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Last week was a transitioning week of sorts. But we all fell into step pretty easily.

Last week, I drove J up north to spend time with his mom and start the official move out of his apartment. He came home with a list of yard sale items, including massive amounts of outdated computer and music equiptment.

He also came home with the fixings for his practice space that we had decided to set up in the corner of the bedroom, seeing that it is the only spare space in this entire condo for a musician’s massive keyboard and handmade wooden stand. I feel badly, but apparently not as badly as he was feeling…this is the kind of guy he is…you see, we were lying there in bed, looking at the space in the corner and he goes “I feel so bad, I am going to screw up the cute look of your bedroom.”

This was his main concern, while mine is that he may feel he doesn’t have enough space of his own in our home together. I love my 8×10 studio space and have contemplated moving out of it and using my display space in the living room, as my studio, but he will have nothing to do with that. “There is no way in hell I am taking your studio space. You’re keeping it. I’ll take the bedroom.”

I dream of him having a great studio space for all his stuff, his beautiful old restored piano that will stay up north at his mother’s house, until we either rent him a studio or buy ourselves that big old house with a barn. (or a garage)

At any rate, the transition this week as he arrived on Thursday with a small truck full of things, went smoothly. We had parties to go to with the kids, walked down the street to breakfast where the girls decided they loved hash browns (for the first time) and sausage. And the girls had a sleepover at my mother’s so that I could be there on opening night this season at his piano bar gig.

He started at 8pm and by 8:15, the place was near full of people . They’d filtered in, passing him at the piano with a wave and “hello”. Some hugged him. Some put money in his tip bowl right off the bat. These were all friends and followers, supporters, all who had been there on his last night back in October, all folks who saw his name advertised as returning this season. Many looked for me and while he played he turned around and found me and pointed and then I said my hellos.

It was inspiring and endearing and touching to see him received like this.

And then the second night was equally awesome.

Anyway, back to the practice space in the bedroom. From how he talked, it was going to be huge and invasive and ugly, when in reality, when I saw it after he set it up, it wasn’t bad at all.

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In fact, I love it. I love his stuff here. The girls do too.

We’re going to be painting it white, to kind of buffer the raw wood look. And he’ll have books on the shelf above.

There was only one teenie tiny thing though. And it’s something I know will always be, because he told me flat out “this is my chair, it is the only chair I practice in.”

My response when I saw it?

“Would you mind if I recovered it?”

P1010012 (I had to make this really large, so you can see it is covered in some really horrible  faux wool. And the duct tape on the arms. There’s duct tape on a piece of furniture now, here in my home. It was bound to happen.)

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I went to my lady doctor a few weeks ago for my six month follow up after being cleared from a few years of pretty bad abnormal tests. 

Last summer, I had gone in to meet with the surgeon because we were at that point and he got “down there” and took a look and said, “you know, we still have to send this test to the lab, but I see absolutely nothing.”

Turns out, it had gone away on it’s own…well, not completely on it’s own, but I had recently been relieved of stress and had been diligently taking my vitamins.

So, I went in for my second six month in the clear check up and I have to say I worry…even though I haven’t been under stress, I got sick alot this winter and I worry that missing J and the wear and tear on me from the winter this year, maybe brought the damn thing back.

I asked a funny question to my gynocologist. “Um, I have this small lump on my head, could you see what you see and tell me what you think?”

In a way, it was good. I felt I could suddenly divert her attention to the fact that I hadn’t waxed or shaved in a few weeks…neither “down there” or my legs. There was no way to explain that I was saving it up so I could wax before J came home.  

Yeah people. I think ahead.

The lump on my head appeared in January after  had been sick. When I went to visit him in February on the second island, I mentioned it to him one day and he goes, “Yeah, last night I felt it when you were falling asleep and I was playing with your hair, but I wasn’t going to say anthing.” (he rubs my head sometimes if I can’t sleep, it feels goooooood)

So my gynecologist takes a look and says, “oh, that’s just a cyst, it’s benign. A dermatologist can take that off for you if it’s bothering you.

BOTHERING ME? NOOOOO a sudden lump on my head DOESN’T BOTHER ME, it FREAKS THE HELL OUT OF ME!!!!! (is what I thought in my head and wanted to scream)

Anyway, J felt it the other night and looked at it and thought it got bigger.

So now, I am going to call the doc and see what can be done. The one thing is that I worry they will have to shave the area around it and there is no frrrrr-ucking way I am going to be doing that right now, as Summer is almost here and I can finally get out of the blue jeans and frumpy winter clothing and actually GO OUT of the house.

But then, as J said, “what does a gynecologist know about a bump on your head? How does she know it’s benign without testing it herself? She’s a damn gynecologist!!!”

So I guess this week, I’ll be calling the doc.

As a side note, this weekend has been nuts with events with the kids and J starting his Spring/Summer/Fall gig last night. It was a full house of past supporters and friends, which was really touching and inspiring and awesome. When I can breathe, I will write more about it. Tomorrow he doesn’t work, the girls are with their dad tonight and tomorrow, so the day will be spent in bed. (to be utterly honest).

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It’s a continuous struggle in our house.

“Did you wash your hands?” after we get home from school, before we eat a snack.

“Did you wash your hands?” after going to the bathroom.

I’ve been slightly and silently joyous over the fact that Red’s second grade teacher informed them of Swine Flu, and even though it hasn’t come to our city, she warned everyone to sneeze and cough into their inner elbow and wash their hands frequently.

For the first time in her eight years, Red washes her hands at all appropriate times.

And then some.

But I noticed at first, she was afraid. I mean, SWINE FLU just does not sound good, right? Even if you have no idea what it means, as an eight year old. The name “SWINE FLU” is just plan something you don’t want to get.

I quelled her fears but reminded her that even if the swine flu wasn’t hopping around the U.S., it was important to wash hands and cover our coughs appropriately.

Over the weeks, I noticed something. 

It has gone from good to bad.

She’s actually washing her hands too much.

I am noticing she is washing them more often, even when she hasn’t coughed or gone to the bathroom. Sometimes it is ten minutes after the last time she washed them.

Last night was the last straw.

I was woken up at fucking FOUR a.m. to her  standing at my side.

“Mommy. I have to wash my hands.”

I took her downstairs to wash her hands, angry and upset for the fear that she suddenly has instilled in her. In fact, I spoke angrily TO her and I feel like shit because I know she’s scared and I know I am scared that she is scared….a vicious cycle.

That night, I used the opportunity to go to the bathroom, while she washed her hands. As we were leaving the bathroom, she ran back and pumped a shot of liquid soap onto her hands and washed again.

“What did you do that for? You just washed your hands,” I exclaimed.

“I forgot to use soap the first time!” she said.

As we trudged back upstairs to her bed, she was all snuggled back in and I looked at the clock, wondering if I would be able to go back to sleep for a few hours. I pointed my finger at her and said firmly, “YOU MAY NOT EVER DO THAT AGAIN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT”.

And she hasn’t, thank GOD.

Last night we had a bad episode where she wouldn’t  put her clothes away unless she could wash her hands afterwards. And I was like, “the clothes are CLEAN!” And she goes, “FINE I will clean them up but not touching my socks or underwear.” (which had just come out of the laundry.

So you know what I did? To prove a point? I picked up all her underwear and socks and touched them all and then I proceeded to lick my hands. “See? I’m not getting sick!”

She laughed and looked skeptical but interested in the fact that I didn’t drop dead.

I thought I had gotten somewhere, but then, I made the mistake of picking up her lambies.

Note to self: Do not lick hands and then touch Lambies.

She is now thoroughly convinced that I have given her the Swine Flu.

I spoke with her teacher today, curious if she was behaving similarly at school. Fortunately, only two things have changed. Her request for extra doses of hand sanitizer, other than the dedicated “before lunch and snack” times. The teacher said to Red, “Oh no, we only need it before we eat.” And apparently, Red, would accept it and go back to her work.

The other thing was that this morning, they had morning greet time as they usually do in second grade and all the second graders shake each other’s hands. Red kept her hands in her pockets, slipping just under the radar. No one said anything and nor did she, but still, she didn’t take her hands out of her pockets.

I suspect she will get over it.

Her dad and I agreed to not react or even talk about it anymore and if we are in a situation where we can control it, we just say “no, we’re not taking a second bath tonight, you already had one.”

I suspect that AT LEAST when school is out and we are spending out days at the beach and outside, she will get over it and forget about it. I just pray that in the Fall and Winter it doesn’t happen again. I am considering taking her to the pediatrician to have him explain in kid-speak how it all works, and let some higher up authority (because I don’t appear to be good enough) tell her that she will be okay.

OH SHIT WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?!?!?!?

Just kidding.

I am so so so ecstatic, I don’t even know what or how to write right now.

In an email to a friend yesterday, I said, “It’s like he was just here, although then I remember the length of time he was away and how hard it was, and now hold him tighter and look at him longer.”

We kept waking up the first night and grinning at each other. I think at some point, I may have even said something stupid and obvious like, “you’re here!”

The girls are excited and are way overtired from staying up until 9pm every night, unable to sleep because he is in the house again. I know it will settle down, and I also need to train him not to go back up to check on them “one more time”…because as I learned a long time ago, you say your final goodnight, leave the room, and pray they go right to sleep.

He starts his gig down the road on Saturday night and I can’t wait to be there. Having him gig just down the road, in the old original venue of “us” is like a dream.

As I write this, he is up north packing his apartment up and pulled his car out of winter storage. I drove him up there today and had lunch with his family and then drove home, leaving him to his “stuff” while I come home and get some work done, so I am ready for his return on Friday.

On Monday, after sweet reunion and sentimental conversation, I asked “So, what did you miss the most?”

He turned to me and looked deep  into my eyes and grinned. “Your boobs.”

After my stoic response (which was a solemn/fake stare), he goes,”Oh, well, your cooking too. I definitely missed your cooking.”

Last night was my last night without you.

In a little while you’ll be home.

I’ve cut my hair.

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I painted my nails.

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Waxed.

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Shampoo’d the rugs.

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I bought you a new toothbrush because sometimes, when you were away, I would space out and use yours. You need to start out here with a new toothbrush.

tooth

I’ve cleaned the bathroom.

I made a meal, something other than cereal.

It’s been six months and in a little while, tonight, you will be home for good.

I felt relief when I saw online that your plane landed in your layover city and your next stop is Boston.

I shouldn’t whine, because I know I got to go visit you on the first island. 

And then the second island.

And then for those two weeks at the beginning of March.

And those handful of hours on your layover just over six weeks ago.

But it’s not the same as turning to you on any particular night, perhaps a warm and balmy one with a full moon, and decide to open some cold beer with the windows open.  

It’s not the same of as your hand on my back when we sleep.

And it’s certainly not anything like what I wished for when I met you.

I’ll not being taking the normal things for granted, like brushing teeth and motioning to each other, who should spit first. It’s usually me, because you seem to brush for ten minutes and my mouth burns from the minty paste after two.

Or hearing you snore. That will always be a reminder that you are near. 

Your hilarious annoyance with the drunk folks who sometimes talk loudly in your ear at the piano, makes me laugh and I love being there for you to vent at the end of the night.  While we eat cheese and crackers at 2am standing up in the kitchen, half naked, before crashing into bed.

We’ll be waking up to the girls jumping on the bed, WAY too early in the morning, demanding a game of Uno and walking down to the breakfast place.

On most nights, when I was sleeping, I felt you “not here” and the wait just seemed way too fucking long.

I can shut down Skype for a long while.  

My goodness, Baby, tonight you are coming home.

And look, the tree outside the bedroom window is in bloom again. It’s about time.

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I was driving to the post office and bank one day, running errands and found myself pouring M&Ms into my mouth from a 21 oz bag. It’s not that I overeat, but I find sustinance in M&Ms for breakfast some days. Sometimes it is just a pot of coffee. Sometimes yogurt and fruit. Eating chocolate for breakfast is often a sign of being off balance.

That was about six months ago and J had just left for the island gigs. I was so so so sad, sadder than I let on. I got used to it, in a sad and lonely sort of numbing way. With trips and visits to look forward to, I kept plugging away at things. 

In the very beginning of our relationship, J was local half of the time. He was here for four days and then up north for the rest of the week. Knowing he was coming back each week for a few days at a time had been a luxury for me, but the season here was ending for him so we made our time together as we could.

So, today, I was thinking about how all our lives, we are saying goodbye.

We say goodbye, as often as we say hello.

I said goodbye when school ended every year for the summer. I said goodbye to my beach friends when I went back to school in the Fall. I said goodbye to to folks when I graduated highschool and moved to the midwest. Likewise for the end of college. I’ve said goodbye to my parents when I left home, for any period of time (but gladly happy to escape into a world of adulthood and independence). I’ve said goodbye to boyfriends, some gladly, and some sadly.I never said goodbye to the girls’ dad, because, well, I just can’t be rid of him, since he is still their dad.

I’ve crossed paths with great people who’s lives haven’t aligned with mine, where the significance of separating was greater than if we’d actually known each other better, longer.

I said goodbye to my grandparents who no longer grace this world with their sweet smiles, and some friends, who died too young or tragically or peacefully.

I say goodbye to my children, often enough and what seems like too much, when they leave to go to their father’s house. 

In fact, I say goodbye when I take them to school every morning. One stands at my side until the bell rings and prolongs her farewell. The other gives a little air kiss and runs off to see her friends.

Sending J off for his whirlwind of gigs felt more like a “see you later,” because for once, I felt pretty darn secure with someone leaving. Don’t get me wrong, though, I’ve had my moments. When it felt like he’d never be home. But I knew he would be. And deep down (and way out in front) I knew he wanted to be back home with me, with us.

I was talking to my friend D early on in J’s departure, and he said to me, quite clearly, “isn’t it better to be with someone who you trust and feel secure with, even if they go away, than feel unsafe and distrustful with someone who is near?” And he ended with “Use that time for yourself.”

And by golly, I did.

My friend, Jen, emailed me months ago, after I had a little email “freakout” (to her) about him being gone. One of those “I have no idea what will happen and suddenly I am thinking about this too hard.”

And my brilliant friend said this: 

“Oh sister, you are kinda having a meltdown on the this subject–that sucks and I know it feels scary and crappy and all that stuff mixed up.  It’s tough when you start out a relationship with someone who already has his life planned out (at least for the next several months) you want him to be able to drop everything and just poof! be with you and relocate and all that good stuff. I have a quote in my office shelf that I think about often. My minister once said to me, “God’s delays are not god’s denials.”  When things don’t work out the way we want them to, the moment we want them to, we doubt ourselves, our partner and the whole she-bang. But as tough as this next several months may be, you will blossom and grow in new ways as a person, a mom and a partner. There is plenty of wonderful time when the two of you will be together. Just try and be patient.”

And then she ended with, “Love is like water, it flows where it’s needed. He needs you and loves you and rest assured that all is well.”

fedcola3zj

Back in the day when our id’s were checked less thoroughly and Costco and BJ’s (I can’t say that without laughing) weren’t yet mainstream in our city, there was Fedco. My grandpa was somehow a member, I think because of his business, and he would let my mom borrow his membership card (remember, his picture was on it, and he was a balding six foot elderly man and my mother was a 5 foot four middle aged blonde woman, but she always got herself in the door of Fedco).

We were thrilled, as kids, to hear that Mom was making a trip to Fedco, because a) we knew it didn’t carry health food and whole grains and b) we knew in moments of weakness, she would bring home barrels of generic “Cheetos”  that we could eat until she came to her senses a week later and toss the last three pounds of it in the trash.

I am a member of Costco and have been for about four years. Now, I love Costco for many reasons, but there are three reasons I hate it. a) it takes me 30 minutes to drive there. I live on an island of sorts. My mentality now, after four years, is to see how long I can go without driving across that bridge, off island. b) they don’t take credit cards. I always pay off my credit card at the end of the month. But I cannot bring myself to drop $200 cash direct from my checking account, in one morning. c) they open at ten. I am the type to get somewhere at 9am and get my shopping done by 9:30 and be home for the rest of the day. I hate sitting outside in the parking lot waiting for the castle gates to open and feeling like the day will be half gone by the time I get home.

I was thinking about stocking up on things. Some things I find worth it, others, I don’t. At Costco, I cringe to think that I won’t have space to store the 52 rolls of Scott tissue, when one of my dreams in life is to never ever ever run out of toilet paper.  And the flats of croissants. Do you know how well croissants keep in a ziplock in the freezer? Yes. Croissants at our fingertips, at any time of day. Take out and defrost and heat for five minutes in the oven and ya feel like you’re in Paris. And of course, opening up that ten pound bag of M&Ms in the car on the way home from Costco and stuffing handfuls in my mouth while I blast my new Taylor Swift cd…well, that is just pricelss.

But, you see, the last year or so, I have just been ending up at Target for my stocking up. It is only fifteen minutes away. I get 15 rolls of toilet paper instead of 52.  I can get a mongo double pack of ketchup, because that appears to be the only thing resembling vegetables/fruit in our house, lately. And I can get a small bag of M&Ms at the checkout…all paid with credit card.

It occurred to me the other day, when I was in an old fashioned general store type place in our town, that Target is just that. A HUGE general store.

I was reading Little House on the Prairie the other day to the girls and Laura and Mary each got a little sugar cake for Christmas. I pointed to the illustration and said to the girls, “Look, this is likely the only sugar they had FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR!!!!!”  The girls gasped, for I know they were thinking about their treat bags hanging on the back side of the laundry room door (filled with Easter and Valentine candy, ready to be thrown out or eaten by me before the next holiday). 

I showed the girls the illustration of the penny  Laura and Mary got in the toe of their Christmas stockings. “See this? This bought them a week’s worth of groceries!”

The girls cringed, knowing their wallets were filled with dollars earned from polishing my copper and silver, folding laundry, or losing a tooth. They knew they intended to use their money on sharks teeth necklaces and Polly Pockets, not potatoes and cornmeal.

At any rate, this is just randomness about warehouse stores and stocking up. Random. Does anyone else remember Fedco? It was in Los Angeles. Big vats of  “Cheetos”. Seriously, does it get better than that? I am curious how many people shop warehouses and actually feel they are saving money. And also wondering if what they buy ever goes to waste. Or is there something majorly awesome about going other than “Cheetos” stuck in your teeth for a lifetime?