Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Some Things Don't Make Any Sense

"Hi Beautiful," is what the guy I'm dating says to me when he recognizes my caller I.D. & picks up his phone. Or sometimes, in a surprised voice as though he's been looking for me everywhere, "There
you are!"
Mr. Ex used to answer his phone, "Is this going to be long or short?"
So why did I wake up this morning thinking I was still married & I was in the bed Mr. Ex & I shared? Why did I hear wild parrots outside & the clatter of dog toenails on our wooden floor?
Some things don't make any sense at all.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Knocking on Heaven's Door

Mr. Ex is a new daddy.
By virtue of human biology, he begins anew on a path that for me is lost. Mother Nature made things that way and it's hard to think of it as wrong. But.

My father was 55 when I was born. My mother was 26 years younger than my father. He was a widower. My mother worked as a hostess at a restaurant called The Chateau and the bartender there introduced them. A couple of months later, they married. A year and ten months after that, there he was gray-haired and a tad thick around the middle, with a baby in his arms.
I have two younger brothers--one 4 years younger & and the other 7 years younger. Go ahead. Do the math. And then guess how the numbers played out. I was 19 when my father died. My brothers were 12 and 15. But, I'd never say he shouldn't have had us. My father sat in his chair at the head of the dinner table every night---and he was present. Really, truly there.

I believe in second chances. A second chance gave me my son--lost 21 years to adoption. And that same second chance allowed my daughters to know and love their older brother. Now through a different sort of second chance, they have a baby brother. When I think of it that way, it's hard to be bitter. But.

As I sit by my mother's hospital bed, I think what a comfort it would be to have my husband there with us. To know that he'd make good on the promise to care for her in her final years. To know he'd be there for me when my time came, or me for him. It does seem wrong to have the focus pulled to birth, when it's death that's knocking on my door.

Friday, August 14, 2009


I'm waiting. Waiting for my mom to be taken off the ventilator. Waiting to hear her voice once that damn tube is out of her throat. Waiting to see her moved from ICU to the regular post-surgical ward, waiting to take her home. And I'm waiting for Mr. Ex to get his asinine self together and do what it takes to divide our joint assets. The marriage has been over for more than two years. We worked for thirty-two years, building our future together, thinking about financial security, how we'd take care of our mothers when they were old and where we'd live when our daughters were grown. Of course for some undetermined amount of time he was bullshitting me, stringing me along until our younger daughter was eighteen so he could leave and he wouldn't have to pay child support.
I still have no idea how long he lied to me.
And I have no idea if I really will hear my mother's voice again.
And I have no idea if the joint assets will ever be divided--or if Mr. Ex has a slimy big-shot L.A. lawyer scheme he's working on to screw me and deliver another gut-wrenching nasty surprise.
I'm waiting.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Big Heart, Tiny Heart

Mr. Ex and I had ideal mothers-in-law when we were married. Our mothers are about as opposite as two women can get, but neither of them ever, as far as I can remember, tried to butt in or give us unwanted advice. Well....unless you count, "Kissin' don't last, cookin' do." Mr. Ex's mom loved this expression and it always made me laugh and for years I thought of embroidering her a dishtowel or a sampler or something with just the opposite to tease her.
If I had, she would have laughed, I'm sure.
When I was visiting my mom at her place in July before she got sick, we were sitting at her kitchen table talking and one thing led to another. "I don't hate Mr. Ex," she told me. "If he walked into the room right now, I'd tell him I still love him, even though he's made some bad decisions." I felt a little irritated for a second but then I realized what a lucky thing it is to have a mother with such a big heart.
Mr. Ex, I think, has a heart so tiny that it's almost imperceptible.
Mr Ex has known my mother for more than thirty years. She helped us with our children, did chores around our house, cooked for us and even mixed him a martini or two. In the past couple of weeks, I've sent him emails asking him to take care of our dogs while I go to "take care of my mom." Silence. Not a "Gosh--what's wrong?" or "Give her my best." Not even, "Sure, no problem. Don't worry about the dogs."
Silence. Just silence.
So silent that I think if I put my ear to his chest, there would only be only more silence.

Monday, August 10, 2009

When Their World Was Made of Water

When their world was made of water, my mother and my aunt floated together in my grandmother's body. Identical twin girls, that not even their father could tell apart. When they were youngsters and took turns meeting him with a snack on his long walk back from his factory job, he'd greet them by calling out, "Hello, Twin. Which one are you?" My mother concedes that maybe he was just teasing.
After they graduated from the 8th grade, the culmination of their education, they had a chance for a brighter economic future when a relative invited them to leave rural Iowa for Baltimore. When they pooled enough dough to get one ticket, my aunt headed east and once in the big city earned money faster than my mother could in Iowa and sent it back home to contribute to her sister's ticket.
They worked as "photo girls," with Polaroids slung around their necks, and hat check girls at night clubs with names like the Chanitclere and the Band Box. They saw Guy Lombardo, Jimmy Dorsey, and all the big names. Sometimes one twin would take a few days off and the other would cover her shifts. There was a cop on the beat who could tell them apart. If he pretended to swing his night stick at them, my aunt would flinch.
My mother and my aunt have lived together for almost thirty years.
I doubt they will leave this world together.
I wish I could change that.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Stressing: Here's Why

The joint assets remain undivided.
My mother is in pain and I can actually kind of feel it in my body.
I haven't filed taxes yet for '08 because my accountant wanted to wait until there was a final financial settlement on the divorce. The extension deadline approaches.
My dear Aunt Mille is in pain and I might be feeling that, too.
My health insurance application is in some bureaucratic limbo and my coverage through Mr. Ex's law firm runs out Sept. 1.
My thesis is due in November.
My flying anxiety came back on my last flight and I have to fly again Sunday.
Mr. Ex has met the magic number we set way back when & now I have to pay my own attorney fees.
I really don't like being in L.A. but the man I love lives here.
I just don't understand why Mr. Ex is seeking all this bitterness.