I'm SOOOOOO sorry. I know I said I was back and then I've been spotty...... but we were driving the last two days - and when we stop at the Noni's house - we don't have cell or internet service.... so no blogging can be done. And *after* driving for 12 hours yesterday I could barely see let alone blog.... so here is my LATE entry for YESTERDAY :) Sorry kids.
So. We had a GREAT time in SoCal. Thanks to Lashla and her gorgeous daughters.... *much* time was spent by the two of us marveling at how well our children got along. There was not one single fight - or discourse, in spite of all of us staying in a two bedroom condo.
They played all day - running down the stairs to wake each other up early every morning just so the fun could get started.... Lashla said, "It's brilliant the way they are getting on so well - it's as though they've known each other all their lives."
"Well," I replied, "they are just like their mother's.... instant soul mates."
"Aye.... " she said, "too right.... too right...."
And then many tears were shed when we had to drive away. I cannot tell you how much I love Lashla. Even though we both had boyfriends (in the same band) when we met - she always knew I was gay. She saw right through me - right through my tough-no nonsense exterior - she knew my heart and loved and understood every ounce of who I was loooooooong before I was willing to accept it myself.
It makes me sit down and really think about my life - how G*d has afforded me the priviledge of having amazing people in my life.... going back to my childhood - Angela, McGhee, Janda, Robin, Courtney and into my 'straight mommy life' - Jenny B., Chloe, J..... and then now in my LGBTQ community - Mia, Torri, Bella, Keller, Keebler..... Hail Mary...... my life is f*cking brimming with amazing people and I'm honestly not worthy. Really..... I'm not. And above all... there's Lashla.
So, being able to see her and hold her and walk with her and talk to her and *see* her face when we have lived apart for 13 years..... it's a blessing and well worth the 17 hour drive (ONE WAY!) to see her.
Of course, I have NO BUSINESSS taking *any* kind of vacation. The cost of my medical benefits has literally strangled the *last* of my savings - and I'm still trying to piece together a life where I'm not away from the kids with full time work - which becomes more challenging every day. However... between Lashla and Grandma having chest pains as of late - I made the decision to go with the help of The Bubbie and The Papa. (thanks guys....) - and we stayed at The Noni's on the way down and on the way home to save on paying for a hotel.
This means I make the 11/12 hour drive to Stockton on day one and a 6 hour drive to Long Beach on day 2 and vice versa. I love love love Noni. She's been The Bubbie's best friend for like a zillion years and has known me since before I was born..... and she's a kick-ass Godmother. The kids love her, too, and they were *very* excited to see her and her new puppy on the way home.
We arrived and Noni BBQ'd dinner, we had a great time at her home which is a bit of a farm - with a wrap around porch and located outside Stockton on a very busy road - 55 miles and hour just outside her gate! It's also the road that the San Joaquin County jail is located.
This particular tidbit is *awesome* for those of us who watch Sons of Anarchy - which is based in the fake town "Charming" which is really Lodi - just up the road, and ALL of the Sons go to San Joaquin County jail - so.... it's kind of rad. lololol (Long live Opi.... that's all I have to say about that!)
Anyhow, we settled down in the guest room for the night - which hosts a door with a screen door to the wrap around porch. Given the hot summer night, we let the door open, but I secured the screen door closed and I talked to them about NOT going outside for ANY reason. (which they would never do).
The kids slept on a blow up mattress and I climbed into the old style wrought iron bed and we all fell asleep after a long day of tearful goodbyes and LA traffic...... until midnight when I woke up with The Girl's Kindle sticking me in the back.
Hmmm......? That's odd. That should be on the floor with her... I wake up enough to plug it into the charger (so it'll be ready for our long drive the next day) and I start to wonder *where* The Girl is.
I look in my bed.... she's not there.
I look on the air-mattress..... she's not there.
I look in the closet......
On the floor.......
In the hall....
In the bathroom....
In the kitchen.....
In the living room.....
In the room where the new puppy is......
back to the bed.....
back to the air-mattress.......
back to the bathroom........
I can't breathe. A pain starts taking over my heart and my mind and I'm having a hard time making my feet move because I'm starting to feel frozen to the wood of the hallway floor.....
I can't open my mouth - no sound comes out..... I can't find the words.....
I try to calm myself - go look again... look *harder* because *THIS* is NOT f*cking happening......
I go back to the bedroom we're staying in and I stand in the room studying every part.....
I can hear occasional cars zooming past the house....
I can hear wild dogs or coyotes or some perhaps f*cking werewolves howling at one another outside.....
f*ck. f*ck. f*ck.......
Worst of all is the soft banging of the screen door as it flaps ever so slightly in the wind.....
holy mother f*ck.
I look in the room *again* and I look at the clock - it's not 12:20 and I can't find my baby.
I can't *FIND* The Girl.
OMG. I can't find her...... how am I going to do this? How am I going to call for help?
How am I going to tell El Capitan.......
If she went outside.... will I ever find her?
What if she was hit by a zooming car?
What if she was .... taken...... (I can't hardly type that word now).
At this point panic has truly set it - and I feel like I'm frozen in time - afraid.
I race down the hall and start shaking The Noni and I'm saying... "I can't find [The Girl], she's not in my room Noni.... she's not in my room......"
The Noni flies out of bed and races down the hall stopping briefly at the air-mattress, she looked in the closet and then she reaches under the bed to pull out a very sleepy, confused Girl who had wrapped herself up in a blanket and rolled under the bed I have been sleeping in.....
I didn't see her there - inside the blanket.
But there was she - bleary eyed, confused and still half-asleep - and SAFE.
Noni put her in my bed and I crawled in next to her and fell asleep.... crying, still shaking - still trying to find my own breath and calm the panic in my heart..... WORST TWENTY MINUTES OF MY LIFE.
WORST F*CKING NIGHT EVER.
And - to be totally honest..... as I fell asleep I thought of alllllllll the times I've written about Kyron Horman and how his Mom, Desiree, has known more pain that I will ever (hopefully) know - and after a twenty minute taste of it ... I'm not sure how she's survived *years* of it.
To say that I'm blessed, in spite of everything that has happened in the last year and a half - is a freaking UNDERSTATEMENT..... sooooo glad The Girl was safe and sound the whole time.
I'm pretty sure that since then her smiles have been evern brighter, her laughter has been just a little bit louder and longer.... or may be I'm just paying even closer attention
FYI..... still on the road - still suffering (First World Style) with slow WiFi and a broken keyboard....
Just like our last trip to the LA area, it's not possible to come here and not visit all the usual places I went to when I was a kid - so when the kids and I drove to pick up Grandma in Burbank, our next stop was lunch at Bobs Big Boy in Taluca Lake.
It's one of the original Bob's - and features a working car hop. The Bubbie used to work here decades ago and The Boy has taken on my love of collecting Bob's Big Boy piggy banks... so the kids always ask to come here when we get Grandma.
Sadly.... while Grandma has been the wisest of people in our family extoling advice and Jewish guilt like a true pro..... she is fading fast. She's been having chest pains and other issue's - and perhaps the saddest thing is her memory loss...... Our lunch goes like this:
Gma: Did you drive down....?
Me: Yes - it took 17 hours, we stayed with Noni.
Me: Noni - Mom's best friend since gradeschool......?
Gma: Oh - did you drive down?
Me: Yes, we drove down from Portland.
Gma: Did you get a hotel room on the way down?
Me: No, we stayed with Noni.....
This goes on and on for 15 minutes or so until she changes gear:
Gma: Do you still have your house?
Me: No, remember we had to sell it.....?
Gma: Why did you have to sell it?
Me: Because El Capitan and I got divorced.... remember?
And.... then we talk about that for five minutes until ten minutes I get:
Gma: So how is the house......?
We continued on like this through lunch, repeating the same conversations over and over and over to the point where The Boy was starting to look at me weird. The Girl was engrossed in her chocolate shake and even though The Bubbie and I had discussed not telling my Grandma about my 'newfound' Lezzie status.... I though -f*ck it - she can't track where I live - surely she'll forget this in record time.... right?
We'll see about that...... lololol
The thing is, I've never lied to my Grandmother. I have always adored my Grandparents and respected them and would never lie to them about anything., so when we were on our third go around of - "We sold the house, El Capitan cheated, we are divorced......"
Grandma asked me, "So.... do you have a boyfriend now?"
I thought about what to say. The Boy looked at me with an eyebrow raised and I could tell he was a bit confused. I could hear The Bubbie in my head telling me that upsetting Grandma at this stage of life was a bit unfair and what not (she has a small point) - but...... to honor that meant lying.
I won't lie to my Grandma. I'm not ashamed of who I am - nor am I ashamed of who my girlfriend is (Hail Mary for those of you who missed it :) - and I sat there at the table eyeing my strawberry lemonade and I thought - she's asking me about the person who cares deeply about me - who has a genuine and willing interest in my kids and a life together..... is it ok to disrespect this person and lie?
And so after she asked again I said..... "Actually Grandma, I don't have a boyfriend but I do have a girlfriend."
Gma: I have lots of girlfriends..... why would that mean you can't have a boyfriend?
Me: I don't *want* to have a boyfriend Grandma - I'm the kind of girl who likes other girls. I'm not going to date boys anymore at all... in fact, I probably never should have - I've known I felt this way when I was 8.
Then there is a long pause..... I'm waiting patiently for her usual commentary which would start with all the sacrifices Jews before us have made - and end with how grateful we should be for our healthy and our happiness.... etc, etc. However, several bites of my Big Boy later.... and I'm still waiting for her to speak.
Finally..... Gma: Well, you know you're doing the wrong thing. Only... she says it with disdain and a bit of disgust in her voice.... had this been anyone else: I might have gotten mad. But this is an *amazing* woman who has seen and suffered love and loss that I will never know - and yet brought me so much joy. I can't be upset with her like I would be anyone who says' that... I just can't.
Then she follows it up with this gem: I hope you aren't going to bring her around the kids because you're setting a bad example.
Me: Well, actually Grandma, I think living a lie is setting a bad example, too.
Gma: No... no.... what you're doing is wrong and I hope you don't let the kids be around you and your girlfriend because you don't want them to grow up that way.
What the motherf*ck. This woman can't track that I'm divorced, where I live OR how I got to LA... but a conversation that shames me......? THAT the woman tracks with missile like precision.
I don't get upset though..... I just let the subject drop... and like my house - Grandma bring it up a few more times.....more "what I'm doing is wrong" talk.... and The Boy is shocked but he say's nothing.
Finally.... The Boy say's: Well, Dad has a girlfriend - so I think it's only fair that Mom has one, Grandma.
The rest of the meal was slow and somewhat painful - Grandma complained to the waitress that there was *too much* food on her plate: the burger was too bit and there were too many fries.....
I finish my Big Boy - but I left the large helping of Shame that had been heaped on me - right there on the table. I love my Grandma - and I can be proud of the fact that I didn't lie to her.
I didn't hide the person I care about, or make excuses, or pretend she's someone she's not.... and I didn't hide myself either..... I politely and respectfully stood my ground. When she's gone I won't regret that I wasn't honest with her about me and the important people in my life.
Most of all.... I'm proud that we live in a different time where my 8 year old son has a better handle on equality and the importance of it.... and that he has the capability to accept people and diversity - when my Grandma comes from a time where she cannot.
Two hours later she forgot my Lezzie status and the new conversation centered on the waht
Blogging on the road is really freakin' hard.
My lap top is missing keys.... wifi is slow and the page cuts out .... so last night I tried to use the handy-dandy mobile version... and it jacked up the post so badly that I lost most of it and then it locked up my account.
Speaking of good times..... we had a GREAT DAY at Disneyland!!!!!! Of course we are all sunburned and the kids *literally* passed out on the living room floor.... The Girl is still doing some kind of downward dog yoga pose: she's too tired to straighten out! lolol
We had an excellant day that started out with a One Direction breakfast (where the value of Justin Beiber vs. One Direction was hotly debated - you'll be happy to know that The Girl stood her ground on that one!). And then we were off to The Happiest Place on Earth.....!!!!!!
It was PIrates and Haunted Mansions and Alice and Peter and Small World..... almost all before lunch! There were Princess's to be seen and parades to watch.... the kids had a blast. The *coolest* part was watching our four kids bond - running and skipping and holding hands.... it was the cutest dammed thing ever.
Then they made me go on the Rocket ride in Tomorrow Land..... Motherf*Cking ride...... I enter the car with Th Girl and The Birthday Girl who is nine..... and The Girl fly's the dam car straight up and HIGH - as HIGH AS IT CAN GO!!!!!!! and me being scared of heights and all.....
Let me just put it this way - we got off the ride and Lashla said, "You looked terrified - how was it?"
To which I said, "Well, it was fanf*ckingtastic - and now your nine year old knows about 100 ways to use the word f*ck in a sentence and I won't appologise for it...... lolol"
To which Lashla replied, "Well, I'm not surprised, I would expect nothing less....." lolol
It's good to have friends who know you. hahahaha
The day was fantastic - a bit hot and we all got sunburnt inspite of tons of lotion.... especially me. Stupid pale, Irish skin.... it's not too bad though.
At the end of our magical day - we were shopping.... there was a snafu with some gift cards the kids were given which turned into a 45 minute fiasco while various cast members were solving the problem. At which point The Girl was sobbing, face down on the check out counter. People were staring at me as though to suggest I needed to stop what I was doing and take my kids home immediately.
Somehow during the chaos and the crying - The Boy wandered away and got lost because one shop leads to another and another another and suddenly he found himself several stores away......
Of course, practicing my skills for Mother of The Year: I didn't notice.
All of a sudden my phone is ringing - and unknown number at 11pm? I'm not answering that I mutter in disgust.
Then they call back.
A few minutes while trying to wipe up the pool of drool and tears The Girl is leaving on the counter - I notice that The Boy is gone ..... hhmm..... The Boy is: gone.
A small amount of panic is setting in and now The Girl is freaking the f*Ck out because she realizes brother is gone..... which leads to more stares (clearly people are impressed with my mothering skills....).
A few minutes later, security has come running (like - as if they came straight out of the freaking walls.... like swarmed us in a milisecond) - and people are talking on headphones and walkie-talkies.... and it's about 30 seconds (IF THAT) because a burly man puts a comforting hand on my shoulder and say's, "No worries Mom, he's been in the hands of one of our Cast Members this entire time, they are walking him here now."
Up walks The Boy and a Cast Member who is smiling ear to ear, she quickly tells me, "You have quite the young man here - he walked straight up to me, read the name on my badge and told me that he wandered away from his Mom but that he knew your name and phone number......"
Oh.... that'll be those missed "Unknown number" calls.....
They gave him a special button for being an "honorary citizen" and everyone praised him for knowing what to do...I however, wondered if there was a shopping bag big enough for me to hide in.
So..... this trip is kicking this singly Mom's ass just a little bit.... lol
Today's only goal: don't lose anyone.
I'll let you know how I do with that tomorrow. lololololol
I know.... I know I said that I was *back* ... and I am!
But.... tonight I went for dinner with Keebler and the new girl she's dating, then I had to run to Wal Mart (more on that later) - and then I met up with Hail Mary and some of her friends at a park in Portland where we sat on blankets and had Ben & Jerry's ice cream and chatted..... you see *this* is how PDX lesbians do it: they can't just go to a pub or a "place" for desert - they have to go and be all outdoorsy and eat outside on blankets and sh*t. lololol
I kidd.... it was actually *really* nice - I had a great time... BUT - I have BIG PLANS for tomorrow and it only occurred to me at 10:30 pm while sitting on said blanket that I realized that I HAVE to stop and get an oil change tomorrow... grr...... dammit.
You see I was at Wal Mart because I had to go and get some last minute trip good and a pair of shorts for The Girl - because....... tomorrow the kids and I are DRIVING TO CALIFORNIA!!!!!
Yup.... *this* single Mommy is loading up a suitcase, a bag of food, two kids, two Kindles and two leap pads - crossing her fingers and hoping for the f*cking best as we drive the 1000 miles to Long Beach.
Go hard or go home.... right?
Lashla is in CA from Scotland.... and if THAT wasn't enough reason to jump in a car and drive *anywhere* that she is.... her daughters birthday is on Thursday and they had plans to book a "character lunch" to celebrate. Well.... she decided that INSTEAD she wanted Lashla to use the money for the lunch (they are *spendy*) on having The Boy and The Girl go to Disneyland with her for her birthday.....
How the *hell* do you say no to that......?
So we are driving... hence the NEED for the oil change - and staying with Noni on the way down, then staying with Lashla, then visiting family, then staying with Noni on the way home.... and my car is stocked with PB&J, apples, Chips-A-Hoy, grapes and water..... on - and Special K. Which will be our meals over the four days of driving..... so - while we're "going big" - we are also going cheap.... hahahaha
So- yesterday, Hail Mary came over and met the family and the kids... and it went really well. The kids never really 'gelled' with Carhartt - and it became an issue quickly. So, when Hail Mary *asked* to meet the kids (because she LOVES kids) - I asked them if they wanted to meet her and they said yes.... so there was a good deal of razor cars and playing in the backyard with the hose.....
But, you know what I *really* like? Hail Mary refuses to read The Blog and so she hadn't seen our fantastic Disney video and so I showed it to her tonight and I noticed that she laughed at all the best parts that make me smile the most.... like The Girl "yelling" at her mouse ears for falling off..... that made me smile.
So, yesterday was crazy and busy and fun and the kids were having a rough time going to bed - they kept getting up and needing water and one last hug and to tell me something superdireandimportantthatcan'twaittillmorning..... etc. It was starting to border on one of those "Go The F*ck To Sleep" nights... (it's a book - you should totally GET IT!) and then THIS happened:
The Boy: I'm sorry I'm not going to bed real good tonight......
Me: That's ok - just try to lay down and close your eyes, bud.
The Boy: I suck at going to sleep tonight....
Me: Well, you could be doing better, but I'm not sure you "suck".
The Boy: Yeah.... I suck at going to bed... I should suck a bag of dicks.
Me: (MENTALLY: WHAT THE F*CK?) outloud : What did you say, buddy?
The Boy: Well, Dad always says when people such at driving that they should 'suck a bag of dicks'. So, since I'm not going to bed... I suck and I should suck a bag of....
Me: cutting The Boy off - DUDE.... it's cool - you don't suck and you don't need to do anything - just like try to go to sleep and we'll talk about this in the morning.....
Ironic that *I* am the potty mouth..... and yet my children never learn these things from me.... lololol - so now I have to have a chat with El Capitan about how we unravel "sucking" at something from "sucking a bag of dicks" with our eight year old and how.... I'm *pretty* sure there is a different way to handle your road rage.
I for one... will keep this in mind over the next two days! lolololol
Did you know that it was *just* our "One Year Anniversary"?
Well.... it was. And you didn't even get me a present!
Sadly.... we both know I'm fairly used to that by now. (bwahahahaha)
On a more serious note, it's a little bit crazy..... ok, may be *more* than a little bit crazy to think that only 12 months have passed.... because honestly, it feels like a decade ago.
I have always said that those Disney kids live in dog years: One year of "Hannah Montana" = 7 years of your normal 12 year old girls life. That means that by the time Miley Cyrus is 18 years old, she's been rode hard and put away wet by a society and an industry that has bought and sold every last once of her innocence leaving a old woman who might actually be 126 years old...but has no relevant "real-world" or life experience...
There are days when I actually feel 100 years old.... especially after the last year.
For instance, it felt (at the time) like it took a 100 years to get to my 18th birthday... I think everyone feels that in their youth. You live for summer allllll school year, then you spend the last month of summer bored and dying to see your friends at school..... right? Or, how I could not *wait* for the day when I would have my own bills to pay and a car to drive.... it seemed like it took *forever* to get there..... and yet - now fast forward TWENTY YEARS.... and I feel like it happened in a second.
I'm not making much sense right now... lol
Going back for my reunion it occurred to me that I had spent more time *away* from my childhood than I spent actually living in my childhood... which is a bit of a frightening feeling, to be honest. I still *feel* like I'm 18 years old - in my head.... but my heart and body tell a much different story.
However. One thing at my reunion that I heard over and over and over was how much I kind of *still* look like I did in high school.... while I'm certainly fluffier than I once was.... the years have been fairly kind to my face not leaving huge divides in my forehead where worry and pain left their mark. My eyes and teeth and skin are bereft of the marks of smoking, drinking or hard drugs..... sh*t: I didn't even tan much in my youth. lololol
So.... I kind of look the same (just fluffier :).
To be honest, most of the people from my class look *great*! Really... everyone was so happy and married and had good jobs and whatnot.... and then there was me. One of them actually commented to me on how "good" I looked and when I kind of shrugged it off (because we all know how great I am with accepting compliments) they stopped and said - "No, like with EVERYTHING you've been through this year - I can't believe you look so happy and .... the same as you always did."
At the time I replied with a quick.... "Well, I'm 'gay' so inherently I'm happier than you people - my label even say's so." Which was met with a round of laughter and the subject was changed..... but since I've been home and kind of digesting my trip and the effects of being a "grown up" now instead of the teenager I was once was..... and that one comment has kind of hung over me a bit.
The truth of the matter is... while I *have* been open and public about everything that has happened to me, what *has* happened really isn't *that* bad.... and honestly - it's happened(ing) to thousands of us all the time. So, when you consider that more than half of marriages in the US end in divorce and countless of those are from cheating.... my journey is actually rather.... typical.
There was really nothing special to see here. Aside from the fact that I was willing to share a very open and raw experience.... I don't think anything really happened that was all that different from a lot of the emails and messages that I got from men and women going through the same thing.
If there is *anything* different.... it's in how I handled things. The difference is in the choices I made for me and the kids AND for El Capitan. (wow... when was the last time I typed his name? lol). The difference is in how I decided to heal and process and move forward.... right or wrong, the evidence of having chose WELL shows very clearly on my face.... and I'm pretty f*cking stoked about that.
Like most people I don't find that there are too many times when I can stop and be *proud* of something I did... but I think overall - I'm pretty proud of how I handled everything.... I think I am.
Because the pain and the stress and the heartache... they don't live here anymore. They didn't get a chance to take up residence in my face and burrow it with lines and creases. I talked about it, I cried about it... sh*t I screamed about it, blogged about it.... but I *dealt* with it. I handled my sh*t and his sh*t and made choices I believed were *right* and in everyone's best interest.... which has many benefits - but it's become clear to me that one unexpected benefit was keeping my youth.... or least what little of it I had left. lolol
MOST importantly, however.... is seeing the kids.
I was so worried one year ago RIGHT NOW - about what kind of affect the divorce and living in two households would have on them....
Would they get depressed?
Would they lose their carefree smiles?
Would they see the loss of trust in their parents and lose faith in the world around them?
Would they lose their innocence......?
I'm not sure I have all the answers to those questions just yet.... they could both well end up on a therapists couch in ten or fifteen years.... and if they are: I'll happily own whatever mistakes I made.
But for now - the only couch they lay around on is the one in the living room where they build blanket forts. Somehow, in spite of all the insanity and trips to The View and TV crews and divorced parents and meeting La Novia - I managed to create a space for them to heal AND keep their innocence and their happiness as well.... I'm not gonna' lie: that's pretty f*cking rad.
No doubt..... I have another decade or so to f*ck up their lives.... so, I won't go counting these chickens until they graduate college and move out.... Xanax free. And ... like I said - my fingers are crossed. lol
There's soooooo much to fill you all in on... for those of you who are still here. :) I said I would keep writing until people stopped coming and even with my summer hiatus - hundreds a day were still checking in... so I WILL keep writing the Blog. Lucky for you, Hail Mary say's I can still Blog... which is good because she's becoming a bit of a.... fixture in our lives, but more on that later.
I can share this nugget with you though - another perk of dating a sweet butch girl is that she's not afraid to tell you that you've lost too much weight for your bra and that it's no longer 'supporting' you like it should... and kindly offers to take you to Victoria's Secret to help solve that problem. True Story.
Oh.... and *this* week the kids and I are going on an adventure that I'll be sharing with you every night.... so hang in there! :)
(WARNING: I am out of town ad typing this blog on the latop that is missing severa keys and on an older version of IE that does't have spell check... so please put away your Grammar Police Badge if you want to read this entry. :)
It's crazy to think about how may movies are made about returning for your high school reunion.... and I know I spent a good deal of time thinking about what returning to my HS reunion would look like......
Needless to say: I was expecting to return after being on TV for a funny sign and a Blog and Book..... oh - and gay.
So, if I'm being honest, I was pretty worried about going back. We moved to a small town in Iowa just before my freshma year.... I was nervous. We had lived in a few major cities and I spent my summers in California at my Grandparents .... so, this small town was a bit of a shock to my system.
It was a sweet little town, with one main street and just one traffic light in town that sat at the top of the hill that was in the middle of town. I can't tell you how many times I got my Volvo stuck on the upside of that hill trying to get my clutch to balance without dying.
Most of the shops were shuttered and empty on the high street: though there were two bars.
They clearly had priorities as a town. lololol
I got a job freshman year working at the only movie rental place in town and I worked some guys who were recently graduated or were seniors that year. At first I liked working with them, because in that building: they had to be nice to me.
At school, for the most part, people were indifferent to me...... or annoyed with me. They had all (mostly) grown up together since preschool. They had learned to ride bikes together and gone sledding together every winter since they were old enough to tie their own shoes. They had grown up working in corn fields and on farms..... I had actually never seen a working farm and the only corn I had ever eaten had usually come from a can with a giant dressed in a leaf skirt glued to the front.
I was a city girl with a bold attitude.... pretty much *exactly* as I am now... but younger, thinner and possibly (very possibly) louder...... this all added up together to make my social life in HS a bit.... challenging.
I couldn't fathom how most of them had never even traveled outside of Iowa, and how little they collectively knew about the world at large.... heavy metal only existed as a musical genre for one other kid in the HS who owned a Metallica And Justice for All t-shirt and when I commented on it one day the girl standing near us in the hall was like... "So like that's a real bad or something?"
Ummmm... yeah. My astonishment at their collective lack of knowledge of the outside world in 1989 was not totaly unjustified.... however, I could have probably (or very possibly) been slightly more polite about noting it. I can own that..... own that part where I kind of was surpised that they didn't know what NWA was and who Eazy E was... or Two Live Crew... or Metallica for f*cks sake. Or, the rising issue's of gang violence and black on black male crime..... I had just recently spent summers in LA where we weren't allowed to sleep with the windows open at night becuase The Night Stalker was killing people.... and here I was moved into a town where NO ONE ever locked their front doors: seriously. NEVER.
There was, at first, a tremendous sense of safety for me that was new to me. I had always lived in big cities where doors were always locked, car windows rolled up and kids in my neighborhood where latch-key-kids. This small town was .... safe. Kids walked home at all hours, people left their windown down and their front doors open.
That feeling of safety however.... didn't last long.
At school I wasn't really fitting in.... I was making a few friends - whom I was very grateful for, but overall, I was just too much: too loud, too different, too exposed to world and society that was totally foreign to them. Also, I was exposed to a good amount of bullying at the hands of one seriously thin and pointed nose f*ck face.
Now... clearly, I was a pain the ass to some degree... but this kid was such a prick that in our Junior year a younger kid would get sick of his sh*t and kick him so hard in the nuts that it broke and he lost it. So from here on out, we're going to call the skinny pointd faced bully: One Nut.
One Nut *hated* me..... and he spent every hour of every minute that he could making that known to me in all kinds of heinous and unpleasant ways....and, sadly, as is the case in most situations - no one else would saying anything or they would laugh along with him. So I just assumed they all agreed with him and hated me, too.
And.... so... like many kids, I was bullied. On top of that - I was gay and I *knew* that if being somone who didn't fit into their small-town world was reason enough for mercilous bullying.... being a queer on top of that probably wasn't going to help me any. So I stayed quiet.... very quiet.
I loved working at the movie rental store - especially because it gave me access to the "popular" senior boys and their friends.... which at first was fun because away from school, they were pretty nice to me. So nice that after a while, they would talk all their boy talk in front of me. I never went to any of their parties or whatever, so at first I liked listening to the stories.... then after a while: I didn't.
As the year went on and Homescoming approached, their parties were in full swing and my Sunday morning shift was now echoing the stories of which underage girl they had bent over a bail of hay and took turns on.... or which drunk and underage girl they talked into this bathroom or that bedroom..... Sometimes these things were consentual.... and sometimes, I would know from seeing certain girls crying in the school halls on Monday -that ... it was not.
See.... when people say - "why didn't you just come out years ago.... or in high school?" THIS is the reason: safety. Or, at least the direct lack of it. I would listen to them talk and brag and boast and I wondered if they found out that I was gay - if they would try to show me that I wasn't by bedning *me* over said bail of hay. Either way, I didn't want to find out... that was for sure.
So I kept quiet. Well... quiet about my sexuality - and then I was generally
I had some *great* friends - and my besties (eventually) - but overall... the bullying was pretty intense. Let me put it this way, the FIRST MOMENTS of TV footage of Columbine - while reporters were saying... "WHY is this happening....!?!?!?!" I remember that I sat down on the couch (still so many years *after* my graduation) and I thought..... "I know *exactly* why these boys are doing it.... they got bullied and they got sick of it."
Sure. I *FULLY* understand how WRONG that kind of violence it.... NOR do I condone it in anyway - but I would by lying to you if I said I didn't feel like I can understand it. Because I can.
So, coming back to this small town to see the wonderful friends I *did* have..... came with a f*ck ton of anxiety and fear on my part.... that feeling of un-safe came washing over me (silly I know... but they are emotions not rational thoughts).
Of course, at *this* point... especialy after The Sign and alllll the lovely things that people have written about me online.... I've got a pretty thick skin and I coudl give a flying f*ck what One Nut has to say..... honestly. Even still... the feeling of fear was intese.
I was SUPER excited to see my HS besties and I was so grateful to still have them in my life after 20 years... that's kind of rad. However.... a room full of people who I wasn't sure even remotely liked me.... that was another story.....oh, and I heard One Nut was coming. Great.
To my surprise..... most of the people in the room knew about The Sign and many of them even read The Blog... that's kind of crazy. No one cared that I was gay and two guys even asked me for some bedroom tips for their wives - which was alcohol induced questions in a friendly manner.... so I was laughing right along with them.
I was still feeling nervous when I was standing with some of the "popular" boys from our year when One Nut walked in.... and the room got a bit quiet. The guy standing next to me said, "I bet you're not happy to see him - he was brutal to you."
I looked up and nodded.... I didn't know what else to say because this guy, when he was a boy, had laughd right along with One Nut.... so I wasn't sure how to answer that.
Then he said, "He treated everyone like that... even me."
Hmm.... perspective - it's an interesting thing..... it tuned out that *most* of the room , having been bullied by One Nut for over a decade, weren't super thrilled to see him there and while people were walking over to hug me and talk to me.... One Nut: not so much.
People weren't rude to him..... but they weren't running over to give him a high five and a hug either.
There was, however.... much hugging of me.
So, it was a *great* night.... and I got to see some amazing people.... and.... as a bonus, I was polite enough not to cause a problem and let One Nut keep his one remainging nut (several people commented on how amazing this small fact was....) - and I just left with my hugs and the knowledge that I might have gotten a little more awesomer (or twenty years of awesomeness according to my cup).... and One Nut no longer had the power to control the room because he was never awesome to start with......
It's a long time to wait... but, it was kind of worth it.
Today was freaking awesome..... I had the chance to work for Vicci Martinez again (from The Voice).
She is sooooo amazing and talented and nice. SO freakin' nice.
We did two shows today and she performed then flawlessly - and she has some new songs that are *amazing*. It was a great day and I was super stoked to be working for her today.
However.... I only slept a few hours last night... and then got up by 8 am today.... worked all day - and I'm only JUST NOW getting home at 2:45am.... and I am LEAVING for the airport at 3:15am....
Tomorrow is gonna be rough..... really rough. lolol
But I am heading back to Iowa for my 20th High School reunion....which is f*cked up - because when the HELL did I get old enough to be going to a 20th year *anything*?
Second, I have to say that I'm a teeny-tiny bit nervous to be going back as lesbian.... I mean - I was *there* as a lesbian in the first place - but without my 'closet door' to hide behind.... It makes me a touch nervous.
Still. I'm SUPER stoked to be going back and seeing some really great people..... I hope you all have a Fanf*ckingTastic weekend.... I will be sure to post the chaos and fun for Monday morning... sorry to be MIA so much this week - that doesn't usually happen..... oh - and look at me - I'm down another 9 pounds.... Sweet, huh?: :)
I'm so, so, so tired tonight.
I have bags under my eyes.... deeper and darker than the usual.
I must get some sleep.
However..... I will share a wee story for your amusement.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE my LGBTQ community.... as you all know. :) The greatest thing is making new friends and over the last couple of weeks I made a new friend..... I'm not sure if she'll get a Blog name just yet... but we'll see. She plays a sport professionally, is super nice.... we actually have a ton of weird things in common: we don't drink soda or coffee or tea, we both stay up late and we both pop our necks and knuckles... like I said - weird things. lololol
We also like a lot of the same music - which is kind of how we started talking to begin with. Music is such a huge part of my life.... as ya'll know. Lately I've gotten SUPER into Passenger. I'm kind of obsessed actually.... I listen to them all the time. Well, that - the new Miley Cyrus song and Hunter Valentine.
Anyhow.... I digress. It came together that .... crap, she needs a name, huh? Got it.... Hail Mary. I'm going to call her Hail Mary.... there you go.
So, Hail Mary and I were going to the movies and we were meeting up ... but we hadn't said which floor to meet on and whatever.... so I get there and Hail Mary sends me a text: typical femme: late.
I send back a text: typical butch: jumping to conclusions. not late. parking.
Then we spend ten more minutes texting back and forth to find each other.... and we see *the* FUNNIEST movie ever: The Heat. I swear if you don't laugh sooooo hard for the first 45 minutes that your throat is sore then you are a( totally deaf or b) asleep. It's awesome. It's honestly probably one of the best movies I've seen in the last 5 or 6 years.
In-spite of the name, the theater was actually freezing.... and Hail Mary was nice enough to give up her sweatshirt. And let me let you in another *great* thing about dating girls... they do their laundry! So instead of being some musky, dank man-smelling sweateshirt (c'mon ladies... you *know* that you know what I'm talking about....) - it smells like it *just* came out of the dryer. Butch girls are like that - though Hail Mary debates with me whether or not she's a 'butch' girl... however, for the purposes of this Blog and so as not to confuse any of you readers... we'll stick to butch. (Having said that... be aware that labels - both in the LGBTQ community and outside of it - are always a bit dodgy and really... people are just people, however, this is a Blog with stories... stories have descriptions of people...so yeah - butch girl. done. lolol)
Hail Mary is pretty fun. She's kind of balls to the wall... say's what she means, doesn't f*ck around, works hard, plays harder.... and she doesn't find my abhorrence of tea and coffee weird like everyone else in the NorthWest seems to.
So the movie gets over and go to the parking lot, still talking.... Hail Mary is a talker, but the good kind - she's full of amusing stories and she's the kind of person who isn't afraid to tell you embarrassing stories about herself... which is always an endearing quality in a friend.
We get back to my car and I'm digging around for a sweatshirt to give back hers.... and I first find my Breaking Dawn part ii fleece blanket - which is really just a giant image of Edward on it. Hail Mary waste's *no* time in picking this up and starting making copious amounts of fun of me..... "What kind of *lesbian* sleeps with a man's head every night......?" and on and on it went.... thankfully, I found a sweatshirt and tucked Edward back into the trunk. (Thank f*ck I didn't have my "Cullen Baseball Sweatshirt"..... right? lololol)
So we end up sitting in my car for... a long time. Like... hours. I mean - in the first place, we all *know* can talk... right? But Hail Mary has tons of good stories and whatnot.... and time is ticking by and soon enough it's well after Mall hours and a tiny security golf cart comes whirling up to the car and the youngest of two Rent-A-Cops jumps out to tap on Hail Mary's window.
The young one is *super* rude.. telling us this is "private property" and we "can't be here" and has have to leave "the area" ASAP. He's all starched white shirt with a shiny gold Badge of Stupidity pinned to his chest with a maglight..... whatever. lololol
Hail Mary is nodding and listening intently and answering him back.... so *he* thinks she's taking him seriously.... I know she's flipping him sh*t. The older guy - dressed in just a black polo, Mall Security jacket and slacks.... (like a *normal* person) comes over and kind of shrugs towards the kid and say's.... "You know, here's the thing - you guys can keep talking, but if you start doing stuff and pants come off - we have to call the police and two 17 year old kids both got $600 tickets last week for having sex in a car parked on the other side of the mall just the other day..... so if you stay, keep your clothes on, but you should think about heading home."
Hail Mary say's: "Dude... if anyone was gonna drop their pants we'd have done that in the theater where the seats are comfy.... not out here."
Oh.... I'm thinking - thanks for the clarity on that. lolololol
He wishes us a good night and heads on his way.... Hail Mary turns to me and say's, "We just got Equality Profiled!!!"
Oh yeah! Holy Sh*t - we totally DID! bwahahahahahaha......
We were *literally* just talking and laughing - both leaning back against our doors and away from each other - just laughing and talking. The windows were steamy, we weren't making out.... but that guy just *assumed* we were gay.... I thought that was kind of cool actually.
Only in the northwest could you get 'Equality Profiled' in the Mall parking lot.... where he didn't assume we were just two "friends" talking... that's kind of rad.
In the end.... Hail Mary and I went our separate ways after the golf cart whirled around the car for the third time in ten minutes... but I had a great night - and I was especially glad everyone kept their pants on and we avoided $600 tickets.....
Time.... I feel like it's slipping through my fingers faster and faster.... I mean the first month of summer is OVER????
This will be my last official "summer at home" with the kids... but between trying to work and edit sessions and the kids being with El Capitan - the days go by far too fast and I feel like I'm losing this last summer with them quickly......
Stupid, overpriced health insurance..... sigh.
Anyhow. I have tried to pick one day a week where we go on an Adventure Day! We've been to the Zoo with Keeber and to Last Thursday's market with Keller and last week I decided that we would go on a one mile scooter ride and have a pic nic in the park by the old house.
The Girl was quickly regretting her choice in footwear: The Peppa Pig boots that Lashla sent her from the UK were faaaaaar too hot for an 80 degree day.... but otherwise, the Scooter Mile was a hit!
El Capitan and I had been going back and forth on when he was picking up the kids - because that's how it works with us, there is nothing set in stone other than the intent for him to see the children several times a week. This time varies depending on the kids social plans, my work plans and El Capitan's plans.... and thus far: it's going really well to do it this way.
So, while we were at the park, El Capitan showed up and joined us for our picnic lunch. The kids were thrilled to see him we all sat and at lunch together. It was really very nice because we used to take the kids to that park allllll the time before the divorce, and it struck me that I was sitting on our blanket and enjoying the sun and the kids playing and our lunch - and.... wait for it.....
Wait. For. iiiittttt.......
I was enjoying this new kind of company with El Capitan. The kind where we can sit and laugh at the kids and enjoy them .... *together* .... as *parents*..... at the same time. Not the kind of time where we're telling each other over yelling kids and throwing shoes and coats dropped on the floor and general hand-off chaos.... "oh, the kids did the cutest thing today...."
Nope. That day we were both present in the same moment in time: and enjoying it.
It was a year ago *right now* that The Sign was en-route from the printers, the neighbor boys were pulling weeds and laying bark and I was boxing up El Capitan's stuff and moving it to storage: by myself.
I really do feel like all the little things I did.... all the decisions I made along the way - and face facts yo: it was *me*... if you read back over The Blog, you'll see El Capitan disappeared more than a few times in those early days..... but I kept the course of the choices I thought we should be making... and I can't help but feel *slightly* happy to be reaping a few of those "rewards" right now.
So then during all the fun and the good times... the laughter between us fell a bit silent and El Capitan said, "Hey - you never replied to my message on Friday......"
I should rewind.
Last Friday I had a date.... a very nice date with a lovely girl who does sweet things like send me text messages in the morning that say, "Don't forget about dinner... see you at 6pm".... but then she goes to the totally wrong location of the restaurant we've agreed to meet at. lol (hi there.... :)
Side note.... see how *great* dating girls is.....? I swear, it's the bestest thing ever.....
So we were meeting for dinner before El Capitan was due to drop the kids off with The Bubbie and The Papa... no biggie.... but shortly after said drop-off time I get a super long text from El Capitan...... in short: The Girl dropped a tailgate on her head and The Boy stuck his fingers on the hot stove and two are blistered.
I call home and The Papa is already freaking out and checking The Girl for signs of physical injury or a concussion... thankfully there are none.
The Bubbie was putting band aids on a distressed Boy's fingers and discussing with him how he *knows* better than to touch a hot stove.... but she assures me, over the phone, that the kids don't need to go to the ER, that the "injuries" are minor and all is well.....
Even still... I'm pretty sure I blew out the rest of my date by being emotionally distracted and worried and checking my phone ever ten minutes...... sigh. I *swear* that modern technology will be the *death* of my dating life......
So..... back at the park, El Capitan asks and I explain that I called home and that it didn't seem to be a huge deal and that kids are *going* to get hurt at some point while they are with him and La Novia and that I thought he handled it fine.
He then tells me that La Novia was very upset at both injuries.... that they both happened because the kids weren't listening and behaving as they should and ..... drum roll please:
La Novia went online and researched a few sites, like Super Nanny and stuff, to find a way to create HOUSE RULES for their home so that they could start working on the children listening and behaving better when they are over there.
So, she created a list of rules and then laminated them.
She then got two dry-erase markers in different colors - and BOTH children have to get a PLUS sign next to each rule in a certain amount of time and they can earn trips to the arcade of the yogurt place.... (yes, *that* "froyo" place.... bwahahahaha oh, that still makes me giggle... anyhow....)
She crafted a system where the children have to work *TOGETHER* with good behavior to earn the reward.... if they misbehave, then the plus sign get's erased and they have to earn it back.
Well... well.... well.... LOOK. AT. THAT.
La Novia is all parenting and sh*t...... nice one, chica.
I'll admit.... it stung just a weeeeeeee bit to hear El Capitan talk about another person finding *any* kind of "fault" with my children's behavior.... (because they *are* perfect angles, right? lolol) - that's always been my job.... and I'm pretty good at that job, dammit. For the most part, we have *very* well behaved children.
So I asked El Capitan if this was coming from a place of annoyance and frustration with the children or a place of general parenting concern? He assured me it was just concern... plus, their place is smaller and there are issue's there that the kids have never had to deal with,etc.....
So I asked him to have La Novia make the same rules for our house and I told him that we would do the same thing in our place as theirs so as to fully support this effort in their house.
I mean..... seriously. How f*cking rad is that?
Here La Novia is taking *responsibility* for the well-being and rearing of the children..... I'm so excited about that.... honestly. I *really* am.
I am *fully* aware that lots of women who have stood in my shoes do NOT get a La Novia in the person who cheated with their husband.... I know that. I know many times people enter a spouses life to steal them away and want little to do with the children.... or *worse* whatever interactions they *do* have are super negative.... but: I got lucky.
That's kind of f*cked up, huh - the idea that I see this all as lucky now.... and for f*cks sake... before one of you writes me and tells me that I'm just saying that because I'm gay and that some negates not only the value of my marriage but also the depth of the utter, brutal emotional pain I felt when El Capitan left...... I'm going to start punching people right through this monitor.
I'm *lucky* because I COULD have let my anger choose... I could have let my hurt decide.....but I didn't.... and then I learned to tolerate and then to accept.... and *because* I created a space for someone to *grow* and be apart of this family.....they did that.
La Novia has done that.
And my kids are lucky for it.... and that makes ME lucky, too.
So we were sitting on our blanket, eating our sandwiches and I'm taking pictures of us four sitting there and The Girl say's....."we're still a family......"
Yes...yes we are. It's not the family I married into... but it's the family that grew up in it's place when that family was blown to shreds..... and I'm feeling pretty lucky that something so beautiful has taken it's place.
BooF*ckingYah...... to La Novia and all the La Novia's out there...... this Mom thanks you.
Mother, "scorned wife", photographer, designer, potential blog writer and recent guest on The View.... life's been pretty crazy as of late - crazybeautiful that is!
You can see some of Elle's photography at: