Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It's Snowing!!!!!

Yeah! Finally the snow is starting to fall. I personally love it, that's why Husband and I moved to the mountains. The air is cleaner, the sky is bluer, the trees are bigger, everything smells better, and it snows. For Husband and I this means backhilling (snowboarding the back country), snowshoeing, skiing for Husband, he's incredible, and various other snow activities. We live in the best possible area for everything outdoors. In the summer we're minutes away from the lake, hiking, mountain biking, whatever. And in the winter, same thing except for everything is covered in snow.

It was coming down pretty well on my way to work, and I hope it keeps up all day. I had a wonderful drive, listening to Dave Matthews, watching the snow fall, thanking God for being alive. Something about the snow, I don't know, it's so much different than rain. I lived in Portland, Oregon for four years and couldn't leave quick enough. I hate the rain. But the snow - it's so quiet and peaceful. I love the sound it makes, kind of a crunch crunch, when you walk on it. I love how it disguises everything and transports you instantly to a new world. What was once recognizable, covered in snow is not at all. You can get lost for hours in the woods, and sometimes I do on purpose. Ben, our dog, and I will go to the woods and he'll bury his face in the snow and slide all over and we'll just walk for hours. It's amazing to live where we do. I'm so thankful. Sure, it's farther to drive for some things. We're farther away from our parents. But we get to live in the mountains. It's way worth it.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Let Down

I always feel more tired after Christmas than I do in the days leading up to it. Somehow my adrenaline keeps me going until after the day is over and then I just crash and burn. And that's exactly what I'm doing today. Back to work, not feeling it, wanting to crawl under my desk and hide.

Christmas is becoming almost a chore and, frankly, I'm always glad when it's over. I feel the pressure of having to shop for all of our family and friends, the pressure to do all of my baking, decorate the house, having family over, going to family's houses, trying to make sure all my loose ends are tied up. And it's funny that it almost always lands on the wife/girlfriend. Not that I resent it, I don't at all. I'm happy that I can postpone all of my shopping until the last minute, and with lists in hand, complete all of my Christmas shopping in one fell swoop in a matter of hours. To me, that's beating the system. Only a few hours that I have to deal with the horrific sounds that pass as Christmas music blasted over the store speakers. Only a few hours to deal with lines and traffic and rude people. Then it's done. Husband does and did do an excellent job of helping me wrap.

Then I have to make sure that I've got my potatoes to take to Husband's family at the buttcrack of dawn on Christmas Day. I have to get the pecan pie baked to take over to my family's after we see Husband's. This is always fun because Husband's mom is a freak. No exaggeration. She's got some serious problems. But she's always surprised that I have a family to go see and that we won't be staying for dinner at their house. Every year this surprises her. It doesn't matter how many times Husband tells her what our plans are. See, she's all into Christmas morning. Christmas is for the kids she says. Not for grown-ups. Well Husband's sister, the one sister who lives in town, is the only one with kids, who are now 6 and 8. His other sister lives in Florida with her two kids. Husband and I are the only losers without kids. But since Christmas morning is a big deal to his mom, we go over there to share in the "festivities". This is a joke because we eat, open gifts and then just sit around. The conversation is very limited and typically consists of Husband trying to explain, yet again, that my family lives 10 minutes away and that's where we'll be for dinner.

And that's where we end our long Christmas Day. At my parent's house. It's always pretty uneventful since my mom's family is dead. See the link for that story.
Anyway, by the time we're done with dinner and gifts at my family's, I'm done. Done with the day, with driving (we have an hour drive each way), with the thinking about others, with all of it. I'm actually glad when the day is over and we can proceed with our normal lives. I'm sure this makes me a Scrooge, but I really don't care. Christmas has long since ceased being full of magic and mystery (keep in mind we never believed in Santa), ripe with possibility and hope, a season of caroling and baking and decorating. Where you can present your dad with the construction paper tie proudly, knowing it's the best gift ever. No, now it's a requirement, an obligation. And if our prayers are answered and it's an enjoyable day, that's just a bonus. We prepare and expect the worst and that way we're never disappointed.

Yes, I'm very glad that it's over. Now we can start planning our New Year's festivities, which will most certainly involve imbibing a ridiculous amount of alcohol and other illicit substances.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


What's with people who repeat themselves? It drives me right up a wall. It's one of those personality traits I've never been able to wrap my head around. Do they forget they just said the exact same thing? Do they think I didn't hear them? In the last few weeks I've encountered many Repeaters for some reason. I've discovered there are several types of Repeaters.

The Beating a Dead Horse Repeater

This sort of Repeater will tell you the same thing like five times in a row. But they will change slightly what they are saying. For example, I was on the phone trying to get some information for a client. The woman I was talking to was explaining why she couldn't talk to me about the specific information I needed. The coversation went like this:

"I'm sorry but I won't be able to talk to you about this member's coverage. It's protected information."

"Okay, " I said, "What should I have the client do?"

"Well, you see, it's protected information you're asking for and I can't really discuss it with you without you being the broker of record, you know because of HIPAA laws."

"Uh huh, I understand that. So should I have the client call, or . . . "

"Since this is protected information and I can't discuss the details with you, the client should call and we'll be able to help him. I can't talk to you about it because of HIPAA and this is considered protected information."

Unfortunately the coversation continued in the same vein for several minutes. Don't get me wrong, the lady on the phone was polite and well-meaning, but come on! You only need to give me this information once. I hear it, process it and remember it in a matter of seconds. That's what my brain is for, that's it's primary function in fact. Unless I specifically ask you for clarification or to repeat what you just said, you can pretty much guarantee that I got it the first time.

The Lack of Short Term Memory Repeater

This type of Repeater will tell you something and several minutes later they'll tell you again. Now, this is a touchy one especially when dealing with the elderly or someone who's experienced head trauma. Sometimes there are valid reasons why people forget what they said just minutes ago. But for the rest of you who do this for no good reason, start taking Ginko Biloba for the love of God. I can't take it! You JUST said that. Do you think that my short term memory is as bad as yours? You don't need to give me the exact same instructions you just gave me. I remember things, very well. My mind is like a steel trap. I'm sorry that you have trouble with your's, but why should I suffer? Your repeating this information to me is only wasting my time and severely annoying me. Do you think I'm stupid to the point of needing to hear what you said more than once to understand it? Did I miss something the first time? Did you want me to laugh and I didn't? Were you expecting a different reaction and you think that by repeating yourself you will get what you were expecting? Help me help you.

The Story Repeater

These people I cannot stand. This to me is the worst form of Repeater there is. Because, without question, they are also Repeaters who will not stop even though you've told them you've already heard this story. In fact, you can even help them finish it and they still won't stop. There are two people I know who are perhaps the worst offenders in this particular genre of Repeater. One is Roommate, the other is banned from our house.
Roommate likes to talk about himself. It's sad on the one hand because you know that something happened somewhere along the line that he needs constant validation. So he talks and talks about himself as a way to prove that he's worthy of love, respect, whatever. The problem is that he keeps telling the same stories. And he's kind of a combination Short Term Memory and Story Repeater, which is even worse. Just the other night he told us about how he had to sell some furniture from the warehouse to pay the employees because the owner hadn't dropped off payroll. It was longer than that when he told it. The next morning everyone was waking up and whatnot (we had a big slumber party). And I was sitting with KB when Rommate sits down with us. He starts telling us the exact same story as the night before. So KB starts finishing the story with him, putting in the details and stuff. Roommate still continues the story, KB's contributions going completely over his head.
The other offender is the worst Story Repeater I've ever encountered. He is banned from our house because I can't take him. I just can't. It's like every combination of annoying habits in one person and I actually experience unwanted physical reactions to his very presence. Husband used to work with this Hillbilly and we've heard every story he has to tell more than once. Of course they're all about what a badass he is and how he's done everything and anything better than you or anyone. Not only is he a Story Repeater, he's also a One-Upper - a deadly combo. This jackass will not be interupted either. Believe me, I've tried. He tells his moronic stories in such a manner that he monopolizes the entire converstation of everyone present. He speaks so loudly that you can't hear anything else above his voice. And then . . . during the story . . . he will pause . . . very dramatically . . .

And wait . . .

Leaving the listener to wonder, is this the blessed end of this moron's ridiculous story? Can I go back to my previous conversation? What can I do to end this misery? So the listener, praying it's the end, will begin to say something like, "Great story, " or "Yeah, that's pretty crazy, " and without missing a beat and as if he is watching for cues that the listener is about to speak, One-Upper will start talking again, completely cutting off any comments or questions and will keep talking until he decides to stop.
You can tell him you've already heard the story, he just keeps talking like he didn't hear you. You can help him tell the story, he'll just talk louder to drown you out. The only thing you can do to escape is exactly that, leave the room, patio, area, neighborhood. But, as I said, he has been banned from the house so I don't get the pleasure of his stories anymore.

I'm sure there are other types of Repeaters, but these are the kinds I've encountered recently. I know that dealing with these people is almost certainly a test of my patience. I don't know that I've passed with flying colors. But then again, it's a very self-indulgent thing, Repeating. It assumes that your life, your stories, your experiences are somehow the most important thing to everyone around you. So please, if you are a Repeater or care about someone who is, baby steps to change. That's all it takes, baby steps.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Inside My Head - a poem

Exhale slowly
Get my head straight
These thoughts, these feelings
eventually will go away

They never last forever
though they do keep returning
tormenting me with the past
suddenly, without warning

Silly of me to think I could escape
Whispers, chuckles inside my head
it's all coming back to me now
resurrected from the dead

I was so miserable then
never feeling quite right
always the oddball, out-of-place
always ready for a fight

Years have elapsed
and though I'm much older
my strangeness prevails
and isolates me further

I've accepted reality
I'll never be her
I won't have the grace, the style
I won't have the same curves

And by the look in your eyes
I know your desire
what can I do? I turn a blind eye
I walk through the fire

The way it's always been
never the beauty, never first choice
never commanding attention
not like your new little toy

I breath in and breath out
got to get my head right
not think about the pain
feel the cold embrace of night

Not a tear will drop
while I lay in my bed
keeping at bay
the monsters in my head

I will slip into the background
blend in with the rest
laugh, drink and be merry
I can fake it with the best

Some sweet day
the aching will cease
and I'll be delivered
to eternal peace

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

On a Serious Note

The end of the year, and especially the holidays surrounding it, are a constant reminder that I have no family. Or more accurately, I have a very small family. There are four of us. I'm talking about my immediate family, my brother, mom and dad. Husband has a rather large family but that's another story.
In my dreams I have an enormous family, a house full of people, a table a mile long full of food, everyone is laughing and enjoying themselves, everyone loves each other and puts aside their differences if only for one day for the greater purpose of celebrating Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's, whatever. In reality my dad's family lives out of state and are not, shall we say, emotionally stable. My mom's sister and her two children (both married now) stopped speaking to us years ago over some disagreement about, I swear, Dr. Laura. I was not present at said disagreement and so have only heard about it second-hand. And though I'm sure the argument and subsequent abandonment have more to do with other unresolved issues, it still amazes me that something so petty can get so out of hand.
I have two cousins and an aunt who live maybe an hour away from me (much closer to my parents) who I've not seen or talked to in easily eight years. Not by my choice or my poor mom's. I can't imagine the pain of having your sister cut you out of her life. My mom has written countless letters in a vain attempt to reconcile their relationship. The aunt won't budge though. She's never written back and it's my belief that she never will. Perhaps when she's on her death bed, rethinking her pathetic life, maybe then she'll realize the error of her ways. But people like that rarely admit their mistakes. My mom still leaves the door open for reconciliation. She prays about it, I'm sure daily. Not me so much.
I should mention that this was the second abandonment that my mom's sister's family has put us through. Many years ago my mom and the aunt had a horrible argument over my grandma who is now dead. The aunt wanted to put her in a home, my mom wouldn't hear of it. (No, she didn't belong in a home, the aunt just wanted access to her money.) So the aunt and her family stopped talking to my mom and all of us. Well several years later the aunt's marriage of 25+ years is falling apart, she's getting divorced and has decided that she needs to reconcile with my mom. So they did and then we were all talking again.
But then about eight years ago the Dr. Laura incident happened and we haven't talked to them since.
I can't really wrap my head around family just cutting other family out of their lives. I suppose I could understand if there were addiction issues or one of us was a kiddie porn enthusiast or made snuff films or something. That you disagree about the merits or lack thereof of Dr. Laura is not a reason I'd typically choose to end a relationship over; with anyone let alone family.
So after the second time the aunt ended things, that was it for me. I don't mention their names, ever, and on the occasion that it does slip out, I do spit on the ground immediately after the name leaves my lips. I have no interest in reconciliation, a pleasant conversation, a cup of coffee, a brief glance, nothing. They are all dead. It's sad because I didn't attend a funeral for them and the cause of death is still unknown, but they're all dead.
I have not found a better solution yet. In my heart and my soul it hurts too bad to anguish over why they did this. I've had to watch my mom deal with it this way and it's heartwrenching. She agonizes over what she could have done differently, why she's not good enough, what's wrong with her, etc. I can't do that. What happened is my mom's sister is a bitch, a ruthless, heartless, evil bitch. You think the way she treated my mom's family is bad? You should have heard the way she talked to her own mother. And rude, evil, heartless bitches tend to raise self-absorbed, selfish, spoiled, evil children. And that's exactly what happened. And now they're dead. End of story. What, they're going to do me a favor someday by deciding they want to talk to us again? Fuck that!
This time of year though, can really bring all of those memories and the hurt right back. That's why I'm so thankful for the friends that Husband and I have been blessed with. It's like, I didn't get the big family, but my family continues to build through the years with the friends we make. That is my family.
So I'll be thankful for all of those blessings and I'll enjoy my celebrations with my small immediate family and I'll not think about the hurt. And someday when I find out where they're all buried, maybe I'll go visit their graves.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

'Tis the Season - Ugh!

I love Christmas time. I love that Husband and I live where it snows and we're expecting some this weekend. I love the lights, I love decorating my house, I love baking cookies.

I HATE Christmas music. I hate that the day after Thanksgiving it's impossible to go ANYWHERE without hearing it. It's like noise pollution to me. I'm hearing it without my permission - an assalt to my ears!

Don't get me wrong, there are some Christmas albums I enjoy listening to. But I typically listen to them like the week before Christmas if at all. Odetta, Emmylou Harris, The Chieftans, I enjoy these. But the sacchrine, pop, bubblegum crap they play on the radio and in the grocery store makes me want to shove knitting needles through my ears.

Here I sit at work, the radio is on in the office. The station that it never changes from plays adult contemporary (my favorite!), you know these types of stations. During the holiday season, in addition to the joy of hearing my favorite Rod Stewart and Phil Collins classics, I get the special pleasure of hearing Madonna sing Santa Baby. This wonderful station came up with the brilliant plan of rotating in Christmas songs with their regular playlist. EVERY OTHER SONG. This is why I look forward to January.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Of Dunebuggies and Rattlesnakes

This is a little gem from several years ago.

Our story begins as three friends, me, Mr. D, and Husband before we were married, embark on a weekend camping trip. Mr. D had friends camping at nearby a lake for 4th of July and we were invited to join the party.

Now camping anywhere on the 4th of July is at best a crowded madhouse. At worst you end up at the very back cove of the lake, squished in like sardines, tents almost on top of each other, which was our situation. This particular lake is also very popular with jet boat owners, and each morning we awoke to obscene thundering of jet boat motors.

My companions and I had arranged to indulge in some extra-curricular activities, namely LSD. For those of you who have never taken this drug, the experience can be both incredibly fun and sometimes terrifying. Your perception of reality changes completely. Any concept of time is gone. While I have never lost control of my functions, I guess this happens from time to time. I also have never had a "bad trip" and have always had a great time on acid.

We arrived at the site Mr. D's friends had chosen and unpacked. We set up the tent, met Mr. D's friends, opened some beers, you know the routine.

Mr. D's friends proved to be the only entertainment we needed that weekend. At the time Mr. D worked in a gas station and the friends we were camping with were friends from work. The group was a mish-mash of missing teeth, hillbilly charm, Keystone drunks and the like. It was truly like camping with the Clampetts. I kept expecting to see the pickup roll up with all the furniture and grandma in a rocking chair. One particular man was the token drunk guy. When we were introduced he was already lit and a few hours later could not stand up without stumbling. He proceeded to dive into the most shallow part of the lake and busted his head open on a rock. Of course, because he was so intoxicated he didn't notice the blood pouring from his head until we pointed it out. Token Drunk Guy then decided to have another one of the group pull him behind a wave runner on an innertube. This was particularly hilarious because he still had a beer in his hand and the driver of the wave runner was doing everything in his power to flip TDG over. Eventually he succeeded and our entertainment ended for a while.

After we'd eaten and the afternoon was turning into evening, we decided to take our treats. Rather than blotters we had sugar cubes. I remember five. We each took one and saved the rest for later. The opposite side of the lake from where we were camping was empty. It was not part of the campground, but was accessible by way of crawling through a dilapidated barbed wire fence. Before the acid started to kick in we walked around to the fence, crawled through and made our way to the far side of the lake.

As our trip began we immersed ourselves into the lake. The water felt like silk and was warm as bath water. Our clothes came off and we swam around naked for quite a long time. What's funny now is that we were just on the other side of the lake, completely visible to everyone camping and it was still light out. Of course, we didn't care at that point. We were absolutely content to lay on our backs in the water as the sky grew darker and the stars began to shine. As the drugs pulsed through our bloodstream and the trip became more intense, the stars looked as if they were shooting across the sky. I couldn't figure out if I was actually seeing the movement of the earth or if I was just trippin'.

We did get out of the water before it got dark and walked back to our camp through the same void in the barbed wire fence. We changed into some warm clothes and attempted conversation with everyone at camp. In our condition this proved very difficult. After ingesting another half a sugarcube each, we decided we liked it better on the other side of the lake and so, once again, set out to cross the barbed wire borderline.

Once safely on the other side we attempted to get into the water again, but found it much too cold now that night had fallen. So there we were, acid coursing through our bodies, pupils as big as plates, staring at the lake and just trippin' and having a good time. All of a sudden we hear a noise in the distance. At first it sounded like a chainsaw, maybe a dirt bike. As the noise grew closer we saw the accompanying lights of a small dune buggy. With a cloud of dust in it's wake the dune buggy kept coming towards us and stopped suddenly a few feet from us. There before our eyes were two men. One, the driver, was a heavy set gent with a long grey beard the likes of which would put ZZ Top to shame. The passenger was a funny looking guy, very thin with a rat-like face. He was wearing rainbow suspenders.

At this point we all looked at each other to figure out of this was really happening or if we were all experiencing the exact same hallucination. We stood there in utter disbelief and then the driver spoke.

"Y'all live around here?"

We thought, where, where would we possibly live around here? Who, if anyone, lives around here?

Husband answered him, "Does anyone?"

What the driver said next would prove most disheartening.

"Y'all better be careful out here. There's rattlesnakes everywhere."

And with that, the dune buggy started up again and drove away into the hills, its' wake of dust still following behind.

At this point we were all freaked out. We were freaked out that we may be standing in a field full of rattlesnakes, freaked out that we may all have just hallucinated some hillbilly telling us about the rattlesnakes, and mostly freaked out about how to get back to camp without being bitten by the rattlesnakes. Husband especially freaked out because he is terrified, terrified of snakes. All he could do was squat down on the ground and be very still so as not to disturb the snakes.

So we all sat for a while and contemplated our options. I wasn't so sure about the rattlesnakes. I couldn't see any, or hear them. I suggested that we start walking back to camp, carefully, and see what happened. As we discussed what to do a commotion began on the other side of the lake.

We heard the whine of several dirt bikes from off in a distance, but clearly close to our camp and getting closer. From out of the trees on the hill above the camp came maybe four or five bikes, busting into camp like the cops. To our surprise, it was the cops. The lights were flashing, the bike motors roaring, and then came the cop boat. We sat on the other side of the lake and watched the entire scene unfold. The cops were clearly in pursuit of someone. They went right to a white Honda-type sedan and I believe took someone into custody. When the bike cops were finished, the cop boat started coming around to our side of the lake. He shined his light where we were sitting and we froze. We were sure we were getting busted. For what? Who knows, maybe we were trespassing, maybe we were disturbing the rattlesnake sanctuary. We just knew that between the cops and the snakes it was perhaps safer back at camp.

Slowly, so as not to disturb the snakes, we found the barbed wire fence and made it unscathed back to camp. We used our small barbecue as a makeshift fire pit and watched the coals glow and change shape. Our trip was coming to an end and our sleeping bags were calling us. Husband decided to sleep in his truck and let Mr. D and I have the tent. Right next to us was another group of campers who had brought along a keg which they had floating in the lake. There weren't very many people to warrant bringing a keg, but whatever, they were getting tanked. This group of campers gave every indication that this was some sort of group home or boys home camping trip. Maybe it wasn't but that's what it looked like to us. The leader of the group home was a large woman who stayed mostly in the tent. What we didn't realize until the camp became quiet was that she had a serious lung problem. Having a bad cough is one thing. When the cough is more of a constant hacking accompanied by the gurgling, moist sounds of lung butter, you might want to think about seeing a doctor. This lady, every two minutes, was hacking up her lungs. Seriously, I think there were actual pieces of her lungs flying through the air, landing willy-nilly on the floor of the tent.

Well this just set Mr. D and I off. It was such a disgusting, constant, flemmy cough, but it made us laugh like it was a comedy routine. Every time she would start coughing Mr. D and I would start laughing uncontrollably. This lasted what seemed like hours until Mr. D and I drifted off to sleep.

This was one of the best times I've had, and is still one of my favorite memories.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Poem

The Other

Overcoming me

I lay in the calm
Feel the glow . . .

He doesn't know
The storm brewing
The other . . .

Lingers in the depths of my mind
Pulls on my body
Drags me down
I sink into
the realm of the other
skin's memory overtaking me
lips quivering

Begging, pleading
for deliverance
Just once

Until I return
to the world that I've chosen
and hide the storm
of desire
in my eyes

Maybe It's Me

Having a roommate is a very delicate relationship. It forces you to choose your battles carefully, especially if you have a roommate who is not especially considerate. A brief history -
When Husband and I met our current roommate, he was unemployed and living with his parents. We all became friends and, at that time, he was very polite and thoughtful. Husband and I have friends at our house every weekend and almost every day during the week. We enjoy the company of our friends even though the house gets kinda thrashed. But current roommate, before he was roommate, would wash dishes, help clean the house and in general thought of others, especially Husband and I. He wanted to be helpful. Husband and I encouraged Roommate to get a job and were very supportive of him becoming a productive member of society. His own mom was discouraging him from obtaining gainful employment, which is why Husband and I thought maybe living in our house for a while would be a better environment.
Fast forward a few months and he is now our roommate. Things were pretty good for a while. But slowly and steadily a self-centeredness and selfishness started showing its face in Roommate. He would (and still does) spend hours talking about work and his day and himself when he got home in the evening, not pausing long enough to even ask Husband and I about our days. That was the first indication that something was amiss. I'm still not sure if this is how Roommate actually is and he was going out of his way to be "good" so he could move out of his parent's house, or if he is actually changing into an asshole. Well, in addition to the detailed and lengthy monologues every day, Roommate also stopped doing anything around the house.
Let me insert here that I work, full time, just like Husband and Roommate. I also make dinner every night for whomever is in the house, but always for at least Husband and Roommate. I clean the house every week, I make sure the bath towels are clean and all of the other things that go along with keeping up a household. I ask for virtually nothing in return. I do these things because they need to be done and I'm generally happy to do them.
How things have changed. Roommate won't even lift a finger to do anything, dishes, take out the trash, clean, nothing. Okay, fine, I guess I can live with that. As long as rent and bills are paid, right? Wrong. Now it's like pulling teeth to get money out of roommate as well. And call me crazy, but I feel like at the age of 35 you should be able to figure out when rent is due and pay it. Your roommates shouldn't have to ask you to pay the rent. Same with bills. Why is it our responsibility to ASK for money? I'm not dude's mom. Nor am I a maid.
Okay, so fast forward again, but also reverse to Thanksgiving. Even though Roommate was invited to spend Thanksgiving with Husband and I (in September he was invited) he decided he was too good for my family and decided to just stay home. Except he didn't stay home. Roommate decided it was a good idea to buy a puppy. A St. Bernard puppy.
Perhaps now is the time to tell you about our house. Husband and I could not be happier with where we live. But it's a small house. Like 900 square feet small. It's barely big enough for me, Husband, our dog and Roommate. But in his mind it's more than adequate for a ST.. BERNARD. Look, I don't even know what his plans are when this thing gets bigger. He has no plans.
To make matters worse, Roommate didn't even discuss the idea of getting a dog with us. So Husband called our house on Thanksgiving to check in with Roommate and found out about the puppy. Roommate spent $200 on a papered St. Bernard. Great. I'm not saying anything bad about spending money on a dog. Husband and I only paid $20 for our dog, but to each his own. What I am saying something bad about is spending that kind of money on a dog when you can't even pay rent. Priorities you know? So the whole day of Thanksgiving Husband and I spent ruminating on this puppy and what in THE HELL Roommate was thinking. Roommate goes to work before it's light and gets home when it's dark. Who will stay with the puppy during the day? Who will train the puppy? Who will walk the puppy? It's not even the puppy that burns us as much as the complete lack of consideration and respect that Roommate showed for us.
Husband and I talked on the way home about how to handle the situation, which had to be very delicately. (Roommate already has a history of defensiveness and anger and, in general, very childlike behavior when it comes to conflict.) We got home to find a house full of people, our friends, which was just fine with us. It did make talking with Roommate a bit more difficult.
Roommate was visibly excited, thrilled more like it. He had the papers out and ready to show us and tell us all about the puppy's bloodlines and how many times she'd taken a shit already. The following conversation ensued:
Roommate: "Touch her belly, it's so soft, isn't she so cute?"
Me: "Yes, she's cute. Puppies are cute."
Roommate: stupid shit I don't care about having to do with bloodlines once again and blah, blah, blah
Me: "We're going to have to talk about this at some point Roommate."
Roommate: "Talk about what?"
Me: "About this, the whole dog thing."
Roommate: "I thought we already talked about it."
Me: "It would've been nice to know that you were going to get a dog. It would've been cool for you to talk to us about it first."
Roommate (now clearly agitated and defensive): "We already talked about it. I've told you so many times that I was going to get a dog."
Me: "Roommate, you've never told us that you're getting a dog."
Roommate (now even more defensive and clearly angry): "Man, I told you so many times sitting out on the deck. You knew I was going to get one!"
Me: "Alright, well we're gonna need to talk about it."
At that point I ended the conversation. Clearly Roommate had it in his head that he'd discussed this with us. Roommate has, in the past six months, "discussed" getting a boat, buying property, buying a house, and yes I think even getting a dog. The "discussions" go something like this:
"Man, I'm gonna get that boat. We gotta have a boat."
"Man, I wanna dog."
So, okay, clearly I'm in the wrong, we did have a discussion about the dog. It was just very brief and without any actual discussion.
Husband did talk to Roommate later that night. Roommate assured Husband that he indeed had a plan for the puppy and would take it to work with him and clean up after him and everything. Well, when Monday came the puppy didn't go to work with Roommate. Roommate locked her in his room. Oh, but it's okay, he put some puppy pad shit on the floor for her to piss and shit on. The carpet will be fine. Meanwhile Husband and I are kissing our pet deposit goodbye. Not to mention that Husband and I are still asleep when Roommate goes to work and the puppy, as puppies are known to do, cries and yelps when Roommate leaves.
Husband had to have another talk with Roommate, making it clear to him that the puppy can't stay in the house, locked in a room all day, shitting and pissing on the carpet. So Roommate has been taking it to work.
Fast forward once more and here we are. Rent's due yet again and yet again we are forced to collect it from Roommate. His new plan is to build a wall in our downstairs area (an unfinished basement-type room where the washer and dryer are, and that Husband and I painstakingly made into a cool-ass chill room complete with carpeting) to keep the puppy contained in the chill room. His theory - the carpeting is just remnants and the puppy can shit and piss all over it and it won't matter. That way Roommate will have one room, Husband and I will have the other room, and puppy will have her own room and we will have no chill room. Now, call me crazy, but Roommate and puppy each having their own room seems as though it's worth more than just a third of the rent. Not to mention, I want my chill room! We spend a lot of time making it chillable and nice enough to even want to hang out down there.
It's just so fucked up at this point I don't even know what to do. But I know one thing, shit's gotta change with a quickness. This will not stand!
But then again, maybe it's me.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Trouble With Nudity

One of my favorite things to do is to be naked. I love it. I think that being naked is comfortable and freeing.
Now, I'm not really, altogether comfortable with my body. In fact I have a lot of problems with my body and it is sometimes an incredible challenge for me just to look in the mirror. So I suspect my love of being naked is somehow related to my poor body image, and in some way helps me to deal with it. And I'm not talking about anything in the realm of sex, I'm talking purely and simply being naked.
My husband and I, on occasion, indulge in some mind-altering substances. What those are I will leave to your imagination. And inevitably I end up either topless or completely naked. This doesn't bother Husband at all, and that completely trips people out. I suppose because most of the time I am the only girl in the mix and guys trip that Husband doesn't care that other guys look at me.
Husband, in fact, loves the idea of other guys looking at me. Is that weird? I don't think so and neither does he. But I can understand why that's weird to some people. In Husband's mind, I'm with him and that's not going to change. He knows that I love him and that I'm faithful to him. He's proud of how I look and it's almost a macho sort of thing, even though he's not at all the macho type. He figures, "whatever they can look but at the end of the day you're with me."
So this weekend was one of those occasions. And sure enough, there I was, topless in a room with 5 guys.
Did I mention this was in our house? I think that's key because I wouldn't feel so comfortable in someone else's house. But in mine, if you don't like it, leave.
Anyway, it was a very fun weekend to say the least. I wasn't naked the entire time, or even the next night. But what is the problem with nudity? Why are we so concerned with covering our bodies? I've thought for a long time that our aversion to nudity and the positions and roles we ascribe to it do a lot to shape our opinions about sex and our views of women, etc. I mean, think about it. Nudity in general is reserved for places and activities that "good girls" don't do. You can go to a strip club, rent porn or watch it on TV, purchase the company of a prostitute, and things like this. But there is no healthy outlet for nudity, unless you go to a colony. It's really a travesty. The human body, and especially a woman's body, is beautiful. It's an amazing creation. True, some more than others. But being naked tears down any wall. When you're naked you are vulnerable and you have to have a relative amount of trust in the people you're with. Husband and I happen to have amazing friends so that's never been an issue. And even if, as a guy, you're turned on at first by seeing a nude woman, after a while it's not something you even notice.
The fact that certain substances, mainly a variety of them, are typically involved really doesn't matter. In fact, I think it only enhances the experience. Letting your mind go is often a wise idea. Not getting out of control mind you, but letting go for a while. We're so caught up in our daily lives and just trying to get by that taking a break from reality and opening your eyes, mind and soul to the possibilities of existence on this earth is a much-needed rest.
I encourage you to be naked, to be free, and to let your mind, body and soul take delight in the simplest of pleasures. You never know what's to come or how your perspective on life can change. Anything is possible!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Stuck in a Rut

I think I'm suffering a crisis of sorts. Perhaps not a crisis exactly, but I'm in a funk. I feel as though I've wasted my life in certain ways and I have a general feeling of dissatisfaction. These feelings are strictly focused on my professional life, however. I think the one great decision I made was marrying my husband. Aside from that, I'm scratching my head.
Husband has already pointed out that I've accomplished many things in my life. Well, yes I suppose I have. But so far I'm not feeling fulfilled with my career decisions. My blessed parents sent me to a private university, which I graduated from, probably with the hopes that I would make some impact on the world. But alas, my private education, while excellent, did not assist me in obtaining a dream job. Put it this way, I made more money when I worked at Starbucks than I do now. That was 8 years ago! Where did I go wrong? Well, now I'm self-employed, I'm an independent contractor. Except, in my world, an independent contractor is paid for services rendered. If I can get my job done in 3 hours versus 8, better for me. As long as the job is done to the client's specifications and is what the client expected, I get paid. However, I'm kind of a one-client show. I have an exclusive contract, so to speak. So, there again, I get paid based on a specific set of tasks that I'm responsible for. When I made this arrangement with my exclusive 'client' I gave him a great deal for my services. Unheard of, really. I did this because of many reasons, but mainly because I thought I would be working with him for the rest of my life. And based on conversations we've had, he would eventually need me on a full-time employee basis, at which time I would be well taken care of.
Isn't it funny how things change? Now my exclusive client wants me on an employee basis but doesn't want to pay me for it and wants to keep pretending that I'm still an 'independent contractor'.
It's not really about the money. Sure, I'd like to make more than I do now, but that's not it really. I want to be compensated FAIRLY for the work that I'm doing. And I don't want to be fucked with. If you want to hire me on full-time to guarantee that I'll be in the office everyday for a specified number of hours, let's negotiate. But don't give me shit because I don't come in everyday when I can work from home as well. Why should I drive 60 minutes daily, get paid this shitty salary, listen to you complain about me not being in the office everyday, just so you can have the "security" that I'm in the office in case something comes up? Gosh, who am I talking to? Whoa, okay, back to it not being about the money.
Really, it's not. I really just want to enjoy what I do, and I'm not sure I do anymore. There are so many things that I want to try, regardless of how much I get paid. I've never been a waitress, a bartender, a teacher, an exotic dancer (Husband has already said 'no' to that one), lots of things. I think it would be amazing to try on different jobs for a while. It would certainly get me out of this rut.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

This Is Real Life

So my husband and I have taken in a roommate. For various reasons it is a good, temporary, arrangement. The roommate is a 35 year-old male friend of ours and is a very respectable and responsible man. But, you know, everyone has issues so it's not all puppy dogs and ice cream all the time.
Roommate is not married, never has been, and is actively seeking a mate as it were. I suppose that once you reach the unmarried age of 35 you may start having minor panic attacks, envisioning your life as a 65 year-old single man with no teeth, sucking down PBR's while you yell at the neighbor kids. I think that's kind of where Roommate is. He's terrified of being alone yet can't manage an actual relationship with a normal woman. (Yes, I have opinions as to the causes of this, but that's another story for another time perhaps.) So he recently met a young woman of 22 and has seen her several times in the past couple of weeks. And by "seen" I mean that they have come over to the house and had sex for hours at a time, she doing her best impression of the porn star on Skinamax. Now, I'm not generally a mean person and I rarely make judgments about people based on just how they look. Every encounter I've had with Young Woman has been pleasant and she seems like a nice person. However, she's not small. Believe me, I am the last person to even comment on the girth of another due to my own deep-seeded psychological body image problems. But she's a big girl. Roommate is just about average, maybe below average height, for sure a lot shorter than my husband. So the mental picture we're forced to endure during the hours long sexcapades with the shrieking and whatnot is unpleasant at best. (I should mention that we live in a very small house with little to no "buffer zone".)
So last night Roommate brings Young Woman over for Halloween fun(sex). BUT, Husband and I were also in an amorous mood last night and we got to our bedroom first, HA! Let them listen to us for a while. Except that it's not really like that, you all know that.
A digression: When women go really overboard with the "oos" and "aaaahs" and screaming and moaning and shrieking, just like in a porno, IT'S NOT REAL. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it's fake. Real sex, real enjoyable sex, at least in my experience, is rather quiet. Yes, I make noise and stuff, but it's not the production that some women try to make it.
So husband and I are doing our thing, being relatively quiet throughout, and when we're done what else do we hear but the Sex Olympics coming from Roommates room. As I'm telling Husband the reality behind the sounds I look at our pup who has joined me on the bed. He is licking, hand to God, the wet spot on the bed. I point this out to Husband who laughs and says, "This is reality, the dog licking the bed, you asking me if you're gaining weight, me covered in poison oak, let's make a porno!"
"I'm starting a blog, tomorrow. And I'm writing about all of this. And it's going to be funny."
Reality usually is.
I hope you think so too.