Trick or Treat

I got home tonight right before 6pm. I had a slight panic attack because I knew I would probably have a few trick or treaters and I didn’t have any candy in the house, which is not really a surprise because Mel, my kiddo, is like a corn syrup junkie despite my best efforts.  So I raced to the dollar store and bought two bags of candy. One was tootsie roll candies, because Mel likes those and the other was caramel cream candies, because I like those. And on the off chance that there were no visitors, we could enjoy our candy. I got it home, put it in a bowl and then turned on the tv. Of course, there was the usual scary stuff. Halloween4 was playing. I guess I probably watched it when I was little, but I wasn’t in the mood tonight. So I scrolled through On Demand and saw a movie called Mr. Right. I put it on and the opening scene was a girl taking selfies of her boobs. Mel was like, “Mom, this is real good to have playing when kids come.” But it quickly went from sex to straight up violence and murders, so it seemed rather appropriate, plus it was a comedy.

So the first trick or treater comes and I go out to meet him with my bowl of candy. He says, “trick or treat.” I say, “what are you supposed to be?” because he isn’t wearing a costume at all. He says, “A kid?” He was wearing a ballcap, so I say, “maybe go with baseball player, you’ll get more candy.” Then I gave him some candy and went inside. Then, three little Asian kids came dressed as princesses and spider man maybe? So I gave them some candy. Mel was in the house getting all pissed off because I was giving the candy away. After that, it pretty much went downhill and the only people that came were kids who go to Mel’s high school. And so I thought to myself, “Self, next year, you need to do something bigger than buying some last  minute tootsie rolls.”

That being said, I’ve officially decided that next year, I will go all out with the decorations. I may even put a sign in the front yard at the beginning of the month with an arrow pointing to the house that says, “THIS HOUSE WILL HAVE FULL SIZE CANDY BARS ON HALLOWEEN.” You know, so the kids can put me on their route when planning on how to get the most loot, because that’s what kids do. My friend Crystal’s mom used to always give out full size candy bars and that was all my kids cared about. We always did Halloween in her neighborhood just for the one full sized candy bar. I want to be that lady next year and the rest of the years to come. I thought about getting together with the neighbors to see if they wanted to do a block thing and all of us hand out candy and decorate, but then it dawned on me that I would have to talk to that wretched woman on the corner and the only decoration I would even care to see in front of her house is a casket, with her in it. Bless her heart (that’s Tennesseean for she is a fucking terrible person, but also goes to church religiously and I despise her hypocritical ways). So, maybe I will just do my own one woman show decoration thing. Who knows, but I love Halloween and I felt out of sorts this year because I didn’t dress up or anything. I was just boring and lame, which is not really my style. Well, it is, kind of, but not on Halloween!! So until next year…..

Sal’s Pizza

Every Sunday, after my visit with Joe, as I am heading out of Nashville, I stop at Sal’s Pizza. It’s a little cozy pizza joint that I found one Sunday while heading back to Knoxville. You can order at the counter or dine in. All the tables have red and white checkered tablecloths that you would expect in a pizza parlor and football is always on the little televisions that are mounted on the wall, while the faint sound of top 40 hits plays in the background. Sometimes I get my slice of mushroom to go. Other days, when I’m feeling more  positive, like today, I sit inside and eat. I started thinking about that saying “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always,” and it made me think about how many people we run into on a daily basis. We run into people at the grocery store, in traffic, at work, at church, walking downtown, at the movie theater, at a restaurant, everywhere really, and we never know what it’s like inside their head or in their “other” life, the one that they go home to or the one that they are escaping from to be where they are at that one particular moment when they run into you. I know that on more than one occasion, I have walked into that place, smiled my big “everything is wonderful, life is perfect” smile, only to get half a mile down the road and have to pull over in a truck parking lot until I could breathe again because I couldn’t stop crying knowing that I was getting further and further away from someone terribly dear to me and the sweet little guy at the register just knows that most Sunday’s I stop in for my slice of mushroom with extra cheese. But they are always nice to me and no matter how rough my morning was, my afternoon is always brightened up a little by those red and white checkered tablecloths. I guess that saying is right, we should be nice to one another. Always. Because you never know when you will be that one person who really does make all the difference in the world.

The Day My Worlds Collided

It’s odd how things hit you sometimes out of nowhere. Well, I guess they hit you from somewhere deep down inside of you. That secret closet that only you know about. The place where all your feelings hide. The place where all your secrets hide. The place that you think everything can go and be tucked safely away for all time. But, not much unlike a treasure chest, when it gets too full, there’s nowhere left to put things and they start to overflow. Emotions and secrets and feelings are the same way… I guess it only makes sense that when your secret hiding place starts to overflow, the thing that rears its ugly head first is the emotions because we work so hard to keep our secrets tucked safely and then our feelings run a close second. Or at least that’s how it is with me.

The last few months have taken a lot out of me, between my job and my friend’s tragedy that I have been dealing with and my own personal daily  life issues, I lost myself somewhere in the shuffle. I’m not sure what brought me to the realization that if I don’t get back to me soon, I may be lost forever. I used to go out all the time. I used to enjoy everything that was going on around town. I used to have fun. I used to just live my life… unapologetically. And then I would write about it for you to read. And then I stopped. I lost my unapologetic ways somewhere along the way.  I’ve kept trying to tell myself that I am going to get back to it. I’m going to start being me again.  I’m going to stop worrying. I’m going to find my way back.

The last few months I feel like I’ve been living this double life. There’s this whole secret life I’ve had for years. This life that nobody knew about but me and Joe. It was cozy and warm there like the house you grew up in. It’s not like I was trying to keep any of it a secret, but you don’t flaunt your security blanket. You don’t drag it around everywhere with you after you’ve been told you’re too old for it. You just keep it with your private things and when there’s nobody around you hold it and cherish it because you don’t need anyone’s advice or judgments about why you should give certain things up. So that’s what I did. I had this guy that was not what anyone would consider ideal, but he was my future ideal. He was that one person who knew the insides of me and reflected it like a shiny new mirror. And, man, could he write a letter. If you’ve ever dreamed of getting one of those well written love letters that you want to save and tie a pretty ribbon around so you can show it to your grandkids one day, that’s the kind of letter he wrote. Straight through my heart to my soul.

But then I had this whole other life. My real life. My day to day reality. I had work and dating and kids and bills and friends and coworkers and ups and downs. I had all these things that I couldn’t bother Joe with because life is stressful enough when you’re living in a cage. So I did the same with him as I do with everyone, I laughed and smiled and told him everything out here was fine. Life was a big sunshiney ball of happiness. And for the most part, it was. I was living my life on my terms with no regrets. I was doing what made me happy until it didn’t make me happy anymore and then I was doing something else.

Then I found out about Joe’s accident (You’ll have to go back to august if you missed it), and my worlds collided. My fantasy world that I had with Joe and my real life intertwined and tangled like long hair blowing in the wind. And it made knots that I haven’t been able to undo.

I spend lots of waking moments thinking about Joe, praying for him, wishing him well, daydreaming of his recovery. And in the times when I am not doing those things, I’m with a man in my real life who I also love deeply. It’s not a fairy tale romance. There’s actually not much of anything romantic about it. It’s logical, sensible, and comfortable… most of the time. The rest of the time it’s confusing and makes me feel a plethora of unexplainable emotions. The biggest of which is fiery passion in more than just a sexual way. He, too, gets me, just in a different way. I know there is no limit to the amount of love a heart can hold, but there’s also not one self help book on the market about what to do when you love someone, two someones, and not only are the answers not cut and dry, but the questions aren’t cut and dry.

I beat myself up daily with the what ifs of the situation and unanswerable questions of the possible outcomes. I know I am the only person out here for Joe  and if/when he gets out, I will be here to take care of him and I will be here to love him no matter how long it takes, but I also know that when that day comes, I will lose something else that is precious to me and every day I am torn up over it because I feel like I am being completely fucking selfish by loving two people the way I do and I don’t know what to do about it, if anything.

I’m not looking for answers or reactions. I guess I’m just trying to get back to my “It’s ok for people to see how fucked up I really am” mode. And I am also just trying to get back to writing because that seems like the only solace I have in my life right now.

My Birthday Present

As my birthday has been slowly approaching, my sweet little Mel has been asking me what I want. Over the years, I have had a small list of things that I want. Ex: a yoga mat, some weights, a blank journal, a book, cooking supplies, etc. This year, I have been at a loss. I cannot think of one single thing that I want for my birthday. Any wish I could possibly think of, is something that nobody can give me but God. There isn’t one “thing” that I can think of that I would like. So when he asks, I just smile and say, “nothing. What do you get the woman who has everything?” And he rolls his eyes and drops it until next time. I know when the day finally rolls around, he will have come up with some sort of something to proudly hand to me and I will love it, but when I try to think of anything materialistic that I could possibly want, there really is nothing. I have a roof over my head and it’s not just a roof. I finally have a home that I love. I finally have a place that I want to lay my head down at night. I finally have stopped looking at houses for sale and houses for rent. I used to be obsessed with it, but I’m so content here, I haven’t thought about looking in years. I’m not real big on clothes. I think I’ve mentioned before that I have the fashion sense of a colorblind four year old. So I don’t really need clothes because I’ll just botch that task, so I’m better off with my jeans and t-shirts. I have shoes that still “work” so I’m good on the footwear front. I’ve not cooked a meal since I started this new job because by time I get home, I’m too tired and just want something quick or nothing at all, so cookware is off the table. I just raided the $1 section of the Public Library book sale, so I have a small stockpile of reading materials. I really can’t think of anything. It’s kind of crazy that a person could be so content, but here I am contenting away at life. So I guess for my birthday, if I could have anything that I wanted, I would just ask that each of you take a moment to pray for my friend Joe and maybe take a minute for yourself to find your place of contentment.  I just want to wish everyone around me contentedness (is that even a word? No red squiggly line underneath, it must be) and happiness and peace. I know it’s probably cheesy to most of you, but I love cheese and I love all of you. So go find your happy and maybe take a birthday shot for me or eat an extra large piece of cake.

Not So Great News

About three weeks ago, I went to see Joe. I have a friend who wanted to go to Nashville to see the end of the Cumberland River. I had told her that if she had a Sunday off, I’d love to have some company on the long drive. She had off that weekend and we planned to drive to Nashville. She was going to wait in the car while I visited Joe because I was only approved for an hour. She said she’d just sit there and smoke. That should have been my warning sign because you can’t smoke on the premises of the prison compound. So we drive to Nashville. Everything is going fine. We are talking and laughing and we are excited to go eat in downtown Nashville. We pull up to the prison and as we are approaching the front of it, there is a “roadblock” right before you get to the parking area. So a cop walks up to the car, her car, and asks if I give permission for them to search it (I was driving at this point). I say, “no problem” without hesitation. I’m just excited I get to see Joe. They can search my butthole if they need to. So they make us get out of the car and send us in to an office to get searched. They didn’t search my butthole just in case you are wondering. They just patted me down and looked through my wallet. My friend came in and before they could search her, she pulled out a small little stash of valium that she had brought along with her for the ride. I guess she thought I would need something to settle my nerves after seeing Joe, because I had been a crying wreck after I left the last two times. Like a major crying wreck. Like, I had to pull over and sob because I couldn’t cry and drive at the same time. So I guess I can see why she would think I needed a gift like that, but I have never in my life even taken a valium or any other kind of drug for that matter. I just deal with shit the way I deal with it and if that means I have to cry my eyes out at a rest stop and sleep for an hour before driving home, that’s basically what I do. Needless to say, they weren’t prescribed to her and they were wrapped in a guilty looking contraption taken off the top of her cigarettes. So they read her her rights and they were going to arrest her, but by the grace of God that didn’t happen. My visit was cancelled for the day, of course, but I didn’t have to bail my friend out of jail (even if I was a little confused as to what would even make her think it was ok to bring any kind of substance within a country mile of the police), but she wasn’t even going in the prison. Not that that is any excuse, but this is real life and lots of people do shit they shouldn’t and lots of people do shit that doesn’t seem like a big deal until it is. But, it worked out. Or so I thought.  I was able to see Joe the next week and the one after, but when I called this week to get my new visitation memo approved, I was told that my visits had been suspended for 90 days thanks to that little stunt. So now my day is kind of ruined and I’ve called everyone at the prison to explain my side of the story, not that it will probably make any sort of difference, but I haven’t received a call back as of yet, so I’m pretty sure that my Nashville trip for this week is going to be cancelled and I’m kind of bummed about it, not mad, just deflated again. Things seemed to be going so good and then this, but I guess maybe it’s just the devil playing his little tricks so I lose faith or give up. When I told Joe’s brother, Michael, what happened, he told me not to worry about it and he told me to “let go and let God.” I’ve never seen such faith. So I will take his advice and not let it get the best of me and I will wait for a call back that will probably never come.

My Big Fat Blunder

Well, today was semi-eventful. Let me back up to yesterday. Yesterday was super busy at work. The guys had been busy. I had been busy. The garbage cans were overflowing and I had, for days, been meaning to take the garbage out. I stayed later than usual because I was going to do just that. Those guys work way harder than I do, so I figured it wouldn’t kill me to clean up a tad. I even cleaned the toilet, which is a pretty freaking scary job. I can’t be certain, but if I had to put a percentage on it, I would say I’m about 90% sure that every one of them waits until they get to work to shit. Or maybe they are all just really regular. Either way, the toilet is usually a force to be reckoned with. So I knocked that out first. Then did the trash cans. Finally, I went to the gas station to fill the truck up for the install guys so they wouldn’t have to waste time in the morning and could just get on with their day. Sweet, right? I go to the gas station. Fill the tank up. I fill it up so much it splashes out onto my shoe and I smelled like gas for the rest of the night, but still, I did my good deed or whatever so it was all worth it. Today, I get a call from one of the install guys. He says, “hey, what kind of gas did you put in the truck?” To which I reply, I put regular. He says, “not diesel?” And now I’m thinking, “what’s the right answer?” but I tell him “no, nobody said diesel. Should it have been diesel?”

Oops, that’s all I can say. I put the wrong damn gas in the truck and he was an hour and a half away in the mountains sputtering and smoking. So he pulled the truck over and emptied the gas out of it. I went to the gas station and filled up a 5 gallon gas can with diesel fuel, aka the right stuff, and drove an hour or so to find them on the side of the road. I pull up and they are both in pretty good spirits despite my horrible mistake. They put the fuel in the truck and start it up and it’s rolling smoke from the exhaust. I’m thinking I’ve ruined this truck that costs I don’t know how many tens of thousands of dollars. There goes my raise. But it starts up and the guys pull off. I light a cigarette and throw it into the trail of gas that is there from where they emptied the tank and I drive off as the whole gravel lot goes up in flames. Ok, that last part is a complete and utter lie, but I’m not going to lie and say that I didn’t wish that I smoked at that moment or  owned a lighter because that shit would have been awesome (from my secret pyromaniac perspective). What actually happened is I followed them to the gas station and filled up their tank with the right kind of gas and they were able to continue on their day and I drove an hour back to work. Everything worked out, which was super great because after I got back, I got some not so great news, but I’ll share that with you tomorrow.

This Moment

Nothing exciting or amazing happened today, but then again, nothing exciting or amazing happened yesterday or the day before either, but one thing new did happen today. I managed to go the whole day without getting overwhelmed or really stressed out and I went the whole day without biting my co-worker’s head off. There is one particular person at work who has been taking the brunt of my frustrations and I feel bad about it because he is actually not usually the one who is frustrating me, but I love him the most and we have history, if that’s what you want to call it, so I guess I’m too comfortable in our situation. You know how you say stuff to family that you would never say to a stranger? I think that’s kind of where we fall and even though a lot of things happened today that were overwhelming and stressful, I managed to not let it grab a hold of me and shake the shit out of me like it has been lately. So I guess that means I’m leveling back out. I’m getting back to myself. Or maybe it means something else entirely. I just haven’t figured it out. I did get a cool new computer program at work yesterday that will make everyone’s life easier. I mean, it doesn’t make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or anything, but it does auto schedule jobs and is ridiculously user friendly and super cool. I guess it doesn’t take much to make me happy…. or amuse me. Needless to say, I’m pretty content with my job at the moment and that’s kind of a big deal considering just last week I was wondering how long it would take and where I could find enough land to bury all the bodies. It’s funny how a couple deep breaths can save someone’s life and your own. I should get that written on a t-shirt or maybe on the butt of those super popular Walmart sweat pants. But I digress. My point is, I’m feeling more like myself. I’m feeling like I can get back to me. I’m not feeling as lost at the moment as I have. I’m starting to feel happy again. So I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the moment while hoping that it doesn’t pass too quickly.