With nods to the Iditarod…
Life is like a dog-sled train. If you ain’t the lead dog the view never changes
With nods to the Iditarod…
Life is like a dog-sled train. If you ain’t the lead dog the view never changes
Yesterday was quite a day. I got out of bed at the crack of 7:30 and went downstairs for the morning caffeine infusion. My mother, on cue, was making a pot. Something was missing. “Where’s your boytoy?” I asked her. The boyfriend stays with us almost every weekend and he was there when I went to sleep the night before.
“Gone,” she said. “He got a little too handsy this morning and when I told him to knock it off. He got pissed, packed his bag and left. Want to go to Church with me?”
What I wanted to say was Gee Mom I am actually headed down this morning to see a couple of friends before I stop by wifey’s and have cake with the 2 oldest kids for a belated birthday party so I can’t. But what came out was “I’d love to.” There was no way that she was as ok as she acted and I knew I needed to be there to support her today. I would go down after church. Besides, I needed to know what happened.
As we prepared for church I got the story. Being the Trump supporter that he is he tried to grab her by the…well you know where I’m going with this. Apparently, he woke up a little “Randy”, popped a Viagra, rose to the occasion and attempted to park it somewhere…at 6 AM.
The church was delightful as always. As I am still in my Undefined-Spiritual-Transition-Mode I sit there and I people watch. I know the people now, The congregation consists of some wonderful, giving people. And then there are those few that have that ethereal my shit don’t stink because I love God so much that I’m going to heaven and you’re not face and I know that they’re completely full of shit. Fine by me, it’s their journey, not mine. I then caught the eye of Linda, my new buddy from the food pantry. She mouthed “hey you” to me and I smiled for the first time that day.
Linda is an attractive, happily married older woman who I am very drawn to. In the classic sense of the word, I want to be around her. It’s not sexual but exciting nonetheless. She’s educated, smart, extremely charitable with her time and in her actions and I love talking to her. Linda was present the day I told my food pantry volunteer pals my theory on religion. I was asked in front of a room full of people why I don’t attend church often. I told them:
“Religion is sitting in church thinking about Kayaking. Spirituality is sitting in a kayak thinking about God“.
It’s not original but it sums me up so well.
The service closed with a prayer. Not participating in the ritual, rebel that I am, I said my own prayer of the agnostic.
Dear whoever you are. Without putting too fine a point on things please make this earth a better place. If you can’t then please show us how. Take care of the poor, don’t let babies die of cancer and punish the dicks. I don’t care how you do it just put it higher on your list than who wins the next major sporting event. Your humble servant, Amen or bye for now or whatever. Forgive me for I know not what the fuck I am talking about.
We then adjourned for the St. Patty’s luncheon out back. Mom was serving so I grabbed a plate of food. Seeing a bunch of set tables and a row of chairs I chose to sit on a straw chair. That would allow groups to have the tables. I had picked a perfect spot to people watch and that is just what I did. A few people approached me, some who I haven’t yet met introduced themselves and some that I knew, asking me why I was sitting there lonely. I assured them that I was where I wanted to be. After all, I was. I was writing my next blog in my head after all!
Linda approached and sat down next to me, smiled and said “Kayaking?”
“What do you mean?” I asked her. She couldn’t possibly be referring to the conversation we had weeks ago.
“You know what I mean. It looks like you’re Kayaking right now.”
“I can’t believe you remember that. Nice catch. Yes, I am. Always. You know that’s not original right?”
“I know”, she said. “But I liked it and you own it.” We talked for a few, I met her lucky husband and she went off to socialize with someone else.”
Who knew that my own words would come back to me someday?
The rest of the day panned out as planned. I made it down to MA to see my friends and family and made it home by 10 and made sure Mom was ok.
As of today we haven’t heard from Trump Jr. I guess we’ll see if the voters choose to let that “locker room behavior” slide.
I managed to return to work this week for a glorious 2 day stint. I have been away for 2 weeks. School vacation with the kids, a minor concussion from going ass over tea kettle in my icy driveway and about 60 fucking inches of snow have kept me close to home. Fortunately, my head is fine…my head is fine… my head is fine …slaps forehead…yea my head is fine and despite a sore back, I made the trek to MA on Thursday.
The CFO was really happy to see me. Apparently, she sees the contributions I have made. No one else seems to make them in my absence. So I have a niche. The rank and file were also happy to see me. It seems that morale sucks a bit lately, which confuses me because the owner is a super nice guy. They are very busy and a bit short-staffed so I suppose it makes sense. They need comic relief, which I always provide. Any role is fine, it’s just nice to be somewhere you are appreciated. The worst thing to me is to be the guy who took 2 weeks off and no one noticed.
I am starting to expand my role a bit, taking on tasks that nobody wants or can handle due to time constraints. Most in the building are not aware of the extent of my expertise in the business, they just think I’m some guy the owner knows. But I have jumped right in and handled some delicate stuff of importance, some of which involves the dreaded phone. Most people hate the phone, and a lot of those who don’t really aren’t that good. Myself, I’m like Michael Jackson on the playground, I’m in my element. This week my coworkers saw a new side of me…phone me.
One of my tasks was to call customers who had recently purchased a motorcycle and introduce our company, review the contact information, go over the contract and answer any questions they may have. It usually consists of about 50 calls, 35 that go to voice mail and the remaining 15 can go any direction from a hang-up (they think I’m a telemarketer) or a cooperative call. I have fun with those. I don’t just ask a bunch of boring questions, I talk to them about their bikes. I build excitement by establishing a bond. It’s so easy for me. As I was making calls, I saw that some of the people in the room were taking notice of what I was doing. One call, in particular, was with a gentleman in Texas. His mother raised him right, he was friendly, courteous and didn’t treat me like a schmuck. So I had some fun with him.
“Mr. Beegle, how are you enjoying your new Harley Soft tail?”
“Well, I’ll tell you what buddy, if I was any happier I might damn explode!”
“Great news, enjoy it.”
“Well, I don’t know about that. See my hot little girly, see she’s a Latina. Fiery little thang. She don’t much like riding on the back of it.”
“Mr. Beegle, I want you to listen carefully, ok?”
“Sure, Bill. Go ahead” he said.
“Mr. Beegle, women are easy to find, but the right bike comes along just once in a lifetime.”
I’m pretty sure he pissed himself laughing. We completed the call and I put the receiver down. All eyes were on me. My CFO said, “Did you just say…?”
I looked at her and said. “Yes, I did. But if it helps, I had absolutely no control over my mouth so it’s not my fault.”
My cell phone rang, I turned around and answered it. I recognized the number.
“Suicide hotline…please hold.”
I’m going to Hell, but for now, at least I’m having some fun. To imagine I’m going to be dating again soon…
He had his bags packed, had said his goodbyes to his children and he walked to the door, avoiding the glare of his wife.
“Get out!” she screamed. He proceeded down the hall and as he opens the door she screamed: “I’m going to make your life a living hell!”
He closes the door, drops the bags, looks at her and says “So which one is it? Am I going or staying?”
This is one of my favorite marriage jokes, but I only half-laugh because I basically lived it. The difference in the scenarios is that I tried to leave, tired of fighting in front of the kids, and I ended up staying.
I posted a cheap joke yesterday about this but it didn’t feel right to leave it at that, it was such a false representation of my real feelings on the matter.
Yesterday I was reflecting on the memorial service I attended Sunday. The speaker, the son of the deceased, remarked that he learned from his father that “the best thing a father can do is love their mother.” My stomach sank when I heard that. Is that the measure of the man? I have done everything in my power to be a great father; I gave everything I had to be a provider, a role model, and a friend when needed (and appropriate) to my children despite the rocky road that was our marriage. But loving their mother was a challenge.
The magic of our relationship was basically over before we even got married. Our engagement was rocky, she almost left me once. I wanted to stick it out. Although we were never happy, we had moments of happiness, even some fun. But at the end of the day, and I am really baring my ass here, I married her because I didn’t think anyone else would marry me. What we had worked, and when we had fun it was all worth it. I never once thought of ending it, I’m a believer in relationships. In terms of work invested, leaving at that point would be the equivalent of walking away from a 100 story skyscraper after completing 99 floors.
3 months before the wedding, we were pregnant. At that point, I was focused on being a father.
The next ten years were a whirlwind and a blur. By the time our 4th child was born, we were a great big, dysfunctional family. Any semblance of happiness was already gone, we barely talked to each other because we were sick of the fighting. My first reaction, sadly, to news of our 4th pregnancy was oh my god I can’t leave for another 18 years!”
The new baby provided a spark in my life but not in my marriage. We continued to struggle financially and as our bills increased my health deteriorated and my income decreased. That’s when the real fighting began. In front of the kids. I’ve always thought that the oldest 3 understood. They saw the fighting from the earliest days and it was all that they knew. My little one, from her earliest days, noticed that Mommy and Daddy don’t hug and kiss each other. It was pretty sad and hard to explain.
The day that I would learn that my children were in my corner without “taking my side” was 8 years ago when I had finally had enough. Furious with a series of events that began with my wife telling me, in front of my kids, that she wouldn’t have married me if she knew I was going to “get sick and die on her” (my favorite). This was followed by a fit in the hospital the day I came out of anesthesia, post-transplant. When the hospital social worker started telling my wife what care I would need at home she flipped out and left, dragging my confused children out of the hospital. Those, combined with refusing to stay home one minute with me when I was recovering at home had left me mad. We had been arguing and I was tired of fighting in front of the children. I told her I would be moving into my Grandmother’s house, which was vacant. I saw her true colors at that very moment. Her first reaction was not to be reasonable, to be upset or even ask me to reconsider. Her first reaction was to tell me that I would not be able to just walk in and see my kids whenever I wanted. Yup, she was that parent. I was crushed. That night when I returned from work to pack my stuff, she wasn’t home. My kids sat me down and asked me to stay. My oldest daughter, leading the intervention, said: “She will be so much worse if you leave.” I knew what I had to do. Of course, I stayed. For 8 years.
So here I sit, reflecting on how I just heard that “loving the mother is the best thing that I can do.” It’s an interesting thought but it saddens me. I wish my children had seen affectionate parents. I wish that we never fought in front of them, I am so ashamed of that. I wish my children had seen a better role model for their future relationships. I will never forget the look of delight on the face of my youngest daughter when she saw mom and I occasionally hug or kiss. To her, it was like seeing a solar eclipse. I regret that.
I don’t regret what I did. I hope someday they recognize the lesson I think I really taught them. Hopefully, someday they will know that I put their needs and happiness above my own when a lot of men would have left. I hope they respect the fact that I never cheated on their mother despite the fact that she hasn’t seen me naked since Obama’s first term in office. I never did so that they would respect me and never have a situation in which their mother could say “Kids, your father is a cheater and a liar.” I stayed for the kids, despite how much everyone says that is the worst thing to do.
The only thing I wasn’t able to do, and it wasn’t my choice, was to love their mother. Too much had happened. Too much to list in one post, too much for a reader to absorb. Too much that I just don’t want to relive. I did the best I could with what I had and held on as long as possible.
Now it’s over. 22 long, miserable, loveless years later we have finally put it to bed. We were given a chance at the Magistrate’s office to review the paperwork overnight if we chose, we both chose to sign right there. In 2-3 weeks the great state of NH will mail us our paperwork and we will officially be divorced. I would say that it’s the end of a great story, but truthfully, it’s not. It’s the end, but it’s not a great story.
But I’m going to turn the page…
Today I found a miraculous weight loss program that can be accomplished in 2 hours. All you have to do is walk into an arbitrators office at the City Courthouse, answer a bunch of questions, agree to everything and sign on the dotted line. Boom! Divorced. I’m down 135 pounds. At least that’s how much I think she weighs, I haven’t touched her in so long I really don’t know.
That’s what I get for introducing her to a magic food that made her sex drive disappear 22 years ago…Wedding Cake.
Today I attended a memorial service for a man that I never met. I know his widow, she is a dear friend of my Mother’s. I know that he was a good friend of my father, that matters to me. I also know that he died of Parkinson’s, as did my father. What a terrible thing to have in common.
The church was packed when I arrived today. The bells of the 180-year-old church clanged, reverberating through our little town as I walked in.
Just in time. On any given Sunday I could walk in and find a seat in the third row. For today’s memorial, with friends and family coming from all over in addition to the regulars, seating was limited and I ended up in the back row.
After the Reverend delivered his opening remarks and I suffered through 2 hymns and a responsive reading the first speaker, the oldest son, was invited to say some words about his deceased father. My first reaction was the admiration of his courage. He was attempting what I would not. I remember wanting badly to deliver my father’s eulogy but I was self-aware enough to know that I wouldn’t get through it, I would get too emotional. I wrote it, my Reverend read it on my behalf, and I sat there and cried. At words that I wrote. Pathetic. But I can only imagine the train wreck I would have been if I attempted to do it. So with great sympathy, a sense of kinship with a man I had never met for what we now had in common, and a curious ear, I listened to his remarks. It was a touching speech, he used a lot of big words, he referenced a lot of things that he admired about his Dad, what he learned from him and how they were different. Something just didn’t sit well with me, something was missing. May I be struck dead by lightning if I’m a shit for thinking this but, where was the emotion? Have I set the bar so high in my own mind about eulogizing fathers that I am actually grading his performance? Shaking my head and quietly dismissing that crazy notion I still don’t know why it bothers me that this guy didn’t cry or tear up a little.
My mother cared for my father as Parkinson’s ravaged his body and reduced him to a withered shell. The last 3 years were awful. My mother didn’t cry that much at the funeral, but she’s not a crier. We are a family of “bottle-it-up-and-snap-someday” personalities. When she began dating a mere 6 months after his death I struggled with it. When I asked her how she could date so soon she said that she did her mourning while he was still alive. That his passing was expected and just the final step. I don’t get it but it’s her process. With this in mind, I waited patiently in line to pay my regards to the family and when I met him I congratulated him on his remarks. I mentioned that his dad and my dad were friends and both had the same disease. He gave me a big smiley thank you, which threw me off, and I asked him how he was able to deliver it without breaking down. I was clear that it wasn’t a criticism, only that I could never have done it without breaking down. He didn’t have an answer. Maybe Mom was right. He watched his father suffer for years so maybe he was just ready for it. But, here’s the kicker, so did I. And I was still an emotional, blubbering mess when my father died.
The first time I discovered my fear of speaking in public was at my Grandfather’s funeral in 2002. I offered to write his eulogy and I really made an effort to capture the man. He was 92 so I celebrated his life and spoke of some fond memories. As I spoke I was sad of course, he was a major influence on me, but as I said, he was 92. I focused on his best traits. His wicked sense of humor, his honesty, and integrity, his simple way of life were well known and celebrated. Still, I barely got through it, I broke down. The small crowd didn’t care, their takeaway was how much like him I was (an indisputable truth). It was a learning experience.
When my dad passed I knew that I would be the one to memorialize him. As I stated earlier, I wrote a long eulogy, perhaps too long, about his influence on me, his defining qualities of being a great friend, co-worker, dad, husband. I spared nothing, as I do in my blog, telling of my regrets at things left unsaid and how he simply deserved better. It brought the house down. As people filed past me, one even said, in tears, “I have to go and call my father now.” Moved and grateful as I was, I didn’t have a big smile on my face. I was a wreck. I didn’t want kudos on my speech, I wanted my father back.
Now I sit here and wonder if the son, the man who gave a beautiful but emotionless speech, had the same experiences I did? The ones that you would never talk about in a memorial because people don’t want to hear it.
I wonder if he ever heard his father cry because he knew, that no matter how hard he tried to hang on, he wouldn’t be around to celebrate his next wedding anniversary with his lifelong sweetheart? They were married 49 years.
I wonder if he ever saw his father on the toilet, unable to wipe himself and too weak to stand, trying (he could barely speak) to get me to get his caretaker to wipe his ass because he did not want me to see him like that?
I wonder if his father ever pulled him close and in a forced whisper say, “Gun…key” in his ear, imploring him to go downstairs, find the key to the cabinet, get a gun and let him fucking end it?
I wonder if he has loose ends, things he wanted to say but couldn’t, or didn’t. Apologies or thank you’s?
I wonder if he is haunted by feeding the man who taught him to use a spoon, his dinner through one?
I wonder if he wants to scream at the top of his lungs “Fuck YOU Parkinson’s” like I do. Every day.
I wonder if it’s just me. Maybe I’m just being a jerk. We all grieve differently and we all handle things differently. His father died a week ago, I lost mine 5 years ago. Why am I the emotional one?
I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Laketra BFF and I’m pretty psyched. This whole “award” thing is pretty new to me but it’s nice to be noticed and I will participate if for no other reason than to thank Laketra for the nod. She’s a Social Worker with a beautiful soul and she writes about everything. I recommend you check her out. Thank you so much for thinking of me!
For those of you that don’t know, the Liebster Award seeks to highlight new/newer/newish bloggers. When you are nominated, you are summoned to:
1. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you and display the award logo.
2. Answer 11 questions that the blogger gives you.
3. Nominate 5-11 blogs that you think are deserving of the award.
4. Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Let the bloggers know of their nomination!
Here are Laketra’s questions for me:
1.) Why did you start blogging?
I was going through a very challenging part of my life and I thought it would be therapeutic to put my thoughts out there. Once it’s out you have to feel better. In addition, I was curious if anyone would relate to my story or tell me I’m nuts.
2.) If you could have 3 wishes, what would they be?
My father to be alive
A beautiful life for my children
The eradication of hatred…everywhere
3.) If you could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive), who would it be?
Again, my father
4.) Any advice for your 13 year old self?
Be yourself. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Lighten up.
5.) If you had to change your name, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change my name, I’m a Junior, named after my father.
6.) Favorite food?
Comfort food from my childhood. Mac and cheese, Hot Dogs and beans, Spaghetti and meatballs, a greasy Diner Burger.
7.) If you were a super hero, what superpowers would you want?
To live forever, to see the future, and to control Karma. Good people get theirs and bad people…well the Karma bus will back right over them and I’ll be the driver.
8.) What is your top strength?
People skills. I study them, I understand them, I can read them, I can handle the worst of them, and I’m nice to all of them.
9.) Read any good books lately?
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. Ripped my heart out.
10.) Dream job?
Anything working with kids. Adults are formed, there’s so much to be done with kids to help give them a better future. So much more than money. Since my disability I have been volunteering a lot. This summer I will volunteer at a retreat for the entire families of terminally ill children. It’s not a paying job but I would do it the rest of my life.
11.) Favorite childhood memory?
Weekends at the lake surrounded by family, friends, sunshine and water without a worry in the world.
My nominees. Now, my understanding of the Liebster is that it is for new(ish) bloggers so I don’t want to exclude any of the amazing bloggers that I read daily but highlight just 6 that are really worth checking out. Blogs that are about a year old or less.
1)The Daily Tales of Gregg Savage https://dailytales.com.au/
Gregg has taken on the amazing task of producing one children’s story a day for a year. His stories are amazing and full of metaphors, some subtle some not so much, that we adults could learn from. He really speaks for the kids, check him out he’s great.
2) badparentingweb https://badparentingweb.wordpress.com/
Funny, real and fun to read, this blog walks you through the life of a young parent and teacher. He’s got a great eye for the world and a keen sense of humor.
3) Karyn’s Domain https://karynsdomain.wordpress.com/
Ever wanted to drop everything and just hike? To really experience nature? Karyn’s blog is a heartfelt, earnest exploration of new chapters and fond memories.
4) MSGraceful…NOT! https://msgracefulnot.com/
Grace is a funny, witty, brutally honest blogger who writes often, but not exclusively, about life with MS. She is a powerful force in the chronic illness community and she is a hell of a storyteller. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
5)Bojana’s Coffee and Confessions to go https://bloggingwithbojana.com/
Bojana’s writing skill is only surpassed by thought-provoking subject matter. From motherhood to her childhood and everything in between, Bojana will leave you thinking, and possibly rethinking, for days and hours after.
6) Brandewijn Words https://brandewijnwords.com/
Brandewulf, or “the Wulf” is a guy that decided that by night he wanted to explore his poetic side. I’m glad he did, this guy is great. His poems can’t be described by a non-poet like myself in any other way than “wow“. The imagery and use of language is some of the best I’ve ever read. Plus he’s a storyteller as well.
Here are my 11 questions for my nominees, should you care to participate.
1) Why did you start blogging?
2) What do you like most about yourself?
3) What would you change about yourself?
4) If you could sit on a park bench and talk with anyone for an hour, living or dead, who would you pick?
5) Who would you pick to play you in your biopic?
6) What is your favorite childhood memory?
7) What one food would you pick if you were stuck on a desert island?
8) If you could, would you ask for a do-over for any period of your life?
9) What smell reminds you of your childhood?
10) Who is your biggest influence?
11) Does your family know about your blog?
Alright, that’s it! This was fun! Thank you again to Laketra for the nomination!