November 11, 1993
Just home from work (and a
trip to my Dad's house). Ray and the kids are putting away several bags
of groceries; I've just started my first load of laundry of the
evening, and am sitting here now with a cup of instant coffee ...
... Hello, new journal!
Today was Veteran's Day so
things were extraordinarily quiet in the office all day. I went to work
expecting to get into trouble. I had to leave work yesterday before the
UPS guy showed up (in order to make it to the bank and cash my paycheck
before it closed), and there was a package that didn't get sent out as
a result. (An important package, naturally.) I thought Randy
would hit the ceiling when he found out, but he was OK and so was Bill.
The package went out this afternoon, and all's well that ends well. I
spent the day working on my autobio (Summer '72, John, Clarence) and
clipping stuff for my Christmas book. The kids had the day off from
school and I called them from time to time, just to make sure they
weren't burning the house down. They cleaned my bedroom for me as a
"surprise," and everyone seems to be in good spirits tonight. I just
took a little codeine for cramps (my period started today), and I'm
going to fix frozen pizza and salad for dinner. Should be a nice mellow
Oops! Amend that: frozen
pizza was voted down in favor of TV dinners, which are now cooking in
Worried about Kyle, a
little. He's very quiet this evening, and he has that glassy-eyed look
they all get when they're about to get sick. He insists that he feels
"OK," and his temperature is normal, but I don't know ... what will I
do if he's sick tomorrow? I can't take the day off. I wouldn't worry
about leaving Jamie home alone, or even Kacie if it were necessary, but
Kyle? I hate the thought of him being here alone when he's sick. Maybe
Velma could come and watch him ... ?
Kyle is forever and always
my "baby," and I suppose I will always worry about him. Even
the age now that Jamie was when we moved into this house (and I felt
she was so "big" then), he still seems impossibly little and sweet to
me. Will he always seem littler than the girls?
November 12, 1993
Brrr. Just home from work
again, sitting in my ice-cold laundry room. My hands are so cold I can
barely type. Winter is here, folks ...
November 15, 1993
Depressed. Some guy came
into the office this afternoon looking for Bill -- a guy
went to Sunset and Glacier with Bill and me -- and although
remember him at all, it was extremely obvious that he remembered ME,
that he was disappointed by what he saw. "You look really different!"
he said, and it was written all over his face. (Jesus, Terri got
fat.) That was enough to send my spirits plummeting. That, and a
long, cold drive home in the dark ...
Jamie got her cast off this
afternoon (Ray took her to Dr. Kay's) and her arm is very sore tonight.
Ray is barbecuing chicken; I'm going to make some au gratin potatoes
and then take Kacie to her gymnastics class. Then I'm going to come
home and eat a big fat dinner. What the hell.
Spent most of this day
clipping Christmas articles and working on the holiday book. I wonder
what kind of Christmas 1993 will be?
November 19, 1993
Getting ready for work at a
somewhat more leisurely pace than usual ... I can pretty much go in
anytime I want to this morning. Bill and his folks are in L.A. for the
next few days and things are slooooowwwww ...
I do want to go in,
though. Our new office supply place is dropping off
a big order sometime today, and I've got a few personal things included
in the order: some blank tapes and a small desk lamp. I would also like
to finish our family Christmas
newsletter and start some coloring book/Christmas cards for Kyle to
give the kids in his class. In another week or so our new bookkeeper
(Maureen: I haven't met her yet) will be coming in for 20 hrs. a week,
so I won't have as much "alone" time at the office to work on personal
projects like that. Part of me is looking forward to having someone new
to talk to ... part of me is worried. What if we don't get along?
Last night was
Parent/Teacher Conferences at Bow Lake. All three kids are doing pretty
well -- Kyle in particular seems to be flourishing, and his sweet
teacher, Miss Erford, is crazy about him -- and I managed
to get through
all three conferences and back home before 8:00. I'm not all that
thrilled with Kacie's teacher, Miss L. She's a friend of Velma's,
and from everything I'd heard about her I expected her to be wonderful.
But last night she just struck me as too much of a perfectionist
everything from her expensive tailored suit and perfect fingernails to
her teaching style, which seems rigid and uncompromising. She actually
criticized the way Kacie makes her "a's" and "o's." Give me a break.
Kacie was crushed when she saw her report card (mostly C's) and read
the lengthy comments Mrs. L. wrote about her. It took the rest of
the evening for me to raise her spirits again and convince her that I'm
proud of her no matter WHAT her snooty teacher says.
Home. This has basically
been a crappy week and I'm glad it's over. Not in my usual buoyant
Friday night mood: Ray has to work tomorrow, so we have to be "good"
I tried to drive to the
store a few minutes ago to get a
small bottle of Lancer's, but that asshole across the street has me
blocked in again. I'm sitting here furiously smoking a cigarette and
a flat Diet Pepsi instead. Grrrr. Earlier this week I ran my
car into the gate and totally banged up the passenger side, by the way,
because of Marc's stupid truck being in the way. So he's not exactly my
favorite person in the world. He's re-paving his driveway and it's been
a pain in the butt all week. GGRRRR again.
November 21, 1993
Somewhat better mood than I
was in on Friday night. We're watching for the first snowfall of
season, which is predicted for this evening. I'm not exactly sure how
snow would affect my commute to and from work tomorrow, but it might be
interesting to find out.
In the meantime, I bought
the kids all a new pair of gloves yesterday at Mervyn's (also two prs.
of leggings for both girls, and a nice warm "Bugle Boy" sweatshirt for
Kyle, which he wears constantly). I've got a big pot of Swiss
Steak simmering on the stove for tonight's supper, and it's making the
whole house smell great. Perfect winter food.
Excerpts from a letter to
my pen pal Deanne V., 11/93
"... Jamie doesn't
really 'play' anymore, at least not in the way I think you mean.
She's almost twelve years old now, nearly as tall as I am, and
extremely mature and self-possessed for her age. Most of her free time
is spent with her best friends (Christina or Nicole) or reading alone
in her room. Ray sees this as Jamie rejecting the family, but I have
explained to him that this is normal, healthy pre-teen behavior &
to leave her alone. She is wonderful about helping out around the house
and I couldn't have gotten through the first two months of working
without her, so I give her some slack where other areas of her life are
concerned. She makes all her own choices about clothing, hair styles,
how she keeps her room, what she reads, etc. and I respect her choices.
Her judgment is generally pretty sound, her grades are good and she's
an all-around great kid."
"Kacie is completely
obsessed with gymnastics, food, TV, our cats and reading, more or less
in that order. She takes Advanced Gymnastics class two nights a week
... they're training her in tumbling, balance beam, vault and parallel
bars. Last week she won a first place ribbon in the balance beam event
at her first-ever meet. Kacie has spent most of her life listening to
people yammer on & on about Jamie's accomplishments: it's about
time she had something completely her own, the way gymnastics is.
She's doing a lot better
in school this year, especially in reading. Now that she's discovered
R.L. Stine and Ann M. Martin, she can read upwards of ten books a week,
purely for pleasure.
And Kacie is my nice
kid. She's the kid who will scoop the little spider out of the bathtub,
carry it outside on a scrap of toilet paper and gently deposit it under
a bush before she turns the shower on. She has a good heart and a
positive outlook, and it's nice spending time with her."
"Kyle is my
seven-year-old terror. He is contrary, self-absorbed, destructive and
uncooperative. His jokes are crude, his room is a mess, he is always in
desperate need of a bath and he is horrible to his sisters. He is ALSO
imaginative, articulate, cute as hell and sweetly affectionate toward
his parents, his teacher and his kitty. Go figure. In other words: he
is ALL BOY. Right now he is building a fort in the backyard - the
weirdest conglomeration of boards, cardboard boxes, old picnic benches
and assorted junk you've ever seen in your life. Every day after school
he's out there puttering around, nailing things and moving things and
god only knows what else, until I drag him in for dinner. He also loves
playing basketball, riding his bike, reading books about animals,
watching Nickelodeon with Kacie, and making things out of paper and
glue. Last month he lost all his front teeth more or less
simultaneously ... Jamie calls him Jack (as in Jack-o-Lantern) when she
wants to get him all riled up. It sends him into a total frenzy."
December 1, 1993
I guess I have some catching
up to do.
The "big snowfall" was more
like a small white-wash ... maybe a half inch of snow on the ground,
altogether ... but it was a nice distraction. School was cancelled that
morning (Monday, Nov. 22) mainly because of the icy roads and the
wind-chill factor, and I was a couple of hours late getting into the
office. Frankly, I wasn't planning to go to work at ALL: I wanted to
stay home and watch junk TV with the kids and enjoy myself. I even got
as far as making myself a hot breakfast and turning on Regis &
Kathie Lee, but then James called from the office and said that Bill's
house had been broken into, over the weekend. Bill and his wife were
back from California any minute, and they didn't know about it yet. I
figured I'd better get my ass into the office pronto ... Bill
wasn't going to need any additional headaches. Driving wasn't that bad.
took it very slow and easy and avoided the worst hills (especially
around the airport). I left the office early that afternoon (and the
next couple of days as well) before the roads could get too icy. The
snow melted within a day or so and now we're back to rain and gloomy
Thanksgiving was great, but
it was almost too much of a good thing ... more accurately, it was too
much of several good things
... I am still recovering. Ray
barbecued the turkey, and Kacie & I cooked everything else. (She
made the fruit salad and the green bean bake.) We had these big plans
to eat around the table as a family, but as usual we wound up with
paper plates in front of the TV. Oh well ...
Ray has been home for almost
a full week now and I'm about ready to jump off a bridge (or to push
off of one). He had Thanksgiving and the day after that off, then the
weekend, then Monday and Tuesday as vacation days. This morning he
was supposed to go back to work, but at the last minute he had me call
in "sick" for him. I could tell by the tone of his boss' voice that he
didn't buy my story ("Ray's sick")
for one minute. I HATE
calling in for Ray. It got my whole day off to a totally shitty start,
and I'm having a hard time working myself into anything resembling a
good mood as a result ...
I've been feeling rundown
and vaguely unwell for days now. There's a tickle in my throat and an
unpleasant burning sensation behind my eyes that have been bugging me
since Monday. Also, I've got a major toothache. That top molar
has all but completely disintegrated, and it throbs in a dull
distracting sort of way all the time now. I haven't slept much for the
past week and my eating habits have been abominable ... mostly just a
piece of mince pie here, an instant soup there, and lots of coffee.
All day long at the office I
dream about going home, curling up on the sofa with a pile of magazines
and drifting off peacefully before 8 p.m. ... but then I get home and I
wind up staying awake until 10 or 11 again. Tonight is
dance-class-and-gymnastics night, so once again I'll be driving around
and doing stuff
until late. Shit.
The fact that it's December
1st does nothing to lift my spirits. I've been seeing these MAJOR
Christmas light displays when I drive home from work since before
Thanksgiving, and they've started playing Christmas music on the radio
already, for Pete's sake. I'm in a total state of anxiety about
shopping and about decorating the house: how in the world will I ever
manage to do either???? I bought my Christmas cards last week and I
think I've managed to finish two. The only thing I've really finished
is the Christmas idea book, which I lugged in here to the office and
worked on during my lunch hour two weeks ago. But the two things that
have me most panicked,
like I said, are decorating and shopping. Having a car and a paycheck
this year SHOULD be making things easier, but to my surprise I find I'm
just as anxious and worried as ever. Go figure.
The bookkeeper still hasn't
started work yet, but we've got two new technicians, Jason and Mark. I
secretly call Mark "Droopy," because he reminds me of that little
cartoon dog. I can't stand him: everything
about him rubs me the wrong
way, from his rubber face to his tuneless whistling. Last Wednesday I
stopped and bought doughnuts at Winchell's (for Bill, Brad, Randy and
James) and this asshole walked around all morning, stuffing one after
the other into his revolting face. Was I pissed.
Now it's 2 p.m. and I'm
continuing to shlog through my day. A UPS delivery that I was really
looking forward to -- my software from California -- arrived today, but
I couldn't have it because I'd written a personal check instead of
getting a cashier's check. I probably won't be able to pay for it at
all, now, because I had to give Velma nearly all my cash to pay for
housecleaning and Avon. Depressed about that. Ray came by awhile ago to
drop off my lunch for the second day in a row: my current favorite, an
e. Coli Burger (otherwise known as a Jumbo Jack).
It is pouring-down
rain outside and I've been alone all day. It's one of those days when
something "weird" is going on with Bill. He left this morning without
telling me where he was going or how long he'd be gone, he's checked in
by phone exactly twice all day, and when he does call he's moody and
distracted. I am so bored right now I could scream.
Crappy Stuff About This
December 1, 1993
- Waking up from a great
dream and having to get up for work at 5:45 a.m.
- Major toothache.
- Ray making me call in sick for him.
- The first blouse I put on was too tight.
- Having to move Ray's car so I could leave for work.
- Sore throat, burning eyes and headache.
- The stupid #%&*ing road construction crew
blocking 176th again.
- The asshole who roared around me (and a school
bus) on 8th Avenue.
- "Droopy" sitting in his car when I got to work.
- "Droopy" heading into the bathroom just as I was
going in to fix my hair.
- Not the greatest makeup day I've ever had.
- Bill asking why I forgot to send the boxes back
- Droopy's stupid, pointless, ceaseless, tuneless
- Droopy's hacking barking annoying cough.
- Droopy in general.
- Making a slathering fool out of myself on the phone
with Brad at 10 a.m.
- No UPS delivery today (waiting for my software from
- Zits all over my chin.
- My software showing up after all, but discovering I
can only pay with cash or a cashier's check (I had a personal check
A moment of almost classic
synchronicity: the rain has stopped, temporarily, and the sun has
opened up over the downtown Seattle skyline, visible from my seat here
in the office. I looked up a moment ago and was startled to see an
incredible rainbow, stretched out over Seattle. Just then, the
radio began to play "Comfortably Numb." It was like a custom-made music
video, designed just for me, to make this long long afternoon slightly
more bearable ... and more beautiful.
Thanks, who ever was in
the past five minutes: I needed that.
order from the office supply store was all wrong: the pens were all
red, instead of the blue and black pens I'd ordered, and the computer
software was some cheapo stupid Zsa Zsa Gabor travel program.
won free tickets to a Sonics game from a radio station. Ray answered
the phone when they called to tell her she'd won. He was drunk and
confused and he didn't understand what
the guy from the radio station was telling him. Annoyed, I grabbed the
phone away from and talked to the d.j. I promised him that I would
drive Kacie down to the radio station to pick up the tickets, and then
I would take her to the game. On my way to the station, I witnessed a
traffic accident. The people wanted me to stay and fill out a police
report, but I explained that I didn't have a driver's license and they
allowed me to go.
December 2, 1993
Feeling so much better
today. Why?? How?? I'd like to know the secret,
bottle it, patent it, save it, use
it the next time one of
those dark snarly depressions hits me, like the kind I've battled all
Driving to work I suddenly
realized that I felt better than I have in days. I got enough sleep
last night, for one thing, and it's stopped raining for a little while.
I've discovered that I don't enjoy the rain nearly as much, now that
I'm out driving around in it, as I did when I just sat home and watched
it out the window.
December 3, 1993
Still feeling pretty good,
but it's only noon and I have the whole long boring afternoon
stretching out before me. This has been one of the more grueling weeks
I can remember enduring, workwise, and I'm glad it's almost over.
Finished a big chunk of my
Christmas cards today. Ron Colson dropped off a bunch of stamps before
he left for Spokane (tomorrow is the BNC Telephone Christmas party;
left this morning too) so I was able to get them written and into the
mail. Still need to write a letter for Bev's card and finish the letter
I've started to Kathy B. ... plus I need to find an address for
Karen Grace ... but other than that I've made some real progress in at
least one dinky little area of my life. Hurray.
Jamie is going to the movies
tonight with her new best friend Christina D., some other girls (maybe)
from their class, and a couple of boys from their class
(maybe). I'm trying not to make a big issue out of it but secretly I am
wrestling with some very interesting emotions. My baby is growing up.
Hoping I have the energy and
motivation to drag the Christmas stuff down from the attic this weekend
and get some decorating done around the house. I don't expect it to
look the way it has in years past ... I just don't have the TIME for
that kind of thing this year ... but I'd settle for a few snowmen
there, a Santa there, and my Christmas cards taped around the walls.
December 7, 1993
Tuesday afternoon, blustery rain
I've been avoiding writing
anything in my journal, I think, because I haven't been very happy with
myself lately. I feel like I'm letting everybody down ... especially
myself. I'm irresponsible with money, my weekends are a blur, the house
needs serious attention, I keep disappointing friends and family
members. To top it all off I feel no Christmas spirit. I'm
dreading shopping, I'm dreading the money hassles, I'm dreading all the
running around and the bloated expectations and the whole thing.
And even BEFORE the holidays
comes Jamie's birthday, which I am dreading with equal fervor. I'm
afraid that no running around and/or effort on my part is going to make
her happy. She's not being particularly demanding: it's my own
overblown expectations, as usual.
My teeth are causing me
almost constant agony now. Last night I woke up at 2 a.m. with the most
miserable toothache I've ever felt in my life. All I could do was sit
up on the sofa with my mouth hanging open and wait for the codeine to
help. Today I feel ragged and crabby from lack of sleep as a result.
My period is due any minute
and I have no supplies laid in. I have two dollars in my purse and just
found out that I don't get my fucking paycheck until Thursday
... Jamie's birthday ... which leaves me no time for shopping, of
course. Wondering how in the world I'm going to get through the next
few days/weeks/the rest of this month with my sanity (and my savings
And of course Ray is utterly
useless. Last night he went off on a wild bizarre rampage because he couldn't find his box of cookies. Yes indeed. The
girls and I
had just come home from Kacie's gymnastics meet: we were cold, tired
and famished (we stopped and got ourselves KFC: Ray offered to make
BLT's for him and Kyle) and there was Ray, drunk and goofy and
tearing the house apart because he'd misplaced his white-fudge Oreos.
Please please please please please GOD deliver me from this kind of
December 10, 1993
Just home. Kacie stayed home
sick today, and at the last minute Ray decided to call in sick (again)
and stay home with her ... from the looks of things neither one of them
did much of anything today. I walked in with grocery bags full of chips
and dip and Coke and other goodies, all pumped and happy and ready for
a fun night, and Ray is parked glumly in front of the woodstove looking
like someone ran over his dog. Oh well. I've poured myself a glass of
wine, put on the new Nilsson CD I got in the mail from the library, and
I'm determined not to let his pouty bad spirits dampen mine.
Tuesday 11:30 a.m.
December 14, 1993
Jamie's birthday turned out
great, after all. I took a couple of hours off Thursday afternoon (the
9th) to cash my paycheck and buy her birthday presents, a wonderful
dual cassette CD player and two new CD's (Mariah Carey and SWV, plus a
Salt & Peppah cassette single) and I wrapped them later in the
afternoon at the office. To save some time I'd ordered her birthday
cake from the bakery at Albertson's, and Ray stopped to pick that up
for me. I made one final stop on my way home ... I bought her a bouquet
of white baby carnations, a little teddy bear and a half gallon of her
favorite ice cream, peppermint stick. Velma had been in to clean that
day and she decorated the dining room for me, with streamers and
balloons. ("It looks OK," Jamie said diplomatically, "But not as nice
as if you decorated it, Mom.") We got $30 worth of Taco Time
for dinner, watched Jamie open her presents -- she loves
player! -- and enjoyed some cake & ice cream.
The next night, two of her
friends from school, Christina and Yvonne, both spent the night. On
Saturday morning I drove Jamie and her friends to Southcenter and let
them spend the whole day at the mall. (I gave Jamie $50 and she
finished her Christmas shopping.)
Ray still hasn't put up our
Christmas lights, but at least we have our tree: the kids decorated it
Sunday morning, after I put on the lights and garland. It was the
first time I've ever just sat back and let them decorate the tree
without interference, and I must say it wasn't as traumatic as I feared
it would be. They did a nice job and we're all pleased with the
results, even though there are a couple of spots on our tree this year
that look like someone took a "bite" outta the tree.
The bad news this past
weekend is that my car is frucking up on me. When I drove back down to
Southcenter on Saturday afternoon to pick up Jamie and her friends, it
suddenly decided to die every time I stopped at a stop sign or a light.
Right in the middle of Christmas-shopping-at-the-mall-TRAFFIC, mind
you. God: it was scary. Ray's been working on the engine for a couple
of days now and it's somewhat drivable, but he's got the idle cranked
up so high the car practically drives itself: I'm not used to it and
it makes for a nervous drive. I'm very sad, angry, disappointed and
worried, all at once. The car's been running so well for the past seven
months; why does this have to happen? And why now, at Christmas
time? What will I do if Ray's just made it worse? Why can't I ever have
a car last longer than a few months ... ???
Jamie is home sick today, by
the way. Kacie took Thursday, Friday and Monday off from school (and
she still sounds horrible: she's got one of her hacking coughs that go
on & on forever) but today she went back to class and now it's
Jamie's turn. I still have every single bit of my Christmas shopping
left to do, and I'm terrified that I'm going to get sick ten minutes
before I leave to go shopping. I was hoping Bill would be nice and let
me have my birthday off, tomorrow -- then I would have gone
out and done my shopping in one mad dash and been done with it --
it doesn't look like I'll get my wish. When I mentioned to him this
morning that tomorrow was my b.day, he just rolled his eyes and
as though it was just too
absurd. Apparently secretaries, like mothers,
simply don't HAVE birthdays.
December 15, 1993
I've been avoiding writing
anything today because I was afraid it might upset me too much ... God,
I hate birthdays ... but the fact is I've been weepy and depressed all
day so I don't see what a little more would hurt.
I woke up with the
beginnings of Kacie's awful cold and I feel horrible. I have to work on
my birthday. Bill completely forgot that it was my birthday
until Brad reminded him. I'm worried about my car, I'm worried about
Christmas shopping, I'm mad at Ray (he's been rude and goofy on the
phone TWICE today, of all days), I don't want to be 36 years
old, I hate the holidays, I hate birthdays, right now I hate the whole
There. Now I've got these
big fat tears welling up in my eyes. Are you satisfied??
Mom came by last night and
brought me a family history book and a box of underwear for my
birthday. The kids are probably putting together some kind of
celebration for me when I get home ... at least I hope they are. Thank
god for my children. They are the ONLY thing that's holding me together
this month ... they expect and deserve a decent Christmas, and for
their sake I am going to keep all my complaints and worries and
headaches to myself as much as possible.
Happy birthday to me.
I'm here at BNC.
I wish I were home now
But my boss is a jerk
And he won't let me shirk.
So I'll see you all later
When I get home from work.
(Song I left on the
answering machine for the kids this morning.)
Oh hey ... the perfect
addendum to a perfectly fucked birthday: guess who just walked into the
Good old DROOPY. Now I get to spend a nice half hour with my
favorite person in the world. (NOT.)
No, I mean it. I fucking HATE
I'm home now, and for about
five minutes or so I was actually starting to feel a little bit
cheered-up ... the kids all gave me hugs and kisses, there are presents
on the table, Jamie decorated the dining room ... but then Jamie
reminded me about something I'd completely forgotten, the fact that
Gillie hasn't been seen since yesterday, and now my spirits have
plummeted to new lows. Shit.
Where is our girl kitty??
And how am I supposed to have any kind of happy birthday with her
I noticed this morning that
she wasn't waiting outside the bathroom door when I got out of the
shower: that was my first clue that something was amiss. Now it's late
and dark and she hasn't been here all day. God, please, not again. This
kitty is so precious to this whole family: please bring her home. I
promise I'll quit bitching about birthdays and bosses if you'll just
bring her home.
December 21, 1993
I'm leaving the office in
about half an hour: Bill saw me sitting here with my Gatorade and my
of Kleenex and took pity on me. I plan to go home and pick up the kids
(lots of screaming in the background when I called awhile ago ... Jamie
is running Christmas Vacation with an iron fist) and take them to
Southcenter for some next-to-last-minute shopping and lunch. Although
what I would really
like to do is sleep. And sleep some more.
When that alarm goes off at 5:40 a.m. and I'm forced to drag myself
into a cold dark hard morning, I swear to myself that I'm going to come
home early that night, eat a little supper, read for awhile and then GO
TO SLEEP BY 9:00. And of course I never make it.
It definitely looks
more like Christmas around our house, at least. Ray finally got the
last week, and Jamie and I did some good shopping on Sunday so there
are presents under the tree. I never did get around to decorating the
dining room but by this point I figure, forget it. I feel not a
shred, not a whit, not a centimeter of holiday spirit this year. This
is a little disappointing, of course ... this has been an exceptional
year, and I was hoping to cap it off with a better-than-ever kind of
family Christmas ... but I realize that it probably has more to do with
me working and being tired a lot than anything else. My most
immediate goal is to finish my shopping (Jamie, Mom, Peg, the little
cousins, stockings and one extra gift apiece for Kacie and Kyle), get
us through the family visits with a minimum amount of fuss, and totally
collapse on Sunday.
Did I ever write anything
about my birthday? I don't think so. I was really "blue" that day,
unable to focus on much of anything at work, a little weepy and sorry
for myself. I think it had finally hit me that I'm thirty-six years
old. Not only that, Bill completely forgot it was my birthday in
spit of the fact that I'd told him about it only the day before: Brad
had to discreetly remind him. Then all I got was "Happy Birthday" and a
big goofy Bill B. smile. Wow. No time off, no birthday bonus, no
flowers. (Not that I was really expecting anything like that
... but gee whiz.) Ron Colson ceremoniously brought
me a blueberry
muffin with a birthday candle stuck in it, but other than that no one
else at the office acknowledged the occasion in any way at all. By the
time I drove
home that night I had worked myself into a splendid funk. (I think I
tapped out a sour mean-spirited journal entry on my home p.c... .? We
were really worried because Gillie had run off?)
Anyway, the kids had
Jamie's boombox set up on the kitchen table, and they played The
Beatles' "Birthday" as I walked in the door; they had decorated the
dining room (same decorations we used last week for Jamie!) and there
were cards and wrapped gifts on the table and a bottle of champagne
chilling in the freezer. That made me feel better, obviously, although
Gillie being gone made all of us a little sad and anxious in spite of
the festivities. I opened my gifts: a Christmas doggy from Kacie (for
no reason whatsoever I have named him Dale Copeland); one of my
all-time Christmas videos, "The Snowman," and a stuffed snowman to go
with it from Jamie; and a new Nikon from Ray and the kids together. Good
presents this year! All right!
The champagne was great, the
video had me in tears, and ... best of ALL ... Gillie showed up,
halfway through the evening!! The kids heard her scratching at the
front door, and then it was pandemonium all over the place. That
definitely saved my birthday.
December 22, 1993
Yesterday with the kids was
kinda fun. I hate shopping malls -- Southcenter especially,
Southcenter at Christmas especially especially --
survived the trip anyway. I finished shopping for my mom, anyway: one
more name to cross off the list. I got her a new "angel" for her
collection, which I love and hope she does too (my
mother's only comment
when she opened my gift was "You can stop buying me angels now - I have
enough") and a little glass
bowl filled with potpourri. I still have so much shopping to do it
makes my head hurt a little, contemplating it ... I'm not sure but I
think Ray and I are going out to do it tonight. We have to get Jamie's
bike and Kyle's Sega, among many many many many many other things ...
God, I can't believe that
I've completely neglected to mention this, but Ron's great-aunt Dora
died this past
weekend. In all the Christmas hubbub and hoopla I forgot to write about
it yesterday. Forgive me. His sister called us early Sunday morning
the news. I guess Dora had only been in the new nursing home a couple
of days when she died. She'd been ill for a very long time so this
wasn't a total surprise, but it's a sad time of year for something like
this to happen, especially for Ray's grandma. Now she's down in Tucson
all by herself (Patty & the kids flew up to Seattle on Sunday) and
no amount of coaxing on our part can convince her to fly up and join
us. Ray is worried about her and so is everyone else. Anyway, Dora was
a sweet gentle lady with a lot of dignity and we'll all miss her. I
just sat here at this very typewriter and wrote her a letter two weeks
ago: I'm glad now that I got my Christmas cards out as early as I did.
Jamie came to the office
with me on Thursday, December 23, 1993. It was a half-day, and the only
other BNC employee who stopped in (briefly) was Ron Colson, so we more
or less had the office to ourselves for a few hours. She made copies of
her jewelry on the Canon copier, tried Print Shop Deluxe on my computer
(she "didn't like it" and went back to her old familiar Print Shop as
soon as we got home),
and faxed a request to her favorite radio station. Afterwards, I
treated her to lunch at The Dragon Pearl in Burien, and we did some
more last-minute Christmas shopping. It was a fun day with my sweet
Christmas Eve at my mom's house
The Tots (left); me with my niece, Karen (Kyle in the background)
December 27, 1993
It's over ... the strangest,
headiest, most materially abundant (yet least emotionally satisfying)
Christmas I can ever
remember. Part of me doesn't even want to
write anything about it. I just want to sit here in my warm deserted
office on this Monday morning after the holidays, nibbling on
chocolates and reading Thomas Tryon and forgetting that the past ten
days ever took place ... I don't know why. I suppose it's because I
wasn't the person I wanted to be this past month, and this wasn't the
Christmas I wanted to give my family. The kids and Ray seem satisfied
with the way things turned out, and I should be happy with that, I
know. So why do I feel so disappointed in myself?
Christmas Morning in
I was right: I'm finding it
impossible to write about this stuff right now. Maybe after some of the
guilt and disappointment have subsided, I'll be able to put some things
into words. For the moment all I'll say is that the kids had a great
time, in spite of their Grinch of a mom, and for that I am
thankful. Jamie got her mountain bike, Kacie got her jewelry-making
stuff, Kyle got his Sega Genesis. I just wish that their mother could
have been a little less self-absorbed, a little more excited about
things ... or, at least, could have hidden her lack of enthusiasm more
December 28, 1993
Question: How do you
forward an OPX 7-digit number on a Redwood?
Answer: Pound nine,
then dial nine, then dial the
number ... obviously ... !!
(Silly little back-and-forth
on the digital pager between Bill & Brad.)
Feeling a hair better today:
no more, no less. I'm sleeping OK, I've quit drinking champagne for a
few days (last week it was the mainstay of my diet) and I'm trying to
be diligent and austere and concentrate on catching up on things like
sleep and laundry and reading. People are still asking me, "How
was your Christmas?" My stock reply is "I'm glad it's over." I
care who knows what a Scrooge I am ...
I had a funny little dream
about Kacie last night, which I would like to recount. I dreamed
that Kacie and I agreed to undergo this new type of medical procedure,
where I would be pregnant with her again and she would be re-born.
The idea of getting to do her babyhood and childhood all over again was
very appealing! Anyway, the operation went OK and I gave birth to her
again, except that instead of being a newborn, as I'd expected, she was
about two years old. That was OK, though ... "I've got a little girl
again!" I kept saying to everyone. Kacie was unhappy to realize that
she was now many years younger than her friends and classmates ("I'm
younger than DANIELLE!" she was crying) and she wanted to have the
process reversed, but it was too late by then.
December 29, 1993
I had the worst toothache of
my life last night ... it kept me awake for hours. I've
finished off all the ccc's I bought from Dad (and I'm too embarrassed
to ask him for more) so I had to resort to Nuprin to kill the pain. It
took forever for them to kick in, but then I would get another hour or
two of sleep before the next blast of pain woke me up. I know I've got
to see a dentist soon, but the logistics and expense seem confounding.
My work "uniform" this week:
my favorite Koret City Blues jeans, long soft sweaters (today the
pink one my sister gave me for Christmas) and my most comfortable
beat-up shoes. My hair is much too long, but at least it's clean and
the set turned out OK and it looks fine. Seriously contemplating
another diet. I think it might be fun to lose weight and see how the
men I work with react to it. Might be very very good for the ol' ego
... whaddya think?
Monday afternoon, dark and
January 3, 1994
Happy New Year, Journal.
I just finished reading an
incredible book ("The Mommy Club" by Sarah Bird, with a surprisingly
poignant ending: I'm still trying to swallow the lump in my throat),
and now I need to snap myself out of my sentimental fog and get back to
reality. First day back at work after the New Year's weekend, and first
day back to school for the kids after two weeks of Winter Vacation.
Talk about glum faces this morning.
We still haven't
taken down the Christmas tree (or the Christmas cards, or the outdoor
lights) ... this weird inertia I felt all through the holiday season
continues. I just don't seem to give a shit, at least as far as the
house goes. I miss Velma coming in and doing my floors twice a week,
and I wish there were SOME way to keep the laundry from piling up, but
otherwise I seem to have slipped into neutral where housework is
concerned. Very un-Terri-like.
Our New Year's Eve was no
big deal. For the first year in a long time John and Lori didn't come
over, so Ray and the kids and I wound up staying home by ourselves.
Kacie made these wonderful little confetti "poppers" -- she
and hours cutting out the confetti and stuffing it into empty toilet
paper tolls, then covering them with more paper and tape --
midnight we stood on our front porch in the freezing rain and opened
them up. And that was pretty much it. My New Year's resolutions are
"unformed" at this point. Maybe I'll have a preliminary list together
by, say, March or April.
Oh hey. They fired Droopy
this morning! I was shocked. I also feel terrible about all the nasty
things I've written (and said) about him in the past couple months or
so. (When I called home a while ago and told Kacie what had happened,
she burst into TEARS! She has always hated it when I called him
"Droopy." She doesn't like me saying mean or prejudicial things about
anyone, not even jokingly.) I never was able to actually warm up to the
guy, but he has a wife and three kids, and the holidays just ended,
and this is a crappy way to start the new year.
January 5, 1994
Horrors. Went into the
bathroom here at work awhile ago and discovered (to my dismay) that my
fucking period has started. And me up the creek without a
paddle ... if you know what I mean. Lunchtime is a million hours away
but you'd better believe my first stop on the way to cash my paycheck
will be any place that sells pads and Midol ...
Last night was another
ghastly toothache night, too, so I'm quite the exhausted puddle of
worthlessness this morning. Ron (Colson) has promised to bring me some
Percodan tomorrow, and I pray to God that he remembers ... I don't know
if I can do another night of huddling on the couch in tears, waiting
for the next tidal wave of agony to hit ...
The kids and Ray took the
tree down last night, before I got home: Ray was just hauling it
outside as I drove in. I was relieved and happy to see the Christmas
mess finally being taken care of, and I was in a decent mood ... until
I'd been around Ray for two minutes. He was in one of his pompous, God-I-do-everything-around-here
moods last night, simply because he'd handled the tree mess and made
some Manwich for dinner ... he was at his charm-free worst, and by the
end of the evening I was ready to slug him. (Of course now I realize
that I was premenstrual all over the place. Could be that he was
perfectly normal and it was me who was outta whack.)
Payday, and finally a good
surprise when I opened my paycheck ... I got paid for the holidays. I
was expecting this to be a mini-paycheck, maybe around $400, but
instead it's my usual $700. Yay. One thing is going right today. Now if
I could only get to a store and get my little "problem" taken care
of, things would be hunky dory.
Whew. Everything's taken
care of and I feel immensely better. While I was at Payless I bought
some stuff for my toothache ... this special waxy "gum" that you put
into the cavity or onto the jagged edge of a broken tooth, and some
Liquid Orajel that's supposed to be better than what I've been using.
Cross your fingers and hope it helps.
Mark (aka Droopy) just came
in and picked up his final paycheck. I wished him "good luck" ... Kacie
would be so proud of me ...
January 6, 1994
Back to feeling like crud
again. Ray's mad at me for getting "carried away" last night (meaning I got
drunk and ridiculous), Ray
Colson only brought me ONE measly little painkiller for my
teeth, I screwed up a phone message this morning and Bill is annoyed
with me ... shit. Shit shit shit shit. I wish I could go home and crawl
into bed with a pile of magazines and a big sandwich and tune out the
On second thought --
don't. Home is exactly where I don't
wish to be right now.
Saying that my house is a "mess" is such an understatement it's almost
laughable: my house would probably qualify for federal disaster relief.
(The bed I would like to "crawl into" is unmade, and I haven't washed
the bedding since November ... there are huge damp piles of dirty
laundry in every room ... the living room hasn't seen a decent
vacuuming and/or dusting in weeks ... and every available surface is
covered with library books, dirty glasses, crumpled candy wrappers,
two-day-old newspapers, broken toys, paper plates, crayons, mismatched
socks, half-eaten sandwiches, cat hair ...)
So going home is out. Guess
I'm gonna have to stick it out right here at good ol' BNC Telephone.
Continuing this at home.
Some of the crap is leveling off, finally. The big mistake I made
work (I accidentally forgot to give Bill a message off the Answering
Service, from Otto at Telephone Services in Portland: wouldn't you know
it, the one message that I forget to deliver, and it was the
one Bill had been waiting for) was smoothed over. Ray went out and
bought groceries after work, so there's food in the house again. I
zapped some pot pies for the girls and a hot dog for Kyle, and now I
have some BBQ chicken breasts baking in the oven for Ray and I. I'm on
my second load of laundry, most of the Christmas boxes have been lugged
up to the attic (finally), and I'm beginning to think there may be hope
for this house, after all ...
... Ray is in a slightly
better mood than he's been in all week, and that helps. I took the
"measly pain pill" that Ron Colson gave me, and now I'm sitting here
sipping one glass of white wine and relaxing. Tomorrow is Friday, and
that automatically makes the world look a little better. If I can just
finish the laundry and get through the rest of the evening in one
piece, tomorrow will be a piece of cake.
For a little while today I
actually thought I might be in danger of losing my job. I realize now
that I was worrying for no reason, but ever since they let Mark go,
been more aware of how easily it could happen.
January 10, 1994
Ugggghhhh ... Monday
morning. My favorite.
I am wiped out this
morning. Gillie is in her first heat, and she spent the entire night
skulking about from window to window, yowling at the boy cats outside.
(Now I know why they call it "caterwauling.") I layed on the sofa and
miserably watched the numbers on the clock radio change from 1 a.m. to
2 a.m. to 3 a.m. ... I finally fell asleep sometime around 4
which means I got an entire hour and a half of sleep before it was time
to get up for work. (I vented my displeasure by giving Gillie one good
swift kick in the laundry room this morning. Not enough to hurt
her, of course: just enough to let her know what I thought of
her all-night serenade.) Then I dove headfirst into a pot of nasty
black coffee, which at least got me coiffed, made-up (sort of), dressed
and out the door.
(During my ninety minutes'
worth of quality sleep, incidentally, I had another Ridgway Packaging
dream. When, when, WHEN is this ridiculous dream going to go
away and leave me alone? The "plot" is always the same; I'm AWOL from
work, I come back to the office and find Patti Owen answering the
phones, I beg Howard Evans not to fire me ... but he always does.)
Ray, damn his hide, chose
this particular morning to stay home "sick" ... he even managed to talk
me into calling in for him. When I left at 7:15 for the office, he and
Kyle were snuggled deeply into the big bed together. I haven't heard a
word from Ray all morning so I imagine he's probably still sound
asleep, not a care in the world. I hate him.
Now it's only noon and I've
already eaten my lunch (leftover chicken fried steak from last night)
and I've already read both the magazines I bought on the way to the
office; I've practiced typing on Mavis, I've listened to the Morning
Medley and the Lunchtime Theme Park (today's theme: ghosts), I've paged
several critically important messages ("Bill
call Brad on his cell
phone. 555-5439." "Brad call Bill on his cell phone. 555-6809").
had a pot of coffee, a cup of tea and a Pepsi, I've smudged a little
extra eyeliner under my eyes, and I've called my phone horoscope. Only
five more long, excruciatingly dull hours to kill before I can go home,
stick some earplugs in my ears (either that or gag Gillie) and
sleep, sleep, SLEEP.
An anecdote about each of my
children, from the weekend just passed:
KYLE ... spent
most of the weekend curled up next to me on the sofa, watching TV.
Although he would never admit it, he is still (deep down inside) Mama's
boy. I thoroughly enjoyed his warmth, his littleness, his closeness,
his attention. I combed his silky golden hair with a black comb; I
tickled him in the ribs; he pulled off my "pinchy"
watch and rubbed my arm. Oooh, I used to
LOVE it when he did that. We wrapped ourselves up in my
big quilt and
shared the sofa pillows. Our favorite thing on TV: a movie on HBO,
"Toys" (starring Robin Williams), which we both agreed was wonderful.
Every once in awhile he would jump off the sofa and ricochet around the
living room, shooting his Nerf gun or karate-kicking the furniture ...
as though his little boy battery needed a quick recharge ... but then
he would be back under the quilt, nestled into the space beneath my arm
(and next to my heart) ...
earnestly on her toothpick bridge all weekend -- her entry
upcoming science contest -- despite being banished (first)
coffee table and then from the kitchen table. (Eventually she set up
her project in the bedroom. Jamie came home from her overnight and
immediately went into shock. "Mom, she's got toothpicks EVERYWHERE!")
This reminds me of the Science Fair a couple of years ago, when Kacie
made the model of the solar system: she's giving this latest project
the same kind of completely focused attention.
JAMIE ... and
Nicole are friends again, apparently. I took them to the mall on
Saturday, and then Jamie spent the night at the Schwartzmann's that
night. I gave Jamie $50 to buy a dress for her upcoming DARE
graduation. ("Nothing strapless!" I said as I dropped her off at
Southcenter. I was only partially kidding ... Jamie has better
taste in clothing than I do, and I trust her judgment implicitly, but,
well ... you never know at that age.) What she came home with was yet
another white blouse ("I like
white blouses, Mom!" she said
defensively) and a green silk skirt. I'll admit it: I was a hair
disappointed. I had this vision of my Puss in a dress,
something sweet and frilly and flowery. And I think she was
disappointed by my disappointment. But then we got home and she
actually tried the outfit on for me, and I had to admit that it looked
right on her and it was practical (she can wear the white blouse with
anything) and she'd done a good job picking it out. Live and learn.
January 24, 1994
unproductive weekend has come and gone, and here I am back in the
office on a cold Monday morning, drinking bitter black coffee and
wondering how in the world I'm going to pass the next seven and a half
hours ... or, for that matter, the next five days. My life is
a constant round of trying to get through the week, anticipating the
weekend, wasting the weekend, coming back to the office on Monday and
my "unproductive" weekend, trying to get through the week again
nauseum ... it's really kinda sad ...)
I was goofing around in
Windows a little while ago on the office computer. Brad and Jeff
installed it on my computer last week, and I'm ashamed to tell you what
a big baby I was
about the whole thing. ("You can install the mouse but I probably won't
use it," I said to Jeff.) You must understand that I had the
idea that you can't have Windows and DOS on the same computer, and I
thought I was going to be losing my Print Shop Deluxe and all my stuff
WordPerfect, and I was mad. Anyway, I'm exploring Windows a little
today and I discovered this word processing
program that I didn't even know existed. I also found a
program that looks like fun, and a Card File that might be nice for
customer accounts. I'm MUCH more enthused about it now,
especially since Windows doesn't interfere with the things I've already
on the computer. I plan to spend this week nosing around and
experimenting and figuring things out. I taught myself WordPerfect,
after all ... how hard can Windows be? (She said naively ...)
Anyway. It's actually
something of a relief to get out of the house and away from my family
for a few hours. We were together practically every minute this
weekend, and all that togetherness wears thin after a couple of days. I
drove the girls to Southcenter on Saturday and let them wander around
for a few hours. Jamie bought herself a pair of jeans, Kacie went to
Fabricland (I think) and bought sewing materials. Kyle spent his whole
weekend in front of the Sega, of course. Ray barbecued ribs on the
Webber, drank a lot of beer and watched sports (bowling and football)
And me? My big
accomplishments this weekend included doing seven loads of laundry and
taping some CD's from the library. Wowee wow wow.
January 26, 1994
Uh-oh. I seem to be in a
serious slump. Nothing is going the way it should be, and I
helpless, hopeless and tired. A case of the January blahs? A touch of
PMS, maybe? At least that would mean the condition is temporary. I
don't know. A little voice inside my head is saying that things are
fucked up because I've fucked them up, and that they're going
to stay that way because I can't manage my own life. I can try and
blame the season or my hormones or Clinton's proposed health care
plan, for that matter, but the truth is that the only person to
blame here is me ...
You know what I keep
thinking about this morning? My bed. Not because I long to go home and
crawl into it -- although the idea is tempting -- but
because of the way it looked when I left for work this morning.
The sheets (fifteen years
old now) were pulled all the way off, exposing the bare lumpy dirty
mattress (which doesn't even fit the bed frame) ... the
pillow cases were
grimy and had bloodstains on them again (Ray's nose bleeds at night)
... the blankets were all
knotted up and hanging off the sides of the bed ... and
right in the middle of
this mess was KYLE, sound asleep. That unmade bed is a
metaphor for my whole life right now: messy, uncared-for, dirty ... the
top doesn't fit the bottom ... the sheets and blankets are old and worn
out ... and the wrong people are sleeping in it.
Yes, a lot of my depression
-- as usual -- is because of the way the house looks.
But it goes deeper
than sticky floors and unmade beds. I'm depressed because things are
falling apart, because I'm not paying attention, because I've lost all
interest in "fixing" things. Am I making any sense at all? I doubt it.
I don't just mean the house, I mean everything ... my
relationships with my kids, my friendships, my appearance, my wardrobe,
my health, my job, everything. The house is just a reflection of what's
going on internally, I'm afraid.
Would cleaning my house help
"fix" things? Or would that just be putting a Band-Aid on the problem?
Part of me still believes that an orderly house is the cure for what
ails you. It would at least be a step in the right direction, though,
Some people dream about
basking in the sun on a Hawaiian beach, or shooshing down the slopes of
a ski resort. Here's my
dream: one entire day at home alone. No
Ray. No kids. Just me and a decent vacuum cleaner, a case of Hefty
garbage bags and a pot of black coffee. I'd get that hell-hole looking
like something out of Good Housekeeping in no time. (Either that or I'd
clean a room and a half, then stop for a glass of cold wine and a phone
chat with Lori ... the next thing I knew I'd be waking up
a raging hangover and the house looking even worse than it did before.)
The washing machine has
finally died on us, by the way. Two nights ago Jamie tried to wash the
bathroom rugs and the washer refused to drain. So now I can't even do
laundry, the one domestic chore I was staying more or less on
top of. Figures.
I don't know, Journal.
Talking about cleaning the house and actually doing it are two
different things. It all sounds so good on paper. ("First I'll clean my
bedroom, then Kyle's room, then the hall closet.") But the
that I come home from work, listen to the kids argue and gripe for a
while, read the paper, fix dinner, lay down on the couch to watch TV,
and fall asleep by 9:30. Precisely where do floor-waxing and furniture
polishing fit into the schedule ... ?
As for the kids. I am
turning into a Crummy Mom as well as a Crummy Housekeeper, and there
doesn't seem to be a danged thing I can do about it. Last night I
literally hadn't even taken my coat off before Jamie and Kyle were at
each other. I think they were fighting because Kyle was playing Sega
instead of doing his chores, and right before I walked in they were
slugging it out. Kyle was crying, Jamie was hysterical, and when I
tiredly refused to take sides, Jamie screeched "Well, of course
you don't care!!" and stomped off to her room. A while
later I went into her room and told her that I wanted an apology, but
she refused to even roll over and face me, I whacked her on the butt.
So much for enlightened parenting. I told her and Kyle that I do not
ever again, under any circumstances, want to walk into the
house after a long day at work and hear that kind of crap going on.
What I didn't tell them is that it's hard enough making myself come
home from work at all, with the place such a disheartening
mess: they don't need to make it any tougher than it already is.
Thursday afternoon, 4:30
January 27, 1994
More new stuff to play with
on the computer ... this morning Jeff installed Word 6.0, and I am
completely blown away. I've been working on it all afternoon. I
discovered a CLIP ART feature, built right into the program!!
seriously addicted to clip art at the time. And just now I
thought "Fonts! I haven't checked the FONT
selection yet!" Guess what ... there are TONS of them. This one is
called "Monotype Corsiva." I think I am becoming a
computer junkie. I
just can't seem to get enough of this stuff ... !!
Still feeling kinda punky
today. I bought all kinds of cold medicines last night after I dropped
Jamie off at her dance lesson, but nothing is helping much. Guess I
just have to ride it out. The laundry is out of control, so tonight
got to haul it all over to the laundromat. Ray is looking through the
classifieds, looking for a decent (cheap) used washing machine.
Can't wait to see what this
looks like printed! Bye!
Jamie at her DARE graduation
(with best friend Nicole, left, and with Grandma Beeson, right)
February 2, 1994
Thursday morning, 8:25 a.m.
February 3, 1994
Snuck into the office
fifteen minutes late this morning ... I left a message with the
Answering Service, saying I had to "stop and get gas" ... but as it
turns out no one is here and no one checked for messages. So it's
cool. Now I wish I could just sit back and have a nice peaceful day,
working on my autobiography and answering the phone, but unfortunately,
this is going to be one of those awful days when I'm worried all day
about something stupid. I can't tell you the whole story, but the
bottom line is that Ray is going to KILL me when he gets home
from work tonight ... and I have nine hours to fret about
it. Great. Lately
he's been such a grumpy asshole that I guess I should know
better than to do anything to push his buttons.
Yesterday was Jamie's
DARE graduation at Bow Lake. I left the office at noon and cashed
my paycheck, then dashed into Payless and bought Jamie a "graduation
present" ... a little Gitano watch. Then I made another mad dash to the
ceremony. Jamie was one of the winners of the D.A.R.E. writing contest,
so she read her essay to the audience, the highlight of the
for me (and for my mom, who also showed up). Jamie was so poised and
looked so grownup, there on the stage ... how does this happen? How do
they go from diapers to DARE in the blink of an eye this way ... ?
We still have no washing
machine, and it's really starting to bother me. The girls and I went to
the laundromat again, night before last, and did three loads. (We
accidentally left one load behind: Ray went back and got it yesterday.)
Even so, there is still a mountain of dirty clothes and towels three
feet high on the laundry room floor, and it's growing bigger by the
minute. To top things off, our iron decided to stop working
this week, so I basically have nothing to wear to work. When it rains,
Ray was really on a roll
last night: he lost his car keys and we spent almost two hours tearing
the house apart, looking for them. Jamie and I even drove over to Tom's
and to Trailer Town, to see if he might have left them at either store,
but no such luck. Finally I found them stuck in the crack of the
driver's seat in MY car. (He used it to drive Jamie to dance class.)
Nothing much else to tell.
Guess I'll find something work-related to do, and hopefully it'll keep
me preoccupied for a while.
February 7, 1994
God. Just the other day I
was contemplating spring ... thinking it was just around the corner ...
and now all of a sudden we're in the middle of an "arctic storm." No
snow, really, but it's FREEZING COLD, and there's a really evil wind
starting to pick up. I borrowed Ray's car this morning (he's home,
again, and so is Kyle) because I was afraid the roads would be icy and
his brakes are better than mine. The roads were fine, but like an
idiot I left my own set of keys on the kitchen table ... including the
keys to theoffice! ... and I had to drive all the way home to
get them. That got my Monday morning off to a peachy start, as you can
Actually, I'm in a far
better mood than I have any right to be in, considering the fact that
it's Monday and it's not even a payday week. I got a lot done this
weekend, and I feel good about that. On Saturday morning Kacie, Kyle
and I went shopping in Federal Way: I bought socks for the two of them,
socks and underwear for Ray, and a new pair of $40 shoes for Kyle. On
Sunday the girls and I hauled seven loads of clothes over to the
laundromat (Jamie commented that we're becoming "regulars"), and I
spent all day yesterday drying clothes and ironing. I even found the
time to make two meatloaves ... one for tonight's supper, one for the
freezer. We rented some movies on Saturday -- I watched
Seattle" and "Born Yesterday," neither of which was as good as I'd
hoped. And I input three chapters of the autobio into the home p.c.
a bad weekend!
Kyle didn't really want to
stay home today ... not at first, anyhow. He was hoping to get a
Perfect Attendance Award for second grade, but he's got a terrible cold
and he woke up exhausted this morning. I finally managed to talk
him into snuggling back under the covers and staying home. "You have
ten more years to try for Perfect Attendance!" I told him, and that
seemed to cheer him up. Ray is staying home for about the zillionth
Monday in a row. Frankly, I'm starting to get worried about all the
time off he's been taking lately. I mean, how many times a month can a
person come down with "the flu" before the boss starts getting
suspicious ...?? Oh well. At least he's home with Kyle today, and I'm
grateful for that.
I'm going to spend this
chilly day here in the office, bundled up in two pink sweaters (a
turtleneck and a pullover), sipping hot drinks, listening to KMTT and
working on the autobio (which is coming along quite nicely,
incidentally. I'm anxious to finish it). Not a bad way to spend a day,
would you say? AND I'm getting paid for it. Amazing.
February 14, 1994
Valentine's Day, Monday
Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck
fuck. (How's that for a lovely Valentine's Day sentiment??)
time I start feeling smug and self-assured about my value here at the
I do something royally stupid ...
I took my lunch out of the
office today, with Bill's permission. I wanted to withdraw some money
from the bank, for stamps and Valentine candy for the kids. While I
was driving back to the office I suddenly realized, like a punch to the
stomach, that I'd forgotten to switch the phones over to the Answering
Service when I left. In other words, I'd broken the Cardinal Rule of
BNC Telephone, Inc... . "Thou shalt
not leave the phones unattended!!"
I drove back to the office at about a zillion miles an hour. Just as I
walked in the door, the phone rang. Guess who?"
"Terri," was all Bill said,
I said I knew, I screwed up,
I'm sorry. There was
this horrible dead pause on the other end of the phone. For a second, I
expected him to say "You're fired" ... or, at least, "One more screw-up
and you're out of here." Instead all he said, in that careful, somber
tone, was "Don't let it happen again." That was all, but it was enough.
I'm furious with myself, I'm resentful of Bill's position of
authority over me (he'd been a year
behind me in high school, after all) and I'm nervous now about
the tenuousness of my
position here. How could I have done something so hare-brained?? I never forget to switch the phones
over. I've left the copier on a
couple of times, and once I accidentally forgot to put the padlock on
the warehouse door, but I always remember to switch the phones over.
Except for today.
Oh well. No use crying over
Ray showed up and surprised
the heck outta me this morning. I was alone in the office, looking
through the glass window to Bill's office, when I saw the reflection of
somebody behind me, peering through the front door. At first I thought
it was Brad, but then I turned around and saw it was my goofy husband.
Things are still slow at Sea Pac so he has the rest of the day off. He
came in and visited for a few minutes, snooping aimlessly around the
fax machine and the warehouse, before I finally got him to leave. (He
says he's going to go look at washing machines, but then again that's
what he said last week. I'm sort of losing hope.)
So anyway, today is
Valentine's Day. Payday is still a couple of days away, so the kids
and I have agreed to exchange mostly hand-made cards and gifts. After I
get paid I'll take them out and buy them each something special. I made
all three of the kids a Valentine on the office computer this morning
-- funny little cards that say "You're My Favorite Kid!" on
the front, and
then some special "Mom Coupons" stapled to the inside (for things like
a free ride to the mall, a new magazine, etc.). Every year I make the
kids' Valentines by hand, but this is the first year I've used a
computer to make them. I thought it was appropriate, considering the
impact computers have had on our lives this last year.
I was sick all weekend. I've
had this cold for ages, it seems, but over the weekend it turned into
full-blown flu. Basically I layed on the couch all weekend and let
fuss over me. (Every hour or so I would say, "Time to fuss!" and she
would rush over and feel my forehead and cover me with blankets.) I'm
about 90% better today, although I credit Contac Severe Cold & Flu
Formula for my recovery ... the best cold medicine I've ever used. It's
literally all that's keeping me moving today.
Oh well. Time to get back to
work on the autobio. I'm up to the Summer of '78, although there are
still some gaping holes in my childhood I'll eventually need to go back
and fill. Tonight we're going to celebrate Valentine's Day -- just a
little, it's a work tonight -- and have BLT's for supper. Woopty doo!
February 15, 1994
My day did not improve much
yesterday. After the answering service debacle (which Bill is still
irritated about: he's been unnervingly formal with me all day today),
things just kept unraveling on me. I left the office at 5:00 determined
to have a happy Valentines Day with the tikes in spite of everything. I
got almost all the way home -- I stopped at Trailer Town
to buy two wine
coolers -- when I realized I'd left my purse at the
office!! With all my
money in it, of course. I had to turn around and drive all the way back
to the office, unlock the doors, get my purse out of my desk drawer,
re-lock everything, and drive all the way home again. I also used up
most of my gas making two trips, so I had to stop and fill up. By the
time I got home at 6:15 I was extremely cranky. Fortunately, the kids
liked the cards & coupons I made for them (and the candy I picked
up at Payless), everybody was happy with BLT's for a quick dinner, and
I was able to salvage some of the evening.
Unfortunately, then I got a
miserable night's sleep. It was close to 2 a.m. before I finally fell
asleep, and I had horrible dreams about my teeth falling out. (One of
my two delightful new recurring dreams: the other one is about
backed-up toilets.) The next thing I knew it was 5:40 a.m. and Ray was
poking me in the side because my alarm was blaring, out in the living
room. (I had my earplugs in so I couldn't hear it, plus last night was
one of those rare nights when I actually slept with my husband --
being Valentine's Day and all.)
Now it's starting all over
again today ... the weird unexplained slip-ups at work, I mean. Somehow
I got the time of Bill's A.E.I. meeting wrong on my calendar (it was
scheduled for 1;00, not 2:00), and Randy has completely missed a 1:30
meeting at Unico. Both companies are saying they told me the "correct"
meeting times, but all I know is that I have "2:00" on the calendar for
A.E.I. and nothing at all for Unico. Now I'm just sitting here waiting
for the ax to fall. What is happening to me all of a sudden??
Little things keep slipping past me. What ever happened to the
"attention to detail" I bragged about in my résumé? Is
this a case of
mid-life Alzheimer's? Or maybe S.A.D.D. (the light-deprivation thing
people get in the winter)??
Or am I just plain going
nuts ... ??
My sister called last night,
incidentally, to inform me that she and Dr. Tim are now officially
He gave her a diamond engagement ring for Valentines Day and they're
planning a November wedding. I talked to Mom shortly after I talked to
Deb, and of course Mom is beside herself with joy. Planning the wedding
will likely be the major activity for this year. I'm sick with
envy, of course ... once again my little sister gets her heart's desire
... but I'm even more concerned with losing some weight between now and
November so I don't look like a blimp at the wedding. (Trust Terri P.
to focus on the truly relevant issues involved here!)
Oh well. Better get back to
work. God knows what critical phone message I'm neglecting to page
while I'm lollygagging here on the computer ...
February 16, 1994
OK, now I'm getting scared.
I got to the office about fifteen minutes ago and discovered that the
front door was unlocked. The
security gate was closed and
locked, so no one could have gotten in, but if Bill had shown up here
before me this morning and found the door unlocked, that would have
been "it" for me. Journal, I am POSITIVE that I locked that door last
night. I consciously went around the office and the warehouse last
night before I left, checking and re-checking everything to
make sure things were shut off and secure. What is happening to
February 17, 1994
I still have no explanation
for the unlocked door. I'm just so thankful that I got here before
anyone else did ... I shudder to think what would have happened
Rainy, rainy, rainy. There's
a puddle in front of the office door as big as Lake Washington. It's
kind of pleasant, sitting here in a cozy warm office listening to music
and watching the rain, except that it starts to make me sleepy after a
while. I've been working on a shnuffly cold for almost three weeks now
and the cold medicine makes me sleepy, too. Between the rain and the
Contac, I'm about ready to lay my head down on my desk and snooze the
rest of the afternoon away ...
The girls are jump-roping
today with the Highline Hoppers, at three or four different schools
around the district. Jamie is a part of the regular exhibition team
that goes around to the other schools, but Kacie just got picked as an
alternate yesterday. ("You'll never guess who they picked," Jamie said
glumly on the phone yesterday. Apparently having her little sister
around is not completely cool.)
Ray's driving me crazy
again. He had promised to go out and buy dinner last night, but he
pooped around & pooped around until nearly 7:00. Meanwhile the kids
were starving. Finally I said "Jamie and I will go and get some
which of course he wouldn't eat. (Lately he's decided that McDonald's
upsets his stomach.) So I wound up going to Wendy's to get his
hamburgers, and then to McDonald's to get dinner for everybody else.
Did he appreciate the extra effort? "I wanted some onion rings," he
when we got home. Then I went to some trouble to hand-wash and dry his
new T-shirt last night, just so he could wear it to work today. When he
was walking out the door this morning, dressed in something else, I
looked at him questioningly. "That T-shirt is just covered with
lint," he said. Jesus H. Christ. Is there no pleasing this asshole??
I don't know. I'm feeling
very unappreciated today. Bill called the office a couple of hours ago.
Apparently he didn't hear me answer the phone because I could hear him
carrying on a conversation with the secretaries at Siemens. "God,
you're so quick!" he was saying to one of them. "If I ever need a
secretary, you're hired!" Needless to say that made me feel really
wonderful. When I talked to him later I jokingly said something about
him "trying to give my job to someone else."
"Oh God, NO, that was just
a joke," he quickly backtracked, but I'm still a little miffed.
February 22, 1994
This rainy, gloppy day has
seemed more like a Monday than a Tuesday, particularly coming off a
three-day holiday weekend (yesterday was President's Day). Amazingly, I
wasn't all that perturbed about coming back to work this morning. The
first days of my "mini-vacation" were fine, but by yesterday afternoon
I was fighting the impulse to strangle Ray and the kids. I got a lot
done, including cleaning my room AND Kyle's room, washing seven loads
of laundry at the laundromat, cooking a big chicken dinner Sunday and
an even bigger steak dinner last night, and taking the kids for their
weekly run to Southcenter Mall. I entertained visitors --
with Danielle and Cody Bear, and my Mom & Deb came by to show off
The Engagement Ring. I even managed to get plenty of extra sleep!
can look back on my weekend without (much) regret, and turn my
attention to getting through the next few penniless days till payday
(eight long days away) ...
Very worried about my car.
The brakes are grinding like crazy, and I don't know how to get them
fixed. How would I get to and from work if my car is in the shop? And
how much would it cost me to fix them? Two very good questions, I'm
Jamie went on a field trip
to Olympia today. She didn't get up close and personal with our ugly
governor -- darn! -- but she said she liked the Capitol building and
the greenhouse. Kyle's supposed to be going on a field trip to
Northwest Trek sometime this spring, and if there's any way to finagle
Bill into giving me that day off, I'd love to be a chaperone.
Lovely lovely February. How
I love this wonderful happy month. It's my favorite month in the whole
year. NOT. I don't know why it is, but February always
seems to last three times longer than any other month and it's a
hundred times more depressing.
March 23, 1994
God. I can't believe it's
been over a month since I've written anything.
Sorry about that.
I'm having a bad morning,
I'm afraid. It didn't start out that way: I got a good night's sleep
and woke up a little less congested than usual, the drive to work was
pleasant, I was looking forward to a quiet and routine day at the
office ... but the minute I walked through the door BOOM!
Everything started falling apart on me. I've only been here for a
couple of hours and already I've caught myself on the verge of tears
three times: Kelli in Spokane was rude and condescending on the phone,
James was irritated with me because I forgot to look up an address for
him, Bill's dad walked in with a bunch of bids that needed to be typed
now, the fire department called and said we're being fined because we
didn't get the fire extinguisher taken care of, Bill only gave me $19
petty cash ...
Oh well. Might as well catch
you up on the doings in Polenville ...
Monday was Kacie's eleventh
birthday. Since she's had a party every year for the past three or four
years running, this year we deliberately kept it low-key. On
Sunday I drove her, Jamie and Tracy down to Southcenter and let them
cruise the mall for a few hours. Kacie had forty bucks and she spent
most of it on food (crackers & cheese, candy, lunch, drinks),
books, sewing/craft supplies and two "Beavis & Butthead" posters.
During my lunch hour on Monday I ran over to Burien and bought her
birthday gifts ... a nice dual-cassette boom box, a "Beavis &
Butthead" tape, two T-shirts and two pairs of shorts. (Believe it or
not, it actually snowed that
day: I couldn't get over the
incongruity of driving in the snow to buy my daughter shorts &
T-shirts!) I also went to KFC and bought the Rotisserie Gold chicken
she'd specifically requested for her b.day dinner. She had a gymnastics
class that night, but since the Academy Awards were on, Ray drove her
to class for me. When she got home around 9:10, we let her open her
gifts and we all had cake and ice cream.
Kacie celebrates her
March 21, 1994
We have kittens in
Polenville now ... sigh. On March 14th Gillie had three kittens, two
white and one tiger gray (a miniature version of Gillie). At first they
were in Kyle's closet -- the least-used room in the house -- but the
kids came home from school one day and found Gillie & babies on
Kacie's bunk! Somehow Gillie had managed to drag them all
It's a miracle she didn't drop them and kill them. Anyway, after that
we decided to go ahead and let them "nest" in the girls' closet, since
that's where Gillie seemed to want to be. The kittens just opened their
eyes yesterday, and even hard-hearted Ray admits that they're cute. I'm
just a little worried about the kids getting too attached to them: it
will be hard when they go to new homes eventually.
with the kitten we will soon be calling "Gabby"
I'm now in the eleventh week
of my cold/hay fever/sinus infection/whatever the hell it is ... I wake
up every single night with my sinuses completely stopped up, and then I
wake up that way again when the alarm goes off. In the evening I feel
drippy and exhausted and my eyes sting. I'm trying to wean myself from
my nasal spray (it's been such a constant companion that I've actually
my little bottle of Sinex "Alan") but it's tough: sometimes it's the
only thing between me and oxygen starvation. At 2 a.m. when I wake up
and it feels like something is sitting on my FACE, nothing but a squirt
or two (or seven) of Sinex does the trick.
Crap. I just got off the
phone with Ron Colson. He knew I'd been having a rotten morning and he
asked what was wrong. I hesitantly mentioned Kelli's name and he said,
"Oh, man ... she's a bitch." Then he started telling me about
problems he'd had with her when he worked in the Spokane office with
her, and it
was starting to make me feel better, you know? Like I wasn't the only
person in the company who has been on the receiving end of her snotty
attitude. But then he had to go and spoil the whole thing. "Yah," he
said, "she's gorgeous and she knows it." For some reason that was not
something I wanted to hear. Why couldn't he have said that she weighs
300 lbs. and wears sweatpants to work?? Somehow, that would have been
more comforting, especially since I know that "gorgeous" is an
adjective that will never be used to describe me, ever again
I haven't even started
the big diet I was going to go on (for my sister's wedding). If
anything, my eating habits are worse than ever. Three or four mornings
a week I stop at Red Apple on my way to work and buy a Swanson's
breakfast sandwich: sausage, egg and cheese on a biscuit. It's less
than two dollars and it tastes great, especially when I'm ravenously
this: hungover). But of course it's loaded with fat,
cholesterol, salt, blah
blah blah. Lunch is whatever I bring into the office, usually leftovers
from dinner the night before ... today I have a leftover fajita pocket
and some Rice-a-Roni that Jamie made. In the afternoon, sitting here at
my desk, I snack on Mountain bars, pastry, M&M's. And of course
I'm drinking coffee and pop all day long, on top of everything else.
When I get home from work I'm famished and I snack until dinner, which
is fast food or "convenience" food (frozen pizza, TV dinners, pot pies)
more often than not.
Crap again. Bill's wife just
called and gave me one of those nicey-nice speeches of hers. (I am
than you are, dammit, and every bit as intelligent: quit talking to me
like I'm some dim little tootsie.) Do I know where the P.O. book is?
(No: I've never even seen a P.O. book around here.) Can I start issuing
when the guys buy equipment? (Apparently it's too much of an imposition
for precious Kelli.) Why hasn't Carleen been receiving the guys' time
sheets? (Because no one ever said a word about timesheets to me.)
be coming to Seattle next week for a training session with Maureen and
I. (Oh goody. Can we have cookies and Hi-C afterwards?) I should
happy that I'm finally getting some new job responsibilities ... I'm
way way WAY overdue for a payraise, and having more to
do will pave the way for me asking. But in my present frame of mind,
everything feels like just so much irritating bullshit.
April 7, 1994
I've decided to start using
the home p.c. for journal-writing again ... will try to at least peck
out a few lines every other day or so.
I'm home today. I woke up at
4 a.m. this morning with the most excruciating toothache of my life,
and I wound up calling the Answering Service, asking them to tell Bill
wouldn't be in. It's the second time this week that I've called in sick
and I'm sort of worried about that, but I didn't really have a
choice. Ray is taking me to the dentist in an hour. I haven't been to a
dentist since I was fifteen years old and I'm scared shitless. More
Well ... I survived the
ordeal. Dr. Singh looked at my broken molar and my x-ray and said I had
two choices: extraction or root canal. Some choices. I decided it was
probably better to try and save the tooth so I opted for the root
canal. He did the preliminary work this afternoon (and yes, it hurt),
and then I go back on the 16th to finish it up.
Now comes the really hard
part ... calling the office. Between the penicillin and the vicodin
I'll probably be able to work tomorrow, although it would be reeeally
nice if Bill says I don't have to.
Bill used that
tone of voice I've come to know so well ... the same voice he uses when
he's talking to annoying vendors and people of little importance on the
phone. "Hope you're feeling better!" he chirped. "Let me know if you
can't make it in tomorrow." Frankly, at this point I don't know if I'll
go in or not: it depends on whether or not I get any sleep tonight. My
molar is already starting to ache again in spite of the two and a half
pain pills I've taken since I got home. Ray was talking to our next
door neighbor Betty a while ago, and when he told her I'd had a root
canal she said, "It's probably going to REALLY start to hurt in a few
April 8, 1994
I ended up staying home
again today; I didn't sleep much last night, and when I finally woke up
(at 1 p.m.!) the whole left side of my face ached, right down to the
bone. I got up briefly around 7:30, long enough to call the A.S. and
say that I'll be in on Monday for sure, but I haven't spoken to anyone
at work all day. Hope I still have a job when I go back on
Monday (she says, only partially in jest) ...
Starting to worry about
money again, for the first time in over a year. Our savings account has
dwindled down to practically nothing: major case of guilt over THAT.
Long, broke, boring weekend
ahead. I took a couple of my pain pills a while ago, and they've given
me a nice mellow buzz: now I'm sitting in my bedroom, cleaning out my
drawers and watching afternoon TV. Frozen pizza and HBO tonight,
probably. Not exactly our usual Friday night routine, but I'll probably
thank myself tomorrow morning.
April 16, 1994
A week later. Ray and Kyle
are out in Bellevue, mowing the folks' lawn and visiting with Sheryl
and her kids ... Jamie, Kacie and I just got home from an exhausting
trip to the laundromat. Eight laundry loads and fifteen bucks later
(including the food and snacks we picked up at Safeway), I am home.
I've kicked off my shoes, put some potatoes in the oven to roast,
thrown one load of laundry into the dryer and poured myself a glass of
white wine. Whew.
It's one of those hot, hazy
days where the air feels as thick as pudding. "Perfect hay fever
weather," I commented to the girls as we were driving home. I'm just as
stuffed up and itchy as I was three months ago ... when is this blasted
allergy season going to end?? I don't remember it ever being as bad as
it's been this year. Every single morning I wake up so congested it
takes at least an hour before I can breathe.
April 17, 1994
Just cleaned out the fridge
... an unspeakably disgusting job. When I pulled out the vegetable
drawers I found enough mold on the bottom of the fridge to open my open
penicillin factory. I rarely feel like cleaning on the weekends, so
when the urge hits I run with it.
I finished the autobio on
Friday, by the way, and I am so pleased. I've been working on it, on
and off, for almost five months. It's been worth all the work: the
finished product is beautiful. As I commented in my "Forewords"
(misspelled for artistic effect)
it's not an especially flattering account of my life. I come off
sounding stupid, self-involved and irresponsible in a lot of places.
But I thought that if I'm going to write the thing, I might as
well be honest. I even saved two copies of it on floppies, so if
something happens to the print versions I'll have a back-up of the
text. Now I'm going to start on the kids' Memory Book. It won't be
nearly as much work as the life story ... mostly just typing and
printing. I had it 3/4 finished last fall when the office got broken
into, so all I've got to do is re-type and put some photos in it.
If anything bothers me about
the autobio and the Memory Book, it's knowing that in six months or a
year my techniques and the equipment I used will seem obsolete to me.
(Photocopying in black and white, for instance.) Will I want to do the
whole thing over again?
Monday just home from work
April 18, 1994
I've had a
bordering-on-lousy day. Nothing specific ... another rotten cold/hay
fever brewing, PMS, cold sores on the side of my mouth, toothache,
headache. Carleen called and announced that I have to go out in the
warehouse this week and sort phones for repair. There's something like
five million of them out there, thrown into haphazard piles. Just how
exactly am I supposed to sort them -- by color??
Ray and the kids are biting
at each other. Dinner looks like a hundred years away, and when it does
get here it won't be worth the wait. Maureen came into the office this
afternoon and drove me crazy: yackety yak yak yak. She reminds me of my
cousin Chellaigne, for some reason.
April 21, 1994
This week is dragging by
unbelievably slowly ... and what makes it even more painful is that I'm
not particularly looking forward to the weekend. We'll be broke and
stuck at home: by Sunday night we'll be ready to kill each other.
Yesterday was Ray's 39th
birthday. To describe the festivities as "low-key" would be
exaggerating: I baked him a cake, we gave him a card, I picked up some
cheap Taco Time. The End. Ray has been mildly depressed all week, and I
think it has as much to do with turning 39 as anything else.
April 26, 1994
Cold, rainy and alone. Jamie
and the kids are at her softball game (why haven't they called it off??
It's POURING!) and Ray has gone to do some laundry for me. I'm
home from my first dentist appointment with Dr. Stephens, still feeling
numb and shaky. He tried to do something with that top molar on the
left side, but he had to give up finally ... he said he sees a tooth
that sensitive about once a month. He wound up putting some kind of
medicine in it to kill the roots, and I'll go back in two weeks so he
can try the root canal again. All he gave me were six measly pain
pills: I just took three of them, hoping it'll deaden the pain enough
to get me through the night. If it still hurts tomorrow I'm going to
call and beg for a bigger prescription. No way I can miss work
tomorrow, anyway ... it's payday, after ten of the brokest days of my
life, and I need that money. Even if most of it is spent already,
... Besides, tomorrow is
"National Secretaries Day." Before I left for the dentist this
afternoon I sent Bill a page:
"Closing the office. Don't forget:
tomorrow is Nat'l Secretaries Day! See you. Terri." Should be
interesting to see if he acknowledges the day in any way. What would
REALLY be nice would be a raise, of course, but I'd settle for flowers
... candy ... a vacation ...
Gotta go work on the tacos.
April 28, 1994
Harrowing day, finally
winding to a close. Money is all I can think about. I was so happy when
I got up this morning and counted what was left from yesterday's
paycheck ... somehow I had $150 more than I thought I did. I thought it
was a gift from the gods -- until the bank called me this
Because of a stupid error on my part when I was filling out my deposit
slip yesterday, I ended up not putting the $200 into the checking
account I thought I was depositing. The long & short of it is I
have about a hundred dollars to last me for two weeks ... including
Kyle's birthday next Wednesday and the school carnival next weekend.
That, and some money in petty cash at the office. If I stretch I might
make it, but I'm still worried. Tonight I am overtaken by this frenzied
need to economize. I've been making lists on the computer of ways to
cut expenses, everything from hand-washing our clothes to checking out
videos from the library (instead of renting them from the video store).
The kids are poking fun at me: they think I'm going overboard. But the
fact is that I've been stupid and careless this past year, and now
in a bad way because of it. I'm just furious with myself. I've wasted
my inheritance from Grandma and now we've lost our safety net. I
MUST FIND SOME WAY TO FIX THIS.
Saturday 11:30 a.m.
May 7, 1994
Feels like summer
today ... sunny and hot, and it isn't even noon yet. Kacie and Kyle
were next door at Betty's a while ago, splashing around in the wading
pool with Betty's granddaughters: that's how warm it is already. (Betty
having a garage sale today: the kids have been sneaking over there,
buying me Mother's Day presents for tomorrow.) Ray is working, Jamie is
at Nicole's. I woke up at 8 a.m. when the phone rang -- my
saying it was OK for Ray to borrow the lawnmower -- and
just decided Heck with it, I'll stay
up. I can always sleep in tomorrow. I was a
"good girl" last night (read that: no wine) and my reward is feeling
So far I've made breakfast
for Kyle, Kacie and me, cleaned up the kitchen, finished half the
living room and folded the last load of laundry. I still want to clean
up my bedroom, which is a pigpen, and then I'll spend the afternoon as
I please ... probably working on the kids' Memory Book out here in my
Kyle's birthday was on
Wednesday ... eight years old. Since we've managed to screw up our
finances so thoroughly this month, it was a real scramble affording
gifts for him. Ray got him a new game for his Sega, something about Ren
& Stimpy; I went on my lunch hour and got him some clothes, a
squirt gun and some markers. (Standard Kyle gifts!) We let him open his
presents while Kacie was at gymnastics, and then when she got home we
had cake and ice cream. He seemed satisfied with everything.
Of course I'm just relieved that the birthdays are over with.
Seven whole months until the next one rolls around. Yay.
Things are beginning to heat
up around here, and I don't just mean the weather. This last week was a
flurry of activity, and the next couple of weeks promise to be even
more so. Jamie's dance recitals are next Monday and Wednesday, Kacie
has a gymnastics mini-meet on Wednesday, Jamie is still in the middle
of softball season, and the week after next she goes to Waskowitz with
May 9, 1994
I am home from my lovely
Now I realize that the last
three dentist appointments weren't actual, full, total root canals.
They were just warm-ups for today. This was the real thing, folks ...
needles and drills and lots & lots of scraping, and --
the most fun
of all -- the "hot glue gun" to solder the works. God. The
side of my mouth is throbbing. Naturally I was given a
mini-prescription for six pain pills, three of which I have already
taken. (This dentist is so fucking stingy with prescriptions: I hate
it.) Now I have two weeks to contemplate my next appointment.
I typed four or five more
paragraphs to this journal entry but forgot to save them ... just got
home from dropping the girls off, retrieved this document and
realized I'd screwed up. Now I have to try and remember what I wrote
Tonight is Jamie's dance
recital, for one thing: she has another one on Wednesday, which is the
one I'll be attending. She was very nervous when I dropped her off at
McMicken ... so much so, in fact, that she forgot a prop for one of her
dances and I had to make a second trip to take it to her. Kacie is at
gymnastics class; Kyle is outside knocking the basketball around; Ray
has just come home from putting gas in his car.
Yesterday was Mother's Day.
I slept until 11:00, and when I got up the kids had my breakfast
sitting on the coffee table ... leftover Breakfast Scramble from the
day before, a piece of toast and coffee. They showered me with gifts
and cards, of course: thanks to Betty's garage sale I am now the proud
owner of a papier mache box (blue w/pink flowers) filled with sachet, a
miniature doll and a cookbook!
Later in the day, Dad and
stopped by briefly to drop off a belated b.day gift for Kyle, a bank
filled with change. Jamie had softball practice (Kacie went with her to
watch) and Ray went out to Bellevue to mow the folks' lawn, so except
for Kyle (who was busy playing Sega anyway) I was pretty much alone all
afternoon. I printed some things off the computer, taped some library
music, and made a big chicken fried steak dinner for everybody. All in
all, a nice low-key Mother's Day, just the way I like it.
100 THINGS THAT ARE
WORRYING ME/BOTHERING ME/UPSETTING ME/
MAKING ME GUILTY/MAD/FRUSTRATED
1. My desk is littered with
cassette tapes, garbage and cigarette ashes, and my computer keyboard
something black smeared all over it.
2. My mouth hurts from
yesterday's endontist appointment (especially from the shots of
Novocain) and Ray just said "Well, I can't do anything about
3. The kitchen floor is
sticky and gross.
4. Jamie is at Waskowitz for
the entire week: the house will be a disaster by then.
5. My gas tank is empty.
6. I probably have to go to
the laundromat tonight ... at least six fucking loads.
7. Randy embarrassed me in
front of Bill, J.C. and Bud this afternoon. ("Terri, would you start
putting Better Sound mail on my desk?") I've been putting
it on Bill's desk because Randy's is a mess and I was afraid it would
8. My period is due any
9. I haven't had a decent
haircut in a year, and my hair looks witchy, stringy and awful.
10. Brad was a testy
asshole on the phone for most of the day.
11. The only money I have is
$200 from the office petty cash.
12. I spent my inheritance.
13. The kitchen sink faucet
doesn't work properly.
14. I have no washing
15. My car is an ugly
third-rate piece of shit, but I'll never be able to afford anything
16. I'm thirty pounds
17. The Big Gulp I bought on
the way home tastes watery.
18. I have a headache.
19. Some of my library stuff
20. None of my friends are
speaking to me.
21. My life sucks.
22. Ray looks grumpy, tired
23. I want to make more
money but I don't know how.
24. I have no stamps at the
25. Every piece of clothing
I own (except for my one & only bra) is from Value Village.
26. My mother thinks I'm
having a garage sale in two weeks and she keeps bringing stuff over
here, neatly labeled with prices.
27. I can't even come up
with 100 things for this list. Fuck it.
May 18, 1994
Two mortifying experiences
as I was coming home from work just now.
First, I stopped off at
Tom's to buy a small cold bottle of wine (after ten minutes of
internal debate: should I? shouldn't I?). When I got up to the
counter and pulled out my money to pay for it, there was a tampon
stuck to the flap of my wallet. Naturally there were a couple of men
standing right behind me and they couldn't help but see: I just about
Then, when I was taking the
detour around 172nd (stupid frigging construction has everything
blocked off again), a cop stopped me in the middle of the road ... and
there's me with no driver's license, no insurance, no nothing except a
bottle of wine sitting next to me on the front seat. (Unopened,
mind you, but it's the thought that counts.) "Ma'am," he said sternly,
"I don't even need a radar gun to tell that you were going 35 down this
street." I was absolutely paralyzed with fear, but I tried to stay
cool. I apologized and said I was going straight home. "Don't worry
about going straight home, worry about slowing DOWN," he said, and he
let me go. I started to cry when I drove away from him. I felt so
stupid, like a little unloved kid. The really irritating thing about
this is that just this morning I was thinking, "I need to be really
careful about driving today." I just had this feeling I was
going to bump into a cop, but by this afternoon I'd completely
forgotten about my "hunch." Figures.
Fate is conspiring to keep
me in a perpetual bad mood this week, I think. Right before I got to
Tom's I was actually feeling pretty good ... the radio played two great
"driving songs" in a row ("Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him
Goodbye"), the wind was blowing my hair around, I was through with an
especially grueling day at the office. I hate to say this, but I don't
always look forward to coming home anymore ... the house is usually a
mess, there's dinner to cook, Ray and the girls get into a screaming
match every single night ... but for about five minutes I was in
something approaching a good mood. Now, though, forget about it. Kacie
go to the library tonight, and I've been promising her all week that I
would take her out for a milkshake. When I walked through the door a
few minutes ago she was already looking at me with big expectant eyes.
It's obvious that she has knocked herself out this afternoon, cleaning
up the house ... the scent of Clorox bleach hit me before I even got
through the door. She cleaned the sticky floors, folded laundry,
vacuumed, the works, all in an effort to please me (and her Dad). The
selfish tired grumpy part of me would like to curl up on the sofa with
a glass of wine and the newspaper and do nothing for the rest of the
evening: the selfless Mommy in me knows better.
Ray and Kacie got into an
especially nasty fight last night, right before bed. Now that
Jamie is gone all week to Camp Waskowitz -- she's Ray's
usual "target" -- he has decided to take his nightly
frustration out on Kacie. First, he
walked into the girls' bedroom and started making snotty comments
about how messy her room is. "This place is a fire hazard!" he growled,
and he started throwing things around. I literally pushed him out of
her room and shut the bedroom
door in his face. A few minutes later he was on her about the dishes.
He'd gone to fix himself a glass of milk and found one of the cups
she'd washed was still dirty. In a rage, he threw it on the floor and
started yelling at her. Kacie came apart completely. The yelling and
the hostilities escalated until I couldn't stand it anymore.
into the bedroom and glared at him in a cold fury. "You are too hard on
Kacie," I said. "If you don't knock it off, she's going
to stop loving
The problem here is that
while Jamie can usually take her Dad's
wildly erratic moods and pointless temper tantrums -- she
gives it right
back in kind -- Kacie can't. She's simply not equipped
don't think Ray understands that. I do think, however, that what I said
got to him. Apparently he came home from work today and apologized to
her, AND he complimented her on how nice the house looks. So peace
reigneth temporarily in Polenville.
I'm going through a tough
time emotionally right now, myself. The past couple of weeks I've had a
lot on my mind. I want to write about it but I can never find the time,
the motivation or the words. Mostly I'm just disgusted with myself for
the way we managed to go through my inheritance money. It was so nice
having that "safety net," the past few months, and now it's gone. I
shudder to think what would happen if even one more piece of bad luck
falls our way ... my car breaks down, the landlords ask us to move, Ray
or I lose our job. We would be sunk. I have no one to blame but myself,
so I'm turning all my anger and worry inward.
Funnily enough, the one
"island" of peace I find in my life right now is my job. At least at
the office I find privacy, quiet, order, things to do, and
(occasionally) a little respect. Yesterday I found a phone number for
Bill (Edwin at Audio Systems) that he'd been looking everywhere
for, and when he called he said "Good work." I glowed from that one
compliment for the rest of the day. If I can just keep from fucking up
this job, maybe Grandma's money wasn't all spent in vain.
May 23, 1994
This is rapidly turning into
one of the crappier days I've had lately ...
Last night was one of
"those" Sunday nights in Polenville, the first such night we've had in
ages. Ray slept until 1:00 in the afternoon, then got up and promptly
started drinking one beer after another. By the time we ate dinner at 8
p.m. (barbecued ribs and chicken, macaroni salad, baked beans) he was
drunk and ready to fight about something ... anything. In this case, he
decided to throw a tantrum because I gave Kyle the last little shitty
piece of frozen corn on the cob. "I would have like some corn,"
he hissed, and then he jumped in his car without saying anything to
anybody and went to the store to buy himself three ears of corn. When
he got back, the kids and I were done eating and we were watching
"Murder She Wrote." He started slamming things around and muttering
under his breath. "Wish I could watch TV," he snapped. It went
on like this for some time while I sat on the sofa, fighting back
tears. Kyle came over and snuggled next to me, laying his head on my
shoulder: that simple act of kindness did me in, and I started crying
uncontrollably. Before Ray went to bed he apologized to everybody for
being "grumpy," and I let it pass, but the truth is that I'm getting
pretty fucking fed up with the girls and I being the targets for
Ray's bad moods every night. I woke up this morning feeling puffy and
sad from last night's tears.
My period has been
threatening to start for over a week now, and the delay is making me
horribly tense, irritable and uncomfortable. I completely blew up at
the girls this morning before I left for work: I couldn't seem to find
anything (my watch, my good hairbrush, a decent pair of knee-hi's, my
sunglasses) and I threw a screaming fit, slamming drawers shut and
kicking things and yelling my dumb premenstrual head off. Everyone was
crying when I left the house, including me. By the time I got to work
I'd calmed down a little ... the sight of my neat, tidy, organized
little office (I did a bunch of cleaning before I left last Friday) was
like a tonic for my frazzled nerves. The perfect antidote to my messy,
smelly, tacky house. It's supposed to get up into the 80's this
afternoon, but I know as long as I keep the office door open and the
lights turned off, it'll stay wonderfully cool and pleasant in
"Maybe this won't be a
complete stinkeroo of a day, after all," I
thought to myself, as I munched on a breakfast sandwich (bought with my
last $2 in the universe) and drank a cup of coffee at my desk. I even
called the girls at home before they left for school and apologized for
being such a witch.
almost-good-mood didn't last long. Bill came in for about five minutes,
and not only did he not notice how terrific the office looked
I vacuumed under his desk and dusted his picture frames, even --
was distracted and snappish. Usually he greets me with a cheerful
"Hi-Terri-how-are-you?," but today it was, "When did these
here?" he said, referring to Friday's UPS delivery. He was so aloof, in
fact, that I'm sitting here wondering if I've done something wrong.
I'll probably be paranoid and nervous all day today as a result,
wondering if my job is on the line and I just don't know it yet.
Ron Colson noticed that I
wasn't completely myself. "Terri, are you in a
bad mood?" he asked me, and I admitted that yes, I've had better days.
I told him it was because my "teeth were hurting me," and he said he
would try to get me some Tylenol 3's today. (I refuse to count on it
but it certainly would be nice.)
Anyway. Then Bill's mom came
with copies of the BNC invoices I've been typing for Don M., and the
upshot of it is I have to do them all over again. The errors weren't
mine -- I typed them precisely the way Bill asked me to,
and I have his
original hand-written copies to prove it -- but she still
make me feel dopey and slow-witted and personally responsible for every
was trying very hard to stay calm and pleasant and not let her know how
irritated I was, but frankly I don't think I fooled her for an instant:
I felt like a petulant little girl, and I'm sure that's precisely how I
came across. She's gone now, and I've gotten all but one of the
invoices re-typed, but this will be one more thing for me to stew about
What else? Oh yes. Brad and
Jeff will be coming into the office around noon, according to Jeff.
This is definitely one of those days when it would be better for me to
be alone as much as possible, but sadly, ‘tis not to be ...
don't even want to go home tonight. If I had any money at all, I'd go
to a late-afternoon movie or something, ANYTHING to postpone the
inevitable. Going home is no longer something I look forward to. The
minute I walk through the door I'm assaulted by guilt and noise and the
smell of cat pee ...
May 24, 1994
I just got to the office and
called my horoscope ... and now I wish I hadn't. Basically it said that
everything is going to go wrong today. My boss is going to make me
re-do a major project, Ray is going to pick a big fight with me
tonight, and my money situation is fucked. "Blame it on the moon!" the
recorded voice said happily. Shit. Shit, shit and shit. Why do I call
these stupid horoscope lines, anyway? It's never anything I want to
hear, and even though I know it's a lot of hooey, it can still plant
the seeds of worry in my heart and screw up an otherwise perfectly
normal day ...
The part about my boss
having me re-do a project has already come true, anyway: those
invoices that Bill's mom brought to the office yesterday. The monthly
invoices for the lawyer were one thing I felt I was really
staying on top of. So it irritates me that they have to be done all
over again, and -- this irritates me even more, I think
-- that even
though I'm not responsible for the mistakes, it looks like I
was. But what can I do?
As for Ray and I getting
into a fight, what in the world is new? Lately it's a nightly thing:
Money is another matter.
I've been waiting for Carleen to call all morning for everyone's hours
(for payroll), and I still haven't heard from her. Worried. I can't
afford a fucked-up paycheck, I really really can't. (Note: I finally
took the bull by the horns and called her. From the sounds of
it, everything is cool, but I won't know for sure until I tear open
that paycheck envelope tomorrow morning.)
And I am STILL waiting for
my period to start. I can't believe this. I know it's coming ... I have
a big zit in the middle of my right cheek, and I feel crampy and
bloated ... so enough already with prolonging the agony. Let's get the
damned thing over with.
Got my new dining table and
chairs last night, the set that Mom is selling me for $50. Ray brought
it over from her house last night, and it looks great in our dining
room. (It'll look even better when I clean the dining room and buy a
new tablecloth and placemats.) Incidentally, Mom will be moving into
her new condo within the next week or so. Funny how unemotional I feel
about Grandma St. John's house being sold ... I haven't had the urge to
drive past it, or to visit the place one last time, or anything. No
sad, wrenching dreams, either. In my heart, Grandma's house stopped
being "Grandma's House" the day of her funeral three years ago: that
was the last time I saw it looking the way it looked while Grandma was
alive. After that it was never the same, especially after Mom moved in
and remodeled everything. So maybe I've already mourned it and
Stopped at the B.P. Library
on the way home, put some CD's and tapes on hold (Chris Rea, Joe
Cocker, Peter Himmelman, The Fixx, ‘Til Tuesday) ... postponing
the inevitable homecoming, more than anything.
When I was leaving the
library I saw two things:
- A dog with a helium
balloon tied around its middle.
- The reflection of a fat woman with bad hair.
Ray is going to do two loads
of laundry at the laundromat: I have been assigned Dinner Preparation.
I think fleetingly (longingly) of cleaning my office and my bedroom,
but I know I will never summon the energy. I am nothing more than a
limp flabby blob of inertia this afternoon.
Wednesday lunch hour
May 25, 1994
Well, so I "tore open the
envelope" and guess what? My paycheck was $250 shorter than usual.
Carleen took out the entire draw after all (rather than spreading it
out over two paychecks, like I hoped she would do). Crap. I called Ray
at work and let him know.
"Hey, they're takin' a draw
paycheck too," he grumbled.
I went and put a measly $150
checking account a little while ago, while Ron Colson stayed here in
the office and watched the phones. By the time I pay Mom for the dining
table and give the kids their allowance, I'll be back to broke. Crap
Another one of those days
where my moods keep going up and down, up and down. A few minutes ago I
was starting to feel OK. I was still disappointed about the short
paycheck, but I told myself Hey, the next check will be great.
I ate my chicken salad lunch and started a long-overdue letter to Kathy
and actually thought I might get through this day in one piece.
then the mail got here. Why, oh why did I open the S.W. Chamber
of Commerce newsletter? The first thing I opened to was a big picture
of Phil and Ryan Rehberg, accepting an award for "S.W. Chamber of
Business of the Year," for their law practice. Another painful reminder
of what could-have-been if I hadn't been so stupid ...
MOM'S TEN COMMANDMENTS OF
leaves the house until all chores have been completed. These include:
- Living room picked up
- Dishes washed & kitchen cleaned up.
- Floors swept.
- Special chores for that day finished (bathroom,
litter box, etc.)
leaves the neighborhood unless they've checked with Mom first.
3. The gate is to remain
locked at all times, especially when the doors are open and Dusty is
4. Having friends over is OK
as long as your work is done & you check with Mom.
Your friends are to stay out of Mom & Dad's room.
5. If you borrow something
from my room or my office, I expect it to be returned without me
asking. (Hairspray, jewelry, pens, makeup, etc.)
6. Wet towels are to be put
in the dryer or hung up immediately after use. Clothes left on the
bathroom floor will be confiscated & returned when I feel like
8. Re-fill the damned ice
cube trays when they're empty. L
9. Reasonable snacking is
OK, but stay out of dinner materials. If you're not sure about
something, call me and ask before you eat it.
10. I expect the three of
you to at least make an attempt to get along. Mom has enough to worry
about without wondering if you're killing each other. If there is a
problem you can't resolve, call me at work. Live up to the trust I have
in you, please.
Today is Tuesday. May 31.
It is 1:40 p.m.
The weather is pukey gray
and clouded-over but warm. I'm not sure but I think I'm making chicken
fajitas for dinner tonight. As usual, that sounds terrible; it's been a
long time since I've made a dinner that truly turned me on.
What am I craving?
A thick juicy steak with
mushrooms, onions and A-1 ...
a baked potato with all the
June 28, 1994
This is a pleasant new
development ... coming home from work in the afternoon and finding Ray
and the kids have gone swimming at Shannon South ... the house is quiet
(if not clean), and the only "people" to greet me were our new
dog and our newest kitty ...
I am amazed and embarrassed
that once again it's been over a month since I've made a journal entry.
And an eventful month it's been, too: I have a lot of catching up to do
Summer is in full swing in
Polenville. It was hot yesterday, it was hotter today, it'll probably
be hotter tomorrow. Blecchh. I managed to keep the office comfortable
all day, thanks to the portable fan. In fact, I almost didn't want to
leave work -- I knew the drive home and the house would be
stuffy. Oh well.
The kids got out of school a
week ago. On June 17th (the Friday before they got out), I went and
watched Jamie "graduate" from sixth grade ... a sweet and touching
ceremony. Jamie picked out her graduation dress herself (and bought it
with her own money) -- a simple little black dress with white buttons
running down the front. In her nylons and her low-heeled black pump and
her immaculate (as always) hair, she looked very grown-up. I
watched her up on the stage with her classmates and marveled at how
poised and self-possessed she was, especially compared to the other
sixth grade girls, who seemed almost comically gawky and
self-conscious. Jamie won several special awards, and I was as proud of
her as I've ever been of anyone in my life.
Jamie (far left)
walking into her sixth grade graduation
Report cards were all good,
although Kyle was undeniably the scholastic star of the family
this year: he got the second-grade equivalent of straight A's.
I'm still waiting to see how
things work out, leaving the kids home alone all summer. It's not an
ideal situation, by any means, but I don't have a lot of choices. The
only real problems so far are that the house is never cleaned to my
satisfaction, and the girls keep getting into my stuff (jewelry,
makeup, etc.) while I'm gone. But these are minor glitches, and
otherwise it's working out OK so far. This is their vacation,
after all. If I wanted slaves I could probably go out and hire some.
Jamie leaves a week from
today for Camp Cedar Springs, and the week after that it's Kacie's
turn. Last weekend I gave them each $40 and turned them loose at
Southcenter so they could buy their camp supplies. I think they're
about half-packed already.
And yes, you heard me
correctly ... we have a new cat and a new dog. We ended up
keeping one of Gillie's kittens from her March litter, a white female
we've named "Gabby." She's one of the sweeter kitties we've ever had.
And then two weeks ago, Ray went and brought home a dog ... a four yr.
old cocker spaniel named "Dusty." (His owners, an older couple, felt he
needed a family with children.) Every fiber of my being was screaming
"NO! NO DOGS!!!" when Ray first proposed adopting Dusty, but he's a
sweet, dumb, harmless doggy and he's managed to insinuate himself into
our hearts. He doesn't poop on the rug and he doesn't chew up the sofa
cushions ... his only annoying habits are barking at people when they
come through the door, following us everywhere we go, and eating
plastic Frisbees. It could be worse.
Kacie with Dusty,
Eater of Frisbees
I've taken on a second job,
sort of ... I'm now David J.'s "unofficial secretary" and graphic
He's started his own credit consulting business, and as a favor I made
him some business cards and letterhead to get him started. He liked
them so much that now he's commissioning me to design business cards
for his friends. I've made cards for five or six people so far. He
also has me doing some typing and invoicing for him, plus I have to
check the messages on his answering machine for him every day.
August 8, 1994
Monday lunch time
Sad to say, this summer will
likely go down in memory as "The Summer Without a Journal" ...
I don't know how or why it
happened, but I seem to have lost all heart for journal writing. At
least once or twice a day I think about sitting down and writing
something on the computer, either here at work or at home
... but I
just can't make myself do it. It's not that I don't have anything
to write about; this has been as quietly eventful a summer as any in
recent memory. And it's not for lack of opportunity; I am always
sitting in front of a computer. So I have no excuse. I know I'll be
sorry someday. In a few years I'll look back at this gaping hole in my
life history and wish I'd been self-disciplined enough to at least pop
out a paragraph or two once in a while, while the kids are still young
and our lives are fairly newsworthy. ("What in the world happened
to the summer of '94?!," I can hear myself muttering, as I leaf
through this patchy, piecemeal excuse for a journal. "There are
three whole months missing!") And I'll wish I could come back
time and give myself a good swift kick in my sedentary unmotivated
It would take me the rest of
the afternoon to catch you upon on everything that has happened in
Polenville this summer ... so I'm not going to try. I'm not even going
to promise to "turn over a new leaf" ("From
this day forward I promise
to write TEN PAGES A DAY!"). All I'm going to do is tap out a
quick paragraphs on this overcast August afternoon ... a brief summary
of our lives today ... and try
to be content with that. The old
"good enough is good enough" affirmation. And if I like the way it
out, who knows? Maybe there'll be another couple of paragraphs
tomorrow, and some more the next day.
Or maybe not. We'll see.
Kacie is spending the week
with her grandparents in Bellevue. When Peg & Don came and picked
her up on Saturday, she was running a fever and threatening to throw
up. (As she walked out the door I discreetly handed her a plastic
grocery bag.) Apparently she spent most of the weekend sleeping
grandmother's bed. She called me here at work a couple of hours ago,
though, and she sounded a lot better. Kyle spent last week with the
grandparents -- they took him everywhere and bought him everything in
the universe and waited on him hand and foot -- and now it's Kacie's
turn. I just hope she feels well enough to enjoy it.
Jamie's turn to stay with
Peg & Don is next week, and she doesn't want to go. She has her
first boyfriend this summer (a little smartass named Dennis who calls
me "Mama Polen" on the phone: I like this kid!) and a social life to
Princess Di's, and the thought of being away from her friends (and her
telephone, and her babysitting job) for a whole week is a fate worse
than death. I still haven't decided whether or not we should force
her to go. Earlier this summer she finked out on camp at the last
minute ... her grandparents had paid her way to Cedar Springs, and at
the eleventh hour she decided she didn't want to go ... and now part of
me thinks it would be healthy for her to spend some time in Bellevue.
She won't like the idea. She'll cry and swear at me and slam doors and
pout until she leaves, and then when she's at her grandparents she'll
probably mope around their house. But I can't help it ... the "mom" in
me worries that I'm not doing her any favors, letting her off the hook
all the time. Once in a while she should have to do something she
doesn't really want to do, like spending some time with her
grandparents. It's character-building. Right?
Tuesday afternoon, 3 p.m.
August 9, 1994
An interminably long day,
still dragging on ...
I've been trying to be in a
good mood for days, but life keeps kicking me in the teeth. Right now
I'm sitting here at my computer at work, fighting back tears. It seems
like no matter what I do, somebody is unhappy with me: I can't win.
Peg called last night and
coldly informed me that Kacie was still "very sick" and needed to see a
doctor right away. She's been running a fever since Friday, hasn't
eaten anything in three days and does nothing but sleep. The
implication in Peg's voice was clear:
You and Ray never should
have sent Kacie to stay with us in the first place.
Peg wanted to
bring Kacie home right then & there and have me take her to the
doctor. When I explained that the doctor's office closed at 5:00 (this
was 7:30 or so), she said she would bring Kacie home in the morning. I
had to call the doctor's answering service and speak to the doctor on
call, who basically didn't tell us anything new ... give her Tylenol
and lots of liquids, keep her quiet, etc. Dr. Kay's office would open
at 7:30 a.m. and we could bring her in then. My problem, of course, was
to get her to the doctor? Neither Ray nor I can take any time off this
week: for me, it would be tantamount to kissing my job goodbye.
Frantically I called my mom and asked if she could take Kacie to the
doctor in the morning, and she said no problem.
I called my mother-in-law
relayed all this information to her, but I was so angry with her when I
got off the phone last night I could barely speak.
Why was she making such a big fucking deal out of Kacie's annual summer
flu? If she would just give Kacie a decent dose of Tylenol every four
hours, instead of the little baby half-doses she's been giving her,
would have kicked this by now. And why was Peg deliberately trying to
make me feel guilty and inadequate? I thought we'd moved past this kind
of crap years ago.
Peg and my mother took
Kacie to Dr. Kay's this morning at 10 a.m. The diagnosis? A kidney
infection. Jesus. Mom called me with the news right after the
appointment. (Kacie, in the meantime, has gone back to Bellevue
with Peg. More on this in a moment.) The summer heat, too much
physical exertion and not enough liquids are to blame -- at least, at
this point, that's what they think. The doctor took a culture, and I
have to call his office in two days: that's when we'll know for sure
what we're dealing with. In the meantime they gave Kacie an enormous
shot in the behind and prescribed sulfa drugs and Extra-Strength
Tylenol. (The one and only gratifying moment of this whole fucked day
was when Mom said Dr. Kay told Peg she wasn't giving Kacie large enough
doses of Tylenol. I feel at least somewhat vindicated.)
I just spoke to Kacie on the
phone a few minutes ago and it broke my heart. I HATE THE FACT
THAT SHE'S SICK & I CAN'T BE WITH HER.
August 10, 1994
Just home from work (the hot
temperatures are back, after several days of lovely cool and overcast
weather), and nobody else is home! Kacie is still in Bellevue
haven't talked to her yet today -- Jamie is over swimming
apartment, and Ray & Kyle (I presume) are at Shannon South. Bliss.
I've poured myself a rum and Coke and I'm going to enjoy having the
house to myself for a little bit.
You know, I remember now
that I did
write a couple of journal entries this summer, after
all ... but they're locked away in my old computer, which is sitting at
present in the garage, unplugged and abandoned. I am now the proud
owner of an IBM PS/1 computer, complete with Windows (but no Word 6.0
yet - I'm still waiting for Jeff to bring me the software at work) AND
a Hewlett-Packard Desk Jet 550C color printer!!! David J. found
them for me,
after I remarked on day that it would be a lot easier to get out
graphics business off the ground if I had some "decent equipment" here
at home. Within days he'd brought me the printer. We hooked it up to
the old computer and it worked great, but I still needed a better
computer so I could run Windows & Print Shop Deluxe. The first
computer he brought me was totally useless -- I had him
take it back
after a couple of days -- but then he brought me the PS/1.
had Windows 3.1 loaded onto it, and I was in heaven ... until I tried
to load it with some of my own software and wiped everything out.
Ron (Velma's husband) worked on it for a couple of days, trying
to get it
running, but it seems I had pretty effectively fucked it up. Finally,
he had to take everything off and re-load Windows, so I could start
all over again. I brought the computer home, turned it on and played
with it for about 15 minutes last Friday ... and screwed it up again! I was
unbelievably pissed and embarrassed, but Ron and Velma were
really nice about it and re-loaded it for me one more time. It's
working just fine now, and you'd better believe I'm not going to do
anything to goof it up again. I hope. Anyway, those other journal
entries are locked inside the old computer. I hope to retrieve and
print them eventually ... I'm thinking about setting up the
in one of the kids' bedrooms ... but in the meantime I've
got to try and
remember what I wrote about.
One thing I know I wrote
about, and which I should now mention, is the animal population in
Polenville. When summer began we had three cats -- Sabrina, Gillie, and
one of her kittens from the March litter, a sweet little white female
named Gabby -- and a dog, a four yr. old cocker spaniel named Dusty
(who Ray brought home one night unannounced, after he saw an ad at
Tom's). As of today we are down to two pets: Brina and Gabby. To make a
long and painful story sort, Ray accidentally ran over and killed
Gillie two weekends ago. He was going to the store on Sunday morning
and he hit her with my car. The real tragedy is that she was just about
to give birth to her second litter of kittens. I took it very hard --
Gillie was "my" kitty, and I loved her a lot -- and Ray was devastated.
We're still sort of working through out grief. (I'm just SO THANKFUL
now that we kept one of her kittens. At the time I was very apathetic
about the idea, but I'm glad now.) As for Dusty, we took him back to
his original owners last weekend. After two months of trying to get him
to calm down & be less aggressive (especially towards the neighbors
and to anyone who came through the door), we'd had enough. I never
wanted a dog in the first place, but I still feel bad when I think
about Dusty. He was a nice little doggy and he deserved better than us,
Next week I "celebrate" one
full year at BNC Telephone. Hard to believe that entire year has come
and gone. I still like my job as much as I ever did, but after a year
it's safe to say the honeymoon is over. Brad and Bob still have a
tendency to treat me like I'm a little bit stupid, I still haven't
gotten a payraise, and any time I make the slightest "goof" I worry
that my job is in jeopardy. I still can't stand Kelli in Spokane. And
some of the people on the phone can really raise my hackles. If one of
the guys doesn't return a phone call or a page IMMEDIATELY, the
customer assumes it's because I haven't given them the message. These
minor irritations aside, it's a fine job for me -- lots of
alone time --
and I'd like to think that come this time next year, I'll be
"celebrating" two years at BNC.
I have a vacation coming, by
the way. The week of August 29th, if all goes according to plan. Eleven
whole days!! I can't wait.
Well, I'm now out of
cigarettes. Should I get back in the car & drive down to Trailer
August 31, 1994
Warm summer day, gradually
turning into a warm (but cloudy) summer evening ... smells of blueberry
pie baking in the oven and freshly laundered clothes in the dryer ...
KMTT on the radio. Ray and Kyle are swimming, Jamie is babysitting,
Kacie is in the living room watching "Rookie of the Year" for the
millionth time this summer.
I'm in the fifth day of my
vacation, and I'm fairly happy: I got a lot done today. The house is
clean (except, as always, for The Bowels of Hell ... Kyle's room), my
paycheck has been safely cashed and stashed away in my purse, things
feel temporarily under control. Were that it were always thus.
September 1, 1994
"Were that it were always
thus"?!?!? What a joke. Try, "were that it were thus for longer
than fifteen fucking minutes" ...
Right after I wrote the
serene journal entry above, things all went to pieces on me. I was
served with papers (Highline Hospital is suing Ray & I), Ray came
home from the pool drunk & goofy, and Don called and asked if his
girlfriend's five year old daughter Katy could spend the night. That
kid is hell on wheels - a brat of the first order - but I said OK, only
if Don paid me in advance (he did, but not much). My nice clean house
was history in no time flat. Jazzmine cam and picked up her daughter
early this morning, thank God, but now I'm in the middle of cleaning
Kyle's room - I've been at it for two hours - and I am not exaggerating
when I say it is the filthiest, most disgusting mess I've ever cleaned
in my life. As always, cleaning his bedroom seems to make the rest of
the house fall apart. I've already dragged out four huge garbage bags
full of crap, there's laundry piled to the ceiling out here in my
office and I'm in a grouchy mood. Grrrr.
September 5, 1994
Well, it's over, folks ...
my lovely wonderful vacation ends today. Tomorrow it's back to the salt
mines. If it weren't for the thought of getting up at 5:30 a.m., I
wouldn't mind it so much ...
Quietly busy afternoon. Ray
and Kyle are school clothes shopping (oops, amend that; they just got
back) ... Kacie is at Wild Waves with her friend Brianna ...
cleaning her room. I'm spending my last vacation day frying chicken,
doing laundry, sipping hot sweet tea, ironing, cleaning out the
Velmobile and trying to repair my computer. I accidentally fucked it
up again yesterday, trying to
load the USA Atlas program, and although
I've managed to get it running again there are still a few kinks I
can't seem to work out. (All my good fonts are missing from Word 6.0,
and there's something wrong with the new Print Shop Deluxe Companion I
just bought & installed a few days ago.)
September 10, 1994
I was so happy when I woke
up this morning and realized it was Saturday ... the sun was shining
after a long night of rain, and everything smelled fresh and clean ...
I went to sleep early last night and got a good night's sleep ... the
whole day stretched out in front of me, to spend as I please ... why
can't these good happy feelings ever last??? I was cuddling
with Kyle, watching cartoons and drinking coffee, when I saw a bug
wiggling in his messy hair. Another goddamned flea was my first
thought, but on closer inspection I discovered (to my horror) that his
scalp was COVERED with bugs, big flat ugly bugs with transparent bodies
and wings: head lice. Shit. I immediately sent him into the shower, and
then I doused him with a bottle of lice rinse that we'd saved from a
few years ago, and I sprayed things with the lice spray, and now I'm
washing his bedding and his clothes. We're probably OK for now, and
neither one of the girls seem to have it yet, but I know we're not past
the worst. I've got to wait until I get paid on Wednesday before I can
get some more shampoo and a nit comb and some more spray. I just pray
that no one at school notices before I can do a more thorough job of
eradicating the little fuckers.
Oh well. At least it's
Going back to work on
Tuesday, after my long lovely vacation, was much harder than I thought
it would be. In fact this was probably one of the worst weeks I've ever
spent at BNC Telephone. Bob was on a rampage all week and more than
once I found myself on the receiving end of his bad mood. To make
things worse, Ray was home all week -- this was his
vacation week -- so
coming home each night was no picnic, either.
September 27, 1994
If it's true what they say
that you're as old as you feel -- then I must be about
I have spent the past week
and a half struggling not to feel old ... tired ... sad ...
weighted down. But it's all been uphill. Every time I turn around,
SOMEBODY is mad at me about something: my jerk of a boss, my even
bigger jerk of a husband, my kids, David J., my co-workers, my friends,
in-laws, bill collectors, total strangers, drivers in the car behind me
... I keep trying to be all things to all people, and I wind up being
nothing to anyone.
I'm alone in the office for
a few precious minutes this morning, thank God. Bob was here for a
while, but ever since our horrible "talk" last Thursday* it's been hard
for me to be in the same room with him: I'm afraid I'm going to slip
and let him see how FURIOUS I am with him. So it's a relief when he
finally goes sprinting out the office door, saying "Terri-I'll-be-at-Siemens-all-day."
Unfortunately, now Brad is on his way to the office, so my
alone-time today will be pitifully brief.
(*I asked for a raise, and
instead I was told that customers and co-workers were "complaining"
about the way I answer the phone. Which is complete and utter
nonsense, of course -- the phone is what I do BEST. This is
way of getting out of giving me more money. I sat here at my desk and
wept for an entire day ... it was a nightmare.)
Sunny morning. We're having
our annual beginning-of-autumn heatwave this week: 81°
yesterday, even hotter today. Naturally I'm looking forward to the real
fall weather ... sweater and mitten mornings, icy evenings in front of
the woodstove, long afternoon rainstorms ... beef stew, simmering at
home in the crockpot all day ... I've had enough summer to last
me a lifetime, thank you very much. Bring on the frost.
October 5, 1994
When did my life get so
complicated? How did it happen? All of a sudden I'm so stressed I can
barely think. My life is a mess. I mean it. My teeth ache all
day long, and I've finally realized it's because I'm grinding them all
the time, without even noticing it. My house looks like crap. The kids
are living their lives without me. I look like shit because I'm not
sleeping, I'm not eating well, and I'm constantly trying to juggle the
needs of other people ahead of my own. Something's got to give. I just
hope it isn't my sanity.
David J. is starting to
insane, for one thing. One thousand carbon business forms in one day??
Out of this little dinky office, with Bob and Brad sitting in the very
next room for hours on end? I don't think so. Speaking of Bob and Brad
... I WISH THEY WOULD LEAVE!!!!! It's 1:30 now and they've
been here forever. Brad especially is making me nuts. Lately he's been
coming into the office around 10:00 or so every day and spending two or
three hours hunched over paperwork, making phone calls, eating his
lunch, etc. etc. I can't do any of the Olympia & Associates work
while he's here, of course. And now Bob has started coming in
more frequently, too, and he and Brad sit in Bob's office with the
doors shut (blocking my way to he bathroom, the coffee and the
fridge) and gab for hours and hours. By the time they finally leave,
around 2 or 2:30 (if I'm lucky) that leaves me just two hours to run
off 1,000 carbon sets, CUT them all, GLUE them all, invoice them and
get them into a box. Shit.
I feel like I'm going to
burst into tears, just thinking about it. What's equally distressing is
knowing that I've got to do it all over again tomorrow. FUCK. How did I
get myself into this, anyway? When we first started out I was designing
business cards for some of his friends, a few at a time: now all of a
sudden he's demanding thousands and thousands of copies of business
forms, and he wants them RIGHT NOW. My teeth are beginning to ache
October 6, 1994
Yesterday was a phenomenally
stressful day: I don't recall ever having one like it. Brad and Bob
sat here and dinked around in the office until FOUR O'CLOCK. While they
were still here, David the Asshole called and wanted to know "when the
carbon forms would be done"? I tried to explain to him that there
wasn't a blessed thing I could do; the boss was still in the office and
my hands were tied. Did he understand? Did he say, "That's OK, wait
until tomorrow?" No. he still expected his thousand copies that
evening. I ended up staying here in the office until 5:45, feverishly
trying to throw together a thousand forms ... and then he NEVER
UP AT THE HOUSE TO PICK THEM UP! I was -- I AM
-- furious with him.
I ate dinner (leftover chicken fried steak, which I'd been too busy to
eat the night before), watched a little TV with the kids, gave Kyle
some sorely-needed attention, read part of the library book I've been
trying to read for a week, and finally fell asleep on the sofa at 8:30.
I slept like a dead person. This morning I feel somewhat better,
although I can tell already that it's going to be another one of
"those" days ... Bob's dad is here this morning, visiting with a
vendor, and good old BRAD is on his way to the office. "I need to
resolve some insurance matters," he said on the phone a few minutes
ago. Meaning, of course, that he's going to be hanging around all
afternoon. Jeezus. Whatever happened to those long, wonderful
afternoons spent all alone in this office?? I could really use one of
those again, and not just to catch up on David's fucking carbons ... I
could use the time ALONE, period. It's only 8:55 a.m. and I'm already
grinding my teeth down into painful little stubs.
Well ... I was completely
right about this day. Brad has been here ALL DAY, and right now Bob,
James, and Little Brad are also here. Isn't that delightful? I ran
exactly 25 copies of the O&A crap before I had to quit.
David called earlier, and he
sounds just as disgusted and weary of Gale Force Winds and their
stupid carbon forms as I am. "From now on we ain't doin' this shit" he
said tiredly. It's the closest he's come to being human all week. It
doesn't COMPLETELY make up for the headaches this order (and this week)
have caused me, but it comes close ...
I am completely broke. This
morning on the way to work I spent my very last $3 in the world on a
package of nylon knee-hi's. I think there might be some spare change in
the ashtray of my car, but other than that I am penniless. What's
strange is how liberating it feels, in a way ... not having to
worry about kids and husbands and business partners trying to hit
me up for money tonight. I can just shrug helplessly and say "Sorry!
The bank is busted!"
October 7, 1994
Oh god ... it's my Dad's
60th birthday, and I haven't so much as sent him a card. One more
reason to feel guilty guilty guilty.
The Carbon Order From Hell
Saga continues. Last night I triumphantly gave David 1,500 of the
fucking things, invoiced them and said "That's IT." He paid me and
left, and I felt SO relieved. Twenty minutes later he called me from
the GF office. They won't accept the forms because -- are
ready for this? -- "the lines aren't wide enough." The jerk
I talked to
on the phone gave me a song & dance about how his customers won't
be able to read the form, the way it is now. It took every ounce of
self control I possess to keep from screaming, "WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME
THIS THREE DAYS AGO, WHEN YOU REJECTED THE FIRST
THOUSAND I RAN
FOR YOU??" I ran about 1,000 earlier this week, and they wouldn't
them because I "left out one line." Why the hell didn't they say
something about the lines not being "wide enough" then?? I am so
incredibly pissed. I haven't talked to David yet today, but when I do
going to tell them that there's no way I'm running them all over again.
Not a chance in hell. I've spent some time this morning calling various
printing companies, seeing how much they'll charge to print them (I'll
still cut them and glue them) and it looks like it's going to cost
about $35 per thousand. I'll tell David I'll pay for one thousand of
them, but there my responsibility ends. I will also expect Gale Force
Winds to pay another layout fee, since this is the second change after
a huge run. Nervous about how David will take the idea, but I can't
it: this order has come close to giving me a nervous fucking breakdown
this week, and I'm not going to let it take any more of a toll on me.
It's not worth it.
This morning I very
determinedly left the house and the kids in a positive frame of mind.
It's Friday, for one thing. I may be broke, the house may be a mess,
but it's Friday ... and that
helps. I made a point of just sitting on
the couch with Kyle for a few minutes. Lately he's been feeling
neglected, I think. If you asked him he'd act like he doesn't care, but
then when I do sit down with him and give him my complete attention,
he's so eager and responsive that I know he's been starving for it.
Last night when I came rushing through the door after work, carting in
all the goddamned business forms, both he and Kacie tried to talk to
me about their day. I cut them both dead. "I can't right now
I'm sorry, I'm busy!" I said. It rips my heart out to be that way with
them. So this morning I was deliberately funny and upbeat and
in the kitchen, I grabbed all three of them (including an unwilling
Jamie, who was standing there buttering her bagel) and insisted on a
"hug sandwich." I squeezed all three of them as tight as I could,
kissed the tops of their heads and just loved them for a
minute. They are still the most precious things in the world to me, in
spite of everything. And as I was driving away, I did something silly
to make Kyle and Kacie laugh. Every morning they stand there at the
front window and wave goodbye to me as I drive away. Occasionally
Princess Jamie joins them (if she's not on the phone), but mostly it's
just Kyle and Kacie. This morning I pointed a banana at them and
pretended it was a machine gun as I was driving off: the last thing I
saw as I drove off was Kyle and Kacie ROARING with laughter.
October 17, 1994
Monday 11 a.m.
Sad. This is not the way I
planned to spend this chilly October morning ... sitting here at my
desk with Gatorade and Kleenex, answering phones and typing. I was supposed
to spend this day puttering around my house, pumped up on cold pills
and caffeine, making the place look nice, cooking a pot roast, greeting
my children after school with Pop Tarts and cocoa. Boo hoo hoo hoo.
A LIST OF FORTY THREE
Wednesday, October 19, 1994
1. My new favorite oldie:
"Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis Presley.
2. My cold has moved into my
chest today, and I have a deep, scratchy cough.
3. The car is running OK,
except that the right turn signal is starting to slow down again ...
maybe because of the damp weather?
4. I am sick & tired of
5. My candy dish is filled
with little orange pumpkins and candy corn.
6. Phone hasn't rung in 20
7. Office is too warm: I
keep fiddling with the thermostat, can't get it comfortable in here,
it's either too hot or too cold.
8. My software (from
Reliable in California) STILL ISN'T HERE. I thought for sure today
would be the day. Darn.
9. The kids are home early
today, I don't know why. Early Release is usually the last
Wednesday of the month. Oh well.
10. Jamie's friend Christina
hit by a car two weeks ago and will need two years of rehabilitation
11. Two more broken molars,
on opposite ends of my mouth; they're sharp as razor blades, and my
tongue is all ripped up as a result.
12. "Bring me the head of
Marcia Brady." (From last night's episode of Wings.)
13. Levon Helm's voice on
the radio ... "The Weight."
14. Great lunch today! -
leftover pot roast and vegetables, eaten in one grateful ravenous gulp.
15. I SHOULD be doing
Valerie's CB business cards, but I just don't have the oomph.
16. Worried about Ray. Why
won't his mouth stop bleeding? The quilt was covered with blood this
17. The latest computer
problem at home: Clip Art Gallery won't run. Microsoft sent me a little
disk today that will supposedly fix the problem, but I'm scared to even
20. Just finished "The Door
to December" by Dean Koontz ... not his most enthralling novel, but OK.
21. Jamie's new school
picture: waiting for the other two to have theirs taken.
22. Kacie's check (and new
camera) from the greeting card company.
23. Broken light fixture in
24. Broken towel bar in the
bathroom at home.
25. Still waiting for Ray to
put together my hanging files in my home office.
26. I LOVE my new desk!!!
God! It's beautiful!!!
27. Kacie and I need to
start taking iron.
28. Mom says that the reason
I keep getting upper respiratories is because I had my tonsils out when
I was 24 mos. old. Thanks Mom for validating all my hypochondriac
29. My little niece Karen
needs some warm clothes. Have the girls finished sorting through their
outgrown sweaters and jeans?
30. Saw a dead cat beside
the road yesterday while driving to work, and my first thought was "Sleep.
Peace. Rest." I was so exhausted myself that death, briefly, looked
like the ultimate cat nap ... if you'll excuse the pun.
31. The Rolling Stones are
coming to town on my 37th birthday. (Think they'll stop by?)
32. I knew the answer to the
trivia question this morning on KZOK (What
Lennon/McCartney song did
Aerosmith cover in the movie version of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts
Club Band?) The answer of course being "Come Together."
33. My scalp itches like
crazy. God, I hope I didn't get Kyle's head lice.
34. Office is very very
35. Desperately in need of
new shoes and a new bra.
36. Bob just called. "Terri,
did you just try to page me with a 1-800 number?" (No.)
37. Hallowe'en is coming up,
and our house is the only Bow Lake house-with-kids that remains
38. Polyester pants, because
I'm just too fucking tired to iron.
39. My message on the
Windows Marquee (on the home p.c.): Mama always told me not to look
into the eyes of the sun / But Mama / That's where the fun
40. Cough, cough, cough.
41. Warmish can of 7-Up
sitting on my desk. Hurts to swallow: the razorblade molars scrape
against the sides of my tongue when I try.
42. Bored. Sleepy. Sick.
No journal entry, but here's Jamie on her thirteenth birthday
(in our kitchen, with friend Brent Sweet)
December 9, 1994
December 21, 1994
This could very well be the
last entry in this journal. I've finally had to face the fact: journal
writing has become a thing of the past. Sad but true. The good news is
that this journal covered the whole year of 1994 (although I didn't
deliberately set out to make it that way: it just happened). The bad
news, of course, is that it's one of those patchy, incomplete journals
that drive me crazy. At any rate, I'm going to peck out one last entry
this morning as I sit here at work, and then I'm going to put the
journal away and quit allowing it to be a source of stress and guilt.
God knows I have enough of that in my life at the moment, as it
is. After the holidays are over, if I feel like it, I may start another
notebook for 1995. Or maybe I won't. We'll see.
This day will either be
very good or very, very awful. It's too early to tell yet. I'm running
on practically no sleep at all, so the fact that I'm starting out in a
fairly decent mood is nothing short of a miracle. I tried to get to
sleep early last night. At 8:30 I lay down on the couch with my pillow
and blanket, in front of a nice fire and a twinkling Christmas tree,
ready to enjoy my favorite night of TV and drift off to slumberland ...
but Ray had other ideas. He came home from his shopping trip to
Target, all pumped up and goofy, and he wouldn't settle down until
10:30. When he finally did pass out, he promptly started snoring
gangbusters. You could hear him all over the house, including the
living room (which is where I was sleeping as always). I popped some
earplugs in and tried again to fall asleep. Kacie was in the living
room with me, watching her beloved "Beavis & Butthead" but she was
really quiet and I didn't mind. Unfortunately, shortly after midnight
I was hit by a ferocious blast of indigestion, and for the next two
hours I was running back & forth to the bathroom. (I still have no
idea what caused it, especially since I'm trying to stay away from
alcohol completely this week. I even bought a bottle of Lancers last
night on my way home from work and DIDN'T drink it when I got home!
Whether or not I'll last the whole week, I don't know; I can feel my
resolve beginning to waver. But I still can't figure out why I was so
sick last night.) On top of everything else, I have a rotten cold and
ragged cough that are making me miserable. Eventually I wound up
getting about three hours of sleep, total.
I should add, however, that
once I DID fall asleep, I had one of the best dreams I've ever had in
my life. When it was over I woke up and just lay there, thinking "Wow!"
(I fell in love with a handsome and sensitive Japanese artist, but in
the end I made the noble decision to leave him to his wife and two
sweet little daughters. I kissed the little girls as they lay sleeping
and said, "I promise that someday I
will see you again." My Japanese
artist cried as my boat left the dock.)
Anyway. Whether this day
turns out great or crappy depends on what my paycheck looks like, most
of all. I took a $400 draw last week, ostensibly so I could do some
shopping over the weekend (which I never did). Will my check be for
$283? Or has the finance company gotten hold of Carleen and started a
garnishment? Or has Bob decided to give everybody a bonus this year? Or
is Carleen also sending petty cash and postage money? Or or or or ...
?? I have done absolutely NO Christmas shopping so far, except for
ordering three cheapo calculators for the kids from the office supply
place. Today is Wednesday. Christmas is on Sunday. Our big Christmas
Eve party is three days away and the house still looks like it's been
stirred with a stick. As of this morning, I am still not done with my
Christmas cards. Enough said? This is turning into one of those
Oh-my-god kind of holidays, I'm afraid, and there isn't a thing I can
do about it.
Decorating has definitely
been a slapdash affair this year. I set out the snowman collection
early this year (before Thanksgiving), and a couple of weekends ago I
taped up the Christmas cards, but other than that it's mostly been the
kids who have decked the halls. I come home from work every night and
they have done something new ... draped red and green paper chains
from the front window, taped up old Christmas artwork around the house,
set up a candle and dried flower display on thee dining room table.
It's nice. And they trimmed the tree all by themselves again this
year (remarkable how easy it was for me to give up THAT
responsibility!). Unfortunately, the tree fell over I the middle of the
night that first night after they decorated it, so they had to do it
over again. (I was sound asleep on the sofa when I heard this horrible "CRAAASH!!!!"
and discovered the poor little tree laying on the floor in front of the
stereo.) Ray went out the next day and bought a new, sturdier tree
stand, and we haven't had any problems with it since ... unless you
count the day Kyle called from home and said that he found Gabby
climbing up the center of it.
Jamie and I have both
celebrated birthdays recently, of course. Her 13th birthday came and
went with little fuss: she had two friends spend the night (Kelly &
Crystal) while Kacie and Kyle were farmed out to Grandma Beeson's for
the night. In lieu of a present -- per her request --
Ray and I gave her
shopping money to buy her own present with. The next morning I drove
the three girls to Southcenter so she could buy the Sonics starter
jacket she's been asking for for months. My birthday was even more
low-key than usual. No present from Ray this year -- not
even a card --
but Jamie gave me a Heart CD, Kacie gave me some stuff for my hair, my
mom gave me a great new forest green pants outfit, and Dad &
Valerie gave me a bottle of my beloved ccc's. Happy Birthday to me.
David J. and I aren't
each other, which has been a source of stress for me the past few days.
I got silly on wine and made a fool out of myself on the phone with him
and his girlfriend last Saturday night, and I basically haven't heard
him since. I keep thinking he's going to show up any minute and yank
the computer away from me. What would I do if that happened? That
computer (and the color printer) have become so important to me. I
would be heartbroken if he took them away.
Oh well. I'm going to quit
for now and try to get some "real" work done. Bob is on his way
to the office, and I would like to look busy when he walks in.
next previous home
to throw a rock?