Minutiae: OpalCat Minute by Minute
"You will just have to accept being addressed by a disembodied voice just as I accept the compulsion to speak out even though I am painfully aware that I am talking to an invisible, perhaps nonexistent audience." --Robert Shea, The Eye in the Pyramid
Jesus where to start?
Dan still really wasn't talking to me ever since the suicide attempt September 8 (and really wasn't talking to me much before that, either) and was being about as far from a supportive life partner as possible. The only thing he was doing was paying for (and meeting at) our weekly marriage counseling sessions, which were with a really lousy therapist and consisted mostly of talking about how horrible I am and how blameless Dan is. Dan claims he's a "totally different person" since my suicide attempt and I believe him... he didn't used to be this aloof, egotistical, and thoughtless.
An example: He failed the computerized part of his part 3 board exams, and thus was pretty much unemployable as a podiatrist in the Atlanta area until he retook the exam and passed. He took the exam in November. We all knew it was a big deal and he was stressed out. Well, when he finally got his scores back (he passed) he never even bothered to tell me. He didn't bother to tell me either of the two times he went out of town (that I know of) for the weekend, either. He is living with his mom right now.
Meanwhile I'm working, taking care of an apartment and the cats, and trying to get by. My mom let me buy some [very cheap] furniture on her credit card, to be paid back when I can afford to do so. Dan was furious. He thought I should have made due with the lawn chairs and card table and just lived like I was camping in my own home. Nevermind that I was suffering from major depression or anything--no, I should not be able to feel at home and comfortable even in my own home. Easy for him to say from his mom's humongous, well-furnished house.
I started taking belly dance classes--they're about $7/session so affordable and great exercise, plus I enjoy it and it distracted me from my other major passtime, which was curling up in a ball on the living room floor and weeping for hours.
I also started going out dancing at a place called The Shelter in Atlanta... the cover was always $5 or $10 and I'd buy a $3 bottle of water and just dance until 3am, which again is both good exercise and a way to distract myself from my misery with something I actually enjoy. I'd have guys come up and try to dance with me... I'd tell them sorry, I don't partner dance, or I'd just say I was married, or I'd make up another excuse. I never talked to any of them or danced with anybody, no matter whether they were cute or not. I just wasn't interested. I wanted to fix my marriage with Dan.
Then at the End of the World party, in December, an attractive (tall, dark, and handsome--literally) man came up to me when I was either dancing slowly enough to speak or was taking a short breather--can't remember--and asked how he hadn't met me before. I don't remember my answer, but I didn't immediately just blow him off. I talked to him for maybe a minute, if that, then we parted ways again and I danced until they stopped playing music.
I was over by my bag where I kept extra shoes, a hand towel (I get sweaty), my keys, etc, when the same guy came over. He said he was not sober enough to drive home yet and asked me if I could give him a ride to get some coffee. Now, Dominic was at home asleep, and so I said "well, maybe but I can't stay out long"...[knowing full well that Dominic would sleep until 2pm or later]. Anyway, so I walked out with this guy, whose name is Jack, and we got in my car.
But we didn't quite get around to going anywhere for a while. Actually, until about 7:30am or so. We just sat in the car talking. Then we actually did drive to Starbucks, get coffee, then return to the club's parking lot, where we sat talking again for quite a long time. All in all we sat talking in my car for 8 1/2 hours. Jack was amazing. Just as crazy as me, also an artist, also had a hard life...actually we were quite alike on all kinds of levels. By the time he got out of my car and into his van to go home, a lot had changed...
Primarily among the changes was that I had decided that staying married to Dan was a bad move. I realized that while we were compatible in certain ways--moreso when we first were together--he didn't understand me in a fundamental and critical way. He also could not be relied on to be there for me in a crisis, as had been proven. I had even begun to doubt whether he even loved me... though I think he used to. My mind and heart had done a complete 180 degree turn, however. I saw a future with Dan as a prison with someone emotionally unavailable and unreliable. Someone who constantly criticized me, tried to change me, put limits on me, etc. Why was I trying so hard to make it work? I told Jack before we parted that at the next counseling session I was going to tell Dan that I wasn't interested in continuing the marriage.
And that's what I did. But that was over a week later. Between that time lay Christmas. Dan didn't even bother to call me on Christmas. Jack, who lived an hour away, came over. With his 7 year old daughter, who he gets on some weekends and holidays.
Jack is still here. At first he was just staying for a while, but now he's officially living here. Dan and I are splitting up (and I don't even feel sad about it). Jack and I are in love. Dominic really likes Jack--and Jack likes Dominic. Dan never really hit it off with Dominic, and it always bothered me. Jack and I are talking about a future together... and he understands me. He gets me. And I get him.
In a lot of ways he saved me. And he says I saved him. I've been so happy since I met him... I never thought I could possibly be happy again, but here I am. I never thought I could fall in love again, but here I am. And we have so much fun together. He likes to dress up outlandishly and go out dancing at goth clubs like I do... we also dance a lot at home, just in the living room. We dance all the time and it's great. He even stopped eating pork and is trying to eat vegetarian as much as possible, and he's trying to quit smoking.
Anyway... you'll hear a lot about Jack in the future. He's of my tribe, so to speak. The tribe of the crazy artists... the tribe of the people who dance like nobody is watching. The tribe of people who embrace being known as the weird one. I love him so very much. His smile ignites my soul.
Some strange and cool things I've found while unpacking my apartment
- my "positive" pregnancy test from December 1994
(RIGHT next to)
- the cocktail menu from La Nouvelle Justine, a Bondage/S&M themed restaurant in Manhattan that I went to once with some friends
- a poem my mom wrote to my dad when she was in high school
- a full sheet of notebook paper handwritten out (a letter, clearly) in phonetic spelling... for example, "Hello" at the beginning is written (in cursive, no less) as "Aycheeeleloh"... it's clearly something either I wrote to Rob or he wrote to me, because it's signed something like "W[?]eapotamus" which is similar to the ridiculous nicknames we had for each other... but I can't quite make out the letters because it's in kind of strangled cursive.
- my monkey puppet, Sam, who I've had since I was a very, very, very small child (baby?) and who I used to refer to as my best friend.
- a photo of someone's dog's belly
- a copy of the (only?) issue ever published of our underground newspaper in high school (I'll scan it and post it later).
- a card written to Rob and I from Sonia... that made me sniffle. She died about a month after Dominic was born (she was basically my second mom).
- a whole point-of-purchase display box of mood rings, with 27 rings still in it, along with the slips of paper that decipher what "mood" the colors mean.
- a plastic compartmented box (like for beads) with dried rosebuds in each compartment. I've had these since I was 14 or so. I no longer remember what they mean.
- a stack of very oddly packaged dental floss packs (they're like... credit card sized/shaped...? they say flossfirst.com on them and that website promotes them as a unique way to promote your business... by handing out branded dental floss business cards. Odd.
- an official, raised-seal copy of a death certificate for a hotel chef in Minnesota, who was born in Russia to Polish parents in 1893, and who died in 1948. The certificate itself is from October 7, 1977. I have no idea who the person named on it is.
...and the boxes continue (they're coming tomorrow to bring the washer and dryer, and to fix the dishwasher, and to deliver some furniture, so I really really need to get a lot of boxes moved, because right now none of that stuff is accessible.)
And yes, I'll get to writing up the rest of the stuff about moving down here, and my time at the kind of skeevy motel, and getting a job and finding an apartment and all of that. I just haven't had time.
Been a long time...
We packed up 3 boxes of bulky but light stuff that I wanted to take to Atlanta but wouldn't fit in my car, and 1 box of stuff to send to Dan, and took that stuff to the post office to ship. The night before we left (Friday night, Sept 28) we did most of the cleanup and moving of furniture and stuff that we do to close up the cottage, like bringing in all the porch furniture into the living room, stashing the kayaks in the bedroom on end, and covering all the couches with old sheets. We also did all the laundry and dishes made the beds up, etc.
I covered all the car seats with old bedsheets I got for $1 each at a thrift store (for cat fur purposes--my mom is very allergic) and loaded up some stuff in the car on Friday, but told my mom that I was going to need to do a significant amount more in the morning before we left, especially putting stuff in the roof topper we got for the car (a fabric one that straps onto the roof via webbing straps that come around and though the car).
Saturday morning it was raining, as it had been for 2 days. It was also pretty cold. Again, as it had been. I got up at 6:30 or 7... can't remember. Anyway, I started to finish loading the car, which I had told my mom I needed to do... she started getting upset with me saying we were going to be late, etc. She had wanted to leave the house at 8am... but she had never told ME that. If I had known she wanted to be driving away at 8am I would have gotten up earlier, because I knew I had so much more packing to do (stuff that really *couldn't* be done the night before, and it was difficult and awkward to load that car topper, especially being a short person).
We also had to sort out what food we were taking with us in the cooler, which food we were giving to the neighbors, and which food we were throwing out. Then the cooler had to be packed into the car. I put three pillows and then a towel over the stuff in the back seat (suitcases, cooler...) so that it would be comfy to lie down on for the kitties. I put a litterbox in the footwell on the passenger side.
Finally it was time for the cats. The cat carriers were packed with random crap and loaded in the trunk the day before--we weren't going to use them on the drive. We had bought each of them a comfortable velcro & buckle harness and a 5' leash. One by one I caught them and put them in their harnesses and attached the leashes and took them to the car. The handle of the leashes was attached with a carabiner to this thing on the back dash (my mom says it's something for child restraints?) so they were tethered in.
Then my mom and I got in the car and we were ready to go. She was a little annoyed that we were running so late--we were supposed to meet her cousin in New York for lunch at a specific time--but we were finally on our way!
Or were we? The driveway is just a wide dirt path covered in pine needles, and it's kind of steep... the cottage itself is just situated on a hill in the woods next to the lake. It's all trees, all around. And it had been raining for days. And the car was packed down heavily. So my mom put the car in Drive and put on the gas... and we moved forward maybe two feet and then the tires started spinning. After a few failed attempts at moving forward, I said I'd go get some cardboard. Lord knows we had enough empty boxes in the house.
I came back out and put cardboard in front of the front tires. My mom put on the gas. The tires spun, shredded the cardboard, and shot it like a cannon out past the back of the car. Ok. Cardboard was out. "I'll go get some wood," I said, knowing there was a huge amount of scrap lumber upstairs from the construction. I came back down with two boards, probably about 1"x8"s or 2"x8"s, about 5 feet long apiece. I put them in front of the tires and behold! The car drove up them!! Then when it got to the ends of the boards, the tires just spun out. I picked up the boards and put them in front of the tires again. The driveway was getting steeper at this point and the tires spun and I smelled burning... either rubber or wood or both. But eventually the car did make it onto the wood. However, the momentum it got carried it far enough that the back tires were on the boards. I couldn't bring them back around to the front again...
My mom sent me in for some of the old, ugly rugs that came with the house when it was purchased 47 years ago, that have been rolled up and stored under the couch ever since. I put the rugs, face down, in front of the tires. We tried to go forward again. I should add at this point that I'd also been pushing the back of the car each time we tried to move... and that I was splattered with mud up my arms and that the water in the cottage was already turned off...
The rugs worked, but they'd slip and bunch up behind the tires, so I had to move them a lot. Sometimes, one tire would come clear of the rug, but the other rug would still be pinned down by its tire, so the car wouldn't move because the wheel with the pinned rug would spin... so my mom went in for yet another old rug. Finally we made it up the driveway. It had taken us a full hour from the time we'd gotten in the car. And keep in mind, the driveway is maybe... 50'? 75' at most long.
I started picking up the rugs, boards, and cardboard (not to mention the shovel that my mom had gotten out at one point) but my mom said just leave it. The guy who comes to finish closing up the cottage could pick it up and move it inside onto the screened porch. I made a very quick and uncomfortable attempt at getting the mud and grime off my arms and hands with the only running water source still on--the spigot for the hose. The water was cold as hell (well water, in New Hampshire) and without soap or any kind of washcloth, I didn't really get it all off.
Finally we were in the car and driving. We were, of course, going to be too late to meet Casey for lunch, and she and her husband had dinner plans (we were staying the night in a hotel near their house) but we would have time to go visit her an see her house (my mom had been there before, I hadn't). We made it down pretty easily. My mom drove so that I could "cat wrangle" for her. The cats were taking a little while to settle into the whole "tethered harness" thing, and they kept wanting to climb onto my mom's shoulder like the do when I'm driving (see picture to the right--that's Ronon on my shoulder on the drive from MA to NH a few days earlier). I took one of my mesh fold-up laundry baskets, folded it up, and wedged it behind that area behind her headrest between her seat and the window. I wedged the folded up dash screen behind her right shoulder. This mostly stopped them from climbing directly onto her, though they frequently would lie down right behind her headrest.
One at a time (ok, sometimes two at a time) I'd let them sit in my lap, because otherwise they just would NOT stop trying to get into the front seat. Eventually they did calm down:
We ended up having a very nice time at Casey's house, and then we went to the hotel for the night. We had separate rooms to give my mom's allergies a break from the cats. Also, the hotel didn't allow pets, so we had to sneak them in one by one wrapped in a towel. We turned the TV on so you couldn't hear if they made any noise. I put towels over all the upholstered furniture (2 chairs) and I think they were glad to be out of the car.
The next day we drove down I-95, stopping along the NJ Turnpike to see geobabe1, unclebill35, and the twins, who came out to meet us at one of the rest areas. It was great to see them (omg those boys are HUGE!) but sad that we couldn't stay very long. Next we went to Sterling, VA to see Rob and Amber's new house and pick up Dominic. It was nice to finally see where he's living, and of course always good to see them in any case. We picked up Dominic and then went to a restaurant we used to eat at pretty often when we lived in the area, a diner called Amphora's in Herndon. We met anitavacation there and had a nice time eating lunch-ish.
Eventually it was time to take the kiddo back to Rob's, and get back on the road. We had a reservation at a Motel 6 another hour or maybe a little further down the road. They accepted cats, so that wasn't an issue. What was an issue was that we weren't sure we wanted to leave the big rooftop thing on the car, since it didn't lock or anything, just zippers and velcro, and would be easy for anyone to steal from. (The hotel the previous night was in a much nicer area and we didn't really feel as worried). So my mom and I unbuckled it (no easy task) and then hauled it off the car and into my room. It was very heavy.
I did take the opportunity to pack it better while it was on ground level, though, so in the morning when it was time to put it back on the car, it was both easier to do and sat easier and was less lumpy. It was the final day of the road trip. We were on our second audiobook. We made it in pretty good time to Atlanta, arriving after the really bad thunderstorms and tornado warnings were over, thankfully. We went to the extended-stay motel that I had reserved a month at first, mainly to let the cats out and get the keys (the office closes at 8pm) and then we went to have pizza at my cousin's house. I haven't seen my cousin or her husband in about 6 years, and I had never met their two daughters. Also, my aunt, who I haven't seen since I don't even KNOW when was there, because she lives here now. It was a good visit.
We were a little unnerved about the motel because there were tons and tons of unsupervised small children everywhere you looked. Some of the people looked fairly sketchy, too. Everyone was nice, though, and they did have one of those bellhop carts for us to unload all of our stuff with (I'm on the 3rd floor)... The room has two beds, so mom braved her allergies and stayed with me. The next day we ate at IHOP and I eventually had to take her to the airport so she could fly back to Arizona. I was so grateful that she'd flown back to help me out... we said goodbye and I went back to the motel. I hit up the grocery store, the dollar store, and Walmart for some supplies, and started trying to make the room livable. It's small, and all of our stuff was everywhere.
There is a lot more to tell about what has happened in the week and a half since that day, but I'll write it tomorrow. The highlights:
- Motel maintenance lets Ronon escape the room while I'm gone! Bands of unsupervised children join the search! Much crying ensues! There is a happy, surprise ending...
- I go to several government agencies with various subsets of paperwork to get more paperwork. Much waiting ensues!
- I obtain a Georgia driver's license!
- Medical stuff is begun (since I have no insurance, yet need both regular doctor's visits and prescriptions), more paperwork, more waiting.
- I have a job interview! It lasts 4 hours!
- I get hired to do a website for a pizzeria in New Hampshire, where I had killed time while I waited for my mom's bus to arrive from the Boston airport two weeks earlier... (I had several hours to wait due to a misunderstanding via text messages.)
- My car battery dies and has to be replaced!
- I find an apartment I want and apply for it... still waiting to hear on that one
- And finally, and still in the future as of this writing: tomorrow morning I begin a trial run working at my old company that I used to work for 6 years ago!
Doc running late...
So I have a 10:30am appointment with my doctor in Framingham, MA (left the cottage in NH at 7am), and then I have to be in Newton at 1pm... but there is a note on the [locked] door saying they will be 20 minutes late... plus there is someone else here with a 10:15am appointment so I won't even be first in to see him...
I must say I look forward to getting a more "normal" doctor when I get to Atlanta. One who doesn't answer the phone during your appointment, or eat his lunch (complete with cloth napkin tucked in the collar) or get up to pee (which you can hear, loudly... One who doesn't double book and who takes patients in order of appointment, not order of arrival...
It has been 37 minutes, not 20, and he still isn't here!
the fox in the road
friday night we went to see a play-my mother, dominic, and I. dominic was driving, and on the way home we turned onto our street and suddenly dominic slammed on the brakes. I was in the backseat, so I couldn't see why. I lean toward the middle so I could see out the front, and there was a fox in the road.
the fox turned and started running down the road ahead of the car. we were driving behind him, slowly, but he kept running down the middle of the road. finally he turned and ran to the left into the bushes, but then he turned and went right back into the road. once again he started running down the road ahead of our car while we drove behind him. it must have gone on for at least a minute, before he finally ran off into the woods.
I don't know if it was a brave fox, or a stupid box, but it was entertaining to see.
obviously it could have ended very badly, if dominic had not been so quick on the brakes.
[did this not get posted? I wrote outer over a month ago... Just opened lj app on phone and it is sitting here...]
What an odd question...
"A Prairie Home Companion"
At first I was patient. Then I started requesting that we fast forward over the musical numbers. Eventually we both started doing other things to entertain ourselves while watching—in my case, catching up on some of my Draw Something games. It kept getting more and more boring. Even my poor expectations were not met. Sure, it had a great cast... but it had crappy music, no plot, and was slow, slow, slow. I'm not sure I've ever been as bored by a movie in my life.
We finally both agreed to turn it off and not bother finishing it. She said "maybe that's why I couldn't remember anything about it," [from when she'd watched it before].
What a turd!