Redneck Sod

You can pick your friends, your cats, and even your nose. I'm considering exchanging the kid without a receipt, however.

[My yard, after I treated it for weeds, re-seeded it, and got the sprinkler heads fixed. Sometime around 5 a.m., it was attacked by a wayward Mustang. Patrick would be in his room, sleeping, but apparently forgot rule #1: hide the evidence]



I have a c-shaped scar on my wrist from running forward as a glass door was slamming backwards, which is cool if you're into monogramed body parts. My c-shaped nasal monstrosity (aka NOSE), however, has been the bane of my existence and ruined more photos than I care to mention. Distorted and exaggerated in my mind, perhaps, but a profile is a terrible thing to waste.

On Wednesday, I underwent a Septorhinoplasty to straighten my nasal passageways, get rid of the hump, refine the tip (and make me beautiful-ish). Because there was a deviated septum involved, my health insurance forked out 85% of the cost of the procedure. Gracias, Blue Cross!

Recovery is going well (except for what looks like a piece of cartilage or leaking brain material poking through my left nostril. Several attempts to remove on my own have caused near blackouts) and I've been able to get out and about with my purple-rimmed eyes, bandages and nose splint. You'd think people would stare, but they go out of their way to avoid looking.

Top 5 anxiety-causing activities post-nasal surgery:

I. Being told not to sneeze or blow my nose for two weeks while it seeps and bleeds its way into a new shape.

II. Getting in the car. Sure, I've only closed my nose in a car door once, but that was enough (the fact that my son accidentally closed his car window on his nose a few weeks ago makes me wonder if these are common injuries?). Also related seems to be a new fear of walls. I've never actually walked smack dab into one nose first...or have I?

III. Driving. More specifically, crashing and having airbags inflated. onto. my. face.

IV. Trying not to get the bandages wet. That was just a suggestion for the 2-showers a day patient, right?

V. Getting addicted to pain medication because moving/breathing/ sleeping hurts so much. Lortab? Oh, yeah, I get it.


Anonymous Alcoholic

Two projects for a new and improved me. No deadline and graded on a curve.

1. Self esteem. Get more.
2. Obsessing. Do less.

I saw James' colonel at my gym yesterday, on my stairclimber. I didn't ask her about the snake she's dating, if her divorce is final, or how the date went with Crazy Dan. I've practically moved past it altogether. Sure, I can share.

One memory I play over and over, however: when James and I flew to Michigan one weekend to pack all his belongings and haul the crap down to Alabama, I offered to go to the liquor store on the corner so he could continue loading the truck. He pitched in some money, told me the name of the hard-to-find Brazilian Rum we loved, and said, "don't tell the store owner you know me."

Huh. I keep wondering how someone with a big, fat ego would interpret that comment. Could I just take the hit and stop obsessing about it, at least?


Guess Who's Going to Dinner...

The Plan: "Walking Away" from James and his other women is working splendidly. I had decided (with a little pep talk from my dad) it was the best course of action because it would just seem like meddling any other way and sometimes you've gotta keep that karma moving in a positive direction.

The Snag: last Monday, during one of Crazy Dan's confessions of undying love to me, I suggested he check out a profile on Match.com (of the colonel James has been spending time with - due mostly to her house in Hawaii, I'm sure).

Tonight? Crazy Dan and James' Colonel are having margarita's at a local Mexican restaurant, while I had a date with the sweetest widower, but accidentally told him to meet me at a restaurant in the next town, 20 miles away. Lovable, I am.


A Tale of 3 Ex's

Approximately 10,000 people work on my military installation. James wouldn’t tell me which airfield he’d recently been transferred to (see? why be so secretive if you have nothing to hide? I'm that crazy?), but did mention his supervisor’s supervisor was my ex-boyfriend Christian. Where art thou, vindictive soul?

One of my biggest fears in life is my son Patrick getting married, and not having a date (me, not him. He’ll have a wife, poor thing. Her, not him). I imagine myself standing around, socially awkward, getting drunk and belligerent, while Patrick’s dad and new wife look over and whisper about what a lonely, fat loser I am.* I met ex-boyfriend Dalehole last week for dinner while he was in town for 2 weeks worth of training. He could barely stop talking about his new girlfriend long enough, but I reminded him of our deal involving his being my amazing date for this future wedding disaster. He reassured me that NO MATTER WHAT, he will fly in and be my hot date. I can only hope the deal includes fake affection, whispered inside jokes and hand-holding, woo!

*people wonder what insomniacs think of at 3:00 in the morning? This is the kind of boundless crap running rampant!

A few weeks ago, Crazy Dan dropped off a chilled bottle of wine on my doorstep. I didn’t have his phone number after all the drama with Lise (I think she hit him in the eye with his phone, then tossed it out in the woods), but emailed him to let him know it was sweet. I was seeing someone now, though, and not to bother in the future. He emailed back, telling me not to flatter myself then called me a whore. What am I missing from this exchange?

Sometimes I’m relieved I was married for fifteen years. Imagine all the baggage I’d have if not…


Modus Operandi

I suspected there was a Blogger curse on my relationships, since they kept failing shortly after I'd write about them. James was supposed to come over last night, but blew me off instead and posted his profile back on "our" dating site. I also found out that one of the other women he's seeing is the 48 year old Garrison Commander of our post! I refuse to call him or see him again.

7 things I couldn't stand about him, anyway:

1. he continued to pursue other women but insisted he couldn't trust me

2. he has a motorcycle, and his car has been having electrical difficulties. I let him borrow mine last week when I was in Mississippi on business - and he put over 150 miles on it. In two days?!

3. he told me I looked like a librarian/school marm. I also started working out and lost eight pounds since meeting him. Couldn't he have given me an "atta girl" or at least noticed?

4. he remembers everything. Even when drinking. 'Nuff said.

5. I don't claim to be particularly funny or interesting, but he didn't "get" me or find me amusing in the least. I asked if he was planning my assassination when he asked about medication I was taking. "That's what I mean," he said. "You're just so fucking weird and out there."

6. we never emailed. He found my thought processes too strange (see above). I no longer find his misuse of apostrophes or atrocious spelling endearing.

7. he smokes*

*okay, technically, this is a turn on. I'm probably the only non-smoker who loves those Marlboro men...it's comforting. Like curling up next to a campfire. Sparks included.

Why, then, can't I get him out of my head?


Reptilian Dating

I’ve blog-slacked so long, failing to report legal battles, head injuries, and dating drama, that it will require a bulleted outline before attempting to get caught up. I should probably separate my life into categories, then update one at a time so it doesn’t seem like such an overwhelming chore. Which reminds me of the version of Quicken on the imac my dad gave me. In his “Budgeted Anarchy” file are separate categories for drinking, such as “alcohol in the cabin”, “alcohol from the grocery store” and “alcohol at the bar”. Really? Can’t you just clump it all together under a general BEER FUND? The distinctions make me laugh, though, and help me realize and understand that my brain quirks have simply been passed down as a trait, like those infinitely long toes that are somehow helping future natural selection.

Anyway, to the topic for today: James. The on-again/off-again boyfriend/guy I hang out with, who makes me suspicious and pissed off simply by sleeping. Over the past three months, we’ve had a bit o’ drama, some ups and downs, crazy stalking behavior, blackouts and shady dating busts. The good news is I didn’t realize I’d ever obsess about another man after Ed – now it appears as though the track in my brain that gets stuck on replay has been split. This IS great, right? Because there’s a saying in my field: dilution is the solution to pollution. Less Ed, more James, overall improved mental health. At least comes the realization that (twisted) emotions are still brewing and stewing in this previously cold, dark, frigid heart. Bring it, suckah!

About three months ago, James moved from Michigan to a nearby town in SE Alabama. We met on an online dating site, had the standard dinner and drinking dates, and spent two weekends together. I couldn’t help but notice (when prying) that his dating profile was still active and he was signing in daily, so I created another profile, with fraudulent information and some other woman’s photo. “She” happened to start a conversation with him, emailing and acting interested. Okay, fine, technically this is called entrapment, but it worked. He complimented her smile, she invited him to meet a group of friends in Dothan, and he mentioned it sounded like fun. He works 3rd shift (10 pm - 6 am) and told me that he might have to work overtime that weekend, which I can only assume was a lie so he could meet the date. Freak Out #1 of our blossoming friendship. I never want to start a relationship on false pretensses and spilled the beans regarding the sting operation instead. What he took out of the experience? Never trust me again, and how many personalities do I have, anyway?

We've somehow gotten along and broken up several times since, but when James mentioned he had to work overtime again last Saturday night, I had no choice but to dump him. By Sunday, I was obsessively back to searching for all things James-related on the world's dating sites...and called him 15 times before he wisely turned off his phone. I deleted his phone number and was forced to grab flip flops to wear with my nightgown to drive to his house at 1:30 in the morning to apologize.

I don't know if all Italian men are so shady or if I lucked into the only one, but this relationship is going to end badly, probably one day soon if I have anything to do with it.


Death by Affection

And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!
- David Byrne

It's not you, it's me...
On second thought, it is you. Definitely you.

Stephen and I share a mutual friend at work, who noticed we both loved going to the beach - maybe we could go together. During dinner, he opened up about losing his wife almost 2 years ago (on my birthday!) from cancer, after 19 years of marriage. A sign. Indeed.

He told me that he and his 13 year old son were going to Panama City Beach over Memorial weekend - would I like to go with them? I agreed, not realizing how excrutiatingly slow three days could drag.

For lack of a better adjective, Stephen is sweet. When I couldn't make up my mind at dinner, he ordered my second choice so I could try both meals; decided Bud Light was his favorite beer (after a lifetime of Miller products), then remembered he loved 80's music (after hearing what I liked). He was affectionate, constantly trying to hold my hand, hanging on every word, staring and telling me how beautiful I am. Sweet? Smothering and vomit-inducing. Too much affection apparently makes me crabby.

He was ready to put his house on the market and move to my town 45 mintues away. I told him I admired his decision to date, but it would probably be difficult for his son to handle other women in his mom's place. "Teenage boys bottle up their emotions," I wisely told him. "You might want to hold back with affection" (which was a much nicer way of saying, "My personal space. Your personal space. Back off!")

I really want to like him. I really can't. Women want spineless, romantic men? Give me an unstable, emotionally unavailable man any day. I've simply decided I don't trust anyone this much into me...call when you have better taste in women. [The good news is that breaking up is finally getting easier to do. I even threw out the "let's still be friends" card, knowing that will never happen].


To catch a thief

I stole a bunch of equipment from my dad while he was visiting last weekend. Granted, he called the maneuvers 'trades', but I ended up with an I-pod touch with docking station, a hand-held Sony video camera, an external hard drive, and a desk. He left with a stainless steel step garbage can, a cooler, and a dilapidated Dell laptop (with the dreaded and counterproductive Vista as the operating system because apparently Windows is determined to make consumers hold on to that crap even if they own a copy of XP and would prefer to install that).

I can't say my leap into 2009 technology hasn't been met without some resistance. I still find myself leaving endless paper sticky notes, but at least they're all centrally located on the iPod.

[I wrote this while wasting 3 hours of my life waiting at the doctor's office!]


Burnin' down the Love Shack

Trying to keep my mind off Ashcroft, I spent yesterday in a whirlwind of activity. That never-ending office project with 6 layers of Venetian plaster on the walls doesn't just happen, you know. I decided to replace the light fixture since all my furniture is conveniently still in the hall, which invariably led to a spontaneous decision to repaint the ceiling. Huge clumps of it fell off. Never again will I believe the claims on those aerosol cans for spot treatment of a textured ceiling either. Clever advertising makes you think you'll choose fine, medium or heavy splatter, but "messy" is the setting of the day. Of what relevance is the ability to go on purple and dry white?

I've learned, barely and at a ridiculously slow pace, that it's easiest to show what you're shopping for if you don't speak the language of mechanically-oriented men by pointing and grunting, and proceeded to remove the light fixture to take to Lowe's. Completing 8 rounds of "did I turn the breaker off? I think so..." while standing on tiptoes on a stepladder, looking into a dark hole, while being petrified of animals falling through isn't easy as you'd think. None of my assorted tools (hammer, wrench or screwdriver) did anything more than injure a cuticle. Frustrated, I cut the wires with scissors, then threw all the damn parts in a bag, only to be looked at like a complete moron when I got there because apparently the stupid assembly unclips. Oh.

Now the list of necessary equipment has gotten longer. Wing nuts and wire strippers to reconnect wires before attempting to shove spring-loaded clamps back into the ceiling, which unfortunately didn't help it all fit in the same precise manner the old one did, but nothing fell on my head. Hope springs eternal.

It worked, and I was proud, dare I say enamored, of my handyman self. Evening had a funny way of changing perspective, however, as I kept imagining I smelled smoke. A short-circuit in the ceiling might smolder for a few hours in the attic before taking over the whole house (reason #32 for my insomnia) so I packed a suitcase with my important documents, photos, external hard drive, and put all the cats outside. I resisted the urge to pack my car with all my favorite things - it might look like a well-planned arson attempt.


Ashcroft No More

I hoped, for his sake, he'd die quickly, as I rubbed his paralyzed body and listened to the soft cry accompanying each labored, gurgled last breath. His glassy eyes remained open, but saw nothing. He had slept on my pillow every night for the past three weeks, and this would be the final time.

It was rather serendipitous that I came home early on Friday, after all, and feel tempted to believe everything does happen for a reason. Ashcroft had contagious parasites, so mingling with the other cats wasn't an option - he would have spent his last day in the bathroom, alone. Instead, I carried him around as we watched movies and sat outside. He didn't seem hungry, though I offered all his favorite flavors of cat food. Eat, eat!

You never really know how alone you are until the day you lose a kitten. For a short time, I had a reason to go home.


Professional Grouch

I'm home at noon on a Friday because I have the kind of brain that doesn't filter out background noise. Loud mouths, excessive chatter and 6-year old kids running through the halls asking for candy and screeching over hand-held video games in our office irritates the hell out of me when I'm trying to focus.

So, sure, I should have told my supervisor that having her son hanging out in my office was the reason I was going home. But did I? Nope. Knowing it would be a complete waste of time to stay and pretend work was getting accomplished, I made up an excuse and left. Instead, I'll spend my Sunday afternoon making up the time. I don't bring my cats to the office or show up with a 6-pack of Bud Light. You shouldn't bring your children.


From Jury to Defendant

My trial date has been postponed, which is fantastic news for the procrastinator in me. The insomniac sharing my skin, however, doesn't seem to appreciate the ongoing emotional weight of fines and/or jail time. 

Coincidentally, one of the guys* my sister & I met in the bar that night called to check on me, because he'd been worried when one of our drinking buddies never showed up for work again. He was sober-ish that night, had a bad feeling, and wondered if he should've been more persuasive about letting us stay in his spare bedroom. He didn't want to come across as that creepy guy, though, which is honorable, but since when do men worry about that?

*Lance Armstrong. This may or may not actually have been his name, but that's what showed up in my phone.

Lance volunteered to be my character witness, if I needed one, which would be great if the judge agreed that buying rounds of shots made for a model citizen.


The Way You Move, Soft and Slippery

I find it particularly amusing to list my son's phone number/email address in lieu of my own, when obligated to fill the blanks. Surely, he's amused when the pharmacist calls to tell him my prescriptions are ready, or the mortgage payment is overdue.

His dad recently (and accidentally, yeah right) "discovered" Patrick's Facebook account by searching through 38 pages of same-named teenage boys, then threatened to stop paying tuition if the account wasn't cancelled or removed (proving the theory: once a control freak, always an asshole). It seems like part of acceptance involves, well, acceptance. Shouldn't he try focusing more on recording his new wife's phone conversations, instead? It's almost like some people refuse to learn life's lessons.

I'm actually Patrick's "friend" on Facebook, which is flattering, in a way, that he feels comfortable being his drunken, obnoxious self in front of me.

Ed: 0
Divorced fugitive with favorite parent status: 1


Welcome Back, Google!

Perhaps one of the most difficult parts of being internet-less for several months was the unanswered questions. What's my credit card balance? Is there really a new Depeche Mode CD? What do baby bats eat? What movie is next in my Netflix queue? Are round trip tickets to Italy on sale? What's the value of my General Motors stock (sometimes ignorance really is bliss).

All in all, a successful experiment, though money spent at the coffee shop probably could've paid the internet bill. And? My neighbors should stop selfishly putting passwords on their wireless connections. 


Thou Shall Not Implicate Thyself

Some tales are best told in reverse, like a sister's 2004 Grand Am sliding down a snowy embankment in Breckenridge, Colorado at midnight, punctuated by trees.


Runaway Jury

Jury duty. About 200 of us spent last Wednesday answering questions, making excuses, trying to get deferral for our civic duty, and waiting to find out if we were chosen for any of the 5 trials scheduled this week in Coffee County. Correction: other potential jurors tried to bail out. I was secretly excited to be picked for two drug-related trials. It was like being picked first for dodge ball, a Sally Field moment, "you like me, you really like me!" I'm worthy! And, hopefully, still getting paid at my regular day job?

I arrived at the court room a few minutes before 9:00 (time I normally leave for work? 6:30 a.m.!) and spoke with two of my co-jurors. Always one to look for patterns, the similarity with Colleen, a redhead from Pennsylvania, whose ex-husband is an Apache pilot, was obvious. Also there? My next-door neighbor, someone I've never spoken to, asked "aren't you Patrick's mom? Where's he been? He's such a good kid..." Yeah, it always catches me off guard, too.

The case was dismissed when the State's one and only witness failed to show up this morning. I'm hoping for a little more drama on Thursday - a surpise visit by John Cusak wouldn't hurt, either.



There are two kinds of people in this world: those who paint over wallpaper, and those who spend an entire weekend scraping twenty-year old adhesive (and duct tape?) off walls, prepping for pale yellow Venetian plaster. My new i-Mac deserves the latter.

I donated my old Hewlett-Packard to the local Goodwill after reformatting it (turns out Patrick has a propensity for changing security settings/passwords), though they couldn't even bother holding the door while I carried in the monstrosity. I can't say that I blame 'em.

It also snowed today in Southern Alabama - has hell officially frozen over?


Reality cheque

My family has been extra supportive lately, while simultaneously giving me a much-needed dose of reality regarding Eddie Money. That controlling, bad-tempered, AC/DC playing Republican...are we thinking of the same ex-husband?

The most hilarious words of encouragement? From my sister TQ:

"I HATE when people say 'Oh, you'll find someone when you least expect it'. Well, who the hell expects to find someone? Blah. My cliché piece of advice for you is, and I quote (myself): "You will find someone when you're drunk and expecting it the most."


Baby, you can drive my car

On the list of top 10 cars in America to receive tickets, mine is parked illegally at position #9. Damn those other foolhardy maniacs for drawing attention to me. I am, however, currently on a streak of 1 year, 1 month and 11 days without a speeding ticket.


Nashing it out

"It's the same with your dreams and nightmares. You have to feed them to keep them alive."
~ John Nash

I was required to see a therapist in 2007, so I pulled out his old letterhead* to get his phone number and tried to make an appointment. Unfortunately, waiting over a year between visits means you have to go through the new patient referral process again, which takes a few weeks. Note to self: plan the next meltdown a month in advance.

*after two visits, when he declared I was too smart for therapy (ha! who's the dumbass now?), I asked him to write a note for Patrick, who was dubious at best, that I was fine.

My dad suggested swapping out obsessions, telling me that food and exercise had always been successful for him. I'm wondering if he meant the thought of an exercise obsession, though, since it occurs to me I've never actually seen him work out. It matters not. I dragged this flabby ass to the gym today, and now I'm too tired to do much of anything else. Bravo.

[Love Remains the Same - Gavin Rossdale]


Mourning has broken, like the first mourning

A funeral. Yeah, that was the best place for me today. Standing outside in unseasonably cold, 38 degree Montgomery, Alabama at my friend's mother's Methodist funeral, mouthing the words to Amazing Grace. Who knew?

The couple had been married 53 years...and I think I'm mourning? (an email to Ed this weekend: "'Til death do us part...did you forget? Fucker." And I wonder why I was unsuccessful at wooing him back?)


Poor, poor pitiful me

I thought I had passed the nadir of my recent emotional downward spiral, but that was only wishful thinking. I ended up leaving work at noon, mostly because it was too difficult to concentrate with mascara running down my face and burning my eyes. The worst? When someone would ask what was wrong.

I wrote an apology email to Ed and Terri-with-an-i (his new wife), telling them it was really none of my business if she had been divorced 5 times or where they lived. He keeps telling me to get on with my life, but I don't know how. I must not have realized how much, exactly, I'd be giving up.

I told him I missed our friendship, which makes me wonder if I have dementia - we never were particularly good friends. He may have a better life and new and improved wife, but I'm going to continue wearing the engagement ring.


Velvet Morning

You'd think 9 glasses of wine, blood pressure medication and an Ambien would've resulted in a few hours of sleep/passing out. Not so. I need a distraction to get over this ed-obsession. Unfortunately, I recently stopped dating, am on a diet, a strict new budget and still have plenty of cats.

2009: the year of the crack pipe.

[Meds by Placebo]


Get. Over. It.

I had almost forgotten about this loop in my brain. A cd with only one track: play, repeat, play, repeat. Anxiety in the cul de sac, to the pit of my stomach with no place else to go.

All I wanted was to get a free online copy of my credit report, but somewhere admidst the social security numbers and secret questions, I managed to pull my ex-husband's report. I couldn't help but notice that he refinanced his joint mortgage of $418,000 in October. Google maps showed his homestead on a creek, on an island near Savannah with his own dock. There were no satellite images of his wife sunning herself, but when I dialed the number on the report, hoping to hear her voice, I discovered it was only his cell phone. If they didn't live 6 hours and 31 minutes away, I would be driving by their house at this very minute.

I'm obsessing. And nauseous. I don't know if I'm more jealous of his $15,000 jetski, or the fact that he found love. Oh, wait a minute: IT DOESN'T MATTER! Stop, brain. Please, please stop.


Love hurts, but dating maims

I gracefully slid into my date's BMW, trying not to get boot drippage from the rain on his floor mats, when he closed the door on my shins.

We had one drink apiece at several locations (?), before we headed to dinner. As his eyes started watering and itching, my date said, "There must've been something in my meal. I'm allergic to blue cheese, peanuts..."

Me: "I tried giving my coworker a ride in my car once, but he was so allergic to cats, he couldn't even ride in my fur-filled car!"

My date: "...and cats."


Fiero Tundra

"Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams go
Life is a barren field, frozen with snow."
-Langston Hughes

(photo courtesy of my dad TQ*)

*I have a stronger aversion to frostbite


Proposal #6: Don't Think Twice

I woke up at 5 a.m. when my blue tinsel, makeshift engagement ring started cutting off circulation in my left finger.

New Year's Eve marked my second date with A.J. in six months. Apparently his persistance paid off, because there I was, drinking congratulatory beers (which makes him seem immensely more interesting and less irritating), after he proposed in front of the whole bar, and wondering how I was going to get out of this one. Will March of 2000-never work for you?

He seems sweet, but his retirement from law enforcement draws a giant, red waving flag. People drawn to this occupation tend to be paranoid, background-check running, computer key logger installing control freaks. None for me, thanks. He talks too much and says things like "chow" instead of dinner, and gives his daughter article 15s, rather than grounding her.

I hate to prematurely decide that someone's not right for me, but there must be some sort of balance between that and agreeing to go out because of feeling obligated and mean if I don't. I detest conflict, but maybe if I could just punch guys I don't want to see again? Would that be too subtle?

For people I've dated but no longer wish to talk to, I change their ringtone on my cell phone to Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, it's Alright." It's starting to be the only one I hear.

[All my mom had to say about my recent engagement? "I should probably call you more often."]