Holiday Calls

Warning: Stream of consciousness writing.

When I was younger, the 4th of July was a lot of fun. As a kid, my dad would take the family outside of the apartment, sometimes the parking lot, sometimes the park across the fence, and light off fireworks. It was a fantastic time for us kids.

When I got older, my parents drank more, but we still usually enjoyed the 4th. As I became a teenager though I began to like it less. Eventually I moved out and ended up with Wolsey. We did the firework thing, bottle rocket wars, etc when we got together, but as the years progressed that became less fun. Nowadays we don’t do much for the holiday, except get home early enough to comfort our animals as others light fireworks.

The only thing that was sure nowadays was a call from my mom wishing me happy Fourth of July. She hadn’t missed any holiday in 25 years. For her, every holiday was sacred and worthy of a call to me. She even did this on Arbor Day… who the hell even knows what Arbor Day is?

Back to yesterday, it went really well, we hung out Torie, went to lunch, came home in time to avoid the crowds. But something had been bothering me all day, something that I would almost catch out of the corner of my memory. I couldn’t come up with what it was at the time until later in the afternoon.

It dawned on me that this was the first 4th of July that my mom hadn’t called to wish me a happy holiday. I realized that had been bothering me since about noon. While this is probably just a sad memory, I suspect part of what is bothering me is that it is the anniversary of her passing will be in three weeks.

I guess this is just a long-winded way to say I miss those stupid holiday calls. I am not looking forward to New Year’s Eve.

Anxiety about nothing

The last few weeks I have been scanning my parents photo albums. After my dad passed I started the project, and did several of them before my mom passed five months later. At that point I grabbed all of the photo albums I could out of their house so I could scan the remaining photos.

Fast forward almost a year and I spent the last two weeks scanning the remaining 7 albums (for a total of 13 albums plus about 220 free floating photos). The ended up with me having about 2,600 photos. With many duplicates in various conditions. Because there was so many albums I didn’t want to sort first, so I just scanned everything.

Yep, I am that old.

Currently I am now trying to determine what to do with those photos. The photos were incredibly important to my family growing up. We were homeless (as in living in a car, in a tent and even under plastic over a picnic table) for years and yet we somehow kept the photo albums (with few losses). We lost everything else we ever owned (other than maybe a couple of Christmas decorations that were important…) ya not sure why that now but it seemed logical growing up.

Yes, even here we had 5 or 6 albums that went everywhere with us.

I know I will keep a copy of all the photos put away. I will send a copy of them to each of my siblings and the one niece who wants them. But I am not sure what to do with my non-backup copy, the one that I will use.

I realize the first idea is why not keep them? After all, they all easily fit on my phone with everything else, let alone the computer. However there are a lot of photos that have no meaning to me in themselves. They are random landscapes I don’t remember (probably taken my dad in the last forty years randomly), people I never met, and places I don’t recognize. Meaning they don’t really have a place with me.

I am really trying to keep my belongings minimal, to what is important. I know logically the 2,600 photos from there, plus an additional 3,000 photos I have on my computer (and stacks and stacks of photos the hubby and I took the first 15 years of marriage that we never put into computer (before digital cameras were a thing and always put off scanning them). Besides, I don’t know or recognize much of those photos.

Yet why do I feel like I am committing some sort of atrocity by not keeping copies in my computer/phone (but they are in the backup)? It has bothered me a lot the last few days. I also realize I am probably bothered most by going through the photos and seeing my mom and dad and working through the grief still of their loss. It probably wasn’t something I was prepared for yet, but I want to make sure everything is scanned so an accident doesn’t happen and wipe out those photos.

So here I am, just sharing a pointless anxiety that has caused me to go without sleep. Even now writing about it I feel calmer, and more and more its ok to not keep pictures of random people I don’t know and have no relation to me.

 

 

Dreams: Jail and the Jello

This was a slightly more unusual dream for me. I don’t normally dream about jail or prison, at least not since I am adult and my dad stopped going to jail.

It started with both the hubby and I in jail. It seemed like somewhere in Arizona, we were both arrested and behind bars. It didn’t seem that people knew we were married. The charges weren’t super bad, but it wasn’t just some overnight stay because of a rough night either.

We spent most of the time talking about whether or not they would ever catch the hubby’s trans status. I was fairly sure that would never be detected. He was post surgery like now and there was no reason for them to notice anything.

He did appear slightly more androgynous than he does in reality. He was more slender (without breasts or hips, just smaller like he was when he was very sick). He also appeared like he was wearing eyeliner when he wasn’t. I suspect that is my memory from pre-transition where he wore eyeliner most of the time. He was also covered in a lot more tattoos then he is now (and he has a lot now).

We were talking about what we were going to do when we got out, and he wanted to go down to meet up with some people so we could make some money. Evidently we did a lot of illegal activities (thinking more like Shadowrun cool type things, and not reality banal/stupid shit). It caught me off guard in the dream, since in full disclosure it was the hubby who kept me from following family friends into an MC (also from joining the Army, but that is a separate story).

The rest of the dream is fading now, I just remember being worried about him being discovered though, since we were going to be stuck in jail for more than a few days. We wandered around the jail (more like a prison set up), just chatting. The biggest memory, how much I loved his eyes. Not in a serial killer can I keep them in a jar way, rather in a “I love to look into his eyes” kind of way. I was then awaken by a cat smacking me in the face.

I think overall it is just my post-surgery anxiety. I also suspect the location of an Arizona jail is directly because of being stuck in an Arizona hotel room for 9 days.

Dreams: Corner Store

I woke up this morning with not a horrible dream, but there was something urgent to it. I think it was mostly me processing the hubby’s surgery.

The hubby and I were wandering around, getting him dressed in new clothes. This was post bottom surgery in upcoming November (2017) and he was looking good. As we wandered around the store the looks only got better. I am not sure, but at some point it time I realized it was a bodega that sold clothes he liked. Which is ironic since he hates bodegas.

After a lot of walking and talking that I don’t remember now that I am posting, we wandered up to the cash register. Before we got there to pay, I heard a car pull in and looked out the window to see a pickup truck come rolling in to a stop. It was a rattle canned Mazda pickup that we owned in the mid 9os, but it was the color of our GMC pickup we gave to my dad 10-15 years later. The truck was a conglomeration of two different time periods that we owned a truck (we have owned a truck three times in our relationship).

Out of the car stepped the hubby, pre-transition. He (appearing as a she at the time) was wearing boots, a red dress and had bleach blond hair. I looked back at my hubby and was really confused, as was he. It at least reassured me that my hubby was still beside me, and that he saw “her” as well. The young lady form of him walked up to the counter in a spastic manner that the hubby does even know, paid for something and walked out. I grabbed my current incarnation of a husband and said something about a time loop, or maybe a parallel world (yes, I guess a gamer might think that).

This is what he looked like age wise, including the hair.

 

This dress was the focus with combat boots.

I stepped outside yelling one of Wolsey’s old names (the dress was before our mobile home which means it was 2000 but he looked like when he was 34, which was 2005-6, both of these facts were when he had different names, the dress was before he had taken my last name, the person inside the dress was before he changed his first name to what it currently was). 

We ran out there, but that is when the dream sort of fizzled out. I felt like I couldn’t catch up with my pre-transition husband to tell him something important, and it really was making me anxious.

I think it was to tell him it was ok. Not yet determined specifically what “ok” was, but now I get the impression it was to tell him it was ok to transition. This would be about 10 years earlier then he did judging on how he looked in the dress. I felt like I was failing that person in the dress by not catching up to them, thus failing the person beside me. That is when my eyes opened up and I was awake.

It wasn’t a bad dream, I am sure it is me processing his surgery, but I woke up anxious. Not angry, scared or upset about how he is looking currently, he looks great, I find him hot. It did wake me up though anxious that I am not able to run quite like I did 20 years ago to catch up with him.

The red dress was one of two dresses he wore that have always stuck with me. The red dress in that picture above, and a purplish/tie-dyed sort of effect krinolin dress he wore when we originally got together. Both of those dresses always stuck with me in dreams when he appeared as himself pre-transition.

I guess I still have a whole lot to unpack.

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Phones and me

anxietyI woke up last night, New Year’s Day at 1:44am panicking that I had missed a phone call from my parents. It was a ritual since I moved out in 1990, my mom or dad would call, wish me Happy New Year. It took me a few seconds to realize I hadn’t missed a phone call. With my mom passing in July and my dad earlier in February, there wouldn’t ever be another call. That thought woke me up harder than a glass of cold water hitting me in the face.

As I laid there it dawned on me the troubled past I have had with the phone. Not just cell phone, but even back when we just had landlines during the time of the dinosaurs. Phones have always been an anxious point for me, I wonder if last night might be the crescendo and as we go they will be less anxious as time pass.

The only people I have ever regularly called were my parents. No one else, not even my husband. With everyone else I almost always rely on text. However, my parents didn’t like technology beyond 1988 so the phone was how they talked to me.

There was good parts. I would talk with them daily, sometimes more than once a day. They would tell me about their day, what had been happening. My mom would talk about family or stuff she saw on tv, documentaries, news broadcasts. My dad loved to tell me about a movie he saw and that he thought I would really like. They both would call daily just to tell both the hubby and I that they loved us. I am not joking, when I say every single day.

The bad parts were not as numerous, but they are what caused the anxiety. When I was younger (mid-thirties and earlier) I was anxious because I would get one of two types of bad calls intermixed with the good calls. The call that my dad was in jail, due to some fight he got into when he was drunk.

The other, and even more anxiety driven part was when he would call drunk. He was a severe alcoholic and he would rant, or possibly yell if we had a fight earlier. Mostly it was apologizing for being an alcoholic and for the poverty and anxiety we went through when I was a kid. Occasionally he would call and yell about something. This usually resulted in me hanging up. I knew that my parents were incredibly loving parents, they supported me in everything and went hungry so we could eat. However, they were unable to cope as fully as adults due to the alcoholism, and my dad’s multiple brain injuries and experiences in Vietnam.

Those phone calls would keep me up for days. I have since learned I have PTSD and that is what it would set off. It didn’t change they were good parents for almost all other aspects, but the alcoholism made it so they were in poverty, violence surrounding us, and in various levels of homelessness after I was 10 years old.

After my mid-thirties things changed. My parents stopped drinking as much, and within a few years stopped drinking altogether. However, the bad calls now were health related. My mom had a major heart attack, minor heart attacks, breast cancer, mini-strokes, blood clots and severe health issues with her diabetes. In part, due to lifestyle choices including smoking, drinking and hard drugs when they were younger.

My dad’s health also started tanking in my mid-thirties. He was diagnosed with a terminal lung disease, and since he was poor and on social security by this time there were no other options given. However, he continued on for almost a decade when he originally only had two years to live.

So the bad calls had lessened compared to the drunken calls, but each time I got one I was told one of my parents had gone to the ER, and sometimes included the phrase “they might not make it.” Over the last three years or so these calls had intensified to almost monthly. The hubby and I several times had to miss work or even leave from work depending on when the call came.

This resulted in me never leaving my phone at home. I don’t think I ever left my cell phone home since we got one in 2006. It was always on me, and I always answered the phone from my parents no matter where I was. If I was busy I would excuse myself and go talk to them. Most of the time it was a good call and I would never tell them they interrupted me. I liked the good calls and didn’t want to have them hesitate in calling me. Sometimes however it was a bad call. These are the calls that dictated how I handled my phone. These are the calls that made me unable to let my parents go to voicemail.

Fast forward months after they passed, the hubby noticed one day last week that I hadn’t brought my phone with us at all. I had forgotten it. He was surprised and commented on it. It was strange, I didn’t feel anxious having left it at home. I had never before not been worried about who might call, after all I was with the most important person in my life.

So I laid there this morning. My heart still pounding a bit from waking up and thinking I had missed the call. My grief which still hasn’t been handled was hiding away from me, just lurking at the edges. Even like that though, I know it will get easier. I won’t say better, but definitely easier.

Maybe I don’t need to worry about my phone anymore.

Last Words

It has been a rough month since my dad passed. The funeral, the family issues, the constant driving to Bellingham. However, I am a very very lucky person, I got to speak to my dad as he was passing away.

There are no real lost words or expressions of love. We have always told each other that we love each other. While my childhood had a lot of problems with poverty and alcoholism, there was never a lack of love. That includes actually saying it and showing it, not just an “unacknowledged” understanding.

Jello and I were fortunate though. Jello was able to talk with him on the phone before my dad lost the ability to talk that way. I know Jello wished he could have made it up to see dad, but the surgery results wouldn’t let him travel that far.

I was fortunate as well. While I was up visiting my mom as she and the rest of my family watched over him in the last week. I went into the bedroom, hugged him, kissed his forehead and told him that Jello and I loved him.

As if from a zombie movie, his eyes shot open and focused on me. There was a bit of shock on my part, he had been unconscious all day, hadn’t really even responded to me earlier. He grabbed my head and lifted himself up to kiss me, hug me and tell me how much he loved Jello and myself and how proud he was of us.

We talked for a few minutes more, but he was so tired and exerting so much effort that I just laid beside him for a minute and told him it was ok. I was there. He went back to sleep.

That was the last time I talked to him. I know he woke up and talked a bit with the rest of my family, and when I came up the day before he passed I sat with him for hours holding his hand as he slept. He would  respond if I told him I loved him by squeezing my hand. I probably could have pushed him to come up again, but he was finally resting, no pain, no trouble breathing and he was calm. So I just held his hand.

Dream: Peach Cobbler

Yep, another post about another dream.I apologize if this isn’t written as a good story, its still 2:35am and I just woke up about 10 minutes ago. I wanted to start up my dream journaling again. When I was stressed years ago it helped.

I just dreamt about getting surgery with a focus on peach cobbler with a side of vanilla ice cream.

Evidently there was some sort of kidney surgery I needed. The whole family, including Jello, parents, siblings etc were all waiting for me to go under and get worked on. Evidently it was a huge deal.

We were in and out of the surgical center. I kept leaving the center, even after they marked my surgical site to grab my family and bring them back. I found everyone eating at a local restaurant (similar to a Bob’s Burger and Brew place).

Everyone was scattered around the main room and they all were chatting and everyone was upset. I didn’t understand why, my dad who had a surgery just a little while ago was fine, I was fine, but everyone, especially Jello was worried about my surgery. I spent a huge time talking with distant friend/family relations that I had when I was a kid.

Eventually everyone had gone back to the surgical center except my parents. Thats when I realized for some strange reason that my dad was dressed in his blue denim button up shirt, baseball hat and had his biker stache in full glory. My dad was finishing up eating some peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream.

Even my mom was finished and I kept telling my dad to hurry up we have to go to surgery and I wanted him there. The whole dream I kept focusing on him finishing up his peach cobbler.

Just as my parents and I were following Jello out (Jello had been riding me the whole time that I needed to go get the procedure done, it made it sound like it was medically necessary and extremely important) a couple that were my parents friends when I was a child came in. They were crying and started talking to my parents.

I can sometimes be impatient (I am sure people who know me in real life are not surprised by that statement). I kept pushing we needed to go. I am not sure what shifted in the dream but all of a sudden it was only my mom standing in front of me. I was annoyed but also worried and looked around. 

I saw on the table we were all eating at, an uneaten peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream. The ice cream had been melting for awhile. It felt like someone slapped me in the face as I woke up immediately.

As I was sitting here typing this, I just realized my dad’s birthday is coming up (he would have been 68 at the end of March) and that I had promised to bake him some peach cobbler for his birthday (I have recently learned how to do cobblers).

I guess I am not baking peach cobbler for him.

Fuck…