Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Calvary Arrives

Written October 10
(posted March 20, 2013)

Okay... I"m back on the blog train.  Will I post weekly?  Daily?  Monthly?  We'll see...

Today, thanks to a secured loan I made from the most wonderful woman in the world (Rebecca) Doug and I went in a lovely Saturn SUV (borrowed from Kim, the 2nd most wonderful woman in the world) to Upper Darby (west of Philly) to look at a ‘new’ car.

After exhaustive searching on the internet my resourceful husband found a 1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass SL (I don’t know what the fuck the SL stands for, but Doug seemed pretty darned excited about it).  And the price? Get ready….

$1200!  An entire car for $1200!! Okay? My friend Lois no doubt has handbags that cost more. And get this… It’s got windshield wipers that work, brakes and REVERSE!!! I forgot to mention that the reverse had stopped working on the VW about 10 months ago.

As Doug and I drove – no, let me say ‘floated’ through the back roads of NJ towards Upper Darby in our borrowed Saturn we felt -- lucky. Dare I say ‘blessed’?  It’s amazing how driving in a car with windshield wipers (it was still raining) A.C., cruise control and GPS can feel like a Caribbean vacation when you’ve spent the last few months in a car without a muffler, reverse, brakes and with manual windows.  That’s right!  Can you even remember the last time you had roll-up a window?

Oh, I felt downright cocky as I pulled into a spot at Dunkin Donuts, knowing when I had to leave I could simply put the car in reverse and then speed away.  No, today I didn’t have to search for a pull-through spot, or find some cleaver way to park that didn’t involve backing up.  Ahh, I was really living.

So today all thoughts of suicide, self-pity anger and resentment had disappeared like the little VW on the tow truck disappeared this morning.  I had hope again.  For no reason, really.  I mean, the relief is an illusion. As I type this various 800 numbers call me looking for payments on numerous bills that I have no way of paying.

Recent time-line of my thoughts/relationship with God, Goddess, Higher Power, etc.

Day 1 – There is no God, or a cruel, mean-spirited God.  The type of God that would act like he really liked you, then say, “Hey, do you want to go steady?” and when you say “Sure!” all wide-eyed and fluttery, He would smirk and say, “Well, I don’t.” then walk away and high-five his friends who were all laughing at how stupid you were to have hope.

Day 2 – Maybe there is a God.  But the type of God that likes to watch you cry and shake your fist at the world only to send the cavalry in at the last minute.  And you’re glad the cavalry arrived in the shape of a loan from a friend and a 1997 Oldsmobile, you are!  But you were kind of hoping that the cavalry would be your screenplay getting made into a movie (it was optioned last January – more on that later) so you could send your kids to the dentist, buy them some clothes and pay off Time Warner.  Not to mention pay back all your amazing friends and family that have loaned you money over the last few years!

But, focusing on the Happy & Peppy aspect of life, we have a new car.  "New" being a relative term.

First of all, I'm proud to say I made a pret-ty good deal on the car.  Oh yeah! When we got to Upper Darby and Mike, the owner, fetched the car from the Public Storage space we noticed it had a crumpled fender.  Not a 'dented' fender as the description on the internet had said -- crumpled.  And it had powder blue cloth upholstery!  Now, I know when your budget is $1200 one is in no position to be picky about upholstery. But, let's face it, there are few colors worse than powder blue when  It comes to upholstery.  Maroon, magenta, even emerald green is not as bad.  And the interior of our soon to be 'new' Cutlass Supreme had quite a few stains on it.  So, I did some haggling (it was the middle of the day, in the middle of the week and Mike was in shorts and flip flops.  I just had a feeling he was a li-ttle desperate.) offered him $1000, he countered with $1,100 and we settle on $1050. I was on fiyah!

Doug and I sped away from Upper Darby feeling pretty 'fancy'.  

Back home I headed out to the driveway with my Auto Zone Upholstery Cleaner in hand and a tidy little scrubby brush I went to work.  As I surveyed things I realized there were stains everywhere; on all the floors, on the seats, and even on the doors, dark brown stains were ‘splattered’ (yes splattered is the definitely the right word) all over the interior of my new car suggesting there had been some sort of a terrible accident in the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. 

Okay!!  Now I get it!  Now the price was beginning to make sense.  I began to wonder exactly how long had this car been in hiding – I mean in storage?   Which begged the question, was Mike selling a car or ditching evidence? As I scrubbed, feeling slightly queasy,  I remembered that Mike’s last name was Marino, or Mateo or something decidedly Italian. And it occurred to me that I might be doing more than cleaning my car.  I might actually be getting rid of DNA evidence.

Oh well... and I scrubbed on.  After all I had a new car, with brakes, windshield wipers, electric windows and REVERSE!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Keeping the Devil at Bay

Welcome to my dark, yet funny and inspirational blog!

It may seem stupid, crazy and incredibly ironic (not to mention arrogant and self-absorbed) when I find myself suicidal on a regular basis, that I have decided to write a self-help blog (in the future, no doubt, to be turned into a book/inspirational memoir and eventually a movie, see more on that below) but – well… what the fuck do I have to lose?

[Disclaimer - I will probably be mentioning suicide here and there in this fun-filled blog, but - no worries - I will NOT EVER KILL MYSELF! No, it would leave the wrong impression. And I chose the sunny template and the hopeful lavender font color to keep this whole thing from slipping into an unbearable morass.]

It’s crazy, (there’s that word again) but – as a chronically under-employed writer I am always trying to figure out how to parlay my personal pain into some ‘dough ray me’! (Forgive the completely dated reference, but I’m old – oh yeah! I’m fuckin’ 56! I grew up with WWII parents, the type that actually had old Benny Goodman albums and served in WWII.  My dad was in the air force and my mom was a Candy striper in a local hospital and gave back rubs to GIs recently returned from the war. Really! Before there was anything craigslist or Sandusky creepy about back rubs. Back when a back rub was just plain old patriotic, damn it!

Back to money from my pain: Let’s face it, memoirs (or blogs turned into movies and/or memoirs) sell like hotcakes, the more dark, shocking and disturbing the better.  And I've got my share (some might say more than my share) of dark, shocking and disturbing.  If that’s gonna bother you, stop right here and go play Words with Friends or see what's on sale at King's Road.  I won't take it personally, I promise. Or pick up your People magazine and find out how Suri’s surviving without Tom.  But, if you’ve got the balls (or ovaries) for some not-so-fun shit, keep reading.  Don’t forget that my dark, shocking and disturbing stuff comes with a boatload of laughs.  As my brother always says, “If you can’t laugh about _______ (insert your own personal childhood pain here) what can you laugh about?” (Oh yeah! I'ts THAT dark!)

Why now?

Why being in the midst of my worst personal crisis - since being a depressed, chubby 15-year-old - is the perfect time for me to write my own version of “Tuesdays with Maury’? (never read it, btw, but I’m incredibly bitter and angry towards the author who made a shitload of money off of such a thin book when my sexy, comic novel - The Playgroup didn't sell. I have 400 copies in my closet – even though The NY Post called it “Momsational!” And I’m not making that up. Click here to get an autographed copy - Oh yeah, any chance to promote myself will be seized like a life preserver.)

Reason #1

While I’m writing this shocking, raw, insightful and bitter, yet inspirational blog/book I’ll somehow climb my way out of this, or God will pull me out, (ha ha!) or my husband will get a job, (ho ho!) and the blog/book will chronicle every inspiring, gut-wrenching, heart-warming and hysterical moment; becoming an instant hit/best-seller. Oprah will go back on network TV just to talk about how my blog/book is a beacon of hope, grit and tenacity for all those suffering from the effects of an abusive childhood, a shitty economy, unrelenting unemployment, midlife crisis, and killer hot flashes.

Reason # 2

I will chronicle my crisis and neither God, my husband, Oprah nor the economy will save me and I kill myself. (Don't worry, I won't!) The book will be published posthumously as a cautionary tale of how God, society, social services, and talk shows failed me.  The book, of course, will be made into a movie; Holly Hunter will play me, (She’s way overdue for an Oscar and I’m petite and a bit of a ‘spitfire’ when I’m not on my kitchen floor sobbing in the fetal position.)  The book and the movie will bring awareness to the far-reaching affects of a crappy childhood, menopause and a shitty economy. Because of the unprecedented success of the book my kids will get their own reality show (called something like ‘Surviving Suicide’, HBO's first foray into reality TV, and it will garner tons of Emmys) and my death and suffering will not have been in vain.

So, as I've so graphically illustrated, it’s a win-win either way .

Of course, I’ll be keeping you updated on surviving the economy, menopause and a particularly shitty childhood as I strive to make some motherfucking (spell check recognizes ‘motherfucking’ as one word --- who knew?) 'dough ray me'.

October 8, 2012 - Day 1 
(It's taken some time to have the ovaries to post this.)
Our poor, exhausted 1998 VW Golf finally died yesterday, forcing my limping, wounded life to come to a screeching halt. We got the VW over 3 years ago, right after our Passat was repossessed.  (Yes, it’s a long, depressing tale.)

The good news is our old, sweet, faithful VW died at home surrounded by her loved ones just as we pulled into our humble soon-to-be foreclosed upon ranch house in the quiet beach town of Pine Beach, NJ.  And, if I weren't so angry and bitter, I’d think that God had been watching over us.  I'd think that God is the reason we didn't get killed or injured in a horrible accident as we traveled the back roads of New Jersey driving my son Malcolm to and from soccer practices and games with absolutely no breaks.  (I meant to type 'brakes'.  But, really, both apply.)

You see, her brakes were shot.  I mean shah-hot! Doug (my husband of 25 years) and I have been in competition as to which one of us is the better down-shifter.  I, of course, think I won. By the end I had perfected a technique which enabled me to come to a complete stop at a red light without ever even touching the brakes that involved simply turning off the engine and then slowly easing out the clutch. Brilliant!

Yes, I’m an asshole, an idiot! If child welfare services knew and had any dignity they’d come and snatch my son, Malcolm (16, and ah – dorable!) from me for putting his welfare in danger every time I put him in the car.  (But, what I've learned about social services over the past few months we really don't have to worry.  They're not really paying attention.  Not to us, at least) Point is I’m not worried that social services will take Malcolm from us because all of those social service agencies SUCK!! (not that I’m bitter).  But, through the grace of God, or through our nonexistent brake pads all our lives were spared.

For awhile there we actually had two cars!  Not long after Doug got a job in 2010 (Yay!) we got a 1997 Mercedes – pretty fucking spanky! The Mercedes died a few months ago after 2 years of relentless use and nary a repair - his job lasted only 6 months because his boss was indicted for fraud – Damn the luck!  By the time the Mercedes was towed away she had been chugging along on 5 cylinders, without windshield wipers, a radio or A.C.

So, here I sit in the suburbs of NJ with no money, no job (I'm a self-employed freelance writer/editor/teacher/personal trainer/writing coach/ghostwriter), an unemployed husband, and a son that needs transportation 4 times a week to soccer practice or games that are a minimum of 75 minutes away -- and NO CAR!! 

Stay tuned....