When I Go

hauntedI asked my husband why graveyards weren’t decorated for Halloween. Or Christmas, for that matter. I think my question took him by surprise. “Well…it doesn’t seem right…” he answered slowly. Cemeteries have always been my place of sanctuary so I’m sure he was afraid of offending me.

“Well,” I retorted sharply, “when I die I would like you to bring me a Jack-o-Latern. On Halloween have it lit. Leave me candy, maybe a few plastic spiders.” Kisa laughed and said he thought he could handle that. It didn’t seem to be such a tall order for after death. He did warn me that the pumpkin would look funny, though.

Dare I Say It?

dentedYou know that saying, the one about sh!t and the pot…? I felt that way about the home-buying experience. As a virgin in the last realm left for me-property – I was beginning to feel that sh!torgetoffthepot urgency. Weekend after weekend, checking out open houses with closed minds, week after week of reading and deleting property updates, thinking this could work, but knowing it wouldn’t. I was getting fed up with the process because it felt like spinning wheels and wasting gas. It wasn’t enough to see the potential in a house when the neighborhood was awful (or vise versa). What, exactly, were we waiting for? Christmas in July?

Then Kisa crashed my car. Well, more accurately, some woman plowed into him. Either way, my car took the hit and couldn’t go a mile further. Either way I was rendered transportationless. It was a mental thing. I didn’t need the wheels but suddenly when I was without them, I was missing them. Big time. Somehow, in some way, being powerless to motion spurred me into action. I called a real estate agent.

I called an honest to goodness, real, realtor. It’s as if I needed a proverbial chili dog to get me moving. Dare I say it? I’m staying on the pot.

A Lesson in Patience

Last night my street was crawling with children. Face painted, wigged out. Some grubby-greedy, some sweet. All yelling Trick or Treat in crazy costumes. I was prepared with the sugared, packaged, rot-your-teeth treats but that didn’t really matter. I don’t think any of them would have had the tricks if I didn’t. Adults banged drums (what’s up with that?) and talked loudly. Parents hung back while their children groped their way up my steps, their eyes wide and wanting. In the darkness I could just make out Batman and a ghost whispering. Everytime I opened my book the doorbell would ring. One little rabbit didn’t have a bag to put her candy into. She held out a paw with wistful eyes. Her mom showed me the ripped paperbag she was barely holding together. "It’s been a long night" she explained. Before she could protest I produced a cauldron for her little bunny (I tried not to think of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction ). I love this time of year. Love this wild night. You wouldn’t think it to hear me talk, but I love the costumes, the creativity of some of the parents. I love the kids who say thank you ever so politely and stare up at you wanting more. The kids! I like laughing at the ones who pause to check out the goods and compare. Two Patriots (Brady and Moss) traded candy bars before even getting off my porch. Lot and lots of kids carried Unicef boxes – wasn’t expecting that. Note to self: have the change jar close by to avoid cleaning out the wallet!
Speaking of cleaning out – I ran out of candy before kisa could come home with backup (working late again). I wasn’t all that prepared this year so I tried to make the goodies stretch by bagging them with plastic flies and glitter. Truth be known, I kinda wanted to be somewhere else this year.
Later, when kisa finally got home we walked around the neighborhood. Adults hung out on darkened, candlelit porches while kids continued to chase each other with loud shrieks of laughter. We let Manorabug Spuke glow until close to midnight. Maybe he’ll light the November night, too.

This morning after pancakes and coffee Halloween came down from my living room. All the ghosts, gargoyles, cats, owls, pumpkins, witches, monsters, skulls, spiders and bats. Each one carefully wrapped and packed. I’m leaving one pumpkin out to fill with change throughout the year. That will take care of the Unicef Trick or Treaters. After that, I’m off to find a new cauldron.

Who Are You (& what have you done with me)?

For the record:
For the time being I am glad we still live next door to the in-laws. Who knows what he would have done if we didn’t hear his cries for help?
I am not upset about the sirsy mobile being in an accident. Driver is okay, car is not. It’s time I moved on anyway.
I still think the attitude of my coworkers staff bites. Being angry about it “not being your job” just makes me want to say, “Find another one.”
It’s not my fault feelings change. I said I would be there, but not in that way. Not anymore. Get over it. I did.
I still haven’t forgotten which means I still haven’t forgiven. Maybe it’s the lack of forgiveness that won’t let me forget.

As I think these things and feel these things I have to wonder where I went. Hope it was good.

Off the Run and All Over the Place

On Tuesday I put in a quiet 3.7 mile run on the treadmill. No gerbil jokes, no blogging about it, no fanfare. Just a quiet run for quiet me. I was feeling good enough to almost put in another one on Wednesday but the presidential (and final) debate was on and I was feeling political. How could I not be after the last debaucle – errr, debate? Have you ever seen such one-sided moderating in your life? Sheesh!

Anyway, I ignored the run thinking Thursday would be better. I argued with me and myself saying, the body needs a day of rest in between runs; the mind needs a day of rest in between worries. A day of rest would do us all some good. What I didn’t count on was putting in a 12 hour day at my work and then hanging out at Kisa’s work for another four. We left home around 6am and didn’t see our doorstep until well after 11pm. I’m sure poor Indiana thought we were putting her up for adoption. She certainly could claim abandonment these days!
I think of my mother. “Can’t you find someone else to push the buttons?” she says through the phone to my husband who is miles away, and “Geeze, they must not be doing a very good job if things keep breaking!” she mutters to me, right next to her. She sounds 97, all piss and vingar without a good thing to say. It’s no use arguing, trying to defend the technology I don’t understand. With a sigh I admit, “I don’t know, Ma. It’s television.” But, what I want to say is this, “It’s what made me fall in love with him in the first place; that tireless get-it-done work ethic. That commitment to working his azz off when everyone else has given up and gone home.”

So, I am happy to give up the run for another night. I’ll call it another day of rest even though it was work that kept me off the run.

But You Love Me Anyway

Rock Love
New love has quirks that are considered cute and lovable. Those things that a new lover says and does that are oh so different and revealing and disregarded. Those things are even adorable for a little while. Then, reality bites. Hard. There comes that time after the dust of desire has settled and new love matures into you and me, not one without the other. A given that you and me will be together. That’s when quirky becomes quite something else. Confusing. Contradicting. Infuriating. How we deal with these things that were once so lovable is a good indication of new loves maturity into real love. For me, adding up the quirks and realizing you are still with me is how I know you still love me. Regardless.

I was on the phone with a friend so I couldn’t quite comprehend the conversation occuring without me. I heard something about shoes. Something about a wallet. You were laughing. I knew you could only be discussing my quirks. With my friends no less. Some of whom have a whole wealth of stories on their own. I brought this on myself. I know I did.

It started innocently enough. It was last week. I was cooking curry turkey burgers and had somehow put the buns together wrong. Top with a top, bottom with a bottom. Still edible in my mind – just not pretty to look at. I’ve done it a hundred times before. You came down the stairs in time to hear me swear, in time to watch me try to flip bottom bun for a top. I turned to you and hissed through gritted teeth, “I will always leave my shoes in the middle of the floor. I will always misplace my keys. And. I will ALWAYS put the wrong halves of the buns together! So. You’ll just have to deal with it!” Instead of taking the bait. Instead of picking the fight I was wanting to have, you smiled at me and said gently, “I know something else you will always do.” Forgetting to be angry I dropped the fight and stopped dead. “What?” I wanted to know. “I’ll give you a hint” you replied as you proceded to close every cabinet door in the kitchen. What can I say? I was cooking like a fiend and didn’t have time to close cabinets!

I like tallying the quirks. I like seeing the oddities add up. The longer the list, the more I know you love me. Despite it all you love me anyway.
For the record:

  • I take my shoes off wherever and just leave them for kisa to trip over
  • I leave cups of half finished coffee in odd places, fully intending to finish them later (until they mold)
  • I lose my wallet, keys and/or phone on a regular, sometimes daily, basis
  • I leave cabinet doors open
  • I cannot put burgers together correctly
  • I hand material objects to random people and won’t remember it later
  • I have to cover restaurant food with a napkin when I’m finished
  • I cannot open resealable bags without somehow ruining the ziplock

To the love of my life. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for being my lover. Thank you for making me strive to be a better person. I may have my quirks but my life is perfect with you in it. Happy anniversary!


Dust sticks to wet paint


I was perusing someone’s photos the other day when I got that eerie feeling they were a bit stalkerish. You know, that ‘Wow, that is really intrusive’ feeling. My only problem was I couldn’t pinpoint why I felt that way. I was enjoying the photographs until I got to a certain one that seemed to go overboard, get too close. The next one was more of the same and so I stopped looking – turned away from the discomfort I was feeling. I don’t think I’ll go back.

My experience with the photos got me thinking about home and the levels of intrusiveness I felt there. Early in our vacation Kisa, the boys and I were hiking the island. We stopped to catch our breath at a very popular landmark, and to enjoy the view. Of course there were tourists on every side and their conversations were easily overheard. “I can’t imagine what it must be like to live out here,” one woman exclaimed. “All these people walking through their back yards.” I snickered and Kisa cast a knowing smile. For years he has been hearing my gripes about tourists taking advantage of such an unusual place. They walk across private porches, set up easels in the middle of the only road, have lunch in obvious backyards, let their dogs dump in vegetable gardens. This attititude of I can do anything while I’m on vacation has been long debated. I’m not bringing up anything new. But, it made me wonder – what makes separates fan from fanatic, tourist from terrible?
In the picture above a woman has set up her easel on the dock. Look for the hat by the door of the silver truck. This dock is where 3-5 trucks converge to pick up island supplies, luggage, etc. It’s a more that busy, hectic place. In the bigger picture another woman has set up her easel in the shadowed portion of the road. Not only that but she has chosen a dangerous corner where she isn’t all that visible. She and the woman on the dock are lucky they didn’t get sideswiped!

My Day

Kisa sent me a link today. Said it was my day for my kind. My Day. A day for Lefties. A day dedicated to 10% of the population…those being not right handed. Imagine that! Needless to say I automatically joined the club and then immediately questioned my qualifications. Even felt a little guilty about printing out the certificate…(but it’s a pretty certificate).

I’m not entirely all right brained. This dominate right hand world has taught me a little something about compromise. Think about it. Try using a computer mouse in your left hand. Try holding a pair of scissors upside down. It’s a little screwy. So, I adapted. Here’s more: I throw a ball equally as bad with my left as with my right. I play golf right handed. I zest lemon rind with my right. Nutmeg, too. Peel potatoes righty. Even pick my nose with the right. So, am I right to belong to a left-handed club? Hmmmm….

Lost Without It

Me without my right hand ring is like not having a right hand at all. Friday night seemed normal enough. Nothing out of the ordinary. Exchanged texts with a friend and laughed about his upcoming gigs. Worked out. Took a cold bath but washed my hair standing over the tub, bent under the faucet. Later, I read a chapter in bed, a cool sheet draped over my knees. Coming into the home stretch of a really good book I got sleepy. When kisa came to bed I curled around his hip, grateful for the sleep that was coming fast & easy.

I couldn’t tell you what made me notice; what made me panic, but all of a sudden I felt my thumb ring was gone. For nearly 7 years this silver band with cod worn smooth swimming clockwise has not left my right hand. It’s my symbolic home away from home and suddenly it was missing. A strip of pale white skin marked where the ring should have been. Wide awake with panic I jumped out of bed. Kisa frantically asking “what? What? What’s wrong?” but I couldn’t answer him. It all seemed too stupid. This piece of metal was an extension of my, myself & moi. How could I explain that without it I was completely lost? Even now I don’t expect anyone to understand this whatsoever.

Like a madwoman I retraced my steps. Back to where I lifted. Did I fling it off mid tricep kickback? Wouldn’t I feel something like that? Back to where I undressed for the bath…back to the…bath. Oh no. With dread I remembered standing over the drain, my soapy hands scrubbing my scalp, the force of water when I rinsed (Why did we have to have such great, rushing water pressure?!), the open drain….I pictured the ring slipping off oh so easily and sliding down the drain to be lost forever. It was the only logical explanation. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. That had to be it. Kisa lured me back to bed and with the sulk of a child I went.

By 4:30am I was awake again and crawling around the living room on my hands and knees searching under the couch and in the folds of the fabric. I pictured calling my sister and asking her for the phone number to the shop where I got the ring 7 years earlier. I was getting desperate enough to have another one shipped to me although in my heart of hearts I knew it wouldn’t be the same. Not finding anything downstairs I was drawn back to the bath. Hypnotized by the thought of the ring going down the drain I tested my theory…with my wedding ring. My $1,000+ wedding ring. Holding it tightly I tried to push it down the drain and discovered…it wouldn’t fit. There was hope my ring of fishes didn’t fit either. 

In the end it was tangled in a tank top I had taken off earlier. Somehow it had lodged itself in the built-in bra and didn’t come loose even after I shook the shirt. I think Kisa was relieved I was happy again. I was happy I found my sanity.

May We Be Excused

Sometimes, and it doesn’t matter how old you are, you feel like a kid at the adults’ table. At least, that’s what it felt like to me when Kisa and I finally escaped to explore San Diego by ourselves. We were leaving that afternoon to visit La Jolla, Ontario & Upland but wanted to get in a little time in SD before we said goodbye. As the song goes, who knows when we would pass this way again?

My aunt and uncle had raved about the harbor tour they had taken the day before (“best thing we ever did” they vowed) and suddenly it was all I wanted to do, too. I had boat envy. I wanted to be on the water in the worst way. So, we picked a tour and went. We opted for the deluxe version – two hours, both sides of the harbor. It turned out to be a sparkling fantabulous day – like the day before and the day before and the day before. Thanks to Tom, we reached the marina in plenty of time to park, buy tickets, use the restrooms and find front row seats in the bow. It felt like running away.

For two hours we toured San Diego’s harbor, north and south. At times I could barely hear the guide over the wind in my hair and fellow passengers around me. I didn’t mind missing out on the spiel. To me, it started to drone anyway. Instead I enjoyed the military ships, the brown pelicans, hefty sea lions, fellow boaters speeding by, splashing green water, white foam spray and dazzling sunshine.

Maybe You Should Drive

The name of a Barenaked Ladies album (my favorite as a matter of fact)…or what Kisa heard the night of the wedding. Both, actually.

Kisa had been king driver since day one. He got us from Vegas to Long Beach; from Long Beach to San Diego; from our hotel to anywhere we wanted to go. All without complaint. All without a single utterance of “maybe you should drive.” He drew the line at mall chauffeuring, though. He got us there but refused to sit in a parking lot. It was our last full day in Diego, after all. He wasn’t about to wander a mall no different from the ones we have at home. “Call me when you need a pick-up” he cheerfully offered as we piled out of the car. “Okay.” I was equally as cheerful even though I knew my last day in Diego was going to be spent shopping (I’ve come to the conclusion if you’ve seen one Michaels, you’ve seen them all).

Later that evening Kisa confided to me that he’d had enough of driving. He was looking forward to cutting back on chaffeuring and cutting loose at the wedding. How many times had the groom told him he had a special beer for him? I wasn’t confident it would work out. In a family of drinkers sober drivers are really hard to come by.
Somehow we managed to hitch a ride with an aunt. No driving for kisa. So far so good. Maybe he would get to enjoy himself after all. I know what you are thinking. What about you? Couldn’t you drive? For those of you who don’t know me I don’t drink a drop and get behind the wheel of a car. Ever. Not one sip. Kisa is too kind to deny me a glass of wine at my cousin’s wedding. Having me escort was out of the question.

So, back to the party. The reception was raging. People dancing. People laughing. The music was rocking. We were having a great time. Kisa was on his third or fourth beer of the night. A drop compared to what others can put away. There we were, staring at the black harbor, enjoying the gentle rocking of yachts in the marina. A full glass of beer in Kisa’s hand. We had come out for a breath of fresh air. All of a sudden he feels a tap on his shoulder…”Say,” says a voice, “are you driving us back? Hint, hint.” I could feel Kisa’s defeat as he exclaimed “yeah, sure” and dumped out his full beer. I felt awful (as I was working on wine #2). As word spread “Drink up! J’s driving us home!” people began to approach Kisa to confirm. Each time he responded his speech became more slurred and giggly. He was just messing with them, but it was funny to see their eyes grow wide. You could almost hear their brains working, “is he really okay to drive?”

Of course he was. Kisa always drives.

Tom Took Me There

Tom Took Me There or Which Way to the Zoo?

Balboa Park

Our TomTom is great. Plug in an address and turn by turn, mile by mile, Tom will get you where you want to go. It’s a combination of listening to what he says, watching his display screen and computing what comes up ahead. The line I heard over and over while in California was “ahead keep left; then stay on the left lane.” We heard that a lot. Basically, it was Tom reminding us to stay on 5 every time a new highway was introduced. Or something like that.
We used Tom everywhere we went and only once did he steer us wrong…errr…but really he was right. We wanted the San Diego zoo. We asked Tom for directions to the zoo. Simple enough. He gave us options for “zoo management offices” and something called a wild animal park. Well, in the zoo pamphlet I had picked up from the hotel it mentioned this wild animal park. Thinking it was a section of the zoo (like the wild safari is a part of Six Flags) I told Kisa “pick that one.” We certainly didn’t want to visit the management offices (unless it was run by a bunch of cute monkeys). Tom calculated the miles as my family piled into the car (Kisa was chauffeur for 90% of all outings, I should add. More on that later…). Soon we were off, passing wineries, ostrich farms, palm tree nurseries, fruit orchards, lots of interesting things. 30 minutes later Tom announced, “you have reached your destination” as we paid for parking.
Once we started walking around we realized we weren’t at the right place. The wild animal park was part of the zoo but in a completely different location. Something wasn’t right. Sooo…Back in the car we went; traveled the 30 minutes back to where we started and eventually, finally, found the right zoo. Monkeys and all.


Lost One of the Nine

On the way from Long Beach, California to San Diego I gave up one of my nine lives. I was going to call this blog I Hate Penske Trucks but decided against slamming an innocent company when really, it’s their reckless drivers I should be blaming.
We were somewhere between here and there and traffic was heavy. Kisa was driving (of course). Tom was his copilot and I served as a hood ornament for all my uselessness. There we were, in the farthest left lane (in other words, what should have been the fastest), when all of a sudden we came upon a Penske truck. Traveling in our lane. Hazards on. Going at least 15 mph slower than everyone else. For awhile Kisa hung out behind Penske, careful not to tailgate. But, no matter how hard he tried he continuously crept close to Penske. Too close for me. Until finally I, the backseat driver that I am, blurted out, “go around him!” Moving over one lane didn’t offer us much comfort. To the right of us, behind us and directly in front were three large 18-wheelers all chugging along at a comfortable 80mph. We felt like a HHR sandwich. Penske (still flashing hazards) sped up and continued to hang to the left of us. We were surrounded by size on all sides. And going 80 miles an hour.
That’s when it happened. Without warning Penske started to drift into our lane. We couldn’t speed up, slow down or move over to accommodate this moving truck that seemed determined to move into our lane. Kisa leaned on the horn. I yelled. Penske swerved, sped up and somehow got in front of us, then on the other side of us. The driver waving frantically “sorry, sorry!” Sorry my azz. You just made me give up a life!
It’s not Penske’s fault but I will always growl when I see one of their trucks!

Kobe Pizza

We won

It’s hard to be a Laker fan around my husband. Especially during the finals. Especially when it’s the do or die game for Kobe and the gang. Unfortunately for Jason’s aunt she’s not only a Laker fan, she had to watch the Celtics demolish the Lakers…in front of Kisa. She was a good sport, though. She didn’t have to be – it was her house. She could have kicked us out. Instead, she donned her Red Sox gear and yelled at the tv almost as loud as her nephew. Whenever the Celtics scored she yelled, “Go Red Sox!” cracking everyone up. But, that didn’t last long. As soon as it was obvious the Lakers were giving up the fight she was cursing Kobe instead. We had pizza and alcohol and the Lakers for dinner. I can’t say much for the Lakers, but when it comes to food Californians are different. Californians are cool about their cuisine. Their pizza comes on whole wheat crust with a fresh, lovely green, healthy salad on the side. Yummy.

The Celtics had the Lakers for dinner, but I had something better. I will miss California pizza!

Big Mouth Shut

Game four. We had to be somewhere for game four. I was thinking “errr…what’s wrong with the hotel? It has a big flat screen tv….” But, I know this as well as any sports fan. You can’t watch a high stakes game (of any kind) in your hotel room. Alone. You have to go somewhere loud. Somewhere where you can place bets and you might get heckled. Somewhere where the air conditioning is up too high and people yell to be heard over the pounding music. Somewhere where every plate of food that goes by smells delicious and the beer flows freely. That place was ESPN Zone in New York New York. It was loud. The A/C was up too high. The food was great. The beer flowed Fat Tire. And yes, my husband got heckled. How could he not? He was the only Celtics fan in our corner of the restaurant. He was the only one wearing green, yelling at the refs, complaining about bad calls. And, yes, the Celtics were losing.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t other Celtics fans in the restaurant. In fact there was a good sized crowd of them bellied up at the bar. Problem was, Kisa was nowhere near the bar. His cheers for the Celtics were like a lone explorer at the North Pole – helllllooooooo? Surrounded by Laker fans they soon zeroed in on the guy in green. Words were exchanged. Insults akin to “yo mama” only sports related were tossed around. My basketball player can beat up your basketball player. You don’t wanna come to Boston. I think someone paid off the ref. It’s all over now, baby blue.
When it was all over and the Celtics really did lose my Kisa got up to approach the opposing table. A couple next to me jerked their thumbs and rolled their eyes at his retreating back. “Is he really going over there?” a woman asked me, concern in her voice but merriment in her eyes. Everyone loves a good fight. “Guess so.” I muttered. All I wanted was a warm bed and to never hear the name Kobe again. I could have slept standing up.
In the end, kisa and the Laker fans shook hands. But, as he turned to leave kisa had one more parting shot: We’ll see what happens in Boston.