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Excuse Me, Where Can I Put This Baggage Down?

So, I’m moving in with Mr. C and I’m terrified. I have no money. No savings. No job. No prospects. No plan. I will be completely dependent on him for housing, food and anything else I need.

Isn’t this what I did with Mr. K? We moved in together and I became dependent on him right away. He bought me a car for Christ’s sake. I was young and I didn’t believe that I could take care of myself. I ignored red flags and jumped into a relationship because I was scared. And in love, I thought.

Am I doing the same thing again? Am I convincing myself that he’s “the one,” because I have no other choice? What if it doesn’t work out? What if I’m unhappy?

“I’ll drive up there and pick you up,” Lori said to me, if that happened. But then what? I don’t know if I can face the burden on her and the humiliation of moving back in with my daughter.

Mr. C is saying all the right things. His job is to make me happy. Whatever I do with my time is the right thing to do. He doesn’t care. He can’t wait to be able to see me every day. We’re going to go here and there and see this and that. It will be fine. We will be fine. It’s the start of a long relationship. Sure I can rearrange the furniture. Sure I can paint the dresser.

I’ve interrogated him with questions and scenarios based on my previous experience, testing his resolve. It’s like I can’t believe that he can really be telling me the truth. I’m waiting for the catch. The other shoe to drop.

Can it be real? Can it be true that this man is willing to work 7 days a week, cook wonderful meals, expect nothing in return (I mean besides common decency and love), to love me just as I am, flaws and all, and be happy if he comes home and finds me with paint and glitter all over the floor, knee deep in some ridiculous, useless craft project?

I was talking all this over with Lori as we walked the streets of her neighborhood, The Baby in a carrier on her chest. She threw my own advice back at me, telling me it was ok to be taken care of sometimes. When I told her I was having trouble believing the Mr. C is everything he seems to be she said, “You don’t think you deserve to be loved like that.” Ugh. I started to protest but didn’t have any words. “Wow. That’s some fucked-up damaged girl shit,” was all I said and we laughed. She doesn’t want to go because she’s losing her on-call babysitter. But she wants me to be happy and she likes Mr. C.

I guess I don’t really think too much of myself right now. So, it is a little difficult to understand why someone else does.

And it just goes against everything in my experience.

When Mr. C answers my calls he greets me with “Hi Baby!” with this exuberant lilt in his voice. Like the best thing in the world just happened to him.

I remember how I felt trepidation at calling Mr. K. There was always tension on the other side. Like I was bothering him. Like nothing I could have to say was worth his time. I have memories of terse and dismissive ends to calls. And meals at restaurants eaten in silence on anniversaries because he was there out of obligation and stressed about what he had just left behind at work. Or stressed because he had to make the time to spend with me.

Lori said he’s in therapy and on meds now. Good. I hope he answers the phone with welcoming happiness when his girlfriend calls him.

But he didn’t with me. He conditioned me. He convinced me that it was too much to expect. Friendliness, compassion, laughter, joy….those were things I should not expect from my spouse. Especially!! if that spouse is working hard!! to provide for his family! Respect! Respect, dammit. That is what he deserved.

Aw fuck.

I am still carrying that baggage and it a large trunk of pain that I am having a very hard time putting down.

The truth is, I still think he was right about me. I proved him right. And I’m not sure anything except making a shit load of money will make me feel any differently. Not even the love of my family and this goofy ass man who told me today, “I saw a billboard and it reminded me of you. It said, ‘I love you and there’s nothing you can do about it.’ And I thought. That’s right. I’m going to tell Marie that.”

To which I replied with one of his favorite comebacks, “Challenge accepted.”

Well, I guess if there’s nothing I can do about it then I can’t screw it up.

But we all know I’m going to give it my best shot.

I am reminded of what someone said in that weird divorce-therapy group I went to back in Lafayette. For every year that you were married, it takes 6 months to recover. Or something like that. I just remember, I don’t have that long. But here I am, over 5 years later and the wounds still hurt.

So, how am I supposed to let go of this baggage? Where do I lay down this giant trunk of damage?



Portland is Rejecting Me

So, the results are in and this Portland experiment is a failure.

I’m almost finished a freelance project which will pay for February’s rent. I don’t have a way to pay March’s.

I’ve applied for all the jobs. My unemployment is out. The temp gigs are not cutting it.

It’s time to call it.

In lieu of torturing both Lori and myself, I’m taking Mr.  Canada up on his offer and moving in with him. I organized Lori’s garage yesterday so I can put my stuff in it. Sometime in February, Mr. C will come down and help me move all my stuff. (After the last move I made him promise that since he was officially my boyfriend he would help me move next time. I’m tired of moving by myself.) Then I’ll pack a couple of suitcases and probably take the train to Seattle where he will pick me up.

As far as the various governmental agencies are concerned, I’ll be living with Lori and visiting Canada often. I’ll have to come back periodically to refill my meds. I’m hoping every three months. And of course, I’ll miss The Baby like crazy. He’s so adorable. He is the cutest baby ever to live. And he’s almost crawling. I won’t be able to stay away for too long. And when I do come back, it will be for a week or a weekend and I’ll stay with Lori, so I’ll get lots of one on one time with all of them.

Mr. C got a second job and says that it doesn’t matter what I do with my time that he just wants to make me happy. He’s excited about having me with him every day. I am too.

But, of course, I’m terrified for a variety of reasons but I’ll get into that later.

So, all my research has proven to be true and this weird city does not have a place for me.

And while I of course feel like a total failure, I also regret nothing. Being with Lori those first months after The Baby was born and watching him grow and being able to shower him and The Kid with love and attention was totally worth it.

On to the next chapter.

Down in Vancouver

Jan 2.

@Mr. Canada’s in Vancouver

I’m having yet another bad depression episode. Mr. Canada is in the kitchen trying to cheer me up. I don’t want to look up at him. He’s cooking and dancing and being silly, hoping to make me laugh. I don’t want to laugh. It hurts to be alive. I don’t know how to be around him like this. I’m just trying not to cry.

Last night I lay in his bed facing the wall fantasizing that I would die during the night like maybe my heart might explode or an intruder would come in and shoot me in the head and twice in the chest for good measure. With one of those long silencers like in the movies. And that would be that. I imagined all the consequences, which would be very different than if I killed myself. I mean the absence would be the same, but it would seen differently by my friends and family.

Mr. C could handle it, I think. He’s told me about losing one of his best friends in a combat zone, (I forget where), his body turning into pink mist by a land mine, he said. And he carried on. He would, of course be a suspect of the assination but ballistics would prove him innocent. As for everyone else, I would just be gone. Murdered or died in my sleep. Nothing anyone could do about it. No one to blame. I mean except the assassin.

They would survive, right? Shawn would move to Atlanta and Mr. K would take care of him. And he’s all nice now. He’s chill and kind now. I wonder if he wonders how I am. I wonder how he would feel if he found out that he was right. Would he feel justified? Would he feel any sense of justice knowing that everything he thought all those years, that I was lazy, untalented, undisciplined, lacking ambition and an overall complete disappointment and failure….a burden…….was right on the nose? And he turned out to be successful. Six figures. New girlfriend; a successful, wealthy girlfriend with a big apartment. They went to Paris.


Mr. K went to Paris.

I just need permission to go away, you know. I need the consequences to be removed. Lori. She’s so strong and so amazing but she’s also fragile and emotional. It’s not that I think she needs me too much. It’s that the loss of her mom would be traumatic. Then again, I survived the loss of my mom.


Sigh. Don’t worry. I’m not going to do anything. I can’t do anything. As often as I imagine my life ending, the consequences to my children remain my primary reason for not giving up just yet.

Besides, most people who suffer from depression think about these things too. It’s not as alarming as it seems.


But I’m just so fucking tired of it all. Tired of the disappointments. (I got turned down for a job that was perfect for me.) I’m tired of feeling lost. I’m tired of the crippling thoughts that invade my mind, relentlessly dragging me into the rabbit hole. I’m tired of the heavy sadness that seems to take up more and more of my life. I’m beginning to think that despair is the baseline of my existence and feeling happy or normal is the aberration. I think I might forget what it feels like, to be ok. I’m tired of pretending. I’m tired of protecting everyone around me. Of hiding what’s really going on in my head. Of putting up a good front and being what I think everyone needs me to be. I’m terrified of telling anyone what’s really going on inside. Because they can’t do anything about it. Nobody can fix me.

I just need a break. I need something good to happen. I feel like I’ve lost my dignity. I want to be strong and independent. I want to be successful. I want to pay my bills.

Instead, I feel like life is a college class that I thought I would excel in, but I’m failing. And I want to drop it so I don’t have to face the F that’s coming to me.


At the same time, there’s the guilt. I feel guilty for even feeling this way. I feel guilty when I see a homeless person pushing a cart down the street and the tent cities under the bridges. I have friends and family and a place to live and a boyfriend who’s ready and willing to take me in. There’s always someone worse. I should be grateful.

I don’t know why I’m like this. I don’t know why I can’t make something of myself.

I wish I was someone else.


Baseline: Happy

I often turn to writing when I’m depressed. It helps me process what I’m going through.

I don’t know. Maybe I just want a record of it. One day, if things get really bad and people ask, “How did this happen? Where were the signs?” someone will find my blogs and see that it’s been a struggle all along.

But I rarely write when I’m happy or just normal. So, here’s my baseline. Today I’m normal Marie.

At this moment I have a little over $200 to my name. But it’s ok. I have a deposit pending and another check coming from the doctor I’m working for. Unemployment will kick in tomorrow and I’ll have food benefits later this week. Plus, I got a gig designing a website for a friend in Lafayette. Please let me not fuck this up. AND….the doctor dude wants me to help him with a paper he’s writing. He’s going to pay me to do research and shit. Which is totes my jam. I’m really looking forward to that.

There’s a lot I can still try. I haven’t really put real effort into designing some fliers for photography and doing any real marketing for freelance work.

Mr. Canada and I are very much in love. I’m going to see him in a couple of weeks and I’ve been promised oysters.

This week I get to watch The Baby while Lori takes The Kid to a movie and she might even leave him with me for a whole day later this week so she can have a break. I’m very excited about that.

But none of that is the reason why I’m happy. I just am. I feel motivated to get up every day and try. I’m solving problems and making plans. I don’t believe that I’m a total piece of shit. I could just as easily be crippled, unable to move, think or do anything. I don’t know what the difference is. That’s the insane part. I don’t know why I’m ok today and I wasn’t before and I probably won’t be one day in the future.

“That’s what it is,” Mr. Canada said during one of our evening conversations. “You just need things to do. Projects to work on.”

“No, boo.” I told him. “I wish it were that simple. It has nothing to do with what’s going on in my life. Everything could be perfect and I would still feel like shit sometimes. It’s just chemicals in my brain.”

I mean, that what’s I think it is. I don’t really know. I’m not sure anyone does.


I just came back from a walk. The nature around here is freaking me out. It’s so beautiful. Walking along the trail is like stepping through a magical fairy land. Giant yellow-green leaves lay all over the ground, hang precariously on branches, stick out in the ivy and fall gracefully through the air. The colors are like impressionist paintings. Lime greens merging with bright yellow. The browning making the yellow appear orange. And every so often a hint of red. All contrasted against deep green and brown. When it’s overcast, the darkness of the trees provides a stark background for the yellow leaves. It’s like they’re lit from within. When it’s sunny, the rays dance through the leaves, making them sparkle like glitter. When I got to my favorite spot near the Vietnam memorial, I lay back and looked up as the sun flitted around on leaves that were painted with at least five colors. It was magnificent. As I walked back, I stopped at a large tree, filled with spotless yellow leaves, still on the branches. I wonder if it knows how pretty it is.

I remember one of my last days in Louisiana, Lori and I took a canoe out on Lake Martin. Admiring the cypress trees and moss, egrets flying here and there and alligators dipping ever so carefully back into the water, I said, “I bet there’s nothing like this in Portland.”

There isn’t. But this landscape is giving Louisiana a run for its money. It’s overwhelming to me. It’s like a gift. I walk around these trees….me; a poor woman with a questionable future and feel like the richest person in the world.


So, that’s my baseline. I’m still not brimming with confidence. I’m still scared for my future and wish my life were different. But, I know it’s going to be ok and I have a lot to be grateful for. This is the person who can look at the glass and see that there’s still water in there and I’m going to get some more tomorrow.

I would give almost anything to stay in this state.

I wish I knew how.

Postcards from Vancouver

I’ve been at Mr. Canada’s for a week. I go home tomorrow.

I feel like shit. I don’t think my meds are working. I think it might be time to try something new. I need to find a doctor and a therapist, who will see me for free, of course.

I came here last Sunday night. Mr. C had to convince me. When he first suggested it I was pissed off because I had just suggested the same thing a few days before and he shot me down.

It was Canadian Thanksgiving and he had four days off. He had just been to Portland to see me the weekend before and his car broke down for the second time while visiting me. The repair had cost him and he needed to save some money for a while. Since I’m broke, he ends up paying for everything when he’s in Portland.

I thought about driving up there to surprise him but my license plate is expired and I was worried about getting through border control. Then I thought maybe I could take a train or a bus, but that was expensive and long. So I had the idea that I could take a bus to Seattle and maybe he could come pick me up.

“What if I called you tomorrow and told you I was in Seattle?” I asked him Friday night.

“I would drive over and pick you up!” he said.

“Really? Well, maybe I could do that,” I said.

We talked about it some more but in the end, he thought we should stay put and save money. I thought maybe he didn’t want to be the one who had to pay for everything. A perfectly reasonable thought. So, I agreed and resigned myself to not seeing him even though we both had the free time, which was quite frustrating.

I was already feeling weird. I had skipped a couple of days of one of my meds because of health coverage confusion. My scripts bounced back and forth from one place to another until I finally got the right place. By the time I went to pick up the pills, I was on the verge of tears at any given moment and ended up crying in front of the pharmacy person, trying to explain that it wasn’t the situation, it was the imbalance of chemicals in my brain.

So, Sunday came around and I was huddled in a corner of my bed talking to myself in my head. Get up. Go pee. Take you meds. Make coffee. You can do those things. That’s not too much. Then you can come back to your corner and we’ll take it from there. Come on. You can get up. Then my phone made the ding that means it’s Mr. Canada. I glanced at it.

“What if I send you a bus ticket to Seattle and came pick you up?”

Son of a bitch. What the fuck?  That’s exactly what I suggested. I could’ve been there already. I started to cry. A familiar feeling overwhelmed me. That feeling of not being listened to. Of an idea being rejected until it comes from the other person. Mr. K used to pull that shit all the time. If I thought something was important, it wasn’t, unless someone else, someone whose opinion was important to him thought it was important. Then he changed his mind. This feeling was amplified when he said he was hosting Thanksgiving and didn’t want to do it without me there. Oh, that’s what it is. You want your girlfriend there when your friends come over. Now it’s worth the trouble.

I sat there in my corner, having accomplished the monumental tasks of emptying my bladder, swallowing two pills, putting some water to boil and putting three scoops of coffee into my french press.

I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to go. Or maybe I did. I didn’t know if I had the energy to get my shit together and catch a bus. I was pissed off that he hadn’t agreed to the same idea before. I knew I wasn’t thinking clearly. My brain was paralyzed. I knew if I didn’t go I would be there in my corner while he was having a party.

I asked why he changed his mind. I told him I was upset and confused. He tried to call. I didn’t answer. All I could do was cry. I finally answered. I still cried. He begged me to come. He said he had been stupid for not doing it before. He said he fucked up and he was sorry and he needed me to be there with him.

I finally acquiesced.

“This better be good,” I said.


Monday morning he cooked and I cleaned up his apartment a bit. His big, white, fluffy cat leaves hair everywhere. Only his friend Donna came over. It was just the three of us. We talked and ate and drank beer. I put up a good front. I’ve gotten good at that.

Mr. C wanted me to stay the week. I checked in with the doctor I was doing some data entry work for and he wasn’t going to be back in town until Friday anyway. So I agreed to stay.

I made dinner one night. My own weird brand of pasta sauce. We watched the first and second godfathers. We drove to the mountain and saw a waterfall and walked along the pebbled shore. I went for walks and did some job searching and washed dishes. We were supposed to go dancing last night. I told him I didn’t know if I was going to enjoy myself. My head wasn’t in the right space. So, we snuggled in bed, exchanged back rubs and watched a movie.

Mr. Canada is incredibly understanding and accommodating. He says he wants me to be whatever I need to be. He says he loves to be with me no matter what state I’m in. He says he loves all of me, even depressed me. His kindness is overwhelming. I don’t feel like I deserve it. I don’t feel like I’m the girlfriend he should have. Who wants a depressed loser for a girlfriend?

“You know one day you’re going to marry me right?” he said last night. I just laughed.

I don’t know if thats true. All I know right now is that I’m in a thick fog. And I’m so very tired of feeling so sad.



I’m a Big Loser

Disclosure: Let me just start by saying that I realize that I’m being a spoiled, privileged, dramatic bitch. I know there are people way worse off than me and I have a long, long way to go before hitting rock bottom. But damn. 

Thursday at work I started to write what I hoped to be a funny blog about the bathroom. My desk was adjacent to the only bathroom there and I worked with four men and one other woman. Needless to say, there was some weird shit going down in that bathroom (figuratively and literally) and I could hear all of it. I had a whole bit in my head about it. But then something else happened.

Around 3pm, my boss and her brother asked me to come into her office. My 3-month probation period was up and I thought maybe they were letting me know they were keeping me on.

“This is never easy for us….” she began. “We’ve decided to go a different direction with our company….”

Blaa Blaa Blaa

They were letting me go. I was shocked. I sat there looking at my boss thinking about rent and bills and the fact that I have no savings.

Holy fuck, I thought.

I had made some mistakes. I fucked up the payroll a couple of times. The first time I left out a paid holiday. I used excel to make the calculations because I didn’t trust my own math. But that led to a big mistake when I didn’t copy the formula correctly. Last pay period, she had to void checks and write them over again because of me and everybody got paid after 2pm. I felt horrible about it and apologized profusely. She even said something like, “It’s ok. Mistakes happen.”

Apparently my other sin was telling someone we were open on the Saturday before Labor Day. I don’t know if I answered the question, “Are you open on Saturdays?” with “Yes.” or if I specifically told someone we were going to be open that particular Saturday. Either way, a customer came by and was pissed that we were closed and chewed out my boss.

I’ve made a few other mistakes here and there, but I guess it all added up to me not being worth the trouble.

She tried to claim that it was because they wanted a accountant, but they weren’t giving me two weeks. They were asking me to leave on the spot. It wasn’t even Friday.

It took a few minutes for it to sink in. I sat there longer than I think they expected me too. I tried not to cry. Then I started thinking about what projects I had going that I was leaving unfinished. But the truth was, despite my fuck-ups, the job was pretty simple. Anybody could take it over. A trained monkey could do it.

When I took the job, my predecessor gave me a word doc with a short run down of the duties and some explanations. I had been adding to it ever since. I was hoping to put together the ultimate handbook of the job, so I could easily hand it off to someone else. That’s the pathetic part. I was worried about finding a new job too soon. I didn’t think it would be right to leave them after only 3 months. I felt an obligation to the people who had taken a chance on me and allowed me to move out of my daughter’s house. What an idiot I was.

I’ll never make that mistake again. I’ve finally gotten it through my head that your employer is not your family. They are not loyal to you and they will fuck you over without thinking twice about it.

I e-mailed the document to my boss before I left, letting her know she could use it for the next person.


So, here I am. I’m not out on the street. I’m not going to prison. I’m not a crack whore.

But for me, this is the lowest point I have ever experienced. I have enough money to make it about a month, maybe. I have no savings. And the self-confidence of……I don’t what. What’s the analogy that goes there?

I used to be a person that excelled at things. I was always an A student. I use to feel like there was nothing I couldn’t learn or be good at. What happened to that person? How do I keep fucking up so much? Is it the depression meds? Are they dulling my brain? Is it because I’m getting older?

I have become the woman with all the potential in the world who has no idea how to succeed. If I had a dime for every time someone told me I was talented, or liked my writing or thought my photographs were amazing, I’d be…..well I’d have a lot of dimes. I can’t even hold down one of the easiest jobs I’ve ever had.

I have never felt more like a total loser than I do right now. Not when I told my parents I was pregnant at 17, not when I got fired for saying “smart ass” on the altar of a catholic church, not when I realized I had lost my passport and was denied entry into Jerusalem. I could go on and on.

Now I have to job search again. I’m paranoid about applying for any job that requires dealing with people or administrative duties. You know how many job descriptions have “must have attention to detail” in them? All of them. What if I don’t have attention to detail? Attention to detail is not my forte. Where’s that job? Can I say in interviews that I’m the absolute worst when it comes to attention to detail? Fuck details. I’m more of a visual, big picture kind of person. Just let me make things pretty or discuss the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict for hours. Where’s that job?


I wrote two emails. One to my landlord; a complete fabrication of my current situation:

“Yeah, that job was temporary and they decided to go a different direction and I have some freelance stuff going on and savings to fall back on ……so it’s all good.”

And another to my siblings:

“Yeah, so guys…I’m kinda in a bind because I suck at life and I feel like shit and this is how much money I have and how much I owe and I might be coming to you if I can’t eat or pay rent so……”

My sister was the only one to respond. She offered to pay my phone bill and send me some money. When I told her, “I’ll take the phone bill part but why don’t you hold off on the money and I’ll ask if I need it,” she replied:

“Bitch, who the fuck do you think you are? Don’t tell me what to do with my money. I’ll send you some fucking money if I want to.”

I laughed out loud. That’s my sister.

She had lots of suggestions, some a little patronizing but some that I should take heed of. She did exactly what mom would have done if she were alive.


Lori and Mr. Canada have both been supportive. Lori said I could move back in with her if necessary. I don’t think I could mentally handle doing that but it was nice to have the offer. Mr. Canada is keeping my spirits up and he’s coming down next weekend. I wouldn’t blame him if he had second thoughts about having a relationship with me, but he continues to think I’m the most awesome thing in the world, for reasons I cannot comprehend.

And like I said, I know there are people worse off than me. Like everyone who lost everything in the recent hurricanes and floods, for one. I still have my health, a roof over my head, a working car, some money, a phone, a computer, a nice view, family and a boyfriend. I guess when I look at it that way, I should be more grateful than sorry for myself.

They say that’s the secret to happiness; gratitude.

So, maybe I should stop whining about what a loser I am and get off my ass and just make it work.


Ok. fine. I’ll get back to job searching.


The Weird Weekend

Mr. C came over again. We had planned to trek over to Newberg to visit the family, so he could meet The Baby. But earlier in the week Lori told me that Mr. K would be there the same weekend. I bowed out of visiting. I just didn’t see any reason to place myself in jeopardy of experiencing the awkwardness of seeing Mr. K and his new girlfriend and Mr. C all in the same room. So we stayed away.
I felt weird all weekend. I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong. We did lots of fun things, as usual. We picked marionberries in the neighborhood, Mr. C hoisting me on his shoulders to reach the high ones. And he made sorbet with them. We ate oysters at our new place. We shopped and cooked and I introduced him to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which I knew he would love. Trying to explain why I can watch such crude humor when I balk at such tropes in shows like, How I Met Your Mother (I just can’t get into that show.) I said, “It’s so over the top. So ridiculous. There’s no one in the world like this. That’s the irony. It’s so sick, it’s funny. Barney humor is just subtle enough that you’re supposed to be on his side. You’re meant to cheer him on. Nobody’s cheering on the Sunny characters. They’re monsters.”
Anyway, I digress.
 It was a pleasant weekend, but I couldn’t shake a feeling of unease.
Maybe it was just a normal downturn in brain chemistry. Maybe it was the fact that the mechanic who handled the latest in an eternal string of repairs on my Element gave me a list of all the other things wrong with it that I should fix right away, including brakes and rotors. Maybe it was the fact that I knew Mr. K was in the same area with his nice girlfriend and his success and happiness. Maybe I was comparing myself to him; me with my month to month salary with no wiggle room and my office assistant job at the trailer dealership.
Maybe it was Mr. C himself. I felt myself doubting whether he was the right man for me. I don’t know why. I suppose it’s normal. Maybe my brain chemistry was throwing me off. I felt kind of numb and detached.
He’s so in love with me. He’s so devoted and sure. I’m not sure I’ve ever been offered that kind of love before. It truly seems unconditional. But I’m scared. On my wedding day I was so sure that Mr. K was my soul mate. I had never been more confident of anything in my life than the fact that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. How can I possibly know that this is different?
And he’s so goofy. Tall, handsome with chiseled features and big, beautiful, brown eyes, he has the movements of Mr. Bean. I love that about him, too. No one ever needs to tell Mr. C to lighten up. He is eternally chill. Always up.
Sex has been a bit of an issue for me, too. I mean, it’s great. He definitely knows how to make me feel good. I love the way he makes me feel. When he was in Lafayette we had sex all the time. My head was spinning from the endorphins. He told me he had an unusually strong libido. I had been a bit worried about that actually. But now, when we spend 3-4 days together, we only have sex 2 or 3 times at most. Am I being selfish? Is it possible that my libido is greater than his? I know. I know. I should just talk to him. Whatever. Leave me alone.
I missed him as soon as he was gone. I miss him now.
I just don’t know how to trust my feelings anymore.
Of all the guys I claimed to be in love with since my divorce, Mr. C is the only one who is truly available. He’s the only one who wants to love me back and be with me. Hell, he wants to marry me.
Maybe I should just take my meds, go with flow, let him love me, love him back, eat oysters and chill the fuck out.
I went to see Lori last night. I missed the little man. He’s grabbing his feet now and he smiles a lot when he’s not screaming because he’s teething. He had a diaper malfunction when I was feeding him and peed all over my shirt. Improper installation, no doubt.
I asked Lori about her visit with Mr. K. She said he seemed happy. Like he was when she was a kid. She forgot how much she loved him. The girlfriend seems nice too, she said.
I felt happy for him. I remember wondering what he was going through years ago as his marriage and business were falling apart. He was so angry back then. It’s not fun to be angry. I’m glad he’s found a way out of that. It’s what I always hoped for him when I was his wife.
But…… I was reminded of a scene from 30 Rock when Jack’s ex-wife thinks Liz and Jack are getting married.
“…but you,” Isabella Rossellini yells, “You could actually make him happy. And I can’t stand to see Johnny happy.”
I think it would hurt to see Mr. K happy and laid back. I couldn’t understand before when we were together why he couldn’t see the big picture, to understand what was important in life. Like people and love. I think it hurts a little that he couldn’t find that with me. I had to leave his life in order for him to let go of all that anger and blame. It makes me wonder what it is about me that prevented that. Is that what will happen to Mr. C? Will he end up hating me too?
I don’t know. Maybe the bastard will end up convincing me to marry him and we’ll move to Vancouver and live happily ever after, eating raw oysters every Sunday.

I Don’t Want to Get Married.

Don’t make me get married.

Mr. Canada wants to marry me. He hints, cajoles and asks all the time. He claims to understand that I don’t want to but he thinks he’s going to wear me down. It’s a nice idea. It’s romantic to think about one day telling him yes. One day telling him that I want to marry him. I can imagine myself surprising him by asking him to marry me one day. I can imagine us walking into a government office somewhere, just us or maybe with a couple of friends, saying some quick vows and then it’ll be done and we’ll go somewhere and laugh and drink. And then we can both have dual citizenships.

But I don’t think I can do it.

I think Mr. Canada just might be the guy that I end up spending the rest of my life with. But why do we have to be a married? Why can’t we stay boyfriend and girlfriend? I like the idea of being Mr. C’s lover. That girl he’s been seeing. When you’re “seeing someone,” people ask  you, “How’s it going with so and so?” And it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “It’s going great. She’s great.” Or “Meh, it’s ok. We’ll see how it goes.” Or “I don’t know. It’s ok. Let’s see how it turns out.” And if it works out and it’s going good, then great. But if it goes to shit, then you cry and maybe exchange a few items left over at each other’s places and you get over it and move on.

Nobody asks married couples how they’re doing. Nobody says, “Hey, how’s the marriage going?” If you’re married, it’s supposed to be great, perfect even. And it’s not acceptable to say, “Meh, it’s ok. We’ll see how it goes.” That’s blasphemy. To admit doubts or problems or God forbid that there might be an end to the relationship is betrayal. It’s not allowed.

And yet, married people seem to be the ones that are not doing ok.  Marriages are always in trouble. They’re broken. Tension and blame and coldness and distance. That’s what I think of when I think of marriage. And facade. Most marriages are facades hiding dysfunction, despair and even abuse. Like that house Liz and I used to walk past in Lafayette. A perfect house with a perfect color scheme and a beautiful front yard garden and two matching plant boxes in symmetrical windows with perfect, matching purple violets. “I wonder what she’s hiding,” one of us had asked, laughing. We just knew, something wasn’t right inside that house. The outside was too perfect.

And if a marriage needs to end, you’ll have to go back to that government office to break it. And there’s negotiations and money and documents. And then you’ve failed because you agreed to a life together and your life isn’t over.

I know what Mr. C would say, what he does say, “I’m not him. You and I are different.”

But that’s what he had said too. I met Mr. K (my ex) when I was 18 and was not yet healed from a disastrous relationship that ended with drama and peace bonds and deep scars. The damage from that young relationship followed me into at least the first decade of our marriage. He had treated me badly. Mr. K was not him, he had insisted. He was a good man and he loved me. Until he didn’t. In the end I knew I would never be enough for him and he ended up treating me worse than that punk-ass 19-year old kid had.

Mr. C says he loves me just the way I am, unconditionally. How do I know…..I mean how do I really know that he’s always going to feel that way? Mr. K said he loved me, just the way I was too. He ended up hating me.

How can I ever be sure enough that our love is better than any I’ve ever had before to agree to take that vow again and become a wife?

I love Mr. Canada. We seem perfect for each other. Neither of us care what anyone thinks. We’re both awful people, yet kind in our own ways. Nothing I say or do shocks him or bothers him. He’s never fake and I’m never anything less than my truest self; good, bad and ugly with him.

The fact that he wants it…….to be married……and I love him, makes me want it too………just the tee-tiniest bit, but just for him, not me.

I just want us to figure out how to live in the same city so we find out if this long distance thing works on a day to day basis. And then I want us to have a life together, eating oysters and cooking and lying around watching movies and bickering.

Is that too much to ask?

Mr. Canada in My New Room

We were going to meet halfway, somewhere near Mount Rainier. I had found a cheap Air bnb apartment. But then I found my new place and moved in, so he suggested that he just come to Portland instead.

I ok’d it with the landlady and he drove in after work Friday. I was worried that he would run into eclipse traffic so he left early. Turns out he pulled a Marie and forgot his passport, had to pull over for duct tape when one of his side mirrors starting falling off and got lost a couple of times before finally finding the place. He rolled in around 11:30-12. We hadn’t seen each other since my birthday. I missed him. I hugged him tight and kissed him outside the gate.

I showed him around the house a little since it was late and then took him down to my room. He liked it. After talking and getting settled in, we snuggled in for the night, clinging to each other, not wanting to let go.

In the morning, he was upstairs meeting the landlady before I was. Just as I suspected, he chatted with her easily, finding out details of her life that I had yet to learn. Turns out, she a widow. And she used to have chickens. And the coyotes ate one and the dog, Snoopy is a survivor of a coyote attack. Etc…etc…etc…..

I took him up to Council Crest, the highpoint of the little mountain I live on. We picked blackberries or marionberries as they call them here along the way. We enjoyed the view, engaging in our usual banter along the way. Then we went out for salmon and bagels and I discovered potato bagels, like the donuts I used to get in Ocean Springs, Mississppi from Tato-Nut.

We decided to make to a stew. I wanted to learn to make something from cheap groceries that I could take to work. We discovered Winco, a low-cost, wholesale grocery store that has rows and rows of bulk items and cheap goods of all kinds. We were both in love.

I had a recipe from Lori. We cooked together in the little kitchen, he showing me techniques here and there and me repeating, “let me do it.” I browned the beef, deglazed with red wine, sautéd onions and carrots, added the Guinness beer and stuck it all in a crock pot to sit overnight.

I had fun cooking with him. I’d like to do that again.

We were supposed to go dancing that night. He found a place with a salsa class at nine, then dancing at ten. I was watching Rouge One while he was talking to my landlady again and petting the dog. He finally joined me and we lay in bed watching. I had the movie, Cloud Atlas, on my list and he wanted to watch that too. By the time it was time for us to shower and change, we were quite content, though I found the movie bloated and hard to understand.

“You know, I could just stay here,” he said.

“That’s what I said last time.”

“I know,” he said. “But I’m so comfortable with you here.”

So, we didn’t go. In the morning, I made coffee and orange cinnamon rolls, which Mr. Canada was aghast over.

“Bread in a can?!”

“Yes, baby. There’s a whole section of bread in a can in the grocery store.”

He looked for places to get oysters and found a couple. We decided to shoot for a 3 o’clock happy hour at a place across the river.

We walked along another path, the one I’ve been taking every day, my new Girard Park and as usual…no silent pauses with us, it’s constant back and forth, sometimes leaving me frustrated.

“You drive me crazy!” I yelled at him as hipsters smelling of pot passed us on the trail.

We ate a little of the stew which was pretty good, though the meat was a bit tough, then showered to go out.

I was drying my hair we he walked in the bathroom wearing two conflicting plaids. His shorts with light blue and neutral colors and his button down with reds and oranges.

“Those two things don’t go together at all,” I said, gesturing up and down.  I looked at him. So carefree, so easy, so happy. He really doesn’t give two fucks about what anyone thinks.

“I kinda like it.” I said.

We drove to the northeast section of Portland, found the address and a place to park a block away. The oyster bar was one of several businesses lined up in a block-long building, with a common, open area in front of each one. The minute we stepped into the place, we were both struck with a feeling of familiarity, of comfort. The walls were pale blue with writing all over them, peppered with a few framed things here and there. As soon as I stepped in, I looked up and saw a drawing of the quintessential “East Van” cross.

“Look, Mr. Canada,” I said, “It’s East Van!”

It was like a sign.

We stepped up to the bar and I instantly picked out our spot at the curve, closer to the sunlight. I asked the bartender, a big guy with a kind face and a halo of beautiful hair, if I could move some stools over. He said someone would move them for me, but I just asked the couple sitting there if they were free and moved them myself. Just over the bar we could see sacks of oysters in a sink of ice and evidence of shucking.

There was a  Bourbon Street sign on the wall and a picture of a crawfish boil stuck in a frame.

We were laughing with giddiness at how perfect the place was. It was our place. Just like that. Even the music was awesome. Old school Michael Jackson and some funky blues and jazz.

We ordered our first two dozen and some beers. We met Nick, the bartender and later Noah. All N’s.

When I got up to go to the bathroom, I put my arms around Mr. C’s neck and kissed him. I was so happy.

Later, I borrowed some markers and added our names in a heart and the date to the wall of writing.

Nick told us we were adorable as he shucked our third and fourth dozen and gave us little, rubber bracelets with the restaurant’s name on it.

It wasn’t until later that it dawned on me that it was a cajun-ish-themed restaurant. Hence, the crawfish boil picture and the Bourbon Street sign.

Stopping ourselves at 4 dozen, we walked around the neighborhood admiring the architecture, finding a swedish-looking apartment building and making fun of all the white hipsters.

We tried an ice cream place but it wasn’t as good as Borden’s in Lafayette. I think I just got the wrong flavor. The chocolate shell was too sweet, not like the dark chocolate they dipped it in at Borden’s. Got I miss that place.

We returned home so Mr. C could charge his phone and pack. It was that time again. I didn’t want him to go. Finally, he left.

I found a left behind t-shirt on my bed and put it on. I missed him already.

The next day, I looked at the calendar to find the next holiday. Labor Day was in just 2 weeks. I could go to Vancouver!

I mentioned it to Mr. C. He was off too!

“How about I drive in again?” he asked.

“Really? Ok! I’ll let Nick and Noah know to expect us.”

Maybe we’ll break the record and go for 8 dozen!









A Room With a View: Portland Version

Just as I did when I left my marriage some 6 years ago and settled for a room with an old college friend to escape my childhood home and my crazy Dad, I have found a room to rent so I can finally move out of my daughter’s house.

After searching every day for a few weeks, putting my name on waiting lists, driving to scope out locations and falling in love with places either unavailable, too expensive or not practical only to be crest fallen when I came to the inevitable conclusion that I couldn’t live there, I decided that it was time to give up the idea of a solitary abode and start looking at rooms for rent.

I came across one in southwest Portland, near the zoo and sort of in the forest. From the pictures, it seemed worth a look so I emailed the owner requesting a view.

“You should come soon,” she wrote back, “I have a lot of interest.”

I drove there the next day after work. I was surprised that it only took me about 40 minutes to get there. Not too bad a drive. I wondered if it would be the same the other way at 8am. Once I got into the higher elevations, the drive was beautiful. Nothing but forest on either side of the road and lots of bikers coming and going.

I parked outside a fence and Ms. J let me in the gate. The house is old with lots of windows. Wood floors and white walls, with a cute little kitchen that you step down into. Walking down a short, narrow flight of stairs, there’s a windowed door that leads to a platform outside and the room is to the right. It begins with a short hallway and opens up to a generous space with three large windows that look out to trees. It has light walls and wood floors and a private bathroom. It felt like a little studio and standing there, I felt somewhat disconnected from the rest of the house, which I liked.

Ms. J showed me around the rest of the house. Her belongings were not messy but not tidied either. She did not have everything in its place and perhaps each thing did not have a home. She had an interesting collection of books, revealing an interest in culture, history and art but on a sort-of surface level; a lot of encyclopedia-like collections, like her interest is more of a survey of things, not an in depth delving into one subject or another.

I didn’t like the idea of a shared kitchen, yet sitting there at her table, looking over at the well-lit kitchen with its black and white checkered floor and gas stove, I could picture Mr. Canada and I there, me sipping wine, he cooking and socializing with the other occupants.

There’s one other woman living there, a graduate student maybe or doctorate, I don’t remember.

The rent is $650 with utilities which is quite good compared to everything I’ve been looking at around here. I was beginning to view $800 as cheap. With utilities, the rent is really $500-550.

I told her I was interested and asked lots of questions. I was surprised at how few questions she asked me.

She was looking for someone right away, we were 2 days into the month, after all. I told her I might not be ready to move in right away but I might be able to put the deposit and August rent down.

As I said goodbye, another car pulled up and a young, Asian girl walked out and introduced herself to Ms. J. Competition.

I drove away feeling like this could be a good thing. A good compromise, but I wasn’t sure. I had felt the same way just a few days ago when I looked at a studio in the Pearl District. That place had its own little kitchen but a shared bath. And parking was tenuous and cost extra. Mr. Canada had talked me down from it, which at the time I found disconcerting. But he was right. It was a ridiculous situation.

I wondered what he would think about this one. I was crunching numbers in my budget spreadsheet when he asked about my day. I told him about the place and we discussed it by phone. To my surprise, he thought it was perfect and thought I should jump on the opportunity. I had already followed up with Ms. J by email and when I got her reply, I told her, “I’m in if you’re in.”

I went for a walk with Lori to tell her about it too. She was a bit happier about it than I was comfortable with. I think she’s been more anxious for me to leave than I realized. But it’s understandable. She, too thought it was a great opportunity, especially given the location and price. So, I told Ms. J I could bring her a check the next day.

I signed papers and got keys and found a way to scrunch the futon mattress I bought a couple of weeks ago into a ball and stuffed in the back of my element.

Place to live: check.

Next: Winter coat and boots.