Once upon a time, I wished that my family would eat healthier. Oh to go back to such a kinder, gentler world.
Holly has always loved fruits and veggies. Salads are her friend. A fruit of any sort was always something she chose over cake and candy. Rob….well, Rob has never been a fan. Even as an infant, he immediately gagged on all vegetables and this followed him into adulthood. Only recently has he come to eat an occasional salad, mashed potatoes, or corn. He will grab fruit when the mood strikes him. This was a change I was overjoyed to see.
Now Hubs? Green beans and corn. That’s it. Or at least it had been until his heart attack. Now he has no choice but to add these things to his diet. Now, there is fruit in the house. Oranges and apples abound. He will grab lettuce (notice, I didn’t call it a ‘salad’) It’s been hard to keep him away from ranch dressing, but we found one that is heart friendly. Now, if he wants red meat, we bribe him with V8 juice. He doesn’t like this, but if he wants a steak, he gets the extra veggies. Now, he is really thinking about whether or not that roast beef is worth it.
These days, we have turkey. A LOT of turkey. Hubs will not eat fish unless it is square and covered in breading. Chicken likewise should be breaded and preferably fried. This is not allowed and until I find a way to cook it in a way that he likes them, we will have turkey at all times in the house. We tried turkey meatballs. As they cooked, all I could think of was ‘wet dog’. Holly came out of her room and asked, “Who the hell is cooking dog meat??” Rob was too hungry to care and said he would give it a go if only to support Hubs’ efforts. The family voted unanimously to banish this creation from our home for eternity.
Tonight, while grocery shopping, Hubs picked up a package of Italian turkey sausage. I don’t have high hopes for this, but being such a good wife, I will cook this for him. We have bought oatmeal fruit bars. He is allowed 35 lightly salted peanuts. (This amount is just enough to satisfy his salty/crunchy craving) For me, 35 is a mouthful. For him, it is a luxury to be eaten one peanut at a time.
Gotta love my kids, though. They have been great sports about trying the change in foods. They wait until Hubs leaves the room before telling me whether they liked it or not. If they can’t stand the idea of eating with us, they manage to go out with friends or wait until we eat before looking for frozen pizza or chicken tenders.
Just before writing this, I had a toasted blueberry bagel with some cream cheese. Not actually good for me, but hey, it’s what I wanted. And there I was, a fifty year old grown-ass woman trying to keep the aroma from travelling down the hall to the bedroom where Hubs was watching tv. It brought back memories of trying to sneak a smoke in my bedroom as a teenager. I enjoyed every fucking bite, don’t get me wrong. I just felt like I was eating forbidden fruit. I’m not on a restricted diet, but just knowing that he is struggling so hard, makes it seem like cheating on him.
Well, I was the one who wanted to have more fruits and vegetables around. I was the one who wanted to try new ways of cooking for my family. I was the one who wanted things to be different.
Now my wish has been granted. Is it good or bad? My brain says “Yes! Of course it’s a good thing!”
My tongue and belly are still out on this one….
Okay, so yesterday I was a bitch. I mean BITCH. I was annoyed at everything. All that stuff going on with Penn State was everywhere….Facebook, Twitter and television. I flicked off the television. I logged off of fb. I was on Twitter for a bit. It was nice chatting with everyone and taking my mind off of the craving that was slowly grinding away at my willpower. I walked away from the laptop and cleaned the kitchen. I came back and got some support and left again to clean the bathroom. Back and forth I went, twitter and clean, twitter and clean.
Around three-ish, I hit the craving of a lifetime. I decided to light a candle and read for a bit. It took me six matches to light that wick. I needed to go into the office for a second pack. There on the desk was an opened pack of cigarettes. I reached for it and looked inside.
I could easily take one. God knows, I wanted it bad enough. But I didn’t because of something I had read earlier on Twitter. “I gave in and smoked. I will try again tomorrow”. My smoke buddy had fallen. I had answered her comment with “We can do this!” Remembering that, I broke the smokes and threw them away.
Hubs came home a short time later. It was his bad luck to come in just as another craving struck me.
“Motherfucker! You left cigarettes here! Were you trying to tempt me or test me?!! Wait, don’t answer me! I don’t want to know. I hate you right now!”
He apologized profusely. He couldn’t say enough.
I cursed him up and down. I wouldn’t let him say a word. He asked where paperwork was. I told him to look for himself. He asked if the mail had come. I asked if he saw it on his desk. I made him chicken for dinner. I made it the one way he dislikes it, and I was happy about that.
I hated myself for acting this way. It wasn’t his fault. He didn’t do anything to deserve this. I wanted to kick my own ass.
He went out after dinner to check on something. He came home after an hour and went to his office. He took a shower and sat next to me on the couch. Just looking at him I could feel that switch flip again. All the sorrow I felt for being a bitch disappeared. I wanted a fight again.
Before I could do something I’d regret, I wanted a shower. I hoped that I could wash away the anger. But a shower meant wetting my hair and that was just one more thing that I didn’t want to deal with. I looked into the bathroom and was overcome with a sudden desire for a BATH. I began to run the water.
In my old house, I had one of those big, deep bathtubs on claw feet. I would take a bath as often as possible. Candle, music, head pillow…..the whole nine yards. When we moved, I was once again the owner of a standard tub. It wasn’t as deep. The water barely covered my boobs. My chest and shoulders get cold while the rest of me soaks. I gave up the baths in favor of showers.
Tonight, however, I wanted that bath more than anything….except a cigarette. The peach scented bubble bath I used to use had a layer of dust on it. I no longer have the bath pillow. Undeterred, I poured in the bubbles and watched them foam up.
It smelled heavenly. My body began to relax before I finished undressing. I eased myself in…..and floated away. The candle added an undertone of vanilla to the peach steam filling the room. I lay in the tub soaking, basking in the warmth. After about forty-five minutes, I was pruney enough and tried to get out of the water. No bath mat plus bubble bath equals a slippery tub. I needed help so I called for Hubs.
“I need someone to hang onto. It’s too slippery and I’m afraid that I’ll fall.”
He came into the bathroom and placed a towel on the side of the tub. I pulled myself up and began to step out of the water. He held my arm with one hand and reached for a second towel with his other hand. I was totally out of the shower and he began to gently dry my body. It felt so good. I was like putty.
“I didn’t leave those cigarettes on purpose. I’m sorry you felt like I let you down.”
“No, I’m sorry I took things out on you. You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was itching for a fight and you were the closest to me. I’m sorry.”
We kissed and moved into the bedroom.
Because Babygirl still reads my posts, I will spare her the details of what her parents did next. (made love…LOL)
This is the reward for thirty-one years of marriage. He can take what I dish out. Today I was a raving lunatic. This will get better. I know it will. It will pass.
But our love for each other will not pass.
I am his lunatic.
Truth or Consequences.
Truth-I hate housework.
Consequence-I tried to fit something in my cabinet and discovered that the shelf liner had been pushed to the back, thus creating a lump that took up space. My ‘full’ cabinet wasn’t as full as I thought. Now I have to clean my cabinets.
Truth-Boredom is my eating trigger.
Consequence-I find myself getting bored and then I pace. Suddenly I look up and realize that I am in the kitchen looking for a snack. This is horrible because my house has lots of chips, cookies, ice cream and candy. I am not the only that eats that stuff so I can’t just hide it or stop keeping it in the house.
Truth-I like to cook.
Consequence-I made two different things to eat for dinner (for myself) and there are leftovers that just don’t taste the same when they’ve been frozen. Now that my desire to cook and eat them has been fulfilled, I find myself looking at the leftovers thinking “I have to eat that before it gets bad.”
Truth– I started smoking again in July. The fact that Hubs knew and was buying me the cigarettes, made me feel less guilty. Less guilty=smoking more.
Consequences– I started the patch on Monday in order to quit. Today is Day 3, or is it #4? I don’t know and I don’t care. I am bitchy as hell. I am cleaning my house, cooking, and eating.
But not smoking……so I guess there’s that.
Prison Bucket List
Among the various things on my “bucket list” were two things: Visit a truly haunted place, and go to a decent house of horrors.
Hubs hates blood and gore. He’s not a fan of haunted houses at Halloween. And most of all, he has no belief whatsoever in the paranormal. As I get older, I was coming to the realization that most of my friends echo his feelings. I’ve been told haunted houses are “for kids” and that “we’re too old for that kind of thing”. Babygirl hates being scared. Son1 prefers to go with Jazzy or his other ‘friends-with-kids’. Son2? He’s too fucking cool to be seen with his mom at a scare house.
And so….I got a message on Facebook from my girl Teri. A friend of hers is visiting from Florida (where he is a scenery designer at Universal Studios horror houses.) One of the things he wanted to do was to visit Eastern State Penitentiary. Immediately, Teri thought of me and invited me to go with them.
Oh..my…God!!! I barely took a breath before I messaged her that YES! Of course I wanted to go!!
Eastern State is a truly haunted prison. It has been featured on several paranormal shows and many unexplained occurrences have been documented there. However, every Halloween season, it is turned into Terror Behind the Walls. Whether it is it’s notoriety as a haunted place or the fact that it is in the city, no one ever wanted to go. I was so excited about this that I found myself counting down the days, and hours, until I would be there. Before I fell asleep at night, I imagined what it would be like. I imagined a contact outside of the realm of ‘spooking’. Would I possibly feel a cold blast of air? Would I see a dark, unexplained shape? I got chills…anticipation? fear? Both!
Teri parked a distance away where we go on the ‘Ghost Shuttle’, a tourist trolley car run by the event. We were treated to a story told by a guy dressed in costume. This was an opportunity lost. This guy must have had ADD because his story was not scary, spooky, or even coherent. He went off on too many tangents. Why not have one scripted story of ghost, ghouls or unexplained noises? This could have turned on the imagination before ever getting to the main course! If not a ghost story, then perhaps a story about the Prison’s history, that would tie in with the areas of the tour that we would be exposed to. Like I said, an opportunity lost.
We pulled up at the Prison and joined our friends, signed our ‘release form’ and got in line. Several characters roamed about setting the stage for creeps and chills. The wait to get into the prison itself was kind of long, but it actually went pretty quickly. The characters creeped us out, there were tv monitors showing paranormal videos of the prison, and there was just the curiosity of looking at a building with such a heinous history.
Inside the prison, we were treated to the standard ‘scare house’ fare. Strobe lights, creeps that stared or followed you, the ones who stole up behind us to softly blow on our necks. There was the infirmary with its mad doctors, the intake with its sadistic guards, and the cells themselves. I was particularly happy with the 3D portion. Looking down at my feet, it was as if my legs went into the floor! But again, there were opportunities lost. Why not have a dummy operation on the hospital table? Why not a gore covered ‘doctor’?
Of course, it all ends with a Gift Shop. It was not overly big, and the selection was small but very cool. And the prices? Pretty decent.
I have to say that it wasn’t as scary as I had hoped but it was very good overall. I didn’t have any otherworldly experiences. I do , however, plan on going back during the daytime to take the more historical tour, in which cameras are allowed, and you get to see the closed off cells, like that occupied by Al Capone during his incarceration. The cool thing is that we were given coupons for a discount on the return tickets.
Speaking of tickets….There was a fee for an “Exit Pass” . We had parked at a designated parking lot. In order to get onto the shuttle back to the lot, we needed an exit pass. This was used to get off the lot with the car! I confess that I did see it listed when I purchased my ticket online. But what if someone missed that? What if they had run out money? Now THAT is a scary thought!
Will I go back for the scare house? YES. It was a fun time. Will I go back for the day tour? DEFINITELY!
So I got a two-fer off my bucket list. A truly haunted place, and a cool scare house.
This is not a paid review for Eastern State Penitentiary…..Although it would be cool if it was!!
Jump On It
I really can’t seem to get motivated to write lately.
I had lost some stuff on a flash drive-and no, I didn’t have it saved anywhere else. This was a devastating loss. It was lots of notes, partial stories, and many other things. This led to me feeling…..like I didn’t want to be bothered.
Well I’ve decided to give up the funk and try to get on that horse again. And so it begins…here. Will this be a steady thing? I don’t know. I may just be posting anything and everything in an effort to get myself writing every day again. Will you stay with me? Will you encourage me to continue? Or will you become exasperated with my ramblings and abandon me?
Only time will tell.
Please, don’t leave me.
Seven years. Two kids. Wonderful husband. Then why am I here?
These thoughts swirled in my head as I sat in my car parked across the street from the hotel. Round and round they went on a loop. I truly love my husband. I don’t want to jeopardize this. My kids…oh God, my kids. I love them fiercely.
I feel like a shadow of myself. I clean my house, wipe snot off the kids, cook for them all. My husband thanks me and never fails to kiss me goodbye or say “I love you” when he leaves the house. But sometimes I feel like he doesn’t see me. As if we are going through the motions.
The red car pulls up and he moves easily to the hotel door. As he unlocks the door, I watch. He is beautiful. My heart skips a beat and I feel a flush of desire infuse me. He looks into my eyes when we speak. He laughs at my jokes. He tells me that I make a difference in his day. I miss that with my husband.
I start the car and the radio is playing Bruce Springsteen…”Hey little girl is your daddy home? Did he go and leave you all alone? Ooooh I’m on fire…”
I park my car next to his and look into the mirror. I run my fingers through my hair, touch up my lipstick. I join him in the room.
He kisses me. Possesses me. His tongue devours mine, greedily. His hands, ever gentle, leave a trail of fire on my skin. He removes my clothes and his own and then….Oh God…and then….
I feel strange in my own skin. I allow things that I would normally shy from. I am wanton in my desires. All thoughts of family and spouse are gone. I am needed, I am wanted, I am the only thing in this man’s universe…for now. He is the only thing in my world….at this moment.
I must leave. The kids will be home from school soon.
I feel dirty, used. What happened to the feelings of ‘worth’? I feel guilty and tell him so. This won’t happen, CAN’T happen again. I love and need my family more.
I close the room door and wipe the tears of shame from my eyes.
I start the car to leave and the radio is playing “Careless Whisper” by Wham!
“I should have known better than to cheat a friend
And waste the chance that I’d been given
So I’m never gonna dance again
The way I danced with you”
I drive through the traffic, to return to my life, my home….
I could…… tell you that I am hunky dory, full of life and joy and other such stuff and nonsense, but I would be full of shit. I could….tell you that my house is the picture of holiday cheer, but again, I would be full of shit. I could….tell you about the wonderous anticipation I am feeling for the holidays……but there we have that shit again.
I do have lights up. I do have my tree up and before I go to bed tonight, Babygirl and I will have it adorned with ornaments full of memories. I have started baking. Just this past Saturday, I had Son1, Shenanigans and Jazz over here, along with Babygirl, my niece Alex and another friend and his son. We made pizzelles, and chocolate chip cookies. It was day full of laughter and fun. I was very much full of spirit. When everyone left, Hubs and I ran out for a few gifts and then had drinks.
But I still feel like something is missing. I don’t know what it is.
It’s like eating an apple…a beautiful, ripe, red apple that fills my mouth with it’s sweet, juicy goodness. As I crunch into it, I am happy……until I find a worm. No matter that I haven’t bitten said worm, it is there and the enjoyment of the apple is marred. Get it? That’s as close as I can get to describing the feeling.
I am very much “in the moment”. I am very happy when I’m with the family, with friends, shopping, baking, wrapping…. But when I am finished, when everyone leaves, when the paper and bows get put away, the feelings are similarly put away. Am I sad? No, not really. I’m not tired. I’m not sick. I just…….am.
I hope I can rouse myself enough to post again BEFORE Christmas. I want everyone to have a wonderful holiday. I want you know how much I love you all. I don’t want this particular post to be the one that sits here through the weekend.
It’s been barely twenty-four hours since we left Babygirl at college.
We had a nice drive out there, unloaded the car and loaded up the dorm room. Everything fit, but she was a bit exasperated by mommy’s desire to help her unpack. She wanted to get her schedule and roam around for a little while. We got the schedule and a few notices about the social things that were going on last night but she immediately noticed one thing….she only had four classes listed. She added up the credits and they added up to what amounted to…..ready for this?…..part time student status.
Well there was nothing to be done yesterday. That had to wait for today when she met up with her student advisor. We left her with her boy and roommate. There were dewy eyes, but no tears. I was proud of myself.
So, first thing this morning, she set off in search of one person who could fix this. Apparently there is no one who can do that. She was shuttled from office to office – at one point she sat for two hours waiting to talk to a man who could only tell her that he couldn’t help her! Full of frustration, anger and anxiety, she called the last person in the world who was equipped for this type of emergency…..
Yep, she called me. I woke up with raging allergies which set off a killer migraine. I had already thrown up twice and was almost ready to rip out my own eyeball when the phone rang. She tried to explain what was happening and I needed her to repeat everything over and over until I could comprehend what she was telling me. Did we need to call the school? Did we only pay enough tuition for a part time student? What was happening?? Through her tears and her trembling voice I could finally make it all out. I wanted to hug her. After all these years of being uncomfortable with hugging, that was all I could think of doing. There was no way I could fix this for her. There was nothing that could be done until tomorrow. I couldn’t comfort her. I cried, making my nose stuffy and making my head pound even more.
I suggested that she print out the financial records that show that she has paid her tuition and that she is in a dorm. That way she will be armed when she goes to the various offices. Her printer isn’t hooked up yet and she’ll have to use her RA’s or another student’s.
She had a half hour until she met a friend for lunch so I told her to sit down and relax. Her roommate had made coffee so I suggested that she have a cup. And then she sobbed out “I can’t even do that! I don’t have any milk for it! I’m going to the store later!”
It was going downhill for both of us.
Finally, we came to the decision to breathe and wait for tomorrow or at least for calmer minds. I hung up the phone, ran to the bathroom to be sick and then threw myself on the bed. I buried my head into my pillow and screamed….and screamed….and screamed. Then I called Lostmahead to vent and cry out my feelings of helplessness. She came running. After a cup of tea and a hug, she went back to work and I laid down to try to sleep.
Two hours later, (I still hadn’t slept) Babygirl got in touch again. Her status is changed to full time student. Her credits have gone from nine to twelve. And as we chatted, she was offered a job in the bookstore. (It would be hella nice if she got a discount on her books!!) As long as it won’t interfere with her scheduling, she will take it.
While not everything is in place, at least most of it is. As Lostmahead pointed out, Babygirl has handled past problems with teachers and bosses with admirable finesse. I should place my trust in that ability and simply remind her that some things take time. (she is like her mom in that we both have problems with patience)
And so, in the first twenty-four hours of being the mother of a college student, I have gone through
*The horror of not being able to comfort my child as she sobbed through the phone line.
*The frustration of not being able to make this mess go away.
*The pain of trying to comprehend important information with a sledgehammer pounding in my head.
*The relief that things are working out.
*The elation that there may be a job.
*And the pride of knowing that my girl may have had a breakdown, but she pulled herself up by the bootstraps and managed to get the ball rolling on the right track.
I haven’t had moodswings like this since I was pregnant with her!!
Bad Is Not So Bad
My son went away for the weekend and turned off the air conditioner in his room. It is a small room and his queen size bed sits below the window. Well, while the AC was off this weekend, it leaked…into his room. Not only did water run down the wall wetting the carpet, but it soaked a quarter of the mattress through to part of the box spring. Now what? Is there any way to dry it out? Do we write it off and try to come up with the money for a new bed? It’s the last thing we can afford right now. I felt so bad for Son2. He had worked all day in the heat, humidity and sun. He had come home long enough to shower, throw food into his face and run to his second job, where Monday is one of the busiest nights of the week. All he wanted to do was crash into his bed. Instead, at one in the morning, I was helping him soak up some of the water and later crying about his shitty luck.
My daughter wants to go to Colorado with her Man and his family in January. They enjoy snowboarding and that is exactly what they will be doing. His parents will be paying for everything but the air fare. When you look at the price of tickets to lots of places, or even the cost of a ski pass to our local Pocono Mountain resorts, the air fare will be cheaper. We can’t really afford that either. I added tears for her to the tears for my son.
I looked into the mirror this weekend and saw my hair. I stop dying my hair every summer because of vacations. If I dye it, the dye fades quickly in the sun or washes out in the chlorine of the pools. It also gives my crappy hair a break from the chemicals. This year, the white hair is more prominent than usual. Hubs likes it. Now I face the prospect of letting the gray grow in. I am cutting back on things and hair dye is not a ‘necessary’ expense. I feel old when I look at myself. Hubs thinks it’s pretty. Oh the indecision….
Our business is slow. But at least we have something. Babygirl may be headed to college, but she can get a job to help out with school expenses or to get herself a plane ticket. She has earned the money to buy her own back-to-school clothes and many of her supplies. Son2 has plenty of his own expenses, and that is the reason for two jobs. But at least he has money to go to the Union soccer games once, sometimes twice, a week (we paid for half of his season tickets for last Christmas-when we had a streak of good income) He can buy a new bed for himself, if he has to. Dying my hair? Well, shit. I won’t be the end of the world if I look my age. Yanno?
My friend’s husband is losing his job-along with 700 other families- when their plant closes.
My friend has little kids, kids who can’t get jobs to help pay for their school supplies. Her kids are too young to fully understand the way their parents will have to cut corners. Her husband will be dealing with the stress and depression that comes with looking for a job and providing for his family. She will deal with standing by her man, saving every penny she can and the heartbreaking task of telling her children “no” far too often than “yes”
I feel so guilty moaning about a plane ticket, a bed, and worst of all HAIR DYE! These things pale in the face of the troubles in front of others.
I light a candle and pray everyday for my friends. I pray for our own financial stability and health. I pray that some of you get back good test results. I hope that you don’t lose your insurance, your car, your home. I pray that you get that job you interviewed for. I pray that this love is the one that lasts.
And I’ve added another friend to my litany of prayers. My dear friend, I hope that something good comes your way soon.
Saturday: Stripping and Soccer
I woke up this morning and began the task of stripping the wallpaper from my bathroom walls. I made my way around the door frame and above the shower. Once I got enough paper to hold, it peeled right off, nice and clean. Above the sink, in the area that I have the biggest wall area, the glue is tight. I used a spray that Son1 used to do his bathroom. It worked…..but there is muscle needed. My alarm went off at 3:15. It was time to clean up stripped paper and chips of paint and glue.
It’s game time. Time to crack a beer and watch the pre-game show.
I am a soccer fan (football for you Europeans). Philadelphia has it’s first MLS team- the Philadelphia Union. Their “official” fans are the Sons of Ben. Son2 is a SOB. He left hours ago for the tailgating festivities. They will gather together at the designated spot just before gametime and march into the stadium as a group. At away games, they choose a bar to gather and they parade to the games. It is an awesome sight. They will have their own entrance in the new stadium that will open in two weeks. Their own entrance! That is how rabid these fans are. We have waited hella long for a team and we take it seriously.
I shoot the shit for a while with the Union Facebook group. We critique the lineup and debate defense strategies. And then the game starts.
I watch alone in my living room. I shout at shots on goal. I yell at the referees. There is almost a Union goal. I am screaming as Dallas FC scores.
I am happy about the return of our star player, Sebastien LeToux. He looks good after an injury. I marvel at the sight of the other players. They look so young. Some are mere children….really. Three are 18 and one is 17 years old. They are boys playing on team where the others are 20-30 years old. There is lots of comeraderie between the players of both teams. There is laughter between bouts of intense aggression.
The street is quiet, save for my yells. Hubby sleeps through it all. Two and then three near miss shots by LeToux. I can’t stand this. I can almost feel his frustration.
Half time. I take the time to shower.
I come back to start of the second half of both the game and my six pack.
The atmosphere is changed. The fans are more outspoken and loud in their rally cheers. The laughter is gone and the game has become more intense. The referee begins handing out yellow penalty cards to both teams. The playing has become vicious.
My own demeanor has changed. I am spending more time holding my breath or letting out sighs of desperation. The last four games were played on the road and we lost every one. This is a homecoming of sorts. The last home game was the last win. Instead of sipping my beer, I take long pulls on the bottle.
A kicked ball has flown into the seats….into the Sons of Ben. Is that….? Why, yes it is! There is the smiling face of Son2! How I wish I was there to cheer with him.
The clock ticks away and I have watched a game in which although the Union have given their all, they have lost.
In the last minute, the last second of play, my boys have scored. The game ends in a tie. The crowd goes wild. I jump to my feet and I’ve scared the shit out of the dog.
Now Hubs can return from the bedroom. He can watch his own television again.