Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Age Verification Bypassed

Happy Tuesday! Your Tuesday is my Monday, as I was off yesterday, to take Steinvic back to Columbus and to help wrap up the stray ends at the apartment.

Our move was amazingly challenging, but I know that one day (actually now) we'll be able to laugh about it. We got the U-Haul stuck in the mud. Steinvic had an excellent idea (no, honey...it really WAS a good idea!) to back the truck up to the front of his apartment. It's a one level, ranch style apartment and there is a field right outside the front door. When we moved him in, we used the parking lot and that increased our work load substantially. So, parking right by the unit in the field really was the smart thing to do.

Except it had rained. And while this part of the grass wasn't soggy to feet, it was quickly soggy to a 17-foot truck...

We'd hardly loaded anything when Steinvic's son noticed slight sinkage beneath one tire. We tried gravel, kitty litter, flattened boxes, and a $30 doormat (I didn't dare mention that it was valuable as they tried to jam it beneath the back tire...just didn't seem like the time, and it also didn't matter...had it worked, it would have been worth it!) to try to create some traction, but no luck.

A friend's boyfriend baled us out. He has a 4-wheel drive truck and had planned to take some of our spare furniture off our hands anyway, so he came by to see if he could rescue us. The first attempt didn't work, but when I saw him pulling on the mudpants, I knew we'd be okay. I now call him "Our Savior" and we gave him permission to brag to his friends that his truck can literally haul a U-Haul.

Strange things occur to me at times of stress...Know how the U-Hauls have artwork on them? All day on Saturday, I thought that Michael Jackson was immortalized on ours:

Doesn't that look like him, getting a carriage ride? (note the mud on the tires...and that was after driving 100 + miles on the highway...) On closer look, it's a woman who is a little healthier than Michael, so I guess it's not him, but it still tickled me all day...

Anyway, while it took a whole day to pack/get unstuck, it took a whopping hour and fifteen minutes to unload the truck, thanks to my folks. They showed up at our place ready to rumble, and while my parents are turning 69 and 70 this year, you'd never know it. Even the big heavy stuff was in place (thanks to Steinvic and my Step Dad) by 1:45 p.m. and we started unpacking the necessities. So, complete dissaray, but I'll set about organizing this week.

Steinvic spends his last night in the apartment tonight. And then he can come home. (Okay, typing that made me have a huge lump in my throat...)

The other reason I was in Columbus last night was that Steinvic had surprised me with Vampire Weekend tickets a few months back, and the concert was last night. I learned that I am too old for Vampire Weekend.

I say this only because A) Visually, we were among the oldest people there. And B) The wrist band bearing dude actually approached US - no line for him - saying, "Are you folks drinking alcohol tonight?" and not carding us as he applied the wrist bands.

Yep, officially old. Steinvic bought me an awesome t-shirt and we settled in.

Consider that we were both worn out. We've been moving, not sleeping, stressing - though still getting along amazingly well - and we were definitely in need of fun. We didn't get there right at 7, though that is what the tickets said the starting time would be. We figured on an opening band, but they didn't even start until nearly 8.

The venue was filling up, but there was room to breathe and we could see the stage, so we were fine. We were chatting and having a beer and finally, Vampire Weekend comes on...at almost 9:30. We were REALLY ready to hear them, but realized we weren't going to be leaving there around 10, as we'd originally thought.

All of that was fine - they are a GREAT band - but then there was a girl right in front of me (and I mean RIGHT in my face) who didn't care that we were all shoulder-to-shoulder...she was going to thrash dance and fling her hair everywhere anyway. She stepped on my feet - hard - three times and her hair actually stuck to my lipgloss and that did it for me.

I leaned forward and said, "Hey...can I get like six inches of space back here?"

She turned around and said, "You're #$%&ing kidding me, right? No. #$%& you," and then proceeds to tell her big, stupid boyfriend who turns around and starts giving me crap.

(You may be wondering what Steinvic is doing during this exchange. Well, let me tell you. He was gently rubbing my back. He knew I was tired, he knew I was upset, and he knows I like to handle my own battles. He was right there with me, but letting me deal with it my way. )

I told the dumb boy that his friend was tromping on my feet and smacking everyone around with her hair and that this was okay, but there was nowhere for me to move and I'd waited for nearly two hours to see the show, too. Could she please chill or go somewhere else? He goes, "We paid for our tickets, too!" I'm like, what? I said, no...you're not hearing me and repeated myself.

Magically, it must have registered that I was making a valid, reasonable request. He scootched her forward, whispered something in her ear, she tied her hair up, and proceeded to dance around and everything was fine. GEEZ, though!

Three songs later, a small amount mysterious liquid fell from the balcony above. And that was when I turned to Steinvic and said, "I'm ready to go. Are you?" He actually looked relieved. We are so tired! And we left. So, we saw like a third of the concert. But, I still appreciate the tickets and I'm glad we went...I just know that next time, we need to wait until they are somewhere with seats, because the SRO style doesn't seem to work well with the youngins.

And THAT is my update, friends. Sorry I've posted so sporadically lately...lots going on! But you know what? It's all good. Life is about to get wonderfully, deliciously normal...

Friday, March 26, 2010


Some random things, since I'm feeling random today...
  • This is our Last Official Friday Night in Columbus With Steinvic as a Resident. We'll be filling the U-haul with the big stuff tomorrow and moving it here. (WOW! This is exciting! And I can't wait...)
  • Real Housewives of NYC was something last night. If you missed it, go to http://www.bravotv.com/ and get caught up.
  • I had tofu and noodles for lunch for the first time in two weeks. When you eat health food pretty much non-stop and then eat tofu (fried) and noodles (carbs!) your body says, "What the ...???" Plus, I am on my second diet soda today and I have a major caffeine buzz. No, I don't have any idea what I'm doing. Ziiiiiiing!
  • As you know, I've found all kinds of things I don't remember or didn't know I had. This week, I was going through boxes and found a small pack of notecards with cats on them. I thought, "This looks like something my Grandma would have given me," and I opened the little folder they were in and there was a small folded envelope tucked into one side. It read, "For some night when you're too tired to cook. Love, Mrs. Claus," and it was in my Grandma's handwriting. Inside the envelope was $30. I felt myself starting to get teary, but then giggled right along with the tears. It was like she was there with me, going through those spooky boxes. I'm going to use it to buy something to keep with me always, like a sterling ring or something. Finding a gift from her when I've been wanting to talk with her was just amazing...
  • I also found urns with my childhood dogs ashes in them in one of those boxes. (Yes, I realize this item isn't random, since it's directly linked to the moving and the item just before. Hey - it's my random list...I can be as non-random - unrandom? - as I want!) I need to talk to my sister to see what she wants to do with them. Bury the urns? Open them and "free" them into the brush at our Mom's house?
  • It's payday.
  • Oh! It snowed and got very icy overnight! And now it's like it never happened. Winter's last hurrah...

That's all I got for now. It's been too long since I've posted and my last one was kind of cranky, so it was time...

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Being a Complete Piece of Crap is Not a First Amendment Right

I'm disgusted and appalled by the behavior of "Tea Party" demonstrators, spitting and name calling toward members of Congress.

It sickens me. Seriously. And what is even more disgusting than the inability for foul thinking loud mouths to control their mob-like, pathetic, animal behavior is the fact that some knuckleheads are like, "What? It's their right."

Are you kidding me? Since when is it the right of anyone to incite violence or make someone feel threatened?

And you know, this isn't a judgment call. The words being used are negative, hands down. You scream these words at someone as terms of endearment. You don't name your children those words for a reason. And spitting on someone is not a compliment in any circumstance, as far as I know. (In fact, people have died for spitting at someone.)

It doesn't matter someone believes politically. A person may think health reform sucks, might hate our President, and believe that everything going wrong in our country right is the fault of the current administration. We may believe whatever we like. That is our right.

But to call people filthy names? To scream "You lie" at our President as he addressed Congress? What in the Hell?

Organize. Protest respectfully. Use that energy to accomplish something. But if you can't keep your spit in your mouth, stay home.

Note: This rant has nothing to do with my political leanings. I thought it was incredibly disrespectful and inappropriate when the Iraqui journalist threw his shoe at President Bush. I did not have a blog then.

Friday, March 19, 2010

We Are Home

St. Patrick's Day was a little different this year. We can't say that 80% of the family showed up for the Irish Family Reunion as they have in years past. We can't say that Steinvic's son was right there with us, toasting and celebrating another fantastic year.(He couldn't cut class...) But we can say that we were there, full on Irish, Guinness in hand, to ring in another year of good fortune and thankfulness. That is how we roll...

We packed the first dozen boxes of what is sure to be a colossal move from Columbus to West Chester.

Steinvic is a champ. While I know this is huge progress for both of us, emotionally, financially, futurely, I'm also aware that he has lived nowhere but Columbus for all of his almost 50 years. He makes this significant transition for me. For us.

Next weekend will be the real sweat. No choice. All the things we didn't accomplish around my cold and our laziness will come to a head as we work against the landlord's pocket watch. We have to be out by next Tuesday. We have Vampire Weekend to look forward to on Monday night, but by the end of the day on Tuesday, we need to be settled in to our home - and our new life together.

But for tonight? We're waiting on the pizza guy. We're in comfy pants, settled, the first round of boxes brought in and unloaded. We have beer and basketball. Happy about the chance to start a new life, in a comfortable home, with each other. Finally!

Here is to tomorrow, and all of the ups and downs and goods and bads and everything in between that we have to look forward to. Slainte...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ghetto Neighbors - The Sequel

Remember when The Yii-Haas lived next door? How much fun that was?

The new tenants have been there most of the year and as the months have gone by, they've become more and more like the old tenants. Maybe it isn't the tenant's fault at all...maybe the unit is possessed and just turns people into rude, loud slackers over time.

Or maybe it's just that the owners sublet to anyone who will agree to pay the astronomical rent and they don't care if they're going to make good neighbors. (I really can't believe that anyone pays as much as our payment is to own!)

They've had mattresses in the back patio for weeks and weeks now. Rain soaked, nasty, ugly mattresses. And our friend congratulated us on our "new baby neighbor" yesterday, and I was like, "Wha??" and he told us a stroller had been jammed into the front bushes for weeks. I peeked out front (I've become accustomed to parking out back lately so I hadn't seen it) and sure enough, old stroller jammed in the bushes.

I know I'm not super patient. I admittedly have gone over there at 10:30 at night and knocked on the front door to ask the unsupervised teenaged daughter to turn the music down. And, when one male houseguest got snippy with me, I did say I'd call the police if they didn't knock it off. Look, I like Eminem as much as the next person, but when I can actually understand the words through the walls? No. When I have to turn up the TV to cancel out the noise? No. I'm not Mrs. Olsen. I'm not Mrs. Kravitz. But this is not how I want to live. If it were an apartment, I'd probably be more lenient. But this is our home, we own it, we can't just pick up and go.

So, I sent a note to the HOA this morning asking for their help. The homeowner asked me to let her know if these tenants acted up, but you know what? Not my responsibility. It's up to them to do a drive by of the property regularly to see if it's up to par. I know they wanted the heads up so they could avoid the fines, but maybe if they pass along those fines to the tenants, the tenants will start acting right.

On a happier, non-ghetto-neighbor note, we had a nice weekend. I'd been plotting something for Steinvic for WEEKS and somehow managed to keep it a secret, even though I was dying to tell him about it.

We saw a painting at the gallery opening we attended last month. Steinvic loved it for a lot of reasons, most importantly because it reminded him of his son (who is a spectacular percussionist). I told Steinvic I'd talk with the owner about buying it and the Monday after the opening, I did.

But I didn't tell Steinvic. And, when he thought to ask me about how she was doing since the reopening, I told him that she was fine, but that she'd sold the painting. He was so great about it, saying that it was okay, that we didn't need to spend the money now, that we didn't really have a place to put it...

But what I didn't tell him was that she sold it to me.

I will never forget the look on his face when he walked into our place and saw it. It's a housewarming present that I hope he treasures every day. And I believe he will!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Good Gosh...Where Did This Week Go?

Bad blogger! I have been so busy this week that - while I didn't forget about this place - I sure haven't taken any time to write. So...here I am. It's Friday, which means Steinvic will be here this evening. (YES!) It's payday. The sun is trying to come out. Does it get any better than this?

Well, yeah. Because Steinvic has found a nasty cold - probably from the plane ride home last Saturday - so we might be doing more relaxing than anything this weekend, but that is fine with me. Because really, every spare minute of my life the last two weeks has been dedicated to throwing more crap away. And I am worn out!

This is embarrassing, but I found one box that actually had an envelope of cancelled checks in it from 1995. What did I save that for? I imagine that the envelope somehow made it into a box the last what...four moves? Maybe I knew it was there and I simply didn't have time to shred. But still!

I also apparently had money at one point in my life, because I have uncovered some pricey goodies that I sure couldn't afford now! Like a giant bottle of BLV. And a palette of Chanel tubes of color to mix to customize special shades. My sister used to give me Sephora gift certificates, and maybe that explains these items, because no matter what, I KNOW that I would have never spent actual money on myself for these things. But wow! While the fragrance is still fine, I'm a little afraid to use products when I have no idea how old they are. At least the old MAC stuff translates into free lipstick (the MAC recycling program is 1 free lipstick per 6 empty containers...deal!)

The odd part is what I don't remember. I'm not freaking out about it, though. I know how the brain works. I know that I was pretty much pushed to the max, in full survivor mode, and that my brain knew (and knows) what I can and can't handle. So, some of these things...these belongings that I feel I'm seeing for the first time...those memories just happened to slip down the rabbit hole, as they were tethered to some especially troublesome stuff.

When I see these belongings...they look like things I'd enjoy or things that people who knew me would give me. And at one time, I cared enough about those items to pack them up and bring them along. But now? Aside from the things that seem really special (Hello? Who can easily toss Chanel?!) it's pretty easy to throw these items away.

Because they're not really mine.

I don't mean that I've turned Sybil on you or anything. I'm just saying, the person they belonged to, she's kind of...gone. I'm sure all of this makes me sound like a loon. In fact, I just may be a loon. But you know, I haven't ever felt as sound as I do right now, in this minute.

For the longest time, I've been bothered by a fear that I'm not normal. That because of my life and the experiences thrust upon me, I'm defective or flawed. I've even felt at times that I'm not worthy of the good in my present life. (And yeah, I've talked to someone about that. To be honest, the talking was cathartic and helpful, but didn't allow me shake that feeling.)

But seeing all these things the last few weeks, even the belongings I don't remember, somehow serves as evidence. Proof of my life. Happy, horrifying, remembered, forgotten...now it feels like facts. Not devastating, just the truth.

Even though my former self is unfamiliar, from old paystubs, I see that no matter how tough things got, I've always worked. I'm a hard worker. From the sketchbooks, I can see that I've always been creative and made my own outlets. I'm an artist. From the letters I wrote to people (even if I never sent them) and letters I wrote to myself as a sanity check, I can see that I've always been articulate and expressive. I can write.

I've been stupid, brilliant, impulsive, hesitant, ashamed, brave and at times insane, and it's all good because it's all me.

I've spent a lot of years either going with being a total mess or trying desperately to appear perfect. That struggle has been exhausting and, at times, depressing. After two weeks of dipping into the essence of me, and literally destroying the parts I no longer need, I'm finally ready to stop trying to be anything.

Who needed therapy? I just needed to throw this stuff away.

Finally, I can breathe.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Especially since Steinvic & Son have been in Arizona, I've been keeping myself busy by making room.

Purging the walk in closet of stuff I really don't wear. Shredding the boxes of paper hiding in the office. Vaccuming the corners and relentlessly tossing things away.

Today, I started in the guest room closet.

When you have to move in a hurry, you pack everything. Where I used to live...well...I left in a big hurry. I had to.

For a while, all of those boxes sat in a climate controlled storage space. I paid extra for the climate control because I had musical instruments and art supplies that I didn't want to suffer at the expense of the extreme Ohio temperatures.

When I moved them all here, to this house, I remember my Mom eyeing the boxes and saying, "Where should we start?" and I replied, "You should go home." My Mom knows me well. She and my Step Dad each gave me a giant hug and kiss and Mom said, "Call me."

I unpacked all the essentials in lightening speed, getting everything in place by about 2:00 in the morning. Everything. This is how I work, whether I like it or not. As Monk would say, "It's a blessing. And a curse."

But the boxes of this and that? Those I stacked into the guest room closet and office closet. I've let them sit there for more than five years, and I've never needed or been curious about a thing in them.

Now it's time to put that space to much better use and because I didn't know exactly what was in those boxes, I couldn't follow my instinct to just throw them away.

So tonight, I revisited my past. This is something that I occasionally, involuntarily do. If I'm feeling low. If I have had too much to drink. If I have a nightmare. It is not a place I enjoy. And tonight, I had to go there on purpose.

But I thought of what Steinvic recently said to me, dismissing something troubling by saying, "Let's put that behind us." I have heard this phrase all my life, but I'd never really digested it before. Knowing that I'd be going through these tough spaces in the coming weeks, I have kept that statement close, thinking carefully about what it meant.

That the present is a choice. That it's as wide open as the future. That the past is only as powerful as we allow it to be. And yes, it really is that simple.

Armed with a box of Hefty bags, I attacked the closet. In just a few hours, I'd thrown away about a quarter of my old life.

It feels good.

And I can't wait for the garbage truck to arrive.


I read this story a few years ago and for some reason, it really stuck with me. If you don't have time to read it all, a super quick summary is that a couple of super attractive people - Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake - were creative, successful in their arts and very much in love. They suddenly became paranoid, thinking that Scientologists were plotting against them. Theresa overdosed on Tylenol PM and alcohol. Within the week, Jeremy was observed walking into the Atlantic Ocean, never to be seen again.

Maybe this story lingers with me because really, at the very core, it's an extremely sad love story. Jeremy couldn't live without Theresa. And maybe it's intriguing because it is mysterious: what happened to make them think that Scientologists were after them? Was someone after them? Or were they just so intelligent, creative and introspective that they'd become paranoid, with the fears of one feeding the fears of the other?

More, this tale stays with me because here were two interesting, talented, loving people with lots of potential and then they're just gone. Literally here one day and then poof! It's so strange.

I read the article right after it happened. There are a few "stories" that I check on ever so often. The Caylee Anthony murder. The West Memphis Three tragedy. And this one. I always wondered if anyone would follow up on this or if Jeremy and Theresa would just fade away...a concept that has always disturbed me. I wondered if, out of all those lives they'd touched with their friendship and art, someone would follow up and try to find out why this happened and what the two were so distraught about.

Apparently, I am not the only soul who thinks this story is worth pursuing. Gus Van Sant and Brett Easton Ellis are teaming up to produce a film based on one perspective (scripted from a Vanity Fair article) of what happened to this couple. I will want to see it, but I hope it is not exploitative. And I hope it doesn't upset their families. But I doubt it will reveal any answers as to what really happened...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

When It Rains...

I noticed this morning that the Echo was due for an oil change. I was only over by a couple hundred miles, but trust me: when you commute almost 200 miles roundtrip on a regular basis to be with the ones you love? You take care of the car! You don't miss oil changes. You don't want to do anything that might jeopardize your ability to get where you most want to be.

So, first thing this morning, I called up the dealership (they are almost the same price as the quick spots for oil changes, and they are so professional) and made an appointment. They could get me in right after work. Great!

Before I left for my appointment, I even found a coupon online, making the oil change only $20.

When I arrived, there was no wait, I got checked in, and headed to the new "luxury lounge" to play Scrabble on my phone.

About fifteen minutes later, the gal who checked me in comes into the lounge.

"Your battery needs to be replaced," she announced.

"You mean like soon, or now?" I asked.

"All I can tell you is that the diagnostic 27 point inspection checks it and I've seen it say low, but I've never seen it spit out a report that says 'REPLACE'," she said. "It's $129."

My $20 oil change had magically multiplied significantly.

I walked out $169 lighter (oil change, battery, parts, labor) and irritated to the max, but then I thought to myself about what a pain it would have been to go out to my car some morning /evening/whenever and have a dead battery that couldn't be charged because it was too old.

That battery was the original, more than 5 years old and had over 101,000 miles on it. It's been through five wicked winters and lots and lots of amazing trips. It did a good job.

And now, the Echo is fired up and ready to go! Isn't it funny? An oil change, tires inflated, car wash - okay, and fresh battery - and suddenly, it's like having a new car.

The timing isn't ideal. Still, while it sucked to spend the money, I'm counting my blessings!

I've gone my 13 miles tonight on the bike and now I'm sitting here with a cold beer, in our little home, knowing that Steinvic and son are happy in AZ. Everything is as it should be...