Category: Sad

Absence Makes the C. Grow Nostalgic

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”
~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966

Things I really miss about my husband (all of the time, but particularly this week):

1.  How buddy buddy we are in public and how sickeningly cute he is in private.  One of my best memories of him is from the first year of our marriage.  It was the middle of the night and he woke up for some reason and got out of bed which woke me as well.  But thinking I was still asleep, he leaned over and kissed me on the nose.  Just because.

2.  We had a really great household system: I do laundry he does dishes.  I hate dishes, loathe them with an intensity usually reserved for cockroaches and split pea soup.  With him gone, I am reduced to doing my own dishes, which is a hateful nightly event.

3.  How easy it was to talk to my best friend about my day and hear about his.  We schedule Skype dates and email and chat regularly throughout the day, but it’s not as satisfying as our conversations during car ride home after work..

4.  Cuddling.  We are shameless cuddlers.  We cuddle on the couch, going to sleep, watching movies, talking, you name it.  The most satisfying feeling in the world is his arms around me, and not having it for months at at time makes me excessively grouchy.

5.  Believe it or not, listening to or watching sports with him, it’s ridiculously funny to hear my normally calm, reserved guy randomly exploding with, “C’mon!”  “He was in!”  “Travel?  TRAVEL?!”

6.  His quiet steadiness.  Sometimes I feel like the family tornado, constantly doing something, running, planning, doing until I burn out and collapse on the sofa.  Which is usually when he steps in with a grin and  calmly handles whatever it was that seemed so overwhelming a mere five minutes ago.  No doubt this trait will feature more heavily when we finally decide to spawn.

7.  Doing things with him.  We are really good about indulging one another’s interests and likes.  I bought him tickets to his favorite team for his birthday one year, even though I couldn’t care less about basketball.  He returned the favor by taking me to the opera.  I had Korean food for the first time with him, he went to England for the first time with me.  We’re far more adventurous together than apart.

8.  How helpful he is.  Since he’s been gone it seems like the flat has decided to show it’s age and start to go to pieces.  Cupboards have needed to be fixed, furnaces have needed tweaking, faucets refuse to shut off, oven handles have come undone…the list goes on.  Margot’s charming gentleman caller (Wrench) has been an absolute wunderkind and helped out whenever he visits, but keeping up with a house is a full time job.  Largely doing it by myself is rotten.

9.  Dates.  I have no problem going to movies or restaurants by myself, my alone time is valuable and relaxing to me, but there’s no question that dinner with him is ten times better than dinner without him.

10.  His scent.  His cologne, which I love, is not very powerful, but it lingers.  It still haunts his side of the closet, which packs a powerful punch of nostalgia whenever I open it.  I miss smelling it every day.

No doubt about it, minions, separation sucks.  On the plus side, he’s coming to stay for a few weeks sometime in March or April.  On the plusser side, less than six months and we’re done with school and on to the next adventure!

Not Just Your Grandmother’s War Slogan

“Most of life is routine – dull and grubby, but routine is the momentum that keeps a man going.”
– Ben Nicholas

I’ve always found post-tragedy a bit surreal.  Somehow, in spite of the calamity that has just taken place and probably changed your life forever, the world just keeps on going.  People still need to eat, sleep, work, and go about day to day tasks, you can’t just check out.  After the typhoons, the damage needs to be cleaned up.  After the earthquake, pictures need to be rehung.

Life goes on.

Weird.

It’s hopelessly British, but the stiff upper lip is a lifesaver, kittens.  There is nothing to keep you going through a tough slog, or helpful when your nearest and dearest are slogging along their own troubles, like routine.

What small things keep you going when Stuff Happens, m’dears?  Nothing is insignificant.

Troubles

  “No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as a manor of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee”
– John Donne

Life can get a bit overwhelming, darlings, even when you’re a few degrees removed, so please indulge.

Sav lost her brother over the Christmas holiday.

Lizzie is getting divorced.

Marie’s health is still shaky from her pancreatic attacks and other car accident health residue, plus a few family issues, and separation from her own husband for 3 months as he goes through job training.  She’s looking at another surgery soon.

Worst of all, one of Margot’s dear friends ended her life Saturday night.  We’ve tried to help as best we can, Margot in particular has been feeding people, soothing, and being a true lady of mercy, but she’s hurting too.

Troubles do not play favorites, and no one is immune.  Please keep these friends of mine, as well as your own in your thoughts, my dears, and take them time to help a friend out today.  We all know someone who’s hurting or needs just a bit of encouragement (and we very well may be that person!), so let’s do a bit extra to take care of one another.

Another Humorless Interlude – Hyperbole Will Return Shortly

“Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead.”
– Les Brown

Thanks, minions, don't mind if I do.

Kittens, I’m bitter.  Talking it over with Peregrine helped, as it so often does, to really organize my bitterness into manageable and coherent issues and I finally realized why I’m so disappointed – you know, besides the fact that my best friend and lover is moving to London without me.

The real problem is that I feel horribly left behind.  I gladly put J.’s schooling at the top of my priority list and considered my ambitions and goals on hold and never considered it a burden or bad decision.  I still don’t.  I can write from anywhere, but there are only a few really great schools for accounting and finance and I was perfectly content to go where he schooling took us, and wherever his jobs will too.   But suddenly, I’m not going with him anymore (and yes, I know I am eventually, but just indulge me in this mini sulk, alright?) and I’m not sure how that fits in.

I’ve delayed grad school or other academic ambitions, writing is hard when you can’t really devote yourself to it because you’re earning the bread/bringing home the bacon/whatever, and I’ve stayed an extra three years in my dinky university town waiting for him to catch up to me in schooling.  And now, the sacrifice I was willing and glad to make (and still am!) isn’t really paying out the way I thought it would.

I hear you now, “G’DUH, Small Dog.  Welcome to life, you whiner.”  You’re right, I’m sure, but that doesn’t stop the disappointment.

I’m grateful to have a job, goodness knows not everyone does these days.  I’m proud to be able to support my family and keep us out of debt while we finished up undergraduates, internships, and the first few years of marriage.  I’m ludicrously proud of J. and what he’s achieved and thrilled about where he got into school…

But what about me?

Yes, I’m perfectly aware of how selfish that sounds, but I can’t help it.  What about me and what I wanted and planned for?  Three years isn’t a long time in the grand scheme of things, but honestly it has seemed horrendously long to me.  I’ve been working a job that I can say I am grateful for and usually enjoy (and you can bear witness that the stories I’ve got out of it are amazing, eh, ducklings?), but I don’t want to be a police department receptionist for the rest of my life.  It’s a job without the possibility of promotion or progression.  Ditto really for the town we currently live in, and frankly most cities compare unfavorably to London.  J. really was the only reason I stayed where I am now…and he’s leaving.  I’m having a weird time processing that.

So, I’m bitter.  Six more months of slogging (yeah yeah, I hear you again, “Cry me a river, C.”) past when I thought I’d be moving on and forward with our/my lives/life.  It’s not the great tragedy I’m making it out to be, I know that, but it’s still not…what I planned.  And I hate having my plans messed up!

At the same time, I’m feeling a little smug that I’m holding up as well as I am.  I’ve only really whined to Venice, Peregrine, and Hennessy, and in the meantime I have packed up a third of my house to store (the reason for which you will just have to wait and see!), kitted J. out fully in sweaters and suits, researched places to live, made due when Her Majesty’s Government turned our plans on their heads, and generally kept on keeping on.  I’m tired, disappointed, but proud and damned effective.

Rant over!  Thanks for listening, kittens, you’re all sorts of awesome.  But you knew that.

Keep Calm: An Emotional Evolution Since Yesterday

 “Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.”
– Virginia Woolf
 

Happy independence to me…from Venice.  She and Val are on their way East (though if Facebook updates are anything to go off of, they are already having a horrid time of it).  Since her departure, I’ve been going through the most frightful emotional rollercoaster, best illustrated by the following series. 

I'm fine. I'm fine.

 

I'm not fine! I'm not fine!

 

Minor meltdown/The Crazies

 

Successfully avoiding.

 

Unsuccessfully avoiding.

 

Denial.

 

Bargaining.

 

Acceptance. Sort of.

 So.  Here’s to absent friends.  Whenever any of you may be.

Not Just a River in Egypt

“No one loves the messenger who brings bad news.”
– Sophocles

If I do not acknowledge the inevitable...

I’ve been in denial about an upcoming Tragic Event.  This year as America celebrates its independence with exploding things and overeating, I’ll be not-celebrating my forced independence…from Venice.  Val is done with his degree and they are moving to Kentucky on July 4th.  This has been a long time coming, but of course I’ve stuck my metaphoric fingers in my ears and ignored the impending catastrophe.

Last weekend they flew out to Kentucky to scope out the area for his potential job, their potential home, and potential lives.  Last night, coming home from work I saw him at their flat door and asked how the trip went.  Really well, apparently, because he’s got the job and plans are now in motion.
“I am honestly thrilled for you guys, but you do realize I’m never going to forgive you for taking her away,” I said despondently.
“If it wasn’t for me you’d never have even met!” he reasoned.

Which is true.  We used to live in the same apartment complex a few years ago and I got to be friends with him and his flatmates.  One day he said, “I think you should meet my girlfriend.  You two would get along really well.”  The rest is well documented history.

The Val giveth and the Val taketh away.

Peregrine is in D.C., Scarlett is in New York, Angel is in the city, Margot (who just got back from New Zealand) is probably going to head north at some point in the near future.  And I’m feeling supremely stuck and left behind.  I’m trying really hard to keep perspective.  J. and I will be moving back East in a couple of years and Venice (and most of others listed) are already on speed-dial…but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t devastated.

Winter Blues

“You know when you take a puppy to the vet, and it get poked and prodded for hours, and when you get it home it’s drained, exhausted, and loopy for days?  That’s you right now.”
– J.

Winter has been rough for me this year.  My theory is that the lack of sunlight (which by itself doesn’t really bug me, seeing as I like rainy, cloudy, and cold weather just fine) combining with birth control hormones for the first time during the dark half of the year has congealed into a perfect cocktail of winter doldrums. 

All I want to do is hibernate.  Even if, in spite of the ridiculous things that wake me up occasionally, I get a full night’s rest, I wake up exhausted every day and completely lacking the will to do anything.  For a week now I’ve hauled myself out of bed mere minutes before we have to dash out the door to work/school.  There’s been a pile of clean clothes sitting on my floor for days because I just can’t muster the strength to sort and store them (sorry, Mum!).  We got these great electric toothbrushes for Christmas from J.’s parents which took some getting used to (i.e. splattering the mirror) which I haven’t dealt with in a week.  And nature might abhor a vacuum, but not as much as me!

This isn’t just run of the mill laziness and I’ve never been this affected by a season before.  I’m in a right dirty winter funk!

Adios!

“My doctor grabbed me by the wallet and said, ‘Cough!'”
-Henry Youngman

My Alma Mater does not have a Spring Break, but while I worked at the International Students’ Office as an undergrad, I found a way to circumvent this.  Our director would round us up every spring saying, “It’s, ahem, very important that you realize how difficult it can be for the students coming to our university to get in and out of the country” [Item: nearly every girl who worked there was an international, and every girl who worked had been out of the U.S. multiple times in her life] “and so we’re going to give you a little tutorial.”  And thus we were annually whisked off to Mexico!

This trip had to include a trip to an embassy/consulate to make it right and proper with the university, but after that we could do just what we…actually whatever Dr. F. wanted.  But as this always meant a trip to the beach, open air markets, and the good doctor’s favorite restaurant (which highlighted a mariachi band with what appeared to us to be excruciatingly tight pants…but that never seemed to diminish the musicians’ enthusiasm for dancing up to our tables, looking like their gut/bum/whatever were about to burst free any second), we were happy to go along for the ride.

A couple of years ago, we were down in Sonora in Hermosillo and going through an open air market selling all things cheap and designer knock off.  I was on the prowl for a new wallet as my old was a shabby wreck and where better to get an abominably fake looking wallet than Mexico? 

Won't you take me home?
Won't you take me home?

I’d all but used up our allotted hour and was trying to seem as if I did not hear Dr. F. calling while I frantically searched case after case of goods.  Finally, at the very instant I was turning around to trot after my friends in defeat, I saw it.  Laying in the case was a so-not-Coach-but-maybe-from-far-away-it-would-fool-somebody brown wallet that needed me as much as I needed it. 
“How much?” I enquired in broken Spanish.
“Five-fifty,” the woman answered in accented, but much superior to my sad attempt at her language, tones.
“Done,” I said.  I probably could have talked her way down, but Dr. F. was motioning sternly  so there was nothing to be done.
I stuck my hand into shirt and snatched my money from under my bra strap (where else was I supposed to carry it?!) and plopped my pesos down on the table in front of her.

Something about my humor/pathos amused her because she burst into laughter (which had a You Poor Thing! undertone to it) and said, “You can have it for just five.”
Gracias

DSC03311My wallet had finally outlived its usefulness and the inside was starting to come apart, so the other day I traded it in for this sassy red, ultra thin clutch.  But I felt bad tossing my old one and the entire day whenever I caught sight of it in the bin my first thought was that I’d made some horrible mistake (like tossing our marriage certificate again…still think J. did it), and even now I go searching frantically through my bag for it until I recall it’s been replaced.

The World Sucks Today

“Every wrong seems possible today, and accepted.  I don’t accept it.”
-Pablo Casals

Most of the time my job is at least moderately fun; good people, the occasional idiot that entertains me, minimal paperwork except when said occasional idiot has managed to create a mess of epic proportions, etc.  But today I’m reminded of the dark side of police work.  A lot of good gets accomplished, but so much more has to be done and people are limited creatures. 

To combat the chronic under-staffing, a bunch of us are being trained to help police dispatchers handle the huge influx of information that would come in an a major emergency, as well as threats to the campus.  We had to listen to dispatch records from school shootings to see how such things were dealt with from a dispatch viewpoint.  That was bad.  Then we had to listen to a phone call from a girl from our campus who committed suicide. 

The dispatcher who worked with her was amazing, he kept her talking for almost an hour I think while the police tracked her down.  But in the end, she went through with it.  We heard the whole thing.  EMS rushed her to the hospital where she died, her parents had to tell the doctors to remove her from life support because she was brain dead.

Like I said, most of the time my job is good.  Today, my heart hurts.