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2:40 p.m. - 2012-09-11
Finding My Way Back (I hope)

Today I think about my friends, of course. Even more than Tommy, Dominic is on my mind today. Dommie would have driven Mick batshit. At least for a while until Mick thawed out some and saw Dom's huge heart. Dommie was loud and happy and forever busting out old Italian chestnuts like 'O solo mio' and 'That's Amore' in his big boomer of a voice. Never married he doted on his nieces and nephews and all the other kids he included as 'family' like mine. I remember him holding Baby Wolf out at arm's length and proclaiming that someday he was gonna be a heartbreaker and I smile with my tears because Dommie was right and damn, I hate it that he's not here to see for himself. If Dommie were still around he wouldn't stand for Alex's bullshit, he'd smack my elder son upside his head and yell, "What'sa matter wid 'choo? Your mama didn't have an easy life and she still gave you the best she could and that's not enough for you? What? You're so wonderful you wipe your ass with angel wing feathers? Cut the crap, kid. Be a man and do right." And me? Oy, how he'd have busted my chops over marrying an Irish cop. One or the other would be forgivable, but both? He'd have feigned a wounded heart that I hadn't thought of him when it came to choosing my next husband. And who knows? If Dommie hadn't died doing his job on 9-11 I might have. But probably not. Because for all his good cooking and jokes and bad singing Dominic loved being a fireman. His job was his true love. And as much as I mind him not being here I know Dommie didn't have a moment's regret dying the way he did.

I miss you, my friend.

Onto other things. Today I got some very hopeful news. Nothing is definite or final so I don't want to jinx anything by running my mouth like it's a done deal. But if this shakes out like I am desperately hoping it will my elephant problems will be gone for good. Sure, it'll take some sacrifice and discipline to make it work, but nothing of true value ever comes easy. If it would help at all I'd happily give up a kidney, a lung, and watching princess movies for the rest of my life. Small price for an amazing wonderful thing that'll put right 50 years of bad decisions and stupidly wasted energies on worthless causes. Send the good thought, won't you?

Mick and Wolf are settling into the school year groove. Not happily or very graciously, both of them had a hella good summer. Yet it is what it is and they're dealing. I can be cavalier because it's not my butt that's dragging out of here every morning at the crack of dawn to spend the day trapped in a high school full of twerps, perps, nudniks and insane administrators. Quite the opposite, with the start of the school year I've been paroled. Free to take up my life again. Those 7 hours a day when I belong to only me. Time to work or frivol as I choose. I'm still figuring it out too. Mostly I've used the first few school days to sleep late. Wolf's already up and gone by the time Mick kisses me good-bye at 7:45 and (if I don't have to get up and pee) I roll over and get the soundest 3 hours' sleep my wacky bod and nightmare-prone mind ever let me have. Sleeping in an empty house does me all kinds of good. That 'mom' ear I always have tuned into Radio Wolf and the 'wife' ear I have tuned to Mick's frequency shuts down and I sleeeeep. Deep, satisfying, healing sleep. Free from being at the ready to feed, tend, mind, referee, and do for at last.

Look, I don't mean to sound like an asshole. I love my guys. If I didn't I could sleep easy whether they were here or not. But I do love them! And when they're around I can't help but feel this anxiety that I am responsible for them even when I'm supposed to be asleep. Taking care of them is what I do. It's my job.

Maybe this will explain it. After my tenure at my first non-modeling 'real' job, (working at a pizza joint, I left when the owner/boss called me 'a stupid cunt' in front of a store full of customers) anyway, I scored a job at the newly opened Burger King. Until then Hometown had had nine pizzerias and nowhere to get a burger except the diner. The nearest McDonald's was up in Malltown 25 minutes away. The gig at the BK was a stroke of luck. In 1979 the economy was almost as tanked as it is now. The Ford plant in Mahwah had just closed down and at least a dozen of my friends' dads were laid off (as was Mick, though it'd be 30 years before we met). The building trades were slow. At the time NYC still hadn't extended its range to include Hometown and its environs as allowable places for city workers (ie: cops and firemen) to live. Inflation was eating everyone alive. Getting a job, any job, was fantastic. The bosses were petty, bullying, sexually harassing, power-mongering assholes, as all bosses are in a bad economy, but this wasn't the reason I busted my hump and put up with their crap, I did my job and I did it really well because that's what I do. Normally at the BK I worked register #4. Why? Because frankly I was too tall to work any of the food stations with any comfort and the main boss's favorite always got the drive-thru register, and besides, I was pretty. The lumpish and the zit-spattered worked the grills and the fryers, pretty girls on the registers made customers happier. Once in a while though I was assigned to be 'hostess'. The hostess's job was to clean the dining room. The hostess cleared the tables the slobs left all their garbage on. They constantly windexed the front doors and the tables. They refilled the condiment station. They fielded customer complaints. It was a suck-ass position. Now the best way to get relieved of hostess duty was to do a lousy job at it. A hostess who wanted back on her regular work station or register only had to fart around and let the dining room get all glopped up. Smeary glass doors, trash covered tables, you get the idea. Screw up enough and the boss would rotate you off the floor and back to your usual slot. I would not, could not do a lousy job. Even though I knew it was to my advantage. Even though letting the dining room go to shit meant I would go back to my beloved register #4 right next to the milkshake machine and its endless supply of chocolate-y goodness and proximity to the drive-thru window where my boyfriend would come through for a kiss before starting his shift at the taxi stand and my friends would offer up a quick hit off a joint to make my work day go by smoother. I was on the clock, I was on the job, and dammit I would do it right.

So it's been with every job I've ever had. I've never stolen from my work. I've never loafed. Never called in sick with a case of anal glaucoma (can't see my ass going to work). It's my own dopey compulsion. If it's laid on me I will comply or die trying.

Back to my guys. If they are anywhere on the property I must be available. It's on me to make sure they are safe. They are fed properly. They are okay. It's only when they are 'out there', gone away from me and my awful feeling of responsibility and obligation that I can relax. I know I said in my last entry I am working on learning to do for myself and not be such a doormat. It's true, I am. But the habits of a lifetime aren't easily changed. Besides, since I earn hardly any money these days I've made it my work to manage the home. To keep an eye on the bottom line. To stop waste and use the money wisely. If it's Mick who writes the checks for the monthly bills, it's me who makes sure we haven't overspent elsewhere. I take care of the out-go. The food, the clothes, the treats and the necessities. If I can't contribute to the monetary pot in equal measure then I feel like it's on me to make sure everything else goes smoothly.

To that end I plan, shop for and cook the food. I keep track of the supplies on hand of everything from underpants to lawn fertilizer. I negotiate the cable bundles and utility budget. But the money is only the most tangible part. I also make sure Wolf has enough of a social life. I make sure Mick gets the time to ride his bike and go to the gym. I schedule the visits and meals with the in-laws. Birthday parties? Car shows? Holidays? Guess who makes those happen?

I am NOT complaining. Only stating the obvious. Our quality of life is my job. And just like keeping the front doors at the BK fingerprint-free I do my best here at Casa Sage. And my downtime, my off-duty hours are when my guys are elsewhere and I am the LA who exists when she's off the clock.

So yeah, I've been enjoying the guys' return to school.

And that's what's been up with me. Missing my 9-11 friends, negotiating the future in front of a judge, sleeping in when I can, and trying to pick up the groove of the me who is just me (including blogging).

Much love, ~LA

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