January 31, 2009

-image-i cannot stop watching this

Leona Lewis singing “Summertime” two years ago on the show X-Factor, the UK’s replacement of “Pop Idol.” Stay tuned for the comments from the judges/mentors and a little, uhm, moment between Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne at the end of the clip. Haha.

I only know her song “Bleeding Love,” to be honest, but, damn, the girl can sing. I think it’s truly amazing. Chills.

(Fast forward to 1:45 if you want to just start the singing; the beginning is interview blah blah stuff.)

January 30, 2009

-image-the things they left behind

~ Five outdoor cafe tables from Boheme

~ 30-lb. canister of cocoa powder, inherited from The Beanhouse, but how much cocoa powder does a person need, I ask you? I know, Jayne. I should have sent it to you. Please still love me. Or like me. I don’t mean to presume. At least like me. Or tolerate me. Or pray for me because I am so damn annoying.

~ industrial trashcan with wheels — although I kind of wanted to climb in and roll down the hill in it because I saw Homer Simpson do this once and it worked out okay for him.

~ 20 plastic outdoor tables, dark green and ugly but neatly stacked

~ a few rolls of wrapping paper

~ a small rolling wire shelf thingy

~ jug of distilled white vinegar — I have no idea why I thought I needed a JUG of this.

~ container of powder for making the “Java Light Blended” drink — never liked those

~ HUGE ceramic plant urn weighing approx. 357.93 lbs., inherited from The Beanhouse

~ random wire hangers in closet, an homage to Joan Crawford

~ a red wooden stool with cushion that I kept meaning to refurbish but never did

~ various glass vases — I prefer weird random containers for flowers

~ 1 Vitamix blender base, broken

~ a bag of wheat flour — I was inexplicably interested in wheat flour for about five minutes.

~ a metal-topped desk-like thing used for counter at Boheme

~ a large and horribly ailing plant — oh, if only that Robin Williams could show up with a red ball on his nose and save its life!

~ an empty ornate painting frame — see note on “red wooden stool,” ahem

~ a much-debated, half-loved russet leather chair

~ an old humidifier — it needed so much and gave so little

~ a broken VCR — it ate my tape of Sense and Sensibility so if it hadn’t died I would have killed it anyway

~ various jugs of cleaning solutions and potions, also inherited from The Beanhouse and never used because they frightened me and I believed I would suffer the same fate as the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark if I ever even opened them and breathed their vapors.

~ a small group of plates and bowls from Pottery Barn — a gift which had bad associations for me.

~ an pinkish-red paint stain on the bedroom carpet, once half-hidden by the bed

~ nagging questions about why I was painting on the bed

~ a neighbor aptly named Sue — a name both noun and verb for this frankly despicable woman. Her real and perfect name.

~ an empty front door — we took the #2 because we are lowlife toothpickin’ felons

~ the lingering fear of ending up with a poltergeist because of that poor guy who had shot himself in our living room 5 years before our arrival — something that “Sue” had mentioned to me with great relish months after we moved in.

~ hopefully, the seeping shame and exhaustion of the last two years

~ Amen.

January 29, 2009

-image-one-minute mood scribble

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I feel you, dawg.

-image-worst week ever

Good. LORD.

I hate Jersey Boy so much.

When I’m in slightly less chaos, I’ll explain further.

For now, please partake of these random moving week quotes, some me, some MB:

I moved this for you in the spirit of resentment.

I hate everything we own.

It’s like the doctor testing your reflexes with that hammer thingy and then a whole month later, your leg moves.

This motel room is like a gulag.

I look like ass.

Check out this weird strip of fabric across the end of the bed. It’s like some giant Commie Christmas present.

What is this show? What is this show?? Two whiny people having a yard sale. See this? This is why we don’t have cable.

Are you touching my computer with your penis?

I can’t live with this level of anger in my life.

He’s got a Nimrod beard. He looks retarded.

You need to save some pee!

Uhm, so yeah.

On that cheery note, I think I’ll go to bed now. Like third grade. Maybe I’ll find that one night’s sleep that erases an entire week.

Oh, and please do remember to save some pee.

January 26, 2009

-image-featuring: my idiocy

So look. I called the Gas and Electric Company Friday to switch service to our new place. Uhm, who knew they required five days’ notice? I did not. So basically, I went catatonic after completing their 10-page online cross-examination, submitting blood, urine, and stool samples, doing retinal, bone density, and MRI scans and proving that I could accurately repeat the presidential oath of office, but no. No service for you on Monday. Sorry.

We now have, until Thursday, two places.

BUT: One place has power and no furniture; the other place has furniture and no power. I did this. Me. All by myself. And so now we’re supposed to choose? Like Sophie’s Choice? Power or furniture?

I cannot choose! I cannot choose!

I am an idiot. I am not informed about the basics of life. I guess everyone knows this 5-day thing? It’s a given? Like “Don’t mix reds with whites in laundry and don’t forget to give the gas and electric company 5 days’ notice when you need to switch service”?

So what are we doing, you ask? We are escaping both junkyards and going to the closest cheapest motel we can find to just forget about everything for one stupid night and have ourselves some reckless screaming foreclosure sex.

Take that, Sophie’s Choice and SDG&E.

Take THAT.

January 25, 2009

-image-“it’s the last midnight ….”

Our last night in our home of five years. Movers come tomorrow and we have to be out out by Thursday.

As in meet with Jersey Boy and give back our keys. Ugh. I vote that MB do that.

And I second the motion.

So the movers — tomorrow morning. We’ve been moving miscellaneous items into our new place for the last three weeks so all they’ll really have to do is move furniture.

And, frankly, there are things we’re just … leaving behind.

The place will be basically clean — I mean, I washed the tub earlier, wha?? — but there’s just stuff I don’t want, don’t want to move, and don’t have the energy to take to Goodwill. Normally, I’d be better about that, but I’m a little unmotivated at the moment. We’re not trashing anything; I’d never do that and don’t understand the people who do, but I just don’t have the heart to do more in terms of getting rid of things. I’ve bagged up some clothes to give away, but that’s that. So I suck. Whatevs. The bank has told us anything left behind is considered “forfeit” and they do … I don’t know … whatever they will with those things. I guess it’s just this: While I may no longer want these things, I just could not bring myself to get rid of them proactively. Everything already feels a little too proactive, you know?

So …..

It’s the last midnight
It’s the last wish
It’s the last midnight
Soon it will be boom-squish

Well, hopefully, not the boom-squish part, but I never have any confidence in movers.

It’s all a bit numbingly surreal and I mostly pray that I do not sob in front of total strangers tomorrow.

Gah. If that happens, I think I’ll be longing for the boom-squish.

January 23, 2009

-image-the end of things with the people at the door

(Here is part one.)

Slutty Boots spoke, a burst of words.

“Oh, no, hon! We’re not here to take the house right now. Oh, noo.”

I squinted at her in the blazing sunlight, surprised to hear her voice, while relief surged through me, wobbling me, and making me clutch anew at that hard knob in my hand. But once those words poured out of her, Slutty Boot’s forehead puckered and she clamped her mouth shut into a tight line. I watched as she quickly resumed scuffing her toe back and forth along the ground like an embarrassed little kid. She wouldn’t meet my gaze. Maybe she wasn’t supposed to talk. Maybe she had overstepped her authority, but she couldn’t help herself. Maybe she was one of those strippers with a heart of gold like Pretty Woman. I suddenly felt bad for her. Who knows why.

Perhaps sensing the crack Slutty Boots had created, Jersey Boy pressed his case.

“So is it all right if we come in, then? We want to talk to you about moving out.”

“Uhmm …..”

Slutty Boots looked at me then, her eyes almost pleading.

“Uhmm ….” I glanced over my shoulder once again, cringing into the darkness of my debris field.

Is it too late to pretend I’m not home? Is it too late to slam the door in their faces? Is it too late to pretend I’m the maid?

My doorway was a force field, surrounding me and protecting me. If they penetrated the force field, I was doomed for sure. For a split second, I waited, focusing all my energy on one last crazy hope, but the unobliging ground refused to open up and swallow me whole.

Slutty Boots continued to scuff her toe and beg me with her eyes.

” ….. okaaay ….” I sighed, opening the door just wide enough for my doom to slip through.

Jersey Boy marched on into the rubble; Slutty Boots tiptoed in behind. I stumbled to the one empty corner of the room — the end of the sofa — and stared hard at the floor.

“You had to know this day was coming, right?” Jersey Boy said after a few seconds.

“Yes. Of course.” I looked straight at him now. I’m not an idiot, dude. “I just didn’t think it would come the day before Christmas. And I didn’t think people would show up at my door. We were supposed to get a notice first.”

Jerk.

“Well, sorry about that.”

“Uh-huh.”

He glanced around the room. I knew what he wanted and I was secretly happy I couldn’t give it to him.

“Can we sit down?”

Good luck, Peaches.

Never more mental bravado than when facing imminent doom.

As he took in the flotsam and jetsam of our lives, his eyes widened and flitted here and there, trying to locate some secure outcropping amidst this haphazard sea. The sofa? Loaded with bags I was packing for our trip up north. The chaise? Piled with books. This arm chair? Our coffee house cash register. That arm chair? A huge dusty fan. I could feel my face burning. I was mortified.

But I wasn’t all that sorry.

“Uhm, sorry,” I heard myself saying from the only seat in the room, “the place is a mess …. we’ve been packing and …. well … I’m sorry, I don’t really have anywhere for you to sit.”

A small scowl crossed his face as he was forced to find solid footing between the plops of trash bag and the poofs of warped floorboard. Slutty Boots hovered near the doorway, squashed between an arm chair and the jutting legs of my trampoline. I flashed a slight apologetic smile; she flashed one back.

I could have moved some things, I guess, but what was I supposed to do? Welcome my doom with open arms? Offer it some iced tea? Make it some chocolate chip cookies? I didn’t feel the need to make them too comfortable.

“Okay. Well, that’s fine,” he said.

Then he paused and looked right at me.

“So. We need to talk about you moving out.”

And that was it. Something in that clipped tone, something in that pause like a floodlight on the words, something about the sudden glare of it all and the corner where I cowered alone, something about it all just ripped right through me. Force field cracked. Bravado shattered. My face collapsed onto my hands and I was sobbing. Sobbing like an orphaned child. For eons, it seemed. I could not stop sobbing and I could not bring myself to come out from behind my hands. They were stuck to my face, tears leaking between my fingers. I was aware that Jersey Boy and Slutty Boots stood there. I was aware that they watched me instead of killing me which I would have much preferred. Despair is a messy business best disguised by the pillows of the bedroom or the whoosh of the shower — or so I was raised by the German half of my parents. You don’t cry. At least, not in front of others and definitely never ever ever in front of total strangers like Jersey Boy and Slutty Boots. It is verboten.

But I could not stop and I wanted to die because I could not stop.

Between heaves, I heard Slutty Boots murmur, “Ohhh, hon ….” and Jersey Boy clear his throat and say, “Um, take as long as you need.”

As long as I need? Are you sure? Because it would appear that I have completely cracked apart right here in front of you on the only empty space in the sad rubble of my lost home and I do not know when I will ever stop. “As long as I need”? Okay …

And for some time, there was only the lurch of my sobs, the damp of my hands, and the gloom of shame hanging heavy like incense in the air. Everything else was frozen, it seemed.

After a while, who knows how long, Jersey Boy thawed from his position, striding toward the other end of the sofa where all our travel bags were piled. “Can I sit here?” he said, as he dumped some bags on the floor and sat.

“Uhhh …. ” I couldn’t speak; there was no way. Yet somewhere in my brain I could hear real Tracey, regular Tracey urging me from very far away, from high on a mountain to me low in this valley, “Tracey! C’mon, hon! Rudeness! Say something! Why aren’t you saying something? ….”

But I couldn’t. I simply could not. I had become mute. Pre-verbal. I was a Cro-Magnon woman in yoga pants moaning into her hands. From his newly created perch near my side, and without waiting to see if I could utter any kind of permission at all, ex post facto, Jersey Boy now just started talking … and talking …. and talking.

I raised my head, swiping at my running eyes, nose, cheeks, and stared at the warped floorboard at my feet. The entire time Jersey Boy spoke, I stared at that floorboard. Peripherally, I was aware that poor Slutty Boots had become a slutty statue, frozen in one uneasy position, and that Jersey Boy was now fingering some papers and talking, talking, talking. What is he saying? Is he speaking English? His words were rough stones grinding through the rock tumbler of my brain. They made no sense, only noise. Through the heavy rumble in my mind, I heard myself clear my throat and finally speak — a strange high hummingbird voice, like a child’s.

“Uhmm …. can I call my husband? I want him to be here. Can I call him?” I was desperate for MB to hold my hand, to do all the talking, to loom big and tall and masculine, to even the playing field.

To make them go away.

“Well, we’re on a tight schedule. We have several of these to do today so we can’t really wait,” he said.

“Uhmmm ….. okaay.” I slumped in my seat, no fight in me. None. My sometime inner Shaniqua had been trapped, drowned, in the deluge between my face and hands.

For the next fifteen minutes, while my gaze did not leave the floor, Jersey Boy walked me through every corner of our coming doom, pointing out this feature and that feature, a thorough tour guide of our personal hell. And when he was done, he started the tour all over again, until the tumbling in my brain finally slowed and the words were somewhat more refined, a little better understood.

Next, came a barrage of questions. I whispered thin responses while Jersey Boy patted his pockets.

“Do you have a pen? I need to write your answers down.”

I reached a still-damp hand toward my art pens on the coffee table and handed him one. As he wrote, he said, “You know, I lost a home, too. So did Slutty Boots.” He nodded in her direction; she nodded agreement.

Yeah, sure you did.

Enough with the false camaraderie. I didn’t buy it and didn’t comment.

“You’re being very nice about this,” he continued. “We get threatened a lot, you know. Or people say they’ve been threatened by us. That’s why Slutty Boots is here — as a witness.”

Slutty Boots smiled her apologetic smile again.

Whatever.

Jersey Boy stood up. “So now we need to take some pictures — for the bank.”

I panicked at this, could feel the sudden burn of my face.

Oh, no. No.

My entire underwear drawer was dumped atop my unmade bed.

Oh, no.

“Uhmmm …. w-w-w-why?”

I stuttered with post-sob convulsions.

“To prove the place hasn’t been trashed.”

“Well, you can s-s-see the f-floor.”

“Yeah. What’s that?”

“Under floor l-l-leak.”

“Okay. Well, can we take the pictures?”

“I’d rather you d-didn’t.”

“We’ll just have to come back,” he warned.

It worked.

“Oka-aay.”

I collapsed against the arm of the sofa, head in hand, as he trounced through the ground zero of our home, snapping mementos of despair and disarray.

“Okay. We’re all done.” Well, his voice didn’t hint at any sight of underwear. I sat up a little straighter, allowed myself that small kernel of relief. He stood near Slutty Boots now, near the door. They both seemed to be waiting for me to do something.

Oh. They’re done done. They’re leaving.

I stood, lopsided, and moved to coil my arms around myself, to still my trembling core. That old stubborn instinct for self-protection. Flimsy arms were no barrier against our coming doom, of course, but I needed to believe they were. As I snaked my arms around me, my hand brushed up against something on the opposite elbow. That’s weird. What is that? I reached for it, tugged at it and ….oh, Lord. I’d gone to Old Navy to Christmas shop earlier that day. I’d found this hoodie on sale for ten bucks, had come home and tried it on. Was still wearing it, I realized, with its price tag poking out from the elbow. Are you kidding me? I flashed back to when Jersey Boy and Slutty Boots had first arrived. How I’d stood in the doorway, all hemming and hawing and lost, but, oh! with a very indignant hand on my hip and, I realized now, a Minnie Pearl price tag at my elbow.

Lord.

I was crumpling again, overwhelmed now with the searing pain of my own ridiculousness. Oh, I could feel it coming: the telltale shudder in my stomach; the acid sting at the corner of my eyes; the childish quiver of my chin. Furtively, I cupped my elbow to hide the offending tag, breathing heavy to quell any encore of tears.

It was official. I was a loser in every possible way. I could be the Olympic gold medal winner in losing. I couldn’t be the dignified woman holding her head high as the enemy swarms her homestead and claims it for their headquarters. No. I had to be the chick blubbing endlessly amidst the rubble of her home while strangers watched and cleared their throats and wondered why she had a price tag jutting from the sleeve of her hoodie.

I stole a resentful glance at Slutty Boots. Why did she get to be a silent slut while I had to be a sobbing Minnie Pearl? Why, God? Why?

Tottering from this surge of self-pity, I lurched towards the doorway where they now waited, price tag duly smushed and hidden under my hand.

“Well, thank you for being so nice,” said Jersey Boy.

“Uhm, okay.”

“Good luck, hon,” said Slutty Boots.

“Uhm, thanks.”

“I’ll be in touch. Remember, end of January,” said Jersey Boy, as they turned to go.

I nodded and closed the door. No longer my force field, it was now just a door. I stumbled across the room, threw my shaking body on the sofa, and clamped the nearest pillow to my face. I knew what was coming and I just let it come. Let it all come.

I cried because I was absurd. Because I’d cried in front of strangers. Because of the stupid price tag. I cried because of the warped floorboards. Because of the pile of underwear. Because of the unmade bed. I cried because of the dream gone bad. Because of the flotsam and jetsam. Because Jersey Boy had taken my pen. I cried for my lost friend, lost job, lost business, lost family. For what had passed. For what was to come.

I cried because my nose stuffed so badly within ten minutes of crying that I could no longer cry and felt gypped.

I ripped that price tag from my sleeve, waited for my nose to clear, and just cried.

January 22, 2009

-image-christmas morning 2008

My first white Christmas ever. Christmas morning, I woke up in the motorhome in the driveway where we sleep in this cozy cave, twisted the blind open, and, literally, screamed at the sight of the silent whiteness floating down. It’s snowing on Christmas! Ahhhh! That’s how MB was awakened on Christmas morning — by my piercing snow scream. Poor man.

xmas2008a.jpg

Me, MB, and sister-in-law Z out in the snow Christmas morning, ASAP after breakfast. Brother M is taking the photo and, most likely, plotting how to get his unsuspecting So Cal sister-in-law to walk under a snowy tree again while he shakes the branches. Honestly, he’s a terrible pest and I long to beat him to a pulp but the man is made of iron. Freak. I borrow that huge poofy turquoise coat from my mother-in-law every year because, uhm, I live in San Diego and I don’t own a coat. I am not kidding.

Please note my awesome black beanie and how I only come up to MB’s shoulders. And he’s not even standing up straight. He’s a giant. Freak.

Oh, and yes. Sunglasses. Automatic for me. I own sunglasses — currently, these ugly ones — but I do not own a coat.

Freak.

January 21, 2009

-image-favorite christmas picture

We went up to the deep dark middle of nowhere for Christmas, as I know I’ve mentioned, and, this year, MB’s brother and sister-in-law were over from Australia. You have no idea how much their presence makes the deep dark middle of nowhere much more bearable — just socially. We become the four musketeers. (Were there ever four at one point??) We roam all over the countryside, doing whatever stupid thing we want for however long we want to do it just to avoid all the people we know have popped in — or will pop in — at the in-laws’ house.

“Where are MB and Tracey and M and Z?”

“We don’t know. Just OUT.”

It sounds terrible, but it’s an agreed-upon necessity — for our mental and emotional stability — to limit with severe boundaries the number of HOURS we spend trapped in the house socializing with the pop-ins.

Generally, most of the maddening chatter and local gossip is unavoidable, but I do find it hilarious to watch MB’s brother, who is somewhat less mild-mannered than MB, steam himself into a froth of irritation whenever we pull into the driveway behind yet another visitor’s car.

“F*****ck,” he’ll mutter, dragging out that vowel sound.

Hahaha. Don’t piss M off. He’s a 10-time black belt and a killing machine. He skerrs me.

But about this picture. M and Z gave us the most amazing Christmas present. Truly. When I think about it now, it makes me cry. They gave us a card that told us they were kidnapping us on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. Be ready for anything, basically. You’ve had a totally crappy year and we want you to throw your cares away for just one day. So sweet. One of the nicest things I’ve ever experienced.

At the end of a day just STUFFED with fun, when we thought we could take no more, they drove us up to the ski resort — not the ski resort in the area, but a smaller, less crowded resort — and took us to the spa. And I have literally never been to a spa.

Just walking into the place, I felt lighter and freer. We spent most of our time at the indoor pool and hot tub area, swimming, lounging in the robes the spa gave us, drinking hot chocolate, reading. It was completely cozy. I became a total slug and I did not care. I lounged in a chaise, reading, uhm, Twilight, and sighing at the downy banks of snow just outside the steamed-up windows. I became a person I hadn’t been for well over a year. Just so …. mercifully relaxed.

At one point, MB and M walked past me in their robes and I was openly ogling their gorgeous legs. So I grabbed Z’s camera and made them pose for me, with their four beautiful and similar calves. As they turned to face me, I said, “No! Turn around! I want the backs of those calves!” Yes, dudes. Please turn around. Faces? Humanity? Bah. You are pieces of meat to me. Hm. I notice the lovely bums slipped into the frame there, too. However did that happen?? Oh, and those are my feet, of course. Well, I do like my feet. They are little and dainty and look how white! Hahaha. And if my lap were in the picture, yes, you’d see my copy of Twilight.

But for now, a moment of silence to absorb the beauty of brotherly calves.

xmas08-legs-feet.JPG

January 20, 2009

-image-inaugural ball stuff

Okay. So I’m watching a couple of these balls tonight because there ain’t nothing else on and we don’t have cable, blah blah, and Savonarola burned all our books. Wah.

So a few words about these balls, if I may?

~ Michelle Obama, may I tell you something? Okay. This is hard. Uhm ….. okay. My Beloved has been a camera man, video producer, worked in television, blah blah. So the fact that I even have this knowledge is his fault. Here goes: You are a black woman. You are wearing a stark white ball gown under bright lights on television. There are …. oh, how to say this? …. contrast issues. The white of your gown is just “too hot” under those lights. Literally, just now, when I watched you dance with your husband, your gown flashed, became a glowing blob without any detail. I am stunned that nobody bothered to tell you this. Your skin tone and your dress cannot be lit equally well here. The gown may be pretty, but it’s impossible to tell and it’s not the right choice for you — on camera. Anyone who’s ever been on camera learns this the very first time they’re on camera. I mean, look, I learned it from MB …. first time I was on camera … you know, when we met … at the glamorous local shopping channel. (Hahahaha. Ah, memories! So many stories to tell!)

Back to my point, Michelle Obama: Blazing white dress meets black skin and big hips and bright lights. Don’t do that again, ‘mkay, Michelle Obama? Please don’t ever wear a dress that makes me use so many b’s.

~ Now Barack Obama, may I tell you something? It really may be time to own your bi-racial heritage. I see you dancing there, hon. Methinks I spy the dreaded white man’s overbite. Sorry, Mr. President. S’true.

Hm. Whiteness seems to be an issue tonight, don’t it?

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