Saturday, March 20, 2010

I am SOOOO Happy

Really, I am extremely happy right now. If you know us, as a family, very well at all, then you also are probably aware of the rift between my husband and my sister. They haven't spoken to each other in about 5 years. And while its not terribly difficult to carry on not speaking when you live in different states, it still is tragic, and has been very hard for me. The incident that precipated this saga is not important, and in fact, I wasn't even there, so I don't know the whole story. Let's let sleeping dogs lie for now. But what IS important is that my husband went down to SC for his high school reunion this weekend. And, whether on a whim, or whether he planned it, he stopped by my sister's house and now....they are speaking again. I don't know how but I don't care. I am just grateful.

I feel as though a huge heavy stone has been taken off my neck.

I didn't go the the reunion with Bruce. For one thing, I didn't go to this high school. And we are leaving for Puerto Rico in a couple of weeks, so I didn't want to take off and travel right now. But the main reason? Is that I did not want to go to SC and not be able to see or stay with my sister and her family. And I just didn't see how I could, unless I stayed, and Bruce went to a hotel. How strange would that have felt?

I can't explain how difficult this whole thing has been. Its impossible to take sides when it involves your husband, the man who fathered your children, and the only other living human being who shares that peculiar mix of DNA from both of your parents. The only other person who knows every single detail of what your childhood was like. And my childhood? It was strange. It was not abusive. I was not neglected or beaten or tortured. But my family was private to the point of being secretive. There were so many things that I have found out later, as an adult, that gave me some of those "A-Ha!" moments. So thats why this was the way it was.....Some day, I really do want to try to write it all down. If for no other reason than to try and make sense of it all in my head. But there are still things that I just have to fill in the blanks with my imagination because the delusions, and secrets were really just that good. But now is not the time for that. My sister is the only other person who gets that our childhood was one of those things that you will never quite understand unless you lived it. You just had to be there.

And now I am celebrating because its over and we can all visit again. Be normal again. It is so wonderful to me, and I am so thankful and proud of my husband for having the fortitude to let go of anger and try to make amends. I think he just racked up a whole boatload of good karma this weekend.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Did you wear green today? I did. But I didn't make the traditional corned beef and cabbage. I saw a lot corned beef briskets and large cabbages on display at the grocery store this past weekend. I forget how much I like that meal. But I didn't buy it and cook it today. I am beginning to get a craving for it though, so maybe I will make sometime soon. Anyway, we had baked salmon with a lemon and brown sugar marinade, and it was really good. Probably a bit healthier than corned beef. And I tried a new recipe for a tomato/cucumber salad. I feel so bored with the standard stuff that I make over and over again, so I am on the hunt for new recipes. The 2 main requirements are that they have to be tasty, and EASY. I'm not a fussy, complicated recipe kind of gal.

I am also in need of a change in the way of my hair. I am going on Friday to get something done. I'm not sure what. I am going to look around online and see if anything strikes my fancy. Maybe I will get hair extensions and have it super long...LOL. Probably not, it sounds like too much work. Like my cooking, the hair has to be EASY.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Roofers are Scary

We have a new roof! Can I get an Amen to that? They finished up today, and while we still have a large dumpster parked in our driveway (where they disposed of all the old shingles), we are hopeful that it will be removed tomorrow before we get home from work. But this whole roofing experience wreaked havoc in kitty world. We already knew that noises from up above, like when we were installing those water heaters in the attic, scared the cats almost to death. In fact, to this day they run for cover if they see us go anywhere near the pull-down attic steps. I hadn't considered how the roof work was going to affect them. Not that we could forgo something as important as a roof to accommodate the whims of our cats. But when I got home from work yesterday and saw the crew (we weren't exactly sure when they were going to arrive), my first thought was uh-oh....unhappy kitties ahead.

It took me a while to find them. Usually they run out to greet us, but not yesterday. And I have to agree with them that the noise was terrible. They were stomping and hammering, and sometimes they would slam down another pallet of shingles that would literally shake the whole entire house. It almost scared ME. I finally found Vixen hiding under our bed, and no amount of pleading and coaxing would bring her out. Omen was even harder to find, because she was in our bed, under the covers....way down near the foot. Both of them were cowering and nervous and their eyes were huge. Poor things. They didn't come out until the roofers were long gone for the day, and they didn't eat any dinner, either.
It was a shorter day of roof work today though, the crew was gone by the time I got home. The cats seemed better, so maybe they kind of got used to it...?

Anyway, Bruce is heading down to South Carolina this weekend for his high school reunion. I am not into reunions all that much. He enjoys it though, and he keeps up with a lot of the people he knew way back when. My school was just so different. It was really large, and while we all had our group of friends, beyond that..? Well, I could go all day and not have any of the same people in my 6 classes per day. It was more impersonal, more like college I guess. There were people in my graduating class that I never even met before. So...? I am not going. I don't think Bruce is too disappointed in my absence. The main reasons are work and the animals, and the fact that we are taking off for vacation in a couple of weeks, which just makes leaving right now a little more tricky. I hope he has a good time. Last time, maybe 5 years ago, he drove all the way down there (about a 6 hour drive), and no one that he wanted to see showed up, so he drove right back home again. What an exhausting trip.
This year there are things going on both Friday and Saturday night, so I hope he has a better time.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Near Miss

One of the blogs that I read regularly "Just Eat Your Cupcake" written by Maria tells a story of how she narrowly missed being grabbed by a frightening potential predator when she was a child. She asked if any of us had had similar experiences. And you know, I had almost forgotten about what happened to me. I was older, being 16 at the time, but it was still scary.

I grew up in a modest little 3 bedroom house (with 1 bathroom!!! How did we manage?) in a quiet little neighborhood with similar houses lining the streets. Our house had the best thing in the world to us, as children, though. It was directly across the street from the coolest park. The park had a big baseball field, a picnic shelter, and an old-fashioned REAL playground full of solid, metal equipment. A HUGE metal slide that would burn your cheeks in the summer. And it was so tall that it would make you somewhat dizzy at the top. It had 2 giant see saws (teeter totters) that had heavy wooden seats, and more than once I fell off and had this thing come down on the top of my head. We survived many playground injuries but never anything serious. There were some swings, and a large arched set of monkey bars. None of that pansy "safe" equipment. That came later, about the time that my kids were born. They tore down the cool stuff and put in one of those soft surfaced, wooden structures that was almost ok for really young kids, except that the slides were short and plastic. Anyone older than 5 would probably find it boring.

Probably 90 percent of my childhood memories of playing outdoors were at the park. Mom could see the playground from the front windows of our house, although we spent quite a bit of time further back, beyond the playground where there was a heavily wooded area with a shallow creek. What is it about a small sliver of running water that is so fascinating to children? We loved it back there, but more often than not, Mom would come looking for us, reminding us that we were supposed to stay on the playground where she could see us. We pouted, but we dragged ourselves back. Until next time...LOL.

Anyway, the summer that I was 16 my Mom was working a lot during the day. That left my sister and I pretty much alone, usually with a list of "chores" that we ignored as much as we could until about 30 minutes before Mom was due home. Then we would jump into action and do a slipshod job of whatever was on the list. There were rules, too. No BOYS allowed in the house when parents were not at home. Bruce and I were already dating by then, and it was summer so we wanted to see each other and hang out. I didn't want to get in trouble, so sometimes we would hang out at the park. The park wasn't off limits, and we weren't IN the house. I mean, if I hung out at the park and he just happened to be there....? Right? A clever bending of the rules.

So, this one day, after spending most of the morning lying out in the backyard to work on my tan, I threw some shorts and a tshirt over my bikini and headed over to the park to meet Bruce. It was the middle of the day, and it was hot and the park was empty. I sat on one of the swings and waited. All of a sudden some movement caught my eye. It was a young man, probably mid-20ish, and I didn't recognize him. This was a neighborhood park and the only time strangers were around was during the baseball games. This guy was strolling up out of the woods from the direction of the creek. I kept swinging but I was watching him, hoping he would head towards the road and keep going. I kept one eye on him and the other on the parking lot, hoping that Bruce would pull up in his little brown volkswagen Rabbit at any moment.

Much to my disappointment this guy headed straight for me, on the swings. He was unkempt and seemed kind of jumpy or nervous. I got a bad vibe from him, and was almost visibly cringing when he leaned up again the leg of the swing set and tried to start up a conversation. I don't remember exactly what all he said. It was awkward and creepy. The parts that I do remember was he licked his lips and looked at me really funny and inquired as to what I was wearing under that tshirt, so I told him my bathing suit. He asked if it was a bikini. He particularly wanted to know if it was a "skimpy" bikini. I really started getting nervous, because even I, a naive 16 year old sensed that the conversation was getting really inappropriate. I also remember that he asked me if I was alone, or if I was waiting on someone. When I told him I was waiting on Bruce, he asked if my boyfriend was "BIG"...?? Thats when I made a stupid excuse and took off in an almost run back to my house. I was shaking when I went in. I told my sister what had happened, and then we both got scared when I realized he could see what house I was going into. Mom was at work, we were alone, and even though we always enjoyed having our days to ourselves, suddenly it was scary. We locked the doors, and looked out the front windows, but the guy was gone.
He had taken off, apparently on foot, and we had no idea in which direction.

I don't remember if Bruce ever showed up or not. I don't think I ever told my mother about that incident. I am pretty sure that I never hung out at the park all alone again though. While nothing technically "happened", there was such a strong freaky vibe of wrongness about that guy. And now that I am older, and wiser, it really frightens me how close I might have been to being abducted, or raped, or who knows what. Not long after that, probably a month or so, a young woman in her early 20's was found in the early hours of a Sunday morning lying dead by the edge of the picnic shelter just a few yards from the playground. One of my neighbors walking his dog found her. She had been bludgeoned to death, and the police decided that it was "drug-related".

And this part is creepy, but as teenagers who had never really had any experience with death, my sister, my best friend and I went over to the park that Sunday afternoon, after all of the investigations were over and looked over the whole scene with a sense of strange fascination and different eyes. It was no longer the fun, innocent playground of our childhood. It was more sinister and frightening now. I can recall that on the edge of the concrete floor of the shelter were huge puddles of dark, maroon colored blood. There were more puddles in the grass just beyond that. The 3 of us just stood there and solemnly stared at those puddles just trying to comprehend that only hours before a young woman lost her life. And the killer was never apprehended. Even then, the thought of that creepy man popped into my head......what if? Who knows.