Dixie Attitude

I don’t know what’s wrong with me this week. I feel so unsettled about Lee – pissed off, even. I know I’m probably contributing to it by being b*tchy. (It’s been Monday since I smoked so I suspect nicotine withdrawals have something to do with it. Please don’t ask me why I’m not smoking my brains out since I’m mad at Lee.)

Yesterday, I did a long workout at the gym and then met Sarah out at this place for drinks afterwards. Before that I was talking to Lee on the phone -for the second time that hour.

“Are you going over to Ellen’s tonight, watch the chickens and go have half price burgers?”

“No, I did that last night – save for the burger part.”

“Oh, you never did tell me what you were doing.”

I wanted to say ‘you know, you’re not my mother that I just supply information to you on my whereabouts’ and what I am doing.’ But, instead I said, “You never asked.” Yes, instead you just fished which was very obnoxious.

“What are you doing tonight?”

“I’m meeting my blog friend, Sarah, out in Cobb for drinks.”

There was a pause in conversation. I could tell Lee was trying to remember who Sarah was and whether or not to be worried. “Have I met Sarah before?”

“No. I think I’ve seen Sarah maybe once since you and I have started dating – that one night I went out to [bar near Grant Park].” – and, you probably never will meet her because Sarah and I talk about blog stuff that’s off-limits to you.

Lee started talking about something else after that. I swear the girl just wants to ramble on about nothing just to kill time on the phone it seems. I actually loathe talking on the phone and want to complete what I need to say or get the information I need and get off. I cut in – “Hey, I think I’m just going to go inside and start my new book, have a beer and chill a bit before she gets here.”

“Oh. Well, ok. Have a good evening and maybe we’ll talk later before bed.”

There it was again. I said, “Have a good evening, too.” And hung up. I wasn’t committing to the bedtime call. I went inside and ordered a 420. I looked around. “Sarah wasn’t kidding about this place.” I had chosen a barstool down towards the end away from the sprinkling of men sitting at the bar. Not that I don’t like men but the men that hang out at the bars I go to in my neighborhood are good for easy conversation about sports but aren’t there to troll – like these guys seemed to be there for. I had noted a few head turns when I walked in and was on alert. [Honestly, it’s really not my looks that attract the opposite sex. It’s my attitude and my confidence that attract both sexes.] Just then a bartender appeared in front of me and asked me if she could get me a drink. She was a blonde that looked like she’d cut her teeth on working at s[Hooters] before settling there. I smiled. I could see myself coming here sometimes after work. One chapter and ½ a beer later Sarah slid onto the stool next time mine.

“So, how’s things?”

“Things are great except for Lee driving me crazy this week.”

She laughed and said, “That’s apparent.” We talked about my blogs posts and world. I asked her about her posts and world. Both of us have been able to keep up pretty well with each other through our blogs and the occasional drink – which, fills in the gaps. It was great to see her and catch up. I feel sometimes that we lead parallel lives despite being on different sides of the fence of who we’re attracted to. We talked about Lee testing out making friends through a popular dating site and whether or not that was a good idea.

“I don’t know, Sarah. I mean, I want her to have friends but one of these days she’s going to be out with one of them and they’re going to make a pass at her and then what?” Lee was out with one of them that very night.

“I know. I could see it happening. I can also see her holding the space you need over your head by saying ‘well, if you’re going to do your own thing then I’m going to go out with my new friends – they want to be with me if you don’t.”

“I can totally see her doing that. Lee has some insecurity issues and I can see her using these other friends to fill in the gap or as a weapon against me. Plus, this moving back in with ex gf thing? WTF?”

“I can’t believe she’s doing that. I mean, did she ever check the ‘popular-free- local –loafer’?”

“No. She didn’t even bother. She thinks this is her only solution”

Just then a guy two stools down asked us if he could buy us a shot. We both shook our heads, and said, ‘no thank you.’ We went back to talking and he cut in again and said he’d buy us beers – gesturing to our almost empty beers. We both shook our heads no again.

“I swear, things were going so well. What happened? F*ck it. If things don’t work out then they don’t work out. There will be someone else – there always is. I will just go to the next one on the list.”

Sarah laughed and said, “I wish it were that easy.”

“It’s all up here.” I said, pointing to my head. “Attitude.” Sometimes that works against you, too, because at that moment a big, burly guy came over and leaned on the bar next to Sarah so close that his arm was touching hers. I thought it was a good thing it was her and not me because I would have wanted to crack him over the head with my beer bottle for getting into my personal space like that and even touching me. He drunkenly slurred that since Sarah and I were the only women in the bar could he buy us a drink. I had been glaring at him the whole time and emphatically said, “NO!” at the same time Sarah politely said, “Oh, no thank you.” ‘Gee, she’s easygoing’, I thought. I still had my glare locked on him until he stood up and moved away.

“Where were we? Oh, yeah. Lee – “

We talked for a few minutes more until I said, “You want to get out of here? It’s starting to get weird.” Sarah agreed and we left. Mental note to self: always meet girlfriends there and not go on my own unless I wanted to end up in jail for cracking some guy over the head. I drove home relaxed and thought about crawling into bed and reading a bit before making it an early night. I was exhausted. Once home I was brushing my teeth when a text came in from Lee.

“Hey”

“Hey”

“I just made a new friend. Sharie is cool. You would like her.”

“Cool”

I didn’t want to hear about her cool new friend who she was possibly going to have an affair with if I couldn’t shake my bitchiness or her shake the space I needed. I put my phone on airplane mode so I wouldn’t get anymore texts or worse, a call, and went to bed. I knew I would hear about it the next morning if she tried texting more or calling.

-and, I did. To be continued.

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11 times

“I got it 11 times this weekend, but I still don’t know if this girl really likes me.”

This was from Sergeant Sloan the 27 year old who has a crush on me. When she first met me she asked if I was single.

“Why do you want to know?”

“Because I wanted to see if you wanted to go out sometime.”

I pulled my reading glasses off and looked at her hard and said, “How old are you?”

“26 going on 27 in July.”

I laughed and turned back to my computer and muttered over my shoulder “You’re young enough to be my…….. younger sister and no, I don’t go out with people I work with. Sorry.”

“Well you just seem really cool and maybe we could hang out sometime.”

“Ok, sure, like, Chuckie Cheese or something?” naming a popular pizza and video game place.

Not getting the jab she said, “Sure. Wherever you want. So, you are single? You’re hot.”

 “No. Admire, flirt and compliment all you want but don’t’ touch.” Turning from my computer smiling.

Since then Sloan and I have become friends and I have somehow become her dating mentor.

Back to earlier conversation:

“What makes you think this girl doesn’t like you if she gave it to you 11 times?”

Hell, I couldn’t think the last time I got it 11 times in a weekend. I’m not sure I would still be walking. Then, I wondering what was the most I had gotten in a weekend. I shook my head, I couldn’t remember.

“Well, sometimes she’s only really sexual when she’s been drinking.”

“So? Sometimes I’m only sexual when I’ve been drinking.”

“My low self esteem has me thinking that I am just filling in because her girlfriend lives in Brazil.”

“Are you listening to what you’re saying? You got it 11 times! You’d really have to like someone to do it to them 11 times.”

I couldn’t think of anyone I’d dated or been in a relationship with that I liked enough to do it to 11 times.

“Yeah, you’re right.”

“Are you at least enjoying yourself?”

“Yes.”

“Then, that’s all that matters. Enjoy it while you can, little one. Now git. I have work to do.”

That was about the only thing that made my day yesterday. I had a tough gym workout that I had been dreading all day and went home and propped my feet up. I had been in a funk all day because of my two previous posts. I texted Ellen and asked what she was doing that night. She texted back that she was just making dinner, watching the chickens that she’d be home around 6:30 and to come over. She had just gotten three new hens after finishing the coop we had all been helping build all Spring. I told her I’d be over and hopped in the shower.

After my shower I was relaxing on the bed watching TV when my phone vibrated. It was Lee. I really didn’t want to talk to her and let it go to voicemail but she didn’t leave a message. I knew that was an indication that she was going to call back. I berated myself for getting into the habit of us always having to talk on the phone after she got out of work. Sometimes I just don’t want to talk on the phone. Then, a text came in.

“Hi”

“Hey.”

“I called you.”

Yes, I know that. “I was in the shower.”

The phone started vibrating her calling again. I groaned and answered.

She said she was in the neighborhood trying to mail a package and almost stopped by. I shook my head and thought, “Good thing you didn’t because I would have been pissed.”

I don’t like people to just stop by – especially, ones I’m dating. If I’m not seeing you then it means I’m seeing friends and/or wanting privacy. She went on to say the post offices didn’t have an automated machine and asked if I knew of one nearby. I had just told her about the downtown Decatur one last week because I was trying to mail my waders in to Orvis to be repaired. Suddenly, I felt like Google or Mapquest and I became even more irritated. We talked until she finally said she just pulled up and was going in to change.

 “Maybe we could talk before you go to bed tonight.” She knows how I hate this. When I want to go to bed I want to go to bed. I don’t want to call anyone. Plus, we had already talked that night.  How.many.times.do.we.need.to.talk.every.night?

After hanging up, I sighed with relief. If she would have picked up any irritation in my voice or if I would have said anything flip she would have said, “What’s wrong.” and then I would have had to talk about my funk – which, I didn’t want to do and would have been on the phone even longer.

 I went over to Ellen’s and we cracked open a beers and sat outside watching the chickens. I told her about my discussion with Lee about my smoking (as I lit one up) and about my ex nightmares.  As she was filling me in on what she had heard through a mutual friend -that my ex and her new warden girlfriend were buying a house together- my phone vibrated. It was Lee again. I shook my head.

“She won’t leave me alone tonight.” I let it go to voicemail again.

Later, when Ellen got up to get more beers I listened to it. Lee was going out with a new friend for dinner and was just calling to say hi on the way to meet her. Ellen handed me a beer and sat back down.

Continuing the conversation: “So, is she having her put her name on the deed?”

“Yes, I think so.”

“Poor sucker. I can’t believe it. She has her hooked. That woman could sell sand to an Arab.”

My phone vibrated again. It was Lee texting. I looked at it and sighed again. “Now she’s texting me her dinner plans and said she had 15 minutes to talk if I wanted to.”

I put the phone down and Ellen and I had a laugh.

Later, after eating a fabulous dinner of homemade dumplings we sat out on the deck and had a last beer. It was almost midnight and I felt better. I had missed our evenings of hanging out talking, drinking and making dinner. I went home and went straight to bed not calling or texting Lee.

This morning at 5:45 a.m. my phone vibrated then the alarm went off. I reached over and hit the snooze. At 5:50 it vibrated again. I knew it was Lee texting me.

“Good mornin’. I never heard back from you last night. Everything ok?”

“Morning. Yes.”

“Just curious since I haven’t known you to go to bed at 8 ;-)”

She was fishing and I wasn’t about to give up any information unless she asked properly. Plus, I have gone to bed at 8 when I work a lot – and, I did work last weekend.

“Yes u have ;)”

“Did u?”

Really fishing. Ignoring her question I texted: “How was your dinner?”

“Had fajitas. Good.”

So, she shared fajita’s with her new friend. I wasn’t sure I liked the idea of her sharing food with someone she’d just met. I felt like it was a little personal. I let the conversation drop until she texted back that she was walking the dog which is always an indication that she can talk on the phone and to call her. I didn’t call.  Instead I texted “Driving to work.”

Later:

“Remember we have Foster the People Thursday night.”

“Yeppers.”

“So, don’t go makin no plans to share fajitas ”

I had resisted the flipness for too long.

“Don’t be jealous”

“;-)”

“:-p Were you?”

“No”

 Lee obviously is not comfortable with my need for space. I wonder if during the week when we don’t see each other if she will keep meeting up with new friends and start something with one of them or them with her. I’m sure she could find someone who wants to be with her 24/7. Also, during our earlier phone conversation she told me some drama with her ex. I asked her if she was sure she wanted to move back in there and if she was going to have to deal with any of her ex’s episodes and she said she wasn’t worried about it. I almost feel like we’re taking two steps back here. I wonder if she will be caught up yet again with the ex once she moves back there and if she will be able to continue to handle my need for space during the week or will get bored and seek out other adventures.

So be it. If it happens it happens. Sometimes I feel like I don’t even want a girlfriend. I just want someone to have fun with on the weekends and maybe one night during the week. I just cannot stand to be smothered and if I feel like someone is telling me what to do for one moment I rebel. Last night was a little rebellion on my part although, I did tear up the rest of my cigarettes and throw them in the trash when I got home.

But, yeah – 11 times? We’re nowhere near that.

deal breakers

Yeah, I know – I have a lot on my mind these days. Why you are seeing two new posts in the same day. (I can’t remember the last time I did that.)

Lee is moving back into her ex’s house.

There. I said it.

I know you’re all going into an outrage right now going “WHAT? Oh, F- that!” [Well, if you aren’t that’s ok, too] But, I’m actually ok with it. Really, I am. Lee and I talked about it in length before she made the decision to move back in there. In fact, she told me that she wouldn’t consider it unless I was ok with it and she got my blessing. The reasons why I am ok with it is because her current living situation is very bad right now. Lee lives in one room of a house where the owner pet sits (as her second job) and there’s always barking – sometimes growing dogs in the house. The owner/landlord hasn’t fixed the ductwork in the attic so Lee gets basically no air-conditioning in her room. The owner/landlord – let’s call her crazy Paulette walks in on Lee all the time without knocking hoping to catch Lee in a moment of undress. She’s basically an old perve. (and, don’t think that I’m not going to call animal control and alert them that this woman is running an illegal kennel out of her home)

The ex is renovating her basement to make it an apartment. It has it’s own separate entrance and parking and she has offered it to Lee at a reduced rate. Since Lee moved out they have continued to speak and try to have some sort of a friendship. I think the pressure has been off of them because of Lee getting a new job and the two of them not seeing each other at work anymore. I’ve been in the house and around the ex and neither one bother me so I’m ok with it. Plus, now I think Lee and I are a little more solid than we were when she lived there previously and we were just starting to date –

-or so I thought.

Yesterday, we let our class out early and I was home, showered and sitting on the bed watching Queer as Folk episodes by 4:00. Lee was helping the ex move a new refrigerator, bed and shower that she had picked up at Home Depot and Ikea that day and was running late. By the time she came in she was frazzled and I could tell she was a little annoyed. I’m sure it had to do with spending the day with the ex moving things but that was her deal. She agreed to do it – so be it.

She came over and kissed me and frowned. “You did it again.”

She meant that I had smoked. Yes, I had. When I came home from class I had kicked my boots off, cracked open a beer and lit up my first and only cigarette of the day. Since then I had drank another beer and brushed my teeth twice.

“I know.”

“Well, I thought you were only going to do this on Thursdays when you play pool.”

“Well, I guess not.” I shrugged.

“What changed?”

“Nothing. I just wanted one.”

“Well, I’m not going to kiss you.”

“Ok, so don’t.”

“This is a deal breaker. I may just split.” She said in half-jest.

She’s said this before but I was getting tired of it and decided to address it. I asked her if she would sit down. She sat.

“I understand that you don’t like this. I do. But, it’s something I have to quit on my own. Not for someone else. And, right now – I just can’t. I cannot. I don’t have a desire to, either. You have to have the desire to quit or else you cannot. I don’t know how long or how often I will. I don’t smoke around you. I don’t smoke when you’re here staying with me. I didn’t smoke the whole time we were on vacation together. I go days without doing it and then I smoke. (and, no, I didn’t smoke because I was angry with her for being late because of the ex and to somehow get back at her) I don’t want to keep having this argument with you. I understand if you want to break up with me because of it. It’s a nasty habit but one I cannot break unless I want to but you can’t threaten to break up with me to get me to stop. That won’t work. It will only build resentment. Now. If you want to leave or break up then do so. Perhaps if you want to leave me because of this one.thing about me you can’t stand out of all the other wonderful things we have together then maybe it’s for the best.”

Lee sat there for awhile. I could tell I shocked her. She finally mumbled something that sounded like “I can’t decide right now.”

I told her that perhaps she should leave and go home and think about it. If she couldn’t decide just then to leave. She shook her head and said, “No, I meant I just don’t know what to say.” She started crying and put her head on my chest and sobbed “I don’t want to lose you.”

We got through it and went out [finally] and had dinner. I think much of the reason why we had a discussion (not really a fight but she was spoiling for a fight) was because of her being emotionally strung out from being around her ex all day. She wanted to take it out on me – and, my smoking was the No. 1 target. It’s all going to be very interesting when she moves back in there.

I wonder if it will be my deal breaker.

get out

“Are you mad at me?” Lee

“No.” – but, that’s typically a question when asked that makes me mad.

I just wanted her to leave so I could have some much needed privacy. It’s like this after every weekend we spend together. Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights are great but then it’s “Get out.” when my work week starts –despite working over the weekend. In fact, it may be a little intensified when I haven’t had a day off in awhile.  

She hugged me and said, “Ok, guess I won’t see you this week.”

“You say that at the beginning of every week.” –and it’s getting old, believe me.

This morning’s “get out” was even more intensified from the nightmare I had in the wee hours of the morning. I never told Lee because she would have wanted to know what it was about and I didn’t want to talk about it. I just wanted to be alone with my coffee and thoughts before I went in to work.

I have been having bad dreams about my ex lately. In fact, the last two nights I have had nightmares about her breaking into my house and squatting and me having to take care of her again. In the dream it’s always the same –her constantly crying and saying that I have to take care of her and her doing nothing but wasting away. In last night’s dream rats came in to the picture. They were eating her alive while she cried and said she was so sick. I sat up in bed in a cold sweat, my heart racing and looked at the clock – 3:30. I looked next to me and feared it was my ex laying there sleeping but it was Lee instead. I laid back down and spooned her while waiting for my heartbeat to slow and for sleep to overtake me.

I don’t know if it’s buried guilt for throwing her of the house (I actually gave her 30 days notice) or if it was abuse that I suffered from her always trying to make me feel guilty and manipulating me through her constant crying. I know she frequently used her illness(es) to get what she wanted and to manipulate people in to giving her things or doing things for her.

Initially, when I wanted to break up with her I couldn’t. I remember telling friends that I couldn’t throw a disabled person out on the street – especially, one that was my girlfriend. I eventually realized (with the help of a few friends) that I couldn’t go on that way and if I stayed in that relationship and we continued to live together then I would have a nervous breakdown and wouldn’t have any life for myself. It would be devoted to taking care of her and her kid. When I did break up with her she cried and cried and asked “I have nowhere to go. Where will I go?”

She had family she could stay with. A mother, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends. She would find a place. Plus, she had just started getting her disability checks. (Which, the two years together I helped her get. I wrote every document for her. Filed every packet, went to every one of her doctors to give them the forms and paid for them to be done.) She did eventually find a place and moved out the 30th day of the notice I gave her. It had all gotten so ugly by then. She had told me that I was a mean, selfish person.  I said that was ridiculous. That she had had two years of cushiness. Everything paid for, a BMW to drive and an allowance. My guilt turned to anger. I said the “Get out” for real and meant it.

I have cut her out of my life for good and have no desire to hear from her – maybe that’s why the nightmares are nightmares. I had recently heard that she had a new gf (who is a warden at a women’s jail) who she has moved in with. I am happy that she found another sucker someone to take care of her but I cannot help but feel sorry for the poor fool them.

I’ve changed the locks on the house but I still feel like she’s getting in. I just want the nightmares to stop.

smashed hump-day

Yesterday was a bad day. I was either angry or frustrated all day over several different things. Most were things that were my sh*t but others were out of my control.

That morning when I hit the snooze on the alarm I did not want to get up. I lay there seriously considering calling in sick and just doing nothing all day. Doing nothing is kind of a big deal to me because I almost never allow myself that luxury. When I do, I feel guilty for loafing off and think of all the things I need to be doing. With that, I threw back the covers and slid my feet into my flips and padded out to the kitchen to check the pulse on the cat (he’s an old guy and I suspect that any day now he’s going to kick the bucket) and make coffee. Thankfully, I was greeted with a meow but no coffee. I had forgotten to make it the night before and set the timer. I sighed – I hate when I forget to do this. I poured the remaining coffee from the previous morning into a mug and popped it into the microwave.

After I got ready I debated on whether or not to ride in. My phone app was saying 40% but the radio said 70% late afternoon – meaning, rush hour. Of course. Atlanta is notorious for having flash flooding and heavy rain right around rush hour. As if our traffic isn’t bad enough. I decided not to chance it and got in the truck.

Normally, I don’t let work or people I work with (including my boss) get to me and I’m pretty easy going and let things roll off. Although, that day I could tell people were on my nerves and wondered again why I just didn’t call in. Again, a pang of guilt hit me and I told myself this was my fault for working the weekends and not giving myself a break.  Anyway, I got into it with my boss. I normally don’t leave my cubicle unless it’s to the restroom or to get water or ice- and sometimes go to lunch but most times I eat at my desk. I was doing that but stopped to talk to another coworker for awhile and he came looking for me. I knew he was wound up over a project he was [trying] working on but I didn’t care. When he walked up he said he needed me in the office and to stop talking to [co-worker name]. I followed him in to our area (I wanted everyone else to hear this) and said, “I was just at the restroom and getting ice while my computer rebooted.” Everyone else in the division gets frustrated with him as well because he thinks he’s in charge of keeping track of everyone and is constantly asking people where so-and-so is if they’re not in their seat. Just then another co-worker said, “Oh, you left without your hall pass.” Whereas my boss turned and asked her if that was necessary to which she replied, “You’re acting as if it’s necessary. Why don’t you write Lanie up for going to the bathroom and getting ice?” It was ridiculous, I know. I sat down and simmered. I had let him get to me. Normally, I just tilt my head to the side and act like a dumb blonde and say “Sorry I didn’t know” when I’m in trouble. (I works most of the time on men who power-trip)

The rest of the day I was in a funk along with having computer issues – which, was really the reason it all began was I kept complaining that I couldn’t open my files and that they took so long to load. My boss was like “Well, it’s your machine. Have you done this? Have you done that? Whattabout this?” To which I replied “Yes, yes and yes.” My job is computer intensive, however, I am not a f*cking I.T. person nor do I make anywhere near what an I.T. person would make so I shouldn’t have to fix the problem nor should this BE my problem and as they say in the government “This is above my pay grade.” It was when my boss told me to reboot (which, takes 10 minutes for my machine to do so) was when I left for the restroom to kill some time and, because I wasn’t sitting in my chair staring at the screen watching it load I got in trouble.

At 2:30 I took my liberal leave time to go work out. (we are allowed one hour of workout/physical fitness as part of our 8 hour day to which) I drove up to the gym, parked and went in. An officer saw me coming and opened the door for me and I said “Thank you.” It made me feel better. As I signed in there were three military guys working the front desk and I was greeted with “Afternoon, ma-am. Would you like a towel?” Polite and courteous. I changed into my workout clothes and took my stuff back out to the car. I looked up at the sky and it looked fine. I thought “Freaking liars. I could had ridden.” When I walked back in another officer opened the door for me. I thanked him, too and thought about how I like having doors opened for me. I went downstairs to do the dreaded 45 minute treadmill workout but took the remote control with me to turn on the baseball game. The workout went surprisingly fast. When I walked out it was starting to rain. I realized that I left my I.D. card sticking out of my computer in my office and went back for it. I parked and ran in just as the storm hit hard. Of course, my boss had already left. (I get there before him and leave after him every day) I was glad I hadn’t ridden afterall. I thought I would kill some time and let the storm subside and sat down at my computer to check my email when I heard a crack and the power went out. I pushed away from the computer and said, “You and me – we’re just not meant to be today.” and left.

As I passed 285 I saw a parking lot and kept going. I wove my way through town from Marietta to Midtown Atlanta on the back roads. Somehow getting on the highway that day was a very bad idea. By the time I got past Piedmont Park I swung into Landmark shopping center and drove down by the theater and parked. I needed a drink. I went into the Highlander had a 420 and then left. By the time I got home it was 7:00. I was tired and needed to start dinner. The steaks I had left out to thaw were well past thawing and warm. I threw them away and took the ones out of the freezer and thawed in the microwave. I went in to check the cat box and it was a mess and I was out of liter. I needed to go that night. I almost cried thinking about how hungry I was and how much I didn’t want to go to the store just then. It was an effort to get into the truck and drive next door to Wal-mart and get litter. It only took 30 minutes tops and when I got home I cleaned out the box and finished making dinner. It was past 8 when I sat down to eat and watch season 1 of the closer. I had never watched it before but been wanting to. When Kyra Sedgwick appeared on the screen I smiled for the first time that day.

stormy joke

Yesterday the bike was finally ready to be picked up from the shop. I had just enough time to get there, drop off the car and ride to a service they were having for Laura at local pub. As I parked in front in the “motorcycle-only” parking (I love that) I saw a friend, MK putting coins in the meter. I walked up to her and said “The meter maids get off at 5:00 so no need.” She gave me a look like “Who the hell are you?” since I still had my helmet on. I pulled it off just then and got a hug once she knew it was me.

We went inside and it was already starting to get crowded. We shook hands with Laura’s aunt and uncle who were working the door and then made our way up to the bar. Vodka tonic for MK iced tea for me. We looked around the room and it was quickly filling up to be standing room only. We decided to move off the bar to let other people order and just then Michelle and her gf, Kristen came in. After greetings were made they went off to the bar to order and I ran upstairs to check out Laura’s photography they had hanging and a continuous slide show of photos of her. As I walked up the stairs I was met with people descending with red eyes. I watched the slide show of smiling pictures of Laura. I smiled back thinking that was exactly what she was – a smiling force. I walked into the Belgium bar in the back and looked at photographs from her travels to India and Malaysia. There weren’t too many people in there just yet so I could take my time and really study them. On a table there was a scroll laid out in brail (not sure of the reason behind that but I’m sure there was one) that people wrote things to her on. I wrote a short paragraph on it, signed my old name and moved on downstairs.

As I went down the stairs the minister (a gay Baptist who was one of Laura’s best friends) said he was getting ready to start the service. I joined my friends who were shoved into a booth. I won’t go into detail about the service but it was very good. Many people went up and told funny stories about Laura which I think would be exactly what she wanted – all of us to share funny stories and laugh. As it came to a close we lit candles to pass around the room that signified her fiery spirit. Just as the first candle was lit we heard a clap of thunder and it started to pour outside. It hadn’t rained in almost a month here.

Once the service ended I moved off across the bar to say hi to another friend. On the way I ran into two other acquaintances Melissa and Kim (I say this lightly because I don’t like them at all). Melissa hugged me and asked how I was doing. [Thinking: just keeping up appearances are we?] I gave the standard “Fine under the circumstances.” Then the other, Kim, hugged me. [Thinking: What is this? Fake lesbian day and how did you ever know Laura?] Once I extracted myself from them I went to see the original friend I set out to hug. It seems like it’s always at funerals, wakes and services that you always have to hug people you dislike. I guess that’s all part of it. You take the people you want to see with the ones you [really] don’t. You get along with them for a short time for the deceased although, I’m sure Laura would have appreciated me punching either of them in the nose. She would have loved a ruckus to have been started. She was that type of girl – always stirring things up.

After all that I was ready to go. I hugged Kristen, MK and Michelle goodbye and headed for the door only to bump into another, Jackie who used to go out with Laura.  I asked to see the ring she had given her while they were dating that she still wore.  We talked for a minute and agreed to get together soon.

I finally pulled open the huge oak door and walked outside.  It was coming down in huge drops, thundering and blowing. As I stood at the curb getting wet looking at my bike I could hear Laura laughing in my head at the practical joke she played on me by making it rain while I was on my bike. I guess it was she who caused the ruckus. I smiled back at her, pulled on my helmet and felt the wetness soak through the butt of my jeans as I sat down on the bike. I started it up and took off in the storm thinking of her.

To Laura

This post is dedicated to my friend, Laura, who passed on Monday.

It was the year 2000 and I had just broken up with my girlfriend of seven years. I had decided then to go out and meet as many new friends as possible since I basically had none the whole time I was in that relationship. The first two friends I met were Michelle and Tammy. It went on from there and that’s when I eventually met Laura. Laura was very young at the time- I think almost ten years my junior. That would have made her somewhere around 19 or 20. I do remember there were times she couldn’t go to the bars with us because she wasn’t drinking age. In fact, I think at the time she was still living at home but getting ready to start college. She was going out with another friend in the group who was even older than I and we accused her of being a cradle robber. Ironically, her name was Lori. She was always the one who stirred up trouble and gossip within the group. One time she even accidentally outed Laura to her parents and we all pretty much gave her hell over it and I think that was when Laura broke up with her. We were all very relieved when Laura left her to be honest. We all liked Laura but thought Lori was a pain-in-the-ass. Another ironic thing was that Lori introduced me to Becky who was the one who I was supposed to marry in Hawaii who left me for yet another girl in the group. Later on I met another new friend, Jackie, who had gone out with Laura for awhile. Somehow in meeting all these new people there was a circle of about twenty of us who all knew each other. Some were couples who have since broken up. Some have moved away – in fact, both Lori and Becky live in Portland now. (not together, just friends) Some who are still in town but never hang out. Some who have children with their partners and some, like me, who still make the occasional effort to hang out. Through all this one of the very first people I met, Michelle, seems to be the most common denominator to us all.

I always remember Laura bartending at a local pub near my house. Every time I would go there for a drink she would wait on me and I would always call her by her first and last name. It always rolled off the tongue so easily. She called me by my old name because when she first met me that’s what it was. I never corrected her because I have a grand-fathered rule about old friends being allowed to call me by my old name. She was always saying that when she got out of school she was getting out of this place and moving out to Seattle or Portland. I always saw her there to be honest. She could have easily fit in with the cool chick scene. I had always heard (through Michelle) that she had a crush on me. I never pursued it because I always thought of her as everyone’s little sister. Laura’s initial degree was in Environmental studies. She was always a big environmentalist. Later, she was getting or got (not sure) a PHD in biology. All through her studies we could always find her at the pub working. I remember talking to her another time when I was there for a drink and she asked me about some people in the group. Some I could fill her in about but others I didn’t know. I asked her if she was going to some party that Michelle was having and she said no that she didn’t hang with them anymore. Despite all that I do think her and Michelle remained the closest of anyone in the group.

I never thought she would be the first one out of our group of friends and acquaintances to go. It’s really a shock and she will be missed. Here’s to you, Laura. Rest in peace.

the crazy list

I don’t know why but today I woke up and all I could think about was the list of things that repeatedly drive me crazy. I know that some of these things I can [try to] remedy myself and it’s a matter of procrastination, some I have tried to deal with to no avail and some are just there. Here they are:

Just there: Despite spending a WHOLE weekend together and it being so great Lee still acts disappointed when I tell her that it’s Sunday night, I need some alone time, it’s a school night – GO HOME. Please. It seems like the more time we spend together the more she WANTS to spend together. It also seems like Sunday night we start alllll over again and I still get the question of: “When will I see you this week?” The answer is starting to be a frustrated bleat of “I DON’T KNOW!” I don’t want to put rules into this relationship but I feel like soon the rule of “Sunday nights are mine” will have to come into effect.  Of course with the rule of “Thursday night pool nights are mine, too.” This is probably my only big rant about Lee and other than that things are really great.

Tried to remedy myself: The check engine light on my truck that has stayed on despite all the new parts I have put on it. It’s so maddening. And, I need an emissions test soon and I know I’m going to have to mess around with it some more.

Just there: The vent above my head on my office that has JUST NOW started to rattle. I’m going to throw a brick at it soon.

Just there: My cat’s loud meow and following me around the house nagging me in kitty language along with cleaning up his barf in the hallway.

Tried to remedy myself: My AT&T service went out AGAIN and I’ve had them to my house a total of 5 times to do repairs. (Yes, I would drop them but they’ve given me so much free stuff that I really can’t right now)

Just there: This woman in my office that it seems she doesn’t get enough socialization at home and I am the outlet at the office. Either way she’s gotten on my nerves and I’ve had to be a little rude to her so she would stop coming over to talk to me so often.  

Just there: There is a busted pipe under the ladies restroom that has made it out of order for almost a month now. They are finally tearing up the floor and replacing the pipe but for the month prior they kept trying to fix the problem (probably from snaking it so much they busted the pipe) and every time it’s out of commission we get this email about “not-putting-sanitary-napkins-in-the-toilet.” REALLY? I mean, WTF?! As if we haven’t heard this ALL OF OUR FREAKIN’ LIVES! So, when men stop up their toilets there’s no note on the door or email saying “Don’t float a big log and stop up the toilet, dudes.”  This is all coupled with the fact that every time we need to use the restroom we have to walk across the parking lot to the maintenance building.

Just there: The outside door that leads to our office swells up and refuses to open when it gets hot outside. Frequently, people try to open it or knock on it trying to get it and we always have to get up from what we are doing and let the person in. I always throw the deadbolt and lightly shut the door so it leans against the jam so people can easily go in and out but someone always re-shuts the door with it back in and it sticks again. The maintenance people have been over to repair it three times and cannot fix it. When they do come over to fix it they constantly keep slamming it to test it out and I have to get up and leave to keep from losing my mind.

Pure procrastination and loserville on my part: The fact that I cannot seem to quit smoking for good. This morning on my ride in to work I was thinking about all those times I said I was quitting smoking [for good] and drinking during the week and never have and it’s starting to really wear on me.  I need to find the willpower to just stop [smoking] completely and, the not drinking during the week will lead to losing some weight which I want to do and getting in really good shape.

Pure procrastination and loserville on my part: I need to quit farting around and start my house painting project. This has been PURE procrastination. There is no excuse for it – especially since I can work on it in the evenings after work.

 

 

bits and pieces

I have the attention span of a gnat this week.  It’s been almost 100 degrees here and everyone I know [including myself] is really over it. I know I used to love summer but not August-like weather for three months! It’s really putting a crimp in my electricity bill running the air conditioning.

Last night I had to do landscaping right after work and as you can see by my tweets ————————->

I did not want to do it. It was 93 degrees out and the air conditioning in my truck could barely keep up. But, once I got to my client’s house and started working things were ok. I had a big container of ice water that I brought along and her garden is coming along famously. I spied jalapenos growing and was tempted to pick one and take a bite but knew if they were really hot that I would be miserable the rest of the time there. Because she doesn’t use any chemicals or pesticides on her vegetables you can literally pick something, wipe it off and pop it in your mouth. After I was finished I went home and cut the grass and gave my other bike a bath. As requested by Poet here’s a picture of her all nice and clean (clean for her, anyway):

 

One of my toads (friend who shares a tattoo with me) is leaving on Monday for an 11 day bike rally. Despite the training and other rally’s he’s done to prepare for this I am still a bit concerned for his safety (and his sanity).  

I got word today that another dear motorcycle friend/co-instructor just got diagnosed with Lou Gehrig disease and because of his symptoms he’s selling his Goldwing.

Right now I am just hoping for the best and preparing for the worst – for both of my friends. I am reaching down inside and trying to grasp on to any positive energy that I can send to both of them.

As you know the new bike is in the shop getting a full service. She hadn’t had any attention for quite some time when I got her. Even though I told the guys at the shop that it didn’t need to be a rush job that I most likely wouldn’t have the $ for the service until I got paid next week I am still on pins-n-needles wanting it back. If it’s done by the weekend and they make me some kind of a deal (pay half now and the rest next week when you get paid) then Lee and I are going to do a BBQ run up to North Georgia make a loop and come back through Dahlonega. If not, then we’re still getting out of town and going somewhere where I can go fishing and still make the BBQ run. Either way – BBQ.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Just in time

I got up at 4 a.m. this morning-

-because I wanted to.

Yesterday, I pulled off a feat that still thinking back I am still surprised that I did it. It all started out innocently enough. I was sitting at my desk, sipping coffee and decided to see if there were any new motorcycle ads on cra*gsl*st. I had been perusing the ads quite a bit just dreaming of another bike and one that would allow me to carry a [Lee] passenger.

Normally, I do a specific search for a particular bike [which, is hard to find] but this time I just checked the “with images” box and let it rip. Four listings down was the bike I had been looking for and at a reasonable price. Even so I only had $150 in my account to last me until payday. I thought, ‘how can I get that bike?’ I looked at the Rolex on my wrist. I would sell it. I immediately put the watch on cra*gsl*st and for a price that people would bite at. I needed to turn this around fast because I knew that bike wouldn’t last for that price. Heck, they probably had people calling right at that moment. Twenty minutes later I had three emails about my watch. I emailed the owner of the bike. He emailed back with his number and I called him. I told him that I might have the cash in hand that night and if I did that I wanted to look at the bike. After getting pertinent details I hung up and started replying to all the emails inquiring about my watch. By 3:00 I had two people lined up to look/buy. I rode home and got out of my riding clothes and started digging for all the paperwork that came with the watch. By 4:00 I was in the car headed to Norcross to meet my first potential buyer. I called the bike guy “Jim”.

“Hey, Jim – can I come over and see the bike tonight and if so what time is good for you?”

“Oh, man. I have bad news –“

My heart sunk. I had really wanted that bike. I felt sick and almost turned the car around.

“-the guy I bought it off of said he’d run me over a check tonight for it.”

“I will have cash in hand.”He hesitated and I said, “I will even sweeten the deal.”

“No, that’s not necessary. Let me call the guy back – you called first on it and I’m going to tell him you’re really interested and to hold off.”

Within the hour I was heading back to my side of town with a wad of cash in my pocket. An hour after that I was riding this around town:

Lee came over later and I handed her a helmet, an air mesh motorcycle jacket and gloves. She gladly put it on and we took off on the bike. It was dark but we didn’t care. We rode a big loop around town before coming back to the house and parking. This morning I couldn’t sleep and got up to put the coffee on and go out and look at the bike. Lee caught me polishing it with a dishcloth in my boxers in the carport.

Today on my wrist is a Timex – and, I’m ok with that.