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One year later. And my 82 year old mom is texting. It’s a tsunami of crazy.

Tonight will be exactly one year since my life shattered into a million little pieces of shit.

A lot has happened in this last year.

So much of it is too horrific for words.

But some of it is actually … well? Surprisingly, some of it is not too awful. Dare I say, maybe even verging on nice?

I never thought I’d be saying that anytime soon.

But shit or shine, I can’t talk about any of it yet. There are trials looming and attorneys everywhere and court dates popping up like zits and it’s all very dramatic and expensive and miserable and blah blah blah.

I can’t wait until it’s all over.

In the meantime, my 82 year old mother decided that I did not have nearly enough crazy around me so she decided to get herself a new cell phone and then she declared she was going to learn how to text even if it killed me her.

And my initial reaction was one of GOOD GOD, JUST PUNCH ME IN THE THROAT ALREADY.

Which was quickly followed by something akin to SERIOUSLY. GO HEAD. PUNCH ME. LOOK, I’LL EVEN STAND STILL. HURRY UP.

Because I knew what was coming.

*Ring Ring Ring*

Me:  Hi Mom.

Mom:  Andy? Andy? This is Mom.

Me:  I know, Mom.

Mom:  Andy?

Me:  I’m here, Mom.

Mom:  Andy???

Me:  I’M HERE, MOM.

Mom:  Peter! Peter! Come here. This new phone is not working. Peter! Are you listening to me? Andy can’t hear me either. What is wrong with everybody??

Me: MOM! Stop yelling at Dad. You’re phone is not broken. YOU ARE JUST DEAF.

Mom: Oh, Andy! There you are! Listen. I got a new cell phone. Nothing fancy. I told that young man at the store that I don’t want any bells or whistles. NO BELLS OR WHISTLES. I just want to get a call, make a call and text.

*pause*

Mom:  Andy? Andy? What is that loud banging?

Me:  Nothing, Mom. I’m just bludgeoning myself with my crockpot.

Mom:  Whatever for?

Me:   Just preparing for the inevitable, Mom.

Mom:  You make no sense. Listen. Hang up because I’m going to text you.

*click*

*Ring Ring Ring*

Me:  Hi, Mom.

Mom:  Andy? We got disconnected. DAMMIT. I think this new cell phone is defective? Do I have to go all the way back to the store now? Who’s got time for that? GODDAMMIT.IT.ALL.TO.HELL.

Me:  Mom! Relax. You told me to hang up so I hung up.

Mom:  Oh! That’s what you did? Fine. OK. Hang up. I’m going to tex…

*click*

*One hour later*
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Text from Mom: andy. i am texting. hello.
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*Five seconds later*

*Ring Ring Ring*
.

Me: Hi Mo…

Mom: Andy! I just texted you! Did you get it?

Me: Yes, Mom.

Mom: Text me back!

Andy: Oka….

*click*

Text from me: Hey Mom! Congratulations on your texting! Love U!

*3.1 seconds later*
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*Ring Ring Ring*

.Me: Hi Mo…

Mom:  Andy! I got your text! I just wanted you to know. Now, hang up. I’m going to text you again.

*click*

*One hour later*

Text from Mom:  hello. this is mom. hello.

*two seconds later*

*Ring Ring Ring*

Me: Hi. This is Andy. I can’t take your call right now because my mother is driving me batshit crazy. If you leave your …

Mom: Aaaaaaaaaaandyyyyyyyyyy!

Andy: What?!?

Mom:  There are no capital letters on my phone. I can’t find them anywhere. I knew this goddamn phone was defective. WHO MAKES CELL PHONES WITHOUT CAPITAL LETTERS?

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Pray for me.

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We’re changing addresses and attitudes

I love my little corner of the Internet.

I love that even though I haven’t posted in … let’s see … drop the 6, carry the 1 … HOLY SHIT CHECK THE EDGE OF THE EARTH, SHE PROBABLY FELL OFF, people still pop in here to see if I’ve done anything to embarrass my kids (see below), named any cold sores lately (there was Margo – I kicked her ass last November, but not before she kicked my lips’ ass for a few weeks before that) and whether I’ve managed yet to sculpt a reasonable facsimile of Mt. Vesuvius out of Ollie’s poop (a few more deposits behind the couch and I should be good to go).

Let’s see … what’s been going on?

Zoe has been accepted to five out of seven colleges so far, including Geneseo. I think Geneseo wanted her because of my essay. Zoe thinks they wanted her because of her grades, leadership potential, blah blah freaking blah. Way to make it all about YOU, Zoe.

We put our house up for sale. I think God decided to stop using my life as an enema bag for a bit and give me a break because within 48 hours, I had four offers. All four were non-contingent, two were all cash and one was above purchase price, accompanied by a letter and family photo. I stared at that photo and studied their faces and the toothy smile of their little girl and as I signed on the bottom line through a stream of tears, I hoped my home would bring them more happiness than it ever did us.

We move this weekend. At first, it was hard to think about leaving a large, beautiful home that had my heart and soul plastered all over it and through it for a small, nondescript, bland apartment but now? I think we might be a bit excited. It may be small, but this apartment will be a fresh, new start for the girls and me. No bitter memories slapping us with a harsh reality everywhere we turn. I’d like to believe that new memories are just waiting around some tight-fitting corners for us to discover.

I ran into my eleven year old’s hottie teacher at Target the other day. This would be the same hottie teacher we ran into while bra shopping for her, when she spent the following week hoping the earth would open up and swallow her whole. I texted her all about my new run-in because that’s the kind of mom I am:

Life these past few months has been challenging. The loss of my husband has been agonizing enough but the loss of those so dear to me who, for whatever reason, could not find it within themselves to stand behind us with both feet planted firmly on the ground has compounded that agony. The loss has just been unfathomable. But you know that saying about God never closing a door without opening a window? Never have I believed in that as much as I do now.

Open windows have come in the form of a good job with a boss who is a trusted friend and confidante.

A friend, to whom I was married in a former life, who finished unfinished bathrooms and without whom I could not have sold our house.

An entire family who opened up their home to the three of us and became a safe haven for Helena, as well as a reminder that family isn’t always defined by blood.

Lifelong friends who call like clockwork, checking up on me and buying me greasy potato skins because nothing soothes a wounded soul like fat and cholesterol.

Friends of my eldest who spent hours filling up trucks and finding willing dumpsters.

Another friend who tirelessly but beautifully staged my house so that it sold within days instead of months.

Friends who drove over to my house with three seconds of notice, bringing with them broad, water-proof shoulders.

Others who offered to sit with me at court or, in the alternative, text me during the entire time and make me laugh so that I forgot the awfulness all around me.

A lawyer who texts me late on a Saturday night after a particularly hideous and scary day, without charging me for it.

Online friends who prove that the Internet isn’t so vast and impersonal after all.

And still other friends who find you after thirty years and help you haul fifteen years of crap out your basement without expecting anything in return.

In this big cyclone of shit that has been swirling around us since last summer, I have found rays of light poking through.

I’m still scared of this new life. But somewhere in the back of my mind, a little to the left of Anderson Cooper’s imprint, is the knowledge that we’re going to be OK.

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Maybe SUNY Geneseo will throw a bunch of financial aid her way if she promises NOT to go there

Remember the post I wrote about touring the SUNY Geneseo campus last year because it was on Zoe’s list of potential colleges? The post in which I alluded to drunken sex with architecture and bears allergic to virgins and introduced you to Josh, our tour guide, otherwise known as Zoe’s future fiance?

Remember?

When Zoe was all Oh my God, Mom! Could you BE anymore embarrassing?

And I was all PUH-LEASE. Like he’s ever going to find this blog. Unclench, would you?

And Josh wound up leaving a comment and was all Ummmm, hello? Cool blog. I have a girlfriend.

And I was all Hey there, Josh! Thanks for making a liar out of me!

And Zoe was all OH MY GOD, MOM. I’M MOVING TO AUSTRALIA AND YOU CAN’T COME.

Zoe wound up applying to Geneseo. And Geneseo wound up requesting a parent essay.

And I wound up yelling something like WOOT! BOOT UP MY LAPTOP! HEY, WHERE’S THAT PICTURE OF YOU ASLEEP ON THE TOILET? THINK I CAN SCAN IT?

And Zoe wound up hollering something like SOMEBODY GET ME A PASSPORT while petitioning the court for emancipation.

Here’s my essay.

I’d ask Zoe to tell you want she thought of it, but she can’t hear me from down under.

 

ZOE IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER

(submitted SUNY Geneseo, January 2012)

 

AMBITIOUS. Especially when it comes to school, work, career goals and, most recently, affording an iPhone 4S on her own and then deciding to work extra hours to afford insurance for it. But only because it’s the sensible thing to do and not because she dropped it the first day she had it and then spent the remainder of the day ignoring me as I duct-taped my mouth shut to keep the ginormous I TOLD YOU SO from flying out of it.

BOSSY. I tell Zoe’s little sister that this is a good trait to have, that it’s a sign of a natural born leader. Judging by the screams of YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME coming from downstairs as I type this, I don’t think she’s buying it.

COMPASSIONATE. She dropped everything and immediately drove to her girlfriend’s house to lend her an ear and shoulder because that’s what you do when your girlfriend gets dumped by her boyfriend. She took her little sister to the store so that they could buy me flowers and cards together because she knew I had had a terrifically bad day. When she sleeps over at a friend’s house or at her dad’s, she always texts me at night to make sure that I’m OK and to tell me she loves me. She reminds us all that good things are going to happen because we deserve them. And she’s given me more hugs during the last few months because of the nightmare we are living than she gave me her entire childhood. She’s good people, as my mother would say.

DATING. She’s a fan. I’m on the fence. It’s a big, long, fat fence.

EMPLOYMENT. She likes it and arrives on time, stays late and generally goes above and beyond to ensure she keeps it. Even if it means pretending not to know the crazy lady who runs in and snaps her picture behind the counter. Twice. Possibly three times. In my defense, why do they put the camera button so close to the power button on the iPhone?

FISHING. The only thing that can get Zoe up at 5:00 a.m., to sit in small boat, be silent and breathe in the stench of live bait for four hours, is the love she has for her dad. And her dad has no clue that she detests fishing. THAT is classic Zoe.

GAS. For her car, that is. Apparently, it’s outrageously expensive now that she has to pay for it.

HOME. We’re currently looking for new one and she’s excited about it. But all I can think about is that whatever home we wind up in, I’m going to miss the hell out of her when she leaves it.

I DON’T KNOW. The name of Zoe’s friend who moved in last year and repeatedly leaves wet towels on the bathroom floor. As far as I can tell, this friend is deaf, invisible and a slob.

JOGGING. Zoe went with me a couple of times. She hates jogging with the heat of a thousand suns. But, she loves me and apparently, that trumps boob sweat and shin splints.

KITCHEN. She loves cooking in it and makes THE best chicken cutlets I have ever eaten.

LASHES. As in, eye. Hers are so long that they touch her sun glasses which, to hear her tell it, is irritating. I wouldn’t know. My lashes are like my legs. Short. But not as hairy.

MASS-OF-TWO-SHITS. The way Zoe used to pronounce Massachusetts when she was little.

NERVES. She gets on mine occasionally. I’d hazard a guess that I get on hers a little more often than that. But that’s my job.

OLIVER. Our dog. Zoe adores him but gives him way too much credit. For instance, she thinks he’s got bowels of steel and can hold off going potty until she’s done watching eleventy-three episodes of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Oliver has proven her wrong on more occasions that I can count. And I can count pretty damn high.

PHYSICS. A subject in which Zoe excels. This is what Zoe texted me the other day: Take a rubber band. Measure the length of it at equilibrium.  Stretch the rubber band, measure the length. Find the difference, and that is X. Put various weights on the rubber band, measuring the differences in lengths. Then use Fs=kx to find the spring constant. Fs is the mass on the rubber band. Do multiple times, find an average for K. After you find K you can solve for the PEs using PEs=1/2kx2. Launch the rubber band vertically to a certain height, holding meter sticks up in the air. Use PE=mgh to find potential energy. The height is the height the thing goes to, G is gravity, 9.81m/s2, and m is the mass of the rubber band. Time the rubber band from the time it reaches its maximum height to the time it reaches the floor. Use vf=vi+at  to find the velocity. Use the equation KE=1/2mv2. Substitute in all the values, and you can find BLAH BLAH, OH MY GOD MAKE IT STOP, BLAH. She asked me what I thought about it. I told her to hang on, I was still looking for a rubber band.

QUADRATIC EQUATIONS. Zoe thinks they’re fun. Honestly, I have no idea where this girl came from.

RESTAURANTS. Specifically, those that offer take-out. She was the child of divorced, full-time working parents and she was probably about seven before she realized that not all plates were square and made out of white Styrofoam.

SCIENCE. Another subject in which Zoe excels. She dissected a cat once and texted me a photo of its brain. By the way, unlimited texting? Totally overrated.

TEXTING. Zoe had over 6,000 of them last month. Her thumbs have developed six-packs.

UNFLUSTERED. Zoe just doesn’t wig out. When her sister’s ear was nearly amputated and we had to rush her to the hospital, Zoe simply held a towel to Helena’s head to stem the bleeding while periodically reminding me to breathe. When we discovered one night last June that her stepfather wasn’t the person we all believed him to be, she kept herself together, mopped up the puddle of mess I had become and concentrated on moving us all forward. She’s the one you want around when anything hits the fan. But throw a spider into the mix and all bets are off.

VEINS. Zoe uses hers to donate blood. And even though she almost fainted last time and I had to pick her up from school early, she was the first to line up for the next drive and not just because there were free cookies. In my defense, they were good cookies.

WINTER. She loves it. The snow, the ice, the frigid temperatures, the snowmobiling. If she hadn’t left a mile long butt trail down a ski slope one year, I’d be hard pressed to say that she’s mine.

XANAX. The diet of choice when your seventeen year old daughter walks in the door after a date at 11:59:59 p.m., so as not to be late for curfew.

YELLING. We do a lot of it around here. We’re Greek – it’s like a law. That, and owning a restaurant. Yelling is easier and far less sweaty, to be honest.

ZOE. Any college would be lucky to get her.

****S*M*A*C*K****

That’s me, bitch-slapping 2011 to the curb where, if there is a God, it will be run over by an endless herd of confused, pissed-off, incontinent, irritable bowel suffering buffalo with elongated, oozing testicles and no sense of direction.

These were, above and beyond, the absolute worst 365 continuous days I have ever had to endure and I’ve never been so ready to slap a new calendar on my fridge in all my life and not just because it will hide those mysterious streaks that won’t go away no matter how many times I scrub them raw with a Windex/vinegar/DAMMIT DAMMIT SHIT BALLS DAMMIT WHAT THE HELL concoction.

Let’s hear it for a brand new shiny year filled with skyrocketing 401Ks, plummeting gas prices, awesome shoes, ULTA coupons that never expire, Anderson Cooper cell phone numbers in my Inbox and a new, easy FDA-approved method of getting rid of unwanted facial hair and husbands who spend $areyoufuckingkiddingme  because they can’t keep their pants zipped.

Let’s hear it for fresh starts, new beginnings and a whole mess of magnificent happy!

Let’s hear it for a better run for all of us in 2012 and isn’t it nice that we’ll get 366 days to celebrate it instead of 365? I’m going to yell YOU BET YOUR SKINNIER, FIRMER, LESS CELLULITE-FUL ASS on that one because I’m an optimist.

Happy new year, everyone! May we find ourselves actually living these days instead of simply surviving them.

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I’LL BE BACK. I typed that in my best Terminator voice. Arnold Schwarzenegger would be proud, if he wasn’t busy having illegitimate children with the staff.

OH MY GOD, GUESS WHAT?

I’m still here.

I know!

I can’t believe it either.

I have so much to tell you but my brain is in overdrive and my fingers can’t keep up and they’re all SLOW THE HELL DOWN, STUPID CEREBELLUM, and my brain is all OH YEAH? WHY DON’T YOU COME OVER HERE AND MAKE ME, YOU STUPID DIGITS and my fingers are all OH YEAH? COME OUT FROM BEHIND THAT SKULL AND WE’LL SEE HOW BIG YOUR BALLS ARE and my brain is all OH, GAME ON! YOU LITTLE PIECES OF  … WAIT. I HAVE BALLS?

I’m typing this with eight fingers now because my two middle ones are busy flipping my cerebellum’s genitalia the bird.

Look at that! I still manage to fit some derivative of the word “genitals” into a post that has nothing to do with sex. See? I’m still me.

THAT’S  A GOOD THING.

Just in case you were wondering.

There is no way I can use one blog post to fill you in on all of the unholy crap that has gone down in the last couple of months so for now, I’ll just hit the highlights:

  • I am getting a divorce.
  • Divorce sucks the big wazoo.
  • So does discovering that your marriage was essentially a Jerry Springer/Law & Order SVU combo episode season DVD boxed set in the making.
  • I’m not sure where rock bottom is, never having visited it myself, but if Nate’s sense of direction is accurate, I’m thinking it’s about 45 miles due south of Hell. I’ll let you know when he hits it.
  • It took me a long time to even think about the word “divorce” let alone type it out loud without crying my guts out.
  • *splat* <———- a gut, splashing on my big toe.
  • For the record, I’m not entirely sure what a wazoo is.
  • I went back to work full time as a paralegal in a downtown law firm.
  • I am dealing with all kinds of unbearable stress by buying 637+ pairs of shoes.
  • Some of the shoes in my closet have five inch platform heels.
  • That is seven different kinds of WHAT THE HELL, ANDY?
  • So say my feet.
  • Two weeks ago, I wore tights for the first time in my life.
  • They are exactly like pantyhose except that now, it costs me twice as much to enjoy the sensation of the crotch migrating its way to my knees by noon.

Right now, I am trying to finish my Christmas shopping sometime before Valentine’s Day but I’ll be back soon because when all is said and done, I miss writing my blog.

Really, really miss it.

And while I can no longer write about my marriage to Nate without gouging my eyes out with a spork, I’m confident that life won’t always suck like it does at the moment. This is not the end of my story but simply the end of a chapter. And hopefully, this horribleness will be over soon and my new life will begin and I can sell the rights to my insane life story to Pixar and they’ll make an animated movie of my life and it will be their first R or NC-17 movie and parents will unwittingly take their kids to it because hello? It’s Pixar! And three minutes in, they’ll be shielding their children’s eyes and screaming for their money back so they can pay for therapy and their kids will be crying MOMMY! WHY ARE CREATIVE JUNKIE’S BRAINS EXPLODING ALL OVER THE SCREEN? CAN I HAVE MORE GUMMY BEARS?

My new life will inevitably breed all sorts of new stories and I expect it won’t be too long before I have blog fodder out the ying yang, such as my suspicion that instead of working on her college application essay, my eldest daughter is busy writing my online profile for eharmony.com.

I’M SCARED.

Maybe by the time I’m actually ready to date, I’ll know what a wazoo and a ying yang is.

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