So much time has passed…

It’s been too long since I posted.  I have many updates, but I am too lazy to go into all of them.  I’ll only post about the biggest one.  My grandmother on my mom’s side (who I have mentioned in other blog posts) passed away in July of last year.  My grandfather had already passed away (also mentioned in blog posts), so her passing meant both of them were gone.  Which was a significant blow.  And still hard to believe.

I am too tired right now to make the effort of linking to the other posts mentioned above.  Go look through my blog.  Be an active reader and put a little effort into it, why don’t ya’?

Things have been surreal.  I have moments of sadness, moments of forgetting they’re gone (the most surreal), and mostly I just regret all the things we regret when someone is gone and we did not cherish them every single second.  Which is everyone, everywhere.  We’re human.

Sadly, my grandmother’s passing has brought on family drama having to do with “the estate”.  I don’t even want to go into it right now, except to say that my mother’s brother is a giant hunk of shit covered in shit sauce served next to a shit sandwich inside a shit roll.  Enough said.

Rather than blather on, I am including a writing piece I’ve been working on.  I might continue it, I might not.  The point was the writing, rather than the result.  But I hope it gives you a sense of what I want to say.

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The House in Fryeburg

Both of my grandparents on my mom’s side are gone now.  Their absence renders a gaping hole in my life.  Not necessarily one in the present, nor the future.  But it is a hole in my past.  It is a void in my foundation.  It is difficult to reconcile who I am, or adequately describe who I am to anyone else who has not met them, now that they are gone.  They had larger than life roles in my world.  For this, I am lucky.

I could recount many stories about who they were: as grandparents, as people.  I could illustrate how my grandmother was unforgivingly judgmental, yet equally as firmly supportive to those she loved.  I could tell tales of my grandfather’s rampant prejudices, and just as many tales of his faith in humanity.  These are real characters; human, flawed, and whole.  These stories could easily be told.  And I might do that some day.

Lately, however, all I can think about is their house.  There were two that they lived in during my life, and I remember both well.  I focus mostly on the one that they were living in when they passed away (two years apart).  I believe these memories of their home stay with me, not because of my age or impressionable times, but because of how my grandparents inhabited it.  Imbued with their personas, this house felt like an extension of my relationship with them.  It was not just a place, but an experience.  Another character in the story.

After my grandmother died (two years after my grandfather), I went to the house.  It still had all of their things:  appliances, furniture, clothes, photo albums, books, magazines, tools, dishes, forks, knives, and so on.  But it felt empty.  So very empty.  Empty like it had never felt at any other time, because, when they died, so did that house.
Currently, the house is being fixed up to be sold.  I have been told it looks great.  Worn linoleum is gone.  Floorboards are polished.  Steps have been fixed.  Yet, I have no desire to see it.  I have such a clear and vivid memory of that house – their home – that I cannot bear to tarnish it with a new improved version of something that is already perfect to me.

Memories come in flashes sometimes.  I see flashes of the way the sunlight hit the wooden floor in the dining room – playing up the golden brown, while casting tiny shadows in the nicks.  Nicks that were caused by a dropped utensil or a scrambling dog claw.  I can recall the sound of oil sizzling in a pan.  It might be cooking bacon or it might be frying up green tomatoes, or smelt.  The tomatoes may have come from the garden in front of the house, where lazy buzzing bees do not scare my very allergic grandfather.

Also flashing in my mind are seasons.  I made iced tea from the canister of powdered sweetened tea on the counter, while marveling at the way my grandparents kept their house cool simply by timing the opening and closing of drapes to coincide perfectly with the sunlight and breezes.  I can picture my grandfather carefully picking his way across the snowy driveway to throw birdseed on the ground by the large tree at the top of their driveway.

We’d watch the birds eating that seed while sitting at the kitchen table – a table with years of wear, scratches, and marks from the positioning of a meat grinder clamp.  My grandmother would leave her toast on the top of the toaster to stay warm, only taking it down when it was time for my grandfather to make his own toast.  I can hear the scrape of his chair on that old worn linoleum as he got up to tend to eggs, bacon, sausage, juice, you name it.

There was a step roughly halfway up the stairway that creaked.  As a child, when I heard this step, I breathed a little easier because it meant someone else was coming upstairs to go to bed.  As a teenager, I remembered to avoid it when I finally went to bed.

Holidays always felt right in their home.  The house kept the warmth and smells from holiday cooking and wrapped them around me.  I can picture the table set with good linens, and the good dishes, and my grandparents moving through all of this as expert travelers in their own realm.

When I look at their photos now, I still feel a sense of loss.  It is an ache that will not ever go away.  Nor should it.  But I also feel a rush of those images, and flashes of memories.  They don’t fill the hole, but they do color it in and decorate it and allow me to walk across the void now and then.

Why I Am Possibly a Bad Listener

The holidays.  What can I say?  This year was a rough one.  I am still unemployed and yet tried to be festive.  Forced gaiety is exhausting, by the way.

I drove a couple hours to see family.  And I did what I always do when I am around family –  try to figure out where my malfunctions come from.  I mean, I spent nine years of my life with a man who clearly, in retrospect, did not want me in his life.  (He was always searching for someone better.)  And to make matters worse, after I finally came around to this situation, I fully expected this guy to apologize and feel remorse for the years he kept me at arm’s length (years in which I missed out on having a real relationship and family).  The delusion continues to this day.  I am utterly stupid.  I am not blaming my family, but this shit has got to come from somewhere.  Right?

me

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Unfortunately, no light was shed.  But I do get enjoyment from seeing my mom, who is both unassuming and evil at the same time.

My mom and I went to visit my grandmother Christmas Eve day.  (Is there an easier way to say that?  The day of Christmas Eve?  Because it was not actually Christmas EVE, as in the evening.  Gah.  It was Monday.)  After being there for a while, I noticed that my grandmother’s thermostat had a plastic lock box on it.  Like the ones you’d see in an office, or a school.  I asked my mother about this and she informed me this was the solution to my grandmother’s excessive use of the heat.  Apparently, her home was like a sauna.  Because she is old and is always cold.

But now her thermostat temperature is set to go down at night and go back up during the day.  I asked my mom what my grandmother did if it was night and she got cold.  My mother replied simply, “She puts on layers.”  I started teasing my mom – “Too bad, Gram, you’ll have to wait until sunrise to get warm.”  My mom laughed the laugh of the bitterly resolute and we carried on with our day.

Oh, are you cold?  Tough.

Oh, are you cold? Tough.

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My mom’s laugh was a lot heartier when I said, “I think my glasses make me look smarter.”  She laughed too hard actually.

And when I asked her when she was going to quit smoking, I did not even let her reply.  I quickly said, “Just say you are not going to quit so we can stop having this conversation.”

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By far, the most interesting revelation this holiday was the truth behind my mom’s incredibly long conversational pauses.  When I say “long”, I mean LONG.  I’ll say something that should elicit a response or I’ll ask a question and, I swear to you, the pause from her is endless.  I’ll eventually just blurt out, “are you listening to me?”  She’ll usually say, “yes, I’m listening…I’m just processing”.  No.  No, mom.  You cannot possibly take that long to process a reply to, “So, what do you need in the grocery store?”  I AM NOT ASKING THE MEANING OF LIFE.

Even her boyfriend finds this behavior maddening.  She does the same thing to him.  And he also accuses her of not listening.

I finally reached the breaking point and said to her, “You know, it is weird when you do that.  It is totally like you are not listening.”

Her reply: “Yes, I’m listening.  But sometimes…I’m not listening.”

I KNEW IT.

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Happy Holidays, y’all.

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I got nothing. Pretend I am interesting.

On June 17, my blog got 64 views.  That is a record, by the way.

Not sure what happened that day.  I did not publish a post.  I did absolutely nothing (per usual) to promote traffic on this blog.  My best guess is that a group of students google searched the phrase “middle aged poop jokes vagina” and were led here.  And then, out of pure bewilderment, they kept checking back on it to see how they ended up with this site.

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Still job hunting.  I have now applied to 60 jobs.  Out of that number, I have only been asked to interview for 4.  FOUR.  That’s a 6% success rate.  And it’s not really a “success” rate since I didn’t get those jobs anyway.  And out of the rest, less than half bother to tell me “thanks but no thanks”.

Do you know what job hunting is like?  It’s totally like being rejected repeatedly by every guy you ever liked.  It’s bad enough to not have a relationship right now, but pretty much every business in a 50 mile radius DOES NOT LIKE ME EITHER.

It’s hard not to take it personally.

On the upside, I am looking forward to returning to a diet of ramen noodles.  The nostalgia associated with this brings tears to my eyes.

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I am going to start my sickly cat on a new diet.  I think.  All I know is my vet called me at 8:30 Friday night (as she is wont to do…oddly) and talked for 5 minutes and 14 seconds straight (I timed it on my phone).  And I mean a continuous stream of chatter.  I am not sure how she speaks for so long without breathing.  And whenever I have to sit and listen to someone talk in my ear that long without interruption, I feel like stabbing kittens.  In the face.  On an alter.  At Christmas.

Point being that I think I need to go pick up new food.  It was somewhere in her blathering spiel… blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah new food blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah .

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In other news that could potentially bore someone to tears: I switched my cell phone carrier back to Verizon.  I have been anxiously awaiting for over four years to do this.  Verizon takes care of it all too – cancelling your old account.  Which was slightly disappointing because I was sort of looking forward to calling up AT&T and screaming, “I AM FREE, MOTHERFUCKERS.”

I also added my mom to my plan.  Because nothing says “spinsterhood” like having a family plan at the age of 41 with your mom.

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In related news, I am officially addicted to at least two ABC Family Channel shows.

I think it’s high time I put my shawl on and just buckled down on making that quilt.

Shit.

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Christmas Spirit, bitches.

I have decided that I am going to be festive this Christmas season.  IF IT KILLS ME.

I googled “Christmas spirit” to see what other things I could be doing to be spreading the yuletide joy.  I found this link.

I am going to make my own comparable list.

1)  How about not shopping at all for Christmas?  Or how about curbing that spending by a few thousand dollars?  Because nothing sucks the holiday spirit out of me more than people fussing over what gifts to get people.  Give people gifts all year long when you think of them – then we would not have this insanity every year.  Besides, frankly, fighting for parking and punching people in crowds is one of my favorite pastimes.

2)  It’s a great idea to be nice to people!  But this is not reserved for only at Christmas.  (Unless you’re me, and then avoid people so you don’t spit on them out of sheer spite.)

3)  If you drop money into the Salvation Army bucket, make it a folded bill of some kind.  One dollar bills are fine.  It’s just that, when you are coming out of the grocery store with a cart full of American excess, the tinkle of change dropping into a bucket makes you look like a giant ass nugget.

4)  By all means, do something nice for someone.  But again…this is not reserved for only at Christmas.  And make sure at least one of your nice things is to shut the hell up for once.

5)  Volunteering is great!  But I also want to suggest that organizations get their shit together and make it so that volunteering can happen around people’s lives.  I’d love to volunteer the 10-11am Tuesday time slot the American Cancer Society has available, but I can’t.  Because I have a job.

6)  Food drives are a great idea!  But I have always wondered why the drives don’t include asking people to donate can openers.  Would kinda suck to get a bunch of cans and have to bang them with a rusty hammer just to suck the stuff out of ’em.

7)  Christmas music is nice.  But, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, could the constant stream of holiday music in stores start later than November 15?  Because, by the time Christmas comes, the river of monotony has deadened my hypothalamus.

8 )  I am not sure what constitutes a Christmas movie, but when I watch “28 Days Later” I feel like there is hope for mankind.

9)  Regarding the suggestion to read “A Christmas Carol”: is it necessary?  Will reading it put us any more in the spirit than watching Albert Finney, Patrick Stewart, or Jim Carrey (to name only 3 of roughly 50+ actors) act it out?  I think not.  I am partial to the Albert Finney version, btw.

10)  Decorate your house!  And tree!  And your pets!  And put giant blowup stuff in your yard!

11)  See #1 above.  Please.

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