The Great Escape

I have lived in my apartment for over six years now.  I watched most of my kids go from single to double-digits here.  I lived here when I married my husband, and we have very many happy (and sad) memories within these walls.  But…

The decision was made in springtime that we needed to move, for varying reasons, from new landlords to space requirements.  The boys barely spend the night, and when they do it’s on t4e couch, so their bedroom became K’s room not long ago, instead.  I keep their mattresses and such for when they do want to stay and sleep comfortably, but mostly they are out there living their lives with work and hobbies and friends, just as teenage boys should be doing.  The girls always come, so it only made sense to give them separate rooms, but the point is that it wasn’t needed.  We don’t need three bedrooms anymore. 

I looked at a lot of 3-bedroom apartments during the great hunt, and I am sad to say they were all terrible.  Either they were way out of our price range, the rooms were too small, or it was a dump in a bad neighborhood.  At one particular dump, we were about sign a lease, but then a miracle happened and my uncle told me of a friend with a 2-bedroom for rent.  I jumped on that.  I sent Mark and Bernie to check it out when I was in Salem, and when their reports came back great, I called the landlord and told him I wanted it…no, I don’t need to see it.  Yes, I have the money.  Ok, see you Tuesday…and then it was ours.

Lease signed and money paid and keys in hand, we unloaded our first few boxes yesterday.  It is smaller than the place I have now, with 2 bedrooms and no dining room, but that only means less to clean and clutter.  So currently I am purging my house.  I wish I had enough time for a yard sale, but I do not.  It is however possible I will put a sign on the lawn this weekend that reads “Free Crap” in front of whatever furniture and such I do not want to take.

What I do need is a kitchen island.  Just something small.  I found the perfect thing on Amazon, but I don’t have 80 extra bucks lying around, so it will have to wait.  That and our new tv are the only things I want added to our collection of stuff.  Everything else can GO.

I find that unlike literally every other time I have had to move, I am not sad.  Yes, I enjoyed it here.  We almost always had good neighbors, and our landlord, Frank, was a kind man.  I planted all my flowers out front, and spent summers on my porch, and put the tree in the front window at Christmas time.  Alas…I’m done here, now.  Now, it is time for change.

Neither myself nor my husband have been well this year.  Me, more of the physical variety, (though lately things have been very good, knock-on wood,) though the mental plays in heavy right now, especially with all the stress I have been under.  Mark is handling his mental health in a new way, but he’s about a mile up the path to healing now…nowhere near the end, but far enough that there no reason to turn back anymore.  And so, we look at this new apartment as a fresh start for ourselves, mostly for our health and family.

I am pleased with where we are going, and the new opportunities that are arising, and I am hopeful it means brighter skies ahead.  Now, all I have to do is pack up everything I own in the next two days.  Easy-peasy.  (No, really…I’ve had less time to leave a place before.  This can easily be accomplished with focus and discipline and panic.)

Happy Thursday.

PS If you don’t hear from me on Monday, that is 1000% my internet service provider’s fault. We are at war at the moment.

Wells of Power

If you didn’t read Monday’s blog, please do.  Anyhoo…

The tarot card reader told me I needed to change my perspective.  She told me I was looking at it all wrong, and that if I would just tap into the well of power that I already knew existed, things would be fine. She was not the first to say this to me. 

I went to Lilydale many years ago, a Spiritualist community in south western New York.  The medium I saw told me I was psychic.  At first, I thought maybe this was a gimmick she used on folks, after all, I’d never had a reading before.  But then she asked me if I just knew things.  I do, all the time.  She told me there were spirits there wanting to speak through me, not just to me, but I couldn’t hear them because I wasn’t quite in tune enough to their frequency.  She told me I was the most psychically in-tune person In the group I was visiting with, and I should consider studying…maybe even there at Lilydale someday.  I assumed, still, this was a ruse of some sort…a way to drum up money for the community.  But at the end of the day, no one else in my party was told they had a gift; just me.

Then, Salem last week.  The reader was on the money about everything, so I’m going to assume she’s right about perspective, too.  I wrote a piece in my Patreon about how the Salem Witch Trials affected me when I was young, and how it was difficult for me to understand why I was so deeply saddened over something that happened hundreds of years before I was born.  And not like how I was over learning about a war, or even learning about the Irish potato famine with which at least my heritage identified.  No, it was the Salem Witch Trials in 3rd grade that made me cry unexplained tears.  A couple of years later, my parents and I took a vacation to New England and went to Salem, and I remember my excitement and joy and how I gobbled up every morsel of information presented to me.  I wanted to see and do everything, but we were only there for a couple of hours.  I do recall a live reenactment of Bridget Bishop’s trial…which leads me into my name.

I was named after St. Brigid of Kildare. I knew no Brigid’s other than myself, though a couple of “T’s” (that’s what I call the “Bridget’s,’) crossed my path.  When small, I loved that my name was similar to one of the “witches,” so when my parents suggested we go to the reenactment I was delighted.  Then, in high school, I read a book one day, on Celtic folklore…just for funsies.  What a rabbit hole that turned out to be!  I discovered that there was not just a masculine god, but a feminine goddess…many of them in fact…but the main one, the goddess of the country of my ancestors?  BRIGID.  With a damn “D!” 

Naturally, I needed all the information on that immediately, so off I went to the library where I learned all the things as a child.  It was right around this time that I learned that St. Brigid of Kildare may have been a real person, but it is far more likely she is someone that the early church in Ireland used to appropriate the goddess form Celtic belief structures to lure folks to Catholicism, which is of course exactly something the Church would do.  So, from that point on, I started the practice of remembering who shares my name when I am feeling powerless: a might powerful goddess. 

Anyway,

The tarot card reader told me I needed to change my perspective, and I have.  I won’t lie, I have felt a complete shift in my perception of the world in the last few days, which has made me question many things. Part of me, the part that is trained to silence myself, says these are all silly thoughts and to pay them no mind.  But the part of me that knows, the way I knew where our car was parked that time it was stolen, or how I knew that there was a spirit talking to me when I was five, or how I knew that my best friend was throwing me a surprise party for my 16th birthday, or how I knew Mark was going to propose….in that way, I know-there is indeed a greater power within, and perhaps it is time to cultivate it. 

Season of the Witch

As the constant reader knows, I needed a flippin’ break.  I have been under massive amounts of stress, what with a sick mother, and an apartment hunt, and a new job.  I was even diagnosed with Acute Stress Disorder and my psychiatrist doubled my meds.  As I like to say about the recent situation, everything is on fire, and has been for a few months.  So naturally, when it came time for the girl’s trip I planned last year, I wanted to bail a little. The timing just seemed so terrible…and yet, everyone encouraged me to go, damn the circumstance.  So, I did.  And oh, am I glad I did!

Much in the way that a week in the Bahamas with my sister renewed my spirit many years ago, this little jaunt to Salem, Massachusetts did exactly the same.  We were staying smack dab between there and Boston, and I was thinking we might take in both cities, but there was so much to do in Salem that Boston was easily discarded as a destination.

The first night we had dinner at a bar called The Witches Brew, where the waitress told us where to go and what to avoid-excellent information for the bewildered tourist.  We walked around for a bit and got our bearings, then planned the next day and headed back to the hotel.  In the morning we returned, and discovered Essex St, which is a walkable road with shops and tourist attractions and restaurants.  (PS all of Salem is walkable.  It’s amazing.  Catch up, Buffalo.)  Essex St. is probably the most touristy part of the area…when we were back on Saturday, there were street performers, too (and a ton more people.)  Anyway, we took a red trolley on a ride around the city, where a colorful tour guide named Skip gave us interesting information peppered with corny jokes.  It was nice to ride around and hear the history and see the sights, plus it gave me a sense of direction around the city.  I am used to meticulously planned towns, not the wild growth of villages you find in New England. 

After the trolley tour, we went to a magic shop called Pentagram, where I got a tarot reading.  Oooh boy…that was intense.  She asked if I had any questions and I told her: “Everything is on fire.  When will that let up?” Short answer: next year.  Long answer: the reader saw two issues…sickness and uncertainty.  Further cards told her the sickness was not mine but my mother’s, so score one point for the tarot reader.  The uncertainty cards unfolded to reveal my fears of change regarding “moving on,” as she said…as I am LITERALLY trying to move into a new home.  Then she stops, smiles, and tells me my grandfather is there.  No message…he just wanted me to know he was hanging out.  (Later, when I told this to my father, he laughed heartly and sad “sounds like Dad.”)  At the end, she told me I have power within me that I am not utilizing, which makes her the second psychic to tell me that.   (More on this in my next blog.)  She also told me that this time next year, everything with be different in a good way.  So…only a few more months of fire expected.

Then we went to the Salem Witch Museum.  It was…fine.  They have these tableaus with terrifying mannequins that light up as a narrator who sounds like Vincent Price tells you about the trials.   Then you go into another exhibit where a different loudspeaker narrator shows you three tableaus of witches through the years.  One cool thing they have is a copy of The Wizard of Oz script, but sadly no photography was allowed.  I also really liked that they compared the trials to McCarthyism, which was my term paper topic in high school.  After, you exit through the gift shop.  I very much remember the gift shop from when I went with my parents when I was 9…but I don’t think we saw the exhibit, because that horror would have surely etched itself in my brain.  All in all, I don’t think it was worth the 17 bucks.  Especially if you already know the story and if you don’t…why did you even come here?  But I digress…

That night we had booked a private tour, because I wasn’t interested in the group ones where 50 people follow a man with a blowhorn around.  Instead, I found a night time witch history/ghost story tour, and it was just us three following a cloaked and top hatted man with a lantern through dark city alleyways (we are so clearly not in Buffalo anymore, Toto.)  Truthfully, it was awesome, because he had a tale for every step we took, and it was so cool that it was just the four of us out there when there were like dozens of mass tour groups floating around…we got to see nooks and crannies they literally couldn’t fit into, like a smuggler’s alley, for instance.  The best spot was the Ropes Mansion Garden (the Ropes Mansion is Allison’s house from Hocus Pocus, in case you were wondering.  Sidebar: Salem folk are NOT HAPPY Hocus Pocus 2 filmed in New Hampshire.)  There was a bench there where you could sit and commune with the spirits that I thought was pretty neat.

After the two-hour walking tour, we were beat, and headed back to the hotel.  In the morning, it was the day of the AFSP Out of the Darkness walk.  I was missing the event back home, but I raised $750 this year, so I had to do my part in some way.  We started our morning with coffee and a lovely little nature hike along a birdwatching trail near our hotel.  It was shorter than expected, but since I got like 18k steps in the previous day, I figured I could easily make up the couple miles I would have done for the walk.  (And I did.  We walked like 17 miles the whole trip.)

We went back into the city and parked the car, then schlepped over to the Satanic Temple, fifteen minutes away.  I was very excited for this because I think TST is really cool….and if you don’t, it’s probably because you don’t know anything about them, or you think they are connected to The Church of Satan, who are pretty much the “bad guys” of the Satanic world.  I will go into this at some point in the future, because it would actually make for a super interesting blog post.  Anyhoo, we got there and we didn’t have vax cards on us because we are morons, so we couldn’t go in, which was a dissappointm4ent.

So, then we schlepped back to Salem proper.  FInally, the highlight of the trip: Witch Pix.  Witch Pix is a photography studio that dresses you up like a witch and then takes professional photos. I dressed as a “warrior witch,” with a teal fur cape, black and gold brocade corset dress, and black horns.  The pictures were STUNNING and we had so much fun. 

After some more shopping and such, we headed back to the hotel and had dinner, and then we decided to perform a spell.  Sahar bought a little kit for a healing spell, and we did it for my mother.  The crazy part is that I was ending the spell by blowing out a candle, and the moment I did, Sahar’s bag fell off the table.  Coincidence? I think not.

Anyway, we just hung out for a bit, then slept, and in the morning, I had the best and unhealthiest breakfast ever: fried French toast topped with Nutella and strawberries.  Afterwards, we headed home.  7 hours and 4 pee breaks later, and we were back in the Buffalo.

So.  That was my trip.  Was it fun?  Absolutely.  Will I travel with these awesome women again?  Yup, just tell me when and where, ladies!  Did it change my entire outlook on life?

…tune in Thursday for the answer to this and more questions.

Happy Monday.

Garden Fresh

I completely forgot yesterday was a Monday, so here we are today, with a little story from my morning.

As I was preparing to leave work today, an small elderly man comes in with a large woven basket.  I assumed he was there to rent or return a car, as people tend to do at my place of employment, but no…he truly had no business with us.  He explained he had just come to give us some tomatoes.

I looked at work-Mark for some sort of clue: was this a usual occurrence?  Had we rented to this man before?  Was this a thank you of some kind?  Work-Mark gave no indication of anything other than to say “oh yes, I think I remember you,” and then suddenly the man was handing us tomatoes.  Work-Mark went in back to get a box for them, and the old man asked if I enjoyed pears.  I replied that I do, because they are actually my favorite handheld fruit.  This gentleman starts talking about a pear tree that I assume he has in the garden with the tomato plants.  He then tells us the tomato plants came over from Italy, so they are Italian tomatoes (he himself had a heavy Italian accent, and I imagined him carrying tomato seeds in his pockets when he immigrated.)  Then he left, and I went about finishing my day, and five minutes later he was back again with his basket, now full of pears.  Work-Mark then tells me there is a pear tree on the Avis property, and this man was aware of it, apparently, so he picked me some pears. 

I thanked him, and wished him a nice day, and when he left, I turned to work-Mark with my questions, for which he had few answers.  Apparently, he is just an old man who lives on a farm and drives around handing out his produce.  I watched as this tiny elder climbed into the biggest Ford pickup I have ever seen and wondered what the hell just happened.  I watched him drive away, holding my box of produce.

I took some to my aunt and my grandma, and saved some for my dad, and tonight home-Mark gets a BLT for dinner with pears for dessert.  And I get a little story for my blog. 

Happy Tuesday.

Making a Living

Today is Sept 1st which means I have held my job at Avis for a month, so let’s talk about it now that the adjustment period has passed, more or less.

Now, almost my ENTIRE work background is childcare.  I have over 20 years’ experience.  I have literally been working with children since I was thirteen…I started out teaching first graders to read during my 8th grade study hall when my old teacher asked for my assistance.  Then, I took to teaching elementary level Religious Education at my church from 14-20, starting out as an aide and eventually getting my own class for a couple years.  This was all volunteer…my first paying job had nothing to do with kids.  It was Joann Fabrics and I was let go three days before Christmas.  I learned very little at the job, and decided that I had to go with my talent, which was teaching kids.  So, I started working as a substitute at Heritage Centers, a special needs day care near my house.  This started me down the long line of professional childcare, taking me to schools and daycares all over WNY, and culminating in me becoming a nanny, which is probably the best childcare job you can get, so long as it’s the right family.  And then…I quit.

Much like I did with theater, my other profession (and a longer, more tumultuous story that I am saving for my memoir,) I woke up one morning and realized it no longer served my life. 

See, I never wanted to have kids, as I have expressed many times in my blog.  I just do not have whatever it is that most women seem to have that makes them aspire to be mothers.  Never wanted to grow a baby in my belly, and hold responsibility for it all the time.  I much prefer the pint-sized relationships I do have where I birthed no one and can return them at the end of the day.  Alas…I am also past that point in my life.  The next time a small child is really Involved in my life, I would like it to be a grandchild.  I’m not saying TODAY (kiddo who may be reading this- I am talking to you and your siblings,) but someday in the future.  The point is that I am just not at my fighting weight anymore…I can’t be chasing around a 2-year-old, and I really do not want to very often.  Do I miss it, of course, but there are other things in life, y’know?

So, I took a job at Avis car rentals. 

Confident as always, I looked at the position as a challenge.  Something new, a step outside my comfort zone, and a skill I could learn.  I would be lying to you if I said it wasn’t difficult at times.  The computer program we use appears to be from 1986, and customer service is a world unto its own.  I have picked up all the basics and some other aspects, but the nuances are plentiful.  My manager (who is named Mark, like my husband, so that’s caused confusion) has worked there for a very long time and seems to know almost everything there is to know, and I feel like a complete moron when a customer asks me something and I have to go ask him.  Still, when I get the answer to the customer’s question or see how he solves a problem, I try to remember for the future.  I have been trying very hard to do this job right, and while work-Mark seems like he really needs a vacation (it’s just been him the last couple months, every day, all day,) he has been very patient with me and is a pretty good teacher to have.  I just wish I could go faster…I feel like I am constantly thinking things out.  But it reminds me of when I learned to drive.  I overthought everything and it freaked me out to get on the road.  I think I am in the same position now, but I know that driving is second nature after all that practice, so soon I will be whipping along, matching work-Mark’s speed.

Aside from that hiccup, though, everything has been great, and I actually enjoy going to work, and look forward to learning more.  And at a place where there are no children!  I mean, you literally have to be 25 to rent a car, so I am dealing with no small people at all!

But do I mis them?

Yes.  See, those babies will always be babies to me.  Take the H family…when I worked for them there were three boys, and mom was DONE.  Now, those three boys are in middle school and there’s two more kids in the mix, but I will always remember that family as it was when it was smaller.  I will always remember the then-youngest boy as the baby who fell asleep in my arms.  There are a couple of moms I am friends with on Facebook, too.  I am watching their kiddos grow from afar, via posts and pictures, but the truth is that in my heart they are still small…not starting high school or going to their first dance or joining the military.  To me, they are forever young. 

So, I will cherish those memories as I move forward in life, and I am pleased I have them, but I am ready for change.  Shall it come in the form of car rentals?  We shall see.  Maybe I will really luck out and my other career of writing will take off!!  One can dream, can they not?

Baby’s First Bills Game

A lifelong Buffalonian such as I should be outright ashamed of herself.  Buffalo, New York, is a drinking town with a sports problem, as they like to say, yet I am a proud resident who does not drink and hates sports.  I have NEVER attended a major sporting event, despite us having 2 big ‘ol teams. Alas, I have, since youth, and likely through both grooming and peer pressure, found myself rooting for the Buffalo Bills football association.

It began with our Super Bowl runs back in the early 90s when I still thought Buffalo was the only cool place in the world-of course we were going to the Super Bowl.  “We’re gonna win, too!” I said, for four years.  As you probably know…we did not win.

Then, we sucked for a few decades, and I was all “phew, I hate sports anyway.”  Like, yay!  I don’t have to pretend to care anymore!  But, then I met Mark, and discovered that when you love someone, it’s nice to share in their hobbies on occasion.  And so, after being dragged to one too many Avant Garde theater outings, Mark sat me down to watch some football.

It took years for me to understand and thus appreciate the game, but if you are a real football fan, trust me when I tell you, you do not want me at your viewing party.  My absolute favorite thing to do is compare a football game to a theatrical performance and if you don’t want to hear me use the word “spectacle” repeatedly, then do not invite me over.

Anyhoo, all this said, I never went to a game.  I never went to The Ralph (Highmark Stadium) for anything growing up, not even a concert.  Neither has Mark. 

And neither had Kevin, so when he suggested we all get preseason tickets, I was very excited.  We invited Bernie, another newbie, and on Saturday afternoon the four of us set off to see our very first Bills game.  Dad dropped us off, and the sun was shining on a beautiful summer day.  I snapped the below picture of the boys as we walked towards the stadium.  I was happy and smiling.  Then, my feet felt hot.

A topic for another day, but I wish there had been testing for kids when I was younger regarding neurodivergence, because from what I understand I have very many “quirks” others seem to not have.  For instance, in this case, I was wearing hot shoes.  I mean, they were just my regular work shoes, good for walking, and I wasn’t in pain or anything.  I just felt like my feet were suffocating, and when I expressed this to Bernie (who shares my DNA and fully understands,) I had a feeling it was a bad omen.

But then…everything was fine.  We breezed through security and tickets, found our seats quickly enough, and sat down to survey the scene.  My first observation is that it is…small.  I see, now, why we have never hosted a Super Bowl.  Our stadium is wee.  Also, expensive, I learned, purchasing one 16-dollar beer and then wondering where they get off asking me to leave a tip.  My seat?  Uncomfortable, as wee as the stadium itself, and on fire as well since the sun was directly overhead of us.  I turn to Bern and say I can’t believe how well everything worked out and she says sure, until we all get sun poisoning.

Naturally, she was right.

I much enjoyed the spectacle of the players taking the field, and the first quarter was fine, though I didn’t really understand what was happening without announcers running their mouths the whole time.  By the second quarter, however, I was dying.  The sun was roasting me alive.  My feet were too hot.  I left the inside of the stadium for the cool shade of the hall, and eventually the rest of the crew came out.  Bern, Mark and I decided to go, and Kev was going to stay and meet up with his sister.  I had decided while I sat in that hallway during the second quarter that Bills Stadium was not for me.  Too much walking, too much sun, tiny seats, expensive, loud, so many people…and all over something I only moderately care about.  I would so much rather watch a game at home with my chicken wing dip.  I will wear my Bills shirt there and cheer at the screen in comfort.

Anyway…we schlepped back to where Dad was meeting us, and when we got in the car he asked what we did with Kevin, so I told him we sold Kev for water-then we went home.

It was exhausting.  Fun for a bit, but overall…not my jam. 

Next, I should go to my first Sabres game.

Adventures in Adulting

Due to circumstances of the physical, mental, and social variety, there are many things that I, a fully formed adult, have not yet done on my own.  Given certain limitations over the past 20 years, I am a little late to some of the parties.  For instance, my credit score.  I don’t have one.  Well, I do, but I am what is called “credit unscorable,” meaning I have very little activity, credit-wise.  But, I do have a little debt.  My husband is “credit invisible,” meaning he has absolutely no credit history, and no debt attributed to his score.  That is at least something we can build on, I knew none of this until I started looking for an apartment, another grown-ass human thing I never really did before.

Now, this is not my first apartment, but in the past it was different.  It was desperate.  First, there was an emotionally unstable anciet landlady who barely spoke English and tried to evict us for “no GD reason,” as per the cops that showed up Easter Sunday to make sure we were out.  So, we moved quickly to a dump that was available and rented out by an LLC who kicked us out 2 years later to renovate (I’ve yet to see that happen, PS.)  So, again, desperate, we move to a place owned by a landlord who makes unstable landlady look like my lovable grandmother and literally causes both my husband and I to catch a PTSD diagnosis from our respective psychiatrists.  Desperation again, and I find this place:  a nice apartment just the right size at the right price with a good landlord who makes me feel at ease. 

Now, six years later, and time for change.  The rent elsewhere has skyrocketed, and they know they are losing money on us.  We know we have outgrown where we are.  And so, I make the decision, for the first time, to move on.  What I want is for them to fix this place up and get more money for it.  That might sound weird, but this has been my home for six years, and I want only good things for it and the people who provided it to me.  When the billion bucks was on the table for all of us last week, Mark and I were talking about what we would do with a bunch of money…not even a billion, but enough.  I’d leave some for my landlords, so they could update.  Like a thank you, because it might be their house, but for a while, it was my home.  And their kindness over the years helped heal some of the scars left on me from my previous landlord.  I am appreciative. 

But I am broke, so instead I’m just going to try to clean the hell out of the carpet, which has seen 6 years of my kids growing up and God knows how long of the family of toddlers that lived here before us.  I am PRAYING there are decent hardwoods underneath this thing for them.

But I digress…

So in looking for an apartment, sans desperation for once, I am encountering moments of adulthood I was not previously familiar with.  Like, credit scores, and their total ineffectuality when it comes to renting property.  Why, landlords of Buffalo, does my credit score apply? Just ask for a rental receipt.  I don’t know how you budget, but rent always gets priority in my house.  I will take a shutoff notification from the electric company and I will take a deferral on my student loan and I will take some bread from the food pantry, but you can be absolutely certain I paid my rent.  But no one keeps track of that.

Then I go to a showing and learn of a software called Avail that lets landlords use rent payments to apply to your credit score.  I don’t know why EVERYONE isn’t using this, but if they were…I wouldn’t be looking to rent an apartment right now.  I’d be taking out a loan with my good credit to put a down payment on a house that’s mortgage is HALF MY CURRENT RENT.

It’s a flippin’ scam, kids.  Adulthood is a scam.

Y’know, I’ve yet to buy a car that I didn’t find on Craigslist, also.  I can’t wait for that day, I’m sure my head will explode in a similar fashion.

Anyhoo…I continue with my apartment hunt.  I plan to be out the last week of September, so if anyone in the Buffalo area knows of anything available then…hit me up.  Unless they want a credit score, in which case they can GTFO.

Toe Trouble

So, on Thursday I decided I wanted to go down by the creek and kill an hour fishing.  I do this on occasion in the afternoons when I don’t have anything going on, and I find it to be a really good stress reliever for me.  Afterwards, I went to Aldi’s to pick up some dinner, and as I am pushing the cart through the store, I think to myself: “Gee, my foot kind of aches…probably shouldn’t have worn flip flops today.”  I continue shopping.

I drive to Mark’s work and pick him up, and then head home.  I take my shoes off, not thinking about the pain in my foot because it really does just feel like I needed to take my shoes off. I go about making dinner.  When everything is in the oven, I think “huh, my foot still kind of hurts.”  It hurt the way a toenail that need to be cut does, so I grabbed the nail clippers and took a look at the toe in question.

The toe in question was caked in blood.

Vague panic as I cleaned it up and thought of my dead Aunt Ka.  One day, before she was dead, naturally, she stepped on a nail that went straight through her shoe and into her heel.  She walked around all day with that nail in her foot, completely unaware due to diabetic neuropathy.  At the end of the day, she noticed her shoe was filled with blood, and went to have the nail removed.  This story horrified me as a child, because I just could not fathom how you wouldn’t notice a flippin’ nail in your foot!

Welp, I too have diabetic neuropathy, so of course I didn’t notice that I had practically sliced off my middle toe.  If you don’t want to know what it looked like, skip the remainder of this paragraph…ohmygod it was like a sliced hot dog.  You know Beeker, from the Muppets?  It looked like his MOUTH.

Anyhoo, I started panicking something fierce.  I think it was shock, and some rush of chemicals to the brain, because all of a sudden, I was going a mile a minute and couldn’t sit still, my thoughts racing faster than my quick speech, and my hands shook like I was freezing. It was bizarre, and somehow, I drove myself to the WellNow to get it looked at, walking in the front door and telling the nurse at the desk that I hurt my foot.  She picked up immediately that I was not in a well state, both physically or mentally, and they took me to a room where a nurse cleaned it and calmed me and then told me I would need stitches.

Still freaking out, they took me to a procedure room and the doctor came in and took a look.  He told me that since I am diabetic, and since I was at the creek, and since they have no earthly idea what did this to me, he can’t stitch it because it would make for a greater risk of infection.  If they closed bacteria up in there, I could lose the toe, especially being diabetic.  So instead, I got some glue and some steri-strips and a tetanus shot and antibiotics.  I was told to keep it dry and rest for a few days, which I did, more or less…resting has never been my strong suit.  I mean, I spent all yesterday morning on my feet at my new jobby.  Fortunately, there was little to no pain and I didn’t even need Tylenol when I got home.

So, yeah…I have no idea what happened.  I surmise that something cut me at the creek…what, I’ve no clue.  The doctor said it was a clean cut like a razor or knife, not like a rock or stick or something sharp in nature.  And too big to be a fishing lure or something like that.  Whatever it was, it was super sharp.  But I hobble on.

Anyhoo, that’s all for today, just a tale about my toe.  Happy Tuesday. 

“Friends” in High Places

I wrote some time ago about my mother, and the fact that she was in a semi-coma after complications following a quadruple bypass.  While her condition has improved in many ways, she remains in the hospital, though she will likely be transferred to a rehab soon.  I visit, and she knows it’s me because she smiles or kisses my cheek, but I can’t talk to her.  She can’t speak, and I can’t carry a one-sided conversation very well.  It has been months since I have heard my mother’s voice.

Driving home from taking Mark to work this morning, I remembered something kind of silly about my mom; one of our morning conversations that wasn’t about anything pertinent or serious.  It was October of 2019, and I came in that morning all a flutter, because this:

DO YOU KLNOW WHO THAT IS??

That is the one and only Mr. Joseph Gordon Levitt, former child actor turned Hollywood star, now CEO of a social art platform built to connect creatives.  I am a BIG FAN, and have been since I was a 12-year-old watching 3rd Rock from the Sun. He was one of the folks I followed on Twitter early on, because Twitter suggested him to me.  Over the years, I watched as he started hyping HitRECord, and eventually I checked it out for myself.  Then I made my first post, and tweeted about it, just to drum up a reader or two…lo and behold, the above photo.

Anyhoo, when I tell my mother this, she finds it fascinating, because she finds Twitter fascinating.  She once asked if she should get an account, and I said no, and she replied, “well, if the *President* is on there, maybe I don’t want to be.”  Still, she loved hearing about the connections I was making around the world via my Twitter, and Joe Levitt is definitely her favorite. As time went on, she would check in.

“How’s your friend Joe?”  
“Who is Joe?”  
“From Hollywood.”  
“Ma, Nick lives in Hollywood; I don’t know a Joe.”  
“From that John Lithgow show…”

Sometimes I play along.

“Oh, he’s great, got a new film coming out.  Focusing a lot on HitRECord, too.”  
“Oh, good for him!”

Listen. I obviously do not know Joseph Gordon Levitt, but I think it’s adorable that mom sort of thinks I do.  And given current circumstances, I am loving that I thought of this little memory this morning, because it reminds me of all the fun, silly things about my mother that I have been missing, 

I won’t lie to you and tell you that the road is getting easier, because it is not.  It is still very much an uphill climb.  But at least I have moments along the way where I can throw my head back and laugh.

No Magic Words

You know that feeling when someone passes away, but you don’t really know them, and you feel for the people that have lost them?  That’s me this week.

As the usual reader knows, my brother-from-another-mother is a man named Kevin.  A brief backstory on Kevin’s family tells us that he was adopted.  In his early teen years, he discovered he had two sisters, Jessica and Melissa.  This delighted the boy who wanted family, as all kids do, and he was happy.  Over the years, he has grown closer to both of them.  I know Jess pretty well, as we are almost the same age and she lives in state, while Melissa, the youngest, has been elsewhere for some time.  We’d met a few times, but I don’t know her the way I know Jess.

The other night, I woke up around 2am, for no reason. There was a text from Kev on my phone, stating that his little sister had died.  I knew he meant Melissa, in the way that I sometimes know things.  He wasn’t awake at 2am, but I wanted to hop in my car and drive to his house and hug him, because ohmygod, I would be crushed. 

I was a little crushed.  She was too young, it was a tragic accident, and it hurts when someone you know passes, no matter what your relationship.  And then, I ached for Jessica, who grew up alongside her sister, and Kevin, who I think always wanted that chance, to grow with siblings.  I mean, we always had each other, and I consider him to be the brother I never had, but it isn’t the same, especially when you’re an adopted kid looking for some sort of tether to your heritage. 

He went to Tennessee the next day, where Melissa lived.  Were it a decade ago, I would have dropped what I was doing and gone with him, but alas, it is not.  Instead, I went to work, but I worried all day.  I worried for my friend, and hoped he would be alright out there, and when he came home, he described the whole experience as “intense,” and I suppose that is probably the best word to use.  I felt intensely when I heard she was gone, not for myself, but for her siblings that loved her so much.  I felt sad because I always meant to hang out with her, for real, as adults…and I will never get that chance.  But furthermore, her family will never get the chance to see her grow and change and become more herself, and that is what makes me sad. 

I am sad for my friend Jessica.  I am heartbroken for my brother, Kevin.  But I have no direct contact to Melissa, so I feel almost fraudulent in my emotions, as though I have no right to have them.  Alas, I know, through years of therapy, that all emotions are valid, and embracing them isn’t the end of the world.  So, I will accept that I feel terrible, but I know it is only because people I love are hurting. 

Perhaps the gods will grant me some magic words to say to make it all better.  Probably not, though.

Edit: Melissa’s gofundme can be found here.