Some Pre-Halloween Drama

October 31, 2009

“Halloween Hype” Movie.  Roll tape. 

This feature film stars the irreplaceable and always-obsessing thinking Em with her two adorable co-stars, Pieter and Lexi.

Scene 1:

Em comes home from boot camp to the usual routine.  Take dogs out, feed dogs, feed self, work online, watch Law & Order followed by Dateline NBC which happened to be about a murdering husband/son.

Scene 2:

Chase Lexi around the downstairs of the house trying to “be the pack leader”.  Throw the tennis ball through the house while playing with dogs.  Take dogs out for yet another potty break.  Continue watching Dateline.

Scene 3:

Just as Dateline is speaking about the danger involved with the FBI’s investigation of a man who allegedly killed his wife & son, and was conspiring to have his parents murdered, Em’s brow furrows as she finally takes notice of Lexi, and realizes she has been doing something unsettling all night. 

HISTORY: Em and the City Boy use a baby gate to block Lexi’s access to the stairs.  Usually, Lexi protests the fact that she is limited to the downstairs by sniffing around the gate, and occasionally trying to claw at it.  Typically, this behavior can be corrected after a few “Tssk’s” and “No, Lexi”‘s.  But, tonight was different.  She had been barking intensely, looking intently up the stairs as if she has a target in mind.  She is jumping, making attempts to literally leap OVER the baby gate.  Initially, once her changed behavior toward the gate was noticed, Em thought “Stupid Dog.” 

Return to Scene 3: 

Em suddenly realizes the remote possibility there may be someone IN the house.  Hiding UPSTAIRS. 

She thinks to herself: Perhaps Lexi witnessed this person enter the house before I arrived at the house.  Perhaps Lexi KNOWS there is someone upstairs, hiding, lurking, waiting to surprise me the moment I ascend the stairs.  It must be the ex!  He found out that I told his sister-in-law about his little “secret disease” mentioned here and has finally flipped his lid!  He must’ve looked up my address via the public records online, drove to my city (about 3 hours from his locale) and is now sitting upstairs while I’ve been mindlessly watching crime TV and chasing pups around like a sitting duck!!  My “protection” is upstairs too, which means HE is more likely to find it and use it against me.

Return to Scene:

Quickly, Em grabs her cell phone and takes the dogs outside through the back sliding glass door.  She calls the City Boy – voicemail!  She calls her mother – voicemail!  She calls her ONE Orlando friend – voicemail! 

She thinks: “Damn people for having lives on a Friday night!” 

She calls her sister (who she knew was with her parents) and she answers.

Em: “I think there’s someone in my house, but I also think I may be paranoid at the same time.” 

Sister: “Hold on (with intensity)  I will let you talk to Dad.”

Dad: “What’s going on?”

Em: (beginning to get choked up) “Dad … I think I’m just being paranoid, but there may be someone in my house!  Lexi is going crazy trying to get upstairs and I can only assume that there’s someone UP there!”

Dad: “Is the City Boy there?”

Em: “No.  He’s working.”

Dad: “Go to your neighbors and call the police.  Let them come and check it out.”

(some slight bantering back & forth while Em protests making mention that she doesn’t want to waste anyone’s time if it turns out to be nothing at all.  Father argues “that’s what they’re paid for!”)

Em: “Okay” (fighting tears) “I’ll call you guys back.”

Scene 4:

After a 5 minute conversation with a very pleasant 911 dispatcher and 6,000 mosquito bites to the flesh, four police cruisers and one undercover car roll onto the street and park 4 houses down.  Questions are asked and answered.  The pups instinctively understand Em’s mental state and sat alert immediately next to her waiting for an indication of what is happening.  Six police officers entered the home, guns on the ready and flashlights in hand.  From the street Em can see their flashlights as they enter the upstairs and check empty bedrooms which don’t yet have light fixtures installed.  Several minutes pass and the police return to give the “go ahead” for re-entry into the home.  Embarrassed “thank you’s” are said, sympathetic responses follow. 

Back inside Em makes sure all windows are locked, sliding glass door is locked and tries to relax.

She thinks: “No more watching multiple shows about murder and mayhem when home alone.”

She calls the City Boy to explain, calls her father back to say “Thank you.  All is clear.  As you were.  At ease, Sir.”

Dad: “Well, you know … if you lived up here in Burlington you wouldn’t have to call the police.  You could just call me or your brother to come keep you safe.”

Em: “You people and your sales tactics!!”

The truth is … you don’t realize how alone you are somewhere until things get a little scary.  With the City Boy working late nights and no friends or family in the area it’s a very isolated feeling I have at times.  Usually, I have no problem running at night in my neighborhood or taking the dogs out at all hours of the night.  I don’t get nervous pumping gas when the sun goes down, and just yesterday I walked about 2 miles in the early dusk hours trying to locate my Halloween costume in a slightly sketchy part of town.  But … sometimes … my imagination kicks in and I end up monopolizing 6 police officers evenings.  Such a wimp.

Guess the spirit of Halloween has seeped in this year.

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2 Weeks Late

October 27, 2009

You know those days when you wake up in a fog bubble and can’t seem to pop it?  You stumble around all day, figuratively and physical; tripping on objects left on the floor, words you can’t quite assemble into a proper sentence; you try to smile, and maybe you are, but it still feels like you’re still frowning, not fooling anyone.  That has been my year, unfortunately.  Just mucking through every day … yuck!  Not a way I want to be living my life, that’s for sure!  Today is no exception … called in sick to work and here I sit.  Stuck.

It feels like my life has lost its purpose.  I need a job/daily activity that has some significance … that NEEDS my presence … that gives me some sort of excitement about waking up each day.  Because, seriously.  That is soooo lacking right now that most days I don’t even roll out of bed until after 8am and I don’t want to live like this.  I want to jump out of the sack at 5 am ready to start another day!! 

But I honestly feel like the only way that can be possible is if I have some meaningful responsibilities throughout that day.  ugh!  Oh well, it’ll work itself out I suppose.

***

So, the wedding was great two weeks ago!  And to prove it, I have posted the very few pictures that I took while there.  The ceremony went off without a hitch, our green dresses & gold shoes didn’t seem to clash at all which was a huge relief!  The food was great, the beer in the limo was cold, and my Dad cried during his speech (he was the best man).  Really got to me.  The weather could have been a little warmer, but all of us girls in our sleeveless dresses and bare legs pulled through and managed to get through the outdoor photo shoot before the wedding.  Also, something that I really like about how they set things up: (1) no bouquet toss or garter toss for the sake of time and (2) wedding cakes were dispersed on each table as a centerpiece so everyone could cut and serve their own piece.  Saved time and staff members so people could get cake out of the way and get down to the business of “gettin’ down”.

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This wasn't taken with my camera. Please excuse the blurriness.

My new sister-in-law’s parents spent a fortune on the wedding.  So, as a result there were a host of long-lost relatives and old babysitters there that I hadn’t seen in probably a decade or more.  Everyone was so happy to see me (and vice versa) and they all wanted to meet the City Boy (of course they did!  He was the only Black person in attendance.)  It felt like 75% of the reception I was introducing him and going through the nicities and small talk that is customary, although I was itching to get out on the dance floor. 

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My grandmother & her youngest, my Uncle Scott. He's quite the character!

At first, I was thinking “Well, it’s probably good we’re getting all of these introductions out of the way NOW versus at OUR wedding”.  But then, after a few drinks and a little common sense I realized that I wouldn’t be able to invite HALF of these people to our wedding!  So, while everyone was hugging and shaking our hands saying things like, “Congratlations!  We can’t wait to see you again at your wedding”, I was thinking “FAT Chance, Sister!”

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The Bride & Groom, tearing up the dance floor

I don’t have the money to invite everyone we want to … not only that, but I want it to be a fairly intimate wedding.  No hooplah or hullabaloo, no formal “putting on of the airs”.  Just two people who love each other, making a commitment in front of people who love us and will hold us to that commitment when we feel like running the hell away from each other.  Because, believe me – I know that day will come.

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Junior Best Man, Austin! My favorite little brother turned 11 the day after the wedding!

Anyway, it was truly a GREAT weekend, and I think my funk may have sunk lower since we got home because I’ve been feeling more “homesick” than usual.  Some days I feel like I’m just waiting for the go ahead from the City Boy to pack up and move North.  It’s the strangest thing EVER because I’ve lived away from home for 8 years and this is the first time I’ve ever experienced this.  Missing my family?  Psst.  News to me!  But it’s true.

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My Family

To the happy couple: we love you and miss you and know that you will strive to make each other happy, laugh, and better.  Hopefully simultaneously!

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Happily Ever After ...


The World Has Turned & Left Me Here

October 21, 2009

The good news is that I’m alive.  The bad news, however, is that I’m dealing with some stuff right now.  Just run of the mill, depressing, bury my head in the sand kind of crap that is making communication difficult for me.  This includes verbal, written, email, or telephone, texting, twittering, smoke signals, all of it.  When I go through the agony of processing how to communicate the things going on inside my head, all my body can do is cry.  It’s getting kinda heavy over here in these parts.  I am feeling like the zombie I hoped I’d never be again.

I’m experiencing stress that I’ve never thought possible (and I’ve been in some pretty stressful situations.  Think: 1998 through 2008) and for the first time in my life I am seriously starting to doubt my ability to handle it.  I’ve always been confident in my adaptability capabilities, but now?  I just worry that it’s too much.  I won’t make it.  I don’t have what it takes.

So, I may be silent for just a few days, and it’s not because I’m fleeing or dead.  I just don’t want to write repetitive posts like this one any more than necessary.  I hope you understand. 

But, just as an update, I attended my brother’s wedding over the weekend, and it was beautiful.  It was great to see so many people who were a part of my life as a child – old baby sitters, neighbors, friends of my parents from high school, old teachers, third and fourth cousins, etc.  And the dancing?  It was great fun.  I will be posting pictures and a few quick stories from our visit hopefully this week – if I can bring myself to get it all down.

Have patience … I’ll be back.  I just need to knock the shit off that’s going on inside my brain first.


Cause & Effect

October 14, 2009

How about a little game I like to call, Cause & Effect

Cause: I will be traveling this weekend to Cincinnati for my brother’s wedding.

Effect(s):

  • A jarring climate change of 90+ degrees to 50 degrees + wind and possible snow flurries
  • I will be dropping off Lexi tomorrow morning at a batshitcrazy woman’s house for the weekend (more on that later), which I am increasingly nervous about.
  • Friday morning I will be dropping off Pieter on the way to the airport with his usual sitters who love him like a son – it’s wonderful and eerie at the same time.
  • I spent $80 last night at Target on a dress to wear to the rehearsal and two new pairs of shoes. I am absolutely NOT one of those women who lives to shoe shop.  Truth be told, these were the first shoes I’ve purchased since 2006.
  • I have yet to purchase their wedding gift because I’m too lazy to grab my “This Is My Life” binder out from behind the driver seat of my car and bring it into the office with me.  Every day I forget it.  And even now that I remember it, I am still too lazy to walk outside & grab it.  What the hell is wrong with me?!?
  • I may just give them a gift card … not a very sentimental, sisterly gift though is it?  I think they’d rather get the SONY Camcorder that is still on their registry list.  Tick tock, Em.  Tick tock!
  • Am already missing the City Boy who will be joining me in Cincinnati on Saturday morning (work schedule = unyielding), and then we’ll be spending the entire day apart from each other because I’ll be off doing “wedding stuff”.  So, he’ll spend the majority of the day with my brother and the groomsmen, he’ll spend the wedding sitting next to my mom, and will even eat dinner at my mom’s table at the reception. 
  • But … the dance floor?  That is all ours, Baby!!  And I can’t wait for the party.  If there’s one thing my family excels at, it’s having fun!  Especially if music is involved.
  • After the wedding, we’ll be boarding a plane Sunday morning, all hung over (no doubt) and will spend the remainder of the day gathering dogs from various sources, doing laundry and drinking LOTS of water.

Many photos and hopefully good stories will soon follow.

Cause: In the bridal party, we will be wearing Moss green dresses (of various styles) and gold shoes (of various styles, heights, straps, etc.)

Effect(s):

  • I will be heading to the alterations shop this afternoon to pick up my bridesmaid dress, and am very hopeful that I will be able to carry it on the plane.
  • I need to purchase a pair of gold heels to wear in the wedding.  All bridesmaids were left to their own devices to find and purchase suitable gold shoes. 
  • Honestly?  I think our moss green dresses & gold shoes will make us all look like Leprechauns and imagine the groomsmen to be wearing kilts and bagpipes.

Cause: I finally got my haircut yesterday and it was done properly.  It only took a year of living here to get it right!

Effect:

  • Now that it’s finally short enough, I worry that it may be “too short” to look any bit of formal at the wedding.
  • Am thankful that the future sister-in-law is a beautician/hairstylist so she can hopefully offer some advice.  After all, it’s her wedding.  She is definitely vested in the interest of my hair at least for ONE day.
The Happy Couple!

The Happy Couple!

Anyway, that’s about it.  Got another boot camp class today in about 3 hours and can’t wait!  Actually, I CAN wait.  My legs are still pretty tender from Monday’s camp, but I do love it.  I was all ready to hit the gym yesterday when I came down with the chills and shakes at work, so I went home and slept for an extra 5 hours instead. Bliss.

I’m going to stop typing now, otherwise I’ll keep rambling.  Stop. Typing. Stupid. Fingers! End.


Trapped

October 12, 2009

I ran away from home when I was four.  My mother was trying to force me into a pair of ruffled stockings to wear to church.  I hate ruffles – then, and now.  And I hate being forced to do anything (even at a young age).  This particular struggle resulted in me packing a “suitcase” and high tailing it to my best friend, Lindsay’s front stoop.  She wasn’t home – her family was already at church, and I was greeted by a Daddy Long Leg spider on her front porch.  Dejected (and terrified of the spider), I returned home to face my doom.  Luckily, though I was able to persuade my mother NOT to torture me any further with the concept of ruffled stockings.

The next year I was in Kindergarten.  My mother came to pick me up from class and was greeted by my teacher who pleaded with her NOT to send me to school in the dress I was wearing ever again.  Apparently, I didn’t like the dress and sat at a table and pouted ALL DAY due to the atrocity and injustice of what I was wearing.

Flash forward to high school.  Seriously?  Do I even NEED to tell you how many times I bucked and balked at authority?  I was fully capable of making my own decisions, but yet was subjected to daily treatments of being corralled like cattle into what everyone THOUGHT I should be doing.  I wanted to graduate early, and had the credits to support that move.  I lobbied the principal, the guidance counselor, even my parents.  No one would oblige me.  I was so ready to ditch the institution of high school for a greater education … the biggest objection to my request was that I would later regret missing senior prom, homecoming, graduation, etc.  The “Senior Memories”.  I wasn’t about to give in.  I knew what I wanted, and there was no logical reason for not moving forward with my plans.  I found a school that would allow me to finish my senior year via correspondence.  Ironically, it was the same school Andre Agassi received his diploma.  And, if it’s good enough for Andre, it would be good enough for me.

I paid for the classes, and finally persuaded my mother to sign the forms that would allow me to do this.  I finished my senior year, while taking college courses AND working full-time.  Do I regret it?  Not one damn second of it.

The point of this entire post is that when I lack control over my own circumstances it makes me incredibly anxious and rebellious.  I don’t like not being at the helm of my own life, and right now?  I’m feeling every bit of that angst, and resentment for whatever/whoever is standing in my way.  I want to buck.  I want to scream.  I want to run in the direction that I so choose as appropriate.

The problem however, is that I don’t know which direction to run.  I have this list of pending items that are going on in my life, and none of them are really progressing in any direction.  This wedding.  My new house.  My career.  I am exhausting myself by pushing up against an unyielding brick wall.  And after blistering my hands and feet from all the pushing and getting nowhere, I’m feeling the inevitable outcome of throwing myself on the ground in a puddle of hot, aggravated and frustrated tears.

Suddenly, I’m back to being 4 years old and being told the disgusting phrase, “Because I said so”.  It makes me sick.  It makes me want to scream like a toddler, “That’s not fair!”  But, then what?  The fact is, I’m no longer a child.  I DO have possession of my own life and future.  I am now struggling with my own will … it’s now that I need to reflect on all that is important to me; analyze what I want the outcome to be, and develop a plan that will get me there, despite any obstacles that block my path.

So, that’s where I am today.  Taking stock of where I am, what I want, and coming up with a way to check this goals and objectives off my list, despite the sacrifice and pain that it may cost me.  Why is it that it was easier to muster the courage when I was sixteen than it is now?  Have I gotten lazy?  Complacent? 

Today is the start of that process.  Determine the next hurdle … pick up some momentum and make it happen.


On New Motherhood

October 10, 2009

Tell me: is it normal for new mothers to feel absolutely overwhelmed with the tasks they have to complete?  Ridden with guilt for all that they are failing to do?

I know that all “true Mothers” who read this will want to slap me across the face, but our pup is 4 months old and is very demanding on the attention.  I’m constantly yelling, “Lexi, DOWN!” “Lexi, no!” “Lexi, get off the couch!” “Lexi, don’t eat those shoes!” “Lexi, take Pieter’s head out of your mouth!”  Couple this with the fact that the City Boy is not here in the evenings to pitch in, I feel like I’m a single mom, chained to the kitchen/living room areas of the house.  I have these things that I’m committing myself to do each night, but the list … it goes un-checked.  And my patience … it becomes more and more diminished.  And my sanity? … I don’t know where it went. 

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I’ve found myself crying more about this damn puppy and the feelings of failure I’m experiencing than I care to admit.  I stayed home from the office yesterday and when the City Boy was leaving for work, he asked me for the smallest favor – that I would print a document for him that evening.  My response?  Tears!  I wanted to say, “Of course Hon!  I’ll be glad to do that small little favor for you”, but I KNEW that I wouldn’t be able to deliver the goods.  And for that, I was so angry and ashamed at myself.  He told me I was being too hard on myself.

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How is it possible that I’m exhibiting symptoms of post partum depression with a stinkin’ puppy?!?  What the hell is wrong with me? 

So, here it is, Friday night.  Chained to the kitchen – NOT completing my list of To-Do’s and trying to watch Law & Order while chasing the puppy away from the vacuum cleaner cord, the TV remote, Pieter, the couch. 

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Come on City Boy!!  Come home soon.  Your presence is absolutely NEEDED!!


City Love with the City Boy, Part 1

October 7, 2009

They say it’s important not to compare, but I don’t see how a person can possibly avoid it.  I tried, for awhile, but I continued to fail, so now I compare whenever the fancy strikes me.  After all, “comparing” is what made me realize what an amazing and different and unique person the City Boy is from every other person I’ve ever met.  I learned, and very quickly, not only how wrong I was for so long to think that the relationship I had resigned myself to was as good as it could get (what an idiot I was!) but also how wonderful people can be for each other.  Okay, I’m getting way ahead of myself here.

Here’s how it all started …

Before work each morning, a girlfriend/employee of mine and I were meeting at the gym downtown to work out.  We strived to get going around 6am.  Usually, you would find us in the free weight area upstairs, her chatting on and on incessantly about something personal and emotional (that’s how she rolls.  The woman has NO filter for what is appropriate for disclosure.  It’s amazing!)  and I would sit there listening, waiting for a split-second chance to squeeze two words in edge-wise, while working on dumbbell curls or tricep dips.  It was our routine.  Working out that early gave us time to focus on what we were doing without the distraction of the rush hour crowds.  It was quieter in the mornings, people were friendlier and machines and weights were usually free for the taking.  It was the only time in my life where something was worth getting out of bed at 5AM.  I needed this.

One mid-February morning, as Genia and I sat in our usual exercise area chatting about her life’s drama, a man ascended from the stairwell right behind us.  He got my attention because a) he resembled Cuba Gooding, Jr., and b) he was entirely too energetic for 6:15 in the morning.  “Good morning, Ladies”, he said as he walked by us.  A flash of smile, mp3 player buzzing in his ears.  “Having a good workout?”

We smiled back at him, said “Good morning”, and went about our conversation.

The routine seemed to repeat itself for the next two weeks.

Occasionally, after work Genia and I would throw some running clothes on and run through downtown from our office, back to the gym for another quick workout.  Just something to keep us busy in the evenings, and gave us a nice opportunity to un-wind after work before returning to our personal lives at home.  I must say, I absolutely loved this time of my life … not everything, but just these moments of running in the cool spring air, over the Main Street bridge, around the Jacksonville Landing, cutting across a parking lot, around the Bank of America building, and to the gym.  All the while, telling stories and laughing.  Laughing so hard.  I was sooo happy to be both out of the house AND not at work.  I think it was the first time I realized that it didn’t HAVE to be one or the other.  You actually could have something ELSE to do in life.  Earth shattering concept, right?

Anyway, I recall running into “Cuba” (as we had begun calling him) at the gym on some of these nights.  Surprisingly, he was just as happy-go-lucky and personable in the evenings as he was in the early mornings.  Our conversations were always held short, small talk pleasantries.

Then came the fateful day in late-March.  Genia discovered Spinning class, and this is where things get interesting.  Apparently, the gym was about to start offering Spinning classes at 6:30AM on Wednesdays and Fridays.  Having been in a Spinning class a few times in my life, I already knew that I absolutely hated it!  I wanted no part of it, and told Genia as much.

“Well, what are you going to do while I’m in class?” she asked.

“Oh, don’t worry about me”, I retorted.  “I will just do some running while you’re in class.  I think it’d be great to run around downtown twice a week.”

But then The Obvious hit me upside the head – I’m a woman, in a crime-ridden city, running alone, in the dark.  Not smart, Dumbass! Actually, it wasn’t really The Obvious that hit me upside the head – it was Genia.  Instantly, I wanted to protest her argument, but I knew she was right.  “What about Cuba?” I asked.  Sure!  It made perfect sense.  He was definitely in great shape and looked like he could go a few laps, he was a very friendly guy, seemed trustworthy, and of course I was interested in knowing more about him (aside from the fact that he looked great in sleeveless shirts, was seemingly nice to EVERYONE he came in contact with, and had a smile that could melt stone).  I decided to ask Cuba to be my running partner the next morning at the gym.

Only … I wouldn’t be seeing him at the gym the next morning.  He seemed to have vanished, and I had no way of getting a hold of him.  I didn’t even know his name.

What is to come of Em’s predicament?  Will she be forced to participate in grueling Spin class?  Or would she run alone and end up lost and mugged in the early morning hours?  What would happen if she asked some “other” fellow at the gym to run with her?  Would it be a good match, or would she end up bruised and battered in an alley somewhere?  Will she EVER get a word in edge-wise with Genia?  All this and more on the next installment of “City Love with the City Boy”