Tag Archives: Not a good time

My First Nightmare

It’s late. I’m sitting by an open window, listening to the wind rattle leaves down the road and bump the ghost against the side of the house. It makes a pleasant “dut…dut…dut” sound when it hits the cedar planks. From time to time, everything grows still, silent, and we wait. We wait for the next gust of wind, we wait for the temperature to drop futher, we wait for winter to come and hibernation to begin. Then the breeze tickles the branches and a dog barks in the distance, bringing us all back to the present, us being me, the leaves, the thumping ghost, maybe the moon, though it’s only a little fingernail clipping in the sky.

I’m out of ghost stories. I thought I had more but I don’t. This doesn’t bode well. Next October, I think I’m just going to post a picture of me in a different festive outfit every day. Not costumes, I’m not that ambitious, but Halloween-themed clothing. I mean, what else do I have now that I’m emptied of paranormal tales? Worse, what am I going to tell you tonight, what will I have for you to read tomorrow morning?

I’m going to tell you about my first nightmare, the first one I remember. I must have been around four-years-old at the time and I think it was the first instance of me realizing just how badly my own mind could betray me, would throw me into dangerous territory, could make me doubt everything I thought I understood about my world.

I woke up in my dream and it was morning. I was wearing my favorite nightgown, a full-length affair with a ruffle at the neck and the ankle as well as around my wrists. It had stripes of blue and orange flowers and a ribbon tied across my chest and another that went above the ruffle at the hem. I got out of bed and walked to the kitchen where breakfast was waiting. It was a fancy breakfast which was exciting as that was definitely out of the ordinary. Mom was at the sink, washing dishes. The basin was full of hot, sudsy water, the foamy bubbles coming all the way to the tops of Mom’s yellow rubber gloves. I was talking to her and she was listening, probably even replying, but I was more interested in the yellow rubber gloves. There were lines all the way down her arm – the line of her short shirt sleeve then the line of her skin then the line of the glove and, finally, the line of the bubbles and the sink. The world turned on its side, then. My mother’s skin started turning green. It crept from inside the glove up her arm, up under her sleeve. Soon, I saw the green creeping up her neck, then her jaw and chin, then her face. Her features transformed, became grotesque and monstrous, witch-like. Her eyes, now red, bulged and she turned them on me. She started shrieking and I started screaming in response. I was terrified. This was my mommy, my caretaker, my protector and she’d just turned green and hideous. (I blame “The Wizard of Oz” and it’s no surprise I have always hated that movie)

I started crying. I wanted to fix the whole thing but when I stepped forward, she grabbed a knife and said she was going to kill me. I took off running. I ran and she chased, caterwauling like a banshee, coming after me, gaining, intent on ending my life. I ran out the front door to find my dad chopping wood. He was in full woodsman regalia and looked nothing like my actual dad (I know exactly where I got that image; it was from my Little Red Riding Hood book with the dark-haired, handsome wood-chopping man in his red and black flannel, suspenders, knit hat, rolled pants, and tough boots) I stumbled to him and he immediately saw the situation. He knew what had to be done. Placing me away from the danger, he took up his axe and calmly went toward my mother, ready to chop her to bits.

I woke up after that. It was still dark. I was tangled in my tiny bedsheets. I wasn’t wearing my favorite nightgown but some undersized adult t-shirt, instead. I was paralyzed with fear, lying alone in my room, the moon shining in through the window. After some time, my heart stopped racing and a terrible sense of loss descended. I started to cry. There was something i needed to do and it was so scary, so terrible for a tiny tot whose world had just come to an end in her dream. I had to go see if my Mom was 1) a monster or 2) dead from being axed to bits.

I crept out of bed and down the hall to my parents’ room. I did that thing that kids do, sneaking up to the bed and lurking, hands on the edge of the mattress, peering at my sleeping mother’s face. Though it was too dark to see, the force of my horrified stare snapped her from her own slumber and she asked me what was wrong. When I answered in what I thought was a normal voice but she said was the saddest little mew she’d ever heard, I asked her, “Mommy…are you green?”

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Happy Mother’s Day: The Finale of Mother’s Day Posts

“She discovered with great delight that one does not love one’s children just because they are one’s children but because of the friendship formed while raising them.” 
― Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezLove in the Time of Cholera

 

To all the moms out there, this is your day. I hope you get to enjoy it! You do some really hard work and many of you get little or no appreciation for your efforts so GOOD JOB!

Happy Mother’s Day to you.

 

Happy Mother's Day

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I was an angelic child – or – Grudge Number One

I attended a Behavioral EQ workshop yesterday where I was once more reminded that I have the emotional intelligence of a hermit crab. At least I’m consistent, I suppose, as these test scores never waver, not in ten years.

You know how workshops go. You build up through the information and then put it all together to get to the pivotal learning moment, which I did. Yay. However, the thing that has stuck with me was one of the beginning questions: “Can you think of an instance in which you became upset and reacted violently?” (not necessarily physical violence, just more along the lines of the Fight part of “Fight or Flight” response). Here’s something neat about me: I tend to get overwrought, upset, hateful, retributional…retributioney? Retributive!…and then I get over it, move on, and typically forget it ever happened. I have three grudges and maybe five regrets for my entire life, thus far. Most everything else that has upset me greatly is now forgotten, though probably never forgiven, knowing me.

Because of this ability to let go of all the things that piss me off, I wasn’t able to think of any recent instances in which I had been so upset that I reacted horribly, fighting instead being receptive to the elements of my situation and reacting accordingly. I thought back, thought back further, continued to think back until I finally settled on probably one of the two most crucial stress situations in my life. The topic? My First Grudge.

Dial back to 1979. It’s January. I’m probably in third grade. Chris is not in school yet; he gets to stay home with our mom all day, doing the things that non-school-attending children do. The holidays are over but I am still basking in the glow of my amazing loot haul. It had been a Christmas like I had never experienced. I got all the things I’d asked for from Santa plus a whole truckload of other great gifts. However, there were two presents that stood miles above the rest in my love and esteem: My beautiful, new, 13-inch Wonder Woman doll and my incredible Barbie Perfume Maker. I adored these toys more than I had ever adored anything else in all my life. They turned me into Gollum.

Are you with me, so far? Good, because here is what happened next:

You know, in my memory, she is much more beautiful. I’d kept the leotard for a long time but it didn’t fit any other doll so I don’t think it survived to my adulthood. However, the pink halter dress is still somewhere in my family. Perhaps Not-Little B has it?
Image swiped from My Toy Collection blog

Look at it! Just LOOK at it! Doesn’t it make you want to grab a powder stick, fill the little reservoir with water, and create heavenly scents? Oh, the longing I feel when I gaze upon this picture.
Image swiped from Sprinkles and Puffballs: Girl’s Toys Of the 80’s

During the holiday break, I had spent hours and hours creating beautiful perfumes, unique scents you would find nowhere else in the world except for maybe the bedroom of another child who also owned this magical maker of aromatic elixirs. I was ever so precise in my eau de toilette masterpieces, bottling them lovingly, arranging everything so that the glory of my art could be understood no matter who viewed it. In retrospect, maybe I made the wondrous little manufacturing station too alluring.

So there I was, freshly home from my first day back to school. I’d brought Wonder Woman with me, of course, and was taking her to my room so I could help her change into after-school play clothes, as we did back then. I walked with my doll in hand, probably talking to her, down the short hallway and could smell the Barbie perfumes I had made rushing to me, greeting me, beckoning me to come mix a new scent, to rearrange the bottles, to sniff the pastel-colored powder sticks. Filled with joy and anticipation, I flung open my bedroom door and found a  nightmare before me. His name: Chris.

My little brother was in my room, a place he was neither allowed nor welcome. I don’t know if he had been drawn to the perfection that was the Barbie Perfume Maker or if he hated me so much, he wanted to crush my dreams while I watched, but he was on my bed, frolicking like an imp, a small, plastic bottle in each hand with several more dancing at his feet. He was sprinkling the last of my hard-won, carefully-planned, beloved perfumes on my bed. He’d already relieved the rest of the bottles of their magic, dousing my throw rug, my stuffed animals, anything he had been able to find.

Rage.

So much pure red rage.

He was laughing. He was jumping up and down, from bed to dresser to desk, knocking things over and destroying my entire life. I screamed. No animal on the planet has ever before bellowed such a yawp, no amount of pain, suffering, or agony in any other being alive could have produced a cacophony as feral as mine was in that moment. I had Wonder Woman by the legs. I charged Chris. In my need to stop his carnage, I brought the doll up, up, up and then DOWN right on top of his hideous little head. My screams of outrage were immediately matched by his of pain and shock and probably fear. Blood geysered from his skull as if he were a whale just up for air. I looked at the red lifeforce gushing forth like my own anger and felt justified in my action until I realized his knobby little noggin had split my beautiful, my treasured, my precious Wonder Woman doll in twain. The upper half of her body dangled lifelessly and would have fallen to the floor had it not been held by her patriotic leotard while her legs remained firmly gripped in my angry fist. My shrieks, monstrous before, ratcheted up another several octaves, gaining volume and momentum as each second passed.

I probably could have forgiven the destruction of my life’s work, especially since the perfumes could have been recreated. Maybe I could have also come to terms with the demise of Wonder Woman; already the back of my mind was tracking down the nearest duct tape. It was not to be, however, because my horrible, terrible, cruel parents made two disastrous decisions that night and my first-ever grudge blossomed. When it comes time for those “people,” and I use the term loosely because it will soon become obvious there is no humanity in the souls of either my mother or father,  to move into nursing homes, they will wish I was beating them with a 13-inch piece of hard plastic.

My parents ran into the room to find the source of the commotion. I know they could smell the mixing aromas of strawberries, lilacs, little boy’s blood, tears, plastic, and hate and do you know what they did? DO YOU KNOW? They took Wonder Woman from my trembling hand but not with the intention of fixing her sad, broken body. They took her and they threw her away followed closely by the entire Barbie Perfume Maker and all its apparatus (except, as I found much later, for one empty bottle, sans lid, and the white trellis that had fallen behind my desk during Chris’ scamperings) My dad took Chris to the kitchen to apply pressure to his goddamned stupid, hard, toy-breaking head and then to feed him ice cream and I…I! The victim of this heinous double crime! I was lectured, probably spanked (who remembers by that point. What could they have done to me to punish me further?) and told to stay in my room for the rest of the night while the two things I loved most in the world were taken from me, put out in the garbage can, and placed on the curb for morning pickup. I had no dinner. No family TV time. No bath. I couldn’t even brush my teeth. I am surprised, in retrospect, that I did not die of dehydration in the night, since I had nothing to drink and I am fairly certain I cried every ounce of moisture from my body. And it’s not like I could subsist on perfume water as it had all been tossed away.

I will never, ever forgive my parents for coddling my evil little brother and punishing me for his misdeeds and while I appreciate the strides his wife has made in recent years to correct his long-ago dastardly acts, Chris is on my shit-list for all of time, as well.

And that is the story of My First Grudge, the first time my amygdala urged me to fight with fury instead of flee with fear.

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Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, White trash childhood

Welcome to February

Well, hi there!

So this isn’t one of the posts I’ve got simmering in the hopper, it’s a freshly-written bit that I didn’t know I was going to write until just now.

It’s February! I hate this month! I always have. It’s dreary, cold, and the holiday I most resent pops up on the 14th; it’s just a bad month for me.

This year, February started out snowy for much of the nation.

This is a mostly-common sight right now except for maybe the blue sky. But it’s all snow, all the time, all over the nation right now. Yay.

I started the month with the flu. Not a stomach bug, but the flu that kills old people and children and is mentioned alongside the term “epidemic” in history books. Yeah, that flu. Because February can always get worse.

But you know what? It hasn’t been that bad. The snow kept me inside and we had a fire going so I could huddle near it when I had chills. We have a dog visiting for the month, perhaps one who will come stay with us for good come spring. It’s nice to have a dog in the house again; I still miss Daisy something fierce but this new guy is funny and keeps me active…even though active is the very last thing I need right now.

Gabe’s been taking fantastic care of me. The first night I was sick, he went out to get me food and whiskey (he got me Fireball for the extra burn)(if you’re wondering why I needed whiskey, it’s because I don’t like Nyquil so I made hot toddies – whiskey, fresh-squeezed lemon, honey all mixed together in hot water – to help with the cough and sore throat and the luxury of sleep) In a flash of brilliance, he also got me a video game. He came home and told me it was like I had a penis. I was all, “What? Where’d I get a penis?” He answered, “This is typically the kind of stuff you get a guy, not your sick wife.”

Good husband. Gooood husband!

The video game – Final Fantasy XIV – turned out to be more help than all the whiskey and cold/flu pills combined (don’t combine those, actually) See, my aches and pains and issues with breathing made it so I couldn’t lie in my bed for hours on end, asleep, like I normally do when I’m ill. I was uncomfortable in bed, on the couch, out in the snow with the dog, I was uncomfortable anywhere but in a chair that made me sit upright. I was still uncomfortable there but at least my ribs didn’t hurt when I breathed. But this video game, it made all the difference because it was a huge distraction. During my waking hours, I could sit there and steer a little person around, doing things, seeing things, hearing things, not noticing that my ears were so full of pressure that I got a stabbing pain when I swallowed.

Gabe already had the game and he rolled up a new character so we could play together; it’s like we went back to our origins. Anyhow, there’s a cat-like race and we made a couple of those, naming them Toki and Evie. Yes. We made our cats so we could play them in an online video game. This is how we roll.

This is what Evie and Toki would like like if they were cat + people. No, really, they totally would.

But thank goodness we do because I’m not sure how I’d have survived the past week without Gabe’s care-taking abilities, but, more importantly, his forethought.

I went to the doctor yesterday. My flu was on its way out but had decided to leave me with a sinus infection and upper respiratory infection. I’m on antibiotics and am taking decongestants and expectorants and things are getting better. I’m even going to go back to work (unless I get snowed in) which is good news.

So it’s February, my least-loved month. It started out with snow and the flu but you know what? It’s been a better February than most so … welcome to the second month of 2014!

Coming up later: stories about nose hair, what I’ve been doing since I’ve last posted, and more! Stay tuned!

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Cat pee on my shoulders…makes me stinky

Here’s a sad thing: It’s December and we have absolutely no holiday spirit in our house. It’s like we can’t feel Christmas or Yuletide or Feastmas or anything. We are numb. Is this the result of having Christmas shoved down our throats since the end of August? Are we becoming even more curmudgeonly? Are we really pod people from the planet Mars and have no actual emotions? I don’t know. All I know is that I do not have the vim or vigor required to create fabulous holiday posts, not like last year.

Instead, I’m going to talk about our cat, Evie.

EV3

So small, so precious. Such a sweet baby.
Or IS she?

Evie has a thing about peeing. It’s a fetish, really. And, apparently, I do it wrong.

Here’s what happened:

Sometime this past summer, Evie realized that as soon as I get home from work, I run upstairs to the bathroom. She’s been with us since 2008 but only just now noticed this habit of mine. Anyhow, one day, curiosity got the best of her (she is a cat, after all) and as I headed toward the tinkletorium, she raced me up the stairs and into the bathroom to see what I do in there. The moment I sat down, she scurried over, sat in front of me and watched me, watched me pee. It was weird. But it got weirder. She started rubbing against my legs and then she checked my progress, poking her nose between the seat and the bowl. Was she sniffing what I’d had for lunch? Was she making sure it was my pee coming out and I wasn’t faking it? She purred and…well, encouraged me, rubbing against and looking up at me like she was letting me know I was doing a good job.

EV2

“How’s it going in the potty? Are you doing this right? Let me see. I need to see if you are peeing the right way.”

Evie, I’ve been peeing for 41 years and 39 of those peeing years were done on toilets. Mostly. I think I’ve got this down by now.

As I finished, she hopped up on my lap and gave me nose kisses. “Good job, Mommy! You peed correctly! You are so smart!” Then she hopped back down and waited for me to clean up, stand up, and flush the toilet.

OHMYGOD, the toilet flushing. It’s so magical.

She stood, little cat hands on the seat, and watched everything swoosh down the hole with an intensity usually reserved for dogs and food or children and candy. When the flush finished, she leapt upon the seat and stuck her entire front half into the bowl where she started playing with the potty water, splishing it and splashing it and even drinking a bit. Because she is a classy lady.

This has become a ritual.  Every. Damn. Workday. And it’s not like I can just evade her or shut her out or pick her up and toss her down the stairs violently. You try catching a cat on a mission when your bladder is full-up and ready to burst.

Since she’s so fussy over peeing, you’d think she’d confine hers to the litterbox, right?

She doesn’t.

Her poop, yes. She’ll come racing in from whatever she was doing outside to run downstairs and into the bathroom where she shuts the door and poops in her box. But pee? Oh, her nasty cat pee is the ultimate weapon.

Should we forget to clean her box one day, she’ll pee on the couch.

If Gabe is too unloving throughout the morning, she’ll find his important papers and pee all over them.

This started when we got her. I took her to the vet for the very first time, it was a bad experience for us both, and that night, she squirmed her cute little kitten self up onto the bed, walked right up my legs, glared at me, squatted, and peed all over the comforter while staring straight at me. And then she took off. I was stunned.

She’s used this weapon against us ever since.

The worst, though, was the one time we angered her beyond measure. I don’t recall what it was we’d done, but I remember telling Gabe, “Oh, we’re going to pay for this!” hoping she’d get something that could be cleaned and wouldn’t have to be tossed. We were on the lookout for days but found nothing. During that time, we cleaned the house, folded the laundry, dusted, all that jazz…and no pee. I thought maybe our little girl was growing up and finding better ways to express her anger.

EV1

Evie dreams of getting us back. That’s what she does all day long.

I was wrong.

One day, maybe a few weeks after The Angering Incident, whatever it was, I got dressed for work, ran downstairs, put my jacket on and left the house. When I got to work, I removed my jacket and sat down and…smelled cat pee. I sniffed around. It wasn’t on my chair. It wasn’t on my jacket. Not my shoes. Not anything else nearby, not that anything else could have been peed upon; I was at work. But the longer I sat there, the stronger it became.

Finally, I got fed up and went to the bathroom. I took off my shirt and examined it with my nose. Guess what? Evie sprinkled little bits of pee on the back shoulder of the shirt when it was in the clean laundry basket. She did it in such a way that it dried quickly and was not smellable when we folded our clothes. It was sleeper agent pee, activated when the shirt was on the body. The more the shirt warmed up, the stronger the scent became. Of course, this wasn’t a shirt that I could go without for the day as I wasn’t wearing anything else underneath or over the top.  And I was super poor at the time so couldn’t run to Target or the thrift shop to buy another shirt. Also, I live 20 minutes from work so it’s not like running home to change was an option. And it had gotten onto my bra strap, anyhow, so I was all peed up no matter what.

I did what anyone would do in this situation. I put my shirt back on, found some Lysol, returned to the bathroom, sprayed myself down, waited for that smell to dissipate a little, returned to my desk and put on a sweater, hoping to mask the odor of urine du chat. When anyone came near me, I yelled at her to stand back and hold her breath; we’d communicate via sign language and she’d better be obvious since I don’t actually know ASL.

It was a long day. I was so angry when I got home. I lectured Evie. She smirked at me, amused at her wicked clever ways.

You know what? Now that I’m remembering all this, I think when I get home tonight, I will miss the toilet and pee on her. We’ll see how she likes it.

EV4

How can something that started out this sweet be so very evil? How??

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Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, Tales from Toiletopia