Tuesday, June 27, 2006
I haven't meant to be standoffish, I've just been busy...and sore. I went kayaking for the first time ever this weekend—to say nothing of camping. More on that later, but a weekend without electricity should be a reasonable excuse for any of the lauralore.com readers as to my Saturday-Sunday absence, even that one who leaves disparaging comments.
Nick's birthday was Sunday, and I wish I had been more energetic to really celebrate the day...make it really special, but Laura was pooped. It wasn't until about 2:13PM today that I was actually able to make a fist...rowing is tough on the hands. Particularly rowing for 6-7 hours on your first-EVER kayaking expedition:
It was a rough day today...and I've finally decided why, and it's the silliest reason ever. Everything's been reminding me of Mom...I've been fighting tears all day...little memories keep sneaking up on me and my heart absolutely aches. Today my gym membership expires. I will not be renewing, leastwise not in DeForest. I've been staying active out of doors...I need to be better about it, but still.
My Mom bought me six months of membership for Christmas last year...I think that's what's triggering it. It was a membership I started with Miles—I've grown tired of the questions inquiring after my husband—and renewed due to a holiday gift from a woman I cherished more than life itself. The place holds too many hard memories for me...walking zombie-like on the days immediately after Miles left...running to the point of near-faint the week that Mom died. It is those moments that inundate my thoughts when I swipe my card and the computerized voice chimes, "HAVE A GREAT WORKOUT!"
But really, my heart has been growing heavy for many days now, it isn't just today. Sunday, returning from our trip, I told Nick that I'm afraid of my next move. I've had a complicated set of circumstances over the past several years...it's been emotionally draining and my life veered long ago from the path I wanted it to take. Lennon had it right when he advised that life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
I admitted my fear...now that some of my responsibilities have faded away, now that all of the groundwork I've labored so hard to lay is beginning to pave my way, what if I fail? What if I just can't be who I want to be? Regret is beginning to take hold, and it is the most loathsome of all...I don't believe in regret, and now I bathe in its murky depths.
My day curved up in silly's grin when an individual told me at break that I was adorable and could totally pass for Barbie—in a non-plastic, anatomically correct way—and that they were so glad I was their coworker. Cheap that this perked my spirits? Probably. Do I care? Not really. You've gotta get your smiles where you can...some days they seem to be in limited reserves.
Friday, June 23, 2006
I was late in beginning my morning break's exercise, a jaunt around the path surrounding the office...it's around a mile. I dawdled, and found myself with just shy of ten minutes with which to complete the course. I elected instead to only follow the bordering sidewalks around the building.
As I rounded a corner, I heard Brenda's voice upon the air...or rather her laugh—full-bodied and rolling. Electing to give her her space—I had not had a good morning...my stomach went on strike, delaying my readying process...I hit every possible red light...I was rushing and out of breath...I was a study in anxiety during my many excursions to Brenda's desk...so much so that she muttered towards the end, "I don't want to see you again."
I got back to my desk several minutes before training resumed, and emailed my aunt to tease,
I think I heard your laugh just a bit ago as I circled the building.
Chuckling to myself, knowing the level of propriety sought at this company, I sent the message...and had to refrain from snorting when her reply came quickly to set me straight:
Nope, we were talking about boobs!
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
I had my first tennis lesson last night—and I loved it! Sure I'm graceless and have less coordination than a stick, but I'm among friends! I did suggest that our class begin a new form of the sport: air tennis. I argued that, especially for newbies, it was so much easier whacking at the air than a bouncy greenish ball.
I bet the instructor is considering the possibilities.
I was chasing my ball in the opening moments, and cried out, "Oooooh! It's a running sport!" I usually stray from contact sports...because I have four limbs and have been armed with the ability to operate only two at any given time. Tennis will be interesting.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
I haven't been able to shake my headache or the dizziness all day. I finally got around to desecrating the sacred grounds of Brenda's cubicle this morning, going through her drug-supply-drawer. She advised me yesterday that she had an assortment there...and also that she was re-stocking this weekend and to put my bid in for any requests now.
I got home and opened the medical bill that I specifically avoided opening yesterday...didn't want the downer. Why I thought that headache-imbued Laura was more prepared today is beyond me, but the damage is done.
I received my work benefits PIN in the mail...immediately I logged in to set up my benefits plan. Lessons I've learned: no matter how bereaved you are at a cherished one's passing, do not let others handle the details of your life...particularly your father who signs you up for a health insurance plan with a deductible I would value as a buck or two shy of the worth of my first born. Men don't visit doctors unless a limb is slightly less than attached (a), I'm no man (b), I shouldn't have let a man determine my coverage (c). This is what is commonly referred to as a "stupid move".
And of all the coverages under which I could have been enrolled, it had to be that one when my stomach decided that food was the enemy.
So I'm set up now...and oh so glad that I won't have to donate 90% of my plasma to pay for a wisdom tooth to be removed. While I was at it, I cancelled the other, booger-policy. The headache has been compounded with a hearty bout of nausea, and as I look to the turbulent clouds I wonder if tennis lessons are still on. I hope so. I need to relax.
Monday, June 19, 2006
You know, it's a blessing-curse having a record of what you were doing at this time last year, at this time two years ago. You want to go back because some things seemed happier then...and at the same time you want to wipe the history from your books, electing instead to pretend it never existed at all. Experience can so effortlessly masquerade as Mistake. As the old saying goes, I wish I knew then what I know now. But, I feel good about where I am now...who I'm with and what I'm doing. Perhaps the pain I've paid has been well spent after all.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
...and some people are afraid of smiley, flower pillows. Or, more accurately, what a gift of a smiley, flower pillow on a day celebrating fathers and June birthdays from a this-close-to-senile grandmother means to an August-born lass. It's darn scary. She didn't want me to feel left out...being neither a father nor of those born in the sixth month....because I totally would have....I'm exceptionally bitter that I've not met either qualifier in all my 24-almost-25 years.
The point being, that people often develop an irrational nervousness toward otherwise benign, innocuous whatnots. I honestly just didn't like the way the pillow looked at me when I pulled it from the bag. Nick held it in his lap on the way back to his place, and I didn't like the way it smiled while he mechanically squeezed a petal while lost in thought at the traffic lights. It didn't blink. Its unerring smile broke my calm and I felt drops of uneasy sweat slide down between my shoulder blades.
I immediately disposed of the thing. Grandma would never know...she never does. She hasn't quite reconciled herself to the fact that I'm no longer nine years old...beyond being frustrated with my dual-toned eye, she's hoping that one of these days I still sprout up to do my viking ancestors proud...and hasn't quite forgiven my father for marrying into the short-n-stout, shitfaced, German blood line. Well, so be it. Those guys know how to live.
I tossed the pillow toward the trash with a spin and thought the matter closed...until I left the room briefly, and returned to find it situated with Nick's throw pillows on the couch. More than a little unsettled, I took several deep breaths before reviewing the scene. I renewed my efforts to eradicate its place in my life.
Thinking the matter closed, I cleansed all related thoughts from my mind. Besides, I've been a little "out there" as of late...my medications, where I am determined to keep my accusatory finger pointed, have been to blame for many a spacey moment. I had a somewhat upsetting dream the other night.
It was a Wednesday...and I was watching Nick and his family play volleyball...as I tend to do on Wednesdays. Then I got a phone call...on my cell phone...not many people have my number, or even access to my number. My whole family was dead, the caller told me: freak car accident...everybody was gone, both sides of my family. At first, my reaction was normal—you know, sad, disbelieving, tortured—but it passed a little too quickly and I demanded, "HOW DID YOU GET THIS NUMBER!?" Then, a second thought crashing through, I interrupted their answer to inquire, "Why the hell were all of my family in the same place? They don't even like each other!"
Then I woke up. This just in: my soul really is blackened.
So anyway, being that I'm up a few times a night, and several nights a week I still catch myself wanting to get dressed at 1:30 AM to go to Mom's bedside and see that she's alright, I figured I imagined the pillow too. You never know, and you can never be too protective of your failing mental capacity. That, and I'm blond...I get enough points deducted just because I have that "look" to me.
However, as I entered the bedroom this afternoon, I am pretty sure that I could be described as completely lucid and quite in control of my perceptions. He likes mind games, my Nicholas does. I just wish he wouldn't choose such pliable subjects to poke.
So, Nick is hosting his family's Father's Day celebration today (mine held theirs yesterday). I asked if I could bring something, as polite people are supposed to do, and without internal struggle, deliberation, or timidity, Nick blurted, "You could make that seafood salad." I guess it pleased his palate...somewhat.
The game plan was to hit my family get-together and then buy groceries for me to make my salad and Nick to make potato salad. This is to be a monuments occasion...Nick has never made potato salad, and for sure he has never made his mother's potato salad, though he's probably had the recipe for the better part of the aughts.
He was selecting eggs at the grocery store when his phone chimed—his mother. She told him that she bought potato salad earlier that morning. I questioned Nick on this, being that she has a supposedly special recipe and all...he advised that she's gotten lazy in recent years—his words, not mine.
He told his mother that that was just too bad, he was seriously up to the challenge of the potato salad, and his basket was already loaded with potato-salad-makings. I am walking at his right elbow, slightly trailing him (Nick sporadically changes directions, stops suddenly, and generally makes himself an accident waiting to happen while on foot). Meanwhile, I hear her giving him pointers, Nick looking pointedly at me as if to say, "Are you writing this down? Can you remember that?" I bit my tongue and refrained from airing my all too pitiful growl.
We got back and I whipped together my salad...pasta needs time to suck in the Miracle Whip...yes, I'm a Miracle Whip kinda girl...hold the mayo, if you please. (Actually, it doesn't really matter to me one way or the other, but I'll always BUY Miracle Whip...that's what Mom did...Mother knows best.) Meanwhile, I hard-boiled eggs for him, chopped his allotment of onion, and asked if he'd like me to start his potatoes as well. I'm nice on occasion.
So I complete my role, placing my dish in the refrigerator. Nick comes in, needing only to, essentially, mix everything together. I left the kitchen in pristine shape, counters sparkling, his ingredients lined up in a neat little row. And in a span of about 10 minutes, the counter had a potatoey-grime texture, gobs of Miracle Whip—Nick's of a Miracle Whip people as well. I was impressed by the mess—the procurement and the completeness both.
Often, my downfall in cooking is scorching and exploding of foodstuffs while I'm too busy taking care of the dirty dishes I've made. Nick's a grand chef, however...I'm told you should never trust your dinner if it came from a clean kitchen or a thin chef...well, one outta two ain't bad. So, Nick: I applaud your mess. Perhaps one day you can teach me the trick.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
She's among my score of single aunts who claim their nieces and nephews as their own, use them as their heirs. She set up my IRA several years ago after receiving a surprise health insurance check from her recently deceased husband. She's been investing money in my, my brother's, and my cousins' names (that's right, all four of us). I received a letter from the investment organization handing the accounts—and coincidentally (or not so much) the organization under which she is employed. The outer sleeve seemed to indicate the need for an immediate response.
I opened the letter, desensitized to the "RESPOND IMMEDIATELY!" headlines in red blinking lights by the flood of credit card applications that are only interested in me for the next five days...you know, until they renew the offer next week.
But included in the letter was a self addressed return envelope, stamped too, and a form to change my beneficiary. A little detail that I had forgotten during the graying-out of my marriage.
So I threw Brenda's name and soc on my form, trying not to roll my eyes too belittlingly when she had to look up her social security number, and sealed the enclosed envelope. Now, the life insurance. I requested beneficiary change forms in April when I sent in my premium check. Nothing. I suppose next time I set up life insurance, I should go through a bitter, burned-by-love relative instead of my significant other's good acquaintance. Live and learn.
Friday, June 16, 2006
The last seven days strung together have been near the top of the "reasons to stress" ranking. I gave my two week notice on a Tuesday, and then on Wednesday received a call from my job-to-be asking if I could start a week earlier, the next Monday, in fact. Well, Monday was D-Day, and I was in no way going to start a new job after that. I was completely apprehensive just at the thought of telling my bosses about the call. They were under tension themselves, having transformed from the team who offered me more money to coax me to stay and who told me I would always have a position waiting for me with their company should I ever need it. You see, after I gave my notice, two others in our 11-person office gave theirs.
But I rolled my shoulders back and approached them...I was frustrated with the new company for causing me to renege on a responsible course of action. "But where do your allegiances lie now?" my coworkers counseled. I knew they were right...I just hated to do it, I hated to leave the place hurting. Needless to say, the last three days of my employment there were difficult, but my friends rallied by my side and kept me smiling.
I've been bored out of my mind at the new "job"...I throw it in quotes because I'm not really doing anything at present...puny online courses, familiarizing myself with the company website, et cetera, et cetera, so on and so forth. I feel very belittled that they felt I needed a week to get an "inside look" at the company. Then I remember my aunts telling me that I would be bored out of my mind for the first month...and I remind myself that I've just transitioned down from a very traumatic segment of my life and that everything seems to be moving at a snail's pace comparatively.
But I text messaged my frustration to Brenda yesterday, that I screwed my old company out of a week for such an exercise in monotony. She replied that I shouldn't murder anybody, but that if I did at least we know where the courthouse is. Ah, good ol' Brenda. She messaged me later in the afternoon that presents were waiting for me when I got home. I reverted to five years old again as my eyebrows perked into hairline ticklers and I remembered manners. "You didn't have to get me anything!" I messaged, all the while humming to the song in my head, Presents! Presents! I got presents! Yaaaaay! Presents! Pres....
A pretty new dress, a tennis racket and carrier, tennis balls, and a practice mechanism...oh and hygiene wipes. I'm addicted to moistened towelettes...you never can be too clean, an obsession I picked up from my first roommate in North Carolina, Janice. It's addicting once you start, and plain old toilette paper just feels so base after you've given pampers a shot.
I was just charmed out of my mind at such unexpected generosity...and tripped over my tongue as I sought to most accurately express my gratitude. It strikes me over and over again how fortunate I am...I have the most loving people in my life, and I've been blessed with the ability to see them and appreciate them as such, a gift bestowed on me by none other than the big C. Up until the last moment of her complete lucidity, my mother professed to me that Cancer was the best thing that ever happened to her...that she was finally able to set her priorities right and show her loved ones how much they meant to her so that they'd never question their places in her life.
It's a common phrase, one you may have heard before, but when someone in your family has Cancer, the whole family has Cancer. There were many moments of depression in the first quarter of this year, many moments wherein I cried that "it" didn't take me instead. I've begun truly loving life in the months since, perhaps more profoundly than I ever have in days past. I was in my car after receipt of my gifts, on the way to Nick's to see what I could do to help him feel better, and I was struck by Brenda's likeness to my mother. I seem to be pulling parts of her from everyone, and I am wide-eyed and trembling in her memory's wake. She was singularly the most caring and generous person that I will ever know.
I find it strange, and as the title suggests, weird, that so much upheaval should exist, and still my heart mourns her and her alone. Perhaps it is the one upsetting stream that I cannot divert. I have been laying the brickwork for a brighter tomorrow for several months now, and yet when the rains come in and the day feels heavy, yesterday looks brighter than tomorrow could ever hope to be. I'm hoping for a lull to come my way...a period of boredom and inactivity. I am weary.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Today was day number three on the job. I've already managed to fall in love with one girl on my team who just tickles me endlessly (figuratively). She has a phobia of dead rodents...wanna know why? Not because they're vermin—no, of course not that. Not because they're dead—not that either, silly. She has a phobia of dead rodents because she's convinced herself that someone is going to pick "it" up and chase her with it.
"How does someone develop such a phobia?" I found myself asking. She looked at me wide-eyed and fresh-faced, totally innocent—this girl's the real deal. She shrugged in slow motion and looked completely vulnerable. I felt very protective then...for the girl who out-highs me by a decent 7-10 inches. I went to pat the back of her hand where it rested on the table when she turned to continue her streaming vignettes.
"I like dead crabs, though. I play with their claws and pretend like I'm going to pinch my kids with them. They get so freaked out! It's so funny!"
I withdrew my hand where it hovered over hers, and tried to look disapproving through my laughter.
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