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Can we just jump to January please? - 2014-11-14
A (don't kick the) Bucket List - 2014-10-28
Put THIS in your pipe and DON'T smoke it! - 2014-10-23
Max, Wolf, and the goats - 2014-10-15
Maloney for Congress - 2014-10-08

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2:41 p.m. - 2014-05-05
Grief Fueled Anarchy

Ahh... Alone at last. So what's the first thing I do? I start talking to you guys. Typical. But (and this is important) it's just me talking to myself until I post this, then y'all come into the conversation. For right now this is me trying to sort the tumbled whirl of feelings and activities. Mick's pushback against Death is still in top gear. We haven't stopped moving. Rush, rush, rush. Do, do, do. Buy this, fix that, junk this, rearrange those things. We're not even close to finished yet and from the looks of this week's schedule and endless To-Do list today (or the next 4 hours of it anyhow) is the only day I'll be alone. Here in my ratty bathrobe, hair askew, moving to no one's beat but my own.

Alone. I've always needed a certain amount of alone time. Even when I was a kid. I'm poor at drawing boundaries and my family and friends know this. Nobody consciously takes advantage but they do not hesitate to ask me to fetch or cook or listen and tend. At the instant. And like a good slavey I jump up and do right away. Sometimes to my detriment. Too accessible too often. But I can't seem to help it if they're around. I feel like that's what I'm here for. Yet the woman within has her own needs too. So I am fierce about my alone time when I can wrangle some. I need solitude to ground and center myself.

Mick and I have had several go-rounds about the goddamn phone. He insists that because I am here (and when out have my electronic ankle bracelet, er, cell phone) I should ALWAYS pick up when he calls. ALWAYS. Get off the toilet, put down my book, drop that chain of thought, race up from the cellar or downstairs from the bedroom and BE THERE. Pick up the f-ing phone because HE wants to talk to me. HE commands it! My own priorities make no nevermind HE is insisting on barging in and I must dance attendance on his wishes. When I've objected to his bullying via Ma Bell his feeble argument is that something might have happened. Like maybe he has an emergency of some sort like a flat tire and Wonder Wife should be at the ready to oblige with rescue. When I point out the absurdity of this argument and that not ONCE in seven years has he had an emergency in the middle of his work day and even if he had this mythical flat tire that I'd be about the last person he'd call for help from anyhow, he mutters about how he just wants to talk to me, is this so bad? In theory? No. In practice? Maddening. Sorry, bud, LA don't give good phone. If on the teeny tiny chance something does happen leave a message on the machine. I'll find it. Eventually. In the meantime during the scant few hours I don't have to be Wifey and Mommy On the Spot please just leave me be. Thanks ever so.

Gosh I sound cranky. I am cranky. Just cranky though not furious or wildly upset. The maelstrom of activity has me a bit ragged around the edges that's all.

On the whole it's all been to the good. I'm grateful to have a husband who actually gets things done. Mick never pulls something apart and then wanders off for 5 years leaving everything in bits with vague declarations that he'll get to it 'soon'. A chore begun is a chore done. A project proposed is researched, bought, delivered and set up within days of the original impulse.

Take the front porch. Originally the ex and I had it set up as a seasonal living room. Then I gave all the furniture to Alex. In the way that nature abhors a vacuum the front porch slowly but surely filled up with crap. Not quite 'Hoarders' level of crap, but pretty Shantytown for all of that. Then last week Mick got a hair up his butt to reclaim the space. He shifted his mess out to the sheds and parked his bicycle out there too. Junk was scrapped, the storage shelves and cabinets rearranged, the rugs reappeared and were vacuumed and suddenly POOF! We had this tidy lovely space to set up a seasonal living room again. I remember it this way from years before. It is nice out there. There's rattan shades that roll up and down, the big windows all have screens and with the two ceiling fans it's comfy out there most of the year. During the extreme heat and the bitterest cold of the seasons, no, but I'd say it's pleasant enough for at least 8 months out of the 12. Especially if we put the space heater out there come late fall. Now if it were up to me I'd hit the thrift shops and Craig's list for furniture, but Mick the germophobe is totally squicked by the idea of used upholstered furniture. To him nothing is grosser. Okey-doke. Off we went to the futon store. Score! A floor model loveseat futon in a gorgeous cherry finish with a nicely squashy 10" mattress marked down to well within our predetermined budget. I splurged on a more upmarket futon cover (a polished cotton brocade of branch coral on a deep beige background) which goes with the rugs, also this futon cover nicely bridges the style gap between indoor furniture and nasty weather-proof lawn furniture. The new futon is just perfect for the space. Bonus! When opened out it'll make a handy guest bed. At least for a short guest, it's a loveseat not a full double-sized futon. Extra nice because we intend to keep the cats out of there. It'll be a tussle for a while, they're used to having the run of the downstairs, but worth it to have a cat-free zone to entertain visitors. Anna didn't mind having Mandy the cat perched on her while she slept, but poor Darling Deb loads up on the antihistamines and bravely soldiers on with the welts and the sneezes. To have a place for her to sleep with zero cat dander and someplace else cat-free to hang out besides my smelly little office, well YAY!

To go with the futon I'm getting Mick a rocking chair for Father's Day/his birthday. Cracker Barrel has wonderful chairs. Big sturdy things well-able for my guy's broad weighty muscle-man bod to sit comfortably and safely. (Mick and I both share a fear of flimsy furniture.) It was going to be a surprise but that got blown during an argument we had yesterday morning. Don't ask how, but the rocking chair surprise came tumbling out on my way to some other point I was making. Yeah. The arguing has been just as fierce as the getting things done.

Nothing to worry about. The arguments are also part of the grieving process. Emotions are running high. For certain I'm not where Mick is, but I did like the old man. And take seriously the task he laid on me to take care of everyone. Then, too, if Mick's awareness of how short Life is is driving him to Do All The Things! I am hideously aware of how little fun and pleasure I've had in my pathetic life and am desperate to do frivolous shit. Take a vacation! Wear bright lipstick! Hell yes dance at B&N! If not now then when?

Good question. One I have no good answer for.

If Mick is the get-it-done guy, he's also the "Why the hell not?" guy. Though I continually push back against his excess (and our lives are steadier and the better for it) Mick is the one who's shown me the world will not end if I use a paper towel. Seriously. Before Mick the roll of paper towels in my kitchen lasted years. Not that I didn't clean, of course I did, but I used cleaning rags. And I do mean rags. Cut up t-shirts, holey socks. Not from eco-friendly repurposing either. I was simply exquisitely attuned to the financial bottom line. At one point I figured out the cost per use of a paper towel vs a cleaning rag run through a hot water bleach cycle and found out a reused rag was .002 of a cent cheaper. Thus it became a sin and a waste to use paper towels. And this is just one tiny example of the iron fist of frugality and low self-esteem that ran my life. I lived like this about everything. Then along came Mick. Mick who sees me as wonderful. He insists I buy the book, order a pizza, use the paper towel. It's been Mick who's told me to get the pedicures, spend the afternoon on the couch reading, and for God's sake to STOP apologizing for being alive already. He also in the most gentle and loving way showed me how all my superstitious self-abnegating sacrifice and surviving on the barest crumbs had NOT stopped bad stuff from happening to me. Not even once. The universe never even got the chance to punish me, I'd gotten there first. All the lonely brutal penance I'd done hadn't accomplished anything. Okay, it did one thing- I'd had no life. But as far as staving off more bad things? Nope. So give it up already, Baby, if karma is going to piss in your face then you might as well have some fun between dousings.

Mick was right. 100%. Small irony that the guy who encouraged me to play is now finding offense in my wanting to dally and party. (At least as much as a drunk on the wagon can party anyhow.) I'm all stop and smell the roses and he's all barge ahead work work work martyr guy. Hence the arguments. Mick's convinced HE'S the only one who does anything around here and I'm in his pity party face with my own list of all the things I'm always doing PLUS making all of his new grief-fueled Go! Go! Go! shit go smoothly. Each is looking for praise and acknowledgment and after yesterday's latest go-round we understood that. This morning I got up to find a love note in the kitchen and tonight when he gets home he'll find a freshly showered smiling wife and a favorite dinner simmering on the stove.


Laughing, sniping, going toe-to-toe, doing the smoochie in the new fiction section, you know, being us. ~LA


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