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.

Spam – not just for breakfast

This is the best spam comment my blog has received in a long time:

“Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say fantastic blog the information provided about brand generic viagra is incredible congratulations great job!”

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First of all, props for trying to look like a real person… grrr.  And this comment was left on the post mentioning Lindt balls.  I can only assume the spambot thought it meant “testicles”.

Second, it IS a fantastic blog.  Thank you very much, viagra spambot.

Third, although I do not specifically mention viagra in my post, I was thinking about it.  Uncanny!

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NEWS…and some more evidence of my douchebaggery

I got laid off one week ago today.

I was at my company 12 years.

So, that’s that.

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On a lighter note, I found another long lost journal!  Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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Mar. 21, 1984 (I was 13 yrs old)

I broke up with that ninth grader.  What  a jerk!  He got all mad and upset (tough, ain’t it?).

I still like that other kid a lot.  He’s very nice.

I have a book report due in less than a week, and I haven’t even read the book!  I probably won’t be able to get it done and I’ll get an F.  I think I’ll get it done, though.

My friend has been acting like a real jerk lately!  She ignores me and is very insolent.  (And ignorant.)

Speaking of ignorant, that ninth grader I was going with can’t spell or even make complete sentences!

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Wow.  I was an elitist bitch.

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Awesome.

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Little Anarchist

Now that we’re past the holidays…

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Jan 3, 1979
Today I had a nice day.  I played whatever I wanted to.  I liked it.  good night.
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I am glad that my childhood self had carefree days like this.  Before being sucked into adulthood where I am smacked in the face daily to do what everyone else is doing or I might burn in hell.  Let’s be clear.  I AM going to burn in hell.  But for better reasons than being unintentionally nonconformist.

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I felt he found my letters and read each one out loud…

Holy cow.  I just read this passage in Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked.

It’s fucking uncanny.

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The fifteen years were gone, anyway.  And what had gone with them?  Children, almost certainly, and if she ever did take Duncan to court, that’s what she would sue him for.  But what else?  What hadn’t she done because she’d spent too much time with a boring, faithless nerd, apart from live the kind of life she’d wanted when she was twenty-five?

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It always amazes me to no end when I read something that feels like it was plucked right out of my thoughts.  I suppose that’s the sign of an excellent writer.

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Santa is a nice man.

When I was young I wrote in a diary, and then that diary became two, then three…. And sometime around high school/college that writing slowed to a crawl and eventually stopped.  Yesterday I found the very first diary.  It was, in fact, not the one I thought was the first.  This is earlier.

And it’s hysterical.

And sometimes pathetically sad.

And sometimes illustrates how dull my life must have been.

It’s filled with scrawling, slanted writing – and every single entry is preceded by a page where I wrote my name and that it was my diary and my age and the date.  I guess I beat dead horses then too.

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Here’s a sample:

Dec. 16, 1978 (I was 8 yrs old.) – “Tonight I watched the Love boat.  They had twin sisters.  They swiched fiances.  good night.”  (Btw, all the entries end with “good night”.)

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Riveting stuff.

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Oh, and how is it I could not spell “switched”, but I could spell “fiances”??

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Say what?

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Dec. 17, 1978 – “Tonight I watched The Debolts.  A poor girl named Karen, has no arms or legs.  good night.”

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Sadly, it seems many of my entries were about TV shows.  And I don’t remember the Debolts, but it appears that I watched some kind of documentary?

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And then I assess life…

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Dec. 18, 1978 – “Its getting closer to Christmas.  And I’m excited.  Santa Claus is coming soon.  He’s a nice man.  good night.”

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The fact that I did not die of boredom is a miracle.  I’ll post more soon, because my love of Battlestar Gallactica was kind of endearing (and sad).

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I be smaht.

So (for anyone who cares), I have a college degree.  I have a BA in Sociology.  You’re probably thinking, “Whoop-de-fucking-doo”, but I do have a point so bear with me.

I am glad I have a degree.  I don’t agree with people who think they are not useful if you don’t get a job in the field you studied.  I think the wherewithal it takes to get a degree says something about an individual’s ability to be successful in life.  Forget the job stuff.  If you hang in and do the work and walk away with a degree, then you have proven you can stick with terrible tasks to achieve a goal.

Nevertheless, I sometimes wonder how much you retain from college as life goes on.  For example, today I found these two college papers in some boxes in storage…

what...the...HELL?

In case you can’t read it, the above paper is called “Ain’t No Makin’ It – Leveled Aspirations in a Low-Income Neighborhood: Social Reproduction through Achievement Ideology”.

Say WHAT?

OK, the first part is a book title: Ain’t No Makin’ It – Leveled Aspirations in a Low-Income Neighborhood

The second part is (I assume) what I was learning in a class at the time.

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Wait…  Was… I…SMART?

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It almost sounds like I was, but, honestly, if you asked me right now what that meant, I’d have to ask you to repeat it seven times so I could absorb all the multi-syllabic words.

And this…

no clue

This paper is titled “Methodological Critique: Structural-Marxist Theory”.

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“LMAO” does not begin to cover it because, when I read that title, it was sort of like reading a different language.  I am sure I knew what it meant then (didn’t I?), but now it seems like it would have had to be written by someone who sits in a coffee shop perusing her laptop on wifi and studying Nietzsche for fun.

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Holy shit.  It’s amazing to think I once wrote shit like that.  Now I write shit like this blog.  Yay me.

well, I can

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Does he have a shiv?

The other day I went to Target.  I love that store.  Except when it’s busy.  Which is every second of every day.

On this particular day, I was standing in line behind a woman with a toddler sitting in her cart (I assume it was her son, because I don’t think it was “grab a toddler day” at Target).  I was obstinately standing in this spot because, although other lines were being opened, the “line coordinator” (a rather Amazonian girl who seemed to be doing nothing else besides making sure people got in line) invited everyone else to move to another line except me.  And rather than make a scene, I just decided I’d come back later and run her down with my car.

I digress.

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The woman with the child was a little over the top with her motherly affections.  But maybe I thought this because I don’t have children and don’t like most children all that much.  The boy was about 2 years old (I am guessing here, but it seems about right) and was sitting in the front of the cart.  Mother kept grabbing Son by the face and kissing his cheeks, while squealing “whosmylittleboy!  squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeal!

Son, on the other hand, had a “dead eyes” look about him.  He looked like a combination of sensory overload meets Village of the Damned.  His blank stare was haunting and unsettling.  I can only assume he was overwhelmed by Target…and his cloying Mother’s stifling love.

Son was holding a book that they must have picked up in the store.  Like all children, he wanted to hold it and look at it.  When it was time for the older lady behind the counter to scan it, the Son was going to have to hand it over.  This is where Mother’s hyper-love kicked into overdrive and she scared the bejesus out of me.

Son held the book and (admittedly) had a firm grip on it.  But he held it with haunting dead eyes.  No tears at the ready.  Not even a change in facial expression.  So, when Mother took it from him, I thought he must have some hidden scary tantrum behavior that would be unleashed.  Or else why would she behave this way…?

She took the book from his firm grasp while saying (in the highest pitched voice imaginable), “the lady needs to scan it!  she just needs to SCAN IT!  she just needs it for a minute! ONLY A MINUTE! then she’ll give it back!  I promise to you, she will GIVE IT BACK! we’ll count to THREE! then you’ll have it back!

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Son had dead eyes.  Mother took the book.

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Mother handed the book to the cashier, while squealing, “ONE!…TWO!…THREE!…

(I really feel like this puts a lot of pressure on a cashier.  It’s like saying: “Could you please scan this book’s bar code in a sufficient amount of time that does not cause my son to freak out and stab us all?”)

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Meanwhile, Son had dead eyes.

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As soon as the cashier scanned the book, Mother snatched it back (though her hand never really stopped touching it) and shoved it back in Son’s face screaming “AAAAAAAAAND…SEE?  IT’S BACK!

(was the subtext here ‘now you don’t have to kill us all’?)

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Son.  Had.  Dead.  Eyes.

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Honestly?  This kid MUST have done something at some point to make this woman think he was going to FLIP THE FUCK OUT.  But I cannot imagine what it was.  His lethargy was palpable.

Finally, they had all their stuff in the cart and Mother told Son to say goodbye to the nice lady that checked them out.  At which point, he looked at ME and said, “bye…” with the weariness of an old soul.

I said “bye” back in a way that I hoped conveyed my sympathy at everyone thinking he was a psychopath.  Mother pulled him away, while the cashier refused to continue working until she got her goodbye.  Mother squealed “say goodbye to the nice lady“, which I think he eventually did.

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But his dead eyes said it all.

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