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Gift from Hil Part 2 - 2014-12-30
A Gift from Hil - 2014-12-28
There was A LOT of turkey. - 2014-12-04
Can we just jump to January please? - 2014-11-14
A (don't kick the) Bucket List - 2014-10-28

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2:40 p.m. - 2012-12-17
It's too hard but what else can we do?

On tonight's menu- chicken marsala, spring mix baby greens with champagne vinaigrette, and nuked red potatoes with parsley butter. I need fancy, shiny happy food. And I need it NOW.

Like all of us, I am grieving. As Genie says in Aladdin, "One too many hits with the snake."

The most recent horror, obviously, but there's been a season of loss here. Big ones. Little ones. Dopey things to some but a Very Big Deal to me. For instance I haven't been able to speak of Seaside and what the destruction of this most special place for me has done to my heart. The mayor promised the rebuilding will begin right away and the Boardwalk will be open for business by this summer and I hope that's true. But it won't be the same. I was cleaning off my desk recently and found a stash of prize tickets from Casino Arcade and burst into tears. There is no Casino Arcade anymore. Nor Carousel Arcade. From the videos I've seen Lucky Leo's is still standing and that's something anyhow, but Funtown Pier is gone So is Casino Pier. The rooftop goony golf course. The Coin Castle. Swifty's bathhouse. The Sky Ride. All of them gone. Gone. Gone. Gone. Tatty, tacky, honky-tonk Seaside Heights and its motley boardwalk and a lifetime of memories is destroyed.

My chair? It's gone. I'm sitting in its successor. A puffy, black leather dealie that's comfortable enough but it's far too short for my custom-built desk. Something I couldn't know until the chair was here. I'll adjust. It's not like I can (or want to) change my desk, it's attached to the wall for one thing. Made from a door set atop chrome legs from a beloved kitchen table on the open end this desk was the very first thing we did to this house. While the renovations went on around me I was establishing MY place in the new house. Set up my Franken-puter and ran its cords through the doorknob hole of my new desk (handy!) and plugged in on the plug-bar, also attached to the wall. Stacked my crap on the built-in bookcase on my right. (See previous-previous entry) My wee office, the one place on Earth I didn't and wouldn't share with anybody. And while the loss of a desk chair might seem trivial, anyone who really knows me understands how I feel about change. This new puffy too-short chair doesn't squeak, it doesn't creak, and it certainly doesn't love me. Sitting down in it is the careful polite embrace of the newly acquainted. Nowhere near the sloppy bear hug of my old chair. Nor will it be ever. I'll get used to it as I have the upgraded computers which have come and gone over the last decade. I'll make my peace with this newbie chair and find a comfortable writing posture, I know I will. Just like after some crying and hateful glaring at whatever new (and most likely corporate-owned and horribly generic) amusements that'll go up on the new Boardwalk at Seaside. I'll deal.

But I don't have to like it. Or pretend I don't miss the way it used to be.

One of the truest things I ever read was the vignette in 'Mrs. Miniver' when they got the new car. She was so grieved at the loss of their eccentric worn-out automobile and loathed the interloping new car with its purring engine and reliable windscreen wipers! While her family was outside taking their maps and such out of the old car and happily exclaiming and chortling over the new car, cooing over its un-ripped seats and doors that shut the first time Mrs. Miniver was upstairs in the bath fending off sorrow with her favorite bath salts and covering her ears with soapsuds so she wouldn't hear the old car being driven away. I know just how she felt. Yesterday when Mick wheeled my old chair out the backdoor and up to the toolshed to await spring clean-up week (aka: big garbage pick-up, the time we can dispose of things too large to fit in our trash bin) I desperately wished for a deep bathtub and some suds. I didn't care my old chair was horribly canted and its upholstery was in shreds and its padding had turned to dust. Honestly I didn't. I wanted to hurl the new chair out into the yard and beg Mick to bring my old chair back. So what if I had to sit all crooked? Love is always worth a little discomfort and sacrifice.

As for this most recent travesty? I am devastated. On so many levels and in so many ways.

Put aside for a bit my feelings about guns and the non-necessity of owning such in this day and age. Mick is hardly Pa Ingalls out hunting game to feed his family. The deer and turkey and the occasional bear that come by here are friends and thanks to commercial farming and Shoprite nobody at Casa Sage has to kill them so we can eat. Put aside too that I have a son whose wiring and chemistry have made life a difficult row to hoe and that he and I have struggled and struggled and are so far victorious against the demons of anti-social behavior and violence. Put aside that I am a mother and the loss of any child is nearly the same as the death of my own. What I'm thinking about is School.

During my growing-up years school was the one place I felt safe. Home was the terrible place. It's where I was neglected, raped, beaten, ground down, and made to feel like worthless dreck. At home the rules changed constantly. What was okay yesterday was a beating offense today. My child's body was anyone's to manhandle or fuck. Home was where I was sodomized. It's where I got my head slammed into a wall for the 'crime' of smiling or voicing my opinion. Home was dislocated shoulders, screams, taunts, and endless, endless mockery.

But school?

School was bliss. At school I was feted for following the unchanging rules. At school the cruel people and the ones who picked fights and tried to beat me up were stopped, and better still they were punished. At school it was okay to excel. I was rewarded for knowing the answers, for having done the work, for being obedient and smart. School was the safe haven. It was where the rules were fair and never, ever changed. Do your work. Keep your eyes on your own paper. Fill in the blank. Raise your hand before you speak. Pass your worksheets to the front. Use good grammar and penmanship. And guess what? They like you! I got gold stars. And medals. And certificates. And special privileges like clapping erasers and going to the library for Free Time while the ones who hadn't gotten their reports finished had to stay at their desks.

School was safe.

School isn't safe anymore.

My son goes off every day to a school. A nicey-nice school in a 'good' district. A place where the academic teams are admired as much (and often more!) than the athletic ones. A clean, well-funded suburban school with up-to-date textbooks and where actual artists and authors speak at assemblies. There's a nice volunteer lady at the desk just inside the main lobby and she smiles and hands you a visitor's badge while you sign-in if you need to go inside while the school day is in progress. A compromise between metal detectors and armed guards and the Good Old Days when school was a haven.

Is my son safe there? I like to think so, but we know better.

My husband works in another school. It's also a nicey-nice school. Much larger than my son's with a more varied student body, but it too is touted by real estate agents as a 'good' district. My husband's job is to keep the students safe. In the main this means keeping dopey parents from driving through the bus lanes while the students arrive and get on the buses to go home. It means he stops fights or breaks up the ones that flare up like wildfires. It means he shoos outsiders off the track when it is closed and only available to students. But in this day and awful age my husband's job is also to take down the Bad Guys. Mick is the first line of defense. Should a crazy one come to his school and begin to shoot Mick will put himself between the gunman and the kids. He will do what he must. So his kids are safe. So the teachers are safe. It's his job to protect them. Mick will do his job or die in the attempt. I know this. I live with this every single day. In the morning when he kisses me good-bye I ignore the icicle jabbed into my heart and I sleepily smile and tell him to have a good day. See you at 5:00, boy do I have a great dinner planned! Love you. Love you too.

Is my husband, my love of life, is he safe at school? I like to think so, but we know better.

And so I dose this newly abstemious self. I dose myself with comfort books and 'Gossip Girl' and Billy Wilder movies. I plan menus and teach myself the mysteries of baked goods. I hang multi-colored lights and tip the newspaper guy and stuff singles into the bell ringers' red kettles. I wash my face and curl my silly too-long hair and investigate cruise packages online. I snort over the absurdity of my imminent 50th birthday. I cross my T's and dot my I's and 'like' my buddies' stuff on FB. I write my Congressmen and my Senators and pretend my feeble voice matters. I try like hell to pretend the world makes sense.

But you and I know better.

Coping. Not well, but coping anyhow, ~LA

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