Stuff

NOTE- This is the last tirade about my dad and his will and his second wife. I thought about not writing it, but it has to be purged and I want other people to be outraged as well. I hate it when I’m alone in that. So, there is lots of swearing by me. If I can figure out how, I’m going to close comments. I know you all love me and support me and I love you all for it!! I won’t make you say it this time. You’re welcome, da da da dadum……I love The Rock singing.

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I had just tucked myself in to bed last night, adjusted the curtain so I could feel the breeze and an errant raindrop or two when my phone silently flashed my younger sister’s name at me.

Now, I’ve been taken to task twice in the last five years for silencing my phone at night. First when my niece passed away and then when my adopted dad died. So, I answered. The thunderstorm would have to wait.

We all received an email from my brother who is taking care of probate matters for dad that basically said, we can see the finish line, if there’s anything you want out of the house you need to contact the bitch and see if she’ll give it to you. Sooner is better. The b-word is my addition. My brother doesn’t swear. This is what my sister was calling me about.

The weekend of dad’s funeral, when we realized he’d fucked us all one last time, well and truly, we made a list of 20-30 things we wanted out of the house. Stuff that belonged to mom and dad. Stuff we never thought about having to ask for, much of which has already been sold off on FaceBook and other community selling forums. Gleefully, I might add, by the bitch’s blood sucking daughter. Last night my sister asked me if I really still wanted anything from the house.

“Yes! I fucking want what should be mine!”

So, I’ve learned that I am sentimental. Heavy on the MENTAL. It is a hard, grinding ache inside me that the bitch sits in my parent’s house sorting through their things, selling off what she doesn’t care about and what will bring her quick cash.

Grandfather Clock

Janome sewing machines

Mom’s hand-made quilts and quilt tops

artwork purchased in Korea and the Philippines

Book collections

Rock Collections

Mom’s Piano

Indoor Plants that my parents have grown longer than their children

Just a partial list of what they have/have tried to sell.

In the past 6-8 weeks I’ve been busy. I’ve managed to put my dad and his bitch of a second wife, out of my mind. I’ve focused elsewhere. It all came barreling back last night and the homicidal anger, the injustice, the sadness were severe and overwhelming. It was a long and restless night.

I was caught by something my sister said. Originally she had wanted my dad’s collection of slide photographs. There must be six big boxes filled with tray after tray after tray of pictures taken from when mom and dad were in college on until he died last november. Last night as I read her the list all of us had contributed to the weekend of the funeral, she said she no longer wanted anything. Nothing. She just wanted this all to be over. I asked about the pictures, saying I’d take them if she didn’t and she asked me “why?”. What do we get from remembering? He was never a father to any of us, never had time for us, could only express our value to him in terms of how hard we worked for him. We were worth nothing to him, orphans that he put to work on his tree farm. Kids no one else wanted and he had a use for. Why do we want to remember that?

Her words hacked their way through me, leaving me feeling weak and tired. After we disconnected, I lay in bed listening to the thunder, seeing the flashes of lightning. In my head I had this picture of myself, standing in front of a wrecked house, its insides strewn about me. I was muddy and tired, my arms full of things from our home, I couldn’t carry anything else but there was so much still there, all these things that mom and dad had loved. I looked up to see if anyone else could help carry I realized that all of my siblings were walking away. They weren’t even looking back.

 

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An actual photograph of the aftermath of a flood in the town I grew up in. This isn’t my house, we weren’t hit by the water. We lived too far out in the boondocks. This is what I see when I thin of my parent’s home now.

 

They looked so relaxed, happy even. I opened my mouth to yell at them and heard my mom’s voice.

“It’s just stuff.”

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When I woke up this morning it was the first thought in my brain. It’s just stuff.

I have enough stuff. I have an apartment and a storage unit full of stuff. I don’t need more stuff.

I have an inkling why I struggle to let go of familiar stuff.

I’ve decided to make a trade, for my own peace of heart and mind.  She can keep all that stuff and I can walk away. No longer weighed down by a legacy of sadness and anger, but looking forward to times spent with the only people who understand what my life really was. Looking forward to meeting Michael and learning about a woman who probably really hated the 60’s, in retrospect. Looking forward to meeting Jeff and the girls, hearing all about the man they dearly love and miss, in spite of his weaknesses.

 

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An Experiment

I’m really starting to feel my summer.

I’ve already worked about half of my summer hours, and the rest need to be saved for the week before school resumes. I’ve completed my big Calendar Math project for one of our Autistic Kiddos to use this summer and I feel pretty free. We still have a move coming up, and thankfully we only half unpacked when we moved in here in November. There are a couple of possible summer trips, but dates are still up in the air until we have a closing date. I have some time on my hands and it’s not even June yet!

 

I’ve been thinking about my story The Pilot. You already knew that. Here is my experiment for the summer. I’m going to write three books. One will be released on July 1st, one on August 1st, and one on September 1st. They’ll fall in the 45-55,000 word count and be in the Reverse Harem genre. It’s an experiment because I’ve never written in that genre and because I’m working off a cheat sheet on how to write one which I’ve never done before. Word is, the reverse harem is a hot spot in reading nowadays and there is money to be made. I’ve read a couple, which I wouldn’t recommend, yawn, and I think I can do this, maybe pretty well!

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I just spent ninety minutes looking through my funnies page on Pinterest for this picture.  Oh yeah, I’ll be fine!

A book a month is, well, a tough gig. I haven’t actively written on a daily basis for a couple of years. Nothing like a baptism by fire. I’m going to start with my Butcher from The Pilot and do a sort of post-apocalyptic, reverse harem story. I’m blogging here as a way to make myself accountable and so I don’t spend too much time, you know…

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Though I certainly plan to get my fair share of it before the end of Freedom err the end of August, I mean.

 

Remember Me

I thought about posting yesterday, for Memorial Day. Growing up, we never celebrated. If that is the correct word for it. Owning a tree farm and nursery, and living above the 5,000 foot elevation mark, Memorial Day heralded open season on gardening in our area. The only military man I knew about was my dad’s older brother who flew something like 21(?) successful bombing missions over Germany in WWII. I never heard that story until dad was well into his seventies, and I’d finally refused to be bent over a pot of dirt flinging handfuls of fertilizer for the entire long weekend. But before I declared my free will, I spent my Memorial Mondays waiting on customers, hauling trees, explaining how to plant, watering greenhouses, and moving pipes in the lower fields.

This year, this year was so different.

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I found myself thinking about those I knew who’d served in the military and (all of mine)  who returned home as safely as is possible. It was one of the first things I learned about my younger brother, his military service. I listened to him talk about it and realized, quite suddenly, that it was a very close call. That I just as easily could have been reading his obituary, having never known about him until too late.

That is something I’ve done quite a lot this year, been too late.

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I absolutely know there isn’t anything I could have done differently. They were lost to me long before I had the tools to find them. Illogically, it doesn’t make me feel any better.

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So, this Memorial Day has been a long one. All the complicated feelings that surround the recent deaths of the parents I grew up with, and my niece only eighteen months ago. Add to that a woman I never met, an older sister whose loss I feel so keenly, I cannot explain it. Then her, the woman who gave birth to me. The story is unfolding to be as tangled and tragic as could be imagined. And him, I grew up having been told he didn’t want me. I now know there isn’t anyway I can believe that piece of information. Nowhere reliable for it to have come from. Yet another white lie told to make a situation acceptable. Perhaps even a belief, not told with malice or intent, but to comfort.

Having written it, the list seems small, but feels crushing. Once again I didn’t go anywhere on Memorial Day. However, this year my mind and heart were in California, Arkansas, Idaho, and Utah laying flowers, fingers tracing names, heart trying to hold it all together.

Truth be told, next year I might pick up a shovel and bucket of fertilizer, plant me a few fucking trees.

Birth Order, Smirth Order!

It’s like astrology, right? At times, scarily accurate, often having nothing whatsoever to do with your real life.

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This could be me.

I’m the firstborn of my mother’s children.

I’m the youngest of my father’s children

I was raised as a middle child.

It should surprise no one, how much I talk to myself.

 

The Pilot

 

 

I’ve been looking at a story I started a year or so ago, wondering if it’s still inside me.

I truly love the characters.

Valora – 30 something, capable to a fault, annoyingly self-sacrificing,

Brendan – 30 something, a renaissance man, he can do anything Val can’t.

Pilot – Crash landed in the Vermont forest on his way to Canada.

Rachel –  A beautiful prostitute.

The story kind of crashed and burned when I introduced The Butcher, he was, just a butcher, coming around to kill a cow for them to eat. The he and Val decamped to a cabin for the night. I thought she was in love with Brendan but would ultimately fall for the Pilot! What the hell!

Been there....
What was Val thinking? She totally threw my game. Do you know how many times I’ve heard, read, been told that romance heroines never have sex with anyone expect the happily ever after guy? Amazingly, readers will forgive the happily ever after guy for having sex with another woman but the heroine better not even think about it!
The theory is, as soon as she cheats, readers quit reading.

Crest when he hacks into websites and other things. He thinks everything is funny and is crazy like so he gets the nickname, mad hatter

 So, I sat at home today with a miserable head cold, debating about whether or not to get rid of The Butcher. I like him. He’s got beautiful rippling muscles, soulful brown eyes, and enough tattoos to keep Val’s tongue busy into the foreseeable future. What does the Pilot have? He’s tall, dark, blue-eyed, English accent. I think there’s more to him than meets the eye. He might be more than he appears. But, tattoo’s, rippling muscles, manly butchering skills, stamina, I don’t know if I can jut let that go.
You probably think that I start writing a book after I’ve written an outline, a synopsis, character studies, et al. Actually, what happens is a character wanders through my mind and catches my eye.  Then, I wonder what their story is. I proceed to follow them around till I get the story. I’d be a good writer and do it the other way, but, well, snooping is so much more fun! Not to mention it keeps my crazy mind occupied when there is somewhere else I want to be.
so true of me this summer

 

True

 

“I’ve been scrupulously open…”

I’ve been thinking about that phrase since I pushed publish last week.

scrupulously, flawlessly, accurately, precisely, exactly

also carefully.

I’m eyeing that last word with a bit of relief. “I’ve been carefully open….” I bet that was what I meant.

Let’s think for a minute, about the last time we shared intimate information about ourselves with no filter.

Who was the person we shared so completely with?

When I say intimately/completely I don’t mean in a necessarily sexual manner. I believe there are intimate acts that touch places far deeper than any of the various pleasures of modern sexuality.

When was the last time you were only you with another person?

When was the last time you held nothing back?

When I think back on my life, looking for moments of pure me, I immediately think of living in Hawaii. That was my first taste, though it wasn’t any kind of intimacy with another person. Rather, it was the unfettered joy of living for myself. It didn’t last nearly long enough.  For years after I came back to the mainland, I tried to recreate that Hawaiian peace of mind. It’s funny to me now, thinking I could find that happiness in a flower, or a vintage print, or the smell of an airport.

It would take years to figure out. I remember where I was, lying on my bed in my apartment in Bismarck. I could hear the kids playing in the living room. I was exhausted, depressed and basically immobilized with a back injury. I had to crawl to the bathroom and depend on my ten-year old son to feed his sisters. I laid in bed and slept and cried and swore to myself I would not come back to this place. I would not let myself be brought here again. It didn’t feel like an epiphany. It felt like a breakdown. So, what does all this have to do with the unvarnished truth?

I’m generally quite introverted. Ask anyone I work with and they’ll tell you it took me a year or two, maybe more, before I let myself begin to have the immersive experience of my workplace, the chats and food in the break room, the after work drinks, speaking up in staff meetings.

When I contacted my newest brother, it was with the same caution, but something happened in that first conversation. That little girl I keep away from people came out to play. She never comes out, not in a first conversation. She stays hidden and listens, deciding if this person is to be trusted or not. That’s her usual M.O..

It wasn’t scary until later, early in the morning when I re-read the messages. I was shocked by my candor. Surprised by his simple acceptance, I tried to remember when I’d revealed so much in a first conversation. Never, I’m sure, not the truth anyway. Five weeks later, I’m still concerned, but this little girl part of me just skips around smiling at me. It’s as if she understands something I can’t quite put my finger on; She has faith in us, her and me.

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He hasn’t heard all of my truth yet.

I hope we have years to come in which we are free to roam about each other’s dusty basement levels discovering. He’s a steady one, the logician who points out I’m getting nowhere by running around crashing into walls. I’m the emotional one, excitedly jumping from stone to stone ten steps in front of him, pointing out everything he already sees. I’ve tripped more than once while looking back to see if he’s watching. He stands me up, brushes me off and shakes his head. I know he doesn’t understand yet; I’m smiling like an idiot because it’s just me he’s seeing.