Thursday, May 28, 2009

Reaching Out

Yesterday several bad days in a row cumulated into one terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I hadn't had a day that bad in a long time, I was very depressed and I could just see myself sliding further and further in.

So I did something different.

I asked for help.

When people (friends, not casual acquaintances or strangers...I can only go so far) asked how I was doing, I told them that I was having a bad day, instead of just putting on a fake cheery mask and saying "Oh, fine, how are you?" And you know what? They didn't gasp in horror and run away. They were caring, and empathetic, and gave good wishes. They were, in other words, true friends. I've been so cautious not to let down my guard with people, and I'm working to overcome that. Yesterday showed me that it won't be nearly as awful as I feared.

Several friends in particular stood out. Shelly, who texted and emailed with me all day, to the wee hours, until we were both doing better (she had a tangibly bad day, including loss of power at her house, getting rear-ended on the way to work, and a doctor's appointment that may end up leading to more surgery). Linda, who made a point of coming up to me at school to see what was wrong. Brenda, who in the midst of her own insanity in getting ready for the season (Sunday!!), took precious moments of time to talk with me, and give me some of her fantastic Brenda-hugs.

And two who absolutely stood out. If I was capable of crying, each of them would have easily had me in tears.

First, Wendy, who came over last night with her three kids and brought me a care basket. She knew I'd been having a rough couple of days, and she and the kids went to the store and put it all together for me, delivered it, then hung out for awhile and gave me some badly needed friend time. The "instruction sheet" said this:

"This is for you, a very special person and friend. I would like to take this time to let you know that I thank you for inviting me to sit with you on the goal line for a soccer game. You made me feel like a part of a community that I had yet to get close to. You are the first friend that I have made in [our town].

"After hearing that you did not have a good day the other day my heart went out for you. The following is what it brought back to me:

"A sleep mask for when you need to block out certain sights,
A bubble bath for when you need to relax,
Some wacky fingernail polish to make yourself feel different,
A stress ball to "squeeze" that someone is making you angry,
A bouquet of flowers to help you remember that someone always cares,
A lilac candle for the scent you like all year round,
A piece of ribbon for that time when you need to remember that baby smooth bottom of your kids when it is them that are making you angry,
A box of Kleenex for when you need to dry the eyes from anger or sadness,
And a wine cooler to help cool the whines.

"I hope that this helps out.
Thanks for being a friend,

And her kids gave me a note that said


The other incredible thing was an email from someone I went to high school with. I had lost touch with him for nearly 20 years, recently re-connected with him on Facebook. He's always been very special to me, and I am so glad that we have gotten back in touch. Yesterday I sent him an email that said I'd been having a really horrible week, and could he please say something sweet. This is what I got back:

"I remember being an awkward, but friendly boy in 7th grade. I was still trying to find a niche in life. Seemed I always was moving and had to find new friends. Not that it was a problem but because I had a ton of freckles and a huge red afro, I was an exceptional target for someone else's amusement. I was quite down one day and wanted to just go home. It was recess at school and here I was dreading the walk out of class and into the hell of the playground which was an uncomfortable paved area in back of the school that used to be a parking lot. I was looking down trying not to make eye contact with any of the unpleasant kids, also trying not to trip over my ever growing clumsy feet. First step outside I looked up to survey the situation and find a target area where I could hopefully hang with a group of friends that didn't mind me around, when I saw the most wonderful thing. A very cute girl with shoulder length sandy blonde hair looking right at me. I only know she was looking at me because when we made eye contact she wore a wonderful smile and blushed a cool rose coloured cheek. She then turned and walked over to her friends glancing back at me every once and a while to see if I was looking, and I was. That moment carried me through the day and I went home giddy and hopeful that life is full of nice surprises worth hanging around for.
"Thank you [markira], I have that moment to remind me that life can be of worth and I can bring a smile of happiness out of someone who matters."

My god, I am so fortunate in my friends.

I titled this post "Reaching Out." In each of these two cases, I had reached out to these people at a time I didn't even realize they were down. I never knew (in the second friend's case, for 26 years I never knew!) how much of a big impact my little action made.

And when I was in need, when I was down, I was able to reach out to them. And I will never be able to really tell them what their actions have meant to me.

So reach out, people. Smile at a stranger. Say hi. Hold open a door. Pay the toll for the car behind you. Little things, but you'll never know when it could make all the difference. mk

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Heaven Has Maid Service

I think my idea of heaven right now would be an entire week (or, dare I dream, a month) where I did not have to be in charge of anything. Where someone else would do the grocery shopping and the putting away, the planning and preparing of meals, the dishes, the cleaning, the laundry, the scheduling, the ferrying back and forth, the making of beds, the paying of bills, the worrying. Where all I had to do is whatever I wanted. Everywhere I needed to be, someone else would drive, someone else would work out the logistics of how and where and when, would keep an eye on the clock to ensure nobody was late. I would be free to enjoy, and imagine, and be totally in the moment.

Apparently my idea of heaven is childhood. mk

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I am in the process of painting my bathroom, which is item #9 on my list of 101.

I have lived in this house for 11 or 12 years now, and I have hated the bathroom the entire time. The people who built it were insane. Most of the walls are raw knotty pine tongue-and-groove planks, and two narrow walls are blue-and-green flowered fiberglass panels. Even the ceiling is raw knotty pine. The edges of the inside wall on the shower are unfinished, with a two-by-four attached to the visible ends of the tongue-and-groove, both of which still showed the lumberyard stamp. We did change the floor, which was RUG, and put in a cheap roll of flooring, but the floor wasn't prepped correctly and the flooring wasn't cut correctly, so it's broken in places and doesn't quite meet up to some walls, or around the toilet. The bathroom door was put on upside-down, and it was painted slate blue (to match the fiberglass). All in all, it's a horrible, horrible room. And very tiny. And dark. And no windows.

The base cabinet of the sink was homemade and also raw wood, but a few years ago I fixed that...I painted it a black rose to match a wall cabinet I purchased, and added brushed nickel door handles. I also changed out the shelving, which was (you guessed it), plain raw boards on track bracketing. (Kept the track bracketing, but got prettier, finished, matching boards)

I also bought a gorgeous mirror, and some coordinating bronze towel racks.

But the walls. The walls were soooooo ugly. They needed serious prep work before I could paint them. The knots needed to be sealed (and there were hundreds of knots), much of the wood needed filling for gouges and cracks and holes. The fiberglass paneling needed to be treated so it would take paint. It would be a huge pain-in-the-ass project.

Well, I've started. My first step was to paint that godawful blue door. Used the black rose paint. Love it.

Kira came in and said, "You painted the door. Why did you paint it?"
me: "Because I *hated* the color it was."
Kira: "What color was it?"
me (mouth open, speechless)

Yes. She has lived her entire life in this house, some 3400+ days, has been in that bathroom at least once every one of those days, and did not remember what color the door was.

anyway. I have now sealed all the knots on the walls (not the ceiling...I couldn't take on the ceiling), primed the fiberglass walls, filled & sanded holes etc with wood putty, primed *those* walls (except in the shower stall...I've sealed the knots, but still need to fill and prime). I need to put a second coat of primer on two walls, finish around the shower, and put several coats of color on.

I broke down today and painted the first coat of color on the wall behind the sink. On the fiberglass walls I'm using an antique green. The wood walls are going to be a silver/grey called vellum.

I have worked hours and hours so far on this, and I have a bunch of hours left to go. But this will be the longest I will ever have to work on this room, because the walls will be easy to repaint now that they're all prepped.

Except the ceiling. Dammit. mk

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Idiot on the Phone

Just got a call on my cell phone. Call ID said "unavailable." Answered it.

Guy: "Can I speak, wait, yeah, Robert would be better. Is Robert available?"
mk: "I'm sorry, you have the wrong number."
Guy: "Is this xxx-xxxx?"
mk: "Yes, but you have the wrong number."
Guy: "This is xxx-xxx-xxxx?"
mk: "Yes."
Guy: "Then it's the right number."
mk: "No, it isn't. You have the wrong number."
Guy: "Who does it belong to?"
mk: "Me."
Guy: "Who is me?" (like I'm going to answer that one, dumbass)
mk: "This is a private line."
Guy: "How long has this been your number?"
mk: "Years."
Guy: "Years?" (in disbelief. Like I am obviously lying.)
mk: "Yes."
Guy: "Have you gotten any calls recently for Sandra (somebody) or Robert (somebody else)?"
mk: "Yes, but this is a personal line. You have the wrong number."
Guy: "You have? When?"
mk: (finally losing patience) "A bit ago. It was probably you. You have the wrong number. I hung up on you then, and I'm hanging up on you now." {ends call}

Seriously? You are going to argue with me that my phone is not my phone? Guy, you have issues.

This idiot called me a few days ago and also tried to tell me that this is not my number. Um, moron? You called it, you got me. Y-o-u . h-a-v-e. t-h-e. w-r-o-n-g. n-u-m-b-e-r. mk

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The First Girlfriend Story

So, as mentioned recently, Mark has a girlfriend. They have been going out for, oh, let me look...12 days. They have had one "date," which was officially a celebration of Eddie's birthday, so 10 of the kids from the class went to the movies. So, Mark + Rachel + 8 chaperones. About a third of the way through the movie, he put his arm around her. He said that some "older" women (probably my age, brat) behind him giggled in an "awww, isn't that cute" way.

But that is not the story. The First Official Girlfriend Story is this:

Monday at school Rachel was cold, so Mark let her borrow a spare sweatshirt of his (a black Celtics sweatshirt that he got for Christmas, so it was a treasured article of clothing). She ended up wearing it for the rest of the day and asked if she could wear it home and he said yes.

Today she gave it back to him. Midway through the day, he put his hands in the front pocket, as he does often, and felt something. Rachel had put a small crystal heart in his pocket for him to find.

Say it with me, peeps: awwwwwwwwww mk

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Spring Scheduling

Oh, I love being a single mom with two kids who are involved in lots of activities!

Here's this week:

Today: Mark has an away game (if it doesn't get rained out). Leaving at 2:20. I'm going on the bus with the team. [as of 2:15--rained out...rescheduled for tomm, same time]
Kira has a home game. She has to be at the field at 5. Made arrangements for her to go home with the other girl on her team, and get a ride to the game, and hopefully we'll be back in time for me to see most of it. [as of 2:20--kira is now coming home after school. waiting to see if her game is also canceled][as of 3:30--kira's game also canceled. Tentatively rescheduled for Mon. Yay! No conflict]

Tomorrow: Mark has practice. But kids are with X, so I've got nothing to do there.
Oh, but I do have a hair appointment at 9:30 [now also have Mark's game, leaving @ 2:20]

Thursday: Mark's got another away game after school. Kira & I will go with.

Friday aka Hell Day of the Week: I'm chaperoning a day-long field trip for all the 8th graders in our district (five schools). That goes from 8:30-2:30
Mark has practice after school, 3-4:30
Kira has an away game (don't know where...x neglected to give me the schedule) She has to be there by 5, game starts at 5:30. [update 3:30: now know where game is...turns out, nobody was given a schedule. not x's fault. for once.]
I'm chaperoning the middle school dance that starts at 7. Before that, I have to 80's Mark's hair. Also need to figure out what I'm doing with Kira, as she is not in middle school. [as of 1:45--Kira is going home with Dianna after school, spending the night]

Saturday: Kira has a birthday party from 1:30-3:30. Somewhere this week she needs to get a present.

And I need to find some time to go check out Goodwill for 80s accessories. Sigh.

I am looking forward to Sunday. I've got NOTHING I have to do. At least not yet. mk
Ha! It has started sprinkling. If it's raining they might cancel games--Mark's or Kira's or both, depends on the coaches for the different leagues. That's not necessarily a bad thing, except who knows when they're going to reschedule so it could end up being even worse. We'll see. And yes, they *have* been known to play through the rain, so just because there are a few drops out there, it doesn't mean we're in the clear yet. I have packed rain gear.

Also, I find it interesting that I abbreviate tomorrow with "tomm" considering that's not the shortened spelling. But writing "tom" just makes me think of either the name Tom, or Time Of Month, so I just can't do it. Anyone else find themselves doing this?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Shake Your Booty

Went to a dance last night at a local community center. They have dances fairly regularly, sometimes it's a band, sometimes it's a DJ. Last night it was DJ'ed, and he was spinning 80's music. Yeah! What's particularly funny is that this coming Friday I am chaperoning a dance at the school, and *it* will be 80's also! Very funny. Which reminds me that I need to take Mark and Eddie to Goodwill sometime this week, they want to find clothes to go as Bon Jovi. I have no idea how they think they're going to get 80's rock-band hair. At least not Eddie. His is super-short. Mark, I can work my magic with teasing and hairspray. I am goooooood at 80's hair.

Anyway. MY dance. I almost had decided not to go, because I wasn't sure who was going to be there and if it would be anyone I would be really comfortable with. I had all but talked myself into a nice boring evening at home when Ro called and said she'd go if I would. Hurray! So she met me here and we went over together. I let her borrow a T-shirt I have (that is just a bit too tight for me to have worn myself) that had a Rubik's cube on the front and said "Pure genius." My only real 80's contribution to my own wardrobe was lots of blue eyeshadow. I don't even have a haircut that I could 80's up, and no acid-washed jeans that fit. (sad that I can add "that fit." I shouldn't even have them anywhere at all. Why am I storing them? Probably because they are proof positive that at one point in my life I really did have a tiny little waist and ass. Sigh.)

The dance was funny. There were only about 30 people there total. The last one I went to there was a live band and it was pretty packed. But, about half of the people there were in "our" group. So it was kinda cool that way. And oh, we danced.

Some of the interesting things that I remember:

* waiting outside the bathrooms with Ro for one to open up and having Doug come out and ask where the guy was who had been waiting when he went in. I looked at him in all seriousness and said, "We ate him."

* At the end of the dance, when the music stopped, people started chanting "One more song! One more song!" and the DJ did. And Ro went out and for some reason started stripping shoes from people and making a big pile of them. And when Erin grabbed her boots and went to put them back on, she put them on backwards. So Ro tried to help her and just kept jamming the backwards boot on. And Erin didn't stop her.

* Ro wanted to go out for some air (hot work, dancing), and we were next to the bathrooms/door leading outside, and "Thriller" came on, and I yelled "I love this song!" and took off back to the dance floor. Not realizing that the door that she had just gone out automatically locked itself, and she was in the fenced-in playground. She had to hop the fence and come around the building to get back in.

* Ro loving me enough to tell me that my face and hair looked like shit and I needed to go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW to fix it. Bless her, she was right. I was a wreck. And I repaid her with the event listed above.

* Of the dozen or so people in our group, it happened that one of the people I knew had brought a friend, and it turned out to be a girl I went to high school with. Who is Peter's cousin. Funny!

* The only unattached guy who was there turned out to be married and "separated" from his wife but they are still living together. And several of the women there kept trying to hook me up with this guy. Um, people. HE'S MARRIED.

* The Electric Slide. I still got it, baby.

* Michelle wearing the band shirt from the last event I went to there. It was really hot and crowded that time and I dressed in a cute little outfit that had too many layers and no way to strip any off, so I ended up buying a band shirt so I could wear something cooler.

* Krista and Kristen doing this great line-dance thing that I would not be able to do on my best day because it required too much coordination. But it looked hot.

* Linda and her mini-mini. And hearing that she did a test before leaving the house where she bent over & asked her husband if he could see her underwear. And then she put black leggings on under it anyway.

* The look on Doug's face when he went to call for a cab home and they were closed. Before midnight. On a Saturday night. (I gave them a ride home...I had stopped drinking two hours before that.) Funnier is that he and Erin used to *own* that taxi company.

* Not being the first person to say that my feet hurt! (although mine did too) And not having them hurt today! (although the knees? yeah, a bit creaky)

* The "single" guy and I talking and finding out we knew some mutual people, and one of the mutual friend's brothers were horrible people and when (Mark? was that his name?) said "guess where I ran into Scott" I half-jokingly said, "Prison?" and it was!! (Mark? was not *in* prison, his company hired some of the people who were allowed work-release)

* Knowing all the words to almost every song they played for four hours. That was awesome.

SO. I had a good night, plan to do stuff like this more often. Linda says there's another dance coming up after-hours in this new cafe, on the 23rd, so I'll see about that.

Rock on! mk