A Lizard Tale

Last night there was a lizard in my sink.

I don’t mind lizards at all. They’re cute and they eat bugs. What more could a girl ask?

When I was trying to catch him to bring him outside I made the mistake of picking him up by the tail.

Which came off in my hand.

And kept moving on it’s own.

That was kinda creepy.

I caught the lizard and brought him safely outside.

When I came back inside the tail was still in my sink.  And still moving.

His tail ended up in my garbage.

I didn’t check this am to see if it was still moving.

The Five Things Meme

I was tagged by Good Fountain to do a meme. I love memes because they help me out when I’m blocked. So now you know that today I can’t think of a darn thing I want to write. 🙂

Five things found in your bag:

  1. A picture of Son.
  2. My three small wallets (one holds money, the credit cards I use most and my insurance cards, one holds the rest of my credit cards and one holds discount and gift cards). Hey, it works for me.
  3. Purell.
  4. Halls Sugar Free Cough Drops.
  5. Colonoscopy Preparation instructions. Aren’t I lucky?

Okay, technically that’s seven things, but whatever.

Five favorite things found in your room:

  1. My grandmother’s antique bedroom set. I love it, even thoguh the drawers stick and it’s a bit banged up. When Husband moved in he couldn’t sleep in Grandma’s double bed, so it lives beneath the king bed we bought together.
  2. My dog Jonah. He, or rather his ashes, reside in a box on my bookcase. I know it’s morbid, but I loved him so very much that when I go I want us to be buried (or have our ashes spread) together.
  3. My parents’ wedding album. Even though they only stayed married for ten years it has pictures of them when they were young, and pictures of their parents, siblings, cousins, etc.
  4. Bunny and Cubby. They are the only two toys from my childhood that survived the maybe-she’s-allergic-to-stuffed-animals purge that preceded my tonsillectomy four days before my seventh birthday. Bunny was my first toy and my Mom let me keep it. Cubby was my first post-tonsillectomy stuffed animal/birthday present (no party for me that year), and I remember clearly going to the ToysRUs and buying it. Bunny and Cubby sit next to Jonah on the bookcase.
  5. Husband.

Five things you have always wanted to do:

  1. A cartwheel. Couldn’t do one to save my life. Being able to do anything athletic well would do.
  2. Have an artistic talent. I’d like to be able to bring on goosebumps when I sing, but in a good way for a change. I’d like to draw something recognizable or sculpt something that doesn’t look like a lump.
  3. Be able to eat anything I want without having to worry about my weight.
  4. Visit Siberia. I’ve wanted to ever since reading The Endless Steppe as a child. Seriously.
  5. Meet Helen Keller.

Five things you are currently into:

  1. Playing with Son. He is currently very into driving his trains into his trucks and cars. And so am I.
  2. Packing my Dad’s house.
  3. Rummikub.
  4. Blogging.
  5. Fuzzy socks.

Five people you’d like to tag:

I think perhaps I have tagged some of these friends before but, hey, what can I say, my circle is not that big.

  1. My friend Patty
  2. Mrs. Micah
  3. This Wasn’t In The Plan
  4. Frugal Babe
  5. Twist & Skewer

Free Yourself

Last night was the first night of Passover, the Jewish holiday where we celebrate the exodus of the Jews from Egypt and their freedom from slavery.

As I was sitting at our Seder last night I started thinking about slavery and its many forms. There’s the type of slavery that the Jews experienced in Egypt and that African Americans experienced right here in the USA. Insidious and heinous, these types of slavery are not choices, not voluntary. The slaves had little or no control over their lives. A horrible way to live…

Then I started thinking about other types of slavery. Slavery to a job or career. Slavery to debt, or weight, or fashion. Slavery to keeping up with the Joneses, or philately, or being right. Slavery to perfectionism, or isolation or caffeine.

These types of slavery are different because we’re slaves by choice. We started it. Only we can take back the control we’ve always had and choose to make better, healthier choices.

There’s a difference between enjoying something and being a slave to it.

Is there anything you’re a slave to? Well, this is Passover. Whether you’re Jewish or not you can still choose to be free from something that has control over you. Free from this moment on. Make your own emancipation proclamation.

Free yourself today. I am.

Husband Had a Date With Another Woman, And I’m Worried

But not about the date.

Tonight Husband had a date. Her name is J, and she was just laid off from the company where Husband works. She’s a nice girl, and Husband is very concerned about her (going through a divorce with two young kids) and the company he works for.

Husband’s company has laid off about a third of its workforce in the past eight months. That would be surprising, but not when we’re in the middle of a real estate slowdown of epic proportions and you happen to be an advertising agency whose specialty is real estate. Management is swimming upstream in floaties trying to secure new, more diverse accounts, and throwing off baggage left and right, including baggage they need to keep afloat.

So, I’m worried about the viability of this company.

I’m worried because Husband makes 25% more working for this agency, who is well aware of his special qualifications, than he would be for a new company not used to paying his current salary to someone in his position.

I’m worried because Husband has Diabetes and Son has asthma and we’ll be paying thousands a month in COBRA until he gets past his probation period with any new company.

I’m worried because we want to move but can’t sell our house.

I’m worried that he’ll get a job in another state and we’ll be separated until the house sells.

I’m worried that he’ll have to take a job at too-low pay doing something that will leave him unfulfilled and frustrated.

I’m worried he won’t find a job at all.

I’m worried that I’ll have to go back to work.

I’m worried about depleting our very comforting and healthy savings balance.

What I’m not worried about is Husband spending time with another woman.

What I know is that we’ll make the best of whatever comes our way, even as I’m worrying.

Why I Should Not Watch the News

I’m generally a light-hearted person. I find humor in most things, and thank goodness for that. I used to have a slight fascination with the macabre, but since becoming a Mom even benign troubles can make me teary, or irate, or send me much deeper into introspection than, oh, 99% of the population. At least I hope that’s true, for the population’s sake.

That’s why I should really never watch the news. When I do, instead of

this: I’ve Finally Found the Line,

this: Using My Frugality Against Me, and

this: Death By Chocolate

you get to be on the receiving end of

this: A Miracle For One Family, Heartache For Others,

this: Is Your Decision Not to Vaccinate Your Child More Important Than the Population’s Health at Large?, and

this: Will the Real Baby Daddy Please Swab Up.

Oy.

I think I’ll avoid watching this week.

You can thank me later.

And whoever sent me the Prozac article, thanks but no thanks.

I’ve Finally Found the Line

What line, you ask?

My frugality line. The line that I will not cross to save money, or the environment, or whatever.

There’s lots of things I will do to save money. I’ll clip coupons. I’ll shop the sale racks. I’ll lather and rinse without repeating.

I’ll re-gift, I’ll make dinner by the ambient light from another room, I’ll let my roots get too long before a touch-up.

I’ll wait to call until after 9pm, re-use gift bows and the occasional ziplock bag.

I’ll even take perfectly good, usable things other people leave for the garbage truck. Once a neighbor left two very expensive baby play yards for the garbage man. I sold them on Craigslist and made $120.

What I will not do, under any circumstances, is take food someone else has thrown away and eat it. Blech.

I don’t care if it’s something as innocuous as cereal, in a still-sealed box. If food has been deemed garbage by someone else I will defer to their expertise. I will leave that to Seinfeld’s George (remember the eclair sitting on top of his host’s garbage?) and to the Freegans, whose penchant for dumpster cuisine I discovered by reading Savvy Frugality‘s post Extreme Frugality: Freegans.

Husband, who has often wondered where the line stood, is much relieved.

Perfect Day at the Beach

I am not one to sit for hours in the hot sun on a crowded beach. I grew up in New Jersey and spent lots of time at the beach, but once childhood passed I’d be bored stiff whenever I joined my friends for a day of tanning (or burning, as fate and my fair skin dictated). I’ve lived in Florida for twenty-five years and I doubt I’ve been to the beach on a typical beach day ten times.

But invite me to the beach at night, or on a windy, overcast or cold day and I’m there in a heartbeat. I love it. I love the solitude, the roaring surf, the endless sky. I love how connected to the earth, and to G-d I feel. I love that it seems like I’m sharing a special secret with whomever I’m with, even if I’m alone.

Today was a perfect beach day, at least to me. I knew the weather would keep the crowds away. Son and I arrived and found a parking place easily. The sky was mostly overcast, and the winds were blowing pretty strongly. The surfers were in their glory, enjoying the windy day’s rougher seas.

Son and I walked, and played in the sand, and climbed on the rocks. We saw birds and jellyfish and lifeguards. We ate sand (three-year-olds like to throw it, don’t you know) and held hands and buried each other’s feet.

What could be more perfect that that?

And So The Next Phase Begins

My father just bought a condo on the ocean.

It’s been just eight months since my stepmother passed away, and he’s not been having an easy time. They’d been married thirty-five years, spending twenty-nine of them in a rambling five bedroom house in the suburbs. The last of us left the nest over fifteen years ago, yet they stayed in a home that was way too big just so there would be room for all of us to visit at the same time.

Now he’s there alone, and the motivation to keep the house has waned. He’s trying to have a social life again, but there’s just not much for him there in his family-oriented community. He drives down to see a friend of his who lives on the beach, and there are restaurants and piano bars and a whole other lifestyle that perfectly fits his vision for his life now.

So, he went and looked. Even though the experts say not to make any major decisions the first year after losing your spouse. And he bought the first one he looked at. After all, why look further when you’ve found the perfect place for you?

We think it’s a terrific decision. With three bedrooms we can’t all stay there at the same time, at least without sleeping bags. But three of five kids live within a 45 minute drive, so we’ll let the out-of-towners stay there, which is really no different than before.

He told me today that he had a rough night last night, thinking about all of the changes that are to come. Feeling grief and sadness that his wife won’t be sharing these things with them. Reliving memories of their time in the house, feeling reluctance to let it go.

But today he’s excited. Excited to start the next phase of his life, to make new memories with us, and with new people he’s yet to meet.

He was able to finagle a fifteen minute showing today so that I could see it, and so we could take some pictures and some measurements.

Excited is good.  Moving forward is good.  The new condo on the beach?  Very, very good.

I May Be Smart, But I Sure Am Dumb

Some epiphanies are wonderful. They can be freeing, inspirational and life-changing, all in good ways.

Others just show you how fricking dumb you are.

Case in point: A few weeks ago I reconnected with a Guy with whom I had an on-again off-again relationship that lasted over ten years. I really, really cared about him, and we were pretty close, but we were wrong for each other in many ways. None of which I cared about at the time, of course. Ahhh, youth. To be brutally honest, he loved me but wasn’t in love with me.

Ouch.

We’d been close friends before we got together, and remained so throughout the years. We’d met in college, and shared a group of friends who are to this day my best friends. Husband knew him and they were friendly, but not close, and at the time Husband and I were years away from getting together. When Guy and I broke up for the last time (circa 1993) he started seeing a woman who he is still seeing today, fifteen years later. When she realized that he and I had a history it made her uncomfortable, and I was uncomfortable but braving it out, and he was really uncomfortable. He started pulling away from the group, the visits becoming more and more sporadic. Eventually about six years ago he stopped seeing us at all. He stopped calling completely about four years ago, and the last attempt at connection was the birth announcement I sent after Son was born, to which there was no reply.

We got the message. Given that I was now happily married and busy with my son he wasn’t even close to foremost in my thoughts, but occasionally I would think about him and wonder how he was. Then, a few weeks ago, I was doing a search for something and ran across a site that helped you find people, and they listed known associates and businesses and lots of cool, readily available information about people. I looked up myself, my friends, my family, high school people, my old boss and, eventually, that Guy. It listed a business that he had apparently opened, so I sent him an e-mail.

Mind you, Husband is the least jealous person I’ve ever known, but still I told him I’d found Guy, and was going to send him an e-mail. He told me to go for it, as I knew he would. Minutes later Guy and I were chatting, catching up on each other’s lives. Clearing up the misunderstandings that had kept him away.

We’ve seen each other a few times since. He tells me that when he told his girlfriend that I’d contacted him and was now married and had a child, she said, “Great! Let’s all get together for dinner!”. We haven’t yet, but I know we will. He’s the friend I mentioned yesterday who asked us to design a new website for his business. Last weekend I hosted a dinner party with Guy (girlfriend was out of town) and the closest of our mutual friends, and it was wonderful. As if no time had passed since we’d all been together.

As we chatted through dinner and beyond, one thing became apparent that I’d never noticed before….

Their favorite show (Stargate)…their politics…their conspiracy-theory brotherhood. Their slight paranoia…their passion…their cynicism…

Uh oh.

And as it was dawning on me during a particularly spirited exchange between Husband and Guy I looked over at our friend I’ll call Godfather (of Son, not of Pacino) and he was grinning at me.

Oh.

My.

G-d.

“Yes, ” Godfather said.

“I never, ever noticed before,” I said, my hands pressed against my face.

“Yes,” Godfather said.

“They’re so much alike!” I say.

Yes, indeed,” agreed Godfather.

I just put my hands over my face and tried to turn off my brain. Since that night I’ve thought about it some, and mostly hoped that sometime really soon I’ll find it completely amusing. Which it is.

Then, tonight, Guy called. After the usual chatter and discussion of the dinner party wound down, he said to me, “There’s something I noticed that night. My gosh, Husband is just like me!”

Yes, indeed.

Freud anyone?

I love Husband. And yes, there are similarities. But the life and the feelings and the commitment that Husband and I share is far deeper and means far more to me than any relationship I’ve ever had before. By about a brazilian (does anyone else love that joke as much as I do?) miles. Guy is my past. Husband is my past, my present and my future.

So, we’ll stay in contact now, because good friends are good to have.

I just don’t want to know what else I’ve been so dumb about.

Three Cheers for the Sadistic Killer!

A few years ago I read a book, Darkly Dreaming Dexter, about a serial killer who only kills other killers. His foster father had discovered his proclivity for taking life, and instead of turning him in or getting him treated, he trained him to kill only those who are so depraved they don’t deserve to live. He’s a sadistic killer with a bad childhood, and he is so devoid of feeling he fakes every social interaction. A perfect solution to so many nasty little problems, no? So, he was an antagonistic protagonist, sort of.

I find myself fascinated with this character. He forces me to challenge my own beliefs about what’s right and what’s wrong.
What’s moral and just? How does this sit in the biblical context of an eye for an eye?   I feel empathy for his bad childhood, and he really seems to want to do as his foster father asked and kill no innocents. But still it bothers me that a stone cold killer is the supposed good guy, on our side. We can’t cheer him on as he’s cutting a child molester to pieces! Or can we?

On one hand, what a great way to bypass a little thing called due process. On the other hand, am I really going to cry if nasty people who know how to manipulate the system are exterminated?  But even the roaches I loathe aren’t killed by the exterminator by being chopped up in little pieces (though I really don’t know any exterminators so I can’t really say that with any degree of certainty).  And does it really matter if the extermination is humane?  Dead is dead.   And then, of course, I start thinking about the death penalty and, well, now you have a little glimpse into how my mind works.

Like many books I’ve read in my lifetime it’s stayed with me, and every once in awhile I’ll think about it, ponder the issues it ignites, and put it away. I like it that way. I wonder if other people are as disturbed as I am, and I argue each side. My own private little debates, most of which have no resolution.

My private little debate is going public, though. Why? Because they’ve created a television series based on the character, Dexter. It’s disturbing and powerful and pushes many envelopes. But will it start a dialogue similar to my own inner debates?

It makes me wonder what everyone thinks of this book, this show, this “solution”.

What say you?

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