Monday, December 22, 2008

Ah The Sights and Sounds of Christmas...

Now, if anyone has ever sat at 295 and Walmart on San Jose - then you know where I am coming from - you see, I live in a part of the Country where WalMart has an eccentric mix of cars in the parking lot, and it is not uncommon to see a 1978 Chevy Pick Up with a 24 inch rise and tires from a used bulldozer parked next to the newest Lexus that not only parks itself, but also reminds you to get off of your damn cell phone when you are sitting idle at a green light. (Which, by the way, if you have sat at the light at the Wal Mart, you would know that this is a useful addition).

On my way home from the gym (yes, it is a statement of fact that I do work out at Christmas - sort of like those folks who only go to church on Christmas and Easter - well I go to the gym because everyone else is either at Wal Mart or Church). I saw no fewer than three "shooting of the birds", heard one beautiful "F*&^ YOU" and was cut off by one of those trucks as described above - being driven by some zit inhabited college student fresh home from one of those great schools of south (Florida, Florida State, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia....notice I do not mention Miami, because as we all know, everybody who goes to the U of M is from somewhere other than the South - their relatives moved here to get away from the hustle and bustle of the City, and turned South Florida into a place that Floridians moved away from) - I do find it interesting that as much as we educate folks in the South, that even the young college kids strive to get back to their youth and imitate rednecks...educated rednecks, but rednecks none the less.

Christmas is upon us - the lights sucking the last bit of coal out of West Virginia, the lines at the liquor store, the wonderful news of waiting in line for hours for a cancelled flight, and of course, the happy excited people at Walmart beating the hell out of their children as they get those last few fishing lures for Daddy...what would we do without this time of year? Well - here are a few ideas that I would like to share - perhaps they will catch on, and in 2009, we will change our current traditions to these:

1. Merry Krispy Kreme Day - This is a most important new tradition. You see, we are expected to gain weight during the holidays - and this way, everyone camps out in the parking lot of the Krispy Kreme, and in the morning, the attendants hose everybody down with the warm, sugary creme. The new Claus is represented by that person that you see eating a whopper on one of those electric carts in the WalMart.

2. Happy Credit Card Day - This holiday, is one where the banks, without any particular reason, raise your interest rate to the maximum default rate - oh wait, they already have that holiday. (every day) - Well on this day, we all get charged $39.00 for a late payment fee, and then think of all the money we saved by not having to buy gifts.

3. George Bush Day. Since there was a large amount of conversing with the one up on high during the past eight years, I think he should be in here somewhere. On this holiday, all spelling errors, unilateral attacks, stunned looks, and shoe throwing are instantly forgiven.

4. Joy to the Merle Day. Instead of having to listen to Christmas Carols all month long, this one day, every radio station plays nothing by Merle Haggard. It can include duets, and cameos, but this day, we don't have to suffer through relatives, just twenty four hours of Merle Haggard.

5. Love thy Neighbor Day - this one is pretty self explanatory - heaven forbid you have ugly neighbors.

6. Three Wisemen Day. This holiday, you actually acknowledge the three people in your life who may or may not be wise. Caution - one day of frivilous ass kissing can lead to months and months of self-loathing, so treat this holiday with some respect. Given that it is close to raise time, you always want to add your boss to this list.

7. The Twelve Days of Cranberry Sauce. Think about it, a diet of cranberry sauce for twelve days. Not only would you be regular, but your lips would have the look of that new Delta safety lady who looks like a botox experiment gone horribly wrong...

8. The Little Chicken Drummettes Day. Tyson Chicken Drummettes. Mmmm Mmmmm Good.

9. Wrapping Paper Day - this holiday, although a bit risque, is fun. Everyone wraps themselves in Clingwrap - and congregates to sing their favorite Beatles song. Although this may not be attractive, just think of all of the people you know sweating to "Give Peace a Chance".

10. Happy Tuesday. To hell with it, let's celebrate the most underappreciated day of the week - Tuesday.

Now you make think I am a grinch, or trying to take the Christ out of Christmas, but no - ah no - I am merely pointing out that most folks have done a pretty good job of that already - so let's just officially change the holiday, forego the visits to relatives, expensive gifts, stress, overeating, traffic, hangovers, yadda yadda yadda - and just have a day to celebrate -

With that being said, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Merry Krispy Kreme Day everyone. Here's to a healthy new year - and don't forget on December 26th, there's only 365 shopping days until Christmas 2009!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Folding Laundry...

There are things in this world that are just plain simple and nice. Plain simple and nice like hot towels fresh out of the dryer, the smell of bleach and soap and that wierd heat smell that burns off from the dryer - folding laundry is one of those plain things that we all complain about - but the reality of it is that it is one of the few things we actually have control over - you can fold laundry if you like, you can set it down if you don't, you can put it in piles, or make neat creases in everything - you don't have to really think about what you are doing, it just seems to come natural, underwear in half, towels in thirds and then rolled, wash clothes get folded in squares, socks mated together....mindless and easy.

I like simple things. Most things we do these days are complicated by some derivative of what they were originally meant to be, baseball has steroids, football has dog fights and stripper clubs, television has ratings, books have followers - it is almost as if everything that had some sense of pleasure for us as children has been turned into a statement about something else - think about it, what simple joys in life are left - with the exception of family time - that don't have to be paid for and commentary made.

That's why I like folding laundry. Very rarely, if ever, do you see a newspaper headline detailing the scandalous nature of washing dirty clothes, or the washing machine heist of 2009, or the great dryer debate - it is just one of those things that comes natural. You fold laundry. You wash clothes. You just do it, and you don't have to think about it, you just do it. People crave scandal and detail and they crave getting into and hearing about and helping and seeing - but very rarely do they ever offer to help fold laundry.

Me, I like folding laundry. Politics, Finances, Religion, etc etc etc - they may be the cannon fodder of the high browed and well read, but personally, I like laundry.

Well, that's enough about laundry. I was at the gym today thinking of other mindless activities that really don't cost much, and seem to have the similar affect as folding laundry:

1. The dishwasher.
2. Eight Track Cassette Players.
3. Monopoly.
4. Picking Lint off of your favorite sweater.
5. BB Guns and Beer Cans.
6. Building Sheet Forts with the kids.
7. Super Glue and anything.
8. Hotel Soap and Shampoo.
9. Counting Road lights or stripes as you are driving.
10. Those fuzzy dart balls and ball boards.

Me, I like top ten lists too. Mindless. Numbing, and still strangely appealing to me.

Maine Ice...

They compared last night's storm to the big one of 1998 - sometimes, that is okay, but not when you are sick of picturesque little Maine towns, and short people who chew their gum way too loud and that obnoxious Northeastern attitude - I was full up with it this week, had enough, finito, done. Maine is a beautiful place, but I don't quite understand why people still live there - I mean there is great skiing (so I hear), there are lobsters, and they do make beans to supply Boston just a few hours south. Other than that, there are squat little houses, and tiny streets and cold ice water weather - maybe Mainers are a tough breed - and they stay to prove that - or maybe, just maybe, they refuse to let us outsiders in on their secret.

Waking up this morning at 6:30 am to no sound - for me that is unique - I blare the television on C-Span, and keep the air conditioning running - those are my roommates for the time being, but this morning, it was quiet. The power was out - the ice had pulled down several trees, and apparently the generator was not quite ready yet - so it was cold, it was quiet, and the gray scene outside the window glistened as the wind blew through the sagging trees. It was a nice scene to sit and listen from the cover of a rapidly chilling hotel room - the crash of the limbs straining under the weight and hitting the ground below, the sound of ice splattering on the pavement, the sound of the maintenance man shoveling the drive, cursing the weather and the shitty shovel the hotel had provided him with...

That was Maine Ice - that was my morning - I hate to think that there are a few more long months of winter ahead up there, but in an odd sort of way, I look forward to more of those sounds, and the cold, and the Maine Ice....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I don't think...

And I think just about everyone could agree with that at times. I am sick of thinking. Really I am. I am sick of thinking of arms that are not mine wrapped around something that is, and taking something that I want more than I can explain. It sucks. It just plain sucks.

You know, not having a nickel to your name puts a new perspective on life. I could easily go back to the home I know, get a boost, and be a man again by begging for a nickel or two - but you know what - the four mile walk in the cold was good. My ears, well they are cold, my toes, they are perhaps a bit colder, and my fingers, well they type. I can at least keep them warm by holding them close to me. They remind me of you. Holding them close to me.

Tonight I broke the myth of trust, that I would not do something stupid, and I did. I hate emails, I hate text messages, I hate it all. I want to be next to her. That's it, plain and simple. I know that this is not a game, I know that there are real things for her to lose, but the truth is, I want to be next to her. Tonight, tomorrow night, I want to be next to her.

Nothing more to talk about. Things hurt. Shit, everything, for some strange reason or another hurts. You are right, I do not think. I just want, and for all intents and purposes, that is where I am.

This sucks. A ten year old who wants his dad, a man who wants you, and 3,700 miles and a world of decisions in between. My shoulders are broad, my brain is strong, but my heart - it hurts - and I have come to one conclusion, it is because - I don't think...but I do know that I love you. Simple. I love you.

No A Demain, no JT OBWE, none of that - I love you. The rest, well, I understand the rest, and so it is, just like we said it would be. You are not leading me on, you have been honest, and I, well I, have fallen too far to lie.

I think it is easier now, to say goodbye, you go on. Please. I want nothing more than to be next to you, and just smell you - that sounds kind of weird, but really, just smell your smell, and sense you next to me - i dont sleep without that pillow that is you, without that dream or hope of a dream that is you - it hurts. I want an hour - a cup of coffee, a hand, a hug, a hello. I want brown eyes and hair and a simple sweet giggle - but I know that those are the pillows that I cling to now. They will keep making pillows, but you know, there is one you. I can make sad substitutes for feeling alive next to you sleeping and breathing and holding, but I can't make you.

Goodnight. I hate saying goodbye, but I am afraid that my words tonight pretty much made sure I had done a good enough job of saboteur - losing just about everything, well that is priceless - making a decision to give the rest away (when it was never yours to give) well, that is where I am. I love you.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Throwing in the Towel - from both corners...

Let me preface this by saying that I process my pain through humor. People don't understand that at times, and it may be emotionally unintelligent - but it is the way I deal with things. When push comes to shove, nine times out of ten, you are the only one who can decide how to process your hurt and disappointment - and for me, this is the way I do it. You don't have to like it, you can say it is callous and disrespectful, but the reality is - I need to process the things that I have created, and the pain that I have caused, and the pain that we are both feeling and working through right now.

Now that I have given you the Mr. Rogers put on the cardigan and take of the dress shoes and slip into the comfortable sneakers disclaimer - you can read on if you want to - if you don't - hell, go have a glass of Cabernet, and stop worrying about the way people process things....

Well, by this time, I am pretty sure that everyone with the exception of the guy who has been scrubbing pipes in Alaska all year knows that Christy and I are handing in our rings, and trading them for an equitable distribution of assets and time, and we both agree that life is going to be inevitably better for it.

There are a million reasons behind our decisions - mostly it comes down to us not being able to decide what pattern of everyday china we wanted to purchase for ourselves at Christmas - and you know how quickly having to eat off ugly plates can destroy a relationship. I mean, we were fine with the flatware, but the china - that was just too fragile a subject for us to handle. In all reality, that is all anyone out there needs to know - both of us respect and care for one another, want to stay in this good place with our decision, and really don't need the prodding or questioning from our friends and acquaintences - it takes two to get married, and the funny thing is it apparently takes 439 to get divorced (that is exclusive of attorneys, counselors, the guy you have to call to do a change of address, and the single guy who lives down the street who is too worried about making child support payments to deal with anyone else's shit...)

The funny thing is now, that we both realize for years that we have poured ourselves into trying to be the person that each other wanted the other person to be, better parents, better providers, better friends - but through the immense number of conversations, we have come to the conclusion that if we would have spent ten minutes a week talking about what we really wanted to be - and worked on being the best that we could be as individuals - we would not have fallen into this situation of getting tired of being something we were not...

We have two beautiful children, we still have beautiful home, Christy is the best mother and friend anyone could ever ask for, and I am still a pretty good provider and friend. It goes without saying that both of us hurt for our children,for each other, worry about how the other is going to be, and frankly, are scared shitless about how we are going to make a go of it as middle-aged divorced parents - who just want their kids to have the best of everything.

That's enough about that - now, to the advice column for those of you who are thinking about, going through or discussing divorce - here is a top ten list of things you should never do when working through a divorce:

1. Don't ever - I mean ever - sleep naked. Not only do you open yourself up for a Lorena Bobbitt experience, but you also open yourself up for those penned up comments about the way your gut is bigger than your Johnson.

2. Booking a trip to Hedonism III is not a good idea - and asking if you can take that weekend off from visitation is not really good either. (Note - do not use your wife's or husband's credit card to do this)

3. This one is not a never do - if push comes to shove, and you really really need to stop arguing - the "I am Gay" card works really really well.

4. Don't argue about the pots and pans. They are in very close proximity to very sharp, heavy objects, and trust me - sharp heavy objects are not your friend.

5. Don't ever say "I never liked you in bed" - this is generally followed by "I thought it was just me".

6. Don't ever fight over the belongings - in the end, remember, you have to move that shit - and some of that crap (like the computer table you had to have with the granite top and the included firesafe) is pretty damn heavy - and by this time, if your friends are still sticking by you, they are going to refuse to move that monstrosity.

7. Don't ever expect your in-laws to understand - remember, you have been a prick/bitch from day one - and surprisingly enough - you are still a prick/bitch.

8. Don't ever pretend that you are comforable as you are going through this crap,the fact the you are telling jokes on the phone does not mean it still does not feel like Jack Lalaine Juiced your heart, and Mario Andretti parked a Ferrari in your ass.

9. Don't ever think that there is enough money. There is never enough money - and there are more than fourteen million two hundred thousand seventy eight ways to try and distribute it. Picture Chris Farley and the man down by the river - get used to either sleeping in a van, or keeping it as a very highly likely possiblity.

10. Don't ever try and schedule holiday parties jointly - the reason they don't put lions in the same cage as gazelles at the zoo is enough to describe this situation.

That's the list. Now everyone who cares to read this post knows the truth, and knows that neither Christy nor I care to go into details - but we do need and want your support through all of this. We want the best for one another - and for now, the best things in life are our children - and we are going to do the best we can for them.