To Marie and Jeremy…and Jane

In approximately 33 days, the ‘good guys’ are going to be one girl stronger.

Little Jane Elizabeth will finally grace us with her presence and I, for one, can’t wait! Good things come to those who wait and goodness knows that you guys have waited and struggled and laughed and cried and had hypochondria issues galore ( I kid Marie!!) But know you’re in the home stretch and there are so many great things just around the corner.

Jane is so lucky to have parents like you. Parents that compliment each other in so many ways. Individually you are super cool, collectively you are a force to be reckoned with. You both care for each other and your friends and family in ways that are not sicky sweet, but caring the way people want to be cared about. You have amazing senses of humors and all kinds of quirks that make being around you a treat.

Hearing Marie worry about early life with Jane and Jeremy worry about things like taking her fishing, the girl is going to be taken care of. She’s going to have great taste in music, varied taste in movies and be a reader. I just know it. I wonder if she’ll be a planner or a dreamer, or maybe the perfect combination of both?  All things are possible in Jane’s world right now and she has the type of parents who will do all they can to continue to make her feel that all things are possible, without giving her false hope.

Little Miss Jane, we’ve been waiting for you. You’re not here quite yet, but we’ve gotten some things in order for you. We have a great President in office, that’s a good thing. We’re working on the global warming thing, sorry about that. Hopefully all the wars will be over by the time you are aware of such horrible things. Bottom line, you are already loved and your parents have so much love ready to give you that I can’t even express. So if they get stressed when you cry all night or ticked when you won’t eat….don’t worry, they will always love you. And if you could be a napper…that would be good to. They would appreciate that.

Lone Star state of mind

Texas, you big beautiful state you!

Texas has been a part of my life since before I was born. It’s part of family lore that my paternal grandparents missed my birth because my grandpa was afraid they would hit freezing rain in Missouri on their way to their winter home in South Padre Island Texas. I would bet that they day she died, my grandmother was still pissed about that. I would also guarantee that if he had it to do over again, my grandfather would not have risked freezing rain in Missouri.

Shortly after I was born my grandparents moved to Padre permanently. Sure, I never knew what it was like to have grandparents live in the same town as me, but they lived on a freakin’ island!! How cool is that.  Back in the day there wasn’t much to do at Padre, but I never noticed.  They lived less then a block from the beach and when I was there…which was often…the vast majority of my time was spent on the beach, in the gulf or in the swimming pools at the small condo buildings that lined the beach. Seriously, it was an idyllic experience.

Around the age of 6 I started spending long summers in Padre. Sometimes I flew, by myself–such a big girl, but more often then not I was driven down. My dad and I would hop in whatever vehicle he had at the time and set out for a two day trip that only went through two states. Usually we would stop in Dallas and see a family friend who lived there. I’d swim in the pool or we’d go to another friend’s house for brisket or some other such Texas fare. Then early the next day we would take the long drive to the Island.

I love all the small towns in Texas. They are all so different but are all so similar and are all so….Texas. There was a Dairy Queen we would stop at in some tiny town.  There I would just sit and people watch, even at six, and wonder what it was like to live in such a small town. Sure, Edmond Oklahoma is hardly a booming metropolis, but our streets were streets, not farm roads.  We would drive through King Ranch….which takes forever….and then soon we were in the Rio Grande Valley. So many little random business and so much agriculture. I’ve been a lot of places in this country and none are anything like the RGV. Once I started seeing seashell shops, I knew we were close. We would take that drive along the super tall causeway and I was once again home, or at least in my home away from home. My grandparents and parents would talk shit about Texans and how they acted like Texas was the be all end all, but secretly I think they sort of agreed.  My grandma had a decorative plate that had two angels on it and one of them had a speech bubble over it’s head that said, “And if we are very good, we will go to Texas!”  I have all of her plates…but that one is missing. I so wish I had that plate.

Once I moved to California in 1985, trips to Texas became fewer and further between. Plus I was a teenager and let’s face it, teenagers suck and don’t appreciate anything at the time.  When my grandparents moved to Florida around 1994, my trips to Texas ended. I didn’t even knew I missed them until…

September 2005.  While the gulf coast was still reeling from Hurricane Katrina and anticipating Hurricane Rita, I was on my way to the Austin City Limits festival. When I stepped off the plane in Austin, my love for Texas came flooding back. The smell of breakfast tacos, the live music, sharing a plane with Ray Benson and wishing him luck on getting to the festival on time for his slot. It all was perfect. I dropped my stuff off at the hotel, grabbed a cab to Zilker park and I was off. The natural beauty in Texas isn’t easy for some to appreciate. I, however, am truly enchanted by it.  The scrubby mesquite just standing there against the heat and wind. The long stretches of land untouched by “civilization.” All of it resonates inside of me like few other places I’ve ever been. Austin has the lovely Town Lake, the refreshing Barton Springs and so many trails and byways that it’s easy to forget you are in a city. I spent the next three days sweating and breathing dirt and loving my life more then I knew I could. I didn’t eat, I drank water. I took long showers in the evening to remove the mass quantities of soil that seemed embedded in my flesh. I loved it all. It probably didn’t hurt that the first night we were there my favorite band, Reckless Kelly, was playing at Threadgill’s across the street from my hotel.  I’m not usually one to go solo to a show, but I couldn’t miss it and my traveling companion thought slee sounded like a better option. Then I remembered, you’re never alone at a Reckless Kelly show because RK fans are all friends you just haven’t met yet. Sure, the members of the band aren’t FROM Texas, but the heart of the band is from Texas and that all worked out well in my mind.  The next night I had, what I consider, the ultimate Texas evening. Drove down to New Braunfels in the darkest of nights, ate dinner overlooking the Guadalupe river and saw Reckless Kelly at Gruene Hall. Sweet Jesus, I’ve never been a churchgoer, but if church made me feel like that night did, I would be up bright and early every Sunday morning. Of course, Reckless Kelly doesn’t see many early Sunday mornings, so I think I can keep sleeping in.

My next trio to Texas was for SXSW. Lifechanging trip. Ate the best BBQ of my life at Kreuz’s. Had more fun then should be allowed by law. It was confirmed on this trip that Texas had played and continued to play a huge role in my life.

I’ve only been back once since SXSW in 2006 and that was for a Reckless Kelly live cd recording, obsessed? me? surely you jest!  I was there for 16 hours, but what I 16 hours it was. I made friends that night that I still keep in touch with. We were all part of something super special that night…and I don’t think it could have happened anywhere but Texas.

Lately I’ve been NEEDING to go back. Sure, my best friend since first grade had a baby 8 months ago that I haven’t seen in Chicago. Sure, I never visit my family in Florida. But dammit all to hell I need to go to Texas.  I need to breathe that thick air. I need to shop for random things, and cowboy boots!, in Austin.  I need to drink crappy beer and good liquor with some of the most fun people on the planet.  I need to sit in Zilker park and just think. I need to sit on Town Lake  and drink coffee at Mozarts. I need to roam the stacks in Waterloo. I need some Lone Star time.

I guess I’m kind of a lone star myself. But I hope that, much like Texas, with it’s quiet strength, that there is a nobility with me being a lone star. Texas isn’t about the jerks who act like when you cross out of the state line you lose any reason for living.  Texas is about knowing that when you cross into Texas, you are crossing into a special, stark, beautiful, lush and dry land that has endless opportunities and room for endless heartache.

Don’t mess with Texas! 🙂

Chemistry.com: The Truth

This is not some expose on a online dating site. This is, rather, a more truthful response to the extensive profile I filled out on the aforementioned dating site earlier today.

Who I am and who I am looking for:

I am borderline neurotic. I have a vivid imagination and a tendency to over-share. I can tend to be clingy, but need my space. I feel alone in crowds. I love my dog too much. Sometimes I forget to brush my teeth. I never put away my clean laundry. I like the idea of eating healthy, but eat crap out of convenience. I have pretty blue eyes, and I know it. There is no way for me to have cleavage. I fall down a lot. I laugh way too loud. Sometimes I hold in my sneezes in some weak attempt at femininity.  I enjoy museums and such, but spend large amounts of time watching random reality shows.  I sometimes think people are looking at me in admiration, but in my heart know it’s not true. I relate very well to gay men. Gay men love me. Straight men are much less interested. I sometimes have a horrible time holding up my end of a conversation. I try to be a people pleaser to the point that I either come across as super boring or eventually freak out and spill all the dissenting opinions I’ve been holding in. I was once a registered Republican, but currently am terrified by Republicans in general. I believe in God and think Jesus was probably a cool dude, but, in general, Christians scare the hell out of me. I don’t care what anyone does as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Stealing is bad. I drive too fast. I sleep too much. Sometimes I take 3 showers a day. Sometimes I don’t shower for 3 days. I have 2 cats, and am ashamed of that sometimes.  I’ve kissed a girl. I can’t understand why people like me but am crushed if they don’t. I have a philanthropic heart, but a lazy ass. I love gossip. I may want to have children, but probably for all the wrong reasons.  I’m loyal to a fault. I’m nosy. I’m mostly a mess, the wants to be loved.

I am looking for a man. I like dark hair and beards. I want someone who listens to the minutia of my day and can tell which of my two friends named Erin I am talking about without clarification. I like boys who drive trucks. I like smart boys, who aren’t too smart to act stupid.  I want a boy who is more attractive then me, but doesn’t know it. I want a boy who will hold my hand. I want a boy with a healthy sexual appetite. I want a boy who understands the ridiculous nature of porn, but isn’t too “high brow” to enjoy it. I want a boy who cooks, or at least will eat my cooking. I want a boy who loves Nashville, but wants to travel. I want a boy who can hold his liquor….but doesn’t hold on to it too tight or all the time.I want a boy who will get pleasure out of seeing how excited I get at a Reckless Kelly show. I want a boy who thinks it’s great when I want to hang with “my girls” or even better, when I want to hang with “my boys.” I want a boy who knows more about me then anyone else, but still wants to know more.

I’m pretty sure that even if I had forked up the $50 to get an actual subscription to this dating site, had I filled out the form honestly, it would have been $50 down the drain. I’m all for online dating for others, but it just ain’t my thing. I lack the self confidence to open myself up like that and would much rather spend that $50 on shoes.

So there.

Whitewashed Memories

The human mind is a funny thing. It files things away in a seemingly random way and brings memories up out of nowhere. It also seems to have a great editing feature as it will often change the memories to only show the good (or sometimes bad) in a person or situation.

This past weekend, the “good” edits have been in full force for my subconscious and particularly in my dreams. For four nights in a row I have had the strangest dreams about a former “flame.” The dreams have been more memories then the fantasy situations that normally entertain my sleeping mind. However, these memories have been edited, some quite drastically, to only recall the good. They have been so well edited that I have been anxious to go to sleep in hopes the dreams would be there waiting. I’ve been fighting waking up because I knew, once I did, the dreams, like the person they were about, would be gone.

We first met in the spring of 2007. At a Marine base. The day after he got out of the brig. Dubious timing is a forte of mine. A friend had been dating a Marine for awhile and she thought it would be great if we all dated Marines. I reluctantly agreed to go with her, and one of our other friends, to Camp Pendleton for the evening. I didn’t dress up. I didn’t “do” my hair. I just went because I had nothing better to do.

If you’ve never been on a military base, as was the case with me at the time (for the record, I had dated military before, but they were on ships) it is a foreign place. I used to joke that there was a different climate at Camp Pendleton because of all the testosterone, but seriously, it’s different there. It is strange because all of the places are familiar (buildings, fast food places, etc) but when all combined and placed on this area that is dominated by males, it makes for an odd mix. Once we cleared the gates, I was sure there was nothing there for me.

It is a well known fact that I am bad at noticing people flirting with me and that I tend to “try” to flirt with people who have no interest in me. This used to bug me. I’ve learned to deal with it. My first (and only) night at the ‘E Club’ (enlisted men’s club) was no different. I don’t remember any details about the boy who had my attention that night, but I do recall that I didn’t have his attention. I’m pretty sure, in my mind, that confirmed my suspicions that there was no one there I would have anything in common with. I had been ignoring the boy, all dark eyed and charming, who was buying me drinks and asking me questions all evening. It wasn’t until we went back to my friend’s boyfriend’s barracks and this fella joined us that I even acknowledged his existence. My other friend had met someone and had disappeared, promising to pick us up in the morning (as she was our ride) so it was just the four of us, hanging out, being silly, doing nothing.

It soon went from a foursome to two duos as he and I were no longer aware of anyone else in the small, sparse room. He asked if I wanted to go for a drive. I did. We drove and drove and talked and talked. We went back to his room and talked some more. He’d lived an interesting life. He explained why he had gone to the brig. He talked about what he wanted to do in the future. We finally had talked so much that we couldn’t talk anymore and well, we made out. I remember details about that night like they were yesterday. 

He asked for my number, promised to call. I gave it to him and didn’t have any expectations of him calling. He called later that day. He explained that he was on this ridiculous 24 hours on 24 hours off schedule. He wanted to see me as soon as possible, but didn’t know when he would be able to make the 82 mile trip North to take me out. I told him I’d figure something out. I did.

So it began, 6 months of requesting work schedules around his days off.  Driving up and down the 405 countless times. Late night calls from him to help him make it through those last few hours of his 24 hour shift. Getting up at 5 am to get to base by 7 am when he would be getting off work. Waking up in his room at 6 am so he could get back to work and so that I could get out of there before the Commanding Officer caught me. (He did catch me once, we had a nice talk. He like Michael a lot and thought he just wasn’t made for the Marines. He said I wasn’t like the normal “barracks bunny” and said he’d turn a blind eye to my presence, as long as I kept a low profile) It was, in many ways, an exciting time. 

These are the memories that are popping up in my dreams. The look on his face when I would walk up the long sidewalk to the barracks. The serenade he coordinated for me one day, with 10 Marines singing “Pretty Woman” to me from the catwalk. The picnics we would take on the beach. Picking strawberries. The way his skin tasted like cantaloupe. The way his big dark eyes could see right into my heart. The way that his touch sent shivers through every cell of my body. The physical attraction that we had that almost scared me, it was so strong. Talking about our dreams and our future and feeling that those dreams and futures would be achievable as long as we were in each other’s lives. We talked about me going home with him to Louisiana once his discharge was final. He talked about me to his mom. He met my mom. He would switch days so he could have 2 days off in a row and come up and see me. We played house at my Dad’s place when he was out of town. He cooked me gumbo.

What doesn’t seem to pop up in my dreams is his random tantrums. Never would these be directed at me, but his fiery temper was terrifying to witness. He once found out that a friend of his had hung out with me alone in his room and beat the crap out of the guy, in front of me. He found out that his discharge was going to take a lot longer then he had been told and he punched a hole in the wall. He would disappear for a few days here and there and no one really knew where he went. Since he didn’t have much interaction with others in his job, the only thing that anyone could ever confirm was that he had gone to work, which meant he was alive, but no one knew where he was other then that. His roommate would call me asking where he was. I would call his roommate asking where he was. No one knew. He wouldn’t talk about where he had been, but he was always slightly different when he re-appeared. As time progressed he went from accusing me of smothering him to accusing me of not caring enough about him. His drinking increased. The good times became fewer and farther between, but when times were good, they were SO good. These, apparently, are the memories that I am really holding on to. In a lot of ways, I find no reason to remember the bad. I remember the things I learned from those bad times, but I think it would be fine to forget the details.

Michael and I saw each other from time to time after I moved to Nashville. He was on the road a lot and when he came through town we would see each other. We rarely spoke of the past. We never talked of a future. It was all about the present when we were together because we, or at least me, understood that the present was the only guarantee there was for the two of us.

A couple of years ago he showed up at my place unannounced, as he normally would. He was going to be in town for a month or so for some training. We saw each other pretty regularly. We never went out. I never introduced him to my friends. I never even told them he was here. An opportunity for him to move to Nashville had arisen. The discussion about that was not a pleasant one. The actions that followed that talk made me fully aware that I no longer wanted him in my life, for any reason, for any time.

So here I am, two years since I have laid eyes on him. I have moved and he doesn’t know where I live now. I got rid of my land line so he has no way to call me. Yet, I have these dreams. These wondrous dreams. Dreams filled with good times, and sweet gestures and a certainty about the world. I guess I’ll keep the dreams and these whitewashed memories. There’s enough negative things in the world that I don’t need to hold on to more that has no effect on my current life. So, Michael Andrew Gonzales, wherever you may be, we’re cool. I don’t want to ever see you in my awake life, but if the visits to my sleeping life stay the way they have been, you’re welcome any time.

Single People Deserve to Die

A coworker of mine found out that their spouse (a salesperson) was scheduled to take a trip out of the country to an area that had been on the news lately because of outbursts of violence. Among the many reasons they came up with as to why this was a horrible idea (which I agree it was) was “It’s not like (they’re) a single person, they have a spouse.”

All of a sudden it became so clear. Since I have not married, my life is expendable. Phew, now I don’t feel nearly as bad for spending the weekend watching “Deadliest Catch” and eating dip. I probably will stop wearing my seat belt, start running with scissors and perhaps I should take up smoking or a nice heroin habit. Seeing as I am a 34 year old single person, it’s not like it would matter as much. I mean really, I’ve only got one ovary and fallopian tube left and at my ever advancing age, the likelihood of me procreating gets smaller every day.

Sure, I have pets, but they are just animals. I have family and such, but no one has chosen to be legally tied to me, therefore, I’m expendable.

I mean really people, how easy is it to be single?!?! I have one salary with which I pay for all my expenses. Luckily I have the opportunity to buy engagement, wedding, baby shower and other gifts for those people who have found someone who wants to have legal ties to them. It makes me understand that not only is my life not worth as much, but that all milestones in my life aren’t worth as much because Target doesn’t have a registry for “Single Girl’s New Place” or “Heather Needs a New Handbag” or “Dog and Cat Toys are Free.”  I don’t mean to imply that I begrudge my married and baby-making friends, but damn y’all, with a life as non-momentous as mine apparently has been, it hurts the ego.

I have the strength of one person to carry groceries up the stairs.  If a bug needs killing, it’s all me. If someone invites me to do something, pretty much no other person on the planet gives a shit if i do it or not. I mean, hell, I’m SUPER expendable since I don’t even have siblings. I’m like the SUPER SINGLE PERSON. I was born single, grew up single, hit mid-life (ish) single and at this point it’s looking like old age is going to be single for me too. It’s almost selfish of me to have a job. A job that could go to a married person with a family. But that’s how we single folks roll……

The single person really hardly even deserves a vacation, unless to go to a wedding, baby shower, funeral or other occassion. Once we hit our 30’s it gets hard to find a group of single folk (or open minded marrieds) who are apt to want to take the same vacation. Luckily for me, being an only child and all, I can take vacations with my parents….that isn’t pitiful at all!

I hate to sound like a whiner. I suppose I’m lucky that I haven’t been put in a home for spinsters by now. I’m fortunate that I’m allowed to walk the same streets and pay the same taxes as those who have legal ties to others. Maybe I’ll take the route of this lady at least I’d be married.

Married!!!!!

Let’s preface this with some general statements concerning me and my thoughts on marriage. I respect the institution of marriage. I still hold out some hope that one day I will be married. Marriage isn’t easy under the best circumstances, but can be completely worth the effort. In general, I believe that most of my friends’ marriages are enviable.

I have a friend. He is a musician. He is one of the nicest people I have ever met, but has a “naughty” streak that makes him all the more likable. He’s got a great talent, a raspy voice, an amazing sense of humor and a wife. His wife is gorgeous, but not in a fake, Hollywood way. She is gorgeous in a way that I want to be gorgeous. She is fun to be around, easy to talk to and they love each other in the sweet simple way that is a treat to see.

My friend has not only musical talent, but a talent for making me feel special. When we talk it’s like I’m the only person in the room. He asks me questions about my life, my opinions on things, etc…and listens. Listens, and months or years later will bring these things up, so he not only listens, he retains what I’ve said to him. He has a devilish smile and these dimples that tear me up. He winks at me from the stage. He swears he can hear my screams over others in the crowd and he appreciates how much I pay attention to the shows.  He buys me drinks. He puts me on the list from time to time. He makes sure I’m aware of any show within a 6 hour drive of Nashville and calls me when the band is coming through town on the way to somewhere else. Again, he has a wife.

We got to chat this weekend after a show. Apparently some medication I am on makes me about as hormonal as a teenage boy. So, as we chatted, we got closer and closer to each other. Someone called to him that they were going to another bar, and he nodded that he was going to stick around where we were for awhile. Each comment either one of us made seemed to necessitate a hug or other touching. In any other situation, things would have been moving in the exact direction I wanted them to. But he’s married. At some point, the angel on my shoulder took over (the devil was probably getting a cocktail or something) and I decided to ask how the wife was. Had our conversation been taking place in a cartoon, you would have heard brakes squealing and smoke would have emanated from our bodies. We talked about his wife for a bit and he mentioned how much she and I have in common, etc…but the turn had been taken. The devil was back on my shoulder and was PISSED, but I felt as though a good decision had been made.

Later in the evening, after being mis-directed to another bar, etc…we (Snikki, the boy and I) ended up at a funky bar just chatting and having cocktails. I never am at a loss for words with him, but I’m pretty sure I could sit in silence with him just as easily. Being around him makes me feel comfortable and happy and (sometimes) happy in my panties. In the end however, we are friends and he is married. So I will be content knowing how fortunate I am to know this awesome fella and be left with my imagination, memories of the best hugs ever and the little lick in the ear that closed off the evening…

What’s on my mind today.

  1. a certain friend who is being distant these days. When I ask them about something in particular they indicate that I don’t know what’s going on with their world right now and when I point out that the inquiry was attempting to remedy that precise situation, they say nothing.
  2. an email a friend sent me the other day about “farting strawberries” that continues to make me laugh out loud.
  3. how men can walk into the bathroom with a cup of coffee or other beverage in their hands and do their business. Even if they put the cup on the counter, who knows what kind of “spray” is floating around there. My office is across from the men’s room and I have offered my desk, etc…as a storage spot for beverages. Not nearly enough of them have taken me up on this offer.
  4. sometimes I think that I don’t express aspects of my personality and interest correctly. For example, I love to go to art shows, etc….but I think most people think I’m just a bar type gal.
  5. in addition to art, I also enjoy this immensely. If only I could roller skate and was at all a bad ass.
  6. I want attention from boys, but I don’t want to have to ask for it. Wait, correction, I want attention from certain boys.
  7. most people don’t get me. It’s not that I’m all complicated or anything, I think people just don’t know what to make of me a lot of the time. I guess it makes sense since I don’t know what to make of myself a lot of the time. Perhaps I need to find more folks who are willing to come along for the ride.
  8. There is a boy/man in my office whose hair I want to run my fingers through. In a meeting yesterday I could vividly imagine myself reaching across the table and doing just that. I even think my arm twitched a bit in an effort to move my imagination into reality.
  9. I can’t wait to move into my new place, but HATE packing.
  10. If I look just to the right of my monitor I see my Tim Gunn bobblehead and a chair that has one of my old bridesmaid dresses and a box with a broken piggy bank in it.
  11. My hair needs to be colored in the worst way.
  12. Everyone keeps coming in and “borrowing” my flavored coffee creamer. Whatever.
  13. There is a member of my family who is dying. This person has done terrible things and has pretty much ruined a segment of my family. However, they have recreated themselves for people who don’t know the “other stuff” and those people are completely devastated at the idea of the loss. I feel bad for the people who are able to live in ignorant bliss about this person.
  14. I miss my girlfriends in Cali. like crazy. Recently I’ve just wished it was like 9 years ago and we were all ruling the music department at a So Cal Borders with caustic wit and more estrogen then you can shake a stick at. The best part is that, even though we don’t see each other very often (and I see them the least of all) I know that they will always have my back and I will always have theirs.
  15. I really wish the damn IT guy would come load iTunes on my computer!!!!
  16. cupcakes again……
  17. my dog
  18. how my March madness bracket could have gone SO badly. However, not badly enough for me to be in last place in the work pool, where I would at LEAST get my $10 back!

Ok–that’s all. My mind has just stopped suddenly. I will now go watch the clock countdown until I will leave the office and go to the bar to play some trivia and drink some vodka…..but seriously, I do like art 🙂

Five years later…..

March 2003 was a pivotal month in my life. Well, really just a couple of days in March 2003.  I’m thinking it was  Tuesday March 18 when the changes started.  I had been working with a local band for over a year. I LOVED it. Had so much fun I couldn’t believe it, that kind of thing.  For a few weeks, things had seemed strained when we were all together. I was getting odd messages from various band members about other band members. I was NOT getting return calls, follow through, etc. That morning I got a call from the drummer. The rational one (which is odd for a drummer!) and he said “Well, you probably figured this out already, but we’re done.”  It was kind of like an odd break-up. He started to go into details and such and I stopped him. I didn’t want or need to know. I loved those 5 guys and didn’t want any information to cloud that love. I knew enough.

Literally 30 minutes later, my father called.  My friend Matt, whom I have never NOT known, had had some medical issues over the weekend and they got the tests back that day. He had liver cancer. Well, more precisely, he had pancreatic cancer that had spread to his liver.  All of a sudden I wanted to know all the band drama, just so I could occupy my mind with anything but this. 

Matt was 29. Married to an amazing woman. Father to two crazy boys. From what I understood at that point, he also now had a death sentence. I instantly went into my boss and said I needed to take a few days off to go to Michigan. All I said was, “Matt has cancer. I need to go.” She didn’t ask any questions.

I ended up leaving town early Thursday, March 20. In between Tuesday and when I left, the US had gotten ourselves in a war. Well, another war. This time with Iraq. I remember watching them drop the first bombs on Baghdad and just being numb. I didn’t really know why we were dropping bombs. Yeah, Sadaam Hussein was a terrible person who was doing terrible things to his people. He also happened to have a fleeting resemblance to the people who attacked the US 19 months earlier. But, to this day, I don’t REALLY know why we got into this.

I thought of all the guys I knew in the Marines from back in my “barracks bunny” days. How many of them were over there? Did THEY know why the bombs were dropping?

As I drove toward Michigan I kept crying and crying and crying. Not for the Iraqis, but for Matt. And his wife. And his boys. And his parents, who were my second parents. And all the people who knew him. He was just that kind of guy.

Meridian in Indianapolis is one of my favorite parts of the drive to Michigan. All the big, beautiful old homes built with insurance money. Not ostentatious, simply lovely. This particular drive down Meridian wasn’t my favorite. I decided to listen to NPR. At this point it was wall to wall cover of Iraq. I was literally listening to the war unfold in my red  99 Saturn and it was the best thing I could have listened to.

I was awestruck by the fact that  I was living in a time of war. I was living in a time when things I loved sometimes went away. I was living in a time where the one person that I had known my whole life, was possibly dying. But somehow, with all of that realization, the war soothed my mind. Having something as foreign to my thinking as listening to real bombs dropping on real people made so much more sense to me then cancer. Any cancer. Particularly Matt’s cancer.

My friendship with Matt is an amazing thing. Our parents were/are best friends and we were pretty much expected to follow their lead. And we did. I could go for months, years even without seeing him and within about 2 seconds of being together, it was like no time had passed. I understood how special he was in my life, which made his illness so much harder.

When I finally made it to Niles, I really can’t remember what I did first.  Probably drove out to Barron Lake to Matt’s parent’s house. My dad had been staying there for a few days. That house has only happy memories associated with it. Everytime I was there was for a celebration, planned or not. This time it was different. When I saw Matt’s parents we hugged like we always do, but it was so much more meaningful this time. We didn’t talk about what had brought me there.

The next day we went over to Matt’s house. At this point I had had some discussions with his Mom and Dad about things. His mom gave me medical details and such. His dad just talked about how wrong it was that this was happening. This wasn’t normal. His dad was always the detail guy, his mom the emotional one. It was a whole new world we were living in.

When I walked into Matt’s house, he was sitting on the couch. He didn’t look terrible, but he didn’t look good either. We had been so excited when he went from a gangly boy to a filled out man in college. There I was looking at a gangly man. We just hugged each other for a really long time. I told him I was glad I was there. He said he was pissed I was there and laughed. His laughter took a huge weight off my chest. My friend Erin had driven in from Chicago to come and talk to Matt and to be there for me. She had a lot of experience with different cancer treatments, etc. through her work. I have known her since first grade. I had always imagined Matt and Erin meeting. I hated that this is what made that happen.

We had a normal dinner. Played trivial pursuit. Talked about what the next steps were in the treatment. Just a normal night, sort of. Erin drove home that night and I made plans to come back over, just me, the next day.

Matt had been dating Angie for 2 weeks when I met her. She came up to me at his parent’s 25th Anniversary Party and said “so, you’re the first girl he ever saw naked huh?” I loved her instantly. She grilled me that whole night about him. She wanted to know it all. At one point at the bar she came in close and whispered in my ear “I’m gonna marry that boy, just so you know.” She did marry him almost 2 years later and it was one of the most perfect unions I had ever been a witness to.

Sitting in the rec room of their split level in South Bend, I kept thinking of the night we met, and their wedding, and how we both had joked that we always wanted a sister and now felt like we had one. I thought of this as she told me how she had to physically take Matt’s records out of the oncologist’s hands and see the post it note that said “Too many and too big” on the report about the possibility of removing the tumors on his liver. I held her hand while she talked about trying to figure out how she was going to raise 2 boys by herself. She was just saying all of the things that she couldn’t say to Matt, or his parents, or her parents or anyone. I was so glad I was there for that. We both sat there and just bawled for awhile. Matt came down in the middle of this and quickly ran back up the stairs which made us both laugh while we cried.

I left late that evening after dinner and some more board games. As I hugged Matt he whispered, “Sorry I fucked up New Orleans.” I choked as I was once again laughing while crying. At our 21st birthday celebration in Las Vegas, we had decided that for our 30th, it would be The Big Easy. That just wasn’t going to happen now.

They jumped on his treatment like crazy people. Helps that Angie was a nurse, a tenacious nurse that wouldn’t take no for an answer. A few months later the tumors in his liver were shrinking due to a procedure that cut off blood flow to them. It turned out his pancreatic cancer was never going to be a real issue and that he had probably had it for awhile.

That next summer, Angie planned a surprise birthday party for him. It was a few months before his birthday, which helped with the surprise. My mom flew in from California. Matt’s good friend flew in from Texas. I drove up from Nashville. He never had a clue. He didn’t even know what hit him when he drove up to his in-laws place. We didn’t know what hit us either. He had gained back a lot of his weight and looked great. I couldn’t stop hugging him. I smiled so hard it hurt.  He wasn’t out of the woods yet, but some sunlight was shining through.

I got a call from him this past weekend. His doctor gave him the all clear. No longer would he be going to the oncologist every few months, just once a year. He was in complete remission.

The band never got back together. We’re still at war in Iraq (what exactly do we “win” with that one?). But Matt is alive and healthy. So, as far as my little world is concerned, these have been 5 productive years.

The Homewrecker’s Handbook

warning: this post will contain much swearing, lot’s of “f bombs”–feel free to click away now

This goes out to all the ladies who will fuck someone’s husband. Hopefully it will help you deal with some of the “tricky” situations that may come up as a result of fucking someone’s husband.

  • Don’t get mad should the woman who’s husband you fucked (aka, his ex-wife, mother of his child, forgiving angel, etc.) be kind enough to bring over Christmas presents HER MOTHER bought for your children.  All of them, the one you had when you met her HUSBAND, the one you had as a result of FUCKING her husband, and the one she had when she was married to her husband, whom you fucked. It’s a kind gesture on behalf of you’re baby daddy’s former mother in law for the kids…it has nothing to do with you….HUSBAND FUCKER.
  • When your baby daddy, wait, let me clarify…most RECENT baby daddy, talks to his ex wife about the child they had together before you fucked her husband…don’t get angry.  Really, in general, unless she comes at you with a machete or threatens your kids, don’t get mad at her at all, for anything.  Very few things that she could do to you would be worse then FUCKING HER HUSBAND, while you were supposed to be babysitting her kid.
  • Whenever something starts to get you irritated with your most recent baby daddy’s ex-wife, remember that he hasn’t paid her a damn dime in months and that she has brought over food for you and your kids when you didn’t have money for any…..all of this after you FUCKED HER HUSBAND.
  • Say it’s a year or so after the divorce is final, you have a one year old child with this man and have set some sort of wedding date, don’t expect his ex-wife to be thrilled that you would like her to change her last name. It takes time and money. This woman, the one whose husband you fucked, has a career, a career she was building while you were fucking her husband.  She’d rather not have the name, but it is also her child’s name and she loves her child. She isn’t so hype on explaining a sudden name change due to the divorce that resulted from you fucking her husband. Let it go.

There are a ton of other things I could write down here, but I think you get the gist.  It was once said to me that in a wedding the mother of the groom should keep their mouth shut and wear beige, also a good idea for what husband fuckers should do in life.

It should be noted that the husband is as much to blame in all of the above situations as he was a party to the baby making. He also should not tell his ex-wife the ludicrous things his baby mama says, should that entice his ex-wife to show her the questionable text messages you sent her a few months ago and will save for situations just like these.

I am not a mother, an ex-wife or a husband fucker.  This was done as a public service.  Spread the word.

Only Child’s Dilemma?

I must preface this with the following: I am, in general, very happy in my life. I want for little (other then silly, expensive things that would only stress me out to own), I have wonderful friends, a job I love and feel as though I am taken care of (in a universal sense). However, there seems to be something missing.

Growing up an only child (an only child of divorce no less!) I was used to being the center of attention. While I can still be the center of my parents’ attention….it doesn’t really count anymore. At this point in my life I feel like I am a guest star in a few folks’ world, even occasionally a SPECIAL guest star, but I am not a regular. I’m not a permanent fixture in any group of friends. I’m not the first person anyone calls about much of anything. I’m feeling sort of “island” like…and I don’t like it.

This time of year brings out all kinds of odd issues like this for me.  I come from a small family, no matter how far you extend the family tree, there simply aren’t many of us. If you include the people I actually KNOW…even smaller. People I actually LIKE is a VERY small number. Yet, somehow, I feel like I want to be close to these people this time of year.

Of course, this issue instantly brings to mind the lack of a “special someone” in my life.  Why, oh why, does this pop up in nearly every “issue” that arises in my life. I want to say that I am too independent to be in a relationship. I want to say that I am happiest when I am alone. I want to say that I couldn’t care less if I ever find someone who wants to spend endless hours with me learning the random things that make up my history, telling me the random things that make up his history and creating new random stories that will be OUR history together. But that is all a big stinkin’, festering lie. I see myself being attracted to people merely because I think they are more likely to be attracted to me—-usually because I feel like they have lowered their standards.  I flirt with boys that I find truly attractive or interesting and the second they respond, I clam up.

I see so many of my friends in relationships, healthy and otherwise and I compare myself to them. I look for what it is about them that makes them be chosen by someone else and not me. It’s a horrible thing to do, never compare yourself to someone else, but it’s hard not to. 

I’m just kind of spinning here, and I know it. Perhaps the man of my dreams isn’t hanging out at the sort of scary yet fun place we played darts on Friday? Perhaps he’s at the East Nashville dog park, not the Centennial Park one?  Maybe he’s at one of the shows that I can always talk myself out of going to alone? Maybe he’s down the hall from my office?  I don’t know where he is, but I refuse to give up hope that he is indeed out there.

So there.