Monday, May 21, 2012

It's Only Monday?

If it's only Monday, then why on God's Green Earth does it feel like a Wednesday?  Wednesdays are the WORST DAY OF THE WEEK PERIOD.  It feels like it's been a straight month of those nasty W-days.  But it is Monday.  The Hangout Festival is done - another file to move to the "past events" folder.  We went to gather our boxes today and the fences have vanished.  The smell of pot and body fluids has been replaced by fresh gulf breezes.  Traffic heading north on 59 was bumper-to-bumper.  Now that I've been here a year, I know and use the back roads to cut around the traffic.  I can't believe it's almost been a year.  The best, hardest year of my life.  The experiences I've had are priceless.  I can't sum up this job and people.  But I can tell you I've grown to love it.  I've gone through ups and downs, but I now see how precious time is. 

Nanny's been gone almost two months and I dream of her regularly.  In my dreams she is young, healthy and vibrant.  She holds court, laughs and drinks.  I wish I never deleted any of her voice mails.  I have two on my phone that I listen to when I'm afraid I forgot her voice.  In one message she's stoic - clearly in pain and suffering but denying it.  I inherited this trait.  We'll talk more about it another time.  In the second VM, she's inquiring about the weather.  "Call me back," she states before pressing the "end call" button.  I still am in denial.  I still can't believe one of my constants is no more.  But I have felt her presence with me often.   It's comforting and calming.  And it reminds me to close the bathroom door.

With Booty Camp on break, I opted for tennis tonight.  My little heart lit up when the wonder kid asked me to be her partner for Olympics (one of the cardio games we play).  Blake is about 11 and is a phenom in the scientific sense of the word.  I was over the moon excited.  So excited that I tripped on a ball, twisted my ankle and pulled some tendons in my knee.  But, like Nanny, I hopped up and shook it off.  This was fine throughout the rest of class.  Then I got to the grocery store and realized that I had no dog food or the ability to walk.  This was fine with the cart, but when it came to climbing the single flight of stairs to my apartment, I was a hot mess.  To top it off, the lights in the walkway are not working and I left the keys in the car, all the while it was storming.  Some times things just SUCK.  I have been doing kick-ass with my training and I hope this doesn't delay my progress.

That is all for tonight.  Do you watch Family Guy?  I love this shit.  Now I've said all there is to say.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

On Death, Loss and Vodka

                In my earliest memories of Nanny, she’s wearing a rainbow colored muumuu, smoking, and drinking an adult beverage out of a highly etched glass.  I’m about five; we’re at the family home in South Huntsville, on Linbrook Drive.  A big pool fills the back yard; here we spend most of the day splashing and lounging.   Fast forward three decades and I’m standing at a podium, attempting to gain my composure.  The words on the yellow sheet stare back at me.  I begin to read:  I am the ninth descendant of my mom’s mom and consider myself fortunate to spend 38 years as her granddaughter.

                With a few deep breaths I completed the eulogy, returned to the wooden pew and cried.  My uncle placed his hand on my shoulder.  I cried harder.  Nanny was gone.  I was sad.  We were all sad.  We weren’t shocked.  Her death came slowly, the last year of her life filled with hospital stays and pain. 

                My aunt called on Sunday just after 3:30 p.m.  Twenty-six hours later I found myself at Nanny’s apartment as her body released its final breath.  We each kissed her forehead and wished her well on the journey ahead.  The next days were purely functional: airport trips, errands, laundry, and boxing up what she left behind. 

                Nanny wasn’t the kind of grandparent who sat you down and taught you how to behave, how to play fair, how to reach your goals.  She was stoic, independent, proud, and resilient.  During her life she married a soldier, saw the world, and raised five kids.  She was an avid reader and loved 24-hour news channels.  She knew I was stubborn and strong willed, but was absolutely proud of me.  I was hard for her to figure out and she wasn’t afraid to ask me questions about my life.  My most painful and cherished memory of her happened as we were driving over Four Mile Post to my aunt’s house.  We were talking about my guy friend and she asked, “How is it that you have all these guys as friends, but you can’t get a lover?”  I chuckle incessantly now.  Eleven years ago it ripped my heart apart.  Throughout our times together, she’d continue to ask colorful questions.  I both loved and hated this quirk of hers.  Now I miss it.

                As I write this, it’s been two weeks and two days since she passed away.  I understand this, that she is gone.  I completely get it.  I was there and saw her go.  But I cannot believe she is gone.  I have swung through the traditional phases of grief, only to land back at the starting point: denial and disbelief.  I’ve found myself laying in the quiet only to have my inner voice state the obvious:  Nanny is gone.  She’s not there in her apartment, with the TV on too loudly, hooked up to oxygen.  She is gone, on to the next phase, reunited with her husband, youngest son, sisters, and parents. 

                All I have left are two rings, a book on singles of the Bible, and four bottles of vodka.  The rings were in a white envelope with my name written across the front.  The book was uncovered as we cleaned the house and I insisted on stealing it as a joke.  The vodka doesn’t even represent half of what she had left in her stash.  I will keep with me the traits I inherited: saying the wrong thing, being independent, and watching too much news. 

                I miss her.  My heart aches for the loss.  But at night, when the voice in my head comes to break the silence to remind me of her absence, I’ll quickly follow it up with a few words from my heart: she was so proud.  That will wrap around me as I travel through grief and keep me safe, just as she’d wish.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Fun in Dysfunctional

For work, we drive a lot.  Have I mentioned this?  I rarely drive my personal car, instead opting for one of three pool cars.  My favorite is the 2102 Taurus.  It is a powerful, comfortable car.  My other option is the Dodge Caravan.  It sucks.  In the Ford, I look sleek and sophisticated.  In the van I look like a granny.  In the Ford, awesome music always plays.  In the van, it's non-stop commercials, John Tesh, and REO Speedwagon. As I wrote this, four of us were in the van, heading to a chamber of commerce meeting. Even after working in a chamber of commerce for four years, I now spend more time in chamber meetings and luncheons.  We each were tired; everyone seemed a little grumpy and irritated with each other.  To counteract this, I sang along to the music:  Center field.  Put me in coach, I am ready to play, today.  I can be center field.  I won.

After work, I got home and took the boys on their walk before I went to class at the gym.  Poncho and I had the following conversation:

P:  Where are you going?
Me:  To class.
P: I want to go to class.
Me: What kind of class?
P:  Philosophy.  Architecture.  Cooking.
M:  Why do you want to take those classes?
P:  I have a lot to learn and some times feel like I'm being left out of conversations.
M:  Who do you have conversations with about philosophy, architecture and cooking?
P:  I just watch a lot of TV when you're not here.

I go a lot of classes.  Yesterday we discussed tennis.  Tonight's class was super cardio.  I've dropped about 23 pounds since moving here.  I have about 30 more to go, but it's just one mile at a time.  At class tonight, there was the girl who made me cry a few months back - made me cry because she commented on how much I sweat.  Well.  Ever since then, she's reminded me of her comment by pointing out how much I sweat and how little she does.  One day, I was telling my trainer about this.  And informed me that she has some mental development issues.  Probably some glandular ones, too!

Today, my trusty black work pants have been laid to rest.  As I was wearing them, and continually pulling them up, I noticed my thong was hanging out of my pants - all over, not just in the back.  It's also time to let this particular thong go.  I've had it for years (or is it them?).  Anyone who has done my laundry can tell you that I have tons of underwear options.  This is because that I always buy new ones before I go on a trip AND some times, I go on trips and forget to bring panties.  In the case of forgetting panties, I go get cheap things at Wal-Mart.  My preferred brand comes from Target - silky cotton things of which I now own at least 25 pairs. 

Oh, and in case you're wondering, no one does my laundry.  However, if there were classes to teach dogs how to do laundry, I know one pup who'd be signed up in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Oh, Really?

Who am I?  It's 16 minutes before 10 p.m. and I'm watching Justin Beiber on The Voice.  All four facts listed in the previous statement are absolutely true.  Two of them are a little unbelievable.  I am really watching Justin Beiber on The Voice?  Ugh.  Who am I?  I committed to watching this show on accident.  It comes on before Smash, my most favorite new show.  I stuck with The Voice.  I have no reason.  It is what it is. 

I spent part of the day on the road.  This is what I realize:  life is like drving.  Just get the fuck out of my way and we'll all be okay.  Don't lollygag in front of me.  Move the fuck over.  Aren't familiar with the term lollygag?  It was one of my nanny's words.  She also said you were telling "gollywoggles" when you made up stories.  But her favorite saying was, "Who's picking me up?"  It's been about five weeks since she's passed away.  I do miss her deeply.  Every few days she sends me a sign that she's right next to me.  I always told her give me a sign and she's kept true to her promise.  I can't wait to see what other kind of trouble she stirs up.

Prior to planting my ass on the couch, I went to cardio tennis.  I LOVE TENNIS.  I played for a few months about 10 years ago.  I have a coach I see every few weeks.  We work on swings and positioning.  But playing is where I come alive.  Tremendous improvement is apparent each class.  I love the sweat it produces and the stress it releases.

Well, the winner has been announced and I'd like to just declare that I called it.  I called it!  Now he's going to sing some R. Kelly.  The perfect way to wash that Bieber out of my ears!