So we survived Halloween by keeping the shutters closed and the porch light off. Oh what a party pooper you may say, but hear me out. Mr. Husband and I are the babies in our neighborhood. The majority of our neighbors are elderly and the only time a house goes up for sale around here is when someone died. There are no houses with children near us.
Any kids that show up here are bused in from who knows where and swarm all over the block scaring us half to death when they dart out into the street from between parked cars. I don’t like it. When I’m in a cynical mood I wonder if the parents are hoping for the opportunity for a juicy lawsuit. I prefer children that I at least know in passing, as in I trip over their tricycle when walking my dog, they throw a Tonka truck at my head, etc.
The holidays are always a weird time for me. It is particularly stressful for me because I have in-laws who have entirely different expectations of when and how to celebrate holidays. After going through this for years I have developed a deep-seated resentment because my in-laws tend to ignore the fact that I have my own family with their own expectations and ways of doing things. This is mostly my fault because I haven’t put my foot down and explained that I have a right to celebrate my way occasionally. Instead I’ve piled up a humongous debris tower of resentment.
I have bowed out a few times over the years and gone to be with my family for Thanksgiving. I always have a lot of fun even though my family gatherings can get a bit wild and crazy. So… what to do…what to do?
I’m going try to plan a bit this year and decide what I am willing and capable of doing. I’m going to send out Christmas cards this year. I haven’t for a few years, partly because I received a snippy reply from one of the card recipient’s informing me that I was wasting the earth’s precious resources and killing trees by sending out Christmas cards. Well, how rude! I removed them from my list and in an attempt to take the high ground I refrained from calling them and sharing my opinion that they should take up residence next door to the Grinch who stole Christmas.
So here I am facing the holidays again. It occurred to me while ruminating about this subject for the last few days is that Mr. Husband our past 10 years together has not joined me with my family for a holiday even once. It’s been his way or the highway, year after year. I’m not quite sure why I put up with this, but it’s starting to piss me off. Why do I do this to myself? I’ll just grin and bear something for years or even decades and then suddenly it’s a Mt. Vesuvius eruption of anger and resentment. Then I decide that I’m not going take it anymore and Yee Haaa, here we go.
So it’s not too early to plan for the holidays. I’ve pretty much decided that I’m going to do the Christmas card thing. But, for Thanksgiving I’m going to visit my family in New Orleans. What the heck, maybe I’ll just stay there for Christmas. I haven’t been with my family for Christmas in maybe 20 years. It’s high time to do something about that.
Been in New Orleans for the last week. I don’t know why I even bother to bring my laptop there. I rarely find time to write and even if I had the time, there are so many distractions going on that it just doesn’t happen. Also, I don’t feel comfortable leaving my laptop lying around so it gets complicated to drag it out, find a place to plug it in, boot it up, and so on. By the time this is done I’ve forgotten what I was thinking about.
For this trip, I resorted to a low tech solution, pen and paper. It’s easy to whip out a notebook and start jotting down thoughts. There is an added benefit too.
The very same people who have no problem reading over your shoulder and even commenting when you’re pounding away on a laptop tend to leave you alone when you’re furiously scribbling away. It must a whole different body language and atmosphere. You are obviously doing one thing – writing. Not playing games, piddling with e-mail or whatever.
Saw a bumper sticker on the wall in a bar near my Mom’s house that intrigued me. It read “New Orleans – The Big Easy? Nothing Big or Easy About It!” The actual city, not including the suburbs, of New Orleans really isn’t that big. And the only thing that is easy there is drinking. Way too easy. Try to do anything besides drinking and you feel like you’re running the gauntlet. The streets are in abysmal shape. An ordinary drive from one place to another makes you consider wearing a mouth guard like football players or boxers wear.
I saw pot holes so big that you couldn’t see the traffic cones put there unless you stood at the edge of the hole and peered down in it. Then there are other places where the shaky ground heaved up the asphalt into a hill large enough that you need a dirt bike to get over them. Driving a car over it is out of the question. Your choices are try to go around or back up and try a different street.
There is a reason that all the graves in New Orleans are above ground in mausoleums. The ground in is in a constant flux and shifting. Most of it was not solid ground at all until developers tried throwing truckloads of oyster shells and other debris out to harden it up long enough to sell a house.
At least with an above ground grave you can keep an eye on it and relocate if need be. I would get ticked of if my coffin popped up in the middle of a street. Imagine thinking you are in your eternal rest only to sit up and see a street car heading straight at you. I would haunt my relatives if it happened to me.
Visiting people who live in or around the French Quarter in New Orleans brings additional challenges. Most of the streets have 2 hour restrictions from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm unless you have a resident sticker. There are meter maids lurking around like buzzards just waiting for you to go one nanosecond over the time limit. A resident zone parking violation costs $80 dollars. Whenever I return from a trip to the Big Easy my tires are covered with neon orange chalk marks. My car was on the watch list obviously, with Texas license plates. You’d think N’Awlins would be a little friendlier with its guests, but that’s not the case if you are locomoting around in an automobile.
Since the buildings are so ancient the electrical wiring is a major hodge-podge. Many people don’t have door bells. If they live in an apartment in the back you have to stand there on the street and yell, hoping they hear you or a neighbor who knows you takes pity and lets you in the gate. The advent of the mobile phone was a god send, allowing you to call someone and ask them to let you in.
The mobile phone trick can be a problem though if you pack up, leave, get on the road and discover you left your phone in the apartment, like I did. I stopped at a convenience store to use a phone and had to call Mr. Hubman at home in Texas to ask for my mother’s phone number because, DUH, her number is in my phone so I never dial it and therefore don’t remember what the number is. We arranged a drive by to retrieve the phone because there was no hope of finding a parking place due to a large funeral at the teeny tiny church on the corner.
So yes, hanging around in New Orleans can be a bit tricky, but it’s a lot of fun once you get the hang of it. It’s definitely on the top of my list of places that I wouldn’t want to live in, but love to visit.
Was sitting around in some sort of fugue state a few days ago. Sighing, internal whining, woe is me, I don’t feel like doing anything. But there was a pile of dishes 8 miles high in the kitchen. My laundry was backed up to the point where I was wearing clothes that I wouldn’t even donate to the Salvation Army.
An epiphany occurred. With my particular mental iffy mental state complicated by meds that cause sedation, if I wait until I “feel” like doing something to do it, I may just sit around on ever my ever-increasing back side for days or weeks on end. Taking meds with weight gain as a side effect and impersonating a 2 toed sloth will do that to a woman.
Husband also helped motivate me to get up and about by getting sick. I couldn’t get my ass in gear for myself, but I did manage to get it together enough to try to care for him because I love the big Lug. Bring him a soda or some chicken broth, whatever his little heart desired.
What happened then was a statement came to mind that I used to use on children and then later on employees. “You don’t have to want to do it, like doing it, or feel like doing it, you just have to do it, period, end of discussion.”
For most activities the result will be satisfactory. Maybe not the best ever, but good enough for now. Who ever came up with that slogan “just do it!” (I think it was Nike, but don’t quote me on this) was really on to something. It can just really be that simple.
Don’t wanna get out of bed, well do it anyway. Don’t have to plan the whole day, just stand up. Once your up and staggering around, chances are your limbic brain will head towards the kitchen looking for coffee. Don’t feel like getting dressed, well do it anyway, tough noogies. When already dressed, it’s much less daunting to move on to more ambitious goals like leaving the house, getting behind the wheel of a car, running errands, going shopping.
For me not wanting to go shopping is a warning sign of trouble around the next curve as glaring as another person’s decision to paint a mural on the living room wall using eye makeup. I actually did that when I was a kid. My Mom laughs about it now….
Another thing I did as a kid was decorate the fenders of Mom’s car with stick on daisies. The kind that people used to glue on the shower floor to prevent slipping. I thought it was cool. Guess I’ve always tended to the eccentric artistic side, even as a young child. She decided to leave the flowers there and went tooling around South Miami in the 60′s in a flower power car. Hee Hee. Impulse control is not one of my strong suites.
As an adult I’ve stifled those urges to the point where they rarely come out. I know logically that it’s probably not a good idea to paint a mural on or in someone’s house without their prior consent. But hey, what about my house? Bleh, Hubman would have a stroke if I did that. Sometimes being an adult just plain bites! I could do it on a wall in my office? Wow, that would be way fun. And a renewable canvas, just paint over it and start again.
Back to the do it anyway even when I don’t feel like it. For the past few days I’ve gotten out of bed when I woke up, made the bed, made coffee, got dressed, put on make up, wrote on my book for an hour, and actually left the house for no other reason than I wanted some new spring colored eye shadow. I didn’t wait until it was an emergency to leave the house. How cool is that? May sound like nothing to a functioning person, but for me this is a huge step towards getting back in the game.
I’m also making plans to travel again. I want to go visit my relatives in New Orleans before it gets too hot. My Mom is not into air conditioning so a visit to her in the high on summer time is a rather sweaty business. I need to get right on this as soon as possible. Will start packing today!
This is one of those days that it feels good to talk about someone besides “you know who.” (me)
So today is a brag about a sister day. She was part of a dance performance last night in New Orleans. She is the fine young lady standing to the right of the column at the top of the stairs.
Where do we go from here now that all other children are growin’ up?
And how do we spend our lives if there’s no one to lend us a hand?
I don’t wanna live here no more, I don’t wanna stay
Ain’t gonna spend the rest of my life, Quietly fading away
Alan Parsons Project -Where Do We Go From Here? Lyrics
The here that I don’t wanna live in no more is not a physical space like my house. It’s a metaphysical location – the place I’m stuck in at the moment. I’m tired of fading away, I don’t do anything quietly and furthermore – I’m not liking this! I miss ME. I miss the fun loving, adventurous, creative, rose colored glasses wearing, me.
And there are certainly plenty of people to lend me a hand. All I have to do is reach out, answer the damned phone, come out from under my blankey. Take that risk, belly flop back into the pool.
I’ve always been my best friend or my worst enemy, depending on the situation. Lately I’ve been the enemy. Beating myself up for something that is …not…my…fault. Mental illness is not something that happens because of personal flaws or failings, it just happens. Here I am hiding from people because I’m supposed to be perfect in every way. Well I’m not Mary Poppins. And now I’ve retreated so far into my shell that I’m lost and having trouble finding the way out.
This reminds me of a scene from the movie Liar Liar, starring Jim Carrey. He’s in the bathroom, slamming around, banging his head on the sink, rubbing soap in his eyes. A guy walks in and asks “What the hell are you doing?” He replies, “I’m kicking my ass, do you mind?”
I was looking at my bank statement yesterday and it really hit me hard. There are no transactions on there in the month except for a trip to the 7-11 convenience store every few days for a pack of smokes. That’s it, zip, nada. I’m not going anywhere, doing anything, shopping, eating, going to movies. Gads – I’ve morphed into a Zombie. This is just downright ridiculous.
There are far better ways to save money than impersonating a hermit. Although I may have to sell blood or something. I’m in shock and furious at the moment because I went to drug store to pick up my prescription and it was THREE HUNDRED and NINETY DOLLARS!!!&%#* What the? EErrggg…gaaaaHHH. Are you effing kidding me?? What the hell is this stuff made out of?? Gold plated platinum dusted, uranium? I almost pooped my pants right there in the pharmacy. The Astra Zeneca Pharmaceutical Corporation is the new Anti-Christ, in my opinion. Time to go back to the head doctor and discuss generics or a plan B.
Maybe I should drag my suitcase out of the closet and start packing it. I’ll worry about a destination along the way. I do want to go visit my family and I miss them terribly, but they all live in and around New Orleans. The combination of the Super Bowl there this year, followed by Mardi Gras this month was a little daunting, so I stayed home. Way too much of a circus for my taste. But, that’s all over now. Nothing stopping me – except me.