Inferior Imitator

ep·i·gone n. A second-rate imitator or follower, especially of an artist or a philosopher.

Friday, July 30, 2004

This post contains violence, graphic images,
and implications of strong language.
Reader discretion advised.

Wednesday night, as I was hanging the shower doors that Chelsea and I so carefully cleaned back onto the bath, I dropped one on my big toe. I didn’t know I knew that many curse words. There was a gory amount of blood, and as I stood there, screaming, wondering what to do, I realized there was toilet paper left on the roll. I managed to soak up pools of blood and take a quick glance at the split nail before shuddering and wrapping it up with the tp. I limped out to the deck and sat there with my foot up on the rail for a good twenty minutes before I could limp the rest of the way down the stairs.

I’m a baby about minor owies, but the big stuff I tend to just suffer through. I wrapped a makeshift bandage, and didn’t even think to take anything for the pain until I called Mommy. It was also about that time I realized my toe ring was cutting off my circulation. I’m glad it was the toe ring that has the split in it, or I might have been in trouble trying to get it off. Fortunately, I have some really good pain stuff left over from my various medical mishaps. Look in the medicine drawer: “Let’s see...ibuprofen horse-pills, codeine, or vicadin?” Yay for my own little pharmacy! I started out with the ibuprofen, and between that and the ice, the swelling went down considerably, and then took a couple codeine before I went to bed. I ended up sleeping pretty well.

It's looking much better, though I’m going to lose the nail, seeing as it’s split right across the middle and the bed is totally damaged. I’ve been trying to keep it elevated, though it’s difficult working with all these files and trying to type things into my workpapers with my foot up on a chair. I guess I’m probably pretty lucky it split, otherwise I probably would have had to go to the hospital to relieve the pressure. That’s all I need: another visit to the hospital this year.

So, Chels, about moving...

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

“It’s been seven hours and fifteen days/Since you took your love away.”

And I finally asked after him. Max has been working on the stairs/deck since Thursday, and I finally asked after him on Sunday. I guess Mike calls him almost every day. Though Mike did tell me that a while back…he calls both his parents almost every day, if even for just five minutes. He’s got his service truck all outfitted and has already been sent out to fix stuff, which he didn’t think would happen for almost a month, so if it’s only been a week, it must be all coming back to him pretty quickly.

He hasn’t called me. I didn’t really expect him to. In some ways, it’s hard, and in other ways, it makes it easier. Clean break, moving on. But then, not hearing from him at all…it makes the whole thing feel like something I dreamed once. My memory gets a little hazy, and I have to try harder to recall those things I tried to fix in my mind. I don’t know if I would miss him more if I talked to him or now that I don’t. I suppose it doesn’t matter all that much, since it isn’t up to me.

To break up your regularly scheduled moping, I feel the need to mention I have had the worst time trying to type my own name today.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

I wrote the last exam today. I’m so glad this class is about over. Tuesday’s the review and Thursday’s the exam. Don’t get me wrong; I’m glad I did it. It was good experience and it stretched my comfort levels, something I should probably do more often. But the time it involved, and the stress of having such an important part of a student’s life as a grade in my hands took a lot out of me. Especially the time involved. I had no idea the rest of my life was going to be so busy that I wouldn’t have time to myself anymore. Who knows whether I’ll do it again? Maybe by next year, I won’t remember how awful it was and agree to do it again. That selective memory thing we do so well. Remind me, will ya?

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Ericka, my next door neighbor on the other side, kinda stuck her foot in her mouth today. I could tell she felt bad for bringing it up, so I can’t blame her, but…anyway, I was on a ladder on that side of the house, painting the second story window. Erica was outside doing things, too, and called up to me, “Hey Amanda, do you know anything about Max’s son?”

I wondered where this was going. “Yes.”

“A friend of ours was asking about him. Do you know if he’s single?”

I hesitated as the rock settled in my stomach. “I assume he is now.”

“Why? Was he dating…[gesture indicating Carolyn (previous upstairs tenant)]?”

“No, me. He moved to Wyoming a couple weeks ago.”

“Oh. I’m sorry. That sucks. Someone else will come along.”

Why do married people insist on saying such things? It’s like they don’t remember what it was like to be single. They think they’re being comforting when really they just sound trite. ‘Someone else will come along’ my ass. I’m not *ready* to start thinking about someone else. And who’s to say someone else will come along? They assume since they’ve found their someone, everyone else will, too. Well, there are plenty of people who’ve grown old alone. Maybe I’m one of those people. So take your platitudes and your happy little life with someone who loves you and leave me alone.*

*Please take my anger and bitterness with a grain of salt. I don’t really harbor (much) resentment against you attached folks, and I do really like Ericka, it’s just one of those diatribes that had to be spoken. But really, if I do hear platitudes, I will kick your ass.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The family now knows, so I’m free to discuss it.  Back in April, I posted the following: “Ever have one of those days where your entire life gets turned upside down and the one thing you counted on most to be your rock isn't? That was yesterday.” That April day, I got a phone call from my mom, saying that the doctor wanted to discuss the results of a routine blood test, and to bring someone with her.  “Bring someone with you” never bodes well.  The only person Mom could get a hold of was me, so I went.  She took the news better than I did:  Mom has leukemia.  The blood tests eventually confirmed what we suspected:  the type of leukemia she has is Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia (CLL), the same as Grandpa and Uncle Dan, who was diagnosed shortly after Grandpa’s death.  She is seeing the same oncologist as Uncle Dan, so he is familiar with both of their cases, since heredity seems to be an important factor.
It’s tough.  Remembering how Grandpa’s death affected me, I can only imagine how much it will multiply when I lose Mom.  And I can’t help but jump there.  There were so many medical advances even during the time Grandpa was sick.  But both Mom’s and Uncle Dan’s white counts are increasing at a faster rate than Grandpa’s did.  How do I live without my mom?  Even though I no longer call her as often, and she’s not the first person I call to share something, she is still one of the most important people in my life.  I can’t do it.  I can’t think about it.
There will be a time for that, later, when she’s sick more often, when she’s tired all the time, and when she starts wasting away like Grandpa did.  Most of the time, I am able to forget, because there’s not much to remind me.  It isn’t affecting her yet, and she still has as much energy as ever.  But every once in a while I’ll remember with a start, and my heart sinks and I hug her a little tighter and a little longer. 

Monday, July 19, 2004

Very, very productive weekend, and I could not have done it without Chelsea, Todd, Kristen, and Mom.  Thank you so much.  Chelsea and I took a trip to the dump Saturday morning, and got rid of a bunch of crap.  Neither one of us had been to the landfill before, so it was something of an adventure.  I was expecting something out of The Replacement, but it was all done up like a little farm, and we drove up to the silo to get weighed and pay, and then threw the junk into trash containers.  It was fun.  We got to break glass.
Then we cleaned.  Todd and Kristen also came over to help clean, although I later realized that Todd doesn’t quite yet get the concept of getting dirt out of corners.
Mom came over Sunday, and we painted all day.  It’s amazing how much a coat of paint will do for brightening up the place.  Hopefully, I can get all the paint tape taken down and trim nailed back up Wednesday, but it may depend on when my stairs get replaced.  I’ll have to paint the outside of the second-story bathroom window, and I’m not sure how to get the ladder up there.  I think I’ll wait until Max gets back.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

I loved my grandpa very much.  Mom says he was a much different grandfather than he was a father.  He was much stricter with his kids, less humorous, more regimental.  My grandpa always had a twinkle in his eye for his grandchildren.  His lap was the seat of honor.  If you mention “Here comes the mouse” or “Itty-bitty buddy” to any of us cousins, memories flood back.  The feel of his armchair, the roughness of tickling fingers, the gravelly sound of his voice, the loss of breath from bear-hugs.  No one could hug like Grandpa.  He once cracked one of Aunt Judy’s ribs, but she never told him because he would feel horrible and would have scaled back on his hugs.  No one wanted that.
Grandpa was one of a kind.  He was a skilled plumber, electrician, carpenter.  He loved to fish and camp and ride his motorcycle.  I learned to fish with Grandpa.  I got so I could put the worm on the hook, but I refused to touch the fish.  He took them off the hook for me.  Once, Dad was antagonizing Mom by casting his line where she was trying to fish, and it was all Grandpa could do to stay on the boat, he was laughing so hard.  I also got my taste for wind in my face with Grandpa.  Someday, I will buy a motorcycle, because it will remind me of hanging on to Grandpa’s waist for dear life, screaming with delight while the wind ripped at our clothes.
His family and his faith was the cornerstone of his life.  Nothing was more important.  Not by anything he said, but by his actions.  He showed what was important to him by his actions.  Grandpa was like that; my dad is like that.  I’m like that.
Grandpa was diagnosed with leukemia in the late eighties or early nineties.   It affected him very slowly.  At first, we couldn’t even tell.  But he got tired more easily, and had to start giving up the activities he loved.  He sold his motorcycle, the camper, the boat.  He built my mom’s wrap-around porch, and that was his last big project.  He started wasting away, losing weight, spending more and more days in his armchair when he wasn’t in the hospital.
One of the best stories I have came from this time in his life:  during one of his routine medical tests, they discovered an abdominal aneurysm.  He quickly underwent surgery, and Grandma and Pastor Fredricksen were waiting when he began waking up from the anesthesia.  He was groggy and muttered something unintelligible but urgent, “Mfd buh guhhs.”  Neither Pastor nor Grandma could understand.  “Mfd buh guhhs.”  Pastor finally said, “Your family knows what is in your heart.  You don’t have say anything.”  But Grandpa was insistent.  They finally brought him paper and pencil, and he scratched out, “Feed the cows.”
It was tough, watching him waste away from a vibrant man to a waif, barely half of what he used to be.  January 30, 2001, I left work early, because the family was gathering at Grandma and Grandpa’s.   He wasn’t really awake, he wasn’t quite there, but I held his hand and said goodbye.  I watched at the moment he opened his eyes and looked up to the ceiling, as if he could see something the rest of us could not.  Grandma fell to her knees at his side and cried, “Good-bye my love!” and he left to be with his Lord.
Grandpa’s death hit me hard.  I threw myself into tax season and very little else.  I cried a lot.  I don’t think I really came out of it until April, when I joined TKD and met the people who are now my very close friends.  Even now, there is something missing from my life.  I notice it most at family gatherings.  Grandpa is there, because he lives in our hearts and our memories, but his presence is missed.  And so are his hugs.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Happy birthday to my little sister!

Friday, July 16, 2004

I am eating one of the best muffins I've ever had.  Deb bought them from this place on Summit Street that I've never heard of before, but then again, I don't get to Summit Street often.  It looks like a normal blueberry muffin, but there's this crumbly, oat-like stuff on top that just gives so much flavor to it that my mouth is singing.
My mouth is singing anyway, because I'm listening to Chris Isaak, and I know all his songs by heart, but those are two different kinds of singing.  One is enjoyable and the other is wallowing in misery.
I'm just loads of fun.  "Just another day without you..."
I am the proud owner of tickets to go see Ron "Tater Salad" White at the Adler Theatre in Davenport on September 25th.  I am tres excited. 

Thursday, July 15, 2004

The apartment key was exactly where I put it. It turns out there are two keys hidden outside my house, and Uncle Tim happened to find the one that I didn't have any idea was there. They were in very similar spots, and he misread my directions and found the other one. Weird, huh?

New layout! Keep your eye out for further upgrades! But not soon!

My heart feels especially empty today.

I am so completely overwhelmed at work, I am going to cry. Too many projects breathing down my neck, and too little time to do them in. Now I have to come up with goals. Goals suck! This is July, dammit!

The rental inspector wants to change the inspection to a week I can't leave work because of fieldwork. Arrange your vacations around your appointments, woman!

I need a vacation from life. I can't do this much multi-tasking. Too multi. Only a couple crises at once, please.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

So much for putting off posting, huh? It's an addiction, I swear.

I am completely creeped out. I have a spot outside my house where I leave an extra house key. It's not obvious, unless you know where it is. Uncle Tim came up today to finish the apartment stuff. I put the apartment key (the only one I have) with my house key in it's hiding spot, since I told Uncle Tim where it was. I just got a call, saying he can find my house key, but not my apartment key. I *know*, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I put the apartment key with the house key. Did someone take the apartment key? Why would they take the apartment key but not the house key? They've searched around the spot, in case it fell, but no dice. What happened to it? They are able to get into the apartment by removing the floor, but now I'm completely wigged, especially with "my men" next-door gone.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

I suppose I may as well let you know what happened: I got drenched.

Crying all day yesterday helped keep me composed. I couldn't go over for his good-bye party, since there was no way I was going to show up with red puffy eyes in front of his family, but I went over when everyone left.

He had told me Sunday how much more difficult it was for him, how guilty he felt for leaving when people were crying. His grandma, his mom...I didn't want to cry in front of him. I didn't want to make it any harder for him. I couldn't help it. I didn't bawl, at least. Not in front of him. I have, and I will, but not so he could see.

We didn't talk long, only about twenty minutes, and a lot of that was silence. But I told him how much he meant to me, and I was happy I had had the little time we had together, and wished him happiness in the future.

I didn't get a whole lot in return. It's not the point, I know, but I think he is so wrapped up in trying to seal himself up emotionally, he wasn't able to offer much comfort to me. I do understand, I do. In fact, I told him it's what he needs to do, to a degree. But not me! But I understand why. What he's been going through - he needs to let go of a lot of it. But all I really wanted was a sign that I had at least brought him a little bit of happiness. That I meant a little something more, like he means to me.

I gave him a of our first conversations was about this CD. I was playing it while I was planting my flowers (the day they actually moved into the house), and he stopped to say hi - this was the day after my limestone wall debacle and the day after I met him. I told him what it was, and he smiled, a real one, something I haven't seen much of. He held me and he kissed my hand and he turned and walked out of my life. He's not ready for me. I don't know that he ever will be. And it hurts so much, because I was ready for him.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Is Joss Whedon writing my love life? Every time I think I've got a modicum of happiness, it's horribly ripped away.

Just go.
I can't stand the thought of seeing you,
Knowing you will leave me.
Each goodbye is harder
Knowing the last one is nearer.
Just go.
Break my heart now and make it clean;
I can't do this any longer.
Every time you walk away
Something inside me dies.
Just go.
If I must go on living without you,
I have to start now
While there's something left of me.
Don't leave.
I'm not going to post for a while, while I sort through this. Mike's leaving tomorrow afternoon, so I have to say goodbye to him tonight. There's still so much left unsaid, and I'm afraid I will not have the courage to say it. Damn, this is hard.

Friday, July 09, 2004

I love thunderstorms. When I was little, I used to be terrified of thunder. When I was about four, I had a babysitter who had a panic attack during a thunderstorm. Her fear scarred me so much, I was scared of thunderstorms for years afterwards. Now, being safe and warm inside while the wind and rain rages outside is comforting. The rain pounds at the world, washing it clean of dust and trash and all the crap that accumulates.

Mike told me what has been bothering him. No wonder he has been preoccupied and distant. All the crap he's been accumulating, he needs a good thunderstorm to wash it all away. God, please give him a thunderstorm.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

When I'm contemplative, I tend to write maudlin poetry that no one would want to read. Or I find song lyrics. The song lyrics are oftentimes much better. Plus the bonus of the music. So when I post the music lyrics, I hear the music in my head, which makes it better for me, but maybe not so good for you, if you don't know the song. A couple posts back, that was from South Pacific. This one is from one of my favorite sources of "in pain" music, the incomparible Alison Krauss. The other is Chris Isaak, but Alison captures my mood today.

"It doesn't matter what I want
It doesn't matter what I need.
It doesn't matter if I cry
Don't matter if I bleed.
You've been on a road
Don't know where it goes or where it leads.

It doesn't matter what I want
It doesn't matter what I need.
If you've made up your mind to go
I won't beg you to stay.
You've been in cage
Throw you to the wind you fly away.

It doesn't matter what I want
It doesn't matter what I need.
It doesn't matter if I cry
Don't matter if I bleed.
Feel the sting of tears
Falling on this face you've loved for years."

I've decided what I'm going to say to him. Just need to find the right time to say it. I'm running out of time. With Mike, time has had no meaning. Time has been so short, yet it has lasted so long. Hurry, hurry, hurry, I have all the time in the world.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Blogger is confusing the hell out of me. I can see yesterday's post on my posting screen, but not when I pull up my actual website or my profile page. [crazy3] I know it's posted! Maybe when I post this one...Stupid Blogger.

Saturday night the ex-con called me to tell me he had found a different place to live and to ask me out. I am still quite creeped out. The guy knows where I live and has my phone number. I can call his parole officer if he ends up harassing me, but that really is only cold comfort.

Went to Taste with Mike and Max after class last night. We had great conversation, WD-type in-depth discussion. By the end of the night, Mike was ranting about living in a shack somewhere in the mountains and shunning society. In much more colorful language. It was so cute. As I hugged him good night, I was still grinning at him. "I *like* you." "I don't know why," he replied. If that's not a clue to what he's thinking, hit me over the head with a baseball bat.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Trading Spaces, Here I Come

I am now a home improvement junkie. The great majority of my weekend was spent working on the apartment and endeavors related to working on the apartment. Saturday my whole family came over to help work. Of course, it rained, so no painting got done, but so much did get done that I don't care. The apartment now has six brand-spanking new outlets (in convienent places, like not-the-ceiling!), a circuit box, a place to put a stove, new insulation, a sink in the bathroom, and a hole for a heating/air conditioning unit. The unit will come later, and the old air conditioner will come out of the bathroom window. Hopefully the window still works. Cross your fingers.

I spent the majority of yesterday on a two foot ladder with my arms above my head, but I am now a patching expert. We took down the 70's style decorative wood beams and the trim where the sloped ceilings met the flat part of the ceiling. Behind that trim were gaping holes where all the heat was disappearing. So I learned how to patch holes. I still have to do a couple more layers, but I did a pretty good job on the first go-round. Taking down the beams really opened up the space. I'm going to take a look at my patching job after the paint goes up and see if I really even need to replace that trim. I think it will help make the space look bigger if it's not there.

While the guys worked on wiring and stuff, the rest of the family cleaned out my lawn. We hauled away an entire truck load of yard waste. I still have to dig up a bunch of day lilies, but I can tell already that things will be looking better. Aunt Judy had a whole bunch of great ideas floating about for things I could do with the lawn, so I'm very excited about that.

Things are coming together. The ownership I feel, improving the property, making things better...I feel so proud. Homeownership, with all it's pitfalls and hard work, is worth it. I'm taking something and making it better, more eyepleasing, more livable, more of a place to call home. I can't wait to start on the downstairs.

I did not see Mike very much this weekend. I did go over for the 4th of July after I worked on the church books (for six hours!). We went to his aunt's for grilling, and then watched fireworks from his mom's house. You could see both Coralville's and Iowa City's, as well as some at Hills, West Liberty, West Branch and Tiffin. I didn't know where to look at times. It was pretty cool.

Since I've met him, Mike has been letting his anger and frustration take over his life more and more. He doesn't even seem to want to try anymore. I don't understand it, and being with him is harder because of it. I still care about him so much, and to see him like this hurts. He leaves for Wyoming a week from tomorrow. I have so much to say to him, but I don't know how to say it. I've tried writing it down, to get my thoughts in order, but the time never seems right.

I've accepted it, though. I will cry, and I will miss him, but he needs to leave. I hope that one day I will know him as a happier person, because I saw it, at the beginning. I've got my shit together, and he doesn't. It's not entirely his fault, but he's got some things to do before he's the person I need in my life. This could have been something. I saw it, and I had it for one shining moment.

"One dream in my heart
One love to be living for
One life to be living for
This nearly was mine.

One [guy] for my dreams
One partner in paradise
This promise of paradise
Once nearly was mine.

Close to my heart [h]e came
Only to fly away
Only to fly as day flies from moonlight

I'll keep remembering kisses
From lips I've never owned
And all the lovely adventures
That we have never known

Now, now I'm alone
Still dreaming of paradise
Still saying that paradise
Once nearly was mine."

Friday, July 02, 2004

I got home late last night all tired and cranky - when I looked in my mail, I just beamed. Helen sent me a card and a wonderful three page letter. It's amazing how snail mail can brighten your day.

I shall resolve to do it myself more often. Thanks, sweetie! [girlkissers]

Oh, and Happy 4th, everyone! Busy, busy weekend. But three day weekend! Yay!

Thursday, July 01, 2004

I had two people come look at the apartment last night. Both were guys. The first was a graduate student, the other an ex-con. You heard me. He was very personable, very upfront about his past, really nice guy. If I wasn't living in the same building, I would very much like to give him a chance. As it is, I think way too many people would be uncomfortable with the idea. When I went over to Mike's to finish grading papers, I told him about my prospects, and he said, "I knew I didn't feel right about that guy. I was watching him from the window the entire time." He was a little more colorful in his language, so I paraphrase. One, awwww, he was looking out for me, and two, the fact that he got a vibe that I didn't without knowing what I did makes me extremely nervous. I am a trusting person. How good is my judgement?

I would very much like to get some other prospects, so I can get a better feel for this process. The ad's only been in the paper for two days. I'll keep my fingers crossed.