Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ghost in My Machine

So, lately I have felt completely invisible.  Everywhere.  It started when another driver almost took my life by pulling out in front of me.  I was going straight.  She came out of a side road on my right turning to her left across traffic.  Seriously, had this idiot waited for me to be any closer before pulling out, she would have t-boned me on the passenger side.  As it was, I narrowly avoided taking out her left rear quarter panel.  My hand did not leave the horn on my car for a good solid 60 seconds.  I was furious and scared.  This happened at 6:45 am as I was leaving my daughter's bus stop. 

These near-death traffic mishaps have occured continuously throughout the week.  As if I am completely invisible.  I mean, ok, my SUV is white, sometimes white is hard to see, right?

This has also happened to me with people.  In stores.  Walking right in front of me or almost into me as if I were not even there.  Normally, I would discount instances like these in shopping environments because this is typically where The Sheep hang out.  But Sheep don't acknowledge you at all.  Now it was as if I magically instantly appeared to the people who almost walked through me and startled them mightily.

People haven't answered my emails, professionally and personally.  No one answers when I call.  It's as if I've been unplugged from the grid.  Even though I am a solitary soul, this is feels very isolating.  Sort of like the guy in the Nationwide commercial who slowly but completely disappears.  I have been puzzling and puzzling till my puzzler is sore.  

Then it finally occurred to me:

WAIT:  Maybe I am a NINJA!  And I just didn't know about my magic powers til now. OMG, this is awesome news.  If I can disappear whenever I want to, look out world.  I have a LIST of people who deserve a Ninja surprise.

Counting Sheep

No, I am not speaking of imsomnia.  I am referring to The Sheep who wander aimlessly through my life with no direction or purpose other than to get in my way.  If you are reading this blog, have no fear.  You couldn't be any further from being A Sheep if you were an anteater.

They are sort of like Zombies, except they don't want to eat your brains.  They are really totally and completely unaware that they are not the only person on the planet, except for their immediate-Zombie-family-members.

I know you've seen them.  They seem to be weirdly drawn to places like Walmart, where they wander the aisles slack-jawed at a snail's pace and frequently stop or leave their cart in the middle of the "traffic aisle" to drag themselves slowly towards some miraculous, shiny thing that's caught their (very-limited) attention.  Foiling my plan to get in, get what I need, and get the hell out.

Chances are, the jackass who's holding up traffic by pacing the car next to them (which is also going at least 10 miles-per-hour under the speed limit) is A Sheep.  Or the idiot who does not go when the light turns green.  Or the person in the express-check-out lane who has 110 items.

They are time-stealers and soul-suckers.  And I do not have it in me to have compassion for the flock.  Besides, I think lamb chops are YUMMY.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday, Effing Monday (or, Pay Attention to Your Intuition)

So, Monday didn't start off so hot for me.  Wind, rain, thunder woke me up about 3am.  Then, my weather alert radio did its job by going off twice between 3:30 and 4:00am.  I did exactly what you are not supposed to do and turned it off instead of listening to what was going on.....tornado warnings.  All I can say is thank Goddess there were no tornadoes in my area.  Also, the power went out at some point during the night.  Glad I have the battery back-up alarm clock, but I jumped out of bed about 30 minutes early (SUX) and had to reset every other electronic clock in the house.  Sweet!  As I was having my coffee listening to Mother Nature's fury, a voice inside said, "You should probably just stay home today."  I considered this, since I really haven't been feeling well, but I am so far behind at work, and it's month end, so duty won.

Then, my daughter decided not to wait at the bus stop (good call, since the monsoon was still going on) and asked me to take her to school.  Cool, I can get to work EARLY today.  Always a plus since it gives me some quiet time before the AW comes in.  Alas, it was not to be.  This Monday had other plans for me.  

This is the bridge I have to cross every day on my way to and from work.  And this is pretty much what it looked like this morning, except with a LOT more barely-moving traffic.  I was not in a hurry, since I was way ahead of schedule.  I wasn't speeding, or tailgating, or texting, or screwing with the radio.  I was paying attention.  Made it to the top of the bridge, ok, halfway there.  Traffic always creeps UP the bridge, so we were going slowly.  Just after I started my descent, the chick in front of me slams on her brakes.  And so do I.  Thrilling. Anti-lock brakes do not work very well in the rain on wet, oily pavement.  I remember thinking, "Swerve! Maybe you won't hit her."  But, there's no emergency lane on this bridge.  At all.  A few scant inches between the end of the lane and the edge of the bridge. Instinct took over and said, "Fuck that!  Hit her straight on!"  Slow motion sliding, thinking, "STOP, CAR!  STOP!"  I didn't have time to look in the rear-view to see if anyone was going to hit me. Thankfully, no one did.  BAM!  And instant coffee fountain.  Ohmygodmyphone!  Safe.  Only a few drops on the screen. At 7:35am.  FUCK, FUCK, FUCKITY-FUCK FUCK! Happy Catfucking Monday.

So, here we are, three cars on the bridge, cause the chick in front of me hit the girl in front of her.  I'm gonna say she did that BEFORE I hit her, but the State of Florida doesn't give a crap about that.  I'm the last one in line, so I caused the entire clusterfuck.  Fabulous.  I'm motioning like crazy for her to inch down the bridge to an emergency lane, but no dice.  Perfect.  Wonder if I'm now on the traffic report because we are wreaking havoc by blocking one lane of a two-lane bridge.  So much for my perfect driving record....and for getting to work early.  But, hey, at least I'm not floating in the St. John's River, right?

So, First Cop stops and asks us all to proceed down the bridge (YAY!).  But, he's off-duty, so we have to wait for the "real" cop to show up.  And he turns out to be not nearly as much fun as First Cop.  Drag.  Takes license, registration and insurance information from all three of us.  Wait, wait, wait.  Walks to chick in front of me.  Back to his car.  Chick's boyfriend arrives and shoots eye-daggers at me as he walks to her car.  Cop walks to chick in front of me.  Back to his car.  Walks to chick in front of me.  Back to his car.  Then, walks to chick in front of me with screwdriver in hand.

And takes her tag.  Oh.My.Fuck.

Yeah, we're probably gonna be here awhile.

Meanwhile, I cannot reach a single soul in my support network.  Am I in a black hole or something?  Is this a Twilight Zone episode?  Did the mothership finally come for me?  Even my insurance agent (like a good neighbor, State Farm is not always there) doesn't answer.  (PS.  I finally heard from them about 10:30....three freaking hours AFTER the accident.)

At last, my friend L answers her phone.  I am finally able to sob somewhat.  This is about an hour after the whole thing happened.  I am scared shitless cause I know this is all going to be my fault and OMG the bitch in the middle has an expired tag (at least) and probably no insurance.  So the chick SHE hit will probably be coming after me.  FAN-fucking-tastic.  It is now almost two hours since I left home.  I am STARVING and I need to pee like nobody's business.  But still, the cop is going from his car to the chick in the middle.

Finally, here he comes with all the paperwork.  And a sweet little citation for careless driving for me.  Great, only $169 ticket.  I can go to traffic school and avoid the points on my license.  Ok.  But still, $169.  Crap.  Deep breath and slowly proceed to work.  Where I finally look at the front of my car.

Ok, could have been a lot worse.  Have a friend who can take care of this for me, won't even have to file an insurance claim.  Whew.  Thank you, Nissan.  Thank you, Universe, that no one was hurt and it's all (mostly) over.  The worst damage to my car was this:

My son gave me this after I smashed the first one banging into the trailer hitch on the back of EH2's truck as I wheeled into his driveway one morning after he thoroughly pissed me off.  I think these things are cursed.  Definitely not replacing this one.  And from now on, I will ALWAYS trust my intuition.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Looking back, my hopes and dreams for my baby girl were so big and bright and beautiful.  I wanted to give her everything, dress her like a little princess, sprinkle her daily with mommy fairy dust.  And in the beginning, it was like that somewhat.  I was just SO HAPPY to be a mommy, I even loved changing her diaper.  Seriously.  I held her constantly and rubbed the top of her soft little head with my chin until her hair fell out (sorry, Bug!).  Sang to her, rocked her, whispered in her ear, kissed her soft little cheeks, recorded all her little baby noises, talked baby talk to her to watch her wiggle with joy, loved, loved, LOVED her so much it hurt (in a good way).

When she was born, her father (EH1) and I had been married ten years.  He had been putting me off forever about getting pregnant.  And I finally talked him into it.  I was ready to have my baby, his or someone else's.  He agreed, certain that we could never get pregnant the first time.  He was so wrong.

He was also deep in the throes of mental illness.  I just didn't recognize it for what it was at the time.  Among other things, this meant that he never really held a job.  Always seeking some get-rich-quick scheme or trying unsuccessfully to build his own business.  And completely frying my credit..and any feelings I had for him other than anger and frustration.  Living hand to mouth in practically poverty sometimes not knowing if I would have gas money to get to work.

When our daughter was born, he seemed to take a turn for the better.  He absolutely adored her.  And he seemed determined to help me provide for her.  But by the time she was almost two, his mental state was deteriorating rapidly.  He became extremely withdrawn even from her.  He would come home from "work" and go straight to the bedroom and turn on the tv.  I wasn't allowed to ask him if he wanted dinner or even say hello, but he always made time for our daughter at her bedtime.  I will never forget the first night he didn't want to cuddle with her and tell her goodnight.  I could see the bewilderment and hurt in her eyes, even as young as she was.  And that was the beginning of the end for him.

After he left, she and I began to have a much better life.  There was LIGHT and laughter and good times.  Stereo loud dancing through the house and cleaning together.  Cooking and singing together (she has been singing since she was born.) She was my whole heart.  I had a little extra money to spend and her first Christmas without him was ridiculous.  The entire living room floor was covered in toys and presents.  It took her almost 4 hours to discover everything and open presents.  I was in heaven.  I had never been able to give her anything before.  

But with no child support and a mortgage, things were really tight.  She lived in hand-me-downs from her cousin.  No shame in that at all, it just wasn't what I had planned for her.  No washer and dryer either, so every Saturday night I would hand wash her things in the kitchen sink, spread them out to dry on a rack, and spend Sunday mornings ironing everything so all her clothes (undies and socks, too) would be soft.  And I loved every minute of it.

When she was four, I decided to go to night school.  I don't know how I did it. Working full time, shuffling her between preschool and different baby-sitters three nights a week.  But I was determined to make a better life for her.

And then I met my son's father.  And got pregnant.  At 39.  On birth control.  And freaked the freak out.  And then was overjoyed because I knew I was having the baby boy I secretly wanted and thought I would never have.  Since I was divorced.  And 39.  (Oh, boy, be careful what you wish for!)  

And then we were three. I was so happy to have my babies and me. Ecstatic to have another little person to love and cherish and my daughter was thrilled to have a baby brother.  Had to quit night school because my body just wouldn't let me live on 4 hours of sleep a night (the boy didn't sleep through the night till he was 4 months old). But ok. I can make it work.  

I didn't want to ever get married again. But then baby boy started growing up. I worried about him growing up without his father.  So we got married.  I thought it would be good for my daughter to have a positive male role model in her life, too.  By that time, she was seeing her father every other weekend, and she still loves him with all her heart, but I wanted her to see what "normal" was like.  Then we were six, because EH2 was a package deal which included EMIL (Evil Mother-In-Law) and his granddaughter who was two.  Things were tense at first but seemed to be ok for the first year until we bought our house.  That was the beginning of the end, I think mostly because EMIL thought I was only temporary until that point and after that, she set about to completely destroy our relationship and our family.  And, oh, boy, did she ever do an outstanding job of it.

Whatever the reason, EH2 became someone else entirely, escalating after his decision to become a Jehovah's Witness.  I seriously never saw that coming.  He had already become controlling and possessive, but then became abusive as well (verbally, emotionally and at the end, physically).  I did my best to make it work thinking I was doing the right thing for my son.  Until he started having anger issues from all the fighting and tension created by EMIL and the fights between his father and me, which prompted me to get him counseling.  And then I knew it was time to go.  Because I had given EH2 three years to stop the bullshit.  It was only getting worse.  I knew it would never change.

So, here we are now, just the three of us again.  Peacefully, blissfully happy and healing.  I found out after the fact that EMIL had been extremely abusive to my daughter and not always so nice to my son, her own grandson.  Really, the things that can happen right under your nose are disturbing.

I know I have done the right things and chosen the right path for me and my kids.  But there are days when I remember the hopes and dreams I had for my babies in the beginning and I find myself mourning the loss of those dreams.  Wishing, hoping, praying that all these scars they have will fade away and not be remembered some day.

Remembering too, my fervent promise to myself to never behave the way my mother did, and feeling the shame and self-disgust at knowing without a doubt that I have done so. Ah, but now at least I have some insight into why she behaved the way she did. Being unhappy with your life on a daily basis distracts you from taking care of other people sometimes. Letting the worries and the stress of life get in the way of nurturing those two precious little souls I am so grateful to have in my life.

That's when I get the Mommyaches deep down in my heart.  

And every time they ask for something I can't give them.  Thankfully, it's only things I can't always provide.  One day they will understand that.  Right now, though, it's devastating to see disappointment on those little faces.  It's hard for me to know I've gone from super hero to mere mortal in their eyes.