Sunday, February 25, 2007

It's not TV. It's HBO.

My posts as of late have been a little on the crabby side. (But c'mon - The Office Overtalker totally had it coming.) And they've also been focused quite a bit on The Past. Because, evidently, that's where I'm living.

So, I'm almost embarrassed to write about this, but it's so darn absurd that I just have to.

When is the last time you turned on HBO and saw an ex?

Well, yesterday, thank you!

I was flipping channels and settled on a really moving documentary ... a documentary in which they interviewed my college sweetheart, my first love.

It was totally absurd. Thank god for my life partner, DVR, as I was able to rewind and see if that was, indeed, who I thought it was. Yup. His voice is the same. He's shaved his head, but still looks pretty much the same. I haven't seen him in 12 years, but he doesn't seem that different.

So, the whole trauma, the random remembering of trauma in his family, and now my college beau showing up on HBO of all places - well, I can't help but think that the universe is trying to tell me something. What is is that I'm not getting, one last lesson that I need to glean from this graveyard of relationships past that I need to appreciate so that I can really move forward?

Some possibilities:
Don't date tall men with fucked-up families.

Ok, so that's the only one that comes to mind immediately. I don't think that's it.

Friday, February 23, 2007

An open letter to The Office Overtalker

Dear Office Overtalker:

Stop. Fucking. Talking.

Cha Cha

P.S. Nobody gives a fuck about your kid's tantrum when you dropped her off at child care. And if you're still talking about it at lunch time, maybe you should start drinking during the day.

P.P.S. Stop. Fucking. Talking.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

In which I sound like a Lifetime movie

Let's talk about trying to be something you aren't.

He Who Shall Not Be Named's step-dad had been married previously and had two kids. He referred to his ex as SFB, as in "Shit For Brains." A little harsh, granted. But SFB had put him through a hellacious divorce and married her shyster longtime beau two weeks after the alimony ran out.

SFB and Step-Dad had a deal when they were married. He was working his way up the corporate ladder and got transferred every two or three years. SFB agreed to the moves across the country on one condition: the new house would be bigger than the house they were leaving. Step-Dad explained this upward mobility to me in detail one day as we drove around looking at new construction, killing time while He Who Shall Not Be Named's mother - a low-maintenance and well-loved woman - slept in a hospital room.

After the divorce, SFB started keeping time with The Shyster, a born salesman who always had an in on The Next Big Thing. They married, and eventually moved to Florida, where they moved from time share to time share. They had all the flashiness - new cars, lots of jewelry, lavish gifts for the kids, you name it.

Funny, though, that things weren't what they seemed. They had been living off of a trust SFB inherited from her parents. And then they dipped into her kids' trusts. And then she put her foot down. And then he slammed her head against the side of the bathtub, buried the body in a shallow grave and declared her missing.

It was January and the sun was bright when we buried her for good a week after he fessed up. Step-Dad hired an off-duty cop to attend the funeral to keep The Shyster's family away from SFB's children. They'd identified the body with dental records to know they were burying the right woman - burying her next to the deceased parents who had scrimped and saved their entire lives to ensure a comfortable and safe future for their offspring.

All of this came flooding back to me yesterday, the first really nice day after an eternity of bitterly cold days. The winter sun made me think of that day in January five years ago. And it made me sad, too. Now that I'm not a part of that family, am I not to feel grief over this? Am I supposed to forget? And who starts a story with "My ex-boyfriend's step-brother's mom got killed ..."?

And then I thought about how she probably knew for a while that things were a little off, but, like so many of us, pretended that all was well. She kept up appearances. She pretended that things were fine, even as the money was running out and tension was growing. She was trying - they were both trying - to be someone she wasn't.

He Who Shall Not Be Named listed body piercings and tattoos as turn-ons in his online dating profile. He also mentioned that he's looking for a woman who is Buddhist, Hindi or Taoist.

He's a Midwestern boy who started lying about what high school he attended after his old hood fell on hard times. I don't know who he's pretending to be, or why his real self isn't good enough. I thought his authentic self was pretty damn awesome.

There's a fine line between personal growth and pretending to be someone you aren't. It's all about foundation - personal growth builds on your past. Pretending adopts a past that never existed - completely discounting the fact that experience shapes a person.

I think this self that He Who Shall Not Be Named has invented isn't much different than the out-and-out lying done by The Shyster. At the end, The Shyster's alibi fooled no one but himself. I have a hard time believing that He Who Shall Not Be Named will fool anybody for very long either, which is really a shame. Deep down, he's just a desperate, wide-eyed boy.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Love me, love my kitchen

Hot damn, I'm tired.

I'm headed out of town for work next week, which means I have only six days and 14 hours to pack up my entire kitchen so that Surrogate Dad can demo my ugly Starter Kitchen while I'm gone. It's a tiny kitchen with the original 1950 cabinets, so new, fantastic cabinets will be a celebration of life, liberty and all that the American dream of homeownership has to offer.

Have I mentioned that I'm a pack rat? And that I have roughly 32 tons of crap stored in Starter Kitchen? Crap that I unpacked a mere six months ago?


So, tonight I packed up my grandma's china and her antique cookie jars (only two - I'm not a total freak, thank you). Tomorrow, it's on to glassware. I can do this. I think I can, I think I can.

In other news, I talked to parents last night. As usual, my dad's reaction to stories of my non-existent love life was priceless. Upon hearing about my unfortunate discovery of He Who Shall Not Be Named's match profile, my dad had this to say:

"Jesus. Of course you can be on match, too. Of course! Because you'll never match up with a freak who's looking for a Buddhist, Hindu or whatever that other one was."

Taoist. Taoism evidently isn't big in Ye Ol' Hometown, population 11,000.

My mother's comment was lovely as well:

"Oh, my. I guess being Episcopalian isn't very exotic, now, is it?"


I also love the fact they wanted a blow-by-blow description of the new kitchen, despite the fact that my dad's never even seen Starter Kitchen - and that listening to a description of remodeling is the audio version of watching paint dry. Sometimes I have a hard time relating to people who have strained relationships with their parents. This is an example of why.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

If you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain

I'm obsessed with:

  • College football

  • Yogurt that tastes like pudding

  • Puppies

  • Jewelry

  • Junky, flea market decor

I'm not obsessed with my ex. I swear.


I was trolling last night - not because it was Valentine's Day Eve and I'm a sad and lonely spinster. No. I was trolling because it's what I've been doing since August because, yes, I've been thinking about joining for that long and just haven't gotten up the nerve. Actually, it's not so much getting the nerve as it is vacillation - I go back and forth between thinking that these are nice, normal people just waiting to meet me and thinking that they are all married scumbags just waiting to give me herpes.

It's a dilemma.

So, last night I was trolling. And I came across a very familiar photo. He Who Shall Not Be Named was smiling back at me in an old work photo - a photo for which I had selected his outfit.


Well, I guess this answers the question of whether or not he was still with his high school ex (or, as I like to call her, The Linebacker - somebody doesn't know how to dress for their body type). Based on his pictures, he's evidently gotten a new dog - and some hella-ugly new area rugs for the kitchen.

His profile was stupid. And he said tattoos and body piercings are turn-ons. What a poseur - he's so NORMAL and just wants desperately to be extraordinary, like writing that he's looking for a woman who is Taoist, Buddhist or Hindu makes him cool.

So, glad to be rid of him. Except ... he was wearing the tie that I picked out. That dog was sitting in my kitchen. This is the man that I believed in my heart and soul was my match. And now he's creating some craptastic persona on

Something is seriously wrong with this situation. After more than two years, it's almost like I hallucinated the entire relationship, that I didn't live in that house, that I didn't create a man in my head and stay in love with him long after my feelings for the real deal had soured. So maybe I shouldn't be judging someone else's suspension of reality.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Nobody loves me like you do

We got about six inches of snow last night. This morning, I got up, bundled up and swept a path off the back deck. Geriatric Poodle watched me sweep a path and then, after careful consideration, peed on the deck, right next to the door. Righty-o.

I then moved on to the driveway, where my car still resides, as I haven't brought myself to clean out my garage since I moved in six months ago. It's days like this when I wonder what could have possibly been more important than making the garage a comfy home for my Honda. It's not like I was busy curing cancer or ministering to lepers. Alas.

So, all in all, I spent 50 minutes cleaning off my car and shoveling the drive. I don't mind cleaning off the car. But the shoveling? Well, I kept wondering when somebody was going to show up to take care of this mess. I mean, come on - someone is obviously slacking off if I'm the one responsible for cleaning the drive.

Oh, wait. I'm the homeowner. Right.

By the time I was done, I was dripping with sweat, like a really good workout. I walked in the house, stripped down and left my clothes on the floor in a pile. Because I live alone and I can and I can leave them there for a couple of days, too. Life is good.

Tonight, I heard Foxie Doxie making some very, very happy squeaks and grunts. I found him spralled across my pile of clothes, chewing a Nylabone, his head resting on my very stinky jogbra. Evidently, it doesn't get any better than that.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I am the worst daughter ever - but a great employee

I took yet another three-day weekend (gasp!) and headed to the homeland. My mom taught me how to knit (a new addiction that will add to my growing carpal tunnel? sign me up!). I caught a cold. I saw some friends, including a woman I've known since fifth grade, a woman who somewhere along the way morphed into an 80-year-old church lady. Seriously. I almost choked while trying not to audibly guffaw at some of these gems:

"So, do you sit on the east side of the church now, by the Malloys?"

"No, don't eat all the brownies. I made cake, too."

"Pastor Don asked me to speak in church tomorrow about my experience in our congregation. It's important that I set a good example."

WTF? I wasn't drinking, but I totally wished I was. And I had a hard time not making eye contact with my friend Jess, who admits that she can only take Church Lady in very, very small quantities.

Jess didn't talk a whole lot the entire night. And she left early. Heh.

I don't disparage Church Lady's church tendencies. And god knows I'm all over the multiple baked goods. But, like, I'm an Episcopalian? And, like, we don't take ourselves that seriously?


This weekend, I also made my mom cry. Again. But, too be fair, she made me cry more. She told me - out of the blue - that she was sorry she and my dad hadn't set a good example with the work business.

I cried and told her that I wished I hadn't said anything.

She maintains that every parent wants their kids to have better lives than they had, and it just goes on and on like this, and that the work thing is part of it. She hopes that I learn from their mistakes. She said I was really smart and perceptive.

And then I cried some more. Great. I made my mom feel like crap and I identified a problem to which I have no solutions. Super.

Today, I left work at 2:30 for a doctor's appointment. Then, instead of going back to work, I met my surrogate parents to go look at kitchen cabinets, as Surrogate Dad is going to remodel my kitchen. Talk about information overload - I picked out cabinets, but now I have to select a countertop, backsplash, hardware, dishwasher, microwave and probably a bunch of other stuff that I can't think of right now. Exciting, but a tad overwhelming.

Anyway, I got home a little before 7 and it felt like I had an eternity ahead of me - only 7 p.m.! An entire night to do STUFF! Wow!

And then I realized that was totally lame and a symptom of the whole work bidness. Especially since I plugged in my laptop and spent half an hour responding to e-mails. Because god forbid I give myself permission to have a life.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Evidently, hell has frozen over.

This week, I got an e-mail from He Who Shall Not Be Named, my boyfriend of seven years. More than two years ago, in what I like to refer to as "The Recent Unpleasantness(tm)," we had the mother of all break ups. It involved real estate, his high school ex-girlfriend, and untreated depression.

Where does depression hurt? Everywhere. Who does depression hurt? Everyone.

I've spent the last two years patching myself back together after surviving what felt like a concerted effort to systematically destroy my self esteem. I'm taller now. I'm happier now. And I know now that I don't have to put up with that shit.

Once, last spring, he sent me an e-mail. He was very casual and friendly, wanting to know how I was, how my family was, and the status of our formerly shared dogs. I didn't respond. After all, you only stay friends with your ex if you consider him a decent human being in the first place.

Cut to this week. Cut to me shaking like an addict at an e-mail that apologized for treating me so poorly. An e-mail that stated he knew I deserved much better, that he didn't expect this to change anything between us, but wanted to tell me he was sorry.

Say what?

I came up with a long list of snarky responses. "For which part, exactly, are you apologizing? Fucking your ex? Or screaming at me on a regular basis for using too much toilet paper?" Then there was, "Gee, somebody's life's been changed by My Name is Earl. Do you drive an El Camino now and have a sidekick who's afraid of chickens?" And then, of course, there's always the classic, "Oh, I was disappointed to hear from you - I thought you were dead."

I didn't really respond - although that's a fun game. I think he wants absolution, and I'm not the stinkin' Vatican, so he can just get over that. The apology was about him; it wasn't about me. It was about him wanting to feel better. And, for that, I'm happy for him. It shows that he's growing. No matter what hard feelings I still harbor, I can't deny that I once had a great and true love for this person, and he is in need.

If I were to respond?

"Thank you. I hope you're getting the help you need."

Because that is true. And because I am pretty much past caring. That well is dry.