Putting the "MO" in MOFO since 2004

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Friday, April 28, 2006

 

Should a parent issue a time-out for stalking?

Last night I took Maggie to our mommy and me music class. Out of nowhere, she began stalking someone else’s mommy. When I say stalking, I mean stalking. This child was COMMITTED. She wanted nothing to do with me. She wanted nothing to do with the music. She wanted to stand in front of someone else’s mommy and STARE. Maggie stared with an unwavering, intent gaze that would render the most easygoing person uncomfortable. The kind of gaze that makes me afraid of her future boyfriends and the restraining orders that will likely be issued. Parenting through the teenage years will hard enough without dealing with restraining orders.

My daughter stood and stared at this poor woman with an unsettling intensity. Then she turned around, flopped casually into her lap and stayed there for the entire duration of music class. She sat in this strangers lap like the queen of Sheba. The woman’s son stood next to them whimpering, wondering who had hijacked his momma. I tried to engage him with some red wooden sticks to ease his suffering, and to make use of myself. We were in the same boat, he and I. My own daughter had gone and left me for a new momma, and HIS momma was too uncomfortable to shove this strange child off of her lap so she could play with him. We were nomads in music class, trying to make the best of a really weird situation.

The worst part is, I know why Maggie became obsessed with her. The reason made me cringe and cower in fear. I longed for the days before Maggie could talk. As she made a bee-line for this woman she shouted “GAMMA!”. The nice lady who let Maggie sit in her lap was not a Grandma. She was the mother of a toddler, and she happened to have gray hair. She was older than the rest of the mommy’s and likely, a little sensitive to that fact. And my daughter called her “Grandma” and proceeded to stalk her. Maggie’s new mommy looked a little taken off-guard. Frankly, she looked a little scared.

At the end of music class, we sang our goodbye song, put the bells and triangles away, and Maggie walked over to her new mommy and waited expectantly. It was time to go home with her new mommy. She stood next to this woman like it was simply the thing to do. She grabbed for her hand. She wouldn’t be IGNORED, after all.

I pried my daughter away, feeling simultaneously rejected and frightened by my daughters newfound obsessive stalking of strangers. Considering she does in fact have half of her mother’s DNA (by saying mother I mean her biological parent – a.k.a. ME), I should have expected it. My kid, it seems, is a bit weird.

Friday, April 21, 2006

 

The Godforsaken Whirlpool Tub, the Godforsaken String of pearls, and other things I need to work on in therapy.

There are times in life when things that are meant to be gifts can actually end up giving you a metaphorical kick in the head. Whether they are gifts to ones self or gifts from another person, if there are any kind of strings attached, they can end up mercilessly making a mockery of you. These treasures can end up making a person feel like a total asshole. I can think of two examples at this very moment. My Godforsaken whirlpool tub, and my blankety-blank string of real pearls.

Allow me to back up. I don’t deal well with disappointment. Disappointment is for the weak. That is exactly why I created a little workshop in my head. In my workshop, I do nothing but transform pure disappointment into seething rage, resentment and frustration. Resentment and frustration are powerful and intimidating. Disappointment is not. Disappointment is whiney, annoying, and irritating. Disappointment is for spineless ninnies.

Two weeks after Maggie was born, the pipes in our bathroom imploded. The implosion of said pipes rendered our only bathtub totally useless. The same tub in which I was supposed soak, to treat my third degree tear and other insults sustained by my woman parts in the course of delivering a baby just under nine pounds. With foreceps. The imploded pipes also totally destroyed the downstairs bathroom as it caused the plaster to fall off the walls and ceiling in giant, soggy, heavy chunks. Oh, the goddamned bathrooms. I am beginning to seethe this very moment, just writing about them.

This winter, my husband Jim began the long arduous process of tearing down the downstairs bath to begin the remodeling process. My trepidation grew as I discovered the financial reality of home improvement projects. They cost a bazillion dollars and they take decades to complete. No. They take quarter centuries to complete. In an effort to create a sense on enthusiasm, I busied myself with choosing new bathroom fixtures. I chose a pedestal sink, a new toilet, and a brand new whirlpool tub. Oh the luxury of soaking in a whirlpool tub of my very own! Visions of my spa-like sanctuary danced in my head. I purchased candles in every fragrance, and stocked up on bath gel and waited eagerly. I tried to be patient. I would soon have my whirpool tub! A healthy way to deal with life’s stresses and aggravations! A place of my very own in which to carve out a quiet moment or two, and read magazines in beautiful silence.

This was in January. It is now nearly May, and the goddamned fixtures still sit in the basement, gathering dust, and mocking my naive excitement. Excitement is for the gullible and delusional. I should have known better.

It started with the walls. They were full of mold and had to be chopped to bits and destroyed. Then came the floor. The floor was not level. Two months later, we hired a cement guy who came out, charged us $800 and fixed the stupid crooked floor. Then came the tragic coincidence of the water heater springing a leak, which required the purchase of a new one. In addition, we ended up with a with a new water softener. Next came the walls part one. Jim and our brother-in-law spent an evening building framework for the walls. Half of them. THEN: the plumber. OH, but for the plumber. The plumber came out once to move the toilet base. Next, he came out to move the pipes for the sink.

Then we got cheeky and ordered a goddamned washer and dryer. We have had them for a week, and are still unable to use them. Enter the plumber again. The acquisition of the washer and dryer created this mysterious need to re-plumb the entire fucking laundry room. We now have a brand new laundry tub that we didn’t really need in the first place, a maze of sparkly new copper piping, and, IRONICALLY a fucking useless brand new washer, and fucking useless brand new dryer. And a lot of copper piping I am not certain we needed in the first place.

The pile of unwashable laundry has grown nearly as large as the size of our rapidly increasing plumbing bill. It sits there as a reminder of why the first word out of my mouth needs to be “NO!” when my buy-in is requested for these projects.

It has been three months since my whirpool tub was delivered. Yesterday the plumber took the tub and set it over the drain to see where it would fit. Start the laugh track here. It appears that the tub that we purchased from Home Depot has three mysterious holes that shouldn’t be there. They render the tub useless. If we install this tub, our home will be destroyed and our dogs will die, and our gardens will wither. The whirlpool tub is not UP TO CODE.

There are no other tubs at home depot that have these holes. Some fucking yutz bought the tub, drilled holes in it, realized they had made an error, and brought it back to exchange it for a new one. THIS IS THE FUCKING TUB WE ENDED UP WITH. It needs to be returned. However, because it has been sitting in the basement for so long, I am not certain they will take the stupid NOT UP TO CODE tub back and give us one that is UP TO CODE.

Five months into the project this is what we have:

A wall-less cement floor that does not yet serve a purpose, but boy, is it LEVEL.

Two partial walls and a few holes in the floor for fixtures.

A lot of sparkly copper tubing, a new laundry tub that I did not want or need, yet somehow will end up paying for.

A brand new washer and dryer THAT ARE AS OF YET TOTALLY USELESS AND IMPOTENT.

A water softener that has yet to be installed.

A cluttered unusable basement full of dusty, unattached fixtures.

The GODFORSAKEN vandalized whirlpool spa tub that sits there and mocks me. It says to me “What a fool you were, Meghan, to think that your dream would come true without first causing you so much frustration that you would want to pull out your own hair, fistful by fistful, and then crumple to the floor in a sobbing heap.

Right about now, I want to make a homemade bomb in the garage out of fertilizer and send that whirlpool tub and all it represents, exploding violently into a million little pieces. I want to stop the project RIGHT NOW. Pay the plumber, do my goddamned laundry in a Laundromat for the rest of my life, and give that stupid wall-less room the FINGER every time I walk by it. That scenario, complete with a lifetime of Laundromat patronage, is more appealing to me than admitting I have had my ass kicked by this never ending project. That I am disappointed. That I feel bamboozled and foolish for allowing things to get this bad. That I should have said “No” several times throughout this process, and didn’t. If I could give it all back right now, I would. I no longer want that stupid whirlpool tub, because every ounce of fun and enthusiasm has been sucked right out of this process. I HATE THAT WHIRLPOOL TUB.

As you can see. I don’t deal well with disappointment. And I haven’t even gotten to the story about the pearls. Let it suffice to say that I have a strong resentment towards being led along with carrot-like rewards, only to be repeatedly frustrated and disappointed in the end. These are the times when a gift is not really a gift, but a means of emotional manipulation. Even when I do it to myself. This leads to me feeling tricked and disappointed, and somewhere in the recesses of my soul, feeling disappointed and tricked makes me angrier than anything could ever possibly make me.

Does a desire to drop a bomb on a once-coveted whirlpool tub and then scream obscenities at a semi-walled flat-floored open space in the basement indicate some kind of mental breakdown? I think the answer is yes. What do you think?

Monday, April 17, 2006

 

Easter People.

If my parents were better at sharing their television set, they might well have saved the souls of their daughters from eternal damnation. It’s their fault, really. Their weakness begat our weakness, and now we are all going to H-E-Double-toothpicks in a fiery hand-basket. An Easter basket, to be specific.

Our parents insisted on watching the Twins play New York on television while we waited for Easter dinner to be served. Our eldest sister Julie was at the game, along with her significant other, Howard and her daughters Kate and Jane. My daughter was sleeping, which is PRIME loll-around on the couch in front of the boob tube time. But did they allow us to indulge in an E True Hollywood Story, or a made for TV movie on Lifetime? Oh, no. They had to assert their power over television, and watch the Twins get whalloped by New York, leaving Molly, Betsy and I to entertain ourselves at the table, which was set for dinner. Beautifully, I might add. The silver and crystal were laid out. The Beatrix Potter figurines were genteelly displayed at the center of the table.

We had nowhere else to go.

It started innocently enough. We started playing with the little bunnies that surrounded the floral centerpiece. This begged the question: Did my mother throw away the shoddily painted baby chick I made at community school when I was seven years old? The creepy one with the unsettling pink eyes…. Where was it, and why had she not included it in the Easter display? Offended, I began to rummage through the cabinets in the dining room buffet and began unearthing some Easter artifacts, including my pink-eyed chick, a violet decal-laden bunny cotton-ball dispenser and several other creations equally horrendous and unsettling. We proudly added each atrocity to the burgeoning menagerie.

We started to get a little cheeky.

Wouldn’t it be funny to sneak in a few Christmas decorations to see if anyone noticed? We added a Christmas donkey made of rope, and replaced a salad plate with one that read “Christmas 1997”. We added a pink-cheeked cherub. We muffled our giggles as we heard approaching footsteps, careful not to arouse suspicion.

We found our mothers red ceramic plate that reads “You are special today”.

There was no turning back at this point.

We fell all over ourselves with laughter, choking back hysterical tears. “Jesus!” I croaked. “We’ll set a place for Jesus! Jesus is special today!”

If being crucified and then rising from the dead doesn’t deserve the red “you are special today” plate, then I certainly don’t know what does. We set a place at the table for Jesus. Jesus got the red plate.

And there you have it, the moment we sealed our fates. If our parents had just let us watch TV like we wanted, I would not be worrying right now if that whole scene was technically blasphemy, and if my soul is destined for the fiery depths of Hell.

I really hope Jesus has a good sense of humor. That would certainly bode well for me and my eternal soul.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

 

Firestarter

I used to think that I had the power to make bad things happen by simply having bad thoughts about people. Kind of like Karma, but my own evil thoughts made bad things happen to other people instead of myself. The whole concept is like a double-whammy version of Catholicism twisted with warped reverse Karma. The real kicker being that my impure thoughts didn’t result in MY soul’s eternal damnation. Instead, my impure thoughts and feelings of rage resulted in bad things happening to other people. Bad things happened to people towards whom I was having feelings of anger, frustration, jealousy and what-have-you. I considered myself a “Firestarter” of sorts but instead of bursting into flames, people I was angry with would end up with strange serious injuries.

This started when I was 24 years old and recovering from a devastating break-up. It went something like this:

Era: approximately 1995.

The Characters: Me and J

Me: Totally washed up at the age of 24. I have been chronically cheated on and lied to. About 20 people I considered to be friends all knew all about it and never said a thing to me. I am humiliated and depressed and I trust no one but the close friends I have grossly neglected for the entire duration of this relationship.

I am a quivering pool of insecurity. I am ugly and no one will ever love me again. I let myself get fat. I am ashamed that I didn’t have the guts to end this sooner than I did. I live with my parents and I have no money. I hate all my clothes (this was before we all realized that high-waisted pants with big belts look good on no one). I work in a day-care center. I have no career aspirations. I still have not finished that independent study standing between me and my bachelor’s degree. My parents think I will never graduate from college. I have never experienced such rage, anger and humiliation in my life and I have no idea where to put these feelings. I hate him for betraying me and treating me like the sniveling needy spineless person I am. I also hate the stupid old woman he is cavorting around town with (she was 6 years his senior at the elderly age of 30). DAMN him for doing this to me!

J: 24 years old and in the midst of a mack-daddy transformation. Transformed from sweet, sincere, sensitive loving young man to soul-less cheating lying metrosexual before my very eyes. I was completely bamboozled. He got a job as a buyer of better dresses for a high-end department store, further supporting my theory that he was gay. He was gay and didn’t have the heart to tell me. Because, why else would he not want ME unless he was one hundred percent GAY? He started a relationship with a woman I suspect he started seeing before we broke up. She was 6 years his senior (30! Gasp!).

Subsequent Injuries: He broke his foot badly playing soccer and was stuck in a cast for several months. This limited his ability to womanize and gallivant around as a prototypical metrosexual. I was convinced my ire had led to his injury.

Two years later his girlfriend, the same one I suspect he started dating before we broke up, fell down the stairs at her sister’s house and broke her back. Her injuries left her paraplegic and in a wheelchair. This happened on my birthday.

Her injuries left me reeling with guilt. I was convinced that my deep-rooted feelings of rage had caused her accident to happen. How could I have been so hateful? What the Hell was wrong with me? I was overcome with anxiety until my friend Jen reminded me of something: THE WORLD DOESN’T REVOLVE AROUND ME.

Oh yeah. That’s right. I am an insignificant speck on a dust mite in the mattress of a total superior being. I am totally insignificant. I never thought that realization would be so soothing to my soul. I was liberated by the cold hard truth. The Universe spins with little or no regard to my feelings or my wishes. How wonderful.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

 

I Hear You, Lenny

I am sick and tired of politics. I should be excited that Tom DeLay is resigning, but I really don’t care. I am too exhausted and disappointed to care. I tend to disengage when disappointed, and I think I have officially disengaged.

This country is currently suffering from the most abhorrent sense of apathy I have ever seen. And it seems I have caught the disease. I am officially part of the problem.

As Lenny Kravitz would say: “Does anybody out there even care?”

I used to. Perhaps somewhere in the recesses of my brain, I still do. But it is exhausting to care. Especially when bad things happen everywhere and instead of outrage, all you see is blank stares. Total apathy. I want to say to the American people: “Hello!!! Anybody home?” Again and again, times when the only logical response is outrage, all I see are blank stares of apathy.

Our leaders lied to us about reasons for going to war. Does anybody care?

Men and women are dying every day in this war. Does anybody care?

There appears to be a scarcity of honesty and integrity in politics. People are bought for political favors. Money buys people. Power shuts people up when they should speak out. There is a screaming silence of disheartening lack of conviction on all sides. A deafening silence. Does anybody care?

Civil rights are being eroded in the name of conveniently twisted religious ideas. CIVIL RIGHTS!!! Does anybody care?

The line between Church and state is being eroded and blurred. Does anybody care?

Women’s rights are being dismantled, tiny bit by tiny bit. Does anybody care?

Hard working people like you and me don’t have enough to retire on. Does anybody care?

Hard-won public safety nets are being systematically eliminated. Who will take care of people who have worked their whole lives, and still have nothing? Does anybody care?

What kills me is the certainty that people will start to care only when it’s too late. As if we didn’t see any of this coming. The lack of foresight frightens me to the core. When it’s too late, there will be much hand-wringing, lamenting and wailing. There will be finger pointing. Then I will have to look in the mirror and ask myself what I did. I felt helpless and apathetic and wrote about it. Big Whoop.

Do our leaders not inspire? Is that the problem? Or is the problem that we have become a country of people incapable if inspiration? Are we no longer capable of vision? It seems we have been running on fear so long, we forgot about other kinds of fuel. Fuels like hope and ideas and intelligence and courage and integrity and compassion and tolerance. Fuels like inspiration. Does anybody out there even care?

Frankly, I am having a hard time mustering up the passion to care anymore. That concerns me.

I hope our next leader tells the truth. I hope our next leader inspires people. I want to be proud of our next president, and frankly, I don’t care if they are a democrat or a republican. I just want them to tell the truth, to be capable of complex thought, and to have the ability to stand up for principles, even when doing so is personally inconvenient. Not only inconvenient for them, but also when it's inconvenient for their family, friends and business associates. I want them to understand what it’s like to work hard. I want them to know what it is like to be less fortunate and to be willing to level the playing field. I don’t want simple fear-based answers and finger pointing.

I just want someone to help me get back to caring.

Monday, April 03, 2006

 

Lest not ye falter as thou hast faltered

Not being one to ever heed a warning based on the experience of another, I decided to find out myself why it is that people should not drink at the company party. Let your sinking ship not be a warning to me! The Titanic may have succumbed to an iceberg, but not I! Forward march! Crash, scrape, blub, gurgle, blub blub blub.

I am not discussing work on my blog. This post has nothing to do with my job or my place of work. I certainly did not attend a work party at my bosses house on Friday. I did not consume several glasses of wine. I most certainly did not blurt out “I have worked for you for eight years, and do you even LIKE me?” directly TO my boss.

You know what else didn’t happen? He definitely did NOT go inside and tell everyone what I had asked him, and there were NO Sally Field jokes all night long. Not a single person mocked me by saying “YOU REALLY LIKE ME!” I did not cringe at my own stupidity, and my boss definitely did not stop several times throughout the night to say “I really like you, Meghan.” as everyone laughed.

I am not so stupid as to not take the advice of a person who learned the hard way.

My filter. It is back in its proper place. I have a new found love and appreciation for my filter. I LOVE my filter. My crazy Minnesota nice talk-about-the-weather-and-safe-subjects-at-work-party filter.

God bless the filter.