1. Decide to have a self-hosted blog in addition to my regular blog. Get money!
2. Decide self-hosting ain’t worth the trouble after my mom gives up the ghost (look out for posts coming here that were written there. You may not have seen ’em.
3. Watch my mother go from having a simple cold to being cold dead in the morgue in three weeks. I don’t recommend it.
4. Come to the fabulous conclusion that I am an orphan in every way, as my family tells me in a nice way to F off. Thanks Mom for alienating us, but whatever. I don’t recommend not having blood relations though, I really don’t.
5. Find that my “soul brother,” the kindred spirit that I always yearned for lived just down the hall.
6. Having my life possibly saved by being invited to live in his apartment with my three cats. If I had to give up my mom AND my cats that would have been the knot in my noose. My mother loved those cats so much that I got my reason to live in caring for them. ( Talk about needing to get a life.)
9. I tried pot, tried pot, tried, tried…I try it every time I can. It numbs the sense of being in limbo that is my constant companion… My mom wouldn’t approve, but pretty sure my dad would.
10. I had a date, a genuine adult date for the first time in my life.
11. I didn’t know it was a date until the guy walked me to my door, reached out for a hug but planted his lips on mine. Then, what do you know, but I felt his tongue trying to get in. I gave it a thought, thought “Ah, what the hell” and opened my mouth. I let my tongue stay where the good Lord put it, because I was shy and stunned. Still counts as my first experience in the French tongue, non? A lady never tells, but I’m a blogger, so…
I’m sorry to everyone I haven’t responded to. Life has been hectic. It’s been bad, good, and definitely different. Stay tuned!
Strange few days indeed. With the usual thoughtfulness of the management of Shitzville Apartments, a photocopy of a note written in marker appeared on everyone’s doors saying that new cable lines would be installed starting that day. With no other explanation at hand, Mom called the manager. Yes. Starting that day. No, no free cable (fuck!), just re-wiring. No, won’t have to move anything (you’ve never been in our apartment have you?) Oh, you put in a work order a couple of weeks ago and maintenance never came? I’ll put another one in (gee, that’s big of you).
We learn from our friendly neighborhood informant that the cable company would have installed the lines, but the management wouldn’t let them. Instead they got Clowns-R-Us to install it cheaper.
Soon we also learn from one of the Clowns-R-Us men that yes, the next day, they will invade the living room and bedrooms of everyone. Said clown drilled a hole in our ceiling at the side nearest the door, and dangled three thick cable cords down into our apartment suitable for braiding. One might say, “Oh that’s going to be so tacky dangling those cords down by the ceiling,” but considering the area commonly used for putting one’s dining table instead has many overflowing boxes of junk about shoulder-high, I don’t think we have much of a foot to stand on with the Tacky Police.
My bedroom is chaos. My desktop computer is usable, my bed with the 1970s (vintage!) mattress is sleepable, the first couple of drawers on my chest are get-attable, but other than that: Screwed! My doll collection is on the walls and wherever else the packages have landed, boxes and boxes of books everywhere. This ain’t gonna cut it, so I know I must cut some of the books loose not vital to my own reading, collecting, or casual ebaying.
This is probably what is going to stop me from becoming famous on reality TV. I sort of hoard, but I have yet to attain the Collyer Brothers’ Housekeeping Seal of Approval. I just don’t hoard anything weird (well, that’s subjective) or gross. I have no urge to keep milk cartons (though I believe I can see their logic in doing so -“Hey, I can use this plastic milk carton for Kool-Aid, and when I die, you can use it to keep my ashes in it instead of an urn!”). I sure as hell ain’t keeping milk past the expiration date. Though I’m fat as all get out, I’m a very picky eater. As for the nastiness factor, I can’t stand roaches and we seldom have them, but if I see one, it puts me off eating in the house the rest of the day. Fun fact though: I feel guilty if I kill one, though I’m perfectly OK with their murder by the exterminator or Mom. Our home is dusty, smokey, and now and then you get a scent of eau d’ chat because Oscar has “territory issues.” But, hey, the kitchen and bathroom are clean.
I’ve actually seen places that were the epitome nasty. Once I went in someone’s trailer and saw so many roaches, hundreds! Crawling everywhere, not scattering in a way that made me think they were aware of their victory over the pitiful souls living there. It was an obsessive-compulsive’s worst nightmare. Shit, it was anyone’s worst nightmare…anyone, that is, but the people who lived there.
At this very apartment complex I’ve seen a couple of apartments that had blackened counters and bathrooms once the people moved. Also, at our old house, the guy who bought it really doesn’t give a flip. Got an extra fridge? It’ll look great in your front yard among other debris and old cars is his motto. I’m sure our old neighbors hate us for letting Asshat buy our home for 20k paid in installments that often were late. What upsets me is the plants he deliberately killed. Azaleas and hydrangeas deliberately cut down and killed -I know they didn’t feel it logically, but mentally it upsets me ( I’m not even much of a tree-hugger or a gardener). I hope my mom’s tiger lilies and daffodils still come up just to spite him. I’mthough sure he murdered my dead grandfather’s rose bush, though heaven knows what horror is in the backyard now since he made a makeshift a tarp and wooden board privacy fence over the wired fence as soon as he moved in. At least our Sanford and Son Syndrome was mainly inside. Tsk tsk!
Days go by. No Clowns-R-Us return to finish. If they don’t come back soon, I am going to braid that damn cable! Various panels are off the hall’s ceiling. One fascinates my mom and I in particular because it appears to go all the way through the floor to the second story hall. W.T.F? Neither did the clowns appear to approach their task too tenderly, for paint and wood chips had come off too.
There are two possible explanations for Clowns-R-Us’ disappearance. Someone else started playing “Send in the Clowns” somewhere.
Too many people started cursing out the clowns, and knowing some of the folks living here, probably threatening to rip off their slap happy noses. Not all of us are docile sheep like my mother and I, though I sometimes wonder if we acted more like we were raised in a barn, we would get on a bit better in life.
Seriously, who wants clowns drilling a hole big enough for 3 thick cords to drop down, with a little extra room too for something to crawl in. The intention, then is to run said thick cords under the carpet into the living room and bedrooms. It would be enough to throw Mother Teresa into a rage. Talk about taking one’s lumps in a literal sense!
But ah to getting rid of stuff! So many books I found that did not have my life blood within them! I wouldn’t have parted with them though if they went to the trash. I give away just fine…throw away, not so much. Some went to the laundry room on a table where people throw their freebies and Watchtowers. Others I put by the dumpster (not in, that’s vital). I also put a porcelain doll on top of one box of books and someone took the books, but threw the doll away. Someone would have wanted her. Affrontedand wished I’d kept her. She was down ar the very bottom of the dumpster, the yuckiest part. There, in dumpster diver hell, I would only fetch out a real baby, or something REALLY awesome.
They came! Around 8-ish in the morning…too bad for me I had gone to bed at 4am. Half-asleep, I stumbled to the door. “Is it too early?” asked the head maintenance man, who accompanied a clown.
Yeah, come back in 6 hours. “No, just let me warn my mother.” Mom was bathing. Luckily I was semi-presentable. My hair was aiming for the sky and I had to hide my nightguard in my pocket (I grind my teeth), but I was dressed!
It doesn’t even look as bad as our informant led us to believe. The day before the maintenance man came and I have new outlets because half of them had stopped working. We have a new garbage disposal and the leaky faucets leak a little bit less. Shitzville wasn’t built in a day. The man who did it is the only one of the three who really does much. As he worked, he got a call telling him to fix someone’s closet rack who had been waiting three weeks.
The maintenance man told us it would have cost 45k to knock out sheet rock and install the cable if the cable company had done it. I can understand why Slumlord Millionaire wouldn’t want to pay that high of a price and it would be tons more disruptive. It isn’t nearly as bad as our informant made us believe.
I think I almost have my Christmas post ready…just in time for the March rush, too.
All of this was supposed to be a short update and intro to this poem. The best layed plans…
Mama was nervous about giving birth to a baby she would have to raise alone, but she wanted to have me. My mother assured me sometime that she was pro-choice, and if she didn’t want to have me she wouldn’t have. Now there’s a heart warming story for the next Chicken Soup for the Soul, but seriously, I’m glad. It puts a less burden on myself for worrying that I ruined her life.
One time looking through a photo album, I found a note from my mother’s best friend, Norma. She named off some girl and boy names for me and said at the end, “With all of us helping you pick a name, you’ll still end up naming that youngin’ Fanny.” I don’t know if Norma got to see me before she died, but she died sometime around the time I was born, making her the second of my mother’s best friends to die…She died of cancer, but the other friend, a man, died of a heart attack earlier. My therapist, when I was 16 ,told Mama he did not know what would have become of her if I hadn’t been born. More fodder for the next Chicken Soup for the Soul book. I think if I was the consolation prize that my therapist implied, the contestant should have asked if she could have a toaster oven instead.
But for good or ill, I came into the world at 8:03 pm on December 8, 1977, delivered by a doctor in a hurry to leave. I don’t know if my dad even knew he was going to be a father at the time, but there I was. My mother named me Lisa, short enough to be spared from butchering, unlike her name which she hated. She was born Patricia, which got chopped down to Patsy in childhood, and finally ground down to gender neutral Pat in adulthood.
The first time my grandparents saw me they were terrified something was wrong with me, but no. They didn’t realize that the darkened soles of my feet were from being footprinted and the ink not entirely washing off instead of a dread disease. If this was a story and not the truth, I would use this incident as a foreshadowing of what a strange person I would become, but as this is the truth as far as I know it, you may take it to mean that my whole family is nuts.
My mother had an apartment above my grandparents’ garage they built for her years ago and this was where we stayed for about a year and a half before Mama found it necessary to flee. I think she had to go because my father tried to talk to her again and again, but my grandmother was a fortress against him, firm and forceful in getting him to leave. My grandmother could be a bit of a bully.
Mama started working nights at a hospital while I was still infant. “I don’t mind keeping the baby while you work, but I won’t keep her for you to go out with men,” said Grandma. Goodbye life, hello motherhood. But strangely enough, everyone wanted me. They all wanted the baby to be a girl and I obliged. Not just my mother and grandmother, but my sensitive grandfather as well. Mama would come in after midnight from work, go into the house and into my grandparents room to pick me up from the bassinet by their bed. Grandpa would wake up and say “Aww, leave that baby. She’s asleep,” but Mama picked me up anyway.
My mother needed her mother though sometimes. If I wouldn’t stop crying no matter what, Grandma would be enlisted to calm me down and rock me to sleep. I had colic. I wasn’t breast-fed because Grandma told her daughter, the registered nurse, it was dirty (well, thinking about it, it does seem a bit yucky. Tell you what though. If I ever became a mom I’d definitely want to taste my own milk, just a taste, you know? Is that so weird? Of course not!!!). But then, my mother didn’t even know about sexual intercourse until she was 17 and in nurse’s training…..that was my grandmother for you: The kind of mother who didn’t find it necessary to warn her daughter of menstruation until the day it happened and her daughter thought she was dying. Perhaps that was the norm when my mother was 12 in 1954.
When I was about 1 1/2 , Mama decided it was time to flee again. By then my father had found us, but Grandma always came to the door and demanded he leave. By then Mama built up a terrible fear of her husband, a fear far worse than at anytime when she actually lived with him. So she decided on moving to a town in Florida near Vero Beach, where some other relatives had settled also. We stayed in Florida until I was 5 and sometimes my grandparents stayed for long periods of time too.
It was at the age of 3 my mother at last severed all ties to the fact I ever had a father. In Florida somehow it is easier to obtain a divorce and that’s what my mother did. Claiming “Desertion,” my Mama got full custody granted. No visitation rights, my father wasn’t there to ask for them. Mama didn’t want anything to do with the man, not even child support or alimony, though he had tried to send money a few times. Mama didn’t even want me to have his name, so when she changed back to her maiden name, she changed mine back to her maiden name too. Instant immaculate conception or instant bastardization, however you want to look at it. Slate clean.
Before the divorce, my father once found us in Florida. To the door he came, drunk. I guess Grandma was there too to ward him off. He had come all the way from Homestate to see me, he claimed. “I only got to see my daughter through the window!” Did he see me through the window before they came to the door, me playing on my mother’s bed oblivious that I even had a father? I hope he did, though they thought he was lying. I don’t think he ever even got a photo of me.
Did my mother do right in keeping my father out of my life? It was cruel to him, but may have spared me intense misery. She feels with my sort of personality, he would have manipulated me terribly and made me miserable. She’s probably right, but it would take someone far stronger than me to deny him a visit after he came so far. BUT…Dude was drunk and my Mom was afraid , so maybe I would do the exact same damn thing and send my mother to deal with him. Shit-fire-damn.
My father died when I was 17. I always thought I would meet him someday, but no, dead at 57. He was found in a motel. It wasn’t cirrhosis, but his heart . I hope he died in his sleep and didn’t know he was dying alone, which is one of my own fears.
After my father died and there was no harm in it, my second cousin thought it would be a curiosity for us to see what my sire looked like much older. Cousin cleaned homes for the elderly and saw to their needs. One of these elderly women Cousin helped just happened to my paternal grandmother. I don’t know if Grandma Pearl knew Cousin was cousin to her son’s ex. It was a small county in the Appalachian Mountains. Nearly everyone is related there or knew someone who is related to someone . What Cousin did was ask my mom if she wanted to see a photo of my father while in a phone conversation if I remember right. So the next time Cousin came down to the beach she brought a “borrowed” photo of my now dead dad, which she returned before it could be missed. My father had changed from the black and white photo I saw a glimpse or two of in my life. From a thin, dark, curly-haired man with a mustache to a beer bellied, pear-shaped creature with a tuft of grey hair. I remember he wore a light blue shirt.
What would have happened if I had met my father? Would he like me? I don’t even particularly like me. Would he compare me to his other progeny and ask me why I couldn’t have turned out like them? Would he have stopped trying to pickle himself ? Doubt it. Would he have manipulated me and made my life hell? Probably.Would he have died alone in a motel room at 57? Maybe not. Was it the result of his blood in me that made me so weird? I can only imagine. I never even met a single relative on his side unless you count a couple of his female cousins who went to the same church when I was an infant. Maybe they reported I wasn’t a tentacled mutation of an infant. But then I hope they didn’t rub it in with “a pretty baby. You should see her sometime.” But he might not care much and only wanted his good lady wife back.
I looked at the obituary of my father while Cousin was down here. There were 2 daughters listed….neither were me. I was the second result of his misadventures I think and the only one born in wedlock for all the good it did me. Cousin told me that the first joined the Air Force and that’s all she knew. So I take it she grew up to be normal. It’s really sort of funny to me, since I think the best time of my mother’s life was as an Air Force nurse in the 1960s when she stormed the beach at Myrtle in South Carolina. Too bad my mother didn’t get that one for a daughter instead of me, but that’s fate for you. What happened to the other girl I have no idea, but rather apparent whatever relationship bore his last child didn’t last either. Considering his knack for the production of female children and I can only guess his disdain for rubbers, perhaps I have more!I don’t remember my sisters’ names and I don’t know where my father’s obituary is now. Hopefully I still have it somewhere or can one day find it some other way. I want to know what they look like and whatever happened to them. Basically I want to know everything about them. Are they in any way like me? Did they love him? The thought of actually meeting or talking or even emailing them though terrifies me. The social anxiety and fear of what they would think of me holds me back. One becomes particularly aware of her appearance, ways, lack of accomplishments , and redeeming qualities when having to make an account of oneself. I don’t think I’m up to it.
When my father died, Mama received the news with both sadness and relief. She was sad that her one-time husband and father of her child had died, but she felt relieved when she realized she never had to worry about him finding us again. As for me,my father’s death benefited me in that I applied for Social Security and received about 100.00 a month for around a year since I was still a minor then. When the man asked my mother if she was certain he was the father and had she been married, I got angry. He was an older, chubby, gruff sort of man who looked judgementally at us, but I got my due.
I feel bad that Dad did more for me in death than the miserable soul did in life. I think for whatever sins he committed, he must have paid the price. The evidence is in the fact he died in a motel room. His real beloved, Liquor, consumed his life, but she was a jealous mistress and made him choose her over his children.