Scrub Away

Things went wrong for me this past week. Very, very wrong.

It all came in a dramatic flourish. Remember my nightmares about the overflowing toilets? Well, it did come true. It didn’t quite happen as dramatically as I had envisioned, but nonetheless, it did come true. The nightmare was a portend of what my life had come to signify: too much of nothing good.

So, I’ve since flushed away the proverbial crap, and I now have a fresh, clean bowl in which to dump all the negative forces that continue to assail me.

It’s going to take quite a bit of work to clean up all the residue left behind, but I’m armed with some good cleanser and good, determined scrubbing abilities.

Life Lesson #3107: Always have a spare toilet.

Cleaning Sh*t; Hammers and Wrenches

Twice in the last month I have dreamt (had nightmares) of a public toilet overflowing (exploding) and of me being trapped in the bathroom and having to clean the mess, even if I was not the cause. Anyone who knows my obsessive-compulsive tendencies knows that such a scenario, even in just a dream, causes me extreme stress.

Both times that I had those dreams, I woke up in a cold sweat. Both times, I literally had to clean someone else’s sh*t.

For any of you dream interpreters out there: what do those dreams signify?

So, this past month has been pure hell for me.

I have always been a planner. Even the so-called spontaneous acts in my life have had some degree of planning involved. And I’ve always believed that if one was sick of the way their life was going, to get up and do something to change it.

So, I’ve done both. I’ve planned and I’ve done things to change the way my life was going. I thought that finally, things were going to go right for me after years and years of misery.

Oh, God, was I wrong. So wrong.

It seems that no matter how much planning and care I take to live the life that I want to live, something always happens to put a wrench in my plans.

Makes me want to take a hammer and just beat the crap out of all those stupid wrenches.

Life and Shoes


Central Park, NYC
10/25/08

I walked around the UES Saturday afternoon in an attempt to do some soul-searching. Some may disagree, but I find it easier to think when I’m in the heart of the city, amidst the crowds and the sounds of life and bustle. Ironically, I used to retreat to the peace and quiet of the Maryland suburbs to sort out my thoughts. Lately, however, I have realized that the energy and vitality of New York City is where I feel most at home, and where I can feel alive and inspired.

Most of the people who love me and care about me are in Maryland. I have a strong support system down there. My past is all there.
This past month, I tried to reconnect with my past, and re-establish myself back in Maryland. I made myself go back to my old routines: giving up my weekends to go back to early Saturday morning kung fu workouts, and hanging out with old friends.
It felt good at first, warm and comfortable. Like an old shoe that is worn and molded to your foot. When you first slip it on, it feels great, maybe even soothing to your feet. But after walking around in it for some time, you realize that your feet may have grown accustomed to another pair, and suddenly, that old pair just feels outdated. And old. You realize, sadly, that you’ve outgrown that pair, and you put back on your new pair. The new pair is cleaner and more modern. More like the you that you are now. The new pair fits you just right. Not worn in or out. It just feels right.

I tend to hang on to old shoes for long periods of time. I stick them in a back closet or in storage, and wait for a time and season when they may be appropriate to wear again.

But at this time in my life, I enjoy wearing my new shoes. They’re hip, fun and they make me feel young and alive – as if I have a future. Wearing my old shoes make me feel like I haven’t progressed or that I haven’t been anywhere. My old shoes are only meant to be worn there and nowhere else. They are not tough enough to withstand all that I have experienced in the last few years.

They were good and they served their purpose when I needed them. But it’s time for a new pair – ones that fit me, now and for the near future.

But that doesn’t mean that I will ever stop loving my old pair, for they have brought me to where I am now.

Wolf Love

It has been a rough few weeks, and I’ve come so close to just throwing in the towel. I’ve worked so hard for everything in my life, and in these past few weeks, I have felt as though I have sunk to an all-time low.

I have been inconsolable, and have been trying to burn off negative energy by spending most of my free time at the gym. With my already busy schedule and increased depressed state, I have been neglecting my wolf.

She has been whining and whimpering incessantly. I check to make sure she has food and water, and I regularly take her outside to make sure she gets exercise. After I’ve gone through my mental checklist of what could be wrong with her, she still whines. I get annoyed and usher her away or yell at her to shut up.

She is relentless, though, and despite my repeated reprimands, she comes even closer, sits in front of me, and whines. Non-stop.

It was 7:30 this morning, and I was already running a bit late. As I am getting dressed, she comes into my room, and starts whining. I had just checked her food and water bowls, and we already had our long morning walk.

“What is it now?” I ask her, frustrated and about to cry.

She whines a response.

I was about to yell at her again to leave me alone and let me get ready to go to work, when I catch myself.

“Come here,” I say gently.

She moves towards me and nuzzles her nose into my neck. I sit on the floor with her for a few minutes, and we lock eyes. At that moment, there was no time deadline more important than me spending a few minutes with my beloved wolf.

“I’m sorry,” I say, as I run my fingers through her fur. “I know I’ve been neglecting you. Tonight, when I get home from work, it’s just gonna be you and me, kid. Just like the old days.”

After a few more kisses, she seems satisfied. She jumps on the bed and lies down. She stops whining.

All she had wanted this whole time was just a little love and attention. I had been so busy nursing my own emotions that I had completely forgotten that even wolves need love too.

“Wolf is the Grand Teacher. Wolf is the sage, who after many winters upon the sacred path and seeking the ways of wisdom, returns to share new knowledge with the tribe. Wolf is both the radical and the traditional in the same breath. When the Wolf walks by you – you will remember.” ~ Robert Ghost Wolf

Weeds

“The grass isn’t greener on the other side. It’s greener on the side you water.” ~ Unknown
I’ve spent some time watering this “other” side, and all that has grown so far this week have been weeds. I stood on the other side of the fence, looking at this side, and saw a lush garden, full of life and hope. So, I jumped over to this side from the other side. I couldn’t wait to enjoy this garden, but as soon as I got here, I realized that what I had thought to be green, rolling hills, are actually rocky, barren inclines. It’s not too late to jump back over the fence again, but there is little honor in retreating.
So, for now, I will continue to tread through this desert trail that I have started to travel. I just have to believe that there is some higher purpose and reason for why I came to be where I am now.
Next time, I’ll learn to stay on the side of the fence where I am already. Of course, hindsight is always crystal clear.

Reunion

I’m about to be reunited with family and friends in a short time. But this… this is the best reunion I’ve seen in a long time:

If you’ve already seen this (I’m sure everyone has already), it’s worth watching over and over, and if you haven’t, don’t miss it. It’s a true tale of love and friendship. I cried, as I always do when watching a love story.

Missing Moe

I miss you. I miss you more than I would have thought. Has it only been a year since you went away? I still can hear your voice in my head. I remember that I called you the week before you left us. I asked if I could visit you. You sounded so tired.

“Just call me before you come,” you said. You had just come home from the hospital and you needed your rest.

“I will,” I said.

I never did call you. I got tied up with the baby. I got busy doing other things. I got lazy. I made a promise to myself to visit you the next weekend. It would be Labor Day weekend and I would have had more time to spend with you.

It would be the last time that I would ever hear your voice. The following Friday, after I arrived in Maryland, I received the news that you had passed away.

“It can’t be,” I said to myself. “I was supposed to see you this weekend.”

You left, and I wasn’t even there to hold your hand one last time. I wasn’t there to tell you how great of a friend you were to me, and how I had always looked up to you when we were kids. I wanted to tell you again how courageous you were to have battled breast cancer for five years, and how you stayed courageous even as you were in remission and you were called a “survivor,” only to have it come back, and you fought valiantly, and even as you knew it was God’s will to call you home, you told us not to hate God, and your faith in Him never wavered. Most of all, I wish I had been there to just thank you for blessing my life with your friendship. You were and still are an amazing woman and friend.

I miss you, Moe.

Life is Beautiful

I had a bit of good news come my way the other day. Secretly, I am bursting inside, but because I do not want to tempt fate, I will keep my lips sealed. Just know that it is something which I have wanted for a long time now, and if all goes well, I will let you know. But, I am also sure that if I fall flat on my face, you all will know about it also, as I probably will be bitchin’ about it on here.

I had two women here at the office confide in me yesterday. Two different women, with completely different backgrounds, but both legal secretaries. One approached me early in the afternoon and asked me to meet her for lunch. We meet outside and walk to Hale & Hearty for our favorite soup, Creamy Tomato Soup with Chicken and Orzo.

As we are eating outside at the park, I watch her and wonder what she needs to tell me. In between gulps of her soup, she says, “I feel like killing myself.”

I nearly choke over my soup, but quickly compose myself enough to respond. “What’s going on?”

“I’m just so tired of my life. I’m broke, I’m lonely, and I just don’t know what to do with my life. I’m tired of caring, and I just want to give up.” She looks at me with glossy eyes.

Not knowing how to respond, and in fear of saying the wrong thing, I shove soup in my mouth, and then follow with a big bite of bread.

“I think,” I finally say after a long uncomfortable pause, “that you just need to get f*cked. Not just laid. But f*cked.”

“What’s the difference?” she asked.

With a bit of fake sounding authority, as if I know what I’m really saying, I answer, “Well, getting laid is just having sex. Plain and boring. Missionary. But getting f*cked… Well, my dear, that’s getting down and dirty and having mind-blowing, pain-numbing, explosive sex.”

She takes in what I say, and she smiles. “You know what? I think you’re right.”

We finish our lunch in companionable silence. I am relieved that she has temporarily stopped thinking about her sad state of affairs, and she, presumably, ponders on how she can go about getting shanked, as she finishes off the last slurp of her soup with a smirk on her face.

At the end of the day yesterday, I walk to another side of our floor suite to drop off some research papers on a Partner’s desk. I rarely visit this side of the building and I run into a woman that I had not seen in a long time.

“Hey, you, what’s up? I haven’t seen you in a long time. How are things?” I ask her.

“I’m hanging in there. I’ve been having a rough time lately. Work has been slow and I’ve been trying to stay busy by trying to date, but I swear, I’ve been on these dating sites and all I ever meet are losers.”

She is an actress, but she works as a legal secretary to fill in time between acting jobs. She’s been cast on Law & Order and CSI in the past, but hasn’t had much work in the recent months.

“It really is hard to meet people these days. I am not sure I would trust those dating sites, but I guess there aren’t many other options,” I answer, weakly.

She looks at me with the same glossy look I had seen on the other girl, just a few hours earlier. I start to breathe a little faster.

“You know, Nova, I’ve only ever wanted two things in my life, and that was to be an actress and to find a good man to marry. I’m failing miserably at acting and I’m now in my fifties. The chances of me finding a good man are becoming slimmer as each day, each year passes. If I had a gun here at my desk, I’d just shoot myself and get it over with.”

“Why me?” I ask myself. To her, I plead with exasperation, “Please, please don’t say that.”

“I’m sorry,” she says, “It’s just that sometimes I get so fed up with waking up everday, trying my hardest to change my life, and things don’t ever go my way.”

“Well, did I ever tell you that theory about how when you want something, the universe conspires to help you achieve it?” I say, trying to quote Paul Coelho.

I am grasping at air here, trying to come up with witty, but comforting things to say. I’m not a god-damned psychologist, for God’s sake. Why are these women telling me their problems? I’m not even allowed to make decisions about my finances or rent a damn car, remember???

“Well, it’s true,” I continue, again with an air of superimposed authority. “Supposedly, we have to really want something, tell the universe and the whole world about it, and nature and forces will contrive to make it happen.”

“I heard something like that, from a friend of mine,” she says, rather excitedly. She continues on with a story about how her friend had set a wedding date for three years in advance although she was not even dating anyone at the moment. Wouldn’t you know it, by the time her “expiration date” came, she had met the man of her dreams, and she did indeed get married on the date she had planned three years earlier.

“Wow, Nova, thanks for reminding me,” she gushes. “I feel better now.” She stands up and gives me a hug.

Life is beautiful again.

Underage

On the phone with my financial services company:

“Yes, I’d like online access for my account.”

“Could you please verify your information?”

I give my name, social security number and address.

“Well, it appears that your mother is the guardian on this account, and you are not the person that can make any changes on this account.”

“Okay… you mean even if it’s MY account and I just gave my Mom access to MY account, I can’t even apply for online access?”

“That’s right. Your mother is the Guardian on this account and since you’re underage, we can’t even talk to you.”

WTF???

Although I am 37, apparently I cannot be trusted to handle my own finances.

“Mom, help!!!” (She so loves being needed.)

This reminds me of when I tried to rent a car last summer. El, you’ll remember this:

“Hi. I’d like to rent a car please. Could you please tell me what’s available?”

The woman at Hertz looks at me and says, kindly, “Honey, I’m sorry, but I’m afraid you can’t. You have to be at least 18 in order to rent a car.”

After showing her my driver’s license, we determine that I am actually older than she is.

Looking young and sounding young doesn’t always have its advantages.

A Lot of Fish and a Little Bit of Chips

This weekend:

  • I almost got robbed. I was sitting on the train, and an older Chinese woman sat down next to me. The motion of the train always makes me sleepy, but I wasn’t sleepy enough to ignore the woman next to me inching closer and closer. When I looked down, her hand was in my open purse. I slapped her hand away, and yelled, “WTF?!?!” She didn’t say anything, and quickly moved away and got out at the next stop.
  • I walked in on a man as he was using the bathroom. I went biking in the park this weekend, and stopped off near a wooded area to take a little breather. I didn’t realize that I had stepped into someone’s house, until I was assailed by a foul stench, and saw a homeless man behind a tree who just whipped out his junk and proceeded to urinate. I got onto my bike and pedaled away as quickly as I could go.
  • I ate the best fish ‘n’ chips this side of the East River. I always thought that the other boroughs of New York offered better food than Manhattan, and my impromptu search for fish ‘n’ chips brought me to this place.

  • BabyG kept saying “mama” over and over again. It’s music to my ears, and she is even learning to play the harmonica.

I live such an exciting life, don’t I?