Home is where the heart is

This past weekend really set in a reality for me. My parents are putting their house on the market and in just a few weeks it will no longer by our home. After over 33 years, this is hard. Really hard. I knew this day would come and I knew that I would have to kind of put the thought in the back of my brain where my subconscious will only be able to find it in dreams that I will forget that second I wake up.

I can’t imagine another family living in my house. The house I’ve known since I was 7. The house that has all kinds of memories. In a way I always thought I would buy the house and live their with my family. When I realized I probably wasn’t going to do that, I thought for sure that my kids would be able to go visit grandma and grandpa in the house and I could show them all the areas where I grew up and experiences I had.

But now, all I will have are my memories and any photos that I take. Years ago, the house was fully renovated so it’s not like I am saying goodbye to the way it used to be. More, I am saying goodbye to the place that has always been my place of comfort. The place where I could swear there was a pipe with triptophen being pumped throughout because every time I would come home, I would instantly take a nap.

It’s hard to list the memories I have but when my kids do ask me, here are some of the things I will show them in pictures:

The basement where I played school with my teacher edition books filled with red type. Where I would spend countless hours talking to myself and pretending to be the student and the teacher. Where we would do math and science and gym class. The place where I once heard the buzzing of a bumble bee and I ran upstairs to ask my mom if there was a bee on me and screamed louder than I ever heard her. The place where the handsaw was kept that A once used as a joke when I got my finger stuck in my sister’s toy trumpet. He pretended he was going to saw my finger off and I ran away. The place our cat, Julie would hide for hours because she was afraid of the dog.

The top of the staircase where I would listen to parents talk about me after a fight or a temper tantrum that I had. Where they would discuss my father or the fact that I needed therapy or what they were going to do with me. I would be as quiet as I could so they didn’t know I was listening but I am sure they did anyway.

The front door where we would call our dog Chumley after he ran away and get him back by peeling off the plastic on a piece of American cheese. Worked like a charm each time.

The driveway where our cars would always get stuck in the snow in the winter. We had to drive to the top of the driveway across the street and slam on the gas to make it to the top of ours. Or the countless number of hours it took us to shovel after each storm and how the snowplow would come by just as we were finished. But how fun it was to go back into the house and have hot chocolate to warm up.

The backyard where I buried my goldfish blackey, whitey, spot and goldie (I bet you can’t guess their colors) near the shed which I was always afraid to open. Or where the wooden swing set was that I swung on for hours or the white hammock we would play on. Or where my parroquet Larry was thrown into the woods after my cat gave him a heart attack.

Or the place I would keep the hidden key in the garage because for 33 years I have never had an actual key to the house. Where my mom drove through the garage door not once, but twice because she was distracted and it took everything for me not to laugh my ass off (which didn’t work because I did anyway).

My bedroom where I would cry for hours when my junior high and high school friends ditched me on New Year’s Eve and I had to sit alone. Part of the reason to this day I still don’t really love that holiday and it reminds me of loneliness.

The front yard where I used to climb the big tree and practice my fancy gymnastic moves on the front yard to impress the neighbors. Or where I was found by my parents locked out of the house when my older sister and her friend were playing hide and seek with me and they never came out so I couldn’t find them. And how my mom was so mad that my sister was grounded.

Or the kitchen where we would eat dinner every night as a family believe it or not. Without TV! In fact, the TV was turned off if it was on which made us all talk to each other and where I think I developed my complete and udder revolting sound of listening to chewing. Where we would either be laughing or yelling. Where A. once put my head in a plate of spaghetti after I told him to shut up. I love spaghetti so that really isn’t a punishment. Where we would have dessert each night and it was usually always ice cream and I would whip it up and call it witch’s stew.

I won’t be able to actually show my kids these things and the hundreds of more memories that I have but I can show them photos and give them the three thousand pounds of letters and cards that I have saved over the years. And they can put those bins in my basement so in 20 years, I can say to them “Are you ever going to take your bins out of my basement??”


Friends with benefits

Do you ever meet someone and just instantly want to become friends but you have no idea how to become that person’s friend or it would just be weird asking after awhile. I feel that way about my massage therapist. She is so cool and I know we would be friends. She is about ten years younger than me but she is just so sweet and mellow and interesting.

I go every 3-4 weeks now for a 90 minute massage because it feels amazing but also I think it is really helping my back. Anyway last night I scheduled a massage on May 5, which is my half birthday but also Cinco de Mayo. I was like “yay you can celebrate my half birthday with me” and then it took everything for me not to be like “want to go get a margarita after?” Not that she would think it was weird and she would probably love to be my friend, but maybe after pounding on my body for 90 minutes, a margarita would be weird? I don’t know.

Thank god I’ve never wanted to be friends with my gynecologist!


It’s a dying shame


Sometimes bad things bring out the worst in people. Sometimes bad brings out the best in people. Same thing goes for the good.

In this case, I think bad is actually bringing out the best in my dad. He has never been an emotional person and we have never had conversations that require feelings. I tried that when I was younger and I would always end up crying and being so disappointed. Every year for Valentine’s Day instead of candy or chocolate or a card my dad would give me an 8×10 portrait of himself that I think he got from work and I remember vividly one year writing all over it “i love my dad more than anyone else in the world. i want to live with him.” I mean that’s pretty typical for kids with divorced parents I think. There are always times when kids blame whoever it is that is living with them and want to be somewhere else. But my wicked stepmother wouldn’t let me. She would only let me come visit during the times the divorce agreement said I could, which was two weekends per month. Never more. So alas, after awhile I began to realize that writing all over a photo wouldn’t change anything and I wouldn’t be living with him.

And the emotional conversations stopped quicker and quicker when I realized that no matter how I felt, that woman had some sort of power over the situation and my feelings were irrelevant. I became the “selfish daughter” “the needy daughter” “the daughter who wanted his money” when really I was just the daughter who wanted love and attention and yes, a new pair of shoes every now and then.

So now that she is dying, it’s the first time in my life I have seen my dad as a human with emotions and I think he might actually have them and have rational thoughts. And he can feel things like sadness and express those feelings to me. And while those feelings must be so hard for him, we all go through them and I am glad to know that half my DNA may not actually be made of stone.

So when she does die, I’ll be there to support the best I can. Not for her. But for him. Because there was a time in my life all I wanted was his love and I think somewhere in a pile of things, I might still have that black and white photo to prove it. But I think I remember ripping that one up when the stepmother wouldn’t let my dad pay for a medical procedure I wanted because she didn’t think it was needed. And by all means, she knew best.


Car Thoughts #4763

The other day there was a car in front of me that had a Sig Sauer bumper sticker. He stopped short so I had to stop short. That got me thinking and wondering about whether he had a gun in his car. If he had a gun in his car, where does he put it? And if the gun for some reason was in the backseat and I hit him and the gun went off and killed him, would I be charged with second degree murder?

Years ago when I had a job I hated, I would apply to anything I could find. I remember applying to this company and telling them how interested I was in that marketing position. It would have been like jury duty during that interview.

Interviewer: “How do you feel about guns?”
Me: “I hate them.”
Interviewer: “Thanks for coming in. You are exempt from this position. You won’t be validated for your parking.”



Orange you glad you aren’t 18 anymore!

I went to Syracuse. I wish I loved it. I wish I could remember college fondly and think about all the friends I met and the drinking games and fun parties, and crazy adventures. But I don’t have those. I wasn’t in the best place in college for many reasons so when I think back, I only have a few select memories. Some are good. Some are bad. Sometimes I still dream that I’m back living in the dorm room at Sadler Hall. Actually I have that dream about once a month. In the dream I’m packing to come home and I have so much stuff and I can’t get everything packed in time so everyone else has already left and I’m left alone in the dorm trying to pack up my stuff. Then sometimes I have a roommate who comes in and unpacks their stuff while I am packing my stuff. Each time, I feel this aching that I am packing but I can’t remember actually spending the year in college. So I feel like I missed out on something. It goes on like that for awhile.

Anyway, now that Syracuse men and women’s are in the final four NCAA basketball this year (go women!) it got me thinking about my time there and how so many people on FB are cheering for SU and posting pictures with their kids in SU t-shirts and everything. I just don’t have that connection to my alma mater to do that. I don’t watch the games and feel proud to have gone there. As a matter of fact, I was watching the other day thinking that every single player and cheerleader on that team was either a sperm or embryo in their mom’s uterus when I was in college. How can that be!? Are those kids dreaming of what their life will be like in 10 years and never imagine that they will ever be 40??  What are the players who were famous when I was there doing now? Working at an insurance agency or something probably with 3 kids thinking about how they wished they took more classes than Sex101 and Intro to Science.

Those are the things I think about when I watch those games. So unless I make a baby onesie that says “Mom’s favorite part of college was the unlimited cereal” I don’t think you’ll ever see my kids in SU orange.