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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Down Mexico Way...

I honestly never thought it would be like this. The television is off, we can't pay the cable bill. My cell phones are off...I can't pay the bill. The second half of the rent payment looms large with no way of paying it in sight. Milk is a luxury. I haven't had a haircut in months, manicure? Not on your life. The hubster refuses to live in a world without coffee, so milk gives way to his whole bean habit.

Things aren't helped much by the lack of organization. I find myself piling clothes on the floor, because I don't care enough to put them away. Or give them away, for that matter. The fitted sheet on the bed is off of the corners and in a wad in the center, the pillows piled in clumps, clothing and magazines and old mail is piled up at the foot. I wash out my undies by hand every night.

I could cope with this if not for the bitch at work who seems to feel that she's being paid to watch my every move. I must call her when I come in so she can check my time, I must check in and out when I want to take a pee, I must put a sign up saying I've gone to take a pee and please call the bitch. Xanax is my new best friend.

I was okay until I had several things go dreadfully wrong last week because I couldn't contact anyone. It took me days to finally locate someone who could tell me whether or not my relatives in Moore, Oklahoma were alive. I spend over 5 hours trying to pick the hubster up at the airport because I had no phone to find out where the hell he was.

There are people out there who are obsessed with me because they acted like brats and I called them on it, and, jeez, talk about holding grudges! For God's sake, grow the fuck up! I think it's just awesome that you never had to work a day in your privileged little life, I also think you have no right to judge people who DO. So there.

I recently, being of loose mind and soft heart, offered to drive my son and his girlfriend to Mexico for her best friend's wedding. Oddly enough, I periodically find myself wondering why, if this is her best friend, isn't she IN the wedding, but hey, it's not for me to judge. Doesn't stop me, but I DO keep my judgments to myself. For the most part.

It then occurred to me that offering to drive to Mexico was, to put it mildly, stupid. We all need passports, although I (and everyone else) decided on those cards that let you into a foreign country providing you show up in a car, on a bike, a train or on foot. They're not good for flying. To fly you have to pay $140 for a passport "book."  For $50 bucks you can get a passport "card" which, basically, means you can drive into Tijuana or Vancouver. Or you can get these two things bundled. A  passport AND a card cost you the bargain price of $190 which, as you have undoubtedly noticed, is $50 and $140. Not to mention that if you have the book you can use IT to drive to TJ or Vancouver, which makes the addition of the card, well, stupid.

Anyway, I was told that the wedding was at a resort on the Sea of Cortez. The Sea of Cortez is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. I was told the area was a couple of hours drive south of the border. So...I'm thinking what the hell? It's about 2 and a half hours from here to the border and another couple of hours to The Resort at Playa del Dontdrinkthewater. The kids have offered to pay for the gas. I invited my other son to join me. We get the wedding discounted rate rooms and we can get a lovely double queen room on the beach for about half a million pesos which converts to about $53.26.  The gf will get me invited to the wedding, which I graciously decline. I pick out a white eyelet wrap dress and a new pair of sandals from a cheapo catalog, stop cheating on my diet so I won't look so bad in my bathing suit, and have every intention of spending the hours of the evening wedding sipping Margaritas and munching Camerones while the sun sets.

I have managed to be JUST enough put out so the hubster doesn't realize that I'm chomping at the bit to leave which placing most of the blame on my own soft heartedness because no one else can drive, it's a long story.

Then I finally get the official word. Turns out the wedding isn't at Playa del Dontdrinkthewater, it's at Playa del Pleaseheedthetravelwarnings. Yep, it's on the Sea of Cortez allright. The mainland side. Not the west, or Baja side. So the 2 and a half hour drive to the border is the same, but when I get there I turn left and continue on for about another 8 hours into Nogales, Arizona, from which I THEN turn south to the border where I embark on a 2 hour drive IF it were in the US with paved roads but is more like a 4 hour drive on the dirt highways of the Republic of Mexico, through Sonora, past Hermosillo and into the area the U.S. State Department describes thusly;

 Sonora is a key region in the international drug and human trafficking trades, and can be extremely dangerous for travelers.  The region west of Nogales, east of Sonoyta, and from Caborca north, including the towns of Saric, Tubutama and Altar, and the eastern edge of Sonora bordering Chihuahua, are known centers of illegal activity. 

I am now, thanks to the drugs and the therapy, in touch with my inner coward. I point out that this is turned into a 15 hour drive which will require an overnight, in Tucson or Nogales, both coming and going. My son can't take four days off. This is the best news I've had in two months. 

I am awaiting the outcome of this adventure, btw. The gf has said she is going to contact her friend and see what she can work out. I'm still awaiting the outcome.

This mental health thing is a pile of steaming crap. I think I liked it better when I was off my rocker. f

Saturday, May 11, 2013

When the idle poor become the idle rich.....

In my dreams, I'm lying face down on a massage table set up by the pool in a luxurious desert resort while a bronze, ripped guy named Jeff exerts just enough pressure on my toned neck and shoulders to turn me into a puddle of warm syrup.

In reality I occasionally sit, fully dressed, in a convertible chair at an Asian Foot Spa where, after sticking my old lady feet in a basin of herbal water for 20 minutes some guy who claims his name is Craig except his license has his picture and the name "Phuc" on it does something not altogether unpleasant with my spine and then rolls something small and round (that feels suspiciously like a set of Ben Wa Balls) around the small of my back for 10 minutes, following up with a cheery "you done, you pay now."

This is because I fear the results of a poolside massage. The sight of me scantily clad, stretched out that close to the water's edge would, most likely, inspire at least six warm hearted people to run over and drag me to the nearest inlet in hopes that I could reunite with my migrating pod.

The other nightmare scenario is that the current CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch will be staying at the same luxury desert resort, thus driving him to madness at the sight of a fat chick. Considering the guy's current mental state I do not want to be responsible for pushing him over the edge.

Just in case you haven't heard, the story goes something like this: The CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch, one Mike Jefferies, has given several interviews of late, stating that A & F caters to the "cool kids" and they do not carry XL or XXL sizes because he doesn't want to see his clothing on those women. He said, in essence, that every school has "cool kids" and "not cool kids" and he doesn't want the "not cool" kids in his store. This, btw, is Mr. Jeffries:

Just in case you weren't sure just WHAT a cool kid looks like. I'm guessing that, while excess fat is frowned upon at Abercrombie and Fitch, excess plastic surgery is not.  And looking like the love child of Gary Busey and Tilda Swinton is a definate plus.

A lot of people are angry about this guy. Jeffries, not Busey, although that's a whole 'nother area. In fact, MOST people are angry, although one woman I spoke with thought it was all quite funny as she doesn't shop at Abercrombie and Fitch anyway so who cares?

Well, in the first place, a whole lot of mothers care. Teen-agers are bad enough without dumping this "only cool kids allowed - oh, and no fat chicks" corporate identity on them.

So, let's try and be practical about this, before Mr. Jeffries gets his boney ass booted. Here is an Abercrombie and Fitch ad:

 Now, I know what they're selling. Okay, at first I thought they were selling instructions on how to do a breast self-exam, I admit it took a minute but yes, I figured out what they were selling.  But I don't see any way that they can merchandise that in public, outside of eight counties in Nevada. Is THIS a cool kid? And, if so, why is she advertising a clothing store? Trust me, that ad, appearing on the "A & F Quarterly" tells me nothing, including what "A & F" actually IS. And I don't think this woman is in any one's high school classroom.

Why do I care about this? The same reason I care that Disney has turned that fantastic little hellion of a princess with a bow and arrow, Merida, into a sloe-eyed little sexpot with a form fitting embellished gown, substantial cleavage and no visible weapon. The new and improved Merida looks as if she should be standing in front of a microphone in a smokey room breathlessly singing "Love for Sale." Stop that, it's a real song. Cole Porter, look it up.

See...I'm sick and tired of being merchandised. I'm tired of being airbrushed and hairbrushed, properly coiffed, shod and suited up. I don't CARE if I have the right cards in wallet. Want to know what's in MY wallet? Not bloody much of value, I'll tell you that. I like fashion, I think it's art and, as such, I like it plenty. I wear hats in public, dresses too. I don't wear t-shirts, I like cotton slacks and matching espadrilles. I like myself as a size 12.

Know what a size 12 is now? An EXTRA Large. A Plus size. And, as such, I am unwelcome at Abercrombie and Fitch. Which is okay, I never shopped there anyway, (not meaning that I have achieved my size 12 goal but yep, that IS my goal).  As far as I know, this is still Abercrombie and Fitch's most famous customer:

Love the guy, but not exactly my casual style.

I have, these last few months, been dealing with a lot of emotional pain. Abuse heaped on by relatives and "friends." My mother was a nut, and not in a nice way. It sticks with you, hearing your mother say "I hate you." It sticks with you when someone you considered a friend lies about you because she's tired of you and the best way to pull away is to tell a lie and then spread it around to those who are inclined to believe any crap they hear.

Living up to an image is a dangerous thing. I never lived up to my mother's image and expectations. I didn't live up to my friend's image and expectations which, for what it's worth, wouldn't have happened anyway, she causes pain and anger wherever she goes and I rather enjoy the self-satisfaction I get knowing that my kids aren't in therapy and have grown to success AND kindness, whereas hers are normally the subject of multiple calls from their school administrators.

I don't want other people to have to grow up with hate, with meanness, and with a picture of themselves as always, always lacking what is truly needed to be 'cool' because dickwads like Jeffries publicly humiliate them. And yes, he publicly humiliated every girl and woman who shops there, because we are none of us secure enough of ourselves to feel that Jeffries is calling US cool. Every size 8 feels unwanted by A & F, every size 12 feels desperate to BE wanted by A & F and every beautiful, kind and loving size 24 has been denigrated and labeled as not good enough for a store...a store that is famous for selling bush jackets. A store that is so exclusive it rents space in every damn mall in existence, from New York to San Francisco to Bismarck, North Dakota.

So piss on you, Abercrombie and Fitch. Shame. I hope Mr. Jeffries lives a long and healthy retirement, dies of old age and is sent to his eternity in a polyester suit from Big Lots.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

"Doctor, Doctor, give me the news...."

I went to the doctor yesterday. Actually I went to two doctors, one is a psychologist and one is my doctor type know, the kind who can legally deal drugs. My psychologist is quiet, not quiet as in "what do you think about that?" but a soft spoken person, probably about my age, who is fascinated with my mother. Someone should be, I suppose, he uses words like "abuse".

I somewhat mistrust therapists. No, I'm not one of those people who doesn't believe in psychotherapy, I think it's awesome, as the world spins faster and faster it creates a need for things that it never needed before, things like "the cloud,"  hazelnut lattes and psychotherapy. What I mistrust about it is that I have watched people manipulate therapists. I had a "friend" once who, in spite of her constant bragging about how her husband couldn't keep his hands off of her and what a fantastic mother she was, found herself in some sort of marital pickle and sought marriage counseling. She only "needed" two sessions because, in that brief time, she (or so she said) managed to make both her therapist and her husband see that is was HIS mother that was the cause of all of their problems.

Frankly, I think that her spending $15,000 on custom made bookcases for that ticky tacky house of hers in the desert suburbs just east of hell had something to do with the sudden cooling of the marital ardor. I didn't spend that much on my last car and I drove it brand new off the lot. Not to mention that the bookcases didn't help, the place always looked like inventory night at Big Lots.

Anyway, suffice it to say that I have seen people manipulate therapists. Therapists are people and, just as they size you up you can size them up. It's not too hard to start giving them what they want to hear and bam, you're cured and off you go, your marriage is saved. Yeah, like THAT lasts.

Anyway, I approach therapy as an exploratory operation right now. Besides, it justifies the Xanax, and that alone is worth the hour a week.

My doctor, however, should have been a therapist, although perhaps he wouldn't be as cool if he did what he does for me for a living. In other words, he's a really good doctor who takes the time to get to know his patients. And, if he were just a therapist, I couldn't get Vicodin from him when I have a root canal.

So, after the therapist, I head to the doctor. I have a standing appointment with him of some frequency, ever since I collapsed in his examining room  several months ago. He gives good hugs, btw.

Occasionally he takes blood. Mostly he talks to me. He seems to feel that I was entitled to a breakdown. He  understood that I gained almost 9 pounds in six weeks on disability, he confessed to indulging in a bit of binge eating himself.  So on Friday in I went. Now, while I was binging I was NOT attending Weight Watchers. I went off the deep end the week I hit a 26 total pounds lost. My doctor, God love him, was not upset about the weight (any more than normal) but about my frame of mind and he increased my Paxil.

I went back to Weight Watchers. First off, why the hell does it go ON at the rate of 2 pounds a week and come OFF at the rate of 1 pound a week? I dunno, maybe I don't ... oh, never mind, that thought was too vulgar for me, let's just say I guess I don't get rid of as much as I accumulate. Anyway, I got back on the horse and the horse is getting back into that smaller saddle again. I've lost six of the nine pounds I put on. It took five weeks but I did it. I also finished the 5K Walk Now for Autism Speaks in less than an hour. That sucker was 7 activity points! I was riding my new bike to work but then I seem to have bruised my tailbone so we're giving that a rest and damn, it's SUCH a cute bike...yellow with pink fenders. But I digress...

Well, I'm sitting on the paper draped exam table, swinging my feet and thanking GOD he has his a/c on because it's been 100 degrees and I have no air conditioning at home and I heard him coming down the hall. "Deborah! You've lost weight! I'm so proud of you!"

This before he got in the door. The whole office heard it. I didn't care. It was awesome!

Well, he came in and we proceeded to talk about how I was progressing. He also seems to think my mother was abusive, but he followed that up with "Shame on HER!" He then gave me some really great advice on how to cope with the people who come in and out of my life and turn out to be manipulative users.

"The next time you have to deal with her" he said, "just look her square in the face and think "Piss on you!""

He grinned. I grinned. And, at that moment, I realized I was close to nirvana. That advice, those three little words, managed to encompass their irrelevance and my self-esteem, all in one go.

He then told me to get the hell out of his office, he had sick people to see. I come back in three months. This alone makes me smile. As I was leaving he said "keep up the great work, you look terrific, I'm proud of you." I said "It's your doing." "Nope" he said. "It's YOUR doing. I'm just part of your cheering section"

And, for the first time in a very LONG time, I find myself not dreading bumping into those people, women I'm sad to say, who are condescending, who gossip, who make up stories and demand absolute fealty instead of friendship. But what will I say? In one case, as little as necessary and in another, absolutely nothing if I'm lucky. But I will be smiling broadly at the time. Because, behind that smile, the voice in my head will be confidently announcing "Piss on YOU!"

I am beginning to understand that "living well is the best revenge." It's not monetary. It's mental. It's buying clothes a size smaller because you feel so much better. It's realizing those demonic voices of my past (and present in a case or two) are fading as they lose their influence on my emotional well being. I'm a long way from the woman who once stood in a parking lot singing the theme from Growing Pains with gay abandon. But that woman was fun. And she WILL be back. I will again dance on the stage while singing "Let the Sunshine In." I will wear yellow again. That person is small, and off in the distance...but she is STILL in sight.

Except that, when we merge again, I intend to be the stronger for it. I will also be wearing a size 12 again.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

As I was saying right before my nervous breakdown...

It occurs to me that, in my insecurity, I have collected a largish bag of former friends. They are former friends because they turned out to be selfish jerks, one of whom collects friends like most pudgy, yuppie Type C mothers collect latte recipes. I was awfully excited when she approached me with friendship, as I have always been too much of a loner, and my family did a number on me like you wouldn't believe in terms of reinforcing my general un-loveability.

This was due to any number of reasons, one of which was that I didn't want to wear mid-calf length tweed skirts with bobby socks and saddle shoes and blouses with peter pan collars set off with a cardigan sweater. My mother spent the better part of her life trying to bring back the early 1950s...GOD only knows why. She freaking LIKED the "let's have a cocktail party, I'll make rumaki, hang on while I take a few Miltowns" way of life. She thought I should blaze the fashion trail and bring back the great days of high school fashion.

Something like this:

The problem with this was that I started high school in 1968. Something like this:

My hair was better though. I didn't wear my glasses, which is why I wear bifocals today. My mother wouldn't let me wear bangs, otherwise my hair looked rather like Marlo Thomas in "That Girl." My mother and I fought constantly over my fashion sense. Which, now that I think of it, was rather ridiculous, because I went to parochial school and looked like this most of the time:

Yes, contrary to popular belief, that's what most Catholic schoolgirls look like. They do not even remotely resemble the schoolgirls featured on the cover of porn boxes. They don't smile - they're stuck in Catholic School - and they're always disheveled.  They hold hands because it's comforting to know there's someone else out there just as miserable as you are.

My parents told me that I had to stay in Catholic school because I wasn't made of sturdy enough stuff to make it in public High School. Seriously. have you even BEEN through Catholic School?

Anyway, I spent my off hours in jeans and sweatshirts and P.F. Flyer's so that entire struggle over me not wanting to wear my MOTHER'S hand me downs was actually moot, except on free dress days.

Anyway, suffice it to say that my mother did a number on me. She used to make up stuff about me and tell her relatives about it, oh, she was tearing her hair out about her horrible, incorrigible daughter. I never did ANY of the stuff she claimed I did, I was too nerdy and frightened of my own shadow. But a quite kid who played baseball and did, basically, what she was told to do wouldn't have helped my mother's cause; painting herself of the long suffering mother with a willful, headstrong kid. I've never been sure, but I have my suspicions that this scenario was one she convinced herself was true in order to justify the juice glass full of ice and straight vodka that was her constant companion throughout the 50s, 60s,k 70s and most of the 80s.

LORD, what she did at my wedding shower! Not that my in-laws to be helped any, but that's another story.

Anyway, I have a feeling this is why I have three actual friends and a worn road littered with people who have gossipped about me, used me, drained my bank account for their home based businesses and then spread the "fact" that I am a drunk, bi-polar psycho when they tired of me. You doubt this? I still have phone numbers...

So...if enough people treat you bad, you will, in spite of those three people who treat you as if you have value, eventually have the nervous breakdown you so richly deserve. And so that's what I did.

It was a beaut, although it could have been better. I didn't throw anything, but I cried non-stop for three days, until the Paxil kicked in. I spent 5 weeks in bed, watching old movies, staring out the window, sleeping and periodically dragging myself out to buy groceries or take one of the kids somewhere. The hubster is concerned, but confused, he has no idea what I need but he has, it appears, decided that I have a legitimate issue going on.. My doctor asked "what took you so long?" I dream about the house I lost, lost because we got swindled by Wachovia and weren't lucky enough to be the evicted former owners of a piece of property that was sitting vacant for a year. THOSE people got their homes back. We weren't so lucky. We get settlement checks every now and then. These former friends are the ones who claimed that people like me were just greedy, over reaching lazy oafs who wanted to take things that they weren't entitled to.

I hate that worst of all. We weren't greedy, and we both worked. If wanting a home of my own, one that I was able to make the payments on until the hubster and I were BOTH laid off makes me so, well, there's nothing that I can do about it. In my mind, falling into an arm with a neg am and being robosigned to boot makes me, well, maybe it makes me gullible, or uninformed. But I don't think it made me greedy and I guarantee that I did NOT set out to tank the personal economy of the privileged, arrogant stay at home moms and gay bears who claimed I did.

This does not stop my dreams though. In my dreams, I'm home, I have air conditioning in the summer and a back door I can let the cat out of. On quiet afternoons I can hear the birds singing in the holly tree outside the dining room window. I hear the sound of kids playing on the middle school playground a few blocks north. I have a yard to water and a place to plant the red, white and blue petunias on Memorial Day week-end so they will grow to the riotous mounds of patriotic color at the base of the rose border by the Fourth of July. On hot days I throw a tri-tip on the grill outside when I get home from work. I can put a load of clothes in the washing machine in the evening, after 9PM if I feel like it. I have my half bath off the bedroom - the one with the white bead board wainscoting and the margarita greet walls and  my shower with a door instead of a spring rod and a vent for the steam so that I didn't have to fight the mold I now battle daily.

I had floors that I could dust, they weren't in the greatest of shape but they were clean instead of the brown, cheap acrylic carpet installed over even cheaper padding that reeks of cat.

I miss my life. I hate what the people I thought were friends did to me. I value the friends who stood by me, and that's a fact. I am full of resentment at the way I've been treated, and even more at myself for allowing myself to be treated like that. All those people I gave money to to help them out...let's see...there was the literally thousands I pumped into someones scrap book business...both in purchases and in becoming one of her sales people, because I thought she was a "friend" and wanted to help her get a leg up.

The down on his luck writer who was recovering from a heart attack and was about to be evicted...yeah, I handed over close to two grand to him, paid his back rent. Where was HE when I needed a couple of HUNDRED back on that to make my mortgage? "Oh, gee, sorry, I'm broke." FUCK HIM. He showed up to help us pack. For a couple of hours. He rambled on about his glory days, wrapped some mugs and graciously allowed me to buy him lunch before he went home because his back hurt.

The girl I used to work with who was in SUCH financial trouble, there went another $1100. Don't even know where she IS now.

So can all rejoice now because you managed to put me on Paxil and Xanax and Lisinopril and disability. You managed to send me back to work before I was ready because disability doesn't pay that well. You can all throw a party and drink domestic champagne while you celebrate my collapse.

Enjoy it while it lasts, my former 'friends'. Everything that goes around, comes around.