Ramblings of a Single Mom


Queen of Questions
Well folks, let's see how long I last around here.

I've been reading journals on this site for a few weeks, and I've come to the conclusion that there are some really good writers out there. To each and every one of you that read this...thank you, for sharing *your* journal. Your stories, memories, amusing tidbits or rants about daily life are all appreciated by *this* reader. Here's hoping I don't bore you to tears, in return.

I think I'm going to start with just posting a few things that I've actually already posted somewhere else. See, I'm not quite as happy with posting there as I'd like to be. This feels more like a real community, for one thing. And, as you'll note in the title, I'm a rambler. I need a lot more space, some days, than the character limit of my other diary allows. It perturbs me to have to break a post into two posts, when it's not really *that* long.

Besides, I honestly enjoy reading so many journals here, I'm already on this site half the time. And I happen to already like and respect the admin, too. I already know if I have some kind of problem I need help with, I can ask, and help will be offered. That's a comfort to me, because hey, I make mistakes. I have brain farts. It happens.

There are so many good writers here, I've been afraid to start my own journal...for fear I'll simply pale in comparison to the point that I'm either not noticed at all (and as we all know, NO ONE likes that feeling) or simply boo'd off the stage (so to speak). Well, I'm not a great writer, I admit it, but I'm giving it a shot, anyway. If you like it, let me know. If you hate it, let me know. Just try not to singe my nose hairs when you flame me, ok? :exp:
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Queen of Questions
Sometimes I hate telephones...

I don't know how interested anyone is in reading the dreams of others, but I have a lot of weird and vivid dreams. And I DO mean weird. Sometimes, though, they're just scary. Frequently, they're both. Here's one from last night.

Here's something I don't dream about every night...

Vampires. I had myself an honest to God vampire dream. The details are so faded at this point there really isn't much I can tell you. (I woke up at 8:30, it's now nearly 1:00 pm. Much interruption.)

I remember I was not the only adult female, and there were kids around. We were in a desolate kind of setting, with a very few buildings. There was a campfire ring outside near the buildings, and that's where we were all sitting, for some reason.

I'm not sure who the guy was supposed to be before it became obvious he was a vampire, but I know I knew him. He was familiar to me, in my waking life, but I can't place him. I felt the same way in the dream....I knew I knew him, but couldn't *quite* place how, or who he really was. I was trying to figure this out when it suddenly became apparent he was, in fact, a vampire. Imagine my shock.

Apparently he had no intentions of harming me or my group, but he kept talking about something that had me going "No, no, NO! You can't do that, you can't!" I remember him saying "Just bring these guys to me, and we'll..." but not the rest of it. A child kept saying "mom...mom...mom...MOM.." and being hushed by its mother. I asked him what was wrong - after all he could be trying to tell me another kid was being abducted or something, come on...we're talking to a VAMPIRE, you don't ignore a kid in the middle of that. Don't you people watch the movies??

The kid looks at me and whispers "something red is going into the house over there". Something red? What's the first thing *you* think of? Yeah, me too. "Show me" I whisper back, and follow him.

We peek around a corner (corner of what? I have no idea.) and I can see this almost mist of palest red shimmering just off the porch. It was nearly not there, and I rubbed my eyes and tried to focus on it. Then the red air was clear again...and suddenly I see a man standing on the steps just on the other side of where that red mist had been. He just *appeared* there. He had his back turned to me, but he was tall, thin, and had dark hair. He never turned my direction, so he never saw me...but I knew he sensed me. And I sensed him, too. It wasn't evil, exactly...but if I had to label him, it would be Danger!! My heart skipped several beats.

He paused on the steps, and I felt his mind touch mine. He then proceeded into the house without looking back. I swear, I knew beyond a doubt that he already knew what I looked like, and what I was thinking. When he opened the door, I suddenly realized there were others already inside. One leader, and two or three others. I didn't see them, or hear them. I just knew they were there, I could feel them in my very soul. That's when I really became afraid.

I heard a male voice inside my head. "Go, now. Don't wait. Take them all and get away...hurry!" My mouth dropped open, and I could actually feel him looking directly into my eyes, although I KNEW he couldn't physically see me. "RUN!" I heard in my mind, in that same voice. Startled out of my shock, I grabbed the hand of the child standing next to me and whispered "let's be very quiet, but hurry, ok?" He nodded.

And that's when the phone rang, waking me up. Oh, I was mad! Finally I was having a somewhat cool, detailed, full color dream...and I was interested in its outcome! Yeah, it was getting kinda scary, but...I wanted to see it!

Me? Wanting to finish a scary dream? How odd...

I'm telling you, if I could have finished this dream uninterrupted, woke up on my own, and gone straight to write it down without pause...I could have sold it as a short story. I'm sure of it.
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Queen of Questions
Living Illusions

Tuesday 9/17/2002
It's been an interesting day. It started with my realizing that I was hitting the snooze button, the time, and the fact that it's a school day. Yikes! Dragging myself out of bed, I stumble into the living room. There's my son, sprawled out on the carpetless floor, watching cartoons. I take stock. Hmmm...he's fully clothed and his hair isn't standing on end. This is a good sign. I tell him "Eat breakfast, brush your teeth, fix your hair, walk the dog. Oh, and tie your shoes, too." He rolls his eyes. Informing me that he's *already* walked the dog, he plans to eat at school, oops! he forgot to brush his teeth, he hurries out of the room. The couch looks so inviting....hey, there's a fleece blanky already here... I wake up two hours later to the sound of the phone ringing. Let's back up a minute.

Last night my son handed me a two page schoolwork assignment that he'd gotten a failing grade on. At the bottom is a stamped "Parent Signature Required" with a line at the bottom. In glaring red pen at the top, this message to my son: "Harley, you did not follow my instructions, nor did you pay attention when we answered these questions in class. What were you doing, talking?" I realize a few things about this teacher from that note.

A) She's got a sarcastic streak in her.

B) She is annoyed (and rightly so) with my son's constant talking in class

C) I like her style, she reminds me of me.

Signing the note, I pen my own note at the bottom. While her note was directed at me through my son, mine of course is aimed directly at her. "My phone number is (yeah, like I'm gonna put that here) Please call me when you get a chance, so we can schedule a meeting. I think we need to talk." Adding my work number at the end just in case she isn't able to call me before tomorrow, I hand it to my son. His eyes are wide, and he looks like he's going to cry. Informing him that I will be talking to his teacher about his behavior and his homework not getting turned in, I hug him goodnight. He nods solemnly and walks slowly out of the room, clutching the paper to his chest. I feel bad for him, but...I'm the mom. I have to do my job, right?

Back to the couch.

It's nine am, and I'm startled out of the nap I'm not supposed to be taking by the phone. It's his teacher, calling to make an appointment with me. We agree on four pm today, and I hang up. Looking at the clock, I realize I'm burning daylight, and head to my room to grab the necessary stuff for my shower. The bed looked so inviting..I'll just lay down for a minute...

I wake up again at eleven, and fight hard to keep my eyes open. It's a dreary rainy morning, and all I want to do is curl back up in the bliss of my pillow and comforter. I remember my List. Ah yes, there are many things still on the list, get up! Shuffling to the computer to stare out the window and check my email, I finally start my day. A short while later, I head in to make coffee and find last night's dishes right where I left them. Ugh. Ok, so wash the dishes while the coffee brews, at least I'll feel like something's been accomplished, here.

I spend the rest of my productive hours chatting on the computer with a friend of mine. I don't really mind, though...I need some time for myself to just sit and relax, you know? To not be doing anything important or productive or responsible can feel really good, all except for that nasty residual guilt that hides in the background.

The meeting went well. I was dressed in casual business attire, since I had plans later anyway. That and, I wanted her to not look down her nose at me like last year's teacher did. (All she ever saw me in was my work shirt, jeans, and a ponytail, and she DEFINITELY looked down on me. I'm not sure who hated that woman more-me or my son. But I digress...where was I? Oh yes, the meeting.) I really like this teacher, and I think she likes me. We're going to get along famously, I think. She's not mean, but she does try to keep a firm grip on the class, make sure they each stay on track, and progress. She has already noticed little things about Harley's personality and traits that most people miss. Yes, I like her immensely. If the two of us together can get it through my son's head why it's important to do his work, stop talking in class and pay attention, turn in homework assignments...I'll personally give her some kind of award. :)

Hurrying into the kitchen when I got back, I grabbed my apron and started the beef cooking for the tacos. Happily, my daughter is old enough to chop the tomoatoes and lettuce! :) My sister arrives with her three sons, we chat, we all eat, then head to the Living Illusions show that we THOUGHT we were gonna see last week. It was funny, cheesy, lame, and excellent, depending on which five minute segment you're discussing. :) But hey, it was $6 a ticket, and the kids had a blast. That's all that matters, right?

Now I'm jammified, my makeup is washed back off (holy cow, I remembered to do that? Wow.), and I'm tired. I think I might be on my way to being back on a decent sleep schedule again. Please God? I feel so much better when I get regular sleep, and I'm so very tired of feeling sick (and tired) all the time!

All in all, not a bad day. If I'm really lucky, I won't have any crazy dreams. ;)


Queen of Questions
A strange day from beginning to end


What a way to wake up, for starters! Yeesh!

OK, so I knew there was going to be someone here from the electric company to install the new cable modem. At 10:30 am, not 9:50, thank you ever so much.

My alarm is set for ten, so I can have time to wake up, make the coffee, wash my face...you know, all that stuff you want to do before allowing some strange man into your house. My dog starts barking at 9:50 and I rush to the door in my pj's to see what's going on. In my still nearly dead state, I forget what day it is, forget I'm expecting someone (soon), and rip the door open. It's the cable guy!! So I tell him to come on in, I'll be right back. He's a bit nervous about my dog but I inform him she's fine, she just barked to wake me up. And then I RUN for my bedroom. I slept in a sports bra and spandex biker shorts last night. I do that a lot, actually. This type of jammies (as I call them) is quite comfy for sitting at the computer till ungodly hours of the night, then falling into bed and straight to sleep. It is not, however, how I want to be seen by a very good looking, ringless, appropriate-aged man. Here I was: unbrushed hair, ditto on the teeth, face unwashed, no giant tee-shirt to cover my many figure flaws, and wearing comfy yet unflattering clothing. I could simply have died. I threw on a tee, ran a washcloth over my face and a brush through my hair. My hands weren't awake enough to wield a toothbrush so I rinsed with mouthwash really fast and hurried back to the living room.

Now, when I made this appointment, they informed me I could leave my desk where it is, the landlord had already given permission to install new cable outlets 'for internet access purposes only'. There was to be a $10 fee for the installation of a new outlet, but I wouldn't have to rearrange the living room. I'm thinking "Hell yeah!" Let me explain why I'm telling you this.

I live in Public Housing, where you're not allowed to make any changes to the unit. Not even install a second phone line. They don't want you putting screws in the walls for crying out loud! And, I have really heavy furniture. This desk sitting under my computer is very large, very heavy. It's an antique secretary's desk...solid REAL wood, with a cabinet to the side that has a hinged platform within, that pulls out to set your manual/electric typewriter on. It's huge, I'm telling you, and it takes four adults to pick it up and carry it anywhere. Takes two to scoot it with everything removed, including the drawers. Oh, and my couch is an old sofa bed - before they started making them 'lighter'.

Back to the story...

Now this good looking guy who has just seen me at my absolute worst is informing me that the lady on the phone was, in fact, wrong. Not just wrong, either, but WRONG. No new outlet, at least not *there*, they'd have to go in through the attic, they'd never allow it, yada yada. So here I sit on the long awaited Cable Day, with un-rearranged furniture. Oh my God. What to do?? Ok, think, just think. Someone make coffee! bleh... I have him hook up the modem and leave it on my tv. He then leaves, hopefully unaware that I'm checking out his derriere as he walks to his truck.

On a side note: My daughter (home sick, again) KNOWS I am attracted to this man, though I'm positive I show no outward signs. She just knows me, I guess. When he goes outside to his truck at one point, she tells me "Mom, I know you think he's cute. And Mom? He's not wearing a ring...ask him out!" God bless her for being adorable, sweet, and embarrassing as hell! :) I didn't though..couldn't set myself up for rejection in front of my kid. It's hard enough when there are no witnesses (that tell your business to their friends, giggling all the while).

Back to the story.

I then promptly call the isp and say "please help me figure this the hell out, ok?" and then the absolute worst part of my day, bar none - I called my ex-husband and had to ask for his HELP. Jesus, Mary and Joseph...that's just not fair. He shows up in the middle of his work day to help me move furniture, and the first three thoughts I had on how this would all work...didn't. For whatever reason, I had to reject every idea either of us had. The room dimensions can be awful if you have big furniture, and the doorways are ill-placed (for me). I tell him to go, I'll figure it out. And, I do. I rush to scoot things into position (hurting my lower back but sucking it up and toughing it out, damnit) then call the isp back. "Can you please come and do this setup NOW?" Yes, by the Gods, they can! I don't even have the drawers back in the desk, my chair is in a bedroom somewhere, and my computer is in about eight pieces all over the kitchen. I have ten minutes to reassemble. Now, I can't build a computer, but by jiggers I can damned well plug one in. I look at the clock and get my butt moving. I plug in the last piece as the tech pulls up outside my house.

He comes in and gets to work, and the phone rings. My sister, calling to check in. She lives about 30 minutes away but we don't see each other nearly enough. She's been out of pocket for more than a week, and it had started freaking me out, so I HAVE to make sure she's okay before I rush her off the phone. I look over at the tech trying to install the software...and oh my lord! The poor guy is doing this standing up. I ask my daughter to PLEASE retrieve my chair for him, then realize he also has no mousepad. Egads! Where IS my brain? Still in the coffeepot, apparently - I've had two sips so far in all this madness, and just as obviously, said coffee is *much* too weak. Anyway, he finally gets the job done, pronounces that it's good, and leaves. FINALLY! I have cable internet! yayyyyy...and then I look at the time.

It is now 2:30 pm, I've had not a single bite to eat, (hell, I couldn't even manage to drink two cups of coffee), now I REALLY need a shower (holy moses, did you see all that DUST under there??) and I have to be at work at five. I have A (my daughter) nuke leftovers for lunch - steak and rice a roni - and wolf it down. Smoking my cigarette I look at the clock again. It's now 3:00 and I'm just DYING to play online! Ok, just for a minute... So at 3:30 I'm still sitting here mentally smacking myself on the back of the head saying 'what are you DOING??' and jumping up to grab the trash (we set it out thursday nights for friday morning pick up). I manage to dawdle until 3:45 when I finally get into the shower...feeling guilty and stressed, of course.

The son gets home at 4:00 pm and walks the dog while I throw on clothes and makeup. I'm checking his backpack for homework, filling out the envelope and putting money inside for school pictures tomorrow, doing the mom stuff, and suddenly remember I only have 1/8th tank of gas. This is bad - I do pizza delivery. I grab the phone and call work.

I ask for the manager and proceed to tell him it's possible I might be as much as five minutes late, depending on the line at the gas station - when he interrupts me to say I was supposed to be there TEN MINUTES AGO!! No, I say, I'm scheduled for five. NOOOO...he retorts, you were scheduled for 4:30. Holy crapola! I apologize and avow to hurry like the dickens, already shooing the kids toward the door. Dropped them off at their dad's place, got the tank filled, and made it to work at exactly...five o'clock. Ironic, huh?

I was so energetic at work, it was nearly scary. I laughed, I cut up, I hummed and sang. I fairly bounced off the walls, I'm telling you. The guys got a kick out of me, and secretly wondered what drug I'd taken. ;) Drugs? Hell, I didn't even get my coffee..this is pure adrenaline, my friends...la lala lalalala lalalaa... hehehe

Made it home to find I'd gathered the trash but forgotten to actually tie it up and put it in the can outside. My dog Lady (bless her) enjoyed a fine feast of chicken bones and steak fat all over my (previously clean) kitchen floor. Yay. I cleaned it up and said screw it all to the rest of the mess leftover from the hectic happenings earlier in the day. It'll just have to wait, I'm GETTING ON THE INTERNET!!

I have no idea how or why I managed to stay all smiles when so many things did not go according to plan today - normally this is exactly the sort of thing that stresses me out. I don't know, and I'm not fussing about it, either. Even with all the crap that went wrong, it was a fabulous day. The sun shone, the breezes blew, I made it through with all my hair and limbs where they belonged. Some days you just have to smile, right? I mean, after all...you KNOW you're one tough cookie when you can laugh in the face of adversity. :)


Queen of Questions
Today's rant

I had a yucky day. I'm in a bad mood, apparently. It's been drizzling out since last night, the sun barely peeked out at all today. That isn't what put me in a bad mood, though. The phone did it! Here I was, trying to make good use of this dreary day by napping to the sound of falling rain and the low rumbling of faraway thunder...and people kept calling me.

It makes me wish I'd kept the dialup account. Then, I could leave the computer connected to the net, and go to bed. I have CallNotes, they could leave a message, and I'd never hear the phone ring. Damnit.

Wouldn't you know it? The phone just rang, interrupting my rant. Hate that phone, I swear I do.

This guy whom I once considered a somewhat trusted friend has apparently come to the conclusion that I need to be his booty call or something. He 'swings by' when it's convienent for him. Happened this morning, but what annoys me is it's the first time he's graced my door in two months. Did he want to chat? No. Did he want to hang out and watch a movie? No. He seemed annoyed that although he'd called yesterday telling me he planned to stop by, I wasn't out of bed and waiting for him when he got here. Truth is, he's told me he'd stop by many times, and never showed up. I don't bother expecting him, anymore. But anyway...here he was, kicked back on my couch like he owned the place, patting the space beside him. I curled up in my chair and halfway dozed.

At one point I made a show of looking at my legs. "Look at this" I mumble to him. "I completely forgot - I meant to shave my legs last night. I haven't bothered in weeks, I just didn't feel like it, and had no reason to".

"Aww" he says, "that's not so bad".

I look again, peering closely. "Yeah," I tell him "it's pretty bad".

He looks over at me. "Pretty hairy, huh?"

"Yup" I nod in sleepy reply. "I haven't shaved them since before the last time you were here."

Now, this wasn't exactly true, but...I wanted to make two points. I wanted him to be grossed out by the idea of my unshaven legs and the fact that I was making no move toward the shower for his benefit, so he'd forget about the idea of sex. But mostly, I wanted him to stop and think about how long it had been since he'd stopped by. Hint: If you want me to want to have sex with you, you have to at least give me the idea that you are even interested in me as a person. Be happy to see me. Act like you even want to see me more than once every month or two. Try not to appear so repulsed by a physical show of affection. Christ, can't you even attempt to create some form of illusion here?

I don't understand what he's thinking, I truly don't. Yes, he's aware (as is everyone else who knows me) that I've been divorced a long time, (three years this November...not a *long* time) and I've gone well over year without a boyfriend or sex. (I'm not giving a specific time here, for some strange reason I refuse to do that - more than a year is plenty of information on that count.) Does he just assume that since I've not gotten laid in a long time, I must be desperate? He kicked back on my couch and actually expected I would be thrilled that he made an hour in his busy schedule for me (interrupting my slumber to do so), but he also appeared to be expecting me to jump his bones without any kind of work on his part. You know...the more I think about it, the madder I'm getting.

He calls at 11 pm from work. This became a Bad Thing when school started back up, and my kids have to get up before the butt-crack of dawn. What really bugs me about these phone calls though is, he's CONSTANTLY telling me to 'hang on a second' so he can talk to someone at work, and the entire time we're on the phone he's doing some kind of schedule thing on his computer. Doesn't sound so bad, right? It's not, really. It's the fact that he never calls just to talk TO ME. We never talk about anything when he calls!! I spend the entire time listening to him talk to other people or mumbling to himself about what he's reading on his screen. Even that isn't too horribly bad...I mean, he made the effort to dial my number, right? At least he's trying to keep communication going on some level. But, he wants to do this worthless phone call routine every couple of hours from 7 pm when he goes in to work, till around 3 am. NO. Where is he on Saturday night, when we're both off work? Busy, or sleeping. He's not once asked me to go to a movie, go out to eat, go shoot pool...not anything. If he wants to get together, he wants it either his house or mine. Not so bad, right? Wrong. The reason for this is twofold: He is hoping for sex, and he's fucking cheap. He doesn't want to have to spend money in his attempt to get laid.

We have yet, in all this time (more than six months) to have a single 'deep' conversation. Nothing too personal. On the rare occasion I tried to include him in my little world and talk to him about anything more important to me than idle chit-chat, he got extremely uncomfortable. And while he isn't the dumbest man I ever met, he's not exactly the brightest light on the strand, either. I spent over a week explaining to him how to reply to an email. YOU CLICK REPLY!!

Yes, we're definitely not compatible.

That was him on the phone just now...asking me to please call him at 8:30 in the morning. That way, he can go home, get an hour of sleep, and I can be his alarm clock. He can then 'swing by' for a little while, and still get back early enough to do some running around paying bills. Again, this wouldn't perturb me, except that I know he wants me to go to the effort to set my alarm, get up, shower, (Shave My Legs!) and be his alarm clock by calling him so he can eventually show up here hoping for sex. I could scream.

I told him I'd call. I have no intention of doing so, however. The kids aren't here, they're spending the night at their dad's house. I don't go to work until 5 pm tomorrow, and I have nothing I have to do before work that requires I get out of bed that early. No, I intend to sleep in. If he knocks on my door, I'm gonna sleep through it. No, wait...the dog will bark. Well, I'll say later I was in the shower.

I keep hoping that if I ignore it, it will give up and go away. I hate being a bitch and saying "Look, get lost, you're pissing me off". It's eventually going to get to that point, though. He isn't smart enough to take the not so subtle hints I've been dishing out.

I suppose it all wouldn't be so upsetting except...he's not really good at affection. His hugs are awkward (when he even remembers to make an attempt to do so), and he pats my back the whole time like he's trying to burp me or something. He has no clue how to just hold someone, and that's...well, it's a problem for me, because physical affection is important to me. Really important. More important than the actual sex, important. (Yes, affection! While a part of sex, it is allowed to exist on its own, without a goal attached. So there!) I wouldn't mind so much a sexual relationship with a friend I could trust without promises of wedding bells, if they were compatible for that. He's not. He made an effort to kiss me, about two or two and a half months ago. He actually twisted his lips sideways on his face, squinched his lips together in this tight little pucker, and gave me the most non-sensual kiss I've ever had - and I've been on the receiving end of some fairly crappy kisses in my life. It freaked me out.

If you're gonna kiss me, KISS me! What the hell was that? No, I can't have sex with someone who can't even kiss me, or hug me, this is just too weird. If he doesn't feel at least enough affection for me to be able to do those two things, we have NO business having sex.

And that's the bottom line.
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Queen of Questions
I am feeling completely out of sorts

Even before I went to work, I was having one of those days where I couldn't stand noise. I left the tv and radio off all day. I got irritated when the air conditioner kicked on and made noise. Brakes squealing on cars outside my apartment gave me the urge to open the door and yell at someone to have them adjusted. Completely unreasonable stuff, and I'm well aware of it - in fact, have been aware of it since I opened my eyes. Yet, knowing that didn't make it go away.

The kids came home from school and turned the tv on. It drove me nuts! I didn't want to be a hag and make them turn it off...yet I couldn't stand hearing it. I kept telling them to turn it down, to the point they were straining to hear it over the air conditioner. What is wrong with me?? Geesh.

I went to work and immediately knew the night was going to SUCK. I hate slow shifts, but especially on Friday nights. I deliver pizza, and on Fridays there are extra drivers scheduled. Makes sense, right? Of course it does. But when we're slow, all the drivers are fighting over the orders, and there's a lot of 'snatching' out of turn when someone isn't looking. This is something that infuriates me, even when I'm having a good day. I knew as soon as I walked through the door that it was going to be an issue tonight. I was right. I worked an eight hour shift and only had five deliveries all night. Two of them were after 11 pm, too.

I calmed down dramatically after all the extra people were sent home, and it was only the closers in the store. At least then, there was enough to do to stay busy, and I wouldn't have to fight anyone for the next delivery. Plus, I like working with the people who made up the closing crew tonight, and I wasn't mad at any of them. Up until the extras left, though...I was in Don't-Mess-With-Me-Bitch-Mode.

When someone makes me mad on certain issues, I have no qualms about telling them to their face that they've pished me off (No, that's not a misspelling - I did it on purpose. I'm *trying* to not cuss so darned much). Issues which I take offense to quickly usually have to do with fairness, honesty, respect, and honor. Those are the biggies, and if I feel like I've been disrespected, I will flat tell the person about it to their face. I don't wait till they're gone and gripe behind their back, or pretend to their face that I didn't notice and then puff up about it later. Nope, not me. I'm an in your face kind of gal. I told all three other drivers off tonight, and one counter person. I know the manager really wanted to send me home because I was in a BAD mood tonight...but he couldn't. I was scheduled to close, and trying to get someone else to fill in for a closer is hard enough - add to that fact that it's Friday night - and then factor in 'last minute', and you can just *forget* about it. Poor Andy (tonight's shift manager). He was relieved that I became quite docile as soon as they all left.

Mind you, I'm not screaming or throwing things, or cussing people out. It's just that I walk around silently doing my work, (exuding an aura, if you will) and if those that I'm angry with happen to do something stupid, like say...walk up to me and try to chat as though they aren't aware that I'm furious with them...I tell them in a (mostly) conversational tone of voice just how crappy I think it is that they did (fill in the blank). Two of them were that dumb on more than one occasion tonight. Andy kept an eye on me, yes...yes he did. I caught him watching me several times, and was aware that I was mere inches from a line I probably shouldn't cross. That's ok, though, I didn't intend to cross it. But, I also don't believe in whining to a supervisor (who in this case really couldn't do anything about it without practically holding everyone's hand - how unfair is that to a Friday night shift manager, anyway?) when I'm in fact an adult, and not in kindergarten. I'm quite capable of speaking my own mind, settling my own squabbles. This is a big reason why I'd never survive in the military - I prefer to skip chain of command and just handle it myself. I'm better at it than they are, anyway. :p

No, complaining to a manager is only a last resort, with me. And even then, it's usually just to inform them that "so and so did yada yada again, and I told them blah blah about it. If they do it again, I intend to ______." That way, they're kept informed, and if they *really* don't want me to do the thing I intend to do..well, this is their chance to veto the idea. If after all that, it remains a problem, THEN I make a true 'you better handle this or I'm gonna choke someone' complaint. That point typically takes months or more of constant BS with one person to get to, though.

ENOUGH already! Hmmm...I'm actually feeling less stressed. This is a good thing. Question is, how many people have actually continued reading this far? hehe

Ok, so, different subject.

I checked my email this morning, and discovered someone had emailed me to let me know they liked my journal, so far. And I had a private message here, too! Thank you, so much, both of you! :) Those messages were in fact the one good thing that happened for me, today. It meant a lot to me to receive those words of praise and encouragement. I only hope that tonight's rant won't put you off reading it, now.

I should be doing some housework or something, since I'm still awake. I think I'll be lazy instead though, and just hang out online for about another hour. I need to eat a bite of something, I'm starving - i.e. I'm hungry enough to not be able to fall asleep if I tried, or else I'd skip food and go straight to bed. Fat lot of good it would do me anyway...I'm still wide awake even though I'm tired. Yeah, I think I'll have a bite of food and take half a sleeping pill, so I'm not awake till five am. That does bad things to one's sleep schedule.
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Queen of Questions
I wrote a letter, a few weeks back, to a certain someone who used to very much be a part of my life.

After my divorce, this person was...my everything. Literally. He was my best friend, my staunchest supporter, my hero, my shrink. We spent uncounted hours on the phone, talking about everything under the sun. He told me jokes when I desperately needed to laugh. He picked on me when I was taking myself too seriously. He repeatedly told me I was beautiful, smart, and a good person, because I needed so badly to hear it. He swore it was the truth. We talked about my past, and the abuse I'd been through.

I not only dealt with my divorce and marriage, with him...I dealt with many things that had been haunting me since childhood. I wrote him emails about the nightmares I'd have, happy thoughts, just whatever rambling I needed to talk about. He'd always read them, and then usually bring them up during a phone call, and we'd talk about it awhile. He would read my poetry, and not laugh. He'd tell me about his job, his kids, his best friend. I talked about my kids, my job, my sister and her kids...just whatever happened to be going through our minds, at the time.

I loved him. Oh, God...how I loved him.

Long distance relationships can be difficult. Ours didn't end because of distance, but end it did, and I've had a really hard time accepting some things about it. Getting over him was a long and painful process, and if I think about it too hard, it still hurts. You eventually get used to the way things are, even if you don't want to accept them, that's just the way of life. And although I accepted the situation (as I had no choice, really), I couldn't stop loving him, for a long time. And I desperately needed to talk to him.

No, I don't mean in the stalker "I just gotta talk to you, come back to me!" kind of way. I mean...I still needed my best friend to listen to me. I still needed someone to share good news with. I still needed to pour my heart out, from time to time. And...there were a lot of unanswered questions between us that, although I pretty much knew they'd never be answered, I still needed to voice. Some days I just felt like if I didn't tell all this chaos inside of me to someone who understood me, I'd go insane. So, I wrote to him. It didn't really matter if he replied, and I wasn't even sure if he read them. I wrote anyway, because it helped - kind of like opening a valve on a pressure cooker, letting some steam off.

It's really hard to let go of someone who feels like your soulmate, and has the ability to make you feel taken care of from 600 miles away. I was pretty sure he was reading the emails. When writing to him, it was kind of easy to picture him reading it, and the things he might say. More importantly, what he'd ask. I've often resolved things for myself this way, although not always. Weird, maybe, but it works. Sometimes.

He heard me - that's all I could have, that's all I was allowed, so I told myself that's all I needed. He heard me, and I knew he understood what I was feeling. Someone out there in the world had a clue what I was thinking, what I was going through. And that someone knew me, almost better than I knew myself, in some ways. He knew my very soul. Sometimes, I was berating him for hurting me. Sometimes, I was just lonely for someone to talk to who had a clue about the real me. Sometimes...I had news that was so very good, so life changing for me...and I knew he would understand better than anyone else I could tell.

I wasn't waiting for a response, never expected any. When he responded to *this* letter in particular, I flipped out. It was written to him about my 'booty calling friend'

Since he responded, I responded to his response...and we now talk on IM about once a week. And yes, that's all it is. We talk. He's an excellent communicator, when he's not being evasive - it's pretty much the biggest thing I miss about our old relationship. Well, that and his corny jokes. And the way he used to call me Sweetness.

Anyway, all that setup just so you'll have a clue what this letter is about. I'm posting the letter because it pertains to the above mentioned booty-calling friend, and I'm still torqued about the situation. You'll please note that it's heavy on the sarcasm, I was very upset when I wrote it. No hate mail, please.

I'm awake at 3:30 am because...well, just because, I guess. Ok, truth is, I've managed to confuse myself on a thing or two, and it's on my mind. So, I'm awake. Probably will be till true exhaustion takes over, too. And then I won't get enough sleep before I *have* to get up for work tomorrow, considering I'll need to do this whole *thing* with my hair after my shower on top of doing makeup, and the kids aren't here so I'll have to walk the dog before all that. Bah. I hate this.

What makes it even better is that I never took a break at work tonight, so I haven't eaten anything since 4:30 (a salad...a small one) and I'm fucking hungry. So what am I eating? The only thing in the house, really...I don't do the shopping till Monday. Since I don't have the kids on the weekends, I generally eat at work for the most part. So, a snack cake and some crackers with water. Yay. Finger lickin good.

Do I seem like I'm in a mood, to you? Maybe I am, just a little.

Ok. I'm not really confused about anything except my
own...what's the word I'm looking for? Stupidity? No, that's not it, although it's kinda stupid. Weakness? No, that's not accurate either. This really isn't about me being weak. Wishy washy? Maybe. Not sure. Whatever it's called, it's pissing me off.
I know what I have to do...just not the best way to go about it. My usual manner of blunt and in your face can't work if you can't get someone to sit down and fucking talk to you.

Jesus but this situation is way too reminiscent of the way things were with you and I. The subject changes, the "I gotta go" on the phone. The "I'll try to stop by and see you" and then being totally blown off. We're only friends to begin with, hell, it was a freaking movie! Why the need for bullshit like this?? I don't like feeling like I'm nothing more than a speck in the universe to someone unless and until it's convenient for them to give me five minutes of their time. I can't stand it, I really can't. How to force the issue, state how I feel, so it can be done and over with - when the other person runs as soon as you want to talk about something too personal? I didn't figure it out with you, either. Bah! I think the real question here is...do I want to keep this person as a friend? If not, I could always force myself to be cold and somewhat cruel. I don't really feel cold toward the person, and I don't like to be cruel to anyone. I just don't feel *that* or anything remotely close to it, either, and neither does he. Yet, he expects...

Grab the dictionary, and look up the definition of a woman. Now look up my name. Do either of those say "life support system for pussy"? Because I'm starting to think that that's what men see there.

Is it so wrong to expect a certain degree of genuine affection from and for someone before having sex? Am I worth so little to anyone that I don't deserve that much effort on someone else's part? And how about my convenience, for a change?

There you go, there's a good one. I'd like to have some convenience, too. Maybe I'd like to have a dick on tap that I could call on only when I have want or need of it...and the rest of the time it should just stay put and wait for me to want it. And when I do, it should drop everything and come running, grateful for the opportunity to spend some time with me, stroke my ego, and while we're at it, I want exactly the right amount of hugs, kisses, caresses, and general cuddling. It has to be the perfect balance though. Just the right amount, not too much. And for God's sake - don't anyone *dare* fall in love! Can't be having that shit around here, good lord. Don't say it, don't think it, don't breathe it....or I'll run. How about that?

Men have blow up sex dolls. I want a hug doll. I want it to hide in the closet and pretend it doesn't exist until I want to snuggle on the couch and feel genuinely cared about for awhile. Then when I'm finished cuddling, I want it to disappear and not ask a damned thing from me. That's what I want. I don't want it to make a mess anywhere in my house, piss on my toilet seat, eat my food, or touch my remote control. It's not allowed to sleep in my bed, never mind hog my covers or knock my pillow in the floor. It's forbidden to tell me who I can talk to, hang out with, or flirt with (should I so choose to flirt with anyone), what time to come home, or whether to cook or clean. If I want to talk, it wants to listen. If I want to hear funny stories, it tells them. If I need to cry, it lets me, and holds me while I do. If I feel there's an issue I need to address for my own benefit, there is nothing more important to it than to discuss this situation until I feel it's all fully resolved. It'll never threaten to leave me when I need it, nor will it be unavailable to me at any time. It will never forget my phone number, forget to call, or be too busy for me. On the rare occasion I decide I'm in the mood for sex, it should be preprogrammed to automatically recognize this, and do exactly what I want, the way I want it, for as long as I want. No three hour marathons if I want a quickie. No quickies if I'm in the mood for an all-nighter. If I want to fall asleep cuddling, it can stay. If I want to be left alone, it gets up and quietly leaves.

Mostly, I just want it to be at my beck and call. I'd like to know how that feels, and why men are so determined that I be such a thing for them. I'm telling you, I've had it up to my eyebrows with this shit.

Yep, I'm no longer merely in a mood...I'm full blown pissed.
Thanks for listening.

Maybe the booty caller got the hint when I didn't call and wake him up yesterday morning. It's just past noon on Saturday, and he hasn't called from work yet. Only time will tell. Cross your fingers, ok? :)


Queen of Questions
Ah well...

My phone just rang. It's 12:43 AM. Guess who it was? uh huh, you guessed it. No, I didn't answer it. Nor did he bother to leave a message. He was calling from home, this is his night off. I guess he finished his nap, and wanted to come over. He knows I have to work in the morning, and in all actuality, I should already be in bed asleep.

Today was a pretty good day. The weather was gorgeous - the sun was shining, it wasn't really hot out, there was a nice gentle breeze. I love it when summer is ending, and you can first smell that bit of crispness that creeps into the air. I love being able to shut off the air conditioner, open the windows, and breathe some fresh air. I love lower electric bills.

It was a much better day at work, too. I made up my mind when I woke up this morning that I wasn't going to stress today over crap that won't matter a whit ten years from now. I don't know why everything got to me so badly yesterday, it wasn't really abnormal stuff. Mayhap I can blame it on the full moon. Maybe I just hadn't had a real Bitch day in a long time, and needed to stay in practice. One makes as much sense as the other.

I walked in the door today to find scads of dishes waiting for me. Andy was there ( bless him, he has to close Friday night then open Saturday morning). He saw me, and walked over immediately. Taking stock of the fact that I'm eyeing mountains of dishes everywhere (I'm actually mentally organizing before I get started, but he doesn't realize that) he quickly says "I'm counting Brandus down right now". He know it's annoying to walk in the door and be stuck with two hours worth of dishes, and have another driver on the clock that won't help with them...yet will still take deliveries. Looking at me looking at the dishes, he realizes just how many there are. He opens his mouth to make excuses for Brandus and why there are no dishes washed...but instead he just says apologetically "I know there's a lot..sorry" and told Brandus to hand over his wallet. He's a good guy, that Andy. I waited until Brandus was leaving and told Andy "Hey, it's like this. All of this was here when I arrived, and I'm not gonna kill myself to get it done in half an hour. It'll get done, but I'm not gonna stress over it." He looked surprised. I guess the mood change from last night threw him a little.

I feel bad about being so tetchy last night. I still say I was wronged and had a right to be tiffed, but still...I didn't have to take it out on Andy (he gets a bit stressed when he knows I'm *that* mad...fearing I'll walk off the job. Or worse - he'll have to reprimand me for crossing the line), and I *could* have kept my mouth shut. Problem with that scenario is, if you keep your mouth shut, they just figure they're getting away with it, and do it that much more. *sigh* I really did let it get to me too much, though. I mean criminies...it really *won't* matter six months from now, nor even a month. Sometimes I forget to 'not sweat the small stuff'. I tried to make up for it (both with Andy and myself) by being a model employee today, and being my usual hardworking and cut-up/fun to be around self. I've almost forgiven myself. *Almost*.

I miss my kids. I know it's easier for them to spend time with their dad on the weekend when I'm working crappy hours, but still...I miss them. And yeah, maybe I identify with them a bit much. If you knew what I had to go through to get them back, though, you'd nod your head and say "Well, yeah, that makes perfect sense." From the time of my divorce in Nov. of 99 until the end of May 2001, life was a NIGHTMARE. It would take me ten posts to even begin to describe the hell my ex put us through. I suppose I could give you a hint by telling you I'm still carrying the remnants of a bruise on my left cheekbone from the beating their father gave me TWO YEARS AGO. Yes, he beat the shit out of me, and in front of the kids. Why, you ask? Why, because I tried to hug my kids goodbye. I hadn't seen them in three months, got permission from him to come pick them up for a couple of days (and discussed the situation with him repeatedly for over three weeks beforehand) and then had the unmitigated gall to actually show up, expecting to take my kids for a visit! He'd been drinking (again) and had already been building a rage for hours before I arrived. He refused to let me take them. I argued with him for a few minutes, then decided that it would be better for all concerned if I left and came back the next day. I walked toward the front of his house to call the kids outside, so I could tell them I was leaving, and hug them goodbye. I wanted to reassure them, as they were crying when they got sent in the house, that there was going to be no nasty fight, it's ok, don't cry, I'll see you tomorrow. And I desperately wanted that hug. The ex decided he didn't like that, and hit me across the chest with an outflung arm to knock me back. He then grabbed the side of the truck that was parked alongside the front of the house to block my passage, screaming all the while that I wasn't going in his house. Well, duh! I had no desire to be in his house, nor even on his porch. I just wanted to say goodbye to my kids....OUTSIDE. Anyway, he left a bruise on my chest where he hit me. I'd been through so much at his hands for the previous year, I snapped. I slapped him in his face and told him not to EVER touch me again. That's when he doubled up his fist and proceeded to beat me to the ground. I lost count after the 12th punch. Fun memory.

Suffice it to say that my joint custody rights were hard fought for, and I know firsthand what it is to live without my kids - to worry about them, fear for them, and to feel guilty for not protecting them - from afar. Yes, I feel guilty for what they went through, but I don't let it make me a 'slacker parent'. It's hard not to fall victim to the Weekend Parent Syndrome, sometimes, because I DO feel guilty. Guilty for what they went through during and after the divorce, guilty that I have to work the screwy hours I do and can't be home with them as much as I'd like. But hey, I do try very hard to raise them right, with discipline, morals, values, ten tons of love, and as much physical, financial, mental and emotional security as I can humanly provide. I'm lucky, really. They're normal average kids, they can be real brats when they wanna...but they're basically really good kids. They're smart, funny, gorgeous, mostly well behaved. Considering how much they were traumatized (and no, I'm not throwing terms around to exaggerate, they really were), I'm amazed at the lack of discipline problems in this house. It's just normal kid stuff, I don't worry about them ending up in Juvenile or anything. I'm lucky, and I'm grateful.

Did I mention I'm crazy about my kids? :)
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Queen of Questions
A quick note before work

I'm thinking I should give more background on myself than I previously have. Last night's post makes it look like I was bad mom who lost her kids because of...well, whatever. It wasn't like that, though. Yeah, I made some stupid mistakes and decisions, but it wasn't like I was strung out on drugs or something, and had my kids taken away from me.

Note to self: Explain why I ended up with joint legal custody instead of physical custody. People IRL have found it to be interesting enough, it should be fairly interesting to read here.

I'll probably do that tonight after the kids go to bed. Right now, I just don't have time, I have to go to work.


Queen of Questions
A little bit of me

Where do I start? You know, if I start telling you everything about my past, you're going to think I'm a freak or a psycho or something...and I'm really not. No, honestly...I may be a bit jaded, and rather hesitant to trust anyone on an intimate level right now, and I get upset at being disrespected or shit on or used...but other than that, I'm completely...boring. My life wasn't always so boring, though.

I prefer boring over the excitement I had in my past.

I thought about this today. Should I do a timeline thing? Start telling stuff from my earliest memories? Start with what aunts, uncles, and grandparents have told me happened before my first memories began? Just fill you in on whatever happens to be on my mind?

Whatever happens to come to mind, I think. Whatever happens to be pertinent at the time. We'll start with...

My second marriage. I can only give a handful of details, because to tell everything that happened...it's just too much. It's too much to write, and it's TMI.

I married my second husband knowing I wasn't in love with him and that we weren't compatible. This happened because I knew I was pregnant with his child (an entire story unto itself), and I was determined that my child would have a full family, not a broken home. My parents divorced when I was four, and I went through a *lot* after that, stuff that was still strongly affecting my life. So, I married for the wrong reasons, out of a misplaced sense of honor and what was 'the right thing to do'. I did it because I wanted my kids to have better than I had, and I foolishly believed that whatever was wrong in our relationship could be worked out in time. I was a naive child to believe such a thing.

He didn't beat me before the divorce, although he drew his fist back more than once, threatening. He punched walls, cabinets, whatever...always menacing with the possibility of physical harm, but not quite following through. The abuse I suffered at his hands was mental cruelty, emotional cruelty, withheld emotion, etc. Doesn't sound so bad, huh? But it was. What was going on in that marriage sickened me, disgusted me, and shamed me. I pretended for all the world that all was well, because I was too ashamed to admit the truth...and that I'd made such a horrible mistake. I was afraid of being judged, afraid of people (family) thinking I'd chosen to marry him for reasons other than the truth. I guess in the end it didn't really matter.

I tried - really tried to make that marriage work. I can honestly say that I can face myself in the mirror, and emphatically state that I went above and beyond the call of duty as a wife to try to compromise and make that marriage work. There came a day, though, when I woke up knew: Kill me, Kill him, or Get Out. I chose to get out.

I'd rather be physically beaten to a pulp than go through that kind of drain on my spirit again. I was nearly a zombie, in some ways. It was living, waking, walking death. There was no joy, no happiness, no love, no peace, no comfort. Only the burden of secrecy, pain, humilation, and an ever-deepening sadness of the soul.

I've talked about this with friends, with family..it's not like I've never spoken of it since the divorce. I'm not sure why I feel so reluctant to go into detail here. I think maybe it's because no one who will read this really knows me, and will be basing all opinions and judgements completely on what I write...and I can't write enough detail to make you get the full picture. I mean, I could...but there is a character limit, after all. It's hard to explain.

I don't try to paint myself as a saint, or that I made no mistakes or anything. It's just that...most of the bad judgement calls and bad decisions were based on trying to choose the lesser of evils. I really think you would have to know the whole story from the beginning of my childhood in order to understand how I was thinking, what I was feeling, and why on earth I would do some of the things I did. I know the whole story, every gritty detail, and sometimes I still shake my head in wonder at my stupidity for getting myself into such a mess...and for not getting back out sooner, because of my strong sense of honor, and not wanting to hurt others. *sigh*

My ex wanted me to do things that I didn't want to do, that was in direct violation of my marriage vows, my sense of right and wrong, my morals and values. He didn't just want me to, though...he demanded. And when he didn't get his way....there was hell to pay. I tried to make him happy, I tried to keep the peace. I tried to compromise (a fact that still turns my stomach) to the detriment of my spirit and my very soul. At first I was only ashamed that I'd chosen to marry a man who would not only willingly allow such things for/with his wife...but actually desired it to the point of playing cruel mind games, and emotionally torturing me, to get what he wanted. And then I was ashamed because I gave in.

He used to tell me "Just try it once, if you don't like it, I'll never ask you to do it again". I didn't trust that, and fought with him for years on the matter. Eventually though, I was so desperate for peace, for calm, to stop having the exact same fight, word for word, three times a week, that I finally said "Fine. I'll try it once. And you swear that if I don't want to do it again, you won't ask?" Naturally he agreed without a moment's hesitation. Of course, he was lying.

How many times did we argue until the sun came up, over this? Each time, I tried to explain why I didn't want to do this, how it made me feel. I tried telling him of my past, and how I could never want what he was asking me to want, because of it. I cried until my eyes were so swollen I could barely blink. I begged him to understand how much this was hurting me. I begged harder for it to stop. But, it only got worse as time went on.

Husbands and fathers have a thousand duties to their families, but pretty much all of them boil down to one basic concept; take care of and protect the wife and kids. As the physically larger, stronger, and more aggressive of the species, that is their role. It starts when we're little kids, and there's a Boogeyman under our beds...it's Daddy's job to chase it away, and keep it from coming back. That's his job, when you're little. You don't care about his job that earns the paycheck that pays the bills so you can have a roof, food, clothes. You care about nightmares and boogeymen, you care about being safe and loved and protected. It's Mommy's job too...but if a kid is scared of a monster (or a real life threat ) and has his choice of who rescues them, it's Dad they want. Daddy loves me, he doesn't want me to be hurt. Daddy is strong and brave, he can kill the monster...and then I'll be safe. Protecting us is his job, and we trust him to do it.

It goes on when we get older, and get married. Now it's the husband, and if there is danger, it's his job to protect the wife. He keeps her safe, provides for her. She in turn takes care of him, too. That's what a marriage is, two people taking care of each other, each doing what their gender does best (as a general rule here, of course) each bringing their particular talents and strengths together to make a strong whole. It's supposed to be a give/give win/win situation. Granted, that's very stereotypical of me to say, and I know that someone is surely shaking their head and writing me an angry email right now. But, stop and think...isn't it true? Isn't this what our most basest of instincts guides us to do, as a general rule? If not, why do we have paternal and maternal instincts? It's not only to guide us as we raise the children we bring into the world...it's also to guide us as to how we should care for our mate, and in doing so, care for ourselves and ensure our survival.

But, what do you do when the one you've chosen to be your protector, your lover, your partner for life...the one who is supposed to be your staunchest supporter, care for you more than any other being on the planet... Love You above all others....doesn't do his job? What if, in fact, HE is the only one who is hurting you...he's aware that he's hurting you, and doesn't care?

The incredible sense of betrayal, loss, unfairness, degradation, humiliation, pain...eventually it gets to be more than the spirit can continue to be bombarded with and survive intact. At that point, you either find a way to stop the attack, or you die.

I'm a survivor. I've behaved as though I were incredibly weak, my entire life. I learned (was taught) to play the part of the victim both inside and out, as a small child. But I've survived so much...I know I am in fact very, very strong. Tis why I'm more ashamed of my choices, my decisions, my desperate mistakes than I am of anything else in my life. I did all those things based on a victim's fears and weaknesses...but in fact I had the strength to stop it, all along.

If only I had known myself.

It's not that I think to myself "I'm a Bitch and I'm proud of it!" or anything. It's just that, I learned the hard way that I have to take care of myself. Over the space of my life I've been abandoned (physically and emotionally), betrayed, beaten, stomped, kicked, used, abused, tortured, tormented, molested, and raped. And every bit of it was done by one person or another in my life whose role it was to care for me, love me, protect me, keep me safe. Not only did they fail to protect me from harm, they harmed me irreversibly themselves. Is it any wonder I'm afraid to trust?

I take care of myself, now. I no longer expect anyone else to do that job. I don't look for heroes anymore, and all pedestals have been removed from the playing field. I no longer believe a single human on this planet cares as much about my well-being as I do. Yes, I take care of myself now, and I do a damned good job of it.

I'm finally safe.


Queen of Questions
I'll never be that stupid again.

How did I end up without my kids, in the divorce? That's a pretty sad story.

When I woke realizing I needed to get out of this situation, I really didn't have anywhere to go. I had no money saved, and my job was one of those contract things where the contract runs out, hence the work and then the paycheck. I couldn't wait until I had another job and money saved, that would take months on end. It's not exactly a great job market, here.

I thought about it long and hard, and I thought back over all that had happened with my parents, and my sister and I. I didn't know what to do or even what I wanted to do...I only knew what I *didn't* want to do, and that was harm my kids in any way.

I knew that their dad loved them, of that I had no doubt. He's nearly ten years older than me, and has two kids by a previous wife. He learned some hard lessons about the idiotic games he and his first wife played, and how it affected the kids. He and I had talked about it many times, and I was fairly sure that he wouldn't willingly make the same mistakes again. I felt certain that although he would be freaking out on me, he would still do whatever was necessary to protect the kids, to make it as easy for them as humanly possible. So, while I didn't trust him with my heart, my body, or my spirit....I stupidly trusted him as a father, simply because he had told me countless times how he would handle things if we ever split up - and because he loved them. If only I could go back, knowing what I know now....

I went to a friends house at first, just to think things through a bit. I decided that before I filed for divorce or did anything permanent, I'd take a couple of weeks away from him and the situation to look at it, really scrutinize, and decide for once and for all if I could even try again. My friend didn't have room for more than one extra person, and quite frankly, I was nearly going insane with trying to make this decision. I kept thinking about my kids and the fact that I was breaking up their home....and then thinking about the fact that if I stayed, I honestly didn't believe I'd survive. It was an awful two weeks. I left the kids with their dad (two miles away) so they could continue to go to school, have their house, their rooms, their bed, their friends...as much semblance of security and normalcy as possible. It wasn't what I wanted, I wanted them with me. But I thought I was doing what was best for the kids. I had no money, my job had no contract at the moment, I had no home to take them to. If I took them with me, they'd be with me...but we might end up living in the car or something. It broke my heart, I bawled continuously, but I chose to leave them where they'd have a roof and food...and the rest of it. Everything was there, except for me.

When I decided that I did in fact want a divorce, I sat down and talked to their dad. I told him how I felt, and what I wanted to do. He kept going on and on about how he was going to go back to driving a truck so he could make good money compared to what he was making then. He seemed to think if he made more money and we lived in a nicer house, I'd stay and be happy. Being poor wasn't why I left, and I had told him that, yet...ah well. You get the idea.

So he tells me he's going to go back over the road. I say fine, here's a plan then, tell me what you think. We'll both live in (a small town just across the state line, half hour drive away) where rent is extremely low compared to here, and no matter where either of us lives, the kids will still go to the same school. I'll continue to work in (this town), and I'm looking for another job. IF you go over the road, I'll keep the kids when you're gone, and as soon as you hit town, you can have them with you until you leave again. We'll work this out so that we don't fight, the kids don't need the fighting. I just want out, I don't want a battle to the death over control of anything. I even told him he could have pretty much all the furnishings and stuff in the house, I only wanted my pictures, things I'd had before we got together. We could find a way to calmly sort the rest and split it. I didn't want to fight. I didn't want to play mind games. I just wanted it over with as quickly and quietly as possible. I wanted it to be as easy on my kids as humanly possible...they deserved at least that much. He agreed, and we wrote it out. Matt (his boss, previously my boss, and someone I thought was friend to the whole family) said he'd have it typed up and we could sign it, and enter it as the custody arrangement...we'd have joint custody, share holidays, etc.

The day of court, I showed up WITHOUT A LAWYER. Remember, I trusted Matt, and I trusted their dad to do what was best for the kids, not play control games. We had discussed it all, we had agreed. It was a matter of simply making it official. There wasn't supposed to be a battle at all. I listened to Matt and the judge talk back and forth about joint custody. The judge asked me if I understood that by agreeing to this, I was giving up full custody rights. Yes, I understood that I wouldn't have sole custody, we'll have joint. What I didn't understand was, they were talking about joint LEGAL custody, while I was talking about joint PHYSICAL custody. That sneaky fucking bastard. And I was a complete idiot, for ever trusting either of them to do the right thing for anyone but themselves.

Joint legal custody meant that I was entitled to every other weekend with the kids, to see their schoolwork and records, their doctor and dental records, and I could throw a fit if he put them in a school I didn't like for some reason. I got every other holiday. However, Matt worded it in the divorce papers so that I couldn't even prove which weekends and holidays were supposed to be mine! When their father hid them from me, to torment me, to punish me...I went to the police. Their hands were tied, because it was my word against his as to whose weekend this was. He had all the power, he had all the control. And he wielded it like a madman.

He started drinking heavily every day, and when he'd have a tantrum, look out. He terrified the kids. They were scared he'd hurt them, but they were more scared he'd hurt himself. They were powerless to stop it, and could only beg him to stop. I was powerless to remove them from a dangerous situation. I considered just walking in and taking the kids and getting out, so many times I lost count. However, that wouldn't work.

He lived in an upstairs apartment he rented in his brothers house. Two of his brothers lived downstairs (and all three are BIG guys) as well as I don't even know how many other people. There were a lot of people in that house, though. The entrances were watched, and there was positively no way to sneak into this house. If I tried, I'd surely be caught, and if caught they'd either beat the crap out of me or have me arrested. Either way, my kids are further traumatized, not helped. Plus, it was obvious I was going to have to find a way to take him back to court...and being arrested for breaking into his house and trying to snatch the kids would NOT help me get them back. So, my hands were tied.

I cried so much that first year, I ended up with stys inside my eyes. No, not on the edge where you could see them. I mean INSIDE my eyes, against the eyeball, in clusters. And they were huge. When I finally could sit on $20 and went to the clinic where they charge according to your income, the doctor there was very upset at my phsycial condition. My nerves were shot, my eyes were a mess, and I wasn't sleeping. I looked ready for a straitjacket, to her...and she kept asking me if I had thoughts of hurting myself. I kept saying no, and finally snapped at her "I can't kill myself, I have two kids counting on me to save them, ok?!" Her eyes filled up with tears then, and I swear to you, she put her clipboard down and hugged me. Little did I know I would end up having a nearly exact conversation with another doctor, in another state, a year or so later.

There are a ton of details between that point and the present. I don't know how many I'll tell here, but for now, you have an idea how I ended up without my kids. It wasn't because I'd been bad, in a mental hospital, in jail, on drugs, or anything remotely like that. It was because I foolishly trusted and tried to be a mature adult about a situation where I SHOULD have been a raving bitch and fought like a tiger, even if it felt selfish, even if it hurt the kids. They'd have been so much safer in the long run, if I'd have allowed them to go through some pain in the beginning. If only I had known. I should have, I really should have. But I wanted so much to trust, I wanted so much to deal with this sanely and calmly...I pretty much handed him the sword he plunged in my back. It doesn't really matter to me whether he betrayed me or not, though. I mean yeah, it makes me angry...or at least I spent a lot of time being angry about it, now I just don't give a shit. He is a worthless piece of shit to do what he did, hence not worth my energy. I have no respect for him at all. I would have had him murdered if my kids didn't love their daddy so much. Horrible to say, horrible to think...but it's true. The only thing that stopped me was the fact that I knew my kids would be forever harmed by losing their dad. So, I let it go and move on, now.

But I will never, ever, EVER forgive him for what he did to my kids.


Queen of Questions

I have done pretty much nothing, all day long. I just love Mondays. I should probably mention that Monday is my Saturday, now, due to my work schedule. It's pretty cool, in a way. If I need to pay bills, I have that opportunity - without stressing about how to do it in lunch hour traffic in thirty minutes or less. Also, the kids are in school, so there's some peace and quiet.

I didn't get up until 10:30, then spent until around 2:30 sitting at my computer. The coffee was pefect today, not so strong I needed extra creamer, not too weak. The weather was gorgeous...perfect for a walk, working outdoors, or sleeping in. I already had windows open, and opened both the front and back doors to go along with it. It was pleasantly cool in the house, just enough to make the coffee even *feel* wonderful going down my throat.

I reveled in the quiet. After responding to some email from my little brother, I checked for updates on my favorite journals, then read a little bit of Sluggy Freelance. I only just discovered Sluggy a short while back, and have been slowly and methodically catching up to the present...one strip at a time. If you don't already know Sluggy, you *must* check it out. I do recommend starting at the beginning, though. The storylines being followed (sometimes three going at once, alternatingly) can be followed for quite some time, as comics go. I love the fact that they'll *seemingly* finish a storyline, then later go back into it. I get a huge kick out of the characters, but I honestly adore Kiki the ferrett. "Stay good Riff! Stay good!" (poing poing!) when Riff is about to thrash someone with the laser cannon or robot he's invented. Such a chuckle. :)

I was supposed to pick both the kids up from school today. Alyssa had volleyball practice until four, and Harley gets *home* at four. One school is allllll the way across town. So, I was to pick Harley up at 3:45 when his school lets out, then zoom across town (as zoomy as you can get in traffic at that hour, anyway) to get Alyssa. I almost had a heart attack when Alyssa called out "Mom?" just as I was stepping into the shower.

I had locked the screen doors and left the main doors open, because the cool air just felt so good. Since I leave the lights off in the house during the day, and have the blinds fixed so you really can't see in, I was kind of..well, I was walking around the house naked in the few minutes before my shower. How glorious it is to strip and walk naked through your own house, when normally you have to avoid that very thing! heh Anyway, it seems her coach was going to be late today, and practice wasn't going to start until around the time they'd planned for it to end. She'd decided 'screw it' and came home on the bus. Very cool for me, except for the whole heart attack thing.

After my shower I stuffed some cash in my pocket and we went to pick my son up. Now that I have them both in the car, they are my hostages...we're going to Walmart! (insert evil laughter here) They hate going to Walmart with me almost as much as I hate spending all my money on things like laundry detergent and toilet paper. :D Anyway, we have a Supercenter here, so after we grabbed all the necessity stuff, we kind of went a bit nuts in the food section. Honey chile, there is JUNK food in my house galore right now! Never, ever go to the store hungry...but hey. Wasn't hungry when I left the house..and besides, if I wait 'till we've eaten, we end up not going. Oh well, at least I didn't buy the junk *instead* of the needed shampoo, tp, new trash can, and fabric softener. Oh yeah, there's something that's not normally on my list - a trash can. No, I don't know how the old one got broken. It just did. Yes, I tried turning the broken piece to the back. It kept getting more broken anyway.

On the way home, the kids were being backseat drivers. Actually, they were doing that on the way there, but they weren't being cute then, they were being annoying. So anyway, there's this stoplight near the house that I know how to avoid, and of course I do so. I'm listening to this running commentary between my kids about why I turned here instead of just going to the light...the light would be green by the time I got there...man, she just had to turn the steering wheel three times instead of one...oh wait, the light would have been red. My son (whose face I can see in the mirror) looks at me with this kind of odd respect on his face, like he just discovered I can, in fact, drive. He says "Good thinking, Mom!" Maybe you just had to be there, but it was hard for me to stifle my giggle. If he thinks that was cool, he should ride with me while I'm doing deliveries, some time. ;) I can make two deliveries on opposite ends of town and be back in the store within 20-25 minutes, depending on the time of day and traffic conditions. You learn the shortcuts. You also learn where the cops like to hide. *grin*

We were all so hungry by the time we hit the checkout line at Wally World that I did something I *never* do...I got some already fried chicken, hot and ready to eat. I didn't even bother with making mashed potatoes (or as some folks like to say around here - 'makin taters!) or anything. We rushed to put everything away, then fell upon that chicken like we hadn't eaten in a week. There was nothing left but clean bones within mere minutes, and we sat and smiled while we licked our fingers. Then we had some cheddar cheese and hot picante sauce. Animal crackers for dessert! Hey, I know, those are kiddie snacks...but I've never lost my love for them. I know I'm treating myself when I actually buy some...I only get them about once a year. I don't want to burn myself out. It's strange, maybe, to think that way...but I really don't want to lose that feeling I get when I crunch into an animal cracker and taste that sweetness that is anything *but* decadent. It feels all innocent or something. Yeah, I know I'm being weird. Deal with it. Even weirder - this time I bought this twelve inch high plastic canister in the shape of a teddy bear, full of them. There's vanilla and chocolate crackers, and I smile every time I look at that very inexpensive bear with a red lid. Yes, I'm aware that I'm often easily entertained. :Þ

After the chicken was homework and social hour. Eventually we settled down with the movie 'Showtime' with De Niro and Eddie Murphy. I think DeNiro is great, I've not hated a movie of his yet...well, maybe I haven't seen them all. And I've yet to meet anyone who can keep from smiling when Eddie Murphy does that laugh of his. Yes, he has a potty mouth in his standup routine...but he's generally *funny*. I defy you to say "The Cookout" wasn't funny!! I thought it was interesting to see the two of them together, since their styles are so different. The movie had it's funny moments, but it's not one I'd rent again. Good, but not Great.

Now that the kids are surely asleep, I'm finally going to watch Dazed and Confused. Judging by what it says on the box I wouldn't want the kids to watch it, but I've heard it's absolutely hilarious. I guess I'll find out soon enough. I've also rented Deliberate Intent and The Count of Monte Cristo. I'll let you know how I like them...I'll even pretend you care what I think about 'em. *grin*

Days like this one make it really easy to count your blessings. So much peace, today. So much sunshine and cool air. Ever notice how much better a hot shower feels when the weather is cool? I actually caught myself going "Mmmmm..." in the shower today. I laughed at myself thinking "If anyone happens to be in earshot outside this open window..." Maybe I reall AM just easily amused. *smile*

Yes, another boring yet *exquisite* day. At this point in my life, I know how to truly appreciate a day where nothing bad happens, nothing goes wrong, the air smells sweet, and I've basically gotten to do nothing except rest, relax, and recharge. Well, there was that whole giving my money away to the people at Wal-Mart thing, but hey...I like clean clothes and clean hair. Go figure.


Queen of Questions
I have an avatar! hehe

Yeah, I know, I'm being goofy like some kid. But hey...I'm allowed, now and then.

I didn't get much done on my List today, same as yesterday. I did, however, do things on both my days off that have been on my List for a LONG time, and had been avoiding. Yesterday was the Walmart thing. Today it was bathing the dog.

Giving her a bath isn't really such a huge deal, except that it makes my back hurt so much. She's half chow-half alaskan malamute. Ok, take a second to envision that. Got it? Ok, notice all the long fur? Yeah, that stuff takes awhile to shampoo properly.

First I have to brush her out and remove all tangles (normally not too many there, but hey) and trim her tail. The fur on that sucker really grows fast! Ah, there we go, all pretty and groomed-looking again. Now to prepare the shower. This means removing all items except the shampoo and conditioner I intend to use on my fifty pound ball of fluff. Next, set the doggy toenail clippers by the door, as well as my slip-on sandals. Oops! Grab her bed, throw it in the washing machine. Let's get that clean, while we're at it.

Now then, put her leash on her...and then feel guilty because she's gotten all excited thinking she's going outside for a walk. Ok, now that that's done, piss her off royally by taking her toward the bathroom instead. Next, remove her front paws/legs from the wall outside the bathroom where she has braced herself to keep from being dragged any closer to the tub. Apologize profusely several times. Aaah, now we're actually INSIDE the bathroom, quick! Close the door!

Now the fun part - get her to climb in the tub. The rest of this is going to go a lot more smoothly if you convince her to do that on her own, and don't physically pick her up and put her there. Five minutes later, turn the water on. Grab the leash!

Check the water temp, don't burn her...but remember: she likes a WARM shower. Aaaahhh...there we go, now slather on that shampoo and make it feel like she's just getting all kinds of lovin', it's just wet in here, that's all. Rinse thoroughly (thank God for hand held shower heads...). Repeat the slathering part, only this time, use some nice detangling conditioner. Talk sweetly to her, and rub her down just like you were greeting her after work...only don't miss any spots on her body. Has it been three minutes? Cool...rinse. Ok, now rinse again. Grab the towel. If you're quick enough, you won't get drenched, nor have to wash the walls. Make sure you dry out her ears, and clean them.

Now that she's towel dried, release her from the tub and let her run to the front door. Try to stand up. Ok, sit on the toilet seat and try to breathe, instead. Listen to her whine and scratch at the door as you try ever so slowly to raise yourself from cavewoman position...you can do it. Stop holding your breath! Remember your yoga, you can do it....ahhh, there you go. Grab the leash, and follow the dog.

Now that we're outside and she's just DYING to run, run run! make her hold very still while you trim her toenails. Yes, she DOES hate this a thousand times more than the bath. Deal with it, it has to be done. Don't cut too short and make her bleed! Thank God, that's done.

Lead her around the loop, making her think she's going to get a real walk. Now, piss her off yet again by taking her back inside, instead. Fall on the couch to stretch out and push a fist into your poor aching back. Fall asleep for two hours.

Bribe a kid with cash to clean the tub for you. Voila! Chore done!


Queen of Questions
Going overboard, perhaps

With this journal, I mean. When journals that have half the posts have twice the hits, I think to myself...hmmm...I really *have* scared them all away. It's not nice to scare people.

I'm thinking it's time to quit writing in this thing. The last few entries really sucked.


Queen of Questions
Ok Ok, you win!

All two of you who messaged me and asked me not to stop writing, that is.

While I actually do write this thing for myself and not some kind of competition with other journals...no one likes to feel embarrassed by their efforts in public, right? I'm no different on that count.

I honestly do appreciate the two of you writing to me and asking me to continue posting. If I have a following of two and no more, then really, that's good enough for me. Honestly. I guess I just needed to know that when people finish reading one of my posts they aren't ALL always thinking "mmmmkay...that was...uhm..TMI/depressing/completely inane/worthless. You get the idea, right?

I'll try to stay away from the depressing stuff, but no promises. When I said ramblings...I meant it. I write whatever happens to pop into my head whenever I sit down to write. And obviously, that can be absolutely anything at all. On second thought, I can't even in good grace tell you I'll try to stay away from anything at all. If you decide you hate the content at some point, you are free to do one or both of two things. A) Message me and tell me to lighten the fuck up, already. B) Stop reading it. Right?

Righto, chap, ever onward she goes.

On a lighter note, here is one of my favorite jokes of all time. I first heard it over the telephone by someone I previously mentioned, and when I hear it, read it, or think of it...well, let's put it this way. Way back when, long ago, the person who told me this joke used to be referred to by people who didn't know him as That Person Who Makes You Smile. That's because, if someone else answered the phone, said it was for me, and I asked who it was....I would smile (I've been told) the most incredible glowing smile they'd ever seen on my face. In fact, for two years these occasions were the *only* time anyone saw me smile at all. I treasure the memories of him, and can still hear this joke told in his voice, when I read it. Here it is:

Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail. And with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. All of this made him... what?

A super callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.



Queen of Questions
The meaning of a true friend

You know, I'm a lucky woman.

After my divorce (from Husband #2) I lost pretty much every friend I had. That included my *best* friend of eleven years.

I can take my feelings being hurt, and I can even forgive some mild forms of betrayal...if I believe the person wasn't really setting out to shit on me, it just kind of accidentally happened to turn out that way. This situation occurred concerning aforementioned best friend, right after I left the ex. I forgave. Then, her desire to gossip about the divorce and 'who said what' began seriously interfering with my life, and my ability to see my kids. I tried to forgive her for that, too. And then she and her husband (someone I'd been close to since the age of eleven...my first husband) did something I can never, ever forgive. Well, maybe I'll forgive it at some point. I'll never forget though, and I'll never accept them into my life again - they cannot be trusted.

On the day the father of my children beat the living hell out of me in his front yard, he happened to be renting his house from those very friends. Said house was quite close to their own abode, a very short walking distance, in a *very* small town. Someone (presumably my former stepson) ran to get them, to see if they could pull my ex off me. By the time he (ex #1) showed up, ex #2 had stopped hitting me, and the cops were on their way. He saw my face, and his expression was that of utter shock. Our brief conversatoin went like this:

Him "The kids don't need to be here, they don't need to be seeing this."

Me "You're right, they don't. The cops are on their way, too. Please take them to your house, see if you can calm them down."

Him "They really don't need to be seeing this."

Me "I know, I agree. Take them to your house, get them away from here. Do your best to calm them down and comfort them...I'll come get them as soon as I can."

Him "I'm taking the kids with me."

Me "Damnit! Yes. Put them in your car, take them to your house, and take care of them for me until I can get back here to pick them up. Ok?"

Him "Jesus, your face..."

Me "Please...just take care of my kids, ok? Tell them I'm ok, and I'll be there as soon as I possibly can, but I'm not sure what's going to happen so I don't know when that will be. It might be morning. Ok?"

Him "Yeah, ok, here come the cops, we're going now."

And in fact, the cops were turning down the street as he said that. He takes my kids to his car, and has to physically put my daughter in. She kept trying to get away, to get back to me, completely hysterical. (She was nine, my son was six) *At this point, I should note that I heard ex #2 yell to ex #1 "You know what to do! Just like we planned!" I didn't get a chance to find out what that meant, as there was already an officer in my face asking me what happened.
They drove away.

After much talking back and forth between the ex and myself, they ended up arresting both of us. The ex was taken in one car, me in another. They cuffed him, as he still had that "I'm about to get violent" look in his eyes, and his manner of speech indicated that his rage was barely being contained. I was put in the front seat, sans cuffs. I was being arrested. Me. I've never been arrested for anything in my life, and now I'm being arrested for hitting him back after he hit me. I'm going to have a police record. How incredibly unfair..on top of everything else..

The cop driving me to the county station was mighty pissed at me, too. He lectured me all the way there, about how my kids never should have witnessed such a thing, how this should never have happened. I agreed with him. He berated me for hitting my ex - apparently he'd told them he hadn't hit me, that I'd started it. His version was that he simply blocked my path to his house, and that I'd gone nuts, pulling his hair out and hitting him in the face. When we got to the station, I showed the cop the bruise across my upper chest from his arm, and the purple spot where his fist had connected. I showed him my arms, how they were beginning to show bruises already, and were obviously swollen. I explained how the reason my arms were like this is because he had me backed against a car, I couldn't get away, I couldn't see anything (my eye was swollen shut, and in fact I hadn't seen anything out of it since the first punch). The only thing I could do, could even *think* to do while it was happening was to crouch down and try to protect my head and face from direct hits as much as I could. I had my arms up around my face and head, kind of like they teach you to do in school if there's an earthquake or something. Both arms ended up sprained, swollen, and covered with bruises. Bruises also covered my scalp on the left side, and down the left side of my neck. Forget about my face, my eye. Suffice it to say if I show the pictures to anyone they literally flinch, there's a sharp intake of breath, and you hear "Oh my god..." Anyway...he told me to sit on a chair in a hallway, so I did. He talked to someone for a minute or two, then came back to get me. They booked and released me, told me to go to a hospital for x-rays. They kept him overnight, so he'd have time to cool down. Seems he was running his mouth about how he'd kill me for getting him arrested.

After all that, and after two hours at the hospital, I went to my mom's and called the house where my kids were supposed to be. No one was there. They'd gone into hiding with my kids. My best friends took my kids, and they hid them from me. They knew what happened, they knew all that had gone on, and yet they supported him by hiding my children from me. Of all the things that ex #1 has ever done that's hurt me...this was the cruelest, most deliberate and complete betrayal. In fact, as far as I'm concerned, it's the worse thing he could *ever* do. Best friends? Hah! With friends like that, who the hell needs enemies?? (Yes, I'm aware that it was weird to be friends with my ex husband and his wife to begin with...but until I left ex #2, it really was a wonderful friendship. Honest.)

Yeah, I have barely any friends left from before the divorce. It's taken me the past full year to really believe I can truly trust them. All two of them. I'll call them Dale and Shirley.

We worked together at a cleaners, once. I worked with Dale first. He ironed shirt sleeves and did general touch ups to finished shirts, checked for cracked buttons, matched orders and bagged them. I was the office manager. For some reason, we hit it off from the very beginning. We loved to pull pranks on one another, adored the sarcastic wit 'gotcha' kind of jokes, had water fights, he'd sneak up behind me and scare the stuffing out of me, etc. His wife Shirley worked elsewhere, but she dropped by now and then, especially on payday. When she gave birth to their firstborn, she brought him to the cleaners to show him off to everyone, and we started talking a little. After that, they invited myself, husband #2, and our daughter for dinner now and then. Eventually, Shirley came to work for the cleaners too, pressing pants. From then on, our families spent more time together, doing backyard barbecues on the weekends, the men worked on all the cars together, etc. Shirley has never seemed jealous of mine and Dale's relationship, and for that I'm grateful, for it truly is innocent, and I honestly enjoy it the way it is. There are no stolen glances, there's never been a crush or physical attraction (unless you count the times when I have something really heavy to move or my car is broken somehow....) it's absolutely far from romantic. If I had to stick our friendship in a labeled box, it would have to be closer to 'sibling affection' than anything remotely romantic. Shirley not only patiently permits our goofing off, taunts, and jibes...she sometimes helps me 'get' him. She's a good mom, a good wife, and a great friend.

I don't know what I'd do without these two, sometimes. I'm so grateful to have them in my life, and even more grateful that now, after so long of being afraid to trust, I can finally let my guard down, where they're concerned. If I need help, they're always there for me. Always. If Shirley needs a sitter for a short while, she calls me, and if I'm not on my way to work or something, I always, always take the job. Dale has fixed more things on my car in the past year than I care to count. We've eaten dinner with them, watched movies together. Once, I got the idea in my head that I wanted grilled steaks and salad for dinner. I don't own a grill, though. So I called Shirley up and said "Hey, if I bring the food and help cook it, are you up for a steak and salad dinner tonight?" Naturally she thought that was a great idea. *grin* How was I supposed to know a tornado was going to rampage through town that day? It didn't hit us directly, but we were outside trying to contain the fire inside the grill when the 70+ mph winds blew through our section of town. That's also the day Dale's modem exploded in his computer. Took hours for us to figure out what the hell that sound was...lol

Dale suffers from a lot of muscle tension in his shoulders and neck. A LOT. So do I. Shirley doesn't like getting massages, and she HATES giving them. I don't have anyone to give me massages. So, now and then, Shirley calls me up (as a matter of fact, this happened just last night) and says something like "Hey, wanna come over for dinner/a movie? We're having blah blah or we rented blah blah...and Dale says to tell you his neck hurts." Once, I was having muscle spasms so bad the doc put me on relaxers and pain pills. I mean nasty charlie horses, mean ones. I was in so much pain, and so desperate for relief, she had me come over, fixed dinner for me and my two kids, and told me to be sure to bring the mineral oil. The shirt I was wearing wasn't conducive to good massage at all, never mind using oil, so she tried to loan me something more appropriate (read: covers the essentials but leaves the back somewhat bare). She's smaller than me though, so that didn't work out. We were in her bedroom when we realized this wasn't going to work...and she hands me this bath towel and says "here, just keep this over the front of you." I walked into the living room clutching a bath towel to the front of me, and sat down in front of her husband. She sat on the couch near us as we watched the movie (after dinner) and exchanged massages. Only Shirley would have been comfortable with this situation, and felt no jealousy. But then, we'd always freely given massages with her sitting there, and she was well aware that hands went nowhere they shouldn't. And yet, I can still call her on the phone and say "Girlfriend, I need to borrow your husband...my air conditioner is making a weird noise." She sends him right over, and all alone.

You can't buy that kind of trust and respect with all the money on the planet. I love these people, they are the best friends I've ever known in my adult life, and I know they genuinely care about me and my kids. I hope they know how much they mean to me, how much I appreciate them. In fact, I think it's time for me to come up with a good way to show them, I haven't done that for awhile.

Yes, I'm very, very lucky indeed.


Queen of Questions
So close, and yet so far...

Kenny almost got fired, tonight. Almost. Damnit...I was really hoping that this time they'd can him. Ah well.

Kenny is about 17 years old, and has the work ethic of...hmmm...my eight year old. They stay focused for about as long. Although, in all fairness, my son is *much* better at wiping off tables and scraping plates.

Kenny is one of those people that the whole crew as a general rule doesn't dislike, per se....they just hate working with him, that's all. I was the first duck in that puddle, too. I've talked to him a thousand times about his standing around talking (or watching one of the tv's that are set up in the dining area for the customers) when there is a ton of work to do. Maybe a lot of us wouldn't care so much, but when Kenny doesn' t do his job, it often affects us. We end up stopping what we're doing to answer the phone for him, because he's talking to someone or standing in the corner RIGHT NEXT TO THE PHONE eating, and refuses to answer it. He stands around and talks for an hour, and *then* decides to bus those tables and take the dishes back to be washed. I believe I speak for every single driver employed there when I say that this PISSES US OFF!! We're busting our asses, trying to get everything done so we can get out of there at a decent hour...as close to closing as possible. When Kenny waits until fifteen minutes till closing to bring us enough dishes to set us back more than half an hour, we see red. He cannot, no matter how many times we explain, understand why we are visibly upset.

He screws up phone orders. I despise it when I see my delivery ticket was written by Kenny - he's sent me to the wrong address more than once. On one of those occasions, the address he sent me to was correct, but the street was wrong. That particular number on the street he sent me to was an abandoned house that had been taken over by crackheads, in just about the worst 'hood in town. Thank GOD it was daylight, and no one was there, at the moment. But, can you imagine just how pleased I was with the boy? I told him then "Send me to the wrong address one more time, and I promise you I'll punch you, Kenny." Guess what happened the VERY NEXT DAY?! (Yes, I punched him on his arm, although not *incredibly* hard...and yes, the shift manager knew. He was standing next to Kenny, at the timel) Oh, and he constantly gets the totals wrong, too. I double check the math now, usually, when I see it's his initials on the ticket. Sometimes I don't have time, or don't realize it's his order, though...and end up with a mad customer chewing all the way around my ass and watching it fall out, when I get there.


He has the worst handwriting I've ever seen, and he does not try to make anything legible just because he's at work. I don't know how many pizzas have been made incorrectly and then had to be remade (while the customer waited, fuming) because due to his sloppy handwriting, the guys who make the pizzas thought the order was for something else entirely. Sometimes, it's not his handwriting - it's the fact that he refuses to follow the standard topping abbreviation chart, like the rest of us. Instead, he prefers to make up his own, and often his abbreviation for one thing will be the actual abbreviation for something totally different. For example: He'll write BB for double beef, instead of B, B. It doesn't matter that we've told him a hundred times that BB stands for Bacon Bits. Or, he'll write P for pineapple. Hello? Around here, P stands for PEPPERONI. If the customer desires pineapple, kindly mark it Pine. You get the idea.

The counter people who open the morning after he closes always come in an extra fifteen minutes early, now. They're mad about it, but know that they won't be ready to open at 11:00 if they don't, because Kenny leaves so many things undone. He has left tables unwiped, trash on the floor, the ice machine over the fountain sodas empty, napkin dispensers empty...you name it. He just doesn't care. He says that he cares, he just forgets.

I'll put it this way...he makes everyone there mad enough that I'm not the only one who has gotten in his face and told him in no uncertain terms that he needs to shut the fuck up and do his job, already. And while we're at it, Kenny...you've been here six months now...you should know all this stuff by heart! Are you deliberately obtuse so you can be lazy? Or are you just that fuckin' stupid??


So anyway, the Mike the General Manager actually got mad enough at Kenny today to cuss. Mike, cussing...I was so pleased I didn't miss that. I mean, really...Mike frowns if you slip and cuss, like he's some kind of prude or something. In the space of twenty seconds and two sentences, I heard him say the F word SEVEN times!! Woo! But, that big pansy...he mumbled all those curses to me about Kenny and how he'd have fired him long ago if he'd realized just how bad this kid constantly screws up (like EVERYONE working here hasn't told him repeatedly??) ..and then he left. I wanted to smack him.

Mike's saving grace, is...he's already hired another counter person, and they've been training for a few days. I think Mike plans to keep Kenny through the weekend, until he's satisfied the new girl can handle it...and then (I hope) he's going to give Kenny the boot. Hell, we all hope.

I don't understand his choice for a new driver, though. He informed me today "the new driver doesn't seem too bright, I want you to spend some extra time training him. He doesn't know any of the streets in town at all (He thought 67 Hwy was Main Street), and will need to ride with someone for awhile. He seems like he'll try really hard, though." Uhmm...Mike? We have enough drivers...why are you hiring someone new? And someone who doesn't have enough brainpower to handle the job, at that? It makes me wonder whose job is on the line, now.



Queen of Questions
Expectantly waiting

Last night I went to bed tired but not terribly sleepy, and fell asleep within seconds of lying down. Hmm...that's odd, for me.

The kids are at their dad's house on Thursday nights, so I don't have to get up early on Friday mornings unless I have errands to run. This morning, the phone rang at just past eight am, and the machine picked up. I sat up and listened in my half dead stupor, in case it was one of my kids calling from school, or something equally as important. They hung up. Friggen telemarketers! I hate them with a passion. I know, I know...we pretty much all do. Anyway, I got up to go to the bathroom, and instead of walking into the kitchen to make coffee...I went back to bed. I didn't wake up again until nearly 11:00 am. I'm not sure what's going on with me, I seem to be craving a LOT of sleep lately. Is it a balance of sleep deficit slowly being paid off? Am I becoming depressed? Am I just feeling a tad too lazy? I'm not sure.

I know I had more than one dream last night, as I remember during the night becoming aware of myself more than once...not quite waking up, just kind of pulling myself out of a dream and pondering what had been going on in it. Yes, I do that. I know when I finally got out of bed, I tried to remember what happened but couldn't. Once again, all I'm left with is the residual emotion or less...simply knowing it was either weird or the instinctive knowledge I'd figured out something important, and now I can't remember! I hate when that happens. :/

Now I'm awake and sipping coffee (mmmmm....coffeeeeeee) and I realize that I feel....expectant. Like I *know* something is going to happen today, and it's going to be...dramatic? I'm not sure. I pretty much expect something weird to happen today (or very soon), and to feel a strong sense of deja vu when it does. Or, I'll get some bad news. Or news of something I've wanted for a long time! I don't know, I don't know, I don't know. I can't shake this feeling, though. I'm waiting for something. I'm almost afraid to leave the house. *smile* Not really, but you know what I mean.

Perhaps it's just the weather. A lot of events tend to happen in this kind of weather, for me.

My first husband dumped me off at my grandmothers in September, when he decided "we need a 30 day separation because I don't know what I want, and I need to think" (Got tired of waiting for him to figure it out after 8 months of only seeing him when he needed to get laid and then leave. Then I found out he'd moved in with his current wife and her mother. She was all of BARELY sixteen at the time, he was twenty. I filed for divorce myself, at the tender age of nineteen. The heartbreak nearly destroyed me - I truly loved him.)

I married my second husband in November (stupid stupid stupid)
My dad died in November
I left my second husband in September
I divorced him in November
He beat me up in September
I gave up looking for 'a real job' in September, and started applying to restaraunts and fast food places. I'd sworn I'd never move backward on my job path. That was hard for me. Real hard.

I got this pizza delivery job in October, during identical weather.

Not every single dramatic even that happens during this weather is inherently bad - my sister was born in October. My daughter was, too. And although this job isn't exactly what I wanted...when I was hired, I desperately NEEDED it. I guess I still do. I manage to pay my bills and get what we need, and I only have to work around 30 hours a week. Of course, that only works out because I live in Housing, and the rent is based on income, but that's besides the point. I work some days, some nights...and when I work nights I get to sleep late and be lazy during the daytime. I'm okay with that. I managed somehow to coordinate things between the kids' dad and my boss so that I have some time to myself, as well as having as much time with the kids as possible and still giving him joint custody - without having to do the week on/week off thing the judge wanted us to do.

I dunno. Maybe I'm about to meet the man that Bob Biter mentioned in his message to me. I would love to meet the man who could earn my trust and never shatter it, I hope he exists. Thanks for the sentiment, Bob. :)

And hey, just for the record: I do NOT belong to the She-Woman Man-Haters Club. OK? Just because I cannot automatically trust a man on an intimate level does NOT mean that I refuse to do so. It just means...I'm hella careful, now. And yes, I'd rather be alone (without a boyfriend) and safe and basically happy than pin all my hopes for happiness on a man who isn't compatible with me, just to be trudged through the muck again. I must be honest though. Even if I meet the greatest guy in the world and he actually has any feelings or attraction for me, even if we 'hook up', I still don't want to be married again. Ever. I want a relationship, but I want him to have his own house and me to have mine. I prefer to retain control of my life. Maybe that sentiment will change someday, but...the thought of someone else making bad decisions regarding my life, my money, my anything...it scares me to death. If there are to be mistakes, bad judgement calls, etc. I want them to be my own and no one else's. I think I make better decisions regarding my life, my money, my happiness, and my kids than anyone else, save God himself. Maybe someday I'll be proven wrong. I'm not holding my breath, though.

P.S. I got a pm from someone called 'misim' today that made me really smile. If you read this, I want to tell you that I really loved your statement about ".....glad to see your on top of the 8 ball instead of being squished into the felt." I'd never heard that euphemism before, and I can't thank you enough for sharing it with me. Hope you don't mind if I repeat it now and then. :)


Queen of Questions
The Soap Opera, continued...

I got to work a few minutes early yesterday, which was actually a good idea, as it turned out. I walked in the door to find three deliveries up and no other drivers in the building. Ye Gods! I got busy fast. After grabbing a wallet, checking the contents to be sure I had the correct amount of change (we start the shift with $15) and bagging the orders, I zoomed out the door with them at 4:55. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Dave!! He still managed to steal more than his fair share of orders during the evening though, which of course perturbed all of us.

Brandus is nearly as bad, though. He hangs out in the kitchen moving constantly from one spot to another, (without actually doing anything) waiting on a delivery to come up. Sometimes he'll weigh cheese for whoever is making pizzas if they're really busy, but not much else. He pretends to be working in the kitchen section to get out of doing the driver stuff the same way Dave pretends to be constructively busy folding those boxes. It drives me nuts, but at least if I tell Brandus "don't touch this order, it's mine" to his face, he'll back off.

Kevin, the one weekend-only driver employed there, is taking pages out of both their books.

These are the two I want to coordinate with to stop Dave from snatching from all of us. Next week I'm going to have a little talk with them about the 'Dave situation'. My plan is to go in prepared with a typed letter addressed to the general manager, complaining about Dave's unfair practice of taking our deliveries out of turn, in all his greedy glory. If I can get them to sign it in agreement, maybe something will be done. It all sounds perfectly geared toward Dave alone, right? Muahahahaa! Wish me luck.

Speaking of Kevin...I had an incredibly stupid conversation with him last night. We were both walking out to our cars with deliveries, and I had a chance to speak to him alone. I told him I wanted to apologize for being so hard to get along with last week, that I let it get to me too much, etc. His answer was "Nyeh, no big deal." I could tell by his body language and expression that he was actually thinking "You're just a bitch, no big deal." The rest of the exchange went like this:

Me: You do know why I was so upset, right?

Kevin: Yeah, you were sick.

Me: No, I wasn't sick.

Kevin: You needed to get laid.

Me: What? No, damnit, that's not it.

Kevin: You were sick of not getting laid?

Me: Grrrrrr....

Kevin: What? I get pissed off when I'm not getting laid....

(can you believe this shit? he actually thinks I'm testy because I'm not getting laid. Ok, so I'm not getting laid, but one has nothing to do with the other. It does not!!)

Although this was a perfectly productive conversation, I felt the need to explain the details. I finished with "Kevin, I worked eight hours and only had five deliveries on a Friday night. I was truly angry with Dave, but since you and Brandus snatched from me too, it just felt like Pick on Me night, man. I just feel like when business is slow, we should go out of our way to be MORE fair, not less. You know...be courteous to one another?" He softened after that. And to his credit, when he came back from that delivery, he actually helped do a few dishes. Mostly it was because I took my break by the phone and was watching everyone, though. He was standing around talking, and I kept asking "Are you helping the new guy with dishes?" He'd look at me and say "Yesssss....okay no. But I will!" at which point he'd walk over and spray off a few pans or something.

Here's another obvious case of "Bitch needs to get laid"

Since we don't have Pepsi products in the store I keep a 20 oz Mt. Dew (doooobie...doobie dew!) in the beer cooler, and sip on it during the night. Since I was having my break in the back watching the guys (not)work, I was eating pizza and had my half-full bottle of Dew sitting next to me. Kevin walks over and picks it up, inspects it closely, then with a weird cheesy grin...SHOOK IT UP! I don't know how many people out there are addicted to Mt. Dew like I am, but even the non-addicts have to know that this will flatten it completely. I handed Kevin a dollar and said "That was really funny, now go buy me another one." He tried to argue with me that the soda wasn't flat...see the bubbles? I tersely informed him that I've been drinking the stuff since I was eleven years old, and I know that when a Dew that's been opened for over two hours gets dropped on the floor or shook up, it goes flat....and I will NOT drink it. I punctuated the statement by handing him the bottle and telling him "If it's not flat, then YOU drink it. I won't." He refused, so I tossed it in the trash. "Kevin...PLEASE go buy me another Mt. Dew?" He did. He also refused my dollar...and brought back a 1 liter. I know he thinks I'm a complete bitch, but damnit, if he felt the urge to shake a bottle of soda, he should have chosen to do it to his own.

Yeah, Kevin hasn't been quite as sweet to me since I refused his...attentions, last winter. Well, I'm sorry, but...I'm approximately ten years older than him, for starters. And why would a woman my age with two kids to raise have a romantic/sexual interest in someone ten years her junior who takes pride in being shockingly weird and studying the occult? And yes...it DID freak me out when he gave me perfume for Christmas. And YES, it DID freak me out when he put a bouquet of flowers under the windshield wiper on my car. Call it a knee-jerk reaction, but the only thing I could do for several months was try to avoid him as much as possible...which meant that the friendly conversations we'd been having came to a screeching halt. I don't think he's ever quite forgiven me for that.


Stay tunes for more episodes of....As The Earth Revolves.


Queen of Questions
I'm very sorry, Kevin

The phone rang around 12:30 or so today, while I was in the shower. When I checked my answering machine, I found that my friend Carrie from Indiana had called. Apparently she was having an allergy attack or something, because I couldn't understand a word she said. I grabbed her phone number and picked up the phone to call her back, but as I lifted the receiver I heard that special dial tone that indicates someone has left a message on my call notes. Hmmm...that's interesting. The only way that could have happened is if someone had called while Carrie was leaving her message on my machine.

It turned out to be Andy, the shift manager at work, and I quickly called him back. He asked me if I could work late tonight - Kevin won't be in and he's scheduled till ten. Sure, I tell him, I can do that. But why won't Kev be in? Is he ok?

In fact, he is not ok.

I'm not sure when, how, or why....but last night Kevin's mom died. No one (at work) knows many details, but from what anyone can gather, she was hit by a truck. We have no idea if she was in a vehicle at the time. We only know that Kev lost his mom, and he says he doubts very much he'll come back to work. We were only his weekend job, anyway....and since he has no reason to stay here anymore, he plans to go back home to Pennsylvania.

I feel so guilty. Here I sat bitching about Kevin and dishes and Mt. Dew last night, and as I typed my complaints about him, he was dealing with the sudden death of his mother - alone.

While I wasn't interested in Kevin in a boyfriend/girlfriend kind of way, and his avoidance of helping with dishes often annoyed me...I never disliked him at all. Yeah, I got freaked out about the flowers and stuff, but that's because I didn't want to be in a situation where I had to tell him I didn't think of him that way, or why. I still considered him a friend, though. Before I felt like I needed to put some distance between us, we used to have some fun and interesting conversations, and I was sorry that that had to change. Now he's going through something really awful, and I don't even know if I should call him and express my sympathy. To tell the truth, I really don't know what to say to him except "I'm so very sorry" and somehow that just doesn't feel like it's going to be helpful. I've been thinking about it all day, and I'm not any closer to figuring out what to do.

The night was really uhmmm...interesting. I really don't think it should all share one post, though. It just doesn't seem right.