Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Life is pain. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

I've been looking around on etsy for little gifts to buy for RockerBoy's family. Probably not the best thing to do before bed, but I needed ideas. Found a couple of cute things and then the "father of the bride" stuff started popping up and now I can't stop crying. As excited as I am to get married, I can't keep ignoring the part of me that is dreading it. Not because I don't want to be married, but because my dad isn't going to be there.  I don't know how I'm going to get through the day without him.  I don't know how I can walk down the isle without feeling his arm around me. 

I never gave a shit about weddings, never fantasized as a little girl what my wedding would be like someday. I wanted four things: a house, land, lots of animals and my family close by. Over the years, I developed this sort of bitter distain for anything wedding-related, and I fully admit it's because I'm jealous. Not for "bridezilla" reasons. It's just that I hate other women for having their fathers there to walk them down the isle. I kept thinking to myself, "I'm glad I'm going to die alone; if I never get married, I'll never have to worry about who's going to walk me down the isle."  It worked for a long time, and when RockerBoy proposed, I said yes without hesitation.  My dad is never far from my thoughts, but he has been more so lately, especially in the last couple of weeks.  I'm getting married in a little over two weeks, and every time I think, "Dad won't be there," I feel like I've been punched in the gut.

As time goes on, you adapt to life without someone who has passed away.  You never fully recover, but you move on because it's the only thing to do. I was okay for a long time because I never really hit any of the major milestones normal people do.  When I moved to Oregon, I thought, "If Dad were still alive, what would he say? Would he come with us?"  When I did the Warrior Dash for the first time and there was no one waiting for me at the finish line, I stumbled through the mud thinking, "Dad would be waiting for me with two beers and a big grin on his face."  When RockerBoy proposed to me, I knew it was right to say yes not only because I love him but because I know that my dad would have been proud to call him his son. 

I don't believe in heaven or hell except what we have in our own hearts, but there is still a part of me that has to believe my dad is "up there," somewhere, watching over me. It's absurd and implausible but the thought has guided me for over 20 years. I still talk to him, and I've been doing it a lot lately. More often than not, the one-sided conversation deteriorates into me curled up in bed, sobbing. 

One of the main reasons I wanted to get married at Voodoo Doughnut was because it wasn't a typical wedding and I wouldn't have to worry about "protocol."  The doughnut wedding evolved into a Star Wars wedding at the beach, and though I know that's the way it was meant to happen, I'm panicking at the thought of facing May 4th without him. 

There are two things making it possible for me to carry on with a smile on my face and joy in my heart.  One of them is that my mom and sister will be there. The second thing is this: love.  

Last summer, RockerBoy and I went back to Chicago to take care of some legal issues regarding  my mom's house. Our second day back home, RockerBoy's best friend (I'll call him BikerGuy) drove us to the cemetery where my dad is buried.  I hadn't seen my dad's grave in 23 years, and I still knew exactly where it was. RockerBoy walked with me toward the headstone and as soon as I saw my dad's name, I lost it. I was shocked that it hit me that hard; I thought after all this time I'd be tougher, better able to stand up against the pain.  I cried and cried and RockerBoy was there with his arms around me, crying with me, and I couldn't find the words to tell him this is what hell feels like: to be standing above the remains of someone you loved so much, you can still feel their loss, over 20 years later, like a wound that never fully heals. I asked RockerBoy for a cigarette, which he gave me without question or hesitation.  I crouched next to my dad's headstone and put the cigarette in the grass in front of it.  In my head, I talked to my dad. I told him about RockerBoy and that we were going to get married. I told him I wished like anything that he could be there with me. I told him that he would have loved RockerBoy, that he was a good, honest man who respected me and made me happier than I ever thought I could be.  Then we stood there for a while, just staring down at his name etched in stone.  After a few minutes, I told RockerBoy we could go.  He asked if I wanted to say anything, and I said no, that I'd already said what I'd come to say.  

What happened next, I never told anyone.  RockerBoy asked if he could have a moment.  I nodded and walked a few feet away.  Watched him crouch down close to my dad's headstone, bow his head. He was still for a few moments. Or a few hours. I still can't tell.  Then he stood up and walked over to me, took my hand and we walked back to the truck.  Later on that night, we were hanging out in BikerGuy's man cave. The side door was open and I could see lightning flashing in the sky.  RockerBoy and I stood in the doorway and looked up at the sky. It was a typical midwestern summer night, something comforting and threatening all at once.   I told RockerBoy that my dad loved storms. How he used to stand out on the back porch with a cigarette dangling from his lips, smiling and loving the chaos like a little boy on Christmas. "Get out here and look at this! The sky is GREEN!"  My sister and I would cower by the door, terrified but keeping an eye on our dad in case a tornado sucked him up and took him away.   Ever since his death, every time something significant happens in my life, it has rained. And every time, I have felt his presence. I know how ridiculous that sounds, but it's true. It's when I feel closest to my dad. Not so much out here in the Pacific Northwest, because the rain here is pathetic compared to the storms we get in Chicago.  But I can still feel him close at times.

I told RockerBoy about the rain and my dad and said, "I think he's happy I came home. When it rains like this, I feel like he's telling me everything is going to be okay."  RockerBoy said, "I think I got my answer, then." I asked him what he meant, and though he wouldn't tell me specifics (which I respected), he did tell me that when he asked for a moment alone at my dad's grave, he had wanted to ask for his blessing to marry me. I was so overwhelmed by what he'd said, I couldn't respond. I was so touched that he'd done this, and so unbelievably sad that RockerBoy would never know my father, and I would never have the pleasure of seeing them together, knowing how much it would have meant for my dad to finally call someone "son." 

I stood in that doorway and felt the love for my father and the love that RockerBoy and I have for each other, like it was something tangible and all-encompassing. I breathed it in and let it calm my heart. I know that no man I have ever known would have done something like that. The fact that he thought of it on his own, and didn't say anything until I told him about the rain, just reinforces what I know to be true: that RockerBoy is the man I'm supposed to spend the rest of my life with. 

When I'm overcome with sadness, I take myself back to that summer night, standing in the doorway of BikerGuy's garage, when I came home again and found love waiting for me there.  

In two weeks I will marry the boy from back home, and I will carry my father with me in my heart.  I will smile and be happy and I will enjoy the company of the people that I love because Dad wouldn't want me to be sad.  I can be strong like he was, and keep my pain hidden until after everyone has gone. I will cry, and my husband will cry, and he will hold me until the sadness fades, and I will know that everything is going to be okay.  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Overwhelmed

I've got the week off for my birthday, and I'm trying to get pre-wedding stuff taken care of.  It's hard to do while unmedicated, which is why I made an appointment to see my LNP tomorrow for a med consult. I've been off Dexedrine and Wellbutrin since at least November, and I've reached my limit. I need help. I've got an appointment with my LNP tomorrow afternoon, and I should be back on track in no time.  Not that my track is set up properly, but it's mine, dammit, and it works for me. 

Meanwhile, I've gained over 20 pounds in the last year and I'm having daily panic attacks about getting fat again. I can't fit into most of my clothes anymore, and I feel like a disgusting blob.  Rocker Boy says I have to stop treating myself like shit, that I'm beautiful and a hottie and he loves me the way I am. While I believe he's telling me the truth, I still can't help feeling like shit. I've been stress-eating like crazy, that's a big culprit. So once I get back on my ADHD meds, it'll cut down on 99% of my anxiety, and I'll eat normally again. 

Speaking of which, I think I'm going to make beer chili for my birthday.  I made some for Rocker Boy's 40th and we both loved it. Needed tomato sauce, though. Mmmm. Beer.

I'm trying to figure out this marriage license stuff and ... uggghh.  So much work! I can't wait to get back on the meds so this'll be less overwhelming. But I love organizing things and filling shit out, and I like to be as prepared as possible because I'm so flighty with the ADHD. I'm working on this online marriage license form, but I don't know how to spell my soon-to-be mother-in-law's maiden name.

WORK WORK WORK!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Grow old with me, the best is yet to be.

Well, Internet, I'm getting married in 71 days.  Tick tick tick, no pressure! 

I'm actually not stressed at all, despite the fact that the only thing I have set for sure is the date of the wedding. I know where it'll be, but I have to get a permit or something to get married on the beach, I have to figure out how I'm going to get my disabled mother across the sand to "walk" me down the "isle," I have to order my dress (Star Wars comic book print, $99 on etsy, ordering it today), figure out what RockerBoy is going to wear (looks like jeans, tophat and "my wife is a Jedi" tee shirt, possibly coattails), etc. 

My friend "K" is helping me with the planning. She found a bunch of invitations and inflatable lightsabers for the guests. I have a few surprises up my sleeve, but you won't hear about them until after the wedding on the off chance that RockerBoy actually reads this blog. I don't think he does, but better to be safe and all that.

I just had my review at work and I got a raise and a bonus which should drop into my account by the end of the month. RockerBoy and I have a goal of moving into our own place on April 1st. We need our own space, and I definitely want to be settled into a home before we get married and start the rest of our lives together. There's just something about the bastard that brings the softer side out of me. I want to take care of him. I want to cook for him and make his lunches and get his laundry in order, not because he expects it or because he can't do it himself, but because he makes me happy and I want to make life good for him. Great, actually. The best. Just like he does for me. 

On April 28th we will have been together for a year, and what a year it has been. We've endured a lot, had our big ups and small downs, but when things got bad, the one thing we always had was faith in each other and a love that gets stronger as time goes on.  I kind of hate myself for saying shit like that, because I'm bitter and cynical. It's still taking some getting used to, this ... happiness.  But neither one of us is so high up in the clouds that we think everything is going to be sunshine and roses for the rest of our lives. We get into arguments. We piss each other off. We get really, really angry sometimes, but never at each other. We're living in one small room with hardly any storage and it gets to us sometimes, but we always remind ourselves that it's the situation, not the company, and the situation is temporary. Once we have space to breathe, a place to make our own, the stress levels will go way down and we can go back to being goofy, asthmatic nerds FULL-TIME! 

Right now I have to make a call to my NP so I can go in for a med consult and get back on my ADHD meds and anti-depressants. I've been off my meds for a couple of months now. The anti-depressants don't bother me as much as the Dexadrine; what I mean is that I'm a lot less depressed these days, but I still have raging ADHD and it's difficult to keep it together at work. I'm anxious most of the time, overwhelmed 100% of the time, and I can't keep this bedroom tidy no matter how hard I try. Things are piling up on top of me, and I can't move anymore. 

Plus, when I'm back on the Dex, I'll stop stress-eating everything in sight and maybe lose ten or fifteen pounds before the wedding. I've gained 20 pounds in the last year and a half and I'm absolutely miserable. I hate myself most of the time, despite RockerBoy telling me I'm perfect the way I am. Anything I complain about he says, "I love it because it's a part of you."  How the fuck do I argue against that?! 

As for RockerBoy, he signed up at a nearby temp agency and has been working in the warehouse of a major local chain store. He's very happy with the job, and they all love him, so much so that they asked him to apply to be hired on full-time for the company.  That means an eventual pay raise, good benefits and UNION. He's very excited, and I'm so proud of him.  He works from 6:30 a.m - 3:00 p.m. which means he leaves just as I get home from work in the morning, but gets home early enough where I can get up early and we can spend quality time together and with the dogs. Best of all, once we have our own place, it will give him time to work on his music.  He recently bought the twin of the keyboard he has back in Chicago.  (His brother is keeping his stuff for him until he can drive it out here.)  He played around with it last weekend and Tank ended up barking while I was recording some of it with my phone, so we ended up calling it "hound dog blues." Loved it.  RockerBoy's mom sent him some song books last week, and one of them was Bob Dylan's.  He started playing a sort of bluesy version of "Maggie's" and showed me how to play the bassline on my acoustic. Shortly after, we decided to acquire an acoustic bass sometime in the very near future so I can learn to play. VERY EXCITED!  My brother from another mother who passed away a few years back played bass, and he taught me a couple of songs way back in high school. I would love to learn to play for real in his honor.  He would have loved that.

Well, I'd better get to bed. Lots to do today.  

Have a good weekend, Internet. 

















Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."


"Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don't know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It's that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don't know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless."
Paul Bowles

2013 is sputtering to an end and 2014 is breathing down our necks. My life has changed so much in the last year, and the strange thing is, it feels like nothing has changed. This time last year I was alone and suicidal, and I had no plans for a future. I didn't care. Now I've found the man I was meant to be with, and I have hope for our future together. We've been together for eight months and every day is an adventure, even if we just stay in bed and watch movies. We drive each other crazy sometimes, but that just keeps it from getting boring.

I have wonderful, generous friends and a family that means the world to me. I've still got my Tank, and Curly Joe, and now I have a sister-in-law (unofficially) and an adorable, badass niece and in-laws (unofficial) who for some reason love me. I'm still stressed a lot of the time, I'm broke and in debt,  I'm always in pain and I've got insomnia up the wazoo, but life is good. It's far from perfect, but it is good. For the first time in a very long time, I'm facing the last midnight of the year with a smile on my face and heart that isn't broken.

I hope 2014 will be good to us all. Stay classy, Humanity.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Changes are taking the pace I'm going through

Starting around Thanksgiving, the pain that flares up in my left hip from time to time hit both of my hips and I had to walk with a cane.  On RockerBoy's 40th birthday, we moved in with my friend "J." She had kicked her boyfriend out and needed help with the rent, so we came to the rescue. (Really, she rescued us.)  So now it's me, RockerBoy, "J" and her two kids and two dogs, and my two dogs. Things are going really well except that Curly Joe is being a turd to J's dogs and we all seem to have contracted Captain Trips. I'm working six days this week and I'm fighting the plague. 

Meanwhile, my friend had to loan me her late grandfather's wheelchair so I could get around at work. It was humiliating and frustrating, but I wouldn't have gotten through without it.  I went to ZoomCare and had bloodwork done: Rheumatoid Arthritis Factor, ANA w/Reflex, Sedimentation Rate-Westergren, and C-Reactive Protein. All of it came back negative.  The doctor referred me to an osteopath and two physical therapists and told me I should get radiographs of my hips, pelvis and my left knee (which has also been hurting in a scarily weird way).  Last weekend RockerBoy and several of my friends forced me to go to urgent care for radiographs.  I got the hip/pelvis ones done and they also came back negative.  I wasn't in an accident and I didn't hurt myself at work or anything, so no one is sure why I have this pain.

Oh, did I forget to mention when I had my right leg stretched 3 inches in 1990 to make it even with my left leg, it was actually over-stretched by half an inch? Yeah. That might have something to do with it. 

At any rate, I live in a different city now (20 minute drive to work instead of 60!), so I'm going to get a new PCP and look into PT and all that. J and I have been talking about trying a gluten-free diet because she thinks her kids might have a wheat allergy, and I know that gluten is an arthritis trigger. Plus I'm almost positive going gluten-free will help RockerBoy's asthma and allergies. We'll see how that goes.

Work has been hectic, but us night shift drones are used to it, though it does take its toll after a while. At least they're working on making it so that all of us only have to work every third Saturday again.

Big things coming in 2014....

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Happy Day of the Ninja, folks.

The Day of the Ninja:<a href="http://www.dayoftheninja.com"><img src="http://www.dayoftheninja.com/dotnsml.gif"></a>

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The gift that keeps on giving


Instead of a typical gift (i.e. stuff that is ultimately going to end up in a landfill), why not make a donation in someone's name instead? I highly recommend Fences for Fido, particularly: Smokey's Fund. It provides "comprehensive veterinary care and medications for dogs who have lived for more than 5 years chained; Helps facilitate the rescue & adoption of these dogs by a loving family; Supports educational efforts about the physical suffering and illnesses that result from dogs being chained."

  • $ 20.00 A bag of dog food for a hungry fido
  • $ 50.00 A doghouse for warmth, day and night
  • $ 150.00 Spay or neuter and basic veterinary care
  • $ 250.00 Critical veterinary care or training
  • $ 300.00 Fences for a small yard
  • $ 600.00 Fences for a medium yard
  • $ 1,000.00 Fences for a large yard

You can make a one-time donation or set up a recurring, monthly contribution. Every little bit helps. And if you've got the time, please volunteer for Fences for Fido. It's getting colder, and there are still a lot of dogs out there who need shelter.

This organization means a lot to me because My sister and I rescued a chained dog about ten years ago. He was an 11 year old Golden Retriever named Chester (who we called Uncle Wooly), and he spent over half his life chained to a tree in his front yard. We would hear him howling out there all the time and started making plans to steal him. Fortunately, Chester's family had to move and "couldn't" take him with, so we jumped at the chance to save him.

Chester weighed over 100 lbs when he joined our pack, from years of gorging himself on cheap Winco dog food. We got his weight down and he settled in just fine at our house. He ganged up with Tank and Luke, and the three of them had so much fun, I started calling them the three stooges. 

Unfortunately, in March of 2004, we found out Chester was dying of liver cancer. We managed his pain with morphine and special food, and he never once lost that smile. He stayed cheerful, goofy Chester up until the very end. He died two months later.

We didn't have him as long as we wanted, but we're still grateful for that little time we had because we were able to give him a warm, happy home with lots of friends to play with and lots of love. Just think of the difference you could make in the life of a dog like Chester, either by donating time or money for this organization or even by adopting a senior dog. 

Spend your money on something worthwhile and make this 30-day long fake smile of a holiday actually mean something this year. 

We still miss you, Chester.  Love you always.

Cannon Chester