My kingdom for an elderly video card

It’s grocery day, it’s trash day, it’s get a different old graphics card from my brother and see if Roxanne finds that one sufficient to run my old ass Sims 2 game day. I’m excited about the last one because sometimes I can be a wee bit obsessive about getting things to work like they should, and this game has not worked correctly since I brought my new computer home. I keep getting my hopes up, but then–inevitably–I’m disappointed yet again. At this point, I can play as much as I want with pre-made sims on lots that are already built. I can even rebuild the lot completely (with a shit-ton of custom content) so long as I do it without bulldozing it. BUT. I can’t import sims or lots, nor can I create them from inside the game.

I’m just Type A / OCD enough that the just-on-the-edge-of-working thing has been making my skin crawl for the last two weeks. My frustration is only exacerbated by the fact that I can’t have a cigarette.

Something’s gotta give.  Hopefully, I’ll have a permanent fix by the end of the day (with the new/old video card), and I can get down to the relaxing and time-consuming business of redecorating a neighborhood full of houses for the tenth time in less than a week.

If it works, I’m afraid I might have to limit myself to writing one entry a week for a while as I obsess over my new toy.

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Coffee and Sixlets

img_2875.jpgIf you were here right now, I’d be happy to share my afternoon coffee and Sixlets with you. Maybe you’d have something interesting to tell me, something that might keep me awake through what have suddenly and inexplicably become the long and lulling hours of late afternoon during which I have to perpetually do things to keep myself conscious. I keep wondering if I have thyroid issues. Or maybe I need to smoke more Continue reading “Coffee and Sixlets”

50 Things

I smoked for 25 years before I quit this year.  My sister is to blame.  For the smoking, not the quitting.

I lived in the South for 13 years before coming back home to Illinois at the end of 2014.  I should’ve come back MUCH SOONER.

I believe the biggest lie ever told by any human ever is “people are nicer in the South.”  No, people just don’t tell you to your face in the South.  You can bet your ass Continue reading “50 Things”

Inspired to nap

Sometimes, I feel a little less than inspired.  Granted, I haven’t let the lack of inspiration stop me in the past couple weeks, but before that, I went months without writing at all.  I’d feel bad about my inaction when I remembered — which was usually about the time I looked in the direction of my bookshelf and caught a glimpse of the beautiful, empty notebooks stashed there — but usually, I really didn’t think about it.  Obviously, my urge to write has not always been so easily forgotten or dismissed.

In high school, for example, I carried a mid-size, spiral Mead notebook wherever I went. I wrote in class and at home, at band rehearsal and play practice.  I didn’t bother to hide what I was doing, and I took more than my share of flak for doing it.  Truth be told, somewhere in the back of my head, I’ve always felt a bit like Harriet the Spy when I carry around my notebooks.  I can write whatever I want and it’s true and no one can debate me on it.  I can think what I want to think and how I want to think it.

Writing in this forum has been an adjustment.

Nowadays, of course, my fallback excuse when I don’t get the writing done is the children, the chores, the cats, Donald Trump, The West Wing, and/or the insurmountable and all important READING LIST.  Naturally, I’m only making these excuses in my own head; I set these arbitrary deadlines and quotas for myself.  No one else is asking for my word count.  But for some reason, it feels important that I (figuratively) get off my ass and do something, in some area of my life.  There’s no two ways about it:  our current political situation (which is also very personal and immediate to me and so many of the people I love) has got me down.  I end up saying “fuck the diet” every day, regardless of how honorably I begin.  I also say “fuck the cleaning,” “fuck the reading,” and “fuck everything else,” because even seven months later, sometimes it’s still difficult to put one foot in front of the other.

Writing makes me move.  It makes me get other things done first before I can allow myself time to do it.

Today, while I was staring at the blank screen and fishing for a sentence with which to start, my sweet husband managed to convince me that instead, I should really come lay down with him and take a short nap.  I never take naps, but Step-son was gone to a friend’s house, and even the cat looked exhausted.  I had nothing in my head to write, so I decided to take the hand of the man I had to wait half my life to marry.  Sometimes, it seems like I don’t choose him often enough or well enough, even though I try to be grateful for and mindful of every moment I get to spend with him.  I slept draped over his chest like I haven’t since we were dating.

When we got up, I cooked supper and ran a load of dishes.  My husband went to the store for a Coke and ended up with a pack of cigarettes and a pair of lottery tickets.  We hope the lottery tickets win us enough change to send us to the Netherlands for the rest of our lives.  The cigarettes are because they won’t.

Don’t worry, Mom.  We’ll quit again tomorrow.

I still don’t know what to write.

Dear Step-son…

First of all, I love you.  You need to know that.  You need to see it written down and really take it to heart and believe it, because I don’t say it very often and you tend not to hear schmaltz (You are 13, after all.)  I also think that you are reluctant to admit that you share my feelings of affection, most likely owing to the very existence of your biological mother. Please know that — contrary to what you probably believe — I understand that you feel pressure to love your mother…both from her and from the universe at large.  I also understand that you’re a teenager, and therefore you automatically want to do that which will annoy your father and me.  You think loving your mother will accomplish that, but it’s not true.  She’s your mother and of course you love her.  What you don’t know yet is that some people don’t get the best moms, and they spend their whole lives wishing they could un-love their mother and undo all the damage she did to them.  I’m so afraid that’s where you’ll end up.  Please believe me when I say that this is my only feeling on the subject.  If you could love her without danger to yourself, all I would have to say is “that’s terrific!” (and to be honest, there are times I could use a break from all your teenageryness).  But you choose to love her up close, to spend more time with her than you should, and in so doing, to put yourself repeatedly and needlessly in harm’s way.  When you come home from there — after several days of bar food, not sleeping at night, and only seeing her drunk if at all — you’re a total shit to us.  I’m sure this is because you imagine yourself greatly inconvenienced to be back again in a house where you are actually looked after and parented.  Regardless of how misunderstood you might feel at these moments, your father and I understand a lot more than we let on.  We try not to pick up the horrible things you say to us, or even all the ways you act out.  We make these allowances (for a little while) because we figure this behavior won’t last forever.  Also because we love you. Both of us, not just the one you’re cloned from.

Have you got it?  Great.

stepson ocean

Now that the serious stuff is out of the way, here’s one of the many reasons I’m writing: Your Axe products are slowly killing me.  Yes, I breathe better now that I quit smoking, but I also breathe better now that I quit smoking, if you see what I mean.  Where I used to only react to about half of the smells in my environment, I am now subject to all of them, at full potency.  When you take a shower and a bath a day and use far more than the required amount of product for both, it makes me think you want me dead and you’ve grown tired of waiting for nature to take its course (or the cat to take his revenge). In retaliation for this everyday attempt to end my life, I have started to rather passive/aggressively do a few things I never did before where you are concerned. First, I no longer go looking for the missing socks and underwear that are not in your laundry basket. This means you run out of both items a few days earlier than usual, and you are forced to make that pouty face because you can’t change two or three times a day.   I am secretly amused by this to such an extent that I find it extremely difficult not to laugh like Renfield and wallow joyfully in your misfortune like Kitty Boy in catnip.  In addition to vowing never again to search for your missing laundry, I have also gleefully stopped making tea.  Admittedly, this used to bother you a lot more than it does now.  But be on your guard, kid; I’m looking for something new and innovative with which to torture you as we speak.

Second, I know you don’t share my opinion on this, but Jesus, Spaghettios stink.  Granted, this is another one of those smells that I notice more because of the non-smoking thing, but they reeked even when my sense of smell was compromised.  But the actuality of the stench is not why I’m bringing this up; please, for the love of god PLEASE, stop making Spaghettios at 3AM.  They wake me up out of a dead sleep, and I have to fight the dry heaves.  The same goes for eggs, although I love those — when you’re sleeping, happily cocooned inside a fluffy cloud of blankets that smell good, anything being cooked is undesirable.  Stop it.  Eat when we eat.  Sleep when we sleep.  You are not a vampire or a drunk, you’re not on mood or behavior altering drugs, and there’s no reason for you to be awake and eating at that time of day.

Third, stop distracting me with stupid YouTube videos.  More to the point, stop distracting me with endless and pointless chatter about stupid YouTube videos.  There’s nothing for me to learn there, and engaging in “conversations” with you about something that took ten seconds to watch and was virtually incomprehensible does not make me feel as though I’m spending quality time with you.  Remarkably, I also don’t find the endless videos of commentary about video games at all interesting.  In fact, I’m not particularly interested in the video games themselves.  Unless you’re talking to me about Final Fantasy or old school Mario Bros., count on getting nothing but a blank look back from me.  Now, if you want to talk to me about the books you read in school or even about South Park and American Dad, I’m there.  Unfortunately, it seems like you stopped watching quality, inappropriate television shows a couple years ago, and the truth is, I am still kind of reeling from the loss of my favorite kid’s perspective on the subject.  Come back.  At least sit on the couch with me for the Trump Show (formerly known as the news) and help me yell obscenities at the screen.  I miss you.

Fourth: boy, I will cut you if you don’t start lifting the lid and hitting the bowl.  Please note that this is a two-part statement.  Both pieces are necessary to prevent my screaming my head off when I enter the bathroom after you.  Now, I understand (from my brief time living in the house with your older brother) that this is some kind of a natural teenage boy thing, but come on.  I knew you two years ago, and at that time, you were perfectly capable of putting your bodily fluids where they belong.  If anything, my presence in your life has made you more civilized, so I seriously don’t understand this recent turn of events.  You are not living in a barnyard, boy.  Get it together.  Otherwise, cleaning the bathroom will become a daily chore that moves over to your list.  Heh….you think it’s hard to get your allowance now.

Fifth: if you’re trying to irritate me with your love of sub-par rap music (when I can barely stomach the really good stuff), you’ve succeeded.  But you should know that if I keep hearing it playing on a loop at a steady and monotonous drone while you’re otherwise engaged with playing a game and chatting online, then I cannot be responsible for my actions.  Your phone (from which the music streams) might just up and disappear. My little brother needs an iPhone, and I know for certain that I can trust him to use it to play decent music.

Finally, please PLEASE make an effort to be the boy I know you can be this year.  Last year, you lied to us about homework, you didn’t study until you had nearly flunked out, and you hung around with the only thug in our corn-fed, miniscule town.  I know you’re smart.  I’ve talked to you.  I’ve nearly fallen out of my chair a hundred times from laughing at some hilarious and undeniably smart thing you’ve said or done.  I damn near have a master’s degree, I’ve read a shit-ton of books, and I have more life experience than I can stomach; you couldn’t possibly crack me up like you do if you weren’t above average.  Please, show your teachers that side of yourself this year.  You’re handsome and you’re charming, and nothing in the world could stop you if you stopped trying to stop yourself.

I love you, step-son.  Get your shit together.
~Step-mom

Full circle(s)

I turned 40 in 2014, and as I was staring down at my much over-candled birthday cake, I made a decision:  I was tired of being fat, and I was going to make sure I never was again.  In the succeeding six months, I lost 60 pounds, which got me within 15 pounds of a normal BMI for the first time since I was ten years old.  I managed to keep it all off for a year before I started dating my sweet husband, and…I guess I can only agree that it’s true what they say about happiness and heaviness:  if the former is a new thing, then it will almost certainly cause the latter.  By the end of 2016, I had to put all of my “skinny” clothes into the boxes that had previously contained my “fat” clothes, but from the moment I did it, I knew I couldn’t stand to keep things that way for long.  I could not go back to plus-size clothing, not with my pear-shaped build (read:  I am not so blessed in the boobies department, and plus-size clothes are made for women who are).

But I ended up keeping the weight longer than I intended.  It turns out that feeding a couple of teenagers means keeping in the house a lot of Oreos, cheddar and sour cream potato chips, ice cream, and pizza, and after more than a year on a calorie counting diet, I found not a single thing on that list that I could resist.  That is…until this week.

ocean recording

A week ago last Saturday, we got home from a week in Myrtle Beach.  It was the first vacation we’d ever taken as a family, and the first vacation that the kids had ever had in their lives.  It was a good time, even though the heat was stifling and led to much less time on the beach than we wanted.  But despite the good time and the total joy of being in a place I love with the people I love most in the world, here is what I primarily took away from our vacation:

THERE IS NOT A SINGLE PICTURE OF ME FROM THAT WHOLE AWESOME VACATION THAT I CAN STAND TO LOOK AT.

So I came home, ate about ten more Harry & David’s chocolate covered cherries, and decided that come Sunday, it was back to counting calories for me.  I’ve done great.  As of this morning, I’m down eight pounds and back on the road to being able to wear my sweet American Eagle jeans by fall.  But I’ll tell you what, it feels even more amazing and unbelievable than it did the first time–I can’t believe I’ve found the willpower to do this on top of so recently giving up smoking.  The first time, all I had to do when I felt like eating was light a cigarette.  This week, I haven’t had that fallback and so I had to find something else to occupy my mind and my fingers.  It’s been rough though, I’m not going to claim that it hasn’t.

I have, however, really tried to make lemonade from the lemons.  I started writing again–every day, whether I felt like it or not.  And then, a few days ago, I came back home to online journalling…for the first time in more than four years.  It’s great to be back, and I intend to stay long past the time when I can stand to look at pictures of myself again, perhaps even after my fingers stop itching for a cigarette.

A cancer-causing fantasy kind of morning

It’s been kind of a rough morning, addiction-wise.  For some reason, ever since I started blogging/writing again, all I’ve wanted to do is chain smoke and there’s not a cigarette to be found in this whole damn house (and there hasn’t been since Memorial Day).  It’s actually getting pretty horrific, the jonesing.  Bad enough that I’m afraid if I leave the house for any reason today, I might end up tackling a smoker who’s just innocently trying to make his way down the damn street.  It’s not looking good for The Kid today, y’all.  She’s contemplating a full out, broad daylight wagon jump and when she lands, apologies are going to be the last thing on her mind (or her nicotined breath).  So anyway, I’m trying to hang on, but I’ve simultaneously got a healthy little fantasy life going on here.  Consequently, I’m thinking the following might be my totally sexy and not at all needy call to The Cigarette Smoking Man (who I can’t even picture beyond the coffin nail in his hand and who I therefore should probably not be naming after a beloved and elusive X Files character or talking to like he’s Cheech to my Chong):

“Heeeeeeyy, man.  How ya doin’?  Hey uh, uh…I know it’s a lot to ask, but man, sweet freakin’ JESUS I could use a cigarette.”

It’s good, right?  If someone said that to you, you’d be compelled immediately and unquestioningly to share your goodies.  And if you didn’t have any (if you–God forbid!–didn’t smoke), you might even walk into the nearest gas station and buy some just to give that very intelligent and well-spoken woman the thing she needs to get through her day.  After all, you care about your fellow man.  You live in the same small town and you know damn good and well that–no matter what you tell your whining teenagers on a Friday night–there’s really nothing else to do but smoke and drink (and fool around…as long as you’re married to the person you’re foolin’ with).  Plus, your mama raised you right and told you to do the next right thing and not be a judgmental bastard.  Just because you believe cigarettes smell like ass and that they might one day be the death of this obviously intellectually superior woman, that doesn’t give you the right to deny her her Bliss.

C’mon, man.  Give me a cigarette.  Come on.  Please?