Monday, June 28, 2010

And this is why I will be single forever.

Riley used to sleep with me every night. She hasn't done so in a few months; a combination of moving bedrooms, lack of rugs that she needs to get a running start, and I've been sleeping on the couch a lot lately as it helps my back. Then there's Molliewog, who makes it difficult for me to spend quality one-on-one time with my Taterhead.

Last night, I waited till Mollie was snoring soundly in her dog bed in the living room, and I quietly scooped up Riley and carried her to bed, so she could curl up next to me and I could rub her ears till she fell asleep, like in the old days. Riley does not like to be carried, and she freezes, sort of like those fainting goats that go stiff and fall over when startled. I put her on the bed and climbed under the covers, and eventually she decided that shifting and settling down would not bring Armageddon down upon her, collapsed against me, and sighed contentedly.

I enjoyed about six minutes of this peaceful bliss, and was just about to drift off, when Mollie must have awoken in the living room to find us gone. I heard a plaintive whine, and turned my head to see a slightly crooked shape with big bat ears silhouetted in my doorway. "Hi Mollie," I said, and she immediately gimped over to the edge of the bed (she, with her 2.8 legs, has no issue with the hardwood floors, of course), tail wagging furiously. I lifted her up, there was no other option. She reacted as I expected with "OMG RILEY IS HERE TOO WITH MOMMY HI RILEY HI MOMMY HI HI HI" as she stepped all over us. To my pleasant surprise, this only lasted a minute or so, till suddenly she collapsed, draping herself over my legs like a sack of potatoes. This was okay. I could deal with being pinned down, Riley was content and spooned up against me for better ear-rubbing access, and I could sleep.

Then came the cats. One by one. Bun first, settling on the pillow next to me. Dewey, his plaintive "Murr?" announcing his presence, tromping on my head, then bashing his face into Mollie's as a sign of affection, which led to much stirring and rearranging of all the animals. I sighed.

The tinkling bell of Wobbly's collar alerted me to his entrance. Wobbly, not being the most graceful of felines, made a flying leap up, landing directly like a furry cannonball on my stomach. Which caused me to fart, scaring Riley, at the same time Wobbly immediately fell off the bed, and Molliewog attempted to leap after him. Tangled in the covers, I managed to catch her before she landed, and set her down gently, but the peace was over. Dewey lept and skittered from the room, Riley, startled by my trumpet butt noises and the chaos, wanted off the bed NOW. As scared as she is of hardwood floors I didn't want her jumping down and landing with no traction, which would scar her for god knows how long, so I picked her up again. This sent her into full-blown panic mode, and she immediately dribbled pee down my leg.

The bed was a tangle of now fur and dirt covered sheets. Only Bun was nonplussed, happy to stay curled up on his pillow, while the rest of the zoo thundered around the house either in play or neurotic flight. I heard glass break in the kitchen. 

I cleaned up the broken bud vase, took a shower, grabbed a clean blanket out of the closet, and slept on the couch.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Flowers in the Attic

When I was six months old, my father was transferred to serve in the Royal Military Police over in England, so we moved to Bulford Camp, on the Salisbury plain. Behind our house was the Buford Kiwi, a giant kiwi carved into the chalk on the side of Beacon Hill. Stonehenge was only a few minutes away by car, and my parents tell me you could see it on the horizon from the top of the kiwi hill, up to which they would walk me every day. We moved back to the states when I was three, so I take their word for it.

While we were there, my young parents with their first (and only) child, a little girl with blonde curly hair and big blue eyes, my mom bought me a dollhouse. This was before my Dad got a hold of me, and stole away her little southern belle in training, teaching me how to swing a bat, which snakes were okay to pick up and which to stay away from, and how to make a piercing whistle using an acorn shell.

Me, in England, on my 2nd birthday.

A few years later.

So my dollhouse was handmade, wooden, three stories, and fashioned like an old english cottage with a thatched roof, that could be lifted off to reveal the attic. Looked something like a three story version of this.

I was too young for dollhouses then, only a toddler, so she saved it for me. Problem was, by the time I WAS old enough to be into dolls, they were more of the action figure type (see above).

I did have some barbies though, that my babysitter had given me, and even at the age of four or five, I could tell how disappointed my mother was when I paid little attention to the beautiful dollhouse in my bedroom, and how happy it made her when I played with it. Unfortunately, handmade dollhouses bought in England aren't proportioned for Barbie and Pals. Much too tall. As I mentioned above, however, the roof did come off, and in the attic, Barbie, Skipper, and Ken (less their noses, which I bit off, and flattened, flipper-like feet that I gnawed on) could move gimp around with ease. So there they dwelled, a happy, vapid, deformed family of three.

But this was not an entirely satisfactory solution. They could not fit down the wooden staircase to the rest of the house. They didn't know the roof was gone. Trapped! Unable to leave the attic, how would they eat? They would starve up there, and the next residents would find their bones. My dollhouse would be haunted. That would make Mom even more sad, and simply would not do.

So, I recruited a couple G.I. Joes and a Transformer or two. They could walk around in the house just fine. Up and down the stairs with ease. I pulled them from their current mission assisting He-Man in his battle against Skeletor, and reassigned them to Domino's Pizza, where they could deliver pizza to the Noseless Gimpy Blondes in the attic. They were full and happy, and I made sure to include a Flintstones vitamin on occasion. Mom said eating pepperoni pizza every night wasn't healthy. (She was right, I tried this for a while as an adult.)

So Barbie, Ken, and Skipper continued to live in the attic for years, never leaving. I'm not sure what they survived on when my G.I. Joes and Transformers and Masters of the Universe disappeared after the epic Battle In The Slime. Which took place in the living room. Apparently the green goo doesn't come out of carpet easily.

Years later (but not enough, reading far above my level introduced me to some concepts a little early), I read V.C. Andrews' book. I was mortified. Had the G.I. Joes been poisoning the pizza? Were Barbie, Skipper, and Ken engaging in vague taboo adult acts? What had I done?!

The barbies, action figures, everything else is long gone. My mom still has the dollhouse. It's beautiful. Someday I hope to find a little girl to give it to, with some dolls that fit, who will fill it full of furniture and play Loving Non-Dysfunctional Family in it. It would make my mother happy. Me too.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sweep the leg, Johnny

Woke up feeling better. Calmer. Stronger. Ready to get back on my feet.

Then the mail came.

SC has ruled I will only get 14 weeks of unemployment benefits, instead of 26. Not just that, but I have to wait out the 12 weeks first. So no income till mid-August unless I get a job before then. I can (and will) appeal, but there is little chance of overturning the ruling. Been on the phone for hours with banks and creditors, passed around from department to department, supervisor to supervisor. Apparently, no help or temporary payment arrangements can be made until I have an income again for them to base it on. Figure that one out. So the bills, interest, and late fees continue to rack up at current rates. The protection plans I had in case of loss of employment? Gone when the banks scrambled and changed all the rules and rates right before the feds cracked down on financial regulations. Fucking wonderful.

Thanks to everyone who has called, emailed, commented, visited, and offered a shoulder to cry on and an ear to vent to. I love all of you and appreciate it more than you know. I will probably be incommunicado for a few days. It's not personal. Right now it's just too exhausting to talk about, and I have a lot of thinking, planning, and work to do. Apply for anything I can, send resumes to everyone in the Yellow Pages, and figure out what I can sell.

I am, and will be, okay. I am fortunate enough to not have to worry about losing the house, and generous parents who will make sure I can pay for my medication (retail price - ouch), and won't let me or the critters go hungry. That's a whole lot more than most people in my position have, and I am acutely aware and extremely grateful for it.