recenta la carte - 2006-11-14
my prayer - 2006-10-22
Dipshit adieu - 2006-10-17
all sewn up now - 2006-10-14
fix-a-flat - 2006-10-13
more to love
Bluebeard's wife 2006-08-24 - 12:11 a.m.
I think I might actually have a screw loose.
Been thinking about all the important books I've never read. The truth is (and I'm ashamed to admit it) I've read almost nothing.
I should be reading books instead of trying to meet someone new. I'm not supposed to be trying. I know I'm not supposed to. My therapist begged me not to start dating for a few months yet. But I just wanted to look. Like Bluebeard's wife, you know? I just wanted to see who was available, that's all. And in order to do that, I had to stick my head out of the hole I'm in, and now someone has asked me out, and I don't know what I'm going to do about it. Hmm.
I was thinking maybe I could agree to hang out, as long as it wasn't a "date." What do you think? Can I be trusted? I'm very skittish. The whole idea makes me sort of want to puke. But I'm also scared to back out, because I did stick my head out of the goddamn hole in the first place. Oh, AB, you're such a ding dong.
nobody here but us chickens 2006-08-21 - 11:44 p.m.
Today has been a very long and very bad day. I'm not sure I have the energy to go into it, except to pose a rhetorical question. Which do you think would be worse for a child? To find amateur p*rn on your home computer, or to find amateur p*rn on your home computer starring your very own paterfamilias?
Oh, don't worry; none of the kids found it (at least, not as far as I know.) No, it was just me. But it was there waiting for them all the time. I wasn't looking for anything creepy; I was looking for an icon to use on a new account I made. I was going through all these image files as quickly as I could, ignoring the video files, because almost all of them were made by the kids and they're all blurry and dark. But then I looked at one of them, and looked again, and I was like, What the hell is that? Looks like somebody's ass. It's true--I'm never so stupid as when I'm about to be hit in the head with a fucking frying pan. Anyway, anyway, long story short. Later that same day, which was today, of course, the never-ending day, Duff wakes me up from a lovely nap to ask me whether I've been messing around on "his side" of the computer. Yeah, I told him, I found more of your p*rn on MY SIDE so I went to your side and marked the files Hidden so the kids wouldn't find them. Naturally, he was relieved. He was afraid I might have "done something" with them that would compromise him in some way, which was certainly what I intended to do, though I didn't exactly have time (because my hands were shaking badly and I felt like I had been stabbed in the guts and also, I was afraid I was going to vomit). Well, I let him know what I thought of him, and especially that I think he is disturbed for ever putting that on the family computer in the first goddamn place, and he insisted that he THOUGHT they had been deleted, and he never meant for them to show up again, and he never meant to hurt me. Doesn't it just break your heart?
But then, when he was leaving, taking the girls with him because it's "his night," he casually mentioned, over his shoulder, on the way out the door, what he "had" to change my Gmail password to, so that he could rummage through my account to see if I had mailed the video files to anyone. That's when I blew my stack.
I mean, I know it must sound absurd. I found his personal p*rn on the computer, with him and his homewrecker girlfriend calling herself "Mrs. Kraken" over and over again (the name that should by rights be mine, except he never allowed me the option), but I only really lost my mind when he said he ransacked my Gmail? But you have to understand that I really was trying to keep it together, and this exceeded the limits of my endurance. I just so much want out of his steaming shit-swamp for good and here he is, throwing piles of swamp-shit in my face (through his utter ineptitude, at least, which he thinks ought to excuse the whole episode), and then, on top of everything else, he ransacks the one pathetic little private place I have in the name of self-preservation. Can you even breathe for the irony?
But what did I do next? That's what I'm supposed to be telling you. I told him I didn't want him to take the girls with him because I don't trust him. I also told him I hated his guts about three hundred times. But mostly I just wanted my girls to stay the night with me instead of him. It's not as if he has a court order to keep them; we just made an arrangement. I ordered Felony to come to me and she did, and then he made a comment cryptically threatening me that if I didn't stop making a scene, he was going to take the kids away from me. "That's your Dad's way of threatening to take you away from me," I explained to Felony. I know it was wrong, but that's what I said. But I let Felony go because, as he knows, that is my greatest fear. He sent both the girls outside to the car (Jinx was still sleeping upstairs.) And I said, fine, take everything, you're going to get everything anyway. Take the kids, take everything. It's yours. Then I screamed at him to get out, just get out, get out, get out, but he wouldn't move, so I shoved him and I hit him in the head, but he wouldn't leave, and it felt like he had already won and there was nothing left for me. Nothing. I don't remember what I said then, but I think I offered to help him in his quest for worldwide domination, and I grabbed a knife out of the knife block in the kitchen (which had been inches away from me throughout this exchange).
It was a very dramatic gesture, but that's all it was. I regret doing it only because it allowed Duff to feel heroic as he smashed the living shit out of my hand, slamming it into the refrigerator door over and over and over again, with all his adrenaline-fueled strength, trying to make me drop the stupid knife. It was a fucking bread knife, for Christ's sake. I couldn't even have cut myself with it if I had wanted to, which I didn't! So now my hand is swollen black and blue, and Duff is feeling even BETTER about himself, I now learn (I called his house later to apologize to the girls), because on the way home, he called my therapist AND some "crisis hot line" to discuss whether or not he ought to have me committed. Wasn't that thoughtful? And in the end, he opted not to. Wow, he's such a magnanimous guy. As long as he's in charge, I'm sure everything will turn out just fine.
ugly 2006-08-15 - 1:43 a.m.
I can't bear the way I look these days. It's one thing to be fat, which is objectionable enough, but I am fatter than ever and on top of that I look old, too, and my teeth look terrible. Ugh. There's this weird little sac under my left eyelid that makes my eye look puffy all the time. My hair is too long, there's a lot of gray around my face, and it's gotten thinner on top, so I look like I'm going fucking BALD. Generally speaking, my head looks like a giant ham. Ack!! I'll never be a beauty queen but I think it's time I roll it into Earl Scheib. This just won't do. But I know it's a long-term project. Hell, I'm not even sure it can be done. But surely I don't have to be this fucking ugly. Surely not.
call of the wild 2006-08-13 - 2:27 p.m.
OK, my darlings, I want to make a banner ad for this diary. But I need a little ideational help. I don't really know what the appeal is, or might be, for a reader. So answer me this, if you're willing: Suppose you had to quickly catalog this diary for descriptive purposes. What are the first three to five descriptors that come to mind? Keywords are fine. I just need some sort of springboard. Thank you thank you thank you.
in praise of my mental health professional 2006-08-11 - 5:50 p.m.
Dr. Wheat is worth his weight in Goo-Goo Clusters. (Try saying that five times fast.) I just wish he wouldn't take so many damn vacations when I'm experiencing emotional turbulence. I can't tell you everything he said, though I'm longing to, because I promised I wouldn't. But one thing he said that I can share is this: "Talk to your friends. You have good friends."
voltar 2006-08-10 - 3:51 p.m.
OK, so I have five favorite diaries listed. One of them is mine, so call it four. TWO of the four are now password-protected and I can't read them--I'm locked out! I'm trying not to take it too personally, but it begins to feel personal.
As of today, the kids are all signed up to attend regular public school. The head of the charter school denied my Shakespeare class proposal with much hand-wringing and then wrote imploring me to sign the kids' withdrawal papers ASAP and turn in all materials belonging to the school, ASAP, as if I were an immediate flight risk. I'm trying not to take it too personally, but it begins to feel personal.
Driving Duff to the carpool for the thousandth time, I was saying that he will have more responsibility for the kids, because I am fading away.
"Dang Voltar!" he said, with feeling, because he saw the electrician's truck turn the corner, and he doesn't like the electrician because he didn't complete a job properly eight years ago. He didn't really have anything to say about my thing, and he didn't mean for it to seem as if he wasn't interested, exactly, it was just that Voltar was there and ... you know.
I'm trying not to take it too personally, but it begins to feel personal.
devil's advocate 2006-08-10 - 11:50 a.m.
What if I have it all wrong? Maybe I'm taking everything too personally. I was reading another diary, a sexually explicit diary (that's your only warning), and it was a real eye-opener, let me tell you. Why can't I reconcile myself to a lifetime as Duff's "default cum bucket"? Isn't it just vanity, pride, and too many iterations of "'M' is for the million things she gave me" that leads me to think I couldn't bear the disgrace? Maybe it wouldn't feel so disgraceful if I didn't make it into such a big deal (or tell everybody, for that matter).
What if I can't find another man willing to indulge my fantasies of being enough. Now that my sex drive is up and running again, it's hard to get excited about celibacy. Am I biting off my nose to spite my face? (Eww--there's a sexual metaphor of sorts, for those with a strong stomach.)
What's for sure, what is not up for debate, is that I am in some serious pain right now, and I would do just about anything to make it stop. Even if that might not be the best course. I am seriously fucked up here. Whatever it is that loves life, and participates in it, is seeping out of me, and I feel myself withdrawing. I get Cate Blanchett on a tape loop in my head, saying, "I shall diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel." But I need to go East; I can't go West without drowning.
full moon, half crazy 2006-08-09 - 1:36 a.m.
I must have been having another bad dream. All I know is that one minute, I was asleep, and the next, I was struggling to breathe. Surely the cause was prosaic--something to do with my windpipe and a gobbet of drool, spit, or phlegm--but it felt as if the devil himself had his hands around my throat. Immediately, full panic: veins flooded with andrenaline, heart screaming (that's what it seems like, anyway) and thrashing around like a horse being beaten. All the while the voice in my head was reminding me that not much earlier, I had been contemplating death and dying, perhaps a tad too theoretically, and now it was pointing out that this might very well be the way it feels when I'm dying; not benign and peaceful at all. Talk about your fucking wake-up calls.
That was last night.
This morning early, after Duff dropped the kids off, I had to drive him to the casual carpool spot. When I got back home, there was a sheriff's car and a locksmith's van parked in front of my neighbors' house. The drug-dealing neighbors. I figured the man standing in the front walkway with his arms crossed must be the owner. I've got so many stressors in my life right now that they might as well be iron life preservers stacked up on my neck. But when I saw this bittersweet domestic tableau unfolding, one of the iron rings lifted up and floated away. I'm not sure I realized how much that situation was bothering me, but it was really bothering me! So many hoodlums coming and going, right next door, and my three precious angels laughing and playing here--it just felt dangerous and scary. So here's a little snarky career advice for you young people out there. No matter what profession you choose, but especially if you decide to become a drug dealer--when the money comes in, you've got to pay the rent first. It's just that simple.
Right now I've got Sammi Smith's Help Me Make It Through the Night running through my head, and you can make of that what you will. Scold me if you wish, but I don't plan to feel guilt or self-loathing about it later. It doesn't change anything. And it's better than a sleeping pill.
chicken tenders 2006-08-07 - 11:26 p.m.
I'm sorry. Broken record here. What a relief it would be, I imagine, to find me going on about something new. But no. Same old story. The banality of it offends me deeply, that is, when I can raise my head up high enough off the table to take it in. Tonight it is not so easy to raise my head.
So, we know that there's no hope for it. I don't wish to deny it. It's all gone wrong and there's no fixing it. But there's a time constraint working against me, to wit: it's only been a couple of weeks, and despite our all best efforts, I still haven't managed to fall out of love with him entirely. Every time he drops me off, or I drop him off, or we part in one way or another, my heart flops around in my chest like a fish in a bucket. It is seriously fucked up. And I feel as if I'm supposed to hate him all the time, because he really does deserve it, so I'm always blindsided by these other feelings. The chicken tenders.
On a lighter note, I think la-the-sage and I should start a Crazy Ex-Wives Club. We can have a PHB (psycho hose beast) auxiliary, too, for women who never got around to marrying their prey.
can I get a witness? 2006-08-07 - 1:43 a.m.
It's true that Duff has his own apartment now, but we are still bound together by a single car, which forces us to share odd clumps of time. This morning he was here, in between refereeing the soccer jamboree, to pick us all up so I could work on my sections at the library. In the shower, where I do most of my deep thinking, I returned to the subject of What He Thinks. It is hard for me to keep a tight grasp on much of anything these days, especially What He Thinks (as distinct from What I Think He Thinks). So when I went upstairs I asked him. Not because I needed an answer; I know the answers, more or less, but I wanted to find out if he interprets what is happening to us all in the same way I do. He's so busy goosestepping over all the important parts that I can't quite tell if he even gets it at all. So I asked.
"Why is our family breaking apart?"
Naturally he was wary, and I had to explain my motives, because he thought it was a trick question.
"Well," he said slowly, his eyes locked on mine as if I were some sort of dangerous animal, "because there doesn't seem to be any other way."
That wasn't nearly enough for me. "Why? What do you mean?"
"I mean, what I would like, my ideal situation, it won't work."
I waited for him to elaborate, but he didn't, so I continued. "Your ideal being that you live here with us, but fuck someone else on the side whenever you feel like it?"
At that point, Jinx wandered into the room. My children have no great concept of boundaries, because--it seems absurd to say it now--we never really had a lot of secrets we needed to hide from them. Duff reiterated that this really wasn't a good time for a long discussion, and I said he never seems to have time for any sort of discussion, long or short, and he agreed and started moving toward the door. It seemed as if he were running out of the room, running away from my questions, but I think it's me who has the most to fear from what he says. Sooner or later, if I keep digging, it's going to come down to some failure of mine, some inadequacy. Right? I could bring up my own disappointments, sure, but it would sound like sour grapes. What does he care if I've been sexually disappointed by him? If he never cared before, he certainly doesn't need to care now. He's got a silicone Sally riding shotgun at the Sheraton, by God. I'd bet a thousand dollars she fakes. So he doesn't need my approval.
Just one more question for today, I begged. Just one more.
"So you're saying you would be okay with having an open marriage?"
"Well, sort of; it's somewhat complicated, but yes, we can certainly discuss that possibility if you like, at another time." Spoken like a bank teller explaining the Christmas Club policy. That he even said it demonstrates how much planetary interference he must be experiencing at the moment. Anybody who knows me well enough to send me joke spam can tell you that there is no fucking way I am ever going to have an open marriage with anybody, ever, ever ever ever, not knowingly, not for one fucking minute, and I have never made that anything less than crystal clear. But since he was playing dumb, or being dumb, I played along.
I was following him downstairs. We were almost at the front door. The children were buzzing around us. I leaned in and whispered conspiratorially: "So you're saying you would be okay with me sleeping with other men, while we all lived here together as a family?" Though I was trying very hard to seem nonchalant, I was amazed that I had to wrestle with some superstitious part of my brain just to be able to say the words out loud, because the concept offends me so deeply.
"Well," he squirmed, "no." A-ha, it seems there is a limit to his debauchery. Notice where that limit happens to fall. "That's the complicated part."
I didn't even bother to offer an analysis. I just said, "You know, I studied the 'Free Love' movement. Did you know that?" I really did. Wrote a paper about it for my History of Sexuality class.
"No," he said, trying to sound interested while rushing to the car, "I don't remember anything about that." Nor do I think he had the slightest idea what I was talking about.
"It never worked. It was a complete failure. It never worked for anybody."
"Hunh," he said. He probably thought I was just a wet blanket. I'm such a party pooper. No fun at all. And then the kids were piling into the car. When we got to the soccer field, I asked him if he would come with me, one more time, to talk with Dr. Wheat, even though I already told him the other day that I never wanted to sit through another therapy session with him again, because all he did when we were there was lie, lie, lie. He said he would, and I made him promise to tell the truth this time. (As if such a promise, coming from him, could be worth the air it wafted by on.) Understand that it isn't as if I need him there to work through anything important. I just want Dr. Wheat to hear this garbage direct from the horse's mouth. I just want a witness, you know?
It seems strange, at these moments, to think that you could have been so thoroughly fooled. Here you think you've been living with the same person all along, but it isn't true. At some point, Duff's body was taken over by an alien life form, and I didn't notice. How could I have missed the signs? The preoccupation with his own mucous membranes, the strange, high-pitched clicking noises? Who is this fucker and why, oh why, did I ever have children with him?
But I can't regret the children; my precious, half-alien children. Lois Lane would be jealous of my children. I just wish their Dad were more like Superman and less like himself. As angry as I am about all this, I can't help but feel sorry for him. Whatever respect I once had for him--and it was there, once--it's almost gone, and much of that replaced by pity. He seems skittish, pathetic, and utterly self-absorbed; lacking character, honor, and integrity. Those are big words, and I don't throw them out lightly. He talks almost constantly when we're together, mindlessly, about stupid shit, because he's afraid of substantive discussion. He doesn't want to hear anything negative, such as the truth. He talked like that before, too--he's always been blithe--but it's almost manic now. He seems happy enough, though, and it's possible he'll never be particularly sad or remorseful about any of this. Maybe it will never occur to him, what he gave up. Maybe he'll get tired of this part-time lover business someday and settle down with some other woman, and have something more like a real life again. Who knows? There are plenty of lady fish in the sea, enhanced and otherwise. But he'll never find anyone else like me. And I'll get to be the "crazy" ex-wife. Isn't that right? Aren't almost all the ex-wives crazy? That's what all the ex-husbands say. I've heard it a hundred times, at least. I heard someone say it earlier today.
V is for Vendetta 2006-08-06 - 1:19 a.m.
Had great fun tonight meeting an old friend I'd never met. She is the former justvisiting, now buzzgirl, and I am going to start calling her Vendetta for reasons that only she will understand (and it's not because she's particularly vengeful; at least not as far as I know). I hope this doesn't piss her off. I hope she realizes that it's an exceedingly cool name and anyway, nicknames are a sign of affection. Right?
Vendetta and I saw Little Miss Sunshine tonight and I'm not sure she could have picked a better movie for me. It really validated (ooh, another V-word!) my feelings about the sacredness of families, even (especially) imperfect ones. It was also really fucking funny. And I don't think there was anything to this, but the cute guy sitting on the other side of Vendetta kept looking over at me during the previews, I know not why, and then he spoke to me after the movie (not just the part about having to go to the bathroom, V., there was more). He could have thought I was his second-grade teacher, for all I know, but there was something quietly thrilling about it, like having a kid hand you the phone while saying, "It's a man."
better off 2006-08-03 - 11:09 p.m.
To tell you the truth, friends, I feel like giving up. I don't think I will, because I've always promised myself I wouldn't do that, but god damn, god damn, it's been bad the last few days. Today, the kids were telling me about this woman they saw on television who needed emergency surgery after a hurricane because she had a tree branch stuck in her neck. And I'm thinking to myself: See, you feel sorry for yourself, but that lady has a tree branch stuck in her neck. If you were her, you'd be desperate to save your own life. Desperate! But me, with nothing but the banality of a cheating husband to show for my pain, I'm ready to call it quits. How can I justify this indifference to life? I can't. And I was never more aware of my weakness with philosophy and logic than when I came to the airtight conclusion that I would be better off with a tree branch stuck in my neck.
People tell me I can call them if I want to talk. But when I feel like this, the last thing I want to do is talk to anybody. At least not about what's hurting me. I'd prefer to be alone, wandering around the house, banging into furniture, insensible. Inappropriate thoughts blink on and off like fireflies. When it is necessary, I can crank up the funhouse persona but it really actually feels like that, like turning a crank and letting "her" rattle on for a while. And then afterward I get more downhearted than before and sometimes I get sick to my stomach. I crave the end of the day, when I get to shut down the carnival, but it turns out night is the worst time of all. This is when I scare myself. Sweet Jesus, something's got to give.