October 7, 2004

Hmm.  Today is my ex's birthday.  How old would he be?  Math at 9am.  No one over school age should have to do it.  Forty-six.  Shit.  That means I'm 43.  I thought I was only 42.  How the complete hell did that happen?  I liked 42.  I'm telling myself that 43 will be an even better year (even though it seems I missed the first month of it because I *thought* I turned 42 on September 5th), but still, I liked 42.  There was something soothing about the number.  Forty-three seems somehow... urgent or something.  So if I'm 43, then that means my mother would have been 62 on September 26th.  I really do miss her.  I miss my ex sometimes too.  He had his good moments and like my mom, he carries memories of a good bit of my life.  In fact, I spent more years with him than I did with my mom.  It's frustrating to have no one to talk to who shares the memories of the first half of my life.  Eric has only been with me for eight years now and I had a lifetime of memories before he came along.  Now they are pretty much ether because they're just in my head, which renders them subjective and thereby fragile and suspect.  I actually had to call my Uncle Delmar two nights ago and say, "Did we used to know someone named Cousin Tiny?"  He assured me that we did and that she was a wonderful woman.  I only have the scarcest memory of her from when I was a very little girl.  Delena (my cousin for whom my daughter was named) and I were terrified of her for absolutely no reason that I can imagine.  My older sons, who are 26, 24 and 22, all hold a handful of my memories and can look back with me.  That's the only shelter in the storm of moments past and lost.  My age doesn't make me feel old.  Outliving nearly everyone in my family makes me feel old.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents... nearly all dead.  Delena's parents are really the only people from my past who are older than I am who are still in my life. 

Fortunately, my husband, who turns 28 (wow, he's getting old!) on November 13th (also our wedding anniversary... had to get the boy old enough to gamble before I could haul him off to Reno to get married), is very, very literate about contemporary history (not mine, specifically, but that of the US, etc), so I can carry on an intelligent conversation with him about my own generation and things that happened.  Eric has an insatiable thirst for knowledge and a near photographic memory, so that distinguishes him from most people his age and allows him to reflect a "life experience" aura that most people in his generation have not yet acquired.  His 5 o'clock shadow beard also ages him a bit (as soon as that beard comes off, he's about 16) and he carries himself with an air of authority and confidence that also makes him appear older.  I have always been told that I look younger than my age, although the weight and graying hair work against the good genes.  I used to resent looking young for many years (people thought my children were my siblings a lot of the time), but somewhere in the mid-thirties, it became my friend and now it's my saving grace.  I don't think Eric and I have ever gotten any "and what would your mother like to drink?" comments since we've been together, but we are also very affectionate toward one another, so perhaps the issue is resolved before we even are approached. 

It's odd that two of my most significant romantic relationships involved men considerably younger than I am.  Delena's father is about 8-9 years younger than I am.  My ex-husband is three years older than I am.  The reason I consider it odd is that my entire life, I've always had a daddy complex, likely because my dad was overall a very good man, but was mentally unstable, unpredictable and alternated between extremely sweet and funny versus extremely volatile and irrational.  With him, you never, ever knew what was coming home from work that day or waking up the next morning.  I'm sure many modern labels could have been applied:  manic-depressive, schizophrenic or bi-polar.  He had times of intense paranoia and extreme depression.  I was always looking for Stable Dad, so my romantic attachments tended toward men considerably older than I was who were established, wealthy and powerful.  I always imagined I would end up curled up on a couch with a big bowl of popcorn, watching Matlock with a husband 10-20 years older than I was.  You could have knocked me over with a laser mouse when the man who captured my heart was only a year and a half older than my oldest son.  Regardless of the age difference, it works and this has been one of the most wonderful relationships of my life.  I have a really great husband and feel very blessed.  Like anyone else, we have our rocky points and there are issues we work to resolve on an ongoing basis, but ours is one of the happier marriages I've seen in my time.  Plus, he's cuuuuuuute.  Yep, I'm a lucky gal.

Bacon flavored Pam Cooking Spray, I'm telling ya.

I love MP3s.  I'm such an MP3 whore.  It's a wonder I haven't been crucified by Metallica and the record industry mavens for my 10gGB worth of downloads.  Fortunately, I got most of it in the years before the crack down.  I've been able to get obscure stuff from my childhood (more shades of the past, guess that's where we're going to be today) that I adore.  Lots of gospel and old country, where I cut my musical teeth.  I have a wonderful set of songs that are by Luther Wright and the Wrongs from their album "Rebuild the Wall."  It's Pink Floyd's "The Wall" set to bluegrass.  I heart it.  Eric hates it.  Everyone else hates it.  I heart it.  My CDs are all dusty and ignored over there in my little shelf.  I haven't used them in years.  What's on WinAmp right now?  "Feels So Right," by Alabama, baby.


One of my greatest thrills was introducing my teen kids to different music from my past.  "This, my son, is Jim Morrison.  Kneel at the altar and bow your head whenever you hear 'Roadhouse Blues' or else it's the scourge for you.  "This is Pink Floyd, this is The Beatles, this is The Beach Boys, this is Randy Newman, this is Simon and Garfunkle, this is The Moody Blues ..."  When we first married, Eric mentioned that he didn't care much for The Beatles.  I was... agog.  Why hadn't I found this out before I married him?  Soon, once he'd been re-educated, he was ordering Beatles guitar tab books and had every CD to be had by them.  We have pictures of "Da Boys" in our office/laundry room and nearly every Beatles documentary (plus the John Lennon ones) made.  Of course, he'd only heard the "She Loves You" era, so he's pardoned.  Some things, you know, just will not stand.  I still haven't won anyone in my family over to gospel or country, which I love (although they are all completely sold on the soundtrack from "O Brother, Where Art Thou," yet claim to not like country - puhlease).  It's just mine.  For years and years and years I didn't play country or gospel in the house because of how much my first husband hated it (although even he like Emmylou Harris).  And what is it with men and the Statler Brothers, anyway?   I haven't met one yet with an appropriate appreciation for The Guys.  When I married Eric, knowing he also disliked country, I kept it to myself, but when I got my brain back a year or two after we married, I put me first and now I play it all the time.  (Remember that column a while back about putting yourself on the cross to constantly humble to other people?  I know from which I speak)  It was one of those things I was sacrificing with resentment and no one was noticing.  When I reclaimed it and started playing my music, no one much cared.  It was most anticlimactic.

I got really excited recently when a person with whom I went to high school remembered "Goose Creek Symphony," a group I dearly love and that no one has ever heard of.  The link I gave even has music you can sample.  They were sort of the rockabilly answer to Dr Hook, who I also love.  Saw them in concert twice AND even saw Ray Sawyer (the guy everyone actually thought was Dr Hook even though it was the name of the group and not a person, sort of like there is no Molly Hatchett) in a wonderful dinner theater in Jackpot, Nevada with Joe.  We had so much fun that night. 

I've definitely lived some wonderful experiences to hold close in my heart.

Note to self:  Do not wash the huge, redwood front porch with Murphy's Oil Soap, a garden hose with never ending water and a broom.  Doesn't it sound like a good idea?  The porch is definitely weather beaten and I thought the oil soap would bring out some of the luster of the wood.  Instead, it pretty much stripped out the rest of the color.  I worked like mad yesterday, inside and out and it's important that all of you know I was forced to do it without the benefit of Mr. Clean Erasers.  I finally finished up with the day around midnight and fell into bed, then got up with Eric at 5.  He was really tired and I wanted to make coffee for him so he wouldn't fall asleep driving down the mountain.  Poor thing didn't get in until about 10pm.  He needs a certification for work and his boss is paying for the test and study material, but he's required to attend a study group that meets at 5:30 and goes on for a while, then he has to drive the two hours home.  He said this morning was like driving drunk he was so exhausted.  You can bet I'm going to put him to bed early tonight. 

His father is visiting this weekend and so it's pretty sure that he'll have a nice few days.  He finished the last of his overtime hours yesterday and will have early days today (meaning home by 6pm after leaving at 5:30am) and tomorrow.  I'm glad he's hitting his kick back time.

Today, I have to shampoo carpets, two chairs and a love seat.  Got to mop floors, help Delena clean her room, clean my room and do some dishes today.  Other than that, I'm done.   

Speaking of which, I should likely get onto that.  I doubt I'll get to write tomorrow, so all of you have a wonderful weekend and I'll see you next week.