Me, Myself and Irene

No, this is not a post about the movie that starred Jim Carrey and Renee Zellweger. As I am sure everyone knows, last week was a week of natural disasters for the east coast. First we had the East Coast Quake, which I blogged about earlier this week (In Case of Emergency)…or rather I blogged about what I did and how it affected me. What I did not tell was that according to the newscasts, nothing else happened that day. Absolutely nothing…just the earthquake. There were eyewitness accounts, pictures, videos and stories about the damage the earthquake inflicted, but no other news. I will say, one of the meteorologists did make me laugh when she addressed the emails and phone calls complaining there was no warning about the quake. This woman looked directly into the camera and said: “I am a meteorologist and I predict weather…which is up here ( hands float toward the ceiling). Earthquakes occur down there (hands go down towards the floor) and a geologist studies that. And just so you know, earthquakes cannot be predicted. They just occur. “ Apparently, it was a rough afternoon at the news station.

Well, at 11pm there was another story…Irene was coming!! She was gaining power and force with each passing breath and while she was no Katrina, she had apparently studied at the feet of Hugo and had learned her lessons well. She was as wide as Europe and leaving destruction in her wake.  Mandatory evacuations were in place, people were given sandbags and boards and other precautionary materials. Grocery stores were emptied out in hours ( and I have to ask this question: when any storm is predicted, be it snow or potential hurricanes why do people stock up on food as if they are feeding army? Did you not have any food before the storm warnings and what do expect to do with all this food once the power goes out?) Now, I am a native of DC and have only known of one hurricane to come through..Isabelle who just dumped a lot of rain and did not even shut down power. So while I heard the warnings of Irene, I took it all with a grain of salt. I had a fully stocked freezer but decided I needed to pick up toilet paper, cigarettes, junk food and eggs. She was expected in the DC area on Sunday but somewhere along the line, her 500 miles wide butt picked up some speed and now she was expected Saturday afternoon.

I considered being with someone during the storm….it would have been nice to have been held and kissed and cuddled up while the wind howled and the rain fell in buckets…and Lord knows, Craigslist was filled with lonely men who did not want to be alone during the storm. Some wanted to host, some wanted the woman to host but there was just something about their ads that left me feeling a little “off” . I am not looking for sex, per se, but rather…intimacy, and then not for long periods of time.  I am looking to get to know someone with my clothes on  and while some guys actually said they wanted to get to know someone new, it still came across as they wanted to get to know you naked. Besides, I am not the chick who wants to be all snuggled and bunned up during inclement weather…even when I was in a relationship. Married Man came over during a pretty decent snowfall one winter (not the back to back blizzard season) and we were in bed, snuggled up watching TV. Well, I was trying to watch TV….he was touching me and kissing me everywhere and it was really getting on my nerves! Seriously.  I wanted to lay in bed, divide my attention between the snowfall and the television; maybe cook a homemade soup and sip hot chocolate, not be mauled and fondled….it’s the man in me.

So I decided to brave the storm alone…if I did not want to shower, I did not have to and if I wanted to eat chili and pass gas as chili is prone to make me do, I could without feeling embarrassed or wondering what someone else thought of me. I spent the morning catching up on some TV shows I had missed out on during the week, and cleaning the house some. I hung clothes, folded laundry and kept the TV on so I could get minute by minute updates on Irene. Why not…she was all that was on as no other news was taking place anywhere else that day and cable was sucky. I debated bringing in my older than me balcony furniture as the winds could toss them around some but decided I would wait and see what developed. And then, the rains started….slow and steady at first, but soon enough, it was a thick curtain you could barely see through. Tree branches and leaves did a wild and crazy dance as the winds picked up. Buses stopped running and businesses shut down…she was here!! And I was alone and showered…and I enjoyed every minute of it. I did eat chili and Doritos and a big bag of peanut M&Ms. I laid in bed and watched movies and I let Boxer Rebellion (that band is awesome!) and Death Cab for Cutie be my soundtrack as I debated whether or not freshly chopped tomatoes, onions and jalapenos qualified as homemade salsa; I talked to my mom, my sister and Bell Pepper. I kept an eye on the back porch furniture which did not even move an inch. The pillows on the bench never flew away and I read on Craigslist how a group of folks were going to do a bar crawl in Arlington.

Of course, Irene had to do something to prove she more than media hype….she knocked out the cable/phone and internet and later on the power but in less than 12 hours, life was normal again….. and I was sleeping. Hell, what is one supposed to do with the cable and power off? She definitely left some destruction and damage behind in her tour of the east coast….flooding, tree damage and a random electrical wire fire but for me personally….she did not do much of anything except give me time to think about my life, my current situations and the occasional thought of him, which I quickly put to the back of the line. Irene gave me the time I needed to realize a game changing move may be what the doctor ordered; that I no longer need enough help to simply reset and start over from zero…I need a jumpstart. Irene helped me realize that I do not need a man to complete my life, I want one to complement it and while I am glad I am not one of the clingy, needy types…I need to want the man as much as I want him to want me…and if I do not want a man to spend time with me during a natural disaster, maybe there is something wrong with me. Really, how can I handle for better or for worse if I cannot deal with him for an overnight visit?

Prayers and positive thoughts go out to those who were affected by Irene, and I will be back sooner versus later with updates on the game changing move(s). Have a great day!

(Almost) New Beginnings

In my last blog post, I talked about changing my story. It’s time….I am getting too old to keep going through the same old crap and all I can see is me changing what I do as I cannot change others. Personally, I am still invested in him and even though we have not seen each other or been sexual with each other in over a year, I am still giving it away to him. It is no one’s fault…this is how we are whether we are together or apart… and yes, I said I was done but I know (and you probably do also), I am only done until the next time. Dating wise, options are slim…seriously, in this town guys are married/attached, gay or looking for a size zero who can hike, ride motorcycles, do a wine tasting and deep throat, all on the first date. I met a guy last week who told me I had the most awesome curves and he wanted to be with me. I countered with how about getting to know me and his response was he was recently separated and while he adored and was sexually attracted to bigger women, no way could he be in a relationship with one. He had a reputation, after all. Wow, dude…way to make a girl feel good. That is a guy I doubt I would be with even if he paid me. I had a mango lemonade today with a guy I was chatting with earlier, and we had a great conversation. He is funny, respectful and says he is drawn to personality and intelligence and wants to do lunch really soon and of course, to keep chatting. And  I do have a lunch date this week with a guy I was chatting with…he works less than one block from me and thinks I am cute. We’ll see what transpires…I have Mango Lemonade disappearing off the face of the earth and the lunch date never materializing.

Professionally, I have been unable to find a permanent job in almost 3 years. Do not believe the media hype about how great the economy is in the DC Metropolitan area…it sucks. Temping is okay, but no one wants to pay a temp any money. One would think with no benefits to pay, salary would be higher, but that is only for folks with security clearances. Even lawyers are having a tough time in this town…I know of a bona fide lawyer (degree and passed the bar) who is working as a file clerk right now. Oh, did I mention funding  runs out September 30th on the current assignment and so far there are no prospects, no leads and now, no Reliable One to fall back on.

I have been thinking for the longest time it is time for a new beginning but I always let things hold me back….lack of money, him and I could really get it right, this is the assignment that could turn permanent. See, I am that person who talks about a new beginning, but what I mean is a new beginning within a current situation but all of my current situations have fallen by the wayside…and if they haven’t, the endings to their stories are not going to change. I’m changing, but nothing or no one else is, so the ending will be the same, and now relocation is a strong possibility. Change is hard at any age, but big change as you get older seems to be harder….you have more common sense and tend to think things through versus just going with the flow and as you get older, there are more responsibilities. However, I own absolutely nothing….no car, I rent my apartment, no kids and no significant other. So why not?  Relocate and with that one game changing move, him can go to being the ex for good and for real  and I will have a brand new beginning professionally and personally.  Find a job that will pay me a decent, livable wage and actually take a vacation to someplace tropical where I can wear sarongs and get all nice and tan all over and get my groove back. Relocate and  meet the guy I will want to explore the city at night with…the guy who will kiss me in dark alleys before we sit under the bridge and share our stories and secrets. Meet the guy who will erase my cynicism and change me from the pessimistic, romantic optimist I am and who will show me that I am worthy and deserving of a happily ever after and tons of happy endings. Below are a couple of options I have been kicking around and want to share with you guys. Keep in mind: nothing is set in stone and opinions, suggestions and comments are more than welcome for this post.

Move in with Mom: The fact that this is even an option at my age is pretty pathetic but there are plenty of positives. I can move down there without a job. I can start the job search once I get there; no rent and free food and utilities. My mom has access to HD cable, and she has internet. There is a furnished room for me and my own bathroom.  My daddy will cook me lemon meringue pies and banana puddings and I will be the recipient of lots and lots of mommy love. The negatives: no smoking in the house, so regardless of weather, I am stuck lighting up on the front stoop and between certain hours as they lock up their house at night…early in the night. Dating wise, the pickings are slimmer than here…it is a town filled with college students, families and retirees…not sure if a single man over the age of 35 exists in her town, and I will be unable to Craigslist to see if there is. AND to top it off, her city is boring…extremely boring. When I went down to see my brother, I swear, the only cars to come down her street were the ones pulling up in her driveway…my siblings and my dad. There is no night life, no social activities unless you count the monthly Shriners’ Mixer, Wal-Mart and the beauty salon. Public transportation sucks and I have no car, so my dad will be my chauffeur. Great. Basically, I will have to change my entire lifestyle to live for free, eat sweets and job search with minimal pressure.

Brand New City: The biggest drawback to this option is no money but I can beg and borrow from parents and siblings…maybe. Of course, I can stay here for another 6 months or so and save my money while I scout out jobs and reasonable apartments. Now with all I want in a city…big city feel and attractions, single men who are not too shallow, viable economy and a lower cost of living,  not too crowded and public transportation, options are limited. Philadelphia was an option, but by all accounts, it is a cesspool. Atlanta was another option, but they are pretty much DC, Jr. and their economy is going belly-up also. I considered Birmingham, but two states I am not anxious to move to are Alabama and Mississippi. Portland, Oregon is also an option…largest city in the Pacific Northwest, greenest city in America and an up and coming bohemian art scene. Texas is somehow in the running  (Austin is like a New Age dotcom) but it is a distant last…it is dusty and hot and has snakes. My top choices are Pittsburgh, Raleigh, NC, Denver and Seattle. Actually, Seattle is my #1 choice….a viable economy, great social scene, plenty of single guys and a laid back feel . Low unemployment, great public transportation system and plenty of employment opportunities: Starbucks, Boeing, Microsoft and Amazon all have their corporate headquarters there and there are plenty of trucking and shipping companies there. Drawbacks: you can go 100 days without seeing the sun and the suicide rate is off the charts. But, in spite of that, I was told to not sleep on Seattle; rather, sleep in it.

Pittsburgh offers a lot also, but it is a blue collar town…people there work hard, play hard and I just have them being hard all the way around. Besides, they can have some brutal winters and because they are used to it and can deal with it, I have me trudging to work in the snow. I like staying home in snow. Raleigh, NC would be close to my parents and they offer lots of jobs and a lower cost of living, but not sure if the dating and social scene would be what I wanted…it is a college and prison town and jail bait and felons are not suitable dating material for me. Denver….I hear Denver is hot! However, they have the lowest obesity rate in the country and frankly, if I moved there, I may be required by state law to lose 50 pounds but then I will be a flabby Triple D-flated…and not sure if I want to see nothing but mountains. I have a first date being a hiking trip and y’all know I am not that chick. Oh, and the air is thinner there or something? BUT, they have a restaurant that is actually an aquarium and that sounds cool.

Webcam: Okay, you know what? I don’t have to move. I can invest in a webcam and do ridiculous things with it/to it/in front of it and charge people to watch me. Don’t laugh…even though webcam businesses are seeing a slight drop in revenue, there are still plenty of fetish folks out there who love some bigger women and will pay serious dollars to see them cook, clean, shower and eat. Of course, these women are waaaay bigger than me…they are like 400-500 pounds, so maybe I will want to consider guys with a breast fetish. I am huge up there  (54H, all natural) and have been told by too many men how pretty my girls are. It may sound extreme, but trust me…I have dabbled in providing sexual services before (I am a trained professional)  and at least this way they can look and not touch. BIG plus! This option allows me to make money while devoting more time to my blogging and writing. I considered doing full-blown Craigslisting with generous gentlemen but the guys are flaky at best and creepy/freaky to the point they give kinky a brand new definition. My mother suggests I either get some paid writing gigs or I start a cleaning business but I have fibroids and an arthritic knee and IRS problems. Not sure if those things add up to a good thing as far as starting my own cleaning business, although being an under the table caterer is an option.

I have run some of these options past the Panel members and while the webcamming has gotten mixed reviews, no one wants to see me leave. Right now, logistically everyone is close by and pretty much a metro ride away. The others who are not here in the DMV are less than a day trip away. If I move to Seattle, that is 3,000 miles and just not sure if I will have the same dynamic with them with a phone/email only relationship….but I am developing a great relationship with UTA (are you guys reading her? She’s great!) and it is email only. Oscar and I are pretty much email only but we are changing that Labor Day weekend.

I would be 3,000 miles away from friends and family and while I am not worried about making new friends (I am sociable, personable and a smoker…smokers stick together), I would miss everyone I have here. I have family and friends here and am only two states away from my parents. Even if I do not choose Seattle… Texas, Colorado and Oregon are thousands of miles away and would require an airline flight to reach. Have you guys seen airfares lately? NO ONE could afford to come see me. At least Pittsburgh and Raleigh are Greyhound accessible. A little better, but still not the same as grabbing the red line to meet my friends for an impromptu outing  or showing up at the Island for lunch. But isn’t that the point of a new beginning? To start over fresh in all aspects and hop another train to meet another set of friends? To learn new things at a new job and open myself up to new possibilities? The world belongs not to the young, but to the young at heart, unafraid to take chances and embrace change. I want to be one of those people.

I have no idea what to do but I will start with expanding the job search and then I got to thinking…what about my lease? I signed on for another year, but with no rent money in sight, the lease may be null and void. Oh, well…I am going to sleep on it and keep you guys updated on my progress.


Words and Slience

I want to blog and talk and share with you guys. I really do, but I don’t feel like talking. I am lethargic and my mind is filled with rants, raves, vents and updates but I just cannot seem to bring myself to write it out. I am not sure what is wrong with me…I am trying to stay upbeat and positive but I am tinged with melancholy and I am tired of scheming and planning and wearing masks….but I have to because you just can’t tell people exactly what is on your mind or how you really feel. Sometimes, honesty is just not the way to go. I have no idea how to describe the way I feel…all I know is,  it is a bunch of little things getting on my nerves versus one particular incident and that these million little things  can morph into one huge thing that could potentially cause a meltdown of epic proportions. I am just going to put down the things on my mind and once I have spoken my words, they will hang silent in the air because no one will know what to say or do and that’s okay. I don’t know what to say myself.  

Crappy Birthday: As bad as this birthday was, it still isn’t the worst one but it wasn’t for lack of trying. My birthday was on payday and somehow along the week  before, I managed to  overdraw my bank account…to the point where my deposited check ended up being $57! I know I say I do not make nearly enough and barely enough to make ends meet, but it is more than $57. I was supposed to be treated to lunch by co-workers who thought it was better to call up Reliable One ( remember him?) who was going to be my dinner date and make him my lunch date instead….so all these heifers did was show up to eat lunch with me while my wonderful steak dinner dissolved into a 5 Guys burger at lunch. I mean, this is after I have given dollars I do not have to contribute to cards and lunches for others….and really, I do not give to get, but after seeing what they can do for folks, showing up to eat lunch with me falls flat. Work that day was a beast and I could not even take myself out as I had less than $60 to carry me through the next 7 days, so I ended up doing laundry and watching Big Brother. Oh, did I mention Morning Person forgot it was my birthday, K-Bugg sucked up potential birthday cupcake money (Artsy Craftsy is her Godmother and spoils her beyond rotten) and Buddy STILL does not know I have had a birthday. Only good things…the communication from him neither made nor broke my day and my sister took me out for that steak dinner  this week and we had a fun time.

Sister Someone/Brother Everything: Forget me and him, Oscar and Him, Jr. and you and your ex…this is the couple that will never die. Ever. I think I left you guys with Sister Someone not being able to accept her role in the relationship…she is The Other Woman and for some reason she has never grasped that fact. She gets upset when he is on the phone in his office with the Roommate or talking to his family about the Roommate as she feels he should be waiting for her. He should be on the phone calling her, not Roommate. So they called it quits…she couldn’t take it, he couldn’t deal with it and it was best for all involved if they simply parted ways, but remained friends. Biggest. Mistake. Ever. After hurts and breakups…time and space are needed to heal but Sister Someone says it hurts so badly and the only way to soothe the hurt is to still be around the man since the friendship can begin immediately. The Panel and the Process have taught me differently….this was not an amicable separation and time, space and healing are needed before friendship can make a return. I suggested this to her ….spend time crying, venting and letting the love wane a bit….she said she would think about it and the very next day, she is bringing the man breakfast. And not just any breakfast…she has homemade salmon cakes, fried potatoes and biscuits. The next day was homemade waffles and sausage. She has given him her iPod and it seemed her efforts were not in vain…..Brother Everything moved out!! YES, he has left the Roommate!!! Not for Sister Someone, but this chick is on Cloud 19 right now. More updates are forthcoming, so stay tuned.

Same Story, Different Year: I had an extended happy hour this weekend with Bell Pepper and Girlfriend where we caught up with each other. Girlfriend had the best update…the Ex went back to Barely Legal Chick because she gave birth to their daughter, yet he is still trying to keep one foot firmly wedged in Girlfriend’s life. Girlfriend gave me my update…him and I are broken up…again and I am in danger of losing my job..again. Girlfriend then asked had I heard back from him and I told her I doubt I ever would again, but she thinks the fact that he read my email and responded speaks volumes, and his response hides the true tale. I don’t know and don’t care ( a whole lot) right now.  Her scarily accurate update of my life has been my story since 2009 and always around this time of year…late August/early September has just been  a horrible time for me for 2 years running and really, I need to take Meredith Grey’s advice…you can’t keep putting forth all these efforts and have the same ending. You cannot let the efforts be in vain, so you have to change your story and this time around….I may be able to, personally and professionally. I am going to get into all of that in the next blog post.

Reliable One: I have not blogged about him in a while and that is because The Panel and I discovered he was reading the blog. It was the unanimous agreement  to leave him out of the blog and just vent/talk about him amongst ourselves but now he has just truly pissed me off. I once blogged I had fallen into a complacency concerning my finances that would be my downfall….Reliable One had taken it upon himself to help me pay my rent…and like I knew I would….I began to depend heavily on this assistance. I felt no need to save my dollars (I am a spender, not a saver) or to even contribute to keeping a roof over my head. After all I have rent, utilities, credit card bills, laundry, groceries and necessary shopping ( toiletries, butt dressing, etc.) and less than $30K a year to meet these bills. He has a credit card, a car payment, a cell phone bill and groceries….and a 6 figure income. I will fully admit, that is my fault…whatever his responsibilities or salary, I am not one of them and I have no business expecting his dollars. So he helps me out last month (and months before that), but he is grumbling and mumbling under his breath about his other financial obligations and that next month (which is this month), I am on my own. I asked him to please speak up and tell me to my face what the hell he was saying.  It was evident he was tired of doing for me, and while that does piss me off, I can accept that. I am not his responsibility, but when you approach me in some roundabout way, that pisses me off even more. So now I am pissed at him twice…for cutting me off AND for not having the balls to say so. The man is a passive pussy most times and that is what gets on my nerves. He will never tell you anything that he thinks will piss you off, yet will feel put upon when you ask him to continue doing what he volunteered to do. Again, I will be completely honest: if you do something for me, and say you want to help me…if you do it more than twice, I am looking for it all the time. If you do not set boundaries and limits, neither will I. I offer him what I can and what I know he wants, but he says he is not man enough for me. Not my fault. So we had a huge blowup and the next day, he brings me lunch and money for transportation. He treated me to lunch for my birthday (still pissed he did not stick to the dinner deal, but that is neither here nor there) and he still asks me how’s it going regarding my finances which pisses me off…if you aren’t helping me anymore, it is none of your business.

Okay, so now you know some of the shit on my mind and really, putting it down and getting it out makes me feel a little better. Not a lot, but a little. In my next blog post, I am going to explore my options with you because it really is time to change my story…and best I do it before the Universe decides to do it for me.

In Case of Emergency…..

Do NOT call me. I am the worst person to call on in an emergency. Seriously. If you have access to a television, newspaper and/or the internet, you know an earthquake has hit the east coast. The media is calling it the East Coast Quake and reports have it being felt from Canada to Atlanta…and I got caught up in it. You know,  I would like to think I am an intelligent girl, with logic and reasoning if not above average, at least on par with the Average Joe. I am here to tell you I have more in common with a box of rocks than I realize.

I was at work when the quake hit….I work on the 8th floor of a building downtown and when the first tremor hit, I actually thought it was the vibrations of one of my co-workers who was walking beside my cubicle at the time. I honestly did and thought to myself that he was walking especially heavy today. Then things began to vibrate….the wall/window of my cube was shaking, the desk was shaking and my chair was moving side to side and all I could do was hold onto the arms of the chair while screaming WTF is happening?? WHAT is going on?   I have never been through an earthquake or a natural disaster of any type….I was in jail when Hurricane Fran blew through North Carolina and all that happened was the power went out but we never knew as the jail had an emergency generator. There was the time Hurricane Isabelle came to town, but all she did was take a couple of patio chairs and dump a bunch of rain. This…the movement of a building made of stone, steel and concrete was scarier than hell.

Only two people in the office had been through an earthquake before, but only one had presence of mind. He stood calmly in the center of the office, ready to take over as Safety Officer if need be. The other person who had experienced an earthquake before was actually in the lunchroom, seated next to a window  (even I know that is not the best place to be) praying that if she died, she would be in one piece and her face would remain untouched so she could be easily identified. The rest of us were looking a little shaken and one guy declared the floor still felt weird, even after the tremor passed. I stated we needed to evacuate, but Safety Officer said the safest place was indoors versus outdoors and to remain calm. So I called my mother…and when my father answered the phone I said without preamble that I had just been in an earthquake. Just like that…as if it were a ride at the amusement park and no one else had the privilege of being scared shitless.

Calls were made to Headquarters, but their building had been evacuated and they were in the middle of the street, unable to return to the building or to go home because no one had dismissed us. Adrenaline had my stomach feeling sour and bit by bit, we were finding out that the quake registered 5.8 on the Richter scale and was felt all along the east coast. Then we received word we were dismissed for the day, and naïve, dumber than a box of rocks me, left the office thinking that I would have the easiest commute home. To cut me some slack, when I left the building…nothing was changed. Nothing apocalyptic has occurred…no gaping holes in the streets or sidewalks; no buildings in rubble and no smoke burning from random fires. People were not limping down the streets in torn clothing with looks of despair and panic on their faces. Au contraire…people were having frozen yogurts, eating sandwiches, ordering wine, taking pictures in front of fountains and just enjoying a beautiful summer day. The one thing I did notice were how many people were above ground…the subway stations were strangely empty. Well, that is because the trains were suspended while tracks and stations were inspected for damage…and it never occurred to me that the subways would be affected. I am not even going to try and justify my complete ignorance at not realizing that earthquakes occur underground, where the trains actually run. Which meant the buses were standing room only leaving their points of origin, traffic was at a standstill and I remember looking out the bus window at the long lines of people waiting for their commuter buses which would take them to suburbs that were beyond the reach of the metro system. The bus ride was pretty uneventful except for the two women on canes who somehow got into an argument over God and using the Lord’s name in vain and at some point, it came down to both of them claiming to have a cane (they were both on canes for whatever reason) and not being afraid to use them if it came to that.

The bus ride home took 2 hours and by this time, in my mind I have my apartment looking like a war zone…but I was pleasantly surprised. A shoebox, a vase and a DVD all fallen to the floor was the extent of my damage. I checked in with some Panel members…Chef was fine; Artsy Craftsy went a little nuts but is much better now; Quiet One knew exactly what was happening and remained calm throughout; Guardian Princess is fine and thankful for the half day off; my Sister is fine and after doing her familial duty to call and make sure I survived, told me we were doing a birthday dinner celebration later in the week and Girlfriend, who has been through a 7.5 earthquake, was a little shaken but otherwise okay. Cuz said that he ran outside and stood across the street from his building on a vacant lot because there was nothing to fall on his head over there. No one I know of or love and care about were  injured ( my parents felt it 300 miles away…at least my mom did. My father is still asking if there really was an earthquake) and no one is displaced. A Higher Power kept us covered and I am more than grateful for that….I feel deep gratitude.

Obviously, I need to read up on being prepared for a natural disaster as they can strike anywhere, anytime and being ignorant of such practical procedures is not a good thing. I will be back soon to tell you guys about my crappy birthday and I need to find out what to do in event of a hurricane as Irene is coming….she is expected Sunday and I want to be sure I am on top of things for her visit before I am telling you guys all about how she came to town and blew me away with her.

I hope any and everyone reading this managed to make it through the quake with no injuries and/or disruptions and that you, your friends and family are covered and protected.  



The Dog Has a Tale

Finally…the story of how I began my mini-vacation. It has gotten bumped twice and was on its way to sitting on the shelf for the third time (it would have been keeping Meredith Grey company) but I am holding off on telling you guys how badly my birthday sucked….I am still trying to put that in perspective and make sure I am not being a spoiled brat about how that day turned out. So my mini-vacation was spent with my family to celebrate my brother’s return from South Korea where he teaches English as a Second Language (he’s gone back for another year). I was not excited to go home…like most families, we have drama and dysfunction and while I was looking forward to going home (I always call my parents’ house home because home is where the people who love you are)  for my daddy’s cooking and seeing my parents and siblings…I was not looking forward to the arguments and being treated like a little kid. But I had to go…it had been too long and how could I miss seeing my brother for the first time in a year and probably not for another year?

I had options to get there….I could rent a car, ride the train or take Greyhound…and I chose the bus. Yes, the ride would be longer but it would be cheaper and I find that people tell their stories on the bus. They say in the end, we are all stories. Definitely, everyone has a story….but not everyone gets to tell their story and not everyone gets to hear the stories. On the bus, people tell their stories…it helps the time pass, it builds a rapport with the person you are spending hours with and maybe the person just needs to tell it. I decided to take a late night bus ride thinking I would sleep from DC to Richmond and perhaps from Richmond to Raleigh….and I was so, so wrong. Greyhound’s motto should be: we will take your dollars and get you there, no matter what time of day or night it is. If you really want to see a city that never sleeps, no need to go to New York City….hit up the Greyhound terminal. My bus to Richmond left at 11:40pm and when I hit the terminal at 10:30 that night, the line for my bus was wrapped twice around. Seriously?

But, I managed to get a seat on the bus that pulled in (Greyhound did roll out another bus after mine to ensure people made their connections) and found myself seated next to a girl from Philadelphia whom I will call Jill Scott. The woman held a strong resemblance to Jill Scott if Jill were to ever catch the Greyhound and pack a pillow, blanket and a pan of fried chicken to ensure a comfortable as possible trip to Atlanta. She only shared bits of her story…from what I could gather, Philly is a tough town for anyone, established or not and she was ready to take her chances on Atlanta…according to her, Bankhead was better than trying to stay afloat in Philly. There was the guy in front of us who was traveling with his brother and his young son…they were going to live with their grandfather in Richmond. The brother was fresh out of a NYC jail and his son’s mother was strung out on drugs and it was going to be a fresh start for the three of them.

We reached Richmond fairly quickly and Chef and my sister insisted I stay awake and vigilant once I reached that terminal…my layover was over 2 hours long and they were afraid I would fall asleep and perhaps be robbed, raped,  and/or killed. Chef even insisted I text him so he will know I am safe. Well, I am here to state that their fears were unfounded….one would have thought it was 2pm there….the terminal was filled, crowded and everything was open: the ticket counter, the cafeteria and the gift shop. I was hungry and decided to grab a bite to eat and that is where I talked to the lady who was 80 years old (she looked 50 at the most) and preparing to visit her lover in New York City…her story is bittersweet at best. She has been with this man over 28 years…she lives in Richmond, he lives in Brooklyn. When they first got together all those years ago, she says they were madly in love, yet after 5 years together, he left her for another woman. No word, no explanation…just left and married this woman after knowing her a few months….gee, that sounds so familiar for some reason. She mourned him for a year or so, but eventually carried on with her life….and less than 2 years after she built her new life with her husband….her lover returned. He missed her, she was his one and would she ever forgive him and take him back? Yet, neither wanted to rock the boat in their new lives, but could not deny their love, chemistry and attraction to each other….so they agreed to meet twice a month. So for years, they alternated…she would go to him, he would come to her…they reveled in their love and according to her, the fact that it had to be hidden added to the spice. Her husband died, and then his wife died and she thought they would be free to be together again…but by that time, he was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and now…he is in a home in New York and she travels 3 times a month to see him. When she and I talked in the bus station cafeteria, she was on her way to help him celebrate his 80th birthday.

I told her that her story was sweet but also sad…she never really got to have him after their first time around and that woman looked at me with such sweetness and said that  no one ever has anyone…people are not property. People share themselves with you and either you can accept what they can share or you can’t. She still sees him because she still loves him and she goes to be with him because even though he does not remember, she does. They hurt each other, risked marriages and hurting innocent people to be together and a love like that…it isn’t the best kind of love to have, but it is their love and she would not have it any other way. I last saw her standing in line, preparing to board the bus to New York City at 3am on a Friday morning. I hope the birthday was all she wanted it to be.

While in Richmond, there was an incident….a mother left her child in the bus terminal with luggage and an envelope with the child’s birth certificate and social security card. We only became aware of it when the bus making limited stops ( one of them Raleigh) pulled in and the girl (she was 11) had a ticket to Raleigh, but no parent. When asked where her mother was, the girl said her mother went to the store. Seriously?? At 3 in the morning in Richmond, Virginia, the mother had to go to the store and take her luggage with her? When the terminal had a cafeteria, a gift shop and a hundred vending machines? The police officer and station manager were informed; a call was dispatched to the Richmond Police Department and maybe 20 minutes later, the mother is escorted into the terminal by two police officers. She was crying and swearing she was not abandoning the child…she needed cigarettes and a soda and had no idea the store was so far, which tells me she was not from Richmond…so she was willing to brave the streets of a strange city at 3am for cigarettes and a soda when the terminal offered both those things plus so much more? Sounds like abandonment or drug addiction to me. The mother and daughter were allowed to board the bus and once they were settled in their seats, the mother grabbed her luggage (again!) and tried to leave the bus, claiming she had to use the bathroom but the driver told her to use the restroom located at the rear of the bus. I last saw them in front of the Raleigh bus terminal, the mother crying and talking to the daughter with the daughter looking as if she has heard this story before.

There were other people I met…the young Marine with shrapnel in his leg who smoked Newports and treated a homeless couple to a hot meal; the guy who could have been Chef’s brother who was headed to Winston-Salem for a fresh start after a disastrous love affair; the hair dresser with the big booty who lost her job and her apartment in Connecticut and was going back to her mother’s house; the bus driver who delivered me to my destination and gave me his number in the process. So many people, so many stories.

I am going to start planning a vacation to Seattle (I am giving relocation there serious consideration) and Greyhound is an option (one way only) , but there are pros and cons. Pros: cheap as hell ( only $200!!) , a chance to see plenty of America and oodles and oodles of stories and experiences. Cons: 3 days long, sleep deprivation, could get crowded and how much of America can be seen inside the terminal while I while away hours long layovers? It is still in the planning stages, so I have plenty of time to consider it. In the meantime, I may spend a Friday night at the bus terminal….I do want to hear stories again, and sooner rather than later.

Trees Keep Growing

I am actually working on a blog post about my mini-vaycay but I had to write this post. I really did… and the title for this post is from a song by a group called Azure Ray. Not surprisingly, the song is  titled Trees Keep Growing. The song is hauntingly beautiful and the lyrics speak to me and I think anyone who has had their heartbroken as the result of being in an unhealthy and/or unbalanced relationship will be able to relate also: “I never expected you to love me the way I loved you;  that’s all I wanted…just to have you near. It’s funny how you can forget there is a world outside yourself, where the trees keep growing and the cars keep moving, without you there. It’s funny how you can forget there is a world outside yourself, where the one who loves you keeps on living, without you there.”

Those words were so true and I must’ve heard a hundred variations of them in my lifetime…but today…today I get it and I understand. The world does not stop and life goes on, whether you are in love or in loss. When I first go through heartbreak, my first thoughts are: what will I do without them and I will never make it without them there. I want to say it is understandable…Married Man was a 7 year relationship and Him was a part of my life for over 6 years. And this fiasco with him hit me harder than hell….the man had been a part of my life in almost every capacity…my boss, my friend, my lover…he knew  damn near everything about me. Him was the one I could curse out and the one I could vent to…him made me smile when I didn’t want to and when I was with him, I felt pretty and special and safe and loved. I know, I know…he never said the words, but when I looked in his eyes or did something silly while he watched or even just in conversation…I felt as if I mattered and no one else existed except us. And when he abandoned me for the BTH, I wondered what the hell I was supposed to do. Because no way could I go one day, let alone the rest of my life, without him being a part of it.

So I held onto my memories, which was a hindrance because they just made me sad or angry and kept the unanswered questions up at night, which kept me up at night. Gradually, I let acceptance in and while I have not accepted the full monty, I have accepted enough to know that it’s over and it’s okay…but I still wanted something with him. We had been a part of each other for too long and I know I made him feel the way him made me feel….we knew too many things about each other (therein lies part of the problem) and it wasn’t him…it couldn’t be him…it had to be the BTH who was doing something: voodoo, poison, blackmail…something. And then Quiet One began the dig..Artsy Craftsy found out things…and it wasn’t her…it was him doing these crazy, strange and unheard of things. And I heard the stories and I started feeling so badly for him and I reached out…I drafted an intelligent, mature and very nice email with no blame placing, name calling and no telling the man he made a mistake. He made a choice…and it seemed his choice was affecting him in a way that did not bring out his worst (actually, it is) but definitely not his best. I told him to spare me his standard spiel… we know: despite how you are presenting yourself and behaving, you are happier and healthier than ever, she is who you have been waiting for and this new life is a dream come true. We know…you keep saying that, even when we don’t ask. Just take care of himself and stay himself. I told him that I was here if he needed a friend and I would be willing to forgive everything and forget some things if he had found his choices were not all he thought they would be. I even said the things I could not forgive and/or forget, I would not throw up in his face. It doesn’t get any better than that. Really.

THIS asshole responds on my birthday ( I sent it the night before) and the Panel was shocked…but not as much as I was. His response was a shocker in itself but it  proved that him still does read my communications and the second shock to me was that him did not share the email with the BTH. Artsy Craftsy asked what did I say to make him respond; Quiet One could not believe it…period. That action alone robbed her of her five words needed to make a typical Quiet One response. Chef said he knew the man would respond. Morning Person said you could always count on him to go against the grain and keep us on our toes, while Bell Pepper, Oscar and Girlfriend waited for me to send him’s response….they were pretty much all for me reaching out and seeing if I came back with all my fingers intact or a bloody nub. Well, it is bloody , but not a nub…the man responded the same way he has always responded and the way I said he would…he is healthier than he has been in 30 years, happier than he has ever been in his life, everyone is a hater . BUT he started the email with Happy Birthday (which surprised me and everyone else except Morning Person, Cuz and Artsy Craftsy), he wished me happiness, said I was a great girl and ended it by basically saying no more emails because the no communication rule was still in effect…which had Artsy Craftsy on the floor with laughter and made Cuz proclaim that it was official…him now lives in the left field of Planet Darkside. Seriously, you respond to me then say no communication rule?

Girlfriend and Oscar got quite indignant…but I just felt a huge sense of resignation and I got the clarity that inspired this post. Life does go on…I have made it over a year without seeing him and I did not die or waste away. This conversation was the first civil one we have had since he took that chick to the party last year, and to me it is the most revealing one. In that year, I have noticed that there is a world outside of me…a world outside of him and I have grown and changed and him hasn’t. Him is in the same place he was in last year and the year before that…and I wonder if that is him’s mindset or his mindset with me?  Him is still the same: filled with denial, delusion and sees things in a distorted, upside-down kind of way and anyone who doesn’t see it that way or one who can see through him…is a hater. No, we aren’t haters…you are predictable. An enigma is an enigma no longer once you figure it out and now, him is no longer a challenge. He is pathetic and stagnant and it does not hurt me to realize this. I am just wondering what took me so long to do so. No longer  is anyone right or wrong….him chose a different path and I know now that doesn’t mean him is lost. From my perspective (and the Panel’s)…his story will not have a happy ending….no way will this end well, but maybe it is him’s ending.

So I did respond back ( I have no no-communication rule…him may have one and the Panel may have one, but I don’t) and told him that no one was being mean, malicious or a hater…it was genuine concern and he needed to remember that. I told him to enjoy his health and happiness and to be mindful I would be coming up to the Island to have lunches with my hater friends. And now, I can let him go completely… if him is in need of help/rescue, him does not realize it at this time and I am no longer trying to rebuild even a basic acquaintanceship with him. He is a big boy and can make his own way in the world. The Old DCBBW (I need a new Panel name!) may have been willing to take the crumbs and try to make a sandwich but the new me….I have said it before and now I can accept it with no pain and no regret…whatever we had (the phrase beautiful disaster comes to mind), our time has come and gone. And today, it really is okay.

Okay, it is late night and I still need to throw laundry in the dryer and clean the kitchen and I still need to put the blog post that  should’ve been here. Talk to you all by the weekend and have a great day!

Birthday Girl

It really IS my birthday!! And just so you know, I am the only person born on August 18h…everyone else with this birth date was born on the other August 18th. Some of the people born on the other August 18th include: Rosalind Carter (wife of Former President Jimmy Carter), Patrick Swayze (RIP), Edward Norton, Christian Slater, Robert Redford, Madeline Stowe, Denis Leary and probably a slew of un-famous folks. This year is a milestone birthday for me…we all know of the usual milestones: 16, 18 and 21, but I am of the belief that after the age of 30, if it ends in a 5 or a zero, it is a milestone. This year’s birthday ends in a 5. I want to say I have no problem revealing my age but I am so thinking if I told you guys how old I am, after reading how I am acting and behaving over him and the fiasco….not only would I be a fool, I would be an old fool.

I have no plans for my birthday this year…I have fingers crossed for at least two dinners , Bell Pepper will buy me lunch and Guardian Princess never forgets me… although with her around the world vacation this summer, I am going to say I got my presents early, but the rest of my Panel and I have not planned anything. Today, life is busy, hectic and lacking funds but I know I will receive tons of well-wishes and cards and emails from family and Panel members and  that is all I need. I wanted to plan a huge celebration or a vacation or something, but maybe I should have started planning for this year’s birthday last year.

My birthday has always been a holiday for me and I am still wondering how come Congress has not made it a national holiday. After all, how many days of the year are all about you? August 18th is my day and all should celebrate the awesomeness that is me.  Please know I am being facetious…I am not this egotistical…really. And this year, I am remembering birthdays past…. only a few stand out and I would like to share my memories with you.

There was my 8th birthday and when I was small, birthdays were like Christmas…there was cake and ice cream and always at least one present. Mommy would wrap it and hide it and if the birthday person wanted their present, they had to go looking for it, which was not hard at all as she always hid it behind the chair in the living room, every time without fail. Well, on this birthday, she bought me roller skates and I was so excited!! I had not asked for them but all the other kids in the neighborhood had roller skates and now I could join them. I hurried up and got dressed and ran right outside to go skating…except I could not skate a lick. I was scared and nervous and had no balance and held on to every fence from my house to the corner and when I almost fell trying to turn around, I started crying and was stuck on the corner, scared to try to make it back home. A couple of neighborhood kids had to go to my house and get my father to come get me. I never used them after that one foray and to this day, I still cannot skate. At all.

There was my 30th birthday that I spent in a North Carolina county jail. Back then, there was no Panel, there was no Married Man, no him, no anyone…just me and my crack addiction and that had landed me in jail for committing multiple home invasions. The jail was like the jail on The Andy Griffith Show….there was a television, you could wear your own clothing, you could wear makeup, you could smoke and you got canteen twice a day. It held a total of 20 people (10 women, 10 men and we were separated) and we were on a first name basis with the guards. For my birthday, I was doused with a bucket of cold water while in the shower, got treated to canteen by the other ladies and got to watch whatever I wanted on television for the entire day and I remember being so happy because my birthday was on a Sunday and I got to watch The Adventures of Lois and Clark. My parents showed up and were able to bring me a home cooked meal and a ton of books that I read in less than a month. I remember falling in love with John Grisham after reading A Time to Kill.

I remember my 35th birthday and being treated to a day-long crackfest. That is the only way to describe it….there was a female dealer in the neighborhood whom I called a friend (in addiction, friends are fiends with an “r”) told me to meet her at her place at midnight. When I got there, she told me happy birthday and for the next 24 hours, I would not have to turn any tricks and could smoke as much as I wanted. She would make sure I stayed higher than a kite and all I had to do was stay indoors….and the girl did not lie. Anyone who came into purchase from her had to buy me some drugs also; anyone who stayed around to get high had to give me the “house hit” and she gave me significant quantities of drugs pretty much every half hour or so. I remember being soooo high it felt as if I were outside myself and feeling so special. She permed my hair and gave me a long white dress to wear and dubbed me Birthday Princess. I remember thinking that she was the bestest person ever….and I am happy and proud to say that today, she is in recovery also. I am really glad…she has too much sense and too many smarts to be wasting away in a crackhouse somewhere.

My 38th birthday I spent with Married Man and to this day, I will tell anyone that was the worst birthday ever. He had made all these plans for me and us, but really it was for him. He came over at some ungodly hour, rushing me out of bed saying we could not be late. First stop? A combination Laundromat and pool hall….no bullshit. The man washed some blankets and comforters while trying to teach me to play pool and wanted to stretch my body all across a pool table while he admired the view from behind. Then we went to California Pizza Kitchen where he ordered for me and got visibly angry when I spilled the Kung Pao spaghetti on my shirt. We then fed the ducks and caught a movie…and this man chose The Simpsons Movie for us to see….and he knows I loathe The Simpsons. I have no idea how in the world they manage to stay on the air and the few times I have seen them, I have actually felt my IQ lowering itself. And after a day that basically got on my nerves the moment it began, he wants to come home with me and give me my real present….I slammed the door in his face.

My 40th birthday….that was a great birthday. I remember working at the Island and receiving gifts from him (it was money!), Quiet One, Artsy Craftsy, and a host of co-workers.  I remember being  treated to breakfast and getting all kinds of treats and pastries. I remember lunch with Chef, a lunch with him where I told him I wanted a bracelet from Tiffany’s and him said maybe for Christmas, and flowers from a great guy I shall call DBC. I remember needing a ride home because no way could I carry it all on public transportation and once I got home, Married Man came over with a small cake and two miniature stuffed bears and balloons. Guardian Princess took me shopping, my sister took me to dinner at a really nice restaurant and 2 months later, I took my first cruise with my mother and sister.

The past few birthdays have been memorable for all the wrong reasons…him forgot my birthday one year…the man actually wished me a happy birthday and broke up with me the day before my birthday and just last year, him was telling how crazywonderful I was and we were making plans to get together the following week…did I mention he had already begun his journey with the BTH at the time? Of course, there were good times  to offset him’s unfathomable behavior:  co-workers at one assignment surprised me with lunch and cake and Artsy Craftsy had a dozen Georgetown Cupcakes delivered to my job. Without fail, my Panel comes through: Girlfriend always wishes me Happy Birthday in English and Spanish and Quiet One always remembers me with a card and an email. Policeman always leaves me voicemails where he is singing (terribly), Morning Person always wishes me the best of days and Chef reminds me how beautiful and special I am.

I have no doubt this will be a fantastic birthday for me…I have my health, my family, both parents still alive, alert and in decent health. I have my Panel and newfound online friends who so far, seem to understand me and this year, I am sharing it with you, the readers of this blog. Pretty good gifts  for a chick turning 45 today, huh? I will be back by the weekend with a new post for you guys. Have a wonderful day, everyone!