Tuesday

7 Jan

It was a Holy Shit when I saw myself in the mirror kind of morning. One of those where I wondered, how? Just how? Last night was uneventful. Aside from B talking to our pillow then flinging it back to knock a wine glass off the table. He was not drunk, maybe a little, but he is always mildly clumsy if there is something tinted around to be spilled on an expensive rug or an electronic device. Which is why we don’t have expensive rugs and have had to replace many remotes.

My period humbles me each month, reminding me of Adam and Eve. How he must have loved her. The way my Adam loves me. Blinded by it or terrified of hormones, he looks past the 90’s sweats, the uncontrollable hair and says, “you don’t look terrible.” I close the door to try to get my body on board with the day. There is much to be done.

This Life

5 Dec

eyes-1I lie in bed kissing the back of his shoulders. “My very own man”, I think to myself. Touching him as much as I can without waking him before sneaking out of bed. I know if I stay I will deprive him of the last bit of morning sleep. I watch a show, check the time, then crawl back into bed. This time with the intention of waking him. More soft kisses. His body smells are pungent but only pull me closer. A reminder that nature; biology know us better than we know ourselves. I was coded to feel this way about him. Not only written in the stars but in the cellular universe of my body. He coos. His lashes flutter. He looks at me, only one eye exposed, the rest of his face masked by blankets and pillows we have named. He smiles. Good Morning.

Hater of Pictures. Lover of Ice Cream.

31 Jul

Maybe this cone will put a smile on his face.

What is the perfect dessert after a bowl full of ramen?

I bought some “real” ice cream for a shoot. I knew he wouldn’t mind.

Finishing the pints.

IceCreamDaruma2

And after another ramen lunch.

Who cares if its Winter? We just climbed the largest Dune in Europe.

We are so lost in Madrid. Better eat this ice cream bar and figure out what’s what.

First night back in France Mango was his choice

First night back in France
Mango was his choice

Summer beach Ice cream may top them all

Summer beach Ice cream may top them all

This American’s Life

5 Feb

Writing is therapeutic for me which means that I am usually in a somber mood when I turn to it. Mostly my life is pretty great. It is great because I choose for the most part to see it that way. A perpetual perceptual inventory of seeing the haves. Blessings counted. Unfortunately, when the lows come, attempting to talk myself out of them by thinking on all the wonderfulnesses in my life only exacerbates my self loathing tumble because now I am sad and I have no reason to be so WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME THEN‽ This spins the sinking into the deep sea of my mind, the darkest of darkness, where those freaky sea creatures that radiate and have human faces or one eye reside. The arguments with myself begin and continue in circles fighting logical me. All approaches and tactics are sampled. There is the Full Metal Jacket, “THIS IS BULLSHIT. DO YOU THINK YOUR GRANDMOTHER (Mom’s mom) HAD TIME TO CRY AND FEEL FUCKING SORRY FOR HERSELF BEING POOR WITH A TERRIBLE HUSBAND AND SEVEN KIDS? NO SHE DIDN’T! SO SUCK IT UP” angle. This usually works when I am having first world problems but not today. Today it just makes me feel even more pathetic. So I move on to coddling, reasoning mode. Softly thinking, “it’s okay. Every one gets the blues at times. You have a wonderful husband who lets you stay home, who is encouraging…” which of course circles back to bizarro me agreeing, thinking, “EXACTLY! So what’s wrong?” I had thought an hour ago that I would write today’s post about depression and addiction, jumping on the PSH train of public opinion haver, but after flipping through my notes I have instead decided to use the short random thoughts, words and other moments I came across from this Life with B.

Today*************
After another broken night while hiding my swollen eyes over the kitchen sink I ask, “How do you love me?”
I can feel him behind me. “With all of my heart.”
I hand him his smoothie shaking my head that he has done it again. “That’s not what I meant.”
But I know it is true. I know he loves me because everyday he does it so hard and true, with great effort and also effortlessly. In the mornings feeling the heat from his sleeping body, touching that peaceful face I wonder what I am really doing in my waking life because this cannot be real.

1/24***************
I want to cut my hair and dye the ends blonde and shave one side. I want to sing more and be one of those people that I see possibly overtly being themselves. I am rarely myself. I am often B’s wife. I am struggling forever inside of myself with what the world deems appropriate, even though when I look at the world I see so much wrong. So little love for one another as fellow star dustians.

1/22*************
B’s rules for driving:

A. Everybody should learn to drive on a stick shift

B. Every time you renew your license you should have to take at least a written test

C. Every ten years you have to get your butt in a car with someone who knows what the hell they are doing so they can watch you drive…terribly.

1/15***************
He speeds up suddenly creeping on the person who just got in front of us.
“Why did you do that?”
“Cause I was trying to cut them off.”
“But why?”
frustrated, “Because what’s wrong with being behind me?!”

Looking at houses******
“It looks interesting if I were gay or in IT.”

On idiots*****
“A little Darwinism never hurt anybody, except maybe dummies.”

12/1*************
“I slept like a baby. A baby with a beard.”

********
That all the traditions I have been taught fade and die each year my family becomes more estranged and each year we aren’t pregnant. Having our own children has become a laughable ‘for instance’ and although we talk about how they will be, planning for them realistically has evaporated from real conversations.

10/28*******The sex lead in of my romantic novel about the hippie from the community co-op.
With his John Lennon glasses and his headband made from an old yellow T-shirt, his dirty artist face scruff…his musk.

10/16*******In the bathroom
Crying reading a FB post about an orphan
Scared
I love
Ungrateful
Scared still
You’ve got to stop doing that

9/28************
B on a news story he heard of a group following poor GPS directions and ending up on an airstrip

“What is wrong with people’s eyeballs‽ I wish those people would just DIE already! Seriously. Let’s just weed out the idiots and get on with civilization. I’m tired of half assery.”

8/16*************
Separate purchases of two adult men.

One pineapple, a mango and a bottle of red wine.

Apricot face scrub, one single 12oz bottled beer.

8/14**************
While trying to explain to my Canadian friend why a photoshopped picture of Michelle and Barack Obama to look like the Planet of the Apes is super offensive.

“I’ve never seen the movie.”
“you don’t have to have seen the movie.” flustered
“But isn’t that the point of Planet of the Apes? That the apes ran a whole planet?”

face palm, subject change

8/10***************
Dream: She says “you left me here.” And in the forest from above the fire spelled out, “Just lost hope.”

8/3***********
Twenties: Drunk young and invincible immediately followed by shame guilt and a bad case of crabs.

7/24************
“They didn’t have coffee. I’ve never had an Americano before.”
“Yes, you have.”
“NOPE. I’ve had coffee and I’ve had water, but never together.” (which is totally false)

7/23*************
Even now I cry when he says, “I miss you”, as if I have waited forever to hear the words. But it is that I waited my life to hear a man like him feel them.

**************
I come home from my trip. He looks at me and sweetly says, “I am out of clean clothes.”

7/7***********

When your husband is taking a pre-sleep nap and your kambucha is fermenting.

6/9***********
Another hispanic health disagreement.

“Are you looking it up?”
“Yes.”
“If it’s on chupacabra.com I’m not going to believe it.”

Random, right? I do feel better.

B photobombing a practice shoot.

B photobombing a practice shoot.

Life Without B

19 Dec

Walking into the house I left my sweater and shoes on, plopped onto the sofa confused almost about what I was to do with myself with B gone all week. I had just returned from dropping him at the airport, direction Colorado. Snow and cold are not really my bag, or the combination while also trying to balance on two skinny planks attached to my feet. No thank you. Skiing always seemed sort of elitist to me and the only elitist behavior I can appreciate is eating a well prepared meal made with quality ingredients because one doesn’t have to rent expensive gear or invest in a $200 jacket plus insulated pants. (I have also been known to state that I am too brown for the cold.) I lined up a string of baby sitters to keep me company and indulge in fun things like, doing whatever I want to do to pass the time until my darling husband comes back, but adult schedules are hard and some plans fell through.

DAY ONE: Figuring it was about time I paid my mother a visit I arranged a work shoot with a restaurant in my home town. I loaded my gear and the pups and headed for the hills. I don’t care to come home much. Since my parents divorced and our childhood home was sold it is more foreign to me than my visits abroad. Nothing is where I think it should be and the food is weird. Having spent the past decade in the city I am spoiled in that I can find healthy meals anywhere at relatively any time of day. Going home however, a fancy salad is one with iceberg AND romaine then sauced with dressing. And it is best to not be vegetarian.

 

DAY TWO: When B is gone all I do is wait for that first text. Wait for a phone pic of those cheeks and eyes.
It is painful and sometimes when he waits too long my heart aches.

Sunrise

Sunrise

Instagram shot of me enjoying the Texas Winter Sun.

Instagram shot of me enjoying the Texas Winter Sun.

I want that he has fun and enjoys time with friends but I also need to know he wishes I were there or hear in his voice that he misses me while he excitedly shares his adventures in the snow. But he is not good at this. What I get is that obligatory call or text on the way out or right before bed with nothing to say. I am sad but my day on my own was a decent one. In marriage sometimes I forget I use to be my own person. At times, having that break reopens the part of me where I do things for myself. It is healthy and I appreciate it but somewhat reluctantly. I miss his smell.

DAY THREE: A few texts come and go. B is tired. I want to hear him smile but I have company. We text our sweet goodnights then once my friend leaves the beers I drank whisper to me it wouldn’t be the worst thing to hear his voice. Awakened by my multiple texts asking repeatedly if he is asleep, (he was), I tell him I hope he is thinking about me,(he is, probably at this point not very favorably) and that I love him. I get the appropriate responses but no call.

DAY FOUR: I do not feel well. My tummy is all wonky. Probably because non Europeans are not meant to live on a steady diet of cheese and wine for breakfast.

Once, B had to move four hours away for TWO MONTHS. I was devastated and cried every single day he was gone. Most recent was a trip he had to spend on the road filming a commercial across the state,but that was at least two years ago. Again, cried everyday. I don’t know it yet, but I will cry tomorrow.
Anyway, it is a lazy day of Annie Hall, Pandora music, most of Season 2 of “Who the @#*! did I Marry” while cleaning, getting ready for my date with a friend. It’s her turn to babysit. We go to my favorite restaurant for dinner. I get to wear my new red shoes. Fancy. They hide between the bar and my stool because I prefer the bar top for dinner.

New Shoes

New Shoes

It’s been a couple of days since I’ve heard B’s voice. What I want to hear is an upbeat account of everything. What I hear instead is him call the house they are renting, “home” twice in a monotoned itinerary of what was done that afternoon. And when I get my feelings hurt he says, “you knew what I meant”, but I don’t, not the way he thinks I should. He is outside. Evidently unable to talk in front of anyone. It is a large house and he has his own room so I am confused but okay, if he does not mind standing in the cold. Less than ten minutes in, “My battery is dying. I’m at one percent.” Oh. Okay. Bye then.
What I understand from that call is that “home” is not where I am but wherever he is. B is always fine. Just fine. Fine with not talking to me for days. Fine with being married through a few short texts messages for a week. I do not feel left out. I feel unloved. Unworthy of a little forethought to charge a phone so that we can have a conversation. I go to bed upset and dream about ripping a man’s balls and cock off of its stupid naked body with my bare hands. Afterwards, I smile.

Message

Message

DAY FIVE:
We are not built the same. I know he loves me because he married me, because he tells me so. Because of his day to day actions of unloading the dishwasher, being supportive in my choice to follow my dreams. Because he trusts me. Because he listens to my hurt feelings and curves his behavior. These gestures I try not to take for granted because they are the big ones. Sometimes though I miss the passion of our teen years or even our first few months in this life. The words that he cannot live without me because this is what I tell him, the hands he use to not keep off of me. Wrapped up in each other multiple times all morning. I feel like something is wrong with me for still feeling this way. When I am not near him all I want is to be. And when we are close, all I want are his arms. And when in his arms all I want are his kisses. And when he does kiss me…This feeling I wish I could take off like an uncomfortable piece of clothing because it is not fair. I try to remind myself maybe it is part of why he loves me. Because I would do anything. I am ready for day six but I still have more than a full day.

Thursdays are pint night at the neighborhood grocer. I head over to have a bite and a beer when my phone rings. Exciting! The conversation begins with, “we’re about to go have dinner and go to the Springs.” I roll my eyes with a smile, thankful he cannot see me. We chat for a moment before his premonition of having to get off the phone comes true. He says he’ll call me again later. He doesn’t. I read something recently about not holding your spouse responsible for your own emotional happiness. I admit this is something I must work on.

I wrap up my last true free night talking to strangers. Having the most interesting conversations I have had in a while. Something about the sharing of ideas and good debates from new perspectives. It was, and this is a word I do not use ever because of the sharp way it moves through the mouth but in this case, the most appropriate word; invigorating. It was a discussion about life, not about being married, not about home, not about what each of us “do”. It was exactly what I needed.

Once home, I sent a very direct message then dozed off waking up to an apology but I didn’t care because…..

DAY SIX: Blah, blah, blah, words. Time to shave my legs and fix my hair. I’m a little pissy but the closer B gets the more I warm up. By the time I pick him up from the airport, thawed and once I see those eyes and that smile, completely melted. What can I say?

The View from in Here

7 Aug

Out at a long and over due Happy Hour, while on the topic of all topics, a girlfriend confided in me that she just wished she had someone to take care of her. Although the way I remember it now after toiling it in my mind all night may be different than the way the words actually rolled off of my tongue, I believe my reaction was something like, “Well, that’s bullshit.” Maybe she saw my eyes as I opened my mouth to speak because she snuck in a quick, “NOT financially,” which was a double slap in the face. Even if she had misspoke, WTF?

I will be the first to proclaim, the loudest even, that I have a wonderful husband and that behind closed doors we are exactly the couple that most of our friends think we are. B is an easy man to fall in love with but if I said that being married is easy that would be a lie and simply saying that marriage is work, that would be the understatement of…infinity.

Let us take my friend’s statement at face value, even though she spent some time back peddling what she meant to say, (GF, I Love You!). Anyone who is out there looking for someone to take care of them should immediately pick up the phone, call the folks, let them know they are moving back in and hope they’re cool with it, because there is no such thing and if you think that sort of relationship exists outside of a Craigslist promise you are in for some hard life lessons.

Marriage is taking all of your own neuroses, childhood trauma, past relationship baggage, and idealized pop culture bullshit version of what you think love is suppose to look like, which is hard enough to sort out in your own mind as a single humanoid, then combining it with someone else’s turmoil that you will never be able to understand fully. Straight couples, factor in the automatic miscommunication that will occur from one another’s mouths to ears. Add in family stuff, monies, sex and the fact that other people are out there with boobs and penises and nicer asses and possibly better personalities. Ugh. It is not give and take. Sometimes it is give, give, give some more and take. Other times it’s take, give, take, take. Like Duck, Duck, Goose, it is never the same and at some point in the game both of you are running in circles trying to catch the other and the roles do not always alternate fairly. Marriage is a struggle to say the least. A constant mind fuck.

Here are some things I do that make my marriage pleasurable.

1. If I am not saying the words, “I love you” I am texting them or making them in a breakfast, or putting them in the washer with his favorite shirt and pants or getting up at five a.m. to mix them in a fresh juice.

2. I recognize that there is a time to sex and a time to get sexed and I take care of business when it is my turn for the former. I believe that any woman who holds out sex as a bargaining tool in a serious relationship is a frigid bitch who should count on another woman eventually filling that role.

3. I am not passive aggressive. If there is something to be said, it should be stated directly to avoid confusion, if possible with forethought and kindness so hopefully not after a glass of white wine.

4. I use intuition and my knowledge of my husband’s habits and attitude to try and counter any negativity in our home. If he had a hard day and I am in a bad mood I have to pull myself out of it and try to comfort my spouse.

5. I make sure when he leaves me each day it is knowing he is loved.

This is the short list. Writing these out is easy. Implementing them sounds simple, right? WRONG! Because even though he is lovely I am not a robot and have my own shit and so does he. Refer to paragraph Four, neuroses, childhood trauma, baggage, etc. But, I try to do all these things and what I receive in return is exactly what I put out. B reciprocates all of these things and even adds to them, which makes me in turn want to do more. But note that although we live most of our lives trying to be all love-y and schmoopy there have still been reports of flung plates, hurt feelings, bruised egos, tantrums and many, many, I’m sorrys.

I lived my twenties with on and off relationships. In hindsight, with no one that really loved me. I was free to do what I wanted and I did. I traveled, I went out, paid my own way. There were times I did nothing and it was glorious. Single me could mope for days and decide who I was in accordance with whatever show I was into. Single me ate out and didn’t need to care if there were groceries at home. Single me never had a man look at her confused and almost frightened stating he was out of clean clothes and if one had, single me would have probably laughed in his face.

Entangling my life with B’s was the most surreal moment of my existence. The good will always outweigh the bad but I have my thumb on the scale. We both tip it in our favor. All the hardships, all the misunderstood emotions at the end of the day, they don’t matter. Finding one another in the dark each night just to fall asleep touching makes it all worth it. I do not take care of him. He does not take care of me. We only nurture this life we have chosen to make together. It is what most people want but not many go into it thinking the hard stuff, “I want someone to worry sick over 24/7”, or “I feel the need to entrust my fragile heart to this other flawed person who, if they wanted to, could rip it apart with just their words”.

My sister and I use to ride bicycles. We also watched C.H.I.P.s Patrol religiously. Once, we tied our bikes together to ride up the street pretending to be on patrol. It was fun but once we got going I put my feet up on the bars to let her do all the peddling. She slowed but kept on until she couldn’t anymore. Her bike fell over, she busted her knee and there were tears. It is nice that I have found a man such as B to share this life with, who is so patient and kind and blah, blah, blah. But he was married before. For ten years! His core was just the same but there is some broad out there who thought he was just too much work. I am not saying I make all the difference nor am I saying that all people that are married are compatible but I might be suggesting that someone put their feet up. I just got lucky.

He’s no Bruno Mars but I’ll take it

4 Jun

Every once in a while I can hear B singing a tune. These are some I’ve been able to put in my notes before he sees me or before I forget. The first two are cheese. The last is my favorite. Whenever I get miffed and forget myself, wishing he were some figment of some other girl’s imagination I think of these and remember that I ain’t got it so bad. Enjoy
*******

“I’ve got, the best wife in the worllllllllld
She looks real neat
She smiles real sweet
She’s.My.Wife.

My wife’s, the best wife in the worllllllld
She smells real pretty
She never looks dirty
She’s.my.wife”

********

“I love my wife
She is the best
She gives me kisses
I love her chest…
dudududooo”

*****
*My personal favorite to the tune of a George Michael song as he was getting dressed

“Cause I’ve gotta have socks, socks, socks, I’ve gotta have socks.
Baby, I’m putting on my socks today to go outside to go and play because the sky is blue….”

*****In the kitchen to a certain Beyonce song

“If you like it then you’d better put some cheese on it…”

My mother-in-law just died and I couldn’t be more relieved

20 Apr

Arden CourtPart One: The Back Story

My husband was legally adopted when he was nine by his grandparents. They had been the only constant in his life as he was handed off between his biological parents, (not to mention, strangers and steps) passed around over time between eight states spreading across the South East throughout his early childhood.

Although he and I dated as teens, I have only vague memories of his parents from back when. Mostly I remember teenage woes of how strict and insistent that he learn about financial independence early on, which adulthood tells us, are traits of good parenting but at 17 and broke, really suck.

Fast forward thirteen years: While B was ending a ten year marriage and I was sinking in my own troubling sea, somehow he and I found each other. Coming from the same town we had graduated from, we now had two sets of parents to visit together on our trips home. His parents were now in their 70’s and 80’s. I confided to a friend over brunch my self centered worry. “What if one of his parents dies and I have to see her (ex-wife), at the services?” Looking back, I would welcome that scenario not to mention, how insecure was I!?

A couple of years and some sporadic visits later, nervous about how they would take the news of our upcoming marriage, we sat in the kitchen and told them our plans. I had never sat in the kitchen before. It felt strange to me being somewhere other than the living room. His mother, distracted.
His dad was your typical sweet old man. Lousy jokes and a bit flirty, eager to tell a story from his time as a pilot. Sometimes when B could not come to town with me, I would pop in on my own for a visit and dad would share family stories and secrets. Mother’s attention always on CNN, seldom adding to conversations, sitting comfortably in her recliner trying to hear over our chatter. A little forgetful, always freezing, redundant in her concerns for me making the 100 mile drive back home alone.

Holidays come and go. Increasing visits lead to increasing worry. B’s dad was pushing to get legal things in order and was not looking well. We began hearing the same stories more frequently, but this time from him. He was drained. I confided in a coworker that the way we all expected the order of things to go was probably not going to happen. I had my black dress mended. I do not always like being right.

***********************

Knowing we would probably not make it back to town before B’s ski trip we made a detour visit on our way to see my side in San Antonio one weekend. We popped in with some pamphlets on med alerts. His father was angry. What would we be able to do living so far away? He had neighbors he could call on. But that was the point. Push a button and the service will send someone and we will get a call immediately. This was met with curses and confusing money rants that we were not following. We sat stunned at the backlash then in silence for a moment when B’s mom chimed in and explained exactly what we were meaning, adding that she sometimes worries when he steps out to run errands. The subject was dropped and very quickly, the visit over.

********************

Part Two: When your Dad dying is the easiest part of what is happening

Two weeks after our awkward visit with B’s parents, while at a stop light I scrolled through Facebook to see our sister-in-law had posted that B’s dad was in the hospital. I called my husband. He had just gotten off the phone. In an hour we were packed, had a friend lined up to look after the house and on the road, I drove as fast as I could as my husband sat quiet. Not sure when we would return, never could I have guessed that it would be four months later.

B’s father had had a heart attack. His mother, Betty, did not call on anyone to come for help even with access to two telephones. Her mind, rocked by a stroke years before was falling apart, being eaten away by dementia. Only able to get around using a walker, unable to stretch over even a small incline, Betty remained trapped in her home, blocked from any exit by her husband’s body. Piled newspapers out front alerted the neighbors that something was not right. After a failed attempt to get into the house, their eldest son that lives 7miles away was called with a key, to find dad, still alive, almost to the front door and Betty, dehydrated and soiled, unable to communicate any details of what had happened. Taken off of machines, her husband passed away two days later, his insides unable to recover from the atrophy of waiting so long to be discovered. We had told him before that we would take care of Betty. Even if that meant moving home.

Those two days B and his brother were in and out of the hospital, I was on the phone trying to figure out what to do, not realizing how grave Betty’s condition was about to become. Docile and quiet I stayed with her. The idea of sharing duties with my sister-in-law quickly disappeared when she stated that she did not want to stay with mom in the house because it was “creepy”. Although 15yrs older than me, her teenage son laughed and said, “my mom is a child.” And once B’s dad passed away, appearances by them were rare.
My mentality for getting things done became, “if not me than who?” Over the ensuing months I asked once for help to run an errand. I had not showered in a couple of days and was on little sleep. My request was met with blank stares.

*****

We decided to wait to tell Betty her husband had passed. It took a week to get her eating and drinking regularly. One could see her mind trying to make sense. Why were we here? Where is he? She tells me she was scared. She was alone in the house. She says she is glad we are there. She never mentions the heart attack. It is days before she asks for her husband. We say we have not seen him. We say we don’t know. We try to get her on a sleeping schedule. The circus arrives in the form of an expensive private care taking company. If the aides were not on drugs, sleep deprived or out of their league completely in skill level, they were sleeping on the job while Betty wandered outside to let the dog out at 5a.m. Instead of depending on them for her primary care, we used them as a back up and even then they failed. CNA’s, Hospice nurses, care takers, social workers. They all aggravated her situation.

See Betty walk until her feet swell. See Betty think B is her dead husband. Hear Betty curse me for being the other woman. See Betty break B’s heart when she asks, “Why are you doing this?” or “What happens when we want to get married?” See Betty fall, over and over again because she is so weak but her mind will not let her rest. See Betty have a moment of clarity and ask me to drive her to the hospital because something is wrong with her mind. Things are not making sense and she is scared. See that last five minutes. See Betty cry. and cry. and cry. She says she wants a gun to kill herself.

B spends his time in the office still trying to organize his father’s affairs. Probate is stifled. Betty must be deemed incompetent. She looks to us for help with the year. The President. When asked to write any sentence out, while I was secretly hoping it would read, “Fuck you”, it was a nonsensical, “Usa Today”.
B and I are both so. exhausted. Sleeping with a baby monitor by my ear. At the slightest turn I grab my phone to check the cameras. She gets up, I get up to literally catch her as she falls. We share this duty. Similar to having a baby, I make sure she is bathed. I dress her. Set her on the toilet. Clean her after. Fix her hair. Make her meals and snacks. Cut her nails. Rub lotion on body. Wrap her swollen feet. Write everything down. Make appointments. Keep my husband sane. My turn to cry.

Unraveling, B is called back to work. He leaves us both but lived amongst us virtually unseen anyhow. She hates her life. I hate mine too. Too many new faces in and out of the house. We are now both demented. But she is clean and fed and loved because yes, I love her. How could I not? How can one do so much for another without that love? But it is evident this situation cannot last.
Betty tries calling her parents using the remote control. Betty leaves the stove on. Betty is hitting the caretakers. Betty is trying to open the car door while it is moving. Betty put her pen in her tomato juice. Betty is confusing television with real life. No more SVU.

Notes to myself during this period:
6/10 He doesn’t tuck me in here. There is no free time to waste. Pushing limits. Surprising ourselves

6/12 It’s hard for me to be grateful for all that I have when I know that he isn’t and we have all the same things but mainly each other.

6/29 Marriage: The good the bad and the worst get-away-sex ever.

7/3 Now I’m doing it. Fighting sleep. Enough.

7/4 I guess I never think that he misses me or thinks much of our time together

********************
Part Three: The Move

The search begins for a facility. A dear friend and nurse gives me some direction and I take a couple of days to visit my husband and look for the right place. Damn straight I am not leaving her behind. Betty is coming with me. I could give a shit if she knows my name. She knows I take care of her. She looks for me when I am not at home. She calls out to me. When I leave her with her sitters it is with a note because Betty will not remember that I have told her I will be right back. It is what Bruce use to do. I come back. She calms down but only for a moment.

There is no room I am uncomfortable being in now. She asks for Bruce more and more. Now that B has gone the lack of a male in the house has really thrown her. She spends hours, to the caretakers’ dismay, searching each room, knocking on doors over and over and over.
I break the news to her other son. I feign like I care what he is feeling. Other than a handful of visits while I was out of town any help or concern for anything other than Betty’s financial affairs has been nil. He seems to have a real distain for me. Lucky for me I am use to that.

Her room had already been decorated with her favorite things. Art from her house hung. Statuettes and figurines on the shelf. Flowers displayed. I made sure to drive the staff insane with my demands and inquiries. I am there hours at a time, every day making sure things are on the up and up and getting her settled in. I am quickly disappointed. The big change has accelerated her condition. Though we walked her in, it takes a week for her to be confined to a wheelchair.

The caretakers are hit or miss. Some are good, some are great and others are there for the paycheck alone. But the place is clean and there are nurses on staff until 11pm each night and we still have our Hospice nurses who continue to be great and eventually we get her meds leveled out. The other residents are all in different stages and levels of alzheimer’s or dementia. The set up of the home was great. Betty lived in a place called Boat House. There was a front porch, a living room, and a dining room for her wing mates. There were about 12 of them. Everything painted blue and meant to be nautical. The other wings were different. One Garden themed and one Country. There was a pet bird in the corridor, also named Betty and realistic activities for most of the day. The activities director is the Ambassador to the Alzheimer’s Association and has been to D.C. as such. There were flowers planted along a circular path and unlocked doors for residents to wander but of course only unlocked within the fortress.
We were lucky to find the place.

**********
Part Four: The Release
There were many ups and downs for Betty but her condition worsened to a worrisome level two weeks ago. She no longer wanted to eat. I had seen her do this before. Pocket her food. I could get her to eat but sometimes feeding her lunch took almost two hours. Then out of the blue she would snap out of it and was back to rolling her eyes and making sassy remarks. I told B to call his brother and suggest a visit, the last one being the month we moved her in, to my knowledge. That was around August. It is now mid April. He did not have the gas money is the excuse relayed to me a few months ago. We decided to hire a private sitter to allow Betty to rest, out of her wheelchair without the fear of a fall for only a few hours a day. She was to start on Monday. The Sunday before we got a call from her Hospice nurse. Betty was in serious decline. We spent the next few days by her side. She was no longer speaking and had not eaten in days. We had never seen her bed ridden. Not like this.

The second day her face relaxed. All her wrinkles disappeared. Everyone commented on her great skin and how comfortable she looked. Her breathing slowed and a fever escalated. We said our goodbyes and cried standing over her on Tuesday talking with our social worker. I told her, “I just want this to be over. I want her to have her whole mind again. She is always so confused and scared and frustrated. She wouldn’t want to live like this. No one would want to live like this.” I did not want that for her anymore. When I think of eternity or a “heaven”, I think about being reunited with the Universe on the next level. Seeing loved ones left behind from that realm not from a puffy cloud in a blue sky, but as energy and dust in the grass, in the air, in the stars. Everywhere. I wanted her spiritual mind to be complete and for her essence to join Bruce’s. B and I called the Chaplin to say a prayer and her Hospice nurse told us to get some rest. She said sometimes a person waits until they are alone to let go.

Waiting for a person to die is very similar to waiting for someone to be born. A nurse tells you it is for sure happening. A count of how many breaths (or contractions) a minute is taken. Family comes together and hangs around being of no help. And finally once you leave because it has gone on for hours and hours and seems to have no end in sight you say you’ll be back, and that is when it happens. Someone records the time and tells the family it’s over. At around 5:00a.m., like fireflies released from a jar, Betty joined her husband once again with no cares and no fears and hopefully no second thought to what’s going on down here. Betty, it was an honor.

B says the darndest things

12 Feb

Waking him up for his favorite BBQ waiting in line for over an hour and buying us beers:

“You could have a worst wife.”

” I could”  he says.  Then thinking a moment, “I did.”

 

While watching, The Lying Game.

Me: “Sometimes I wish I had smaller titties so I could wear clothes like that.”

B very softly, shaking his head: “Shhhhhhhhhhhh.”

 

No longer a house wife my regular chores are getting pushed aside.  I noticed a shirt not going through the proper circulation.  Like-never.:

Me: “Did you dig that shirt out of the hamper?”

B: “No.  It was on the back of the [bathroom]door.”

Me: “Well, you have a whole closet full of cleaner ones is all I’m saying.”

B: “Yeah, but are they as awesome as this one?  NO!”

 

On getting married:

Me: “I was so scared you weren’t going to show up.”

B: “We rode together.”

 

 

Watching James Bond.  Someone says orphans make the best spies

Me: “See honey, you could’ve been a spy.”

B: “Who says I’m not?”

 

 

I Love Hearts

5 Feb

Hearts

Garland Hearts in Amsterdam

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Heart in a Window in Bordeaux

sandheart

Sand Heart in San Diego

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Heart in my Beer, Austin

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Heart in the sky, San Diego

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Heart on a Dumpster, Austin

 

Pate Heart, Toulouse

Pate Heart, Toulouse


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