Friday, December 29, 2006

When the going gets cold, the cold turn to each other

Half foot, foot, foot and a half, two, heh; blow it across the roads and then we got hell, three or four inches of pure frozen damnation. Fender wells, wheel rims be damned, through the white whale we plow, oh, how cheerfully we consign ourselves to perdition. Overtime enough to send us into the void, snow at sixty miles an hour and me at the same, where was that blue truck ahead of me?

When the wind hits and all you have are four wheels on ice, you count your blessings and figure up your karma, project the trajectory, hope for the best. Sliding wherever forces one into immediate and complete surrender, the here and now given full throttle then diced up like onions before an omelet. Reality ratcheted backwards, past the “oops!” then thrust like a bottle-rocket to bang around in the dark, into a pole and flat against the “holy fucking shit.”

Yesterday, huddled and warm with my kids; today, heading for a ditch in the service of the man. Then, I wanted to be them and now, it sucks to be you. Can’t get your shit to work? Well, let me tell you about my day, you whiny hunk of snot. Yeah, you’re not talking to a machine or an Indian, whoop-dee-doo, neither of them will fuck with your head and this is your last time to listen and do what I tell you otherwise I’ll have to transfer you to someone who has training dealing with retards.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

I colored wads of paper and taped them up, just for you

…and the end of the message said, “and Daddy, I love you very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very much.”

On my way to work I saw people on the side of the highway, digging out beneath plowed mountains of snow. A cold Colorado morning, sky clear as ice, you have to keep moving just to stay warm and digging out a car derelict for the past two or three days seems worthy of a few Slim Jims and a shitload of coffee after everything’s back on the road. Considering Manitou was hardly hit at all, I felt a little guilty driving by the intrepid rabble scooping stacks of shit on the side of the highway.

We stayed inside during the blizzard, played games, cleaned house by ever diminishing degrees, tussled and tickled each other and lots of pasta, watched cartoons and shared candy. We traded laps and listened to Mozart at the end of the night, made up goofy poems and pretended we were dinosaurs. As you saw from the title of my last post, I thought we’d be gnawing on each other’s bones by the end of the ordeal but I’m blessed, I know it – I have good kids. They’re fun and creative and not vindictive, not selfish, like they know we’re all in this together and we might as well make the most of it.

If there’s anything I’ve become aware of since I started taking this medication it’s that there are angels all around me, beating wings brushing air across my shoulders and cheeks. Mamacita sends packages of presents to My Kids and my kids, spends time with my eldest on the phone to boost my big girl’s sense of who she is. Random friends and readers send me huge packages of love, encouragement, comments and emails.

The tree we have is two foot high, a tiny thing sitting on a table; there is no room for a proper tree. The tree came pre-loaded with lights but I wrapped it with three thin stands of white lights. The kids hung tiny ornaments on it and called it ours. Then Lilly began to put “presents” under the tree, wads of paper she’d colored with crayons and then bound together with scotch tape. I don’t know what is beneath the paper but the packages look divine. Marni, in deference to her goddess, followed suit. Soon, the shadow of my tiny tree was sucked up by brightly colored wads of tape and paper.

The message on my machine was Lilly reminding me to bring to our Christmas Day gathering some Pokeman thing that Mamacita sent her so that Mamacita’s present could get it’s presents. Her voice was insistent and proud, sure that the Pokeman present would be thrilled by her present. Then, as certain and insistent and proud as the first part of her message, she left me my present.

Where we started.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

You're invited to our little holiday Donner Party

Hello from within the chilly white center of the Blizzard of 2006.

The governor has declared a state of emergency, the city is shut down and the wind shreds skin in two seconds flat. The house creaks with the pounding of the wind and posting anything here is an invitation to the complete destruction of my house.

Not outside, inside. There's only so much children's TV I can tolerate and when the shows go off, the engines go on, screaming, shrieking, whining, tattling, oopsing. Be that as it is, I'm forced to post something from two years ago and save the scream of insanity for tomorrow.

You, with the wreath on your grill: what is that, a bull's eye? You're not fooling anyone; he sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, so WAKE UP, it's a thoroughfare not a damn parking lot.

Hey Mr. huge checkered flag decal on the rear window of your Chevy Cavalier, that thing doesn't qualify you for the Daytona 500, it only qualifies you as a loser stupid enough to put that idiotic sticker on your piece of crap car. So slow down, quit switching from lane-to-lane like you're going to get ahead. It's been ten miles and I still see your decal, moron. If you're trying to be Dale Earnhardt, the only part you're likely to achieve is being dead; good luck!

Lady, we all know you're driving that H2 because you're married to Thimble Dick. It's not our fault you got stuck with a guy who can't reach the back of the cabinet so stop taking it out on us. Eyes front. Rip the cell phone off your most extreme makeover before it becomes a Borg implant. If you don't like the traffic take it off road, your H2 can handle it, right?

Pops, what would the rest of us crazy, dissolute drivers do if you weren't sitting in the passing lane enforcing the speed limit? Why it would be anarchy, what with hundreds of drivers actually going somewhere without having at least one person on which to wish a quick trip to hell. Those of us driving twenty miles an hour below the limit because you're up ahead enforcing the limit will be happy to contact the police regarding your selfless service and say, yeah, I did it, someone needed to shoot the self-righteous old fart.

Ms. Pathfinder, thanks for not being able to not find a path into the passing lane when I wanted to merge from the on-ramp, even though we were the only two vehicles on the road for miles. Then turning your head away when you passed, pretending like your were looking at - what, clouds, because that was the only thing over there, twit - well, you sure had me fooled. Because I was thinking you were an inconsiderate zipper nit. Likewise, turning your head the opposite way when I passed and glared told me you were respecting the unspoken rule of road safety: always check the weather on both sides of the road before letting the air out of your head.

There's three lanes, little Ditzy Saturn, a right lane, a left lane, and a turn lane, - PICK ONE. Then, call your therapist. Obviously, your issues have gotten in the way of common sense.

That little lever on the steering column? Try it, it's fun; push it up and a little light on your dash blinks on the left side; push it down and a little light blinks on the right side! Try it, get some exercise, work off that pecan pie. Or better yet, walk it off, genius. Turn signals: not just for smart people.

Snow. It happens, especially this time of year; you know, "White Christmas" and all that. It's not a big deal, in fact, it's been happening for millions of years. So Florida Plates, don't freak, five miles an hour only keeps you out in it that much longer. And Mr. Stupid SUV, I'm positive your owner's manual doesn't say "In snow, drive twice as fast as normal!"

Aren't you lucky, finding a parking spot a mere 400 yards from the mall entrance? So while you're sitting there, with your blinker sounding like the Gulls in "Finding Nemo", waiting for the current occupant of the space to load in two tons of packages and strap six little kids into car seats, MOVE IT OVER. Hear the honking, screaming, and yelling? That's the rest of us letting you know that our search continues, it's not us celebrating your good fortune.

I know a lot of these drivers are on the road every day but never all in the same proximity; ah, the way the holidays brings us together.

Next year I'm moving way far into the mountains and making everyone presents out of pine cones.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Still waters run ragged

I’m happy to report that the midget mafia is mad about Mythbusters. Their first taste of the show came last week with the Christmas myth episode (burning Christmas trees and building a Goldberg device) and they were instantly hooked. When I picked them up today, one of the first questions out of Zeke’s mouth was if we’d get to watch Mythbusters - that and if he could get a piece of bubble gum.

I love Mythbusters. In the midst of mayhem, things exploding for the most part, Mythbusters presents scientific explanations for their stunts along with some close approximation of the scientific method. This I can’t object to: blowed-up stuff in the service of rationalism. If my kids learn that science corrects itself, constantly trumping faith with each new twist and convolution, I’m elated to expose them thus. Put some lipstick on that pig and then throw its corpse into a brand new Corvette to see if the stench really makes $200 a steal, I say play it, someone will learn something.

Earn something.

Day Three Lexepro. Gritting my teeth and jittery, energetic, feeling myself reemerge as a shuffle becomes a stride. Tomorrow is a spinning top, twirling towards the edge and then the inevitable fall but now is nice; it holds promise. Nothing like last Tuesday where there were just two ways - out or up.

Soon, I can breathe. I know.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Long night it was, sitting and waiting

Here's the pivot, I think.

Sunday night, after I dropped the kids off with their mom. It had been the first time in months I'd enjoyed my full custodial schedule and those days and nights with them did wonders in improving my outlook. They give me purpose, filling my emptiness with love; my reason to go on, try love, thive, strive - to live.

Returning here on Sunday, house devoid of giggles and protests of not getting to be the princess in "the game", devoid of requests for juice or to take a place on my lap left me feeling especially empty. It was as if the momentum of the previous four days had come to a dead halt, alone in the murk and mire of my self, drowning. Sitting in my chair, staring blankly at my TV, paralyzed, anhedonic, smoking cigarette after cigarette as a way of shooing away thoughts I did not want to have, I allowed the dull glow of the glass to hypnotize me so I didn't have to stumble around alone in my head. For the past few months, the TV had become heroin for me.

Everything happens for a reason, I'm told. When an informercial came on instead of the show I was waiting for, I became irate, irritated that the universe had flopped another card out I didn't need; fold and wait for the next deal. I rose from my chair to change the channel when suddenly the face on the screen began talking to me. Not literally (I'm not completely crazy) but the spokesperson for the commercial was talking about so much that I have been experiencing. Standing there in front of the television, I watched, listened, heard my life as it is now being described with uncanny accuracy.

A knot in my stomach when I wake up. Loss of appetite. No energy with a desire to sleep the day away as if whatever sleep I'd had the night before was insufficient. A fear of starting things because the task seems insurmountable and doomed to failure. Obsessive thoughts of death and destruction to the point of agoraphobia. Feeling like a the walls are caving in, trapped by failure and despondancy. The more the face on the screen described the symptoms, the more I heard my own life described in detail.

The infomercial was for The Midwest Center for Stress & Anxiety and I went to the website to see more. On the site is a self-assessment tool that I filled out. The results said I was probably suffering from severe depression and that I probably needed more help than the program could offer and that I should consult a doctor or a therapist. To the credit of The Midwest Center, they were advocating that I not spend my money there at this time but seek professional help.

And so I did. I contacted the local mental health crisis line and they recommended that I go to the ER for an evaluation. Third time's a charm, the evaluator also said I was severely depressed and that I need to get on medication ASAP. They wanted to hold me on a 72-hour Psych hold but I was able to convince them that I was more interested in getting help than ending it all, that the suicidal ideation was just the logical conclusion to a negative thread that unwound itself at every turn. Contracting to a treatment plan and a promise to follow through on referrals, they eventually let me go.

And so today, I have been running around trying to fulfill the various aspects of that treatment plan. There's recommendations of Lexepro and weekly therapy. A promise to get out once a day and walk for at least 20 minutes, practicing attentiveness. Find a charity to involve myself and the kids in and volunteer. Write everyday (not here but as a "brain drain").

Here's the pivot, I think. I hope.

Check in, please, because I'm going to be blogging this from time to time as well as taking advantage of my daily "brain drain". I want to describe the feeling as well, this dark cloud that's been smothering me.

After I begin crawling back out of this hole, I may try The Midwest Center for Stress & Anxiety program, I think it's a sound Cognitive-Behavioral based program. I just can't afford the $70 a month price at the moment. As I said, here's the pivot. We'll see where it turns.