~Thursday, December 31, 2009

Eff you, 2009, and your little dog too

I have been looking forward to 2010 for at least 6 months. 2009 was such a rat bastard of a year that halfway through in July, I threw a half-New Year's party (which was more of a pity party for one that involved a bottle of wine and a copy of He's Just Not That into You from Blockbuster, but who's counting). I never thought I could have such hatred for something so intangible such as a year of time. I even resort to blaming the Romans for the calendar.

I have so much fury within me that I made my own Worst of 2009 list. (Trinity did it first).

Without further ado and in mostly chronological order:

Worst of 2009

  • Got laid off 34 days into 2009.
  • The very next day my doctor told me it was likely I had thyroid cancer and scheduled me for surgery. That was February.
  • In March I had my car shat in, I was choked on my surgical wound and beaten in the face with a leather-bound book. And I was unemployed.
  • In April my boyfriend pretended to celebrate my birthday but spent his days at work telling girls he didn't love me and was moving out. I found a gold earring I didn't own in the apartment. And I was unemployed.
  • In May I was attacked at a wedding. Boyfriend went on a date with someone else the next day like nothing happened. I moved home with my mother for the second time in my life, only to realize that my step-father was cheating on my mother. Mother told me I was just sensitive. And I was unemployed.
  • A lot of fighting between my mother and step-father in June. Ex-boyfriend tried to kill himself with the watch I gave him for Christmas and he was institutionalized.
  • Got firm proof that my step-father was cheating in July.
  • Moved out of my mother's house in August because we both agreed it wasn't a safe environment for me to be in.
  • In September I realized that my ex-boyfriend was actually a crack addict in addition to an alcoholic.
  • In October someone threw rocks into my apartment and took a crowbar to my car. My knitting bag, one of the most special things I owned, was stolen. I also received a threatening e-mail from the ex-boyfriend who was still in rehab.
  • In December my mother's divorce was final and my step-father of 17 years just left like we never mattered in the first place.

My eye started twitching just making this list.

So to 2009 I say Goodbye and good riddance, you jerk. I'm also waving my middle finger around a lot, but you can't see that.

~Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas with Christopher

I was nervous about Christmas between Christopher and me. I had gone all out on his birthday just back in November, but since I knew we would mutually be exchanging gifts, I didn't want to make a big deal out of it since Christopher still sits in the unemployment line. He couldn't and shouldn't spend any money on me.

I had dropped a heavy hint with him that I wanted a new Vera Bradley mini wallet to replace my worn out Coach one. Coach is nicer than Vera Bradley, but my old one had been coming apart by the seams since it got run over by a car when I dropped it in the street two years ago. I live by these mini wallets which attach to my key chain because it houses my building access card, keeping it in a convenient place so I don't have to dig for it whenever I want to enter my parking garage or building elevator or building doors. It's always with my keys, which I always have on me, so it's impossible to lose this $40 piece of magnetic plastic. Me = loves my mini wallet. The Vera Bradley one is just as nice, more colorful and costs just $10, which even an unemployed fella can afford.

My gift to Christopher was not as sexy. The kitchen in his apartment is New York style, which means that it is a cubby with a tiny fridge, a tiny sink and a tiny stove all shoved into one tiny corner. He had been admiring my George Foreman grill and dropping his own heavy hints for a few months. During an impromptu trip to Wal-Mart a few weeks ago, we ran into last year's family-size model on clearance for $24. I threw it in the cart like I stole it and bought it right in front on him. And then I wrapped it in front of him while he watched football and shoved it under the tree in front of him.

We had to do Christmas early because he was flying home and spending that week with his family. The night before we were to exchange gifts, Christopher admitted he hadn't gotten anything for me yet. I wanted my Vera Bradley wallet, dammit. I had described it to him, told him the price and the store where to get it. We may not have a big Christmas, but I wanted at least something. A token. And preferably not from CVS, the closest store within walking distance from his building. I wanted him to get in his car and drive.

"How about a Snuggie?" he asked into the phone.

"No!" I just knew that the Snuggie must currently be on the shelves of CVS. "Besides, you told me you would leave me if I ever owned one."

He laughed.

"Are you going to get me something?" I sniffed.

"No. I only spent an hour today looking for you for no reason at all," he said facetiously.

"Vera Bradley!" I chirped and then hung up the phone.

The conversation made me nervous. He was clearly shopping for me at CVS with as little effort as possible. The Rules advises to break up with a man if he doesn't get you something romantically themed for the gift-giving occasion. (BTW, I will deny ever knowing this to your face.) And I wouldn't have broken up with Christopher over the purchase of a Snuggie, gum, and a convenience-store bag of Combos, but I would have been extraordinarily disappointed.

I was so anxious that I put off Christmas with Christopher as long as possible. Finally at 1:30 a.m. when I was dozing on his lap, Christopher nudged me awake to open presents.

He handed me the guy's version of gift wrap, which was an opaque black plastic bag from either a liquor store or adult novelty store, take your pick. Inside it was a small Vera Bradley bag, and inside of the Vera Bradley bag was not one, but two Vera Bradley mini wallets. I squealed with delight.
Further inside the black naughty bag was a small box with a pair of sterling silver hoop earrings and a gift certificate for a spa. The card read, Thought you could use some pampering. I'm not the best foot massager. Love, Christopher

I'm always shoving my feet in his lap and begging him to rub them, or at least hold them on cold nights. He always turns his face away in disgust and tells me he "doesn't do feet." He acknowledged it and found a fix for it. It was perfect. And did you notice the Love in the card? Because I sure did. It was so perfect.

And then I felt like a bum when I hefted the wrapped George Foreman into his lap. I had also got him Scene It: Seinfeld Edition also on clearance at Wal-Mart. I knew nothing about Scene It or whether it was a crappy game or not, but I knew Seinfeld was his favorite TV show. He seemed to like it and thoroughly kicked my butt at it when we played it later that night.

(I still felt so guilty about him rocking the Christmas that I bought him a nice pair of slippers, courtesy of T.J. Maxx [I buy nothing full price], while I was shopping out of boredom when he was home visiting his family. Now he really liked those.)

(And just so everyone knows I'm not a complete douchebag, I did hand knit two very adorable stuffed dinosaurs for him to give to his baby nephew that he was meeting for the first time. So he didn't have to spend any money on the baby and still give him a nice gift. That totally counts too.)

~Friday, December 18, 2009

Permanently and Unapologetically Single

I wanted to write this post last year, but never got around to it before Christmas, so this is a year in the making!

The following is an excerpt from When the Messenger is Hot by Elizabeth Crane:

Good for You!

Someone finally took a picture of me I don't hate and since I was wearing a red shirt I thought it would be the perfect holiday card. I made fifty copies and put a special nondenominational greeting on there (Hey, Happy Holidays! I thought the Hey gave it a personal touch) and sent them out. Then I started to get some cards back with peculiar responses like, Good for you!, even though I hadn't written any news worth praising on that particular card and then I finally got an e-mail from someone who said she hoped she caught me before I sent too many out because she didn't want me to embarrass myself and I looked at the card again to see if I was exposed in some way or if the printers said, Hey, Merry Christmas! by accident. But the card was just right, and so I e-mailed her back and said I didn't understand what she meant and she e-mailed back that most people who send photos like that also have husbands or babies in the photo. I e-mailed her back again and said that I am not most people.

Did you know what was wrong with the card? I didn't. It would be just like me to do something exactly like that and not realize why people were responding the way they did. To be so permanently and obliviously single. I had no idea that single people are not to send out photo Christmas cards until I read this. And then I felt scorn for the woman who tried to ruin it for the protagonist.

I am single because I feel single. A boyfriend is not enough. I want more. The husband. The baby. The smug photo Christmas card. For the first time ever, I feel like I have a chance at that. And that has nothing to do with Christopher. It has to do with my therapy and finding some glimmer of self-worth and learning to trust myself.

It makes me want to send out a photo Christmas card next year. Not because I am not like most people in that I don't have a husband and a baby, but because I am not like most people.

Wow, this didn't go where I thought it was going to go. The one last year would not have been so hopeful.

~Wednesday, December 16, 2009

27 Days of Christmas

Stolen from Brookem:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper! What fun is it to reach your hand in a bag and pull something out? Bor-ing. Unless the child is too young to understand the concept of wrapping paper, I never use gift bags.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial. Mine is pre-lit and glittery. Take that, real tree.

3. When do you put up the tree? Every year I get up early the day after Thanksgiving, forgo shopping, and start decorating while watching every Christmas movie I own.

4. When do you take the tree down? New Year's Eve. I once head it was bad luck to ring in the new year with last year's tree.

5. Do you like eggnog? I did not grow up in an eggnog family, so I don't think I have ever had it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Probably this stuffed howling wolf my dad got me from Bob Evans. I still have it, but the Femme Fatale got jealous and ate out the mouth of the wolf. She's destroyed all of my stuffed animals that look like her. She also ate out the eyes of my husky slippers.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? I don't! I haven't seen them around very much lately, probably because the stores don't want to carry the religious connotation.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My father. He doesn't read or watch movies or have any hobbies under $50. He likes boats and looking at real estate, which is really hard to purchase. My brother and I have since started giving him restaurant gift certificates.

9. Easiest person to buy for? My step-mother. She has really obvious tastes, meaning that if you see something, you can instantly tell whether she'll like it or not. I also think I'm pretty easy to buy for too. ;)

10. Worst Christmas gift ever received? When I was in college, my parents conspired and decided it was the best idea to give me food as presents. I graduated from college on December 20th and was so elated to not be in college anymore and unwrap things like toilet paper and dog food like I did for my birthday (true story). First I unwrapped a case of V8 juice. The next present was brownie mix. I pushed it away and cried and refused to open the rest of my presents. I was 23. It wasn't pretty. My mother and I ended up getting in a shouting match on Christmas Day and she just couldn't understand why I was so upset.

On a side note, my father let it slip that he bought me something "for the kitchen" from Costco this year for Christmas. I called my mother in a flurry of tears and made her call him and make sure it wasn't food. It traumatized me that much.

11. Mail or e-mail Christmas card? Mail! I'm sending them out for the first time this year! Between cards and stamps, it's like an extra $20 spent on Christmas and now I'm wondering if it is really worth it.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Christmas Vacation, obviously.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? This year I started in October when I found something on sale that I knew my step-mother would love. See? That easy.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I haven't, but one year I gave my step-mother a Christmas wreath and the year afterwards she gave it to me for Christmas. That also should also go on the Worst Christmas Gift list.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My grandmother's cookies. I like the cream cheese-filled cupcakes or the buckeyes.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I waffle on this, but this year I decided clear lights. They look cleaner.

17. Favorite Christmas song? It changes every year. I think I'm stuck on Joni Mitchel's "River" even though I'm not sure it's truly a Christmas song.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home. I say that because I travel every year.

19. Can you name Santa’s reindeer? No, I always name Donner twice. "Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Donner and Blitzen. On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Vixen." I know Prancer goes in there somewhere, but I don't know where.

20. Do you have an Angel on top or a star? Neither, I have a big ribbon.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning. My parents would never let us open on Christmas Eve, not even one.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The fact I have to avoid the immediate 5 miles around the mall or face hellish traffic.

23. Ugliest Christmas Decoration ever invented? Probably those knitted tissue box covers.

25. Which looks best theme trees or homey trees? Theme. I use only red, pink and white ornaments. I think it looks nice.

26. Gingerbread or sugar cookies? Gingerbread. I think sugar cookies are a waste of calories.

27. Do you like Fruitcake? Yes, my grandmother's.

~Friday, December 11, 2009


It wasn't just the same venue, but it was the same damn ballroom. The open bar was stood where the bridal party's table had been. The table catty-corner to the one Christopher and I sat at was the one where S had told me no man would ever love me. I looked down and shuffled my party shoes. The same carpet.

I wore my White House Black Market dress to the party. I've worn it at every company Christmas party for the last 4 years. I've switched jobs so much that nobody knows I'm wearing the same outfit. So it didn't occur to me to try on the dress and make sure it still fits. Of course it fits, I've worn it for four years.

Only it didn't fit.

I went to the doctor last week and learned I gained 10 pounds (!) in the last couple of months. A blood test confirmed that I'm still not regulated on my thyroid meds and he upped my dose so I wouldn't be hypo anymore. I'm feeling a bit better, but it wasn't enough to make my dress zip up all the way. Thank god I brought a shawl that covered up the back of the dress.

So that's how I ended up in the bathroom. I was re-adjusting the dress that didn't zip.

When I walked in, the infamous stall was occupied and I was glad I didn't have the option to confront it. I heard the familiar metal bar being pulled to lock and unlock the stall door. So they fixed it since S kicked it in. Any remnants of that night had been covered up so you would never know it had happened. The boy was in rehab, covering up himself.

I stood at the sink and inspected myself in the mirror. I remembered his sister coming into the bathroom and escorting me out like everything was my fault. She didn't want the bride to know what was happening. You don't understand, I had cried, shaking. He attacked me.

But S had already approached her with his version, saying he came to the bathroom to talk to me and inadvertently scared me. I laughed coldly at the sheer audacity of it.

He attacked me, I whispered again.

It was obvious she didn't believe me. How can someone just not believe a woman who says she's been attacked? How can that happen? The wait staff saw me being dragged across the floor and yet she didn't believe me.

She sighed, I don't know what to tell you. He's an alcoholic. She shrugged like it excused his behavior, like I deserved it because I knew how he can be. Like it was my fault for... for being attacked.

I don't think I have gotten over the treatment his sister gave me that night. I used to really like her and admire her, but since that moment, I really kind of despise her.

I swiveled to the side and inspected myself in the mirror. Even though the dress didn't zip up all the way, I think it's the prettiest I ever looked in it. Because I filled out the top of the dress, it made my waistline look tiny.

Besides the impromptu memorial I held in the bathroom, I really didn't have too much time to entertain my anxiety. Even though a company Christmas party is a gift for the employees, it's still very much work function and Christopher and I schmoozed with the owners and their spouses.

I was very pleased with Christopher. There was an open bar that cost the company $43 per person just to drink. I joked to him that he was required to get the company's money's worth. So he hit the bar pretty hard, but no one could tell he was slowly getting drunk next to me. He was also unshaven (at my request); he looks steamy with a five o'clock shadow. I enjoyed watching watching my co-workers' reactions when they realized the handsome man was my boyfriend. (I don't write about work much, but of the 35 employees, 33 are women in their 20s and 30s. It's like walking into a sorority house every morning. Cattiness abounds. For example, it's really cold today and most of the office are wearing Uggs. Someone is keeping track of who are wearing the real ones and who are wearing knock-offs. Mine are real.)

As Paige put it, the night was a do-over. This time we happily got in the car and drove home listening to my Christmas music. I put on my jammies and headed to Christopher's where we cuddled under his flannel blanket and watched Tropic Thunder while drinking Diet Coke and eating Cheez-Its. I had slept the best I had all week.

~Tuesday, December 08, 2009

On This Day in May

It was a Saturday when we went to a wedding. For his step-sister. He got drunk and told me that no man would ever love me. I tried to leave, but he drug me across the floor in front of the bartender and employees. I ran into the bathroom to compose myself and he followed me in. Kicked down the stall door. Shoved me against a wall. Raised his hand as if to punch me. I screamed for anyone, anyone to help me, but I knew the bathroom was too far away.

It was a Sunday when he woke up after continuing to drink all night. He threw a wine bottle at me. I had to pick glass off of my shins and feet. I barricaded myself in the closet because for the first time I was truly afraid of him. I waited until he passed out drunk on the couch and I snuck out. It was the same day I called my mom and told her I was ready to come home.

It was a Monday when I moved out. My family was too afraid for me and dropped everything they were doing to help me get out. He was out on a date with another girl.


Tonight my company Christmas party is being held at the same venue as the wedding. I'll be at the same place with a new man on my arm.

I don't think I'll be going to the bathroom tonight.

~Monday, December 07, 2009


My mother says my step-father left with a whisper, not a bang.

They were arguing over some item that my step-father's parents gave to my mother. My step-father wanted it back and my mother teared up because the item had significance to her family.

My stepfather shot back at her, "Don't you think this is hard on me too?"

And that's when my mother, who has held this secret since July 3rd, opened her mouth and revealed everything. She told him that she knew he was cheating. She described the video the detective shot of him feeding the other woman's cats. How he went to Home Depot and mixed paint for her. Watered her plants. She detailed every lie he told this summer. He was cutting her lawn when he said he was testifying in court. He spent a week at her house when he said he was in my college town for a conference. She told him that she knew about the 400-something text messages they trade a month and told him what times he sent them at. She expressed her disgust when my brother was moving out of the state and we had a last family dinner and he spent the entire time standing in the parking lot talking to her. "So," she said. "I don't think this is nearly as hard on you."

My step-father would normally defend himself and say things like she made him feel like he was never good enough. She made him do it. And he would never admit to lying. My step-father has been a closet smoker for 10 years and still won't admit to it.

But this time, he said nothing. He stayed silent as she revealed everything. He let her finish. And when she was done, he walked away.

My mother helped my step-father move out of the house.

When he was done and handed the keys back to her, he said he was sorry and never meant to hurt her. He then cried.

It's been nearly three weeks since he moved out and we haven't heard from him. We don't expect to hear from him ever again. But the peculiar thing is, he still hasn't signed the divorce papers.

~Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Perfectly Average

Thanks to Lpeg and Blue Soup for being predecessors on this topic.

I haven't written much lately because I have been annoyed. It turns out that I'm not perfect. It also turns out that Christopher isn't perfect and our relationship isn't perfect. And I find myself frustrated and annoyed at times.

Part of me knows that annoyance and frustration are natural whenever you are dealing with another person, not just a lover. But the other part of me is so disappointed that things aren't perfect. Christopher is just another boyfriend.

Just another boyfriend.

My dad over Thanksgiving asked the name of the boyfriend I had whose dog jumped on his counter and ate his bread. Huh? I had a boyfriend with a counter-cruising dog? He was only so important to me that I started this blog just to get over him. Now he's just another boyfriend; one I can't remember well at that.

I don't want Christopher to be just another boyfriend. Boyfriends don't work out. They break your heart and do mean things to you. I've wanted him for so long and I've built things up so far in my head that the idea of him being stuffed in some photo album for another future boyfriend to avoid breaks my heart. Oh, him? He was just some guy.

Christopher gave me back myself. He knew the person I was before I was abused and damaged and he saw the same person in me today. It never even occurred to him that I was very nearly ruined.

So the idea of us being average? Crushing. Because I already know how average turns out.


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