a liquor day

Today I’m wearing a pair of black heels that I love. They’re plain black high heels, closed toe, with ankle straps. They make me feel like a girl. Pretty. Fun. Nice. They’re just on of the little stupid stuff, the frivolous details of my life that have kept me sane recently. My red red lipstick, just a shade too bright. Little silver clips in my hair. Extra eyeliner in the morning. Dark pantyhose. Dessert for lunch instead of real food. Extra strong hazelnut coffee throughout the day. Personal calls made during work hours. Renting movies that I’ve already seen too many times. Bubble baths. Flirting with the guy behind the counter. Keeping an eye out for the good parts, the things that make everything worthwhile. Pretty black heels that make me feel like a girl.

If one more bad thing happens to me, I’m going to lock myself in my newly acquired bedroom with the bottle of brandy I found at the back of my closet when I packed my stuff to move. And I’m not coming out until I’m too drunk to care.

My car is currently at my mechanic’s shop. I took time off work yesterday to take it over and talk to him in person. I usually just drop the car off before work and leave the keys in the ashtray or something and then call him and tell him what’s wrong. But this time, because he hasn’t been able to fix it yet, I wanted to talk to him in person. My reasoning is that it’s easier to dismiss someone over the phone than it is to dismiss someone in person. And so, I told him what’s wrong and gave him the keys and he promised to give it a once over. I don’t know that I believe him, but it’s the best I’m gonna get right now.

In the meantime, I’m bumming rides off of my sisters. That’s really not that inconvenient. One sister has to drive by school to get to her job and both sisters have classes here on alternate weeknights, so a ride home is not problem. I just miss my car.

I tried to put my computer back together after the move and found that I couldn’t get it to work. At first I thought that the cable that connects the CPU and the monitor had been damaged and took it in to work to get a replacement. After using the new cable my tech person gave me and finding that the monitor does turn on, it turned on twice, but that the computer itself is stuck on booting up and that I still get a blank screen 9 times out of 11, I have realized that there is probably something very wrong with it. Something beyond my hooking up the cable the wrong way. I’ve sent a note to my support person and am waiting for a response. I think I know what she’s going to tell me: bring it in. (Did I mention that the computer belongs to the university that employs me? It’s a PowerMac 7600, I think.)

I took my father to sign the lease of his new apartment yesterday. He actually starts moving in today. That’s a step in the right direction. Just a week ago he was still going on and on about wanting to get back together with my mother.

My mother hasn’t seen him or spoken to him since it happened, two weeks ago.

He and my uncle will be moved in by this weekend. I’m supposed to be calling the light company to set up his electricity and the telephone company to have his phone changed to the new place. He says that he can’t handle doing any of that. It’s ironic that two weeks ago I would have said that it was my mother who wouldn’t do anything for herself, and she’s the one who got the electricity and phone service put in our apartment.

Well, I’m supposed to be calling the utilities companies, but my mother is doing that for me. That’s kind of weird. She’s calling to have the utilities put in to my Dad’s apartment. She says it’s no problem, and I know that she’s doing it to make things easier on me, but there’s a part of me that questions the sanity of allowing her to do this.

But I’m still selfish enough to get over my doubts and just let her handle it.


I need a haircut.

My hair is too long. The bangs are dropping into my eyes and it’s taking too much time to fix in the mornings.

I’ve just spent the weekend moving all my worldly goods from the house into the apartment I was afraid I wasn’t going to get. The apartment people called me late Friday to let me know that I could come in the next day to sign the lease and take possession of the apartment. I boldly asked my father if we could use his truck to move the furniture. I was shocked when he actually said yes. My brother-in-law, my little brother, little sister, mother and I moved our furniture, clothes and etceteras from one place to another on Saturday and Sunday. I have muscle aching that I never even knew I owned.

The apartment is a nice little two bedroom, two bath place that’s more spacious than I expected. And, thankfully, our stuff doesn’t make it seem like it’s to cramped. I’m glad we seem to have found something we could live with.

And I need to color my hair. I think the roots are about an inch thick now and it’s starting to look too tacky. Of course, if I get my hair cut back into the original cut, with about a good inch off the bangs and tapered around my face, then the dark roots will just make the cut look fashionably fake.

My car is acting up in ways that make me worried. It’s making this little rattling noise that gets worse when I accelerate. It’s still stalling big-time. The car seems to be heating up way too fast for comfort, especially considering the overheating incident a few weeks ago. And the AC is on the fritz. It’s almost enough to make me take public transportation. Except that I like in Pasadena, and there isn’t public transport to work or any other relevant place.

Somehow, the thought that my hair needs to be cut, is comforting. A little slice of normal in the middle of all of this chaos. a mundane thing to do, an everyday day concern to preoccupy my thoughts.

My mother seems to be better, even though I think that’s she into denial mode. She won’t talk about what happened, and there is a part of me that’s thankful for that. I can’t stand knowing what happened, can barely bring myself to think about it and acknowledge it. There’s even a selfish part of me that just wants to blame her for it because that would just make things so much easier. Which is stupid, really, since I know from personal experience that my father can be a first-class bastard without ever really trying.

What do you do when you have to be the parent? When I was small I took control of my sisters. It wasn’t even really my choice. My mom didn’t drive, doesn’t drive, and wouldn’t even go out to the grocery store without my father. So my sisters and I would go to the corner store and do all the little things that needed to get done. As soon as I was old enough I started making the phone calls for my mom. To the light company, the telephone company, the schools. I learned how to cook and clean and make sure that my sisters were taken care of because Mom would go after my dad to wherever he happened to be working that week and I would have to make sure we were okay while she was gone. Now here I am again, doing the same old song and dance.

I’m going to have to go on a budget, like it or not. Unfortunately, no on in my family has ever been good at saving money or living on a strict budget. Looks like we’ll all have to learn.

My little sister asked me if I realize the commitment I’ve made by moving in with our mother, or rather by moving our mother in with me. I know. This means that I will be responsible for her forever. she never was very good at taking care of herself. She was almost good at taking care of us, but miserable when it came to taking care of herself. Which, when you think about it, makes perfect sense. It explains why she stayed married to him all those years. It explains why he always felt he could treat her any way he wanted. And it explains why her daughters were always so hell-bent on living without needing anyone.

My longest relationship was 8 months long. And it wasn’t even serious. Looking back, I can say clearly that I’ve never been in a serious relationship. Sad statement for someone my age.

I don’t want to have to call the telephone company to get a phone number. And I don’t want to have to call the light company to have electricity turned on, in my name, in my apartment. I don’t want to have to talk to my mechanic and try to find out why my car is still broken when he said that it was fixed. And I don’t want to be the strong one for my family, knowing what to way and when to say it.

I want someone to sit down with me, hold me tight and tell me that everything’s going to be fine. And I want to hear those words in a voice I can trust, with a determined note, like it’s true. And I want someone to handle things for me, to make my phone calls and figure out how the bills are going to get paid next month and how my little brother is going to get to and from school every single day. I want someone to take care of me. Is that so wrong?

on a normal note

I got my car back today. Late today. The mechanic replaced the motor mounds and the gas filter. I knew that that wasn’t what was making it stall or pull or whatever the correct word for what my car was doing. I knew that my car wasn’t going to be fine when I picked it up. But my mechanic assured me that they had taken it for a test drive and that it was all fixed and ready. He told me that if it was still acting up I should feel free to bring it back in.

It’s still acting up.

I know that, for some reason, the mechanic is not going to listen to me. He thinks that it’s all in my head or I don’t know what I’m talking about or something. And I don’t really know what I’m talking about, I don’t know very much about mechanics. But I know that when I accelerate from a stationary position my car goes forward and then kind of stops. Well, not exactly stops. It’s like the motor takes a moment’s pause or the gas stops going or I can feel the gears shifting or something. The result is that for just a couple of seconds, it stops accelerating, at least until I step on the gas a little more. And then it stutters a little and continues going. It never actually stops, it just threatens to stop. And this only happens at less than 35 miles per hour. Once I get the car going it works fine. I never have any problems on the freeway and once the car has been running for a few minutes it stops stalling all together.


The little pseudo-tantrums my car has been throwing give me an awful feeling. It makes me think that the car is going to stop in the middle of traffic. That the cars behind me will plow into me because they don’t know that my car is acting up. That I’ll be trying to drive into ongoing traffic and it’ll break at the absolute wrong time and I’ll be the cause of a major wreck. That it’ll stop somewhere on the other side of the world and I’ll have to get a wrecker in the middle of the night, or worse, in the middle of rush hour traffic and have to deal with that nightmare.

I hate having to deal with car troubles.

Am I just naïve in believing that if I take my care in to the mechanic’s place I should get it back working just as well as before it broke down? Is it too much to ask for to expect that the mechanic will listen to what I’m saying with more than just mild indulgence and then go from what I said rather than what he thinks I should be saying? I don’t know much about dealing with cars, but I do know that if I take my car in and say that it’s been stalling and stuttering and my mechanic tells me its $200.00 because he’s fixed it then it should not be stalling and stuttering anymore. Doesn’t that make sense?

Maybe he doesn’t feel it. It is, after all, my car. I know it better than anyone. I know when it starts to sound squeakier than usual. I know when it’s heating up and I know when the AC isn’t quite working the way it should be. So, it stands to reason that I’m the one who would feel what’s wrong with my car more so than anyone else. But that doesn’t mean that others can’t feel it.

Oh well. I need to give my mechanic a call tomorrow and let him know that, in fact, the car isn’t fixed and he got paid to do work that didn’t solve the problem. And I need to let him know that I won’t be able to bring the car back in this week because, surprise surprise, I actually need my car to get around and I’ll either be moving into an apartment this weekend (if they say yes) or I’ll be looking for a new apartment (if they say no). Either way, he’s going to have to take care of it.

the second episode

I don’t want to be an adult anymore. Where do I sign up to become one of those unconcerned, selfish, egocentric twenty-somethings I keep hearing about? Is there some sort of initiation, a workshop or certification or something designed to turn people like me into carefree, happy people? I want someone to give me some Prozac or some sort of chemical that will take this goddamned gray feeling that’s made its way into every cell of my body and make it go away or at least make it so I just don’t care anymore.

How do I do that?

I took last Thursday and Friday off from work. I had to take my mother to the doctor’s office to make sure that she was okay. Other than some bruises and bumps, she appears to be fine. Physically anyway. I also took the time to rent a storage room to start moving some of my stuff out.

Oh, yeah. Did I mention that my mother and I have decided that we should look for an apartment? The idea is that my father will have to move in with my uncle, who doesn’t work and will be able to look after him, and she’ll move in with me and my little brother in whatever place I can find.

My father will be okay. My uncle, his youngest brother, whom I hadn’t seen in nearly ten years because the last time I saw him he threatened to do bodily harm to my mother and the rest of us . . . sorry, that’s a story for another day. I’ll just say that he was under medical supervision and heavily medicated at the time and leave it at that. Well, that and the fact that he wasn’t welcome in our house because of what happened on that day about 10 years ago.

Has it become clear yet that I live in a soap opera? Normal is a word that has never been used to describe my family. Co-dependent, stupid, weird, passionate, illogical, impractical, violent — all words to describe my family. Normal it’s not.

So I’ve rented some storage space to start moving the stuff from the garage out. I’ve also looked at some apartments. I’m a first-time renter with a dubious credit history. It’s not going well. I make a decent living. Not a lot of money, but enough that I qualify for the apartments I’ve looked at. One in particular, the one I filled out an application for and am currently waiting to hear if I got, that one in particular, I think I make more than enough money to assure them that I’ll pay the rent each and every month.

So what’s the problem?

I know, I know. I’ve made some bad financial choices and am paying the price now. But I’ve shown some responsibility. I didn’t get into serious trouble with my credit cards until the summer. About June, I think, is when everything collapsed under me. I’ve never been very good at saving money or controlling my expenses, so I spent too much money too many weeks in a row and completely blew to hell my payment processes. In August I signed up with Money Management, as part of their debt management program. That shows some responsibility, don’t you think? And I didn’t really stop paying my credit cards; I was just late with a couple of them. Okay, all of them. But, any way that I want to explain it, it all comes down to the fact that I’ve been bad with money recently and that’s making the people who have to trust me to pay the rent very nervous. That’s making this very difficult.

My mother is currently staying at my sister’s place. She and my brother are both there. My sister and her husband have both said that they can stay there as long as they want, but there really isn’t enough room for them. And my sister is pregnant. It’s a short-term arrangement that’s making us all very tense and keeping everything in limbo. I need to get a place for my Mom as soon as I can. Then maybe I’ll feel like I’m actually moving forward instead of being caught in this knot-in-the-stomach headachy place from which I’m writing.

I hate waiting. Patience has never been one of my virtues. I never understood how people can sit calmly while their lives are being decided by people out there and there’s nothing they can do to influence it one way or the other. I can’t stand that. But I am stuck here, waiting for word on whether or not I’m going to get this apartment. Waiting to find out where to go from here. If I don’t get this place, I’ll just try for another one. What choice do I have, really?

Writing from hell, finished for today, Paloma.