Sunday, September 26, 2010

Where did my Get-up-and Go go?

Wow! It was a nice weekend!
I didn't get a lot accomplished around the house, but I had a fire last night with family and friends.
It was a nice night to sit out back and enjoy the sounds of nature - unfortunately, Octavia's endless hunting of a baby bunny provided most of those sounds of nature!

My friend Robin just became a grandma for the second time today. Little Amaia is going to bring joy to a family who truly deserves to have some joy right now.

We went shopping today and found matching collars for our kitty's. Leopard print looks great on both of them! Oc is actually accepting it better than Cracker. He is not a happy boy. But it's a good distraction for him. He spends most of his time trying to wrestle with Octavia. And I think he outweighs her by a good 4 pounds - and he's only 5 months old! He's gonna be a BIG kitty!
Funny thing is, when The Child went to fetch the kittys to put on their collars, they were both upstairs sleeping on his bed! Hmmmm.

Now that I take time to ponder, though, I guess I did accomplish some good things this weekend. As well as some housework, I chopped down half of my grapevines because they were clinging to a cable wire. In the high winds we got last week, they were really whipping around. I'll be sad to have to chop the rest down in just a few weeks, but I know I need to if I want to get a new coat of stain on those steps before winter.

The crappy thing is, I'm getting a cold on top of all the other health issues I've been wrestling with. I know it's just the stress of September. Too many things to reflect on. I wish I could just hibernate this entire month. Maybe I ought to consider going to Ireland next September. Drown my sorrows at an Irish pub. Feed on greasy food, stay in a nice B&B.... maybe even a restored public castle! That would be cool. We'll see.

Here's to hoping this next week goes by in a blur. No drama. No tears.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Mom would have been 72 today. That is, had she lived beyond 47.
It may seem odd to some that we decided to plan a family gathering for today. After all, it's not her 50th, 60th or 70th. But with all that we've been walking through this past year, this is the best time to get together and enjoy the company of our loved ones.

It was a great turnout too! We had siblings, children of siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins. Awesome!

I only wish I were feeling better so that I could have tipped a few for the heavens. But that just wasn't in the cards today. My body has been rebelling all week what with all of the stress I've been trying to manage since this month began. Of all things, I'm passing kidney stones! Who'da thunk!?

It must be all the soda I've been drinking lately. I hadn't touched soda in ages, except for the occasional mix drink. But lately, it's becoming a bad habit again. But of course, they also list stress as a cause for kidney stones. Heh.

It was nice catching up with the Aunties, tho. We don't get to see them often enough. They are all beautiful as ever, inside and out.

And The Child was wonderfully patient with me. I hadn't planned to stay as long as we did. Grandma was going to take him for the day, but I said "Oh, that's okay. We won't stay long". Six hours later, we finally left for home! I told #1 Son that I don't think I've spent six hours in a pub drinking soda since I was twelve!

We need to get together on a regular basis. We've talked often about gathering at Nigl's one Saturday a month. I think we need to make a conscious effort to do just that. It was fun. And you can't beat the free food! Maybe we ought to start bringing side dishes!

Happy Birthday, Mom. I still miss you. I miss the conversations we would have over games of 500 Rummy. And the theatrically comical look on your face when you'd win. I miss the way you looked at the world. You were so beautiful. I'll bet you and Jim are having some great conversations about me and the rest of the family. Please excuse his cuss words. That's just the way he is. Hus mouth is foul, but his heart is pure. I know you'll love him just as much as I do, and vise- versa. I hope he hugs you for me often!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Almost 21 years

September 16th would have been Jim & My 10th Wedding Anniversary. It's been a hard (Week/ Month / Year - hell, choose one and go with it!) here at Kuhrsville. Along with all of the many things happening, I also find myself reflecting on all of the wonderful memories that Jim gave me.

We met in 1989, in Myke Miller's basement. My dear friend Sandy invited me to go and see their band practice that night. I was engaged to someone else at the time, but that relationship was going south at that moment. I was getting the notion that my fiance was seeing somebody else from work, and he was treating both me and young Andy like we were excess baggage. So it felt good to get out for the night and get drunk and sing my heart out. I truly had myself a case of the blues!

As the night progressed, everybody was starting to lose their ability to play their instruments, so we packed it in for the night and went upstairs to party. I found myself spending most of the night talking with Jim. We had a lot in common, and as you know, no one could hold a conversation better than Jimmy! I kept thinking to myself "This guy is SO SWEET! And I am engaged to SUCH an ASSHOLE!" It made me go home and really re-evaluate my relationship, and hit the problems head-on.

My fears were confirmed. My fiance was indeed interested in a new co-worker, and wanted me out of his life so that he could get together with her. It was a hard but clean break-up. I kept a positive outlook, and was ready to start a new life on my own. (He married her 6 months later, and she divorced him the next year. Karma!)

But then, a few months later, Sandy again called me and said "Can you get a babysitter this weekend? Doug Nelson said he was going down to Slade's."

My response was "I'll go, but only if Doug invites his friend Jim along."

Poor Jimmy didn't stand a chance! Wherever I sat, my friends made sure the seat beside me was the only one available to him. And before long, he fell prey to my charms and asked me for my number.

Our first official date was on September 16, 1989. From there, it was full speed ahead. I had a major crush on him. Hell, he was so damn CUTE! And he had the sexiest phone voice ever. But I think what really made me fall hard for him was when he brought his guitar over and was playing for me. I noticed that when he was really concentrating hard on what he was playing, he'd stick his tongue out the side of his mouth like a little puppy. Stick a fork in me. I wanted to keep him forever!

The band was definitely an added bonus to our relationship. I had always wanted to sing in a band and make the songs I'd written come to life. And everyone quickly became just like family. I'd give a kidney to any one of them if they needed one. There was always music, laughter and a lot of love when we got together.

After most couples live together for 11 years, they pretty much figure that's the arrangement for life. But Jim and I never did follow the text book on anything. After a surprise pregnancy, and then having a miscarriage at 4 months along (they say once you get past 3 months you're safe from those - but not for me), we had decided that we really needed to try again and have a baby, and do it the right way. So we started planning for both a baby and a wedding. And lo and behold, the anniversary of our first date just happened to fall on a Saturday that year!What a perfect date for a wedding!

It was a small wedding. Only close friends and family were invited. We didn't care about the cards or gifts. We just wanted to share our day with our loved ones. And it was perfect.... well... almost. The sound system went haywire at the church during our ceremony and I had to run back and fix the control panel. And our unity candle didn't want to light....and our Best man almost passed our cold on the altar.... but all in all, we were so happy, nothing could rain on our parade.

We took great care in choosing the music for our wedding. We had the German version of Ave Maria to walk down the aisle to. And we wanted a song by Tuck and Patti to exit the ceremony to. After combing through hundreds of favourites, we both agreed on this one:

It seemed to say it all for us.

I was thinking about this song this morning at work and had to stop myself. For me, it reminds me just how dearly Jim really loved me. I could be the biggest bitch in the world, but he still stood beside me, willing to work it all out and make things better. He angered me so often, and yet he could turn around and be the most loving and beautiful person I had ever encountered.

Our last anniversary together was not a good one. Although it was filled with love, it was also filled with a lot of fear. Jim had his spleenectomy on the 9th (Yes, Marty, you picked a bad day to leave us). That was just one week prior to our anniversary. Once again, I had almost lost him to poor health. And our anniversary was filled with doctor appointments and post-op visits.

He had to see the urologist that day as well. And as we rode the elevator down to the parking lot, he said "Damn! She stuck her finger up my butt too!"

My response was "She Did? Well Happy Anniversary, Honey!"

The saddest part about losing someone you've spent 21 years with is that even though time does heal, it also moves you further along the time-line from that point that the two of you had together. It creates a distance from everything that the two of you shared. Life goes on and changes sometimes subtly and sometimes in drastic ways, but it keeps evolving until that common point in time that you shared with your loved one no longer exists in the present. I think that's what hurts the most. I know I'll keep going. I know there will someday be romance in my life again. But if I had my druthers, I'd find a worm hole and jump back in time and savour every moment with him.

I refuse to spend Thursday feeling sorry for myself. I'm going to go to work and keep busy, and I already have plans to go out for dinner and drinks with my sisters. They have been so amazing and supportive on this journey. I would be so lost without them.

So Happy Anniversary, Love. I know from all of the many signs that you're watching over me. Thank you for all those crazy years with you. Thank you for loving me when you should have just had me committed. For taking care of me and letting me think it was the other way around. For all of the amazing conversations we shared. For all of your fabulous meals and for every bottle of wine we shared. For sharing your uber-amazing friends with me. For helping to raise my Andy with all the love that a true father could give, and for helping me to create our Jerry who is the driving force for me to keep going forward. I really am very blessed.

Friday, September 10, 2010

So Long, Old Friend

Yesterday, I had to say goodbye to a dear friend that I've known nearly half my life. How does one write a loving tribute to someone who has left such a mark on one's life? I met Marty the same night that I met the love of my life. And who'd have thunk that they would meet in heaven 21 years later in less than 6 months?

We don't live in the greatest neighborhood in town, but for the many years that Marty and Kim lived just up the street, this place was a much warmer place to be. We'd be invited to their kids birthday parties surrounded by their family, and it always left us feeling honored to be included.

I remember years ago sitting at Field's Restaurant listening to Marty telling us that he was going to start a Karaoke Business and thinking "But Marty! Karaoke's a fad! It can't last!" Boy was I wrong! Karaoke allowed him and his beautiful wife to feed their family all these many years and to help them afford a beautiful home that anyone would be proud to live in. He was a visionary and once he made his mind up about something, it didn't matter if someone played the devil's advocate. Your negative fears weren't going to burst his bubble. Where there's a will, there's a way, and Marty always found that way.

He had a very warped sense of humor which offended some, but endeared many. He was always willing to speak his mind, but he did it with a sense of humor so you had to listen, laugh, and then think "No shit! you've really got a point!"

A good 5 years ago, I had decided that I wanted to walk off my weight. Marty volunteered to be my walking buddy. We'd walk for an hour each day, and got further and faster with each week. And as we walked, we got to hold a lot of conversations. He'd say "I like this! When we come over to visit, you don't always say much cuz Jimmy and I are too busy talking. Now, I'm getting to hear your point of view on stuff too." And then suddenly, he'd run off behind some stranger's house to take a quick leak, and we'd be on our way walking again. What a nut!

At a time when Jim was feeling restless with the direction his life was going, Marty got him out in a restaurant cooking for the masses. Although there was a great deal of drama through that ordeal, Jim was able to make some new friends that would prove to be truly caring people, and working there gave Jim a renewed sense of purpose. Jim always wanted to open his own restaurant, and in working with Marty, he learned more than he thought he could. And of course he was thrilled to know that he was able to teach Marty a few good cooking tricks as well. They made a great team.

Life-long friends that they were, they loved talking about the old days, and spent a great deal of time playing music they shared a deep common interest in. To some, T-Rex and Pink Floyd had great mainstream hits. To Jim and Marty, those mainstream hits were crap. It was the rest of the albums that were gold. They could sing every word of Pink Floyd's "Careful with that Ax, Eugene", and would then ponder for hours about what was going through Marc Bolan's mind when he wrote various T-Rex songs they listened to repeatedly. I really never understood the T-Rex thing. But they did.

Our door has always been open to friends and family, and Marty often took advantage of that policy, showing up at all hours for a good cup of coffee. If there was none ready, I gladly made some. He'd sip his coffee, catch up on what was new with us, fill us in on his day's goals, then stand, fart, and vacate the premisis. That was the magic of Marty.

He loved a good prank. And I can think of many - one of which that still makes me giggle, but I simply cannot share with the general public. But it involves an Ab-Lounger. Poor Jimmy!

Marty was a man of tradition as well. One Memorial Day, years back, His good friend Herman said he was going to be out at the park with his kids. Marty and Kim packed up a picnic basket and joined him for a lovely day. That quickly turned into what Marty coined as "Hermanfest". Each year it grows bigger and bigger. Loved ones would always be welcome to join. I hope this tradition continues. Marty would want that. It was hard for me to go this year without Jim at my side, but I am so glad that I did.

Along with his silly side, there was also a beautiful devoted friend side to Marty. The first time Jim had his Hemalitic Anemia, it was Marty and Kim to the rescue, racing us off to the emergency room. And they stayed until things were sorted and he was on his way back to recovery. And the off-color jokes that Marty and Doug made in that little emergency exam room helped Jim to regain focus.

When Jim grew ill this last time, I know how much it saddened all of us, and still, I could count on all of our good friends to help. Marty was always so busy keeping his own life moving and shaking, but was never too busy to lend a hand. If only we could have known during the Benefit that Marty and Kim and so many loved ones put on for Jim that six months later..... It's just too absurd to even comprehend! And even though it wasn't the intention, without the funds raised at that benefit, I would still be paying for Jim's funeral.

After Jim passed, I know it was hard for Marty to stop in here for a cup of coffee. And yet he still did on occasion just to see how I was doing. Out of the blue one day, he said "You have to marry again. And don't wait forever. Do it soon. Jim doesn't want you to be alone. Don't worry about what friends and family say. You deserve to be happy." It was a very unexpected conversation, but I really appreciate that it took place.

This past Sunday night, on a whim, my sister Barb and I decided to go out. The Boathouse was supposed to have a live band, and it sounded like fun. But when we got there, the band canceled due to rain. So while we sat there having a cocktail, for some reason, I decided to text Marty and see if there was a Karaoke show going on. He told us to come on down to PJ's.

My sis and I had a fun time there, and Marty wouldn't let me leave without singing a song or two, even though I warned him that I am way out of practice.

Before we left, I gave him a big hug and a kiss on the cheek and told him I love him. I am so glad I got the chance to do that now. Maybe there was an angel whispering in my ear that night. I never dreamed that 4 days later he would be gone.

But he lived to ride on that silly scooter. It was one of his passions. And if he had to choose what way he would leave this world, it would have been this way. For those of us who are forced to say good-bye so soon to him, it is a difficult journey. We can mourn our loss, but we cannot mourn for him. Marty lived a wonderful life filled with joy and love. He deserves to be exemplified and celebrated.

Hugs to you, Marty. And God Speed. Give Jimmy a kiss for me. I know you'll do it full- on- the lips!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Don't pop my Balloon!!!!!!

This past week has been challenging to say the least.
Work was absolute mayhem day after day. And then I would get to come home to more drama.

Did I mention in my former post that just when I think things are going great someone would take the wind out of my sails? Well, guess what? Once again, I'm not disappointed.

Just let me say that NO ONE - Not you, or you, or YOU are allowed to judge me or the shape that my house is in until you actually learn how to make a real relationship last for more than 20 years, and then have to watch that love of your life slowly die and then find yourself alone in a house filled with everything that the love of your life adored and are left with the task of wading through all of that stuff with the intent of minimalizing it all and assembling some sort or organization to it all. This is the hardest task ever put to me. And it has to be me. I can't let someone else decide what stays and what goes, what is garbage and what is rummage.

And atop of all that, I am also trying to work full time, and am also trying to build a new life here for me and Jerry. I can't do that if I'm wading through memories and tears every day. We need to look forward some before we can look back. I dance to my own rhythm these days. I do things in my own time. And if that's not good enough for some people, then kiss my ass.
As Jim always said, "If you want to come visit with me, come on over! But if you want to come look at the house, then come when we're gone!"