Krissie: Trouble

Okay, guys. If you want to understand what’s going on with my life, go to youtube and turn this up very loud:

Some of you have heard the Linda Ronstadt version of it, but she doesn’t have that plaintive WTF that you need for it.
So on top of the plumbing issues ($500 and counting — wait till the spring when we have to dig up the whole line and patch it), the hot water heater (either $600 for a new one installed and high electric bills and we have some of the highest rates in the country, or $1200 for a new tank or over 2k for a tankless system), we now have my beloved Thelma on her last legs.
Thelma is a blue PT Cruiser I bought right after ICE BLUE was written. We don’t buy expensive cars and never have, and I’ve always bought my cars outright. Life Has Changed.
I love Thelma with a passion. But a few months ago we were considering whether the repair bills were now surpassing what a car payment would be. We dropped that notion as we drew our belts even tighter, but fate or God has a way of laughing at you while you’re making other plans. We took Thelma in because her fucking air bag light was on. (A few years ago a town truck backed into me, I was considered at fault (even though he was moving and I wasn’t) and we supposedly got the car repaired. Apparently there was still a crack and some damage, the front part split and we’ve been holding it on with duct tape (I’m not kidding). So I asked for a quote on that too.
Turns out the airbag light has to do with the front piece, and various sensors, and the air bag could deploy at random (I checked on the internet because I didn’t necessarily trust them and yup, it can). And it’s going to cost $2000 which we don’t have and Thelma has 92k miles on her. And on such a wounded baby they’ll give us only $1,000 toward a new or used car.
We’re feeling pretty blind-sided. I mean, what the fuck? Beating my head against a wall until it bleeds won’t do any good.
I love Thelma. I hadn’t seriously thought about giving her up. But I’m feeling like she betrayed me.
Unfortunately any car I can afford feels like a piece of shit, not something I could really love.
So … I’m looking at used cars for sale, checking the rate I was offered (I think it was 2%) and what kind of payments we could reasonably afford. We’ll also call our insurance company and see what kind of redress is possible.
And they can’t fix it for three weeks (delays in getting parts due to the holidays) and we can’t drive it so we need to rent another car for the duration and there’s more money and the wall is getting dented and covered with blood as I bang my head …

We don’t know what to do at this point. I guess these are issues everyone face, but we haven’t faced them since we were young and could borrow from parents in a plumbing emergency. There’s no one to turn to at this point.

In fact, at this point I’m so upset that I’m not gonna talk anymore. I’m just going to cry.

Krissie: Sometimes Life Sucks

That’s my scared look. With good reason. Life has gone sideways. Is it the Mayans? The stars? What the hell is happening?

I miss my mother. I felt trapped by her. As I mentioned before, I had good reason not to feel terribly tender thoughts for her, and yet I took exquisite, loving care of her. Never realizing that I actually loved her after all. And now I miss her. I keep thinking I need to call her, or that she’s coming over for dinner, or that I need to ask her something. Who would have thought it?

Mini-me never had to deal with my mother’s craziness. Don’t think she ever saw it, which was one good thing. She had wonderful times with her: together they traveled England and Europe twice, once when she was sixteen and then when she was in her late twenties. That was one good thing about her not getting back to see my mother before she died. My mother was once more out of control, and it was good Mini-me didn’t have to see it.

Mini-me lost the brother she’d grown up with when she was 20. He drowned when his car went into the Delaware Canal. She lost her darling Uncle Dougal (only good uncle she had) about a week after her engagement party. She lost her adopted-away half sister, Jill, right before her birthday a couple of years later. For many many years her birthday was forever associated with the death of a sister she had just found.

But Mini-me is an extraordinary creature. She survives. She adapts. She moved to England, went to school (with Damien Lewis and Joseph Fiennes) and got her degree in stage managing. She toured England with operas and musicals. She married a lighting designer over there, got burned out (not by her husband ;> ) and went to work for Virgin Atlantic, which was great, taking my daughter and me to Tokyo, England and Venice. Then, when her husband got burned out they left England and moved to Lake Tahoe to become ski instructors, because, as she said, she could be happy anywhere and that was what put the light back in her husband’s eyes. Really, she’s an extraordinary person.
So after all that sorrow, all that adaptability, what happens? Her mother dies when she’s only 64. Leaving her with not just terrible grief, but the biggest physical and financial mess you can imagine.
As icing on the cake, just as Mini-me felt like she could get her birthday back after years of associating it with her sister’s death. So in honor of this totally shitty year, in which she lost her beloved grandmother, her father-in-law, dying slowly and painfully of bladder cancer, dies on the morning of her birthday.

I told her she should do what I did when my sister died a week before my birthday. Just stop celebrating it for a while. And therefore, don’t age that year. By those standards I’m in my late fifties (except then it comes to Medicare, which I will embrace with passionate enthusiasm).

So Mini-me, after three cross-country trips to VT this summer, now has to make her second trip to England with her husband tomorrow. She’ll go to Peter’s service on Friday, then fly out and arrive in NJ to go to her grandmother’s service, most of which she arranged and even paid for the catering, bless her heart. Hours after the reception is done she’ll get on a plane and fly back to Reno, then get a ride back to Tahoe, where she’ll immediately go back to work while her husband is behind in England for two weeks.

And she’ll be cheery, upbeat, and serene. She really does live the serenity prayer, pretty much always have. She was just born with it, she’s extraordinary, and I love her to pieces.

I can’t spare her the shit she’s going through. I hate that after all her expenses she then paid for the catering, and I wish to god I could have helped, but the little bit my mother left isn’t going to cover that as well as the minister, organist, etc.

Crusie’s not having a walk in the park, either. She spent a fortune on glasses and none of them work — she’s better off with over-the-counter reading glasses. Not a tragedy, but just one more kick in the ass. She just keeps getting slapped upside the head. Someone go out there and distract whatever vengeful god has her in his sights. Just wave wildly and then duck for cover. If enough of us do that They won’t find her.

As for me, I soldier on. I baked yesterday, put Autumn-y runners on furniture, plus fake foliage in pitchers for a splash of color. Then I went through a new box of photos and ached inside. But that’s to be considered and dealt with later…

In the meantime, we’ll all get through this year as best we can. But spare a thought for Mini-me. She may seem invulnerable, but I think she’s had enough shit thrown at her for a lifetime.

Krissie: Inch by Inch


Got squat done yesterday and it depressed me. Or I got squat done because I was depressed. Well, not’s not true — I did write 1400 new words after massively revising the beginning of the new book, so that should have kept me on a nice pink cloud. But once I finished I felt paralyzed. Should have gone swimming but couldn’t get the energy summoned up. I wanted to sort clothes and I wanted to sew. Richie, bless him, said I should sew, but somehow I couldn’t make myself do either. I don’t know why.
Well, I can guess. I’ve been through a lot of body hits recently.
1. My son’s 4 year relationship and family ending
2. The fear of losing my grandson (and already not seeing him as much)
3. My daughter’s anger with me for setting limits, and her disapproving distance which I’m trying to ignore and roll with
4. The potential and probable loss of Richie’s side of the family over the White Elephant we co-own. We need to sell our half. They’re determined to hold onto it even though they can’t really afford fair market value. Lawyers are on the horizon. I’m so mad I could spit by what I perceive to be dirty tricks and dishonesty when we’ve been working so hard to be fair.
5. My mother did something shockingly vicious, reminding me that despite her age she’s not so harmless after all. And it brought back my childhood in really painful, visceral ways.

I could go on. My usual ways of coping aren’t working — can’t lose myself playing with Alex, and That Which Can’t Be Mentioned is giving me a hard, hard time. (In case anyone doesn’t know what That Which Can’t Be Mentioned is, it’s career stuff. There are plenty of other places for it and it doesn’t belong here. If anyone wants to send me a private pep talk that’s fine, but not here. This needs to be a safe place for me where careers don’t exist).
And then Richie came back from being harangued by his in-laws (no, this isn’t going to court so I don’t have to be as careful as I was) and the latest possible solution shattered me. But we’re between a rock and a hard place.

I think I need to force myself to do things. I need a schedule, because I don’t have time every day to do the four things I need to do. I need to write (the most important). I need to exercise. I need to sew. And god, I need to declutter because this place is making me crazy. So maybe something like swim Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays, sew on Tuesdays and Thursday, and use a timer and spend 15 minutes or half an hour a day decluttering. Pick a room a week like Flylady, starting with all my clothes.

But today I’ve got writing and then therapist. Maybe I could sew and then do 15 minutes of decluttering when I get back. I even bought a new timer shaped like a bluebird that I haven’t even opened (no wonder I have clutter).

Okay, that might work. If I can just push through the lassitude that hits me. Maybe I can make it like Vitamin R (my most favorite software ever — Bless you, Lani!)

I’ve got a plan. Time to saddle up and ride out and see if I can bring these steer to market. (Can you tell the Billy Crystal movie about the cattle drive was on recently?)