Let’s wallow, shall we?

There’s been a shortage of wallowing.  Just kidding, we all whine and complain and clamor for pity or at least a hug to tell us that we are okay, even if just to ourselves or to that one friend who won’t judge.

Then there’s social media.  Is there no end to the bitching and moaning there, where we are safe behind a screen or away from having to face a reaction to whatever we’re crying about.

So most of us grew up being told to persevere through hard times.  To keep calm and… all that.  We respect those who go on to do their work or live their life despite the hard times, the tragedies big and small.  We admire people who don’t complain or to put it in today’s jargon, play the victim. And yet we usually don’t step up to the plate ourselves, me being a big offender.

But even if we do spend time being our own hero sometimes we need to take a few moments and say Fuck That.  Sometimes we need to let it out, and to borrow more jargon, we need to feel our feelings and then, and sometimes only then are we able to move on. So more whining right? Yes.  But I feel if we can just put it out there in a way that at least acknowledges that we’re being a pussy at the moment then blowing off steam is just that, airing out the build up that happens just cuz, life.

So here’s some of my recent pity party complaints.  Read on. Or don’t.  Either way I will bleed on the page and hopefully feel better.

  • My husband and I are at a standstill of sorts.  Our marriage is wobbly on good days and on it’s way to the dump on others.
  • My sister in law and her husband moved in with my husband’s parents.  They are in their 30’s.  They have a condo and the husband is a real estate agent. This is beyond irritating to me because they are both children and now they are really children.  He has his own parents anyway, why not stay there? or scratch that, why should I care about where they live, why does it bother me so much? But just to dwell in this irritation a little more I’ll just add that they leave their daughter with other people mainly my husband’s parents all the time. Or his parent’s house. Or his brother’s house.  Basically I wonder how often they watch their own kid.  Now as they hang out in my husband’s parent’s house doing what, I’m not exactly sure I just hope that… what do I hope?  that they use the situation to their advantage? Seems like they’ve been using all the situations to their advantage anyway. Have I mentioned the fact that the dude isn’t a real dude? I’m sorry for flexing a little gender stereotypes but the guy can’t fix anything.  He’s useless with cars always asking his wife’s dad for help or my husband who has been called over to fix a toilet or any other plumbing or to remove a water heater or change the oil or fix brakes.  The guy isn’t able to do anything! I have to figure out why this bothers me. Maybe because they get all this help and resources and babysitting and are apparently fine with it, gimme gimme gimme.  Maybe it’s because whenever I’m around them I get this feeling as if they are too cool for me.  I don’t have a high opinion of myself, i’m a pretty miserable person, I know.  But why is it so hard to say hello to someone?  They just stand around holding their drinks waiting for the other person to greet them first.  I guess some people will forever just rub you the wrong way no matter what they do. But I can’t let my annoyance with them rub off on their kid.  She’s still an innocent person, not yet molded by the snottiness of her parents.
  • Whenever I think about them I want to crawl in a hole but instead just go on a tangent about how much they irritate me. I do a pretty good impression of them, my husbands’s sister and her husband.  She is the princess and he is the golden boy.  That’s how I list them on my contacts, princess and golden boy.  He can do no wrong.  Not only is he a graduate student and all around good ol’ boy, but he’s in politics, a hometown hero, a boy after my father in law’s own heart because they are both knowledgeable about the government and kick back with cigars; nothing I can compete with.  Oh a competition? Why bother?  And you’d be right.  On the outside there is no contest, not even the idea of it crosses my mind, how absurd! But on the inside I was the kid-in-law first.  And also since my dad is out of the picture and my mom-for the first ten years I was “in the family” was in a nursing home not really being my mom but, well, I walked into my husband’s family’s arms and didn’t want to leave and for the past 6 years have had to share. So Waaaah.  I’m kidding.  Sort of. Or I wish I was since apparently there is a reason why whenever his or her name is brought up I cringe.  And when my husband is dispatched to do something for them at their condo i’m wondering why can’t he do it himself? Or at least offer to pay.  He doesn’t because he’s rather frugal.  He who takes his wife to England for the weekend (while once again their kid is left with a grandparent) won’t offer to pay for my husband to replace a toilet.
  • They make up most of my annoyances lately. Like when he speaks to his dog like a toddler, replacing L’s with W’s.   How he eats and drinks, what a beer expert he is, all of it.  And now he’s moved in with his wife to her parents house. A place where yours truly has spent a considerable amount of time; about 4 years when Aly was born and then again (after the parents had offered and then rescinded their offer to co-sign for us for a house and we were headed towards foreclosure and had no where to go) for another 3 years. And yes we were in our thirties the second time and now the Golden Couple are there. Please tell me why I’m so annoyed with this?
  • And now we are to host them next weekend when they come down with the parents who are supposed to watch all three kids in our place which means I’ll have to clean (steve will help) and then make something for them to eat because it’s the weekend after the golden girl’s birthday and if we are supposed to go out to a brewery (I haven’t had a drop of alcohol since the one small cup in August so I’m not terribly excited about this) and come back to a house full of no food? Of course not. It will be expected but not said out loud that we will provide dinner as well as pay for the drinks because it is the classy thing to do.  It’s just that I’m not a classy person.
  • Other things to whine about.  I miss a friend.  I miss having a friend or friends but maybe just one good one and specifically I miss her. Why do I miss her? Because 4 years ago I stood in front of her condo with a bag of clothes in my arms that I had brought there to move in and now I wasn’t going to move in and that was a decision beyond a change of address.  “Don’t be a jerk,” she’d said kindly and I said the same.  And we haven’t talked since.
  • When I see people on Facebook doing things that I think I can do I will mull it over in my head trying to imagine doing it and then looking for a way to do it. Such as a girl I went to high school with posted that she had just completed a 3 minute forearm plank.  I had never tried to do that but I had to find a way to do it just because.  And then she posted another picture of her after completing 47 squat jumps.  I have recently gotten into doing little hiit vids where they do a butt load of these squat jumps.  I think I can do it. I have no idea since I haven’t tried but when I’m alone I will try just because.  And if I can do more I will feel smug, I mean better.
  • I get these competitive feelings when I see people who are happy and in love and it hits me the hardest when these happy in love people are sporting baby bumps.  All of a sudden I want a baby bump even though expanding our family isn’t the best thing for us now and possibly ever I have a baby who’s not even two yet.  I have what they are expecting yet I want it all the same. But it’s not the baby I want, I’m sure of this.  It’s the moment, that smile and how their hands are touching and they are very into their life and here look at us on Facebook proving how awesome we feel about each other.  I guess that’s what I really want, that free from dark looks and tension and the next argument around the corner.  All the history that has accumulated under the rug that has made a permanent little mound that is tripped on over and over again.  It needs to be cleaned out for sure and it’s been chipped at, all the dirt and crud but it never goes away.  I fear that even if it were to be thoroughly cleaned up the rug has taken it’s shape. It will always buckle just a little bit and able to be tripped over.

And with that I’m whined out.  I feel humbled by all the crap I feel irritated over and jealous of.  This doesn’t mean i’m over it.  It will creep up again. Probably later or when I see a photo of the golden couple doing something yet again without their kid or when I glance at my texts and my father in law still hasn’t responded to my, “so I hear you have tenants?” text asking basically to confirm that they are living there.  It’s been a week and still nothing.  oh boy, time to shut it down before I get all stupid and revved up again.

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I am ignoring the bliss that’s around me

All I want is to be a good person, someone who has something to say, something to bring to the table.  I wish I were a queen of small talk but nothing political because I just want to punch Trump in his fat face- but anything else.  Perhaps some tidbit of news that happened that maybe another person hadn’t heard about but I’m not.  I’m just a consumer of time and things that I want to check off my to do list.  I skim all the spam email maybe check out a couple updates on Facebook but mostly I am one word answers to Aly’s thoughts and questions and when I’m asked to do something it’s met with at best a ‘put out’ reply.  “okay just one time”, “okay just real quick”.  I am ignoring the bliss that’s around me. My beautiful kids that I allow to have their days swallowed by tv and phones are spending their time not remembering time with their mom.  I feel like a fucked up mess. Here I am writing this as they are sitting on the couch watching youtube videos.  Why am I not with them making jokes or tickling them? why?  Why am I so angry with my dad for picking any life, even one involving prison over me when I am here choosing any other thing over them?

So if this is all I want, to be a mom who is present and playful and there to pay attention and guide and teach then why not just do it? I spend time wrestling with thoughts, all day long.  Balancing the needs of everyone and just doing the bare minimum so I can still do something for myself. Actually, I don’t even look at it that way, as doing something for myself, more to just get through whatever I’m doing so i can get back to.. whatever. Nothing. Sweeping the floor, switching the clothes, a few yoga poses.  All of it doesn’t seem to matter when Lucy wants to climb in my lap to nurse.  Or Aly wants to show me the dress on some dating game she’s playing.  I don’t know how to snap out of this self-centeredness.  I just focus on me me me.  Was it always like this? Have I always been so narcissistic?

I need to invest in my family. The one’s that care about me. The ones that I am with day in and day out.  Because it really is an investment.  I have this one life, this one opportunity to be a mother, to be a wife.  So stop being distracted and irritable and enjoy your sweet fun and beautiful people who depend on you and are watching you!!!  okay, pep talk babble thing over.  GO DO IT!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superficial update

I got the mail and the happy book was there.  I didn’t open it.  I put it in the back of the car and held my fidgety little hands to myself.  I waited until Monday night at midnight for it to be the publishing date for the other book.  I waited as it because 12:10 and 12:15 and realizing that I would probably wait all night I just finally went to sleep and read the sample chapter in the morning.  I wasn’t sucked in so I cancelled the already placed order (I figuring I would do just that and cancel if I changed my mind).  So it’d a couple days later and the happy book is still in the back of the car unopened.

I went to the library hot on the trails of another book that when I brought home I realized it wasn’t what I thought, and therefor went on the to be returned to the library pile, but walking out of the library I saw on display a book by a guy named Mark Nepo who writes about spirituality and life and this book looked like another book of his that I have and enjoy.  So I’m returning the happy book and going to get the book that I know I will definitely like.

Took some time but patience won out and I am still a book basket case (but unfortunately I’m just crazy not a real basket full of books because that would be the coolest)

Superficial Nonsense (books and POTUS respectively)

I’m a book addict.  I try to get them from the library but sometimes when something isn’t at the library or any library  nearby or at all  I will heed the urge to buy the book off Amazon.

Yes I’m in debt. Yes I shouldn’t be buying books when there are medical bills, student loans, rent, $400 electricity bills, several credit card bills etc to pay among other myriad expenses but it’s my addiction and I guess it’s better than shoes? or Vodka?

Anyway so I ordered a book called Finding your Blue Sky. It’s a self-help meditation how to be happy sort of book that I like to read from time to time as a tune up.  It’s all the same info but I am not above reading something that if only for the moment makes me have a better state of mind.

But there’s another book that’s coming out tomorrow, a family dark comedy dysfunction book from an author who’s debut book I enjoyed and I really want to get it too. So I’m here at 4pm on a Monday while Lucy sleeps and Aly watches Dog with a Blog wondering if I should just return the blue sky book (currently sitting in mailbox already packaged awaiting to be either opened or returned for a refund which could be used -and justified- for the fiction book.

This is the sort of dilemma that sits in my head when I’m not obsessing over my broken marriage, debt, guilt over being the not great mother because I spend time during the day doing me things instead of being with kids.

And yet..

If I return the mediation book is that me deciding that I really don’t want to be happy? or that it’s not important? Am I rejecting the chance to make myself a better person?  And if I do this what if the other book sucks and I gave up the happy book for something that was more expensive?

 

All this against the backdrop of the women’s march held this past Saturday January 21st.   I read the articles about it.  Women on every continent joined together to protest that asshole (DJT) because he’s making changes that apparently are going to limit rights of people who are LGBT or are women or care about reproductive health etc.

Here’s where I stand. I’m a woman, therefor I should automatically feel defensive about this.  I do.  I also understand the feeling you get when among a group of people who are all feeling the same way you do.  It’s a buzz like no other.  I just wonder what it’s really going to do? If Trump is going to take away programs that help women who are victims of violence or take away funding for planned parenthood which help in SO MANY WAYS women who need exams, birth control, medication etc and yes, abortions but I still believe that it’s a women’s choice and it’s a gift to have a place to go to when you need help.

So I didn’t march. I didn’t hold up signs or wear a pink hat or listen to speakers talk about how crappy our POTUS is.  But I’m there in heart. I’m still trying to figure out this reality star of a man who has zero military or government experience, which by the way might not be a big deal had not been paired with other characteristics like zero vulnerability, zero heart, zero compassion or personality.  He’s an ego and a baby who doesn’t tolerate criticism which is strange since when you put yourself in the spotlight you should be used to being talked about in more bad ways that good.  My husband feels that people who march and talk about it are doing something stupid.  We got into it yesterday over the article that was in the Hartford Courant that begged the question of what it was all about.  I was insulted that had I been one of the people there would I be considered stupid by him? He said no of course not but what does a march do, really?

And I do want to know.  Aside from the sense of community and strength that comes about from joining together for a purpose you fully believe in- which shouldn’t be minimized at all- what happens next? Do they think that a douchebag like our A-hole of a POTUS is going to be swayed to reconsider his ego? I wish it would.  I mean, it’s early days, I hope it will.  But it probably won’t.

So what can we do?

 

 

Club 37

Club 37

It’s like walking around naked, exposed and ready for the elements to assault you; sunburn, wind, snow for instance, and also the obligation for those who know you or are friends with you on Facebook to wish you a happy birthday.

So you’re out and about on your day feeling  helplessly self-conscious and a little buoyant because it’s your special day and you almost feel like everyone knows (or should know) it.  But even if the people around you don’t (because duh) you are checking facebook because it actually prompts people to wish you a happy birthday so you’re on your phone constantly to see who posted on your wall so you can either try to thank each person individually or give up and do a general thank you everyone for your birthday wishes I feel special blah blah blah.

I did check intermittently and since I didn’t have an overabundance of people I thanked everyone singly and it was great but it also makes me feel like an asshole despite also being prompted to wish others happy birthday on their special day I usually ignore it. It only takes like 3 clicks and like 20 seconds of typing but at that moment it’s as if I can’t be bothered.  I usually go through a mental tally of if this person is worth the sentiments. I mean, do I even like this person? Didn’t they make that stupid remark about Trump being a hero? Next.  Also I’m lazy and just 3 clicks is too much when I’m trying to do what I gotta do before Lucy climbs up my leg.

 

So it’s another year.  I had to change the age on the elliptical machine.  I like to keep it real on the elliptical so it can calculate what is a normal heartrate for my age. Of course I don’t have the monitor anymore (the thing’s 10 years old and has traveled thousands of miles and to 5 different residences) but I want it to be accurate enough at least in my head- maybe just for the calories burned.  So if I were to do an inventory of sorts I would say I haven’t changed physically all that much. My hair is quite long since I haven’t had it cut on 14 months and I’m thinking of ignoring the little voice that tells me to chop it off when it gets this far along without some scissors.  As far as weight goes I don’t know how much I weigh but I guess about 130 which makes me about 10 pounds more than I was for high school graduation.  I don’t know why this is an important point of reference, or the most common one behind still fitting into my wedding dress, but it is.  So for being out of HS for just one year shy of 20 years I would think that 10 pounds is not so bad.  (more on weight and body image later) so that’s good I guess.

 

Have I accomplished anything in the past year? We have been living in the rented condo for the past year so no change in residence.  I have read about 70 books which pale in comparison to some of the more voracious readers but also might be 70 more than some people.  I have achieved an injured Achilles tendon which lead to having to stop running which makes me crazy but become desperate enough to rely on fitness videos (Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper) that I find free online on YouTube.  I have never used weights before on a regular basis so even though I’m not losing weight like I would with all the cardio I’m getting stronger muscles (important for when you’re getting older!).

Professional/Hobby accomplishments:  I have finally printed out my entire book, the first novel if you will, that I wrote back in 2010 and promptly forgot about it and after reading this past year  I started editing it and then promptly forgot about it but it’s still here with chapter 2 tacked to the bulletin board in front of me not so much to taunt me but to just be there hanging out waiting patiently to do something.

Family stuff accomplishments:  I have both disconnected from my aunt and then started talking to her again- after clearing the air.  Now we text somewhat regularly and it’s nice to not have that angry ache in my chest reminding me that I need to stop being stubborn if I want family in my life. Aly started the 5th grade and then about 2 months in convinced me to let her be homeschooled which means I get no more 7 hour break in the middle of the day I am as much a part of her education as she is (also meaning I have to do twice as much work to help her learn).  So I guess I can say that I am learning to be an actual teacher.

On the marital home front I have had countless fights with Steve- both feeling low and ashamed and righteous at the same time (but not in a good way).  We have had days of icy silence and tension where we spoke at each other functionally (about the kids etc) and then we’d come together and I wouldn’t want to trade the moment of closeness and forgiveness for anything in the world.

Father daughter shit: I can loosely say that I have come to a point in my ‘relationship’ with my dad that I decided it wasn’t worth it trying to have one.

Random stuff: I have given up my stance that I refuse to live in Connecticut- meaning that when we move out of the condo and look for a house to buy it will probably be in Connecticut.  However, I have not given up my refusal to live in or near East Windsor.

I have continued to grieve the loss of my grandmother who passed away in August of 2004. It will never not hurt, nor will the loss of my mother who passed away at the end of January in 2013.

I had planned to clean out Aly’s room (#disasterarea) but made minimal progress (I threw some things in a garbage bag). I planned to get my credit card debt down at all but instead have gone almost to the limit and also activated yet another one when it was time to plan Aly’s birthday party last April which basically means I have not become any more financially responsible.  At all. This past May I went to my old college roommate’s house on her birthday to surprise her that we’d moved back from Florida and realized that duh, things are not the same, we are not the same friends we were (some 14 years ago)  when confined to a dorm room and you’re too lazy to find other friends (rule of proximity).  I don’t know exactly what I had expected; maybe to just walk in and be all in the know with everything that’s going on and once again be someone she’d confide in as if I could skip all the phone calls, emails and planned events that would create such closeness.  Instead while her mother and cousins and kids were talking and eating and relating on all the levels I couldn’t reach I focused on Lucy, who was about to be a year old and thankfully doing all kinds of toddler stuff keeping me busy with that.  I felt awkward to say the least.  I was  like a shoulder bag someone brought in and placed in the doorway. People only acknowledged it by stepping around it but really they were just waiting for it to be removed so the place would look normal again.  Aly, Lucy and I stayed till the end though, something I never do and I gave her a hug and said how good it was to see her.  She said she’d invite us over sometime and I nodded as if I would be glad for that. She hasn’t asked us over and because I’m not up high on the let’s be friends again list I’m not waiting for the invitation.  And I’m sad about this yet not sad enough to do something about it.

 

I guess each year that goes by I realize (especially while scrolling through Facebook) that there are a bunch of people I know, they are familiar; whether from going to high school with them or from past work or friends of friends etc, and I don’t talk to them. These people that have been at one point a close friend or at one point an acquaintance that I actually saw face to face nowadays I don’t see them, ever.  I haven’t continued any sort of thread that would constitute having a friendship.  I understand that I’m not alone in having most if not all communication through a computer or phone.  But I seriously don’t do anything with other people.  I begrudgingly attend family gatherings and avoid talking to my neighbors.  I just don’t like socialization anymore.  Therefor I can’t help feeling like I’m not a real friend.  (Because I’m not.)

 

So I guess it’s more sad stuff for the annual review of life.  More sad because it has been another year where I have not made any plans with anyone (besides the drop in to  my old college roommate’s birthday that kind of flopped).  Another year where I’m edging towards 40 at which point I will have to finally succumb to the decision to not have a last child (not official yet) and another year towards to point where I can’t blame anything on being still just in my 30’s!  But then again it’s a year away from a particular point in my life where the length of time matters, specifically the longer the length the better.  I had an affair in 2013 and filed for divorce.  We have reconciled (more on this later) but the more time that goes by the better, perhaps the duller the pain is for Steve and also by default the more distant it is in the past.  Every time it pops into my head, sometimes put there by Steve when he’s upset about it or by something similar in a book or tv show I feel the slow infusion of shame and regret that it had happened, that I did it and now my marriage is forever tainted; that now I can never be a part of something sweet and pure and trusting. It will always cast a shadow on my capabilities, because I had done it once I’m sure Steve is thinking that I can do it again.

 

It’s also another year where as I get older I notice that of the books I read the authors are no longer older than me, therefor making it seem like what they have accomplished is something that I still have time to do.  As a kid you live with adults who are older and wiser and they tell you what to do.  You start working and your boss is older and it’s easy to follow the same pattern of listening for what to do (who doesn’t look at that 25 year old who’s your boss and say yes sir! Right away!- actually maybe you do because you keep it classy and reasonable but it’s just a little snub when someone younger than you can lord over their power).  It’s only natural to feel the comfort of being younger with all your future ahead of you.  But somewhere in your thirties the seesaw that you’ve been safely nestled on low to the ground as you look up to those who’ve already gone before you starts to become level and Damned if it doesn’t start to rise up where now you’re looking down on all the hopefuls, the one’s who now call you old who now can officially think or say that you’re too old for things.  That’s what I think about as I approach the big 4-0 (in three looong years) is that I’m too old to be called too young.  I have lost the ability to be too young for something.  I have entered a phase of life where I accept that I don’t have the kind of time ahead of me that I used to think (yesterday).  It’s not as feasible to think that I can start college again or enter to be a medical assistant, I mean, who really starts a program at the age of 40. All the MA’s I’ve seen are cuties in scrubs on their way to being RN’s or physician’s assistants or something.  I know I know, I am just limiting myself and really who’s to say I can’t be a medical assistant at any age but really.  I also can’t decide to join the ARMY.  Not that I had any ambition to do such a thing but to be refused and then told why, basically that I’m beyond the prime of my life, basically too old and too slow. But wouldn’t that make me as a woman almost good material since I’m almost at the age where bearing children would be impossible therefor I wouldn’t have to either take time off or be put safely behind a desk when I’m with child. But then again I would most likely have an aneurysm or a heart attack than be of any use out there, which defeats the purpose. We do want America’s finest to defend our country, not America’s oldest wisest.

The point (since I tend to digress) is that I’m confronting the fact that I will never be 36 again.  I will never look forward to all my first experiences again, the main ones that happen by now like driving for the first time, going out with a boy for the first time, get married, have children, first kisses and first sexual encounter etc.  “Oh you have time,” is a saying that is barely uttered in my direction unless I’m hanging out with some elderly folk where everyone is a child to them.  (Note to self: perhaps start volunteering at nursing home.)

So here we are, with a couple pro’s and many cons about being 37.  I can (if I just lighten up and place some Oprah affirmations on my vision board) make this better for myself. I can change my mindset and say that for the first 36 years of my life I have been a rough draft and now I’m in the first revision which means I am getting rid of the excess, the misspellings and the incorrect statements (and bank statements).  I am now altering. I am now making things make better sense and working towards polish.  That will be this year’s goal: to flesh out the ideas that don’t work, reorganize any scrambled priorities and be open to new ideas and critiques of people I trust.  Sounds a little more hopeful.

A little bit about Jeri

When I was a kid I lived in an apartment complex.  It was called Mill Pond Village and it was built in the 1970’s and for once was an aptly named apartment place because it was actually located near pond in Broad Brook, Connecticut.  My grandmother moved there a few years after it was built and not only was she looking for somewhere to live but she was looking for a job and she scored both.  I honestly don’t know much about her past (which is super weird since we did live together for so long)- but then again she was a private person and also I stupidly had never asked, but before I came along and from what I can piece together she’d been married twice; both to men she didn’t speak highly of at all.

For example, one night while we were eating dinner -some sort of meat and mashed potatoes- she informed me that she had remained a virgin until her wedding night.  She had said how much he hurt her.  This came out randomly and was also unusual since she didn’t talk much about her marriages which is why I remember hearing this and then trying to choke down the canned green beans wanting her to just get to the point; which in hindsight I’m not even sure what it was since I’m pretty sure this revelation came off her finding out that I had become sexually active (“If only I had you go to church this wouldn’t have happened).  Had I been listening between her words I would have thought, well since I got that part over with, by the time my wedding might comes around I’ll be all set!

Anyway, she got married to a man named Richard Fague, called Dick, who was a DJ for some radio station. I don’t know when.  And the only details I recall is that my grandmother got married to him and then either started to drink maybe because of him or because they drank together.   She had two children, my uncle, also Richard Fague, Jr and my mother, Tracy. After some time they divorced and she remarried to a man named Roger.  She had my aunt and battled postpartum depression, so bad that she went through  electroshock therapy, you know, no big deal. Roger left her for another woman and my grandmother was alone ever since.  As a kid I never questioned her being alone, it just was.  There were no dinner dates or drives to the shore or the sharing of anything romantic (my mom had enough men in her life for the both of them I guess).  However, my grandmother did go to a Christmas party that was held annually at the senior center in town with a man named Lloyd.  Three times she went, had some punch and came home.  I don’t know if she had truly wanted to go or if she just felt bad saying no but other than those three times there were no other interactions with him.  She liked to be at home where she could bake, watch a little tv, sit and knit, talk on the phone and have her bottle of Popov nearby.

She wasn’t fancy.  On the weekends she wore Hanes sweatpants and plain t shirts.  She went barefoot most of the time for about  half the year.   She had one helluva bunion that might have had to do with her lack of footwear but I think she would have opted out of shoes even if here feet were flawless. She wore long skirts with tasteful “tops” and flat shoes to go to her job as a leasing agent.  She was always grandma shaped, meaning she had no waist- like an apple on two chicken legs which leant a little more to her asexuality.  She wore necklaces, something quality made but not flashy.  There is one school photo of me, 4th grade I think, wearing a silver chain with a leaf pendant. It was a real leaf coated in actual silver that was hers that I had borrowed.  It truly looked like an old lady necklace, not helped by the uneven bangs and odd shaped smile.  As for other jewelry she had silver bangle bracelets that she also wore to work and a silver ring with turquoise stones set on the top that she never took off save for when she was elbow deep in bread dough. And that about did it for her accessories. She didn’t have pierced ears.  Her makeup consisted of drugstore liquid foundation and Avon lipstick-shade: raspberry ice, and her hair was simple and short, cut by the same woman who made house calls.  Her hair was a soft brown color with the tiniest bit of gray you’d have to search for to see.  She never fussed over her appearance, not one glamorous tidbit about her (except her dedication to wearing Poison perfume and then later switching to Eternity) yet she was put together and always work appropriate.

So she lived in a townhouse, the first one on the right as you drive into the complex, by herself where she took her 3 minute walk to work to the leasing office centrally located right next to the pool.  She was home right after 5 each day except on Sundays and Mondays which were her days off. She worked with two women, the office manager Marge and a bookkeeper named April.  There were also handful of maintenance guys all of whom she’d gotten along with well (at least from my memories).

My grandmother didn’t drive.  She was petrified of getting behind the wheel.  I’m not sure when it began as I do have an old black and white photo of her- a young smaller waisted woman with slightly longer hair with rolled curls who was about to either get in or get out;  one shapely was stepping to the ground and her left arm holding the door open. So she had driven at some point but then she didn’t- which made her choice of a job a no brainer seeing how she lived there.  She had a driver’s license from the early 80’s that she used for ID only.

Her social life revolved around work and the residents all of which she had an active part in getting into their apartment or townhouse.  We’d be sitting at the dining room table and from her spot with her back to the kitchen where she had the perfect view outside the sliding glass door a car would drive in, “There’s Rhonda coming home from East Hartford,” then go back to her knitting. She knew everyone and usually knew all their stories.  There was a number of people from other states and countries coming to Mill Pond for myriad reasons; maybe for a job or because they were new to the area and needed a temporary place or maybe just to start over.  Some people started off saying that they were “getting out” as soon as they saved for a house but they wee still saying that 20 years later. Mill Pond Village was inhabited by different kinds of people; from those who used section 8 housing vouchers to those who just wanted to rent despite being able to afford a nice house.  Most of the people didn’t have disposable income though and some of those people pulled on my grandmother’s heartstrings.  I remember one couple that my grandmother talked about sometimes.  The husband worked and the wife was one of the cleaners for the apartments.  It wasn’t long before they were expecting a baby and because they needed so much my grandmother decided to buy them a washer and dryer set.  This was in the late 80’s and she was making about 8 dollars an hour.  My grandmother had probably about 5 credit cards and she  was able to pay them off asap, usually monthly which is unheard of these days.  You can’t walk down the street without bypassing a person with credit card debt.  By the way, is it a generational thing where people who were born before the 1950’s made it a priority to only charge things they knew they’d be able to pay for? Or was she just one of the majority who were fiscally responsible and I’m just in awe of it because I could easily right now declare bankruptcy (again!-more on my personal debt later).  Either way, my grandmother used her credit cards wisely.  She would sit at her spot at the dining room table thumbing through the huge JCPenney catalog that came a couple times a year and she’d order me a jacket or her a much needed pair of shoes or something.  She’d hold her “Penney’s card” in her hand as she tucked the phone between her ear and her shoulder because her other hand was lifting up her glasses so she could read the card number to the person on the other end. But she would just purchase something. She’d sit on the phone with whoever was taking her order and talk.  She’d read off the item number and then ask about the material because it was cold.  Then she’d listen and comment about the weather lately and ask the person where they were and next thing you know they’d be trading recipes.  When she finally hung up she’d say, “In just two business days we’ll have our stuff, Sar.” She was always impressed with JCPenny’s shipping speeds.  No doubt she would be an Amazon Prime member if she were alive today.

So, she put that washer and dryer on one of her credit cards and each month she’d pay it down because she liked to do things like that.

Yup, another blog..

First, about me: I can’t stand wearing shoes with socks. I also don’t like wearing shoes without socks because my feet get sweaty and hot and then they smell like something that is both repugnant and oddly intriguing but more disgusting so I hate exposing the family to it.