Wednesday, 30 June 2010
I took the bus into Glebe one Saturday, with enough money to buy a book. I went straight to the self-help section, did not want to talk to anybody. Wasn't feeling so hot. Those days I used to walk around with all of my insides on the outside. A raw nerve ending. I was so used to being a fuck-up in life that it was hard to believe I was anything else but.
I stood in the self-help section, choosing my book that would help set me free. I closed my eyes and summoned the Spirits, what book do I need to read right now, in my life? (I see you smiling with recognition, Palemother.)
I couldn't pick one. Why? BECAUSE THEY WERE ALL APPLICABLE. Overcoming family dysfuncion, suicide survivor, alcoholic, low self-esteem. How to be be better, let go, awaken your spirit, don't sweat the small stuff, all in ten easy steps. I realised it was closing time, the shop guy wanted to close up. But I couldn't choose, and I really wanted to get it right. So what do I do?
Have a panic attack in the self-help section of a book store.
Even in my sweaty, shaky state, the irony was not lost. I ended up picking a dud book that I never read, because shop guy was watching me. I forced myself to walk over to the counter with purpose, totally pretending that I was ok. I was not ok. Marchello Wallace would call it - "Pretty fucken far from ok."
It's been a week of hugging the couch and staying up too late. Frozen. A wild-eyed insomniac at 2.30am, terrified. I keep waiting for it to pass, and think back on a time when I was in a MUCH better rehab and the therapist listened to my anxiety-ridden-angst and looked me squarely in the eye. "Eden. Your day does not have to be determined by your feelings."
Which was an eye-opener. You could actually function as a person and not be entirely dependant on how you feeeeel. Who knew!
I had thought that the oil spill over in the U.S Gulf of Mexico was coming from a tanker. That it was a big, terrible, awful mess ..... but it would eventually stop. Ignorance is bliss -
Video streaming by Ustream
That's a live feed of the oil, gushing out into the ocean. Every day I think of it just pouring out, pouring away the ocean.
It's not from a tanker at all. I don't think BP can fix it. It's bad - really, really bad. Cue useless hand-wringing.
Then I watched this:
(It goes for twenty minutes, but so well worth watching.)
Then I tried calming myself down by looking for Madeline Kahn singing with Grover, but ended up viewing 9/11 footage that I had never seen. Shocking, despicable footage.
3am and all's hell!
And I had that terrible feeling I had in the bookstore. Too many things are wrong! I'm powerless!
What if we're living on a dying planet but nobody wants to admit it? Australia has a new Prime Minister this week - a woman with red hair, no less. She didn't get elected in, though. She backstabbed, got the numbers to oust KRudd. I wish our politicians (on both sides) would expend as much energy into running the fucking country than they do conspiring and plotting for power.
And what the hell can I even do about it. I'm just a spoilt white woman in a western world living in a big house with our fancy toys. I'm quite repulsive. True dat.
I believe there is a shift in collective consciousness coming, on the whole of planet earth.
Because, you know, I AM a soothsayer.
I have decided to re-plant our veggie garden, for the first time since Dave got sick. And I'm going to go to Max's school and see if I can implement some kind of awareness activities and education about recycling and greening. And I'm going to laugh at the crazies in my brain, telling me the world is a sad bad place and everything is futile. I will continue feeling desperate inside. But all feelings ebb and flow. It will pass. Even kidney stones eventually pass, right?
We are all doomed. Maybe we are. But maybe we're not. I don't need alcohol or drugs to survive in life anymore - that's a fricken miracle. So I know miracles exist. Maybe one day, Rocco's great great grandchildren will talk in school with awe about how in the olden days, the humans nearly wrecked the planet.
Do you ever get so tired because you know you need to wake the hell up?
Saturday, 26 June 2010
And I look at the baby and will it to shut up. Then I get this huge sense of relief that it's not my baby, and I don't have to take care of it.
I look at Rocco all the time, and marvel at the boy who replaced the baby. I ask him, "Are you a baby, or are you a big boy?"
He looks at me - through me, with those blue eyes, and always says the same thing.
"My baby." Pointing at his himself with his chubby hands. And we both laugh. Then we hear Dave from the other room. "HE'S A BIG BOY!"
He doesn't have a dummy anymore, or a bottle. He talks in sentences, loathes the stroller, and loves to start the day with a "chocolate chino." (Warm milo.)
He finally sleeps through the night. Praise Jesus and all the Saints, he sleeps through.
I can never seem to kiss him enough. I'm still a little scared of him.
Max performed two hip hop dances at an outdoor recital last week. I took a billion photos, my heart bursting with pride. He had a sports carnival yesterday but hurt his knee in the long jump. I took him the biggest bag of hot chips I could buy, his friends surrounded him like flies.
He is saving up to buy a new gaming console, so far has $25. We haven't decided which one yet. I tell him how I was the Atari Queen when I was a kid.
"Oh yeah mum. Back in your day."
Last night we both went to see Toy Story 3 together. I wept, towards the end. At the letting go, the growing up. The magic being passed on.
I cried so hard, like a chicken on the bus.
Tim turned eighteen yesterday. Walking into the kitchen I looked at him really hard. "You're a man!" Hugged him tightly, wrote on his card that even though he didn't come from my belly, I couldn't love him more than I do.
Last night we had roast lamb and a carrot cake, then he went to the pub with some mates. After the movie, Max and I did a drive-by of the pub and watched Tim in the beer garden pretending to fight, all excited and silly. I couldn't help myself .... I got out and asked if he needed a lift home. He threw his arms around me. "EVERYONE! LOOK WHO'S HERE!"
He sat in the back seat with his best mate - REEKING of booze. I ordered everyone to wind their windows down, and got him home safe. One night down - 6,758 to go.
Today he has gone to play paintball with Dave and a whole heap of friends. I couldn't think of anything worse.
Tim took all the photos for my last post. When I got the slow cooker out of the back of my car, I picked a nice quiet street and told him I needed his help.
"Oh my God. There's something wrong with you Eden!!"
And we all laughed, Max and Rocco watching on from the back seat, sucking on the lollipops I bought them as shameless bribery, their big brother taking photos of mummy holding hands with a kitchen applance.
I didn't know I wanted this life until I had it. I'm not sure if I can ever let it go.
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
It all got too much.
I met someone. He is amazing. It's been a secret for a while, I finally told Dave about it on the weekend. And in the interest of keeping myself and my blog honest, I've decided to write about it here.
He's strong, sturdy, and can go all day. He makes me warm, on the inside. And he never cares when I eat all the chocolate.
My slow cooker. He has never, ever let me down. He makes dinner times manageable. And yummy, and I get all the credit. I've really gotten to know him well, especially as it's the middle of winter here .... and I have discovered recipe bases at the supermarket. So now I just chop stuff up, add the recipe mix, and six hours later my entire house smells beautiful.
Isn't he handsome?
Dave is fine with it. "Whatever makes you happy, hon." Here we are toasting marshmallows together:
..... long walks in the winter afternoons .....
Things can get a little hot and heavy. This is what happened after a particularly amazing night of chilli con carne:
We are just one, big happy, dysfunctional family.
Thursday, 17 June 2010
My cousin posted them to me. I got them all developed. Wow.
My real dad's name was William. Bill to his friends. Bill Barrie. A tall, proud Scot, straight from Glasgow. He met my mother when they both worked at the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme - he was one of many overseas workers recruited from Europe, she a local Cooma girl.
And so, they fell in love. I think. I'm not sure, I never got told anything. Apparently my mother got back from the honeymoon and whispered to her sister who had come to pick her up from the airport: "I've just made the biggest mistake of my life."
So obviously, something was up. My guess was the booze - he drank like a fish. Complete alcoholic. They had twin girls in 1969, and then me in 1972. I am the boy he always wanted, he just didn't see it. LOOK DAD, MANHANDS!
I have a handful of memories of him, all scary and bad and angry. He ruled the whole house with his anger, went on violent rampages and would hit my mother regularly. (I think, I never got told anything ... it's why I'm such a big snoopy snoopster now.)
She put us three girls in the car one day and drove off. Left him alone. It was my fourth birthday. We went to live with my grandparents. My sisters were scared of men for a long time after that. I was the opposite, clambering on any man's lap with relish. (Which continued WAY into my twenties.)
Linda, Leigh and I still have relatives in Scotland - Bill's sister Netta, our aunt. I wrote her once, asking her about him. What was he like? What were his interests? She said he was a dashing man, who often got compared to Roger Moore.
He liked tennis. He was in the army. He was the youngest in a family full of girls. He was a genius - as in, a brilliant man. He worked for IBM computers in Sydney during the seventies and eighties, developing software. Mum has said that if I was a boy I could have saved their marriage. Something tells me nothing could have saved their marriage.
I didn't cry when I saw these photos. But I felt the familiar deep pull again. I can't miss someone I didn't even know, but to have come from him, to be told my entire life that I look like him; same hair, same build, same stance, same bone structure. Same thirst. Same propensity for self-destruction.
I understand and relate to this guy more than maybe anyone. I wonder if he thought of me much. I wish I had been enough to make him stay alive. I wish he had the same huge awakening that I had when I had my children. But he didn't.
Does this mean I love my children more than he loved me and my sisters? Of course it does. Booze came first, always. In this next photo, he obviously has the worst hangover. I can smell it in his pores. I know that sick, anxious, nervous guts feeling. The pasty skin and wired eyes. I do NOT miss this feeling. Someone give this man a drink, STAT!
He was found dead in his bed in his shitty flat in Batemans Bay. Wray Street. Number 7. I don't know what he liked for breakfast, or what his favourite colour or TV show was. But I know he liked vodka. Empty bottles were found littered everywhere. We went to his flat and walked into his room, I looked at his rumpled sheets and the head indentation in his pillow. He was pretty hopeless - my nan told me that he used to go visit her, ask her if she had any vanilla essence in her pantry. (To drink.)
It will always sting. He missed out on so much. And the daughter he wished so badly to be a boy ended up having no girls herself - just boys. Male energy runs all through my house these days, probably to make up for the lack of it in my early years.
My entire life I have said "I look exactly like my father!"
But searching these photos, I finally realised ... that my father looks exactly like me.
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Monday, 14 June 2010
It was shut with a hook.
"Now look at this trick,"
Said the cat.
"Take a look!"
"In this box are two things
I will show to you now.
You will like these two things,"
Said the cat with a bow.
These Things will not bite you.
They want to have fun."
Then, out of the box
Came Thing Two and Thing One!
"They are tame. Oh, so tame!
They have come here to play.
They will give you some fun
On this wet, wet, wet day."
Oh, the things they will bump!
Oh, the things they will hit!
Oh, I do not like it!
Not one little bit!
Then those Things ran about
With big bumps, jumps and kicks
And with hops and big thumps
And all kind of bad tricks.
The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss - $7.95
Finally realising who Rocco reminds me of - PRICELESS.
Thursday, 10 June 2010
Oh if those walls could talk - the naked flesh, the covert sneaking ..... the tears that were shed. The cycles broken and friendships formed. The hard stuff in group therapy. Every time I have struggles in my life ... I wish I was back in here. Safe, learning to live again. Free from responsibility.
The next house is special too ... I moved here from the hab, and lived here when I met Dave. He totally wanted me bad, back in the days when he wore beige overalls to work. We shared a ridiculous pash on the front porch late one night. Kissing sober was terrifying:
I moved in to Dave's flat in May 2000:
We often talk of that year we spent together, alone. Doing whatever we wanted. I got down on my knees and begged for Gods help in this flat ... and I truly meant it. My life began, then. Max was conceived in this flat, the weekend of my 29th birthday. My stepson Tim came to live with us when he was 8 years old. This funky flat above a shop in the main street. The rent was $155 a week, there was a white cat named Bruce who would sneak in all the time. I planted broccoli in the backyard, and separated myself from my family of origin. One of the hardest but best things I ever did.
This was the next one, the dear little house we rented while Dave was building our house:
Close enough to town so I could walk, as I still didn't have my drivers license. We brought Max home from the hospital to this house. My heart fell in love with him a thousand times a day. Dave and I would bundle him off to counselling sessions because we would fight so hard. Sometimes we would fight so hard in the counselling session, the therapist had to be umpire and Max lounged lazily in his bassinet in the corner. Whoopsies! It was a huge adjustment period, for all of us. Max grew - and so did I.
And this one, this big beautiful home on a 4-acre block:
We have lived here for six years now. Dave says he could never do it again, so I guess we are kind of stuck here. This house has seen tears and laughter ... and fear. These walls have heard a baby cry and a mothers pain and a father vomit until he passed out. A boy learnt to ride his bike around the driveway. A naughty stepson threw a party and wrecked it. Parties and family dinners and sexy love time in front of the fire while all the kids are at school. I wonder what more it will see?
I've had the idea for this blog post for a while. All of this houses are within a 15km radius of each other, so I drive past them often, marvelling at where we have been. Who we were, all that happened. Four walls and a roof .... that's all. I moved around so often as a child, it was terrible. One thing I want to give to my children is a sense of belonging somewhere .... a "home."
I'd love to know what your favourite houses are, and why. What happened in your four walls? Please add your URL to the Linky below so we can all have a stickybeak - you don't have to include a pic if you don't want to. There's no winner or anything, just some kind of creative sharing circle thing I totally made up. You're welcome.
Lastly, THANK YOU for your wonderful love and glee in regards to Dave's continued remission. It's been a big week, full of big decisions. We are so happy right now, that we better hurry up and be more happy before something bad happens HA.
Saturday, 5 June 2010
Dave drove off the other day and I looked down and noticed mushrooms cheekily growing where he always parks his car. I kicked them with my foot, and got most of them out except the main part of one that was burrowed deep in the cracks of the wood. Dave has had so much reflux and a few pains the last months .... he was on his way down to get a scan for the first time in 18 months. I couldn't get the piece of mushroom out. I hate things growing where you don't expect. I hate finding cobwebs all over my ceilings and looking across the room to find the whole room has been littered with cobwebs all this time and how could anyone not have noticed before?
I worried about not getting that last piece of mushroom out. Maybe Dave would get his cancer back because I couldn't get the mushroom.
Wonder if I can get my Catholic guilt recognized as a disability? I have a gift for making everything my fault.
I told Dave to tell the doctor about his pains and reflux and feeling sick. He got angry with me. "You'll attract it! Stop thinking that!"
I told Dave that I do NOT want to attract his cancer back, but I know what he's like. "Mate I have an appointment at the skin cancer clinic next week. I'm not attracting melanoma, but I have fair skin and need to be careful. I need a pap smear - you know ovarian cancer runs in my family. I need to be careful. All I'm saying is, tell the doc the truth. Or I will ring him myself."
The doctor ordered the exact same scan that Dave had a little over two years ago, where he drank all the yucky stuff first.
I spent the day at home with Rocco, utterly frozen. In our pjamas all day, eating lunch off the same plate, playing with his toys. Rocco had a ball, I was paralysed by a heavy that was too familiar.
Dave rang me afterwards, told me that "if it's bad news, the doc will ring. Either today or in a few weeks."
I couldn't wait that long, no way no how. This whole past week has been hard. I've been manic and inappropriate, the what-ifs lurking in the dark. Where the mushrooms grow.
I went to see SATC2 with some cool mums from school. It was rainy and late and I had a headache but I needed to get out of the house and eat chocolate and laugh. The film was surprisingly good, definitely appealing to the eyes. (They just needed a better script.)
I took Max to hip-hop, and chatted with people there. Went out for coffees, the gym, cooked delicious meals all week.
All of this done with the biggest knots in my tummy. I know that cancer couldn't be back. But what if it's back? But I know it wouldn't be. But what if it is? But it's not. Is it?
Dave's cancer came in May 2008 like a thief in the middle of the night. Robbing our family of what was supposed to be a joyful time. Sometimes I look over to Dave and say, "Man, I can't believe you're in remission!" And he always answers with the same thing -
"Hon, I can't even believe I had CANCER."
So. I couldn't wait two weeks. I rang his doctor myself, nervously tittering to the receptionist that I needed to put myself out of misery ahahaha.
The doctor rang me back, hours later.
No sign of lymphoma. All clear. I can't remember what he said after that, something about Dave needing a something-oscopy to find out about his reflux. He had me at "clear."
I hung up and sat in my car and cried. For the first time in ages I could hear the sound of my breath.
I went inside, upstairs to where Dave sat at his computer, searching for the ANY key. I knew his scan was clear ... he didn't. I couldn't *not* tell him, but I knew he'd be annoyed at me. So I promised him a quickie, and then I said:
"Mate, if, hypothetically, I had been freaked out for awhile about your appointments and scans and everything .... and I hypothetically rang your doctor for your results .... would you be mad?"
He told me that yes, he would be mad. Just leave it alone, and no news is good news.
"Well, what about if I rang your hypothetical doctor for the hypothetical results and your scan was all hypothetically clear?"
And I laughed and he hugged me and pulled me onto his lap and softly called me a fucking idiot in the most tender way.
(He was just as relieved as me.)
Then he reminded me of the time he was on chemotherapy and I promised him blow jobs whenever he wanted for the rest of his life. GREAT.
Later I took Max to a school disco and at one point I got up and danced to "Single Ladies". With gay abandon. And the kids looked at me strangely and Max walked off but for those 40 seconds I was Beyonce.
Today is wonderful. It's 3.40pm and we haven't gone anywhere. I made fresh basil pesto for lunch and watched Rocco fight a nap and lose. Max is having a friend over soon. I lit every candle in the house and just drank a Chai herbal tea that went directly into my Spirit.
We've used another one of our Get Out of Jail Free cards.
It's a wonder any human being is left on the planet at all, with all the pitfalls and dangers lurking at every turn.
This cancer fiasco has taught me to cherish life so much. And now if you'll excuse me, I have a flight for New York to book.
Wednesday, 2 June 2010
The homecoming after The Crazy Lady episode went ok. I cooked beef goulash as a peace offering. Tim and I didn't really talk to each other at first ... then I walked up to him and ran my hands through his freshly shorn hair. We stood silently, as I patted his head like a little lambie. We were cool.
And then yesterday he left his wet clothes in the washing machine again.
The sun briefly peeked through the clouds, so I quickly wanted to do something fun and creative with the boys before it rained again.
Max asked if we could go to the skate park. I put his scooter and skateboard in the car, and took him and Rocco.
He wants to be on the top of everything. Always:
Mummy had to improvise, using a foot as the brake. Rocco wouldn't have a bar of it:
Then I saw something that reminded me of my life in my twenties:
Life in a dirty gutter!
This boy. This irrepressible, headstrong, gorgeous little boy. Just when I think it's impossible to love him any more .....
... he is Home, wherever he is.
That's a wonderful trait to have.