Notes on music

Things went well this past weekend with my daughter Angel’s singing competition. She made it to the semi-finals. Although she didn’t make it to the final round, she was satisfied with her performance. Being satisfied with her performance was big. She is like her mother and tends to cut herself down if she makes mistakes. Plus earlier in the week she told me that she wasn’t doing it. She had tonsillitis and was not able to practice much.

We didn’t run into any of her previous stalkers on campus which was a plus. The biggest problem she encountered was on her way there. Her map wasn’t working on her phone and she got lost. I had to find her on my phone’s map and give her directions from where I thought she was which was no easy task in the dark in a strange town.

I checked into the hotel a long time before she arrived. I checked in at the same time as her singing professor whom I greeted in a very friendly manner. He didn’t recognize me and I was hoping that he didn’t think I was a lady of the night.

 

We ended up eating supper after 9 PM. It was great watching Angel perform. I think the visit will tide her over until she comes home at Thanksgiving. This is the longest she has been away from home and she was starting to feel homesick.

Then Paul and I returned back to the same college yesterday with Alex for a campus tour. His girlfriend also attended the tour. Alex and Baylee have been dating for almost a year and a half. They have been talking about going to the same college. We think that if they go to the same school they might get married someday.. Time will tell. I thought that Angel and Mitch would marry, but they broke up this year.

Alex wants to go to school for saxophone performance or possibly jazz studies. My oldest two children want to or are going to school for music performance and don’t want to be educators.. There will always be a spot open for them in my basement.. Although very talented, the likelihood of them both having a successful career as performers is slim. I always like it when people ask me what their backup plan is…My basement, that is their backup plan.

I remember when I bought Alex his saxophone. I bought the instrument used for half the price of a new one. New saxophones are pricey and I didn’t want it to end up collecting dust on the shelf after high school ended.

I went to a stranger’s house to purchase the instrument. She kept all of the receipts. She told me that her son lost interest in band. A few months after I purchased the instrument for my son, her son committed suicide. It was a strange feeling. Was the selling of his instrument a warning sign that he was losing interest in his hobbies? It was very sad. My son asked me afterwards if I bought the instrument from the boy that died. I did not lie.

I was afraid that my son would find playing the instrument distasteful after that, but he brought the instrument to life. Many years later, my son wants to take this instrument with him far into his future. I want the previous owners to know that this instrument that once belonged to their only son did not end up on a shelf somewhere. But maybe through it a small piece of his life is carrying on…

 

Birthday blues

Tomorrow is my birthday.

What do I want? Something that can’t be bought in a store.

I want a day of peace and tranquility. Just one day that is problem free. I want an escape from my normal routine.

Every day is the same. I start a couple loads of laundry before heading off to work. I deal with problems at work. Then I deal with problems at home. Sometimes simultaneously. After I make supper, clean the kitchen, and fold laundry I finally get to go to bed. I wake up and do it all over again the next day. Although I enjoy working and keeping busy, sometimes adulting can be monotonous and the responsibility burdensome.

I have to work tomorrow. After work, the kids want to do something with me. All I want from them is peace. I don’t want to hear any fighting. Even when we play games, they constantly tease each other by calling names or saying that their siblings suck. They say that it is all in jest, but I don’t find it very funny.

Paul has play practice on my birthday. I should’ve known to lower my expectations when he got the lead part in the summer play. He doesn’t have time for me anymore. I was hoping that he would go up north with me last weekend. When we got together with theater friends last week, he spontaneously offered to take them sailing this past weekend. So he did that instead. Then he asked me to crew for his race last night, but I was replaced by his theater friends. I was okay with that because I only wanted to be a sub. However, he has been sailing with a much younger single woman (not alone) from the theater that thinks he’s hot. I guess I would care more if she was attractive. I was hoping to sail with Paul for almost a week for our anniversary, but we cut it back to a weekend for play practice. I am getting really sick of it already.

I feel left out. I didn’t know all of the inside jokes. I am just an introvert who wants to feel included, but doesn’t want to go. I feel like no one cares about me. The kids really don’t need me much anymore. Sometimes I don’t really care about me either. I almost got hit by a car this morning while I was out riding my bike. The lady almost went through a stop sign. She slammed on her brakes last minute when she saw me. I didn’t get angry like I usually do. I didn’t really care. Hey, I’m still here!

Although my best friend Lisa moved home almost two months ago, we have only seen each other twice. I don’t feel like running with her. I would rather be alone.

When I was a kid, my mom made a very big deal out of my birthday. It was the one day of the year that my life wasn’t all about my autistic brother. I think because of that I have high expectations of how that day should go. Every year it seems harder and harder to get excited. My birthday always signifies the middle of summer. It is going by so quickly this year. I don’t want summer to end and I don’t want to get any older!

Tomorrow I will be 21 (doubled). Gulp! Ready or not, here I come.

Is my run over?

I feel like I am letting go of my dreams.

For a long time I held a handful of colorful helium balloons. Today I let them fly off into the air. Maybe I still grasp a few in my hands. But they are shriveled up like oxygen got in them….breathe…I can’t let go of all of my hope.

Saturday I had a wonderful run. I ran 18 miles without stopping except for a short bathroom, gu, and water break. I was fast. I had the stamina I spent months training for. Life was good. At the end I felt a twinge of knee pain, but it went away after a day.

Yesterday was my first run of this week. I ran 12 miles. The first 6 miles went pretty good with my knee brace on. I had to walk 3 out of the last 6 miles. Afterwards, my knee felt fine.

Today, I decided to go for a 6 mile run but only made 5. The first mile or two I felt a twinge of pain in my knee with my brace on. Then it started getting worse to the point that I needed to walk. I was afraid that by pushing on I would get hurt. At this point, I was halfway home regardless of whether I decided to keep walking or turn around. I tried calling my husband to come pick me up but he didn’t answer.

I was feeling so angry that I wanted to take my arms like a baseball bat and knock over mailboxes. I also wanted to kick over the garbage containers that littered the side of the road. But I convinced myself that further injury probably wouldn’t help my cause. It probably would piss off the neighbors, provide them with entertainment, or I would end up crossing off going to jail off my bucket list.

The marathon is 3 weeks away. I am going to try to take it easy for the next week or two and see what happens when I try running again. Right now I am not even fit to run a 5k.

I am so disappointed. There is no way that I am going to be able to run a marathon if I can’t even run a few miles without pain.

The real kicker is that my knee feels fine right now.

A storm is brewing

I feel the edginess right before the storm hits. The peacefulness and calm from my vacation is leaving slowly like a summertime tan. I feel the wind surround the emptiness inside of me, trying to find a void to fill with cold icy snow. The warmth and sunshine are gone now. Sorrow, darkness, and anger encapsulates me. I cry out to God, but He doesn’t seem to hear my prayers. I feel the tug of emotions trying to drown me in a river of despair. I am alone. I want to be alone. I don’t want to talk. I really don’t want to do anything.

It has been a hard start of the year. I miss my neighbor and friend that passed away a couple of weeks ago. Every time I look at her house, I think that she is still there. She will pull her car out of the driveway and wave at me. We were supposed to do something together next week. But guess what? I can’t go. I looked over the old messages that she sent me. My heart tells me that she is still alive. She just can’t come outside. My brain tells me to stop being such a fool. Stop pretending that things are fine.

Last summer my best friend moved to Florida. I had the opportunity to spend time with her while we were there on vacation. I didn’t realize how much I missed talking to her and seeing her. I miss her. I don’t feel like talking to anyone else. In 4 months, my oldest daughter will be leaving the house. I am excited for her to start the adult chapter in her life, but I am at such a loss. I started crying while she performed her solo and ensemble song for me. It bothered me that she sold her junior prom dress. It just seems so final.

Then yesterday we found out that my mother-in-law has stage 4 terminal lung cancer. They are giving her around 15 months to live. Wait a minute, I am not ready to deal with the loss of our parents yet. I have been having a hard time with this since I saw her last week. I have been feeling sad and angry. With all of the people that were praying for her and my friend that passed away, why didn’t God heal them? I don’t have any control. Why should I expect miracles? I feel helpless. Who can avoid death? It has given Paul time to say goodbye to his only parent. That has been good for him to spend time with her.

This morning my son got suspended from school. He got in a fight with someone in the hallway. It has been no secret that my son has been struggling with school for the last couple of months. He has been begging us to switch schools for a couple months now. Apparently a boy called him a faggot on facebook back in December and has been bullying him with some other kids. My son got in his face today. I suppose that it shouldn’t surprise me that the day after my son finds out that his grandma is dying that he confronts this other boy. Words were exchanged between my son and this boy. They were pushing and shoving each other in the hallway. Then I received a call from the school that my son was suspended for 3 days. He was trying to provoke the other kid that was picking on him. Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe we can finally resolve this issue head on.

We are expecting a snow storm today. We should be getting somewhere around 8 inches of snow with blowing winds. It just started to snow.

Travel woes, the mess we returned to

The first 24 hours upon our return from Orlando was such an emotional roller coaster ride that it rivaled some of the roller coasters that we were on during our vacation. While we were gone, we had icy roads. School was delayed. On the way to work, our employee hit a patch of black ice propelling her into the ditch. It wasn’t her first accident, she was so upset that she could barely work. On our way home, we saw a car in the ditch. Disoriented people were wandering around outside of their car in the middle of the highway. We faced the prospect of having to shovel 5 inches of heavy icy snow when we got home that evening.

While we were gone, we hired my daughter’s 17 year old friend to pet sit. She has been our pet sitter for the past two years without any issues. That being said, we were not prepared for the mess that was waiting for us. When we got home, our pet sitter was stuck in our unshoveled driveway. Our garbage bin was lying in the ditch tipped over spewing out garbage that was put out too late to be picked up. We parked our car on the road, running into the house quickly getting hit with blowing snow while jumping over snow banks. When we got inside, there were piles of dog crap everywhere along with rings of piss and puke in multiple locations all over our living room carpet. The floors were filthy, there was dog shit caked on our toilet seat. 

Our pet sitter started crying saying that she got a second job and asked her mom to help her with the pets. Her mother is absolutely crazy. She is the woman that the neighbor’s called the cops on because she would speed around the school bus while its stop sign was out. She also overfed her own dog from her hand. She somehow thinks that people don’t feed their dogs enough. It seemed as if she overfed our dog without letting him out. There were 4 piles of puke which contained a total of about 2 cups of food, our dogs total daily food allowance. Our dog seemed sick when we got home and threw up again during the night. I started cleaning up the mess while our pet sitter cried hysterically. Paul was able to get her out of the driveway and start on the shoveling. After our pet sitter went home, she got into a huge fight with her mother where things were broken and thrown. 

While I was cleaning up, I noticed a couple of wet stinky towels bunched up underneath the rest of the towels. It looked like someone was cleaning up a mess but trying to hide it. Then the kids and I noticed that some of our things in our bedrooms were out of place. Someone went through all of our personal belongings. I have never felt so violated and sickened in my life. I cried thinking of how my pets were not cared for properly. The house was absolutely trashed. Paul and I were finally were able to get to bed around midnight. When I woke up the next morning, I discovered more poorly cleaned up piss rings on the carpet. We ending up spending as much money renting a carpet cleaner that we did paying our house sitter. I am kicking myself for not taking pictures of the mess we returned to.

The next day I headed back to work. I was so busy catching up from the time that I spent away that I didn’t have time to do any more cleaning. To make matters worse, my in-laws were coming over that night for supper. My mother-in-law was going to be in the area because she needed a PET scan. Back in November, the doctors found a tumor in her stomach and lungs. They did a biopsy on the tumor in her stomach because that was less invasive. They found that the tumor in her stomach was highly treatable, so we decided to go ahead with our vacation plans. In December, the doctors decided to do a biopsy on my mother-in-law’s lungs. She had a collapsed lung and pneumonia which they treated with heavy duty antibiotics. But what was troubling was the finding that the cancer in her lungs was a different kind of cancer that was in her stomach. They are afraid it may be in other organs. She had breast cancer 15 years ago, now 2 different cancers in 2 different organs. Monday we will get the test results.

When I got home from work on Thursday night, my mother-in-law was sitting in the recliner wrapped in a blanket. She did not feel good enough to go out to eat so we ordered food instead. She was so frail, weak, and sickly looking. It was hard to see her like that. When she left she spoke in a hoarse strained voice. She told us all that she loved us. She told Angel that she would like to see the college that she picked out someday. This is the point that Angel ran into the other room crying. My mother-in-law said good bye to me. She thanked me for being a great wife to her son. It seemed so final. I went in the other room to cry and comfort Angel. 

The beginning and end of our vacation was very rough. I am glad that we were able to get away for a couple of days of fun. I am afraid that the next couple months will be very difficult. I guess we will find out for sure on Monday. 

My soul is worn thin

Do you ever have one of those days or long extended weekends where everything seems to go really wrong? Yeah, me too.

I tried to login to talk about this earlier, however my account seemed to be frozen. I imagined hackers who got into my account because I posted of my recent upgrade which means that I used a credit card. It really isn’t too far fetched because one of our credit cards did get hacked last week. I decided to really go nuts about security. However, what I didn’t know was that being secure would take so much time. I had to pick up my daughter from the bus drop off point. I imagined her sitting outside in the dark with wind chills below zero freezing because I needed to feel safe.

Oh it gets much worse. Friday night I came down with a cold. I’m sneezing with watery eyes and a runny nose. Saturday I heard that my neighbor and friend was very sick in the hospital with pneumonia. On Sunday she died. But she wasn’t the only one that died that day. Matt’s long term previous caregiver also passed away. I spent most of the day a crying miserable sneezing mess. Then I spent the evening at my son’s concert looking like I lost my best friend.

I was feeling very overwhelmed with my neighbor’s passing. She was a couple of years older than me and left behind two young children. It was unexpected. It was horrible. I am still in shock. We had made plans this week, now I am planning on going to her funeral. So I wrote a really touching tribute to her on facebook. This was problematic in and of itself. People don’t know me as a writer, this is still a secret life for me. I wrote it in such a way that people thought that she was like a best friend to me because it was so personal and touching. This made me feel very uncomfortable because I was not a best friend. It even prompted a message from an ex-boyfriend who said that he was available if I needed someone to vent to, someone who understands, someone who is ABSOLUTELY available. No, no, no, no,no!

Then I heard from a relative today that a cousin of mine was going to leave her long time husband and three little kids for another man. Sure, why not?? Is it to late to start the year over?

The darkest days of the darkest years

Isn’t it funny that Christmas comes during the darkest days of the year, the time of the year that we so desperately seek out light. That was all that I wanted those darkest years, to be able to see a ray of light, a glimmer of hope. But all glimmer of light was gone. I had lost my hope. I fell into a time of deep despair. I was angry with God.

Those are the years that I don’t talk about to even the closest of new friends. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. The darkest years happened when I was in middle school. My autistic brother Matt became increasingly violent. So much so that he was not allowed to go to school with other kids. He had to have a teacher come out to our house. When Matt got “kicked out” of school, my mom took my brothers and I out of school too. My parents had us 4 children in less than 5 years, with me being the oldest. I was homeschooled between 8th and 10th grade. While my classmates attended prom and homecoming, I was at home in isolation.

Through the darkest years, my dad totally checked out emotionally and became very depressed. My mom became desperate to find a cure for autism, taking Matt out of state to a hospital that did extreme allergy testing. She thought that if he avoided certain foods and allergens, it would curb some of his violent outbursts. When they came back everything changed for us.

Matt was allergic to everything. My parents got rid of their wood furnace and put purifiers throughout the house. My mom took down her bedroom curtains because they had formaldehyde in them. She used old sheets and blankets as curtains. If the local farmers were spraying their fields with pesticides, she would call them screaming if she didn’t get notified first and Matt would have to wear his charcoal mask. If they did call her to notify us, we had to pack up our car within a half an hour and head up north for a couple of days until things gassed out or it rained. My parents had to park their cars at the bottom of the driveway so exhaust fumes would not come in the house. If my dad snow blowed the driveway, he was not allowed into the house with his snow gear on and had to shower immediately. I wasn’t allowed to wear perfume, hairspray, or nail polish. Those were just a few of the changes that were made in attempts to control Matt’s violent behavior.

It was very hard that year at Christmas. My mom said that Matt was allergic to Christmas trees, even the fake ones. It was at that time that we no longer had a Christmas tree in the house. No decorations. No lights. Nothing. Even my grandma was instructed not to put up a Christmas tree. Instead she put little bows on the wall in the shape of a Christmas tree. It was horrible. Matt had meltdown, after meltdown, after meltdown. Day after day he attacked me. He kicked me, punched me, scratched me, hit me. Ironically, taking away all of the things away from Matt (and the rest of us) did nothing to tame his aggression. It seemed to hurt us more than it helped us.

But how could I be angry at my mom for trying everything she could think of trying? How could I be mad at my brother who wasn’t bright enough to read or write? I fell deeper and deeper into despair like a small flower buried under the cold deep snow.

Waiting….for bad news

Waiting…I sit here waiting. Worried. Waiting for bad news. I know it is going to be bad. I think of all the times that we didn’t get along. The guilt of feeling annoyed by you most of the time. You aren’t a bad person. You just talk before you think. My daughter called you rude the last time we saw each other. You commented that my hair looked terrible. Did I mean for it to look so bad? Did my finger get stuck into a light socket? I told you that I wasn’t offended, that your comments about my hair didn’t bother me. It didn’t bother me. What did bother me is all of the empty promises you made to my kids your only grandchildren, the times you said that you would show up and didn’t. 

Now I am thinking that you might not be here to see your granddaughter graduate next year. I feel terribly saddened by this. When I saw you last weekend, you did not look good. You were out of breath, wheezing, and coughing. The cough that lasted over a year. You have been continually sick for months at a time with head and chest colds. Your doctor thought that it might have been some of your medications, that once he took you off of the offending pill that you would get better. But you got worse. Now you are in the hospital, waiting. We worry and wait, wanting the distraction of work but have difficulty focusing. What do we tell the children? That the doctors think that you have lung cancer. So we sit here waiting, waiting for the bad news.