravely concerns me every time it comes into my line of sight. Maybe someone can give me an answer or at least fathom a good guess. Here goes:

WHERE DO ALL THE SHOES IN THE MIDDLE OF A ROAD COME FROM?

Seriously. I know that shoes tied around an electric line represent a drug corner (supposedly) but who loses shoes out of their car? And when they lose them, why don't they go back and get them. Shoes aren't cheap. I drove the 100 mile roundtrip to see my mom today and there were no fewer than 4 pairs of shoes tossed into the middle of the road. And they were all in various locations. Some where in the city, some where on a swampy back country road. One pair was on a bridge. WHO IS LOSING THEIR SHOES?

Cyberworld, help me out with this question that has been driving me crazy for years. How do the shoes end up lost on these roads? And no, Bush has not been in my area lately followed by angry Iraqian journalists.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Dark Post

I have finished my school reports and had the last day with my school kids. Now I have one week to close up the classroom and then I am finished. I will be free.

We had our last Sunday service at out current church. It was anti-climatic to say the least. People had already grieved and I think they were ready for it all to be over, too. I'm not saying this in a bad way, just honest. I know they will miss us, but they said their goodbyes a while ago.

My mom is heavily medicated and waiting to get her first shot Tuesday. She hasn't wanted me to come out so I have called every day just to make sure she is managing and that my dad is okay. I explained to E that Grandma was in a lot of pain and it made it very hard for her to be with people, even those she loved, because she was so tired. And I explained to E that I was sad for my mom, that it was hard to see her in pain and it makes me cry. She was okay with that and cried a little bit, too, but just sympathy tears I think.

Hubby came home and was able to tip my world more towards normal. I was able to finally verbalize why this was all so upsetting to me. It wasn't just the conversation with my mom from Friday, but the memories that all came rushing back. The memories of being 3 and finding my mom systematically throwing every piece of her wedding china at my dad's head. Of wandering around my house as a small child to find myself completely alone because my dad was at work and my mom had left for an hour or so. The fear I felt when my mom would disappear into her darkened room for days on end. The day she lost control because I came home 5 minutes late from school. It was the realization of why my father's assistants were under strict orders to ALWAYS let my call through no matter who he was meeting with or where he was.

A few years after my brother died, my mom had a nervous breakdown. It was the best thing that ever happened to her. Her GP of 20 years told her if she wanted to continue to be his patient, she would have to take prozac. She agreed and several months later told me for the first time in her life she didn't feel anxious and scared all the time. We were all so thankful she was finally on the road to feeling better. I never understood until then how I had been holding my breath.

For you see, this is what I have learned about my life...you can't tell me something is not going to happen or it is a million to one possibility, because that's not how my life works. You can't tell me I don't have to worry about school violence, because I have experienced it. You can't tell me my mom won't commit suicide because my brother did. You can't tell me random violence isn't all around because I found a dead body. I am a weirdness magnet and my life works just a little differently. And I feel like I am holding my breath again. Assuming the role of parent-in-waiting again. And I accept that. She's my mom and I love her. She did the best she could raising me and I think I am a better mom because of the lessons I learned from her and with her. But I am scared...and feeling a lot like that lost little girl. Depression causes the victim to abandon their loved ones and I remember that sensation all too well.

But like I said...being able to say that to Hubby took some of its power away. And being able to put it here helps, too. Because even if my mom can't be my mom right now, I am not alone this time. So I thank you for allowing me to share this here. I had to get it out before I could move on to more normal topics, so this is the last time I will post about it unless something drastic happens. But once again, thanks for listening.

Friday, June 12, 2009

My mom

Mental illness runs in my family. If you have never been touched by it, consider yourself lucky. It's insidious. My grandmother was bi-polar and tried to stab her mother-in-law. My grandfather was an alcoholic and abusive parent to my mom. My brother was bi-polar and committed suicide. And my mom....my mom is a result of all of these situations. She suffers from clinical depression but has tried all of her life to break the cycle. For the first 10 years of my life she didn't know how deeply she was affected by her childhood, but one day she snapped and there was an incident that changed us both for the rest of our relationship. After the incident, she sought help.

But since my parents moved to be closer to me, things have not gone well for her. She has had several surgeries that were meant to improve the quality of her life. The last was a shoulder surgery, only the surgeon dropped the ball and didn't check the stability of my mom's neck before operating and putting her in a huge, heavy sling for 6 weeks. Last week my mom's neck gave out and she is suffering from degenerative disk disease and two fused vertebrates that are pinching a nerve. Her surgeon intimidated her and when she tried to tell him how much pain she was in, he blew her off and said it was all muscular. Her physical therapist got hold of her and said it was absolutely NOT muscular and sent my mom back to the surgeon. He listened to the PT and gave my mom an MRI and my mom is now scheduled to have 3 sets of shots in her neck to do some sort of spinal block.

But this series of surgeries, the pain, the constant need to rely on my dad, my upcoming move...all of this has gotten to her. She was supposed to spend 3 days with me this weekend but had to have my dad come get her and take her to her GP. Not so much for pain as for her admission that she is spiraling down into a deep depression and she feels like she is "losing it." Her words, not mine. A lot of people feel that way sometimes and get through it, but in my family, when someone feels that way, it becomes life threatening and my mom...well my mom admitted she didn't trust herself with my daughter. Her GP has given her some ativan to try to offset the spiral, but...

I am a mess right now. All of this seems and feel so dire. I am afraid of what my mom is going to do if the ativan and her prozac combined can't help her. I feel ineffectual at being able to help her when I have so much to do to get ready for the move. My husband is out of town and offered to come home, but it would have caused a lot of issues for him. I am trying to stay strong and not worry my daughter, but I keep breaking down into these mini-bouts of tears. I am not the kind of person who can just have a good cry and get it over with. I huff and puff, clear up and then break down again.

I just don't know what to do. I'm not sure there is anything I can do. But I wish there was.

That's all. I'm still finishing up reports, so it may be a few days before I get another post out. But thanks for listening...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Wow

I came across this post today and almost passed out. It is my life, written better, by another pastor's wife. If you read this, you will understand.

http://lyn.lifeshapedfaith.com/2007/04/the-women-who-have-been-known-as-the-pastors-wife/

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Something is wrong with me

Something is wrong with me, but I just can't quite put my finger on it.

When Hubby and I went away Memorial Day weekend, we got to talking about how much I used to do for others, or should I say, how much I planned and carried out for others. I organized a teen lock-in at Pop. 259 in the snake gym (I didn't know about the snake then), I planned a fall festival at our first church and also at our second church. I organized a neighborhood luminary event at Christmas. I was actually outgoing and willing to do stuff. Hubby didn't mean to hurt my feelings, but as we were talking he commented on how much I've changed. The way it came out meant "...in a bad way." I was silent for a few minutes as I ruminated on that. I have changed, I know I have. But our last church just destroyed me and when we came back to this church, where the people already knew and accepted me (for the most part) I hid my light, so to speak, soothing my open wounds. Only my light never came back on.

About a year ago I tried very hard to live my life by saying yes to things instead of no. I was fairly happy doing it, even though it took me completely out of my comfort zone and Hubby seemed genuinely happy with me, as I was with myself. But then I started working at this school and just got the living daylights thrashed out of my soul. All of my momentum just wasted away and I retreated into myself again.

But lately, as we have been contemplating and preparing for our move and my days at this school become numbered, something has been happening to me. I have no job, no job prospects, a church that seems like they are just going to swarm and overtake my family and I'm leaving behind some really good friends. But still...I have this feeling. I have this sensation of pressure pushing up and out of my chest, kind of like the grinch when his heart grew big. It's a real physical feeling and I think it might be...hope. It's been so long since I have felt it that I am a little lost and unsure. But I just feel like this move is going to change so many things for me and release me from so many things. It's a little overwhelming.

So once again I have started trying to say yes instead of no. Hubby read my last post about the married man and made an alarmed comment. He looked at me and, with his hands up in the air, said, "Wait, is that why you have been so nice and loving towards me lately? Because you've been thinking about him?" Once again I was hurt. I was really just trying to be more open and make a change, but the fact that Hubby thought I could only be nice because I was feeling guilty or fantasizing about another man really cut me to the core. I reallly have fallen far. But no more.

I guess it is like my guitar. I have wanted it for so long. I see it everyday even though I only have time to practice once or twice a week. But it is there, waiting for me to make the choice to pick it up and fulfill a dream. I can let it sit in the corner and get hopelessly out of tune or I can let it fill my soul and make me happy. Maybe it will even let me sing again.

I guess it all boils down to this-what happens next in my life is up to me. The choice is mine.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Not my proudest moment

When I was 21 I waited tables at Friendly's Restaurant. The people I worked with were all your run-of-the-mill college students, vets or stoners. We all got along pretty well and had a good time both at and outside of work. We would all close the restaurant down at 11:00 PM, have whipped cream and water fights, then clean up and head over to the local bar or go drunken neon bowling, always followed by breakfast at 2:30AM at Denny's. Saying Moons over My-hammy still gets me tipsy.

It was during this time I became close friends with a 31 year-old married man. He was the assistant manager and put on this pompous ass facade. Only, he wasn't really. If you got past all the crap you realized he was actually a pretty decent person and I always had a great time when he was around. He had this really dry sense of humor and was a lot like me. I am a pillar of worthless knowledge and so was he. We would have these really out there conversations that no one else could understand.

Everything just kind of snuck up on me. We would sit next to each other at the bar. Our heads would lean closer and closer towards each other as the music and the people around us just seemed to disappear. We were the last people to leave or, if I had to leave early, he always walked me to my car where our conversation would continue. I was young and stupid, but I knew better. I kept telling myself as long as there was never any physical contact, I wasn't doing anything wrong. His wife was at home waiting for him, but she could have joined us if she wanted. Couldn't she?

One day he invited me to his house, the reason escapes me now. He poured me a glass of wine and we chatted. We were supposed to be leaving to go somewhere when it hit me. His wife wasn't around. I was in his house. I was drinking his wine. We were having an emotional affair. I was taking him away from his wife and he was letting me. It was definitely a turning point in my life at that moment. I was the other woman. I was helping to break apart a marriage. Who was I and how had I fallen so far? Now that I am older and married for almost 15 years, I see that I was providing him a chance to relive something that leaves all marriages....that gotta, need it, want to have it emotion that causes us not to sleep or eat when we meet someone new. I offered him a glimpse of his lost passion, and whether he actually got to experience it with me or not, he could imagine.

Years later I found out he had divorced his wife. He worked for a former presidential candidate and was doing well. I know I didn't cause their divorce. Their marriage had problems before I ever showed my face. But that doesn't mean I think that what I did was right. If some woman were going out every night with my Hubby, you'd better believe I would hunt her down and bitch-slap her until she couldn't see straight after I took a baseball bat to Hubby.

But I still think of him from time to time. And whenever I see marriages in trouble, I ask myself, is there an emotional affair going on? Most of the time, the answer is yes.