“Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace.” ~ Eugene O’Neill

Dusk on Monterosso, Cinque Terre, Italy, by PeterJot (FCC)

                   

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.” ~ Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

Saturday afternoon. Cloudy, impending showers/storms.

Mediterranean View, Cinque Terre, Italy, by see.lauren (FCC)

What a long, strange week it’s been. I began the week quite weepie, for no particular reason. Just a bit melancholy, thinking about my dad, my life, and feeling a tug at my heart that I couldn’t quite identify. It happens, and sometimes without warning—that inexorable pull towards ground that is not quite as firm, towards an edge that looms a bit too closely—but it does not happen nearly as often as in years past, and my ability to find terra firma sooner rather than later seems to have strengthened of late.

Since the Germans were arriving this week, I decided on Sunday that we had allowed Eamonn to live out of garbage bags for long enough. It was time—time for the big furniture shuffle and commitment to morphing the what-was-to-be-office back into Eamonn’s bedroom. This meant that we had to move the humongous bureau/wardrobe out of the living room (after I finally acceded to the truth that it was too large to work in our bedroom) and into Eamonn’s room.

We/I also decided that since no one had laid claim to the loft bed/desk that was in here, the most logical thing was to saw the top from the bottom and toss the desk part, leaving a bed frame. Corey got out his trusty all-purpose saw and after loud grinding, voila: bed. And it looks quite nice actually, kind of a modern day-bed, and the metal of the bed matches the silver pulls on the bureau. We need to find some casters to fit into the bottom so that it doesn’t scratch the hardwood floors.

I also gave up the bookcase that we had bought to go in the bedroom as it was also black wood, and now that’s in here, as well as my black computer desk. I thought that since my computer is still non-functional, and since we needed a computer desk in Eamonn’s room, it made the most sense to move the black desk in with the other furniture.

So in the process, I gave up my bureau, my desk, and my slim bookcase, and Eamonn got a really nice looking room. Of course, the room really needs to be painted to cover up all of Eamonn’s friends’ autographs in black Sharpie, which he began amassing during high school. For now, it works. Except for the nasty curtains that are currently hanging up at his window. I have decided that I hate them, but that’s fixed easily enough: a bamboo shade, which can be purchased for a song at the discount store.

“It was like days when the rain came out of yellow skies that melted just before twilight and shot one radiant shaft of sunlight diagonally down the heavens into the damp green trees.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and the Damned

Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy, by ezioman (FCC)

The result is that Eamonn now has his bedroom back, and I have lost my office. But since he works all of the time and is rarely home, I have almost unlimited access to the one working computer, at least for now.

We aren’t quite finished with the furniture shuffle. I’m still going to put the nightstand that we had purchased to go with the wardrobe in our bedroom, which means moving the current nightstand as well as the old trunk that I have in the corner. The new nightstand is much wider. We’re putting the trunk in the living room as a coffee table, but since the trunk is currently the home of books, stuffed babies, and other miscellany, it means more shuffling.

At least everything is getting a thorough dusting in the process, and we’re getting rid of stuff that can be donated to the thrift store. Less stuff is good.

So this evening we’re getting together with the Germans for a deck party (Is using that collective bad? I mean, they are all from Germany), but I fear the party may have to be moved indoors as the remnants of the tropical storm are supposed to hit our area.

We went over to the beach house that they are renting on Thursday evening just to say hello. It’s always so good to see them. They are all thinner, oddly enough. Apparently, Phillip was sick for a while with stomach problems, and Hannah has her ongoing problems with arthritis. And Helma, well, she’s always thin as she runs around all of the time and expends so much energy in taking care of Patrick.

Unfortunately, we arrived a bit late, and Patrick was already in bed, but we’ll see him tonight. We communicate with him through a series of head turns and blinks, and I have to brush up on my skills as I always forget. But I tell Patrick that I will only spell with him if he’s patient. I’m the only one who can get away with that as he can be quite vexing when he gets impatient.

(Brief background: Patrick is my ex-husband’s brother. He married Helma while he was in the army stationed in Germany. They were transferred to the states just a few years into their marriage. They were making a road trip here in preparation for Ann’s (other s-in-law) wedding to the jerk (who is now history). They had a major car accident, and Patrick was deprived of oxygen, which resulted in him being permanently disabled, in a wheelchair and unable to speak. He has all of his mental faculties, and can still kick butt in trivia games. Phillip and Hannah are their two children. They all moved back to Germany several years ago, and make a trip to the states once a year.)

“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!” ~ Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life 

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy, by Aida Photography (FCC)

Let’s see . . . what else has happened? Oh yes, Corey worked 39 hours in three days, a record. He had a medical transport on Friday/Saturday, and the shipping agent didn’t book him a return flight back until Saturday, which meant that he was gone 23 hours. Love the hours, but it’s a hell of a way to get them. Obviously, he was tired. The downside is that they took away two shifts because he would have gone into overtime. Drats.

This week he’s already lost a shift. Feast or famine. Something has to give.

In other news, I saw Alexis on Friday when she gave Em and me a ride to do some errands (Corey was at work). She’s looking better, and she seems a bit more like her old self. I’ll just keep biding my time in the hopes that given enough time and space, she might be able to get to a better place.

She and Mike are supposed to be at the family party this evening, so we’ll see how that goes. Let’s hope that this gathering is drama free, unlike last year’s in which Ann and my ex got into a heated argument about their Mom’s care. My ex was, of course, being unreasonable and, shall we say, a tad nasty. It really brought down the jocular mood of the evening.

By the way, Cinque Terre, Italy, is in the Liguria region, on the coast of the Italian Riviera. Cinque Terre, which translates as Five Lands, is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. I tried to pick a selection showcasing all five villages.

“In a place far away from anyone or anywhere, I drifted off for a moment.” ~ Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Cinque Terre, Italy, by JoeDuck (FCC)

So other than those tidbits, life has been moving along as usual. Everyone is getting back into the school mindset. For Corey and Eamonn, classes begin on the 18th of August, but ODU starts later.

We’re hoping to have the truck fixed by the time ODU starts back so that we will have two vehicles again. Of course, with that comes the addition of Brett to the car insurance. Yippee.

I need to contact my uncle in Florida to let him know that I’m hoping to have the Explorer shipped here sometime this fall. I still cannot believe that he is just giving me this vehicle. I suppose it’s hard to come to terms with such unexpected generosity, that someone would just think to themselves, we have this vehicle that we’re not using; she needs a vehicle; let’s give it to her.

Wow. I’m really going to have a lot of giving-back to do once we finally arrive on the other side of this curve in our lives. I’m not saying that reluctantly. It’s something that I’m looking forward to doing: helping other people in any way that I can. Life should be like that: You give when you can so that you may receive in times of need.

When did life stop being like that? When did societies stop being about the kind hand? The welcome basket filled with flour and salt? The cup of sugar or the can of whatever? I am reminded of that scene in It’s a Wonderful Life in which they visit the family that is moving into their own home for the first time—the shared joy over one family’s accomplishments, the heartfelt good wishes, the kindness of the neighbors in the blossoming community of new homeowners.

“There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness, and terror involved in this kind of madness . . you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and enmeshed totally in the blackest caves of the mind. You never knew those caves were there. It will never end, for madness carves its own reality.” ~ Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy, by Mark_whatmough (FCC)

I suppose that I should mention the bit of drama we had mid week when I received a telephone call from Em’s case worker in which she informed me that the investigation has been kicked up a notch. My prediction that the house-visit/inspection would not be good enough to satisfy the pest was spot on.

Quite frankly, I am beyond tired of all of this crap. The pest can take a flying leap for all that I care. He/she has managed to get people to listen to baseless accusations, which has led to an unwanted intrusion into my family’s life. I’m over it.

The most recent slurs against my character include describing me as a “dangerous woman.” Really? You’re really going to go there? You have no idea as to the depths that my vindictiveness can sink only because I have been operating on a remain-calm-and-let-things- play-themselves-out tack. Do not mistake this inaction on my part for unwillingness to confront the storm head on. I have survived far too much loss, pain, and bullshit in my life to allow this petty insanity to hold sway over my life.

In nature, the extents to which the female will go to protect her brood are not exaggerated. I have seen heretofore sweet family dogs bare their teeth at the merest hint that someone was going to approach the newborn litter. The lengths to which I will go to protect my family has probably been my children’s biggest complaint about me. I won’t deny it.

So this is what I have to say about the continued assaults on my character, the non-stop telephone calls in attempts to have authorities, any authorities, look into my life, the haranguing e-mails sent to various individuals in which accusations flow like some kind of concentrated viper venom: Do not underestimate me.

I have done nothing wrong, broken no laws, infringed on no one’s rights, withheld no information, refused no intrusions or examinations even though I would be well within my legal rights to do so. But the time has come for this bullshit to stop.

Grow up. Get real. Get a life. Get a job. Get the hell out of my life and the life of my family. In my estimation, you are a danger to yourself and to anyone who comes within your very narrow scope. I could give two figs about your supposed injustices. You know nothing of true emotional pain, only that which you have manufactured so as to allow you to continue in your role as victim.

This is not a Tennessee Williams play in which you can try to depend upon the kindness of strangers, nor are you a tragic character worthy of the audience’s sympathy. Your chest-thumping, hair-pulling, hand-wringing tactics are banal and base. Your words are hollow. Your supposed grievances hold no water, especially not with me, and any empathy that I may have still held for you has ceased.

More later. Peace.

Music by Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue, “Where the Wild Roses Grow”

                   

I Remember

By the first of August
the invisible beetles began
to snore and the grass was
as tough as hemp and was
no color–no more than
the sand was a color and
we had worn our bare feet
bare since the twentieth
of June and there were times
we forgot to wind up your
alarm clock and some nights
we took our gin warm and neat
from old jelly glasses while
the sun blew out of sight
like a red picture hat and
one day I tied my hair back
with a ribbon and you said
that I looked almost like
a puritan lady and what
I remember best is that
the door to your room was
the door to mine.

~ Anne Sexton

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ~ Roald Dahl

   

Hermosa Beach Sunset, Guanacaste, Costa Rica by Josoroma

   

“Yesterday’s just a memory, tomorrow is never what it’s supposed to be.” ~ Bob Dylan
Two Columns by Sergio Tudela on Flckr (Creative Commons)

So I’m sitting here at Corey’s computer trying to put together a post. My own computer is still on the fritz. The part has been ordered, but has yet to arrive. I sat here yesterday to try to create a post, but the Internet kept shutting off, which eventually made me give up in my quest.   

It’s been over two weeks since my last post, or rather notice about no posts. Thanks to those of you who contacted me to let me know that you were thinking about me and felt my pain. After one of my most prolific months on record (June), I now face July with very little time left and a loss of my rhythm. Posting on other people’s computers is indeed possible, but a bit annoying for several reasons:   

  • All of my image files are on the dead computer
  • My bookmarks to my quote sites are on the dead computer
  • I am not used to Corey’s desk set up and find it very uncomfortable; i.e., his screen is far back on the deak and tilted at a strange angle; his chair does not have all of the squishiness of my chair; his keyboard is stiff not supple like mine, and he has no wrist wrest on which to perch my aching mouse wrist.

Yes, these are minor, somewhat silly things, but ask anyone who writes, and I would bet that to a person any of them would say that they have a preferred room in which to write, a preferred position in which to sit, preferred this . . . preferred that . . .   

“It’s old light, and there’s not much of it. But it’s enough to see by.” ~ Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye
Dusk on Monterosso, Liguria, North Italy by Celerrimus on Flckr (Creative Commons)

You may be wondering what’s been happening since I last posted (I know that you’ve probably been stopping by every day just hoping to catch a glimpse of some new insights from my wandering brain . . . or not).   

Well, the Germans were here for 10 days, and of course, the time passed much too quickly. This year, my s-i-l Helma decided that they would rent a beach house to stay in so that my m-i-l wouldn’t have her routine disrupted. The house was in West Ocean View, and I have to say that it was really nice. I would live there in a heartbeat.   

No Busch Gardens trips this year as there was no time or money, but Corey promised Phillip that they would go next year. Phillip begins university in October. He plans to study to become a teacher.   

His sister Hannah was her usual quiet self while here. Apparently she has a boyfriend back in Germany, and this was there first time apart. Ah, young love.   

Anyway, we all got together a few times, had the usual family spats (I was not involved in the big one). Found myself not invited to one family part and felt rather foolish for presuming that it was implicit that I was invited. The slight came from my f-i-l’s second wife, the step grandmother to my children. Everyone assumed that Corey and I were invited as ours is a pretty relaxed family, one that does not stand on ceremony. Not-so-much with she-who-will-not-be-named.   

Whatever. I’m over it now, but I was mightily put out when it happened. Next time, perhaps, if she wants to be so formal, she should send out engraved invitations . . .   

“every day, every day i hear
enough to fill
a year of nights with wondering.” ~ Denise Levertov
Narnia by Jurvetson on Flckr (Creative Commons)

Other than that, life has been relatively the same since last I wrote: I’m still having daily headaches, some pretty painful, and sleeping has become an exercise in futility.   

Corey is still only working three maybe four shifts a week. He did get a call from a shipping company, but they wanted someone with their license, which Corey does not have because of the paperwork snafu. Because the designated examiners who signed off on his paperwork did not bother to refile their own paperwork, they were not considered designated examiners by the USCG, which means that all of the sign-offs that Corey worked for are void. This is the third time that he has been unable to take a job that he is qualified for but for which he holds no license. So very, very frustrating.   

Working on getting the boys ready for school this fall. Almost completed all of the various forms. I still need to get Brett to the eye doctor as he is having trouble seeing. Since everyone else in the family (save Corey) wears glasses/contacts, I thought that it was only a matter of time before Brett had problems. Unfortunately, I was correct. Have to save up money for an examination and the glasses. Hooray. Another debt.   

Eamonn is still working at his part-time job at the pool store, and Alexis is still working at the thrift store. More hooray. Brett is looking into trying to find a work study position at ODU for the fall.   

Once we get everyone back into school and into some sort of routine, perhaps then we can continue to work on getting the rest of life back to normal. Who knows?   

We did spend three days doing intensive cleaning before the Germans arrived. We can actually eat meals at the dining room table, and the living room has been greatly decluttered (for us). I watch that Hoarders show on The Learning Channel, and in the back of my mind I always think, “Am I a hoarder?” Then I look closely at how hoarders live, and I realize that no, I’m not a hoarder, but admittedly am a clutterer. One man’s insanity is another woman’s neurosis.   

Just wanted to get something up. I feel as if I’ve been out of it for so long, and it’s really bothering me. Perhaps I can adjust my psyche to work in a foreign zone for just a bit longer.   

More later. Peace.   

Music byMichael Andrews, “Mad World.” How appropriate . . .