Friday, May 29, 2009
Years ago when I was 12 we went to an Agricultural Exposition.
More than one cigarette company had a booth set up.
Giving out free samples.
Back before there was an age limit on smoking, of course.
We kids were assigned to visit these booths and get as many free samples as we could.
There were 6 of us ranging in age from 14 down to 7, I think.
We, each of us, scored several half packs of cigarettes from each booth.
My father and step-mother were smokers by the way.
Doing the math, all told, the family brought in the equivilant of 4 cartons of cigarettes.
There was a quite a variety brands, strengths, styles and flavors.
The plethora was stored in a drawer in the refrigerator, to keep it fresh.
I became enamored of the cache.
Eventually I decided to smoke some of this stash.
After all, I had had a part in it's procurement.
Smoking was off limits for us kids.
A definite no no as we were deemed simply not old enough.
The forbidden is ever the most attractive don't you think?
I lifted one of the half packs.
Marlboro Red's in a hard pack, if memory serves.
(it often does, and too well-though it never asks my permission)
They and a lighter went off to the barn with me.
I was determined to not only smoke but do it well.
Suddenly I remember the prior occasion that made me think this was the only way.
(I'm so easily distracted)
I held that pack upside down in my hand and hit it hard against the heel of my palm several times.
I had no idea why, but years of watching others had shown me that this was what one did.
I peeled off the cellophane and opened the box.
Savored the smell of the as yet unlit tobacco.
Have you ever smelled Borkum Riff pipe tobacco?
It is a luxurious thing.
Absolutely delicious in any of it's several flavors(bourbon being my favorite)
My father was a pipe smoker as well.
The rituals of that pursuit are perhaps more addictive than nicotine.
Back to me.
I removed the first cigarette from the pack and held it to my lips.
Carefully I flicked my Bic and brought the flame close to my face.
Set that flame to the end of the cigarette and watched through narrowed eyes as the paper caught fire.
Such a powerful moment for a 12 year old.
I was lost in the flame and forgot to inhale.
I tried again.
Eyes focused on the ember I had created, I positioned my fingers just so.
I waved my hand out to my side just so.
My mannerisms had to be perfected.
I was going to smoke after all, and do it well.
My hand ever so elegantly lifted towards my face as I returned the cigarette to my lips.
Less cautiously this time.
Watching that ember flare, the smoke rise, that controlled burn creeping ever closer towards my face.
Getting lost in it again.
The hardness of it pressed between my lips.
Tasting the smoke.
Feeling it in my mouth.
The smoke warmed me.
Even at twelve, I appreciated the sensuality of what I was experiencing.
I controlled it.
It controlled me.
My world spun.
Balance deserted me.
My vision blurred, yet my focus sharpened.
I was free.
Control and it's perfect loss were mine.
I was going to do this.
Smoke this pack and be accomplished at this grown up art.
Each cigarette smoked right after the other.
Chainsmoking right off the bat.
One elegant hand wave too many.
I had spun completely out of control.
Doesn't pay to look the fool in front of those who control you.
I didn't pick up another pack of cigarettes for 6 years.
The fact that I did demonstrates my addiction.
I chose menthols this time.
Salem Menthol Lights.
After six years the initial experience was the same.
The fascination with the flame.
The pleasure in the sensual feel of the cigarette against my lips.
The joy at the feel of the heat in my mouth.
The high as nicotine found its spot in those receptors my brain had created just for it.
That sensation was gone.
Still I strove for it.
For a while I could regain it.
The high was gone.
My fascination with the process was not.
Those hungry places in my brain were not.
I smoked until I was seven months pregnant with B.
Admittedly I had cut back considerably.
Weaned myself down to one cigarette a day for months.
Finally I said, "This is it. No more."
And it was.
I went in to pay for my gas.
Those single boxes.
Stacked beguilingly over the clerks head.
A siren whispering in my ear.
She's almost three now.
Marlboro Menthol Lights hard pack.
Oh, and a lighter too please.
I waited until she was in bed.
I lit up.
After three years.
No high this time.
A buzz? Maybe.
But those receptors were hungry.
My fascination with the fire remained.
A constant search for another high?
Feeding the nicotine receptors in my brain?
Compulsively controlling a fire that was burning in my face?
Exploring the sensuality of this constant hand to mouth activity?
I don't know.
What I do know is my last cigarette was smoked December 31, 1998.
A minute or two before midnight for the record.
I refused to purchase any more cigarettes when the price went up due to a major lawsuit settlement.
Now that I haven't smoked a cigarette in over 10 years I watch in quiet disgust as other people smoke.
(secretly yearning for just one more).
I have successfully resisted that first cigarette.
I hate being addicted to those damn things.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I think I played by the rules today.
Way Back When, Minion #1 was The Kid. And The Kid has a Cousin the same age as She. And they have an Auntie who is the Mother of Neither of Them. And said Auntie cares very much for the two Rascals and agrees to watch Them for a whole day even though it is the middle of Summer and She is VERY PREGNANT, so that I and the Cousin's Mother can go enjoy ourselves. We appreciate this very much as We are Both Single Mothers at the time with very little time to enjoy Ourselves Kidless alone, much less Together(my Cousin and I were The Original Them even before Way Back When) and figured Auntie could use the practice seeing as how She would soon be joining the Ranks of Mother Hood.
Auntie comes equipped with a backyard, a screen door and a box of 100 Freeze Pops.
Auntie allows Them to come and go through the screen door at Their own discretion(of which Kids have none) to cool off.
Auntie, who as I said earlier loves The Kids very much and doesn't want Them to suffer in The Heat of Summer, gives Them a Freeze Pop to cool Them off.
Auntie gives Them a Freeze Pop every time They come in.
Auntie is also, as I mentioned earlier, Very Pregnant which interferes with One's ability to think for very long about anything in particular as most of that thought is caught up in wondering about and waiting for The As Yet Unborn One. It's true-ask Anyone that has ever been Very Pregnant.
What this means is that before it is all over Auntie has given Them the entire box of 100 Freeze Pops and probably run up Her electric bill outrageously opening the freezer and The They have probably let hundred's of flies inside the house and out of The Heat of Summer. Auntie confesses to being a bit curious about why They are so Full of Energy and at the same time wondering why They never get hungry. Like I said, Very Pregnant People sometimes have this kind of reasoning impairment(I know I did).
Seeing as how I and My Cousin(The Original Them) had both been Very Pregnant ourselves and had had such a wonderful time, We understand how These Things Happen and it is No Big Deal, really. We depart Aunties house and leave with our respective Kid in tow and think no more about it.
Until the next day that is.
When My Kid SCREAMS in the bathroom a bloodcurdling cry that of course has Me running(one of the few times I've ever run anywhere)to see What The Heck Is Happening!
The Kid is standing over the toilet looking in the bowl at what She has just deposited there.
Apparently those 50 Freezer Pops have *uh hum* left their mark and helped Her make...
A GIANT RAINBOW POO.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
A Dunkin' Doughnuts just opened less than 5 minutes away by car-we were hoping for a Moe's.
If there were a sidewalk I would walk there and not worry about my indulgence in a chocolate doughnut.
I'm thinking of joining a nearby gym-I need some physical activity since ballet is a bust-a story for another day-I don't feel like ranting.
Gyms are kind of boring for me-so repetitious you know? I keep wondering if maybe I had someone to really help me, a personnal trainer I guess, it would be more interesting to me. I definitely get bored easily-too easily sometimes.
I can't figure out the reason my gravelly voice this morning. Maybe because I haven't really used it since lunch yesterday? Every word I say tickles me. It's kind of funny really, and makes me want to not talk too much and thereby preserve this new amusement.
Jeez. Look at the time...I need to take a shower.
Friday, May 22, 2009
It wasn't the worst by any means but still.
The kid woke up late which was fine by me but by lunch it was obvious she wasn't feeling well.
Out comes the digital thermometer.
Her axillary temp was 103.8.
We parents know to add 1.8 to that to get the actual temperature.
That is pretty freakin high.
Remaining calm-cause that's what you do-I pulled out the children's Tylenol and gave her the recommended dosage.
Within 30 minutes her temp had gone down by three degrees and she was comfortable, alert and playing-albeit in a very scaled down fashion.
Everything was fine and so was I.
4 o'clock rolls around and the girl goes from fine(ish) to nearly comatose and wet noodle stage(that is medical description by the way) in less than 5 minutes.
Yes, freak out time arrived guns blazing.
That was not the first time I've seen that let's just say and leave it at that for now.
Temperature back up to 105.
Give the Kid more Tylenol-doesn't seem to be as effective.
She complained of her neck hurting.
Time to go.
Call our family doc at 4:32.
Their office closes at 4:30 on the dot.
Call Big Daddy D(no easy task) and agree to meet at an urgent care facility.
Of course by the time everything is said and seen the Tylenol has taken effect and she appears quite chipper though her temp is still high at 101.
Strep is negative, no apparent meningitis symptoms.
Very good news indeed.
Instructions are continue with Tylenol and if her temp shoots up or the limp noodle effect recurs go to the ER.
Within minutes of leaving Urgent Care and arriving home, both symptoms recurred.
Off again-this time to the hospital-not a favorite place as you may well know.
The Kid decided for some reason to talk about her dead sister Maggie on the way.
Is she dead?
Why did she die?
Was she sick like me?
Am I gonna get big like you, Daddy?
Is the doctor gonna make me better?
I was terrified.
All things considered we were seen quickly though of course her temperature had dropped again and slowly but surely she perked up and became her usual loquacious self.
Viruses just do this.
Duh-I know that.
So do convulsions and irreversible brain damage.
All told it seems rather cut and dried and I'd like to keep it that way.
And just keep breathing and moving forward.
I absolutely hate having a point of reference for when things go wrong.
I'm not a reactionist.
We don't run to the doctor for every sneeze and sniffle and bout of vomiting.
But I will never be able to handle an unconscious child, breathing hard, flopping limply in my arms.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
And many more people whose names and faces I simply can't remember.
These few are enough though.
I am most amazed at how easy and fun it was to be with these people. Somehow, someway we had gotten past much of the awkwardness that comes with meeting people for the first time.
I'm sure the wine helped a bit.
But I think it's more than that.
We are so often consumed by the mask we put on to face the world-the one that smiles when it should, protects us from the assholes we encounter everyday-that we forget it is just that-a mask, and it's hard to know people-and ourselves-when we forget how to take the mask off. Some people I think are so lost in the face they show the world that they have forgotten how to be real.
The mask, this filter, this civilized mien is a necessary device for life as we know it- but it sure does get in the way.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
As it turns out I leapt from the frying pan straight into the fire-but that is a story for another day.
We had moved up from the old ramshackle farmhouse into a larger, more modern house yes, but a trailer none the less.
It was situated in a yard that had been carved out of a pasture(newly fenced by us-post holes dug, wire fencing stretched and stapled and gates hung largely by we kids) and was- in my memory-an acre at least though possibly two, all of which we kids mowed with a cranky push mower.
We had a laundry room fully equipped though we had to hang clothes on the line that stretched across the back of the yard within reaching distance of the fence we had built to separate our yard from the pasture behind the house.
We didn't compost, but kitchen scraps and grease were to be dumped over the fence- and my decision to ignore that rule resulted in the worst beating of my life. It was a very cold afternoon-winter still-and it was, I thought, too freezing cold to make the four minute walk to the fence row and back again.
I underestimated my father's temper and ability to discern my transgression that day.
Within moments of my transgression-the pouring of perhaps a third of a cup of grease as far over the side of the porch as I could stretch(I know, as an adult, that what I did was unwise from a pest and smell point of view-I don't argue that at all)-my father had dragged me outside, whipped off his heavy leather belt and then proceeded to swing that hard strap up and down my backside from kidneys to knees, over and over again in a vain attempt to get me to cry out.
My legs gave out before my tongue did as I danced to the song that belt whistled on its way to strike my flesh.
How do I end this tale.
With my father's apparent remorse as he took us all out to eat that night for Chinese which was my favorite?
With my pain and discomfort as I tried to sit in that hard pleather booth-knowing that every bite I took had been purchased with my blood?
With the embarrassment and strange glee I felt whipping down my pants and showing the school counselor and secretary the reason I refused to dress out for P.E. that day and hearing their collective gasps as they viewed the 2 inch wide welts colored in dark black scabs and livid blues, those fresh violent flowers that bloomed over my lower back and legs?
Do I end it with the feeling of hope that I had? That at last the pain was out in the open and would perhaps end?
Do I end it with my feelings of betrayal and despair, which were all that were left when my siblings denied the abuse we endured?
Or do I thank my father for teaching me that it is possible to survive the pain and betrayal of those we love and who love us and for giving me the strength to do so?
Because I have learned more about pain since I left my father's house than even he could ever have dreamed of.
And I have more than survived.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
We have stairs going in.
I have a weekend trip coming up.
We are *gasp* dating again-each other(you guys!) *snicker*
I am trying to keep up with the laundry.
We are flying to San Fransisco for a weekend getaway really soon.
I have been busy as fuck.
Trying to live my life here(IRL)
Trying to build/maintain new blogverse friends.
Balance is key.
I am not a good juggler.
Wonderful...marvelous, magnificent and more.
Awww shit who am I kidding?
I am me and me is tired.
Relationships are hard work.
I'm not tired of working.
To top it all off tomorrow-just 33 minutes away-the Kid has to take a bike(which she can't ride), a helmet(which she doesn't like wearing) and drinks and snacks for 13 kids to preschool.
They are there only 4 hours.
They get snack and lunch.
My kind of people now that I think about it.
Anyway. I copped out.
Apple juice boxes and graham crackers.
And Big Daddy D is the delivery boy.
I'm gonna be planting the flower boxes.
Catch ya later taters....
Monday, May 11, 2009
Really people-get a little excited! It was awesome, I couldn't help myself, and at least no one shushed me.
Oh, and I lost my favorite socks in the theater.
I always kick my shoes off-and sometimes my socks-to get comfy for the two hour adventure and this time I was so caught up in the movie I had just watched(and talking to my mom on my way out the door) that I forgot all about my socks.
When I did remember them mere minutes later I ran back in and they had already found my socks and trashed them =( The guys working there got it but that girl just thought I was crazy as a loon.
We decided to continue our date at a local bar and had a great time sitting on the couch there, listening to a little guy sing and play guitar, whispering(Big Daddy D)laughing raucously(me) and dancing a couple of times in this no dancing kind of place. I was pretty trashed.
We got home and to bed late-around 1am which is very late for us.
And got rudely awakened a little before 5 by a puking kid. How someone so small could vomit so much I'll never know and 4 hours, 10 washcloths, 7 towels and 2 sets of sheets later she finally settled down.
D and I were wiped out the rest of the day.
Sunday-Mother's Day-rolled around and it started off pleasantly enough for me-coffee and cinnamon roll in bed-where I lounged alone and read for a couple of hours.
Later I gathered up the Big Girl and one of her friends and took them to see Star Trek. They liked it but the friend had not seen ANY of the Star Trek movies and from the sound of it none of the television shows. WTF?
My day wrapped up at the bookstore alone for a few hours-my idea of a good time-and I came home to find that Big Daddy D had rented Beverly Hills Chihuahua for me-wasn't that sweet of him? I had mentioned wanting to see it so he got AND watched it with me-extra super sweet of him!
The kid woke us up at 1am, puking again.
And again and again and again.
I ended up holding her on my lap for hours as she alternately puked and passed out. Big Daddy D helped me get situated with towels, washcloths, a bowl and a set of sheets and I spent the rest of the night on the floor in the bathroom with the girl.
She is awake and happy this morning but we are both tired and to tell you the truth now I'm feeling a bit urpy. And sore-I am so sore it is unbelievable. I'm too old to (not)sleep on a hard floor.
Nights like last night are the ones that show me what being a mom is really all about.
Now please excuse me-I need to get my baby re hydrated.
Happy Mother's Day!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Last month I read fifteen or so books.
That was a light month for me.
Don't be confused-I am not counting children's books read aloud to the Kid.
My fingers and toes don't go that high.
I am including books that I have read before.
My favorite books to read fall into the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Romance(not the dinky series stuff mind you-novels)(okay sometimes dinky if Piers Anthony or The Many Adventures of Tarzan count there) categories.
I do read many other genres-contemporary fiction, humor, essay compilations, history, historical fiction, biographies, erotica, poetry, etc.
I do tend to avoid book club selections-weird maybe but I hate following trends and reading something just because some high profile git said it was good goes hard against the grain.
I love the bargain bin section of any store and am thrilled when I pull out a prize.
Crybaby Ranch and Julie and Julia are two such scores that come to mind.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
The Gate to Women's Country.
Tasting Fire Eating Blood.
I have a hard time reading in the car.
I have tried many times over the years and it just doesn't work.
Paying attention to traffic and following a storyline just don't work together.
Believe me I've tried.
Did you think I was talking about reading in the passenger seat?
I'm a crazy crackhead reader of books-you gotta believe me.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I have a plan.
I always have a plan.
Sometimes I ditch my plan.
Sometimes I change my plan.
I'm okay when it happens.
A friend of mine brought up an interesting topic.
Why do we keep things that invoke feelings of guilt?
My response was,
"Sometimes I wish the house would burn down(just let me get a few family pics and my favorite jeans first!).
Then I/we could start over fresh and not worry.
That part(the weeding of stuff) would be out of our hands.
So maybe I/we should grab just the very few things we would want to save from a fire and ditch the rest."
Friday, May 1, 2009
Minion #1, in an effort to lesson her debt, sold her hair so to speak. Her friends bet her $50 that she would not bleach her hair blonde. I told her I would do it when she had the cash in hand.
Last night we learned a few things:
A strand test is a good idea but even they lie.
Do not wait til 9 to start the strand test-especially when it turns out you will indeed have to process her hair for the full 90 minutes.
There are reasons people go to beauty school(bleaching out someones hair is hard work!)
Going from black to blonde in one easy step is the biggest lie ever printed on a package.
When it comes down to it the Minion and I can have a good time together.
Raucus laughter from the bathroom is sure to wake up a mildly disgruntled Big Daddy D("It's after midnight! What are you guys doing?!?!")
So here's the new do. She liked it last night.
If she doesn't like it this afternoon-or more likely hates me by this afternoon-I will be moving to Oregon. It's a lovely state.