Waterways- The Prequel

So lately, I’ve been doing all of this Eastern medicine, reiki, detox, healing crapola, in an attempt to behave like a “normal” human being.  And its great.  It leaves me feeling incredibly calm and centered.  Most of it seems like just laying on a big heating pad while someone waves beads or feathers or something over my head.  But, I guess thousands of years of healing tradition must work or why they hell would they still be doing that crap?  And it works for me- so there it is.

Anyhoo, the reason I’m telling you all of this is as follow up to yesterday’s blog post, Waterways.  I was quite proud of it.  I asked my husband about it and he gave his typical man response, “yeah, it was good”. But oh no, every woman knows this brief review of my work will never do.  “Don’t you think its good?  I mean, like ‘real writing’?  It wasn’t humorous and didn’t include any cuss words”, I prompted.  “Yeah, it was different than your usual writing..not so frantic…ya know…not crazy” came his supportive reply.

Whoa ho ho!!  Back up a minute- NOT CRAZY!  Well, my dear sir, you have just thrown down the gauntlet.  “Not crazy” will never do in my book.  Oh no, I’ve laid awake all night giving my relationship with a water some deep and thoughtful consideration.  And my friends, let’s all jump on the USS Crazy Train, shall we?

My life on the water began before I can remember.  My dad owned an Aqua Cat.  Its like a Hobie Cat but smaller and less popular.  In fact, I think we may have owned the only one in existence; because ever since then whenever I’ve told someone we had an Aqua Cat they always correct me and say, “oh, you mean a Hobie Cat”. No dumb ass, an Aqua Cat.

If this is your first time reading my blog, let me give you a little background.  My parents were definitely not Ozzie & Harriett.  Or y’all probably don’t even know who that is- maybe Ward & June Cleaver?  Shit, I don’t know.  In short, they were both crazy and split up when I was about 7- the end.

Well, back to the Aqua Cat, in those early years when my parents still tolerated each other, we would often load up the old cat on the trailer and take it to the beach.  Now the beach was really just some spot on the Chesapeake Bay where they’d thrown out a bunch of sand- so I guess that qualifies as a beach.

Being the ever thoughtful and responsible parents the planning of picnic items and the like was not tops on their list.  We can just pick that shit up on the way out there.  So, we would stop by KFC- you youngin’s my not know this but those letters actually stand for something and back then we just called it Kentucky Fried Chicken- ah what simpler times they were.  And then we can swing by the beer & wine store on the way and pick up a case of B-bows (translation: Pabst Blue Ribbon) for Dad.  In Maryland, not only do you have to sell liquor at liquor stores, you also have to sell Beer & Wine at there own separate stores as well.  Why?  Who the fuck knows?  But, my poor husband got to learn this fact the hard way. The first time he came to visit my family he ran to the store to get some beer.  He was gone for over and hour and the store was literally at the end of our street.  This was before cell phones and I couldn’t figure out where the hell he was.  When he finally got home, he filled me in.  I had neglected to tell him this particular little quirk about the Free State and so he’d been driving all over the state from grocery store to convenience store far and wide before he finally asked someone.  Oopsy Daisy!

Oh wait, let’s get back to our beach trip.  So, dad’s got his case but wait there is also my non-drinking mother and his three CHILDREN with him.  Okay- we can stop and pick up a six-pack of coke for all them- that should last us all 8 hours on the beach, right?  Thank God, my mother at least brought some sunscreen or sun tan lotion- I don’t think anyone really believed in skin cancer back then so I’m really not sure how much UV protection it provided- but man you’d have a great tan.

So there we’d be at the beach.  Dad would off load the trailer.  The great thing about an Aqua Cat (no, I’m not mistaken, its not a Hobie Cat, asshole) is that you can launch it directly from the beach.  So, once the Cat was off the trailer, the entire family (including little toddler me) would all push the damn thing the million miles from the parking lot across the searing hot sand to the water’s edge.  Note, we were at the beach so of course the first thing you do is kick off your shoes- not giving a second thought to the fact that you may develop third degree burns on the bottom of your feet.  But, it sure gave us all motivation to get that motherfucking boat to the water as fast as possible so we could cool our heals.

Then we’d all sit down on the 3 towels we’d brought for all 5 of us to sit on.  We never had chairs or an actual cooler.  Dad would just pick up one of those handy dandy styrofoam coolers at the beer store, so then he could just throw it away at the end of the day.  I wonder how many of his coolers are taking up space in a landfill somewhere?  Well, at least he can honestly say he’s left his permanent and indelible mark on the world.

Anyhoo, he’d down 6 or 8 beers, ya know, just enough to take your small children out for a sailing excursion on the Bay.  Despite being drunk and depriving his children of hydration, he did make us wear life jackets.  I don’t even think it was a law back then, so thanks Dad for not letting us drown.  We’d set off with the wind in our sails to circle the lighthouse.  He loved to joke that sharks were also circling the lighthouse.  Yay!  We’re inches from the water, hiked way up on one side and he’s making hilarious jokes about Jaws.

So we’d be on our way back to the beach when, shit, the whole damn thing capsized.  No, not just one time.  This happened every time.  Thus, the life preservers.  We got really good at uprighting the old Cat.  Thank God we had the smaller less popular sister because I don’t think we could have hefted Hobie’s beautiful big ass over.

These beach adventures truly are some of the happiest memories of my childhood- believe it or not.  I was with my whole family, on a beach, on the water, in the water, laughing and having fun.  So, yeah.  Its not nearly as idyllic as the picture I painted yesterday of our current boat outings.  But, there is something about the water- that despite our family turmoil- the water made everything okay even for just those few days.  Burned feet and all.

 

 

 

 

God’s Mistake

I’ve always been taught that God makes no mistakes.  That whomever you are, whatever your condition, your lot in life,  what you have, don’t have etc…this was all God’s plan.  We were made in his image and therefore unmistakably perfect.  Well, I just found one little flaw in this theory; an anatomical mistake that God, Allah, mother nature, the universe or whatever crap you believe in overlooked in the grand design of the human body.

But before I let you in on that little discovery, I need to back up a bit and give you some background so you can understand how I figured this out.  If you know me… you know this, if you’ve read my blog… you know this, if neither of these apply to you, then I’ll just tell you:  I’m crazy.  Not the straight jacket, institutionalized kind of crazy.  Not that I wouldn’t mind a few days in the mental ward, the rest alone would do me wonders.  I’m quite jealous of celebrities that get to check into the hospital for “exhaustion.” How the fuck do you get to do that anyway?  Do you think if I rolled myself into the ER and said, “Y’all!  Check me in STAT- I’m exhausted!” that they would?  As greedy as big medicine and insurance companies are, I think not.  They’d probably tell me what I just tell myself all the time and probably what the celebrities need to be told as well, “If you’re tired, get some fucking rest.”

Its also not the doomsday prepper, Ruby Ridge, militia making, manifesto writing kind of crazy either.  That is, unless you call this blog my manifesto.  Perhaps it is, but I don’t think it quite measures up to all the great manifesto writers of our time like, I don’t know, Karl Marx or the Unibomber.  With all the whining my “manifesto” is filled with about my folks divorce, alcoholism, the cult, laundry, the fucking elf on the shelf- I’m pretty sure the Unibomber would look down his hooded little, bespectacled nose at my manifesto in disgust.  I mean really, I haven’t included any of the top manifesto topics like big government, conspiracy theories, the apocalypse, or how women should know their place.  One more thing to add to my list of failures:  poor manifesto writing.

Its my own special crazy or I guess just the regular kind- I don’t know… I’m not a psychiatrist, asshole.  Yes, I know there are millions more like me out there- but can you just let me feel special about one fucking thing here?  For the love of Pete, I’m asking for my own special kind of crazy- I don’t think anyone is going to wrestle me to the ground for the title of “craziest.”  So get off my back already. I’m not going to share all the gory details but let’s just say, my crazy includes bouts of deep depression that I expertly hide behind a lot of smiles, jokes, sarcasm and general gaiety.  I figure my “gift” is to use my misery to amuse others- done and done.

Anyhoo, being depressed is a pretty shitty place to be and I’ll try anything to get out of that black hole.  I’ve tried all the “tips” they give on the good old world wide web for curing the blues- well and the ones they tell you not to do too…pills, drinking, drugs, holistic healing, sex, prayer, massage, yoga, exercise…you name it, I’ve done it.

Recently, I went for my second Qigong massage.  If you’re not familiar- as I’m sure most of you are not- Qigong massage works with your meridian lines (whatever the fuck those are) through the use of pulsating acupuncture points and massage.  It releases all negative energy from your body and the effects last for weeks.  (I know it sounds like flake city- but it works, so you can go suck it.)  The first time I did it, I was completely blown away.  Its a powerfully emotional experience, most people will cry during the session and then boom- he somehow lifts all of that negativity away and you slip into an almost trance like relaxation.  (again- I know its sounds like total bullshit- but you can, again, go suck it).

At my most recent session, as he gathered my negative energy I found myself literally crying right there on the massage parlour table.  Tears were streaming down my face as he whispered in my ear and gathered the negative energy through the lightest of touches.  And guess what, I figured out God’s anatomical mistake.  When you’re laying down flat and crying, your tears stream directly into your ears.  Its quite uncomfortable if you’re trying to achieve your zen like trance, because all you want to do is interrupt his magical massage and say, “Can you hold on a minute while I get the tears out of my ears?”  So this time, I was so focused on the itchy, wetness in my ears that I couldn’t fully concentrate on the massage.  Argh…I can’t do shit!

So there you have it.  The big mistake is that your tears roll from your eyes directly into your ears.  I know, when you read the title you were expecting something way deeper, way more controversial.  But, what can I say?  I still believe the spirit in the sky doesn’t make many mistakes- but I think I got him or her- its probably trans-gender- on this one.

BTW- just in case all that shit the cult teaches is real…big ups to God.

What will my children say?

If you’re a loyal reader or are new to my blog, you’ll find that I talk a lot about my parents, their shortcomings, their divorce, their impact on my psychosis- you know the usual crap we’re all dealing with.  You’ll also know that I know, even though they drove me and continue to drive me bat shit crazy, that they love me.  Since I started a few months ago, I’ve had friends ask me on more than one occasion, “what do you think your kids will be blogging about you?”  Yikes!  I’m sure it will be filled with things like, “yeah, she sure yelled a lot” and “that woman could put away some vodka” and “all the cuss words I know I learned from dear old mom” or “she wasn’t real good at filing”.  I can only hope they remember that despite the yelling, drinking, cussing and paper piling bullshit, they will also remember how much I love them.

The one image I hold in my mind of my mother is of her asleep on the couch.  The woman was depressed, beyond depressed and downright tired ALL THE TIME.  She was always “resting her eyes” on the couch.  I am quite certain that when my children look back, their mental image of me will be of me standing in front of the dryer, folding clothes- because that seems like ALL I DO EVERY SECOND OF MY LIFE!!!  Grant it…I have a full time job, I write this amazing blog, I am an actor, a runner, a Girl Scout Leader, a mom, a wife, Bigfoot Hunter, tv addict, ghost whore, Alien chaser and all around busy gal.  But, that damn laundry basket is NEVER empty.  I mean come on people- if you’ve had something on for less than an hour, fold it up and put it back in the goddamn drawer, for Christ’s sake!

And don’t even get me started on clothes that are inside out.  Why do you have to turn a shirt or socks or underwear or fucking anything all the way inside out to take it off?  I don’t do that- but for some reason everyone in my family seems to think that turning it inside out is the only way to remove clothing from their bodies.  So then I’ve got to not only, wash and dry the flipping clothes, but spend extra time turning them right side out so I can fold them and distribute them to their rightful owners.

Now, I know, I’m a complete idiot when it comes to this whole laundry thing.  As soon as I was tall enough to see over the machine, my mother had me doing my own laundry, her laundry, my sister’s laundry- really anything that needed to be washed.  And my oldest is plenty tall enough to take on this task herself.  But, with all the yelling, drinking, cussing and paper piling I do- I feel like this is one of the few ways I can show my children I really love them.  (I know, I just looked back and read that- and I’m a total lunatic- one day my kids are certain to say, “yeah, mom was a total bitch, but I know she loved me because she did the laundry”).  Ahhh….my head is hurting from my eyes rolling so far back in my head.

And with all my talk about laundry, you’d think I’d have the whitest whites, all our sheets would be pressed and every drawer neatly organized.  Boy, are you a dumb ass!  I don’t treat stains unless it is on my own clothing.  I figure if you’re not smart enough to either point it out to me as I’m putting it in the machine (not two days before when it happens) or better yet- DO IT YOURSELF, then I’m not treating it.  You can live with that stain on your clothes for the rest of your life.  A scarlet letter of what a sloppy eater you are for all the world to see.

Secondly, if you’re pressing your sheets, you are wasting your life.  Please just fold that shit up and shove it in the linen closet like the rest of us lazy asses.  You’re going to lay down on it to sleep, why the fuck do you need to iron it?  I find once I stretch it out over the mattress, the wrinkles pretty much take care of themselves. Furthermore, you’re going to put a comforter or blanket or something over them- so even if someone does mosey through your room- they will not be aghast at your wrinkly bed sheets- because they won’t fucking see them, asshole.

And lastly, everyone in this family has way too many clothes.  And despite all my good intentions of cleaning out the closets and drawers with each season to update our wardrobes for the appropriate weather (like Martha Stewart tells me to do)- let’s get real here- that’s never going to happen.  So I basically just keep shoving shit in until either the drawer breaks- or I have a mental break down because I can’t close the fucking drawer anymore.  Then I’ll start flinging shit out of the drawer, cussing with every shirt, sock, and worn out, pilly bra I come across until its complete- I’m organized for at least 2 days- or the next load of laundry gets done.

Ok- so this post started out as some kind of altruistic, introspection of who I am and how I want my children to remember me.  And it turned it to a rant about laundry.  My kids are so fucked.

My Purple Dress

As every parent knows, your greatest dream for your children is to provide a better life than you had.  Luckily for me, my parents made this task extremely easy.  Not that they were bad parents, they loved me and I always felt that, which is the most important thing.  But, there were just a few items that might’ve made things a bit more enjoyable.  So my top three rules I try to follow to achieve the aforementioned dream are as follows:

1.  Stay sober (well, not exactly all the time, I am Irish after all).

2. Clean the house (at least every once in a while).

3. Provide 3 CONSISTENT squares a day (alright, mine aren’t always square, sometimes triangle, rhombus, octagonal, but ALWAYS three)!

My parents had a mixed marriage, Catholic and Methodist; I know, quite shocking.  They were married in 1961 and being the good, obedient woman of her day, my mother readily converted to the cult.  However, I don’t think she really bought into the whole Catholic thing hook, line and sinker.  She taught us the prayers she grew up saying and ACTUALLY READ THE BIBLE.  If you’re Catholic, you know, we don’t exactly do that.

But, she made sure we went to Mass every Sunday, signed us up for CCD and got the big four sacraments: baptism, confession, communion and confirmation .  For you non-Catholics, CCD is sort of like Sunday School for Catholic children who go to public school…except its not always on Sunday.

You may remember from an earlier post that I have two older sisters.  Things must’ve been going pretty well for them when they were receiving their sacraments, because I’ve seen the pictures.  At first communion, they both had pretty little white dresses and the requisite bridal veil.  I’m still not sure why the cult insists on making 7 year olds look like their getting married when they’re having their first bite of the holy host, but whatevs.

My parents marriage went downhill pretty quickly after my birth.  Hmmm….always made me wonder if it was my fault?  But, they’ve assured me time and again it was not.  Remember, they weren’t great at cleaning and staying sober and shit, but they were good at loving me.

So by the time my first communion rolled around, they were in the thick of their divorce.  Ahh…what happy times those were.  They went from yelling and screaming at each other right in front of us, to standing in the front yard speaking in hushed tones, while we waited inside.  Yeah, it was great.

Anyhoo, first communion is usually held in the Spring somewhere near Easter.  My favorite color was purple (still is) and I had a beautiful, flowing taffeta purple Easter dress.  It had a satin ribbon around the waist and twirled out when I spun.  I remember it quite vividly and how much I loved it, until I hated it.

Being in CCD, we all received our First Communion together at Mass in front of the whole congregation.  Well, of course, I’m 7 and have no idea what any of the cult’s customs are, because really for any kid in any religion, church is just one long torture session.  But, you’d think after 20 some years of marriage, my mother would have had a handle on the situation.  I guess my Dad could’ve clued her in, but remember, he was drunk.  (Again, its okay, don’t feel bad).

So the big day rolled around, and all of us girls and boys made our way down the aisle hands folded in a prayer like stance.  All the boys wore little suits and ties and the girls had the most beautiful white gowns and flowing veils- even little white gloves.  ALL THE GIRLS, except me.  I had my purple Easter dress on…ya know, the one I loved.  Except now, I despised it.  Why the fuck didn’t I have a beautiful bridal veil and white gloves?  There’s proof of this disaster in pictures somewhere.  The whole second grade communion class together on the altar, with me sticking out like a sore thumb in my purple dress.

As an adult, I’ve asked my mother about this debacle.  She blames it on the women’s movement and says she thought the cult had moved past that tradition.  Really?  The cult has 2000 years of tradition that they keep intact and she thinks a little old thing like the “women’s movement” was going to change what a bunch of old men at the Vatican think?  Honestly, I think she was just a little too preoccupied to pay any attention to what I was wearing.  So I forgive her.  But, I’ve made damn sure that my girls have a beautiful white gown and bridal veil!

So I guess the 4th item should be:  Provide appropriate clothing for monumental moments in life.

Broken Window

My parents split when I was 7 and it was tough.  I don’t mean Kramer vs. Kramer tough, but tough nonetheless.  There is a silver lining to divorce in that if done right, you get to spend more time with your parent (back then it was usually weekend Dads) than you would have if they stayed together.  When they were married, he was mostly on “business trips” or had “important meetings” he had to attend every weekend.  Once they were divorced, he had no choice but to take me on the weekends and spend time with me.

My sisters are both much older than me, so they did not have this lovely opportunity.  Not to make him out to be a saint or anything…he was far from it.  I do have lots of special memories.  Although, his probably aren’t quite as crisp as mine, since he was pretty much drunk all the time.  But, hey, drunk people are fun!

In 1983, Dad was forced into early retirement at the age of 49.  Ronald Reagan was downsizing the federal government and as a high ranking IRS bullshitter, he got the ax.  I was 9 years old and he decided a good, long summer vacation would be great for both of us.  We took a whole month and drove his beat up VW Rabbit down the backroads of the east coast to see the biggest hustler in the world…Mickey Mouse.  Now, I know you think I’m going to start talking about the magic of Disney- but I’m not.  Because this post is about a broken window, idiot, hence the name.

It truly was a wonderful experience, we would only drive for 2 or 3 hours a day and then stop at luxurious hotels (ahem, motels) that had all the amenities a 9 year old could dream of…  a pool, a vending machine, a bed with magic fingers- it was freaking awesome!  We ate fast food, stayed up late and watched CABLE TV (it hadn’t come to our town yet).  It was a great adventure that we were sharing, just the two of us.

Of all the special parts of this trip, including the fucking magic of Disney, there is one memory that will stand out in my mind FOREVER!!  We stopped at a gas station in a podunk town outside Savannah.  It was hot!  The drippy, humid, steam rising from the highway kind of hot.  My dad left me in the car (for you youngins, you used to be able to do that back then- or maybe he was just drunk) either way he went inside to pay.  All the windows were up and the doors closed- because you know, who cares if your kid dies of heat stroke.  He had more important things to worry about like getting a cold beer and some beef jerky for us.

Now, before I go any further, you need to know that there was a problem with the window on the passenger door.  When you rolled it down (with a crank- no we were not rich and didn’t have fancy power windows), it would sometimes slip down in the door and you’d have to push it back up very carefully with your hands.  So instead of getting that fixed, I was given strict orders to NEVER roll that window down.

As I sat there roasting in the 100 degree Southern heat, watching the Spanish moss sway in the breeze, I decided I could take it no longer.  And I did it.  I ROLLED DOWN THE WINDOW!!!!  Just as I was taking a breath of fresh air and starting to regain consciousness, Dad came bounding out of the gas station yelling at the top of lungs, “I told you not to roll down the fucking window!! What the hell is wrong with you??”

Well of course, I thought he was a total lunatic and just rolled my eyes.  “I was hot.  What did you want me to do, open the door?”  Then I started to roll up the window and it happened.  The crash heard round the world.  The whole window slid down into the door and smashed into a million pieces…and we hadn’t even made it to Mickey yet.

Well, of course, he was mad.  This was my fault entirely.  How dare I want to cool off?  How dare I be so stupid as to not just open the door?  How dare I break the fucking window???  So we stopped at a hard ware store and did the responsible thing, duct taped the whole window closed so that no rain could get in.  Of course, he also couldn’t see out that window, but at least the beautiful vinyl interior would be protected.

A few weeks ago, my car was in the shop and I asked him if I could borrow his car for the day.  Being the great dad he is, he gladly obliged.  As I was getting into the driver’s seat, he lodged himself between the car and the open door and said, “Now, I have to tell you one thing about this window.”  Oh for the love of GOD- not AGAIN!!  He explained that sometimes it doesn’t always roll back up when you roll it down and kindly suggested that I not roll it down.  Thanks, Dad.  Believe me, I will NEVER and I mean NEVER roll down one of your windows again.