What was I thinking?

Monday, October 03, 2005

What a beautiful fall day! Some of the trees have started to change (although most remain green with leaves just falling off) and the sun was beautifully brilliant this morning. It's the time of the year when each morning there's a heavy dew on the vehicles that causes a lot of glare in the sun until the windshield gets warmed up. You either have to turn on the heated defrosters or let the vehicle sit in the sun before you drive it. Either way, the windshield MUST be cleared off or you just can't see.

Driving in to work today in that brilliant sun, with the colors of fall beginning to emerge was beautiful. It's sad, too. Another all-too-short summer season gone. The gardens are starting to look a bit tired, but the mums are brilliantly blooming enough to give them some color still. The cats are shedding their summer fur, preparing for the colder weather. The squirrels and chipmunks are furiously collecting food for their winter stores. Pumpkins can be seen in the farm fields. Seasonal items are displayed in the stores for both Halloween and Christmas. People are starting their Christmas shopping. This time of year always makes me melancholy.

I had a hard time turning 50. I think that the hardest part for me was the sudden realization that there are probably fewer days ahead of me than behind me. I feel like I wasted part of my life, hiding behind my perception of being a good mother and doing all for my children, at the expense of my own happiness. I'd do it again, don't get me wrong, but I sometimes find myself watching Lisa (when she doesn't catch me staring at her) and thinking to myself "If only we'd had more time, sooner." I've expressed this often to her, and while she agrees that she would have liked to have gotten together sooner, she's practical enough to understand that we had to journey through our lives exactly as we did in order to arrive at where we are.

Lisa's former partner was in my reserve unit. I've known them both since 1989, and they lived in the same apartment complex I lived in. In 1991, when our unit was mobilized for Desert Storm, I was sent home after three weeks (I have MS, supposedly) and Lisa helped me unpack my apartment that I had painstakingly packed up before we left. I felt the attraction to her then, but that was a point in my life when I was still stuffing that size 16 problem into that size 8 niche in my psyche. Lisa and her partner "ended" after a 5 year relationship, but she remained in the same household with her, becoming "roommates." The former partner denied the relationship, even to Lisa's face.

I moved in 1991 and we lost touch for a while.

Me? I finally let that oversized issue break free of it's too-small storage bin about 6 years ago. I "met" a woman on the web, a married woman. We lived on opposite coasts, but carried on a very passionate affair, off and on, for about two years. I compromised every single value I'd set in place throughout my life, and had an adulterous affair with someone who, it turned out, only set out to play games with me for her own gratification. I was on the downhill slide of that relationship when Lisa came back into my life.

I worried constantly about what I was doing with Lisa. I thought I still had feelings for the married woman, but then again I had this huge longing for Lisa. What was fortunate for me was that Lisa patiently waited, listened to my problems with that other woman and, even though I was sleeping with Lisa and still carrying on with that other toxic relationship, she remained silent about it. She knew it had to run its course my way, in my time. And it did just that.

And so we learned something about ourselves through these really bad relationships and we've come to realize that we had to have those toxic relationships in order to value the one we have with each other. We share a lot. We laugh a lot. We love a lot.

I worry that I'm making her older than her years (she's 12 years my junior). I worry about what kind of place she'll be in after I'm gone -- will she be able to keep the house, will the kids fight her for what should be considered rightfully hers?

We're lucky we live in New York State. My Civil Service retirement system is mandatory and, about a year or so ago, the guy who administers the plan announced that same sex spouses will be treated no differently than opposite sex spouses when it comes to the state retirement benefits. I think my lawsuit my help provide for her in other ways, assuming the college is forced to recognize the marriage.


We didn't get any grass mowed this weekend. Saturday we went to the Home Depot (Lisa calls it the "Frederick's of Hollywood for dykes") because she wanted to buy a tire chuck to go with her new compressor. I'd asked her to ensure the tires on my bike were inflated properly before we put it on the trainer for the winter. Joe had given her a gift card to the Home Depot and it seemed to be burning a hole in her pocket. Rather than let her go unsupervised (she's as bad there as I am at the Garden Factory), I accompanied her. I got to looking at a Rubbermaid storage cabinet that I thought would be perfect in her "workshop" in the back of the garage. There's a roof leak back there that we can't seem to find the origins of, so I worry a lot about her power tools. This Rubbermaid cabinet would be a perfect place to store them, and it would give her a ton of room on the countertop back there. When she realized I was serious when I said "Let's get this," she was psyched. That's one of the things I love so dearly about her -- there's this childlike glee that shows on her face when a situation like this arises.

So, we went home, assembled the cabinet in our newly cleaned garage, cleared out all the crap from her workshop, and began cleaning the area out. Now, all of her power tools are neatly stored in the cabinet, her hand tools hanging off the pegboard above the workshop counter, the floor swept, and all kinds of room for her to move around in. Once winter sets in and she commences to putzin' and futzin' out there, she's going to have a ball. And, now that she's learning woodworking, it gives her a place to work.

Yesterday morning, at 9:00 I went over to Mary's, a cup of coffee in one hand, and a full carafe in the other. I knocked on her door and, when she answered it, I said "C'mon, woman, get your butt in gear and let's get that garage cleaned out!"

So, we spent the morning emptying out her garage and sorting through things. Lisa hung shelfs and attached metal racks to the walls (for stability) and we got down to business. Mary had a tough time in spots, though. The crib used for her kids was in there, as well as a cradle. She put them both to the curb, but later, I noticed the box with the cradle was missing from the curb, and even later, saw it in the garage, tucked aside safely. Mary's two daughters have nothing to do with her. Her husband died 13 years ago, at a very young age (in his 40s). Yes, Mary is a difficult person at times, but she'd give you the shirt off your back if you let her. Her girls both thought she should sell the house and turn the proceeds over to them. They also thought she should give them all the furnishings and stuff, too. Since she didn't do that, they've turned their backs. Her younger daughter was married last year, and Mary wasn't invited.

Anyway, when 1:00 rolled around, I went in to watch football. Lisa stayed over at Mary's and they put her garage back together and it looks pretty darned good. I didn't sit still and watch football, I did four loads of laundry, made bread, fixed dinner, and changed our bed.

Speaking of football...

Denver won yesterday against Jacksonville. I'd picked the Jags in the pool because I just didn't think Denver had it in them. While they won, the game was a yawner nonetheless. Either I just wasn't into it yesterday, or there just weren't any really good games on. Oh, sure, Washington pulled it out at the very end in overtime, and Detroit almost knocked Tampa Bay off at the end, but the games themselves just weren't all that exciting. Philadelphia trailed at one point 24-0, and overcame that deficit to take out Kansas City 37-31. That was the closest to really exciting that football actually got yesterday.

Jake Plummer leads the lower half of the NFL's starting quarterbacks in QB rating, with an unimpressive 77.9 -- has 4 TDs, 3 INTs, and 8 sacks. To his credit, along with moments of major stupidity, he has moments of brilliance. Idiot savante comes to mind.

The Manning brothers remain neck and neck in QB rating -- with younger brother Eli only 0.4 points higher than Peyton. Eli has thrown 9 TD passes (tied for 2nd place in the NFL) to his older brother's 6, and both have just 2 INTs.

It looks like Joe is in a 3-way tie for first place in the pool, so it will come down to tonight's MNF tiebreaker. All three have Carolina, Joe has 31 points, the other two have 39 and 41. Should be interesting.

Friday night we're going down to my aunt's house to spend the night. Saturday we're going to the Cohocton Fall Foliage Festival. We've asked Michelle to join us, and we are trying to make it an annual "Girls Only" event. Next Thursday, Lisa leaves for Louisville for the International Lawn, Garden & Power Equipment Expo. She'll be gone for 4 days, and I'm going to go down and hang out with my aunt for at least 2 of those days, maybe 3.

It's really cool having family around. It's really cool having a "motherly" type of relative around. My Aunt Wanda makes me feel like I matter in her life. It's sort of a unique thing, and I think I can't get enough of it. Not sure I want to! She's a very strong woman, and it appears that she and I are cut from the same cloth.


Speaking of being cut from the same cloth...

I've got only one more strip to make, then I'll be ready to assemble Michelle's afghan, and that project will be completed. I can box it up and wrap it for Christmas, and be done with it.

I'll start little Brandon's blanket as soon as the first project is all wrapped up. I've put our blanket aside for the time being. Today I'll map out the patterns and sequences for the little guy's blanket, then all I have to do is knit it.

If you want to see a really cool blanket, check this out. She's used the 50 states to make up the red and white part of the blanket, and stars to make up the blue part. It's too bad you can't really make it out by the picture, but I know she has the patterns for the states, and I can make out in the picture what she's done. It's really awesome, and I hope that mine comes out this good -- the colors on mine are much brighter, as I wanted it to be a brightly colored one for the little guy's room. This woman is raffling off the blanket, and claims that half the proceeds will go to a local charity, but fails to disclose where the other half will go. I'm sure the IRS would be interested in knowing where it goes...

I can't look ahead to the future
and I'm too old to run home to the past.
So now while you sleep beside me
I'll do what I can to make this moment last.

Rod McKuen


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