Serenity


I found myself tossing and turning at 3am.  Part of me thinks it was because I went to bed at a decent hour and my body rejects a good night’s sleep.  The rest of me knows it is because there are too many thoughts swirling around in my melon.  So I am here.  I was raging against the very machine that I should be fueling.  When the urge to write hits me, I need to go with it.  This shit would be way more convenient if I was being paid to do it, but alas!  I am still here.

 

Before my mother in law Mama Judy died I had the privilege to have a 2 hour phone conversation with her, which I recorded.  I called her from our home phone, then put her on speaker and recorded us with my cell phone.  I still have it.  I have only listened to it once.  She was aware it was being recorded, because she knew her cancer was terminal and I asked her if I could write her memoir.  It was our intent to have these conversations every week and touch on subjects leading up to the day our lives intersected and forward.   I wanted a piece of her to pass along to my kids and hers, and theirs when they have them.  Unfortunately for us, my busy life and her illness progression got in the way and our first recorded conversation we recorded turned out to be the only one we would ever have.  I’ve listened to it only once.  Two days after she passed away I was home alone missing her, and I listened to it in its entirety.  I didn’t realize how much I miss her until yesterday.  It was then that I found that I can’t even talk about her to strangers without losing my composure.

 

On the day I was listening to our conversation I heard the doorbell ring, so I had to pause the playback.  I opened the door to find our postal carrier holding a piece of registered mail that required my signature.  The letter was a long-anticipated update regarding a very long, drawn-out modification involving a custody/child support modification from my first marriage.  I was ecstatic to open the letter, I rushed inside and tore it open…quickly I realized it was just the news I had hoped for, and I was elated!  I ran back to my bed where I had just been sitting before the doorbell rang and grabbed the very phone I had just paused and held it to my ear and said “Mama!  Guess what!!”…and then it hit me.  Then I cried.  A lot.  That was nearly 3 months ago and I truly thought I had been handling my grief well, if you consider ignoring it handling it.  Two days ago I was speaking to a person in the child support modification unit regarding the letter.  I had called to check the status of the case, and she said the case was being held up because they had never received the paper I signed showing that I had received the letter.  She asked me if I remembered the day I received it…well of course I remember.  I told her I knew the exact date and when I recounted the event to her I heard my voice start to quiver.  I cleared my throat and apologized, I think I made her cry too.

 

April 29th would have been Mama’s 54th birthday.  I still want to call her just to say hi.  I want to send her pictures of the kids, I tagged her in some today on Facebook.  I have accepted that she is gone, but I guess I still can’t believe it.  When I was looking through my boxes of papers recently I found several birthday cards from her.  Her penmanship looked like calligraphy.  She never missed an occasion to send a card.   She sent centerpieces for holiday meals where she couldn’t attend.  Once I had forced my way into her life, she considered me her daughter; not her daughter-in-law or some chick her step-son was married to.  She considered me her daughter.  She loved my children as if they were her biological grandchildren, and none of them are.  The most important thing about my love for James and his family is that they understand that I am not just me.  When he married me, he married 3 people.  It’s not always an easy thing to marry into an ‘instant-oatmeal’ family as my cousin Ray calls it.  Most of the time there is a difficult transition for the ‘outsider’ to come in and sometimes they never really ‘fit’ in.  It’s a risky business at times.  But not for us.  James found me and my kids and couldn’t wait to sign on.  I have never felt a moment of awkwardness and neither have they.  His dad (Papa James) was the same way; when he married Judy she also had 2 kids.  He loved Kurt and Tiffany like they were biologically his and took on the role of their dad and raised them alongside his own children.  I am thankful for many things, but most thankful that James learned this wonderful trait from his dad.

 

Until Papa James and Judy died, I didn’t believe I had ever had the bittersweet luxury of the time to prepare, as if that’s really possible.  Each of them knew they had cancer.  They each knew they were going to die, so they said all the things they needed to say before they passed on.  In hindsight, I guess we all know we are going to die.  We each have every day of our lives while we are here to say all the things we need to say, but too often it takes a tragedy to awaken that part of us.  I’ve always been a passionate person.  I’ve had the unfortunate experience of losing many people I’ve loved dearly, and as a result of that I know that when you have something to say, you should say it.  It requires strength, courage, and sometimes embarrassment because people sometimes tend to think you are a weirdo, but I do it anyway.  My main goal in this life is to be good.  I am not always good at it, but I try nonetheless.  In order to become enlightened one must absorb all facets of their surroundings and truly be alive and aware inside each moment.  Stop for a second.  Really think about that.  Today, appreciate beauty in all things.  Listen when people talk.  I mean REALLY listen.  Don’t just nod your head and wait for your turn to speak.  Find comfort.  Find peace.  When you do all these things then you can share all these things.  I feel love and happiness in my life.  I am blessed with memories of those who have transcended to a different place, and comfort in knowing I am loved by my husband and children and many family and friends.  I am still here.  I am putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward every day.  Sometimes the days go by so quickly and others seem to creep by, but inside of each moment I try to find peace and serenity.  It isn’t always easy, but that’s how life is.

 

I know today will be a good day.  If my heart were a magic 8-ball and I asked it if today would be good…it would say ‘It is decidedly so.’

 

~P

 

 

 

 

 

 



Withering


Today I caught a glimpse of a show featured on OWN (The Oprah Winfrey Network), I know, I know.  James walked through the living room when he saw it and immediately asked if he could change the channel.  He was only in the house for a moment to use the bathroom, on his way out the door to continue to do yard work, but he knew…if I watched anything on OWN he was going to have to hear about it later.  I will spare him from the details, for one thing I don’t think he reads my blog, and for another he has already heard me say this stuff before.  He doesn’t even take me seriously.  That in and of itself should tell me something.

 

The guest on this show was Author Elizabeth Lesser, she wrote ‘Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow’.  I called my best friend and told her about it after watching the first 5 minutes of it.  I watched only 5 minutes more and I had to turn it off.  The words and story of Ms. Lesser hit so painfully close to home with me I couldn’t watch another moment.  I was easily brought to tears, and then reflected on my own life and as I always do, I said aloud, “I have GOT to make some changes.”  The premise of the book, and the meaning behind the title “Broken Open” is that she said we as individuals are all wound up really tightly like the bud of a rose.  We could easily stay safely wound in our ‘bud’ and never change or do anything, and in doing so we may shrivel up and die on the vine.  But, if we put ourselves out there and follow who we are in our souls, then we break open and follow our destiny.  Usually that happens when something in our lives forces us to do so.  Sure, there are brave souls among us who can venture out beyond our comfort zones and take risks.  There are people who fly by the seat of their pants, and in their lives they endure heartache and rejection and are resilient to failures.  But most of us (me included) fear exactly that.  What if I try something and take a risk and then I lose?  What if I do something and it doesn’t work?  I have had my share of heartaches.  I have been in a shitty marriage followed by an even shittier divorce.  I got myself and my kids out of it.  Had I not done that, I would have shriveled up and died there.  I don’t look at that as a risk I took, but a necessity for my sanity and for the love of my babies.  I thought that part of my life was over, but still, 8 years after that situation has ended, I am still finding out more things that happened during that marriage that I was oblivious to, and even though I am happily married to a wonderful man now, hearing about how foolish I was then stings no less now.

 

But I digress, that isn’t really why I am feeling the need to break open now.  I am miserable in other ways.  I am a creative person who loves to write and share funny things and entertain people.  I want to somehow parlay that into a career of writing.  I really believe I can help people who have been in my shoes.  I believe I have answers within me that can change other peoples’ lives for the better.   However, I am currently not following that dream.  I am currently doing accounting for a living.  I am going to shrivel up and die.  I die a little each day when I have to drag my head off the pillow, and my feet to the floor, walk to the shower, to iron my business casual outfit for the day, to fix my hair, to put on makeup, to brush my teeth, to get in my car, to drive there, to walk the country mile from my car to the door, down the stairs into the florescent cube farm to spend 8 mind-numbing hours in the nerdery on my adding machine counting the minutes until I can clock out and go home.  Then, the precious few hours I have with my family are tainted by my disdain for my career and my unhappiness and I am wasting everyone’s time and keeping a short fuse and not being the best Lesley I can be.

 

I hope that I don’t get fired for writing this, and if I do I guess that will force me to break open and finally end my misery,  but I do not find my day job to be rewarding.  I do not fit in there.  I do not know how to relate to people who want to work in an office environment.  I need to be here or anywhere else being a writer or start a vlog or something, almost ANYTHING else but that.  And to make it even better, my direct supervisor doesn’t like me.  It’s exhausting.  I feel like I am going to panic sitting here right now knowing I am less than 12 hours away from 8 more hours of it tomorrow.  I thought I was one step closer to something new and exciting.  My husband bought me a camera to mount in my car so that my conversations with my daughter in the morning could be webcast on a YouTube channel, but ALAS the fucking thing didn’t record sound.  So now it is sitting upstairs on a dresser collecting dust until he sends it back.  It seems there is always some roadblock or reason or way that my dream is on hold.  I just want to get up off my ass already.  I also want to scream and punch shit.

 

I am good at what I do.  I don’t ever just sit there and do other stuff or ignore the importance of what I am doing, but I do loathe it.  I file the stuff I am supposed to file, I call the people I am supposed to call, I complete all my assigned tasks each and every painstaking one of them.  I am not complaining because I need the advice of my readers.  I am complaining because it gives me a reason to do something to make a change.  I do not have a college degree, and I have NO desire to get one.  I am painfully aware that I am the ONLY person working there who does not have one.  I believe the fact that I not only hold my own but excel in what I do there is a testament to the fact that I don’t need a degree.  I admit it does kinda sting a little to hear everyone around me talk about college and how it was when they went and I do feel like I missed out on something there.  I am the only woman in my office who has 3 children.  Everyone else has 0-2 children.  I am social with only one or two of my co-workers because the rest of them probably whisper about how weird I am.  I struggle each day to fit like a square peg in a round hole.  I wish I could be like them just so the misery would be less, but I am not.  I am outspoken, age-inappropriate, not Catholic like the rest of them seem to be, a loser who never went to college and I just can’t seem to make things click.

 

I am not going to go back and re-read this.  I am going to post it “raw” because that’s the only way to have it be what I am really trying to say.  I am buying a copy of that book.  One day I hope to shelve it next to my very own and maybe be an esteemed author who helps another misfit such as myself find a way to make changes.  I just can’t live this life forever because it is quite literally killing me.  Off to go write some more someecards and take vicodin until I can sleep.

 

Love and kisses,

Your bundle of hope, PDNKYDNK

 

 

 

 



The Road to Hell is Paved With…


I think the road to hell (in my house anyway)  is paved with mail.  Seriously.  In a desperate search for the birth certificates of my three offspring, I realized something.  I admit it.  I am a hoarder of all things paper.  I think I have every birthday card I have ever received.  Let me break that down for you.  I am 38.  If you don’t spend more than a moment to think about that you might assume I am a dork with only like 38 birthday cards.  Let me assure you, I am popular.  I have about a zillion.  More like hundreds.  Anywho, I also have three children who are 14, 12 and 4 years old so I keep all of their cards too, and all of the cards I have received for other stuff, like my wedding and all of my baby showers.  Dude.  That’s 38 Christmases, 38 Valentine’s Days, 38 years of “just because we are friends” and not to mention ‘Thank you’ or “Wow last night was awesome!’ (What can I say??)  That’s a lot of cards.  I need to make some sort of mural out of these cards so that all of these years of Hallmark hoarding isn’t in vain.  It doesn’t stop there.  I also have every paystub from every job I have ever had.   And seemingly every bank statement, insurance statement, electric, cable, phone…etc. bill I have ever paid in my adult life.  I also hang on to every scrap of paper my children have ever scribbled upon.  HELP!!!  Our finished basement looks like a mail bomb exploded down here.  And what am I doing?  Blogging it out.  Not cleaning it up.  It’s overwhelming.  (and it’s right behind me…I think it can hear me click-click-clicking on this keyboard and it is lying in wait…)In my frantic search for these birth certificates (that lasted until 2:00 AM) I did thin the collection by throwing away a large box of stuff, but I have barely touched the tip.  (Just the tip, just to see how it feels.)

 

And…I am disorganized to boot.  If you saw my cube at work you would be impressed.  It is very well-organized and every paper I touch is filed away neatly into it’s labeled place.  But at home, I throw caution to the wind and make piles of stuff anywhere I can find a flat surface.  And what does James do?  He follows behind me and tucks my well-constructed piles into rubbbermaid totes int the garage or shoeboxes in the hall closet.  Never to be seen or heard of again…until I need vital documents.  Then he abandons me at 10:00 PM and goes to bed, leaving me in the volcanic eruption of memorabilia and mail in our makeshift office downstairs.  Today when I read my friend Karri’s blog, she said her basement flooded and I nearly pooped my pants thinking that if that happens to me today, all of my years of hoarding would end…and I might actually be OK with it.  But then I realized it would be an even bigger mess for me to clean up.  Curse you ADD and inherent laze!  Curse you to hell!!!

 

I am admitting my problem.  That’s the first step.  My husband has a paper hoarding problem as well.  He doesn’t hang on to sentimental things, but he hangs on to magazines and never files paperwork.  Sorry to out you on my blog babe, but let’s face it.  We are a fire hazard in need of a filing system intervention.  I am kind of outing us in hopes that the embarrassment this will bring to us will force us to get our act together and utilize a filing system up in this place.  *sigh* I have to go now.  I have to clean this mess.  I should post a pic of it, the before and after…but I am ashamed.  And since I am being truthful, I am probably not really going to clean it up.

Learn from me.  Throw out your old stuff.  Don’t be a hoarder.

 

Love, peace, chicken grease…

Padinkydink