A funny thing happened yesterday. As I sipped my usual iced coffee — two packets of Sugar in the Raw and two servings of Moo Moo half and half make it so delicious — same as every other day, I caught a different flavor (maybe the creamer was going bad?). Something about it reminded me of the coffees I had during a long weekend in Montreal. (I was there to spend time with a someone who worked there in the winter of ‘07.)
I smiled, cringed — same as every time I think of him — and wished things would change. If he finally give me the apology I wanted — he sent a ten sentence long email, I wanted a one minute long phone call — a small sign of respect and an equally small hoop considering his bad behavior — I could see him again. Lunch. Dinner. Coffee. A walk through a park. A quick call on Skype once a year. I hear he still talks about me (in a good way, though I dare not ask for details.) That must mean he still likes me, just a little. (That’ll change if he ever reads this post!) How lovely.
We could be friends. Real friends. Not the “friend” he wanted me to be; entertainment for the free moments he wouldn’t be in endless business meetings, visiting his family, who’ll never know I exist, spending time with the woman he actually loves. He must have loved her all along. Clearly, he did at the end of our relationship. He didn’t admitted it in his “apology” email. Instead, he explained why he didn’t mention her during our time together in Montreal: their relationship seemed precarious, so why share something that may not work out.
This separation still saddens me — just a little — as I walked away from someone I truly loved. (He was the first person to touch my heart after my separation from my ex-husband, Endicott.) He is wonderful…to everyone but me. I took another sip and snapped out of it…
…until this afternoon.
Driving east on the 10 fwy, just a hair past the 405, I swear I spotted him slowing down traffic in the number four lane. Most everyone passed him by. Not me. I matched his pace in order to scan his profile (for all of three seconds), then, the front of his car from my rear view mirror. It couldn’t have been him. Right? Right.
Wrong. I decided it was him — this man was long and lean, drove with one hand, biting the nails of the other; he looked just as I remember him — just as I described him here in 2005 — as I really wanted to see him again. Doppelganger? The real deal? Doesn’t matter. I longed to see him and he “appeared”.
It was nice seeing you, friend.
PS If the universe is still taking requests, I’d like to meet a giant check, ending in several zeros, with my name written across it. That would be great.
September 17th, 2011
Last Sunday I was carbo loading — not because I’m training for anything strenuous and life changing — ha, like that’ll happen anytime soon! — I just happen to love bread, pasta and butter, preferrably with all three smothered over the others — when someone mentioned Endicott’s surgery. I turned away from my plates of whole wheat goodness to ask, “Endicott had surgery? Really?” The rest of the discussion is fuzzy due to my immediate freak out.
Ruth replied, “Yeah, kind of a serious one, too.”
“Oh, really? I had no idea.”
“Yeah, he had open heart surgery,” said Ruth’s hubby, “that’s kind of a serious surgery.”
Yes, I’d say so. Actually, I said nothing as I fought the urge to run out of the restaurant…Open heart surgery?! WTF??!!! Who has open heart surgery and chooses not to mention it?? (My ex-husband, of course). We weren’t close, but imminent death tends to patch that crap up real quick, doesn’t it??
“He had open heart surgery? Oh. I didn’t know, he didn’t say a word….Is he okay?”
“Oh yeah,” said Ruth, extra gently, in that voice I always reserve for little kids and sweet, fluffy bunnies.
We stared at each other for a few moments while I waited out the lump in my throat. “I’m…I’m…I’m sorry. I’m just stunned, that’s all. I…”
“He didn’t tell anyone about it. We phoned him a few times but he didn’t return our calls. My husband (he has a name but I chose not to use it & I’m waaaaay too lazy to invent something clever, except maybe the name, Clever — ha!) emailed him many times and he didn’t respond to those either until a few weeks ago.”
“So he lived?” I laughed out of relief.
“Oh yeah. I offered to take him out for shooters and sliders when he feels better. Bwaaahaaaahaaaa-haaaaaahaaaaa!”
“Yeah, that’s an EXCELLENT idea! Be sure to do that.” I turned to Ruth, “I’m glad you’re in touch with him. He needs people in his life who care about him. He obviously doesn’t want me to know about this, so I don’t think I should phone him. Maybe I’ll call his Dad to check in with him about Endicott.”
“Yeah, I think that’s a great idea.”
My 5:00am call to my former father-in-law was mostly what I expected, awkward and slow. Both features were my doing as I had not been to sleep and struggled with some guilt over my role in the end of our marriage. By my role, I mean my half of the arguments, bitterness and the one glass that I threw across the room, many years ago. I haven’t always been a nice gal — neither of of were easy on each other for different reasons (like our personalities!).
His dad must have mentioned the call as I got this email later that day:
On Mon, Jul 20, 2009 at 3:19 PM, Endicott wrote:
Sorry about the no-contact but I could not get upstairs to my good computer and sent messages from AOL via Dad’s MSN on his laptop and could not access my aol adress book. All I could remember was the (AOL) address.
I got a severe pneumonia in mid-March and was first put in isolation for over a week because they could not figure out what I had at first, then I was in the hospital an addditional 4 weeks. After that I was home but went in for a sleep study for apnea, then back in the hospital several times for long stays because of a weakening heart, always hoping to get better, but some other problem would kick in after I got home. I got endema and that was about another three weeks and back home trying to get rid of the pneumonia and get weaned off the medicines. By this time my cardiologist was convinced I needed to do something with my valve (the probable cause for the pneumonia in the first place) and it got a bit dicey towards the end to get into hospital before the valve blew but after being clear of the very rough drugs ffor the pneumonia. I had the surgery and as you can see by the forward how it all turned out.
I’m pretty weak, and I basicaly only try to accomplish one thing per day-doctors appointments, disability forms, etc etc.
I’ll be laying low for awhile. About 4 more weeks for the ribs to mend. I’m making some arrangements to start some physical therapy. Feel fre to email me, when I’m stronger perhaps you can visit or something.
July 22nd, 2009
Haven’t received comments in awhile…Though I abandonned this site, I admit I miss the email messages! Sure, I only checked them once a year, but it was a damn good time when I did! Ah well…
I still haven’t decided what to do with this site now that I’m done blogging about my divorce. There’s really nothing to share anymore! Endicott and I rarely communicate; when we do it’s about mail. (Boring.)
If you have a suggestion on how to relaunch this site (if at all), feel free to leave me a comment.
April 15th, 2009
As you might have noticed, I’m taking my sweet time returning to the blogosphere. Though I love my little blog — it was therapeutic, on several levels — thank you all again for being there for me — and will continue to pay for the domain name as long as there is an internet — I think it might be time to stop writing for good. This comment, left on my last post, hits it right on the head:
Sounds like you’ve had a rough time. When I feel down, I count my blessings and remember how much worse off some people in the world are.
Last year was the roughest time of my life. I wasn’t sure I’d get through it, so I decided not to drag you through it, too. I think that was the right decision, even if the daily blog posts would have made for juicy reading. (I’m saving the details for the short film I keep threatening to make.) On the other hand, all of that nonsense gets old after awhile. It did with many of my friends who told me, either in word or actions, that they’d heard enough.
Now, I’m over it, too.
September 23rd, 2008
It’s been over a year since I last checked into my little slice of heaven known as IXH or the email account that receives readers comments and Word Press related notes. It’s been so long that I forgot the email name and the password to the email account! Neglect and borderline amnesia are just plain bad! (I should really do something about that.)
It was quite the treat — and more than a little odd to catch thirteen month old comments from readers who must have forgotten them even left them here so long ago — including a lovely, encouraging one from a former classmate, the super sweet Miss Natalie (thanks, Miss N!) — that went unnoticed until now. The most recent comment asked if I am still around. “I am! Here I am!” I announced to my friend’s houseplants and a snoring chow dog laying nearby. They’re used to my mutterings and mumblings by now, so none of them reacted.
After reading some of the comments, especially the one that asked me to stop complaing, have a wine cooler and just chill, k? — awesome — I thought I should finally post them and let everyone in on what the dog and plants already know:
I’m still here.
August 31st, 2008
There’s nothing like a weekend marathon of, “America’s Next Top Model,” (and now, “Australia’s Next Top Model,”) to renew one’s fixation with her weight.
As a Latina in my mid-30s, I’ve come to accept that I’m all hips and ass and belly so I try to downplay the belly and work the rest. So far, it been all about covering myself up when, really, I should stand up straight, suck in this, stretch out that and I’ll be good. It’s a poor replacement for working out, but right now, that’s all I’ve got going for me! As soon as I have a regular job that can pay for it, I’m getting my mushy self back in the weight room. I can’t wait!
Two days (okay, two afternoons) of vegging out on my chaise lounge as tall, slender girls (with flat stomachs!) are hard at work turning themselves into beautiful babes served as inspiration that I, too, could stand this way and that way so I ‘m not quite so frumpy, and gosh, I really need to step back into heels! My feet could look that good, too. It’s a gentle reminder of how great I looked (many, many moons ago) when I was in shape.
You wouldn’t guess it now as I’m a (super) healthy 145 pounds (and 5′ 10″ tall), but as I continue to drop the bad marriage weight it’s easier to see. The warm weather draws out my shorts and tank tops and bare shoulders and bare legss — they’re not so bad! Because this is the leanest I’ve been in years, I’m looking forward to taking my bareness into the next four months of heat and sunshine. I’m not bikini ready (oh, God, NO!) by any means, but I’m comfortable and ready to enjoy the weather without any hang-ups.
I’m also looking forward to dropping another fifteen pounds this summer. That could minimize my belly, hips and thighs and, finally, my complex about being too big. Then, I might finally buy a bikini. Possibly! Probably! Definitely maybe!
Now’s the time to get up off the chaise lounge!
I’m finally ready to work it out!
May 6th, 2007
“Isn’t your divorce over by now, little girl?”
That was my Mom asking the question I get on a regular basis. It’s been almost two years since I filed for a divorce and I’m still not finished with the paperwork. Most of the problem is that I’m my own attorney — and I’m a terrible at it!
When I began this process, I didn’t know the plantiff (moi) from the defendant (my soon to be ex-husband, Endicott), or the terms default, stipulated agreement or proof of service. Hell, if it wasn’t for the nice people at the Legal Aid Center in Van Nuys, California, I might still be stuck wondering how to fill out the line that asks for the names of the plantiff and the defendant!
It also doesn’t help that the Legal Aid Center is understaffed, overworked and overrun with legal system-challenged goofballs such as myself. The LAC people happily help us, but can only do so on a first come, first served basis for the first fifteen people in line. Because we require lots and lots of hand holding to get the most basic stuff done, this can take up most of their day. As a consequence, there is some competition to get in line early to be assured a spot. Today, I was there at 7:30am and I was still second in line! The first person sat in a camping chair and chatted easily with her boyfriend. Or maybe he was her soon to be ex-husband. It’s wasn’t clear except that they were friendly and comfortable, so that probably rules out the later!
Today the lovely LAC folks assured me I finally have my divorce papers in order. I made a bajillion copies before filing them with the Court. I hope they’re right as I’ve submitted various papers, as well as this packet twice now, only to be rejected each time. It’s worked out to one visit a month to the county clerk’s office, each met with one rejection letter a month to my apartment. (Doh!)
I’m sooooooooooooooooo ready to be over with this process! I want to be a singleton again! No more hemming and hawing over my married/separated/practically single status. I’d like to just say I’m single, that’s it. It will also be fantastic to have my maiden name returned to me. My married name is a gigantic pain in the tuckus as it is nine letters long, full of consenants and a little tough to pronounce. My maiden name is a common latin name (think a Spanish world version of Smith or Jones), four letters long and super easy to spell and say, at least in heavily Latino populated Southern California.
There’s also the fact that I resent my married name. I only adopted it to please Endicott. For years, he bugged me for it with a whole lot of, “Wouldn’t it be nice if you changed your name to mine?” (No.) “I’d really like it if you’d change your last name to mine. We’re married now, we should have the same name. Don’t you think so? But only if you want to, of course. I know that I want you to, but I also know I can never force you to do something you don’t want to do. If you’d like to that, it could be a really great present to me, if you’re interested…” And on, and on, and on. He didn’t care about my attachement to my name. He wanted what he wanted whether I liked it or not. Every time he brought it up, I expressed how much I wanted to keep my last name as it so much a part of who I was, so why should I change it? If he’s so nonchalant about name changes, he should just change his surname to mine. That suggestion always got me a dirty look! After several years of his pestering, I gave in to his silly request to adopt his silly name. Now that’s we’re over, I’m dying to reclaim my birthname!
Hopefully, this la(te)st batch of papers will take and I’ll finally be a free agent again — with my own easy to spell last name across the back of my jersey!
Third time is a charm?
April 25th, 2007
When last we spoke I was super tense and uncomfortable in a temp assistment. The CEO’s freak out continued into the following day, Wednesday. When I was asked to return on Thursday morning, I agreed to it out of guilt! The main assistant was already overworked and nearly overwhelmed. I couldn’t leave knowing there wasn’t someone else in place to help her. So when I was asked, I knodded, grunted and walked out the door!
Around lunchtime the next day, my rep from the temp agency phoned to see how I was holding up. (We spoke that morning about the possibility of my bailing out of the assignment.) He planned to tell the CEO that I this was my last day, but wondered if I already spoke to her about it on my own. “Well, yes and no,” I said. “I didn’t talk to the CEO, but I did return my parking pass to her main assistant and told her, ‘I’m giving this to you since I won’t be back.’ She was really cheerful when she replied, ‘Okay!’” My rep laughed, “I guess that covered it!”
It turned out that the rest of the day went really well as I got the hang of the nutty filing system, and could make changes very quickly when asked to do so. There was also a new personal assistant in the works, so that perked up the CEO and the mood in the office. But none of that made a difference when I was asked once again how I felt about returning the following week. Uh, did she not remember that I retuned parking pass? How about my discomfort for the last three days? These things should really ring a bell! I wasn’t angry, I definitely didn’t frown, but I could feel myself stiffen up, as if inflated with tension! I slowly shook my head no and walked out of the room! The main assistant let that go until an hour later, when she repeated the question, this time to the CEO. “Do you think we’ll need Florence on Monday?” (They were taking Good Friday off.) As they talked it over, I wondered how the hell I was going to say no to both of them without any hard feelings. After two very long minutes of discussion, they decided they didn’t need me after all. I almost yelped, “Woo-hoo!”
When I headed out the door that evening, with my $2.00 mileage re-embursement and the main assistant’s personal card in my purse, the CEO was very sweet. She thanked me for my efforts at tackling her filing system. I wasn’t the first person to have a hard time with it, she said, but I did well. She was full of well wishes for a great weekend and a happy Easter. I thought, “She’s kind and normal — finally!”
The following Monday, my temp agency rep called with info on another gig. “By the way, Florence, I just wanted to let you know that I spoke with the main assistant over at Tense Development Company. She said you were great and she was happy with your work, so I just want you to know that for your own piece of mind.”
How funny that (yet again), I doubted myself and my abilities when other people around me didn’t. I guess that I am a decent assistant after all.
I don’t suck! Yea!
April 19th, 2007
Today was a hard day at work. Apparently, I had no idea what I was getting into with my latest temp assignment. I’m working for an anal retentive CEO of a development company who is (as of my first day of work) increasingly tense as she moved to fire her personal assistant. That finally came down today, but before I could get out of her way. I sooooooooooooooo did not help relieve the tension in the office!
By now, you must have a sense of how completely UN-anal retentive I am. I’m generally laid back, upbeat, occasionally funny and intent on doing whatever menial, unimportant gig I happen to have as well and as quickly as possible. Unlike most people, I actually care about my work. I like to think that I do it well as I’ve been told repeatedly by employers that I am a good assistant. Hell, after four days at my last gig, the department manager offered me a full time job as soon as the position opened up again. She thought it could happen within two weeks, but could not promise anything as it’s dependant on several factors. So, basically, I do not suck! But you wouldn’t know that by what happened today.
I’ll spare you the painful details (no I won’t) except to say that an anal retentive CEO (ARCEO if you will) + an incompetent personal assistant + expensive severance package = tense, super duper nit-picky boss. Add in a dash of upbeat, laid back temp with imperfect notes to said ARCEO and you get five or six tense versions of, “Did I not explain this to you correctly the first time? We just have to go over this again to get this right. This has to be two lines, not one. You have to have the dash right there. It must read, ‘Taxes - BS’ on one line with the year ‘2007′ on the next line. The print must be the same exact size and the same exact font or it will drive me crazy. Because it is a company file, the label print must be blue. It then is placed in a blue plastic hanging folder. You have a blue paper hanging folder here. You must remember it HAS to be plastic. The thin label on top must have blue on the edges, with blue print, all in CAPS, that reads, ‘Taxes - BS 2007,’ all on one line.” That was an easy example. Many of the others were so out of control, I just couldn’t get it for the longest time.
Truthfully, I’m not the most detail oriented person. I get my trivia wrong all the time. Recently, a very sharp friend of mine mentioned meeting Chuck Yeager on a plane. I responded with, “Oh, the astronaut.” No, he was the first pilot to break the sound barrier. I stopped listening for a minute as I thought, “Oh my God, I’m an idiot. He flew planes, not spaceships. But I thought he was in, ‘The Right Stuff.’ Which f*cking movie was he really in? Doesn’t matter because I now look like a moron.” I couldn’t shake the embarrasment for the rest of the evening. Even now, I cringe at the memory. Once I looked up Chuck Yeager on Wikipedia I didn’t feel so bad, as I was right about his portrayal in, ‘The Right Stuff,’ but still wrong about the aircraft he flew. That same evening, I confused the date of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait with the beginning of the First Gulf War. According to Wikipedia, it was actually the Second Gulf War, not the First though that’s its familiar name. I wasn’t wrong about the start date. Why is any of this important to me? Why am I still scarred by this a month later? Because I hate getting facts wrong. It’s like I have a hand written sign taped to my back that reads, ‘I’m stoopid!’ It tells everyone that I’m an idiot, when, in truth, I wasn’t always dumb! My brain stopped working right many years ago. Recent medical finding offer an explanation; chronic pain may shrink the human brain, (I have rheumathoid arthritis) but that doesn’t help much when I can’t think straight and people think I’ve ALWAYS been a friggin’ moron. I just wait to yell, “I wasn’t always dumb! I was smart…once! A long, long time ago.” My constant state of stress only increases my chances of looking like a dumb ass.
Imagine how well I took today’s repeated scoldings from my AFCEO. Even when her assistant / development executive (it’s a long story that comes down to the AFCEO’s expectation that her assistant play both rolls with the proposed TV pilot as well as the upcoming film and the this and the that - sheesh) told me she probably couldn’t have done much better with those stupid flippin’ files, I didn’t feel much comfort. All I could think was that my brain let me down again. Here was my big chance to do what I’ve wanted to do for years — work in film and television — and it’s all going down the drain because I didn’t write down ‘plastic.’ I had both paper and plastic folders ready but paperclipped the label to the wrong one. I totally wanted to double check her files, but she didn’t leave her office for more than thirty seconds at a time, so I couldn’t…Most of them still aren’t done, so I have many more opportunities to either fix this situation or make it so unbelievably bad, I’ll be sent home some time before noon…I can’t help but wonder, how could I handle any more responsibility if I can’t get the files right? Is this goofiness what other people see in me? Is that why people I know well won’t help me get another gig when they could make it happen with one phone call? Am I just now realizing how much I suck?
My best bud, Jean Luc, shook his head no. “It’s funny what those thoughts (self-doubt/insecurities/me being me?) will make you believe about yourself.” I think I said, Dude, the assistant is well connected and knows everybody in town. I don’t want her thinking I’m a f*ck-up. “She doesn’t think you’re a f*ck up.”
As I sulked my way out of the office tonight, the assistant called out, ‘Don’t let her get to you and ruin your night.’ I waved goodbye and didn’t look back.
Tomorrow I will try my hardest to get everything right, be upbeat and friendly. If that’s not good enough, I’ll just wave goodbye to all of them and not look back.
April 3rd, 2007
I complain a lot. I know it, you know it — it’s no secret. There’s always some post about how I’m not getting this (affection?), I ran out of that (money?), I can’t get rid of one thing (rheumathoid arthritis) or another (anxiety). It’s all bitchin’ and moaning here at IXH. Generally, that’s okay. For awhile, it was my one joy in my overwhelmed and stressed day.
I thought that writing about my problems would get them out of my system, so that I could to move on to bigger and better things. I now see that it concentrates my negativity so nothing lets up. It’s a constant loop of ‘my life sucks’ every minute of every day. How is that a good thing?
If you’re able to let things go — obviously not a trait I share with you! — maybe you can write in with some tips, dear readers? Please, please, pretty please with sugar on top? I’m in serious need of assistance, people!
It’s been suggested that one way to balance out this unpleasantness is to seek pleasure wherever I can. It was later revised to seeking pleasure, sensual or not. Nice try, mister, but we both know that was a half-hearted revision! The advise was given out of concern for me, so that’s all that really matters! I still think it’s funny…
Seeking pleasure. what a nice, polite phrase for what it is. Equally polite people — all men, of course — have used many euphamisms for seeking out company, with my current favorite being, ‘What you really need is a sharp pencil.’ Most of them say the gender is not important as the goal is to be in control of my own whatever: destiny, body, choice, fill in the blank however you like. Well, however I like. It’s a compelling argument, but ultimately empty and dissatisfying, right? Isn’t that what we women have always been told? It’s what I’ve always been told!
Having said that, I confess that I’ve almost given into to this temptation on several occassions. When someone had his contact list open, and offered up his male friends as nice, attractive men who would be more than happy to help a “tall, hot Latin chick,” (his words — he should have his eyes checked!) scratch an itch, I waivered. I said, “Oh, my God, that sounds so good!…But I can’t. I’d sure like to, but I can’t…If I change my mind, I’ll let you know…Damn.” When a friend was over at my apartment to pick up something I could no longer use (nothing worth mentioning), it (again) crossed my mind. His quick visit turned into a four hour conversation over wine and frozen pizza, ending with compliments on my appearance (I’m not ugly, people), and finally an offer to shoot some photos of me. Seemed he just happened to have his camera with him; he didn’t want to leave it in his car where it was vulnerable to theft in crime-ridden Sherman Oaks, CA. Beside the, ‘You just HAPPEN to have your camera with you?!’ thought, I imagined what could happen (and how) if I said yes. Most important, the consequences of the what and how. In the end, he and the others in the rolodex, were not the right ones for me. Not right now, anyway.
The little fun that I have had distracted me a day, before the worries trickled back. (It was one great day, though!) It can’t be healthy that my stress left me scatterbrained, distant, uncomfortable and unable to enjoy anything (or anyone) for any length of time. Maybe I’m doing this wrong? Or not enough? Or maybe I am doing it right, but sensual distractions just don’t work? Get back to me on that, will ya?
In the meantime, I’ve renewed some other interests. I’m watching movies (more than usual), I’m walking at Franklin Park (again) and I’m writing outside of my blog. Out of these three, picking up the pen is the most enjoyable. It’s not clear if anyone else will appreciate it, but it doesn’t really matter. This is all for me.
March 31st, 2007
After more than two years of pestering and pleading, my soon to be ex-husband, Endicott, finally gave me back some of my stuff. Old college textbooks and essays, twenty year old greeting cards and candles from my French pen pal, Agnes — or as my family lovingly called her, Ann-yes — a yellow plastic Snoopy lunch pail I picked up at the Rose Bowl swap meet that looks EXACTLY like the one I had when I was four years old. Oh yes, there were other beauties such as my Buddha and Shiva sculptures, and the equally reverant limited edition X-Files Barbie and Ken dressed as Scully and Mulder. (Yes! Oh yes!)
It’s not all goofy stuff. I’ve been reunited with my acrylic paints and brushes, zip files full of old design school projects and a Polaroid camera with three photos still in the cartridge. (I noticed my self-portrait has a natural sepia tone to it though it’s not supposed to be there!) My favorite returned items are my books, such as the Tao of Pooh and Te of Piglet. (Okay, maybe those are a bit goofy.) Two dozen books with the words digital, typographic and design in the title; each a lovely reminder of my academic adventures at UCLA.
There were two dozen boxes of my stuff piled up inside Endicott’s duplex. Because he packed them — apparently has no idea what does and does not belong to me — I also received lots of stinky, dirty, oxidized crap such as his mother’s old tube socks, nail polish that separated into half oil and half goopy mess, and other equally appealing items all covered in a thick coat of dust. Yuck.
Only half of them came home with me as he was kind enough to let me dump old textbooks and homework in his large recycle containers. He offered to store the first few boxes in his home with his usual, ‘I’ll just take them to Goodwill so you don’t have to throw them away,’ nonsense. I didn’t go for it as I just saw a pile of my stained, faded and worn out clothes and shoes five minutes earlier in his downstairs duplex. On more than one occassion, I threw several of those items into the trash bin only to find them months later stashed away in a back room of his house. Just before I moved out in December 2004, I consented to his Goodwill run. ‘Sure, take that stuff to charity. Yeah, right!’ Boy, was I wrong! I am soooooooooooo glad to see how well my completely useless items helped so many others. Way to go, Endicott…This time, I wonder how long he waited before he pulled everything out of the recycle bin?
Beside the recyclables, I purposely left behind my housewares which were indistinguishable from his; two of my lovely vintage chairs were better suited to his home that my apartment; I didn’t bother with the china, flatware or even the Pottery Barn dishes (picked up at a yardsale in the mid 90s) because his junky, dirty, tattered piles of stuff made me feel claustrophobic. I’m not going back inside his sad home until I get the inevitable call from the authorities telling me he’s been trapped under a pile of trash. Even then…
Out of all the boxes I brought home, there are six big, dusty ones I haven’t completely sorted and emptied. Tomorrow morning, I’m throwing the whole lot of them in the dumpster. If I could live without them for two years, I could probably live without them even longer — like the rest of my life.
One man’s trash is another man’s Goodwill pile,
March 30th, 2007
Here I go again, mining my emails for IXH posts:
I received an email from my Aunt Molly in mid-March asking (in part) about the status of my temp job with the venture capitalists. There was much speculation — on my part as well as that of several people in the office — as to whether or not I’d receive an offer of full-time employment. Here’s my guestimation on how that would work out.
—– Original Message —-
From: Aunt Molly
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2007 4:34:39 PM
Subject: Are you OK????
…How have you been? Is the job still going OK?Just want you to know I miss you and think of you often. Let me know.
—– Original Message —-
To: Aunt Molly
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2007 10:13:40 PM
Subject: Re: Are you OK????
Hi Aunt Molly,
My temp job ends at the end of March unless the venture capitalists ask me to stay on a permanent basis. I’m certain that won’t happen because I totally blew the interview. Ten weeks of good work, camaraderie and compliments went right out the window because the CEO freaked me out.
He started the interview by saying he thought I’m intimidated by him (he’s right) and he doesn’t think he’s an intimidating person. Then, he said the previous assistant was very personable and gave the company a rep as a warm, friendly, caring group. The inference was that I’m not warm, caring or friendly so what do I plan to do about that? It just went downhill from there. Within minutes I was squirming and almost at a loss for words when the CEO said he didn’t know me and wanted to get a sense of the kind of person I am as he’s not just interviewing to fill a job, but also to find someone who would fit in as a member of the ‘family’. The entire office of fourteen people regularly socialize together so it’s important to know if I’d fit in, too. The questions that followed, such as, ‘What do you do on a typical Saturday night?’ and, ‘Who would you say is the one person who had a huge impact on your life, was your own personal hero?’ totally freaked me out…Hell no, I’m not getting that job. After that interview, I don’t want it…Seems I’ll have to start over again.
When I mentioned this interview from hell to a friend, he said that in his business everyone knows that some people don’t interview well, while others are terrible at conducting interviews and should just never do it. What he tries to do is see past all of that and find out if the person being interviewed can do the job. In this case, I think the CEO is a bad interviewer and I’m just as bad an interviewee! Sheesh.
I was mostly right as here’s what happened a week later, as noted in yet another email:
—– Original Message —-
To: No one you know
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2007 8:32:36 PM
Subject: None of your beez-wax
Venture capitalists are a fickle bunch. A week ago, they asked me to stay on until the end of the month. Seems they changed their minds a day later and discussed it with the temp agency. Neither the VCs nor the temp reps mentioned it to ME until last Friday. I was only told because the Controller invited me out for a goodbye scoop of ice cream at the nearby Baskin-Robbins. She was a little embarrassed that that was how I found out — and she should have been, too! That’s not cool!
As upset as I was (though not in front of her or the others), it was probably the best way for it to happen as I’ve felt so stressed out this last month over the prospect of being out of work again (and all of the unpleasantness [read: poverty] that goes along with that). Waiting another two weeks for it to happen
would ratchet up my tension to a full-fledged freak-out! It was better to be surprised as the shock wore off in a day.
Though I’m still a little anxious, I am 100% happier than I’ve been in awhile. That stress made it hard for me to think straight and it was even more difficult for me to enjoy myself for any length of time.
Starting over is never fun. I’ll let you know how it goes.
No work and all stress, make me a dull girl,
March 29th, 2007
I never got the appeal of Valentine’s Day. It’s mostly comprised of mediocre candy, silly greeting cards that are read once, then quickly tossed aside in the mad rush to an overcrowded restaurant featuring surly wait staff dropping and mixing up orders of overpriced food. That’s the good part! It’s the needless the pressure to show one’s sweetheart how much he or she is cherished, and adored that galls me.
I’m all for affection, consideration and major PDAs. Ask my soon to be ex-husband, Endicott, or any of my exes what I was like as a girlfriend and wife, and you’ll hear that I did all that and more on a regular basis. The occasional note in a jacket pocket as a sweet reminder that not only am I here, but I’m also thinking about you. Yep, that’s how I roll! (I hate that expression and I am more than a little bothered that I really do roll!) Fake a holiday to sell useless crap and gouge lovesick people is well and fine until you tell me I have prove my love on that day. Listen up, Hallmark: I shared it everyday, so there’s no way you’re tricking me into joining in on your stupid “holiday” manufactured to maximize profits. Ha! No, I don’t like Valentine’s Day at all. (Can you tell?)
The times I did celebrate it was when a relationship was on it’s last leg. Only then did I buy the card and small gifts, which were exchanged in some half-hearted attempt at romance. Now, when I’m at my weakest, most vulnerable moment as I’m alone again, this “celebration” captured my full attention. Yes, I am a bitter, lonely woman! It’s true — I’ll admit it.
That’s probably why I ate up any attention paid to me that day. It began with an early morning email of well wishes that had me skipping into another day of temping with the venture capitalists. It only got better from there as they showered me with gifts.
First, I received a lovely bouquet of fresh cut roses, hydrangeas and other equally girly flowers in a clean, short, rectangular vase. (Adorable and not exactly cheap. I know because I processed the invoice!) Next, the CEO let me have his four season tickets to that evening’s Clippers game at the Staples Center. Seems that all of the VCs were coupled up to spouses that did not want to spend the evening watching sweaty men run up and down the court. I find that completely baffling as hot, sweat-soaked men are the only reason I’d go, though the beer and pretzels come in a close second and third! Last, a rep from a local employment agency gave me a box of Sweethearts candies. She was at the VC office trying to hook them up with a new full-time assistant — apparently NOT me! I didn’t mind as she paid me off with candy! (I’m sooooooooooooo easy!)
Not to rub it in to Endicott, Crazy Joe or any of the others, but I never got this much nice stuff from any love interest! Getting goodies was a nice change of pace, but not necessary or expected now or any time in the future. A simple, sweet, and sincere gesture is more than enough for me. (Told you I was easy!)
As I drove off for the Staples Center that evening, I received a phone call that started with, “Hello, this is Sherman Oaks Florists. I have a delivery for Flo.”
Oh, really! “This is Flo.”
No way could I be home to receive the flowers anytime before midnight. I had a double date with a married couple and a platonic male acquantaince who was humorous but that’s not the same as funny, so he’s not appealing. (At all.) Sorry to my “date” as well as other men in the greater LA area that are not funny, naughty, sexy or tall enough to be considered for romance with me…That will probably get a big laugh from anyone that knows me as my criteria used to just be funny. Older, short, unconventual looks (read crooked teeth, oversized gut and a bald head) were okay and even welcome as I was only concerned with a man’s character, kindness and love for me. Now, I’m much more picky. I’m not giving anything up without the naughty, sexy AND tall, with extra points added for blue eyes — also very, very nice…Where was I?
“Can you tell me who sent the card?” I asked as my car sat still in the traffic hell, also known as Santa Monica Boulevard.
“Uh, I can’t really tell without looking into the computer.”
“Well, can you read me the message on card? Maybe that’ll tell me who sent me flowers.”
Please don’t let it be from Endicott, I thought. You might remember that my soon-to-be ex-husband, Endicott, used Sherman Oaks Florists to send me flowers on my birthday and our wedding anniversary…after our separation. Yes, you read that correctly: Endicott sent me flowers a year after I left him. I don’t understand why he did it, either. I don’t understand most of what he does. Maybe that explains our divorce!
“It reads, ‘To F, From E.’”
I think that’s when I gasped. My heart was racing as she asked, “Is that a good thing?”
“I don’t know.” I said. It took a minute of concentration — easy to muster as my drive only covered an inch at a time — before I realized who sent me the flowers. As much as I wanted them to be from someone else — someone fitting my new checklist, ideally living in my town, Los Angeles — I knew they weren’t. It was all Endicott. Again.
I was late meeting up with my friends, but still on time for the start of the game. The players were interesting to watch, the crowd was fun, my friends were entertaining and the beer totally worked. Maybe a little too well as I kept thinking, “I don’t want YOU. I want someone else. Someone who can’t be here with me. And even if he was in town, he might not have time for me. Oh, that’s not true…Is it?..Hell if I know. I need more beer!”
I did phone Endicott the next day and thanked him for the plants though not in the nicest of ways. “Hey, Goofball, you sent me plants for Valentine’s Day.”
I could almost hear him shrugging as he said, “Yeah, I didn’t want to send you cut flowers that would die a day later. I asked (the florist) for indoor plants that would live if you wanted to keep them at the office.”
“Yeah, that was a nice arrangement. But also majorly uncool to send the woman you’re divorcing a Valentine’s Day gift!”
“Yeah, what can I say? Happy Valentine’s Day.”
I let out a long sigh so he wouldn’t take my resignation as approval; even though I did love the plants. “Well, it’s too late to stop you now, so thanks anyway, Goofball….You know this is going on the blog, right?”
March 28th, 2007
Yesterday was one of my rare days off from my temp assignments. It didn’t take me long to find my way to Del Taco for breakfast with my best bud, Jean Luc. Between oversized, sloppy bites of breakfast quesadilla and potato sticks smothered in ketchup, I heard him ask, “So, have you checked your (IXH) stats recently?”
“No…” Truthfully, I think about this site almost everyday, but am usually too darn lazy to pop in and say hi, let alone check up on my site statistics. I’ll happily take lazy over my usual reasons for neglect and abandonment of IXH: an arthritis flare-up or depression. These days I’m a wee bit anxious about my insecure employment situation — and the lack of funds needed to prop up my extravagant lifestyle of rent, gas and the occasional batch of groceries — but mostly, my life is good. More on that later.
“…is it still at 700 (readers) a month?”
Jean Luc, oh so casually said, “No, it’s double that.”
“What?!” I put down my quesadilla — you know me, I never put down food unless it’s wiggling on it’s own, and even then I’m likely to remove the offending culprit and continue on — as this news required my full attention. “I have 1,400 readers? How the hell did that happen?!”
“No, it’s more than a 1,000, but it will probably be over 1,400 by the end of the month.”
He offered some explanation about my added posts be tallied up by the major search engines so they now give me more hits and yada, yada, yada. Sorry, Jean Luc, but I’m not the least bit interested in whatever voodoo it took to get this little slice of heaven more readers. But I am more than amused, flattered, and downright daunted by these facts:
- 1,100 people this month (as of ten minutes ago) are reading about my silly little divorce.
- 20% of them added IXH to their favorites list.
- A whopping 71.1% of the readers pop in via a direct address or a bookmark.
“You have an audience waiting for you, Flo. Get to posting.”
Dear reader, I can’t promise you anything as I am a gigantic flake with unpredictable health and a penchant for freak-outs, but I’ll see what I can do!
I like you, too,
March 27th, 2007
I have a friend who describes a funky day — the kind filled with both highs and lows — as a ‘curious’ day. I’m stealing his phrasing today as I think I had a curious day myself.
My morning started off well rested and well fed (I just love my banana bread oatmeal, y’all!) and surprisingly spry after five hours of sleep. I got to work 45 minutes early so I could re-write my resume and a cover letter before sending it off to my boss’s friend.
Can you believe that someone from work would contact his friend, the Director of Something or Other at a major movie studio, and say, ‘Flo is a good assistant. Can you get her a job?’? I was so flattered by the gesture that I could barely say thank you. I think my gratitude was expressed as, “Whoa. Are you serious?…Wow…uh, thank you! That’s so kind of you to do that for me. Oh my God, thanks.” I’m the temp — that stuff never happens to the hired help, right?!
I, being the calm, mellow person that I am, didn’t fully freak out ’til three or four hours later. Interviewing is so hard for me what with my racing heart, my inability to remember anything except my name, and my newfound penchant for starting every sentence with the word uh. Throw in Mr. Director of Something or Other going to bat for me and it’s just too much for my little nerves to handle!
So, of course, I put the whole resume and cover letter thing off a good week before sending it over today. Shortly afterwards Mr. DSO wrote me a nice little email to say he passed on my resume to a friend in human resources. If I’m not contacted within the next week, I should feel free to give him (Mr. DSO) a call…
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? If you said, “Whoa. Are you serious?…Wow…uh, thank you! That’s so kind of you to do that for me. Oh my God, thanks,” then you are correct!
I walked into my boss’s office — he’s one of the top three dudes in the company and just six months older than me, oy! — and repeated the email and all of my predictable whoas and wows (heartfelt but still completely predictable). My boss, who speaks and thinks at 100 mph, said, “He’s a good guy to build a report with, by the way. AND he’s cute…”
[Before I go any further, I should probably mention that my boss, let's call him Mr. Principal, has offered to set me up on dates since my first week with the firm. That 'Let's set Flo up with a billionaire! She's 35! That's even better than the 40 year old (he's banging!)' joke sparked some real talk about elegible men -- rebound and marriage material alike -- I should get to know, in every sense of the word! Photos were shown, references were made (such as, 'Hey, what do you think of Marvin? Don't you think he'd be good for Flo? He's one of my closest friends and a great, great guy.') I didn't take it seriously until Mr. Principal started making calls. There was a whole lot of, "No, no, no, no, no, no,no, no! I was just kidding. No, really, hang up the phone!" on my part until Mr. Principal finally put down the phone!
Since then every Friday workday ends with Mr. Principal saying something like, 'When I come in on Monday, I want to hear that you've been bad this weekend! Come on, Flo, you need to get back out there.' Of course, that means that every Monday starts with, 'Come on, girl, tell me what you did this weekend! Anything good? No? Flo you've got to get out of your apartment, meet people and get into some trouble!']
Mr. Principal shrugged, “…but he’s short. He’s only 5′ 10″.”
I gasped. Cute, kind-hearted, gainfully employed, highly recommended AND 5′10″?! “5′ 10″ isn’t short! I’m 5′ 10″!”
“He is the nicest guy, Flo. I’m not just saying that…If I was going to set up my sister with a guy, it would be him. He’s the nicest guy — unlike the rest of my friends! And me!”
On my drive back to the Valley, I wondered when I’ll finally stop hurting myself. If it’s not the panic attacks, or me ‘forgetting’ to take the medications that would stabilize my depression and anxieties (it has to be on a subconscious level, right?), then it’s my body literally attacking itself (rheumathoid arthritis). Where did this self-loathing come from? Why can’t I let myself be happy? Will this madness ever go away?…That’s when my favorite radio station, Indie 103.1 played the Smith song, “There is a light and it never goes out.”
Not the most cheerful song ever written, but it strangely resonates with my current separation/divorce angst. Truthfully, it works with anyone’s angst and self-pity — that’s why the Smiths rule!
Take me out tonight
Where there’s music and there’s people
And they’re young and alive
Driving in your car
I never never want to go home
Because I haven’t got one
So I drove over Mulholland, quietly listening to Morrissey’s personal brand of anguish until I heard this:
And if a double-decker bus
Crashes into us
To die by your side
Is such a heavenly way to die
And if a ten-ton truck
Kills the both of us
To die by your side
Well, the pleasure - the privilege is mine
That’s when I snorted! I love that its humorous, gloomy and (this is the big one) makes my life look cheerful by comparison! I laughed all the way down Coldwater Canyon.
I received a call in the early evening regarding someone I know who may have some very serious health problems. Not sure what to make of that just yet. I think I’ll wait a few days, hear about the test results (if they’re offered to me), then re-access whether or not to freak out. No, it’s not lost on me how funny it is that I don’t freak out when I finally have a real reason to do so. Didn’t see that one coming, did you?
There is a light and it never goes out,
February 12th, 2007
I got an email this evening from my best bud, Jean Luc. Here it is:
Jesus woman! Add to favorites (estimated)…50%…You’re on fire - the tipping point has begun. Start posting 1-3 times per day and see what happens.
Jean Luc has long told me that this little slice of heaven I call IXH could be huge. There are so many separated and divorced women without a home on the internet, all with lots and lots of stories they could share — the good, the bad and everything in between. Some of them are (occasionally) amused by zany stories from my silly life. If I would just post more, I could bring it all together…He’s probably right — makes sense to me. But it won’t happen anytime soon. Certainly not this week.
Every day there is some funny little moment in this divorce experience that should be posted here, but isn’t. Though I want to write, I can’t bring myself to do it. I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m sick again. Not the swollen joint and muscle pain that comes with having rheumathoid arthritis — that’s easy to deal with it. It’s this stupid depression that is holding me back. Until you’ve felt this yourself, you probably couldn’t understand how hard it is to function in even the most basic way.
I spoke with my psychiatrist a few days ago (as I strolled through Costco with my three-pack of organic milk — yummy!). He phoned because I missed my appointment with him two hours earlier. Yeah, sorry about that. I couldn’t find a parking space so I finally gave up at five p.m., a half hour after my appointment time. I expected him to point out the obvious, like, uh, why didn’t you just park in the medical center parking structure?
Imaginary Me: I would have, but I spent my parking money on stamps and didn’t have time to hit the ATM.
Imaginary Dr. Patience: Hmm, yes, now why would you spend that money on stamps when you knew you’d need it to pay for parking?
IM: Well, I forgot about the self-addressed envelopes I had to turn in to the Court until the very last minute. Of course.
IDP: The court? Which court would that be?
IM: The Courthouse where I filed my divorce paperwork today.
I guess I really wanted to tell him, and anyone who would listen, that I had a big, big day. I finally got off my ass, and completed the divorce paperwork. Two years into my separation, yes, but at least it wasn’t three, four or even five years into my separation. I know some people who hit the five year mark before it was all said an done. Can you even imagine that kind of hell? I can’t — and I’d like to keep it that way!
Turns out he didn’t ask any of those questions. He phoned for three other reasons:
- He re-scheduled my appointment for three weeks from that day and I’d better show up if I ever want to see my meds again (that’s not an exact quote but its pretty much the same message).
- I need to be consistent with my anxiety medication. He can’t be sure what does or doesn’t work if I’m not using it the way it was prescribed. Three times a day, every day.
- He spoke with his attending about my request for more xanax. He does this every time I ask for it as it is a powerful anxiety drug and not well liked by him or his superiors. Something about the way it’s metabolised by the body makes the highs and lows of the anxiety more pronounced. Everyone of them — and I think I’ve seen five different attending physicans by now — raises and dips their hands as if they’re riding some huge wave. Dr. Patience and the most recent attending decided that I should up my intake of my regular anxiety medication before being prescribed more xanax.
Dr. Patience emphasized (over and over and over again) that his attending wanted me to understand that I HAVE to be consistant with my medication and that I CAN’T have xanax unless its an emergency.
“Uh, Dr. Patience,” I said, “I haven’t been prescribed xanax since mid-December. I was given ten pills but have only used nine of them over these last two months. I don’t overuse them. I horde them because they’re like gold! I feel the need to point this out because I feel like I’m being scolded…But I’m not being scolded.”
“No, you’re not being scolded,” he said.
I was good for a day and now I’m back to being inconsistent. The only reason I know is because I feel like crap and don’t want to do anything but curl up on my couch and cry. I forced myself to leave my apartment and run errands, buy some groceries, drop off a car full of recycleables and paint cans though all I wanted to do was go back to bed.
I set an alarm on my cell phone to remind myself when to take my pills. It worked at first, but now I just turn it off and tell myself I’ll take my pills in a minute. Hours later I wonder whether I took them after all. I think I might have to make a pill log with little boxes I check every time I take a pill. That would work until I tell myself I’ll check them in a minute only to wonder hours later if I took the pills at all. Sheesh.
So, yes, dear reader, I would love to spend more time with you, and hear your stories — the good, the bad and everything in between. Hopefully I will very, very soon. Until then, I’m going to bed and might not come back for awhile.
February 12th, 2007
I picked up my mountain of mail from Endicott’s house a few days ago. Beside the trash bag full of fashion magazines and long forgotten bills (didn’t I already pay that parking ticket?) was a small, sweet houseplant. I wasn’t sure why he gave me a plant until today when I noticed the card and note buried in the bag.
This isn’t belated but I could not get a delivery on Sunday and it did not seem likely we would get together this week.
Just a card and a tiny plant to keep you amused.
The sweet, pink card:
Just a little note to let you know I wish you the best.
Allways thinking of you in always (transposed!)
1-28-07 Happy Anniversary
While he felt loving and nostalgic, I actually forgot about our anniversary — and that’s a good thing since it means I’m finally letting go.
February 6th, 2007
I woke up this morning thinking, “Oh, I have to go on my walk today. That’ll be cool…” Then I rolled over and went back to bed.
I got up later, brushed my teeth, and thought, “Yeah, I got to get to the park. I should get on that. Right, uh, now…” Instead, I cleaned up my bathrooms. Washed a sweater in Woolite. Threw old magazines onto my three foot high pile of recyclables. Ate a bowl of soup for lunch. Painted my bedroom in a cream colored primer — it looked good. Swtiched out my tired, freebie desktop for my less tired, not so free laptop, then hooked up my little speaker system into said laptop. Rearranged my long overdue bills — they’re at all clipped together and will probably stay that way until I win the lotto! Before I knew it, it was 11pm and probably too late to walk anyplace, let alone at my favorite park.
During my spring cleaning/desperate attempt to stay locked up in my apartment, I ran across a few pix I haven’t seen in some time. There were very cute pictures of my nieces, more pix of family friends, and two very scary photos of me. It wasn’t so much that I was twenty pounds heavier — though it was upsetting to see that my hips filled up most of hallway I stood in — as much as the sadness in my face. Two different photos taken two years apart, both of me overweight and broken. I kept wondering, “Is this how everyone sees me? Ewwww…Is this how I want to live? No…No!”
Though I prefer my current body weight, I didn’t do too bad at 165 pounds. I went out — parties, bars, dates. (A few really good dates that still give me the giggles thinking about them — woo-hoo!) I made a few new friends, too. Yes, I did pretty well when I was heavier and happy.
That point hit home recently when I saw photos of Tyra Banks in Hawaii. She’s 160 pounds — thirty pounds heavier than in her modeling days — and wearing a one piece swimsuit. Though she’s not skinny, she looks good. She could be a lot heavier and still be stunning because of the genetic lottery ticket her momma gave her, her confidence (probably another familial trait), and her sense of humor; all very attractive traits regardless of weight.
So here I am, two years into my separation, and slimmer than when I met my soon to be ex-husband, Endicott. I look better than I have in years, but it really doesn’t mean much when I’m down. I guess I need an attitude adjustment.
I’m thinking 2007 is as good a time as any for a do-over. I’ll start with my walk tomorrow morning and see where it takes me.
January 28th, 2007
I stomped up the steps into the poolside courtyard, my Pier 1 and Urban Outfitter bags were sliding out from my grip. I grumbled, “I friggin’ hate Christmas!” just as my downstairs neighbor, June, opened the gate. She was chipper and fresh faced, her long hair pulled into a ponytail. No matter what the weather does around her, she always looks like she’s ready for summer. I think she takes it with her.
“Hi, how are you?”
“Just lovely. You probably heard me muttering how much I hate Chrismas.” I walked right past her to keep my bags from landing on her feet. They fell on mine instead.
She smiled at me. “No, I didn’t. Were you just shopping?”
“Yes and it sucked. I was snaked twice for parking spaces. I was there first!”
She suddenly looked serious. “I went to the Fashion Square Mall yesterday and didn’t bother using the parking lot. I parked in the residential neighborhood and took the extra minute of walking to clear my head…” she stretched her arms open wide.
I imagined her going to her happy place. I pictured it as sunny and sandy with turquoise colored waters and tall swaying palm trees. Gosh, that sounded so nice. If I was there, I could wear my hair in a pony tail, too. Then, maybe I could carry summer with me all the time. I wouldn’t have to fight for parking spaces or wait in long lines for the privledge to buy overpriced crap. I wonder what that place is called? That’s how I remember Hawaii , both times I was there…Wait a minute. Am I now in my happy place?
June let out a big sigh. “…and get me ready for the mall.”
And with that I was back. I was so irritated by the two parking jackals that I almost got out of my car to tell them off. Truthfully, I also wanted to hurt them! I’m generally not a violent person, but I really was ready to kick some Christmas ass!…Of course, I didn’t do that. Not because (okay, say it with me) it’s-wrong-to-hurt-other-people, so much as I don’t have the bail money required for a satisfying Christmas ass-whooping!
The next day, Christmas Eve, was my last chance to pick up some gifts before my family’s annual Christmas Eve tamale dinner. Christmas Eve is reserved for the mexican meal of tamales while Christmas Day features all the traditional american fixings. They’re both good, but this year I opted for the tamales with my family and a quiet Christmas day alone.
I wasn’t sure when everyone was meeting up, so I plugged in my earbud and dialed my grandparents’ house in Riverside, CA.
“Hi, Grandma, this is Flo. How are you?”
“I’m fine. How are you?”
“I’m okay. I’m calling to find out when everyone will meet tonight. I’m not sure when that is supposed to happen.”
“We’re having dinner at five.”
That made sense given they’re had dinner at five since my mom was five years old — maybe longer!
“Ohhhhhh…it’s four now and I’m still in LA. Sheesh, I have more Christmas gifts to pick up, so it’ll be two or three hours before I could even show up.”
(Read this in your cranky granny voice for full effect)
“You don’t have a husband or children, so what’s keeping you from doing everything you need to get done?”
I, being the incredibly mature woman that I am, paused a moment before I spoke.
“You know…I’m wondering if I should return your Christmas gift right now!”
My grandmother laughed hard. I guess it was a good thing she took it as a joke, though I wasn’t kidding! I was pissed. Of all the ways to hit when I’m down, did it REALLY have to be about my broken marriage and the children I wanted but didn’t have?
I cried the rest of the afternoon as I ran errands around town, before I headed east for Riverside. On the drive out, I got a call from my soon to be ex-husband, Endicott, wishing me a Merry Christmas. I was more than upset so I don’t remember everything that was said, but there’s enough for me to paraphrase:
What’s so merry about it? I friggin HATE Christmas. I spend a lot of time and a lot of money I don’t have (the luxury to waste) on people who are mean to me! Mean how? Like this…(insert hysterical shrieking here) that’s how!
There was a long pause from Endicott before he said, “Yikes.”
I finally calmed down an hour later when I stopped in West Covina to see a friend. She, her husband, her son and thirty other relatives gather at her parent’s home for their annual Christmas party. It’s the house in which she grew up, it’s where she lived when she met her future husband (back in high school), it’s also where she was married (I still remember how impressed I was when the DJ played, “How soon is now?” by the Smiths) and its now where she takes her six year old son for family events and visits with his grandparents. It’s a sweet, loving home in which I pop in once or twice a year.
Walking into the house, I felt a little like Norm on the TV show, “Cheers,” as everyone said, “Flo!” or “Hey, Flo!” as well as, “Flo’s here!” and my favorite, “Hey, Flo, I’ll get your margarita!” Yes, these are my people! Seriously, anyone who has a margarita standing by (for me?) will always have a place in my heart.
So we chatted, we laughed, tried to stump the cocky little 20 Questions gadget everyone there got as a Christmas gift. Not only does it do a great job at figuring out our guesses — we chose the word margarita, it guessed wine — it does it with attitude such as, ‘You thought you were being tricky with that clue, but I’ll figure it out.’
By the time I left, it was 7:00p.m. Dinner at my grandparent’s place would have been long over, with guests headed home. I thought about turning around and heading home, but didn’t.
Yes, I was hurt by the harsh words, but really, I knew it was coming. That’s a typical remark — and a mild one, too! — from someone in my family. They play rough. They say hurtful things as jokes — they can be as funny as they are cutting — and don’t understand how someone could offended by it. So, if I know this about them — and about myself, too, because I can do the same thing, just like flipping a switch — then why was I so upset? Why freak out over something so expected?
I was about to call my grandparent’s house when I saw they had just phoned my cell a minute earlier. My brother answered the phone. Turned out my parents were ready to go home, but weren’t sure if I was driving there or not.
“I told Grandma I was driving out there today. Sure, that was almost four hours ago, but I’m still going! I almost turned around though, I was so pissed. So, Grandma didn’t tell you what she said to me today, huh? Ohhhh! Listen to this!…”
This is where I wish I had sound effects because me writing BBWWWAAAAAHHHAAA!!!” doesn’t do justice to the long assed peels of laughter rolling out of my brother; broken up by, “Awww, that’s messed up! BWWAAAHHHAAA!” and, “God, that’s so mean! BWAAAHHHAA!” and, his one stab at understanding, “You know, they (our family) can’t help it. They don’t realise how mean it sounds. BWWAAHHHAAA!…Uh, (giggles) you know, I wouldn’t normally (giggles more) laugh at you this much (giggles longer) but I’ve had a little of the Crown Royal. I can’t help it! BWWWAAAHHHHAAAA!”
I pulled the phone away from my ear and spoke right into the mic, “You’re not cool. You suck.”
Two minutes of BWWWAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAA later, I couldn’t resist the giggles anymore. I caved.
Once I was there, everything was fine. I said hi to everyone, wrapped the last of my presents, made some gift exchanges, said goodbye as my immediate family as they headed home and hung out with my Grandma awhile. It was a nice, pleasant visit. After being there for an hour, I packed up my bags and headed for home.
As I walked to my car, and waved goodnight to my grandparents, I wondered how much of this I’ll miss when they’e gone; when I’m a parent taking my children to visit with my parents, sharing memories about the time their great-grandmother said this or did that; or the day when I’m the grandparent saying outrageous things that prompt hysterical laughter from my grandchildren. I don’t know. I think that might be the point.
There’s no place like home,
December 28th, 2006
[Once again, I'm mining my emails for posts. Only Dennis would notice, but I feel the need to point it because I see nothing wrong with using my same pieces over and over and over again. I'm recycling!]
Last week, I took a temp job. While the money isn’t great, it’s enough to stop the hemorraging my bank account has experienced since my lay off last September.
My first day was a little rough, but things improved greatly by day two. It’s a smidge stressful to be situated into a new “family” that is soooooooooo far from my own experiences, it’s not even funny. Okay, that’s not true — it is pretty funny. Have you ever heard venture capitalists talk business? I swear to God, it might as well be Greek! I don’t understand ANY of it, though I hear it would start making sense in about five months. Since this gig is only for two months, that probably won’t happen for me!
My favorite part of this little culture clash was their plans for their annual Christmas luncheon at an LA’s strip club. Two days before the outing, the company founder couldn’t get enough of telling everyone about the party locale. At some point the next day, he started whispering the words “strip club,” whenever the subject came up (always by him!). I’m certain it was because of me! I give off a frigid vibe which is not entirely who I am. I could tell them stories that would shock them. I’m sure they would have invited me along to their luncheon then! I was told there will probably be plenty of opportunities for me to join them at other outings, but not the Christmas one as I’d only put in three days!
They are funny guys and very welcoming to me, even with the strip club nonsense, so fitting in has been easy. They don’t treat me like “the temp,” they draw me into their chats — so fun! Today, someone mentioned that he met Famous Businessman recently and was impressed that he was a nice, humble man. Didn’t he found Super Successful Company that made a ton of money, someone else asked. “Yeah, he’s a billionaire. He’s sixty years old and he’s boning a forty year old. Opps, sorry Flo. I forgot you were there.” was the reply. I put my fingers in my ears as the other person said, “Yes, excuse us, Flo. He makes love to a forty year old! That’s it!”
Minutes later, the other person checked his messages by my desk, the billionaire comes back in their discussion. They agree that “seeing” a forty year old woman is impressive when the man is sixty. I nod as if I know what they mean.
“Are you married, Flo?”
I paused, then said, “I’m separated.”
“Children?” I’m asked.
I looked up from my desk to face him, as others laughed out loud. “You mean right now?!”
He laughed, too. “No. One day?”
“Yes.” I giggled.
“How old are you?”
“Mid-thirties? Hey, that’s better than a forty year old!”
“So you’re going to introduce me to the billionaire?” I did my best Catherine Zeta Jones inspired hair flip, but I doubt anyone noticed.
“Yeah, you should go out with him. He’s a billionaire!” The other man walks away from my desk, “He may not be funny or attractive, but that’s okay — he’s a billionaire!”
I stood up straight in my seat, “Wait a minute. He’s not cute? Hmmmm…”
Yes, the people are funny, but the job is boring. Boring. BORING. B.O.R.I.N.G….It’s non-stop boredom, and it gets to me. I tried everything I could think of to pass the time: I studied the office manual, made filing labels for the stack of legal size files that meet up to my eyes, filed them until I cut my cuticles open (quick pooling blood around my fingernails looked so dramatic!), practiced my office skills with online typing tests and excel tutorials, checked my email every five minutes (sometimes more) and on and on and on. I asked for things to do, but there’s not much happening during the holiday season. So, I sat and stared at my monitor as I brainstormed ways to occupy my time.
This afternoon, out of nowhere, I thought, “Office Haiku!” I was so excited by the thought that someone else someplace else (possibly in the office next to me) was just as bored as me. A quick search confirmed it — there are some veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery bored people out there. Check it out: Office Haiku, Adventures in Working.
Now before you send out an indignant letter explaining to me how true Japanese haikus don’t quite translate into english, before moving on to the high points of the American haiku and its reliance on metric feet, not syllables or some such explanation, let me point out that 1) I can search wikipedia, too; and 2) I still don’t understand that super complicated explanation about metric feet and its qualitative meter and the trophy, teridactyl and antipasta. If by some miracle, you do understand these terms, please dumb it down as much as possible, then email it to me. Until then, I decided to work in the very simple 5-7-5 syllable system. Here’s what I wrote:
Christmas lunch for staff,
Not invited, that’s okay,
Strippers not my thing
Isn’t this fun? Here’s another:
Baskets full of files,
Sliced open my cuticles,
Band-Aids stop the blood
I’m not entirely sure if those were constructed correctly. If they’re not, I bet I’ll hear about it!
Forced back into work
No money in my account,
Temping’s not so bad!
December 27th, 2006