Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Matter of Fact

My grandpa died today.
It's been this long, drawn out thing looming over our heads for months. The cancer had spread throughout his body and into his bones. The doctors couldn't do anything else for him. I wonder how many other families have heard that...
The best decision I ever made was going to see him in January. For weeks before the visit I heard "prepare yourself" though I'm not sure why people say that because how in the hell do you "prepare yourself" to stare death in the face. Sure, it's not my own death right now, but it was the first time I'd ever been in the presence of somebody that knew they were going to die.
The e-mails from my aunts kept taunting me, "He's not good. He's not well. Prepare yourself" SHUT THE FUCK UP! I hate it when people do that. It's all a matter of opinion and low and behold my opinion was greatly different from theirs. From what I had heard, I expected this crotchty, half-corpse to meet us at the door of his home, although I could never imagine anything other than normal old grandpa. Then, there he was, just at I remember - loud, nasaly, Italian and over exaggerated. There were some differences though - his usual olive skin had faded into gray a bit, he tired easily and he looked like he was "creaking and crunching" like it was difficult to walk, sit or stand up. But, then he'd have these conversations with us - laughing, telling us about his girlfriend Tudy and visits with friends. We rode around the neighborhood in his golf cart, ate lunch at the clubhouse, had dinner with him every night and he got to meet his only great-granddaughter for the first and last time. He seemed as happy as one could be. The words sickly or decrepit or sad or out of it never crossed my mind. He was all there and that's how I'll always remember him.
My mom wasn't so lucky though. She was down in Arizona taking care of him, watching him deteriorate until he could no longer speak, but continued to remain stoic. She called me today and left a message on my cellphone - "I just wanted to tell you that grandpa died this morning," she said very matter-of-factly. She's been that way throughout this ordeal - although it's never really seemed like an ordeal in her eyes - just a part of life when you get older. We've had conversations that started, "When grandpa dies..." as if were no big deal and we're just talking about what we did that day...matter of fact. Is this just a coping mechanism? I mean, the woman cries during Lifetime movies, but never when somebody in real life dies. When do we get into this state of matter of fact-ness? Is it just her or will I be this way when my parents start to go? I can't even bear the thought - I don't think I could ever be that way. Although my relationship with my parents and her relationship with her parents is not at all the same. I'm sure that has something to do with it. I'm not angry about it. It was just something that I kept observing and thought was odd.
An inheritance check came in the mail the other day. He had talked about it during our visit, but we weren't sure if was actually going to happen. I'm investing a good portion of it, but grandpa would want me to spend it too. He'd say, "go do something fun with your life," although I'm sure he'd saved a penny here and there because I remember him saying, "There's a million dollars there and that's pretty good for an old, worn out bombadier." Maybe I'll take that Europe trip I've wanted to take my entire life. I'll make sure to visit the hometowns of his parents, my great grandparents in Italy, which I made sure to ask where they were when I was in Tucson. That seems appropriate.
The visit was good and we dreaded the goodbye. My sister handed Remi off to me and I turned away, snatching a scratchy paper napkin off of the counter for the inevitable. This was the last time I was ever going to see him, talk to him, hug him and this time I knew it for certain. He hugged me as I tried to hold it in, then put my face between his hands and pulled me away to look at me and said, "my perky one" as a tear rolled out of my eye. He pulled me back in and squeezed me tight.
We piled into the car for the airport and he stood on the driveway and watched us drive away. I watched him blow kisses until we were almost to the end of his short street, then his head dropped and his expression changed as he let his emotions overcome him while heading back inside the house. Grandpa had expressed his dislike for living alone while we were there, describing it as "haunting." It was hard to bear the fact that someone wasn't there with him when we left. After rounding the corner, my mom stopped the car to let my sister dry heave out the door. The visit was easy, the good-bye was not.
He was a WWII veteran, a world traveler, a story-teller and a nature lover. At almost 88, he lived a full and eventful life. I didn't see him often, but some of my fondest memories involve him - trips to Monterey, Calif. to feed the crazy leg-climbing squirrels and giant pelicans, his 70th surprise birthday party, our wild jaunts in the golf cart terrorizing the old folks neighborhood and exclaiming whenever we saw a "desert jack!" (jackrabbit) and right at the end when he threw orange berries from his neighbors bushes at us just to be a beast. His ornery spirit could always make you smile. I'll miss you GP...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Feelin' the Love

It's been a week since Valentine's Day, but I always have something to say about it because I think it's a complete bullshit holiday. And, no, I don't blame it on my single status. In fact I think it might be worse when you're in a relationship, especially a new relationship. You feel obligated to get that person a gift, then, in turn you're showered with tacky teddy bears holding hearts, thoughtless roses and other choice trashcan-ready trinkets that looked good on the shelf in the store with the other pink and red crap. I'll take some chocolate though.
Perhaps I'm just not the romantic type. Actually I KNOW I'm not the romantic type. I just want things to be real and not forced. I mean:
Flowers every once in awhile - cool, going out to dinner from time to time - good, a well placed and truthful compliment here and there - great. But:
Gifts that are disgustingly cliche (a.k.a. stuffed animals) - vomit, whispering sweet nothings into my ear by candlelight - I'm going to laugh loudly at you, making me the topic of bad poetry - I will most likely leave. (I haven't decided if it's OK to make me the topic of good poetry yet...)
A designated day to be a completely fake, sappy retard is not my idea of romance anyway. Why can't we all just be in tune with the personalities of our significant others all the time then act accordingly instead of getting carried away with the meaningless shit that February 14th brings?
However, the big V-Day does bring back some interesting memories...
* In first grade, my friend Mina and I planned out a little scheme to show our little "boyfriends" some "love." We went up to our "boyfriends" at the same time on the playground armed with some candy conversation hearts. When I got my boyfriend's attention, I practically hurled the candy into his face while screeching "BE MINE!" turned and ran away as fast as I could. How's that for romance?
* In fourth grade, Valentine's Day was all about the little cards and candy and love was the furthest thing from our minds. All we knew was that we got to make a Valentine holder out of a shoe box then see which kid in class handed out the best candy when we searched through all the cards. That year I looked through my cards as usual and got a huge, unwanted surprise when I opened one of the cards and saw in big red letters "LARA, I LOVE YOU! LOVE, James." Ewwwww, gross...
* My sophomore year in college we decided that all of us single people - or in my case, those with boyfriends who lived halfway across the country - should get together and drink. That sounds about right for college. The case race was called "Heartaches and Handcuffs," we made shirts with nicknames on the back along with the saying, "Cause nothing cures a heartache like a case of beer." We had a guy and a girl handcuff themselves to each other and the first couple to finish their case of beer, without puking of course, won. Guess who won? That's right. I'm the fuck-Valentine's-Day-case-race champion 2003. My shirt nickname was "The Body" because some stupid frat boy I took to a date party earlier that year said my body overshadowed my face (I'm so not a but-her-face dammit!). After the race, we ended up heading to the fraternity house he happened to belong to (not to purposely run into him, but to see other friends there) and when he saw the shirt, he automatically put two and two together. I've never seen anybody put their foot in their mouth so fast. I still think he's a complete ass cheese and he knows it. Now that is some sweet shit.
* Last year, the boyfriend made reservations at a nice restaurant. I came home from worked completely strung out and stressed and in no mood to be out in public. When I began ironing my new blue silk shirt to wear, the iron pissed all over it and I pretty much lost any shred of patience I had left. Deciding that I had nothing else to wear, he cancelled the reservations without a protest and we ordered Papa John's, then sat on our asses in front of the TV with pizza and beer - best Valentine's Day ever...No, really, I'm serious.
This year I got pity from a Target employee. It was time to dye my hair, so I made a little stop to grab a few things. When I brought them to the express lane, the girl asked if I was doing anything special for Valentine's Day. I had plans with some of the girls, but at the risk of telling my life story to a complete stranger while others are waiting in line (nobody likes a douchebag), I just said, "No, it's just like any other day for me." Check out girl immediately followed my response with a deeply sympathetic, "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwww."
I'm like, don't fucking "awww" me bitch! I'm single and I think Valentine's Day is a joke regardless of my relationship status because I'm not a total dipshit ass hat - I don't have leprosy and I don't need to be insulted with pity. I wanted to stand up on her counter and announce to the rest of the store how much money I saved by not buying any of the lacy heart bullshit.
But, it's cool. I know my night turned out better than anybody who had to fake-it-up by candlelight because I was dancing and drinking to an '80s cover band, hanging out with some chicks I hardly ever get to see and meeting new people at McFadden's downtown - Best "singleton" Valentine's Day ever.
I hope you enjoyed your faux holiday as much as I did this year.

* Promptly after writing this last night, my computer freaked out and went all blue screen on me - which scares me because that's what it did right before my hard drive fried a few summers ago. Thank god it was saved as a draft. Then, about 3 a.m. I went into my bedroom to go to sleep and walked in to find a giant pile of dog puke right in the middle of my bed. After cussing profusely, ripping the sheets off the bed, attempting to clean the nastiness and cursing Drake's existence (I know it was him (the ex's yellow lab) and not Andy (my Jack Russell Terrier) because his paper towel eating habit was quite evident in the pile), I told Kory to scoot the hell over and Andy served as a barrier.

In other news, I haven't moved out yet, but since I've gotten back from Mexico, his attitude seems to have changed drastically. It's not that I think things can be worked out, but it would be ideal if we could come away from this thing as friends - or at least civil to one another. We'll see how long this "new" civil attitude lasts.
Looking for apartments I can afford will be a lot less depressing if I find a new job within the next couple of months. I just dropped my resume in the mail last night for an editor's position at UMKC. Hopefully I get a bite.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Land of rip off the gringos and other adventures

I’ve been back from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for more than a week, but it took me a while to get back into the swing of reality, so I could post something about it. Reality blows by the way. Here are some things I observed, felt and experienced during my trip:

Mexico is such a dirty ass country. A plastic bag or some kind of trash clung to every cacti or shrub that dared grow in the dust as we drove by in the giant van full of strangers. My parents and I were more or less attacked in the airport by Mexican timeshare recruiters and somehow managed to head down the road to the resort in a shuttle at $12 a person for a 15 minute drive. Damn.
Squished mobile homes with women outside hanging clothes on lines, graffiti covered bus stops (and everything for that matter) and telephone poles plastered with political posters lined the streets as the van driver whizzed by. I’ve been to Cancun twice and I guess I forgot that Mexicans drive as if there’s no speed limit nor anybody else on the road. Fuck renting our own car - we’d all be killed for sure. Some rusted out truck pulled up next to us with three bumper stickers reading, “Rene Nunez Presidente” slapped onto the back of it. They matched the posters on all the phone poles. When you think of Mexico, you think of white sandy beaches and paradise, but you forget that you have to go through the slums to actually get to any of those places.
Cheesy mariachi music blared out of the speakers, then stopped so the DJ could take a call. “No, it’s boring today” I heard a woman on the radio say in Spanish. At least all of my four semesters of Spanish in college haven’t been lost.
Every now and then a whiff of ass, sewage and rotten eggs wafted up into my nose. It was almost as bad as when somebody ripped ass on the tiny sardine can plane we were on from KC to Houston. We were seated by the bathroom, so along with the crotches and asses in our faces, we suspected a stench to happen sometime. But, my mom and I still cracked up when it invaded our space, burying our faces in our coats. That was something else I remembered about Cancun - the shitty sewer system. Of course I guess “shitty” is a matter of perspective and what you’re used to though. Those native to Mexico have a more relaxed way of living and get along just fine for the most part - or so it seems - but we from United States, who live in a world that is triple sanitized before it even comes into human contact, take a sip of the water or stop by a sketchy taco stand in Mexico and end up peeing out of our butts for a week - kind of weird.
Anyway, after what seemed like hours on the crazy train, we were greeted by my cousin Jake at our resort - The Cabo Surf Hotel - headed up to our room, which had a hammock on the balcony by the way - I was pretty much obsessed with that little feature - changed out of our frigid-ready Kansas clothes, grabbed a Corona and heading straight to the beach. Beautiful...

Four and a half days is just not long enough in paradise. We were sort of marooned on this resort, but made the 20 minute drive into Cabo a few times - a trip to the Mexican Wal-Mart - for booze of course, to a little outdoor restaurant for the welcome dinner the first night, Cabo Wabo - Sammy Hagar’s bar and club and some shopping. The cost for cabs was ridiculous and different every single time. That’s one part of the lifestyle I could never get used to.

Being a journalist, I like talking and being around people, but on the other hand, I’ve always been sort of a loner - alone with my thoughts, always stepping back to observe etc...And having that trait, along with my single status in that atmosphere left me with mixed feelings. I mean, the ex was supposed to be laying on the beach with me, but everything fell apart and I obviously took back his invitation. I watched other couples - especially my cousin and his new bride - breathing each other in like they wouldn’t be happy any other way, but then I liked my the freedom of having my own agenda and just relaxing, without reservations or worries. Of course my single-ness was glaringly obvious since everybody in the entire wedding party made a joke out of it - a light hearted joke of course, which didn’t offend me - yet still I was reminded that I was the “only single woman in the group” everyday in one way or another. In fact I found myself reminding myself that I was the only single woman in the group - time after time I’d wind up sitting in between my parents having flashbacks from “Bridget Jones’ Diary.”

We were acquainted with people right away - some we had met already at the engagement party in October and others were new. Most of them were from Phoenix or southern California, so none of them quite understood the euphoric state I was in because I was out of the frozen tundra of Kansas City. Almost all the husbands were pleasant, good-looking and well off. I’m thinking I should move southwest...Anyway, it was pretty slim pickings as far as single guys. I ended up hanging out with one of the groomsmen the entire trip - one of Jake’s longtime friends, who lives in the KC area. My mom kept exclaiming - "God, he's so good looking!" He was completely hammered that first night and while I thought he was hilarious at first when we were out on the town after the welcome dinner, I sort of changed my mind when he basically attacked me in the hot tub back at the resort and wouldn’t back down. While the conversation was a little bit better the next night, most likely because less alcohol was flowing, I was still wary. We had an interesting chat about baggage - me still living with my ex-boyfriend and the circumstances surrounding our break-up and his crazy ex-wife and son. The only difference is, mine will fade away with time and his will be around forever - perhaps a little too much for my little 24-year-old ass to handle. He then went on to talk about his ex-wife’s giant boobs and how the relationship was great when they were dating because she would rip off her clothes. He then proceeded to attack me in the hot tub again - not so cute this time.

I’m going OK, did I just time warp to the days when I used to peruse frat parties for dates? I’m so done with that shit. How old are these guys? Haven’t they decided that it’s a little inappropriate to come charging full speed ahead at a woman they don’t even know, boner blazing, stopping at nothing to make the kill? And, most importantly, hasn’t that gotten a little old by now? I know I’m about to lose my mind over it. Perhaps it was the setting - Mexico, ocean...hottub, but this isn’t Spring Break in Cancun with “Girls Gone Wild” video cameras following you around. This is a little bit classier, we’re a little bit older now and frankly I don’t give a shit where I happen to be vacationing. I’m not going to sleep with somebody I just met. I refuse to be involved in something that ends in a guy praising me with “good game, good show” then smacking me on the ass on my way out the door. I hold myself to the highest tier of respect and I’m not giving anybody a reason to treat me otherwise. Call me a prude, but the amount of rampant STDs and people that can just snap their fingers and detach themselves emotionally in this world makes me shudder. It’s just not worth it to me.
I like to feel good about myself the next day instead of used up and tossed aside. I’m a relationship kind of girl. I may be slightly jaded from my last bout with love, but I’m not bitter yet and I thrive on mental connections with people. There has to be a guy or two that doesn’t place “willingness to rip clothes off” at the top of their list when deciding a woman’s worth. They can’t all act like dick brains their entire lives - can they?
Then again, maybe I’m just reading too much into it.

The thing is, I kept hanging out with him because other parts of the conversations were not completely horny teenage boy-esk and I knew Jake wouldn’t be friends with somebody that long if they were a total ass hat.
Towards the end of the wedding reception, I was perched on his knee at one of the tables with a few other people when one of the husbands asked if we lived near each other - implying that we could start something when we got home from the wedding. I’m going, yeah right, this guy wants nothing to do with me after this. And, I seemed to be right because that last day he acted a little defeated because he had either given up or thought I wasn’t interested because I wasn’t willing to bust out my inner slut for him. I was shocked when he asked for my number, but I brushed it off because I thought he was just feeling obligated. Right before I left to go home, I got him and the best man’s e-mails to send them an invitation to my sister’s birthday party next month. A few days after I sent it, I was even more surprised to get an e-mail from him that said - “is it too late to beg? : )” referring to my phone number. I replied then of course, but that was a week ago and I haven’t heard anything. I’m working on not being concerned about it right now...I’m so ridiculous...

I remember walking out of my hotel room, late of course, hurrying down the path and out onto the beach for the wedding and stopping dead in my tracks when I saw the set up. I hate to use the word breathtaking, but that’s really all I’ve got because it literally made me gasp - and I’m almost never that sappy. It had been sort of a cloudy, not-so-warm day, but the sun suddenly came out as if “somebody” knew there was a wedding going on. The blue ocean and black rocky cliffs served as the background and a long white piece of fabric draped around a little wooden structure was the altar. White chairs wrapped in wide hot pink ribbon and hot pink stargazer lilies flanked the center aisle made of white sand and red rose petals. Bridesmaids were in flowing brown strapless dresses and groomsmen were in light khakis and white button downs. The bride wore a traditional white gown though, which I thought was a little strange for a destination wedding. But, she wanted all the traditional stuff along with the tropical setting including a full reception - bouquet toss, champaign and the YMCA of course. It’s a good thing that damn bouquet didn’t come near me. I’ve caught three in my less than 25 years without even trying. They just sort fall on top of my head. That has to be some kind of record. I’m proof that the superstition attached to it is a crock of shit. The best man's speech made me pay attention because he got a little choked up when he mentioned how honored he was to be the best man since it would have been Jake's brother Josh if Josh were still alive. He committed suicide almost two and a half years ago and thinking about it still leaves me haunted. It probably always will.

I look back on the whole thing and get all weird and sentimental, which means it was a mind stimulating trip and thus worth the money - thanks Dad. I don’t know if it was my single status in paradise with all of the circumstances, the beautiful short and sweet ceremony or the fact that I was surrounded by happy couples the entire four days who were trying to “hook me up” the whole time, but I left feeling a little less cynical about marriage. Jake and Nicole were just friends before they ever dated. In fact Nicole was married to somebody else when they met. They’ve been through just about everything else since then - long distance, a break-up, dating other people, a make-up, living together, working together...They have that true been-there-done-that relationship, they made it work and they compliment each other so well. During the reception, Jake said to Nicole: “I knew you were the one from the moment I knew you. Thank you for making me whole.” And, I didn’t even puke. In fact, I almost got teary eyed and thought, I hope somebody feels that way about me someday and vice versa. There are people that are made for each other, but it’s not necessarily effortless. Relationships take work, but you just have to pick and choose the parts that are worth working on. They’re a horrible pain in the ass, but I’m hopeful one will turn out to be the greatest and most worthwhile pain in the ass I’ve ever experienced. Ha! Damn you people. You’ve spoiled my plan to be a lifelong spinster.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, I'm moving in!

Today (Feb. 4) was my mom's birthday. I picked a funny card out for her at Target a few days ago and planned to bring it to her today, but what I didn't know at the time was that I was also going to be bringing her a present - a bit of news also known as the your-almost-25-year-old-daughter-will-be-moving-back-into-your-home all wrapped up in a pretty little bow. I should really learn to plan my emotional breakdowns better...
It was late by the time I got out of my city council meeting - thrilling in a town of about 3,500 - let me tell you, but somebody has to do it. I went over there, gave her the card, side stepped around the issue for awhile, then miraculously managed to tell them my situation without crying for a whole minute and a half. It's weird having to tell your parents that you're in an abusive relationship and you need them to help you. It's like it's actually real now and there's no turning back. It's basically every woman's and parent's nightmare. The only thing that could have made it worse was if he actually punched me in the face or something. Perhaps if he had done that, there would be no question that it was abuse and I would have left long ago, saving myself months of emotional damage.
While my mom sort of knew a little bit about the situation, my dad had no clue and I think he was a little confused at first. I wonder what they talked about after I walked out the door of their house and headed home almost two hours later...
I told them to get one of the upstairs rooms ready for me - I like my sheets turned down and my mint on my pillow by 9 p.m., my eggs scrambled and fresh flowers in my presence at all times. Ha, I'm just glad my parents are right there for me to help me lug all my shit out of that house and into theirs, live through the at least three solid months I'll be at their house until my lease is up and my rental obligation is through and prevent the ex from hacking me to death with a machete...Oh, that probably wasn't a funny thing to joke about.
Anyway, I seem to feel better just talking about the whole situation. It feels just a little less hopeless, a little less like the world is going to end and a little more like I can go on with my life. Now, if I could only get this beginning-of-a-cold nasty feeling out of my throat before I leave for Cabo in TWO days! I may become addicted to Zycam.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

And the Academy Award goes to...

I feel like an A-list actress with my performance the past six months or so. I'm so irritated with myself for acting like I could just handle this shit on my own without it affecting me. Why is it so hard to admit that I need a little bit of help and perhaps some support?
My friend Kate and I drove up to St. Joseph last night to visit our friend Lacey from college who moved up there for a job about a year ago along with another friend who was in the area. Oh St. Joe - it's such a *cough* quaint little town. It looks as though it's growth was stunted circa 1900 as there seems to be no new buildings and everything looks as though it's covered in this heavy layer of crusted on grime. Although there was quite an event going on that night - the annual Mardi Gras parade of course. It pretty much consisted of pick up trucks decorated with Christmas lights, full of older, overweight men, drinking beer and taunting the crowd with strands of beads. Yes, because I'm going to peel through my nine layers of clothing to show you my boobs in 30 degree weather for a shitty strand of plastic beads that the person in front of me will probably jump up and catch anyway. I think not. Wow, just like Bourbon Street, right? Except with a little extra white trash thrown in, but hey, we made the most of it.
We hit a party and a bar before heading back to Lacey's place for the night, which is when we ended up talking about my lovely situation in life. The girls and I chatted about a few things, but what really got to me was watching their appalled reactions to some of my stories. And, the sad thing was that I even left some of the excruciating details out.
I'm a lazy, stupid slob - this is not how I describe myself, but how my ex-boyfriend, which happens to also be my roommate, describes me. It's a funny situation in that he used to be the most selfless, kind and caring human being I had ever encountered - then we moved in together and this aggressive, hateful, abusive man reared his ugly head. I can't tell if that side has always been there or if it evolved after he lived with somebody. I never knew that a glass - A, as in one, as in single, glass left on the coffee table that didn't immediately find it's way to the dishwasher the second the last drop of liquid inside of it was gone - could send somebody into such a vicious rage of anger. The weird list of cleanliness could go on forever - he vacuums out the lint trap of the dryer, waxes and buffs his truck with an electric buffer every weekend, washes the same bowl, spoon and glass after he uses it each day as to not dirty another dish and treats his pots and pans as if they were fine china. I would normally be able to just laugh these things off and accept that he was just a clean, orderly person, but when I'm also expected to do these things, then I'm yelled at, ridiculed, called a slew of the most hurtful names a human can be called and belittled when I don't do them - that's when I have a problem with them.
The only person I can be is me - smart, but slightly scattered brained, with a horrific short term memory, clutter collector, procrastinator, yet dependable and I'm not afraid to stand up for myself. I also always have the best intentions and I always know exactly how to prioritize my life - the people in it always come first. I'd say I'm pretty balanced.
But, for some reason, I let this guy do this to me for months. I'd come home and he'd be sitting on the couch, his brow furrowed with this pissy scowl on his face and he'd barely speak to me. While I had no idea why he was mad, nor would he tell me when I asked him, apparently it was my fault he was upset. However, a week later when I would get a little irritated with him for not helping me with something or being inconsiderate, he would explode into a screaming tirade and I'd find out exactly why he was STILL mad a week later - although I was still baffled.
- What? I didn't empty out the dishwasher? Well I didn't know there were dishes in there that were ready to be put away.
- The fact that he's never seen me or chooses not to remember seeing me vacuum means that I never do it and the fact that the counters in the kitchen were not as clean as he would like them means that I never wipe them off.
- Oh, the fact that my dog ran away and I, not you, even though you took it upon yourself to to get involved, had to search all over the neighborhood for him gives you the right to call me a worthless cunt.
- The fact that I never offered to mow the lawn means that I am the most lazy, shitbag of a human being even though he's out there mowing it before the grass even has time to grow out since the last mowing. Plus, I probably wouldn't do it correctly for his standards and then I'd be called a retard.
And, these are just a handful of the things. It all seems completely negotiable with a litte calm communication and a touch of compromise and patience, but those things are apparently too difficult for him. I mean, the house is most definitly not a shithole and it is not dirty. There's some clutter here and there, but I'd never live in filth. The fact that he justifies his behavior with, "well you should have helped more around the house," scares the hell out of me.
Month after month I put up with this shit until I finally broke up with him. I continue to live with him because my name is on the lease, I don't want to burden my parents (nor bruise my pride) by moving in with them and frankly I don't want him to run me out of my own home. But, after two months of dealing with the post-breakup bullshit, I'm ready to throw in the towel. It's hard because I knew who he used to be and sometimes it seems he turns back into that person in brief spurts. I of course get caught up in it because I still live with him and want to try to be an adult by working out my problems, believe him when he says he loves me and wants to work it out, then immediately regret it when the abusive behavior resurfaces a few days later.
I thought I was smart and strong enough to deal with it myself because I knew that I wasn't any of those things that he called me and therefore they would have no affect on me. I knew I wasn't one of "those women" that just stood there and took it because I stood up for myself and as soon as the lease was up in May, I'd move out. But, the past couple of weeks I've watched myself shrink into the mold of an abused woman. It's starting to get to me regardless of my so-called tough skin. My self esteem is a roller coaster, walking on eggshells just so I don't do something to piss him off is controlling my life, I worry about how I could possibly live without him and I'm just not the person I used to be. Something about this weekend, (and the fact that shortly after I came home, he screamed at me for cutting a piece of food on a plate rather than a cutting board with one of his knives then didn't clean it "correctly." He said I'm "fucking them up," the knives that is, and I'm not allowed to use them anymore) made me realize that my mental health is really starting to suffer because of this whole situation. I put on an act to fool others and myself into believing that I'm OK, but I'm not OK. And, it's time to do something about it even if it means swallowing my pride and "burdoning" others.
It seems as though my presence has thrown a wrench in his precious pristine regime rather than bringing him any sort of happiness or enrichment. It's more important that I'm spotlessly clean than witty, pretty, funny, sweet, intelligent or pleasant to be around. Although I think even the tidiest of women would have a hard time keeping up with his impossible orderly standards because everything he does is automatically the right way to do things.
I'm tired of sticking up for him just because I'm still hanging onto the awesome guy that I met almost two years ago. That person is long gone and I'm completely exhausted waiting for him to reappear and decide that just "little old me" is good enough for him. All he sees me as is a disruption in his life of perfect order. I added a little color, a little variety and a little flair, but apparently it was all grossly unwanted. And, I'm done wasting my time being nothing, but a disruption when I know I'm so much more than that. Somebody other than me, my family and my true friends will appreciate it someday. All I can be is me and I refuse to be ashamed of that.
While I've told myself about a half a dozen times that I'm going to pack a few things, grab my dog and head to my parent's, I never do it because I can't ever stay in that mind set long enough. I need somebody to hold me accountable for my planned actions and I'm hoping my mom will be that person. I know all I really need to do is ask and now that all of this is in writing, I feel like asking for help is the only way to go.
Thank god I can quit my acting gig now...

Friday, February 1, 2008

K-S-U Wildcats!

Ah, 1983 was such a good year. I mean, it was the year I graced the world with my presence, so that makes it awesome in itself (even if the entire world was wearing leg warmers and teasing their hair into oblivion at the time), but it was also the last time Kansas State beat Kansas at home in basketball – until now.
I’m not usually a sports fan. In fact, it’s pretty amazing that I even know who’s playing in the Super Bowl this weekend, but I love my K-State Wildcats and everything that goes along with them.
I love that school with every fibre of my being. It’s pretty disgusting. I mean, my college experience was basically picture perfect – I met more new people and friends than I can count, there’s thousands of hilarious stories that I tell and re-tell to anybody who will listen (and usually a picture slideshow to go with them), I did the whole sorority thing and stayed involved in that, the campus is beautiful, I loved 98 percent of my professors, the classes were really not that big of a pain in the ass and actually fun sometimes, the fans, students and alumni are insanley loyal, Aggieville is the greatest invention in the history of mankind (and our idea to live two blocks from it our senior year was the second) and I had the most random, life changing experiences there that I would have never had anywhere else. And, it’s all because of K-State – and maybe I’ll give myself a little bit of credit for at least attempting to suck every last drop of life out of my college experience.
Every time I go back to Manhattan - little teeny, tiny, kick ass Manhattan, Kansas - I get this nauseating, sappy-ass nostalgic prideful feeling. It even makes me want to vomit. Seriously, it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. There’s really only a handful of things in life that can stir that much emotion in me – though I continue to add more things as I get older.
Now, a quarter of a century later, the Wildcats finally beat the Jayhawks at Bramlege. Being young alumni, not being able to make it to the Wednesday night game in Manhattan nor being able to afford tickets, a group of us headed to virtually the only bonafide K-State bar in Kansas City - Kites. It used to be Rusty's, but for one reason or another the name was changed. It makes no difference to me as long as it's still named after a bar in Aggieville - and serves beer in giant 16 ounce cans. A bar in Kansas City packed with people in purple drinking Miller Lite pounders - I mean, really, does it get any better or more college-like than that? Oh wait, it does, because we won!
The game was intense and K-State's coach Frank Martin looked like he was going become the Incredible Hulk at any moment. My head almost exploded a couple of times - mostly because of a few dipshit, cocky KU people around us (why the hell would they go to a K-State bar anyway? It was probably pretty embarassing when we stomped their asses.), but one thing was for sure - this win was no fluke. K-State was the better team - HANDS DOWN. NO QUESTION.
Then, after the win, while students rushed the court and Willie the Wildcat crowd surfed on TV, I proceeded to drink several more giant beers in celebration, resulting in one hideous headache the next day, but it was well worth it.
What's funny is that KU seems to have this weird following of people that didn't even attend the university. What the hell is that anyway? You like KU because your family likes KU, or your sibling, cousin or father's uncle's son went there, or the basketball team has been good since you were a little kid, or because you think Lawrence is, like, totally cooler than Manhattan, or Lawrence is closer to Kansas City, or you think the mascot is prettier, or when you were 8, your best friend Billy said you should like KU because they are totally cooler than K-State. You shouldn't love a team for any of these reasons, nor do you have the right to gloat. That's why when some tard ass is running his/her mouth about KU, I ask, "Oh that's nice, when did you graduate from KU?" And, of course, nine times out of 10, they didn't even go to school there. Where the hell does your loyalty come from? Most likely from one of the reasons mentioned above. You have no ties to the university what-so-ever. That's not loyalty - that's pure bullshit. And, anything you say has zero credibility in my book.
For those that did go to KU - try being a good sport. Your true fans are the rudest I've ever encountered in the Big 12 second only to Iowa State. While I know the only insult you can throw at K-State people is "go drive your John Deere and play with your cows," let's take a moment to analyze this "insult." 1.) Without farmers you could not eat. 2.) Take a look around - we live in Kansas - basically the fucking agricultural capital of the world. Take a step off Mass Street and tell me what you see - oh yeah, tractors, farms and cows. 3.) I, and a large percentage of K-State students, grew up in Johnson County (the snotty suburbs of Kansas City). I'd never even been within 500 feet of a tractor or a cow UNTIL I started working right down the road from Lawrence - what do you think about that? If you are a KU fan who is decent enough to not act like a complete arse in a crowd full of die hard K-Staters - we thank you for not being a douchebag.
K-Staters love K-State because they went there, had the time of their lives there and support all things K-State. While it's an unbelieveable rush to win, I'll never be a fairweather fan. K-State was very good to me when I was there and I continue to carry that with me wherever I go.
That's why I bleed purple...and I always will.

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